Prisoner

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I love my sons and I love my job. Nothing is better than getting to play with kids and cuddle a baby all day! But I am a prisoner in my own home. I am a prisoner in my own life. I might as well be writing this from prison. The only difference is that they actually get to interact with other adults on a daily basis, whereas I am stuck with all children under five 24/7.

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I am very lonely. It has become physically painful. I’ve never had much depression, but lately everything is horrible. Everything makes me cry. I can’t be happy about hardly anything. Last weekend I threw a small birthday party for my best friend; after everyone left, I basically just sat on the couch and bawled my eyes out. Yesterday we had JI’s birthday party, which was huge with lots of festivities and people, tons of gifts, food, and lots of fun. I went to bed early, I slept for a long time with a few interruptions, and then my bio mom left this afternoon. Now I want to cry again. Tomorrow it’s back to the grind, trying to make kids listen to me and cleaning up bodily fluids.

wp-1468790378293.jpgWhat is my problem? Nothing is wrong in my life. The stress of dealing with Poke and going through this divorce isn’t that bad. It’s mostly annoying. My income is good right now. My health is fine. My kids are healthy. My family is fine. Nothing is WRONG. This can’t all be caused by loneliness, can it?

I was dating a guy for about three weeks when he suddenly disappeared. He literally texted me that he wanted to come over and I never heard from him again. That former marine who I have been talking to off and on all year randomly contacts me every six weeks or so. I lost a good friend over a guy who lied to me and lied to her. I hardly get to see my best friend because she has a boyfriend now and only wants to spend time with him. Even when we do hang out, he comes along and they leave early. I like him, I like to hang out with him, but I miss my best friend.

wp-1468790431696.jpgI truly feel like I am completely alone. I have lots of friends online, but what kind of life is that, living online only? There’s no guarantee that they care about me. I know some of them do, but others, who knows. Guys online tell me how beautiful I am, they want to send me dick pics, they call me “baby” and other lovely pet names. How do I know I’m not one in a long line of girls? I don’t. So it’s hard for me to be completely open when talking to these guys online. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t have the option of joining any kind of groups because I don’t have anyone to watch my kids. I do have a babysitter, but she is young and I don’t want to keep her out late… pshh, as if I have any dates anyway. Yeah right. I guess I’m just feeling like a big fat loser right now, and everything that is happening keeps reinforcing those feelings. Are there any good books on how to simply live with loneliness?

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Parenting my Autistic Child

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I had planned to post a few times a week now that summer vacation has started, but then, as always, time got away from me. It’s good though, being busy. I lost three of my clients and gained two, but I only had a week off in between, so everything I planned to do with only three kids had to be altered to involve five kids – two of whom are autistic. I’ll manage though, because I have no other choice. I just keep working and saving my money for the inevitable day when the house gets taken away.

Today I want to talk about parenting an autistic child. As I mentioned in my last post, itwp-1465917157645.jpg amazes me how many levels/severities/etc of autism I’ve encountered. My friend has two autistic kids and they’re different from each other, JI is different from them, and kids I’ve met in therapy/meetings/classes are different from them and each other. For me, that is the most frustrating part of being an autism parent. Yes, our kids all share certain traits, but even those traits aren’t necessarily addressed in the same way from child to child. I think that is one of the reasons why this past school year was so difficult.

I know exactly how to parent JI. We went through our rough patches, horrific patches, sad and frustrating patches. Now I know what I’m doing, how to handle his meltdowns, tantrums, fears, etc. Obviously I can’t predict everything or solve every problem, but I am really REALLY wp-1465917063884.jpgfucking amazing when it comes to parenting my child. It is so upsetting and frustrating when teachers or family members want to do things that I know will cause problems. It is absolutely infuriating when they refuse to follow my suggestions or directions. I understand that the educators’ job is to push JI, to teach him how to behave in certain situations, and that they are the experts at their job. It hurts me when he gets in trouble at school just for being himself, for doing things he can’t yet control, like lashing out physically. They say it’s not true, but I know he was labelled “The Bad Kid” in his class last year. I could tell by the way they talked about him, the way they dealt with him, the punishments and discipline he received.

