Fist Bumps and Hugs

This summer we were fortunate enough to get our eldest son enrolled in a Summer Camp that is completely dedicated to traveling.  Each day our son, along with about 100 other pre-teens and teens travel to a new location.  These trips can range from visiting a museum or an amusement park to hiking in the Adirondacks or white water rafting.  Everyday presents a new adventure which is perfect for my son, who loves to always be on the go.

So on the first day of camp, I was just as excited as he was for this great opportunity. My excitement was probably more visible, because as you know, according to the “Teen Code”, showing any sign of excitement over anything is totally lame.  But I knew he was excited because for the entire month leading up to camp, he could not stop looking at the itinerary.

But either way, as we drove to the meeting grounds, I gave him the rundown of my expectations of him and all the regular “overprotective” mom speeches:

“ Stay with your group when you are in large places”, “Make sure you listen for instructions when your group leader speaks”, and so on and so on. 

As he nodded on with each point, we pulled up to the front of the building and I began to scan the area for parking.  The car hadn’t come to a full stop before my son says, “Okay mom, bye.” “Umm, sorry mister,”I had to quickly burst his bubble,” It’s the first day of camp. I’d like to meet the counselors, perhaps see who some of the campers are, and perhaps just show my face to let them know that there is some type of parental unit attached to the camper.”   You would have thought that I told him that I’d like to go with him and be his trip buddy, holding hands and everything. “Fine”, he said, slumping back in his seat.

After parking the car we entered the camp main building and walked towards the large cluster of people standing in the lobby, which actually turned out to be two separate groups.  There was a group of teens in one huddle and then pressed along side the wall on the other side of the room was a small group of parents who were obviously asked to keep their distance as if they needed to be quarantined.  My son quickly noticed the separation and very nicely requested that I stand amongst the other parents.

“Mom, there are no parents over in this area” he said speaking from the side of his mouth and looking straight ahead because God forbid we look like we are actually together. 

I assured him that I wouldn’t linger too long, that I just wanted to find out a few more things.  I proceeded to get the answers I was seeking from the director of the program, and he informed me that the buses to transport the campers to their first destination was about 15 minutes away.  I decided that since my son was making a conscious effort to keep his distance from me, that I too would follow his lead and join this covert op.  I moved like a ninja to his side watching over my shoulder to make sure that no other teen could see me speaking to the child that has the same exact face as mine.  I faced my back to his back and whispered to him that his bus would be arriving at 0800 and that when he arrived back to the camp building, I would be placed inconspicuously  around the corner, slumped down in the drivers seat so that we could make a fast break later on that evening.  He quickly understood my message and gave a head nod while also surveying the area.  He then turned his body halfway to face me and gave me what could only be considered a hug of some sort.  It was so quick, by the time I realized what had happened, he had already slipped through the crowd and sat down to wait for his bus.  I watched from a distance, careful not to let him see me watching him.

15 minutes later all campers were told to line up outside as the buses had now arrived.  I followed the group, noting the bus number, and the driver behind the wheel.  But I especially noted the confidence with which my son moved along the line as he prepared for his first traveling camp adventure with a group that he’s never been with.  I noted that I have a child who is no longer a baby although he will always be my baby.  And I noted that as he is growing, I am also growing, and growth is good.

As he got closer and closer to the entrance of the bus, I had a sudden urge to run, grab him and hug him like I did when he was little.  But I fought the urge, cause I knew that he would “never” forgive me for that one.  So instead, I walked in his direction as if I were walking pass him. And just as he was about step on the bus, I stuck out my fist. He noticed me immediately and did the same.  As our fists bumped, I mouth the words, “I love you”. And though he didn’t say it back, the small smile that came to the corner of his mouth said everything that my heart needed to hear.  And I walked away proud of myself, knowing that I am a pretty awesome mom to a pretty cool pre-teen. And thus begins my own journey into the world of teenagers.

Talk to you soon,

Serene

Share with me: When did you first realize that it might be time to let go just a little bit? 

