Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What do you know?

When you are a stay at home mom, many times you feel out of touch with the world. You feel like you lose a lot of knowledge because most of your days are spent talking to children and watching cartoons. You sometimes miss the whole routine of getting up and getting ready for work. You miss that morning bagel from the guy on the corner of Park and 47th. You miss talking to adults and making decisions besides whether or not to make grilled cheese or chicken nuggets or whether you should sign up for the mommy and me music class or the mommy and me yoga class. You miss retaining information. You miss the idea that one stroke of the pen from you could change the lives of someone or lots of someones. You miss actually using all of the education, skills and talent that are locked away along with your business suits and heels. Let me tell you why it doesn't matter. You don't need any knowledge because your children have all of it. They know everything. They don't need you to tell them a thing. So all of that learning you did, all of those years that you went to school, mean absolutely nothing. Nothing! Tell your parents they wasted tens of thousands of dollars. Call Sallie Mae and let them know you don't need to pay off your loan because the degree it paid for is worthless in the eyes of your child. Oh, and not just your child - ALL children. Yes, it's true... ALL children think you are wrong. They all know the answer to everything. They were born omnipotent. Isn't it wonderful? And they don't waste a second letting you know what they know. In my day (wow, I sound like my father!) we called that backtalk and backtalk is a no-no, isn't it? I think it is. I guess I should ask my kids. They'll probably know the answer.l

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Put together

Do you judge a person by how they look and what they wear? Man, I hope not, because I would be judged so poorly. Here's my thing. I'm clean. I brush my hair and teeth. I wear matching socks and pants that don't have holes in them. Sometimes I even brush some mascara on my eyelashes and try to spice that up a bit. But I'm not a "put together" kind of person. I'm not an "outfit" kind of gal. I know people who are like this. They have outfits that match. The have scarves and accessories and wear jewelry that matches what they're wearing. They even change their purse or their coat to match their shoes. I had one purse. It was black. It was huge. I used it all the time not matter what color my shoes were. I figured I'd kick it up a notch and bought a new purse - a brown one. Whoa, crazy, right? I'm such a fashionista now I don't know what to do with myself! I try not to brag about it too much. I brought the purse to work but one of the ladies there is a put-together sort. She has a new purse for every season at least. And then the wallet and checkbook cover and makeup bag inside all match too. A makeup bag? You carry one of those in your purse? Why? You're supposed to put on makeup more than once a day? Yikes. I have a makeup bag in my purse and the only thing inside it are crayons. So, like I said, I'm not an outfit kind of gal and I wonder if I'm doing my kids a disservice in this respect. Because now they're not outfit kind of gals either. My kids wear shirts and pants. They don't care too much if the pants match the shirt. They don't care if the outfit is super pretty or anything. Actually, it probably won't be since they won't wear anything with buttons or snaps or zippers or rouching or too many seams. I see other kids with the cutest get-ups. They wear cute little leggings and cute little dresses and cute little boots and hats. My kids could care less about cute. It was easy for me as a kid - Catholic school uniforms make it really simple to not worry about what you have to wear to school. And pretty much all my life I've had jobs where I didn't have to worry too much about dressing up. I'm a big fan of the casual part of business casual. I guess I shouldn't worry about my girls. It'll probably save me a lot of time and money in the long run. I don't have to worry too much about buying all the accessories and different colors of everything. And we won't have to get up to early in the morning to plan our outfits!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Something better?

Here's the scenario: you say yes to an offer that sounds pretty nice. Then you get a better offer - something that sounds more fun and enticing. What do you do? Let's be honest. You may call the first person and come up with some excuse and back out of the first offer, right? It happens, I'm sure. But, I'm also sure the reason you give them isn't that something better came along. Hopefully, you'd be the kind of person that honors their commitment and follows through on the first offer, no matter how enticing the second offer might be. It's a tough spot to be in. I'm sure we've all been there. I'm sure we've all promised to go to a gathering and then get that last-minute phone call for the awesome get-together at the super-fun family's house and we'd rather go there. But, remember what it's like to be in the first person's shoes. Remember what it's like to be the kid whose party is pretty light on guests because Patty Perfectparty down the street is having five bouncy castles at her shin dig. Cancelling on someone at the last minute or not even bothering to respond to an invitation is not just bad manners, it's kind of mean. I understand that life is short and you might think that it's more important to have fun and do more of the things you want to do than the things you have to do. But, doing the right thing is usually harder than doing the wrong one. But doing the right thing is right, right?

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Today, I took my girls to see the new Muppets movie. It was totally worth the 40 or so dollars it cost to enjoy the film and even the 25 minutes of previews couldn't dull my spirits. I think I looked forward to it more than they did. I miss the Muppets. I loved the movie. I loved that show. I wish it would come back on. Right now, as I'm typing, Linus is complaining because he's lost his blanket and Charlie Brown just ran into a tree. One of the most simple cartoons ever created - I wonder if that's why it's a classic. I can't imagine a Moxie Girls Thanksgiving or a Pokemon Christmas special. I think the reason I miss things from the past is because they were easy and simple. Nothing seems simple anymore. Remember when a movie had a caroon and a few previes instead of 12 commercials before it started? When a kids show was for kids and wasn't racy or inappropriate? I would love those days back. I would love my kids to have it as simple as Charlie Brown. Heck, if they'd let me, I'd watch Sesame Street every afternoon. I don't care how old I get, if Maria and Gordon can still sing songs, so can I!!! I think some of these TV and movie people mess things up when they change them. I waited until the Smurfs ran in the $3 movie theater to see it. Why? Because I knew I wouldn't really like it. I knew they would mess it up. My sister likes to remind me that I was a huge Smurfs fan. But that was back in the day - when they were normal and not animatronic. Those things freak me out - like that movie Polar Express or those awful Alvin and the Chipmunks. Ugh! I just saw a trailer for that and it has the girl chipmunks shaking their butts and singing "I whip my tail back and forth." And then they sing Lady Gaga. Wait, isn't this supposed to be a movie for children? I wonder if things were a little less complicated, kids today would learn to slow down and appreciate life more. Like, can we live in a world where going to McDonalds is a special treat and not a once-a-week occurrence? Maybe just for a little while it would be nice to live in a world where frogs and pigs get married?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. One of the reasons I know this is because I've been hearing a lot of people talk about things they are thankful for. To me, you should thank God every day when you wake up. Thank Him for letting you wake up and letting you breathe and letting you have a home and a car and a job (or the ability to not work) and a family and food and all the other things that you take for granted and then vocally express thanks for in late November. Waiting until Thanksgiving to be thankful is like waiting for Valentine's Day to show someone you love them. Why do you need a day on the calendar for that? I just thought it would be a hoot to get a little more sarcastic today and mention what I'm not very thankful for. --I am not thankful for hangnails. --I am not thankful for dry skin. --I am not thankful for dog poop. --I am not thankful for migraines. --I am not thankful for wet socks And I am certainly not thankful for stink bugs. Now you're probably saying to yourself, "Um, Liz, I'm not too thankful for your sarcasm." But that's just a service I provide free of charge. No need to thank me! Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 11, 2011


This morning, I was discussing Veteran's Day with my youngest daughter. Her dad was in the Navy and her impression is that he lived on a ship and had a gun. Well, no, honey, he didn't have a gun. So how did he shoot the bad guys in the war? Hmm. How do you explain to kids that we have a military for reasons other than war? And do they really even understand what war is? I probably thought the same thing when I was her age. I knew my Dad was in the Army and that he had been in Germany. I probably had visions of him fighting Nazis even though he hadn't been born until after the end of World War II. I know they will learn all about these things in school as they get older. The anniversary of 9/11 gave them a horrible taste of war and terrorism and tragedy. It's weird - they are far removed from it but it's still so much a part of their lives. For instance, they have shelter drills in school. I knew about fire drills and then found out about evacuation drills but this one was new to me. My daughter told me something about sitting on the floor, bending down and putting your arms over your head. She asked how many of those drills I had as a kid. Of course, the answer is none. I do remember seeing "fallout shelter" signs in schools. Do you remember those? That yellow circle with black triangles? You never really knew what it was for because we didn't have those kinds of drills in the late 70s and 80s. We just had the simple-fire-drill-walk outside to the parking lot-be quiet-and go back inside kind of drills. There was never any reason for us to lockdown a building and put red or green signs in the window depending on the level of danger. There was no reason to line up near a wall away from any windows where glass could shatter. None of that was ever an issue. Now I am part of the safety team at my oldest's school. As I sat in that meeting, my stomach started to turn. I listened to the teachers and staff make plans for disaster. They were calm and matter-of-fact and very thoughtful and organized about it. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry because I couldn't get over the fact that these drills are now just a common part of life. I'm not upset about the drills. But, I'm upset that they have to exist. I'm upset because there are crazy people who do stupid things like go into a school and hurt people. I wish my kids didn't have to know that bad things like that exist. But I am also glad that I live in a country where there are men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting me and my family. We take our freedom for granted but they still provide that freedom for us. Thank you to anyone who has ever been a part of the U.S. Military. You are a blessing.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

