Archive for September, 2010

Thank you, Hoarding: Buried Alive

For totally  making me want to throw away/craigslist/freecycle/ebay/goodwill/burn all of my possessions that I’m not using right this very second. Which includes three children and a dog, along with pants.

I went to the hospital recently to get some IV fluids, and while there I watched four straight episodes of Hoarding/Hoarders/FURRRRR-EEEEEAKS With Serious Mental Disorders Who Are Being Exploited For TV And Are Probably Spending The $5,000 They Make On Buying More Trash No Really I Mean Actual Trash.

And then my parents came to visit and bought the kids new winter clothes — although I am not certain I believe it will EVER get below 90* here — and that reminds me that I have to purge last year’s winter clothes, along with this year’s summer clothes, and it’s always a hassle.

Particularly when I’m pregnant and am probably having either a boy or a girl and don’t know what I should or shouldn’t keep.

Also, I recently went through the garage and found My Chemical Romance’s ORIGINAL birth certificate and social security card in one of eleventy-zillion boxes that he SWEARS he has gone through with a fine-toothed comb (I found a few of those too) and knows exactly where everything is.

Me: “Where’s your social security card?”

MCR: “I know where it is.”

Me (eyes narrow): “Where?”

MCR: “In the ‘important paperwork’ folder. Along with your Publishers Clearinghouse Award for 10 million dollars.”

Me: “Ha. Ha. Ha. Har de har. No, it’s not with my money. It was–” dramatic pause to look him up and down “– in the garage. In a box. With some wires and shit.”

I was raised in the midwest, where basements are used for storing boxes full of wires and social security cards and shit, and you park your car in the garage to avoid having to scrape the snow/ice off it in the morning. My Chemical Romance is 100% Southern California, so he thinks the garage is for storing boxes full of wires and social security cards and shit, and you park on the street.

God help him if we ever move to a climate where it actually snows regularly.

And now I have to go purge.

September 21, 2010 at 9:42 am 2 comments

SuperMom versus The Comic Books of Doom!

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: We’re all home schoolers

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how their children learn at home as a natural part of their day. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I love to read. I was not one of those kids who taught myself to read when I was three, but at some point I learned, and I loved reading. My Oma reads. I remember spending the night at her house on weekends, and we’d sit together at the dinner table, ignoring each other, each engrossed in a book we took out from the library. My other grandmother bought me books. (To this day, I still think that purchasing books is a status symbol. Forget seeing a 2011 Honda Odyssey Touring minivan; my real mommy-envy comes from seeing a house full of books that don’t have city barcodes on them.)

My mom is a big reader as well. She read to me, long past the point of when I was old enough to read to myself.  In fact, I remember the last book she ever read out loud to me, when I was at least 10; The Pigman by Paul Zindel.  There were always books around when I was growing up, and magazines. Lots of printed material in the bathroom.  At breakfast, I read the back of the cereal box.

I assumed that when they got to the age of five, my children would be readers as well.

They’re not.

To say that this irked me would be an understatement. Having children who didn’t read – and I currently have twin 7-year-olds, a 5-year-old, and an almost 3-year-old, with only one reader among them – felt like a splinter in my non-dominant hand. Some days it irritated me a little, enough to Google for a remedy. Some days it didn’t bother me at all. But it was always there, in the back of my head, prodding me: my children didn’t read.

The September after they turned five – and with trepidation – I sent my twins, Animal and Mineral, to public kindergarten.  In my heart, I wanted to homeschool, but the practicality of homeschooling with four young children seemed impossible.  And I did love the mommy break for seven hours each day, when I went from four kids down to two.  But after a few months of school, I determined that they were neither learning nor having fun – either would have been a good enough reason to keep them in school – and I decided to homeschool.

I started the year with an expensive math curriculum and “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.” I’ll spare the long details, but suffice it to say that we lasted about 11 lessons, and I never found them easy.  Mineral tolerated it; Animal was downright hostile toward it.

My next tactic was going to the library every week.  This wasn’t much of a chore for me; I’d go to the library at least that much on my own.  The mission was keeping Animal and Mineral off the computers. Once I mastered that, I tried to keep them away from the comic books.

The *^$@#%($ comic books, I tell you!  If having non-readers felt like a splinter, having children who coveted comic books felt like Chicken Pox.  It was so incredibly annoying. It was like they could see how badly I wanted them to read – and not just read, but love reading – and yet instead of reading like I wanted them to, they wanted to look at cartoons.

Trying to be a hard-ass mom, I only allowed them to take out a comic book if they also took out a “real” book.  They might love comic books, but I would show them who was boss! They grudgingly obliged me, but later I’d find the “real” book in my car, while they sat on the couch with their comics (typically upside down, and reading from right to left).

My epiphany came a few months later when I was in the hospital with dehydration. (Not comic-book-hatred related.)  I was admitted for a few days, with an IV in my arm and giving poop samples in a cup, and my husband brought all the kids to see me.  Animal and Mineral proudly brought me a 3-ring-binder, in which they’d made a comic book. For me. Their awful, irritated, passively-aggressively-trying-to-force-them-to-read mom.

I took my pooping in a cup as penance, and vowed to encourage reading of any kind, even if it wasn’t my kind. And that’s what it was really about anyway: I wanted them to read the way I thought was right.

I would not label myself as an unschooler, although that’s how I am now when it comes to reading.  We have books.  We have computers.  We have a TV and I use closed-captioning, because when you’re in a house with four young kids and a dog, it doesn’t matter how loud you turn the TV volume, you will still miss most of the characters’ conversations. The kids have games and toys that they want to understand, all of which require reading.  One of them reads. The other three don’t read yet.  I am okay with that.  They all love comic books.  I’m okay with that too.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

September 14, 2010 at 12:01 am 24 comments


About Mommy Soup

Wife and homeschooling mom of five, including my Christmas Day homebirth baby. Not Catholic, Amish, or quiverfull; we just like to... you know!

Writing about my interests: natural pregnancy and birth; attachment parenting; cooking; baking; homeschooling; green living; human rights; child passenger safety; dog training, and life after weight-loss surgery.

In my free time I try to figure out how I can promote world peace while wasting time on Facebook.

NaNoWriMo 2010

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