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Age Appropriate Chore Chart

It's important to teach our kids to do age appropriate chores. Find out how chores instill life-long values in our kids and grab our list of what is appropriate for your kids. Our kids need to do age appropriate chores. Find out how chores instill life-long values in our kids and grab our list of what is appropriate for your kids.

To the Mom Who Forgot Her Worth

By: Rachel M. Martin You've got this. That's what I needed to hear. Oh my, that's what I needed to hear. I wanted to be seen. To be reminded that somehow motherhood is this brave thing. To be told that, in spite of those kids who yell I hate you because I took away the computer or who dislike the dinner that I spent 30 minutes making, all the negotiating, rule-setting and dealing with little people who don't like rules matters. 2015-11-04-1446672678-3456661-tothemomthatforgotherworth.jpg I know people will tell you and me all the time that it's just motherhood and everyone has had to do it before and just suck it up and do it and it's no big deal, but I'm telling you, there are days when being a mom is this crazy bit of brave, even though it can leave us standing over a sink full of dishes wondering if we are really worth it and if there really is a grand point to this thing called motherhood. It's so easy to forget our worth and to just feel like we want to quit. What I've learned about bravery is that oftentimes it takes someone on the sidelines cheering for you and reminding you that you can indeed keep going -- someone to show you everything you've accomplished and to remind you that all the late nights and feedings and rocking and driving and giving all matter. I wonder about you. You, reading these words of mine that I typed sitting up in my room after one of those motherhood days that felt like a whole lot of tiring limbo living and not much bravery and a bunch of problem solving. There was no grandiose story and no crafts and no fabulous dinner and no sports and no family movie and in general nothing amazing. Somehow in my head I always thought life would have these grand crescendos and amazing Disney-quality moments, and there I was, stuck sitting in a life which just felt so, well, like this is life? and am I doing enough? and does anyone even see? And then I remember moments like this.2015-11-04-1446672780-3495603-myjoytoday2.findingjoy.jpg And that is what makes me write to you. Because I know you have moments like this tucked into the fabric of your ordinary that get lost in those crazy motherhood days that make us all wonder about value and worth -- and we just plain forget. We forget about the love they have and how we matter and how we are worth it to them. Even when they aren't perfect, which means, well, they're kids. I think in a way we exist in a world that either tells us how hard everything is, as we sit in a vat of lamenting goo and leave feeling even more overwhelmed -- or we're told, press on you're strong you can do this I believe in you, and we're thinking that we just need someone to understand or step in and help and give us a shoulder to cry on. So let me be a voice, another person who is willing to admit that she gets it so that you can remember, too. Because you know what? I know that even though we have feelings of being overwhelmed and tired, we really do love our kids. You've got this. I know. Really simple, cheerleader-type words. Kind of rah rah rah yay we've got this -- let's make dinner again and put them to bed and fold laundry and start again -- yay! But sometimes we need to hear it. Like tonight, I would have loved to have remembered that when my 8-year-old yelled MOM!! for the fourth time in an hour over some way his brother looked at him and took items while playing Minecraft (I have a love/hate relationship with that game, by the way). Or when the full half-gallon bottle of Lipton Iced Tea fell out of the fridge without the lid that should have been replaced by my 10-year-old, and splashed all over the floor I had just washed. Or when there was defiance over a room to clean -- again. Or a whole bunch of other normal motherhood stuff that made me just want a moment to blink my eyes and make it magically 11 p.m. 2015-11-04-1446673186-3620033-tothemomwhoforgotherworth2.jpg But I kept going. Wiped the floor and had the wisdom of Solomon in negotiating Minecraft fairness and cleaned up a room and talked about respect and kept on going. That is so much worth right there. Don't you ever forget that power and worth in keeping on going when you've just had enough. Don't you forget worth when you rock those babies or you are tired or you're talking with a doctor demanding answers. Don't you forget worth when you say stay in your room for the eleventh time, or when you drop your teen off at that dance and want to walk inside. Don't doubt you. You have amazing value. So I'll say it again. You've got this. Yes, you. You, the one who might have messed up this morning. You, the one who hates laundry. You, the one who tucks tears back in your eyes many times and wishes the 3-year-old would just go to bed. You, the one with that teen who looks at you like you're an idiot. You, the one who has to work late but wishes you could be home, and struggles with guilt. You, the one who skips pages reading books. You, the one who takes the long way just so you can have a moment. You. Their mom. You are worth it. You are worth it if the kitchen is messy or you're fed up or you just want a break or you get exasperated over clothes stuffed in the corner or you just are tired or you just want to know you matter. You don't have to be perfect. You don't have to measure up. You don't have to sit in worry. You don't have to feel alone. You don't have to question your worth. You, my friend walking on this motherhood journey, you are worth it. And you've totally, one hundred percent got this. ~Rachel

