And I thought boys were bad...

All the dirt of boys, plus the attitude...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pre-teen Battles Overcome

Miss A is the topic of this post.  That child never ceases to amaze me.

See, we have been having a lot of trouble with her and her grades this school year.  She has been failing some courses, not turning in her work, paying too much attention to boys, and choosing socialization over education.  It's been hard because I can't really do a whole lot about that. 

I can't be with her at school.

I can't physically steer her away from the boys.

I can't hold her hand while she turns in her schoolwork.

I can't sit next to her in class and remind her to pay attention.

My reach only goes so far...then it's all up to her.

This is truly the first time, the first situation, where I have had to talk to her at home, and simply hope she does the right thing "out there." 

We encouraged her.  We gave her consequences.  We took all of her stuff away.  We gave it back.  We set her up with a reward system.  We talked to her about the importance of education and explained that socializing is good, too, just after school...

Over Christmas break, Hubby and I noticed that her attitude had improved.  We crossed out fingers that it would last as she returned to school.

Over the first week back at school, she had no missing assignments and her attitude stayed good.  We crossed our fingers that it would last.

She got her first progress report of the spring semester yesterday.......................................

ALL A'S AND B'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Her attitude is still awesome!  She still has no missing assignments!

I am so proud of my little girl!!  She did it!!  Now, I know it could fall off at any moment, but right now I am just proud of her!!  She is doing great!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pictures

Lately, CC has been mentioning a lack of pictures of her in the house.  She notices that we have more pictures on the walls and in albums of Miss A than we do her.  Now, part of this is simply that Miss A is 11 and CC is 7, but she does have a point.  There are more pictures of Miss A around the house than there are of CC.  I think it's because when you are a parent of one child, it's pretty easy to take all kinds of pictures and then find time to put those pictures in albums.  When you have 2, it's a lot more difficult to find the time, or the energy when you do have the time, to put pictures in albums.

So, seeing as how this picture shortage was bothering my youngest angel, I decided to rectify the issue.  I found the discs/flash-drives with pictures on them and ordered a bunch.  Well, 150 to be exact.

One hundred and fifty pictures to span about 5-6 years!

Of course when I got them, they were not in any kind of order.  Yep, I put 150 pictures in chronological order (mostly) and placed at least 100 of them into 2 albums.

As much work as it was to sort and organize the photos, it was a LOT of fun.  I got to relive tons of memories.  It was great!  And now we have 2 albums full of photos of CC!

What do you do with your pictures?  Do they live on the "interwebs"?  Do you put them in albums?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Desperation: A Poem

This week has been incredibly long.  Seriously, the journey from Monday to Friday morning took WAY more than 4 days.  I swear someone added an extra day in there somewhere.  A friend at work says that no one added an extra day, but someone definitely turned back the clock on Monday.  Whatever it is, whoever did it, I want you to know that it's wrong.  That's really f-ed up and I forbid you from ever doing it again!  ;)

Anyway, since the week has been so long, I haven't even thought about what I am going to write this morning.  I have made no attempt to prepare.  I think what I'll do, instead of boring you all with some half-hearted monologue, is just share a poem that I wrote a while ago.  I'm not sure exactly when I wrote it, but I know I was feeling like a fake because I wasn't happy and I felt lost but I was pretending I was fine.  So, here you go:

Desperation

Whenever you start to think that
I'm brave
Please stop
I'm not
You're wrong
I'm terrified inside but I can't let it show

Whenever you start to think that
I'm strong
Please stop
I'm not
You're wrong
I'm dying inside but I can't let you know

If I let it out I'll never recover
I'll never be able to move again
My world will stop turning

I'm afraid
I'm weak
But I can't let you know

I share this because I know that we have all felt this way at one point or another.  This was how my heart felt at that point.  Even typing it now, I feel the desperation I felt when I wrote it the first time.  Things got better.  They do that, things, they get better.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sleep Training a Dog

We have had our amazing dog, Rosalie, for a little over a year and a half now.  When we got her she was 4 months old.  She has been a wonderful addition to our family.

We decided, since she is almost 2 years old, that we would try letting her sleep in our room.  She has been sleeping downstairs in her crate since we got her.  She's a lab/hound mix and ALL PUPPY.  We didn't want the house to be chewed up and figured this would be a good way to provide her a safe place to sleep and keep our things in one piece.

