Storm Clouds Coming

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Photo of Hurricane Rita used by permission from wikipedia/commons

My summer hiatus was more that just a hiatus it seems.   Sorry about that!

The tantrums have some what subsided and I am not sure why and have decided that it must be the calm before the storm.  I feel sure Hurricane Ten Year Old will arrive as a category 5!

I don’t even have a tantrum to talk about today.  I do, however, have the dread of her growing older.  I realized this over the Thanksgiving vacation while peeking at her Christmas list.  It read:

  • IPhone Six, with case
  • an MP3 player
  • earrings
  • a bikini
  • lip balm
  • a laptop
  • pink earbuds
  • hand sanitizer

What I realized is that my ten year old, deep down, just really wants to be an actual teenager for Christmas.  Not only can I NOT give her that, but I wouldn’t want to.  It’s funny how, when your child is very small, you look forward to a slightly more independent little person because you’re so damn tired all the time.

All you want is for this little infant to be able to tie her shoes, pour her own cereal and help you out!  Then it happens.  Soon, even more happens. You’re talking about menstrual cycles, buying tween size sanitary products, and listening to talk about wanting to be a YouTube sensation.

You’re setting parental controls on the computer, reminding them about internet privacy, and you just want it all to slow down!   You want to replace the desire for electronics for blocks and puzzles.

I want my infant girl back because the time really did go by too fast, and I’m not ready the tantrums that will come when the hurricane arrives.

 

Nothing Funny About the #@!@## STAAR

Exam

The tantrums of late are all brought to you by the STAAR test.   For those of you who don’t know what that is, imagine your brain being forced to do something it’s not developmentally ready to do, and then you feel completely stupid because of your brain will not do what you want it to do.  That is the STAAR test.

When my daughter was 8 months old, she could mimic patterns I beat on the little drum we had.  She had an ear for patterns and music, and was very verbal even though she couldn’t use actual words.   At the age of 5, she could recreate Van Gogh’s Starry Night with guidance from her art teacher, Miss Alma.

She’s now 9 years old and in the 3rd grade.  She can read on a 5th grade level, but no longer likes to read.  My little girl who could add and subtract without even thinking at age 3 and a half completely hates school.

Homeschool is not a viable answer because I have to work!  I can’t afford private school, and so we are left with little choice.    Without consulting actual brain scientists or child development experts, the amazing folks on the SBOE in Austin made the standards even more rigorous.  And the wizards at Pearson Learning didn’t consult with any actual brain scientists either.  Let me say right here, I’m for learning.  I’m a life long learner!  I’m for teachers!  I used to be one, and I really do like my daughter’s teachers.  I’ve liked all of her teachers, and I know they are doing their best.  What I don’t like is having kids being tested in a way that is inappropriate for their age!  I don’t like that my child hates school!  I don’t like that children are sitting in school feeling dumb and inadequate when they aren’t.

What’s happening to kids now is heart breaking!   The educational system in the US is not doing it’s job, and the answer isn’t more testing and harder standards that the children’s brains literally can’t comprehend because their brains aren’t ready for what they are learning yet.

I’m all for assessing a child to see where they are, and what the next step is.  I used to give short informal assessments all the time, and as a parent, I still do.  Assessments are valuable tools when used correctly.  The STAAR test is NOT one of these tools.  It has to stop before we have a generation of children who completely shut down and hate learning.

If you have a suggestion, or a rant, please leave it in the comment section.

 

Nothing is ever easy for me in this house!

You know these window cleaners aren't having ridiculous tantrums!
You know these window cleaners aren’t having ridiculous tantrums!

Todays tantrum is brought to you by chores.  My 9 year old wanted to wash the windows, and I’m not about to turn down anyone who wants to wash my windows.  But do you know what you get when you have an overtired kid, some window cleaner and a roll of paper towels, and then add in some blinds that won’t stay up for her?

You get a tantrum!   And not just a normal tantrum.  You get a full blown Remember-Being-Three-Tantrum.

Since I was in the kitchen doing my own chore, I didn’t realize she was having trouble until I heard the blood curdling scream from the den.   “STUPID blinds!”   I go into the den and quickly and easily adjust them and then she just starts crying, “Why is everything so easy for you!   Why do you do this so easy?  It’s not fair!   Nothing is ever easy for me in this house!”  Then she runs to her room crying.

