I swear that we have one of the smartest 9-year-olds in the world. Reagan never struggles in school. In fact, she gets very high A’s, and she’s disappointed with herself basically any time she doesn’t get a 100. But I would also say that she’s one of the most absent-minded kids in the world. I can be in the family room with her and ask her to go let the dogs out. The dogs are whining and loud. She can walk the few feet from the family room to the kitchen, walk right past the dogs, and pour herself a drink and completely forget the reason she went in there in the first place.
Another example: last week she had a project due at school on Friday. It was a poster board sized book project. She had it out Friday morning while she was getting ready. We rolled it up to make it easier to carry and set it in the middle of the kitchen table beside her backpack. When it was time to go, she picked up her backpack and walked out the door. I was going to bring the project to her at the bus stop, but she remembered it about five minutes later.
My husband thinks her head is just empty, but I think it’s that her mind is too full with all the interest things she’s constantly thinking about and asking questions about. So to compensate for her absent mindedness, we’ve made some new checklists for her. We used to have daily checklists, but there was just one long checklist for each day, and they didn’t specify when anything had to be done, so she would procrastinate (because she is my daughter) and then realize she didn’t do anything at the end of the day. Or she would walk past the checklist and not even look at it. So we worked hard on new checklists for her and placed them where we think she can’t ignore them. Her morning and after school checklists are on the front door. Her night time checklist is at the bottom of the stairs so she sees it on her way up to bed.
Just to give you an idea of what types of things Reagan forgets about, here are the details for her checklists. Keep in mind that we’re really not asking her to do a lot of extra work around the house, just basic things we think she should be responsible for at her age.
|Did you have to get anything signed?|
|Do you need lunch money?|
|Clean up your breakfast mess|
|Put away the milk|
|Are the dogs out?|
|Is your TV off?|
|Did you flush the toilet?|
|Did you really put away your clothes yesterday?|
After school checklist:
|Do your homework|
|Any projects due soon you need to think about?|
|If you have an after school snack, clean up|
|Put away clothes|
|Put the clothes in your drawers, not just in your room|
|You can’t go play if you didn’t put away your clothes|
|Pick up dirty clothes and put in laundry basket|
|Hang up your jacket|
Night time checklist:
|Did you put away your clothes?|
|Did you clean up after yourself if you had a snack?|
|Did you check the family room for any messes you may have left?|
|Really clean up everything you left in the family room/kitchen.|
|Did you really do all your homework, even your spelling pre-test?|
|Is there anything related to school tomorrow you’re forgetting?|
|Did you hang up your towel after your shower?|
Can you tell that she’s forgetful? And that she really has trouble with putting away her clothes. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes for these last few weeks of school.
Do you have any advice for dealing with a really smart, absent-minded kid?
As a working mom, I sometimes forget that I need to make an effort for my time with my kids to be quality time. Sometimes I come home and I’m tired, and I just want to sit on the couch and play on the computer or watch TV (or both). One, two, or three of my kids may be in the room with me, but I’m not making an effort to focus on them like I should. I think that’s okay sometimes if I am particularly tired, but not every night. So last night I decided to have more quality time with my family, though it may not take a form that some people consider quality.
Most of my quality time with Brinkley occurs early morning, like this morning:
He likes to run into our room when he gets out of his room on the morning and climb up onto the bed. (He is wearing his sister’s shirt in this picture. I’m not sure why – I didn’t put him in it.) I’ll admit there’s not always a lot of quality to our time together these days, but last night I did spend more time with him playing and trying to get him to point to his body parts or ever talk. That sort of thing. I want to research a bit more what we can be doing with him to try to get him learning more and talking because he’s still not there.
After he goes to bed – and we’ve been trying for earlier because I think he sleeps better then – I can do a better job of focusing on the girls. We’ve all learned how to focus while Brinky is up in his bedroom running around like a crazy person until he goes to sleep. It involves jumping on the bed and constantly opening and closing his dresser doors.
So what did we do with the girls for quality time last night?
