He’s Come Undone
30 Jun 2006 01:40 am
By Tracy M
What is it about when Mama leaves the house? My husband is a very capable and competent Daddy, and he does a great job with our kids- he is also fabulous about making sure I get time away when I need it, even though we have to laugh, because we both know what is going to happen when I walk out that door…
Tonight I had a dinner to attend at church, and while my being there wasn’t crucial, I really wanted to go and enjoy a meal with no one hanging on me or begging like a starving baby bird for a worm. DH assured me he was fine, even with the baby, (nine weeks now) and to just go enjoy myself. (Score points for Dad!)
As soon as I left, while DH was making a fine, nutritious dinner of popcorn and leftover pizza, our two-year old decided to have a Blow-Out. You know what I mean. Serious poo. But he didn’t tell dad right away, and since dad was busy keeping the microwave from burning the popcorn, dad didn’t notice right away.
And like a two-year old will do, occasionally, he slipped his little hands down the back of his shorts. Ah, what’s this? Oh, no! It’s yucky, I better go tell Dad! But first, because I am upset, I am going to cover my eyes with my poo-y hands!
From what I have been told, there was poo everywhere. DH does not like poo. After fighting to keep his composure, Dad managed to get poo-y boy in the tub, cleaned off, disinfected and in his jammies. I’m not clear on what happened to the popcorn, but our four-year old was eating the pizza while the poo incident was happening. Clean boy now rejoins the others at the table, but Dad is, amazingly, not hungry.
Soon enough it is time to brush teeth and get ready for bed. Four year old re-appears in the living room to show off his shiny teeth as he does each night, but two-year old is absent. DH goes to check and see what’s going on.
From what I have been told, there was toothpaste everywhere. Two-year old is standing on his stool at the sink, with a new tube of kid’s blue sparkly toothpaste, rubbing it in great blue circles all over his face.
Unamused Dad “What are you doing??”
Charmingly naive and sweet Poo-Boy chirps “My be pretty, like Mama does!”
I’m still trying to figure out when I have ever rubbed blue toothpaste on my face, but I think this was more of an “interpretive” modern-art rendition of Mama. But anyway…
The second mass-cleaning of my second child then took place. While this was going on, according to DH, the phone was ringing, other child(ren) were also needing/vying for his attention, and he was feeling a little stretched. (As I write this, I’m trying really hard not to smile. Really hard.)Both boys managed to make it to bed clean and in one piece, and by the time I got home a little bit later, they were asleep. DH was looking a little ragged as I asked how it went.
Evening commitments for me are maybe twice a month, but every time I leave in the evening, this is what happens. It’s like the kids have little spidey-senses that begin to tingle when I leave the driveway. They cue in on Dad’s weaknesses, the fact that he’s tired and doesn’t do thing exactly like Mama does, and attack like little fire-ants. Every single time.
What is it about kids that key in on this? While part of me thinks it’s just the tiniest bit funny, and feels just the littlest bit vindicated in how hard it is to take care of our family, the other part of me really relishes my time away. And if they make it too miserable for DH every time, even I may start to feel bad for poor ol’ Dad…
(poo and toothpaste… *snerkle* he he he…)
Show me the money!
28 Jun 2006 09:41 am
By Heather O.
Ok, enough talk about disease. Yech, so depressing. Let’s talk about something everybody loves-MONEY!
The other day, while sitting around at the bank, waiting for DH to finish up working out our new mortgage stuff and trying to keep my child from destroying everything in sight out of frustration and boredom (really, banks do nothing for 4 year olds), I came across the book _Rich Dad, Poor Dad_. Now, this was a particularly swanky bank, as banks go, and they had a little sitting area with some books on a shelf, obviously for your perusement. (Is that a word? It sounds like a cross between “amusement” and “peruse”, and I think I just made it up. Oh well. I’m gonna let it slide. I guess I could go one step farther and say “Perusement amusement,” but then I would be really outside the lines of appropriate grammar, and the grammar police would surely show up and beat me with their danglng participles.) And really, how many banks do you know have little sitting areas with a small library? All they needed was a basket of fruit and some Caribean music piped in, and I would be hard pressed to say whether we were at a financial institution, or some tropical island resort!
Well, ok, not really, because the whole, “Welcome to Bank Of America, can I help you?” mantra that was repeated loudly every 3 minutes by the teller working the drive up sort of burst the fanstasy, but regardless, I just thought comfy chairs were fairly awesome when you are tired of life matters in general and just need a place to put your feet up while you watch as your child slowly melts down after days of househunting and boring meetings and starts hucking complimentary bank mints across the lobby. Good times, I tell you, good times.
Ok, so in the midst of this blissful luxury, like I said, I came across this Dad book, and it’s all about money. I didn’t have much time to be perusally amused, having to dodge flying confections, as it were, but there were a couple of points that I caught in between mint missiles.
Point number 1: The traditional lessons our generation was taught about money, education, etc, do not apply to our children’s generation. No longer is a college education worth what it once was, and it is no guarantee to financial security in the future. I’m not sure I totally buy this one, but it’s something to think about.
Point number 2: Even if they did apply, our generation is woefully inept and neglectful in teaching our children how to properly manage money, leaving out serious basic info like “How to manage a credit card”. Credit is so vital in today’s financial world, people need to understand how it works. Given how much debt America is in, I could totally buy this one.
Point number 3: Most people often say this about things they want but think they can’t have: “We can’t afford it”. The author says a much better way of approaching life and managing money is not to limit yourself with this statement, but rather to substitute it with the thought, “HOW can I afford what I want?” That way, you start to think creatively about money, and you make your money work for you, instead of working for your money. I LOVE this idea of changing your thinking from, “We can’t afford it” to “HOW can we afford it?” I haven’t totally applied this yet, but it’s definitely something that is sort of ruminating in the back of my mind these days. Especially since after my little taste of tropical island resort I got back at that bank, I’ve had a good hankering for the real thing.
