Parenting Weekend

Weekend Life

December 6, 2020

Yesterday was pretty glorious from a solo parenting perspective, and I am honestly reeling with happiness about G staying in bed 2 nights in a row. I left the room at ~8:45 and they all went to sleep on their own accord (well, C had fallen asleep a few minutes earlier while I was reading to all of them).

There are still kinks to be worked out — I am sure G needs more sleep than A (C – not sure, he definitely needs more than A on average!) but if I’m putting all 3 to bed at once, that makes things more challenging.

In theory, G could just wake up later on non-school days but I am skeptical about this actually occurring. The answer may be to encourage A to read in bed. She has every capability of doing this — she is a great reader and seems to really enjoy reading books for school. However, she does not have tons of enthusiasm for devouring books on her own. This is surprising considering her pedigree — both Josh and I tore through stacks at her age — but everyone is different.

Or maybe I just have to work harder at getting her the right material. (Suggestions welcome!)

We spent time outside both in the morning and post-screen-time (taking a walk around the neighborhood looking at Christmas decorations — fun!). Despite being on call, Josh was able to take C to his soccer practice/game in the morning. C won Best Effort and was very excited about it!

It really helps that our weather is finally such that going outside finally feels good. There were no other kids at the playground for a solid 45 minutes so the kids got to play sans masks which they considered a major treat. (They went on as soon as we saw someone approaching!).


❏ LIIFT4 week 5 / #3 (shoulders)

❏ Grocery list / meal plan (someone mentioned LL‘s meal plans recently – oh how I miss them too!!)

❏ Publix run for said groceries

❏ meet up with friend @ Flamingo Gardens (beach or FG seem like safest spots for distanced playdates)

❏ attempt to make 2021 New Years card (may use the photo below because it seems fitting!)

❏ Facetime parents

❏ make something easy for dinner (will consult my latest cookbook: Dinner Uncomplicated)


  • Reply Chelsea December 6, 2020 at 7:31 am

    Glad the sleep thing is working out. My 3-year-old sleeps well in the same room as my 8-year-old, but honestly, he’s just an easy kid. My 8-year-old was a nightmare to get to bed at the same age. And the 6-year-old sleeps in another room because he likes more light on when he falls asleep.

    Maybe don’t worry about G getting less sleep at night and let her make up for it with the nap at school?? Seems like it would be easier for them if she napped…

    We are going to an outdoor Christmas concert this morning and to a park to celebrate Scott’s 8th birthday (happening on Friday) in the afternoon. The other morning when it was cold here, I was reminded of how I would get up and take a long, hilly walk every morning in the cold before he was born (in Wisconsin).

  • Reply Alyce December 6, 2020 at 9:08 am

    On an unrelated note, I ordered the Wonderland222 planner on your strong recommendation even though I’m not naturally inclined to fix things that aren’t broken (and I had already ordered my 2021 Hobonichi). But I was swayed by wanting a habit tracking system integrated in my planner rather than in a separate bullet journal, which is what I had been doing. I can see why you like it so much. I really really really like having more space in the weekly layout, and I think it’s probably a net gain even though the compressed weekends are a loss). I only ordered the planner because I just didn’t want to carry two notebooks, or to spend the 75 it would cost for both (with shipping), and I think it will work if I quarter the daily pages and use 1 page per week (because I’m not really using a daily page every day), and if on occasion I need a second quarter on any given day or do my daily planning more than 4x/week, there’s extra room for it. So I’m excited to see if it that’s enough space! If it does, the Wonderland222 is likely to be an improvement over the Hobonichi for me. So thanks for your incessant trying of new planners!

    Also – when you talk about smudging on the Tomoe River paper, you should really flag it as a left handed issue. I use really wet fountain pens, and yes, I do need to give it a couple of seconds to dry before closing my planner, but as a right hander, smudging isn’t an issue with any pen I’ve ever used (if not a fountain pen, I’m usually using a gel pen).

  • Reply Anna December 6, 2020 at 9:22 am

    RE reading, we have the same with my great-reader 7yo….I read ferociously at that age/skill level and she just…isn’t as into it. She’s just not a reader the way I was! Which as you say, everyone is different but it surprises me. So no great suggestions here—she’ll get into some books for a couple days then move on.

