Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dear Head-Palm


Dear Head-Palm,

You seem to be my most used gesture of expression lately.  So much so that you'd think my palm's best buddy is my forehead.

Busy seems like the Word of the Year for me.  The New Year started off with relay illnesses in my family, followed by my emotionally-draning week-long jury duty and subsequent weeks of back-to-back subbing gigs.  Then this week arrived.  It's not over yet and I'm already exhausted and down with yet another cold. 

Two days ago, Dear Daughter had four events, all in a day, on top of school, and on a week day/night: early morning orchestra practice, after school spirit squad cheering for a home basketball game, violin lesson, and a district-wide orchestra concert at night.  Violin lesson got the boot for the first time this school year.  After I subbed for a full school day, I took Dear Son to his violin lesson while Dear Husband transported DD from cheering to concert.  After dinner, we got home that night just before 10 PM.  Yesterday, Dear Son had a school field trip downtown after AM kindergarten that lasted from noon until 6 PM.  I chaperoned after I subbed in the morning, while DH drove DD to her violin repertoire class.  After dinner, we got home at 8 PM. 

I hadn't touched my computer in almost 48 hours.  Am I setting the scene for excuses?  Well, let's rewind a little bit.

On Monday, as I watched DS walk down the driveway to the bus, I had the nagging feeling that I had forgotten to pack something in his backpack.  Sure enough, later that night, I realized that I had forgotten to turn in his field trip form (indicating child/chaperone attendance) so I had to email his teacher at about midnight.  I had also forgotten to return DS' Book Bag Books that are due every Monday.  And I hadn't turned in his monthly calendar homework since we just received the one for February, and I found December and January in his work pile. 

Uh-oh.  Three strikes on a Monday to start off the week.

I finally sat down and took inventory to see the big picture and to see what else I've missed. 

  • Homework.  So there's DS' monthly calendar homework due at the end of each month (we're two months behind).  Then there's his weekly homework packet due every Monday (so far so good on that one, miraculously).  And DD's daily homework on top of her weekly Social Studies or Science homework due every Wednesday (a couple misses here and there on those).  And both kiddos' Chinese homework due every Sunday (kind of can't goof that one up since I teach at the school, ahem).  
  • School Returns.  Next we have DS' Book Bag Books that are returned every Monday (red alert sounded off for the first time this week).  Plus DD's class newsletters that must be signed on Mondays and turned in on Tuesdays (couple of misses there; sometimes I sign it and put it in the "stay home" pile because my brain does not work before coffee, much).  The kiddos have school library books that are due every Tuesday--thank goodness they are on the same day (a couple of late returns there, but the school library is very forgiving--whew).
  • Library Books/Clubs (times two kiddos).  Then there are library books due at our local area library whenever and all the time because we go there far too often and borrow way too many books.  Let's just say the amount of late fees I pay to that library is a shameful pity.  This library also hosts Kids Reading Clubs, where parents log the books children read during a certain time period for games and prizes (we've yet to miss a deadline, but that's because I am the kiddos are motivated by the promise of rewards.) 
  • Miscellaneous (times two kiddos).  Of course, we have the occasional field trip permission slips and their option/choices of various trip aspects; sporadic fundraiser forms to fill out and return by so-and-so date; sometimes special school event participation form; or an intermittent "attach a check" for such-and-such fee form.  These are the forms that warrant a special drive to school on my part if I forget (which I've done).  Sigh.   
  • Reading Logs (times two kiddos). And, finally, the school has kicked off its annual Family Reading Program, where each child reads a certain number of minutes per day (depending on grade level), and logs the daily minutes read on a weekly sheet to be turned in of course on a new day on Thursdays.  (I'm two for two so far on that one; two down, two more to go.)  I have to be responsible enough so my kiddos can receive their weekly rewards, yo.

I feel like I am reminded everyday that I am getting closer and closer to being on the other side of The Hill.  I have become so forgetful that it actually worries me what might happen to my brain in a decade.  This morning I finished putting on my makeup just to realize that I had forgotten to put on foundation. 

Now that's a first. 

Of course, I had to remedy my forgetfulness.  Prior to this, I had one alarm on my phone for School Library Books Due on Tuesdays.  Yesterday, I put everything on my alarm and added loud audible ringtones.  Which means now I have an alarm every morning from Sunday to Thursday just for school-related reminders.  Overkill?  Well, I don't want to forget anything anymore.  I don't want to let Busy become an excuse and get in the way of doing my job as a parent.  I want to get it right. 

At least most of the time.  

So, Dear Head-Palm, am I glad that Parental Report Cards don't actually physically exist.  Because if they did, I would be receiving barely passing grades this term and reap the wrath of my kiddos.  Ah, the irony of that!  And I'm only touching on school-related forgetfulness in this post...  I haven't even begun to mention all the other idiotic foolish dodo-bird sorts of things I have forgotten to do.  Speaking of which, have I fed Tucker today?  Yesterday?  Lately?

Sincerely,
Me

18 comments:

  1. You are definitely busy!
    Don't be too hard on yourself for forgetting, 3/5 of the items you listed were reading related and you you aren't forgetting the reading part!

