Monday, June 23, 2008

Up For Debate.........

I had a couple of conversations Monday that brought up some situations that I would handle differently than the people I was talking to. This got me thinking about how other families would approach these situations. So let's discuss them. Of course there is no right or wrong answers, unless of course you disagree with me. I which case you are wrong. Let us discuss:

Situation #1:
We all know that having our kids home for summer break brings along with it the bottomless pits that are their stomachs. My kids are constantly wanting snacks. Our day usually goes something like this: Breakfast, Snack, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Snack, Dinner, Snack, Snack. I really try to keep lots of fruit washed, sliced and in a bowl ready to eat, but we also have those quick convenient snacks like granola bars, fruit snacks, gold fish and crackers in the pantry and popsicles in the freezer.

My kids are still at the age where they will usually ask before having a snack, but the person I was talking to today was so frustrated with her 11 year old son who was constantly helping himself to the "good" snacks in the pantry and devouring everything in site, out of boredom, with no regard to the others in the family. The mom was ready to put all the "good snacks" in a locked cupboard, so that they were only accessible with permission. That is just a terrible idea for the fact that she would have to get up from blogging and unlock the snacks every time..........uggghhh, we all have much better things to do. Really.

I suggested that she instead divide up the fruit snacks, granola bars and other desirable snacks into gallon size ziplocks or shoe boxes for each of her children. Giving them access to their entire allotted snacks for whatever period she had grocery shopped for. That way each child would get the same amount of each snack in their bag and were allowed to eat them at their will. When they were gone, they were gone until the next grocery shopping trip.

Both this particular 11 year old and my eight year old would be the children that would devour their entire snack allotment with out discernment for how long they would have to go without. At which point they would begin to finagle, manipulate or coerce their younger sibling for the snacks that the younger ones have prudently rationed. I, of course, would have prepared the younger sibling with a lesson in the free enterprise system that makes America so great and that younger sibling would have in place either a monetary value or chore value to their snacks unless they were feeling especially generous that day.

So how do you handle the incessant munching session that is summer break?

Situation #2:
We belong to a gym that has some wonderful amenities (remember my love affair with the Supervised Play Room). One of them being a beautiful outdoor swimming pool with a diving board and large twisty water slide.
I LOVE to spend time outside by the pool on the hot summer days, but only on the HOT summer days. However, my 8 year old has no reservations about swimming on ANY day that the pool is open. Last summer I started allowing him the privilege of choosing to swim WHILE I work out. Yes folks, he is outside in the swimming pool WHILE I am inside on the treadmill. Fear not, as I am a stringent rule follower, and we are in compliance with the rules of the gym, which are clearly posted and state: "Children 6 and under must be accompanied by an adult."
Six and under. He is neither six nor under. No rules broken. Besides, he is a good swimmer and there is always two or three lifeguards on duty during open swim hours.

So today I run into an acquaintance as I am leaving Ben in the pool area and headed to the treadmill. We make small talk for a bit and then she asked the where abouts of Ben, as she had just dropped her eight year old son off in the Supervised Play Room. I told her that he was out swimming while I worked out. To which she responded "Are you serious? Doesn't that seem a little unsafe to just leave him out there unsupervised while you work out?"
To which I replied "No, I am perfectly okay with it."

However, if I were a little quicker thinking I would have replied "Oh yes, it seems terribly unsafe. That is why I do it. I mean he is kind of a pain in the butt some days, he eats alot of food, costs lots of money to clothe, and antagonizes his little brother to the point of much frustration. I just haven't been able to get rid of him any other way. Oh and don't trip over your "Mother of the Year" cloak."

How would you have responded?


Julie said...

seriously, i have a huge pet-peeve with moms like that. i could go on a tangent, really. I probably would have told her to shove-it...but that would not have been the mature, gracious, Godly answer, would it? (and to be honest...i don't have enough guts to say it anyways)

what gym do you go to? sounds great!

Gina said...

Hmmm, love the anonimity....
I think I would probably agree with the first mother on the snacks- but then my Older, Wiser, Big Sister would talk me down and I would put plastic shoe boxes on my Walmart list.
As for your second scenario- I totally would have been quick enough to tell her not to trip on her cloak- I inherited my quick tongue from our mother- and it tends to get me in trouble.

One- said...

I would have started rambling about what a good swimmer he is, and he really likes his independence....there are lifeguards.............. I would think "how does she have the nerve to ask me this? I would never say that to her!" but nothing brilliant wouldn't have come out.

How is Vic Chick doing? Is her pregnance going good? Is her tummy growing? We haven't talked in a while.

lee ann said...

#1. I'm strict with snack time. But my kids are still young. I probably wouldn't buy things they want. And when I did I would turn into my mother and say "one a day".

#2. I wouldn't have had the guts to say what I wanted to say and would have kicked myself later. I probably would have just said what a great swimmer he is and he knows the rules and brag about what a really good kid he is.

Valerie said...

Glad to see you are willing to let your children spread their wings. It will serve their future as adults well. It is hard to find the line of freedom and every kid is different so good for you to negotiate a line you both can live with.

Do you remember the good old days when we rode bikes down the street without any adults around. When we rode in cars without shoulder seat belts. When we wandered free? Now we live in fear of everything and everyone and our kids suffer. Sad.