To shop or not to shop

Okay, I have to admit it - I think there is something wrong with me. I may have to hand over my key to the secret women's clubhouse and rip up my superior gender membership card. Here's why - I HATE SHOPPING! Seriously, I hate it. I don't like it a smidge. Today, I was at the mall with my 9-year-old daughter looking for boots. Not snow boots - she has those. But, cool boots - you know the kind with zippers or buckles in leather or suede or something kind of tweenish but not too little girlish. Here's the problem with that - it's very hard to find shoes for this child. Her feet are on the large size - they are long and thin and flat. She fits comfortably into women's sizes but most of the boots she liked in women's sizes have heels that are not going to be on my child's feet! So, six stores later, she was done. I was done after store number two, but I'm no quitter so I would have gone into every store in the Poughkeepsie Galleria if I had to. I even bought her a fancy chocolate bar hoping that would give her enough energy to run the marathon. Heck, I even saw guys in Payless that were more excited about shoe shopping than I was. No one in my family likes crowds - did I mention that the Christmas decorations are up and it seemed like a lot of people were doing Christmas shopping already? Nobody wants to wait on lines - and there were a lot of them. And we're not big fans of noise - a cheerleading squad was there doing fundraising so we got to listen to them cheering while we were trying on boots. People who know me well know I hate to shop. I would rather go into a store, grab 10 things and try them on at home. Really. I would rather return stuff than stay in the store an extra 20 minutes trying things on. So I was thinking about how much I hate shopping and then I looked at my daughter. Does she hate shopping because I hate shopping or because it's boring? She doesn't mind shopping in a store like Claire's. Oh, don't get me started on that store. That place is torture. I don't know how people do it. It's so cramped and crowded and when you turn around your purse hits the display and knocks over the rhinestone belly ring display and the lip gloss rack and then your kids beg and beg for the $15 gummy bear earrings that you know they are just going to lose the minute they get home. I have this fantastic idea for the next time I'm at the mall and my kids want to go to Claire's. I will find a teenager and give her five bucks to stand there with my kids in the store. I will wait outside and watch but the lucky girl can help them sift through day-glo rubber and feathers and glitter. Then, they can buy their items and we'll all be happy. Ten minutes of her life for $5? Not a bad trade-off! I'm sure my disgust is rubbing off on her. She must feel my anxiety, my angst, my loathing. Poor girl I told her she needs to go shopping with her dad's sisters or cousins because those girls are serious about shopping. They know where to go, when to go, what to buy and how to buy it. Me? I'll wear the same pair of shoes every day. And, I'll wear brown shoes with a black coat. I just don't care. Poor Caty. We came home without boots but she didn't seem to mind too much. She wanted to go back for another chocolate bar!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lights out

Wow, it's been a super-long time since I blogged. I meant to do it and then, well, this freak October storm came and ruined those plans! No power for a few days and, honestly, not having a computer was the least of my problems. I don't even mind not having lights and other electrical things. I do appreciate the generator to keep the fridge running and power up an electric heater, but really, it wasn't so bad. I was amazed by how many people would give hourly Facebook status updates complaining about having no power when today, four days later, I still have friends in the dark. I think the thing I hate most about the power going out is not having hot water and worrying about the septic system. I never dealt with that growing up in a city. You could still flush the toilet in a blackout. So, my version of roughing it was boiling water on the stove and pouring it in the tub. My kids thought I was nuts. But then I reminded them about their grandpa and how his grandmother lived in a cold water flat and this was common practice. And I reminded them that their grandmother had an outhouse when she was a kid, so what was the big deal? Still giving me the crazy eyes so I told them how, in the "olden days" people would get one bath and the men in the family would go first and then the women and then the children and by the time the kids got in there it was so dirty, they invented the expression "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." They still thought I was crazy but they were racing to see who could get in that tub first, I'll tell you.l I hope all those affected get power back soon. I hope you didn't have any major damage from the storm and that your food didn't all go rotten. I hope you'll also go check on an elderly neighbor who might need some help during a time like this or that you'll be more patient and stop at the blacked out traffic light instead of considering it a free pass and speeding through it. Maybe you'll even smile at the workers up in the cherry pickers trying to fix the lines. A wave, a thank you, a plate of cookies? We're all in this together, right? Stay warm, friends and pray we don't see snow again until Christmas!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Good intentions

Alas, my family may have fun no more. Yesterday, in the mail, came a magazine - apparently my last issue of Family Fun magazine. It told me so very blatantly in red and white all over the front and back covers. My last issue. What should I do? I had been getting the magazine for so long that I never thought it would stop! A few gift subscriptions, a few fundraiser orders, a renewal here or there. How could this be? I figured I would just re-boot when my girls did their Girl Scout magazine sale (going on now, by the way if you're interested!) But, when I went to put the magazine in the basket in the bathroom, I realized there were two others in there that I hadn't finished reading. Hold on. Do you mean we haven't done a family fun project in three months? I can't believe it. I remember when I first started getting that magazine, I had the best intentions. I cut out articles and pictures and recipes. I had a notebook and a binder and a folder filled with wonderful ideas. But then something happened - I became one of those people that realized I could just look up stuff online when I wanted a recipe. Most times, I steal ideas from my friend Heidi after she posts them on her Facebook page. I haven't ever been the most crafty mom in the world, but someone is going to officially revoke my Martha Stewart fan club membership after this! I guess I did go out with a bang. I made that big owl out of a bunch of cupcakes. That certainly earns me an honorable mention, I'd say. Maybe I'll just renew the magazine anyway to create the illusion to myself that I will actually read it and then will actually do one of the projects it recommends. I might even find that notebook or the folder with all the ideas and recipes. I can always use it for kindling!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I finally caved. I am now the proud yet extremely apprehensive owner of a smart phone. For a long time, I have resisted technological advancements. I've had a cell phone for close to 20 years, but the whole idea of using a phone for anything other than making a call just didn't work for me. Then I kind of caught on with the texting idea - the equivalent of sticking my toe in the technology pool. Now, it seems I've bellyflopped in with the iphone4s. I did want a smart phone - only because I was sick of having a dumb phone. I felt so left out of the revolution. You go into a store now and put your phone up to scan a code and get a coupon? What? Why can't I do that? Oh, because I have a dumb phone. I think the only reason I really got it is because my camera broke and I figured - why not get a phone that takes great pictures and save myself from buying a new camera and then having to remember it everywhere I go? And then the other thing - my 9 year old kind of embarassed me into it. You know Mom, if you had an iPhone, you could do this and if you had an iPhone, you could do that. It got to the point where I felt like the phone I was carrying had a cord and rotary numbers on it! But, seriously, I had to have my older sister come with me and tell me what to get. She's over there talking about gigs and I'm like "oooh, look at the shiny purple cover!" I know in her heart she realizes that I am not worthy of the iphone. She's got ipods and iphone and imac and ipad - pretty much an istore. I didn't even want to touch the thing until she put the cover on it! And, oh yeah, I couldn't figure out how to make a call so I needed her to show me that and the text thing and the email thing. I was like "whoa, slow down. is this the volume button?" Yeah, lame, I know. Completely undeserving. So, after the phone store experience, the 9 year old and the iSister made me go to Starbucks. Huh. If you think I've resisted technology, that is nothing compared to my resistance of Starbucks. Don't even get me started on that - uPeople are nuts with that whole thing. The lady in front of me got a grande half caf, nonfat, extra hot pumpkin chai. WHAT? What is that even? And how do you make coffee extra hot? I didn't even get anything - I just waited for them to do their thing and all you barista buddies know what they did. They pulled out the iSister's iphone and did some scanny thing and paid for the freakin' order! No, I say. NO way Jose! I will not conform. I will resist. I will use my new iphone the way God intended - to take cool pictures and play Angry Birds!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


You know how there's a tooth fairy? Well, not really, but someone somewhere started the tradition of leaving money under a pillow when a child lost a tooth. And that "fairy" has to do that job, right? So, I've decided I need some more fairies. I need a housekeeping fairy. Here's how I will get her to come. I will throw out a dish tonight and then tomorrow, there will be some glitter around the sink and all the dishes will be clean. I will throw out a sock and then tomorrow there will be glitter near the washer and all the laundry will be washed, dried, folded and put away. What? Isn't that how it works? You lose something and get something in return from the fairy? Listen, I'm willing to lose a lot of stuff if this fairy will make her way to my house. I'll lose stuff every day of the week if she would just come and do all the chores I don't want to do. I'll even leave her a present! I'm serious, if it means someone to clean my house every day? I'll yank out a molar!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


When I opened up my email tonight, here is what I saw: "The Age Girls Can Start Wearing Thong Underwear". Um, what? I'm sorry. You must have sent this to the wrong person because, to me, the words girl and thong don't go together. The email was some type of summary of questions from some website for moms. I guess women go on there to ask for and/or give advice. Don't ask me how I got signed up for it, but the "unsubscribe" button has now been pushed. I wouldn't even consider clicking on the link. Honestly, if I was considering an underwear change for my child, I don't think I'd post about it on a website. And I'm sure if I clicked through and read comments from Taffy from Tallahassee who lets her 4-year-old Tiara wear thongs because they work better with her cheerleading/competitive dance/pageant outfits, I would just barf. Do they sell thongs for children? Wait, don't answer that. I don't want to know. I'm staying in my bubble and will continue to hope that my children don't ask me about things like thongs until they're at least 25. And when that happens, I'll be sure to post it somewhere to get your advice.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

On a mission

I am on a mission and I want you all to help. I need you and hope you'll enlist your friends and families in this mission. Here it is. I think we need to educate the world on one of those cell phone stupidities that seem to be getting worse and worse. Listen, we all know it's stupid to talk on the phone when driving and even dumber to text while driving. But, we're all probably guilty of it. I justify my stupidity by saying "oh, I'm on speaker phone" or "I'm at a red light" so I'm not as bad as these people who seem to be having hour-long, in-depth conversation with their long-lost friend across the country. But, there's no justification - it's wrong and we shouldn't do it. But that's not what I'm here to discuss today. If you want to talk on your phone when you're driving or when you're sitting in a restaurant or at your son's little league game or wherever, go ahead. But please, can you for one second get off the phone when you're on line in the store? Seriously. This is what we need to stop my friends. This is happening more and more these days. I just noticed it today in the dollar store. The woman in the store couldn't even be bothered to stop her conversation to tell the clerk which balloons she wanted. She just pointed. How rude was that? Obviously, this lady is very important. Her call must have been life or death. She must have been negotiating a peace treaty between warring nations while she was getting the balloons. Why else would she think it okay to not even acknowledge or address the girl behind the counter. There was no "thank you," no "have a nice day". Nothing. Just her free hand out with the cash and then grabbing the balloons and walking out the door. Why has this become an accepted practice in any establishment? There are some facilities that have signs asking people to not speak on the phone at the counter. You need a sign for that? Oh, I guess you do because there are people who do it. But, wait, those people are so rude that they probably don't care what the sign says. Like, they might just have an epiphany - "Oh, Gladys, the sign says not to talk on the phone at the counter. Let me go, hon, and we'll talk about your bunions later." Here's the way I see it - if I was at work and I was discussing a project with my co-worker, but she was talking on the phone, would that be okay? Or if I was asking my kids what they wanted for lunch and they just kept gabbing away on the phone with their BFFs - would that be okay? NO! Would you like to be the cashier at the grocery store who gets treated that way? I'm not saying you have to have a major talk with the kid while you're on line, but talking to someone on the phone when you are supposed to be communicating with another is just plain rude. Please, my friends, help me spread the word. Help me show people that this rude behavior can't be tolerated anymore. We can't keep blaming the world for all our woes when we are so self-involved and teach the next generation to be the same way! Okay, I'm getting off my soap box. I gotta go take a call.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Just a moment

