What I learned this week:

This week's lessons

1.  My son would rather be hungry during the day than pack a snack/lunch for school.  He specifically asks me to bring his lunch that he made when I pick him up as he’s going to be hungry.  Apparently he doesn’t want to take that extra step of putting his lunch/snack in his backpack.  This is all fine when I pick him up from school, however there are days that I don’t pick him up and those are the days he chooses to pack his lunch.

2.  My son prefers that I manage his homework schedule.  With fabulous insight from Vicki Hoefle, I was able to have a conversation with my son about homework.  The conversation went like this:

Me “Rip when we get home I would like to have a conversation with you about how to manage your homework.”

Rip “Can we have the conversation now?”

Me “Yes.  I want to know how you would like to manage getting your homework done each week.”

Rip “I don’t know.”

Me “I would love to have your input.  However, if I get to decide how your homework is managed, it is going to go like this:  As soon as you get home you will do all your homework.  Once the homework is done, I will check it for errors.  If there are any errors, you will get to correct them.  Then I will watch you put your homework in your folder, your folder in your backpack.  At that point you will be able to play, have snacks.”

Rip “Sounds good to me.”

Me “Ok”

As soon as we got home, we pulled out the homework, he got it done and all was good.  I’m not really sure what to do with this, but it is only day one.  Interesting things may happen next week.  We’ll just have to wait and see.


Zen Parenting

I am so happy to report that I managed to get through the morning routine without going into the rabbit hole.  No yelling, no getting tense, just kept moving – even though my lovely son was not moving forward.

I’m not sure how I finally found this pleasantly peaceful place, especially since I had minimal sleep with my 3 year old daughter sawing some serious logs all night long, but I found it and I don’t ever want to leave.

The morning started out with a thought that I was going to have radical faith in my son that he could get up and get ready for school.  I seriously kept chanting in my head “he can do it, I know he can.”  Nothing but positive thoughts flowing through the brain this morning.

Rip didn’t get ready.  As a matter of fact he didn’t even get out of bed until 5 minutes before it was time to leave.  He started going down a path of whiny, crying about breakfast.  I remained firm and kind.  Offered up a couple of options (fruit bar or fiber bar), put his clothes in the car, and walked Rip to the car.  Ride to school was pleasant.  Rip got dressed in the car outside of school (no that did not phase him).  And it wasn’t until I was kissing him goodbye that he asked about his ‘stuff’.  I asked if he brought his snack/lunch/backpack, he replied no and with minimal sadness, but more importantly, he didn’t freak out!  I told him I’d be happy to bring him a sandwich when I picked him up and he seemed OK with that.  And then I left for home/work.

I am so excited that even though the morning did not go as I hoped, it went smoothly and without any yelling or tears.  Ahhh, feels so good!


Last night and this morning were ugly.  We managed to get out of the hole enough last night and attempt a ‘do over’ but this morning I went right back into the hole, deeper than ever.  I’m going to use this post to remind myself of what an amazing child have and have that help me change my attitude/actions towards him…especially after he said these things to me this morning:

“everything I do makes you mad at me”

“I can’t do anything right”

Yep, I have NOT been parenting from my best.  Jumped straight out of DNSN, which if I want to be honest, I did not do so well either, and into the rabbit hole.  Ok, here’s my reminder of what an amazing son I have.

My son is hands down one of the best big brother’s I know.  He constantly loves on his sister, tries to teach her things, encourages her to play with him and won’t let other people pick on her.

Snow Day in Southern California

My son is loving.  He loves to cuddle with me in the morning and have some fun conversations about anything.

My son is smart.  He is book smart beyond my wildest dreams.  He loves to read and absorbs everything.  He then likes to turn around and teach his parents about what he just learned.

My son is creative.  He has an imagination that can take you into outer space to fight crazy aliens and then land at the bottom of the ocean to swim with the fish.  He can pick up a blank piece of paper and draw a machine that will some day rule the world.

My son is capable.  When he puts his mind to doing something, he works at it until he masters it.

My son counts.  This family would NOT be whole without him.

Ahhh…now to start over again.  I’m staying out of the deep, dark, ugly rabbit hole today!

For the most part everything went really well. We still have a few routine items to work out but for the most part things will look like this:

– Kirk takes Rip to school in the morning
– Riley & Mommy pick up Rip from school in the afternoons
– Fridays are ‘Fitness Friday’ and parents are encouraged to join in. We still need to figure out how this is going to work as it makes the drop off part longer
– Wednesday’s are Rip’s short day so Riley, Ripken and I will probably make this a beach day (head there right after lunch time)

This morning was a bit of a rough drop off. But I’m just hoping it’s because of Rip being so tired from going to bed late last night, getting up in the middle of the night, not eating a great breakfast and just getting used to the kindergarten scene. Keep your fingers crossed all goes better on Monday!

Tomorrow is Rip’s birthday party. We planned this a bit late so we only have a few people coming but should be a good time anyways. We’ll be doing a pinata, pizza, cupcakes and then playing on the playground. It’s supposed to be another hot one so I don’t expect the party to last too long.

That’s it for now. More updates after the party!

Summer must be officially over…Rip started kindergarten today. Overall I’d say things went pretty smoothly. Alarms went off at 6am. The snooze button was hit a few times (this was all mommy & daddy’s doing). Got dressed, ate breakfast…out the door. BTW, that may all sound very nice and efficient, but in reality, those few things took an hour and a half.