 

Summer Amnesia

Originally published in August 2014

It’s that time of year again.  Summer Break for the children and for me as well.  Although I still have to go to work every day, not having to get up in the morning and wake up Papi and Munch, not having to pack their lunches the night before, not having to prepare clothing for the week is all a very welcomed break. But what I have found is that it is also a brain break, which could be a good thing, but right now I am not referring to the good way. Right now I am referring to the brain break that my children always take that makes it seem as if they have never gone to school a day in their lives by the time school begins again in September.  Last year, I will never forget my oldest son, Papi picking up a pencil to write something towards the end of the summer break.

It looked like he was using chopsticks for the very first time with his non-dominant hand, then he actually said “this feels so weird! I haven’t held a pencil in so long. I almost forgot how to write.” 

Now you may be asking yourself, what kind of mother am I that I didn’t see to it that they were writing all summer long? My response: It was just that kind of a fun summer. Don’t judge me.  But either way,  what kind of craziness is that?!!  Does two months really have the capability of wiping away something that is practiced daily for ten months? Well apparently it does and this summer, there was no way that I was going to let that type of amnesia try to set it again.

And thus, my new family project was born. Now, the key to having children do anything that even resembles school work during the summer, and they still enjoy it is to disguise it as something else.  I have seen parents who sign their children up for literacy, and math classes throughout the summer to avoid the aforementioned “forgetfulness”, but I am not that parent as I do think children need down time.

However, I am that parent that will trick her children into doing work by making it look fun. SO this is what I did.

First I came up with a writing topic, something that sparks creativity. Then instead of just assigning the writing task to the children, our entire family got involved: me, and my hubby, as well as the boys. Next I gave each of the boys their own composition notebooks and a due date that we all had to adhere to. Two days after the assignment was given, everyone was ready with their story.  We gathered on the sofa and took turns reading our stories out loud. The rules were that no one was allowed to laugh at anyone’s story in a critical manner, and no interrupting.    It was a great success! Everyone definitely brought their own personalities to their stories with the big laugh of the night being my hubby’s half human, half raisin story (yep, that’s his personality for sure).  But most importantly, it was family time well spent and the children enjoyed writing.  So much in fact, that when I was ready to give them the next writing topic, they had come up with a few of their own. So now we let Munch choose the next topic: “If you could have any super talent in the world, what would it be?”  Then our oldest son, Papi is excited to choose the next topic thereafter.  I think I may be on to something! This September, there will be no forgetfulness when it comes to holding a pencil! Mission Complete.

Talk to you soon!

Serene

Share with me: What things will you do over the summer for your children to counteract summer amnesia?  

Homework Personalities

Pot of Sweet Peas

When my eldest son, Papi became a 2nd grader, it was my first introduction into the world of being a parent of a kid who now had homework. I don’t know when it happened exactly but somewhere around the time that I had two school aged children with homework, I actually became as sick of homework as my boys were. Between their work load and the need for me to be the “homework police”, monitoring the assignments and ensuring their completion, there was a time when I felt like homework became a bigger burden on me than it was helpful for them and furthermore, it started to become more stressful than anything, which was not the experience that I wanted for any of us.

One evening, last year while helping the boys do homework, I found myself losing my last bit of patience. Instead of working, the boys were talking to each other, losing all kinds of focus. No one could find a pencil although I purchased over 150 pencils at the beginning of the school year. And my youngest son kept shifting in his chair because he just “couldn’t get comfortable”. All the while, I was preparing dinner, watching the time slowly move into the hour that baths were suppose to begin and it looked like no one was close to finishing homework because they just couldn’t get it together.

That night I became angry with my children which manifested into me turning into the HULK, banging on the table and yelling “GET IT TOGETHER! HOMEWORK TIME IS SERIOUS TIME!” and a few additional threats to cease all fun activities in the home for the next 2 months.