Can you think back to a pivotal moment in a relationship you've had? Can you think of one thing that someone did or said to you that sticks in your head and will probably stay there forever? That's how it is with kids. Things stick with them - a lot more than we think they do. If my daughter can remember what her 2nd birthday cake looked like, I'm pretty sure she remembers something I said to her last week - well, unless it was "put your laundry in the hamper" or something like that. I don't even need to close my eyes to think back and remember some of the things my parents said to me. I can hear the words. In some of those cases, it was a really nice thing - in a couple, it was something that kind of hurt. Of course, my parents would never intentionally hurt my feelings. It was, most likely, just something that comes out in normal conversation. To adults, the things we say are just little nothings. They are meaningless to us. To kids, they might mean the world. So that one little second that slips by. The words that are said innocently - they might be the words that stick in your child's head. They might be the words that shape how she sees herself. they might be the words that come to her mind when she is deciding what to say to her child. So, the next time you say something and see your child pause at your words, think about what it was that you said and how they might feel about it. You may realize that it's not just a moment and it means more than nothing.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Be slow my anger

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." James 1:19-21 ESV Slow to anger. Slow. S-l-o-w. Slow to anger. Are you getting angry reading the word slow over and over? I probably would be. Well, maybe not angry, but irritated. I am not slow to anger. I am never slow to anger. And this is a big problem for me. This weekend, I was in a store looking at some clothes with the girls. We were supposed to be at the mall to buy shoes, but we had just spent 20 or so minutes in the dressing room trying on things that were not shoes. We tried on dresses and shirts and faux fur vests. So, we finally picked something out and went to the line to pay. We were second in line. It was one line with 2 cashiers. So one of them just walks away and while I was coaxing my little one away from the shiny dangly accessories, everyone on my line moves over. Well, everyone except me and the lady in front of me. So, I wait a few minutes and then I ask the cashier if the other one is coming back. "I don't know," she says. Well, can you call him back? "I'm ringing people," she says. Yes, those of you who know me well realize that this is just the type of obnoxious attitude that is all it takes to flip my switch. Can you call a manager or someone else? "He is the manager," world's worst cashier replies. Really? If my kids weren't there, I would have taken that dress, dropped it on the counter and walked out. But, I didn't. I waited quietly....quietly stewing and thinking about how that girl might just deserve it if the cash drawer closed on her fingers. So, world's worst manager/cashier comes back. Doesn't apologize. And when I mention to him that he just walked away without saying anything and left people on line, he still didn't apologize. Oh, you don't know how bad I wanted to tear into him. I really think it put me in a bad mood for the rest of the night. But, why? I don't want to be the kind of person who gets mad at stupid little things. Granted, I'm not an easy breezy kind of lady. But I know that I have to not let little things bother me. Sure, I had a reason to be mad, but I don't have the right to be mad. and I need to change that, not just for me, but because my kids see that. My kids see me get aggravated at the world's worst cashier and then they think it's okay to feel that way. They think it's okay to call someone an idiot for cutting me off in traffic or consider someone a dummy for doing something inconsiderate like smoking at a playground or tossing trash on the ground. So, I'm going to work on my anger. Oh, and PS - I have to bring the stupid dress back because the sleeves are itchy! And if you happen to see me throttling the manager at H&M when I'm there, help a sister out and stop me!!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Shop till you drop?

Yesterday, I was leaving Toys R Us. (Yes, I hate to admit it, but on such a beautiful, crisp autumn day, I took advantage of a few by-myself hours to visit four stores where I needed to return stuff. I hated every minute of it.) Anyway, I'm leaving Toys R Us and see this boy walking in with his dad. He wasn't walking. He was bouncing. He was skipping and hopping and nearly floating. I could just imagine the visions running through his head. I wonder if he had a specific purchase in mind or if he was just going to spend what seemed like hours wandering around the aisles not being able to decide between Star Wars or Spiderman (forgive me, as the mom of two girls, I have no idea what toys strike a boy's fancy). But, a toy store is probably the only place in the world you will see a child looking happy. Fast forward 10 minutes and I see three children heading into Kohl's with both of their parents. (Yes, I went to Kohl's on a Saturday. Yet another return!) Those three kids had no bounce in their steps. There was no gleam in their eyes - just a dull sheen. I could almost picture what they really wanted to be doing - screaming "no" and pulling on their mom's cardigan, pleading with their father to save them from the misery. Now, I realize that they were probably going to buy school clothes. I realize that the week prior to the outing, they were probably complaining that they have "nothing to wear". But, this wonderful fall afternoon was just not the time for shopping! This is probably why I have to return so many things - I rarely take my kids shopping for clothes. Have you ever seen a child being dragged around Macy's? Have you ever seen a child whining about how hot/bored/tired they are in JC Penney? Have you ever seen a mom getting impatient with the child laying on the floor or hiding in the middle of the clothing rack? Why would you want to be that mom? Better yet, why would you expect a child to enjoy walking through a cramped space where they can't see anything except a bunch of material in their face. This may seem silly, but remember what is at their eye level - they can't see anything! Go stand in your closet staring at the shirts for a few minutes and see how much fun you're having!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Who cares?

The girls had friends over yesterday and, this evening, as I walked into a bedroom to put something away, I noticed that there was nowhere to walk. The floor was covered in toys and clothes and bottles of nail polish and just a bunch of junk. And here I am wondering how the heck these girls could have walked in there never mind played in there for an hour. Now, I realize they were the ones who put all the things on the floor but I just couldn't fathom how they didn't run screaming out of there. But, I get it now. They didn't care. They just didn't care that the floor was cluttered, that clothes were spilling out of a drawer, that the closet door wouldn't close because of the dress up stuff falling out. I wonder when it is we learn to be so worried about appearances. When they're young, kids don't care if your house is a mess, if your lawn isn't mowed, if you don't have the nicest car on the block. They just want to hang out together and have fun. I dread the day when my children become aware of class and status and feel judged because they don't have the fanciest sneakers or a stupid $50 Hollister shirt. Sorry, but the day I spend $100 on a pair of uggly boots that will get ruined they second the see snow or mud, is the day pigs fly. And I don't know or care who this hollister person is and certainly won't give him 50 bucks for a shirt that was made in china out of cheap fabric! Oh, I hope these girls stay as uncaring as they are about certain things. Well, I take that back... I wish they would care just a little bit about the toys all over the floor. Maybe if they care a little bit more, their mom wouldn't have to worry about picking them all up!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wanna play

Yesterday, on the way home, the girls saw two of their friends outside riding bikes. They're lucky in the fact that they have several kids around the same age living within a few doors of each other. it's nice that they can just go next door or across the street and play with their friends. I feel so bad that my kids don't have that. Of my neighbors, most don't have kids. The ones that do are either way too young or way too old for my kids to play with. So, it's not like they can just go outside and play with their friends. They don't have a Maureen or a Lisa or a Janice or a Nikki or a Cynthia or a Danny or a Vicky or a George or a Debbie like I did growing up. They don't "call for" anyone, ring a bell or yell up to a window to see if someone can come out and play. It makes me sad that the world isn't like it used to be. Maybe I'm neurotic, but I won't even send my kids out to play without watching them. They can't cross the street by themselves either. When I was their age, that's all we did was play in the street. So, now I have to schedule playdates and try to squeeze in playtime between dance and gymnastics and scouts and religious instruction and cheerleading and whatever else everyone is signed up for. I wonder what life will be like when their kids are this age. Maybe they'll all live in bubbles and communicate via smart phone!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Wondering how all my local friends are feeling at the end of this first week of school. Not complaining, but I gotta tell you, I am wiped out!!!! I don't feel like doing anything. I can't even imagine how tired the kids are. I feel bad for my youngest - going from afternoon kindergarten to a full day of school is tough. It's a loooong day. My oldest is a pro. She went to full-day pre-school and kindergarten so elementary school was no major change. She is now in 4th grade which she declares to be the 'best grade ever.' By the fourth day, she wasn't as enthusiastic when she realized how much work she has to do. But, she's a good student and I know she'll do well. The little one is more like me - no focus, no discipline. I have a feeling I'm going to find out what my mother went through with all those trips to the principal's office. I saved most of my badness for high school so maybe I have a few years to warm up! My problem this week is that I work full time and my kids go to two different schools. To save them from getting home 45 minutes late due to a new busing system, I've decided to pick them up. Two different schools, very close to each other but also dismissing at the same time. So it's go to one school, hope to find a parking space while waiting for the 13 or so buses in the parking lot, get the kid, feel bad that my hellos are brief because I'm rushing, then drive to the other school and do the same thing. I can't imagine how things will be next week when PTA stuff and Girl Scouts really kick in. Sometimes I feel like I'm on auto-pilot. But, it's not a very good one. I put the clothes out the night before but the kids want something different. I forget the lunchboxes and have to scramble in the morning to get it all together. I put the dinner fixings in the crock pot but never take it out of the fridge and plug it in (a five second thing that means no dinner is ready when I get home). The dishwasher is full of dirty dishes because, guess what, I forgot to turn it on. The minute we get home, my kids want a myriad of things - snack, TV, talk about their day, call their friends, make a playdate, sew a button. I'm emptying backpacks and asking why there is a full yogurt in their lunchbox. Homework? Not now. Want to review your words for the spelling test? Okay, I guess so. Mom, can you order me books from the catalog that came home? Mom, can you send out emails to everyone you know so that they'll buy stuff from the school fundraiser. Mom, can you call Friend to see if she can skype with us on the computer. Hold on now. I just unpacked the backpack! I need to walk and feed and water animals. I need to check the mail. I need to figure out what's for dinner. And then I need to do the dishes so we have something to eat the dinner on. I'm so tired. I just want to have a nice cup of tea and sit down for a few minutes. I don't want to have to think about anything. But, when am I supposed to clean the house? When I am supposed to go grocery shopping? When am I supposed to schedule the test the doctor told me to have? When am I supposed to do anything? I sometimes think a clone would be nice to have. Not necessarily a clone of me - maybe one of Martha Stewart who could live in my house. It could happen.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bye Bye Summer

