A 22 Gauge for a 10-year-old??

My ex-husband and I communicate pretty well. We try to keep each other informed of all extracurricular activities, grades, anything unusual going on, disruptions in the schedule, etc. We always talk before Christmas and birthdays to see what gifts the other is buying and to ensure the kids don’t get a bunch of duplicates.

J’s birthday is only one week before Christmas so we really have to be careful with duplicates for him. It also makes it hard to come up with “enough” presents at times. “A gaming chair” is what Troy told me he was getting J for his tenth birthday. But when I asked about Christmas, he kept saying he didn’t know yet. I finished my shopping and gave him the entire list so he knew what not to buy.  I also gave him the perfect idea for our 12-year-old daughter.

The kids and I wake up Christmas morning at 5:45 a.m. They excitedly open each and every gift. A is mostly enthused about her makeup bag and Twilight movies.  J was thrilled to get a bike and movie posters for his room. After a nap and a few hours of checking out their new stuff, Troy picked them up. They were excited to see that side of the family. I picked them up at 3:30 to head to my mom’s. Their smiling faces greeted me at the door. “I got a foot spa,” A said with lots of energy. I knew she’d love it. J didn’t say much. We got in the car and I asked J what he got. “A flashlight and a 22.” I couldn’t have heard him right so I asked again. “I said I got a flashlight and a 22 mom.” I then asked what a 22 is. I knew but I thought there must be something else called a 22. He’s only 10 and this was not discussed with his mother at all. No way would anyone, even his dad, buy him a 22… so I thought. “It’s a rifle mom.” I then asked if it was a real rifle. It was.

I don’t think I even blinked for five minutes. We just sat there in the car. I was in shock. I debated going back inside to ask him what he was thinking but his parents and extended family were there and I didn’t want to cause a seen.

Troy bought J a BB gun at age 7 and a bow and arrow at 8 and I thought he was too young for those but I gradually adjusted. They only use the BB gun and bow and arrow for target shooting at Troy’s grandpa’s house out in the country. And to be honest, I had a BB gun around 7- or 8-years-old. Other than that though, I was never raised around weapons of any kind. Guns scare me. You can say guns don’t kill, people do but hey, accidents happen. People wouldn’t die of gunshot wounds if the other person didn’t have a gun.

 J doesn’t want to hunt so I really don’t get the point of this at all. He told me that he is excited about the gift though and can’t wait to go target shooting.

I’m still upset and conflicted over the whole thing. Do I confront his dad? Do I forbid J from keeping the gun and shooting with anything more than a BB gun? Or do I let it go and trust that his dad will keep him safe?

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Setting the Example

I have had a very busy, but enjoyable week. I have been having dinner with the same four or five girls every month for the last five years. We all have children (ranging between ages 2 and 15) and just truly enjoy each other’s company. Each person makes a dish so it’s not extra hard on the host. This month’s dinner was at my house.  We never seem to know where the conversation will take us but this month we were primarily focused on the worry we have for our children. You constantly hear horror stories of girls getting beat up on the bus or a boy being jumped by a large group. This week I actually heard of a seventh grade girl beating up on a seventh grade boy with special needs. We worry about our kids choosing the wrong friends or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

One of my girlfriends started to ask if these kids who act like this are from broken homes. She stopped herself quickly remembering that I’m divorced. I kind of laughed. I think most of the kids who are out running all over town with no supervision, getting into fights, being suspended from school, threatening other kids, being sexually active at a young age, etc. are from broken homes. However, I don’t think every divorced home is a broken home. My ex-husband and I get along very well for being divorced parents. Neither one of us would ever let our 12-year-old daughter just run all over town every day without knowing where she is. We both monitor her texting and Facebook so we don’t have to worry too much about cyber bullying. There is always a parent around at night to make dinner, tuck them in and be there in general. My ex and I always back each other up on parenting decisions and try to discuss those decisions before talking to the kids. He also will come to our house in a second if we feel that we both need to address and issue. We have luckily learned how to co-parent well.

