Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Motherhood and More: Introducing chore charts to teach responsibility, get stuff off the floor

I’ve started researching chore charts for my children to strongly encourage them to stop being the ungrateful heathens that they are.

I know they need chores and we should have started this years ago. I know, I know, I know. It’s important for them to understand life doesn’t revolve around their every want and need and we all have to work together to keep this home going. For goodness sake, would you please stop throwing your socks all over the living room floor or at least pick them up yourselves without waiting for me to do it for you?

We’ve made good efforts in the past to enforce chores and whatnot. And the rule still is if they keep their rooms clean for a week, they get a dollar on Sundays. Guess how many times that has happened?

I am not out all that many dollars, is what I’m saying.

Occasionally, my son will want to earn money to purchase weird, zombie-type game apps and is willing to sweep the floor and unload the dishwasher.

But I think it’s time to be more serious. We need to have a schedule and rules and consistency.

Implementing a regular chore chart is going to be difficult. We’ve been talking about it for a while and how we expect them to start working around the house more since my husband and I spend 70 percent of our time at home picking up all of the random junk that ends up on the floor. But the kids don’t seem to be too keen on the idea.

My youngest, my daughter, has no concept of money and the fact she can buy things with it. We very rarely take her to the store because she’s insane and we lost her one time in a huge, packed store. No one has recovered yet. Since she hasn’t seen actual money transactions very often, I think she thinks toys and books and fun stuff just show up in her hands through no effort of her own. Which is true, actually.

Both of the kids really enjoy helping, though. Setting and clearing the table can sometimes be a battle to see who can put the most dishes on the table and clear the most off, which has obvious ramifications.

I mean, there’s only so many glasses that can be broken before we’re all drinking out of Spider-Man cups.

Although, now that I think about it, their excitement with helping probably has more to do with competing with each other than actually helping their parents. I’m willing to accept that, though.

But they do like to feel included, like they’re doing something that contributes, like they’re responsible members of our family and that we appreciate their contributions. So I think it will be good.

I think they’ll adjust well in spite of all the whining and complaining about me being the worst mom ever and why can’t they just watch television instead of dusting. Having responsibilities will be good for them and for all of us.

Plus it means less work for me, which leaves me more time for watching television. 

This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on March 25, 2015.

Monday, March 9, 2015

But I am looking forward to having daylight past 5 p.m.

I'm attempting to write a post about my weekend but really all I can muster at this point is "Duuuuuuude!  TIME CHANGE SUUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKSSS!"

Eloquent, no?

But really.  I'm running at about 13 percent today because of time change but also because I stayed up too late watching House of Cards and cross stitching.

It was a full on rager, you guys.

Would you think I was more cool if I told you I also drank a bit of Basil Hayden's while I cross stitched vegetables with faces?

I learned that I liked Basil Hayden's when Chris' boss gave me a shot of it on Saturday at a homemade bike show in Louisville.

As you do.

We were at the show because Chris designs/works with this really cool carbon drive bicycle belt that replaces chains and it was neat to see the belt on all sorts of bikes from all over the place - even a Louisville Slugger bike that will be on display at the museum.

However, I told Chris that we didn't necessarily fit in with much of the people at the bike show because neither one of us had epic facial hair or man buns.

Plus there were no cruiser bikes which is my preferred bicycle because I am an old lady. (See cross stitching reference above.)

After the show we ate at an Irish pub and I had fish and chips and drank two very good beers and we went home and watched a bunch of House of Cards while I cross stitched smiling vegetables.

And on Sunday we picked up the kids who were only minorly irritated with everything.  I felt a sinus infection coming on, what with the swollen left side of my face, but it seems to be better today.  However I still feel a bit like death because I stayed up too late and had to wake up when it was still dark outside because DAMN YOU TIME CHANGE.

I think I'm going to see how much coffee I can drink before I start floating on the ceiling.

Totally unrelated to anything I've said in this post so far but it makes me smile:

Friday, March 6, 2015

Homemade Friday: Fort, by Brooklyn Tweed (Or the sweater that wouldn't end)

I don't knit for my husband that often.  He has a couple pairs of warm socks and a nice wool sweater that he loves and he's satisfied with that.

He doesn't ask me for things.  And maybe that's because he knows me.  He knows how long it takes me to finish something for him.  I'd like to say it's because I want to take my time and go slowly to make sure that whatever I make for him is absolutely perfect but the reality is that I know that I can push his items to the side when they get boring and work on something else.  He won't get mad.  He honestly probably won't even notice.

So that is what happened with this sweater.  The pattern is Fort, by Brooklyn Tweed.  I like it.  The sweater is sophisticated and stylish and has enough texture to keep me interested.

But the problem is that I started the sweater last spring or late winter.  That's a horrible time to start a new knitting project for me because my mind shifts with the longer days and all I can focus on is sewing.  And more sewing.  And then even more.

I don't want to knit because knitting reminds me of colder weather and in late winter I am ready for sun and warmth and hand sewn dresses.