This resulted in my then 5 year old, crying and not being able to focus anyway. I then became angry with every teacher who ever assigned homework, including myself in my classroom days. “Don’t teachers know that parents can’t spend ALL NIGHT dealing with homework? What is wrong with them!!” Of course, I know that this was not rationale thinking but I had to be angry at someone at that moment. I can’t remember how that night even ended or if homework even got completed but I know that that evening was pivotal for me.
Since that night, I had to figure out a way to take some of the stress off the homework process for everyone’s sake.
Though in theory it seemed like a good idea to have both of the boys at the dining room table, close to me in the kitchen while they worked, it was not conducive for them to be next to one another. So the first plan of action was to separate them. Each child in his own space of choice to work. Then I had to accept the fact that my youngest son was uncomfortable in the chairs and did not work best sitting with his butt in the chair, feet on the floor, facing forward , which I thought was key to creating a studious little intellect. When I took out the time to listen to what he needed, I realized that it worked better for him to lay belly down in the middle of a room with his books and papers lying beside him. He just thinks better that way and still does 4 years later. Now, figuring out exactly what my oldest son needed to work best was not a challenge for me as much as accepting what he needed was. I grew up learning that your work space should be quiet so that you could focus and tune out distractions, which is why to this very day, I can’t stay focused if any noise enters my work space. So when my son asked to play music while doing homework, I couldn’t fathom how he was going to also concentrate so I fought the idea for awhile. But he kept insisting “Mom, I can’t think while its this quiet!”, he’d say. I just couldn’t wrap my head around that. But finally one day, I did and let him work with his music of choice. And surprisingly he was able to remain seated and quiet for the whole hour plus that he worked on his homework.
Now I am not saying that all of these homework changes made homework time a breeze in my household, but coupling these “newfound” practices with a pre-homework snack and at least an hour to unwind before beginning homework definitely makes for a less tense home during the week.
My lesson in all of this: Sometimes your children’s methods of doing things are not your own nor are their methods how you envision things being able to work out, but sometimes for the sake of learning something new and making life a bit easier, parents should listen to what their children are asking for. They might just know what they need for themselves.

Talk to you soon,
Serene

Share with me: What are/were some of your best homework time practices in your household?

Review Time: The Gazillion Bubble Show

Bubble Show

Review: The Gazillion Bubble Show
Location: New World Stages, 340 50th street between 8th and 9th
Show time: 11am

This weekend for exactly one hour, I was transported back in time to my childhood when the simple things in life kept me mesmerized and smiling in amazement. That is the only way that I could describe how I felt while watching the Gazillion Bubble Show along with my three children and the hubby.
I was gifted the tickets this past week, and while I had been meaning to take the kiddies to see this exact show when it first appeared a few years ago, I just never got around to it. Boy, am I happy that I was given the opportunity to finally see it.

Prior to going to the show, I looked up a bit of information about it, because I was on the fence about bringing my 15 month old. I didn’t know how she’d react to the dark theater or the crowd. But the site said, “fun for all ages” and that’s exactly what it was.

For exactly an hour, the bubble making genius Melody Yang captivated  the entire audience with tricks and illusions that had everyone sitting with our mouths hanging open, scratching our heads, as we wondered how in the world she made these bubbles do such fascinating things! (Spoiler Alert: Who knew bubbles could be square shaped?!!) I’ve blown a lot of bubbles in my days and the fanciest trick I’ve ever done was to catch the bubble on the end of the wand.
I mean, really, even my 12 year old turned to me during the show and said “Mom, this is so cool!” And listen, when you are a pre-teen, the words “mom” and “cool” rarely go together. rI definitely didn’t think he’d enjoy half as much as he did. But, honestly, even the coolest kid couldn’t help but to jump out of their seat, swatting wildly in the air, as the crowd was engulfed in a sea of bubbles multiple time throughout the show.

I knew that bubbles made children happy but this show proved that we all still have little children hidden in us that something as simple as bubbles can obviously unlock.

Would I recommend this show?: Definitely!

Who would I recommend this show for?: Anyone who likes to smile and occasionally enjoys the feeling of being a kid again.

