Sunday, September 8, 2013

Excuse Me, I Didn't Get The Manual

Wouldn't it be nice if kids came with an instruction book? 

"Here's your bundle of joy, Mama. Oh, don't forget his manual! You'd sure be up a creek if you forgot that!" 

Now, I know all the basics. I don't worry about any of those. I can:
  • Feed them good food - lots of fruits and veggies and a few cookies now and then.
  • Keep their bits clean - and don't forget behind the ears. 
  • Teach them to be polite, over and over and over and over and over....and hope it sticks. Someday.
  • Make them go outside and run around and use their imaginations. Keep an eye on them, though, so they don't whack your poor plants to pieces with their "swords" or use your tomatoes as bullets or as an art project worthy of Jackson Pollock on the fence.
  • Give them lots of hugs and kisses until they literally can not stand any more.
  • Be their mom, not their friend.
  • Et cetera, Et cetera...
What I'm having trouble with, is the "when?" questions -and a bit of the "how much?", as well. As in, when do I  let them ride their bikes in the neighborhood with no supervision? And when do we talk about the birds and bees? And how much information is too much? And how much and when do they need to know about the circumstances of their births?

As their mother, I'm supposed to know when they are ready for things. I am aware that comparing myself to other moms and my boys to other children is not a good idea. However, the boys start comparing immediately. And over and over, I keep finding out how much I really don't know.

Our neighbor has a son one year younger than Boy 1. He rides his bike to school, to his friends' houses - all over - with, seemingly, no limits. Boys 1 & 2 would like to do the same. The back yard is no longer enough. I grew up wandering my neighborhood. I want my boys to know that I believe they can handle themselves in all situations. But...But...But...

Boy 1 is extremely impulsive. He could be riding along, see a cat running across the road, drop his bike in the middle of the street and chase the cat into the yard of someone we don't know. He recently called some teenage boys that were walking down the street (who were minding their own business) a name while he was out riding his bike under my supervision. He's lucky they either didn't hear him, or were good at ignoring annoying kids (they also ignored his apology). He might not be so lucky next time and get hit or learn some really unacceptable words. 

Do I protect them from these possibilities, or do I let them learn the hard way?

Part of me wants to let the natural consequences do their work. But, Boy 1 has special needs that must be taken into consideration. 

And Boy 2? He's six. How much freedom/independence does a 6-year-old get? Not much around here.

Those manuals would sure come in handy, you know? 

I have said it over and over again, this parenting thing is not for sissies.

I love the idea of Free Range Parenting in theory. My anxiety and, I admit it, pride holds me back. I, of course, worry for their safety. But I am also concerned with what they may do or say to people and if it will cause me embarrassment. 

Taking on the job of parent opens us up to all kinds of fun opportunities and embarrassment is one of those. I guess I should just get used to it.

Here we go back to the ABC's of Me. Almost done!

I'M STUCK: again. The exercise starts up once more. If I don't want to cut calories, the exercise has to make a come back. I know it. The first steps off the couch are the hardest. The boys being in school means I have no excuses left. I know I'm tired of writing about being stuck. And, I'm sure you are weary of reading it.

I'M THRILLED: with how the first week of school went. The boys love their teachers (and so do we) and there have been no complaints. I am LOVING my days - so much so, that, I'm feeling the slightest bit of guilt. This is going to be a great school year.

I USE: an 8-ounce cup to drink my water now. I find it easier to finish when I can down it quickly. I was using these huge cups and just seemed to take forever to empty them. Every time I come into the kitchen, I drink 1-2 glasses full and I get my daily recommended with no problem!

MY VITAMIN: D is severely deficient according to my blood work taken at my recent yearly physical. I've been prescribed 50,000 UI of Vitamin D that I take weekly. Once I'm done with this after several weeks, I'm supposed to take a daily supplement with my multi-vitamin. My doctor said that it's especially common here in the northwest for deficiencies. She said I would feel better, but I haven't noticed any change yet. 

I WANT: to finish building our raised vegetable beds. I've still only got one - and that is full of tomatoes that are finally ripening. I have room for 2 more in our space. Lobster started the 2nd bed around Mother's Day, but got frustrated with my design and quit. I have since dug out the other sides to make it level, but the boys have "helped" in the digging. That's what we get for leaving the project unfinished, I guess. It is, seriously, the story of our lives. So many unfinished projects.

I AM XCEPTIONALLY: pleased with my window boxes. They could use some more red Geraniums, but I love the way they look.
Next year, I will use white Sweet Allyssum instead of the Lobelia. Although when the weather is too cold for most of the annuals in the box, I'm going to replant the Lobelia into my flower beds.

I am Xceptionally happy with the Sweet Potato Vine. It looks so lush and although I had originally wanted the chartreuse variety, this purple looks great! Maybe next Spring, I'll do some of both - that would be a nice contrast with the red Geraniums.

I YELL: much less lately. Having our home be a "No Yell" zone is something I have been working toward and I admit it's a struggle. It really becomes a habit - and a hard one to break. Once I've got it, hopefully, the boys will follow suit. My "tone" is next on the list.

I ZONE: out if I sit down for too long in the late afternoons. There are some days I can't stay still too long, or I literally cannot keep my eyes open. I really didn't think I would turn into an old lady quite so soon.  Luckily, now, the boys are getting home from school at that time, so I keep pretty busy.

Whew! I'm so glad those ABC's are done. It took me much longer than I had planned and some of the letters were downright tricky.

Have a great week, all!


  1. Yay for a post. Lately I've been wishing for the instruction manual too. How do I 'force' my older kids into showing respect...for us? I understand why they don't feel it, but can't faking it work?

  2. Your boys are lucky to have you.

  3. I have to use a 16 oz. cup because I feel like I go through an 8 oz. too quickly and I'm constantly filling it up. This way only have to fill up my 16 oz. bottle eight times. A entire gallon of water is a lot of water!