If JI doesn’t want to do something, there are consequences. I utilize the amazing and wonderful 1-2-3 Magic system, and it works if you are committed to it – not gonna lie, it fails if you fail at keeping strong! You must use the system the right way, every time. With JI, there is no negotiating, there are no “threats”, just warning and then consequence. If he does something absolutely deplorable, such as intentionally injure someone, then he does get a more severe consequence. Unlike school, however, he does have the option to earn his things back. I make sure to recognize when he’s done something great, so that he doesn’t feel like he’s being “bad” all the time. I have to admit though, I have lost my shit on him more than once, because I’m a human being. It gets to be a lot, caring for five or six kids for 10 hours a day, and rarely having a moment alone from children. JI and I had a blow up the other day where I just lost it and yelled “Why does everything have to be a fight with you?!” and proceeded to list all the things he fought with me about that day. Not my best parenting moment by far, but I think it actually made him realize that sometimes it is easier to just go with the flow rather than resist so much. A huge part of his diagnosis was the rigidity, and it is by far our biggest obstacle to typical childhood.

I am hoping that kindergarten will be a new fresh start. JI says he hates school because hewp-1465916954013.jpg hates friends and hates to learn. I reminded him that he is learning every day, by asking questions, watching videos, helping me do things around the house, etc. He said that I
should just teach him at home! Well, homeschooling would be amazing if I didn’t have four or five other kids here to deal with, and if I could actually find a way to get JI to socialize in groups of peers. I guess we’ll just keep praying that the kindergarten plan works out.

Bio Family Update

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The past two and a half months have been a whirlwind of emotions for myself, my family, and my bio family. Mostly they have been positive emotions, except on the side of my (adoptive) family. I have continued to build a relationship with my bio family, and I have never been happier in my whole life. I finally feel like I am somewhere I belong naturally, rather than somewhere I am forcing myself to try to fit in.

Back in May, the weekend after Memorial Day, with the help of my siblings, I drove to Akron on a very stormy Sunday afternoon and surprised my bio mom. I met BD, his wife, and Texas at the restaurant around 3pm, and Sissy brought mom once they texted her to say I’d arrived. I could see out the window into the parking lot, and when I saw them walking in, I thought I would faint. Sissy walked over to our table, with bio mom in tow. She stopped, and bio mom kinda looked around like “Why did you stop?” Then she looked over at the table, it took a second for her to realize who I was, and then she put her hand over her mouth and just said “Oh my god oh my god oh my god” over and over. I got up and gave her a hug, and it felt so comfortable, and in the back of my mind I was thinking that the last time she gave me a hug was 33 years ago. I wondered what it felt like for her, and I imagine she must have been thinking the same thing.

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Me and Bio Mom

We had a lovely meal, Mexican of course, and a good time catching up. We were at the restaurant for about three hours! Afterwards we went and visited my bio grandma (Gigi). She was very surprised to see bio mom, and even more surprised to see me. It was an interesting visit, to say the least. Finally we went back to bio mom’s place. We sat and talked with her housemate, talked about everything under the sun, and I finally left around 10:30pm. It was the craziest twelve hours in my recent history! Ranked right up there with Squeaks being born ahead of schedule!

Because they weren’t able to come to the baptism, bio mom arranged for the boys and me to go up to Akron for the 4th of July weekend. She came down and picked us up on Friday afternoon, Poke came up on Sunday afternoon, and we headed home on Monday.

Friday we got delicious authentic pizza, and Sissy brought her girlfriend to the hotel to meet us. JI acted like a maniac after the car ride, and bounced all over the place. After a couple of hours they left, and somehow I got the boys to sleep! Saturday was the big day – meeting ALL the family. Bio mom picked us up in the afternoon, and we headed to my aunt’s house.

