17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ready for Fall...already

As I type, the girls are literally wrestling on the rug. They are surrounded by pillows, blankets, each others' limbs, and they are screaming and alternating crying and laughing.

In a few minutes one of them will have a major meltdown, get over it, and then the playing will continue.

After a few cycles of this they will ask to watch tv and then zone for a while until they get hungry and then they will hate their dinnner and get out all the blankets and pillows that I have just put away while they watched tv, and just be AT each other, while begging for their second ice cream sandwich of the day.

I used to think Summer Day Camp was a parent's cop out....and that instead of shipping my kids off everyday, I should take advantage of summer and spend some time with my kids instead. That philosophy has worked pretty well since the end of June when our summer officially began, but now I am ready for Day Camp. It's too hot to swim, I am tired of their tangly hair, chlorine from swim lessons, attitudes that stem from boredness, and I am ready to get BACK into the routine.

The only requirement my future-1st-grader has is to play the violin everyday. And everyday she has a huge crying wicked-witch-of-the-west meltdown about it. The adult in me doesn't get why the kid can't get that she has all this free time and free play and I am only requiring a half hour to 45 minutes of her time FOCUSING a day!

Which makes me think she needs to focus more. Should she have to write each day? read aloud? swim more? make her own lunch? do chores?

I feel that school is so MUCH for her that she deserves a nice long break, but then again...maybe not.

Or...maybe I need a break?


  • sounds like you need a break AND she needs more to do - Day Camp it is!
    posted by Anonymous cchrissyy at 7/29/2008 10:41:00 AM  

  • I know I don't replace your child's violin teacher, but as a piano teacher, requiring a 6 year old to practice more than 20 minutes a day is kind of...well...too much. I would suggest giving her a 20 minute practice each day, rather than 30 or more minutes. Of course, if her teacher is demanding otherwise, than it's not my say (obviously).
    Just my suggestion. It might lessen the tantrums.

    P.S. My kids are alway whiny and ornery by the time August rolls around. I honestly think it's a universal thing!
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 7/29/2008 12:05:00 PM  

  • cheryl, yeah, the whole violin thing is it's own beast....we are cutting her practicing in half for the summer....and I would not like any criticism for that because there are tons of opinions floating around and mine is the only one that counts when it comes to my child and her violin.

    I have learned a lot about the tantrums and emotional triggers from a book called Helping Parents Practice By Sprunger. It is so not about the instrument, all about the relationship....so I am sure you have read this book and experienced stuff like this too...and I admittedly do not do the emotional work I need to on this because I just forget...and I'm lazy. I enjoy practicing much better during the school year....7 AM before school and then about 4 times a week, after dinner....it's much better....
    posted by Blogger Kage at 7/29/2008 12:30:00 PM  

  • My girls are little bit older (going into 4th and 3rd grades, respectively) but a few summers ago I made them start keeping a summer journal. It gave them something to focus on for a few minutes every day, and helped them practice their spelling and writing skills.

    When they were younger, I would have them just keep track of the books they had read (writing down the title and author), and maybe adding a drawing of their favorite part of the story.

    I made a big deal about going to the store and letting them pick out a composition notebook- anyone they wanted, and then I let them use my "special" craft supplies to decorate it if they wanted to.

    Now that they are older, they actually do a bit of journalling. I have a book of journalling prompts they can use, but mostly the write about some of the stuff we've been doing over the summer (swimming, movies, playing with friends, etc).

    It never takes longer than 15 minutes or so, and I think it helps them realize that we *have* been doing a lot of fun stuff. Now, we don't do this every single day, but it's something I can point to when they tell me they're bored.