Reagan likes to look at funny things with us, so…it was BuzzFeed time. Only with age appropriate posts. Like these:
29 Pictures of ’80s Culture at the Reagan White House – bonus for including her name
If Pop Stars Were Birds, These Are The Birds They’d Be – celebrities + animals = funny
32 Pictures That Prove Vladimir Putin is Only Human – more for Lee than Reagan, but she enjoyed it
14 Things You Missed from the SAG Awards – because we love some awards shows and celebrities in this house
We kept going, especially with cute animal related posts. Those are her favorite. And of course, we read Honest Toddler’s newest post. She loves when we read Honest Toddler together. So for Reagan, quality time often involves reading and laughing at things together. It’s fun!
When Reagan decided to move on and read for a little while before bed, Lee and I started looking at iTunes because we wanted to check out the 69 cent songs – especially since we had an iTunes gift card to spend. Of course, music drew Jenny into the room. She had fun (and stayed up past her bedtime, but so did we, so it was okay) giving us her opinion on different songs and getting to choose a couple for herself. I talked last week about how music brings my girls together, but generally it can bring our whole family together, especially when we decide to listen through clips on iTunes. Jenny’s favorite thing is to go through the top 200 songs on iTunes and see which ones we know. Last night’s answer? Lee and I didn’t know any songs in the top 10! Jenny’s so much cooler than we are. And I can’t even tell you how much time Jenny spent smiling and laughing (which is becoming more rare these days) while we listened to music.
And for inquiring minds who want to know (also known as my brother), these are the songs we felt compelled to buy last night:
Daydream Believer – The Monkees because who doesn’t love this song?
Old Enough – The Raconteurs never heard this one before, but it sounded like something I’d like
Whatcha Say – Jason Derulo a Jenny choice
The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) – Jason Mraz I loved this song, okay? And the girls love Jason Mraz now.
Can’t Stand It – Never Shout Never Jenny again
Save the Best for Last – Vanessa Williams another one I loved so much – in high school
Cradle of Love – Billy Idol Lee loves this one, and somehow didn’t already own it
Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve Lee and I both realized we like this one and didn’t own it
Absolutely (Story of a Girl) – Nine Days another one I used to really like that we discovered Jenny also loves
Friday I’m In Love – The Cure seriously, we didn’t own this already?
D.A.N.C.E. – Justice I was so excited to see this in the 69 cent songs because I love it so much on Just Dance
And now that I’ve already made this post so long, I’ll also add a list of the songs the girls bought with their money last week after about a week of planning precisely how to spend their $25.
This Is My Paradise – Bridget Mendler
The Call – Regina Spektor
Sk8er Boi – Avril Lavigne
Take A Bow – Rihanna
You Found Me – The Fray
The Story of Us – Taylor Swift
Stuck Like Glue – Sugarland
Beauty Queen – Ben’s Brother
Best Friend’s Brother – Victorious Cast
Lucky – Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz
Fallin’ for You – Colbie Caillat
Mine – Taylor Swift
Realize – Colbie Caillat
Safe & Sound – Taylor Swift
I Won’t – Colbie Caillat
Ours – Taylor Swift
Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis
It’s Time – Imagine Dragons
Too Little Too Late – Jojo
You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift
Beautiful Girls – Sean Kingston
Never Say Never – The Fray
Bubbly – Colbie Caillat
Replay – Iyaz
The One That Got Away – Katy Perry
One last bit of information: we spent a lot of time listening to music, and I still ended the night with this song:
The girls bought it a couple weeks ago, and I think it’s been stuck in my head about half the time since then. I said that I kind of didn’t want to like it because Taylor Swift can be annoying, but I think it’s good. And Jenny said, “Yeah, I know, I don’t want to like Taylor Swift, but she’s actually my favorite artist and I love all of her songs.”
Linking up with Greta and Sarah for #iPPP:Read More
I posted in one of my pre-Christmas gift ideas posts about my plan to get Mother Daughter journals for my girls for Christmas. They were honestly one of the gifts I was most excited about this year once I settled on ordering from Minted. Here’s what we ended up with:
Aren’t they cute? They’re similar, but a little different. And I loved being able to customize them for my girls so easily. I also ordered sketch journals for each of the girls with unlined pages. I had so many fun ideas with all the choices available on Minted!
