Monday, September 27, 2010


I just handed the kids a piece of gum each.

"Remember," I said in my best Mom tone, "if I see the gum out of your mouth, I'm going to take it away."

Jessica's response? "What if you don't see it out of our mouths?"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Losing my marbles

It's really been a struggle to get Jessica to do chores. For a while we asked her to do a certain amount of work (such as empty the utensil tray from the dishwasher and feed the cat) during the week to earn her allowance. Well, it inevitably caused lots of whining and complaints and I didn't really track it so I gave out her allowance whether or not she actually did enough work.

Then I read this idea in Family Fun: instead of giving allowance every week, whenever she does certain chores, she gets a marble. The marbles accumulate in a jar. When she gets enough marbles (roughly equivalent to the amount of work we expected her to do in the course of one week), she gets $5. No more weekly allowance.

I read about this, probably 4 or 5 months ago, but with moving and vacation and laziness, I hadn't gotten around to implementing it before now. We started on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon, we were out, and when we got home, the dishwasher was done running. I called into the living room, "Does anyone want to earn a marble?" (The bonus about this is that it gives Xander a chance to earn money too; he's too young for a real allowance right now).

They didn't hear me, so Hari repeated it to them and they probably ran each other over trying to get into the kitchen. I let them both empty the utensils because they were fighting over who got to do it, thus handing out 2 marbles for what is really only a 1 marble job.

It's 3 days later and they jump at the chance to earn marbles. It's a little early to be sure, but I think this is actually going to work.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Just a quick link to one of the pictures from Jessica's Family Fun photo shoot:

The magazine is out now, though I haven't gotten my hands on a copy yet.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cat envy

Jessica feels kind of bad that our kitten Lily seems to prefer me over her. I tried to make her feel better by saying maybe it was because I'm the one that feeds her, but I suspect it's also because I am a lot more gentle with her. I don't, for example, try to wrap her up in a blanket and cradle her in my arms like a baby (although, to be fair, sometimes Lily actually seems to enjoy this). I also don't chase her all over the apartment when she jumps out of my arms. And when I'm holding her, if she struggles, I let her go. But I'm sure if I'd had a kitten when I was Jessica's age, I'd be doing exactly what Jessica is doing.

* * *

On a completely different note, last year Jessica shocked me by telling me she was willing to wear jeans. To her credit she did wear them occasionally, but I probably could have gotten by with one pair instead of the 3 that I bought.

This year, she announced she didn't want jeans. This didn't shock me. So I haven't bought her any.

Today when I met her at school, she firmly announced that she wanted to wear jeans. Since this contradicted her statement of a couple of weeks ago, I asked why.

"So I can put my baby Zhu-zhu pet in the pocket."

Of course. Why else would someone want to wear a particular item of clothing?

This comes from her new friend Sarah who brought her baby Zhu-zhu pet to school yesterday and apparently kept it in her pocket. Since Jessica didn't have pockets, I'm guessing she was forced to keep her toy in her backpack.

I guess we're going jeans shopping tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Time management

Whenever we want the kids to do something that they don't want to do (or stop doing something they want to keep on doing) we give them a time limit and set the timer. Then when the timer goes off, they have to start/stop what they're doing. It really does result in less arguing and better obedience.

Now, in our old place, where there was an open layout between the kitchen and living room, we just set the kitchen stove timer. In our new place, the kitchen is down the hall from the living room so if they're in the living room, we use a portable dial-type timer.

Jessica loves this timer, for some unknown reason. She sets it to go off randomly and when it goes off, sets it again.

This morning was the first day of school, time to get back on a schedule. She was playing with Xander and I told her 5 minutes before we had to leave for school. I set the timer, then went outside to get Xander's stroller from the shed. When I got back inside, I checked the timer, expecting it to have already gone off.

Not only had it not gone off, there was still about 10 minutes on it. I thought this was odd but chalked it up to the timer not working right, because if you set it for less than 15 minutes, you have to dial it past 15 minutes and then back down. I figured I hadn't done this.

In any case, I set the timer for 2 more minutes.

When it went off, Jessica looked up in surprise.

"Did you touch the timer?" she asked, suspiciously.

This set off alarms in my head.

"Did *you* touch the timer?" I asked, suddenly realizing why the timer still had 10 minutes on it.

Giggles and refusal to meet my eyes were enough of an answer.

That little sucker thought I wouldn't realize the time had been changed. She is devious!

She's at her first day of first grade in her new school now. I hope it's going okay. I've probably been more nervous about it than she's been. Here's a picture of her from this morning: