Before bed last night. She was feeling 100% but I was worn out and wanted to sleep at 7pm.

Sick Day? Maybe?

I got the call from school yesterday that every working parent dreads: “Your kid is in the nurse’s office, she’s pale and doesn’t feel well, but she’s not running a fever.”

I’ll tell you without a doubt, especially as an hourly wage independent contractor, I’d much rather her be running a fever. BECAUSE THEN I HAVE NO CHOICE.

It’s a terrible thing to have to do, consider that leaving your work means less dollars on your paycheck and how that weighs out against a child who might be getting sick, but might also just have eaten too fast at lunch.

“Can you come get her? Or send someone for her?”

Before bed last night. She was feeling 100% but I was worn out and wanted to sleep at 7pm.

Before bed last night. She was feeling 100% but I was worn out and wanted to sleep at 7pm.

I hate it when they’re direct like that. I much prefer the calls they make when my kid hits his head – a call their required to make – “We just wanted you to know,” and then leave it at that. But this time she directly asked and what was I supposed to say, “Well…you see…if I leave I don’t get paid so I’d really hate to leave if she’s not sick. Also? My husband has a huge deadline in 2 weeks and he’s been working 80 hours a week to make it to the deadline so he’s OBVIOUSLY unavailable. We’re just going to ride this one out, okay?”

Nope. I went and got her.

My husband gets ample sick time, but no one else in the office uses theirs (especially not right now during crunch time) so he really doesn’t want to use his when I could without getting any repercussions at work. No one at my office has any problem with me leaving for a sick kid. AT ALL. So we go with me and hope I can make up the lost time during my so many free hours over the course of the week. Because I have so much free time to spare.

It’s hard, yo.

I could not cut it as a stay-at-home Mom. I tried for various reasons two different times and it was terrible both times. It’s hard and never-ending and I COULD NOT DO IT. That said, on days like yesterday? I’m momentarily jealous. At least as a SAHM I could go get the kid and there would be no guilt or financial repercussions associated with the decision. I wouldn’t choose to go back to being a SAHM ever, but those “Maybe sick?” calls from school are the only time I’m ever jealous of the former SAHM version of myself.

She’s fine. And we had a talk about how sometimes we get headaches and stomach aches and we’re fine and I really need her to evaluate how she really feels before having them call me. It’s a shitty talk to have with your kid, but it’s one she needs to understand. That while I’m home taking care of her and she’s getting perkier and perkier by the minute, I’m not getting paid. So, if she could have just waited it out then my paycheck wouldn’t have to suffer and we wouldn’t have to figure out which savings pot to pull from to make the budget.

And then I pointed out how lucky we are to even have savings pots. When her big brother was little I couldn’t pay my utility bill if my paycheck was less than expected. There’s a big difference.

So basically I felt guilty and then had to lay on a nice layer of guilt to her so she’d understand the situation and maybe go an hour after her stomach hurts to see if it passes before having them call me.

BASICALLY – I’m writing the next parenting manual over here. “Parenting By Guilt: It Never Hurts Anyone.”


Mean Mommy.

I’ve made it through the first week of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and so far I’ve blogged every day including one bonus entry yesterday. WOOT. It helps that I set a reminder on my phone, which I should really do more often for other things because even with my lovely bullet journal system, I still drop the ball many, many times.

Last night I had to be the mean Mom and make Wes go to bed. I had fallen asleep earlier in bed with Nikki and I woke up around 10:15 and heard Wes still up with Donnie. I went downstairs and told him he had to go to bed and he was nothappy. “I’m watching the game with Daddy!”

Donnie has been working a lot of late nights this week and while part of me wanted them to continue spending time together, the other part of me HAD A REALLY ROUGH WEEK WITH THE KID and I can always trace bad days back to sleep issues. Once he got a few nights in a row of solid, uninterrupted sleep his behavior improved.

“I’m sorry, honey…it’s 10:15pm. I’ll lay down with you.”

And of course Donnie was bummed, “There’s only a quarter left, he’s really enjoying watching it with me.”


But, I had to stand my ground because we got TWO notes and emails home this week from the teacher. TWO. Before this week? ZERO. Then two, two days in a row.

“I’m sorry. But I’m telling you, this week was rough and I’m certain it was related to sleep issues. It’s already going to take him awhile to wind down as it is.”

And it did. It was probably closer to 10:45 before he finally fell asleep.

And yes, he can sleep in today, but then it will be harder for him to get to sleep tonight and TOMORROW, tomorrow is the school day.

I’m hoping I intervened in time and I’m hoping I can get him to sleep early enough tonight. He’s like his Mom (even though she’s a meany pants) – without the appropriate amount of sleep…things get ugly.

IMG_0898I am also trying to make time regularly for some one-on-one physical activity, now that we’re between sports seasons. Wes needs a way to work out all of that energy so we went and played basketball one night and I took him swimming yesterday. I may take him to play basketball again this afternoon but I have a busy day and I’m not sure if I’ll find the time. I feel like it has to be a priority though, because he really does seem to do better in general if he’s got some sort of bonus physical activity to take part in.

Here’s to Monday being a good day because I’ve made an effort to work in the systems that help him best. The bad days suck a whole lot worse when you’ve done everything “right” (there is no actual right/wrong, as anyone who has any experience with kids knows) and the behavior still goes off track.


Order Up!

IMG_0833 The other night the kids and I sat down to dinner together and we were eating 3 different meals. Wesley had spaghettios and meatballs, Nikki had bean burritos, and I had a baked acorn squash stuffed with sautéed peppers, onions, mushrooms and black beans. We all cleared our plates while enjoying nice conversation about our days.

