Archive for the ‘childhood’ Category

It´s pretty scary raising kids. There are so many things that can go wrong. They get sick; they act up; they get in trouble at school; some have learning issues. Through it all, it´s pretty scary but you get through it. And you´re done.  With a sigh of relief, you pat yourself on the back and know you´ve done your best.

Then come the grandkids and it is even scarier. For one thing, you know all the things that can go wrong. Then there´s the fact that things are not under your control. They have their own parents that make decisions and, for the most part, you have to stand by and support those decisions. Yes, you can offer opinions and suggestions but you can´t push. At least I cannot.  I watch and listen and, when appropriate, I will offer my two cents. But it is all very scary, nonetheless.

That´s what is going on here in my little corner of the world. First it was summer break and the kids were all ready with a day care plan but that didn´t work out because the kids don´t like going to the  woman who was going to watch them. She watches all her grandchildren at the same time so I think our boys just are not used to all of the noise and no technology and other kids, most of them younger than them. So I am called on to go watch them. No problem. Then Spencer got sick and was hospitalized. So I was not only watching the others and trying to be supportive of my daughter, I was also running back and forth to the hospital, their house, and my house! After seven days in the hospital, he was discharged but I had to still be there because he had to be watched and given his medicine on a strict schedule. Now we are looking at major surgery for the little guy (he´s six) and the start of another school year and everything is up in the air.

In the meantime, there is no time for me to see my doctors and get my tests done. The distance between the boys where I need to be and my doctors makes it difficult. And the schedule changes constantly so I am on call every day, all day. I cannot plan “my stuff.¨

And so it´s tough. It´s scary. But that´s my life right now.

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When my kids were in their teens, they became followers of The Princess Bride cult! They discovered the movie and watched it over and over and over again. We bought the VHS tape then the DVD. My daughter now owns it on Blu Ray. It got to the point where they could recite the dialog as the movie played. When they had friends over, they watched the movie. In the hundreds of times they watched it, I never sat down to watch it with them. I would me in ear shot and most of the time I could see them, especially when it was a mixed gender group of friends watching it, but I always gave them room and never sat down to watch it. Every time they watched it, I would remind myself to sit down and watch it some day when they were out of the house but it never happened.

Then this weekend linkup was announced and I figured it was my chance to watch, at least I would have an excuse, and it is on Netflix so no money involved. Yay. So I watched it last week. Did I like it? Well, I kept meaning to watch it again so I could write a good post about it but I guess I didn’t like it enough to watch it a second time. Why? Well, something you don’t know about me is that I don’t find a lot of “humor” funny. I don’t like slapstick. I don’t like the ridiculous being passed as humor. I don’t like “jokes” about bodily functions. Yeah, I’m kind of a dud that way. So I didn’t find a lot of humor in it. Yes, there was some humor that I thought was truly funny. And even though I grew up in the times of the women’s liberation movement and hated it, having been brought up in a very traditional hispanic family and believing that the woman’s place is indeed in the home and all that. Somehow along the way, from the 1970’s to now, I grew up and realized that I was wrong. So it kind of bothered me that it was all men made out to be the heroes and it also bothered me that Buttercup expected everything to be done for her as if she were a fragile flower. I didn’t like the “As you wish” attitude.

What did I like? I loved that it was a grandparent reading to a grandson. The family aspect of it was wonderful. The reading being passed on from one generation to another was very authentic to me. It showed the value of generations of a family interacting with one another and it showed how storytelling and reading are valuable. And even though the grandson was at the age where he did not at first value the reading or the grandfather, by then end, he valued both and looked forward to more visits from the grandfather and, presumably, more storytelling. I love storytelling and I have a lot of stories that I’ve told my kids and students. I love how at first they aren’t too interested but as soon as the story gets going, they are hooked! That part was very real to me. I’ve had it happen.

If I were rewriting it (and I will admit that I have not read the book) I would write it as the grandfather telling/reading the story to both a grandson and a granddaughter. I would write in some kind of dialog about the gender roles and maybe, by the end of the story, each of the grandchildren might see some valid points in the other one’s views. Oh, and I would clean up the language so it would be more understandable, a little more modern. I think that would add to the story.

Will I watch it again? Yeah. I will. Not sure when but maybe the next time we have a cold, rainy weekend and I don’t have grandchild duty, I’ll put it on and give it another look. Then maybe I will write about it once again.

Do I recommend it? Yup! I hear the book is absolutely wonderful, too. Maybe I’ll pick up the book one day.

