Tag Archives: parenting

Halloween was good for something

Yes, I probably spent too much money on costumes they only wore a couple of times.

Yes, the kids walked around in a sugar-induced haze for at least a week afterwards.

Yes, I gained a couple pounds because I ate more of their candy than I care to admit.

But since Halloween, my kids’ manners have improved vastly.  As we trick-or-treated, I made sure that Lane said “Thank you!” to every person who gave her something.  It was like pulling teeth the first few houses (she really really hates talking to people she doesn’t know) but after getting a little practice and hearing me say it and faced with the alternative of “We will just go home now if you don’t say Thank you at the next house” she said it, happily, from there forward.

And, it seems, the practice has stuck.  Lane’s saying ‘thank you’ out of habit now, when she hadn’t before.  We still have to work a little harder on ‘please’, but it’s getting there.

And an even cooler, unexpected bonus is that Jake picked up on it, too!  He surprised me completely a day or two after Halloween when I put his lunch down in front of him by looking up at me, smiling a huge smile, and saying “Tank oooo!”  Oh my gosh, my heart just about melted out of my chest.

Election Day shenanigans

I went and voted, and took the kids with me.  Jake sat in a stroller just outside the voting booth but Lane came in with me and helped me push the buttons.  She’s enthusiastic and impressionable and it’s my job as her mom to make voting seem way super awesome.

And then, as we were nearly ready to pull the handle and submit our votes, the little weird old guy who was supervising our booth actually stuck his head INTO OUR BOOTH, THROUGH THE CURTAIN and said “Everything OK in here?”

“Yes, we’re fine, get out NOW,” I replied, or something to that effect.  When we left the booth a few seconds later a line of like three people had built up (we’d been able to go straight in).  Apparently this rush made him panic a bit, and he hadn’t yet heard about the blocks-long lines in many voting areas.

I was annoyed.  But the outrage didn’t really hit until I got into the car.  He basically violated the sanctity of my secret ballot.  Had I not had Jake in tow, who was desperate for a nap, I would have gone back and given him a real piece of my mind.  I’m still strongly leaning toward visiting the Board of Elections tomorrow and logging a complaint.  Should I?

Brothers in grief

I’m probably in a slightly vulnerable emotional state right now.  Frank and I just did a three episode marathon of the final three episodes of the first season of Dexter so I’m a bit off-kilter.  Not that the show is bad – it’s just intense!  Jaw-dropping, awesome, insanely intense.  Frank’s wondering if it’s why I chose a very blood-like red as an accent wall in our new living room, and he’s also wondering if, thanks to the show, if he’ll be able to live with it.  Anyway, if you’re inclined to watch a show about a lovable serial killer (and do I mean lovable, ooh I want to do naughty things to Michael C. Hall and heck, while I’m at it, Sgt. Doakes too!) you should check it out.

So where was I?  Oh, fragile state, blah blah.  We just finished watching the shows, and since I’m a little ramped up thanks to them, I thought I’d read a bit of news.  (Warning, this is not for the sensitive of heart.  I’m looking your way, BeThisWay.) And then I came across this bit of news at CNN.com and I nearly lost it.  I’ll sum it up:  gorilla in zoo has baby, baby dies, mama gorilla won’t let go of dead baby gorilla and is still carrying him around days later.

It is stuff like this that just highlights for me how little difference there is between us humans and other animals.  And this isn’t anthropomorphizing, in my opinion — this mom is mourning her child.  It’s surely the early stages — anyone who knows anything about mourning knows that the first stage is denial, and sometimes it lasts awhile.  Elephants mourn their dead, as well.  They will come across bones as the herd travels, and will caress and move the bones.  And then this story about a dolphin… just so sad, and so easy to relate to.  I think it’s inaccurate to say that animals are like us, because it implies we are the species that sets the bar.  Rather, we are no different than any other higher-order species.  At least where matters of the heart are concerned.

Not a great start

Within the first five minutes of being awake, I got clocked in the back of the head with a sippy cup, and smacked in the nose by a board book.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to realize I have a pretty bad headache now.