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Clockwise from top left: Texas, Bio Mom, Sissy and Me, Gigi

Have I told you guys yet how big my bio family is?! It is HUGE. My family always consisted of me, Scrod, and my parents. My dad has two brothers, one who was never married, and one who passed away, but his wife still comes to family holidays. I have no cousins. My grandfathers died in 1977 and 1981, and my grandmothers passed in 2001 and 2007. So for the past few years, it’s only been the four of us plus Poke and the kid(s), and occasionally my uncle and aunt. That’s it. My bio family? Completely different! My bio mom has three sisters and a brother, and I have nine cousins. There’s also four spouses/fiances with the cousins, three of bio mom’s siblings are married, and bio mom’s mom is still alive as well. Not everyone was at the 4th of July party, but it was very much a culture shock.

Despite being in a totally new situation with a whole crowd of people I’d never met (except my sibs, bio mom, and Gigi), it was awesome. From the very first minute, I was completely at ease. My bio aunt was worried about JI, the first wee little kid to be around in a while, getting into trouble or in a dangerous situation. They live on a big plot of land with lots of holes and trees and rocks and dog piles, so I got it. JI had a blast though, playing with my youngest cousin, who is twelve. They chased each other around, they chased the dogs, and thankfully they stayed out of trouble! Everyone wanted to hold Squeaks, but he was mostly comfortable in bio mom’s arms. He didn’t even want me! While JI ran around like a crazy man and Squeaks charmed everyone with his flirty faces, us older kids played cornhole, drank beers, and ate tons of delicious picnic food (which just happens to be my favorite food to eat in the summer!). It was the perfect day, culminating in a huge bonfire at the end of the night. So happy!

Sunday Poke came up around 1pm, and we met up with bio mom for some different authentic Italian food…. unfortunately the restaurant was closed due to the holiday, so we ended up at a Chinese buffet. Holy cow, it was great! Poke and I used to take JI to all these different Chinese buffets around Columbus, but most of them have closed or the quality has gone way down. The one at Chapel Hill was so so so good – quality food and lots of variety. I could have stayed another hour! Afterwards bio mom drove us around North Hill, the section of Akron where she and my siblings grew up. I got to see the house where I lived for a month after I was born, the houses where my siblings lived/live currently, and a few other landmarks, including the hospital where I was born. It was really special, knowing that all these spots had a real meaning in my life.

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My brother is the one in all black

When we got back to the hotel, JI and I went in the pool for a little bit, and then we all headed out to watch BD’s volleyball championship games. He is really good! I never thought volleyball was interesting until I watched these amateur (professionals?) play. It was fast paced and really fun. Even JI, who hates sitting still, sat and watched most of it! We went simple and hit up Applebee’s for dinner, which was actually pretty tasty! I don’t think we’ve eaten at Applebee’s for about two years and their menu has changed a lot.

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The boys at the hotel

Monday was checkout day, and I was up by 9:30am to get everything ready to go. Poke loaded up the van while I got the kids ready. Bio mom came by around 10:30am to check us out, and then we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Poke had never been to a Cracker Barrel before! I love it; one of my favorite breakfast places. JI was a bit salty for some reason, and actually broke a plate when he pushed it off the table. I had to draw on all my woo-sah and calmly implement the 1-2-3 Magic system that we’ve been using. After a four minute time out, JI was back in business and ended up being a lot better after that. Kids are so weird sometimes.

I was sad to leave, but I had such an amazing time that I know I will be able to get through the next few weeks until I see my bio family again. JI’s birthday is coming up in mid July, so we will probably head up there to celebrate. I can’t wait!

I’m Still Here, I Promise!

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Oh my gosh you guys, these have been the busiest two weeks I’ve had in awhile. Squeaks was baptised on the 28th, so I basically spent the whole week leading up to that preparing for the celebration, and the week before that was spent trying to get big projects in the house and yard taken care of so that I wasn’t doing them at the last minute. My backyard and house look great!

