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When the Schedule Looks More Like Skdlee…..

When the Schedule Looks More Like Skdlee…..

Does anyone else just stink at schedules? Rachel from A Mother Far From Home is a genius at them. I think they’re a great idea. I even think they would help my children and me. But when I think about schedules my heart starts to hurt. I get all nervous and my brain stops functioning. I really really hate them. I really am not the manager type. Time just isn’t something I think about a lot, unless I’m trying to figure out how long until bedtime.

I have always tried to follow a very loose schedule: Wake up around 7:00, eat breakfast, play/watch show/do something together, or alone. Eat lunch around 11:30 or whenever we’re hungry. Nap time. Play/watch a show/computer games/cook dinner. Eat dinner. Do something with the family. Or maybe my husband and I sit on the couch while our kids find something to do by themselves. Bedtime at 7:00 or 7:30. That’s not really a good schedule, though.

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I made this with a small cookie sheet (Dollar Tree), hung with Velcro command strips. To make the calendar squares, I printed and cut up a bunch of clip art from the internet, wrote labels on some scrapbook paper, glued them to a cut up cereal box, cut them all back out, taped them with packing tape for a makeshift lamination, and pressed magnets to the back (I bought a roll of magnetic tape and cut it to size. The magnetic tape doesn’t stick well to packing tape, so I had to leave a little open space for that on the back. It did try to curl up, but I just laid a heavy book on them overnight and they’ve been functioning ever since!) I need to replace our “breakfast” magnet, and make some other ones so this can be an actual, complete calendar. But this has been a great starting place for us!

I have this magnetic schedule board so my kids can at least see what is going on in my mind, and if we need to move things around a bit, we do that easily with the magnetic release.

There are a lot of things that I want to make sure we do each day, and in order to make those things happen, I think we need to find a stricter schedule around here.

This is what I’m thinking:

7:00 Wake up
Breakfast
Read the Bible
Read some other books
Work out (kids are welcome to be near, but they must be quiet and not crawling all over me, for safety reasons)
The baby wakes up and eats breakfast while the boys do something at the table (color, play doh, practice reading, have a second breakfast)
Sibling time while I shower and dress
Outside time (our sidewalk is all shaded in the morning, so this is a really good time for us to get some fresh air in the summer!)

*sometimes the above gets all messed up because we go to the playground or the Children’s Museum or the library, or we have to do errands (blah!) I try to tell my children what to expect when they wake up, but sometimes I just decide in the moment that we need to get out or that we need to stay home. It’s fun having a creative mind! It would be more fun it all my kids did too.

11:30 Lunch
Baby takes a nap
Boys do home school stuff with me
Boys in their room for 1 hour of quiet play time, or nap time depending on their tiredness levels
Boys can watch some TV or play computer games
We/I prepare dinner

4:30 My husband gets home!!! Excitement!!!
Dinner
Family time

A couple nights a week, I leave at 6:00 to do some serious writing. Sometimes we do church stuff. Friday is Family Movie Night, where we all get to snuggle up and remember how much we love to be near each other. Saturdays and Sundays bring a sort of “Que Sera Sera” with them.

Okay. I’ve written it all out. Now I need to try to stick to it. That’s the really hard part for me.

What kind of schedule do you follow? Do you divide the day with meals like we do? Do you have a hard time scheduling your day, too? Do you want to figure out a schedule that works for you? Or are you lucky enough to be able to sing “Que Sera Sera” all the days long?

Why I Make My Kids Share

Why I Make My Kids Share

Here’s how it starts: you have one child who is lovely and amazing and he plays well on his own and he gives you hugs and kisess all the time and he sleeps until 9:00 every morning. Then you decide to have a second child. The second one never sleeps and mostly just cries and when he finally gets over crying all the time, he starts to take things from his brother. That’s your firstborn. You love both of these children and you want them to get along. So what do you do?

Okay, so here’s a little confession: those are my two boys, the oldest of my children. We were lucky enough to get a firstborn who was really an amazing baby, pretty even-keel, emotionally speaking and nice and would let anyone hold him. Our second is pretty great, too, but very different. He is either very happy or very sad. When he was 2 years old he loved The Hulk (not Captain America or Iron Man, like other kids… The Hulk.) He would walk around holding this little Hulk figure and he would say, “Hulk SMASH! Hulk SMASH!” in a loud low kind of voice. I would tell people that he probably identifies with The Hulk. He goes from zero to monster in no time. When he’s angry, he’s the  “Hulk SMASH!” kind of angry.