In all my reading about parenting, what we have to teach our kids, etc, etc, really, I’m not sure I’ve ever come across one that says that you should have serious talks with your children about money. And when DH and I talked about it, we realized that really, neither one of our parents did much in the way of educating us, beyond the whole, “A credit card does not mean you get things for free”. Both my sister and I got into some minor financial trouble out of complete ignorance. I’d like to say I was a bit more with it–my trouble had to do with not understanding taxes, hers had to do with not understanding that an ATM will still give you money if you have overdraft protection even though you really don’t have a cent in your checking account. Still, the problems could have been solved by some simple financial lessons from our father, who, ironically, is an extremely savvy businessman who has an excellent understanding of how the financial world works.
So I ask you, did your family teach you about money? What are some basic traditional lessons that you learned that you think will not apply to our children’s generation? Any ideas about how to introduce these lessons, and how to make them effective?
And most importantly-anybody know how I can get to Hawaii, cheap, and which tropical resort is the best?
A new blog
27 Jun 2006 12:43 pm
By Heather O.
I have debated whether or not I wanted to post this on MMW, but I decided in the name of “raising awareness” I would pass on the address of a new blog dedicated to PKD, a.k.a. Polycystic Kidney Disease. Polycystic Kidney Disease is the most common genetic, life threatening disease affecting more than 600,000 Americans and an estimated 12.5 million people worldwide - regardless of sex, age, race or ethnic origin. In fact, PKD affects more people than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, hemophilia, Down syndrome and sickle cell anemia — combined.
The blog is called Living with PKD.
Who runs this blog, you may ask?
I was diagnosed with PKD 6 months ago, and haven’t quite known what to do with it, really. Then I attended the PKD Foundation conference last weekend, and realized that there are few cohesive online support groups for patients with PKD. There are some, but not many, and no blogs that I could find. I’m lousy at fundraising, I stink at organizing walks, and I certainly ain’t no “chapter leader”, but I am good (read ‘mildly obsessed’) with blogging, and if running and maintaining a blog can help raise awareness, well, that’s something I can do. I threw out the thought to a couple of folks at the conference, and they seemed to think it was a good idea. So, I started one. There you go.
I probably will not blog about PKD here at Mommy Wars. I think this should remain a place where we primarily discuss issues facing us as women trying to raise our families in righteousness. But I felt that I would be remiss in my “raising awareness” duties if I didn’t take advantage of an established readership to talk about PKD. Yes, ladies, I am bodly, shamelessly using you. Sorry.
I don’t expect that everybody here will actually be interested in a blog about PKD. After all, there are few things more depressing than reading about a disease you don’t have. But, like I said, it’s a start in introducing people to this very common yet largely unheard of condition. So, um, I guess this is the part where I say “Tell your friends”, and especially if you know somebody with PKD. Maybe they will thank you for it.
The Ultimate Goal
26 Jun 2006 03:04 pm
By Heather O.
You’ve heard a lot about swimming these days. Sorry. Somebody warned me that if I put J on the swim team, it would take over my life. Sadly, she was utterly, completely, and totally correct, dang it.
But it’s been an interesting experience, joining this whole swim culture. Oh, and believe me, there is definitely a swim culture, complete with cliques, competitions within the team, and varying degrees of “pool moms”. I suppose those kinds of things just happen generally when you get a bunch of people together for an activity.
The moms are particularly interesting. And they are so varied in their approach to this swim team thing, it makes me ask the question: What is our ultimate goal?
These moms have lots of different goals for their kids in respect to swimming. Like I said, some moms are pushing for the Olympics (seriously!), some are pushing for thier kids to have something they are good at and can identify with, and some are just hoping their kids will learn enough so they won’t drown.
It makes me think that this swimming model be extrapolated into life: Some parents want their kids to be at the highest tier of success, some parents just want their kids to be happy, involved, and satisfied with the best they can do, and some of us are just hoping our kids won’t drown.
As parents, what should our ultimate goal be with our children? I knew one woman who said that her goal was not that all her kids will be happy. That’s too easy, she thought. Her ultimate goal was that her kids will all be independent and confident enough to handle whatever life threw at them. A noble goal, to be sure, but I thought she dismissed the happiness thing just a little too fast. But, then again, maybe happiness is overrated?
So, what is your ultimate goal with your children?
And maybe goals change along the way, too. Maybe there are some days that your goals are as high as the moon. And then there are days when we all just hope we can keep our heads above water, that keeping afloat is pretty much all we can manage. And that’s ok, too.
By The Wiz
Ok, so I have decided that I want to go back to the old days. Not that far back, mind you, I have no interest in churning my own butter or whatever. And usually, I am in favor of progress. But still, some progress is bad, and I want to go back to the days when one particular aspect of mothering was much easier and cheaper.
I have yet to meet a mother who doesn’t, at some point in her life, put her child in front of a movie to get a break. Now, yes, some mothers do it more often than others, and we can get into a whole doomsday debate about how much is too much, etc. But I have decided that I want to go back to the days prior to DVD’s. I hate them. I really hate them. Bring on the VHS and pop it into the VCR, because I know, without a doubt, that no matter how long we’ve had that movie, or how many children have drawn on it with Mommy’s favorite, one-time splurge of 15 dollar lipstick, that when you put in into the machine, it will work. I have no such promises with DVD’s.
DVD’s have their good points - yes, you can skip the previews, yes, they often have games, and extra features, and the digital quality is blah-de-blah-blah. But trying to keep it unscratched, unfingerprinted, and generally unscathed is more hassle than it’s worth. Kids know which DVD is which, and Toddler-man has his favorites, so much so that he likes to climb up on the shelf, open the case, and carry around ‘The Incredibles’ (arguably Pixar’s best work) until the back is so destroyed that I have to desperately try and find another copy, since our DVD cleaner is no match really for the fingerprints of a two year old who has played in the sandbox, had a PB&J for lunch, and is in the middle of potty training. (Yes, we do a lot of handwashing in this house).
