Accepting We’ll Forget

August 22, 2014

PHOTO-Aztec I Will Forget CroppedIt took me years to own the truth that I absolutely, without a doubt, can be completely counted upon to forget most of the things I wish to remember. I tried. Really I did. I wanted SO badly to be one of those women who could hear something and then casually remark, “Oh sure. I’ll do that.” and then. . . you know. . . actually do that. After all, that’s what grownups do, right?. But the day finally arrived when I accepted that, yes–even as a grownup, I. Will. Forget.

And on that day, I began my search for things that would remember for me. I found loads of strategies that worked (more on this later). And life has improved dramatically. The things I previously saw as a crutch for a weakness, I now saw as tools to success.

That’s really the point. They’re just TOOLS. Do we get mad at the plumber for reaching for a wrench instead of trying to twist off the pipe with his own hands? Do we look down on the cashier who uses a machine to add up our bill instead of doing the math herself? Do we think less of the doctor for listening to our heart with a stethoscope instead of using his own ear? (kinda creepy now that I think of it.) No we do not. They are simply using tools that make the desired task easier to accomplish.

How this applies to our Sizzlers
So here’s today’s dilemma. My now 14 year old Sizzler is in the same place I once was. She absolutely will forget, but doesn’t yet want to admit this to herself. My task this year is give her tools, and to teach her the value and empowerment that comes from using them.

As a result, we’ve adopted a new phrase in our house.

QUOTE-Assume Remember Plan Forget III Carol Barnier

And how do we plan to remember?
Pick a tool. Any tool.
For example:

If I know I have to retrieve a folder at church tomorrow morning, I put a reminder note on the one thing I know I’ll take with me–my car. Right on the steering wheel, I’ll stick a note that will glare at me when I pop in to drive.

If I know I’m supposed to call my attorney at 2:15, I enlist the help of a timer. I often even put a little note on the timer reminding me of what I’m supposed to DO when that little buzzer calls to me.

My kids know that if there’s something they want me to remember in morning, they should put a note on my coffee maker. It’s the one place I’m absolutely going to visit first thing in the AM.

PHOTO-Sign Language FI use one of my favorite tools whenever I’m waiting to speak to someone who is presently otherwise engaged. I know that I must politely wait my turn. But I now also know that when my turn actually rolls around, I shall have completely forgotten what it was I wanted to say. So what’s my plan here? I hold a letter of the sign language alphabet in my hand that will remind me of my purpose. What if I need to tell this woman it’s her turn to bring muffins to the next event? I’m holding an “M”. What if I need to ask her the date of the upcoming science fair? I’m holding an “S”.

You get the idea.

Find strategies that will remember things for you.
In fact, there’s a theme to my tools:

QUOTE-Store Information Brain Carol Barnier

Once you own this, life gets better.

Now, when I ask my daughter to box and refrigerate the now cooled pan of macaroni and cheese, and she answers, “Okay, let me finish this computer item first,” my follow-up response is, “Great! What’s your plan?” There’s no malice or condemnation in my tone. I simply want her to start creating a tool box of memory devices that work for her. I won’t be there when she goes off to college or gets married. They need a set of tools that they are skilled at using. Get started today. . . while there’s still time.


Why Can’t She Keep Her ROOM Clean?

August 15, 2014



Sizzle Bop Mom, Cori, has had it with  her daughter’s disorganized bedroom. Her frustration is apparent in her note. So take a look, then keep reading for some solutions we’ve found successful.

Dear Carol,

I have an 8 yr. old daughter who has a difficult time with performing her tasks completely & thoroughly and it makes me crazy. For example, if she goes to change clothes, the first outfit will land on the floor or bed or someplace else other than the drawer or hanging up in the closet. There are times that I will tell her to put a brush or hairclip away and it doesn’t always make it to the proper place. It may land someplace close to where it belongs, but doesn’t always get to the designated spot. 
Another thing, I let her re-arrange her drawers. Upon opening one drawer I found pajamas/jeans/a shirt/skirt…all in the same drawer.  All of these get me very frustrated with her and I don’t want to be.  I want to be understanding of how she processes different things but I just don’t understand it.      

PHOTO-Carol Off-Center LEFT

Dear Cori,

It’s certainly difficult when a very ordered mom is parenting a very distractible child. Two people could not be less alike. So, BOTH parties need to bring much grace to the game just to survive. But along with that, I think you have to attack this from two different angles.


Angle One: Equip Your Child
There’s no doubt that your child needs to learn skills that keep chaos at bay. But the strategies that will work effectively for this kid may be very different from those that will work for others. Consider some of these.