    We go back to school next week, so I'm envious of you still having summer vacation left! We're starting to get back into "school mode" around here- earlier bed times, no sleeping in until 9 or later, regular meal times...*sigh*
    posted by Blogger The Sauls Family at 7/29/2008 02:24:00 PM  

  • Kage, I hear ya. I'm SO ready for fall and back to school too! My four little ones can drive me crazy some days. July seems like such a long, hot month once the 4th of July festivities are over. It seems like there are only so many activities a mommy can do with the kids... besides family vacations. It sounds like your daughter misses the busyness and structure of the school year. Maybe a day camp type thing would be fun for her! And a much needed break for you. I think it's awesome that you are keeping her up with violin practicing. Maybe a reward system would get her more motivated?

    Good luck! Hopefully you're able to still fit in some "me" time. That definitely helps lift my spirits- and patience! :)
    posted by Blogger LJ at 7/29/2008 03:44:00 PM  

  • Would it work for you and help her to split the practice into 2-3 sessions over the course of the day?

    I absolutely think a 6yo should be doing chores.

    I would also read aloud to them and play board games or card games with them.
    posted by Blogger Julie M. Smith at 7/29/2008 04:07:00 PM  

  • My husband played the violin from age 4-18. He didn't have a choice and this was the one thing his mom was adamant about. He said it was a fight until the bitter end...and he only appreciated the fact that he could play about 2 years after he stopped playing. So you know...this might not be a "stage."

    Also--sidenote--so I read your post the other day about DH becoming the Bishop...that same day we had our mutual friends over from your ward for dinner where I asked them about you (probably hadn't seen them in over 7 months) and THEN you left a comment on my blog... we were obviously sending some serious vibes your way.
    posted by Blogger miggy at 7/29/2008 05:19:00 PM  

  • julie m, yes it's highly suggested to break up the practicing....she would love this, I find this to be a challenge....but might be worth it to focus on it more, I just don't want it to equal a double dose tantrum in my day. Poopy is an issue too....I have to get her zoned in on something so that she doesn't interrupt the practicing.

    We also do read aloud. I am very good at that. I love that. We just finished a Tinkerbell book and we are a little ways into Roverandum, and we read Ivy and Bean #2 as well. Cricket in Times Square is next! Can't wait.

    I need to think more about the chores thing. Usually I just want to get it clean more than I want to teach them a lesson...also my problem, not theirs.

    This afternoon we baked cookies. Both girls took turns SO well and seemed to really love it...maybe we will cook in a hot kitchen for the rest of the hot summer.

    miggy, we have been at the violin for 1 year now, and the emotions involved ebb and flow and depend on SO many different things (fatigue, stress, health, weather, being 6)....I want her to love music and she does love performing her violin for an audience and we have a lot of music time in the house: singing, dancing to music, making up songs, but I am trying to teach her through the violin that work = play....so she has to earn her swim lessons or ballet class or special summer activity (movie, swimming, mom time) by doing her violin first. If she doesn't have a successful practice, she doesn't get these things or tv time or whatever...

    So, one day I think she will appreciate both the violin skills and that lesson that nothing in life is free! And working hard reaps great rewards! Weird about the vibes thing miggy...
    posted by Blogger Kage at 7/29/2008 06:20:00 PM  

  • sauls, I like your ideas....I need to pull out her Tftcarrie journal more....we have a few times this summer, which has been very good. AND I let the girls work on their own scrapbook page with me.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 7/29/2008 06:21:00 PM  

  • Honestly? Summer vacation was designed so that kids could have a break from school---in order to WORK with their parents.

    I say give the kids four weeks, maybe six, in the summer, a few more week-long breaks throughout the year, and we'd all be a lot happier.
    posted by Blogger Emily C at 7/29/2008 07:31:00 PM  

  • Thank heavens for year round school. We've been back in school for a week already Emily C - 5 weeks was a tad short. 6 weeks off for the summer would have been perfect.

    I think what you are going through is totally normal - but I can imagine it might be accentuated living in the city during the hot summer.

    Having a "mother's helper" come over to the house a couple days during the summer was really nice. I basically payed a young girl (about 11) to play with the kids so I could have a little break to do whatever - clean, pack, sleep, veg, etc. If there is someone in the ward, it would be cheaper than day camp!
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 7/29/2008 10:33:00 PM  

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