Pros:
1. The theater was small ,intimate and the stadium seating allowed for the stage to be viewed no matter how tall the person is that is sitting in front of you .
2. There are two parking lots across the street.
3. You can purchase your own container of Gazillion Bubbles at the bubble store in the theater lobby. (I’ve actually used these bubbles back in my teaching days and they are the best by far!)
4.  There is stroller parking available.

Cons:
1.  There are no changing tables in the bathroom that I visited but I was told that a changing table does exist in a different kind bathroom on a different floor.
2.  There is a mandatory $20 Cash Only “Lap Seat” Ticket Fee for children under the age of  2.

3. Be prepared to spend $5 for a pack of M&Ms as well as a few other individual items that are being sold by a person who walks around the theater before he show actually begins.

Overall Rating:
Five peas in a pod! (A perfect score)

Talk to you soon,
Serene

Share with me: Have you seen the show already? What did you think of it? Do you plan to see the show? Let me know you thoughts once you see it.

Being Confident in “Girl World”

Girl World

A few weeks ago I asked my friends on Facebook for inspiration for my next blog topic.  I love writing about my own experiences but I thought it would be different to write about a requested topic.  One particular response that came from a friend of mine was to write about boosting confidence in young girls. I loved the idea of that topic. After all, I am a “girl”, I’ve taught girls, and I have a daughter. Piece of cake, I thought. Boy, was I wrong. I sat in front of that computer and my mind went blank. What was wrong with me? I usually have no problems writing about topics that I’m passionate about it. But this was just not coming to me. Although I have a little girl, I realized that trying to boost her confidence was not something I had begun to think about.  After all, she’s only 15 months so this was something that really didn’t need to be on my radar yet, or so I thought.  A week or so after my “brain fart” and non-existent promised blog post, I had an experience that made me realize I had better start thinking about this, and quick:

While over at a friend’s for a fun Friday night gathering, my daughter sat on the floor with another little girl who was around the age of 3.  As the girl sat coloring with a marker, a huge bag of at least 70 additional markers sat next to her. Being curious, my little Bean tottled over and  reached in the bag to pull out a marker, when the 3 year old snapped out of her drawing trance and with squinted eyes, yelled, “Hey! stop I’m using those!” Immediately, I switched into my teacher voice, hoping to diffuse the situation, “Sweetie, you have a lot of markers. Can you please let her use one and when she’s done, she’ll give it back to you?”  That ought to do the trick right? NOPE, it didn’t.  The little girl just stared at me and responded just as snappy as before, “No, I’m using them! I don’t like her!” Wow, I did not see that coming.  Naturally, all my teacher instincts went out the window.  And as I pictured myself snatching the bag of markers from the little girl and perhaps bumping her slightly with my bottom, I looked at my daughter who had already moved on to the next thing, totally unfazed by the whole situation.

And it was at that exact moment that it occurred to me that I am the mother of a little girl and having been a little girl myself, I know that “girl world” is a heck of a lot different from what I was use to when raising the boys.  I had to start thinking about building her confidence much sooner than I thought.

I had an epiphany that evening and I realized that it has to be one of my many goals to make sure that I raise a little girl that is so confident, she will be able to walk away, unfazed, moving on to the next thing if someone else says “No, I don’t like you”.  But how? Where do I begin?

When it comes to raising a girl, it’s so common to hear people say, “make sure you tell her she’s beautiful” so that she can be confident.  But somehow, I don’t think that’s enough.  Sure, this has to be one part of building her self –esteem.  Girls, people, and the world can be cruel and judgmental when deciding what look is “in” and what features are favorable.  My little girl will definitely need to know that she is wonderfully made both inside and out.  And though I think that this is a small part of creating a confident little girl,  it is going to take something big from me. I have to first understand that I am her first example of what she will aspire to be. With that said, I have to show her what it looks like to love myself, flaws and all.  I have to continue to embrace my natural hair so that she can embrace hers. I have to love all 4 foot 11 inches of me no matter how tall everyone else stands around me.  I have to resist the urge to show signs of self-loathing, realizing that every time I critique my cellulite, and inability to acquire the perfect hourglass figure that my Bean is watching and she will criticize those same things on herself.  I will have to tell myself that I am beautiful and show her that we are beautiful.

