Tuesday, August 07, 2012

What to Call the In-Laws

When you're a kid, you don't know what adults call their in-laws.  After all, parents usually refer to their in-laws as "Grandma" and "Grandpa" around the munchkins. 

So when you get all grown-up and acquire yourself some in-laws, you have to figure out what to call them.  It feels funny to start calling someone "Dad" who used to be "Mr Lastname."  But hey, what may feel funny at first is something you get used to eventually.  The problem comes when there are objections.

Maybe the bride's mom doesn't want her daughter calling another woman "Mom."  Maybe she thinks, "That's my spot!"  Maybe the groom feels like it would be betraying his father to call somebody else "Dad."  Maybe you don't feel comfortable enough around the spouse's family to use such close & endearing names.  Maybe [gasp] there's some dislike. 

When Gary and I got married, we didn't know what to do, and nobody told us.  When I asked about calling my mother-in-law "Mom," I was told no, but that I could call her "Mother."  (Unfortunately, to me, "Mother" is a term of exasperation, rather like when a parent uses a child's full name; kids usually know that they're in trouble when they're summoned with the middle name and last name in addition to the first name.  That's how "Mother" feels coming out of my mouth.  Because "Mother" sounded disrespectful to me, I didn't want to use it for my mother-in-law.  Maybe I should have anyway.) 

When two of my girls got married, we didn't know what to tell them.  We did tell them that we thought "Mom" and "Dad" would be good, but that it was up to them because we recognized that it might make the husbands uncomfortable or make the guys' parents uncomfortable. 

In hindsight, I think we botched it. 

There is a change of relationship, a change of family, new connections being created, at a wedding.  The bride has to get used to introducing herself with a new name.  She has to get used to a new signature.  The couple has to get used to living together instead of separately in their parents' homes.  Calling the in-laws "Mom" and "Dad" is just one of those changes. 

So I'm saying it for all you yet-unmarried youngsters who are my kids' friends.  There's a theological reality here.  When you refer to your spouse's parents with words/nicknames for parents, you are teaching yourself something about who these people are and what your relationship is.  If they object to being called "Mom" and "Dad," maybe they need to learn something about this new family-relationship.  Neither should your parents object to your in-laws being called "Mom" and "Dad."  You've probably got decades together, through kids and grandkids, through illnesses and moves and job changes and fights and reconciliations and school plays and Little League games and deaths and sorrows and joys.  Y'know, "for better or for worse, ..." and all that. 

And through it all, it would be good to know that this person who raised your husband (or wife)  IS "Mom" or "Dad."  Not just to your spouse, but to you too.  And using the words helps you to believe it.

So say it.  Squirm if you must.  If you can't help it and turn red in the face, so be it.  But say "Mom" and "Dad" anyway.  In 40 years, you'll be glad you did.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Wisconsin Homeschoolers

Although the DPI now has available the online census form on which we report the enrollment of our homeschools, now is not the time to file. 

If your child has already been enrolled in a conventional school for the 2012-13 school year (even though he would not yet have attended), you may not begin homeschooling until the government receives a copy of your PI-1206.  If your child has been enrolled for the upcoming school-year, file your 1206 this week or next.

But for everybody else (those of us who unenrolled the kid last spring, or those of us who were homeschooling last spring and even before) we do NOT file the PI-1206 until after the third Friday in September. 

I know some of you want to get things checked off your to-do list.  I know some of you don't want to wait, for fear you may forget.  Put it on your calendar for September 26 or 28 or October 3.  Like all the other schools in the state, we count our enrollment on the third Friday of September.  Wait until that day, please.

Arnica Gel

Because I bruise easily, I know that every single bump into a corner of a counter-top, a piece of furniture, or a car door, will result in a bruise. A tube of arnica gel is sitting in my bedroom to alleviate carpal tunnel pain.  As I had done with my inadvertent aloe experiments, a week ago I experimented with the arnica.  Arnica on only one of the bruised spots.  The newer bruise (which was just as deep, with the same amount of pain as the older bruise) healed much faster, much more comfortably. 

How does it DO that?!

That arnica is awesome stuff!  And no, I don't get paid by the Arnica Foundation to wax eloquent about this amazing herb.   :-)

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Alia's Axe

So while we're babysitting today, the 3-yr-old comes from the garage, onto the deck, with a hatchet. Andrew's eyebrows pop up, and he queries, "So ... what are you doing with the axe, Alia?"

"I want to chop down a tree."

Naturally! Silly us. Why else would a kid want an axe?

I explain, "You may not chop down a tree. I want my trees!"

"But.... But ..... I want to chop down a tree. Why do you have an axe if you don't chop down trees??"

"For chopping the branches that fall down after a windstorm."

She trots back to the garage and puts the hatchet away.

So as we're in the kitchen, putting away the food and beginning to wash the lunch dishes, I'm thinking that we really need to keep a close eye on this kid. Then Andrew gasps from the deck. Alia had picked up the cat (the younger one, the mild-mannered one, the suck-it-up-and-take-whatever-comes one) and tossed her in the kiddie pool. Surprisingly enough, the cat wasn't as pleased with the pool as was the kid in the bathing suit.

Then we went to the playground. The nice, safe playground. LOL.

Peach Pie

So when the peach pie or the apple pie contains the fruit-skin,
when the mashed potatoes have skins in them,
does that mean
a) the cook is nobly concerned about good nutrition and not wasting the food,
b) the cook is too lazy to peel the fruit?

I vote for choice A.  Yes.  I do.  You believe that, don't you?