Also, he destroys my girl’s movies without my knowledge, and I unknowingly pop a random Barbie movie into the machine, looking forward to my break, only to hear 20 minutes later shrieks of “MOOMMMMMM!!! IT”S NOT WORKING!!” Then I have to try and clean it, which if it works, great, but if not….. “THAT WAS MY FAVORITE MOVIE EVER!!!! NOW I’LL NEVER SEE IT AGAIN!!!I’M SO SAD, MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME! WHY DID YOU LET HIM GET THE MOVIE?!!!!”
I never had this problem with VHS. When my oldest was little, she used to carry around her copy of ‘Little Bear’ with much love, and she would pound it on the walls, and try to stick into every slot possible, and draw on it with Chapstick, and yet, when it came time to actually watch it, it still worked. And yet, I gave that up for the privilege to pay more for destroyable movies. Life was so much easier then…..
By Tracy M
Motivating my Monkeys is always a tough row to hoe. However, the other night I unwittingly stumbled upon a new, seemingly endless, goldmine of motivation: Points.
The boys were lagging in cleaning up their room, dawdling as they put their p.j.’s on, and playing in the water rather than brushing their teeth. And I’m trying really hard not to yell these days, especially since it falls on deaf little ears anyway, and leaves me worn out and frustrated.
So as the Monkeys are picking up one…Tinker… Toy… at… a… time, barely making a dent in the million or so Tinker Toys on the bedroom floor, I said, and I don’t know why,: “Twenty points to whomever cleans up the Tinker Toys first!” And it was as if someone lit a fire under their little bums- all of the sudden, they were moving like oiled lightening, and the room was spotless in, like, 60 seconds!
Then they were jumping and bouncing before me, clamoring about who got “the Points”? Uh, wow, I’m still a little thunderstruck that it worked- so 20 points for each of you! And they were delighted!! Then, wheels turning in my mind, I offered 10 points each for clean teeth, and another 5 for wiping the water off the counter when done- and that worked too!!!
(Whispering) Hey moms, this totally works- I have been doing it for days now, and they have never even thought to ask what in the world they should do with the “Points”, or how many they have accumulated- They just love earning them! I have even doled out ridiculous amounts of “Points”, like 10,000 last night for sweeping the crumbs from under the table! I think this just might be the magic mama-bullet.
If they do ask, sometime, what they can do with all their “Points”, I plan on taking them to the dollar store and letting them choose something. It’s magic, and from the generosity of my overflowing heart, I share this with you! Shhhhh…. it’s a mama secret!
22 Jun 2006 08:23 pm
By Heather O.
Summer is here, which for us means swimming. Lots of it. I actually put J on a swim team, which means practice every morning, as well as “practice” with mom in the pool afterwards, and then playtime in the pool after lunch, which means that we are averaging about 4 hours a day poolside. No joke–4 HOURS DAILY IN THE FREAKIN’ SUN. Yeah, we’ve already gone through 3 of those not so cheap bottles of Neutrogena sunscreen I raved about, and we are all still pink all over. Not lobster red yet, but I even went out and bought an Aloe Vera plant, per Tracy’s instructions, and we’ve used it. Twice. I am even (gasp!) sporting a watch line, which makes me want to run to the dermatologist to check for skin cancer. There is no such thing as a safe tan, and now I have a watch line–AACK!
Ok, calming down now….
So actually, this post isn’t really about sunburn, although that is a topic I could speak at great lengths about. (Clearly). This is about frog goggles.
If you are fair skinned and grew up swimming, as our family did, you associate a few things with summers in the pool: sunburn (already covered, yes, move on), shiny, crunchy, green hair(it’s true, blond hair really does turn a lovely shade of green from chlorine), and burning, bloodshot eyes caused by the chlorine in the pool, which also makes everything look sort of filmy and have halos around lights. J experienced this eye thing the other day. He said, “Mom, you look a little fuzzy and blue, and I can’t really open my eyes”. DH, Utah boy that he is, sorta panicked. I, on the other hand, grew up in LA, the land of backyard pools, and I knew exactly what he was talking about. So we made a quick trip to Target post haste to get that kid some goggles.
Have you ever been to Target in the middle of the summer looking for water paraphenalia? I swear, it was like locusts had stripped the store. There was hardly a swim suit in sight, the only water shoes left were pink “water socks”, whatever the heck that means, and the goggle section was just sad. Luckily, however, J had his choice, which was more than I hoped for as I walked past the consumer carnage on the way to the goggles. His choices were thus: black speedo goggles, shark goggles, or froggie goggles. After much deliberation, he chose the frog ones. I approved, we made our purchase, and set them out to be worn today.
As we were walking in the pool, however, he said to me, “I hope the other kids don’t think my frog goggles are weird. Mom, do you think they like frogs?”
What? Who cares? They’re just goggles, for heaven’s sake!
I didn’t actually say that, though. I just said, “Yeah, everybody loves frogs. Your goggles are cool, don’t worry about it.”
Some kids were peeking through the fence, messing around and stuff, and J stopped and said, “What are they looking at?” Then, in a panicked voice, “Are they looking at my goggles? What if they don’t like my goggles?”
I assured him those kids weren’t looking at his goggles, and proceded into the pool area. I then surreptitiously asked the coach to make a positive comment on J’s goggles, which he did. J lit up when the coach told him he thought frogs were awesome, and seemed to visibly relax. After that, he was back to his old bouncy self, showing everybody his new eyewear and proclaiming their everlasting awesomeness.
Thrice I ask you–WHAT?
He’s 4. He’s a boy. They were GOGGLES. And he’s already concerned with what the other kids think about his fashion choices. I thought I had avoided all this crap by giving birth to a person with mixed chromosomes. But no, apparantly absurd fashion insecurities are manifested by the male species as well. And, true to form, no amount of assurances from his mother helped. It took an outside authority figure to confirm his standing, to affirm his choice.