The children I see running all over town, getting in fights, etc… are kids whose dad (or mom) is never around. The parents work second or third shift and the child is home alone. The family moves often from town to town or even from apartment to apartment in the same city. Now note, I lived in three apartments in the same city in a 7 year period. However, I never moved because I was skipping on rent.

The daughter of one of our friends is extremely close to a girl most parents consider trouble. The poor girl needs some positive influences in her life but do we want one of our girls to be influenced by her? Her language is terrible, she constantly has different boyfriends (she’s 12) and she runs all over town. So the thought was, how do we keep the daughter of our friend from being “pulled down” by this girl. We know if she’s told they can’t hang out that she will just sneak. How would you handle this?

I’ve spoken to a lot of different women this week between work, shopping, dinner at my house, dinner out for my birthday, etc… Another thought I had (as I heard an eighth grader at our school is pregnant) is that we moms, whether we are single or married, need to be setting the example for our daughters. If we are dressing in skimpy clothes (wow, you should have seen some of the dresses the seventh graders wore to their holiday dance – I couldn’t believe parents would buy such a thing), going on numerous dates that are children know about, having boyfriends or “hookups” over when our kids are there, using foul language, balancing several guys, talking about fights like they are cool, gossiping about other parents, etc… then our daughters are going to think that’s okay. Even if we think we are hiding the behavior…. These teens and tweens are not stupid. They hear things. We have to set the example for our girls. I want all of the women reading this blog to stop a minute and think…. Would you want your daughter having relationships like you have, behaving the way you do, dressing like you do, and talking like you do when she is your age? Seriously? And to those of you who let your kids run all over town all hours of the day and aren’t home with your kids much… is this really what is best for them?

I know we all do our best and I am not being judgmental. I just think that sometimes we need a reality check. J

I know this is getting a little long but I wanted to mention we also talked about the boys. All the moms in our dinner group tend to have boys who don’t really play sports, have huge imaginations, love chess and technology and are extremely creative. This makes the moms worry that their boys might be bullied someday. Although I think all kids get teased for one reason or another, my hope is that there are so many more boys like this nowadays that it won’t be an issue. What do you think?

I can’t wait to hear your input! Have a great holiday!

P.S. These photos are taken from Google Images.

My Birthday Boy

My little boy is turning 10 on Sunday. Double digits! He remembers that double digits meant a little more freedom for his sister so he is very excited.

The funny thing is, he probably already has all the freedoms his sister got when she turned 10. Honestly, it has nothing to do with their age but more how I feel they will handle things. I think we are all just more lenient with the second kid anyway. I already let him ride his bike with friends to the local candy store, walk to meet his friends and other little things that make him feel responsible. I think it’s second kid syndrome. LOL

He had his party last weekend due to the proximity of Christmas and because he’ll be with his dad on Sunday. He invited three boys to go to Dave and Busters. Thank goodness for coupons because that place is not cheap! They had a blast. I didn’t do goody bags because I knew each boy would get something with the tickets they redeemed. We probably spent 30 minutes choosing prizes but in the end, they all got something they really enjoyed. After, we went back to my house for cake and ice cream and the boys played with their new gadgets in the yard.

 

This was the most simple birthday party I think we have ever had. J has had parties at Build A Bear, NKU’s Game Room, a magician at our house, a Hollywood party at our house and much more. He’s always had at least 12 to 15 kids attend. This was so simple and cost much less than a large party. I had to do very little planning and my mom made a small Pac Man cake instead of a huge cake to feed a dozen kids. He chose this so he was happy. I also didn’t have to deal with a ton of presents right before Christmas. I hope we can continue the simple tradition.

How do you celebrate your kids’ birthdays? Do certain ages mean certain privileges?

Our New Addition

I have been dreaming about adding to our family for years. It was just never feasible. One apartment didn’t allow for it or have the space, another just had way too many steps to deal with. But now that I own my own home, I thought it was the perfect time to add to our family.

I announced to my family that I was ready to adopt. My parents and children were all surprised but very excited. I talk to some friends about it and they helped me search for the perfect fit. I brought my new 7 pound baby home yesterday. Scout, named after the lead female in “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a rambunctious little Puggle – a Pug/Beagle mix. She is beautiful and sweet. I am head over heels in love with this little puppy.