I just opened the pantry to get a cracker when I noticed a box of snacks I had bought for school lunches. Then I realized that I have to pack those lunches tonight! I can't believe it's time for school again. I know a lot of parents who have been waiting for this day for weeks. But, I have to honestly say that last week was the first time I had one of those "When does school start?" kind of days. For tomorrow, I'm happy and sad. I love this time of year and I'm excited for my girls to have that first-day rush. I'm sad because my youngest daughter will now be going to school the entire day so I will no longer have those mornings with her and I know I will miss them terribly. This will also be the first time since I was 8 months pregnant that I've had a full-time job. I've always worked part-time or freelance, but being back at work with grown-up people and grown-up issues is a big step. But, it's actually a little bit easier dealing with those problems than dealing with parenthood. I've been both a working mom and a stay-at-home mom and I know that both are really hard. Some days, I would have to say I prefer the job to being at home and cleaning and cooking and shuttling and finding things to keep everyone happy and not bored. I am blessed with a great work environment and a wonderful boss so I know I will not miss anything in my girls' lives. I know there is no way my kids will get to sleep on time tonight. I know there is no way we won't be rushed in the morning. I know we will rush for a bus that won't be here on time. I know that my kids will walk through their respective school doors feeling a little bit confident but also a little bit nervous. And I know that I will think about them every minute while I try to make sense of spreadsheets and sales data. Maybe I better stop typing and go make those lunches! Happy School Year!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


That is what I am. A big fat sucker. Let me tell you something - all those books and parenting magazine articles that tell you to say what you mean and mean what you say? The ones that tell you to make sure you follow through on something and don't give in? Listen to them! Heed the warning! Today, my lovely daughter asked me for some old magazines. Now, you probably don't know this about my daughter, but she has an affinity for cutting paper. Always has. She loves to cut paper. And more than cutting paper, she loves to leave little tiny, hard-to-pick-up scraps of paper all over the place as she is doing the cutting. And more than that, she loves leaving all those pieces of paper for me to clean up. So, today, as I'm handing her the magazine, I politely ask "Honey, you're not going to leave little pieces of paper all over the place, are you?" And she says "Yeah, I probably will and then you'll get mad and tell me I have to clean it up and then I won't and you'll take away my privileges and clean it up yourself." Wait, what? Did I hear that right? Did my daughter just pretty much tell me how the whole entire scenario would play out? Yup. She sure did. That girl speaks the truth! Talk about hammering the nail right on the head. I sort of felt like a Tom and Jerry cartoon where Tom gets duped and they make him look like a donkey. She knew exactly what would happen because that's what always happens. They make the mess, I get mad and then I clean it up anyway. What the heck am I doing? Why am I getting aggravated that they are watching TV while I am picking dirty laundry up off the floor? Wonderful parent that you are - right now you're saying "don't pick up it! Leave it there. Let them do it." But my mind works like this - I leave it there. They leave it there. I get irritated because it's there. They whine because they can't find any clean clothes to wear. We're late because there's a tantrum when the favorite shirt is located with pizza stains from last week and we will not leave the house until she can wear her favorite shirt. So, I pick up the clothes and mutter under my breath because I think I'm being proactive. That's just making excuses for my complete suckerishness! Tomorrow's a new day. I'm sticking to my guns. I will not pick up the paper scraps and dirty laundry.... until they're in bed!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm booked

When is it enough? Dance class. Gymnastics class. Religion class. Cheerleading. Music lessons. Girl Scouts. Soccer. When does it stop? Mind you, I'm not talking about my family. I have learned my lesson with all that business. But tonight, as I was waiting for my two daughters at dance class (they took a hip-hop class over the summer, that's all!) I was chatting with a friend about signing up for the fall. Another lady joined the conversation about her daughter taking the same class but wanting to take like three dance classes a week. And she wants to take gymnastics class and she will have CCD. So, that's every night, right? The kid's going into first grade. Can you say over-committed? Wasn't there a big uproar a decade ago about how over-scheduled children are and how it cuts into family time, homework and sleep? Didn't that message ever get through? Oh, and the lady has two daughters who are both in classes so she said three days a week she's driving back and forth across town twice. Yikes. I don't think it was just me b/c my girlfriend seemed to have the same thought - "Um, why don't you just say no?" (You were thinking that, right DG?) I don't think the idea of saying No to the girl has ever crossed her mind. Maybe I'm just a slacker. I think life is hard enough without all of those classes. I felt bad when my youngest was signed up for soccer and t-ball at the same time so I encouraged her to pick just one. Luckily, it was t-ball, which I like way better than soccer. But there were parents who brought their kids to soccer in the morning and t-ball in the afternoon. No way. At least, not for me. It's not even the inconvenience of devoting an entire Saturday to going to two different games. I think my then-five-year-old would have been exhausted. I think the problem is what kids want and what's best for them may not always be the same thing. Look at it this way - your son wants to stay up when the Yankees go into extra innings and there's nothing you'd like more than to sit next to him on the couch waiting for the dinger that will end the game. But, it's 10 pm and his bedtime has come and gone and you know, come 7 a.m., he will not have gotten enough sleep. So, what you want to do and what's best aren't equal. The right thing is to shut off the game and walk him to his bedroom, promising you'll watch SportsCenter the minute he's up the next morning. Yes, my daughter might want to take gymnastics class and she might want to sign up for cheerleading and dance class. And she might think the after-school clubs are right up her alley. But, it's my responsibility to say no. Sure, I could pick her up at school and feed her a snack on the way to dance class and the next day, we could have a quick dinner before it's time to head out to practice. And, yeah, she got her homework done. She may not retain anything she just learned, but it's done and that's what matters, right? Now, I'm not saying it's bad to have your kids involved in activities. But, just think about it - what's fun and great for them one day may not be so great for them the next. Okay, I'm done now. I gotta go check out the schedule for tennis and swim lessons!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Dear Sabrina; Six years ago, right about this time, I was feeling sick to my stomach. I knew what it was. I had been through it about 3 and a half years earlier when I went into labor with my first child. I was a little nervous, hoping it wasn't false labor like I had the night before. Do you know how frustrating it is to think you're going to have a baby only to have a doctor tell you that you're not having contractions and kick you out of the hospital because they needed the bed for a woman who was really going to have a baby? But, there I was - feeling sick and knowing that this time just had to be it. It had to be. August 18 was your due date and there was no way I was letting you stay in there another minute. I think 2005 had more 100-degree days that any previous year. Do you know what it's like to be pregnant when it's 100 degrees? It might as well be a million degrees. Air conditioners don't work well enough. Water isn't cold enough. And who wants water anyway since it just makes me pee even more than the 42 times I go in an hour. I waited as long as I could - till about 3 in the morning - and then made your dad drive me to the hospital. He sure loved doing that two nights in a row. But, seriously, did I think this whole having a baby thing would be easy? I've heard it is for some ladies. I had a friend whose sister went to some magical hospital that gave her an epidural minutes after she arrived and didn't turn it off until AFTER the baby was born. That's right, I said after. She barely felt a thing! I don't understand why more women don't know about this place and flock there for their labor and delivery! But, I really can't complain. I didn't have a hard time with you. In fact, my labor nurse went around and told all the other laboring moms how I pushed you out in a couple of minutes and couldn't they do the same. I know this because I met a few ladies the next day and they actually said "Oh, you're the lady that had the fast baby. Yeah, we heard about you." I don't think they liked me much. Out you came at 8:04 a.m. It was different the second time around. You were smaller than your sister. You just seemed so tiny. And I no longer had an only child. Now I had two girls, just like my mom did. And, no one knew what your name was going to be until you were born. That's when we decided. I stayed in the hospital for two nights even though the crazy doctor told me I could go home the day after you were born. I used your birth as an excuse to get a good night's sleep in a bed and a room all by myself. I figured it was my last chance at that for a long time. Of course, these six years have flown by. Now you can no longer show me how old you are on one hand. You have to use two. You will be in first grade this year. You lost your first tooth this year. Your life is changing so quickly. It will seem like a flash and then I'll be writing you a letter on your 18th birthday and then another when you're getting married and then again when you're having a baby. I hope when that happens for you, it's as wonderful a blessing as it was for me. I know I speak for every mom when I say that motherhood is an amazing gift from God. And you, my little girl, are an amazing gift from God too. Happy 6th Birthday! xoxo