He’s now quite attached to the goggles, which I suppose isn’t all that surprising. We left them at the pool this afternoon, and I had to trudge back there to get them, lest they get lost or stolen. Watching my son obsess about losing something new is actually not new to me–but I gotta say, this new fashion insecurity, coming from a kid who is usually perfectly happy to play in a size 6 Superman shirt while going commando underneath, is a little perplexing. And it was a little hard to watch him react more positively to the coach’s thoughts about how awesome those little plastic reptiles were than to his mother’s. Yes, I asked for it, I knew he needed it, but did it have to WORK?
Any other thoughts on fashion crises with children under the age of accountability?
By The Wiz
Some for some.
None for none.
Slightly less for people we don’t like, and a little bit more for me.
hee hee. Just some lyrics from Spamalot to brighten your day.
By The Wiz
Breastfeeding is the only option, and if you try anything else, both you and your child are doomed forever.
Breastfeeding is not the only option, and if you tell me it is, I will kill you.
Sleep training is child abuse.
Sleep training is the best way to get your child to sleep, and if you don’t do it, both you and your child are doomed forever.
Sleeping with your baby is the best way for you to bond, and if you put her in her own bed before she can ask for it, both you and your child are doomed forever.
Sleeping with your baby is the worst possible thing you could ever do, and if you don’t put him in his crib from day one, both you and your child are doomed forever.
If you nurse your baby past the age of one, you are a freak and not to be trusted.
If you don’t nurse your baby until at least age 3 (which, is, after all, the BIBLICAL weaning age), clearly you and child are doomed forever.
BYU is evil.
BYU is the best University on earth, and if you feel differently, well, you know the outcome. Dooooommmm………
Organic vegetables and fruits are the best and only thing you should ever eat. Eating our animal equals is just wrong, and the “vegetables” you buy in the regular grocery store will kill you before you realize your potential doom.
Vegetarians are freaks and not to be trusted.
The earth is doomed.
Environmentalists are freaks and not to be trusted.
America is evil, and if you feel differently, you are just not educated enough.
America is the best place on earth, and if you feel differently, you are unpatriotic and should be shot at dawn.
Women are, and ever should be, subservient to men.
All men have oppressed women forever, basically, and are the root of all evil, and they should all be shot at dawn.
If you let your child watch TV, you have doomed her to a life of obesity and ADHD.
TV is a lifesaver, and anything under 3 hours a day is unacceptable. How else will your child learn to read?
If your family is not happy 100% of the time, you are not living the gospel.
If you are not sad 100% of the time, you are uneducated and just plain stupid. After all, who could ever be in a good mood with all the crap that’s out there?
People should dress up to go to church so as to show respect for the Lord.
People should dress down to go to church so as to not offend the people who can’t afford to dress up.
Sunscreen causes skin cancer.
Lack of sunscreen causes skin cancer.
Mammograms cause breast cancer.
Mammograms prevent breast cancer.
If you don’t circumcize your boy, well, then, just accept your doom. Good luck with that.
If you circumcize your boy, I hope you like DOOM, because that’s what you just chose.
You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t. Doooommmmm……..doooommm
19 Jun 2006 12:55 pm
By Heather O.
Ok, we all know that summer is in full swing now, especially when you find yourself outside at noon and realize in about 5 minutes that you are dehyrdated, sweating, feeling faint, and suddenly want to be anywhere else than outside. Ah, love my air conditioning….
But we still have a long summer ahead of us, so I thought I’d share some handy tips I’ve learned along the way to make summer just a little easier so we can all enjoy the fun.
Ok, first one. Peppermint oil can help poison ivy. I know, this sounds totally earth goddess goofy, but trust me, it works. J got poison ivy last week, (you know, since his mother failed to notice that it is growing in GREAT abundance in our backyard-duh!) and he started complaining at night, well past the hour when CVS would be open. I had heard of a home remedy that uses peppermint oil. Well, we don’t have any pure peppermint oil, but since my husband is, yes, let’s say it, obsessed with having a killer herb garden, we have peppermint growing in abundance too. I picked some leaves, crushed them into some olive oil, and smeared the whole thing on J’s leg. I mean, can’t hurt right? Well, not only did it not hurt, it really, really helped. His rash is far from gone, but it seems to be abating, and he doesn’t complain of the itchiness anymore. And even if it wasn’t poison ivy, the mint actually can be used for all sorts of skin issues, and it’s free. I’m sold.
Totally unrelated tangent that will surely turn into a threadjack later but that’s ok with me: I’ve heard that a weak mint tea can help morning sickness. Not that I’m pregnant or anything, just wondering if anybody else has heard this, or tried it. Ok, tangent over.
Tip #2. Spray on sunscreen. Up until today, I had only seen the expensive Coppertone and Neutrogena brand, which I have loved. They come in an aersol form, and can cover white bodies in a matter of seconds. And today I saw somebody at the pool using a generic Target brand spray–cha-ching, I’m totally sold on the cheap stuff, baby. Now, this is actually sort of opposite from the earth goddess herbal essence tip above, you know, using chemicals and aerosols and all (do CFCS still exist?) but we all have practically translucent skin that has been known to sport a serious sunburn after (I’m not kidding) less than a half an hour in the sun. If anybody knows of an herbal remedy that is as effective as sunscreen, let me know. Til then, I’ll be spraying my family with this stuff, and staying happily white and burn free all summer. Yee-ha!
Tip #3. Keep lemon wedges already sliced in a Tupperware container in your fridge. Lemon slices make a glass of water much more heavenly, and having the slices on hand is much easier than having to cut a lemon everytime you want to make your water glass fancy. Besides, by the time you cut up the lemon, you are too dehydrated to do anything else because it took you so dang long to cut it. Cut them when you have a moment, not when you are dying for it. It also makes it superhandy to use when you are cooking chicken on the grill. Just grab a wedge, squeeze it over the chicken, and voila, lemon chicken! Delicious and easy, and your family thinks you are a genius, which gives you brownie points towards a pedicure, which is a must because you are most definitely going to be spending time in the cute dollar flip flops you bought at Target at the beginning of the season, which are so fun but definitely hard on your feet, and you’re the mom and deserve a foot massage anyway. Hooray!
