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Archive for April, 2010

McKayla returned late last night from Mexico.  She has assured us that there were no Mexican drug lords involved in her trip.  She did not dig a drug tunnel to America.  She is very thankful for our clean bathroom, running hot water and her soft bed. She has decided that she does not want a sister ever.  She wishes that our freeways had churro and chicle vendors waiting for her to roll down her window at the slightest twinge of hunger, and come running.

I’m glad to have her home.  The chatter and eating hasn’t seemed to stop.

When she saw the pile of peeps sitting on the counter and asked to eat one, I promptly recruited her to make our Easter cake.

She of course brings two of her biggest fans (who won’t let her out of their sight) to help with the eating cake decorating.

After an extra package of peeps and a few handfuls of chocolate chips the sunflower cake is complete.

Happy Easter!

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L,M,N,O,P

When my twins were close to their second birthday, I went to our local library for baby storytime.  There was a little girl who was maybe two.  I’m being generous with calling her two.  She had these stuffed alphabet letters.  She would pick a letter up and then say something like, “A says a-a-a” or  “R says r-r-r”.  She was right every single time. Then she sorted them by alphabetical order.  I exaggerate not.  She was like an abecedarian prodigy.

I had A,B,C envy.  Nate and Jake had no inclination of even singing the abc song, let alone know what each letter’s sound was.  I felt a little inadequate as a mom.  This was the last time I went to baby storytime.  The pressure to perform was too much.

I rationalized that she was a girl and my twins are boys.  Boys develop a bit slower.  I figured she was probably an only child, she had lots of one on one attention.  While my boys on the other hand are not only kid 4 and 5, but they’re also twins.  Talk about getting gyped on the quality time.

I continued doing what I was doing.  I figured that I’ve taught three other kids their abc’s and to read.  I’m pretty sure that my youngest will eventually learn.  So we sing the abc song while I brush teeth, and tie shoes, and change diapers.  I sing the abc song a lot around here.  Recently the twins have been introduced to the tv.  Now Sesame Street sings the abc song.   The Leapfrog family sings it.  Even their siblings sing to them.

I think that almost a year later, all the singing may have finally started to pay off.

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A discretionary whore

I am a little bit of a magazine whore.  We subscribe to National Geographic, National Geographic Kids, Cricket, Cobblestone, Teen Inc, J-14 (for Mckayla, she’s the only one who cares about that kind of crap), Cosmo, Redbook, Lifestyles, Sunset, AOPA Flying, Flying Destinations, The Old Schoolhouse, Scouting, Boys’ Life, Thriving Family, and recently I’ve added Parenting the School Years to the collection.

I normally don’t subscribe to parenting magazines because it’s hard to read one and not feel a tad bit inadequate.  I have a gaggle of children, so it’s not very practical to take each of them out on a special date every week.  I’d be broke and never home.  I don’t have the time nor the energy to prepare a huge April Fools menu.  I more often than not forget the Tooth Fairy, so leaving tooth fairy dust and magic coins in her wake, isn’t very practical.  My kids probably watch too much tv (right now they are all watching Scooby Doo).  My kids eat more hotdogs than I’m comfortable with.  I really don’t care to know what’s in every bit of processed food they shove in their mouths.  I have to pick my battles.  Rather than feel like the worst parent on the planet, I simply don’t read very many parenting magazines.

But I have a teen daughter now, and the parenting ball game has changed.  I feel like a fish out of water.  I check out books with silly titles at the library like How to Parent a Teen Without Losing Your Mind (McKayla promptly tells me that no book will ever make me a better parent.  There is no help for me) or How to Raise a Caring Teen (and she scoffs that she is caring.)  It’s hard to read a whole book about parenting a teen.   I decided to get something a little more abridged, a magazine, Parenting the School Years.

Unfortunately, I think that this will be the first magazine that I’ll cancel my subscription and demand a refund.  The tone of the entire magazine saddens me.  I’m also a little bit disgusted and appalled by it.

Being a parent is hard.  Being a stay-at-home mom is very hard.  It’s difficult to find fulfillment in washing the same dishes every day, picking up the same toys, reminding the same child not to pee on the toilet seat, breaking up fights, making an endless stream of meals, all the while doing it with an encouraging, kind and loving attitude.  There isn’t any immediate incentive to do trudge through the drudgery.  More often than not we see the little ways that we fail over and over again.  There are no raises or pats on the back.

I find that as I parent, I give up little pieces of myself here and there.  It’s easy to begin to feel like I deserve free time.  I deserve me time.  I deserve my husband to serve me.  I deserve this and that.  I find that when I begin to feel that way, it’s when parenting becomes a chore.

Because when it comes down to it, I want my example to be one that my kids emulate.  I want them to have serving hearts.  I want them to be empathetic.  I want them to be helpful, loving, and encouraging even when the day is full of drudgery, gloom and miserable cretins.  It’s hard to keep that attitude on an easy day, let alone a hard one.

I don’t want to pick up a magazine that pushes selfish, self centered behavior.  I don’t want to find misplaced justification.

Besides all of the terrible drivel like which soap lathers best or “65% of parents say texting actually helps them communicate more often with their kids” (really?), what really pushed me over the edge was the leading article “Buh-bye Guilt” by Stephanie Dolgoff.

4.  Yelling at your son when he actually didn’t do anything wrong.  Sure not a great move, but it’s a good opportunity to show him that even you screw up sometimes, and saying sorry really does help make it better

or

5.  Enjoying your work.  You can love your kids and still have that “Thank God It’s Monday” feeling, well, every Monday.

or

14.  Closing the bedroom door in their little faces.  You did not magically lose your need for privacy when you gave birth.  If someone’s bleeding or not breathing, by all means, they can knock.

and it goes on and on.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand that it’s meant to be a little comical.  But there is truth in all comedy.

Yes, I want to shut the door in my toddler’s face after I’ve spent the whole day with him acting like my tail.  That doesn’t mean I should.

Yes, there are days where I wish that I wouldn’t have ever pulled the kids out of school.  The thought of having hours to shop, leisurely bike ride, reading a book in silence, or lunch with friends, all without five extra sets of ears and mouths, can be rather enticing.  When I feel that way, my attitude follows, and I’m sure that my kids pick up on it.  I think it would be very sad if I had that feeling every day or every week.

Yes, I’m rather embarrassed to say,  there are more times than not when I yell for the sake of yelling.  I’m not sure if there is any amount of apology that would make that okay.

I’m not judging the author, because I can relate to many of the things she chose.  When I go looking for advice or suggestions, I don’t want to find commiseration or entitlement.  I don’t need that kind of justification or encouragement.

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