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I succeeded in pulling most of the weeds, yay, at least enough to lie down river pebbles and make a nice walkway in the back and fill in the bed in front of our large picture window. I also got the patio furniture painted and arranged, the sidewalk around the shed cleared of weeds, and the front sidewalk cleared of weeds. Inside I rearranged the living room so that the vents are cleared for the air conditioning to blow cold air out (instead of into the bottom of the couch and/or desk!), and cleared a lot of random junk off the kitchen counters and out of the drawers. Thinking back on everything I’ve done around here the past two weeks, I don’t know HOW I got it all done! I think I channeled my inner Wonder Woman.

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In between all of that, we hit up the zoo a few times, played in the pool, and I bought a new bathing suit. I had a one-piece that fits okay, but it’s a halter top with an underwire and it is impossible – literally – for me to get it on by myself unless I’m completely bone dry. If there is one drop of sweat on my skin, it’s over. I went to Lane Bryant and Torrid looking for a plus-size two piece; LB’s were way expensive and not flattering. Luckily I found these top and bottom separates on clearance at Torrid. Yahoo! I’m not afraid of a two piece, but I am afraid of not getting into or out of my bathing suit hahaha this sweet little number calms that fear! Squeaks had his four month checkup and has grown immensely, and even started eating real food – so far, just cereal and spinach, but he loves it. I promise, in the photo, he’s crying because I stopped to take a picture!

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The baptism was a wonderful ceremony. We are Catholic, so it was a bit involved, but it went quickly. I ended up having about thirty people at my house (950 sq ft, thank you!) including family and friends. Overall, everything went off without a hitch and now Squeaks is officially in the Catholic Club.

Woo boy, this summer is going to be a crazy one!

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Trip to the Zoo!

Backyard Waterpark!

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Potential trigger: childhood drowning

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So, I didn’t just make up that 72 item list, I’m actually going to try and check off all those summer fun ideas! I’ve already made ice cream, popsicles, drawn a road on the driveway, had a yard sale, gone to the zoo three times (we go about once a week!), and hit up the Ohio Historical Society. It’s been super hot here lately, therefore I’ve also had JI in the pool just about every day. In fact, we’ve been using the pool way more than last year, and in order to save a little money on water, I went and bought chlorine and a test kit. This way we don’t have to dump out 500+ gallons every single day!

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JI likes to have the slide in  the pool, and it’s always very hot to the touch, so I rigged up the hose and sprayer to shower water down on the slide and cool it off, as well as make it nice and slippery to fly into the pool. When he’s not in the pool, JI is flying off the slide and down the slip’n’slide. The only downside to all this outdoor waterplay is that I can’t leave him alone. It would be great if I could safely leave him out there to play while I did chores or tended to Squeaks! I’ve heard way too many tragic stories about kids drowning in backyard pools, and even though the water isn’t deep and I know CPR, I don’t want to take that chance.

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72 Fun Ideas for Summer!

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Outdoor Water Fun

  1. Backyard Waterpark – Set up a slide into the kiddie pool and turn on the sprinkler, hang a sprinkler from a tree and drive cars through it, your imagination is the limit!
  2. Driveway water darts – Draw a bullseye on your driveway with chalk and use wet sponges as the darts
  3. Waterballoon or water gun fight – Once you get hit, you’re out! Team with the last man standing wins!
  4. Ice block – Fill a container (I use a plastic shoebox sized one from the dollar store) with water, food coloring, and trinkets like dinosaurs or cars or whatever tiny things you have lying around. Freeze and let the kids go at it until all the tiny things are free!
  5. Amp up the slip’n’slide – Dish soap, shaving cream, no oil!
  6. Car wash – Do a real car wash with your neighborhood, or set up a kids’ car wash with sprinklers/hoses and dish soap.