Jenny’s is a Mother/Daughter journal since she’s all grown up (in her opinion).
And Reagan’s is Mommy/Daughter.
On both I chose to put the date started in the lower right-hand corner in case we manage to save these for the future (it would be a miracle).
I wrote an initial note to each of them before I wrapped the journals and gave them to the girls for Christmas explaining that we could write anything we like to each other in these journals – even things that might be hard to talk about out loud.
Or, you know, they can write about the Percy Jackson books, which they’re also willing to discuss out loud.
I’m hoping this is another new habit we stick with! So far, we haven’t lost them, and we have written back and forth twice. Pretty good for a week into the new year!
If you’d like to look at other journals available from Minted, check them out here. Disclosure: this is an affiliate link, but these are products I ordered myself and am using and love!
When you read that song title, be sure you read it to the tune of Careless Whisper because that’s what I’m doing.
I love having the ability to look at both girls’ grades online so I can see how they’re doing in their classes as often as I’d like. But sometimes I get so annoyed with Jenny when I look at her grades and see a lower grade because I know it’s usually because of something careless.
This is what I see when I look at her grades right now:
Honestly? I know these are pretty awesome grades, especially for the beginning of her first year at middle school, which is a huge change. So I feel bad that I zero right in on that B in the middle of the page. And when I click on the details I see an assignment where she got a 76 staring out at me. Why did she get a 76? Because the instructions required answers in complete sentences, and she didn’t answer in complete sentences. Careless, right? It bothers me so much more than if she gets a lower grade because she actually didn’t understand a particular concept. But I wish I did a better job of focusing on the overall – her grades are great. Or maybe it’s good for her that we always push her to do her best. Parenting’s hard sometimes, you know?Read More
As I’ve mentioned, Jenny started middle school on Monday. I was worried about how this school year would start for her because middle school is such a huge change, and it’s, well, a huge school. She has six classes every day, including four core classes and two encore classes. The schedule for her encore classes is an alternating one, so she has to remember which days she has French and Art or PE and Computer Applications. She has so many supplies to carry around that it’s ridiculous. She’s gone from a 5th grade of around 100 kids to a 6th grade with 400 kids. And on top of all of that, middle school starts so early that she has to wake up at 5:30 to leave the house at 6:20. All of this is a major adjustment for her and us!
Jenny is a kid with such a great attitude though. She always has a positive outlook. And I’m very happy to say that she came home from the first couple days happy and excited about middle school. She’s told me about every new friend she’s made. She’s excited about her first project assignment. She cracks us up by telling us about how they “usually” do things even though she’s only been going to school there for a couple days. I feel like some kids come out of the first day of middle school already feeling like they hate it. But that’s not my girl, and I’m glad.
However, last night she couldn’t sleep and came in our room to talk to me at about 10:00. She was in a panic, almost hyperventilating, because she left her planner at school yesterday. She’s pretty sure she left it in her art class. And she was just so worried. I calmed her down, explained that she couldn’t do anything about it last night and gave her ideas about how to approach it when she gets to school this morning. It seemed to help some. And then she told me about more of her worries. One of her best friends hurt her feelings yesterday by making her feel like she was her second choice when deciding where to sit on the bus. Another best friend doesn’t have any classes with her and she feels like they’re losing touch with each other. She’s not sure how to handle a friend she’s not really very close to who acts like she’s her best friend. We talked about the fact that a lot of jealousy is due to the fact that she has four friends she says are her best friends and then when they say they have other best friends it bothers her.
None of this stuff meant she’s not doing well with middle school. To me these were all normal worries.
My one good thing this week? The fact that she came and talked to me. She sat on the side of my bed for 45 minutes while I patted her back and played with her hair and just listened to her and reassured her that these are normal issues, and everything’s going to be fine. I hope that she’ll keep talking to me like this. And I told her that as I told her one last time that she really needed to head to bed and get to sleep. I said, “I’m glad you talked to me about your worries. I’m proud of you. You know you can always talk to me.” And I hope it helped.
(I know this is far from a good picture, but it’s my girl smiling and laughing and being silly, and it makes me smile.)Read More