A lesson in punctuation.

Ya’ll, I just can’t hold it in anymore.

It seems our society has forgotten the difference between a period ( . ) and a question mark ( ? ).

A period ENDS a STATEMENT.

A question mark ASKS for something.

In the past few weeks, I have experienced people having an issue differentiating between these two punctuation marks. Some have been online, but all too many have been live and in person.  Today, when a young homeschooler posted a funny meme meant to put a chuckle in someone’s day, her post was followed with a ton of  comments very rudely offering suggestions on how to fix the situation being jested about in the post.

NO.

She didn’t ask for advice. She wasn’t seeking help or solutions. How do I know? Because there was NO QUESTION MARK. The meme merely made a statement, a comical statement about one of the many trials of motherhood. She wasn’t requesting help to resolve whatever behavior led to the meme. In fact, IT WASN’T EVEN A MEME ABOUT HER. It was some graphic she pulled off a meme site because…. IT WAS FUNNY.  Any mother would have had a good chuckle and scrolled away.

I have posted funny anecdotes on my personal Facebook page (or had conversations personally with others), in which I shared a trying day. When I do this, I am NEVER looking for suggestions on how to NOT have a trying day. IF I feel I could use some advice I will ask for it, using…. dun…dun….dun… a QUESTION. Most times, I am throwing up the mom gang sign and saying “Hey, other mom friends, other wife friends, other sister friends, other humans-who-have-to-deal-with-people friends… guess what, sometimes people suck, I feel ya, high five… we got this… let’s laugh.” PERIOD. END OF STATEMENT.

So please help me understand why it seems everyone wants to jump in and fix what they perceive to be wrong, when no one is asking for help/advice?  (<–see there is a question, feel free to leave a comment and answer THIS question)

I can promise you, you do not have the whole story in that meme or post or 5 minute conversation. There was more to it. I also promise that whatever the situation was….

I handled it. I just didn’t feel the need to bore you with that part of the story.

Oh, and while we are on that bunny trail…. I am done justifying HOW I handled it. I did it my way and that’s that. (<–please note the specific use of a period here.)

People…. PEOPLE…  why can’t we just support each other? Hug, high five, throw up the Mockingjay sign and show some sympathy, some empathy, some compassion and IF YOU CAN’T….

take that little finger of yours and scroll on by.

 

I am trying to read.

Tablet in hand, snug in my blanket, I click open my Kindle app and start reading a new chapter. From somewhere to my left, I hear random chatter.
“So I was watching this video….”
“Then I remembered….”
“Hey Mom, what was my first….?”
Hey, kiddo. I am   trying to read.
My brain scrambles to figure out what the last question was so I can respond accordingly, hoping that if I answer she will let me go back to reading. 
Fail.
The random chatter and even more random questions keep coming in rapid fire succession. 
This moment. This one right here. This is when I have an internal argument with myself over parenting. It’s a real thing, and anyone with kids knows it’s true. It goes like this:
Why for the love of all that is good and holy can she not see that I am reading and just shut up??! Dude, you shouldn’t say that about your kid. These days are short, soon she won’t want to talk to you. Your book will be there later.  You should stop reading and listen to her. Ya know, quality time. Well, I can’t take care of her if I don’t take care of me and me wants to read this book! Don’t good parents teach their kids about personal time, and make sure they know they aren’t the center of everything? Yes, but you took a shower today AND peed all by yourself so you already had your “me time” lady. No, no no no, peeing alone is not “me time”, I’m going to politely tell her, since she isn’t picking up on the clues of book in hand and ignoring her, that I am reading and we can talk later.
So that’s what I did. She apologized, with the saddest, most disappointed tone in her voice. I went back to reading.
The chatter started again. It’s like a compulsion. Then I heard her say, “I wish I had a friend that liked to talk.”
You’re breaking my heart kid.
I put down the tablet. I turned to her, and said okay let’s talk.
Crickets…
More crickets…
For ten minutes she was completely silent.
Until I picked up my book.
-Just Lisa

