Monthly Archives: September 2010

I’m not sure how the birds and the bees do it, but African lions are pretty obvious

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As soon as the words slipped out of my mouth, I knew we were headed for a talk about the birds and the bees.  Call it mother’s instinct!

Kirstyn was hounding Cory to tell her how many kids he’s having.  Cory kept saying, “BATMAN!”  Typical guy.  I mean, I understood.  The boy’s only four!  Kids?  SO not happening right now.  Cory kept evading the kid question, and Kirstyn kept persisting.  “Cory!  Just TELL me!”

I was folding laundry, trying to ignore the conversation.  (Four days at the beach created a HUGE laundry mass!  I had to fold it.)  But I finally stepped in before Cory got bullied into predicting his paternal future.

“Kirstyn,” I said, “He can’t tell you how many kids he’s going to have.  He doesn’t know!”  I should’ve stopped right there.  But I didn’t.  “He might not even have kids.  Sometimes people can’t have kids even if they want to.”  That’s when I winced.

Sure enough.  Kirstyn said, “They should just climb on top of each other!”

Thanks, National Geographic.

I told Kirstyn, “Well, sometimes that doesn’t work.”

“No, I mean the mommies and daddies.”

“Right, the mommies and daddies.  Sometimes it doesn’t work even for the mommies and daddies.”

“You mean daddies climb on top of mommies?”

“Uh-huh.”

That was it!  She stopped asking questions, and I kept folding laundry.

This wasn’t the first sex talk we’ve had, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.  The National Geographic videos I bought at a yard sale have prompted a lot of conversations!  I wasn’t even thinking when I played that first video about African lions and hyenas.  Turned out to be our sex-ed for the year!  Not that it’s a bad thing.  I want my kids to feel free to ask me anything, and know I’ll answer as best I can.  I don’t want them to find out about sex from a friend or a book.

Oh, and Cory still thinks that wildebeests “poop out the baby.”  We’ll have to have a birthing explanation one of these days!

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My strike against schedules

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Schedules and I, we don’t get along.  Never have.  I enjoy nothing more detailed than: wake up, drink coffee, work my way through the day, check a few things off the “to do” list, and go to bed.

Anyone else?  Am I all alone?

I have friends who seem to plan out every single minute of the day.  (An exaggeration, I know.  Maybe.)  And accomplish all goals!  And stick to their schedule!  I really admire these people.  I also know people who have more or less told me I need to stick to a schedule; that a schedule will solve the chaos and make my life easier.

Sigh.  More guilt.

Before I got married, I had huge scheduling plans.  You know, like laundry on Monday?  Only?  Haha!  I’d have a huge, stinky monster in my house if I let laundry pile up for a whole week.  And I planned on keeping my house spotless by cleaning the livingroom on Monday, bedroom on Tuesday, kitchen on Wednesday, bathrooms on Thursday… and so on and so forth.  Well!  I forgot maybe I’d have kids too.  And that I’d have to clean the bathroom more than once a week!  And the kitchen — maybe three times a day?

I was dreading this first scheduled week of homeschooling.  HOW am I going to do it?  I thought.  WILL I be able to do it?   And the answer is “Yes.”  I can.  I did!  It’s only one week, I know, but I’m rather proud of myself!

What did I do?  I didn’t schedule!  Now, I am not advocating laziness.  Not at all!  I consider myself a hard-worker.  But I was trying to turn myself into a scheduled person, and it wasn’t working.  For me.  People can change, yes, and should change, yes, but this girl isn’t changing in the schedule category!

