School Daze

August 17, 2013

IMG_5654School started this week and we are slowly adapting back into the routine of going to bed earlier, getting up earlier and having to do things like check homework and pack lunches. Wednesday night we ran out of lunchmeat and bread and so I decided I’d just run to the Dollar Store since we live in a remote location and the nearest grocery store is 20 minutes away.

Ethan joined me on my shopping trip with the secret hopes of getting a toy. I am a softy and so I conceded and let him have one dollar to spend. He ended up buying fake lottery tickets and playing a joke on Emma making her believe that she had won $5,000 – she was not amused when she found out it wasn’t a real lottery ticket.

When we got back from the store I was putting things away and found that the lunchmeat I had bought was “bacon lovers” honey ham. I had never heard of such of thing.

“Hey Emma” I called (since Emma is a big fan of bacon), “Look at this. I accidentally bought bacon lovers honey ham – it’s ham with bacon in it. What do you think of that?”

“Well, I love bacon, but I am not sure I would like it in my ham. Besides, I don’t even like ham.” she informed me.

“Wait a minute. What do you mean you don’t like ham? Last night you and Ethan made ham sandwiches to pack in your lunch and you even ate some of the ham as you were making them. And then tonight you had a ham sandwich for dinner.”

“No, I didn’t.” she objected. “That was turkey.”

“No, sweetie – that was ham. We just finished off a package of ham.”

“Really? It was ham? Huh, I guess I do like ham then. But I still don’t think I want to chance mixing ham and bacon.”

“Well, OK. Then you guys can just have peanut butter sandwiches in your lunch.”
They packed their lunches and got their backpacks and shoes and socks laid out and then started getting ready for bed.

Two hours and several requests for drinks of waters and hugs & kisses later, all was quiet in the house as the kids finally drifted off to sleep.

For those who are not aware I am currently taking classes and working on getting my MBA so after the kids are in bed it’s my time to study, do homework and write papers. I finished up my schoolwork, threw a load of towels in the washer, brushed my teeth and my weary body fell into bed around 1:30 am.

At 3:30 am I woke up briefly when I heard Caleb get up and go to the bathroom. I assumed he would go right back to bed so I didn’t get up. I fell back to sleep and was awoken again by Caleb standing over me and watching me sleep. I glanced at Caleb who was fully dressed for school with clothes, shoes and backpack on. I then looked over at the clock, blinked several times as I realized that it was 4:30 am. “Caleb, its way too early for school! Please go back to bed!” He took off his backpack and shoes and got back into bed. I went back to bed to try and get another hour or two of sleep.

“Mom, mom, mom!” I hear a little voice say in a whisper. I look up and see Emma standing at my bedside. It was 5:55 am.

“What are you doing up?” I asked her.

“Caleb woke me up at 4:00 and I have just been watching TV in my bedroom with the volume down really low.” Well, at least someone is trying to be quiet.

In the other room I could hear Caleb’s bouncing on his bed and laughing. Where does he get all that energy? I closed my eyes thinking I just needed five more minutes of sleep.

Emma came back in at 6:10 and said, “I’m hungry mom. Can you fix me some breakfast?”

I decided that sleep was not an option at this point so I might as well just get up and join the party. “OK Emma. What would you like for breakfast? Maybe an Eggo waffle?”

“Umm… I think I’d like bacon.” She said with a smile.

“Honey, I don’t have bacon. Unless you count that ham with bacon I bought by mistake. We have waffles, fruit loops, poptarts or fish crackers.” I replied.

“Oh, OK … I guess I’ll have waffles. I’m gonna go see what Ethan wants.”

“Wait, is Ethan up too?” I said as I followed her into Ethan and Caleb’s room. Ethan was stirring a bit since Emma was talking him, but he was still half asleep.

“I asked him what he wanted for breakfast and he said cinnamon rolls.” Emma reported.

“Cinnamon rolls? I don’t have cinnamon rolls. Remember, we only have waffles, fruit loops, poptarts or goldfish crackers.”

“Oh, that’s right. Sorry Ethan – you’re out of luck. Mom said we don’t have cinnamon rolls. Don’t feel bad though, I’m not getting the bacon I asked for either.”

Ethan just rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. I walked over and sat down on his bed and started rubbing his back. “Did Caleb wake you up too? He’s been up for hours and he woke Emma up at 4:00.”

Ethan yawned and said, “Well, Caleb woke me up but I just went back to sleep. But now that you and Emma are in here too and so I guess I’m not going to have any chance for sleep now.” Ethan, like me, had decided he might as well get up.

By this time it was 6:45 and probably time for everyone to start getting ready for school anyways. Ethan and Emma got dressed and Caleb started getting excited that everyone else was up and that it was getting closer to time for the bus to arrive.

We all ventured downstairs to Drew’s room and woke him up. Beware the sleeping teenager…..he was not happy to be awakened by his cheery siblings. He pulled the covers back over his head and mumbled, “Just five more minutes….” I know how you feel Drew!

By 7:15 the kids were dressed and happily eating their breakfast of waffles and poptarts. The bus came right on time at 7:25. I waved goodbye as they took off on their adventure for another day of school.