  • Reply Rachel December 6, 2020 at 9:35 am

    I think reading was so much more of a hobby for many of us growing up because there wasn’t as much engaging other entertainment like there is today. I know a lot of adults don’t read much for the same reason. It’s sad 🙁

    • Reply Grateful Kae December 6, 2020 at 9:44 am

      Agree! My boys love to read, but if there is a video game available, that still wins. 🙁

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 6, 2020 at 9:48 am

      You know, I was thinking about that, but at A’s age I had a variety of computer games and a Nintendo which felt extremely compelling at the time 🙂

      • Reply Jenny December 7, 2020 at 11:55 am

        I was coming here to say the same thing. My daughter likes to read fine but the iPad always win out. 🙁 I too had full access to a TV/movies/computer games/Nintendo as a kid BUT I think the critical difference is that most of that stuff came later in my life (late tweens, I think), so I had many years for voracious reading habits to become fully entrenched first. Whereas my 7yo has known her way around an iPad since age 2, ha.

    • Reply L Ruth December 7, 2020 at 7:23 pm

      My 10-year-old has access to plenty of electronics, and those almost always win out over reading, but she’s still a voracious reader and has frequently read for hours a day since age 7, so it’s still a possibility for kids in today’s world. My 6-year-old is also an advanced reader but doesn’t choose to read as often. I’m hopeful that he’ll still get there, but I think we also need to be more intentional with him about finding books he likes.

  • Reply gwinne December 6, 2020 at 9:45 am

    Hi. Tiny Boy, also 3rd grade, also didn’t read regularly at home until school mandated a read-to-self for 20 minutes, despite having an English professor for a mother!!! This was done under great dramatic duress until quite recently. I’m not sure what changed for him. He’s been reading *Shakespeare* (for kids, not the real plays!!). In general he likes graphic novels and the ‘who is/was’ series of biographies for kids. His female schoolmate likes the Drama series. At that age LG was reading Harry Potter and a lot of speculative fiction. I do not in any way censor what he reads (though there are things I refuse to read aloud!). Could you ask A to pick out books from the library or through scholastic?

  • Reply omdg December 6, 2020 at 9:47 am

    What does A like to read? Dyl has soooooo many books, and is quite a bookworm, but really loves fantasy (Wings of Fire, Keeper of the Lost Cities, Percy Jackson). I got her to read some Lois Lenski recently, and she also read The Fault in Our Stars and seemed to really like it. Happy to provide additional recommendations if you need them.

    Also, would it be possible to move C&G into the same room, and then A could have her own room? This may be premature given that you’ve only had this success for two nights, but just a thought. It seems like you may have some flexibility on this, and may get some relief which is awesome!

  • Reply Irene December 6, 2020 at 9:59 am

    My daughter has been reading a ton since the start of the pandemic- I think it’s mostly due to boredom but maybe it will stick with her long term. I can hope!

    Here are some ideas of some semi-age appropriate series:

    The rescue princesses
    Nancy Drew Clue book
    Mia Mayhem
    Unicorn Academy Books (these were my favorite when reading with her)
    Unicorn Princesses
    Perfectly Princess
    Never girls

    Will definitely check back for others’ recommendations!

  • Reply Dana December 6, 2020 at 10:47 am

    My 8 year old is the same about reading. He has re-read the Dog Man books about a million times but doesn’t like trying new books. I definitely think the ease of youtube and video is part of the reason kids don’t read as much today. He also doesn’t like anything at all scary. We just started the Little House on the Prairie series as a read aloud and he’s wanting to take the book to bed to keep reading. I find that often works, if I start the book then he gets hooked.

  • Reply Kersti December 6, 2020 at 11:07 am

    I loved Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley Twins at her age. I think I found both browsing the library with my mom. You could take A to a library if open or bookstore to browse.

  • Reply Jasmine December 6, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Maybe A would listen to an audiobook or a special podcast.

  • Reply Danielle December 6, 2020 at 11:41 am

    Does your library give you access to NoveList through their website? It’s a great reader advisory tool. You can put in titles and/or authors that she likes and get back a list of “readalikes”. It’s also fun to play with the search functions and choose combinations of genres/literary tools to see what comes up.

    Honestly when you tell a library worker that you like “A” and they tell you to try out “B” there’s a good chance they used NoveList.

  • Reply Nanette December 6, 2020 at 11:45 am

    My son loves the “my weird school” book series by Dan Gutman! Really fun series to get into!

  • Reply Sam December 6, 2020 at 11:47 am

    I teach 4th grade, which is not so far of from A. Some books my students are loving: The Babysitter’s Club graphic novel series, Smile, Sisters, Wonder, Wings of Fire, Number the Stars (might be too old), Frindle, New Kid, Because of Winn Dixie. What kind of books does she enjoy at school?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 6, 2020 at 2:47 pm

      Roald Dahl’s The Witches was a hit with her. Tried to get her into other Dahl books but she thought Matilda was too scary. I read because of Winn Dixie to both kids at bedtime recently and they liked it! I am going to make her a list and get an array of library books for her to sample. She did like the babysitters club graphic novels that she read, too 🙂

  • Reply Leslie December 6, 2020 at 11:53 am

    My kids love: the Percy Jackson books, the Wingfeather Saga, Green Ember, American Girl books, Roald Dahl, the Tumtum and Nutmeg books, the Warriors series…also the Sophie Mouse series was a hit with my daughter but they’re on the easy side.

