Tuesday, August 23, 2011

should i let them sleep (revisited)?

It's back-to-school time again and I've been thinking about this topic I wrote and shared last year.  It is appropriate for me again so here it is re-posted, with a few edits.

 These past seven days or so have been busy with all those back-to-school tasks. Go through clothing and toss that which no longer fits or simply is not presentable, throw out old markers run dry through use or time and, of course, get new stuff for the new year.

These tasks and to-do's as a parent are so easy and clear. There's no questioning, no debate. However, there's been this one back-to-school item that's been nagging at me for a few weeks now and that's the schedule and being on a schedule.

As an aside, any parent out there can tell you all the advice they rain down on you about getting your kid on a schedule. I am a very scheduled person. I like schedules. I like knowing what to expect and when to expect it. The concept, while appealing, doesn't necessarily hold true for all kids, but there was a time in my kids' lives where we were pretty darned scheduled. While it was good when they complied, it was nerve-racking when they didn't. No one ever told you what to do when your kid wouldn't stick to the schedule.

Anyway, now that my kids are getting older, they are naturally staying up later. No more 8:00 pm bedtimes. Even the six-seven-year-old has been staying up late, well past 10:00 11:00 pm almost regularly. That's what you get with the third kid. And who cares? He can sleep as late as he wants. I like that. I like that a lot because that means on weekends, I get to sleep late. Win-win if you ask me.

But that all needs to change, starting tonight. And hence my dilemma for the past week. I kept saying, the kids need to go to bed earlier and get up earlier so the start of school is not a shock. My husband and I agreed, but secretly I struggled. I mean, hey, it's their summer vacation. Shouldn't they be allowed to stay up late and sleep in late, especially the teenager? It is particularly difficult for me because I remember being that age and I remember sleeping until noon, until my mom came in and made some wisecrack about sleeping the day away. It was wonderful and I still enjoy long mornings snuggled under the covers.

And so I've waffled and been indecisive. And husband was no help. He doesn't care. And guess what? The kids really haven't been going to be earlier. Well, I've had them shutdown the computers and stop the TV and get in bed. But the sleep-time is still basically the same - way late, especially when I think that school starts tomorrow.

So last night, as I'm laying in bed trying to fall asleep, I convinced myself that I needed to wake the boys up before I left for work. Wake them up at roughly the same time they need to be up tomorrow, so it isn't such a shock. But then as I was going through my motions in the morning, I somehow convinced myself that they didn't need to wake up. That depriving them of sleep for an additional day in the week would only make them more tired tomorrow. After all, the adrenaline of the first day of school will take care of any residual tiredness, right? And I let them sleep.  Nah, I made them get their butts out of bed!  And now you know they call me mean old mom.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

it was an onsgulstraf

It all began many years ago when a teenager was just a little boy child afraid to learn how to ride his bike.  As much as his mother and father tried to convince him of the fun it could be, the little boy child was as stubborn as they come.  The more the parents tried to convince the little boy child, the further entrenched the little boy child became which eventually led to tears and frustration and a stand off. 

Now the Mama and the Papa were no ordinary parents.  Before their married years, the Mama often found herself associating with the boys and learning their love of childish, crude and wicked humor.  The Papa, well, he is a boy and that's all the explanation required.   Together they formed a perfect pair.  They called their house "the Jerky Hut" and even hung up a sign to proclaim it so. 

Bathroom humor, of course, is a favorite of boys.  It is no surprise that the Papa carried into their married years funny jokes and odd quirks established during his youth.  One such quirk is the tradition of "slugging" a fellow if he breaks wind and fails to call "no slugs".  There were times when the winds were silent and the offender could attempt to go unnoticed.  However, in the event the winds were silent but deadly and the offender discovered, he best be quick-lipped or endure the penalty at hand.

The Mama, often considering herself to be one of the guys, took to this game heartily.  And so it came to be that the Jerky Hut played the No Slugs Rule.  No longer was there a requirement to be demure and polite or even say "excuse me" upon releasing gas.  The "No Slugs" response was expected and, in fact, needed or there would be consequences - namely a sore arm.

The Mama and the Papa upon having children, and being the stellar parents they are, necessarily indoctrinated the baby boys with the No Slugs Rule at a very young age.  Perhaps things would have turned out differently had a child of the female persuasion been born unto this family, but they will never know.  And so it came to be that this family of all boys regularly entertained themselves slugging away every chance they could, which is a lot with four boys (Papa included of course).

Dear reader you might be wondering how this applies to a little boy child learning to ride his bike so here is the connection.  Given that these parents were stellar, stubborn and had this wicked sense of humor, they concocted the word "onsgulstraf".  They explained to the little boy child that riding the bike was an onsgulstraf.  When the curious little boy child inquired about the meaning of said word, the stellar parents explained that it means something that at first appears scary and intimidating but once learned becomes a great source of enjoyment.  The stellar parents went on further to explain that the word onsgulstraf is "no slugs fart" spelled backwards and with that, the fear of bike riding washed away amid uproarious laughter resulting in the little boy child hopping back on and mastering the two-wheeled creature.

The Mama and the Papa continue to use this word, each little child boy having his own onsgulstrafs to overcome every now and again.  The Mama may have even used it for herself.

Monday, August 1, 2011

expressions that get on my nerves

Amy's latest edition to The Correctionists got me thinking.  If you don't know the Correctionists, get a brief history and then come right back.  I encourage you to visit these ladies who know their grammar and are pointing out mistakes that will make you cringe (but probably only if you like grammar).  Amy posted on the misuse of quotes and for some reason I immediately thought of the use of air quotes and how they bug me. 

For reference:  Air Quotes is a gesture - two fingers, typically index and middle, bending in the air while the person speaks.   According to Wikipedia:  "Air quotes are often used to express satire, sarcasm, irony or euphemism, and are analogous to scare quotes in print."  I don't know why but they annoy me.

I started thinking about other speech habits and irksome terms.

1.) "At the end of the day..."   Overused by my former manager, this expression immediately triggers a shudder.  I remember being in meetings and literally counting the number of times he spoke that expression.  I don't recall the actual number but it definitely was double digits.  "At the end of the day" is not at the end of the day.  It's at the end of the project, when we are done, when it is supposed to be completed, etc...  It never is at the end of the day.

2.) "The bottom line..." Also another overused expression by the same former manager.  Maybe he should read a thesaurus or learn some new vocabulary.   We are not talking about accounting and balancing the books.

3.)  "Honestly..."  Honestly, if you have to say honestly, does that mean you typically lie to me?

4.)  "I'm not going to lie..."  See number 4 above.

5.) "I have to say..." (alt. "I must admit...").  Actually there are very few circumstances that require you say or admit.  Less is more.

And those are just a few.  I hope the Correctionists don't find this an overuse of quotes.  If so, they can quote me and put me to shame.

How about you?  Are there certain terms that make you shudder like when hearing fingernails on a chalkboard?  Do tell.