Friday, July 22, 2022

7 Quick Takes about Summer Swim Meets, Seeing Some Light at the End of the Basement Tunnel, and How to Make Watching Cartoons Educational

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


As I sat down to write this week's 7 Quick Takes, it took me a good five minutes before I could put down a single word. What in the world did I do this week? I couldn't remember. 

It reminds me of this meme from one of my favorite mom bloggers, Meredith at Perfection Pending, who sums up the condition of the stay-at-home-mom so well:

My days are a blur of feeding little people, driving little people, taking care of little people, and cleaning up after little people. Most of which I love and feel really lucky to be able to do; it just isn't very interesting to talk about.


How do you handle screen time in your house? Our 18- and 16-year-olds do a decent job at managing their own screen time, but I'm struggling with the younger ones. 

I get so tired of managing their screen time (and enforcing sanctions when they break the house rules about screen time), so banishing screens from the house seems like the obvious solution.

But it's complicated with my 10- and 14-year-olds. Kids these days live online, so taking away screens means cutting them off from their friends (especially one of my kids, whose buddies seem to do little else besides meet up online to either play Minecraft or talk about it.) I also like some of the coding and math activities they do online.

I just wish I could figure out how to get them to enjoy those benefits in moderation. But it seems like our two choices are: go screen-free and my kids don't get to participate in friendships, or they use screens to the point where they forget to blink and I turn into the Incredible Hulk. 

Has anyone else found a happy middle ground?


My 10- and 14-year-olds are on a summer swim team. Our family isn't that serious about swimming, but a friend asked if we wanted to carpool and it was a pretty cheap way to get the kids tons of practice swimming for the summer, so we signed up even though we didn't really know what we were getting into.

Our first meet was this past Saturday at 7 AM.

"7 o'clock? In the morning? On a Saturday? Are the roads even open that early??" Phillip asked in horror.

I told him I didn't know. 

The meet went okay. It was a learning curve for all of us, because there's a whole swim meet culture we didn't know about. My kids came in last most of the time, but they worked hard and my 10-year-old even won one of her races and got a rubber ducky she named Norbert. 

Norbert the reading duck.


My 14-year-old has been trying to get a job for a while now. He applied at one place that took forver to get him in for an interview, and then there was a whole debacle about getting his minor work permit that took an extra week, but he finally has a job now!

The store he's working at has a really picky dress code, so the first thing we had to do was buy him $50 of work clothes/shoes, none of which will probably fit him in 3 months because he's growing so fast. This job just may end up costing us more money than he earns.


We're getting closer to a finished basement! I know I've been saying that for years, but there are a lot of steps involved in taking a space from concrete cell to a comfortable living area. 

Phillip is finishing up the electrical, and reportedly might even be really to start calling drywallers this weekend. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, but I'm really excited.

We do basically all of our own home improvement, so when we hire professionals to do something it feels like magic. Having a crew of trained professionals swarm in and get the job done in one day is at least one billion times faster than having one lone person work on it in bits and pieces after a long day at work while juggling family life and also dealing with broken dishwashers and other crises around the house.


The kids have recently fallen in love with going on bike rides. In order to get to a good neighborhood for biking, they do have to bike a short way down a halfway-busy street, so I hadn't yet given permission to the 6- and 8-year-olds to go there. 

This week I decided it was time to bike the route a few times with them to teach them all the safety rules and make sure they know how to do it, and now they go out on their own multiple times a day. They always come back with sweaty heads and smiles on their faces, saying "That was fun!"

Of course, they picked the hottest week of 2022 to become avid bikers, but they're addicted now and it's good to see them say "I'm bored, let's go on a bike ride" instead of reaching for the tablet.


I discovered that all the content on Disney+ is available to watch dubbed in Spanish, and it's really helping with my Spanish comprehension. (Still not very good, but it's less bad than it used to be!) 

You can set up multiple user profiles within your account, so my 16-year-old set one up for me with Spanish as the default language and Mirabel from Encanto as my profile picture.

I've been watching some movies, but they also have a lot of TV shows. Kids' shows in particular are great because the characters use shorter, simpler sentences I can understand. So if we happen to be talking and I slip the word 'ornitorrinco' (platypus) into the conversation, know it's because I was probably watching Phineas y Ferb that morning.

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Diana Dye said...

Oh screentime. Best babysitters and zombie makers there ever was. As a disclaimer we have 4 kids, 1 TV and 1 computer and no video game consoles and my teen doesnt have a smartphone. What's worked for us this summer is screentime only during the hottest time of the day (2-5:30) and it's a free for all if they have all their chores done. (30 minute turns on the laptop). The hope is that they go outside before it gets too hot and have a magical time and forget to come in until dinner. What usually happens is they come in for lunch and stay inside staring at the clock until the appointed hour. But rarely is there a day where they are on screens the entire afternoon since they play with friends and I have a strict screens and friends don't mix rule---meaning if you have a friend over, don't be boring and watch TV together.

Anonymous said...

Saving this idea!

me said...

We have a "no screens 9- noon" rule too- have fun outside or doing something else in the morning,, then in the heat they can zone out. Some summers we plan fun things every morning; this summer I'm trying to get them to play board games and do puzzles. Not very successful though.