Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Maintaining the Chaos....

There are some crazy things that go on in my house.  Sometimes I'm terrified to blog/post on social media about some of it, because frankly, people are just a tad scary to me, and one day, I might find myself face to face with someone from the UFO siting team, or worse, some area 54 nut case, because some weirdo stuff from my house was spotted being flung out the windows, or over the roof, or worse- over my neighbor's fence.....

Other times I'm afraid to admit what goes on in my house because people are really extremely critical of others.  I find it rather revolting to see how easy it is for some to troll behind their keyboards....

There are some days, I swear I wake up and for the next 5-7 hours, I'm basically maintaining chaos.

I know, I know, before all my "know it all" friends, and complete strangers who feel compelled to say random things to me, spout it out- I DO KNOW HOW THIS HAPPENED.

I do know that I have 75% more people than the average home holds under one roof, with, wait for it, ONLY 2400 sq ft.  (Don't get me started on the parent I had one year teaching who was building a new house because the 3000 sq ft home wasn't big enough for the 5 of them....)

I do know that when you put 5 school age children in one kitchen early in the morning when there is zero parental eye watching, chaos slowly turns to a mass mob scene, with food apparently flying, and dishes piling up to the ceiling in the sink.  Please explain how avocado gets on the door handle of the cup cupboard?  Cup cupboard.  That sounds ridiculous....

Does anyone in this house understand the concept that once you WIPE UP the giant blob of peanut butter with the wash cloth that you are to actually RINSE IT OFF?

No, they don't know that.  You wanna know how I know they don't know that?  Because, inevitably, I come downstairs and try to "maintain" the chaos, I see honey, or peanut butter, or some other kind of unidentifiable mess on the counter top and in haste, without checking, I grab the already soiled wash cloth, and proceed to wipe MORE CRAP on to the counter top with the already yuck there....

It takes about two hours and 15 minutes to get all 5 of my kids out the door.  Then the two little minions and I are left to asses the damage done.

Someone actually on this morning attempted to start to unload the dishwasher.  Kudos to the three plates that were removed.  Most likely to hold their breakfast....and they're all three probably back in the sink.  Heaven forbid we actually use the other 32 plates & bowls in the cabinets....

The avocado on the cupboard baffles me.  I see zero remnants of avocado.  I'm more worried in my haste yesterday, I missed that in which case, makes me nauseous, because perhaps, it's NOT avocado....

Hey, we have been sick here....

The high chair was not wiped out from dinner the night before.... I know, before you even say it, who makes their children wipe out the baby high chair?  Exactly.  The same person who makes her children load the dishwasher, wash the dishes, sweep the kitchen AND the dining room, wipe the table AND the chairs down..... Report me.  I am totally going against the grain here.....

The table, at first glance, almost appears clean, until you pull a chair out, and see that the shredded cheese someone ate as a meal last night is sitting in every.single.chair. in the dining room.  I really do not recall the person who just ate shredded cheese, because last night was another one of those, 19 events crammed into one night in May, nights, so we were busy trying to figure out how to bi-locate from one end of the town to the other end in less than 15 minutes AND get the oldest to volleyball practice clear on the other side of the galaxy.

You think I'm joking.

So the cheese in the seats.  I then realize I forgot to wear my house shoes.

There is one rule you must absolutely adhere with a large family.  I would suffice it to say, any family, but I am pretty sure my kids combined are nastier than 82 families combined, HOUSE SHOES.


Someone made fun of me for calling my slippers HOUSE SHOES...... who doesn't call them that?  She asked if I was from another country..... I believe she may have insulted me and my peeps.  Perhaps us southerners transplanted to Yankee Snob land can teach these "slipper" wearers, a few new terms..... Like Y'all.  I can not handle it when people without the proper southern twang try and say that word.....  It ain't right.  That word too.  Although, I'll be honest, I've not heard many Yanks use ain't.  And it IS in the dictionary.

So HOUSE SHOES (why does my computer keep all capping that????) are an absolute MUST in my home on the hard wood floors.  So I was surveying the damage in the dining room, all the cheese, when I realized, after stepping on a pile of crumbs, I was NOT wearing them.  I felt nauseous.  I ran and immediately slipped them on.  Ahhhh.  Slippers.... I get it....
I still like HOUSE SHOES better.

So the scraps of crumbs all over the dining room.  The food from perhaps three days ago.  I have a few children, who when it's their turn to sweep, take the broom, walk in the dining room, lay the broom on the ground.  Walk around with it for a minute or two for full effect, and walk out, stating rather boldly, "I'm done!"

That little potzy scheme worked on my for a while until I would be sweeping the next morning some times and have enough crumbs and leftover food in the dustpan to create an entire meal for the gazillion ants that are taking over my kitchen.  I wised up, and now when I hear the "declaration" of being done?  I immediately (if I'm home and not bi-locating all over town) go and inspect.

I know what you're thinking.  No really I do.

