Friday, June 29, 2012

midsummer assessment

There are rabbits all over our yard and yet the DOG who is supposed to be a CARNIVORE is napping in the shade and eating raspberries out of my garden.  We also have mice around our house, but the dog doesn't seem to mind them terribly.  I don't care that he enthusiastically greets us every time we roll in the driveway.  He's as happy to see us as he is to see the UPS man or our neighbors.  Having now lived with a cat and a dog, I can only say my skepticism of devout dog lovers continues to grow ...

The dry weather means NO mosquitoes (heaven!) but we've got prolific amounts of WASPS.  One stung my arm a couple days ago and it's still all puffy and itchy. 

My children are alternately fighting or bored.  I should start wearing black and white striped shirts and a whistle around my neck.  Their work ethic is deplorable.  All they want to do is lay around watching TV or playing video games.  It's a full time job keeping them off-screen.  I know a lady who cancelled cable for the summer and I think she's brilliant.  What did we do during summer vacation back in the olden days, before 150 channels and video games and the internet?  I don't ever remember being BORED as a kid--was I?  I remember swimming and hanging out with friends and reading books and riding my bike.  My kids have a pool, pals, books and bikes--so is this a boy thing or something else? 

The more my kids push to watch TV and play video games, the more I push back by refusing to entertain them with trips and treats.  Why should I reward their whining with a trip to the zoo or an amusement park?  I'm thinking they need some austerity to better appreciate the simple pleasures in life.   We're redefining "Summer Fun" as trips to the library, the occasional ice cream cone, maybe a movie rental one night.  Am I being too harsh?  Or preventing them from becoming entitled, spoiled, selfish brats?

Also, I've realized Mr. G doesn't know any strokes despite knowing perfectly well how to swim, so we've got to work on that. 

On a hopeful note, the Supreme Court showed some common sense and decency yesterday.   And I've discovered the joy of reading Penelope Lively.


18 comments:

  1. Sadly, the we'll have to find another occupation. DOTR is the person squeezed out in the whole thing and we stand to lose half our income. Not good since we only have half our kids through college.

    It's depressing to see something that you mortgaged your house to start and worked hard for almost 20 years disappear before your eyes.

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  2. Me, I'm a cat person myself, but I must admit that our cat prefers to nap these days as well. There are chipmunks everywhere but Sandman can't be bothered to do anything about them. Lola takes care of the rabbits that dare to venture into our yard. She runs around waving her hands in the air, screaming like a banshee. Would you like to borrow her for awhile?

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  3. I'm a cat person myself.

    I refer to the summer plan as 'bore her to tears so that she loves away camp and appreciates school'. I'm proud to announce that we were successful by the end of week one! She's also re-organized all her art supplies, built a new fort in Betty's yard AND cleaned her room, more than once. She now cannot WAIT for away camp. Hooray!

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  4. I'm a cat person. Other people's big, fluffy, happy, dogs are fun to pet, but not especially fun to own, in my opinion.

    I definitely remember whining about being bored when I was a kid home in the summer --and I had two sisters, a neighborhood with other kids my age, a bike, and a school fairly close with a playground. Emma has none of those things, but we do have a pool, and that helps. However, sometimes I feel like I spend my whole summer arranging play dates. This week she's in the only day-camp we found that she wanted to attend, and already she's made a new friend and I have to try to arrange a play date! Of course, being an only, I don't have to break up any fights, so there's that.

    By July 4th, I'm always thinking "when does school start?"

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  5. Well I grew up in the dark ages when children were forced to go outdoors and ride bicycles and play tag or ball or jumprope or roller skate, go swimming or simply jump around like lunatics in the backyard. It was all good and I think we only had 3 TV channels. LOL Maybe that explains it.

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  6. Keep with your austerity program, Green Girl - it's a good program! My take is that it's not boys, but it's this generation. My 2 girls and one boy tend to laze around all summer, which is just when my work schedule becomes frantic. When they were in elementary/middle school, I devised the 'summer learning chart' - like a bingo card with different activities to check off. Only when the chart was all checked off would the reward be given. And the reward was not screen-time but a trip to the zoo or something similar. Nowadays I just say, "Would you like ME to think of something for you to do?" and I start my list: polish doorknobs, wash the car... They quickly run the other way.