Sunday, August 14, 2011

D Minus

Did you ever have a subject in school that you were really bad at? Like, no matter how hard you tried, you could never really wrap your head around it and excel in it? Or you just squeaked by with a D minus so that you could pass the class and graduate? I feel like that about life sometimes. I know that God gives me tests. Lots of them. Hard ones, easy ones, short ones, long ones. I just wish that sometimes He would give me ones that I was good at - tests that I had a good shot at passing! Today, God tested my patience. He tested it a lot. He gave me so many opportunities today to show that I could be patient. He gave me a message at church this morning about loving my neighbor and realizing that the woman I just called an idiot for driving 35 in the passing lane - well, that lady was made in God's image just like me. And who do I think I am calling that woman an idiot? He put slow drivers on the road today. He put silly questions into the mouths of the people I spoke with on the phone. He put shopping carts in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store. He put lots of cars on line at the gas station. And do you know why He put them there? For me. Just for me. Because I am not a patient person and He wants me to be. He wants me to find peace and be calm and not get agitated by stupid little meaningless things like the wrong price on the fruit rollups. He wants me to realize that stepping in a puddle will not kill me so there is no real reason to be bothered by it. I didn't do too well today, I must admit. I may not have failed the tests, but I certainly didn't pass with flying colors. I need to study harder.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Age limit

I would like to know the big difference between a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old. Yes, I know they're in a different grade and they have physical and emotional changes, and on and on. But I want to know why the price of admission to a venue or event is different if a kid is 5 or 6. I guess there has to be some type of limitation but my wallet is crying right now. I'm booking a weekend getaway and the price is a whole lot different in September than it is in August. The reason? My youngest is turning 6 on August 18. Six means no longer free. Six means $30 tickets instead of $15. Six means a lot when it comes to ticket prices. I know it's my fault. I should have planned to cram all the fun times in before mid-August, but it just didn't work out that way. And before you even suggest it, I won't lie and say my kid is still 5 to get the reduced rate. I've never been able to do that. Because I just know one day I'd be trying to get into the amusement park with a ticket for a three-year-old and she'd be all loud saying "I not 3 mama. I four!" I don't mind paying the money for her to have a great summer getaway. I just wonder if the higher cost means more fun!!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Supplying the schools

Tonight, I was talking to a friend and fellow mom of school-age children. Now that it's August 1st, we here in the Northeast have a little over a month until school begins. I asked if she had gotten all her school supplies. Answer - no. Me, yes. I bought them like three days after school let out. Yes, I admit, I love school supplies. I love them. I wish I still had to buy them. Well, I guess I kind of do, but now they're called office supplies. And I am the kind of person who has to have specific things and don't really like when other people share those things. Like, if you're going to use my stapler, put it back (just like in the movie, Office Space, excuse me but I think you have my stapler). I still have notepads from every company I ever worked for. I just love supplies!!! Anyway, she said one of the reasons she hadn't yet gotten the school supplies was because she was waiting for a sale. On what? I said, thinking I couldn't imagine getting the sales getting any better than the 25 and 40 cent ones going on now. Ticonderoga pencils, she replied. They're so expensive. Yes, yes they are. They're probably about $3.50 for a box of 10. Yes, they are the best pencils you can get. I buy them myself. But. This is the but. I must have given her a funny look because she said "they're on the list!" Oh, the list. I love the list. But, here's what I told my friend and here is what I will tell you. My own wonderful advice to all you parents hitting the stores for school supplies. There need to be two lists. Don't buy the Ticonderoga pencils for your daughter, I said. You know why? Because the Ticonderoga pencils aren't for your daughter. They're for the pencil bucket. What's that, you might ask. Many of you know this. I learned it the year my daughter took a pencil out of her backpack that had the eraser ripped out, the metal bent and looked like it had been chewed by a vampire. I was shocked. What did you do to your pencil? Nothing. What do you mean "nothing"? It looks like you forgot lunch and decided to eat the pencil instead. I didn't do it, the child protests. That's how I got it. Huh? Yeah. The pencils that you send in with your child in the beginning of the school year don't stay with your child. They, along with things like markers and crayons and glue sticks, get put in a collective pile for all the kids in the class. I know there are reasons for it - some kids don't have supplies, it's less of a distraction when kids don't have to sharpen pencils, all the kids are equal if they share. Yeah, I get it. And don't think I'm being insensitive to less-fortunate students. I'm not. It's usually the kids whose parents make a good living that are the ones who don't bother sending in supplies. I even send in extra in the beginning of the year! But none of that extra is Ticonderoga, I will tell you that! Call me cheap. Call me stubborn. I don't care. I will buy for the class - but they will get the regular Dixon pencils that are 10 for $1. The Ticonderogas stay in the pencil case. They do not make their way to the bucket. And don't even get me started on the wipes. There have to be baby wipes and antibacterial wipes and the baby wipes can't be a refill pack - they have to be original and they need them for their own class and they need them for the art teacher. Isn't this supposed to be the 'green' generation? How green can you be if you're using a box of baby wipes every week and it's not even for a poopy diaper? Wait, did I mention the glue sticks? 25 glue sticks. I imagine they will use them as lip balm or something or maybe the kids eat them? Hmm, did we talk about the elusive journal? There are different kinds for each grade and no one seems to sell them. Or maybe one lady goes and buys them all at the store that does sell them and then she fences them on the black market for a big profit. I don't know. Whatever happened to just getting a binder - that denim blue kind that everyone had and wrote on in non-washable marker? I will not let the school supply list kill me. Not now and not in January when the 25 glue sticks have been eaten up and I need to send in more.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I would like to know why kids ask so many questions. They already have all the answers! Seriously, children will ask you a million questions and when you give them the answer, they either a) already knew it, 2) think you're wrong or d) ask even more questions to follow up on the first one. Case in point. Tonight, my daughter was watching the movie Selena. It's a great biography of a wonderfully talented woman whose life was ended at a young age by a lunatic. This is not the first time my daughter has seen the movie nor is it the first time we have discussed Selena (not Gomez!). But, here come the questions. Why did she kill her? Did Selena know she was going to kill her? What happened. My answer is that the woman who killed her was insane. Not good enough. You mean, she had real mental problems? She must have, I say. But, why? I don't know. Well, did Selena believe in God? I think so. Will she be in heaven? I don't know. Only God knows that. Well, why didn't the cops kill the crazy lady? That happens, right? When you kill someone and then you go to jail and the cops kill you. Well, no, that's not exactly what the death penalty is. Well, how do you know the lady is crazy? I saw an interview once with her and you could just tell she was nuts. Well, can we go on you tube and watch it? Ugh. Why do I even open my mouth?? I get myself into most of the trouble. My mom keeps telling my daughter she'll be a lawyer or a judge. I don't envy the criminal that ends up in her courtroom!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pet cemetery

Well, I just found the remains of Hermie, the hermit crab in the tank. Now we are down to one hermit crab. I think at one time we had about six or seven. They're all named Hermie, by the way. Because, really, why would you give a hermit crab a name? They were actually the easiest of all the pets to take care of. They don't eat much. Not like the guinea pigs - who really are just that - pigs! They eat everything! I wish my kids ate as many fruits and veggies as these things eat. But I like them. They are super cute and I was really close to letting my oldest get another one the other day. The only problem with them is cleaning them! I wish they were more like cats. Oh, I have those too. I was down to one cat and then my sister went and got the girls a kitten each. So now we have a brother and sister and a mean old cat who hates everyone and bites my toes when I'm sleeping. So it's the dog (did I mention the dog?) the cats and the pigs and the crabs, well now it's down to one crab. Last week, Goldie, the holdout tropical fish, met his maker. My little one was pretty sad. Both girls believed the only way to grieve was to replace Goldie with another Goldie. But then I had already cleaned out the whole tank and wasn't dealing with setting it up again. Oh, an empty tank? says the older girl. Perfect. Now I can get a chameleon. Yeah, no. I'm not a big fan of the whole reptile, amphibian, insect thing. We had cute turtles and I didn't mind that. We had cute frogs and I could handle that too except that I had to go to the pet store every week for live crickets and then feed the live crickets to the frog and that was just icky. I used to be a sucker. When one pet died, I would replace it. Now, I'm getting smarter and more strong in my convictions. So, no is really meaning no lately. We take the weekly trip to the pet store, where my girls beg for kittens (because theirs aren't tiny anymore) and more guinea pigs and hamsters (because they're so cute and tiny) and rabbits. But this mom is no longer a sucker! I will not be broken. Yeah, right, I'm sure the next time you hear from me I'll be cleaning out a lizard cage!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I love hanging out with my girls. And when I say my girls, I mean my daughters. They are fun and funny, smart, witty, silly, interesting, talented, kind. There are just so many things about them that make them a joy to be around. One of my favorite things about my kids is the things they say. They don't usually mean to do it, but they can make me laugh out loud with the little one-liners or the misuses of words - just funny kid things that make you giggle and yearn for more. And there are lots of things I like to do with my kids - even if we don't share the same passions, interests and hobbies, I still like spending time with them as they enjoy what they love. But, no matter how much I love just hanging out with them, it needs to be clear... we are not girlfriends. What is it with women feeling the need to be BFFs with their kids? Oh, yeah, let me take you to get your belly pierced. Let's go to the mall together and buy the same outfit. Wanna get matching tattoos? Wanna do a shot? That might all sound far-fetched, but it really isn't. There are way too many parents these days who think it is more important to be a friend than a parent. I'm not saying you shouldn't be a friend. You definitely should be a friend to your child - but you can't be a friend to them the way you are to a peer. That's the difference. Your child is not your peer. They need to respect you as a teacher, an elder, the rule maker, the decision maker, the authority. Because no matter how cool your kid thinks you are, if you're just their buddy, they will never respect you. And if they can't respect you, how are they supposed to learn how to respect themselves? So, yeah, I'll continue to hang out with my daughters as long as they'll let me. I might even get some matching temporary tattoos with them! Or not.

