Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quite an Education OR Desperate Times call for Desperate Measures

Our children have been receiving quite an education this summer. I mean, QUITE an education. You may have read about all of the school work we've been accomplishing this summer. Perhaps it made your stomach turn and thus made you not want to be my friend. I understand. I can't believe it myself. Well, lemmetellyou about a little education. Five children and no nanny or babysitter or long lost grandmother means 5 children go everywhere Mama goes. And I do mean EVERYWHERE.
Dear DH and I are going to have a little getaway this weekend. It is long overdue. There are some other, um, unmentionables that are long overdue as well. SO... I asked the children to please go to the bathroom, gather their DSi or a good book, and hop in the car. Mama Henley was desperate. I know your minds are racing, "For what in the world could I be so desperate? Did Mama Henley take the children to the liquor store?" No! I would never do such a thing as that.
Mama Henley simply stated, "Children, we need to run an errand. You are going to wait in the waiting room while I do something and then we'll leave." Well, Mama Henley has not raised any fools. They don't overlook details... not even the tiniest one. Once we were all in the car, our son asked, "Mama, what are you going to do? Does Daddy know?"
"It's okay, darling. Daddy will understand. It won't take long," I replied.
"Mama, what are you going to do? It sounds inappropriate," our attorney son stated firmly.
"Honey, it's none of your business. It's private," I calmly replied.
"Well, Mama, it sounds inappropriate. I think you are doing inappropriate things. It's giving me the creeps," the judge offspring let me know with disgust in his voice.
At this point, I can hardly drive because of our conversation. Now where do YOU think Mama Henley was dragging her offspring, ladies? Well, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. I was overdue and I had to be all fixed up for my trip and that was THAT.
We drove to Melt Out, a darling walk-in day spa that allows children in the waiting room. I set up not one, not two, not even three, but FIVE children in waiting room chairs. I read the board to figure out that my treatment is called the Fine Tune. I signed in and waited. Finally, Miss M called my name and I went back into a quiet room, leaving my children to wait. Let's just say that I was not having a massage. You guessed it. I was there for a bikini wax. Before you call DFACS, the children were safe and well-fed and had no idea what I was doing back there. They thought I was having a massage. Honey, after the interrogation, I NEEDED a massage. For the first time ever, I think I laughed my way through the bikini wax hearing our conversation from the car in my head and wondering what they were thinking now. Thankfully it didn't take long.
I walked out of the room to find our children calmly sitting in their chairs and eating lots of Dum dum lollipops. Don't worry; they had lunch later. I decided to go ahead and have my brows waxed while I was there. They do such a better job compared to my over-tweezing self. As I reclined in the chair, I happened to sense people watching me. I opened my eyes to see not one pair, but SIX PAIRS of eyes staring at me while sounds like, "Ooo.... ouch... yuck" filled my ears. All 5 children and Miss M were looking at my poor eyebrows being waxed. I started laughing uncontrollably at the visual of them trying to watch my OTHER wax this closely. It was too much. I am sure Miss M went home to tell her family about the crazy lady who brought her FIVE children to a bikini wax. But you know what, that's okay. I haven't had a good story in a long time, so I am happy to share, even if it is TMI and I vowed never to talk about such things on my blog. You just can't pass up a good story now, can you?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday's Tip

By now the golden days of summer may have turned a little bit long. Perhaps you have taken all of your fabulous trips, the children have been to camp, and the grandparents are no longer offering respites for Mama and Papa. School looms around the corner, but it's just far enough away that the whines and daily doldrums are getting to you. We have our moments at Mama Henley's house, and they are not always pretty. I can't tell you how many times I have walked into a room that I had recently organized for the 100th time only to find it completely destroyed. That scenario often happens multiple times a day in the Hurricane/Nature Girl room. Those two are more than a little to contend with at times! :)

To combat summer fights and boredom, we have adapted a summer schedule. I encourage the children to sleep in the mornings. They are all awake by 8am, and we have breakfast and clean up our dishes. Then, I do math or reading with one child while the others read, do math problems, practice typing, or practice piano. Everyone has to brush teeth and hair and make their own bed and straighten their room. Some mornings we have a morning Bible story time but sometimes that happens in the evenings or even the afternoon. Our children are not perfect. The Dsis and tv are a constant battle. It never fails that some of the children are not doing what I asked. However, overall, we have been able to accomplish a lot this summer. Everyone has completed their summer reading so everything we read now is just gravy. We are reviewing an entire math curriculum with one of our children, and it has been going remarkably well. Piano keeps us disciplined as well.

In the afternoons, the children play or swim or sometimes we run errands. The children use their imagination all of the time and it is wonderful to hear. I have been trying to do most of my errands at night once they are going to bed. A trip to Publix or Target is much easier solo than with 5 children. Keeping our days fairly organized makes them more enjoyable. I have been able to work with the children individually but I have also taken the time to clean some closets and cut coupons, etc.

Another great advantage of summer is the time to teach life skills to your children. Since we try to eat most of our meals at home, I have been able to let the children help me cook. Today I taught Tiny how to peel and devein shrimp. She took off all of the tails and arranged them on a baking sheet so that we could roast them for our shrimp salad. I didn't plan to have her help me. Rather, she came in the room and asked. So I stopped trying to rush and I taught her what to do. My inclination was to not let her hands get stinky with the shrimp smell, but I am so glad I let her do it. She learned a lot. Then our Nature Girl asked to shuck the corn. Again, I slowed down and taught that baby some life skills. Summer should be slow and enjoyable. Children need time to play. It's also okay to help them keep up the skills they learned during the school year.

I have learned that our best days are the ones that are loosely organized and I am interacting with them and not just living near them. What about you?