Friday, October 29, 2010

Brothers and Sisters

I need to vent right now.

Yesterday we went in for the ultrasound. We found out the sex of the baby. It's another boy. So we will have four sons and one daughter.

I myself have five brothers and no sisters. I have always been a little sad at not having a sister. Women with sisters are so lucky. They may have their differences, like all siblings do, but they have a built-in friend, someone they can confide in and share with. My brothers married good women, and I think I have great sisters-in-law, even the sisters of my husband are pretty cool. But when they need a confidante, or they need to vent or they need someone just to talk with, they go to their own sisters, not the sister of their husband or the wife of their brother. And I feel like I'm bothering them when I call them wanting to talk because I'm not their sister, just their sister-in-law. So I hardly ever do.

Boys grow up to men. Men are silent. They do not share emotionally the way women do, they do not bond in such ways. I do have a brother that I am close with and occasionally I call him when I need to vent or need advice. But he looks at everything from a man's perspective and is sometimes rather harsh and cold, not like a sister would be.

So I'm deeply saddened at the fact that, like myself, my daughter won't have a sister. It seems so unfair that she has to deal with the same thing I've missed out on all my life. I've never related well to other women and I've always blamed that on the fact that I grew up with boys. My poor daughter now has my same fate.

Being the only girl with all brothers isn't such a bad thing--there are some cool things about it and my cousins (two of my cousins have the same family make-up, they are the only girls with four or five brothers) seem to have handled it well. They seem to have found "sisters" in friends and others like I never really could.

But now I worry that my daughter will end up like me--not really able to relate well to the female crowd.

And the worst part for me is that almost all the people I know right now who are pregnant are having girls. When all the girl results started coming in, I knew I was having a boy because that is what happened with my oldest. He has only girl cousins his age. And most of my friends who were pregnant at the same time had girls as well. So it will be with this one. Only girl cousins his age and everyone else seems to be having a girl.

I know I should be happy, and I'll get there eventually, I hope. I just feel like I missed out on something by not having a sister. I love my brothers. But they aren't sisters, it's as simple as that.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How Much Freedom?

Yes, it's been several weeks since I was last on. I have a whole list of ideas, but I've been avoiding writing on this blog because my writing reeks of my overall pessimistic outlook on life. So I refrain because I agree that it's not very enjoyable to read something with negative undertones. But, I wanted to see what other people think and do about this issue that has been plaguing me, so I write.

How much freedom do you give your children? I'm not asking hypothetically or whatever. How much do you actually give them? What are their ages?

My children are 7, 6, 4, and 2. Our neighbors' kids are 9 and 6. The parents let them run all over the neighborhood and they always want our kids to come out and play.

I want to give my kids the freedom to play near our house with their friends. But I'm very wary and cautious to let them go unsupervised like the neighbor kids do. I check on them frequently. It's only my two older ones that are allowed to go out there to play. My younger kids have to be with me, and I have to be out there with them if they are outside.

Am I being too paranoid? Am I not being cautious enough? Should I be out there every time they are outside or can they play out there with their friends and I just check on them every 20 minutes or so? And watch them from the windows.

What do you think?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Celebrating Halloween

last year's costumes: a construction worker, a princess, Wall-E, and Spider-man

How do you celebrate Halloween? Or do you at all?

I must admit, it's not my favorite holiday. There are fun things about it. But the whole idea behind it is rather Satanic and, to be frank, scary.

Growing up, I was able to dress up and go trick-or-treating in my neighborhood. Usually just around the block or two. My parents didn't really decorate for it. On the day of Halloween, they would put up a ghost in the front window made out of a tall floor lamp draped with a white sheet and black paper eyes and a mouth taped to the front. We used to have a witch that had hinged legs and arms that my parents would hang up on the front door. That was the extent of our decorations. Our costumes were often simple--usually something we could scrounge up out of stuff we already owned. Occasionally my mom would go all out and make us a costume, but that didn't happen most years. And we stopped trick-or-treating once we were 12 or in junior high, whichever came first. After that, the occasional Halloween dance at school or church or activity at church and maybe a party, depending on who was involved, was sometimes okay.

Now that I'm married, I remember the fun of dressing up and trick-or-treating and of carving the pumpkin. But I'm not into the decorating or the scary side of Halloween. And my husband really doesn't like Halloween at all. He would prefer that we shut off all the lights and go upstairs to our room and watch a movie. Not a scary Halloween movie, either, just any movie. But I think kids enjoy dressing up and pretending to be someone else. Plus the trick-or-treating is fun and it's fun to see the cute and creative costumes. Kids older than 12 out trick-or-treating really annoy me because then it's just out of greed and most of them don't even dress up. So our kids will definitely stick to the rule I had growing up, and nothing past the age of 12 or junior high/middle school.

So what do you think about Halloween and celebrating it?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Are We Raising a Bunch of Idiots?"

A friend showed me this article last week in the local newspaper.

It made me take a step back and think about what I allow my children to do on their own. Children are more capable than we often give them credit for. The other point the article made was that certain things, like ice cube trays, are somewhat obsolete in society today. However, are we giving our children the problem-solving skills they need to figure out something like that when presented with it?

I like to think that I do a pretty good job of this. When I was a new teacher, a veteran teacher gave me some very great advice that I think applies to parenting as well. She told me to not do anything for the students that they could do for themselves. It really decreased some of my workload, as I allowed them to do some prep work for their activities rather than doing it all myself.

In our family, my 7-year-old knows how to tie his shoes and has for about a year and my 5-year-old has almost got the hang of it. My 2-year-old drinks from a regular cup, only occasionally bringing a sippy cup for a long car ride, but the others can use water bottles without my help at all--they can even refill them without my help.

All but my 2-year-old can buckle into their own seats. They take out the trash, wash dishes, set the table (and correctly, too), and the oldest (age 7) even makes his own lunch for school. And not just a lunchable or a poptart, he makes a turkey sandwich and takes along a fruit, a whole-grain snack and a cookie.

But after reading this article, I decided that my children need to learn to do more things on their own and that I need to give them more opportunities to solve their own problems. I'm not sure I do that last part enough.

What do you think? Do you think our children are too reliant on technology? Are they too dependent on us too? Do we not allow them enough responsibility so, while they certainly are adopting more adult attitudes and interests earlier and earlier, they are not growing up timely at all (I know 5-year-olds who still drink from sippy cups)?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Just So Very Tired

I am so exhausted by life. It's not just the pregnancy. It's life in general. It's so much work to just live. To keep up with four kids. To manage a household. To strengthen a marriage. To do all the things we are supposed to be doing.

I sit here and think, I should do this or that to make my marriage better. But I'm just so tired and overwhelmed by everything that I do nothing. I think about how I could be a better primary teacher. A better mother. More involved in my children's school. More involved with the neighbors.

Most days, it's all I can do to just get out of bed in the morning, choke down breakfast and get one child out the door on time to school. Most days I don't have it in me to shower or get ready myself. It's just too exhausting. I hate not feeling fresh and clean and looking my best, but at the same time, why does it even matter? Nobody cares. Nobody usually sees me during the day.

Maybe it is just the pregnancy. But I was feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by life before it. I think it has just compounded the feeling.

And then when I think about how I feel like doing nothing, I feel guilty about being lazy and uninvolved.

And now I'm too tired to think. I guess I'll go to bed.


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