But this is not enough. One day my daughter may encounter someone else who tells her “You can’t use my markers”, “You can’t come to my party”, “You can’t be my friend” “I don’t like you”.  Her knowing that she is beautiful won’t help her to walk away unfazed.  The only way that she is going to be able to keep it moving, head held high, when she is rejected is if she understands that people who didn’t make you don’t have the power to break you.  She will also need to understand that she can move on to the next thing and that there is something out there made especially for her.  As her mom, I’ve been charged with the job of truly seeing my daughter for her talents and skills and I must nurture those things so that she can grow to understand how special she is.  If her eyes are bright and focused on the goals that she and I set for her, then she will be too busy in her own world to care that someone has rejected her from theirs.

But even that may not be enough.  One day, with her knowing that she is beautiful and having a goal in mind, she may be told that she still can’t do something just because she is a girl.  Well for that, I simply say, thankfully she has two big brothers to run side by side with.  She already tries to keep up with them and they have already proven to be her biggest supporters.

I don’t know if this is the perfect formula for raising a confident girl.  I’ve never raised one before but I’m thinking that with beauty, drive and strength my baby girl will also have the courage and determination to walk tall (no matter how tiny she may be), and proud as she navigates her way through “Girl World”.

Talk to you soon,

Serene

 

Share with me: Where does your confidence come from? Who helped you to gain that confidence? What did they do?

The Mom Folder

Mom Folder

The idea of a “Mom Folder” was definitely not one that I came up with, so I can’t take the credit. The concept was passed down to me from a fellow coworker and mom, but once I learned about it, I took it and ran with it. And now I pass it down to you 🙂

If you have school aged children then you know what it’s like to get a ton of paperwork sent home constantly!

There’s always a permission slip to be signed, or a new movement from the Parent Committee that we should be so interested in or a school function coming up.  I mean really, like something that must be reviewed every…single…night! Who is photocopying all these papers at schools?Sheesh! Either way, because of all the papers, there are always lots of deadlines. In the evening when the boys are doing their homework and simultaneously shoving documents in my face, telling me what I have to look over, the Mom Folder has been very instrumental in helping me not lose my mind  the papers. My Mom Folder has a pocket on each side; one is labeled “To Be Reviewed” and the other is labeled “Reviewed/ To Be Filed Away”. Once the children are in bed, I can take a look at all things and figure out how I need to deal with each document. My folder has also been helpful for organizing my bills, and housing little to-do notes that I jot down throughout the day. It travels with me to work which allows for me to switch hats and get into mommy mode for a moment during my lunch break. As I cross things off of my to do list, make very necessary phone calls, and shift papers from one side of the folder to the next, I feel productive and pretty darn proud. And that, my friends, is another way that I try to get a handle on this beautiful thing called motherhood.

Share with me: How do you organize all of the paperwork that comes with the territory of being a parent?

All’s Fair in Love and Basketball

Pot of Sweet Peas

“You are off the team!” I shouted through clenched teeth. That was the last thing I said before he walked out the door. Well, technically the last thing I said was “I love you” because you should never depart from a loved one without saying you love them. But right before that, “You are off the team!”, was what I said to my 12 year old son “Papi” as he raced out of the door 15 minutes late. Although he had gotten up on time, the flow of the morning routine came to a screeching halt when Papi remembered that he had an assignment that was due in class that morning. And although he had done the assignment, he had not printed it out yet nor did he know where his USB was located In order to print out the assignment. But the icing on the cake was that this was a Monday morning so he had all weekend to ensure that his work was printed and ready to go. But no, that’s not how that went down AT ALL.

As I stood there watching him trying to place blame on everyone else for why he would not have his work turned in, I could no longer contain my disappointment, and so it erupted in five words, “You-Are-Off-The-Team!”

And in that instant the look in his eyes told me that I had just ruined his entire world. My son, the self-declared future NBA player who eats, sleeps, breathes basketball was beyond through with me. But in the interest of time, I ushered him out of the house, told him I loved him and closed the door behind him.
And then I cried.

