Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guess whose mother is getting him an R/C monster truck?

(This picture contains Amazon affiliate link.)

DS was supposed to have a special speaker come into his class.

SubWife:  DS, did the special teacher come to school to today?
DS:  Who?
SW:  You know, the special lady who was supposed to come and talk to you guys?
DS:  Ah, the skinny lady?
SW:  What?  Skinny lady?
DS:  Yeah, skinny lady.  She is very skinny.  She is much skinnier that my teacher.
SW:  And you notice these things?
DS:  Yeah, her stomach is like this, - and he shows concave stomach.  - She is very skinny.  Like you.

I have to wrap up here because I am busy searching for a blue R/C monster truck.

One could see this as reason to lose weight #69, you know, to have less ways to be manipulated by your 5 year old, but I am a glass half full person and no longer see any reason to lose weight.  Now, where's my chocolate stash?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reason to get organized #672

We read the books, attend the lectures, ask advice from professionals and those with experience, and still, there are things in parenting that catch us completely off guard.  I was caught off guard today.  I tried to brush it away, to dip into the knowledge acquired from books, lectures and discussions with professionals.  I ended up yelling a little, expressing my disappointment and largely tried to avoid thinking about it.  And now, when everyone is asleep, the clock is showing about 2 a.m. and I am scrambling, as usual, to find that piece of paper that I absolutely need, it hits me and I start crying.

In the grand scheme of thing it really is not that important.  It could be one of those things I will not recall a few years from now.  But it still eats at me.  My daughter, my lovely, kind, bright, absolutely delightful daughter has failed her Hebrew test, and she failed it miserably.  I knew there were problems in this subject; I spoke with the teacher several times.  DD has been having academic issues this year, but eventually math and English have picked up.  Hebrew - not so much.  And even though I was aware of it, nothing seals the fact that my child is not succeeding in school like seeing the failing grade on top of the test paper.  It sits there, along with the note that DD needs individual help in this subject, and I can feel it accusing me of somehow letting this happen, of being a bad, irresponsible, neglectful mother.

Rationally I know that I can't fault myself for every bad grade and I definitely shouldn't beat myself up over it.  Yet I can't help but feel guilty: for being such a disorganized mess, for quite possibly passing this on to my kid either through genes or through observation, and possibly both.  For working full time and not being at home enough to help her out or organize her studying time better.  For not having enough patience when I do help out.  For not having the means to hire a tutor and for not really knowing the subject myself.  For taking time to myself when I could've been studying with her.  It feels that it wasn't the test that she failed, it feels like I failed her in some major way.

I have always been a proponent of the very sound advice on homework: make it a kid's responsibility.   My own parents never checked my homework and helped only when asked.  It was never spoken, but I knew that school work, academic success and studying were solely my responsibility.  And even though I was a disorganized mess as far as I can remember myself, the first time I struggled academically was at the age of 12 or 13.  Even then, the onus of figuring it out was on me, with help available if asked for.  And it worked; as far as I can remember, I have never failed a test.  And I didn't expect my daughter to either, at least not at 7.  Armed with my personal experience and all the advice from all the books I read, I planned to employ the same approach to my kids' academics as my parents.  And it worked, until it no longer did.

It was apparent that I had to take over homework, in some way.  DD obviously needed someone to explain what she missed in class, help her focus and organize her work, check answers and drill, drill, drill, But mainly help her focus and get organized.  Ladies and gentlemen, how can someone struggling her entire life with organization and focus teach her child those same things?  How can I help her fight the monsters I haven't conquered myself?  Somehow I was always, or almost always, able to wing it, improvise, come through at the eleventh hour, which allowed me to compensate.  I don't know how to teach that.  I don't know whether I should.

I am  not in despair.  I am not upset at DD.  Well, I try not to be even though it drives me up the wall seeing how easily she loses focus.  We have a plan of how to improve.  Isn't what this life is all about - improving?  I should put getting organized  on top of my "to do" list.  Heck, it's been there as far as I can remember myself.  But I must get better, and sometimes it is easier to improve for someone else than for myself.  And now I have that reason.

Monday, January 16, 2012

If you had any doubts

...that men and women are different, here's another proof.  My husband has been spending 1.5 hours 5 nights a week for the past 4 or 5 years in a Jewish learning program.  He sits next to a man with whom he has got friendly.  They are not very best friends, but the man has been to our house a few times and my husband has gone to this man's.  And again, the whole spending 1.5 hours next to each other almost every night for several years in a row thingy.

