The weather is getting warmer, the days are longer, and you can finally get out of the house. What a great time to get a bunch of kids together for a playdate. Maybe you're really brave and are willing to take your kids and a few others down to the park, or maybe someone just came over to play in your yard. You're excited to finally have the kids be doing something outside of the house. All is going well until the kids start acting up a bit. Maybe you've got some five year-olds who won't stop with the potty talk, maybe it's nine year-olds who think it's cool to spit everywhere and you're grossed out. Maybe the kids keep running around the house and you're getting worried they are getting too close to the street. Either way you suddenly have a dilemma: You know how to discipline your own kids, but what do you do if it's your child's friend who is causing the problem? Here are my three simple rules for keeping the kids in line and your sanity in one piece.
How do you determine how much you pay your babysitter? Do you have an hourly price or a set fee for the evening?
What is the cost we pay for kids sports vs. parental income these days? Would our parents have ever spent so much money for us to be involved in activities 30 years ago? I just signed Jack, Michael and Tommy up for another session of Ice Hockey. Jack has moved to an in-house league, so he'll finally be playing in games. Tommy and Michael have passed out of "learn to skate" classes and now are in Pre-Hockey 1. That means they are finally wearing all of the equipment. Now I grew up playing hockey (and still play now - badly - in my old age) so I know how expensive the sport is. Outfitting a five year old in all new equipment can easily cost more than $300. And the fees are like no other sport. Besides the equipment cost the price for our boys to participate over the next two and half months is just shy of a $1000. And folks, that is for what would be conisdered minimal participation. We are in on the low end of the price spectrum.
What is happening to the male population of our world? Maybe I've just reached the age (nearly 40) where people of my gender start falling apart. Yet another story of a friend of a friend, whose husband decided (after more than a decade of marriage and a couple of kids) that he wants out.
I was very confused the other day when I heard my little daughter, my sweet little daughter (HA!) Anna talking to her brothers in the basement. I hear her trying to tell them something and after a moment of pause she says, "Are you talking to me? I don't see anyone else here, you must be talking to me." It was an odd moment for me. She is five years old and quoting one of the last movies you would want a five year old to see. I was stunned and amused. I knew there was no way she had seen any scenes from Taxi Driver, but it was still rather odd. I actually convinced myself that it must have been completely random, that these words just happened to pop into her head without any outside influence. Like the way you used to hear that if you put a million monkeys in a room with typewriters for a hundred years (or something like that) one of them would end up typing Shakespeare (or something like that).
Jackets are going back on, leaves are falling from trees, your favorite baseball team might finally have realized they won't be playing in the playoffs (ours figured that out back in May!) The kids are back in school and it's dark by the time they are getting to bed. As much as I love throwing on jeans and a long-sleeve shirt and actually feeling comfortable, you can't help but feel a little sad too when this time of year rolls around. Believe me, we are thrilled to have the kids back in school, but we know what's coming next. Here in the Chicago area we can feel the chill that is leading to the deep freeze of Dec-February and of course that is generally followed by a less than stellar March and a praying for a 70 degree day April. The funny thing is I really do love this time of year, but as I get older I tend to live a little less in the moment weather-wise and a little more in the, 'I can't believe it's already going to be winter' mindset. Isn't it funny how when we were kids we neveer cared about the weather and now it's such a discussion in our lives?
Look at me differently if you want to, I don't care. I balled my eyes out for about the last ten minutes of Toy Story 3.
Well that's a pretty picture isn't it? And this is why sometimes you just can't trust dad with the kids. Now, it's not like I sent them down into the basement with sharp sticks and told them to play while I watched TV and drank beer. Although, maybe it's worse that I was actually playing alongside them when this happened. Maybe my only saving grace is that I wasn't the one wielding the stick that found it's way to Anna's forehead.
The Chicago Tribune has an article today about local school districts that do not want parents pulling their kids out of school on Take Our Daughters and Sons to work day (April 22). In the article the districts argue that when so many kids miss a day, the educator must basically re-teach that day. And in a time when educators are expected to accomplish a set amount with their kids in the year, with rigid testing that is federally mandated, it's just too tough on the schools. The schools are saying the date should be changed to summer, when the kids can easily attend work with their parents.
Okay, this one won't win me any father of the year awards. Tommy (one of our 4 1/2 yr. old triplets) was sick this week. Now, Tommy is the best and worst of children from minute-to-minute. He loves being a helper. He helps fold clothes, washes himself in the shower (better than his 8 yr. old brother), likes to clean up, etc. He is a worker. I firmly believe Tommy will have his own business one day. He likes learning new things. At the same time, Tommy gets very angry when he is wronged. He never complains to mom & dad about what one of the other kids did to him. Instead he pinches, pushes, or screams and yells. So he is quite a package.