Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Is it really a vacation if you spend it playing mediator?

I've been blessed with fantastic friends.  I don't think I would have managed nearly as well as a single mom without their help.  They stand in for me when work pulls me away and they make me look much cooler than I am.

Case in point:  I've had a really crappy summer.  A bed bug invasion, some scary health issues and now I'm in the  middle of a renovation project.  Enter one of these fantastic friends who graciously offered us her house in Montauk for a few days this week for free.  SWEET!!!

I love Montauk.  Being from Long Island, we were here at least once a year so it has many fond memories.

But I just spent the last 30 minutes playing mediator.  A 10 year old boy and a 14 year old girl just don't like the same things.  So the plan for the day was to pick up mountain bikes and hit a local trail.  But my daughter didn't sleep at all last night (new house, too many mosquitos and moths -- because they left the door open!) so she'd rather go to the beach.  I'd rather go to the beach myself so I'm leaning that way.  My son is furious and so begins the "Jordan always gets her way"  "No, Aidan always gets HIS way" argument.  

20 minutes of the back and forth and I've decided -- beach and lighthouse today, biking tomorrow.  Then another 10 minutes of gloating (Jordan), sulking (Aidan) and guilty feelings (Mom).

As I'm writing this the following scene ensued:

Aidan:  [sigh] I'm just going to stay here while you go two go to the beach.
Me:  No you're not
Jordan:  If he gets to stay here, I get to stay here
Jordan:  You don't have to be so mean about it.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My baby bird

It's August 15 and many moons ago that used to mean it was time to get a couple more wears out of my favorite summer outfit, finish off that last bottle (ok, case) of rose and get a few more days of beach time.

But today, actually this whole week, it's meant freaking out about how unprepared my son is for the new school year. 

My daughter's a sophmore in high school so my preparation involves putting money in her checking account for fall clothes and giving her a few reminders (mostly through text) to finish her summer reading.

But my son is going into 5th grade.  As moms of middle schoolers can attest, 5th grade is an awful year.  It's equivalent is baby birds being flung out of the nest in hopes they will fly.  Having gone through this once before, I'm particularly panicked because I know my son, my adorable little baby bird, is going to sink to the ground with a thud if I don't step up the preparation.  

What kind of preparation?

Daily homework for one.  I just spent the last half hour reviewing yesterday's math work, over the phone, because he was sleeping when I left this morning and we spent last night watching movies and eating tacos (it IS still summer!).  So today we went over, via conference call, improper fractions ("what's 19 over 6?...6 goes into 19 how many times...").   There are math problems written all over the back of an employee survey I should have been revising during this "free time".

And then there's the general responsibility stuff.  My son is lazy.  God knows I love him but it's true.  He'd rather ride his bike, play video games, shoot baskets, watch TV, sleep, ANYTHING other than something remotely school like.  So rather than talk until I'm blue in the face about responsibility and how school and chores come first, I've gotten a kick out of channeling my parents and showing him.  You only read for 20 minutes when you were supposed to read for an hour?  I shut the TV off in the middle of Call of Duty until it's finished.  You left your towel and clothes on the floor before you went to bed?  I wake you up early in the morning to pick them up and put them away.  You give me a hard time (the dreaded <sigh> and teeth sucking) when I'm using my work time to help you with math?  I ban video games for the day unless the work is done with a smile on your face (or at least what sounds like one through the phone).

Harsh?  It's better than tossing him out of the window and hoping he sprouts wings!  And I'm open to any suggestions from the moms out there.