That’s it. I’m out. Tell me your tips for getting through the summer, and pretend that you are telling me while we are sitting on my front porch on my imaginary comfy wicker chairs, (yes, they are on order, but sadly, only in my head!) sipping something delicious, admiring our pretty feet and watching our kids play happily in the cul-de-sac. Ah, I love summer! Oh, and don’t forget the sunglasses!
By Tracy M
This morning, as I was rinsing some dishes at the sink, Jeffrey hollered from down the hall that he needed help “I’m stuck, I’m stuck!”- I heard my husband head down the hall, but he stopped and grabbed the camera, and motioned for me to “look at your son”.
Somehow Jeffrey had managed to knock a picture off the wall in the hallway, and he was precariously holding it to the wall with his upstretched arms, . He was also, for some reason, butt-naked. The picture is a very old photograph of my grandmother, taken before she started school- she’s about 4 1/2, the same age as Jeffrey. When he knocked it off the wall, the old frame came apart, and the photo, glass, backing and pieces of frame were all separated.
I gathered the broken parts and both boys watched me as I pieced everything back together on the kitchen counter. It probably needs professional help, but then so do I, and I’m not getting it either, so a little masking tape and some tiny nails made do. Then, I carefully hung the picture back on the wall, and Jeffrey asked “Who is that, Mom?”
Huh? What? How could he not know who that is?? I stopped, a tiny bit stunned, a tiny bit ashamed, he didn’t know that was my Grandma. I had always known who was in that picture- it hung in my aunt’s home, until she gave it to me, out of the blue, one day. It’s not a copy, even the frame is original, and my grandma would tell me stories about her life from when the picture was taken. How could my children not know about this remarkable woman?
And that got me thinking. If I neglected to tell my children the stories of our ancestors, of who the people are in the old photographs, of what their lives were about and how they spent their time on the earth, a vital part of who they are would be lost. My children’s lives would be less rich, less textured, without a knowledge of who came before. The photographs on the walls would become just old photographs, unknown and forgotten.
The thing about those photographs, which I learned from my grandma just this morning, is that even though we may only have a fading picture or some letters, the lives they lived were every bit as complicated, joyfull, painful, rich and varied as our own. They had loves, ideas, imaginations, victories and human frailties, just as we do. It is so easy to forget this, and allow them to become one-dimensional, if we do not teach our children “Who is that?”.
Some of you are blessed with carefully kept family records and genealogy back dozens of generations- be very grateful. As a convert, I can tell you this is not the norm in the world. I am working on my family, little or no information was kept- there are so many lost. Even finding the names of my great-grandparents is proving difficult. But that is one of the most beautiful and hopeful tenets of the Restoration- None will be lost.
And this fact makes me all the more determined to find and teach my children about who we are and from whom we come. (I don’t want my grandma thumping my ears because my kids don’t know her when they finally are able to meet her!) We have promises about what is to come, about our salvation, about who we are and who our forefathers are- not were, but still are. We also have the hope of “No empty chairs”. Today, I am deeply grateful for the all-encompassing love and completeness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And my kid knocking a picture off the wall is what brought me here.
By The Wiz
A MMW reader by the name of Cat sent me a link to this NY times article regarding breastfeeding. It has some great stuff, and I agree that it should be passed along - enjoy!
17 Jun 2006 05:51 pm
By The Wiz
Heather is getting annoyed with me that i haven’t posted in such a long time. I started to think about why, and came up with this: My youngest son is the reason. He’s not yet 3, and yet, he knows exactly how to get to nickjr.com, playousedisney.com, pbskids.org, and to any of the games that we have installed. He is great at double clicking and dragging, printing, and yelling “I DO IT! MY TURN PLAY COMPUTER!” So, I have to battle for computer time with my Toddler-Man. Great.
If allowed, he would spend all day every day in front of the computer, supposedly “learning as he plays.” I’m not sure he’s “learning” anything except how to yell and shove whenever I try to get on-line to balance my checkbook or read the paper, or heaven forbid, put up a blog post. That last one actually takes a few minutes.
So now I have to set limits and timers as to how long he can play on the computer. i have to bargain with him to get Mommy computer time. It’s weird. I don’t remember my girls being obsesed with the computer this much, although they’ve certainly always liked it. Maybe it’s because they’re bored with all the games we have, which are certainly geared toward preschoolers. Or maybe it’s because I did a better job at parenting them, so they enjoy their toys and outside play. Or maybe it’s because my girls have each other to play with and Toddler-Man only gets yelled at whenever he disrupts their games purposely by throwing rocks at their Barbies.
He’s trying to click on ‘Publish’ right now, and is continually turning the monitor on and off, so I believe I will end this post now. Maybe I should get him his own little computer? Maybe I should ban him from the computer altogether? Maybe it’s just a phase. Who knows. But he’s definitely contributing to my bloggerslackeriness.
By Heather O.
I know we’ve been a little slow over here at MMW, but as I have been sitting here staring at the screen trying to figure out what to write, it struck me. Nothing. We’re slow because there is nothing bad to report.
No scribble disasters, no babysitting crisis, and no vomiting canines. What’s a blogging girl to do?
Of course, I realize that saying, “Hey, life is just too NORMAL these days” practically guarantees that tomorrow is going to be a helluva day that will provide me with loads to blog about (darn that karma, or, um, something…), but today, we are feeling pretty good. I mean, how can you not when dinner is grilled chicken, corn on the cob(also from the grill–delicious that way!), and fresh watermelon, and as you eat it all at twilight, you can see the fireflies in the backyard light up? Long summer days full of good food and lazy people have truly begun, and they can be glorious.