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    1. Thanks, Rachael. I feel like I do have some sort of selective-priority filter in my head, at least. The really, really important stuff usually get done, most of the time. :) I think I'm just getting old...

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  2. That is when you need to learn how to teach your kids independence. Maybe you could have a calendar and teach them to look at it every night? I know your kids are young, but certain things can be learned young, like the library books.

    I wish I had done that with my kids.

    It gets better, middle school's kids are much more mature and responsible.

    I use my phone calendar for everything, even to remind me to lock the chickens in every night! LOL!

    You are not alone, some people are better at keeping it together than others, but they are only few, most of us lived in an organized chaos.

    Take a deep breath!



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    1. Your comment just sealed the deal for me. We've been talking about getting a large dry erase board for months now. Part of the delay was finding a place for it, but I've just decided to put it on the side of our kitchen island (great for short peeps). I totally think this is the way to go. My kids are sticklers to time and calendar--DS insists on using a timer for his reading minutes!). I think this idea will be a *HUGE* help. I have things in my Google Calendar, but it doesn't help much when I forget to look at it, right? This way, everyone can see it everyday.

      I dunno know why I haven't thought of letting them share the burden, but it's even more than that. Like you said, it's teaching them responsibility, which is even better. Thank you so much, Laura. How wonderful it is to write and rant AND get great advice to make my life easier!!

      I'm off to find the dry erase calendar!

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    2. Glad I could help.

      I am in the process to teach my daughter to pick her clothes the night before because she keeps having melt downs every morning.

      I read a great article about how we do too much for our children to the point of not teaching to be independent human being. I am working at getting them ready to go to college able to do laundry, use a bank account, cook some healthy meals, and much more. They are fighting tooth and nails....LOL!

      I think that by making it a game is also the way to go.

      Delegate!

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    3. Oh, Laura, all the things I get to look forward to... All I can think of is, one step at a time, one day at a time. :) Good for you for getting your kids ready and independent--they'll be grateful once they're on their own!!

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  3. Michael's and acmoore has stick it removable dry erase sheets. Easy to put up and any where you want. They stay put. I've had them for 4 yrs and they are still up.

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    1. Thanks for the tip, Annie! That is exactly where I'm heading as soon as I get a chance. I need that dry erase board STAT! :)

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  4. If I were the teacher in charge of giving out Parental Report Cards, I'd give you extra credit for CARING about the things you failed to do. Think about how many parents don't know and don't care. You're doing a lot better than you're giving yourself credit.

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    1. You are so sweet, Nilsa. I do care, as do most parents, really. We don't want to fail our children just the same way they don't want to disappoint us. I'm going to get some paper baskets to easily sort all these papers, as well as that dry erase board for better management and organization. Thank you for your comforting comment!

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  5. Sandra, your children will not remember the things you forgot to do - like sign their permission slips or return their books but instead remember how good and caring and solicitous a mother you are. The things you forgot will be remembered with a chuckle and some ribbing. But they will see you as one responsible mother regarding the things that truly matter. :-)

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    1. Sorry for the late reply, Imelda! I had such a busy weekend with Chinese New Year show today (busy with my toddler class and my own kiddos' performances).

      Thank you for your kind words! Caring, yes, but I need a little more help with the execution of that thought. :) Just a lot of things all came at once and I felt very defeated by my own forgetfulness.

      I have so much catching up to do--will be by soon! Happy Lunar New Year to you!

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  6. I think you're being too hard on yourself. It's hard to keep track of activities for two kids, as well as for you and the family. I (over)use the alarm reminders on my phone, too. I can pretty much remember the homework due on Fridays but everything else is a crap shoot. Take a deep breath and hang in there. Oh, and don't forget to exhale :)

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    1. Hi, Janna! Perhaps this was just a first of a string of things forgotten at school thus far. I guess I just feel plain "bad" about it. I am going to go get that family calendar and have some help with remembering all the different things on the different days.

      Tomorrow is another new week. As little as I am ready for Monday, I will exhale now! Thanks for your comforting words to show me that I'm not alone at this!

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  7. I like the comment above about getting your kids involved in the responsibilities with school. I don't remember being THIS busy in school, let alone for elementary school! Maybe middle school. So, props to you for knowing what you need to do, and it's totally human to forget things or have one of those weeks. You're doing a great job and I can't wait to see you write a "dear write-on family calendar" post :)

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    1. Actually, I don't remember being this busy in school, either! How do parents with more than two kids do it? And what a great inspiration for a follow-up post--I will definitely have to keep that in mind. We're going to see how things go and if indeed the calendar will help me out. I suspect a lot fewer "ooops" and many more "yays"! Thank you, Lisa!

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  8. We are all there with you. Except I pass it off on the wee ones. I tell them they need to be "responsible" and remember it all themselves. HA! I'm just happy that the library now sends out reminders two days before books are due instead of 11 days AFTER they're due, which is what they used to do. Talk about a facepalm!

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    1. I definitely need to get the kiddos to become more independently responsible for their school folder contents. They are usually pretty good, but lately we have just had a string of "extra" things that got lost in the shuffle cuz *I* suddenly got very busy. But I did get that family calendar up!! We're going by it, and so far, SO GOOD! We seem to never forget library books, but sheets of signed paper or payment forms, uh, a lot more likely.

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