Monday, June 30, 2008

"Mommy, have we left yet?"

Forget about the "are we there yet" question. Faith hasn't even left for a trip to visit her cousins and she is already counting the days before departure. "Can you believe it's only two days?" she was asking. She has already stacked a bunch of clothes in her room for my approval. I put her off last night, but I won't be able to get away with that today. I imagine as soon as I get home from work we'll have to start packing. The questions keep coming. What will she do on the plane as her DVD player is malfunctioning, how many sets of underwear should she pack, does she have red, white and blue clothing for the 4th? Sometimes I think it was easier when she was a baby and I could control the situation. Now as she grows, she wants more input in her wardrobe and I'm willing to work with her on that. I have made the mistake of letting her pack herself only to find out she left out her toothbrush or other essential item such as shoes and socks. I'm usually not a days ahead kind of packer, but I find I need the extra time now to get my stuff together and supervise her packing. I do have the answer to what she can do on the plane - study spelling words and read. What a novel idea!
- Liz

Friday, June 27, 2008

Why bedtime's such a bear

I hear a lot of moms bemoan bedtime. "It's so hard to get Susie and Johnny into bed at night! They have a dozen excuses for getting back up, and I can't believe how much energy they still have!"
I've put my finger on why bedtime is such a trial. It's not really that the kids are doing anything out of the ordinary, anything they don't do at other times of the day (I mean really, how many other things can your kids find to do when you ask them to feed the dog?). It's that WE, the parents, are tired, too.
By the time bedtime has rolled around, we've put in a full workday. We've put in overtime as wife, mom, chief cook and bottlewasher. We've fed the dog, entertained the kids, answered what seems like five million questions from every direction. We've worried about money and weekend plans, about nutrition and tooth decay. We're ready for fifteen minutes to ourselves before joining the little ones in the Land of Nod.
And they're ready to play.
So we enforce the bedtime ritual. We humor the first couple of calls for "mommy, I need..." Then we get stern. Then we threaten. It's all tears and guilt trips from there. If only their bedtime were preceeded by a powernap - for mom.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Bad mom: I ran out of patience

In a takeoff of the ParentCenter "Bad Parent" series in which perants confess their bad behavior, I'm sharing my mea culpa from this weekend.
Somewhere between the humidity, PMS, and the two hundredth "mommy, come look a this!" - I lost my patience. It just flat ran out. "You have a friend over today, Daniel." I replied - not in my nicest tone of voice. "Go play with him or he'll have to go home!"
What's the big bad here? I wasn't doing anything worth blowing my kid off for. I was huddled on the couch, watching a movie my roommate had rented. I didn't know if it was kid-friendly or not (turns out it would have been OK) so Daniel couldn't just stand around in the room with me. I had arranged for his friend to come over because they don't see as much of each other as they did when school was in. Frankly, I had hoped to buy myself a couple of "me" hours. And when I didn't get my way, I got cranky (sound like any three-year-olds you know?). So now I have guilt. I'll wallow in it a little while and Daniel will feel the benefit. I did apologize to him klast night: "I know mommy wasn't much fun today, baby, and I'm sorry." He took it in stride: "Can we go to the Toys R Us tonight?" I'm not feeling THAT guilty. "No, but tomorrow after work I'll take you swimming."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lost in summer

I seem to be on a little motherhood vacation. Faith has been going to Vacation Bible School with a friend each night this week. Because her friend's mom helps prepare supper for the volunteers, Faith leaves at about 3:30p.m. and arrives home later than 9:30 p.m. when I'm already in bed. It feels a little odd not having her around at the house in the afternoon and evening. Today she went to the morning free summer movie with another friend and then will be picked up in time to go to VBS. What a busy girl. I hope she's enjoying her summer. We have squeezed a little bit of reading time into her schedule and one trip to the library. I'll have to really start refreshing reading and writing skills next week. We also bought Daddy and Mommy new bikes yesterday to help encourage Faith to work on losing those training wheels. She's still awfully timid after a bad fall, so if anyone has any tips for getting her back in the saddle please let me know.

School calendar

I read with a little bit of horror both the news story about State Superintendent Kathy Cox requesting that local school districts push back their start dates and the ensuing "suggestions" posted online from sometimes well-meaning readers.

First, I don't know about all the other moms out there, but I have made arrangements for child care up to the day school is scheduled to start. Push back that date, and I'm left with a certain amount of time to scramble for child care. Now I'll agree that in Houston County we seem to have been inching toward year-round school for some time. I wish we'd just get on with it and adopt a year-round calendar. I'm ready to take the hits for being in a minority there.

Second, there was a lot of chatter about going to a four-day school week. Now I know all the sound financial arguments for that - it would save a fortune in gas and electricity and school lunches. But as a working parent, again I'm horrified. You think my boss is going to let me go to a four-day workweek simply because my kid is out of school on Mondays? Or Fridays? Not a chance. So again I forsee a large number of parents scrambling for childcare. That is, unless some enterprising teachers band together to offer child care. But it can't be at the schools, can it? Because that defeats the purpose of "saving money" by not using the building that day. And frankly, if I'm a teacher and get moved to a four-day week of classes, I'm going to spend that extra day off grading papers, filling out the required paperwork (there's a mountain of it), studying for my own continuing education classes so I can stay certified, and so on. I'm not likely to take on a child care job for my students' parents.