My Dad did NOT understand why you would put forth an hour of effort to prepare a meal just to be eaten in 5 minutes. When he visited me as an adult, especially on a big holiday like Thanksgiving where I’d be doing a lot of cooking, he would just be in awe that I developed any desire to do that. And I always correct him – I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t LIKE it.

Now, I don’t LOVE it. There are parts of cooking I dislike. I truly despise cutting things. But I like cooking overall okay, as long as it’s a meal I know I’ll enjoy. But you know what I hate? Trying to figure out something to cook that everyone likes. Because that something does not exist. You know what else I hate? Fighting with the kids forcing them to eat something they don’t like. And yes – in a perfect world you never give your kid an option and they always eat what’s on their plate. But we tried that FOR A MILLION YEARS (at least that’s how it felt) and it never panned out. As a matter of fact, some of the staples that the kids would eat without fighting THEY WON’T EAT SUDDENLY. And now I’ve given up. I don’t care any more.

If I want to sauté veggies in a baked squash, a meal there is NO WAY to modify so the kids will eat it, I just make them something else. Something fast. Something not terrible. Sometimes it’s a can of chicken noodle soup. A lot of times it’s a grilled cheese and fruit. But whatever it is? They eat it and I eat my meal and no tears are shed.

On a less extreme night they eat a variation of what I’m eating. Like I’ll make them chili without tomatoes in it. Or I’ll make them some of their favorite fake meat products to go along with the veggie dish I’m making and I’ll say, “If you want dessert, you have to eat the veggies, but if you don’t want dessert, you don’t have to eat them.” I encourage them to try new things still, that’s how Nikki finally caved to bean burritos. Wes is, in general, the better eater. But you know what? I grew up eating frozen fish sticks, cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew and lots of cereal and sandwiches and school lunches and I AM BAKING ACORN SQUASH AND STUFFING IT WITH PEPPERS AS AN ADULT.

They’re going to be the kind of eaters they’re going to be eventually. And then that will change with the next fad I’m sure. And then they’ll find out that one thing is carcinogenic or harmful in some way. Think of how often your diet has changed since you were an adult…Theirs will too.

The goal in my house is simply to have nice dinners with decent food. We don’t keep a lot of junk in the house. I don’t even own a fryer. We do TONS of fruit and veggies. And I’m a short order cook because a has become a top priority lately with our daily behavior challenges. If I can create one space in the day where I’m not having to get upset with someone over something? Then I’m going to do it. No matter how many special dinner orders it takes.


No Rest For The Weary

I’m not sure if I should blame the time change, the Halloween weekend of chaos and candy, or the increase in sleep-disturbing nightly growing pains – but Wes has had a bad week.

Yes. I’m aware it’s only Wednesday.

There have been emails from teachers and notes sent home that have to be signed and bad remarks on behavior reports. He also lost his lunchbox.

We are having good talks about it all, and with me he seems to be okay. At least he’s not the chaotic ball of insanity he seems to be at school. This alone is actually a nice change, he’s usually much worse for me than anyone else. I’m trying different techniques and talking points and verbal triggers to encourage better behavior, but I also know a lot of it is out of my control. Especially if his sleep keeps getting disrupted.

(I’m writing this at 2:45am because I’ve been up since he woke up after midnight with leg cramps.)

He did write this story though, which I like to think shows some sort of awareness of self and situation.


It’s going to be another Tired Day but I’m hoping still for a better outcome. If there’s any kid in the world that would benefit from “unschooling” – especially on a schedule more conducive to his sleep patterns – I feel like it would be him. But I’d have to find a way to earn income in random hours throughout the day/night from home and I don’t see that job arising any time soon.

Finger’s crossed for a day where our behavior clip at least stays where it starts – I’m no looking for a “good” shift upwards, just maybe a day where we don’t shift down at all would be nice!

How Do You Teach Responsibility?

I lost a LOT of stuff in my youth. I forgot my purse in classrooms so often in high school that they jokingly made me my own shelf in the Lost-n-Found cabinet. I lost a windbreaker I loved one time, never found it, and never told my Dad, and I STILL DREAM ABOUT THAT WINDBREAKER. I lost several things I did had to save up money to replace simply because I was terrified to tell my Dad because I LOST SO MUCH STUFF. This made him CRAZY and very angry many many times. I also locked my keys in my car about 50 times and locked myself out of my house half of a dozen times.

But…when he wasn’t angry about it, he had a very reasonable explanation for this: I had too many things on my mind at any given moment in time.

I guess I got out of this habit in my mid-20s. I still sometimes forget things but relatively speaking? I’m better. MUCH better.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t help me at ALL with Wesley who has chosen this year to be the year he demonstrates the same habits I had. Not a day has gone by this week where he’s not forgotten something at school. EVERY DAY something was left behind. EVERY DAY. And what he does bring home is chaotic and disorganized. He just crams papers in his bag if they even make it home. I had to return the same form to school THREE SEPARATE TIMES and even got a frustrated note from his teacher about how I hadn’t turned it in and he couldn’t tell me what had happened to ANY of the previous forms after I put them in the folder in his bag.

My question for the crowd is: How do you teach responsibility? Do you punish the child for forgetting things? Do you find some magic method to help him remember? How hard do you work at trying to conform the child to YOUR method of remembering v/s helping them find their own? What are some ways to help kids remember things? I NEED HELP PEOPLE. I’ve tried everything in every way and I can’t tell if anything is even remotely close to working.

Or do I just reassure myself that he’ll figure it out in about 20 years and make sure to never buy cars we can lock with the keys inside?