Yesterday brought some good news — our closing has finally been scheduled!  We’ll be officially homeowners again next Wednesday.  Yay!  And only two weeks later than originally planned.  Now, planning for what work we want to get done before we move in, and all the actual packing.  The good news about that is that we don’t have a ton of stuff here that needs to be packed in boxes.

Yesterday also brought rain.  Lots and lots and lots of rain.  We definitely needed the rain, it had been very hot and dry for about a week straight.  But I ended up out in two different downpours, and that wasn’t much fun.  Frank and I were supposed to have golf lessons yesterday but they were canceled.  The kids were already at my in-laws’, so I decided to go run at the gym instead.  Bailey is generally a pretty level-headed dog, but thunderstorms just make her a little nervous and she acts a bit odd.  Well, as I was trying to leave the house, Bailey decides she NEEDS to go with me and she sneaks out the door and darts down to the driveway.  In a complete downpour.  I’m sure we were a funny sight, out in the drenching rain, while I was trying to get her leash on her to drag her back into the house.  Even though I was soaked, I decided I wasn’t going to use it as an excuse to get out of exercising so I still went and did some time on the treadmill.

My second downpour foray was later, when Frank came home with the kids from his parents.  They left his parents when no rain was falling, and three minutes later when they got home it was raining buckets.  I went out with an umbrella to help get everyone in the house relatively dry.  Mission mostly successful, except I got pretty wet from the knees down.

So, today finds me pretty stiff from running and getting cold and wet, and now a headache to top it off.  But thinking about actually moving into our house almost makes up for it all.

Ouchie

We had one of those All-American sort of Sundays.  We slept in a bit, Frank napped on the couch, I vacuumed and washed the floors.  (And color me surprised that Murphy’s Oil Soap has gotten the tile floor in my kitchen more clean than any other cleaner I’ve used on it since we’ve lived here.)  Then we went to a local park and had a BBQ/picnic for dinner, I walked a nature trail with the kids while Frank did some studying, we all played on the playground for a bit, then when we got home I decided to make Rice Krispies treat with Lane to top it all off.

It was all going great until an errant Rice Krispie fell onto the stovetop and Lane tried to pick it up… burning two of her fingers in the process.  😦  I realized what she was doing and grabbed and pulled her hand away before it could have been much worse, thankfully.  But I’m still disappointed that I let it happen at all.  😦  I was right there!  Oh well.  It could have been much worse, and it wasn’t.

They’re not bad.  Her index finger has a blister just a bit bigger than the size of a pencil eraser, and her middle finger has one a bit smaller than a pencil eraser.  Oh man, did she cry.  She’s not exactly a child of reasonably-scaled reactions to things (to call her intense is unjust to the word “intense”) so this smallish boo-boo sent her off the deep end.  The wailing went on for at least 20 minutes, followed by sniffling and recurring bouts of tears for 20 minutes after that.  It wasn’t for at least an hour that I managed to get a smile out of her.  We did all the requisite first aid for a second degree burn — cold running water for as long as I could get her to keep her fingers in the bathroom sink, then sitting on the couch watching a baseball game with her fingers in a cup of cold water after that.  (See, baseball!  Even an All-American distraction for my little girl!)

So now she’s in bed, fingers intact.  My heart has mostly recovered.  And hopefully our upstairs neighbor hasn’t called Child & Family Services on us.

Sticky

We’re on about day ten of stickiness.  Even though it hasn’t been super hot, the humidity just will not go away, and the forecast doesn’t bode well for me not sweating all over myself.  Oh well, life could be worse.

We went to see Wall-E today.  Two big thumbs up from me, and the rest of the family really liked it too.  I loved the storyline — it was really thought-provoking in terms of conservation & consumerism, and delivered a sobering message without being preachy.  It definitely reframed some of my thoughts around what I might “need”.  I’d been ruminating on that as it is, as Lane has started noticing advertising and marketing gimmicks and I’m trying to show her them for what they are.  Does she want that tube of toothpaste because she thinks it will make her teeth really clean, or because it will taste good, or is it just because it has Diego on it?  Yes, the Aqua Globes on the infomercial are cool, and yes we do have plants, but our watering can works just fine, we don’t need hand-blown glass globes to automatically deliver the perfect amount of water for up to two weeks!