She has liked her crate from the beginning.  I think it has to do with being a shelter dog.  I think she feels safe.  Whatever the reason, she has had no trouble with her crate and the arrangement worked out for all of us.

Seeing as how she is almost 2 and has calmed down quite a bit, we went out last week and bought her a bed.  You know, one of those nice "therapeutic foam" ones.  My kids absolutely love it...

So, anyway, last Friday was the night to try this out.  We brought the bed upstairs, after letting her get used to it in the living room of course, and set her up nice in our room.  She laid down on the bed and I thought this was going to be great!  I thought she would lay down and fall asleep like she does in her crate.

That was not the case.

She got up and tried to mess with the cat.  She got up and tried to curl up on our bed.  She got up and paced around the room.

It was not working.

Finally, after about 2 hours of us trying to go to sleep and being woken up inside of 3 minutes of getting there, we put her back downstairs in her crate.  The funny part?  As soon as the hubby opened the bedroom door, Rosalie ran down the stairs and into her crate!  She was fine the rest of the night.

I think this situation is like trying to sleep train a baby.  We just need to get her used to the new place.  That's not going to happen this week.  I have work and I am definitely not going to be up all night with the dog and then try to be productive at work the next day.


Have you ever gone through this?  Seriously, any tips would be appreciated.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Confessions of an Over The Phone Salesperson

My new job is a sales job.  I'm not sure if I told you that before, but there it is.  I've never done sales before.  It's an over the phone, cold calling businesses kind of job.  Yep, I am the person everyone hates.  Actually, the reality is that if they talk to me for 30 seconds, they will love me and even if they don't buy from me, we have had a fun conversation.

I call all over the country and let me tell you, there is a "worst place to call."  I've talked to other people in my office and it's pretty much unanimous.  I'm actually a little ashamed to say it, since it is the state I grew up in...yep...California.  Now, Southern California is ABSOLUTELY the WORST place to call in the country, but Northern California is a close freaking second!  Seriously.  I don't get it.  It might be because they are so busy, but both coasts have that mentality.  There's got to be some reason.  I don't want to think it's because people in California are more rude than the rest of the country.

Yes, it's worse that New York and everywhere on the upper East Coast.  I don't think anyone from the upper East Coast has hung up on me.  I get it calling California all the time.

My biggest pet peeve is the rudeness I encounter every day and I am going to break down some things for you.  This will be a good lesson no matter what part of the country you are in.

-Saying "Thank you" before you hang up on someone does not mean you have been polite.  Let's just get that notion out of your head.  "Thank you" is not equal to polite when it's followed by a hearty "click" on the phone.

-Simply picking up the phone and hanging it up without saying a word is, in fact, the rudest thing you can do.  I'm not even worth a "hello" in your mind?  Well, thanks.  I hope you have a fantastic day as well.

-The question "why are you calling me again" gets me every time.  It goes right along with "I'm busy, I'm at work" and "I have a job to do."  Um, guess what?  So do I.  I have a job also, and right now it entails calling you.  Oh, you need your job to keep a roof over your head and feed your kids so you can't be bothered with me right now?  Guess what?  I have a roof and kids, too.  This is how I support mine.  Please stop acting like I am some other species because the job I currently hold is one where I call you.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I like my job.  I do.  It's fun and I get to talk to people all day who are funny and interesting.  We make jokes and try to brighten the other person's day because, guess what?  We are all stuck at work.  Why not have fun?  Seriously though.  I don't get too many people that hang up on me.  It's just that the rudeness of those few floors me.

There are certain things you can say to a telemarketer to get them to stop calling you.  These two work with everyone in my office:

"I am on the do not call list"
"Take me off your list"

OR you could take a few minutes and listen to what I am offering, because it's a damn good product and will save you a LOT of money each year, and kindly tell me you are not interested.  I will take you off my list because there is no point in calling you if I know you are genuinely not interested.  This is when it becomes my call.  When you hang up from the gate or blurt out that you are not interested when I say my name, I am required to call you back.  It's the rules.

Anyway, this has been long, but well worth it for me.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hope For The Future

Christmas break is almost over and guess what?  My girls survived!  Actually they did much better than simply surviving.  They were pretty great.  Now, you may think that's kind of a skewed perspective because I work outside the house and Hubby is the one who deals all day, but even he said it's true.

You can even look through my recent posts...not a whole lot there.  Wanna know why?  It's cause the kids aren't giving me much to write about.  They have, for the most part, been following the rules and behaving.  It's weird.  I expected WWIII to break out sometime in the last couple weeks and it just hasn't happened.  Makes me feel kinda good.  Makes me feel like a might actually have a shot at the whole teenager thing.  Ya know, cause Miss A is practically there and her attitude has gotten better and cause CC has been acting like a teenager for the last year or so and even she seems to have dropped a little of the 'tude.

Actually, yesterday, I started thinking a little about what having teenagers is going to be like.  I mean, all I hear is horror stories from people.  I've seen many people in my close friends and family battle their own teenagers.  I always think that I can learn from what I see them do and maybe do it better.  Not because I'm better, cause I'm not.  Just because I have the benefit of seeing what they are going through and trying to maneuver around it.

I don't know, though.  Whenever I say that out loud, you know the whole "I might be able to learn and do it better" thing, people smile a knowing smile and nod.  It's kind of worrisome for me.

I guess I'll just do what I do best and work on the things that I don't.  I guess I'll just have to wait and see what life brings.  I guess, at the very least, I'll have plenty of people around to ask questions of when the time comes.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Protection of Self-Esteem or Deprivation of Life Experience

I had an interesting conversation with my mom this week.  We were talking about the different ways kids are raised and all the lengths parents go to in order to ensure they don't get hurt.  Of course, there are the obvious ones like don't talk to/accept candy from/get into cars with strangers, but there are some other things we as parents do as well.

We keep our kids from falling off the jungle gym by telling them not to climb so high when they are little and have less balance.  We tell them to put pads on when they ride a skateboard, or put a helmet on when they ride a bike.  These are all necessary protections we put in place to make sure our kids don't get too badly injured.

The problem arises when we keep our kids from doing things that they could learn from.  Let's take the skateboard thing as an example.  Some parents make sure their kids wear pads and a helmet while they ride.  Others tell their kids they can't ride at all.  Even though the sentiment is the same: we don't want our children to get hurt, the practice is very different.  Allowing a child to ride a skateboard with pads is still allowing them to have the experience and, quite possibly to get hurt, but in a way that is safer.  It's allowing the child to make mistakes within a controlled environment where they can experience the consequences of stepping on the skateboard wrong and learn from it without breaking their head open.

My mom and I were talking specifically about sports and the "everyone gets a medal" approach.  The sentiment behind this approach is that no child is left feeling less than and every child gets a "self-esteem" boost.  Here's my take on it:

Self-esteem is not the belief that you are equal to everyone else.  Self-esteem is not feeling like no one is better or worse than you at any particular thing.  Self-esteem is the knowledge and acceptance of who you are and where you stand.  It's knowing that you suck at football/soccer/softball and being ok with it.  It's knowing that you are better than someone else at drawing and not feeling like you are a better person because of it.  It's knowing that you are worth something as a person and yet accepting that you are not the best or the same as everyone else.

Giving every child a medal for participation, while not recognizing the children who excelled, is depriving each child of an experience they need in order to become a successful adult.  If we keep our kids from experiencing failure, they will never know what it's like to try again.  We are depriving our kids from experiencing the feel-good that comes with being great at something.  We are not giving them that feeling to strive towards or away from.

Kids need to be able to make mistakes, fall down, and fail while they are inside the force-field of childhood(yes, super corny...whatever).  They need to be able to get hurt while mom and dad are there to help them back up.  Can you imagine what life would be like if the first time you failed at something was as an adult?  How would you handle that?  Would you know how to pick yourself up and try again?  We are creating an entire generation(or another entire generation) of self-important children who don't have any idea what's ahead for them.  Teachers aren't going to pass them in college because the kid might cry if they fail.  College coaches and employers aren't going to pick them because their "self-esteem" might suffer if they don't get the spot.

Yes, protect the kids from getting seriously injured, but don't deprive them of the experiences that will shape them into successful, productive, ambitious adults.

What do you think?