Posts Tagged ‘i’m not Mary-freaking-Poppins’

It Starts With Socks

September 14, 2009

My youngest began kindergarten a few weeks ago, and things have been going well.  She loves it, she’s happy to be in school with her brothers, and she loves having lunch in a cafeteria and riding the bus (simple pleasures!).  She’s learning how to be a big-school-kid.  She has a backpack she’s responsible for, and she’s in charge of getting her clothes together the night before.

So.  I get a call from school.  It’s the kindergarten teachers (one for general studies and one for Jewish/Hebrew).  They are concerned because twice in the last few weeks my daughter has had a melt down in class.  Why, you ask?  And I quote:

“Shayna was upset because you forgot to have her wear socks on gym day.  She needs socks, and the gym teachers insist on it.  She has to sit out if she is not wearing socks.  She was so upset.  Please make sure she is wearing her socks on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.”

[ I forgot to have her wear socks.  Are you freaking kidding me?  Every night before bed I say, “Shayna, please put out your clothes for tomorrow, and if you have gym remember socks.”  She either does or doesn’t.  The first 2 times she forgot her socks, I ran them up to school because let’s face it: we all forget things sometimes.  After the second time I reminded her that she needs the socks for gym and she needs to be responsible for them.  I would not be available to run her socks to school again.  Both subsequent times she has forgotten the socks, the school called me and in my nicest I’m-a-helpful-Mommy voice I said, “I’m so sorry, I’m not able to run socks to school.  She’ll have to do without.”  This provoked the classroom meltdowns.]

I took a deep breath and explained to the teachers that we believe part of kindergarten is learning to be responsible for yourself.  This begins at home.  She is capable of putting her clothes out (all of them) the night before, so we expect it.  She will have to experience the consequences of not doing that, even if that means sitting out at gym.  School picks up where home leaves off.  I told the teachers that we don’t expect them to pack her bag at the end of the day, and if she forgets her raincoat at school on a Friday, it’s going to be a wet weekend for her.  These are important lessons on the road to being a responsible student.

This did not go over well.  The teachers do not want to have to deal with hassles from home, and I get that.  However, school is where they learn to be good students.  This is part of that.  I told both teachers that I understood the difficult position they are in, but presumably the ultimate goal on both ends is to create a competent and responsible child.  I have a 3rd grader and a 6th grader, and all of their teachers will tell you that they rarely forget their homework or kippot, and they take responsibility for their actions and behavior.  It doesn’t just magically happen one day, you have to build a foundation over time.

And it starts with socks.


Well Whaddaya Know . . . It Works

August 28, 2009

Years and years ago, when my boys were babies and we were living in what can only be described as a hovel in Monsey, New York,  we had no money and I hadn’t slept in like 2 years and my oldest was a really high-maintenance person and not doing one damn thing the “books” said he should be doing and my baby was, well, a baby and most days I thought I might just drive everyone into the river.  And due to some sort of cosmic alignment I stumbled upon a parenting class taught by an amazing woman named Aviva Schwab.  It’s called STEP, and it saved our lives.  We were never the same (in the best way possible).  This stuff is not a quick fix; it’s a way of life.  Seriously.  So we sometimes have moments of “OMG I’m losing my mind is this ever really going to work?”  Aaaaaand here you go:

Scenario: the kitchen table at homework time.  Asher asks for help with part of his “ariyot”, a Hebrew book.  I help him understand the directions for the homework, and then notice a piece of homework he did for his general studies teacher.  It was a mess.  The handwriting was awful (very unlike him) and he had drawn pictures all over it (also unlike him).   We are really SUPER hands-off about homework – I never check their work or their agenda (only if they ask), and we don’t rescue our kids if they really mess up or forget their work.  They know this, and we’ve explained to them why we feel this is important.  But this was so unlike him, I forgot myself for a moment and casually mentioned that at his age and in his grade he was probably expected to turn something in that was a bit neater and legible.

Fast forward a few hours: I’m in bed catching up on some blogs, when Asher comes in to my room and says, “Can I talk to you about something?”  Of course I say sure.  He says, “Mommy, I didn’t appreciate your comments about my homework for Mrs. Perry.  I really don’t want you to check my homework, because it’s my homework and my responsibility and I should be able to do it the way I want and if I mess up I’ll learn from that but maybe Mrs. Perry will like my pictures and you never know so can you please not comment or check my homework?  Thanks.”