Letting go

Do you get a little bit of a queasy feeling in your stomach when you are watching your child do something or go somewhere for the first time? I took the girls to the lake this week and there was a dock there where kids could jump off. I wasn't too hesitant when she wanted to jump off in the section that was about 5 or 6 feet but then she asked to go to the diving dock where it was about 8 feet deep and the first time she jumped, I think my heart fell to the bottom of my stomach. Of course she did it 50 more times and everything was fine and she had the best time but it was that initial jump. It's like the first time you put your child on the school bus or let them sleep over a friend's house or watch them drive away when they get their driver's license. Letting go is just so hard sometimes. I know my job as a parent is to raise a person. Too often, we want to keep our children at that baby stage where they depend on us for everything, but we're not doing them any favors by not teaching them how to survive and thrive and learn to do things on their own. I don't want my kids to be scared of life. But how do I teach them to not be scared when sometimes I'm filled with fear and apprehension? I remember the first time I took my oldest daughter on a ferris wheel. I hate ferris wheels. Truly hate them. I'd rather get bitten by a dog than go on a ferris wheel. And I'm not even talking one of those giant ones where a few people sit in a saucer and go around. I'm talking those little rinky dink carnival ones that tilt and swing back and forth as you go round. Just thinking about it makes me dizzy. So we were on it and I was starting to have a panic attack and I remember closing my eyes but trying to do it so that she couldn't see me. I wanted to scream, but I just kept saying "Isn't this fun?" I think she could totally sense my fear and panic because she doesn't much like ferris wheels now. I guess my fear rubbed off on her and I feel bad about that. It's strange. I used to be pretty adventurous. I'm no survivalist or anything, but I've been bungee jumping and hot air ballooning and dove off a cliff and never shied away from a roller coaster. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but I'm getting more afraid of things. I worry alot more now than I used to and get these little twinges of panic when it comes to my kids. I guess that's one of the things you deal with as a parent - the challenge of letting go a little bit at a time. I'm sure it never gets easier.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Worn out

I read a great quote today - the only things that children wear out faster than their shoes are their parents. How true is that? I don't know where kids get their energy and why they sometimes need to use that energy to do things that drive their parents up a wall. I guess sitting in school all day makes them bottle up all the energy and then, when they get home, they are just ready to unleash it all. Now that it's summer, my kids don't have organized activities every day of the week. They are used to doing stuff that keeps them occupied and when there is nothing that captures their interest, it might mean the end of me. It's so funny how it will take me 20 minutes to set up the table with newspaper and paints and wood and things for them to create and then takes them 2 minutes to finish their projects and be done with it all. My dad says I should just let them be and let them come up with their own fun. That's what we did when we were kids. But it was a different time. Most of my friends didn't have stay-at-home moms. We went out and played all day. I sometimes wish my kids could do the same. When I come home from work, I'm worn out. And then it's not just playing. It's dinner and laundry and dishes and cleaning and fixing and learning. Oh, I'm just like a pair of old shoes - all worn out.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wardrobe issues

Some people say you are what you eat. So, I think this can be said as well: You are what you wear. When I was in the grocery store tonight, I felt like I was at a Hooters convention. Here comes this girl wearing a tank top - super tight of course. But, it wasn't enough that the tank top was low cut. She had cut an even lower notch in the front. And the super tight tank top was tied in the back so that her stomach was showing. Lovely. On the bottom, she was wearing what I assume were once shorts. She had cut so much off of them, they were the size of underwear - and not the kind of underwear that covers up the private parts. So, if that wasn't enough of a show, she had the shorts unbuttoned and half zipped. I was just about to let her know that she forgot to close up shop after using the toilet, but I have a feeling she meant to look like that. Do you notice that more and more about women these days? Why do people want their boobs to hang out of their clothes? Seriously, can you imagine if men walked around wearing nothing but chaps? Ick. I understand that people should be allowed to wear what they want, but think about it - don't you kind of judge people based on what they're wearing? Can you imagine a supreme court judge with a tramp stamp? A congresswoman with a tongue ring? Have you ever been treated by a doctor wearing a belly shirt? And when is the last time who saw a Nobel prize winner showing off her cleavage? It's too bad that what is on television and advertised in stores and produced by manufacturers is mostly inappropriate. As a mother of two young girls, I find it hard sometimes to shop. I don't want to raise them to be ashamed of their bodies or to think they have to hide them, but I also don't want them to think they need to show their business to the world. And I don't want to be so strict that I end up with one of these teenage girls that wears one type of outfit out of the house and then has a trashy one hidden in her backpack to put on at school. Can someone please call Calvin Klein and bring back the high-waisted jeans of the 80s? Those and some turtlenecks and I'll be good.

Give or take

Are you a giver or a taker? You can think you're a giver because it really sounds like the better option of the two. But do you give? You must know the giving mom. She's the one that always hosts playdates. She's the one that makes sure everone is happy and taken care of. She's the one that will pick up your child after school and bring him to her house so that you can spend an extra hour at work or the gym or squeeze in a dentist appointment. And she's usually happy about giving, never complaining, always doing more. She's the one with the third-row seat that is always being used. She's the one that gives the snack to the little league team every week and buys extra crayons for the class just in case a student doesn't have a good color. And then you know the taker. The one who never invites you over unless it's for a makeup or bag or jewelry party or whatever. The one who will let her kid over to your house to play but never seems to return the invitation. She's hitting the gym while you're serving goldfish crackers to four kids and cleaning up the mess. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with taking sometimes. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think putting yourself first is the best answer. I think your kids will see that and learn that it's okay to put themselves before others. Why should I be the class mom if I know Sue will do it and do a great job? Why should I volunteer at the science fair if I know Laurie has done it for the past five years and it's always run smoothly? Why should I....? I think I get frustrated sometimes. I see myself doing a lot and other people doing nothing and I get aggravated. Then again, I don't have to do what I do, right? Just because I like to give, it doesn't necessarily mean the lady down the street feels the same way. Maybe she wants to be focused more on cleaning her house or working out or having alone time or going out to dinner. All of those things are fine, so why would I begrudge anyone that? I guess I should just continue to do what's right for me and not expect anyone else to do the same. But, as I keep on giving, I will weed out those around me who only seem to take, take and keep taking.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

When will they get it?

Someday, your children will understand. Think about it. Didn't your parents always tell you lots of things that you ignored or blew off because you thought you knew way better than them? When they're little, kids think you know everything. Remember when they always asked you "why" and you could give them any answer and they'd think you were the smartest person in the world? That changes around second or third grade. At this age, they think anyone other than you knows the answers. The come home with homeork and have some trouble. So they ask you for help. Well, they don't really ask you. They get frustrated and huff and puff and hten you offer your help and they sigh and roll their eyes and decide it's better to take your help than to get an F. So you show them how to multiply 24 by 12. Wrong. What do you mean I'm wrong? Well, that's not the way the teacher showed us how to do it. Oh, well, that's the way I learned. Well, it's wrong. Turns out that teachers learn how to teach things differently. And even though I got the right answer, I didn't explain it the way the teacher did so I'm wrong. They call it regrouping, we called it carrying. Same stuff. So, I'm not wrong, but I'm not right either, according to my child. I try to tell my kids that I may not always do things the best way, but I know how to do them my way. I don't know what I'm gonna do when she comes home with calculus though!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Green grass

Is the grass always greener on the other side of your fence? I was just reading something by a mom who was complaining about her kids. She isn't a working mom. She isn't a single mom. She doesn't have a ton of unruly children who empty her pocketbook and force her to drive to their travel cheerleading competitions and practices five days a week. She doesn't have a husband who sits around drinking beer while she does all the housework. She doesn't have bad friends. She doesn't have a hard life. So, I started to wonder why she was complaining. I found myself getting annoyed at her for her frustration with a life that many would consider blessed and priveleged. But then I thought that if I was judging her for her complaining, then I need to stop and look at myself. Do I think her grass is too green or do I think mine is just a little brown and in need of a good watering? I tell my kids all the time that they should worry about themselves and not other people. I don't mean that they shouldn't care about others, but quite often kids tend to concern themselves with other people's business. If they are getting reprimanded, they want to make sure their sister or brother or classmate is getting just as much or even more punishment than they are. I know it's really important for kids to make sure everything in the world is fair. But it isn't. When I complain about my kids, I feel so guilty. I think about the woman who can't have kids or the one who lost hers. What would they give to have a child - no matter how frustrating? I know nobody's perfect and that we need to vent every once in a while. But I can't help but wish I would stop and think the next time I want to rant about my kids' bickering. Sure, it drives me crazy, but I'd rather be in this place of crazy than anywhere else in the world.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Excuses, excuses

People often comment to me about the lateness of my e-mails. I don't mean I am tardy in responding to e-mails, I mean they notice that my correspondence is written at very late hours. I will tell you why. It's 10:25 as I start this blog. My 5-year-old has been asleep for about 7 minutes. She was tossing and turning and kicking and crying and doing everything she could have possibly done to avoid sleeping. I am sure you parents have heard every excuse in the book. I need to go to the bathroom. I need a drink of water. I'm hungry. I'm cold. I'm hot. My nightgown is itchy. I need my bottle. It's too dark. I need my pacifier. I need my blankie. I need my bear. No, not that bear, the other bear. One of my favorite excuses of all time used to be "I'm too tired to go to sleep." I love that one. But tonight probably topped that one. Tonight, the little one said she couldn't go to sleep because she needed a dream catcher. It was very hard to convince her that I didn't have a dream catcher and didn't think I could get one at that late hour. She was okay after about 15 minutes of worrying about the dream catcher. Then, she decided she couldn't go to sleep because she doesn't like the color of paint on the walls. If they were white, she said, she would be able to sleep. I told her I would try to get them painted soon so that she wouldn't have any issues with going to bed anymore. So, now you know why I send out those late e-mails. And now you know why you'll never hear from me at 6 in the morning. I'm too darn tired to get out of bed!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Privacy please