My favorite things about summer:
-Watermelon–oh, foods of the Gods!
-Long days at the community pool: a free recreational activity that I don’t have to prepare for, clean up after, or maintain. Can’t beat that!
-Gardens. Oh yes, ours is up and going, showing some good promise, and I am already planning what I will do with all of our fresh produce. Of course, the fact that DH planted 16 pepper plants and 15 cucumber plants may mean that I’ll have to suck it up and learn how to can. I mean, how many salads can one family eat?
-Busy neighborhoods. Everybody comes outside during the summer, and I always feel like summer is the time when a community comes together, whether it’s a neighborhood barbecue, a softball game, or a party at the pool. During the winter, it’s just too dang cold to bond.
-Mowing the lawn. Ok, I know y’all are probably not with me on this one, but there is something about the smell of fresh cut lawn that makes me smile. I sneeze the entire time I do it, as I’m allergic to grass, but it makes me happy all the same. I liked it when I lived with my aunt and had a small yard to mow, when I lived in a town house and had an ever smaller yard to mow (it took perhaps 3 minutes to mow our little dot, and our whole block shared a mower because it wasn’t worth it to buy personal mowers for all our little dots.) And then, of course, we get to compost all those beautiful grass clippings, which makes me feel even happier. Yes, we take compost very seriously in our family.
What’s your favorite thing about summer? (Cue sound track: Primary Song “Oh what do you do in the Summertime….)
By Heather O.
The Wiz was going to blog about this, as she recommended the book to me, but it seems that she got sidetracked (read: BlOGGERSLACKER!). She was reading the book _The Optimistic Child_, by Martin E. P. Seligman, and she and I were discussing it. Basically, this book claims to have the answers to safeguard children against depression and build lifelong resilience and optimism. Sounds pretty good to me. And I’m totally up for shelling out a coupla bucks if it will make me a perfect parent, no matter how ludicrous the claim.
So, I bought it after my discussion with The Wiz. And I’m about 1/3 of the way into it (read: PROCRASTINATING FROM UNPACKING). I would highly recommend it to any parent or parent to be, and I want to share some of the more interesting parts I’ve read so far.
There is more to it than this, but basically he says that everybody has a certain explanatory pattern about why and how things happen to them, and how pervavise the events are in their lives. A pessimist will tell you that every good thing that happened to them was because of something or somebody else, not because of something he did, but that every bad thing happened as a direct result of his actions, and that those bad things will always happen, i.e., a permanent condition. Pessimistic attitude: I got that promotion because the other guy they wanted left, but it won’t take them long to see I’m not really good enough for the job. There was that one time when I made a mistake–I always screw things up!
In comparison, an optimist thinks that bad things happen because things were stacked against them, and that good things happen because he worked hard and is talented, and that bad things are only setbacks, temporary obstacles that can ultimately be conquered. Optimistic attitude: Wow, I finally got that promotion after all my hard work! I didn’t get it before because nobody was noticing me, but the boss finally figured out I am an asset. Of course, there was that one time I made a mistake, but I figured out the problem and got it resolved. It wasn’t easy, but I did it.
How does this translate into good parenting? Well, most kids will learn their explanatory behaviors from their parents. That’s right–our kids will learn optimism or pessimism from us. And they learn not only from what we say about ourselves in front of them, (i.e, I’m always such a mess! I never do anything right!) but also what we tell them about themselves. Kind of a scary thought, isn’t it?
There is also some interesting stuff about familiar self-esteem talk we do with kids, and how often it isn’t effective. Kids apparantly don’t like to be told they did a good job when they know darn well they totally sucked. It makes them feel humiliated, not understood, and undermines their confidence and trust in the adult’s perception and praise. Hmmm…another interesting thought. Any educators or parents have any experience with that?
There is an interesting chart in the book about how to criticize preschoolers. I’d like to share that with you now: (and remember, the pessimistic way is the wrong way!)
“What’s wrong with you? You are always such a monster!”
“I asked you to pick up your toys. Why don’t you ever do what I ask?”
“You are really misbehaving today, I don’t like it at all”
“I asked you to pick up your toys. Why didn’t you do what I asked today?”
“You’ve got your mother’s knack when it comes to sports. I’m horrible too.”
“She never likes to play with other kids. She’s so shy.”
“You’ve got to learn to keep your eye on the ball.”
“Sometimes she has a hard time joining a group of kids.”
Internal and General/Passive and Pessimistic
“You’re not athletic.”
“Another C? I guess you’re not an A student.”
Internal and Behavioral/ Active and Optimistic
“You have to work harder on watching the ball meet the bat”
“Another C? You need to spend more time on your studies.”
Sometimes the differences are subtle, but they are there. This list, and others like it, have made me really stop and think what I am doing or not doing to my child when I talk to him. Also, this kind of paradigm shift actually seems to be quite easy to do, once you get the hang of it, so I actually don’t feel overwhelmed when thinking about how I can apply this to my parenting. I realize I make permanent statements about myself in front of J all the time. The other day, I forgot some tickets I needed, and I said, out loud, “I’m always such an idiot! I always forget important stuff.” Such a little thing, and yet it says that I feel it is a permanent condition that I forget stuff. And I already hear J saying things like, “I’m not good at computer games. I can’t do it.” So my attitude is affecting him. But I really think we can change it, that it’s not too late. After all, I’m trying to be optimistic!
And I do recommend the book. It follows along some of the same lines of another favorite parenting book _Between Parent and Child_, by Heim Gringott. (I think I spelled that right!) With all of the parenting advice out there, it’s nice to see two books actually talking about the same thing.
Any other optimistic thoughts?
Men’s Secret Desire
10 Jun 2006 11:39 pm
By Heather O.
I have figured it out ladies. I know what all men what. Yes, the secrets of the universe have been revealed to me, and I am now ready to impart my wisdom to you, O goddess sisters.