Ok, school is only .6 miles from our house but, at this point, still far enough away that we are making the trip by car. Had to park about 1/2 a block away so we did get to do a little walking 🙂 Ok, we go to our designated spot (The Kindergarten Area) and get to see all the kids and respective parents milling around waiting for the first bell. We deposit Rip’s snack into the designated red wagon (each kindergarten has an assigned snack wagon), hang up the backpack, and then wait. Kirk does another great job of capturing all of this on video and photos!

Ok, second bell rings and it’s time to head into the classroom. So far Rip is doing really well at hanging out and when we get inside, he goes and sits with all the other kids. He does look a little sad when the teacher starts singing the ‘Goodbye Parents’ song but doesn’t cry or come running for us (phew!).

The pick up went pretty smoothly…Riley was a little impatient about getting to Ripken, especially after she saw him through the window. Man are we ever so lucky that Rip & Riley like each other so much!

Ok, bell rings, Rip is released. He comes running out, Riley runs to him, they embrace with big smiles on their faces! Then Rip breaks the news to me. He forgot to put his backpack and lunchbox back on the hook after lunch. I did a PHENOMENAL job of not freaking out about how the $20 batman thermos I just bought for him was lost on the FIRST day (I haven’t broken the news to Kirk about the cost of said thermos…just going to let him find out when he reads this post…love you honey!)!! Instead, we checked out the lost and found and cafeteria. No place to be found. Then Rip mentions he thinks he left it on the playground. We go check out the ‘big’ playground, no dice. Same thing with the kindergarten playground. However, we did find the new batman backpack so not all was lost on the first day.

To celebrate Rip, Riley & I went straight to 7-11 for some slurpee action and then over to Lake Murray for some bonding time. I was hoping that Rip was going to open up about his first day at school whilest enjoying that amazing slurpee mom had just bought for him…and usually that does the trick. But not today. Not on the day I am DYING to find out what he thought of his first day of formal education. Oh well…we still have that bonding time going for us. At least we did until when we were playing tag Rip slipped and scrapped his knee. For those of you not too familiar with Rip, he does not do well at the sight of blood and there was blood (see below). Rip is now screaming bloody murder (ha ha). We agree that fun time is over and to go home so I walk over to Riley who is covered head to toe in sand and slowly undressing herself in preparation of playing in Lake Murray (which is not allowed as it is a resevoir). I explain to Riley that it is time to leave. She tells me she is, under no circumstances, ready to leave. I pick her up to start taking her to the car. I now have Rip writhing in pain in the dirt and Riley screaming and flailing about (trying to punch me too). I’m doing my damndest not to laugh because I’m thinking the whole situation is comical when Rip spies my smirking and tells me ‘This is NOT funny!!’ Oh, contrair mon frere!

Ok, we did make it back home (Rip screaming the whole way) and managed to salvage the rest of the afternoon/evening. Rip’s bloody knee doesn’t seem to be bothering him any more and Riley forgave me for taking her away from the water.

Rip Goes to Kindergarten

There are many times when we let Ripken sleep on the sleeping bag in our bedroom. Usually it’s nights where he had a nap and is having a hard time falling asleep. It’s not an ideal situation but at least he eventually falls asleep on his own while Kirk & I have time to decompress from the day. The one rule we have about this arrangement is that if Rip leaves the room, he HAS to go back upstairs.

This rule usually works amazingly well. However, the other night, when Rip came down to ask if he could sleep in our room, he saw that we had a movie cued up on the TV (Golden Compass – which has a kid friendly appearance). Rip’s attention was immediately drawn to the TV and we could sense there would be trouble in paradise.

Sure enough, about 5 minutes after I closed the door to the room, Rip came out asking if he could watch the movie. I was tired and not really up for a battle so I gently placed him back in the room and reminded him of ‘The Rule’ and headed out, intending to hunker down and escape from reality. Unfortunately, 2 minutes later, Rip was standing there trying to watch the movie with us. We reminded him of ‘The Rule’ and he declared that he wanted a ‘New Rule’. What??? He thinks he can make rules??? Well, the proposed rule was that he could open the door to the bedroom and stand there and watch the movie and not have to go upstairs. Ha! No such rule will exist in this house!

Kirk and I agreed that us watching that particular movie was going to be an issue so we agreed to not watch it that night. I took Rip back into the room (3rd time???) and told him we would all watch the movie together this weekend. He wasn’t very happy about it, but it did look like he was going to stay in the bedroom.

Kirk and I go about watching our Daily Shows and Office. At the end, we’re tired and ready to go transfer Rip back up to his room and then go to sleep ourselves. Much to our surprise, Rip had locked the door to our bedroom. Huh!? Not exactly sure why he did that but I’m guessing it had something to do with us not letting him watch the movie that night. Regardless, we had to get out the tools and take the door handle off in order to go to bed. Thankfully Rip didn’t fall asleep in front of the door where the door handle dropped to the floor (can you imagine explaining that one to child protective services??).

As a side note, the parenting skills listed above are not the best we have to offer and are not condoned by the Parenting On Track program. We know consistency is the key to success, but sometimes we are just too damn tired! Oh well, no parenting awards for us this year 🙂

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