Monday, August 15, 2016

Mothering Days

A few days ago, the kids and I really needed to get out of the house, so I took them to the local Game Preserve.  There's a pond with ducks and geese, a couple caged peacocks, and a bunch of buffalo in a fenced pasture.  I'ts not as exciting as the zoo, but it's free, and it's a nice way to kill a little time on a summer day.

We had brought a bag of stale bread to feed the ducks, as one does.  As soon as we stepped out of the van, the Canada geese spotted us with our bag of bread, and they came swarming.  First four, then eight, then sixteen....they were just multiplying every second, waddling over and surrounding us.  I doled out a piece of bread to each kid.  But the geese got greedy, and when Stella and Linus weren't able to break off pieces quickly enough (or hold their bread up high enough), they both started to get bitten!  Geese are mean creatures.

Poor Linus started crying, and clinging to me for dear life!  Then Stella followed suit It was such a chaotic scene, I couldn't help laughing.  And then we tried to get away, and all the geese were chasing behind, while Linus cried and cried.  I know it makes me a terrible mother, but it was definitely the funniest thing I've seen all month :-)


Speaking of being a mean mom, I've started to make my kids clean their rooms completely every day after "nap time"!  (I always put nap time in quotation marks, because no one ever actually sleeps.  And I don't even have the energy to enforce a true "quiet time" since they are on the third floor and I'm just not going to drag myself up there every five minutes to make them be quiet.)

Ever since the never-ending renovations started on Stella's room over a year ago, we've had the three biggest kids all sleeping up on the third floor together.  I send them up there for a couple hours every afternoon, because....well, I need it for my sanity!  Needless to say, the rooms become a huge wreck every day.  I was wearing myself out trying to tidy every few days, and keep the third floor rooms somewhat presentable.  But I've decided that if the kids can make the mess, then they're ready to learn how to clean it up as well!

Ten minutes before the end of naptime, I tell them it's time to start cleaning.  They let me know when they're ready for a room inspection, and then I go up to take a look.  I'm pretty ruthless - I think it's the best way to be, so they learn to do a good job.  They can't have even a little scrap of paper left on the floor, or a single sock under the bed.  When they're a little bigger and more capable, I'll start having them make the beds as well.  The first week of room cleaning was slow going.  They didn't know the most efficient ways to tidy up, and kept calling me up to check when there were still a bunch of little things scattered around.  But they're getting quicker and better now.  It's become expected, so there's no complaining about it.  They just get it done.


Yes, I feel like I'm slowly figuring out some tricks in this parenting business...For example, today at Aldi, I decided to try taking two shopping carts instead of one. I pushed the cart with Linus and Flora.  Those two usually ride together in the cart, so I'm forced to pack all my groceries around Flora's bulky car seat.  But today, my big almost-six-year-old Sly pushed the other cart containing Stella and all the groceries. It worked out so well. Three of the kids were strapped in, and the other one was busy with an important job. So there was none of the usual monkey-ing around or reminders from me to stay with the cart, stop hiding behind boxes, etc. It was all business - and so much more efficient than usual!