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  7. When I was young we had a ton of kids in the neighborhood. We played board games under a tree, took swimming lessons at the beach, rode our bikes. Luckily my kids grew up in the same type of neighborhood.
    My daughter and her best friend borrowed a video camera and spent a summer making really hilarious movies. They spoofed TV shows and danced to their favorite songs.

    When we were young teens we roamed the town from morning to night. We walked or rode bikes from one end to the other, stopping for ice cream, going to the library. I don't think many people would let their kids roam very far these days.

    Our town had a great summer school program. We took lessons in painting, sewing, typing, guitar.

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  8. back in the day, we were only in the house for meals or chores (clean house, do dishes, mow lawn, weed garden), we were outside the rest of the time. ball games, climbing trees, riding bikes, reading books on the lawn in the shade. TV time was limited to the nightly news for the grownups and on Sunday we got to watch the Disney movie (remember those?) we had no concept of screen time or being lazy. My children the same, we lived out in the country on the farm, no friends closer then 3 miles away. my kids still did chores, but spent the rest of the time outside, riding bike, tubing down the river, hiking in the pasture, discovering fossil rocks..... they learned early on, any one whining about being bored was given an unusual chore... digging dandelions out of the lawn, cleaning out the chicken house, pulling thistles.... they use the same tactics with their own kids now.

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  9. Any time you want...send them my way. Especially m/w/f mornings....all three of us females would love it....and I'm sure I could rustle up a Popsicle for their efforts. Actually...I beg you....send them to me!!

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  10. GOOD FOR YOU. I long for the days of restraint imposed on me by my 'rents! Nothing worthwhile comes without restraint, I feel.

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  11. I'm happy about the Supreme Court's decision, dismayed by some of the conservative reaction. One summer, when my kids were 9, 8, 5, & 2, I cancelled the cable and stored the TV in a closet. Not only did my kids find ways to occupy themselves, they seemed to squabble less too.

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  12. No you are not being harsh. It's a tough war to wage though, raising kids with more stringent screen rules than, say, parents who place no limits, who subsidize their kids' couch potato habits by purchasing all the latest, most desirable gadgets and video games and then look the other way. Or at least that's what my kids tell me, "want to know why we always want to spend the night at our friends' houses? because it's more fun there! THEIR mom lets us be on the internet as long as we want!" It is a constant battle. Exhausting and no fun being the bad guy. I trudge on but I have my days where I let hopelessness prevail.

    Penolope Lively is on my list of authors to read. Need to get on that. Are there any particular books you recommend?

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  13. Here, one of my girls is in school from 9 - 1:30, so she's not complaining of boredom. The other girl is managing to entertain herself just fine, although I'm also taking her out on walks and errands, plus inviting friends over. She has one more week off camp, then two weeks on again.

    In general, we have some pretty firm house rules about screens. No TV/DVD during the day, ever, and also none on weeknights. No computers, PS3, Wii, or iPod Touches before 3 p.m. Monday through Friday or before noon on weekends. Also, chores must be done before any screens of any kind happen. I do occasionally bend the rules and let them watch an afternoon DVD on a particularly brutally hot day, such as the days we're having right now (it's 8 p.m. and still 100 outside).

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  14. My entire day is spent enforcing media breaks. It's tough since I have a away from home job that I do at home and have a boss, clients and vendors to answer to all day. So easy to let the screen babysit -- but they are 10 and 14. Old enough to entertain themselves. But crazy into video games.

    I think when we were kids we were bored -- but that's just what we expected to be. It was our normal state of mind. and we liked it.

    I'm always telling my kids it's good to be bored.

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  15. No screens during daylight hours is a good rule, I have always thought.

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  16. we have a 1 hr screen limit..that includes ALL screens, tvs computers, iPhones iPads...and one complaint of bordemn means more time for chores...they stopped complaining and figure something to do. I was upset with the court ruling. I am trying to be a practicing pro life catholic and stand with the bishops in full support of individual liberty.

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  17. Unplug, unplug, unplug. It works.

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  18. I hear you I was also never bored as a child and of course many generations before me were never bored either but kids now days seem to get bored so easy they expect to be entertained instead of amusing themselves.

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Spill it, reader.