Schoolkids' jackets a case of dropped and forgotten

BY COURTENAY EDELHART First-grader Cameron McCormick sat stalling for time in her grandmother's hatchback outside Stockdale Elementary School in southwest Bakersfield. It was time for school, but it was a little cold despite a charcoal gray hoodie she wore to ward against the morning chill. It's the third jacket her family has purchased for her three months into the 2013-14 school year. She lost another gray one a few weeks ago, and another before that. "I can't remember what color," Cameron said, shrugging, when asked to describe the wayward garment. Out of sight, out of mind. In that respect, 6-year-old Cameron is typical of children her age. "It hasn't changed in 30 years," said Cameron's grandmother, Annette Dominguez. "I remember going through this when her dad was little." The culprit is something meteorologists call the "diurnal swing," or the variation in temperature over the course of a single day. In some areas, high and low daily temperatures aren't that far apart. But in early November in Bakersfield, an average day can swing from an overnight low in the 40s to an afternoon high in the 70s, according to the National Weather Service. Parents of small children, with sincerely good intentions, dress little ones in layers so they can peel them off as it heats up. But unlike adults who put outerwear in a closet or over an office chair, elementary school students drop it wherever they happen to be standing -- and leave it there. There are many cycles in a school year. You can tell it's August when playgrounds that were empty over the summer are once again teeming with children. In October, construction paper pumpkins appear on bulletin boards. And you can tell it's November when ... you were expecting something about turkeys? No, the real sign of November is overflowing lost and found bins. They are as sure a sign that fall is near as leaves drifting from the trees. On any given day, castoff clothing can be found all over Central Valley elementary schools. Most often, it's on the playground, but it could be anywhere: a school bus, a cafeteria, the computer lab. Sara Angelillo, 30, has managed to hang onto the clothes her 5-year-old son wears to Stockdale, but she's had a few near misses. "He came home in somebody else's sweater awhile ago," Angelillo said. "We switched the next day." At Veterans Elementary School in northeast Bakersfield Thursday, a lost and found bin had overflowed, its contents spilled over the sides onto the ground. "You can see where it threw up, there, where people were going through it," joked Principal Matthew Baxter. "It's pretty crazy how much gets left out." Jenn German is a yard aide at Veterans. She estimates she retrieves 10 to 15 jackets and sweatshirts a day this time of year. Recess is the worst. "They just get hot and throw them on the ground," German said. "And some of them are school-affiliated jackets, you know with the logos on them, and those things are like $30 apiece." Fellow yard aide Elizabeth Leininger is heartbroken by what she finds casually discarded. "Nice stuff, and they drop it in the dirt or the wet grass and it's all stained," she said. Both German and Leininger are parents, and their own families are not immune even with mothers for whom the issue is top of mind. "I've given up," Leininger said of efforts to get her 8- and 9-year-old sons to come home from school with their jackets. At Stockdale, administrators try to keep children and their jackets together, too, to no avail. "We put the lost and found where it's visible during recess, and in the morning announcements every day we remind the kids to go in there and look through it if they've lost something, but they almost never do," said Principal M.T. Mericke. Half the time students don't even realize they've lost something, so it would never occur to them to look for it, said Brenda Cassell, principal of Horizon Elementary School in southeast Bakersfield. "We try to get parents to label the clothes so we can find out who they belong to, but that's not really happening," she said. Trini Tran, 40, has a 10-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son at Stockdale. She's seen notes sent home in backpacks imploring parents to label clothes, but hasn't done it even though her daughter has already lost a jacket this year. "I just figured she was old enough to be more responsible and could recognize her own clothes," said Tran, who isn't willing to dig through a heaping lost and found hunting jackets down. "I'll go look on the first day, but if it goes longer than that then by the time you get them back, they're usually all dirty," she said. "Jackets are cheap. You can just buy another one." That is evidently how a lot of parents feel. So many clothes go unclaimed that by winter break, campuses have run out of room to store them. That's why during the next few weeks, schools will be sending frantic notes and emails warning parents of a semiannual purge. Anything that isn't claimed by such and such date will be donated to charity. Some schools get creative as the deadline approaches, laying jackets out on the cafeteria floor during lunch in hopes someone will recognize something. At Veterans, jackets are draped over about 100 feet of wrought iron fencing during parent-teacher conference week. Children are marched past to grab what they will, and parents are encouraged to give the sad display a look after meeting with teachers. Invariably, though, piles and piles of clothing never make it home. It's a boon for local charitable organizations. Among the beneficiaries of school lost and found purges are the Bakersfield Homeless Center, the Jamison Children's Center (a 24-hour emergency shelter for foster children) and Operation School Bell, which provides clothes and coats for low-income children. "At least a dozen schools drop off clothes for us every year," said Operation School Bell Chairman Barbara Sandrini. "We're always surprised not only by the volume but by the quality. Some of it's hardly ever been worn." That's the one upside of children losing so many jackets, Cameron's grandmother Dominguez said. "At least they go to a good cause," she said.

