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Is there a Fire in the House
Friday, July  20, 2007  1:25 PM

Today I got one of those phone calls you don’t ever want to get. It was from my brother who is visiting from out of town. He wanted to know what to do with my kids. Apparently he had dropped by and found my six and four year old playing with a BBQ lighter and paper in the family room. To make matters worse, when he asked them about it they told him they weren’t doing anything and they didn’t know how the lighter had gotten into the room.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I have no illusions that my children are angels - but I never thought they would do something like that. So my brother tells me that he has sent them to their room - they share - and then called me. I ask him to take the phone up to them so I can talk to them. I tell them I am very upset and that we are going to have a long chat when I get home and to expect major repercussions. Once I hang up, though, I can’t figure out what those repercussions should be.
To me this is a huge deal. Not only was it irresponsible and going against the rules - but it was really dangerous. Taking away the computer for a week or TV for a week just didn’t seem to be enough. So after some consideration, I decided to give them a day of chores. Tomorrow each child will have a list of things they have to do. The whole day will be dedicated to work. I figure if they have a day of picking up dog doo-doo in the yard, scrubbing the baseboards with a toothbrush and sorting all the toys and puzzles, they might think twice next time before doing something so ridiculous. But just in case this new method doesn’t work - I also took away the TV and the computer for the weekend.
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Overscheduled Summer - Already
Friday, July  13, 2007  9:02 AM

My eight year old is very unhappy with me today – well actually it started last night and moved into today. It all started when I told the kids they needed to get to bed early last night so they could be rested for their big day today – really, that was just a figure of speech as we had nothing different planned than any other day over the past two weeks.
Anyway, it seemed to me that over the past few nights they had been getting to bed later and later and it was harder to get them up in the morning. Well, my son did not take kindly to my suggestion. He said summer was about going to bed later, being lazy and having fun. He said so far summer had felt like school. Every day they have to get up early and go go go.

Well, he is exaggerating a little. It’s true that they had swimming lessons starting at 9:15 for the last two weeks – but really is that like school? They also had a couple of other things scheduled later in the day but nothing that wasn’t fun. At least that is what I thought.
The truth is, I scheduled all those things because I thought they would have trouble entertaining themselves for the first couple of weeks after school. They are so used to routine. Well, my son feels differently. So, after all my hard work of not over scheduling them during the winter – I failed miserably in the summer. The good thing about summer is that there is still more to come. Next week, is a blank slate. I am scheduling absolutely nothing and expecting him to complain about how bored he is - but at least he won’t be able to say I didn’t listen to him.
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What a Bad Start to the Day
Tuesday, July  10, 2007  3:47 PM

I lost it today and now I am feeling very guilty. The morning started off great. Everyone slept in – well, no one got up at 5:30 – and woke up happy. We were all downstairs having breakfast when somehow everything started going wrong. My four year old started crying because she didn’t want to go to swimming lessons, my six year old announced he was staying home today, my eight year old started acting goofy rather than getting ready to go and then we realized that the older boys had lost their backpacks with everything they needed for the day.

As a result, I ended up driving them to their day camp – instead of them biking there – so I could look for their stuff. That meant I was at least 30 minutes late for work. Let me tell you, you wouldn’t have wanted to be in that car. I tore a strip off of them like I haven’t in a long time. To be fair to me – as if I really need it – I was in control and everything I said needed to be said. I spoke about responsibility, teamwork, consideration and being part of a family. All that was good. It was more the tone of my voice and perhaps the number of times I repeated it that may have been a little bit much.
So now I am at work wishing I could be with them making sure all is fine and that they still love me. I know that is crazy but that is how I feel. Don’t get me wrong, the talking-to needed to be done, and I hope I see some changes as a result, but so far all it has done is make me feel lousy.
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About the Author
Marie-France LeBlanc is a working mother of five kids, living in Halifax. Read on for a glimpse into her life with her family. You can send your comments to Marie-France at diary@investinkids.ca...more
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