  • Ditch hangers and drawers–Many distractible folks are happier in a room with lots of shelves in the closets instead of drawers. And loads of pegs or hooks instead of hangers. All their pants are folded, on a single shelf, and they can see them all at a glance. Have them create their own organization plan, and then LABEL everything. Because sadly, even THEY will forget their own system. (Trust me on this. I actually have a drawer labeled “underwear.” Sad but true.)
  • Tie it down–I grew so weary of the inability to find a hairbrush, since I knew darn well we owned about 3,000 of them. So once my kids passed the toddler stage where I had to worry about cords, I began tying down anything I could. If I ever found myself looking for the same thing over and over again, I considered tethering it to something. Here are a few.

PHOTO-Tethered Scissors

PHOTO-Tethered White Board Eraser

PHOTO-Tethered Hair brush


And you should know, just in case my girls pop into the van as we head out for church on Sunday and they tell me they didn’t have time to brush their hair. . . I have a brush tethered in the van. Cha ching!

  • Melinda Borings Hair Dryer Wars Solution— Two daughters, one tidy, the other one a bit, well, less so, shared a bathroom. One loved it when all things were in their place. The other, well, less so. The big item to create the war between them was the hairdryer. Read a post  HERE from our good friend Melinda. of and learn how a simple solution ended the war.
  • Pinterest ideas–We have bunches of creative ideas on the CHORES BOARD on our Pinterest page. Cori–I think you’ll especially like the Uh-Oh-Chores Pocket idea.
  •  MORE options can be found on our blog. Here we address the very real problem of simply forgetting to do things. Take a look at this idea packed post called “I-Forgot-My-Chores Strategies.”

Angle Two: Shift Your ThinkingPHOTO-Absent minded Professor Word photo

  • Pick your battles. Ask yourself “Is this really a crisis? Or just an annoyance.” Will this child truly be unable to go through adulthood with this behavior. And sometimes the answer is, “Well, yes. But I won’t like it.” This is a good time to remember the beloved caricature of the absent minded professor. We’ve all met one (or seven) whose filing systems involve stacks of papers and towers books on the floors, files in an order that only “a beautiful mind” could follow, and a daily disheveled appearance that denotes a particular disregard for fashion. He isn’t going to win any prizes for most Zen working space. But is he functioning? Yes. It may be worth releasing this child to be more like this professor. And, of course, step away from the area of chaos singing “Let it Go!” at the top of your lungs. 🙂


  • Test It: This idea comes from Cynthia Tobias, author of “You Can’t Make Me!”. She claims that we need to constantly ask ourselves “What’s the point?” Do we want them to be organized OUR way simply because it’s OUR way? Or do we want them to be able to find things they need. Tell your child that you don’t care what their room or other spaces look like, as long as they can function. In other words, if you ask them to find object X, and they can find it within 2 minutes, then we’re good. The point is NOT was the item retrieved from a neatly stacked group of similar items on the third shelf. Rather, the point is, given their own system, can they find it. Not everything should be dismissed as “not important.” That’s not where I’m going. But it is worth putting some time and energy into deciding just what IS important, and choosing carefully where you make your stand.

What Moms of Sizzlers REALLY Want

May 1, 2014

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I used to see those homeschool conference classes on “How to Avoid Burn Out” and I just passed right on by. I was NOT experiencing burnout. On the contrary, I was heartily energized by our homeschooling and the delight of discovering the gifts in my Sizzler and his siblings. How could so many moms be signing up for these clearly popular classes? I was oh-so-self righteously thankful that whatever I was doing was not resulting in the clear distress being experienced by so many others.

Well…that was many few years ago, when I was still new to the game.
And while I may once have looked upon those burned out moms with a bit of smug and arrogant judgement in my glance, I would now willingly stand shoulder-to-shoulder in line for just such words of wisdom which might be dispensed at just such a meeting.

I am tired!
This Sizzling child IS a lot of work.
To deny it is like denying the blueness of the sky.
And yes, sometimes his antics will fill me with mirth, delight and even, yes…dare I say it….energy.
But just as often, I sigh. I’m want sleep. My head hurts. My bones ache. I need to go to bed. I have yet another cold.
And tomorrow’s lessons and errands and activities loom LARGE in my head.

So to any of you who may have been judged unfairly by smug ol’ me in years gone by, I offer the HUGEST of apologies.  (please note the clear groveling in her tone.) And now, let’s consider one solution. Read the rest of this entry »

When You Shouldn’t Reason with Your Child

April 22, 2014

PHOTO-Boy Crying CROPPED Dreamstime PurchaseThis was one of those parenting epiphanies.

One of those life changing “Ah ha” moments.

One of those moments when a light bulb is switched on in my head providing me with illumination, of understanding, that previously had been totally invisible to me. And it all started with a simple request from my three year old son.

