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Remembering Memorial Day and parenting

I was typing along and the computer blipped as when there is a power surge and I just lost four pages of my blog. I have auto recover, but the name of the document was the same…I just lost all the typing. The only thing that was there was the last word that I had typed.


I was just was catching up on the past week. We had a reunion on memorial weekend for the Getz side of the family. My mother’s maternal side.


Whenever we have reunions or we have the opportunity to be with family members of either side, including Fito’s side, I am always impressed by the caliber of people we are related to.


They are good, patriotic, hard-working, orderly, honest, fun to be with, and just plain good people. I have Dutch, Russian German, Irish, and Spain ancestors. Many came because of religious persecution, others came because of famine. But they all sacrificed that I, today, may have a better life and many more liberties than they enjoyed.


Fito’s family went through a civil war. His father was shot and died when Fito was six years old. His relatives, through the years, fled to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Canada, Australia, the Philippine's.


As the years have gone by, some have gone back to their country, others have stayed in their adopted countries, but all have prospered. They too, are an amazing family built on principles of learning, hard-work, religious principles, and being people of character.


Memorial Day commemorates such people. Those who fought wearing a uniform and also those who fought in the home, factory, or on the home-front.


We are beneficiaries of such people and of the many sacrifices they made for us. I admire and salute them.


I started working on rock steps going down a hill from our patio. Fito made rock steps several years ago, but used small rocks and it is difficult for older people to navigate.


I started to tear out the rocks on memorial weekend Saturday and then David finished taking them all out last Tuesday.


Then on Wednesday after work (I am only working in the mornings), I put David, a friend, and two of the cousins to work helping me. Fito and Jorge (a friend) had brought me some big flat rocks to use as stairs.


When we lived in Kansas, Fito and I took apart a rock building for the gas company. Our payment was the rocks.


The building was made of limestone, and each stone was cut into rectangular shapes. The tops and bottoms were smoothed and then they were stacked like bricks and mortar was used.


The six rocks for the door and windows are about 5 feet long, 2 feet wide and about 6 inches thick. In Kansas, these rocks were benches and bridges in our garden. The other rocks, we used to edge gardens, line streams, and so forth.


We also spent countless hours in Kansas, going to dumps, digging bricks out of piles. Also, if I saw someone digging up a brick sidewalk, I would offer to do the labor in return for the bricks.


In southeast Kansas, where we lived, there used to be many brick factories. These were in Coffeyville, KS, Peru, KS, and Caney, KS. I have red bricks stamped from each of these factories.


In Kansas, and now here in Oklahoma, we have a brick patio and brick sidewalks which I absolutely love. I have red bricks that have different designs on them, and I think they are fascinating.


In Kansas, when we moved there years ago, people saw the bricks as a nuisance and dug up the sidewalks and paved over the brick streets. I wrote an editorial telling them to leave them and use them as a tourist draw, but to no avail.


At least, some of that history is in my backyard.


Well, we used bigger rocks this time for the steps. Built retaining walls, and added the river rocks (that I brought back from New Mexico) around the lavender and thyme that were by the steps and it looks incredible.


It is not done; as now Fito want to add a waterfall and water garden to the side, but the new steps are much better and easier to walk on. We also want to add a railing, but have not decided what material to use or just how we want to do it.


Poor Fito came home from work on Wednesday, I am sure with other plans, but ended up helping me finish the steps. And then did not want to stop…ha!


I cooked like crazy last week, making 2 large pans of lasagna, 3 large pans of enchiladas, a ham and mashed potatoes, a large pot of beans, refried beans, Pupusas, apple-coconut bread (18 loaves), poppy seed bread (22 loaves), and peanut butter chews.


With the extra company and then extra teenage boys (especially, if I want them to work hard) you have to have lots of yummy food.


I just made another huge pot of beans as I want to can some and made another large batch of bread (17 loaves) as I needed to say thank you to several people.


Rebeca made cupcakes on Sunday…she is really starting to bake and Elizabeth and I made cookies from cake mixes (really easy and yummy). They also made home-made popsicles earlier in the week.