Lost and Found Overflows By Year End

By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS JUNE 25, 2015A tall seventh grader named Azalea Kelley stood in a Harlem classroom last week, surrounded by an explosion of fabric, footwear and the occasional piece of sports equipment, spilling from a clutch of plastic bins. As part of an after-school program, she and a dozen other students were ankle deep in the school’s lost and found, sorting it so that the spoils could be donated to a local church and a family shelter.As a boy tried on a single black hockey glove he picked from the pile, Azalea lifted a pair of black stretch pants in front of her. “Oh, these are nice!” she said. “But how can anyone lose something like this? It’s a pair of pants!”As surely as the sun will rise in the east and time will march only forward, children will lose things. Many things. And by each June, as teachers and students prepare for summer, the detritus of the school year can reach impressive heights.“I am amazed,” said Karen Ditolla, principal of Mark Twain Intermediate School for the gifted and talented in Coney Island. “Pretty much anything and everything, they leave behind.”An unscientific survey of schools around New York City in recent days found a diverse little universe of misplaced treasures: an art portfolio. A lunchbox with food in it. A large bottle of cherry blossom moisturizer. A shower cap. A palm-size doll in a red dress, found at a sixth-through-12th-grade school. Dirty socks. Glasses. And many, many pairs of pants and shoes — or sometimes half a pair.“It’s not uncommon for us to have one shoe,” Ms. Ditolla said. “Sometimes I’ll make an announcement: Will the owner of one size 6 green Nike please report to the office?” When the student arrives, she said: “I’ll ask: ‘Where is the other one? Did you walk around with one shoe?’ But it’s middle school, so they just kind of look at you.”“Please, parents!” she pleaded. “Write your kid’s name on everything!”At Columbia Secondary School, a selective school in Harlem, where Azalea is a student, an assistant principal said that once or twice a week, a cellphone is misplaced by its owner, most often in the bathroom. Generally, the phones and their people are reunited. But during the chilliest months, heavy coats are frequently left behind, and mysteriously, their owners do not seem to consider that a problem.“It’ll be negative 2 degrees and we will have a pile of jackets,” Andi Velasquez, the parent coordinator at Columbia Secondary, said.As Ms. Velasquez spoke, an administrator who passed by said that her son had lost four sweatshirts in a single school year. She suspected that he was giving them away to girls, though he denied it. But the most bewildering item sometimes lost at the school, employees said, is something more intimate: the occasional pair of underwear, abandoned and brought into the office. They hasten to add that they believe them to be clean.“People leave weird stuff,” Ms. Velasquez said.At Columbia, middle school students were enlisted to sort the lost and (not yet) found into three piles: scraps and stained clothing for fabric recycling, old uniforms to keep on hand at school, and clothing and accessories that could be donated to local charities. Many schools do likewise.But before anything goes out the door, administrators said, they do extensive outreach, and often a little begging, to try to get students or their parents to reclaim lost items. When parents are going to be in the school building for an event, like parent-teacher night, children’s leavings are sometimes spread out in an empty classroom for perusal, except for valuables, which must be described before they can be reclaimed.Cara Tait, principal of the Green School in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said that once teenagers get to high school, they tend to keep better track of their belongings, but there are exceptions.“The only things that seem to land in our lost and found are umbrellas,” Ms. Tait said. “I don’t buy umbrellas. I don’t think the kids buy umbrellas. They just circulate like communal property.”Miriam Nightengale, principal at Columbia Secondary School, agreed that umbrellas were a “hot item,” and on rainy days, she said, students developed a tendency to recognize them.“They’ll say, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s my umbrella!’ ” she recounted. “Yeah, right. When it’s raining. They all look alike.”

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