I was just in the bathroom starting the shower for my 9-year-old daughter and she gave me the heave ho. She was like "Mom, I need some privacy please." Great. Fine. But, aren't you the same girl that walked into the bathroom this morning as I was sitting on the toilet and proceeded to have a conversation with me before I could finish using the toilet? Yes, I believe that was you. Why is it that when the door is closed, my children don't think they're supposed to knock. They don't care what I'm doing in there. They just know that they need to be in there with me. I notice kids don't really do that to their fathers. Maybe because they just don't want to be party to what's going on in the bathroom when a man is in there. I don't know. I do know I need a better lock on the bathroom door.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Everyone's a critic

Who do you listen to? Are you one of those people that gets everyone's opinion before making a decision no matter how big or small? I can't decide if I'm one of those people. Even for something simple, like a movie. There are a bunch of movies out now that I could take the kids to, but I just don't know if I want to waste the $300 it will cost for the three of us to go to the theater. I read that Cars 2 wasn't good because it focused too much on Mater. Um, hello, Mater was the funniest part of the first one so why wouldn't he be good in the second one? See what I mean? Should I trust the person who wrote the review or should I go by what three of my Facebook friends say when they post what a great movie it was? Decisions, decisions. The internet is making it so easy to get other people's thoughts about everything. And while it is so wonderful to have all that information at the tip of your fingers, it can be frustrating as well. Now I don't have much of an excuse if I make a bad choice on a purchase. I can hear all those reviewers saying "I told you so" when I get something that Mitzi from Minnesota said was a waste of money. I've been shopping for a car lately and reading the reviews has been making my head spin. It's no longer just getting the info from Consumer Reports. Now there are dozens and dozens of sites that review cars and zillions of people who have something to say about the latest car style. Just when I had my hear set on one car, Joe G from Jersey says don't buy that piece of junk! I need a fairy godmother to tell me what to do some days. Or maybe I should just do whatever I want and deal with it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Go play!

Last night, I was invited to a get-together with some friends. They are all neighbors and I have to admit, I'm a bit jealous of their neighborhood! Anyway, it was so nice to be able to sit with some adults and chat and not worry about entertaining the kids. Why? Because they had a sandbox and a swingset and the woods and a campfire and each other! That was the key part. One mom joked that the benefit of having more than one child is so that siblings can be playmates so the moms don't always have to be. Did you ever see the movie Grownups? If you haven't, rent it today. I swear, you will laugh out loud, but you will also nod your head in agreement. There is one scene where Adam Sandler's son is outside and doesn't really know what to do with himself since he doesn't have a phone or hand-held gaming device or any other technology. His dad watches him and silently urges him to find a way to enjoy the rock or stick or dirt or whatever might be in front of him at that moment. So last night, my kids went into the woods. Sure, two of us followed them in when we were told "Sabrina is stuck" (she wasn't) and then my oldest came out with some serious battle scars all over her legs, but she was so proud of herself for keeping up with the older boys. It reminded me of when I was a kid and the grownups would sit around the picnic table out in someone's backyard and when a kid ran up to one of them, the standard response was "go play." Telling your kids to go play is not a bad thing. It's not done out of annoyance or the desire to get rid of your child. Believe me, you are not doing your child any favors if you are constantly organizing crafts and making sure they have something to do every second of every day. You are doing them a favor if you let them use their imaginations. And watching those kids - boys and girls ranging in ages from 3 to 11 - just made me realize that my kids will learn so much from those impromptu hangouts (no, I will not call it a playdate). And while they are having fun with their friends, I am having some fun too. I'm going to make sure my kids go play more often.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Don't be that guy

The other day, I got stuck behind a school bus - not such a bad thing since I've been stuck behind this particular bus many times during the school year and I know all the kids who are getting off so I can gauge how long it will be before I gain my freedom. But it seems a lot of people don't have that kind of time to spare. That whole extra 3 or 4 minutes they might lose out of their day if they have to wait behind a bus. Those are the people that speed up when they see the yellow lights start flashing on the bus. Most people would slow down, prepare to brake, but not these guys. Some of them race the lights so they don't get stuck. Some of them just completely ignore them and drive on by. While I was sitting behind that school bus, I watched a car pass the bus. It had the stop sign out, red lights flashing - all the ordinary signs that a child was getting off the bus. But here comes the car flying past. I expected to see some young person, oblivious to the warnings, but it was an older woman - apparently a mother, judging from the kids sitting in the back seat. I got this awful hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. What if that bus driver hadn't yelled at those kids to stop walking. What if they were already crossing the road? There I was honking and waving my arms at the passing car and she had this look on her face like she was just in another zone completely. Oh, here's another guy to NOT be - the guy that doesn't pull over for the ambulance or firetruck. What is that about? It's not rocket science - pull over! I remember once covering a story where an ambulance hit a woman's car in an intersection and she was suing the city and making such a big deal about the whole thing, claiming they didn't honk their horn when they were passing through the intersection. Really, lady? then why was yours the only car in that busy intersection? How come everyone else could figure out to get out of the way? What a bunch of bull. Another guy to NOT be? The guy that stands there watching the cashier bag his groceries and not helping. That is so pius. Who do you think you are? Throw the chips and salsa in a bag and put it in your cart. The cashier is working a long day getting paid a little amount - give her a break! Oooohhh, here's my final guy NOT to be. I think I can claim this annoyance for mothers everywhere. Have you ever had a guy rush past you when you're pushing a stroller? You think they're going to go ahead of you and open the door so you don't have to struggle. Nope. Think again. They're rushing ahead because they want to get through the door and not have to get stuck behind you as you struggle to get your kids and your packages through. He's got his Abercrombie shirt and is in a rush to get home and try it on! I'm sure none of you reading this would ever be that guy. But, if you're ever out and about and happen to see one - feel free to trip 'em with your stroller.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Suck it Up

This is obviously a phrase I have used one too many times. The other day, my 5 year old was having a hard time getting her sneakers on. I guess they had gotten a little snug after I ran them through the wash. So, she's putting them on anyway, saying "I guess I'll just have to suck it up." Oh man, I felt so bad. Do I tell my kids to do that? I must. I know sometimes I kind of mean it. You know, if they fall, get up and brush yourself off. If you mess up, get up and fix it. I guess I'm trying to teach them in life that there are plenty of things you have to do before you get to do the things you might want to do. We live in a rough world where things are hard and things aren't always fair. And in this rough world, you do need to learn to suck it up sometimes, you know? I do think my kids will need to learn that sad truth eventually. But maybe not now. Maybe not at age 5. I got her a new pair of sneakers. A bigger pair. And they fit.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Not my kid

Are you one of those parents who think their child can do no wrong? Wait, don't answer that. Because if you are one of those parents, you probably wouldn't admit it because that might be admitting you might be doing something wrong and if your child isn't wrong then you certain aren't wrong, right? Okay, that might not make sense on first glance, but let it sink in and then slowly buy surely, the logic of it will make its way into your psyche. It's hard to take blame, to accept responsibility for things. Sometimes, it's too much for a person to bear, let alone a child. But there are some kids who tend to blame almost everything on other people. Like, they lose a race and it's their friend's fault because she was wearing purple socks that day instead of white. Or if they trip on a rock it's their brother's fault because he should have seen the rock in the yard and picked up it days ago. It's natural for children to place the blame on someone else - anyone else. It's usually because they're embarrassed or just react badly or just don't know how to handle a certain situation. But, they can also learn that behavior. They can learn it from their parents. Plenty of parents see only the good in their children. They look past shortcomings. They ignore bad behavior. They allow their child to get away with things that they wouldn't let another child do. I remember once when Caty was 3. We were sitting in the lobby of her preschool after the kids had just come in from the playground and one of the moms approached her. "Caty, how come you aren't being nice to Melissa (her daughter)? Melissa says you didn't want to play on the swings with her." Before I even had the chance to say anything (and you know I was about to!) the teacher said "Hold on a minute. Melissa was the one not being nice. She gave Caty a hard time, so don't you lecture her." I was relieved to have the teacher step in so I didn't have to give this mom the business. First of all, how dare you even think about reprimanding another person's child like that? And secondly, why would you automatically assume that your little princess was telling the absolute truth about the situation. Oh, that's right, because she's a princess and you probably never question her. I have to admit, my mom used to always have my back. She always believed what I told her and always went to battle for me. A lot of times, it turned out I wasn't being very honest and didn't deserve having her stick up for me that way. But, I would do the same thing for my kid. I don't want to be like the mom who thinks her kid is never the cause of the problem. Because, guess what Moms of children who can do no wrong? It takes two to tango.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Go to bed!