If you’d like to read more blog posts about The Princess Bride (book and movie), check out the linkup!

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School Stuff

I just Anderson off to kindergarten and I am feeling a little conflicted about it.  It’s an end but also a beginning and he was happy, all smiles as they drove off to school.  Next week he takes the bus!  Lots of changes for all of us.  It got me to thinking about school and first days so here’s a list of the things I used to love about going back to school.

New clothes–it was one of the few times we got new clothes when I was growing up.  We could count on a new outfit for the first day of school, Christmas, and Easter.

Friends–We didn’t live in the same neighborhood as my school friends so I didn’t get to see them during school breaks.  The first day of school meant I got to see my friends again.

Books–I loved books but we didn’t have them at home and my parents didn’t believe in borrowing from the library so going back to school meant I got to be around books!

Teachers–I liked teachers (at least most of the time) because they helped me to learn things so going back to school meant I got a new teacher and I would also get to know my siblings’  teachers because they were older and when school was over, I got to go wait for them to get out of their class and sometimes their teachers would let me go into the classroom to wait.

Those were the givens.  There were other bonuses like hopscotch and dodge ball and jump rope but the ones above were the ones I really looked forward to!

What about YOU?  What did you like about going back to school?  What did you not like?

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As a child, our Fourth Of Julys were always somewhat unpredictable, yet predictable.  The givens were that my dad would be at work and my siblings and I would be at home with our mom, playing, probably in the sprinkler, waiting to see if my dad would get home from work so we could go see fireworks.

My dad worked in a cannery and the summer months meant lots of overtime for him.  He worked late hours and seven days a week, including holidays.  It was this “seasonal overtime” that paid the bills for the entire year when he had only his 40 hour paycheck to support all nine of us.

In the late afternoon my mom would start the barbecue in the backyard and if my dad didn’t make it home in time, we would eat without him.  We usually had hot dogs or hamburgers but once in a while it would be chicken on the grill, along with corn on the cob.  For dessert it was always the same, and we didn’t mind it, watermelon!  I loved it and I love it now!

As the day grew into night, my mom would send my older brothers to the cannery with a plate of food for our dad and to get an update on when he might be home.  If he was going to be home in time, we would all get ready to climb into the car to go watch the fireworks show at Spartan Stadium.  If he wasn’t going to be home, we would put chairs outside in the front sidewalk and watch from there.  We lived on Seventh Street and the stadium was just down the street a few miles so we had a good view from our sidewalk.

When we got a little older, we were allowed to have sparklers!  They were scary, yet I loved the sparkle!  My older brothers would eventually be allowed to get fireworks (which were then legal) like bottle rockets and cherry bombs.  They scared my mom so for the most part the boys didn’t get to set them off until they were teenagers and only if my dad was around to supervise.

I often think of those days.  No cares other than where we would watch fireworks from.  Watermelon.  Playing with my siblings.  Waiting for our dad.  Enjoying each other and good food.  A little danger and a lot of fun.

Memories are made of this.

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My older daughter works as a nanny for a family that has a 3 year old girl and a 5 year old boy.   She has been working for them since September and has grown quite attached to the kids.

When she first started working with them, she would call me and ask me for recipes for things I used to make for/with my kids when they were little; things like homemade paste and homemade play-doh type clay.  She would remember things we did when she was a child and ask me how I had done it so she could do it with her kids (well I call them her children but it’s really her charges).

It made me feel good that those little things I did for them as kids stuck in their minds with such positive impressions that she wanted to replicate the experience for the children with whom she works.   It also made me more and more involved with the kids, even though I have only met them once.

The little boy wants to learn to read before he starts kindergarten in the fall.  He’s quite bright and has tested as gifted but he also has some special needs.  As a former teacher, I have been able to look online and guide my daughter to some sites where she can get some help  for working with the little boy.  I’ve also started noticing kids’ reading and phonics workbooks when I go to thrift shops where they are cheap enough for me to buy and send to the little boy.

The other day my daughter told me that the little boy is on the cusp of reading and loves to work in the workbooks I sent to him.  His parents are thrilled with the workbooks too and they sit with him in the evenings and help him with the work and they give him “homework” for him to do in the workbooks while they are at work.

It made me very happy that I was able to help my daughter help the little boy.  It also makes me glad that my daughter’s childhood was positive enough so that she thinks of it with fondness and wants to share that kind of experience with “her children”!

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