Friday, March 21, 2014

Missing manual - please help

To be fair, I haven't googled this yet so the manual may exist, but I'm going to whine and moan like it doesn't.

Where is the manual for kids friendship? It's soooooooooooooo awkward!

My boys have a handful of friends that they've had since they were babies. My husband and I know the families, have been to their houses, we have mutual trust and understanding between our families, we know each other's parenting styles and we know all the kids allergies and concerns. Amazing right? 

Except our kids are all getting older and we now all go to different churches and schools and play different sports and it's harder and harder to get together. The result is kids making new friends that could be drug addicts.

Okay, it's not really the kids I'm worried about so much, it's those darn parents. Do I have to be friends with them so our kids can be friends? Is there a questionnaire that we could give prospective friends parents before our kids get invested in the friendship? I'd like to know where they work, if they go to church, if they swear, if they smoke, how much carpet they have, their views on mcdonalds, other adults that are allowed in the home, if they have a gun cabinet, if they have a liquor cabinet, how many toys their kids have, if they drink bottled water. You know the important stuff that tells you if your child will be safe in that environment. 

Turns out when you just start a conversation with these questions it can be a little off putting. 

There's FBI background checks, stalking, and gossipy nosiness to try and find out facts covertly but really, what is a parent to do? My decision thus far has been to quiz the parents on everything I can think of until they give me a weird look, say a lot of prayers, lecture my kids on stranger danger, good touch/bad touch, secrecy, drugs, alcohol, weapons and saying please and thank you in the car on the way to play dates and sometimes sending long emails explaining my own personal views on snacking, video games and wrestling. 

So far so good, but the tide could turn at any moment! It's a scary world out there and every time I think I've got a handle on things the police accuse me of child neglect, I get Unfriended on Facebook, my kids learn a dirty word or I realize I don't really like the kid that my kids are begging to play with but I already vetted the parents so now it's awkward to back out of the play date. It all just seems so difficult.

Do my kids really need friends? Maybe I should have just been more encouraging during that whole imaginary friend stage, those seem much easier to deal with. This whole growing up and gaining independence and becoming their own person thing is just ridiculous! Glad I have God as part of our plan or I don't think we'd survive at all.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring break!

Its spring break on the beautiful island of Maui. 

I'm sure you've all been dying to know what we're doing with our time off, right?

Chirp chirp. Crickets. Chirp chirp.

Okay, so if it was all about me we'd be staying home the entire break and cleaning, watching movies, baking and doing puzzles. I love my house and family and I can easily get wrapped up in them and forget about the world.

But , at least 3 friends have now contacted me to ask about my holiday plans. This has made me feel popular, loved, surprised and responsible for providing some spring break fun (to the 3 friends that contacted me, I mean this in a good way).

Without further ado or verbal spewage, I present to you, fun things to do during spring break*

*warning: these may only be considered fun if you are a mother of many elementary age children who likes all the same things that I do. If that's not you, figure out your own fun.

1. Hike. It's been very rainy so check the weather forecast via coconut wireless before setting out, do not trust the news. Flash floods are real and should be avoided, this should be obvious and self explanatory. Iao should be full of waterfalls and fun if you stick to the paths. If the wind dies down then the windmills hike should be great for whale watchers. I'd like to head out to the blowhole for the first time with the baby. Dragons teeth are a nice easy one. I have hopes of going to makawao forest because I've never been. You could always call it a hike to get the kids excited but in reality just do the boardwalk or explore the reserve area past makena or the walking path in kihei. So yeah, hike.

2. Swim. This whole shark attack every month phenomenon doesn't leave me super excited about the ocean and I'm in an awkward place where if one of the boys swims too far and gets in trouble I have to choose between saving them and abandoning the baby on the beach. But... There are some beaches with loads of tide pools or enclosed areas like baby beach or launiapoko that I could handle if the wind dies down. Barring that, we are amazingly lucky to have free public pools open everyday so I plan to take advantage of that at least one or two afternoons this week. I like Wailuku pool if I'm by myself and kihei pool is fun with friends.

3. Shop. I actually enjoy shopping with my children, if the conditions are right. It's crazy sale time and my kids need the next size up in clothes so we'll set a budget and head out to let them try spending money to get what they need. It's always an adventure and I pretend they're learning math and other life lessons so it's all worth it. It's also a great time to get my little ones to give up some of what they have. We're not quite at the level of get rid of one thing for every new thing we bring home, but it's a good goal.

4. Choose a direction and head that way. We have 6 fun directions on Maui. North takes you to paia where you can wander, people watch and have fun beach times. West takes you to lahaina. I love the history walks there, the banyan tree, the shopping, the yummy restaurants, the fun beaches and our islands only bookstore. South takes you to kihei, where you can beach it, park it, hit up playgrounds, people watch, enjoy the library or go to my mother in laws house. East is Hana and the best direction for exploring, getting away from it all and communing with nature. Bring bug spray. Once you've hit all major navigational directions you still have 2 options. Central, where i live, has pools, parks, shopping, lighthouses, hikes, movies and mini golf. Finally there's upcountry where you can visit farms, enjoy cool weather, marvel at views, hike, picnic, cardboard sled and find some yummy yummy restaurants. Most holidays I like to take at least one day, choose a direction and staycation the crap out of that direction, I highly recommend that you do the same.

5. Explore. If I'm not up for an entire directional day than a smaller option is to just choose a place. Once the place is chosen google it and unlock its secrets. Then take your kids there and wow them by knowing all the secrets. Bring a camera to capture the wonder, a cage to capture the wildlife and a net to catch the things you don't want to touch with your hands. I also recommend d a light picnic lunch. Exploring days are simple and wonderful.

That's all I have for you for now. It's the last weekday of spring break so it's probably too late for you locals but I wrote the blog so I'm posting anyways. Another day I'll write a post about why I love staying home so much. You're welcome.