Seriously, crazycatholicmomma, you are a bit much.  Like a drill sergeant.  Well, fortunately for my kids, they are going to either grow up and have developed some decent work habits, or they're going to grow up and live like slobs.  There'll be no in between in my children's worlds.  I'm hoping they will develop a great work ethic.....unfortunately, it might kill me in the process......

So I maintain the chaos.  I keep things in semi-working order.  I know from the outside looking in, it would not give that appearance.  There's a good chance on most days, I'm in my work out clothes, hahaha...giving the appearance of working out.  There is a constant sticky sensation on my floors. I have actually gotten on my hands and knees to scrub the floors- to no avail- someone that night or the next morning inevitably spills milk. I maintain 5-6 loads of laundry a day.  Laundry I don't mind doing, or folding, but when my kids fail to take their piles to their rooms and they stay on the kitchen table for days on end, or they're actually picking out their wardrobe from the table?  Or they have giant piles of clean clothes in their room, on the floor, on their bed, and sometimes actually sleeping with their clean clothes- that drives me bonkers..... Washing and folding clothes has actually become very peaceful for me. I try to not only think about the child who's clothing I fold, but I try to say a prayer for that child.  Or have a conversation with God about that child.  How I wish they would do this, or Lord, help them with this....etc. etc.  It's helped me take a once daunting chore and find peace in it.

Now if I could only find peace in cleaning the kitchen.  That would be fantastic.

Monday, May 2, 2016

To Home School or Not....That is the question....

Once again, I am now faced with a dilemma.  It's not a bad dilemma.  In fact, sometimes I wish I had done this from the get go with all of my children, but, well, before I jump ahead and confuse you anymore, let me explain what I'm contemplating....

My #4 child, #3 girl, is in 5th grade.  She has always loved school.  We moved to New York right before she started Kindergarten, so she is the first child to be in this school district, from the start.  Well, that's not entirely true, I did send my #5 to UPK, but that was only because she was receiving speech and was home with me all day, and I thought being around other minions like her, she'd learn language faster.  Still debating that one.

But my #4 child was sick with the fever virus last week.  She was home with me and the two littlest minions for three days.  It was a lot of fun, despite her illness.  It's amazing how Tylenol and Ibuprofen can make a child appear incredibly healthy.  But during our time together, we had lots of time to talk.  It was so much fun to chat with her.

She became rather distraught during a portion of our conversation in regards to school.  Like I said earlier, my daughter LOVES school.  Since Kindergarten, she has had the most awesome teachers we could ever be blessed to get.  Even this year, she was blessed to be on the same team that my son who is a freshman in HS had when he was in 5th grade.  WE LOVE THESE TWO LADIES!!

But she began to cry when she started talking about her friends.  She was very upset about missing school for two reasons.  One of course, because the workload that has been increasing by the mound-full since the inception of CC is a daunting task for any 10 year old who has missed three days, but two, because she felt bad leaving another friend of hers alone in the classroom because there was another girl who was on vacation last week and so this girl was alone.

Of course, in true "healing" spirit, my daughter likes to fix things and make things right and protect people.  I asked her why she felt bad leaving her alone and she said it's because the other kids in the classroom are really mean to them.

Now, sometimes, I have to put an ounce of "-isms" on my kids stories.  They come by embellishing naturally, so I basically take their name, for example, crazycatholicmomma-ism, and decipher what they mean for real by their story.

She is convinced there are a large group of kids that do not like her.  Or apparently this other child.  I told her to please focus on herself for this moment so I could understand what it was exactly these children did to my daughter to make her feel that way.

She listed the usual culprit first.

"I don't have an iPhone, Mom.  Kids bring their iPhone's to school and make fun of me because I don't even have an iPod."

Parents- I can't tell you enough, how much I THANK you for purchasing such ridiculous pieces of equipment for your 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 year olds.  seriously.  I know you feel justified... I know, your six year old has a demanding job and is in constant need of knowing things IMMEDIATELY and has to text her besties in the next desk over at least 10 times a second.

I get it.

No really,

I get it.

Anyway, since I am never wavering from my "you don't get an iPhone until you are either in HS, or you pay for it yourself" stance, I asked her to move on.  I will not allow my children to bring such expensive and completely unnecessary 'mini computers,' not 'toys' to school when they're in elementary school.  Just ridiculous.   But I digress.....

Don't even get me started on allowing your child to lie about their age on these apps.

So, she continued.

"They make fun of my hair. " (for real?)  Of all my kids, she has some of the best hair!!  Braids great, goes up smooth in a pony tail, come on people.

"They make fun of my clothes."  This one really bothers me because we preach about recycling, not making any more earth, reuse, blah blah blah- until our kids need clothes and it's a brand new wardrobe per season, per kid!!  I actually had a woman tell me several years ago that she wouldn't dream letting her younger daughter wear what her older daughter wore, because, are you ready?

Four years would have passed between the girls!


God help this country.