Outdoor Fun

  1. Plant seeds – You can get a packet of seeds for less than $1 in some places; plant in a clear cup to see how the roots grow!
  2. Play ice cream – Empty a can of shaving cream into a container and freeze until hard. It melts quickly and has a weird texture. You can add colored rice to be the sprinkles! Give the kids scoops, bowls, etc. Not for consumption!
  3. Salt sculptures – Combine 3c salt + 3T water, mix until every grain of salt has gotten damp (add more water if necessary), dry for at least 18 hours. Use sand castle molds, deep bowls, etc. to build shapes.
  4. Find a new playground – Pick a random park from the map, or stop at one that you always drive by but have never visited.
  5. Picnic – Pack sandwiches, tea, and cookies. Find a cozy spot away from the ants.
  6. Bonfire – Roast hot dogs, make s’mores, tell stories, and enjoy the evening.
  7. Yard sale – Gather up all the stuff you haven’t touched in the past year (or longer!) and sell it at low-low prices. Buy something for the family with the proceeds! Donate everything that doesn’t sell – once it’s outta the house, don’t let it back in!
  8. Lemonade stand – Make homemade lemonade and give the proceeds to a children’s charity.
  9. Feed the ducksBut don’t feed them bread! Get some duck food from your local pet store, or opt for veggie trimmings, cracked corn, rice, oats, or thawed frozen peas.
  10. Go camping in the backyard – Build a tent from branches and a sheet, or just rough it under the stars.
  11. Backyard obstacle course – Jump over the rock! Go through the sprinkler! Hop on one foot down the path! The possibilities are endless.
  12. Draw roads on the driveway with chalk – Make a huge street for bikes and trikes, or make tiny streets for toy cars.
  13. Flashlight tag – My version: Everyone has a flashlight. One person is IT, and has their light on – everyone else has theirs off. IT counts to 50 or 100. Everyone else hides. IT has to find each person and shine the light on them. Once you have been found, you join the IT team and turn your light on, and you find the rest of the people. Last person to be found is the next IT.
  14. ABC treasure hunt – Make an alphabetical list of things to find in nature or in the house or backyard.
  15. Texture/nature rubbings (please, no gravestones) – All you need is paper and a few old crayons!
  16. See the fireworks – Lots of towns have them near the 4th of July, and you could easily see fireworks every day for a week!
  17. See a concert in the park – Many places offer free or very cheap concerts in the evening or on weekend afternoons.
  18. DIY projector for outside movie night – Add popcorn, a blanket, and some wine for the parents!

In the Kitchen

  1. Bake cookies and make ice cream sandwiches – Homemade chocolate chip + vanilla ice cream.
  2. Learn a new recipe – Let the kids go through your cookbooks and pick something fun.
  3. Make popsicles – You can simply put juice in a popsicle mold, or get a little funkier with fresh fruit combos!
  4. Homemade pizza – Buy a premade shell or dough to cook, or make your own. Top with anything you can think of.
  5. Homemade Ice Cream – It’s way easier than you think, and healthier than the store bought stuff (even if you make it with candies and chocolate and all that stuff!)
  6. Visit an ethnic grocery store – Make dinner from the interesting things you find there.
  7. Make smoothies – Take all your fruit, mix it up with milk and yogurt, and bam! Smoothies.
  8. Root beer floats – A classic summer treat! Invite your grandparents over and have them tell you stories about their childhood while you sip on a brown cow.

Places to Go

  1. Summer reading club – Most local libraries have a program for school-age kids and grown-ups too.
  2. Museum – Art, History, Science, etc.
  3. Visit farmer’s market – Usually on weekend mornings, Google “your town name + farmer’s markets”
  4. State Fair – The Ohio State Fair is HUGE and super family friendly! Check out a county fair if the state one is too far away.
  5. Zoo – If you have a large family and no membership, it can be pricey. Try to make it less expensive by packing snacks and drinks for everyone, and make sure you wear good shoes!
  6. Mini golf – Winner gets an ice cream sundae! Losers get ice cream cones! Hehehe 🙂
  7. Amusement park – The cheaper, the better! We have a few tiny parks here in Ohio, and in some places those carnivals in parking lots still show up from time to time.
  8. Waterpark – This can be an investment, just like the zoo. Once again, bring everything you need (towels, snacks, etc.) and try to resist all the souvenirs and extras!
  9. Local pool – Our parks & rec has a system of pools that only costs $1/person admission. Check your local community boards to see if there’s anything similar in your area! Sometimes the local pool is only $3-6/person, which isn’t too bad anyway.
  10. State park – There are so many parks to visit in our country. Try to see all the ones close to you!
  11. 200 mile road trip – For us, this would be Columbus to Cleveland or Columbus to Cincinnati, or Columbus to Pittsburgh. Go for a day or overnight, and check out how the other half lives!
  12. Camping in nature – As in real nature, not the backyard 😉 Get a cabin, rent an RV, pitch a tent at a campground.
  13. Do a kids’ workshop or class – Lowe’s, Home Depot, and local rec centers always have interesting things happening for people of all ages.
  14. Go to a baseball game – Minor League, Major League, Little League, Geezer League… tons of baseball in the summer!
  15. Go to the dollar theater – See that movie you wanted to see back in January!
  16. Go bowling – Especially good for a rainy day.