  • Reply Gillian December 6, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    My suggestion re: getting A into reading more on her own, is to make sure the available material is both level appropriate and interesting to her. After much trying my 10 yo is finally tearing through books after learning that she loves certain series and making sure those series are really at the right level for her to read independently. Earlier this year she tried to read A Wrinkle in Time. It was just a little above where she is reading now and it frustrated her. Now she is reading the Chronicles of Narnia books and tearing through them because they are similar in topic but just the right reading level. Her teacher may be able to help with reading level metrics.

  • Reply The Evely Pack December 6, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    would A enjoy drawing or coloring instead of reading? sometimes i let my daughter do that if she’s too wired to flip through her books (she doesn’t read yet but is obsessed with books) before drifting off. i like the music/audiobook/podcast idea with headphones someone else said… have you heard of the “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” books? They now have a podcast!!! i’m in love!!! when i was a kid i looooved nancy drew books, but that was ummmm so very long ago hahaha! i’m sure they have many more captivating options out now 🙂

    • Reply Danielle December 6, 2020 at 5:38 pm

      There’s a series of the Nancy Drew books called Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew. It’s modernized and in this version Nancy is an 8 year old! We have those along with some the older originals at our library. I loved Nancy Drew as a kid as well. It was my mother’s old collection.

  • Reply Susan December 6, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Have you.tried the One of a Kind Family series (Sydney Taylor)? I loved them, and my girls did too.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 6, 2020 at 7:00 pm

      i LOVED it, and Annabel recently had a full on tantrum when I tried to read it to all 3 of them. (She said she remembered it from when she was younger and ‘didn’t like it’). I was so mad!

  • Reply Tyra December 6, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    Are Anh Do books available in the US? He has a few different series aimed at different ages. I read the Hot Dog books with my kids (but might be a bit young for her), they liked the first Weirdo book but I haven’t gotten any more of them. And a new series called Wolf Girl looks good.

    Andy Griffiths Treehouse books are pretty popular here too.

  • Reply Jill December 6, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    My oldest is also in third grade and is pretty into reading. Some of her favorites lately are Smile and Guts. We’re getting her Sisters for Christmas. She loves the following series: Wayside School books, Dog Man, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the Bad Guys. She really liked Harry Potter, but has slowed down on the third one. Recently she asked for books from the I Survived book series so I’m checking some out of the library to see how into them she is.

  • Reply Jessica December 7, 2020 at 12:21 am

    If she hasn’t read the Clementine books, those are my number one suggestion for 2nd and 3rd grade girls. I have all boys, and they all have read them (they are my favorite!).

    I also love the books by Grace Lin.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 7, 2020 at 6:05 am

      ooh I will check those out!

  • Reply Marg December 7, 2020 at 8:09 am

    Not sure how advanced a reader your daughter is, but when my now 25 yr old daughter was 8 years old she became obsessed with the fantasy series, the Unicorn Secrets. She was obsessed! Especially because it involved horses!

  • Reply Dominique December 7, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Can she do other quiet activities? My 8-year-old loves puzzles and crocheting and will listen to podcasts with her headphones at the same time. Also straight up coloring – she has more intricate pictures and a set of special gel pens that are only hers. She loves that. I didn’t read all the comments but my 8 year old is loving the Magic Tree House books. We usually read the first or second chapter together and then she finishes the book and tells me what happens. They deal with real historical people/events so then we often have a conversation about the person/event.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 7, 2020 at 5:19 pm

      Oh she will sit for literally hours and draw or make other things! But I want her to read too 🙂

  • Reply Taryn December 7, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    My son is 9 and is an avid reader. However, he has zero access to screens unless it’s a weekend morning for cartoons so reading and the piano are his go-activities if he’s not outside playing.

  • Reply Beth @ Parent Lightly December 8, 2020 at 11:34 am

    My 3rd grade girl is reading Harry Potter and seems excited about it. She also loves Boxcar Children and anything with horses or dogs.

  • Reply Jara C. December 8, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    I was a voracious reader at that age and I loved the Cam Jansen series, Boxcar Children, Pony Pals, and Animal Ark. I’m not sure how readily available all those books are now, but 15 years ago, they kept me entertained for hours at a time.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger December 9, 2020 at 6:17 am

      She did enjoy Boxcar a bit ago – maybe I should get more oof those!! Will look into the others!!

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