So this sweater languished.  I had most of the body knit by the time I put it to the side last spring.  And I had so many other projects I wanted and needed to finish once I picked knitting back up in earnest in the fall that this one sat in it's bag.  I left it out and visible so seeing it would encourage me to work on it, but all it did was silently admonish me for not being faithful and for straying on to other, more exciting and time-sensitive projects.

A few weeks ago I picked it up again, determined to finish.

I haven't finished.

I've got the body knit and most of one sleeve.  It really won't take much at all to finish.  But the urge isn't there.  I want to want to knit it, but I don't want to knit it, if that makes any sense.

And spring is coming, in spite of the two feet of snow and I have dresses to sew.

So maybe I'll finish it next fall.

It's a good thing my husband knows me so well and is so understanding.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sometimes I'm a shit mom

Sometimes I'm a shit mom

I'm a shit mom who wants to be alone.

I'm a shit mom who yells at her kids because they stand by her whining to get attention.

I'm a shit mom because I don't have the energy to give them the attention they need.

Sometimes I'm a shit mom because I resent the fact that they are always, always needing me.  Always clinging.  Always there.

I'm a shit mom because sometimes I pretend like I don't hear them when they yell at me from another room.

I'm a shit mom because I park them in front of a screen to lock myself in my bedroom and cry.

Sometimes I'm a shit mom because I do not do fun things.

I never know what is going to make me feel this way.  Was it the fact that Adele got in our bed again last night and I lost sleep?

Is it that something in me desperately requires alone time and when I don't have it I lash out at those I love the most?

Snow days are hard, man.  I'm not a 'play in the snow' person anymore and applying layers upon layers upon layers to children who will only stay outside for 15 minutes is discouraging and exhausting.  And at this point I think we're all a bit tired of the magic of the winter wonderland outside the door.

I'm having a heard time coming up with things to do with the kids, and by the time I see that they are desperate for activity and attention, they're also already really irritated and bored and lashing out by smacking each other and also the whining starts which makes my yelling start because holy hell STOP WHINING.  STOP FIGHTING.

And then they are sent to their rooms, which involves more yelling because "please go to your room" never works but counting down very loudly does even if they scream at me as they're stomping upstairs and slam their bedroom doors so hard that pictures fall off walls.

We're working through, I guess.  It's an all-day spiral of me attempting to be a pinterest parent and them being frustrating and lashing out, then I lash out, then everyone is in a funk of bullshit.

And then it starts over.  We can always start over.  Over and over and over again I will try not to be the shit mom.  I will try not to yell and I will try not to let them know when they are driving me crazy and I will try to play more and laugh more and lose the giant cloud of irritation that is hanging over me.

I will try not to be so stuck in my own head that I can't see when they need me.

I will start over.

We will start over.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

He probably should have bought more beer

This morning we all had to get dressed and eat breakfast and whatnot by headlamp- and candle-light on account of the no power.

And this was, of course, after Adele got in our bed at 4 a.m. and wouldn't settle and be still and tossed and turned and kicked my stomach and caught my hair in her hand and so I didn't sleep.  She did eventually, of course.  I'm not complaining much, though.  This was still better than the usual time she likes to visit us at night.  Which is 1 a.m.

And then Sebastian came downstairs a little after 5 to tell us that the electricity was out which means that he was awake at that time and able to see his closet light shut off.  Which means what the hell is wrong with these children?

(They take after their parents, that's what's wrong with them.)

So we got dressed in the dark and ate breakfast in the dark and cajoled Adele into her clothes in the dark and then out of her clothes because she didn't want that dress, she wanted another dress but actually, not that one either.  Let's try the first one again.

And then as we were preparing to leave the lights all came back on so the grown ups went around the house blowing out candles while the children decided that it would be an excellent time to sneak outside in the pouring rain and run through all the puddles, liberally soaking feet and legs.

Back inside we went to change everyone again and find new shoes that didn't squish out buckets of water when stepped in.

Yelling may or may not have been involved.

(I was all for letting them spend the day with wet feet and pant legs but apparently that's not appropriate, JAIME.)

And we are also all planning for snowmageddon2015 No. 2 that is supposed to start this afternoon so I'm guessing we will have an unexpected day together tomorrow.  My husband volunteered to go to the store for us last night so we wouldn't have to worry about it for the rest of the week/weekend and he picked up the essentials like milk and peanut butter and beer.

I'm taking my work computer home today so at least I can possibly do something vaguely business-like in between playing in the snow and making hot chocolate and cursing the weather.

And sewing.  I bet there will be more sewing.

To make you smile, here is a picture of an entirely inappropriate t-shirt.  And now that song will be forever stuck in your head as it is in mine.  INAPPROPRIATELY.

I would like to spend the next few snow days with netflix and snacks because I just started watching The Killing and am absolutely addicted to it, but somehow I do not think that will happen.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I mean, I understand. Tortilla chips are delicious.