And so I stand there and walk back into the kitchen and finish the dishes.  And that’s when the two year old labrador runs and jumps on my daughter’s bed.  All the dog wants is to love on her and make her feel better.  She wants to play.  Yet, this makes my child cry even harder and then she screams, “I hate you Lucy!   Get away from me!”   She doesn’t use the OFF command though,  and so Lucy just stays on the bed.

And that’s when I lose it.  Not for the tantrum, but because she didn’t use a command and is getting angry at the dog.

When my little rant was over,  I just wanted to grab the keys and drive to Target and just walk around aimlessly looking at home decor.  I wanted to just drive somewhere.  Anywhere.  I dreamt of fruity drinks with umbrellas, going to concerts, and being able to do what I wanted when I wanted.   I took a deep breath and began to count because I wanted to tell her to get a grip.  I wanted to tell her that things were easy for me because I’m decades older than she is and that she needed to just suck it up!  That’s what I wanted to tell her, but instead I just kept breathing and counting because the tears were starting to form.  Nothing is ever really easy for me in this house either.

Skinny Jeans are from Hell

None of this material should be made into skinny jeans!
None of this material should be made into skinny jeans!

Skinny jeans, I’ve determined will be the death of me.  They are what makes my life a living hell every morning.   My daughter used to be a kid who didn’t care what she wore.  She’d wear red, white and blue stripped shirts with pink flower pants and have three ponytails.  It just didn’t matter.  She was three then, and she marched to the beat of a different drummer when it came to her sense of fashion.  Nothing matched.  Ever!  One time she wore her Halloween costume for a week.

I miss those days.

Now, I deal with tantrums over skinny jeans.  Imagine my surprise when I felt the swoosh of the jeans fly over my head while I was walking down the hall from her bedroom followed by a screaming, crying fit over the fact I wouldn’t buy her more jeans.  You see, she has two pair of skinny jeans, and another pair that’s just “normal.”  And by normal, I mean absolutely hideous.  And by hideous, I mean jeans that aren’t “skinny.”

Somehow, my 9 year old has decided that all pants that she owns need to be “skinny.”   This is because all of her friends only have skinny jeans, and that she is the only girl in her entire grade who owns a single pair of non-skinny jeans!   Imagine the horror?  I’m ruining her life one pair of jeans at a time.

What I wanted to do was yell at her and invent some imaginative curse words that really conveyed what I was feeling at that moment.  I wanted to tell her that I just could care less about her jeans.  But I just watched her as she cried and cried while kicking her non-skinny jeans all over her room and then lifted them up and put them on and yelled, “See?   They don’t fit!   They are too small!!!!  I hate these jeans!  I hate my life, and these stupid not skinny jeans!”

I looked at her and squinted, adjusted my glasses, and replied, “But you’ve just pulled up your jeans without even unzipping them.  If anything you need a belt.  You’ve grown a bit, I think. But, they still fit!”

When did such young kids start caring so much about clothes?    I asked her why she didn’t tell me all this while we were buying her jeans at the start of this school year, and her only reply was, “Well, I just didn’t know I’d like skinny jeans this much!”

We play this little game now.  She hides the non-skinny jeans in the donation pile, and I drag them out while she’s sleeping and put them back in her closet.  They still fit her, after all!

Who’s in Control?

Today I have a treat for you in the form of comedian and writer Jeff Kreisler.  I found this little gem while I was reading his blog, and I think you’ll really enjoy it.  The whole video is brilliant satire, but what I think is the greatest thing we need to remember about parenting begins around 1:06.

See folks?   It’s all about who is in control!!!   And our kids know this.    Luckily, I’m a hideous beast of a parent and I learned the art of no-gotiating along time ago.

As Jeff says in his video and blog, you have to learn how to GET TO NO!  And I mean, YOU get to no.  Not the kid because when your child gets to no, let the games begin because that’s when the battle for control begins, and you better win!  Believe me, it’s better to just cut them off after they start with, “Can I?”   Just say no.  You don’t have to hear the rest of it!   Just stand your hideous ground and don’t even listen if you don’t feel like it.  You want to say No regardless, so just do it!

**This video was posted with permission by Jeff Kreisler.    Please check out Jeff’s blog here, as well as another site he works on called The Final Edition.

