You know that “Potpourri” category on JEOPARDY! where it’s just a hodgepodge of questions and answers that really have no connection to one another? That’s what this post is like, since I apparently have a lot of time to make up for. I kept thinking it had been about a week since I wrote anything, but it turns out that it’s been two! I’d love to say that I have been so incredibly busy that I haven’t had time to write, but that’s not entirely true. While I have been somewhat preoccupied with two birthdays within one week and the kids’ school work starting to get more difficult and more involved, I have also been pretty tired, still taking naps in the afternoons whenever possible. Anyway, read on… smell the potpourri.
We had a dual birthday party over the weekend. Big D turned 6 and the Banana turned two. We had a house full of people, who still managed somehow to leave without eating all of the birthday cake. The kids had such a great time playing with their cousins, and the house was in surprisingly good shape afterwards. Here is a recap of Big D’s Sixth Year and Banana’s Second Year.
Although I have taken an obvious hiatus from writing, I have nonetheless been trying to keep up with some of my favorite blogs. Andrea from Little Bald Doctors wrote a post about her pregnancy that really hit home for me. She revealed how much she worries about this pregnancy even though she made a promise to herself that she would relax and enjoy it. I could empathize with her; feel her stress and anxiety. I, too, have been worried about my pregnancy from the minute I saw that little plus sign on the E.P.T. For one thing, it was COMPLETELY unexpected (can I even stress that enough?) If I truly would have thought this would happen, I would have been taking prenatal vitamins at the very least. For another, it has been 10 years since I had a baby. I am thirty-five years old, and considered to be of “advanced maternal age”. My first pregnancy was such a breeze – no morning sickness, no fatigue even until the last couple of months. This time I look up everything that’s been happening to me on the internet to make sure it’s a “normal” symptom of pregnancy. I have to admit that it was nice to read about Andrea’s worries and know that I am not alone.
Actually, it turns out that I wasn’t alone even in my household. My husband had similar concerns about this pregnancy. That's not really all that surprising. However, I noticed that Miss M did not seem to have the excited reaction to friends’ congratulations that I would have expected. I was starting to wonder if she was thinking that another baby in the family would be a negative thing. I considered that she might have thought that there would be even less time for her, or that she would be expected to help out even more. It was making me sad to assume she was thinking like that, so I asked her about it one day. She told me the reason she didn’t want to get too excited about the baby is because she was scared. I asked her what she was scared of and she promptly named three women we knew who had lost babies within the last year or so. I was astonished that her 10-year-old mind was so intuitive and sensitive. Trying to hide my own concerns (and my tears) I assured her that the doctor is keeping an eye on the baby and me and that everything looks good. I told her how I was worried that she didn’t want a new brother or sister, and she thankfully contradicted that thought. She has been much more excited and eager to talk about the baby.
Another blog I like to read is mamalogues.com. Yesterday’s post about a six-year-old’s sass had a familiar theme. Big D has only been six for two days, but his “you’re-not-the-boss-of-me” attitude has been surfacing regularly for some time now. He often gets snippy with me, and has on two occasions lost his temper completely and has out-and-out yelled at me. Dana from Mamalogues was quick enough in her situation to have an immediate and effective reaction to the yelling. She was able to take away something that her son really wanted and he was immediately sorry for his behavior. I do not feel like I have found an effective response to Big D’s yelling. The first time it happened, he got the usual time-out without blinking an eye. My response was immediate, but I’m not sure it was effective. Sometimes I think giving children time-out just gives them time for their anger to brew stronger. The second episode was in the car, and I felt at a loss to have any kind of effect on him. I took 10 minutes off his bedtime (meaning he has to go to bed 10 minutes early) but by the time we actually got home it was past his bedtime so there was really no immediate consequence. I did not get an apology either time, and I am unfortunately positive that I will see this behavior again. Any suggestions for dealing with children yelling at their parents would be greatly appreciated.
I started an allowance program with Miss M and Big D this week. I decided that they were old enough to help with a little more around the house and that they might learn some things about money in the process. I read somewhere a long time ago that you should set a child’s allowance at a dollar amount that is equal to half his or her age. I sat down with Miss M and discussed this amount and what responsibilities would be required. We came up with a list of five things that needed to get done on a regular basis in order for her to earn her five dollars. Admittedly, two of the things on her list are things she should be doing anyway, you have to start somewhere, right? Big D agreed that he would like to get three dollars allowance and we came up with three things for his list. One of the terms of both agreements is that there should be no whining or complaining when the child is asked to do one of the assigned chores. Miss M has been doing very well, considering that her homework load has hit its peak this week. Big D, on the other hand, has given me a fair amount of the aforementioned attitude; making sure to note that he doesn’t need allowance because he’s got birthday money. But he has completed all of his chores. Go figure!
Last week my mom called me from work with a sense of urgency. Her office was getting a new table for their front room, and the old one was up for grabs. The table we used in our kitchen has lost its finish, but it had room for all six of us and had slide-out leaves which allowed us to have both sets of grandparents over for dinner comfortably. She was excited because this one had not only a finish on it, but it was bigger than the old one and still had two slide-out leaves. We told her we’d take it. When we got it home we realized that it was actually big enough to fit eight people around it, but only if we had chairs. We’ve been using benches made by my grandpa for the kids to sit on, but they really only hold two kids. If we had chairs, three would fit on each side plus two on the ends. With six in the family and one on the way, we could use all those chairs. We bought one table and six chairs in 1995 when we bought our first house. The table was from Service Merchandise (a blast from the past) and the chairs were from Target. Needless to say they were not the highest quality table and chairs. We have not bought another table or set of chairs since then. We have, however, inherited tables from both of our grandparents and parents since then. Some survived the Reddy Zoo…some didn’t. Regardless, we decided it was time to invest in some decent chairs for our kitchen. It turns out that chairs are more expensive than I thought. Not to mention we need eight of them. And all because of a table that didn’t cost us a thing. Thanks, Mom…I think!