I’m not against routines, patterns, and order to the day.  I’m just against the word  “schedule” and the detailed, on-the-hour plans my mind associates with the word.  I do un-scheduled schedules!  Take this week:

  • Wake up.  No need to set an alarm.  I can count on Cameron to wake me up by 6:45am.
  • Doze on and off on the couch until everyone else wakes up.
  • Drink coffee.  This is non-negotiable.
  • Feed kids breakfast while I drink a second cup of coffee.
  • Dress Cameron and Megan, change diapers, remind Kirstyn and Cory to get dressed.  (“No, you can’t wear a snowsuit.”)
  • Set Kirstyn up at the kitchen table with a math page or two.
  • Find coffee.  Warm it up in microwave, sit next to Kirstyn to explain 1st grade math.  (I can do this!)
  • Shoo Megan and the boys out of the kitchen.  Repeat often.
  • Bring outside any hatched monarch butterflies.  (Seven this week!)
  • Feed everyone a snack.  Forget about the “no eating in the livingroom” rule I was going to try.
  • Start Kirstyn on a penmanship page.
  • Switch laundry, check Facebook, dump clean laundry on the already existing laundry mountain.
  • Sit on the couch with Kirstyn (and usually more eager children, excited that Mommy’s sitting down!) to read about Johnny Appleseed, the moon and stars, or animals ranging from hatchetfish to kiwi birds to anteaters to elephant seals.
  • Look up the animals’ habitats on a world map
  • Feed everyone lunch.  Finish now-cold coffee.
  • Ship all four kids to the backyard while I load the dishwasher and sweep the floor.
  • Browse Facebook, eat some food — possibly for the first time that day.
  • Go outside and push Cameron and Megan on the swings.  Play hide-and-seek, tag, kick a ball around, or watch Cory climb trees.
  • Tuck Cameron and Megan in bed for a nap.  Wish I was napping!
  • Listen to Kirstyn read, and read more science or history books together.
  • Movie!  I admit, I turn on the tube and let my big kids vegetate.  Free time for me!
  • Cook supper, kiss my honey, wash dishes, ignore the laundry mountain, play with my kids.

And that’s it!  It’s working.  Kirstyn is doing a lot of school every day, plus everything else is getting done too.  Well, there may be a few extra spider webs in the corner.  I just don’t look!

(Yes, all you smart people out there, you’re right — my laundry never does get finished!)

If caterpillars were violent, we’d be in a horror movie

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I may have bitten off more than I can chew.  Right now, I’m surrounded by monarch caterpillars.  Not exaggerating!  We started out with maybe twelve caterpillars.  Not so bad — cool science project, right?  Then, every time I went outside to pick fresh milkweed, I’d find one more caterpillar.  And then one more, and one more…

Today, Kirstyn and Cory came with me to the back field to cut a LOT of milkweed for our monarch zoo.  Guess what?  That’s right.  MORE caterpillars!  Like, fifteen of them!  I tried telling Cory once, “We have enough.  Let’s leave that one!”  He protested so strongly I just had to bring that caterpillar home too, you know. 

He gets this “creature love” from me.  I’m a major softie when it comes to animals!  I figured if we left the caterpillars in the field, they’d get eaten by birds or spiders, or get mowed down by the brush hog.  Inside my house, they might have a better chance of survival.  IF I can keep up the fresh milkweed feedings!

The other night, I was up until 12:30am swapping out the milkweed.  It takes a while!  First, I have to find all the caterpillars on the old milkweed.  And in case you forgot, that’s a lot of tiny caterpillars, hidden in curled up, drying leaves.  Then I have to transfer the caterpillars to newly cleaned, empty cheeseball and pretzel containers.  Well, not empty.  Covered with wet dirt on the bottom, to keep the new milkweed stems fresh as long as possible.  (I probably change the milkweed every four days.)

And NOW, after today, I have over thirty caterpillars!  Four caterpillars already in cocoons, one caterpillar hanging upside down in a “J,” two super-fat caterpillars in their very own mason jar (I figured they would probably “morph” tonight), and around twenty-five itty bitty and not so bitty caterpillars in FIVE five gallon buckets.  So.  Again.  I may have bitten off more than I can chew!

Kirstyn has a library book right now called, “The Secret Science Project That Almost Ate The School.”  Relatable.  I definitely feel overtaken!  If even half of the caterpillars survive though, it will be awesome.

P.S.  If any of my local friends want caterpillars, I WOULD LOVE TO GIVE YOU SOME!  I’m going to beg my sister-in-law Erin to take care of my babies while I’m gone.  We leave for Massachusetts, um… tomorrow.  ‘Cause it’s already early Thursday morning!