But only for a minute. You see, I didn’t want to pull him off the team but it had to be done. For 4 months I watched as Papi religiously practiced jump shots, lay-ups, and drills. I listened as he told me the stats on all the latest NBA players, and I swelled with pride as he suited up in uniform and walked onto the court, game after game, to do what I think he is amazing at doing. But for those same 4 months I also watched as he is presented sub-par homework to his teachers, I listened as he gave me excuse after excuse as to why he accidentally left in his homework assignment in his school locker, and I hung my head in disappointment as his teachers explained to my hubby and I that Papi was more than capable but just not willing to apply himself. So yes, I did cry. But only for a minute, because while I don’t want to rob him of his happiness, I also have been charged with the responsibility of being his parent. And as his parent, one of my jobs is to prepare him for life, while of course, nurturing all of the things that I see inside of him. I also have to help him understand the concept of priorities.
I’ve never played college basketball a day in my life, but I have heard that in college, if you don’t stay on top of your grades, then you don’t play ball. Now, I don’t know how true that is (I’m sure I could easily research that), but I am going to go with that concept and consider myself to be one of his “coaches” (his dad being the other, of course). He didn’t produce the grades so I had to bench him. Not forever, but until he puts forth the same effort academically as he does in the area of sports.
And I am happy to report that all of this took place over a month ago and already the change in Papi’s work habits have changed drastically. He wants to get back on that team so he is doing what I knew he could do all along. He’s still not happy with me at all and he tells me every chance he gets. But hey, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

So do I regret my decision to pull him off the team?? Heck no!
“You are off the team!” Yup that’s right, I said it. But let’s not forget that I also said “I love you” and I truly do, cause if it were not for love, I would not have done what I had to do.

Talk to you soon-Serene

Share with me: Can you recall a time that you as a parent OR when your own parent had to go to what seemed like “drastic measures” to teach a lesson. Do you think it was worth it?

The Perfect Gift

Pot of Sweet Peas

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This saying is especially true for my 8 year old son, Munch. On any given day, he could be found near the recycling bin in our home, searching for what I thought was trash but he thinks otherwise. In his 8 years, he has created a bird house, a variety of picture frames, a collection of pretend weapons including ninja stars and bow and arrows, a few original board games, and some pretty awesome mazes filled with booby traps for any unsuspecting Lego figurine.
His inventions usually begin with him protesting that we not throw out the empty milk carton, oatmeal container, or whatever he catches us using the last of. Most times we honor his request, but there are times , I’ll admit, when we are adamantly against him hoarding garbage (come on, our home is but so big!) Anyhow, once he gets his hands on the desired recyclable, he begins his quest for other items to aid in his creativity: “do we have any tape?, do you know where i can find string?, do we have a stapler?, do we have something about this tall and this wide that can fit in this space?”. He becomes a man on a mission.
So this Christmas, I decided that one of his gifts would be dedicated to the inventor in him. I found a hardware storage box in Target equipped with partitions for all kinds of nifty small doo-dads. The box itself was only 7 bucks (my kind of gift!). Once I arrived home, I searched through our stationery/ junk drawers in the basement and was able to find tape, string, screws, glue sticks, and a few other odds and ends that he usually incorporates in his inventions.
What I ended up with up is a cool utility box that contains many of the things that he would need for his next creation.
Utility box: $7.00
The contents of the box: 15 steps down to the basement
The look on his face when he opened the gift on Christmas morning: priceless.

Now, that’s a great Christmas gift.

Talk to you soon-Serene

Share with me: Describe the most thoughtful gift that you’ve ever received or the most thoughtful gift someone has ever given you.