All men, in their heart of hearts, want a truck. You know, a truck to haul stuff.
I thought it was only my husband who longed for this powerful thing. He has jokingly talked about a pick-up since the days when we lived in Arkansas. He said it would make us blend with our other white trash neighbors. I told him that we didn’t need a truck, the dilapidated van we drove that had the paint peeling off, scratches on the side, and a side door that fell off just as I was pulling into the driveway and which sat on our front lawn for a day was quite enough to help us blend in, thank you very much. And the 2 days the toilet sat in our front yard definitely helped dispel any remaining doubts our neighbors might have had about what kind of people we were. Yep, only quality people use appliances and car doors as lawn ornaments.
Anyway, I thought it was a joke, really. I mean, a pick-up is not exactly a family friendly car, and gas prices being what they are, what the heck do we need a gas guzzling monster filling up our driveway?
It wasn’t a joke people. We now own a truck.
But here’s the astonishing thing. Even though this truck is like a thousand years old, and, as my cousin put it, “A bit boxy”, DH loves it. But he’s not the only one. My brother said, “Hey, you got a TRUCK? Where? I wanna see it!” And he and my nephew hightailed it outside to check out the truck. And you know what they said when they saw our cheap, ancient, boxy pick-up?
And they meant it.
I visited my parents this weekend, and my mother, who said, “You can’t drive this thing. You don’t know how to drive a truck!” when we brought it home, has kind of resigned herself to the fact that her youngest daughter occasionally drives around in an automobile that can also carry 2 cubit yards of dirt (I know that because DH has already filled it with dirt, many times, to haul it into our garden. Yes, he’s a man obsessed). But Mom is clearly not thrilled about the whole thing. Plus, she honestly thinks the truck is ugly as sin. My dad’s reaction?
And he meant it too. He even said it twice. This is a man who thinks camping is another term for torture, who has never been on a pair of skis– snow, water, or otherwise– in his entire life, and who thinks badminton is an exhilerating sport. The most indoors person I know. He likes the truck.
Our neighbor is thrilled. He said, “Yeah, we wanted to haul some dirt in for our garden, but I didn’t know anybody who had a truck. But now that you’re here…you know, I saw you all pull up in that thing, and I thought, ‘Yes, a neighbor with a truck!’”
And of course, you know what followed after that.
Cool truck indeed. The men in my life are going crazy over it. It’s the strangest things I have ever seen, and yet, it seems to be a completely consistent reaction among the male species. Their secret desire. To move big piles of stuff from one place to another in a big motorized vehicle. Who knew.
Anybody need to haul some dirt?
We Don’t Say Stupid
08 Jun 2006 11:07 pm
By The Wiz
guest post from wbpraw - S is her 12 year old girl, B is her huge he-man of a husband.
So a couple of weekends ago, B was driving home with all of our kids in the car plus S’s two friends. It was at night after the Primary Talent Show. ( I had escaped to my sister’s for the weekend.) They were just about home when some neighborhood boys who go to school with S and are S’s age, mooned the car. That’s right, one of them dropped drawers, showed his backside, mooned my daughter and her friends…and B. B whipped the car around, put his window down and shouted, “GET OVER HERE!” Yeah, scary. When the boy came to the passenger window B said, and I quote, “What makes you think I want to see your stupid a%@!” (GASP!) In the back seat, my 3 year old said, “Daddy, we don’t say stupid.”
The boy mumbled an apology, said something about not knowing who it was in the car, blah, blah, blah. B later found them and apologized for his profanity, but let them know their behavior around girls was not acceptable. He also sat our kids down and apologized for his language.
We learn two lessons from this, both of which I’m okay with. 1) Don’t mess with S or you mess with her dad, and 2) We don’t say stupid.
The Hurricane Season
07 Jun 2006 10:13 pm
By Heather O.
Our new neighbors had us over for dinner tonight. I’ll bet you are thinking, Wow, nice neighbors. So are we. The food was awesome, too, so, you know, double bonus on that one.
Anyway, during dinner, their son came up and asked for more batteries for his laser gun, a toy he was sharing with J, who I swear thought he had died and gone to heaven.
“Oh, yeah, I don’t think we have any more batteries,” the dad said. “That’s definitely something we have to get soon, especially before the hurricane season gets into full swing.”
He said it so casually, so lightly, to his small son. DH and I exchanged looks of mild panic.
“Um, hurricane season?” I asked weakly.
Yeah, folks, hurricane season. We’ve officially moved to a place where they prepare for hurricanes. In a word, holy crap.
And we are woefully unprepared. Having just moved, we are still in a state of mild chaos, and of course we depleted our food storage supply before we moved, just so we wouldn’t have to move so much food. Ok, so our food storage consisted of 2 extra bottles of ketchup and some dried soup, but hey, we downed it, baby! Well, I do think there might be some soup left, but at this point, I have absolutely no idea which box it is in, or even if it got packed by our movers. But hey, they did pack some wild and crazy things that surely one would think would intuitively be garbage, so, you never know.
So I am appealing to you, Mormon Mommies, at least some of whom I am sure are the epitome of preparedness, and at least some of whom I hope live in hurricane or tornado prone areas. (Wait, that sounded kind of wrong. I don’t HOPE that you live in a place where wind gusts could blow you into the land of Oz, but you know what I mean, right?)
What should I do? What do I need? How am I supposed to adequately prepare myself for a situation with which I have had absolutely no previous experience? (Gee, it sounds a bit like preparing for motherhood, eh?) Do I stock up on batteries, giant flashlights, lots and lots of soup, extra propane for the grill, more bottles of ketchup, what? I’m seriously freaked out here, folks. Break out your provident living manuals, ladies, and let’s get readin’!
By Tracy M
I’m in trouble. Big trouble. The middle Monkey is putting on some serious tantrums and acting-out since Abby was born, and while I was expecting some problems, this really is more than I bargained for. I know I can’t return him, and although I fantasize about some magic Toddler-Whisperer swooping down and taking him to Babies-R-Good for the day, I know that’s really not going to solve my problems. So yet again, I turn to you, my fair mommy friends, in a plea for help.