I met the 10-week-old perfect pup on Monday. On Tuesday the kids and I prepared the house, set up her cage, bought her toys and food and basically baby proofed the house.  I was able to bring her home from the animal shelter on Wednesday. $80 included my beautiful new baby and covered her first set of shots, license and spaying. She was exhausted by the time we got home. She crawled up behind me and fell asleep between my neck and the top of the couch. That might have been the cutest thing ever.

She has been sleeping a lot but when she is awake she is ready to PLAY. She picks her ball up with her mouth, tosses it and then chases it down. It is so funny. I do kind of feel like I have a newborn. She was up at 3 a.m. with poop and pee in her cage. Luckily it was on the pee pee pad so I just changed it, took her outside and put her back in the cage. She cried for about 15 minutes and went back to sleep. But then she was up at 6 a.m. ready to play. I felt like the most horrible mom when I left her locked in her cage today so I could go to work. I really felt like I did when I left my children with a sitter the first time. Luckily my parents are going to check on her today.

My children are so happy. My son can’t stop hugging me and my daughter just smiles and giggles. Hopefully the excitement doesn’t wear off because I am definitely depending on their help with our little girl.

Now it’s the fun part… I have to house break her. She’s already pooped and peed in the house several times. She doesn’t like the cold, wet grass on her paws and just shakes when we are outside. I’ve had animals all but the last 12 years of my life but never had to train an animal because my father always did that. So I need your advice… How did you train your dog? What’s the best book out there? And how do I keep the kids excited about this new adventure?

Teaching Kids to Give Back

I’m not financially wealthy by any means. In fact, when we bought our house two months ago, I joked that we would be on a budget, a Ramen Noodle every night kind of budget. However, I am wealthy in many other ways. Although my family has had more than their share of illness, we are all fairly healthy. I have awesome children who work hard at school and everything they do. I have very supportive parents and brothers (and their wives). My two nieces and two nephews are awesome and unique in their own ways. I am very close to my extended family as well. I have great friends.  I have a warm house to go home to everyday. We have winter coats, hats and gloves, a plethora of clothes and pretty much anything else we could possibly need. Although it might be Ramen Noodles, we have a hot meal every night.  I think I’m pretty wealthy.

My commute home used to require me to pass the Hosea House in Newport every night. As I would drive by, I would see the people lined up outside in the rain or freezing cold with no coats, hats or gloves waiting to be served dinner. It broke my heart. My daughter and I have also worked out this kitchen serving food. A was very humbled when she saw the children walk in not dressed for the weather and starving.

So last year my children and I decided to do something about it. We bought tons of hats and gloves and drop them off at the kitchen. The workers were so incredibly grateful. That spring we took ponchos for the homeless men. Again, everyone was grateful.

On Tuesday I called the director and asked her if they had a need this year. She was so happy I called. She said she was just saying how much she needed hats and gloves for the children and was hopeful someone would provide. So my children and I headed to Target where we knew we could buy 2 pairs of gloves for $1 and hats for $1. The baby items included a pair of gloves and a hat for $2.10. We ended up purchasing about 45 pairs of gloves and 25 hats. My children each gave money of their own toward this purchase. We dropped the items off and once again they were very grateful.

I believe it is extremely important to teach our children how lucky they are. My kids cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to not know where their next meal is coming from, not have a hat and gloves to wear to school and maybe not even have a home. Taking them to the Hosea House to donate items and work teaches them to be empathetic of others and appreciate what they have.

Do you teach your kids to give back? What types of projects do you do? I put a list of places in Northern Kentucky that typically need volunteers or donations in case you are interested in doing something. Feel free to add to the list.

Hosea House – 9th & York, Newport – 261-5857

Brighton Center – 741 Central Ave.,  Newport, KY 41071 – 491-8303

Welcome House – 205 Pike Street,  Covington, KY 41011 – 431-8717

Covington Cold Shelter – 634 Scott St, Covington, KY 41011 – 291-4555

Vietnam Vets – 1-800-535-3834

Fairhaven Rescue Mission – 260 Pike Street, Covington – 491-1027