We had our first corn-on-the-cob of the year, but it was too tough for me to enjoy. I like small kernels, but Fito likes the bigger kernels, so he ate most of the corn.


Did eye appointments yesterday for Felipe and David, today I have Elizabeth and Rebeca. That is definitely one thing that is more difficult with large families…and of course you always wait…and wait…and wait…exasperating!


That is why I brought my laptop and am utilizing my time. Lucky for me, I do not have a two-year-old that I have to watch the whole time anymore.


Another thought to parents (my aunts, cousins, and I talked about this). If your child cannot sit still at a restaurant once they are four to five years old. You have done them a great disservice.


A reminder, that no one likes to around obnoxious, bratty, wild, children. They need to be taught to not touch items that do not belong to them, to not ask personal questions, to not talk loudly, to not run around.


It is not the adult’s (parent’s) job to entertain children; rather, it is the job of a parent to help the child to learn self-discipline.


I know parents that will spend hours upon hours teaching a boy to catch or throw a ball, but have not spent any time teaching him to sit still.

Parents will spend huge amounts of money making sure their children excel in academics, sports, or something else, but give no thought to teaching them or helping them excel in etiquette, being gracious, or developing good character traits.


These things take practice just as motor skills do. Have your child sit on a chair, set a timer, and have them actually practice sitting still. No games, no devices, no music, no TV. Just sitting still.


It is a motor skill that has to be taught, practiced (and practiced…and practiced). Do it every day, 2-3 times a day. An 18 month-old can be taught to sit still for 5-10 minutes. A two-year-old can go 20 minutes. A three-year-old 30-40. A four-year-old for an hour. It just requires practice.


Do not lower your expectations. They can do it and it will make parenting soooooo much easier if you win the battles when they are young and you have well-behaved children.


I know we all have THOSE days. But each day should not be one of THOSE days. Determine what your priorities are: a child that has a skill set, but can and does not progress because people cannot stand to be around him or her or a child that is pleasing and well-mannered that everyone wants to help and see succeed.


Right now, I am teaching some summer classes to children and see both types of children. The ones that are out of control are sad to behold. Even the other children do not want to be around them or want them in class.


Drugging them is not the answer. Read and research, test them for allergies, watch their diet, discipline them, put them on a strict schedule so they go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.


Spend more time with them. Put them in a charter or private school if need be. Read parenting books (from the 60s or older seem to be some of the better books). Find an older couple who raised righteous children and ask them how they did it. Follow their advice, instead of some doctor’s psyco-babble that never raised a child in their life.


The little things DO matter. Do not let them use potty words, do not let them talk back, be lazy, get out of chores, be spoiled, have too many possessions, watch too much media, spend too much time on electronic devices.


Make sure they have time each day to do something physical, BUT NOT structured. In other words…old-fashioned play time. Where they can run, climb, hop, skip, jump, play in the sand or mud, pretend to be an explorer, and so on.


I have a theory that children that are kept inside all day, especially in small areas or kept in structured activities all day long…day after day…are more anxious or more likely to be aggressive, especially if you add large amount of games or TV.


I just saw an article about gold fish that said the smaller the bowl or tank they were kept in, the more aggressive they were. I also saw an article about dairy cows, and how if the owners did things to improve their surroundings, they produced more milk.


Humans are the same, and especially children. They need physical activity to sleep, think, and work well. They need time to just be children, not to be dragged around from sun up to sun down according to their parent’s schedule.


But, they also need to be taught manners and etiquette and how to think of others and observe socially what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.


If you think it is okay for your child to fart or burp in public, then get a book on manners and learn what the rest of the world wish you and your child knew…no, it is not okay. Nor the jokes, nor the rudeness, nor eating with your mouth open, or leaving food on the table or the floor.


No, it is NOT the waitress’s job to clean up your child’s mess. It is your job to teach your child to NOT leave a mess.


I know it is intense and is a huge amount of work, but I promise you if you do it well, it is the most incredible and wonderful accomplishment. Plus a well-behaved child will be a blessing to you all the days of your life.



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