Tag Archive | parents

School…Duh Duh Duuuuh…..

It’s that time. How did it get here so quickly?? Summer just started didn’t it? Already I am seeing those ‘first day’ pictures posted by friends on Facebook. We seem to be starting a little later this year so we still have 4 more glorious days of summer vacation left. Not to mention that we plan to squash as much as possible into the remaining September weekends.

My kids are pretty excited. Well, as excited as kids get about school. At least they haven’t attempted to lock themselves in their rooms. I, on the other hand, have been having school dreams. I’ve had at least three in the last week, and I am pretty sure it’s because my oldest is going into MIDDLE SCHOOL. I have to consciously keep my conversation away from school supply lists and school clothes, because the girls just don’t want to hear it.

If my next post includes deep breathing exercises, interspersed with mutterings about 3 ring binders not being big enough, I am sure there will be many parents breathing deeply right along with me.

What has your family been doing, or has already done, to prepare for the influx of papers, emergency contact lists, and lots and lots of uneaten packed lunches?


My daughter the actress

My youngest redhead, at the age of 7, says she wants to be an actress. She’s getting a pretty good start, I have to say. I should consider myself extremely fortunate to have witnessed one possible award winning performance, not even a week ago. It wasn’t her first and I am sure it won’t be the last. It was one of those moments during which I could barely contain my amusement (as well as a myriad of other emotions) as she ranted and raved. Quite loudly.

We were on the way to an appointment one evening, after a fun day at a friend’s house. Both girls were absorbed in their favorite activity, fighting. My little one decided it might be a good idea to smack her big sister with her car pillow. It didn’t really have the desired effect. After the inevitable warning, the pillow must have slipped out of her hands and onto her sisters head again, so it ended up in the front seat with me. I quickly was made aware of her disappointment Many of you may know that 7-year-old girls have the ability to reach a decibel level that melts glass.

After 5 minutes in the car, which seemed like 5 days with all of the shrieking, we arrived at our destination. My oldest wisely slipped out of the car and made herself scarce while I prepared to enter into battle. It took a good 10 minutes to pry my little one’s hands from the seat and get her out of the car. After that I locked the doors since she was attempting to sneak back in. Another 10 minutes at least passed with her clinging to the side of the car, action movie style, screaming to all the world that her poor pillow was slowly suffocating and would die if left unattended. I’m not very sure where she got this information, but she was adamant that the pillow not be harmed. I tried explaining that the pillow would be fine because there was enough air in the car for a pillow with no lungs. That didn’t sway her; she carried on for several more minutes as I tried to hide my amusement and embarrassment. People started watching, which I guess is good news for a budding actress.

Finally, I half convinced and half dragged her into the office, whereupon she took it upon herself to display all of the tactics she had picked up in her seven years to to make the next forty minutes extremely uncomfortable and quite loud (not melting glass level fortunately).

I breathed a sigh of relief when we left the office. The drive back was almost as bad since the pillow was still sharing the front seat, but there was a tender reunion once my daughter finally got it back.


This Sunday,as I sat in the back of my tiny church with the rest of the small choir, struggling to keep two sleepy red heads from fighting, I strained to hear the sermon, as it was one which I thought could use a little repetition. Our current ‘supply priest’ has a real knack for sermons. He started out quoting one of my favorite childhood shows, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and went on to discuss the state of neighbors and neighborliness. The sermon touched a lot of us, who realize that so much has changed (although much more has stayed the same). People in these suburban mazes don’t know many of their neighbors who live right next door, and forget sometimes that even those you don’t know are neighbors. It’s nice to get a reminder once in a while that people really haven’t forgotten, they just need a nudge.

There was the time that one of my daughters (I forget which now) was crying over a lost helium balloon from Friendly’s on her birthday. I remember commiserating with her and trying to entice my other daughter to share her balloon (it didn’t work),when a young man, probably still a teen, ran into the restaurant and came out with a new balloon for my daughter. That always will stick in my heart. Then just this past week, my oldest decided to bake some sweets and some pasta for an elderly friend of ours who doesn’t get around very well.

This morning I got a text message from out township police department sharing that there had been two burglaries in the area. A few months ago there had been a prowler who was never caught. And that’s just in our very small and safe area. It makes one wonder how many people have forgotten to be neighbors even in a small town. That is, until we see these small acts of kindness. They may seem small but are not small to the recipient. So take an extra 5 minutes and stop by the lemonade stand that those two noisy 8-year-olds put up and buy some super sweet lemonade, or give your grandparents a call. It’s a small price but the reward to both parties is extensive.

