Monday, June 16, 2008

My Queen of Drama

My girl woke up happy today, which has been a change as of late. She came into my room and the first thing she said to me was,

"Mom, did you know I saw two ducks, a bear and a trampoline?"

Barely awake, I said, "What?"

"I saw two ducks, a bear and a trampoline. In the tree. Don't you just love it when you can see interesting shapes in a tree, mom?"

I can't honestly say that I've seen interesting shapes in a tree (although I have in the clouds, so I'm not totally bereft). I do delight in this side of her personality and am glad she enjoys sharing these things with me.

I had hopes that this meant we were going to have a good day. That didn't last very long. Soon she was dragging her feet again doing her morning chores. This time she was smart when she explained to me that,

"Mom, I just don't have the energy."

She's learning not to tell me that she's tired because that means she will likely end up having to have an afternoon nap, like little kids do.

The afternoon passed with her dragging her feet again doing her school. I've realized one of the things I've been lax about is her penmanship. To be honest, I have a hard time understanding why it's so important, as long as it's legible. However, I understand that this is just my opinion.

The kindergarten curriculum I chose for her, ABeka, an American-based program that my sister and some others I know have used, is very strong in its push toward penmanship, so much so that they start them with cursive writing in Kindergarten. Because I was new to homeschooling, and because the manual said to teach it, I tried to get her to begin cursive writing. She struggled with it. I remember Dave completely disagreeing with starting her that young, so I called my teacher friend in Calgary, Sherri Long (also known as Mrs. Wizzle) and asked her opinion on starting cursive writing in Kindergarten. She told me that they don't start it until grade two or three because she found that most of the children do not have the dexterity. So, cursive writing was put on hold.

A few weeks ago, I decided to see how she could handle it. She completely shocked me with how carefully and neatly she wrote the vowels. So we went from there. She has begun to write some consonants in cursive and is doing well. Until today.

She became completely unglued trying to write the letter "b". After explaining to me that "I couldn't possibly understand how hard this was" - she is the queen of dramatics - I told her to just put it away for today (and I don't understand, eh?). And I realized that I think it's time to relax a bit with school again (although 30 minutes a day is pretty relaxed I think). However, it is summer time and we all need more fresh air.

On to supper time.

I am not a gourmet chef. I really do not like cooking at all, to be perfectly honest. When you grow up in a family where your mom had to stretch every dollar, you learn to eat simple. She invented 101 different ways to eat macaroni. We lived on fried bologna, weiners and hamburger. Roasts and chicken were treats. Anything besides apples, oranges and bananas were considered an exotic fruit in our house.

Having said that, I think I've come a long way. We eat lots of chicken, pork and beef roasts. I can even make a mean lasagna. And fortunately, Dave is a meat-and-potatoes type of guy and does not enjoy fancy.

So, to make a short story long, I decided to make something different tonight. By different, I mean Hamburger Helper. It takes great skill and precision after all, and I can't honestly remember the last time I made it.

Now, both of my kids are fussy. I've received a lot of flack about this because it is automatically assumed I've been too lenient. However, I have not yet learned the art of shoving food down a kid's throat when they just will not eat it (any insight into this would be greatly appreciated). You simply cannot get a kid to open their mouth unless they want to. On top of that, both of my kids have very remarkable gag reflexes. Hannah has thrown up or gagged more times than I can count because of being grossed out.

So, a singsong started when she saw what I was making. I mean it was different than her usual five meal repertoire. And it continued.

Part of my problem is that I have a hard time letting the kids go to bed hungry. When they've refused to eat their supper, I haven't made something else, but I have let them have a bigger than normal bed time snack. I put my foot down tonight about this. I told them that if they didn't eat that was all they were getting. They could have their usual yogurt and fruit at bed time, but nothing else. And, they weren't going outside to ride their scooters unless they finished their supper.

Miracle. After 45 minutes of nickel-sized mouthfuls, Hannah finished. She told me she would much rather have the chicken stew that I made them try last week, which surprised me. They hated the chicken stew last week. Hmm. Maybe I'll have to resurrect that for tomorrow.

To top off her already bad day - she likes to tell me when her "day is ruined" - they didn't get outside to ride their scooters. They were supposed to clean up Seth's bedroom because there was barely one square inch of floor space in sight - they weren't just building a castle with blocks, they were building the whole kingdom - and fooled around instead. Despite my warnings that their time outside was getting less and less, I heard repeated giggling coming from the bedroom. Now, I hate to ruin it when they're getting along and having fun, but it got too late to go outside because of their messing around.

Consequently, my girl went to bed less than happy. Her day was ruined. She had to eat a supper she hated - and all for nothing! She didn't even get to ride her scooter after all that torture! (and it was all Seth's fault!).

She asked me if she could ride twice tomorrow to make up for today.

I don't know. Maybe if she eats Hamburger Helper and chicken stew, huh? I do have leftovers after all.

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