Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Expecting Too Much

My plastic sword-swinging eight year old, Merida, was always more advanced than the other kids in her class. From 18 months, I could see that she was going to be a lover of books.

She didn't care to play with other kids. She'd rather sit in her corner with her picture books and flip through them while chaos ensued all around her. I was concerned at first until I sent her off to preschool at three years old - mainly for the sake of socializing. I was surprised to find that she knew the alphabet, shapes, colors and she could count to ten while many others in her class could not. She was a smart cookie. Still is. She's had straight A's all year, every year since she started school. Her teacher's words were, "you've got an amazing daughter. She's the kind of student all of us teachers want. If we would have a class full of kids like her, there'd never be any problems."

I was proud. I still am proud. But this whole experience has caused some problems when it comes to her sister, my six year old.

I shall call her "Princess Unicorn Giggles" or Rapunzel, though the first is more fitting. Since she could sit on her own, life was all about butterfly-pooping unicorns and fuzzy rainbows. My little Rapunzel, with her super-long hair and big, round, blue eyes is - academically speaking - right where a six year old should be. Her mind is more concerned about her next game or adventure and she could really care less about math or reading. She can do it but she just doesn't care to. She's in first grade now and her grades are nothing near what her sister's were. Now, at first, I was very worried! I called in for a parent-teacher conference to see why my child was behind.(though, she really wasn't) 

"Why is she only reading small words?"
"Why can't she do subtraction?"
"Why isn't she reading chapter books like her sister was at this age?"

I was frustrated and Princess could tell...but that only made things worse. It stopped any possibility of her loving to learn. It was a job then. It was a job to try to read and it wasn't fun anymore. Numbers, letters and shapes weren't exciting like they were when she was a toddler.

Fast-forward a few months later when I went inside her class to explain to her teacher that an accident on the highway is the reason that there are only six kids in her class.
"I had to take a different road," I explained. "I'd have been in traffic for two hours if I didn't."
"Yeah," a sweet, high-pitched voice said behind me.
I turned and saw this little blonde girl only two desks away from Princess.
Her eyes widened in wonder as she went on saying, "but there was no slug in the woad so I don't know where the twaffic is coming fwom."

The teacher chuckled and looked at me with this, "oh, kids are silly" look and it hit me. I looked to Princess who was giggling away at a boy making funny faces and my stomach hit the floor. I'd been expecting way too much from my little girl. Her sister was more advanced and mature than the average kid at that age, but Princess? She was right where the rest of them were. She was where she's supposed to be and I was pushing her and stressing her out. I felt horrible. My heart broke for her and on my way home, I decided I'd chill out. Ever since then, I've been a lot more understanding of who she is and what she finds interesting. We've made math and reading fun and...at her own pace. She enjoys me "quizzing" her now and she just seems like a more relaxed kid.

I'm far from being the perfect mom and I'm learning about this parenthood thing on a daily basis. Yes, I have four kids, but not one will be the same, nor will the experiences be with each one of them. There is no limit to what can be learned as a parent and there is no level you can reach to be able to say, "hey, I'm a pro. I know exactly what I'm doing and I'm the best at it." We can do our best but by doing, we're still learning.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Protective Wear When...Washing Dishes?

Honestly, I'm really just talking about gloves. You know, those yellow, rubber gloves that Dexter's mom always wears?

Yeah, those are the ones.

Lately, my fingers have been shriveling like a prune every time I do housework, but mostly the dishes. And not only do they shrivel, but they feel like styrofoam which gives me that nails-on-a-chalkboard feeling. Believe it or not, this is not the main reason I've been wearing gloves.
Let me tell you the story.

A few days ago, I was at Walmart with the smaller 2 goblins of mine. My son, who is now two, decided that this day would be the grand entrance into terribleness. You know, the terrible twos? I thought he was early in the game but turns out, it's only just beginning.
We were walking through the candles and frames section where he got a hold of a candle and - surprise, surprise - dropped it. Instinctively, I tried to catch it but, alas, was too late. It shattered on the floor. So I kneel down to pick up the pieces and find my finger on my right hand dripping with blood. I'm talking literally dripping. I didn't even know how I cut myself or when!

Hold on...pause for a second...before I go on with the story, let me give a little aside here: when we reached the register, he pulled more stuff off the shelves. You know those shelves strategically placed there with their cursed temptations of Snickers and Twix and Hot Cheetos, where you pull out your wallet so you can count your money and realize at the last minute that you cannot go another moment without inhaling that junk? Yeah, those shelves. Ty decided to play Geronimo and toss things from there. Then, when we got to the car, I bent down to grab something from the bottom of the cart when he grabs a fistful of my hair and pulls like he's having a tug'o'war with Hercules. So, yeah...that day was frustrating and overall terrible.

Moving on with the story...
I get home and start trying to get to work but the gash on my finger stiiiiings every time it comes in contact with water.
"Oh!" I said, and hurried to my utility closet where I keep my gloves. After one-handedly digging through all the sponges and towels and light bulbs and stuff, I find the gloves and get to work. When I finished the dishes, I realized, HUZZAH! No styrofoam feeling! Well, dur-hurr, Ma, why didna' thinko' this before!

Reasons for wearing protective gloves while washing dishes? Check.
But let's be real about this. There are quite a few more reasons.

  1. No more shriveling fingers.
  2. Safety from knives. Whether the water in your sink is full of bubbles or murky from all the stuff you've washed so far in that session, there are knives at the bottom and if your luck is anywhere as bad as mine is, you'll grab them by the blade. It's kind of like bread landing on the buttered side...it just happens. All. The. Time.
  3. The quality and health of your nails. Water and soap matters. Your nails will soften/weaken over time and they'll easily crack, peel, bend, etc. My nails are paper-thin already so the last thing I need is any additional damage to them.
  4. Washing with hot water. Everyone knows that washing with soap and hot water kills the most yuckiness. Of course, burning yourself is never a fun thing to do and if you wash with water half as hot as I do, burns are a promise.
  5. Save yourself the shuddering and gags. There is often yucky stuff floating around the sink and touching it gives me the heebie-jeebies. Soft, slimy noodles. Clumps of grease from your buttered pan. All those ooey, gooey not-so-yummies.
Are there any reasons not listed here that you wear gloves while doing the dishes? None shall be judged.

Until another day.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Gunk Removal

If you have picky kids, you've had the unfortunate experience of cooking something they won't touch. So, of course, that meal is stuck in a pot that's been pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten for a couple of days. No? Just me?


Well then, I'm sure there's been other situations where you ended up with old food stuck to your cookware and you just can't seem to get it off. Yes? Yes! I win!
Well, I've been in this situation quite a few times. I'm not gonna lie. I have picky kids so I've lost a few meals to the back of the fridge a number of times. I cringe when I find them and realize I'm the mom and will be doing the cleaning, so I looked into some methods of gunk-removal. This seemed the most promising and...actually works!

  • 1/4 cup of baking soda.
  • Enough hydrogen peroxide to form a paste.
This consistency worked fine for me but thicker will work even more wonders!

VIOLA! A perfect paste for scrubbing your cookware!
OOOOoooo! Shiny!

(a picture would usually go here but I've only so much time when the baby doesn't take real naps! Next time. I pinky promise.)