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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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!