In trying to help Lane see through this mental clutter, I’ve started to realize how much of it I have, and how I sometimes fail to see around the obstacles that the media has planted in my mental path.  I’ve spent a long time really digging Burberry plaid.  Why?  I do find the pattern visually appealing… but do I like it more because of the illusion of status it might convey?  Probably.  I drive a Honda Odyssey right now.  We bought it with the intention that we would take care of it and it would be driven until it simply could not be driven any more.  It boggles the mind how many times people have called that into question — do I really want to drive a car into the ground?  What if it lasts another ten years?  Do I want to be driving a 15-year-old vehicle?  Part of me does cringe at that… ugh.  But why do I cringe?  Is there anything fundamentally flawed about loyalty to a vehicle that continues to serve its purpose, that being to get me and my family and my stuff (some of which I probably don’t need anyway) from Point A to Point B and back again?  Why should any part of my brain worry about the impression someone might get because I don’t have the latest model?

We are in the process of buying a house.  This whole foray brings up a related set of values and perceptions.  Frank and I were contemplating buying a 3 bedroom ranch, and my in-laws (people who are not generally the keep-up-with-the-Joneses type) were convinced it simply could not be big enough for our family.   First of all, it was more than big enough for us.  Maybe not for all our ‘stuff’ too — but that could be rectified via a garage sale, Craigslist and Freecycle.  Regardless, my brother and I grew up in a 3 bedroom ranch that wasn’t any bigger than the house Frank and I were considering, and my childhood house was probably smaller.  Before we bought the 3 bedroom ranch, my family and I were in a 3 bedroom cape cod, which was DEFINITELY smaller than the ranch we bought when I was 13… and while it may have lacked for space (especially in the closet department) we survived.  The house we are now under contract on is definitely bigger, a 4 bedroom raised ranch with a living room and family room and roomy master suite with two closets, and a dining room and huge deck and big backyard.  We decided to buy it not because it was “more house” but mainly because it was very close to my in-laws’ house.  That it is bigger and more updated is simply a bonus (until I start thinking about the bigger mortgage that comes with it.)  Yet a part of me still feels a big oodgy when I mentally compare it to other people’s houses.  How does it compare, and how will others compare their house to mine?

This rat race, it is a hard habit to break.  And it seems so fundamentally pervasive in our culture.  It must tie somehow to some mental process, some functioning of the human psyche that served us well for survival when we all were hunting and gathering and trying to avoid saber-toothed tigers lest we become an entree.  Perhaps it helped to ensure our survival, if we always strove to collect more berries than the people in the next cave.  But it’s time to draw the proverbial line in the sand.  I’ve collected enough berries.

My brain is fried

I spent most of the day researching mortgage rates, filling out forms online, talking to various ‘mortgage specialists’ and getting most of an application done with the company I think we’ll end up getting our loan with.  Within there I also completed and mailed out Mother’s Day cards for my grandmas (I hope they get there on time!) and went to Costco, primarily for milk.  Imagine my dismay when they were out of organic milk.  Well, they weren’t out.  But they have apparently arranged their refrigerated stock such that when they’ve run out of organic milk by 2:30 in the afternoon, they have no way to replenish the stock until the store closes.  Nice.  Oh, Lane and I also planted some flower seeds in the ‘garden’ here, just to see if we can get them to grow into the lush little flowers promised on the outside of the seed packet.  I am skeptical.

I have shifted into parenting survival mode.  This mortgage application stuff is not my cuppa tea.

Luckily I had the forethought to buy a couple slices of pizza at Costco before we left.  Lane and I shared one for lunch when we got home (yeah, lunch at 3:30… but we had a late breakfast and a snack around 1:00).  Then I just shared the second one, cold, with the kids.  And not even cut up nicely… I ripped off a piece for Jake and he walked around noshing on it, and Lane got the remains of the piece after I was done eating off of it.  I’m such an awesome mom some days.

Hopefully after a little while of not thinking about rates and points and origination fees and title searches and bank statements I can regain my brain.  Fingers crossed!