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
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
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
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
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.