My Basil Moment

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It’s not always with my daughter when I’m my most crazy. On the first day of my 9 year old’s grounding of all things electronic, I had to venture to Benbrook to pick something up while she was at school. And by Benbrook, I mean the other side of the free world.

Since I had no idea where exactly I was going I had to use my GPS, and special thanks to the complete failure of my cell provider, my GPS kept going out on me. It went out right before I was to exit the toll road so I missed the exit. This resulted in my paying more fines. So thanks for that! I won’t mention any names, but it rhymes with B-Smobile.

I finally get to the general area where Benbrook is only to find out that now there is more of it. The expansion of this sleepy town has exploded. I passed a street called Calf Pasture (no..I really did!) only to find that there is no longer any cows. Or pastures. They’ve all been paved over and there are houses now.

As I’m on this windy road that I was quite sure would take me somewhere to Austin if I wasn’t careful, my GPS had failed again as I went over a hill and the road dead ended. Not only did it dead end, but it ended at a railroad track. That in of itself isn’t a bad thing. However, as I sat there looking at the railroad track I realized it had no desire to get out of my way.  I had no idea how to get to where I needed to go.

I had no paper maps since I let my daughter draw on them when she was 4. I didn’t print anything from Map Quest. I was stuck, and that’s when I had my tantrum.

It looked something like this:

It was not my proudest moment, and I’m sure my phone really wasn’t bothered.  However, I felt better.  While I’m certain my tantrum didn’t make the train move, I’d like to think it did because the train moved right after and I was able to get on my way.  I finally found the house I was looking for.

Homework!

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My daughter doesn’t realize this, but I’ve actually been torturing her with homework since she was about three. Sure it looked different and it was a lot more fun, but it was still technically homework. Every time I played with her, it was secretly homework time. All those bed time stories? Those were homework, too.

However, it was while she was in kindergarten when I realized that homework would be a complete pain in the ass.  She proclaimed to me one day while I went all Reading Specialist on her that I was her mom, not her teacher.

Fast forward to 3rd grade and I have to now assert all my hideousness in our homework routine.   That’s the key folks.  If you want to be a complete horrible monster when it comes to homework you CANNOT under any circumstances let them do the following:

  • Turn on the TV
  • Go to their room
  • Look at your phone

I know that a lot of you are thinking that the TV is background noise.  WRONG!   It’s not.  Not when you’re a child who hasn’t learned how to filter out things while doing something tedious.   And really, who can filter things out like that?   When I’m paying bills or doing something else I don’t want to do, will it help me if I’m watching Dr. Who?  Hell no it won’t!   I’ll completely miss my deadline and just keep hitting play.   Mastercard can just wait.  What can’t wait in that instance is Ten looking all…well, Ten like.  (Sorry Non-Whovians.)   If I do this and I’m an adult who knows better, do you really think a child can tune out PBS?

I know what you’re thinking about number two on my list.   To be truly horrible and hideous you can’t even let them go to their room!   This is where they will trick you.   You’ll think that they are just going to be doing something helpful like feeding their fish, or putting their laundry away.  No.  Believe me when I say this, they will be sneaking some sort of electronics under their bedspread and try to hack into your wifi account to buy new games for their Nook.   Lucky for me, I don’t even know my wifi password!  If I don’t know it, you can bet my kid can’t figure that bad boy out!   This act will get you hated through dinner time, but trust me.  NO BEDROOM!

It shouldn’t be rocket science, but number three is very important.  If you’re distracted by your phone and fooling around with the monstrosity that is Facebook Messenger, your kid will see and, all of a sudden, will fake doing homework while you’re distracted.   Then you’ll check it later and realize it’s all wrong and then the real nastiness ensues.   My favorite homework tantrum this week was when she threatened to tear up her paper.  I shrugged and just said, “It’s your grade.”   She then defiantly slammed her paper on the table and told me I was hideous.

Heed my advice, please.  Save yourselves the headaches.   Have them come home, sit at the table, and get busy.   And rest assured, you WILL be hideous because they will cry and throw a complete 2 year old tantrum over missing their favorite show because they have science homework!

Just yesterday, it was proclaimed to all who would listen that I’m ruining my daughter’s life because I have her get her homework before we go ride bikes.