Snuggle Girl

6 A.M.

I’m not really a morning person. I’m also not a “talk to people when I first wake up” person. Since we have children, I have to tell my “not a morning person” self to get over it and get up early in order to have some quiet before the day gets started. Two things put a monkey wrench in this plan: Children who wake up too early and Children I can’t risk waking up too early.
Despite my amazing ninja skills, developed over 15 years of motherhood, there are mornings where someone senses a disruption in the force. They venture out to find me hiding in the dark, with coffee and my Bible app. They commandeer my lap and start making early morning requests for food, drink, and blankets.
Kid, if you were cold you should have stayed in bed. 
So much for getting a quiet start. Too often I end up wearing some, if not all, of my coffee; and instead of getting a jump on my chores, I get to scroll Facebook while someone goes back to sleep – on me. Now, I know these days shall pass, and I really do try to enjoy these cuddle moments.  It requires a lot of mental focus for me to remember to cherish the disruption and that kind of mental effort at 6 A.M. pretty much guarantees I’ll be useless until after lunch.
OR
We have mornings like this morning. It’s 6 A.M. and I awoke all on my own without an alarm. Moon is still up, making it ridiculously dark in our house. If I make coffee, the dog outside will hear it perk and bark, which could wake the kids. If I turn on any lights, the dog will see that someone is awake, bark, and probably wake the kids. If I start the washing machine, which is beautifully quiet when it’s running, the clicking sound of the door locking could wake the kids.  I could hide in bed and watch a little Mom-TV (Hello This is Us) since my Roku remote has a headphone jack; but since I cleaned my bedroom last week, I haven’t been able to find my headphones anywhere.
So here I sit, with my water from last night, writing up a to-do list by the light of my phone screen, waiting for the sun to rise so I can tip toe around and tidy up without alerting any of the other living, sleeping, beings in our family.
Today, I will remember the days I had to leave for work at 4:30 A.M.
Today, I will reminisce about  all nighters with nursing babies.
Today, I will push away the thought that one day, I’ll wake up at 6 A.M. with no reason to tip-toe around, because they won’t be sleeping under my roof anymore.
Until then, I’d really like to find my headphones.
-Just Lisa

homemade oreos

Sneaky teens…I mean, adults.

homemade oreos
Boy, I thought my days of being sneaky ended when I grew up, moved out, and started living on my own. (Not that I was all that sneaky as a teenager)
If I had known I needed amazing ninja skills as an adult, I would have practiced sneaking around more as a kid.
I’ve never had to sneak around so much in my life!
I sneak off to the closet to eat chocolate, so the kids don’t ask for any.
I say I’m taking a bath when what I’m really doing is hiding in the bathroom to watch Hulu and have a glass of wine.
I stay up late so I can tip toe into the kitchen for a late night snack.
I have to hide things in the van, the closet, the nightstand, the barn – just so I can get gifts on sale and keep them hidden until Christmas or birthdays.
Do you sneak around more as an adult/parent? Or did you do all your sneaking as a kid?

Squashing the genius within

It would have never crossed my mind to go gather “supplies” from around my house and get creative with them. I never stole momma’s yarn, screwdriver, clothespins and t.p. rolls and ran off into the back yard to act like MacGyver. I don’t really know what would have happened but I’m pretty certain it would have been a bad bad thing. For the longest time my mom and I had separate crayon boxes and coloring books. I wouldn’t dare touch her stuff. I still won’t. Not without explicit permission and sometimes supervision.

As I got older, I started noticing how the kids in school getting awards and accolades were raised in environments that allowed for creative inventing and experimenting. Testing, trying, pushing, creating, risking, succeeding and failing. I was jealous. There was and still is a part of me that thinks of how much “more” I could have been if I had been allowed to explore my world that way.  I know now that there is more to a person’s creativity and success than just living in a more free environment. There are people all over that had nothing to explore or creating with and they still grew to be amazing people.

It is a misconception in my head. Mix it with my regret over all the things I could have done had I been more this or more that and you end up with a mom heck bent on making sure her kids feel free to be, to explore, to create, to test and to dream.

It’s killing me.

They sneak “supplies” out of the house and it gets broken or lost. I can’t tell their clean clothes from the dirty clothes because they dump the hampers to make boats or pulleys or offices. Clotheslines with knots in them strung up in dangerous fashion. Furniture being pulled together, concoctions of various shampoos and lotions in the bathroom, collections of trash to be recycled into some new contraption and towers of dishes (that come crashing down) from emptying the dishwasher because putting them away just wouldn’t be fun if you didn’t balance the coffee mugs 5 high in a leaning tower while walking across a kitchen chair bridge to the cabinet.

I’m tired. They don’t put anything back and they have no concept or concern for respecting other people’s property.

**I made an effort to teach the ‘everything is God’s’ lesson but sadly, it just made their argument stronger…. I can’t say you took MY stuff if it’s all God’s. As an adult I get it, but when arguing with my little geniuses my head wanted to explode**

I don’t want to squash their ideas or hinder their natural learning process but most of this is just wasteful messes. They are illogical and while I should be able to turn it into a lesson I seem to be completely incapable of explaining to them WHY it was a bad idea.

Do you let your kids experiment and explore independently? Do you let them have access to tools and rope and craft supplies and such or do you specify when and how things will get used?

I have spent two days undoing the damage they have done when I could have been, and should have been doing my regular chores. Now it’s all backed up again. Doodlebug just informed me their clothes were put away.

Except for Taderbug’s. Hers were in a pile on the floor where her basket is supposed to be because she’s using her basket as a desk.

I did a mean mean thing.