When “Hulk SMASH!” wanted something, no one wanted to say no. So, there we were, going head first into a big river of sharing. And the current was strong. And the rocks were bruising.

I’ve heard the opinion that explains why we shouldn’t teach our children to share. I understand that as adults, we are not expected to share our cell phones and cars or homes or groceries. As adults, our possessions are ours and we don’t have to share them. And if someone asks to share them we shouldn’t feel obligated.

I understand that sometimes what is ours is ours and no one else can have it. Like my glasses and my purse.

Then there’s the principle of generosity.

I have this really old, beautiful, smelly dictionary that I love to use. Someone actually gave it to me…someone who was being generous and thoughtful. Here’s what it says about the word “generous”:

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It attributes generosity to nobility. It says generous people are magnanimous. Willing to give or share. Unselfish. Bountiful. Rich in yield, fertile (said of land, but I think it applies to people too.) Rich, full-flavored and strong (said of wine, but I think it applies to people too.)

I want my children to know that things are just things. Anything that they own and find precious, I know is simply not worth arguing over. Anything they own and love can be easily replaced or remade. I know that kids are sticklers for keeping their stuff in their own hands, but I don’t believe that’s healthy.

My children get the generosity lesson a lot with Lego creations. I tell them that “Legos are meant to be taken apart and rebuilt.” My children are allowed to put a Lego creation on a dresser, out of reach, for a little while, but the next day (and sometimes sooner) they have to take it apart or give it away and start over. And they can’t hoard the Lego blocks.

This is a lesson I face every day too. I do need my glasses and my purse, but if my daughter (not included in the sharing saga because she’s a happy 1.5 years old) wants to pick it up and carry it around for a little while, I let her. She’s not allowed to dig into my purse and scatter its contents around like breadcrumbs, but carrying it around isn’t going to hurt a thing.

My children don’t go to school anywhere, so we mostly deal with this sharing thing in our own home or at playgrounds. There, especially with strangers, I want them to learn generosity. I think that’s a true test of character. It’s easy to be generous with those we love because we get to reap the benefits of friendship. But if they can learn to be generous toward people they don’t know, well, they could change the world.

If I teach my children that they don’t have to share, I am teaching them that their possessions mean more than people do. That’s not what I want them to learn. I want them to find joy in the joy of sharing. I want them to learn to love people. I want them to be noble, unselfish, rich, full-flavored people, not stingy, selfish, lonely people. They are not allowed to expect that others share; that would create another kind of monster. I just want them to learn generosity.

 

Why I’ve Been Rubbing my Son’s Earlobes

Why I’ve Been Rubbing my Son’s Earlobes

Does that sound weird to you?

It was strange to me, too, when I witnessed two little girls rubbing each other’s earlobes at the playground. Their mom said that she does the same thing. She’s apparently always been obsessed with earlobes. She rubs them all the time without thinking, and now her children do too. She also told me that rubbing earlobes releases oxytocin.

That same night, I was sitting at church with my family. Now, you have to know something about my 3-year old. He is touchy. I know that all kids are touchy, but he is extreme. Anything, anywhere, the slimier, the sandier, the more unhygienic, the better. He LOVES grabbing the insides of pumpkins and rubbing oil on potatoes. He LOVED making oobleck (I have still not read Bartholomew and the Oobleck because our library didn’t have it when we did our “Intro to Science” week. But I discovered oobleck from Raising Little Superheros and, even without Dr. Seuss, it was a big hit). My 3-year old continues to LOVE LOVE LOVE sandboxes, water tables, and play dough, and he once opened a package of pork chops while I was in line at the grocery store, just to see what they felt like. Yuck! Right? Yeah. That’s my life.

So, I was sitting in church with my family. Knowing that my 3-year old does not sit well unless he is also doing something kinesthetic, I thought, maybe I’ll rub his earlobes. I thought that maybe he would pay attention to the man with the microphone if I rubbed his ears. Maybe it would help him to pay more attention to what his ears can do. Well, I’m not sure what happened, but he immediately sat completely still and stayed that way until we stood up. It was almost 20 minutes.

Today, I tried it again because I was reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory out loud and wanted him to sit still with his brother and me while I read. And again, he was still, concentrated, focused.

He said to me, “Mom, rub my ears gently,” and my heart melted. Maybe from the extra oxytocin that was circulating around or maybe because that is just a sweet thing to say. Either way, I want to take that sentence and form a poem with it because I think it’s the most beautiful thing the world.

Do you have a high-energy kinesthetic leaner? Have you ever tried rubbing his or her earlobes to get them to focus?