As my dear friend said this Sunday morning, make it a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Locked out….again

The very first post I ever wrote was about me getting locked out of my house. It was a chilly but sunny spring day and due to a door malfunction, (yes it really WAS the door’s fault) I found myself locked out of my house with half of the groceries in the house on the kitchen floor. Over an hour and a soaked pair of pants later (car washing mishap) I was able to get back in the house thanks to a friend with a spare key. That was a good four years ago.

This time, it wasn’t the door’s fault, it was mine, and sort of my daughter’s. It was a simple case of talking to a friend as we left my house, and realizing after the door slammed that my keys were not in my purse. Never walk out distracted. Fortunately, I carry a spare to my car in a hidden place and have a garage door opener. So problem solved right? Wrong! My 6-year-old, always eager to be a help, in that 6-year-old rationale, raced ahead of me into the house. She wanted to be the hero of the hour and find the keys by herself. Thinking quickly, she slammed the door and locked me out so she could look for the keys herself. I pounded on the garage door while my friend pounded on the front door, both of us yelling and hollering to open up. Finally my threat of withholding a favorite cartoon hit home, she opened the door and we found the keys. While this was going on, my older daughter and her friend had wandered down the street, bent on raising money for one of their school clubs. Of course we were late for an appointment because these things don’t happen in the middle of a lazy afternoon. In a move which I thought was cooler than Tom Cruise’s in the MI movies, I grabbed my youngest, tossed her in the car while both of us moms each took a different route around the block to confront our eldest daughters. They simultaneously leaped into our respective cars and away we raced just in time for our appointment.

Frequently I have thought that parts of my life resemble a sitcom. But that day, I was pretty sure it was more like a cross between action and a Mr. Bean episode (without his yellow car).

County Fair!

Despite the triple-digit temperatures which have become so common this year, summer has always been my favorite season.  I actually don’t mind the triple-digits too much either, as long as there is a pool handy.  Even a kiddie pool will make me happy.  In the season of high humidity and temperatures which verge on oven-like, the county fairs come to town.  Last year, the county fair took on a whole new meaning with my daughter involved in 4H and the small animal groups.  We spent a lot of time standing in a blistering hot tent with a bunch of rabbits and guinea pigs.  Not to mention an extremely antsy and bored 5-year old.  It was still fun and we still went on some rides.  This year however, my oldest red-head decided to forgo the fair in favor of a gymnastics class.  So, I took the little one.

Here is my clumsy attempt at a picture of the fair from a distance.  (I’m a writer not a photographer)

As luck would have it, it was a cool cloudy day.  Yesterday was quite literally 100 degrees, and today, a breezy 78 degrees.  I almost wished my oldest had decided to come to the fair, since it was so pleasant outside.  But that passed as soon as I saw my youngest tearing out the door of the car  in her eagerness to get to the fair.  (Besides, I  have seen my girls both doing acrobatics and I know they love it too much to pass up) Only two years ago the fair moved headquarters to a much bigger field with nice barns, stands for the equestrian shows, and lots of room for the rides.

We parked and found our way to the entrance of the fair, the smell of trampled grass strong.  I always loved that smell because it reminded me of when my mother worked craft fairs when I was young.  Since we went early, it wasn’t that crowded yet and soon enough we wandered, tickets in hand, to see what fun cheesy rides they had this year.  There were several.  Some I got to go on, since my daughter doesn’t grow, and come even a two-year old could ride by themselves meaning she could as well.  I must say they were all pretty enjoyable.  We both agreed that the boat was one of our favorites.  It was one of the rides that swings up and then sideways a bunch of times.

After the rides, which were difficult to part with, we wandered over to the animal tents.  I grew up being fortunate enough to go to my county’s fair as a kid.  I remember the dust of the midway, the continuous roar of stock cars over the whole event, and of course the food.  Now I live in a town which is on the edge of a fairly rural part of the state, so there is a big emphasis on farming and agriculture.   Hey, we’re not called the Garden State for nothing.  Besides officially our county fair is called the FARM fair.  So yes, it has tractor pulls, sheep shearing contests, and even corn husking.