Why do children not value sleep? Why do they not realize that sleep is a gift. It's a positive, an asset, something not to be taken for granted? Seriously, children, go to sleep. You know you're tired. You've got dark circles under your eyes and you can't walk three steps without bumping into something! I just don't get it. Why do kids hate going to sleep so much? Some kids like bedtime. They like that routine of brushing their teeth, using the toilet, washing their hands and face, maybe brushing their hair, reading a few books, hearing a lullaby, saying their prayers. Whatever the routine, some kids really find comfort in it. Not mine, of course. My kids want to stay up indefinitely. They want to stay up until they pass out. My youngest had an entire year where she would be awake for about two hours anytime during 1 and 4 in the morning. Nothing was wrong. She would just wake up and be up. She didn't cry. She didn't need food or drink. She didn't need the bathroom. She just got up and hung out. That was fun (for her, I mean). Now, they push themselves. They don't care that it's a school night. They don't care that it's 9:30 or 10 pm and a lot of kids have been in bed since before 8. They want to stay up. There might be something good on TV. Or, they just want to be with me (yeah, right, sure I believe that one!) They just want to fight sleep. I am not complaining because I know in just a few years, I will be wondering why they sleep all the time. They'll hit their teen years and it will be near impossible to keep them awake! Maybe then I will remind them how hard it was to get them to go to sleep when they were younger. I'm sure they won't believe me or they won't really care and just smile and nod to get me to leave them alone (so they can go back to sleep). I can't fault them. I stay up way too late every night. I don't really know why. I guess it's my only time alone to do things I need to do - and I can only get it at night when they've gone to sleep. So the later they stay up, the longer it takes for me to wind down. Oh forget it, I'm going to take a nap.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Just a minute

Today my thoughts are inspired by one of my favorite moms - we were asking girls something that their moms say all the time. For this mama, her saying was "just a minute." Think about that. Think about how many times in a day you might say that to your child. She says it a lot and wondered aloud "how long is that minute exactly." Some days it's a few seconds. Some days, it's 5 or 10 minutes. You never know. It all depends on the circumstances, I guess. I know I say it a lot. Just a minute. Just a second. But it's never really "just" anything. It's probably just our nice way of saying "Wait!" We have to say it, because it seems like we are always so busy doing one thing when someone is asking us to do another thing. Wouldn't it be a funny experiment if moms all wore stopwatches and then every time we said "just a minute" the stopwatch would automatically click on and we could see how long it actually took for us to get to what we had to do. Lord knows, I would not want to have that stopwatch. I'd be late every time. Or we could just all change our common saying to one that matches that of our children - whenever they ask us to do something, we could just say "I'll do it later."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Where have I been?

Every time I blog, I look at the date of my last entry and gasp. Can it possibly be that long since I wrote something? I'm so bad about it. I love doing it, but it always falls to the last spot on my to-do list. So, here I am. Mother's Day has come and gone and I missed a wonderful opportunity to spout the eternal wisdom I have gained in all of my nine long years of being a mother. Hope you all had a great mother's day and that someone treated you special. Doesn't matter if it was breakfast in bed or an hour to yourself so you could read the paper - whatever it was I hope you enjoyed it thoroughly. Mine was nice and then uneventful as my children visited their grandmother and I went to the mall to use a $10 coupon that was set to expire. You wouldn't believe how many people were at the mall on Mother's Day. I guess that's how a lot of women want to spend their special day - leading their families around the mall on a shopping extravaganza. I guess it's pretty practical. you know what you want so you bring your peeps to the Galleria and point it out. Saves that whole awkward moment when you're trying to seem grateful for the cardigan with crocheted penguins. Happy Mother's Day,all. Hope you had a wonderful day!!!!1

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The big picture

Ask anyone you know who has a child and they will tell you that time flies. One minute, your daughter is a little cutie with chubby legs and the next minute she's starting kindergarten. In the blink of an eye, it seems your child grows up. So doesn't it make sense that they will very quickly become an adult? Think about it. What do you want your child to be five years, 10 years, 20 years from now? Do you want a kind, responsible person of character? Sure you do. Do you want a spoiled, uncaring, selfish person? Of course not. You may not think it, but what you are doing now is creating that adult. Do you think nasty people just got that way overnight? Do you think they were happy kids in a loving environment who just decided "Nah, I'm not gonna be happy and loving like my parents were. I'm gonna be a jerk." Most people don't think in terms of the big picture when it comes to their kids. You may invest money for their college education, but are you investing time and effort in raising them to become a person of character? Are you raising your child to be honest when you cheat on your taxes or don't return the wallet you found on the ground at the gas station? Are you raising your child to be independent when you let him sit on the couch watching Elmo while you clean up his toys and crayons? Are you raising your child to be fair and loyal when you let her little sister get away with everything and take her side in the sibling rivalry? Are you raising your child to be a good friend when you gossip about yours on the phone? Remember, your children are always watching you. You might not think they get it, but they might. They hear you and see you and they will do what you do. And remember, that you are building a foundation. You will never have a strong house if you build it out of straw. If you don't give your child the tools they need to thrive, you are doing them a disservice. Yes, you are doing your job by giving them the basics they need to survive, but don't you want them to thrive? Don't you want a child who will go out into the world and be a good worker, a good spouse, a good humanitarian, a good parent? Equip them with the tools. Give them your all. Set the bar high. Let your child know that you have high expectations and that you believe they can reach them. If you never expect anything great of your kids, they won't expect anything of themselves. They might not always be the best at everything (or anything) but if they are putting forth a good effort, that's what matters. It's hard work - you can't raise the bar for your kids unless you live up to the model. You can't expect your kids to be responsible with their allowance if you bounce checks left and right. You can't expect them to think about good nutrition if you're serving chicken nuggets, hot dogs and mac & cheese for dinner every night. And as much as you might not think that every moment is important, there are so many things that happen on a daily basis that are teachable moments that will shape the person your child becomes. So, I'm challenging you, my friends. I expect the best of you as parents and I believe in you. I know you can be even better today than you were yesterday!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The right time

How do you know when it's the right time to talk to your kids about serious things? This year has been a difficult one at our school. We have had some major mountains to tackle and, most recently, the untimely death of a lovely young teacher. My kids are 9 and 5 1/2. In our home, death is something that we can talk about openly. But, beyond their great-grandfather, they have never had a close relative or friend die, so it might not seem very real to them. When an animal dies, we say he died - not that he went to sleep. In our family, we know that Heaven isn't a place you go to just because you were a good person. We know that accepting Jesus as your savior is the only way to get there and, once you're there, it is a glorious place. But, talking to them about a tragedy got me to thinking about how and when I will talk to them about other things in life. We live in an age where children hear about sex and drugs and alcohol and promiscuity WAY too early in life. You can't turn on a radio station without hearing someone talk about drinking or smoking weed or smacking someone's a$$. It's filth. It's scary that there are people who find this type of talk acceptable. But, there are. And there are parents who don't care that their children listen to it. So those children know these lewd words and expressions and you can be sure they share them with other kids. The school bus or playground is not the place I want my kids learning about sex or drugs. I can't remember having those talks with my parents. I know I certainly didn't ask about stuff like that. I was probably one of those kids that got a lot of information from my friends. That's dangerous. And, worse yet, it's hard to undo. But how old should a child be before you talk about drugs or sex? I had a Girl Scout once that mentioned sex during a meeting and I said yes, sex is what we call male or female. Smart, right? Answer the question with a fact and divert the other girls' attention. The girl says "no, not that kind of sex, the other kind." Of course, I nipped that in the bud right away. My kids have been taught that babies are made by married people, but they're old enough to see that there are a lot of unmarried couples that have babies. How come Justin Bieber's parents weren't married? Avoid question - talk about his hair. Here's my worry - should I introduce these things? Should I talk about things that my kids might not even have heard about yet. I mean, they have signs in school that say it's a drug-free school. Do they even know what drugs are? Heck, I had a mom get upset with my daughter last year for telling a classmate that Santa isn't real. So in third grade, there are still kids believing in Santa and I'm worried about talking about beer and marijuana and the birds and the bees. I wish I could just stop time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

No school

This is the time of year when kids start hating school. It's been a long time since they've had a break and they need one. And for many of them, May means state tests so they've been spending a lot of time getting ready for them. They need relief from coloring in ovals. For us, this week is spring break and so far my kids are not digging it. Why? Because the stupid weather has been extremely uncooperative. This is the third day of rain. Yuck. We want to go outside. We want to go to the park. We want our soccer games and baseball games to not be cancelled. We want to have a day without mud. Granted, I'm sure I'll be missing this cool weather come August but right now it's just annoying. There's only so many things you can do to entertain your kids all day long. They are used to having a teacher who has a plan. I guess I could make a plan. I guess I could stop thinking about what we can't do and think about what we can do. It's a bit of a challenge since I have two children with very different personalities who don't enjoy the same things. I suggested a movie - nope. We were supposed to have a field trip today but it was cancelled since there are thunderstorms in the forecast. My kids are so bummed. They're being okay about it right now but I know in a few hours they are going to be nuts - it'll be like wrestlemania in here. Who cares about the rain? We're going out.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Olden days

One of my children asked me if I had Lincoln Logs back in the olden days. Yes, my darling daughter, my own flesh and blood, thinks I was alive in the olden days. I personally don't know the exact calendar dates of the olden days but I'm pretty sure I wasn't alive then. I don't even think my parents were alive then and they grew up before color TV and knew what it was like to use an outhouse or live in a cold-water flat. So if my parents aren't olden, I sure ain't olden. But the point is that olden can be golden. There is something really valuable about playing with toys as simple as blocks or Lincoln Logs. There is something to be said about being able to play without electronic assistance. I was talking to a kid once and told him he was being so well-behaved while he waited for his sister to finish her activity. He said he was cool because he had his mom's iPod. What in the world did we do without iPods? Do you remember watching shows like Little House on the Prairie. Life was so different, so simple. They didn't need much. Even as the world advanced, things were still pretty simple. A pinball machine. Simple, fun. Atari - very simple, fun. That was probably when it all started. Atari - games like that which catered to kids love of moving images. I guess they had to come up with something to entertain us since we only had four television channels. There's a commercial on right now where one kid is desperate in the back seat of his parents' car because they are singing. His buddy is in the car next to him and he's happy because he has headphones on and is watching a movie in the car. (Personally, I think portable DVD players are awesome for long trips, but if you're putting them on for a 10-minute drive, it's kind of ridiculous). I just wonder if we're hooking kids up to technology and doing them a disservice by not giving them the power to create fun and use their imaginations. Really, is it such a bad thing to be bored once in a while? I guess if we don't give the kids the iPods or the DSi or whatever else they can play with, they will find a way to entertain themselves. At the soccer field the other day, a bunch of kids were following a bottle cap down a stream. They were thinking of ways to get it to go faster and get it to turn and watching the progress. It was so cool to see them spending their time that way - doing a really simple thing. No one was fighting. No one was trying to see who could get to a higher level faster than their friend. They were just having fun - kind of like we did in the olden days.