This week this man came to us to help out my husband with his computer issues.  At some point of the conversation, the man noticed our baby sleeping on the couch.  He had inquired whether this was our youngest child and then asked, "How many have you got?"  Yeah, he did not know.  I asked hubby how could that have happened, and hubby said, "It just didn't come up."  I didn't ask - too petrified to confirm that I'm right - but am almost positive that hubby doesn't know how many children this man has.

Now, after this, do we really need research that men and women are different?  I assume we all know that had that been women, not only we would know the number, but also the names, ages, and quite possibly birthdays.  But this is precisely what I had seen recently on msn.com, another article that men and women actually are psychologically different.  Who would've thunk?

I am suggesting some other very valuable topics of research:

1.  Are men and women different physiologically?
2.  Is making bed really necessary every single morning?
3.  If you gorge on sugar and chocolate all day long for several years, will you gain weight?
4.  Does this dress make me look fat?  Please analyze from all angles.

and my personal favorite:

5.  If given a choice, would people prefer being rich and healthy over being poor and sick?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reason to lose weight #68

DD:  Mommy, why do you have a big stomach?
Me:  Ahem, because mommy was eating too much for far too long.
DD:  Oh, and I was hoping it was a baby...  I want a big family, Mommy.  Can we have another baby?  Please, please, please?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The joke's on you

When I was a little girl, one my father's favorite jokes was about Fantomas.  I don't know whether you are familiar with this character, but in Russia French Fantomas movies with Louis de Funes and Jean Marais were very popular.   Basically the heroes are:



Fantomas - a ruthless and extremely successful criminal, master of disguise always appearing under assumed identity, which he achieves by wearing masks.



Juve - police detective obsessed with catching Fantomas.



Fandor - journalist, covering Fantomas's crimes and also looking to catch him.


Helene - Fandor's bride

So the joke goes like this:

"Ha-ha-ha," said Fantomas, leaving Helene's bedroom and taking off Fandor's mask.
"He-he-he," said Inspector Juve, leaving Helene's bedroom and taking off Helene's mask.

I don't know why this joke was appropriate to tell in front of or to the little kids, maybe to acclimated us with more liberal attitudes of the West, but I heard it often.  Well, all of this intro is to tell you that we had our version of this joke play out at SubCasa.

I didn't get much sleep last night and needed a little caffeine, so I poured myself half a glass of Coke.  I took a few sips, turned around for a second, only to find my son holding now almost empty glass and laughing, "Ha-ha-ha."

"Well, buddy, ha-ha-ha, the joke's on you, I have a cold sore and you just might get it too after stealing my soda and drinking from my glass."  I repeated the "ha-ha-ha" (what, I wanted the lesson to sink in) and finished the coke in the glass, only to realize a second later that  - he-he-he, DS still had a stomach virus...  A virus that lasted quite a few days, affected both hubby and the kids; the virus that I miraculously avoided and now willingly ingested...  He-he-he indeed.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Reason to lose weight #67

A few weeks ago I got my kids these absolutely adorable mice.




(clicking on the image will bring you to Amazon.com page).



They were an instant hit, but of course two weeks later cheese got lost somewhere in action and I kept finding mice in all the weird places.  Tonight, as I was sweeping around our eating area, I noticed this tiny little mouse shaking on the table next to the cereal bowl.  "Oh, why is this cute little creature shivering?" I thought  And then it hit me.  My walking around was shaking the table that much.  Ouch.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Corn chips anyone?

Well, I, for one, am glad that I didn't make that long list of resolutions for 2012.  Because the one about being a more attentive, gentler, and less yelling mom would've been broken - yes, you guessed it on January 1.  Here's the photographic evidence of my motherly inattentiveness.


Oh no, I do not think that I am an evil mother because my child fell asleep on the floor.  I am told it happens to the few lucky ones whose kids fall asleep on their own.  Which today is me!  (me! me! me!)   It's what I did next that makes me a viable contender for the title of Horrible Mother of the Year.  I reached for the camera only to realize that the battery is completely dead.  So I did  what any caring mother would've done in my place - went to charge the battery.  Then I snapped a few, OK, quite a few shots.  I might or might not have uploaded the picture on Facebook before finally transferring the poor kid to bed; I'll leave that up to your imagination.  

On the bright side please note that the floor is relatively clean (on a day when kids were mostly home!) and the chips next to the sleeping kid are organic.  So there's hope for me.  And for my kids.  And for Target, whose products are getting free advertisement from my blog.  

P.S. I was about to publish this, but Blogger had issues.  And of course the baby woke up.  She came into the living room, saw her picture on the screen and started screaming, "It's me, it's me.  I fell!"  I said, "No, baby, you fell asleep on the floor."  She gave me one horrified look and said, "Oh my God."  I think that describes it all.