Bring Your Friends

  1. Talent show – Everyone can showcase their special or hidden talents.
  2. Visit residents at a nursing home – Put on a show with karaoke, play the piano or another instrument if you know how, or just sit and visit and let them enjoy your company.
  3. Wii Sports Challenge – Who in the family is best at Wii bowling? Which one of your friends can kick butt at Wii Tennis?
  4. Scary story scare-off (or silly stories for little ones!) – Tell the scariest or silliest story you can think of! Or, one person can start the story and each person adds two lines. Go around the circle until someone says “BOO!”
  5. Ice Cream Social – Invite your friends and have everyone bring one ingredient to make sundaes. Syrups, berries, sprinkles, jimmies, nuts (if you can), cones, waffles, anything you can think that might be good with ice cream!
  6. Volunteer – At an animal shelter, soup kitchen, YMCA/YWCA, food pantry, etc.
  7. Friends parade – Get everyone together and decorate your bikes, trikes, and other ride-on toys. Go through the neighborhood playing music on your mp3 player (back in my day, I had an FM radio on blast!)

Indoor Fun

  1. Funny dice – Make two large dice out of styrofoam blocks (get them at a craft or hobby store). On one die write verb phrases such as “play like”, “dance like”, “jump like”, etc. and on the other die write silly nouns like “a dog”, “an alien”, “a purple people eater”, etc.
  2. Streets on the carpet – Use painter’s tape to map out a city on the rug for your toy cars.
  3. Fingerpainting in the tub – Buy soap paint, or make your own with liquid food coloring and white liquid soap (add a few drops of coloring, stir up, enjoy!)
  4. Learn a skill – Bike riding, rollerskating, tying shoes, etc.
  5. Learn sign language – It is easier than you think! There are tons of videos on YouTube, or check out some books from the library.
  6. Build a bird house – Out of scrap wood, or popsicle sticks, or half a 2-litre, or any crazy thing you can find online!
  7. Sock puppets – Make them the kind that eat dust! Use old socks and draw on faces – if you want to get fancy you can add yarn hair and googly eyes.
  8. Write a book (or comic strip!) – Make your family the stars of your book.
  9. Castle/playhouse/fort out of cardboard boxes – The sky is the limit on this one. Give the kids all the art supplies and let their imaginations run wild.
  10. Pirate Day – Talk, dress, eat, and otherwise act just like a pirate all day. Rum for the parents after your little mateys hit the hay.
  11. Make bird feeders – Use pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed. Hang them near the windows so you can watch your new feathered friends feast!
  12. Establish family game night – Pick a night and time that everyone can come together. Make a special snack, and get those old board games out of the closet!
  13. Yarn lasers – String yarn between four chairs or down the hallway in a laser pattern. Touch the yarn and you have to go back to the starting line!
  14. Giant board game (could also be an outdoor activity!) – Make letter tiles out of cut up boxes and play Scrabble, spray paint Twister on your lawn, make a huge hopscotch with painter’s tape, etc.
  15. Dance party – Kids are sitting are BORED, turn on the music and start busting out those moves!
  16. Life size paper dolls – Have the kids lie on large sheets of newsprint or butcher paper and trace around them. They get to color in their faces, clothing, hair, etc.
  17. Pet rocks – Collect the craziest looking rocks from outside. Paint them and decorate them, then name them!