“Mommy, please, turn back time.”

His reasoning was quite simple. He wanted to replay an event and change the outcome.

I will admit that I have since rethought the possible error in such early and intense exposure to Star Trek.  But nonetheless . . . there it was.  A request for Mom, all powerful, all knowing Mom, to please turn back time.

I assumed I could simply explain that time cannot be turned back, by me or anyone. And with this new and reasonable information, and all would be well with my child.

Feel the power of logic.

Are you guessing at what came next?  It would be a gross understatement to say that he did not believe me. I tried again to explain the impossibility of complying with such a request. And with each additional statement I made, he grew more and more agitated. Frankly, it’s a gross understatement to use the word “agitated”. Washing machines agitate. This was more like a food processor…on steroids. Read the rest of this entry »

When to STOP READING to your Child

February 15, 2014

Family reading.Something amazing happened in our house recently. The challenging process of learning our letters and sounding out each one is long behind us. My youngest child is thirteen, and she’s a strong reader. My other children are twenty and twenty-four. So it’s been quite some time since I read aloud to my children.

Shared Reading Time

Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts About Silly Putty

April 10, 2013

This is a GUEST POST by Leslie Crane, aka Classical Mom, our resident representative of linear minded, non-Sizzling moms who share a life with those of us who are Sizzlers.

* * * * * * * *

PHOTO-Silly PuttySilly Putty. Just what is so silly about it?

Silly Putty is a big deal in our house. It is a Very Important Thing. Like many of your children, my oldest son has a serious case of “fiddle fingers” and he loves – no, needs – to have something in his hands much of the time. For him, a wad of Silly Putty does the job pretty well.

Allow me to pause for a moment and tell you…

Five Random Facts About Silly Putty:

1) It takes exactly 3 hours and one bamboo skewer to remove Silly Putty from the keys of a TV remote control.

2) No amount of bamboo skewers will remove it from a fuzzy white bathrobe.

3) Silly Putty also sticks to hair. Shampoo and a fine-toothed comb will remove Silly Putty from hair.

4) Silly Putty can be removed easily from shiny sweat pants.

5) It is the most addictive thing in the world.

So what have I learned about Silly Putty? Read the rest of this entry »

Great Use for Old Cell Phones

March 4, 2013

PHOTO-Cell phone borderI have long admired those wrist-watch looking devices that are actually reminder alarms. They buzz at any preset time, and even tell you what it is you’re supposed to remember.

Bzzzzz! — Start dinner

Bzzzzz! — Pick children up from soccer (on time for a change.)

Bzzzzz! — Do physical therapy exercises (It might be a good idea for these reminders to include a tazer if response is delayed.)

While I love the concept of these wrist-wonders, the price (often around $70) holds me back. Read the rest of this entry »

Refried Beans And Molasses

February 11, 2013

PHOTO-Refried Beans“Here’s your breakfast!” said Mom, as she cheerfully placed in front of her awakening children a plate covered with smooth refried beans and a little dollop of molasses.

The children went suddenly silent. This was new. However, they had been taught not to complain, so they dutifully ate what was put before them. Yet, each secretly looked forward to lunch.

At noon the children eagerly waited to see what tasty treat Mom would produce. Once again there appeared another plate of refried beans and molasses. Lunch was a rather quiet affair, except for Mom, who burbled quite happily about giving only the best to her family.

Dinner … same story.

Three days and nine meals later, Dad finally spoke up. Read the rest of this entry »

No Sarcasm. Not Today.

January 2, 2013

PHOTO-Carol and Emma ChristmasSo often I post semi-snarky comments about life with Sizzlers. It’s always tongue-in-cheek. And it’s a good let-off-valve for all the stress that these intense kids can bring into our lives.

But this evening, I’m struck by how much I adore this child. How her unique and quirky ways add so many layers of wonderful to my life. Life would be so much LESS. . .less of everything, if she’d never been in this family. And what’s more, I wouldn’t even have known what I was missing.

I love that when she has those million-and-one thoughts in her head, I’m the one she wants to share them with.

I love that when she opens her mouth, it will seem Read the rest of this entry »

ABCs of a Sizzler Christmas

December 25, 2012

hA is for always….no, make that never assume you’ve got your Sizzler all figured out. If you do, God will smile wide and send you tomorrow.

B is for Blast off, words to be feared in any season, and usually followed by a frightening thud, clunk or shattering sound.  For more details, see letter I.

C is for change which should be embraced. Nothing will ever be consistent with your Sizzler, even more so during the hectic holiday season.  Constant change will be your steadfast companion for years to come. Hug it now. Make friends. Buy it candy.

D is for don’t.  Don’t call any friend who has yet to bear children if you. . .  Read the rest of this entry »