Keys

I’m the parent. It is my job to teach them how to care for the things God blesses them with. I have failed.
I tried all the charts and rewards and such.
Last year we took all of their toys and put them in tubs in the garage. There was little fuss or complaint.  Eventually we let them play with the toys IN the garage. We should have stopped there. We should have paid attention to their difficulty with putting away their toys then. There were six tubs. Each with its own theme. Simple sorting ya’ll.
We bought them a bookcase and traded bedrooms with them all in hopes of making it easier for them to play and keep things tidy.
We recently bought them beds and we went in and helped them get it picked up. It wasn’t perfect, but the floor was clear.
For a error I haven’t been able to walk in there. It was awful. They only had half of their originally amounts of toys because Hubby and I had donated many of them after Christmas.
After we did some basic schoolwork this morning I set about getting their room clean. I sat, helped, guided, for two hours.
Hubby surprised me by coming home early from work to find me frustrated and crying. How did we raise such lazy people?  One actually said ” but picking up my socks make my arms hurt”.
I’ll save you from the next 5 hours of ugliness that included me yanking their tv off of the dresser and giving it to their father-who grinned.
In the end I have a shiny new set of keys. Hubby just put a front door knob on their closet door. You earn the privilege of getting a toy from the closet.
The tv? There is a circle on the calendar 30 days from now. They have to go that long without making me cry.
I think I might make a pretty lanyard for my keys.

Stop Reacting and Start Responding : A Review


Living My MoMent has invited me to participate in their new blogger review program by doing a review of Sharon Silver‘s book “Stop Reacting and Start Responding ™”
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The invitation to participate in this blogger review program was such a blessing to me.  It came at a time when I had begun to notice I was and “angry” mom almost all the time and I so very much needed a new approach to handling my kids.   I felt terrible when the deadline passed by and I had not been able to finish the book.   Entirely due to unexpected circumstances here,  I had been floundering with taking care of a teething baby and the other three Chaos Makers while hubby worked nights, days and everything in between.
This week, I was able to make finishing Mrs. Silver’s book a priority!  It really was a quick read and towards the end I couldn’t put it down. The simple two page chapters with simple tips made it easy to gain the confidence I needed to start taking steps to bring our family back to a happier place.
What I loved about the book:

  • Easy read, short chapters (for the frequently interrupted) and it’s not in psychobabble-speak.
  • Most of the tips are easily implemented IMMEDIATELY.  You don’t have to stop and make charts and have family meetings, just start doing something different right then.
  • Many of her concepts are “duh” moments.  There were so many times I went “Duh, I should know that” or “Duh, that makes COMPLETE sense!”
  • Immediate results.  That’s the best part right?  I’ll explain this one more in a minute.

What I didn’t love about the book:

  • Not really the books fault but Hubby wasn’t very receptive to it.  Some of the ideas I tried to share with him, he felt were a bit “mamby pamby”.  I think he’s just on edge like I am.  He’s supporting me but is reserving his final opinion for later because he thinks the techniques she is teaching are babying the children.
  • That was it, everything else I loved!

Ok, the results part that I promised to explain.  This is one of the points where hubby thought Mrs. Silver got to “mamby pamby”.  I don’t want to give away what in her book but she has a specific ‘verbiage’ that she recommends using when your children lie.  I have one diva in particular who loves to tell “stories” even when she isn’t in trouble.  She NEVER tells the truth.  Well, until now.  Now, I get at least MOST of the truth, with a few side embellishments.  We don’t fight over the definition of “honesty” or “truth” anymore.   Stop Reacting and Start Responding put calling my kids a “liar” into a whole new light, and while Mr. B may not agree with what the book suggested he can NOT argue with results.  The fact is, he hasn’t caught Doodlebug lying all week.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!  I moved the pdf file to my Kindle for easy reference and recommend it to anyone who feels they are running in circles with their kids.
****I am a participant in a Living My MoMent campaign for Proactive
Parenting™ and have received the e-book Stop Reacting and Start
Responding™ by Sharon Silver as part of my participation.****

Stop Reacting and Start Responding ™- Book Review


Living My MoMent has invited me to participate in their new blogger review program by doing a review of Sharon Silver‘s book “Stop Reacting and Start Responding ™”
I have download this very easy to read eBook and am already several chapters in!
Please join us during the LIVE MomTV.com show with Sharon Silver(Proactive Parenting™ ) and Abbey Fatica (Living My MoMent) on January 5th, 2011 at 9pm EST and get answer to your parenting questions.
This book has me very excited for what could happen in our family!  My last pregnancy was hard on me (emotionally) and I found myself becoming Quick Draw McGraw with the kids.  I was not being the parent I wanted to be at all.  The chapters I have read so far have been easy to read, easy to implement and I look forward to sharing it all with you in my full review.

****I am a participant in a Living My MoMent campaign for Proactive
Parenting™ and have received the e-book Stop Reacting and Start
Responding™ by Sharon Silver as part of my participation.****