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I managed to say, “Sure babycakes, I apologize.  You’re so right – I shouldn’t have made that comment.  It is your homework and I know you’re a responsible guy.”  Hugs all around, and then Asher went to bed.

Aviva, my friend, na’ase v’nishma 😉

Why I Should Try to Put My Undergarments Away As Soon As They Come Out of the Dryer

May 27, 2009

Shayna, walking around in nothing but her underwear and MY BRA:

“Look boys, I’ve got gigantic bobbies!”

Asher, laughing hard, “They’re GINORMOUS!”

Lev, also laughing hard, “They’re not bobbies, they’re boobies.”

Me, trying not to laugh.  Unsuccessfully, I might add: “Ok, they’re called breasts, and that is my bra and please put it back in the laundry basket.  You can prance around in your own bra when you have one.”

Um, whoops.  Did I just say that?  Ok, so I realize what I have just said and I am now laughing so hard I snort, and all 3 kids are doubled over they are laughing so hard.  I quickly try to correct myself:

“What I meant was you can WEAR your own bra when you’re old enough.  It’s probably not a good idea to prance around in anybody’s bra however old you are.”

Asher: “But you prance around in front of Abba.”

Excuse me, WHAT?

Asher: “When you’re getting dressed in the morning, both of you are in your underwear at the same time.”

Me: “Ok, that’s different.  We’re married and share a bedroom and we get dressed at the same time, so that’s ok.”

Lev: “Would it be ok if Abba pranced around in your bra?”

Resistance is futile.

Things I Learned One Weekend

April 7, 2009


  1. If one leaves 3 wet bathingsuits wrapped up in 3 wet towels inside a bag inside the car for 4 days during well below 20-degree temperatures, it freezes into one big ball.  This ball of frozen swim wear does, in fact, fit through the hole of a front-loading washer.
  2. Little People figures do not survive a “sauna” in the microwave.
  3. Toddlers do not like it when the microwave is moved out of their reach.  This makes them mad, and causes them to exhibit loud and agitated-hyenea-like behavoirs.
  4. Little People figures also do not survive a “tanning session” in an Easy-Bake Oven belonging to older siblings.
  5. Older siblings, strangely, do not liked to be locked in their room until they are 60.

The Hills are Alive . . .

September 14, 2008

Our eldest child, Lev,  has earned the part of “Friedrich”, the second oldest child of Captain Von Trapp in the musical, The Sound of Music!  He is very excited as are we.  So we borrowed it from the library this weekend so the kids could see it, and I forgot how looooooooooooong it is 🙂  I also realized I had to provide some history background on the Germans, who they were, and why Captain Von Trapp was not fond of them.  Julie Andrews was, of course, spectacular.  And I realized at some point during the movie, that this is Mary Poppins, just in Austria.

The boys were actually much more interested in the story itself, and not so much in the actual movie.  Some kissing, you know.  Asher informed me he has a “kissing radar” and is able to detect precisely the moment before a kiss, and aptly warn his brother.  At which time both of them cover their eyes and stick their head under the covers.  Asher also did not like the scenes where the Nazis chase the Von Trapp family.  To him it was quite a scary scene and he was not a happy camper (more under the covers time velcroed to my leg).  Then again, this is not a surprise, as this is the child who has seen The Princess Bride 100 times and still leaves the room during the fire swamp scene.  Can’t seem to abide the ROUS 🙂

ANYHOO, I realized how NOT Maria/Mary Poppins I am.  Sometimes I think it would be easier if I just gave it up and sang all the time and worked hard to make everyone feel loved, secure, and happy.  I’d wake every morning and sew darling outfits out of drapes, and we’d go on picnics and sing in perfect harmony, waiting for the moment when worshiped Father arrives back from his long business trip.

Yeah, riiiiiiiight.

If my kids have underwear actually clean and in their drawers, it is a good day.  If we are NOT all sharing the last towel in the house because I forgot to move the clean ones from the washer to the dryer, hey!  A Victory!  And if Josh doesn’t come home to at least one tantrum-throwing-child, well, then we’re off our game.  Oh, and someone stepping on a hairball.  Barefoot.  Now there’s the Caruso Family Welcome 😉  Doesn’t it make you want to visit?

We’ll leave the light on for you.

Oh, and the towel is hanging in the kids’ bathroom.  Should be dry by now.