After all those rides and animal gawking, what could be better than some ice-cold root beer in an overpriced mug (souvenir of the fair of course) some cheese fries, kettle corn, and a cotton candy bigger than my daughter’s head?  Nothing could be better, except a sausage sandwich.  I’ll have to wait for the boardwalk for that one.

Now we are settled at home and my daughter is snug in her bed.  How she can sleep after inhaling all that sugar I’ll never know. Now we have a whole year to wait for the next fair.  And who knows, maybe she will even be big enough to ride the junior roller coaster.

What are your summer traditions?  Do you have a favorite fair in your town?

By the way, I really hope someone caught my credit to Star Trek up there.

The Graduate

Last thursday was a proud day for me in mommy mode.  My youngest redheaded appendage graduated kindergarten.  Well, the first year of it.  She was in a special education class this past year and has done incredibly well.  

For at least the past two weeks she has been reminding me daily of the impending graduation ceremony.  The days preceding the event were filled with the sound of her practicing songs which the class would sing at the graduation.  Finally the day arrived.   After getting many assurances that I was absolutely coming to her graduation, she allowed me to leave for my half day at work.  The ceremony was only for her particular class.  Since my oldest never had any ceremony, I suspect it was more to do with the teacher, than a change in school policy. 

As I arrived in the library and took a seat among the other parents and grandparents brandishing flowers, balloons and cameras, I noticed how much hard work had gone into the celebration.  There were banners and posters of the student’s artwork and classwork handing on the walls for us to gloat over.  We all chattered quietly as we waited for the grand entrance.  Finally, after a few announcements, the graduates arrived.  They processed down the aisle to the front of the library, each wearing their best that day.  We were treated to several songs that they had learned, accompanied by the flash of many camera’s. 

My one mistake of the day was wearing heels, the HIGH ones.  During the 45 minute ceremony most parents stood in order to get the best shots.  By the end my feet were screaming. 

After several songs, which showed their hard work to the full extend, we had a little award ceremony and the handing off of the “diploma”.  I am supremely proud to say that my littlest sidekick got the  “Best Reader Award”. 

Afterward we all had a chance to relax, speak to the teachers and other parents and hug our treasures.  There were even cupcakes. 

It was a proud day.  One of my friend’s, whose son was in the class, said to me that  it’s always particularly special when the kids have come so far and overcome many of their own social and learning difficulties to graduate kindergarten.  And she was so right.  It was a moment to remember.  I know my daughter was so proud of herself and her friends.

She is now looking forward to next year in the regular kindergarten.  She’ll have to get used to the bigger class size and smaller number of teachers in her class, but she is ready and eager.  She is even determined to practice her math and reading over the summer.  She better have more willpower than I do.

Space Invaders! No…the OTHER kind

It happens gradually.  So slowly that you don’t realize it before it’s too late.  One day you are sitting on your couch, in a nice bright clean living room, and the next moment, it seems, you are surrounded by tiny beads, thousands of crayons, and lots of shoes.  What happened, you wail?  No one answers though.  It’s those small offshoots of your genetic make up. 

It’s really hard to keep your own space separate from that of your kids.  It starts off OK, at the beginning of the week, especially if you are blessed with any time to yourself.  By mid week, the shoes have somehow cloned themselves, and are slowly making a tactical advance down the hall.  Do they have special forces training?  I think so at times.  Trying to beat back the onslaught of arts and crafts, books and dolls is virtually impossible at times.   It makes things even harder when you spy a page from a parenting or design magazine where all of the children’s toys are neatly stowed in bins or colored shelves (remember that’s not real life).  Take heart though, it will get better. 

This is what I was thinking to myself as I surveyed my livingroom over the course of the week.  Monday and Tuesday it didn’t look so bad.  By Thursday there were stray socks, (oh don’t get me going on socks!) several pens that the cat had stolen and a few barbies artistically arranged on the floor by my 6-year old.  Now it’s friday and although I have visions of my house now being filled to the top with multiplying toys, I think I can manage them.  And it has gotten better, despite the sock issue.  As the munchkins in my house grow, the toys become smaller, except for the crafts.  Soon they will all be tiny electronic devices and books.  (I really don’t mind the books since I am somewhat of a hoarder of books as well.)

Now if only I can get to my first born’s room……. That’s a saga all of its own.