 

The Most Important Job in the World

Pot of Sweet Peas

Last night I was so excited about the thought of going to bed early.  The weekend had been filled with such excitement that it threw everyone off schedule. Last night was to be the night that I reset my body and get the rest that it had longed for over the past couple of days. I did my regularly scheduled nightly routines, including preparing Lylo’s bottles, washing the dishes, and preparing myself for the next day.  However, you should know where this is going; things did not work out quite the way that I envisioned.  Shortly after putting Little Lylo to bed, I looked out into the backyard only to see my two boys engaging in a quarrel that I had to interfere in immediately.  Now, I understand that sibling rivalry will happen, however, there are certain activities and behaviors that I will not accept from my children.  I will spare you the details of everything that I witnessed, but let’s just say I thought that the particular behavior that I witnessed warranted a conversation especially between me and my oldest son Papi. Once again, I won’t delve into the ins and outs of all that was said, but the gist of the conversation was that the expectation I have for Papi as an older brother is that he always has his brother’s best interest in mind.  I reminded him that our family is like a team, (I referenced a basketball team in particular, as that is what he is most familiar with) and as a team, we have to make sure our teammates always feel supported and encouraged. An hour and a half later Papi seemed to understand where I was coming from which was a definite positive, but when I looked at the clock it was much later than I wanted to climb into bed.

The next morning, as I sat at my office desk, one of my co-workers inquired about why I was so tired.  After explaining to her in deeper details, the events that took place the night before, she responded, in a genuinely surprised manner I love that you take out the time to really talk to your children.  While I thanked her for her compliment, I replied quickly, in the next breath, “Of course, that’s my job”.  And when I thought more intently about the matter I concluded that no matter what work I’ve done all day or how long my to-do list grows, my most important obligation is to my children and more importantly the most crucial job that I have is to raise children to be grown-ups who have goals, morals, values, and respect for others.  Why is this an important job? Well, because the children I raise today will be the adults that impact society tomorrow.  I understand that everything that I pour into my children will be exactly what comes out of them in the future. Being a parent is serious business and it is a job not to be taken lightly. So no matter how tired I am, I have to take out the time to do my job effectively.  I couldn’t call myself a teacher if I didn’t take advantage of the teachable moments especially when it comes to teaching the students that were given to me for life.

Enjoy!

Share with me: What “teachable moment” conversation have you had with your children? 

The Writing’s on the Wall

Pot of Sweet Peas

When my boys were very little, they loved to write on everything besides the paper I provided them with.  No matter how many times I stressed to them that we only write on paper, I would find stray marker scribbles on the wall.  I remember speaking to many parents and discovering that I was not the only one with this issue.  Different parents came from different schools of thought.  There was the parent that refused to give their children writing utensils while they were in the house.  Those parents left writing opportunities for mommy and me classes, and the mess could be avoided at home. Then there was the mom far on the other end of the spectrum, who just threw her hands up, saying “Who cares if they write on the walls. We will just cover it with paint…one day”.  I’ve actually visited that mom’s home and literally, there was art on the actual walls like the living room was one big canvas.  Then of course, there was the mom right in the middle of the spectrum who purchased an easel and was committed to repeatedly reminding her child to only draw on the paper. 

While there is nothing wrong with any of these approaches, I decided to add another option to the list for my boys.  I decided that two can play this game. 

If it was going to be inevitable that they write on the walls, then I was going to make sure that the walls were covered with paper.  This way, we both win.  

I purchased a big roll of butcher paper which can be found at an art store or even a hardware store.  Then in the hallway of our apartment, I taped a long sheet of paper on each side of the wall. So there was 6 feet of paper to the left and to right of us when we walked down the hall.  Then I placed all crayons and markers in a bucket on the floor and let the boys go to work.  They absolutely loved it!! I also had an appreciation for their art work, which is why I left the papers hanging in the hall for a week or two at a time.  Also, I found that they would come back to the papers throughout the week and add to it.  There was so much paper for them to cover, it always kept them busy. 

Clean up was easy as pie.  When we were going to have adult company that we actually wanted to impress (yeah right), we would simply peel the paper off the walls, roll it up and put it to the side and Viola!! Clean walls. 

Happy Children, Happy Mom. 

Talk to you soon!

Share with me: What battles have you given up fighting with your children and just decided to meet them halfway?