25 September 2009

Oh, To Be a Parent In Colonial Times

Last summer, we visited Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, and I purchased (but forgot until Brent found it a couple of days ago) a pamphlet called "The School of Manners OR Rules for Children's Behaviour".

The title's much longer, but you get the point. A guide for how children in colonial times should behave. Check this out.

Chapter III - Of Behaviour at Home

1. Always bow low at coming Home, and be immediatly uncovered.

2. Be never covered at home, especially before thy Parents or Strangers. (What's all this with the hats?)

3. Never sit in the presence of thy Parents without bidding, though no Strangers be present. (Now, that's weird.)

4. If thou pass by thy Parents, or any place where thou seest them, either by themselves, or with Company, bow towards them. (Now, that one, I dig.)

5. If thou be going to speak to thy Parents and see them engaged in Discourse or Company, draw back, and leave thy business till afterwards; but if thou must speak, be sure to whisper. (Personally, I totally agree with this one. It seems I see a lot of parents who let their kids interrupt them in the middle of a conversation with other adults...uh, NO!)

6. Never speak to thy Parents, without some Title of Respect, viz. Sir, Madam, Forsooth; according to their quality. (By the way, viz. is another way to say "in other words".)

7. Approach near thy Parents at no time without a Bow. (What is UP with all the CAPITALIZATION?)

8. Dispute not, nor delay to do thy Parents' Commands.

9. Go not forth of doors without thy parents' leave, and return within the time by them limited. (The oft-battled-over curfew.)

10. Come not into the room where thy Parents are with Strangers unless thou be called, and then decently; and at bidding, go out; or if Strangers come in while thou art with them, it is manerly with a bow to withdraw.

11. Use respectful and courteous, not insulting or domineering carriage or language towards the Servants.

12. Quarrel not, nor contend with thy Brethren or Sisters, but live in Love, Peace, and Unity.

13. Grumble not, nor be discontented at any thing thy Parents appoint, speak, or do.

14. Bear with Meekness and Patience, and without murmering or sullenness, thy Parents' Reproofs or Corrections, nay, though it should so happen that they be causless or undeserved.

Obviously, I think that some of them are a little out-of-date...but, really, many of them are still relevant today.

24 September 2009

Disappointment Builds Character

Nominate me now for Mom of the Year!!! Vote today! Mom of the Year today, President tomorrow!

It's this tale right here that's gonna clinch the award: three times in the past twenty-our hours have I taught my children the hard-boiled lesson of brooking disappointment.

Incident #1: Last night, Elliot took a miniscule bite of his tuna fish sandwich and three to four bites of his potato cheese soup (prepared by Spencer and I; it was a Weight Watcher recipe and will be made again in our house soon). So, I told him no sweets/treats/desserts later (my mom and I were going on a walk that would end up going past Smokey Row). At the time, he was fine with it. Later, my dad commissions my mom and I to stop by the store for peanut clusters (his sweet tooth attack). We brought them home, he opened them, and guess who wanted one? Yep. The kid who had eaten very little of his dinner earlier. I said no. I repeated it firmly a couple more times. Had I not been there, my dad would have totally let him chow down. Anyway, that was crying attack #1 - it was short-lived and we all survived.

Incident #2: Today, around 3:30, the older two get home from school and immediately go for a snack. No prob. I need to run some errands, and Elliot wants an apple to eat on the way. No prob. We get to my office, and it turns out there's cake in the faculty lounge. Spencer is offered a piece, Kirby declines, and Elliot wants one too. Except - he nibbled the skin off of his Pink Lady apple before handing it off to Kirby (apples, by the way, Brent informed me are, like, 89 cents an apple right now). So, by way of last night's example, no cake for Elliot. Crying attack #2, but again, he was done within ten minutes.

Incident #3: I'm picking up a few incidentals at Walmart (this is shortly after incident #2). In a weak moment, I am persuaded to buy a "Bop It" game. We play it in the aisles for several moments, laughing hysterically. What the heck, I think, I've been a hard ass the last day. We throw it in the cart, and I tell the kids explicitly, "No touching the Bop It. It's there now, and we'll play the crap out of it when we get home." Well, as we're waiting in line to play, Spencer is so bored and, while I'm distracted, he takes the game out of the cart to mess around with it. Huh. Well, I can't buy it for them now. So, yes, I make my kids put it back. And I was disappointed as well...it would have been fun to play. You should have seen Spencer's face. Very, very, very disappointed.

So yeah, I've been the Bad Mom the last day. However, it's possible my kids are better because of it.

Now gimme my trophy.

17 September 2009

The Part-Time Circus

I'm wrapping up week four of the new job-career lifestyle, and I have to say...

I think I want to work part-time for life.

Yeah, I'm spinning three plates, but consider that I now get a decent lunch hour and I have time after work to get a pedicure and fix my kids' after school snack...well, it doesn't seem so bad.

I'm sure it will be different when the weather gets colder, but I love being able to step outside everyday. That I, in some sense, can experience the outside world in between the hours of eight a.m. and four p.m. is amazing.

Right now, I am crazily busy, and the schedule seems way hectic, trying to juggle work, soccer, gymnastics, Girl Scouts, and a community theater play, but I still am feeling a sense of peace. I'm not cooped up in a hermetically sealed, artificial environment all day. I have more freedom than I have for the last ten years. My husband and I chat in the mornings, and all throughout the day actually.

If my life were a commercial jingle right now, it would be "ba da ba ba ba...I'm lovin' it!"

01 September 2009

Ten Dollars on Tuesday

Welcome September!

To me, September is one of those months that creeps in, unawares, while everyone else is either yearning for the leisure-days-gone-by of August or the costume-crazed candy fest at the end of October.

September the middle child. Of course, you love it, but you kind of forget about it when pulled apart by the demands of August and October.

The weather is already changing here. Mornings are cool, afternoons are balmy. It's hard to tell if fall is really here, of if there's a little Indian summer left in the seasonal gas tank.

Anyway, here in town, the local Farmer's Market is open on Tuesdays (and Saturdays, but I didn't have one of those handy). I live about two blocks from it, so my clever idea for the day was to walk the kids up to it. We'd combine some local shopping time with a little exercise with a little snack. Three birds with one stone.

I took only ten dollars. After we browsed one time, we were ready for purchases...

1. After sampling jams, the kids chose the pear jelly. The vendor here also gave us all free, organic, pesticide-free apples. :)

2. Homemade toffee.

3. A loaf of wheat bread. How could we buy jam and not bread?

4. By this time, I had seventy-five cents left. Just enough for a chocolate chip cookie for each child.

And that's it. My ten dollars were gone. I didn't buy any produce, no veggies, no melons...but the rewards?

1. A pleasant walk in the sunshine with my children.
2. A smug feeling at boosting the local economy.
3. Homemade toffee that I would waste a diet for.
4. An conversation with my children on the way home that ran along the lines of..."people at farmer's markets are much nicer than at Walmart."

My advice to you: go find a FM to patronize! Today!