So Superintendent Cox's request left me, and apparently a lot of readers, with much to think about. If you care to continue the discussion in the "comment" section below, be nice, don't tear down anyone else's idea, and don't make personal comments like "so and so doesn't know what they are talking about" and don't bash teachers (that's my own personal pet peeve).


Friday, June 13, 2008

Parenting workshop

If you are like me, you aer always looking for something to help you become a better mom. As I am raising Daniel, this one caught my attention:

Parenting the strong-willed child
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday June 14
Southside Community Church
4162 Roy Ave. Macon

Parenting the strong-willed child, indeed.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

There is such a thing as a free movie

After promising to check on the free summer movies, which took some time, I finally found a reference written by my colleague Rodney Manley in last month's Out & About entertainment guide. I had noticed banners up at Regal Rivergate, but couldn't find the listings anywhere online. I checked the sites of both Amstar and Regal. I was hoping to give you the rundown of movies being shown, but I haven't been able to put my hands on it.
Here's what Rodney wrote - The morning matinee has become a rite of summer for kids - and welcome respite for stay-at-home moms.Two Macon theaters - The Grand Cinemas on Zebulon Road and Regal Rivergate 14 on Tom Hill Sr. Boulevard - are bringing back the midweek movies this summer. Both theaters will feature showings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.Among the season's offerings are "Over the Hedge," "Ice Age," "Alvin and The Chipmunks" and "Bee Movie." Admission is $2, which includes a soft drink and popcorn.Rivergate will show a G- and PG-rated movie each session of its Free Family Film Festival, which begins next week. Its lineup includes "Night At The Museum," "Pirates Who Don't Do Anything - Veggie Tales," "Evan Almighty," "Shrek The Third" and more. Admission, as you might guess from the name, is free.For more information, call the AmStar at 474-4443 and the Rivergate at 477-8117.

- Liz

Monday, June 09, 2008

"Everyone was Kung Fu fighting"

In the heat of Friday afternoon, Faith and I ducked into the cool movie theatre and caught "Kung Fu Panda." Wow. It seems to be a common occurrence now that when we are leaving the theatre Faith asks if she can get the video. This is one movie I'm looking forward to seeing again. The action sequences move so fast, I'd like to rewind. It was a very pleasant film but on the short side at just 91 minutes. I hadn't done any research into the movie and was surprised to see Dustin Hoffman's name in the credits along with Angelina Jolie. I certainly didn't recognize their voices as I watched but will likely pick up on that the second go around. Once inside the building, I directed Faith to the life-size cutouts of the "High School Musical" crowd. Looks like the gang will be heading to the prom and we will be heading to the theatre to shell out a few bucks to see Disney's mega-movie this time instead of just turning on the TV. Kung Fu Panda is our first summer flick. I haven't seen any listings for the summer movie festival this year. I'm going to research the low-cost flicks and will let you know what I find out. With temperatures in triple-digits already, we're going to need a break. Just one side note to our Kung Fu experience - after I told Faith we were headed to the movie, I kept singing Carl Douglas' "Kung Fu Fighting" song. You know the one - Whoa-o-o-ohhhh, Whoa-o-o-ohhhhh. Everybody was Kung Fu fighting. Yah! Those cats were fast as lighting..." Faith finally asked why I kept singing that and I told her that I thought we were going to hear that at the movies. Sure enough, Douglas' one-hit-wonder has new life in the credits of the film. By the time we got home, Faith was singing it herself!

- Liz

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sew what's new

On Faith's first day of school, I had to go to the fabric store to buy material for a wedding present. She left me to go look at patterns and came back with a precious combination of tunic/pants/dress. Remembering last year's pledge to teach her to sew, we headed to the remnants and found some great stuff. In the past 10 days we have sewn two pairs of cropped pants, a dress and a tunic. Faith assisted in the straight stitching while I did the more intricate trim and pieces. Last year I took out my old childhood sewing machine intending for Faith to take it over but the AC cord was missing when I retrieved it from my mother's attic. Instead, I let Faith practice on my machine by following lines on paper. As with everything as long as she takes her time, she does great. Now that we've exhausted our latest material (which cost about $21 including thread for all four items) we are going to work on last year's pattern. I will make the dress and Faith will sew some shorts and a halter top. It works better if I run the foot control and she guides the fabric. When I was about 12 I learned to sew one summer through a course at the local high school. But now it seems as though the only time I get out the machine is to make a costume or mend something. This time I've really enjoyed myself - except for a very shear knit we bought that gave me fits as it would pucker and I'd have to continually rip out seams. As Faith will likely be at least 6 feet tall, it will come in handy for her to know her way around a sewing machine as we might have a hard time finding clothes long and slender enough. Although now that I also taught her how to bake Seven Layer Bars, we might not need the slender sizes!
- Liz