Back to School…Again…

1st grade

First grade starts on Monday (!) and O has seemingly forgotten all letters and numbers over his 9-week summer break.  Literacy, like the contents of my wine fridge, is another casualty of summer. O has, however, deepened his drawing mastery, and consequently we have several boxes of How to Train Your Dragon and Sugar Rush sketches in various states of completion. In addition to the piles of supplies we are required to purchase, I dread the constant flow of PTO meetings and emails, fundraising events, and field trips, not to mention the nightly homework sword of Damocles.

We’re two working parents with the first grader and another kid in daycare – so we have 4 opposing schedules essentially battling it out for supremacy at all times.  Oh, and we don’t have any domestic help. You’re (virtually) looking at it – we’re it.

Schedules

We have two ways of doing maintaining our family calendars: analog and digital – I realize it’s overkill.  I don’t care.

The kitchen is the “heart” of Casa Lopez (unlike the living room, which is the “ass” since we’re primarily seated there watching crap TV). On our fridge, there’s a large dry erase calendar with color-coded markers for each family member. This calendar serves a dual purpose as it also covers up how hideous the fridge is. This “nerve center” is where we put appointments, field trips, happy hours, etc. It’s notably low on orange-coded activities, I guess Henry isn’t so much in demand.

calendar

The calendar is probably the most used organizational tool in our arsenal. I want to go digital with our scheduling, all the cool kids are doing it. However, I’m having a hell of a time getting us onboard with an app that we will use with any manner of consistency. So, we’re going to try Hub on for size; the only potential downfall being a lack of participation by my spouse.  Hub links up to our work and personal email calendars so we have visibility into each others’ schedules. We can add the kids’ activities and also administer “to do” lists. I’ve heard good things about it, so I’m hopeful. But again, success depends on buy in from all parties. I’ll keep you posted at any rate.

HUB

Chores

Learning how to read (or use the potty, in H’s case) is certainly not an excuse to avoid daily chores. Particularly because in addition to parenting and working, we are also the maid service up in this bitch. We use a great app, Choremonster, that combines the kids’ love of technology and friendly monster animations with my need to keep this damn house clear of child-related detritus.

choremonster

I assign chores to each child via my iPhone and they can use their iPad to check off that they have completed their tasks. Each task has a certain point value (that I determine), and when a minimum number of points is reached, they can be “redeemed” for a toy or app or a break from the nightly beatings, etc. The fun part is that I get a notification every time a kid has “completed” his chore, and I can either confirm or deny that this chore has taken place. So, no bullshiting a bullshitter, kids. I can thumbs up or thumbs down their asses – it’s so satisfying. Of course, this too has gone by the wayside this summer along with any other hint of positive momentum – so back to school means back to chores too. Kids, you’re on notice.

And thanks in advance to the teachers out there, mad props and respect for all you do – and please don’t be discouraged about the fact that my kid would rather draw for 10 hours a day if given the opportunity. He’s…touched.

-c

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