I convinced my husband to go out for Mexican food last night which was a miracle from Sweet Baby Jesus as he (my husband) is incredibly strong and full of will power and we do not eat out because we cook at home because the food there is better and better for you and cheaper and we are supposed to be eating all the 'right' foods because that will make us invincible.

So I got a giant chimichanga and a big bowl of queso and have zero regrets.

Except maybe for the amount of tortilla chips I allowed my daughter to consume but win some, lose some, right?

So we went out to eat because neither one of us felt like cooking and I was exhausted from all the no sleep I'd gotten the night before and really I just wore him down.

I've found that if I ask enough times eventually one of those times he will say Sure!  Let's go out to eat!  Complete with exclamation marks because that is totally how he talks.  (Not really.)

And I can't even get mad at him not cooking because he will cook when I don't want to which leaves me no excuses to go out to eat.

But sometimes you just want a taco from a Mexican restaurant, you know?

Of course, since we did go out to eat that meant that I accidentally forgot about the meat I was defrosting in the microwave to cook and it set out all night so I had to throw it away this morning when I remembered.

But I'm still calling it a win because I didn't have to wash dinner dishes and because Sebastian only said the word 'fart' loudly in a busy restaurant three times.

And now I have to get back to work because I am the new Web Content Editor for our office, which means that I get to change up the web page when someone tells me to.  It doesn't come with a raise or even really the actual title but I still think it's neat.

Do these $3 reading glasses make me look web-content-editory?

Also if you look closely you can see my new star shirt so let's consider this a how to wear diy post.

You're welcome.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Coffee- and random capslock-infused vignettes

Sometimes I get locked in my closet/office because of a class or Very Important Test happening in the computer lab that is my lobby and I have a love-hate relationship with the isolation.

I kind of love being locked in.  No one will bother me - not that that is a very frequent occurrence anyway, but still.  I can hide and be alone and talk to no one and be an introvert.

However, I also hate being locked in.  And this is mainly because I have to pee a lot in the mornings.  Like a lot.  Like, I could pee every 7 minutes if someone made me pee every 7 minutes because of a weird need to force someone to pee every 7 minutes.

Maybe this has something to do with the amount of coffee I drink in the mornings or the amount of children I have birthed but the problem is there no matter what the cause.

And I could interrupt the test, I really could.  No one would be mad at me except probably the students who are bothered by me startling them because no one expects someone to burst out of a closet in a computer lab shouting "Oh I AM sorry!  Don't mind me - I just need to pee because I've had gallons of coffee and birthed two children who destroyed my bottom half and ha-ha!  You know what I'm talking about, don't you?  But I'll only walk through this once, I promise, except not really because I have THE SMALLEST BLADDER IN THE WORLD."

The students tend to lose their focus when that happens.

So I hide and squirm until the last possible second because I don't want to disturb anyone or cause anyone a slight irritation.

In other, non-bladder-related news I sewed myself another Scout Tee.  This one is made from polyester and is teal with maroon stars on it and really, could there be any better fabric choice?

It makes me smile.

My sewing machine decided it hated me this weekend and started breaking my needle thread and bunching up my bobbin thread and generally being an asshole.  And then it stopped because I blew some dust out of the bobbin area and I patted myself on the back for being an expert sewing machine repair person.  And then it started up again.

And in other-other non-bladder-related news Adele picked out her clothes this morning and insisted on dressing herself completely and actually wore the school jumper I sewed for her and even put on her shoes and had very specific ideas about how she wanted her hair fixed and ate her breakfast and brushed her own teeth and this was a definite Excellent Morning, especially after we had a ridiculous weekend full of both kids bickering and fighting and pinching and my in-laws took pity on us when we went to eat dinner with them and let the kids stay the night at their house.

Chris and I went home and watched House of Cards.

And then we picked them up on Sunday and they were still fighting and last night Sebastian pinched his sister really hard and when he was reprimanded he asked (yelled) WHY DID YOU EVEN GET ME THEN and was very upset about the fact that, as he put it, Adele used to be the one hitting and pinching and now it was him and WOE IS HE WHO IS 6 YEARS OLD AND SUPER TIRED.

And then Sebastian told me that some of our friends' kids said Adele was a jerk which is TOTALLY NOT COOL YOU LITTLE JERKS.

And then everyone was fine and we read bedtime stories and both children actually listened to me read the stories, which is rare because usually storytime is also wrestling time and Adele went to bed again without screaming and throwing things at my head as I walked down the stairs and this morning it was so hard to wake up because I didn't sleep very well and had a 4 year old in my bed laying on my chest but the she got herself ready and it made me happy and a little relieved and Sebastian got himself ready like he always does which makes mornings that much more manageable.

And we played I-Spy on the way to school like we always do and Adele picked the yellow sun like she always does and I picked the red sign like I always do and Sebastian picked the white snow like he always does and Chris picked the brown building like he always does.