Jennifer P. said...

Yeah---I'm one of those moms holding the last tiny pieces of her temper and sanity in when I wake up in the morning, and realize my kids have eaten the entire box of 100 calorie packs for breakfast. Don't they know those stupid things are $3.50 a box.....and that they're MINE :P?!?!

I thought your idea to pre-portion the snacks was quite clever. I might try it on my little hobbits (remember in Lord of the Rings how the hobbits had breakfast, second breakfast, tea, snack, supper, dinner....)

and I'm wiping drool off my keyboard just looking at your yummy, chewy cookie brownies....mmmmmmmmmmm.

Melissa Lee said...

Okay, what do I know. I have a two year old who eats like a bird.

But my girlfriend Kelli has an 11 year old boy and she does exactly what you said...she divides the snacks up into baggies. Whatever his sister gets - he gets. And when it's all gone. It's all gone. Tough luck.

So I think you had a good suggestion there.

The Pace Posse said...

I think it is good that you were not quicker thinking to your "acquaintance". Especially if she really is an acquaintance and not a good friend. I think your actual reply is perfect. You are ok with it and that's what you told her. No need to get snarky with her.

As far as the snacks...I love your idea. Teaches budgeting and self-control...valuable life lessons.

Lula! said...

I can't help with the first one, as my girls are still young and still ask for each and every morsel that goes into their mouths. My husband, however, will eat anything snacky I've bought JUST FOR ME unless I hide it. My snacking subterfuge usually goes like this: "The Hot and Spicy Cheez-Its? Um, they're gone." In my stomach. 'Cause I don't share.

And for Mother of the Year...yeah, don't even get me started. I would've said, "Well, we usually leave him at home all alone, so I figure this way at least we're in the same building."

p.s. I am STILL jealous of your supervised play room. Still.

Lula! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lula! said...

I can't help with the first one, as my girls are still young and still ask for each and every morsel that goes into their mouths. My husband, however, will eat anything snacky I've bought JUST FOR ME unless I hide it. My snacking subterfuge usually goes like this: "The Hot and Spicy Cheez-Its? Um, they're gone." In my stomach. 'Cause I don't share.

And for Mother of the Year...yeah, don't even get me started. I would've said, "Well, we usually leave him at home all alone, so I figure this way at least we're in the same building."

p.s. I am STILL jealous of your supervised play room. Still.

Lula! said...

Trish, I'm obviously trying to pad your comments here. Sorry...

mer said...

Hi Trish...

Good questions here.

1. I like your idea of bagging up each kids alotted snacks and when they're gone, they're gone. I make my kids eat a variety of snacks in a day...veggies, fruit, yogurt, cheese, sweet stuff, salty stuff, and they know that they can't eat all fruit, or sweets (which they forget sometimes and try to get away with). That sorta helps stretch the "good snacks" a little further...and I limit snack times to mid-morning and mid-afternoon otherwise my kids would eat all day long and not be hungry at meal times.

2. I think it's perfectly fine to let your son swim while you work out. You're following the rules, and you as a mom know your child and what he can/cannot handle. I think you should trust your gut on this one...and it sounds like he's more than FINE out there!

Gramma 2 Many said...

Remember when I tried the lock on the cupboard door when we lived in Alaska? It did not work. You guys just got a screw diver and removed the hinges, then put the door back up before I got home from work. That was 20 how many years ago when we were paying $200.00 a week for groceries. I could hardly afford it and you all consumed everything I brought home in the first two days.

I am so glad you were able to contain yourself with the mother. A sharp tongue does get one into trouble at times.
Read all of James Chapter 3. In particular verses 8-10.
Love you, Mom

annette said...

hahahahhaha... oh i'm so laughing at your situation #2. that's a good one. i appreciate your confidence, and you are a very consciensous (ok, totally cannot spell that one w/o help) mother so she must just be an acquaintance. i really like your idea and teachable moments opportunity w/ situation #2. don't think i could come up w/ anything better.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Snacks - we have a snack calendar and I lay out what snacks are available that day. When they're gone, they're gone.

Gym lady - I think your response was fine. Yeah, the snarky answer would have felt better, but I think you did just fine. So much in life you have to do what YOU know is right for you and let others remove their own bundled panties....

niccole w. said...

Okay, I gotta be the devil's advocate (no pun intended:)) and defend the acquaintance. I could totally see myself asking the same thing. Not trying to be judgemental but kind of in that incredulous way - like," Oh,my goodness, I've never thought of that before. Are you sure you're okay with it, because if you are then maybe I should think about doing it too." Now I know all of that didn't come out. But I'm just sayin' maybe her intentions weren't as bad as it sounded.

Debbie said...

We don't have the snack problem yet because my kids are not big eaters. But I will have to remember the baggy idea. That is terrific. The swimming thing, well, I might disagree with you on that one and here's why. Those lifeguards are usually worthless. There was drowning in a local pool recently of a 7 year old. The parents were there not paying attention to the child and apparently neither were the lifeguards.
Apparently he was under for awhile. Another parent pulled him out and did avail. I am a freak about the pool. I watch my kids like a hawk and am usually in there with them because the guards are too busy worried about other things. For me personally, I don't think I would leave my kids there alone. You just never know. Still friends?