While I’m not sure what constitutes a “regular” tantrum, I’m pretty sure that Eric’s are borderline psycho. When he gets told “No” about anything, he falls on the ground and begins to convulse- not outside of normal, I’ll give you that- but how about ripping off his clothes? Or taking his shoes off and throwing them at me, or any passers by? Or biting himself? Or stripping his bed down to the bare mattress? Or emptying bookshelves in fell-swoops? Or tipping over tables in the living room? I’m talking Tazmanian Devil, folks. And I am at a loss.
This morning, the Monkey’s got up before me, and they opened some collector toys the DH had on his dresser- toys that were like “Stinky Pete” from Toy Story 2, old, and still new-in-the-box; I guess that means something on E-bay, but it will never mean anything to us now, since the toys are open and already broken. So much for that extra 20 minutes of sleep, eh?
After breakfast, I unfortunately had to go to Target. How sad Target has been reduced to “unfortunately”- I tried to find a sitter, but pride convinced me I could do it alone. What’s that about pride coming before the fall? yeah, they were right.
The second mistake was not having any cash to buy the $1 popcorn deal- Never again will I not have four quarters in the bottom of my purse.
My oldest, Jeffrey (4), is being very good and staying right with me, the middle Monkey, Eric (2) is in the basket of the cart, and baby Abby (6 weeks today, can you believe it?) is in her bucket in the top of the cart. We make our way through the store to the baby department- I have some things to exchange. She is like a weed.
Here is where the real drama began. Eric wants to push the buttons on some baby toy he sees. We are already past it and almost to the boys department to get my other Weed some new drawers. I tell Eric no, some other time and try and distract him with Superman underwear. And thus begins the tantrum.
He is flopping around in the basket of the cart like a beached Mackerel, kicking and screaming. His voice is hoarse from his many screaming binges lately, so he sounds really bad. His legs are bruised from all the things he has kicked, too. I’m sure he looks abused, and while I may really want to sometimes, I have never flogged him. He begins to wail like an air-horn, and Jeffrey is taking this opportunity to stroll further than he should. Abby begins to cry, and my breasts begin to leak, because of her cries- all in the matter of 2 minutes.
While wresting with the Mackerel, I threaten him with taking away his binkies if he doesn’t quiet down. He shuts off the air-horn and settles for just flopping around and a low whine. Pushing the cart with my arms crossed because milk is soaking my shirt, I change my plans. Let’s just get the underwear and leave- See how quick I am!
When I turn to grab what I need, Eric has jumps out of the cart and takes off running. I move to run after him, but realize my newborn is still in the cart and I can’t leave her. Her, and my leaky boobs. Grabbing the cart, I wheel it around like a maniac, yelling for Eric- I can’t see him now, and have no idea where he is, and Jeffrey has taken off after him, hollering “Come back here, Bean, right now!” He sounds like the mom. I can’t see either of them, but I can hear them. Another mom pushes her cart by, her two children sedately and quietly sitting, and she asks if I need help. Why yes, where do you get your children tranquilized? Nevermind…
Two aisles over, Jeffrey has apparently tackled Eric, and begins to drag him back to me. When I say drag, I mean literally drag… by his shirt. Eric’s lip is bleeding, I presume from when Jeff tackled him, and he is smiling, now. Quite satisfied with himself, I imagine.
Time to go, anyone? Finally I figured out that we didn’t belong there, needful errand or not, civil society is no place for us. Unceremoniously I plop Eric back in the cart and tell them we are leaving. So Jeffrey starts to cry because he was good and he wanted to get a toy for being good….
Another mom walks by with more tranquilized kids, and gives me The Look- (Control your kids, lady) Doncha love that one? As if I wouldn’t duct tape them if I could? Do I look like I’m enjoying this? At this point, Eric takes his shoe off and throws it at the lady. Do you think he read my mind? Sometimes I wish I was two, too.
So, we are home now. Abby is fed and happy, Jeffrey is watching Thomas the Train Engine on PBS and Eric is lifting weights in the play room. You think I’m kidding? They are little weights, but he is pumping them sure as the Governor of California is the Terminator. No one got any toys. No one got any errands complete. No one cracked and went to the funny farm, either. All in all, a resounding success of a day, wouldn’t you say? …help…
By The Wiz
I married a total food snob. He has introduced me to some awesome foods, and some awesome ways to cook it (or, in all actuality, to watch him cook it). Dh and I were watching Food Network last night, and a ‘wasabi-ginger mayo’ was talked about briefly. I cringed. Dh said ‘ooohhhh’. See, I hate wasabi. He does not. So I’ve decided to list foods that I hate, just because I can.
Foods I Hate:
1. Curry. You might as well burn your house down after you make curry, because, really, that’s the only way you’re going to get the smell out. And what a smell. Nasy, nasty stuff.
2. Scallops. This one is a texture thing for me. They’re just so rubbery.
3. Dijon mustard. Normally I like fancy(ish) foods, but when it comes to mustard, give me the cheap stuff, thank you very much.
4. Calamari. Eewww….
5. Kalamata Olives/Green olives. Yuck-o-rama.
6. Cilantro. This stuff is straight from Satan. If it is anywhere on my plate, I have to send it back. It just has the capacity to kill all flavor that was ever there in the first place. To me, it’s like someone says to me “Look! I made you a lovely dish. Now let me just grate this bar of soap over it to make it perfect.” Cilantro is secretly soap masquerading as food. I would rather shower with it than eat it. (although that doesn’t sound too great, either) Cilantro is evil, and has no place in any world I will ever create.
Foods I’ve Never Tried, But I’m Pretty Sure I Would Hate:
3.Turkey Ice Cream, Trout Ice Cream, or pretty much any ice cream with a protein base.
Thank you very much.
— Next Page »