I would loved to have crawled back into bed since I didn’t have to be to work until 11:00, but I was scheduled to speak to Caleb’s class at 8:45. Caleb has autism and is mainstreamed into a general ed classroom. Every year my husband, Dwight, and I go and talk to Caleb’s classroom in the first week of school. We talk to them about autism and about ways they can interact, communicate and include Caleb. Since I needed to hop in the shower, get dressed and make my way over to the school sleep would just have to wait.

ImageAs I got ready for the day I thought about when the kids were infants and how every night was a series of feedings, diaper changes, etc. Especially that first six months of the twins lives. I don’t remember much from that period of my life and I blame that on the sleep deprivation.

I guess I should just be thankful that these short nights are much less frequent now and that, for the most part, the kids sleep all night. I am also thankful that on Saturdays I can sleep in since the kids are old enough to entertain themselves for a few hours.

This morning Caleb crawled in bed with me around 8:00 am but then after a few minutes of cuddling he went back to his room to play and I had the luxury of sleeping for another hour or so. I finally got up when I heard the kids talking about what they wanted for breakfast. Guess it would have been a good morning for cinnamon rolls and bacon… If only I had remembered to go to the store and buy some. Oh well, maybe next Saturday!

Show Me the Money!

May 19, 2011

I love it when I am in my car alone and I can turn the radio up and jam out to my favorite tunes from the 80’s.  It doesn’t happen very often … usually I’m stuck listening to SpongeBob SquarePants or Veggie Tales and I can hardly hear myself think over all the arguing and tattling coming from the backseat. 

On one of those rare occasions when I was driving alone my kids called to see how close I was to being home.  I told them I’d be there in about thirty minutes and also told them if they cleaned their rooms I’d give them each a dollar.  Emma and Ethan LOVE to get “dollars” so they were thrilled.  They hung up and I turned the radio back up and started singing along.  About 10 minutes later my phone rang again and it was Ethan.

“Hey Mom, do we have to clean under our beds?” he asked

“No, but don’t just stuff everything under your bed.” I replied. 

There was silence on the other end for a few seconds.

“Ethan, are you still there?” 

“Yep, I’m still here. I was just wondering” 

“What were you wondering?”

“I was wondering if you would pay us extra if we cleaned under our beds.  I’d clean under my bed if you paid me another dollar. Then I’d have two dollars!”

The twins have finally started to realize the power of money and are always trying to figure out how to make more of it. However, they don’t really have a concept of what a dollar can buy yet.  For example, yesterday Emma told me she was going to take her one dollar and buy a game for the Wii and then with the change she wanted to buy a Barbie. 

The other night after dinner I was doing the dishes when Emma and Ethan came running into the kitchen carrying Ethan’s piggy bank.  They both had huge smiles on their faces

Ethan said, “Hey Mom! ….. Hey Mom! ….. Mom, Mom, Mom!”  

“Yes, Ethan … what’s up?” 

“Me and Emma put all our money together and we have eight dollars and fifty-three cents.” 

“Wow – that’s great.” I said as I continued loading the dishwasher.  

“We were wondering how much past our bedtime would you let us stay up if we gave you our eight dollars and fifty-three cents?”  Emma asked.

I laughed at their proposal and asked, “So you want to ‘buy’ extra time to play and watch TV before bed?” 

“Yes! That’s correct!” Ethan exclaimed.  

It’s interesting to watch how the kids view money and the creative ways they think of to spend and to make money.  We have recently started having the kids do some chores around the house like taking out the trash, washing the dishes and doing the laundry. So far it seems to be going well and they have been working hard to getting the stars on the chore chart so they can get their allowance at the end of the week.  However, they now seem to think everything they do should earn them a star or more money for their allowance.  I have been trying to teach them that we don’t always get paid for things we do … like Mommy doesn’t get paid to clean the house or cook dinner but I do it because I love them.  They are getting better but they still have times when they try to slip in some extra money-making opportunities.

We were getting ready to leave for church one Sunday morning and I told Emma and Ethan that I was going to be leading children’s church and they needed to be on their best behavior and set a good example for the other kids.   Ethan thought for a second and asked, “Are you going to pay us?”   

 As parents we often feel like a broken record … telling our kids the same things day after day, week  after week, month after month. Here is a list of things I would never have imagined I’d have to tell my kids more than once, but sadly I was mistaken.  To many people these may seem like common sense, but if you have kids you probably have figured out that kids have to learn common sense and it’s our job as parents to teach them by “reminding” them as often as necessary of these essential life lessons.

  • Don’t lick the toilet seat
  • Stop jumping on your brother
  • Don’t  eat Playdough (or pennies, or paperclips)
  • No, you cannot play “Let’s see who can stay up until Midnight”
  • Yes, we have to wear clothes EVERYDAY
  • No, you cannot play with water balloons in the house
  • Don’t put marbles up your nose
  • Stop annoying your sister
  • Don’t wipe your snotty nose, dirty hands or chocolate face on Mommy’s new dress
  • No, I don’t want to see your booger
  • Yes, they had electricity when Mommy was your age
  • No, you can’t play “fireman” and use real matches
  • Don’t  grow up too fast ….. Mommy is going to miss these days.