Summertime Rules

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There are quite a few articles going around right now about how parents need to let their kid have the “1970s Summer”, and I could not agree more! I remember summer being an amazing time of playing outside with my friends, riding my bike all over the neighborhood, creating adventures and fantastical stories, putting on plays and using my imagination in the most amazing ways. I had a computer, and I would use it on rainy days, and we had a TV, and sometimes I just wanted to stay inside and watch TV all day or play with my Barbies for hours. Regardless, my mom and dad basically did little to entertain me. My dad would take me to the park after he got home from work or on weekends, but otherwise I was left to my own devices. When my brother Scrod was old enough to play, they had a harder time with him because he wanted to do EVERY SINGLE SPORT in the world (except soccer), so they had to run him all over the place and go to practices and games and all that crap. Not me!

But I digress.

Having a four year old is a little different from having a five year old, and having a kid period is very different from it was in the 70s, 80s, and even 90s. These days everyone is in everyone’s business, and not in the good way like it was back then. Now, instead of the village helping raise the children and looking out for each other’s families, the village is poised ready to attack when they see another parent doing something they disagree with. You have probably heard recently about somwpid-20150530_121405_20150602000413349.jpge parents who ran into trouble with the law – twice! – because they let their kids walk home from school and go to the park alone. The kids were ten and almost seven years old! If I thought he’d come back at a reasonable time and could pay attention to traffic, I’d have no problem sending JI to the park by himself. He’s just a bit too young and irresponsible this summer – maybe next summer.

My point is, though, and I think the point of the other parents writing these articles, is that we really need to disengage from the idea that children run our world or our lives. I have a few more posts coming up that will be discussing this subject, and I look forward to discussing with my readers about the subject. Back in my childhood, my parents were #1 – not me. Yes, I got everything I needed and practically everything I wanted. I was not neglected in any way. But my parents didn’t bow to me, they didn’t hover over me to ensure success, they didn’t pave the way with pillows so that I’d never get hurt. I had to take my lumps and learn my lessons just like they did. I don’t know when the shift occurred from family centric (ie, do what is good for all involved) to child centric (ie, make sure each child gets exactly what they want/need at all costs).

This brings me back to the idea of an 80s summer (I wasn’t alive in the 70s hehe), which is what I want for JI, and what I will be doing my best to accomplish for him. Yes, that statement sounds like I’m being child centric, but let me lay it out for you. I wpid-20150530_092849.jpgwill not be planning many activities. I will not be driving him to COSI, the Zoo, a hundred play-dates, museums, classes, etc. etc. etc. Yeah, we will probably go to the Zoo once or twice a week – because I LOVE the zoo and we have a membership and it is free. Sure, we will hit up COSI a couple of times every month, because we have a membership and it is free. I’m not going to go broke trying to entertain my child. I want him to get dirty. I’m going to let him eat lots of popsicles. I want him to get scraped knees and bruises because he is playing so hard. (Disclaimer: I don’t actually want my kid to get hurt! But if he does, it won’t be the end of the world.) The way he climbs without fear makes me worried that this might be the summer of a broken limb. I’m going to utilize The Bored Jar. I’m going to send him out in the morning after breakfast, let him in for lunch, send him back out until snack time, and then maybe I’ll sit him down for an activity. If I feel like it. I’m going to let him get sticky and filthy and have black bare feet. I want him to remember this summer as an amazing, awesome, wonderful time when he got to grow up and be a real boy instead of mommy’s baby.

But he’ll always be my baby, we all know that.

So the rules of this summer are as follows:

  1. No whining.
  2. No begging.
  3. If it looks fun, do it.
  4. If you get hurt, tell me.
  5. Be brave.
  6. Be strong.
  7. Use your brain.
  8. Use your muscles.
  9. Drink from the hose.
  10. Have fun!
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This is what adults do for fun in the summertime…