Fall has finally reached our home and decided to stay for a while. We had a brief preview last month and were tricked into thinking we could turn off the AC and open the windows for 2 weeks. Then summer returned over the same weekend that I was running Ragnar DC. The temperature hit 90 degrees, and the humidity hovered in the 80s. So we fired up the AC for another week before deciding it was safe to open the windows again.
This week we fired up the heat. Yep, that’s the official sign. Not falling leaves–those come all year long–or earlier sunsets or migrating geese. We let the heat pump make that call.
Other signs that fall is here to stay:
1. Pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks. (Just kidding! Those things are full of sugar, and you can’t believe every ad you see!)
2. The final five tomatoes on my two surviving tomato plants just won’t ripen on the vine when it plummets to 39 degrees at night.
3. Ryan and the girls spend hours collecting sticks, yard waste, and old bank statements to burn in the chiminea. Children love to play with fire.
4. I can’t decide whether I should wear long sleeves with running shorts or short sleeves with capris. Hard decisions!
Fall’s arrival also means that we’ve finished a full quarter of our school year and settled into our routine. G is tackling geometry and 5-paragraph essays, S has completed 75% of third grade, and H is reading like a champ. Proud mom brag: she just memorized the 23rd Psalm! And she finally earned her super-hero cape. See pictures below.
You see, I’m all about bribing children to teach good behavior. Sure, you could call it positive reinforcement, but let’s be honest: there’s not a huge difference. Plus, I was raised by a master briber, and I think I turned out fairly well-behaved. H had to stop throwing temper tantrums to earn this cape. She picked out the fabric and chose the monogram design, and I insisted that she not throw a tantrum for one entire week. It took her a full month, but now the cape is hers.
Lest you think we’ve forgotten our other children, G and H have had their own struggles. G has turned 11 with a vengeance. Ryan and I spent last Sunday afternoon removing the extra bed from her room. Then we removed all her art supplies, books, food wrappers, Rainbow loom bands, and other contraband. We sorted through her clothing and showed her very specifically how she would keep her room. It was an unpleasant afternoon for everyone involved, but we needed to follow through on the warnings we’d been doling out in the previous days. Though her bedroom looks rather spartan at the moment, she is actually happy that she can easily keep her room clean.
S is following a third program. (Do you know how hard it is to keep all of these things straight?!) She desperately wants a new hamster. She has finished mourning Brownie and would like to add another rodent to her menagerie. She is a very good pet keeper, but she is not a good listener. Actually, her hearing is perfect, but her follow-through needs serious work. She needs to demonstrate that she can consistently obey Mom and Dad for a full week before we’re taking her down to the pet store.
Parenting is hard work, isn’t it? One size does not fit all, but I think that’s why Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train up a child in the way (s)he should go. It’s different for each child, and our family is proof.
It’s time for me to return to school. We have a science lesson to tackle, and our topic is carbohydrates. (I think we’re going to nail this lesson.)