So, once again, I explained to Gi how blessed she was that she had two older sisters that were about her size at her age and how blessed she was to get to wear clothing that might not be new, but certainly wasn't clogging up some warehouse somewhere, or lying in a dumpster waiting to fill the landfills.

She wasn't buying that one either.

She went on.

"They make fun of how tall I am."  Alrite.  I get it.  But I told her, God makes no mistakes.  NO MISTAKES.  He made her the beautiful, tall, skinny, great swimmer, needs glasses, adorable blond, young lady and she needs to embrace it, and forget about the other kids who are not kind.

Well, the conversation got a little better as we talked about school and learning and how important learning is when she suddenly stopped and asked me the question....

"Mom, can you home school me next year?"

Gulp.  My first instinct was no.  Not happening. I've got two minions at home that keep me insanely busy. I take about half a day to clean the kitchen after the tornatic breakfast that occurs and school lunch making party that insues, I barely have any 'me' time as it is, now to consider schooling another child?  A sixth grader no less- I don't do fifth grade math very well, let alone sixth grade math!!

I told her I didn't know.

She asked again, but a bit more persistent.

"Can we ask dad?  Can we at least think about it?"

So I proceeded to give her all the reasons she wouldn't like it.

You won't see your friends.
You won't be in the high band anymore.
You will be with ME all day.
You will be with two little bitty annoying monsters ALL DAY.

She said that was ok.  She said she would talk to her dad about it and see what he thought.

Of course, what we have to realize is, my #4 daughter is my husband's mini-me.  She's just like him, looks like he did as a kid, and has all of his mannerisms.

He simply said, "Honey, if your mom wants to, I'm fine with it."


Now, before anyone asks the big S word- Let me make something very clear about home schooling vs. school schooling.  (hmmmmmm, is that even a thing?)

That whole notion that kids need "socialization?"

Cover your ears kids....

That's nothing more than bullshit.

You wanna know what "socialization" my kids get from school?

In the upper elementary, they learn the words, bitch, shit, damn, stupid, (sorry, that's a nasty word in my world).

Lyrics to songs that talk about having sex, stalking boys, and other fantastically appropriate things that look so "adorbs" coming out of a 10 year old....

They  learn to see kids trip other kids in the hallway and laugh.  They learn how to be mean to kids without getting caught.    (they can do that here at home for free...)

They learn that kids can have Kik, facebook, and other social media apps on their devices, and strangely be too young to even have an account.  (now that's the kind of socialization we should be MOST proud of!!) Kids- here's how to break rules and it be TOTALLY ok because MOM LET YOU!!

In middle school they  learn the same words as above, plus the bonus words like f**k, c**t, p***y, and other fantabulous slang words for male and female body parts.

They learn how kids can sneak across the street after school and smoke their cigarettes while the principal can only stand there watching.

They learn to sneak their make up to school, their inappropriate short skirts (bought/and or approved by mom and dad!!!) and dress completely different than they left for school!

They learn to laugh at the kid who fell and dropped their books!

Shall I, or DARE I go into what fantastic social skills they learn in HS?

I won't.  Suffice it to say, it's rated R and some days, makes my stomach hurt and causes me to want to be in my closet, rocking in the fetal position.

But we are worried those poor home schoolers are going to be sheltered idiots when they head out to the real world?

Actually, sheltered is ok these days.  It gives us, the parents, a chance to process the crap in the real world, and teach it to the kids at home in a loving, safe environment and I'm ok with that.

So, the socialization thing is not a concern at all.

What concerns me the most is the bizarre state rules my district adheres to in regards to informing the district, sending in grades, etc etc.  I get so anxious about it, it makes my heart palpitate.  Oh wait, maybe that's the coffee I'm drinking....

But it's not an easy road.  I worry that she will wish she hadn't asked.  I worry that she will resent me.  I home schooled my now 7th grader the second half of 5th grade and it was the best decision we ever made.  But so was sending her back to 6th grade and getting the nicest, quietest teacher in the building who loved my daughter.

So that's where we are.  To home school or not.  I can get plenty of resources.  I know she will learn.  I have no doubt she will enjoy the work I pick for her because it's not monotonous, repetitive crap that comes home weekly from this common core nightmare.

I love reading to my kids, so finding some good, quality literature to read together and work on is fun for me.  I love reading, writing, and english.

Math will be tricky, but there are so many online programs out there now, that basically teach the class from the computer that I can almost rest assured she'll be fine there.

Having an older child home with the little ones is actually very fun for the little ones.  My 7th grader loved my little Taz home with us and Taz LOVED her big sis home and reading to her.

The way the schools are going these days with the whole gender/sports/locker room/bathroom policies, I may be homeschooling more children in the very near future.  Because the districts are clearly not going to do anything for the children who actually might be uncomfortable with the changes..... (and that's ok that they're uncomfortable).

So I have lots to pray about.  Maybe about two months to make a decision before I need to inform the district.  Too home school or not..... So pray for me please.  And my little Gi!!