Wac-A-Mole

March 17, 2011

Every night I think of all the things I am going to accomplish “after the kids are in bed”. The problem being that once all the kids are in bed they never seem to stay in bed.  Bedtime around our house resembles a game of Whac-A-Mole …. Just when you think you’ve got the last kid down and the first one “pops” up again.

We usually have the same bedtime routine every night: bath, snack, brush teeth, read stories, and goodnight kisses.  Once the last child is tucked safely in bed I breathe a sigh of relief and head downstairs ~ that’s when the circus begins. 

I’m not downstairs more than 5 minutes and I hear the little pitter-patter of tiny feet coming down the staircase. “Mom, I need  a drink of water” says Emma.  “I thought I already gave you a drink of water” I reply.  “You did.” She says, “but I drank it all and I’m still SO thirsty.” 

I go into the kitchen and get her another  drink of water.  “Now go to sleep or you’ll be tired in the morning” I sweetly tell her as I take her back upstairs, tuck her in bed and give her a kiss on the nose. “Sweet Dreams” I say as I head out the door. “Mom”, she calls before I even get to the staircase. “Yes, Emma”.  “Mom, I can’t sleep”.  “Emma, you haven’t even been in bed for 2 minutes.  Just close your eyes and try to relax or read a book and see if that helps.”

I get back downstairs and go into the laundry room to get the clothes out of the dryer (the same clothes that I have been “fluffing” 4 or 5 times because I don’t have time to take them out of the dryer and fold them).  As I am coming out of the laundry room with my arms filled with clean laundry and leaving a trail of stray socks behind me I about trip over a child standing in the doorway of the family room. “ETHAN !” I shout as even more laundry topples to the floor “what are you doing out of bed ?”  “Mom, I had a bad dream … I’m scared and I can’t go back to sleep.” 

I find this excuse particularly entertaining because I know he has not even been asleep and therefore would not have had the opportunity to have any dreams, good or bad.  “Ethan, you’re fine.” I assure him.  “Let’s go back up and I’ll rub your back for a minute to help you relax and go to sleep” 

I take back upstairs and find Emma is out of her bed again with markers  and paper out all over the floor and is drawing pictures of kitties and rainbows .  “Emma” I sternly say, “what are you doing?”  She smiles and says, “I had this idea for a picture so I needed to draw it tonight so I don’t forget” (Emma is our right-brained, free-spirited, creative child). 

So I tuck the twins both back into their beds, give them each a quick back rub and kiss them goodnight.  “Night, night …sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite !  Now, close your eyes and go to sleep”

As I’m leaving Emma and Ethan’s room I hear a crash in Drew and Caleb’s room so I open their door and see Caleb standing stark naked on top of his dresser and throwing trucks and books to the floor.  “Caleb Joshua ! Where are your pajamas ??”  I help him down off the dresser and we find his pajamas and he begrudgingly puts them back on. 

Drew is laughing uncontrollably at Caleb and so Emma and Ethan come in to see what all excitement is. By now, my patience has been used up and I have had more than enough for one evening. “Alright, that’s it! All of you need to get in your beds and stay there!”  It’s times like this that I wish I could use the threat of Santa Claus withholding presents all year long.

Thirty minutes later I assume all the kids are asleep because it’s quiet and I haven’t had any bandits escape from their bedrooms upstairs. I have just finished folding  the mountain of laundry on the couch and  I am contemplating watching an episode of one of my favorite TV shows, Parenthood, that I am like 3 episodes behind on (thank goodness for DVR’s). 

I had just gotten comfy on the couch with a Diet Coke and some Chips Ahoy ! cookies when Drew comes flying down the stairs (he loves to jump down from the fourth of fifth step up).  He seems surprised to see me and starts mumbling some excuse about needing to use the bathroom which I know is just a cover because we have a bathroom (2 actually) upstairs. 

“Drew, what is the real reason you are down here?” I ask.  “Well, ummm, I , ummm … I just needed to get some Wi-Fi for my Ipod so I could check out this video on YouTube and I couldn’t get a strong enough signal upstairs.”  I look at him and point to the stairs “Up those stairs young man. It is 11:00 at night and you need to get to bed!”  Drew counters back, “Well, actually it’s only 10:53.”  “Whatever !! I don’t care  – it’s close enough to 11:00 that you should be not only in bed, but asleep !” 

He slowly makes his way up the stairs trying not to lose the WiFi signal he has worked so hard to get.  “Drew ! Put the I-pod away ~ NOW !”  He finally goes upstairs and I follow him to make sure he puts the I-pod up and gets in bed.  I turn all the lights out and tell him, “I love you, but I REALLY need you to go to sleep !”

While I’m upstairs getting Drew settled in I hear Emma and Ethan’s door slowly open and Emma’s little head peek out, “Mom ?”.  I sigh and reply, “Yes, Emma. What is it now.”  She comes the rest of the way out and says, “Well, I drank all that water you gave me earlier and now I need to go the bathroom.”