Showing posts from October, 2007

How To Be a Cool Third Grader

1. Get a cell phone. 2. Get to school on time. 3. Get MacDonald's. Apparently, life is about "getting." Samuel brought this list to me this morning, right after I told the kids that I thought we were probably going to be late for school. I had decided that being late was preferable to stressing out the kids by rushing and yelling. I was just going to take it easy and not ruin everyone's morning by attempting to blast through breakfast, getting dressed, packing backpacks, etc. But I had not considered the cool factor, so it's good he brought me his list. I thought the on time part was odd...because we are never late for school. Maybe he was building a list with at least one thing that would qualify him as cool, because he sure as hell knows by now that numbers 1 and 3 are pipe dreams. At the risk of sounding like every generation of parents that can't believe the things kids are into "these days," I would like to know why cell phones

Haiku for My Children

Crying in the night, Heart sinking at losing sleep. Catching up with you. *** You: force of nature, Caught in rare quiet moment. What is it you see? *** Evening windows up. Kids playing, shouting, running. Neighbors hurry by! *** Soccer game muddy. Gives me dirty laundry, and Boys that smell like earth. *** Escape to shower Revel in water, steam, warmth. Can still hear mayhem. ***

Requiem for Elmo

Parents everywhere, prepare yourselves and your little ones. I am sad to report a tragedy, one that will cast a pallor over many a small heart. I entered my daughters' room this morning only to discover that beloved Elmo had passed. Lola had, carefully, thoughtfully, tenderly, laid him out in repose, almost as if she intended for family members to come and pay their respects. Still to be determined is whether or not beloved Elmo's passing is the result of natural consequences or foul play. Perhaps he fell in Dorothy's bowl when no one was around. There is a rumor that Mr. Noodle has a dark side, and an investigation will need to take place to rule out any crime. One only wishes that muppets could actually close their eyes; perhaps the scene I confronted would have seemed less gruesome if they could. Please join me in a moment of silence for dear Elmo. *** silence *** I am having trouble "moving the body," so to speak. I would like to clean u

Questions, Questions

This whole blogging thing is harder than I thought it would be! I haven't had any time in the past few days to post anything. We've had a busy, but relatively unexciting weekend of soccer games and general playing; Rick worked a long day on Sunday. Before I knew it, that time I was carving out to write got eaten up by feeding, cleaning, playing, and various other activities. But this whole idea about kids playing on their own, or discovering the outdoors, well, it's just been in the news these days, hasn't it? Yesterday's Chronicle had another article about kids being unused to -- even uncomfortable in -- the great outdoors. Another good read. Rick and I wish we could pick up and move somewhere rural and quiet and conducive to hours of outdoor play. Maybe we will someday... *** And here's a small list of the questions I got yesterday from my oldest, after he and his brother spent time with some friends, two boys about their ages. These are kids we re

Overprotected Kids?

I just read this article on (website of the San Francisco Chronicle), and it goes well with my musings on when to let the kids play outside. Our next door neighbor gave Samuel a copy of the book the article refers to, The Dangerous Book for Boys . Now we have to make the time and space for the kids to actually do some of the things in the book. Next challenge: Fearless parenting.

Freakin' Mom

I sent my kids to their after-school care program the other day, which we don't do that often so they aren't that used to it. When I walked in, Samuel came running over shouting "FINALLY!" over and over and over. It was a little touching and a little overwhelming. Later that evening, he said to me: "Mom, when we were waiting for you to pick us up, I was wondering why you were taking so long, and I meant to say 'where's my crazy mom' but instead, and I don't know how this happened, it just came out, but I said ' where's my freakin' mom ." He was bothered by this, because he knew he had said something approaching a swear word. (Is this a swear word? I think so...but I'm not really sure...) Now, I could spend time and brain cells trying to trace back where he picked up this jewel -- I would admit to it if I thought he got it from me, and I don't really think this is one of his dad's preferred curses -- but I was

Craving Independence

As the kids get older, they, especially Samuel, are craving little opportunities to exert their independence. Sam wants, for example, his own cell phone and an ipod. Yeah right. Don't hold your breath, kid. He asked me how old I was when I got my first cell phone: I had to break the unfathomable news to him that I was around 28, and that there were no cell phones when I was a kid. (As if from a script, Vincenzo used the opportunity to ask if " they " had electricity when I was little.) So these are the no-brainers: sorry Sam, you have to wait until you are older. But there are other things that Rick and I are struggling with whether or not to let them do. A boy from down the street knocked the other day and asked if the boys "could come out and play." Sounds like the quintessential childhood question. But I didn't let them go. We know the boy a little bit, not well, but well enough to know he's a sweet kid, very friendly and polite. But we do

Blog Action Day: Slow Food!

Today I am participating in Blog Action Day. As some of you may know, today is the day that Blogger has set aside for bloggers to write about THE ENVIRONMENT , as it pertains to their life and blogs. So here's my contribution. I have become more and more interested in the Slow Food Movement . This is the movement devoted to getting people more aware of and involved in the way food appears on their table, and how their personal choices about food consumption impact the community and the world. Slow Food means local food: buying your food from local growers and farmers. At our house, one way we have switched to "local food" is by purchasing an organic veggie box from River Dog Farm. I absolutely love this box of veggies. My kids get excited about going to pick up the box (it's dropped off at a central site for local subscribers to pick up from), and often, the fresh bell peppers do not even make it back to our house. We get green beans, potatoes, onions, garl

NPR Envy

Every mother has a secret life. The one she would rather be living on the days when the kids are fighting too much, when there are too many dirty dishes, piles of laundry, diapers to change, problems to solve. In other words, every day. This secret life is the one that looks fabulous, meaningful, and thrilling. Here is mine: I want to be Linda Wertheimer. Or Michele Norris. Or Nina Totenberg. I want to be a correspondent for National Public Radio. Of course, this fantasy comes partly from an intense desire to do something OTHER than the many tasks I have to do each day. Here are the things that I am sure are not on the job description of an NPR correspondent: 1. Field the following questions: Why is she looking at me? Where is my yo-yo? Can I have ice cream for lunch? Why does he get to do all the fun stuff? Why don’t you let me do anything fun? 2. Spend the majority of your day cooking three meals for ungrateful and frightfully picky eaters; follow up each meal by cl

You're Going to Do What?

These are the words that would go with this face, if she knew what I am contemplating: I am about to wean her from breastfeeding. Half by choice, and half by circumstance, and 100% a big deal for both of us. It's just happening naturally, between her sleeping through the night, mornings getting crazier, needing to put her down before the older kids go to bed, having her at daycare three days a week...the opportunities for regular feeding times have dwindled. Yesterday, I did not breastfeed her at all; that was a first. It just happened that way. I am mourning a little bit about this; I will miss her little warm body curled around my middle, her little fists beating my chest to make the milk flow faster, her sweaty head growing heavy with sleep crooked in my arm. I'll miss the sound of her little gulps. I'll miss the feeling of the milk flowing out of me and into her. I will, in short, miss having a baby. It seems that once they stop breastfeeding, they start gro

Homework Hell

I am a reasonable, intelligent, dare I say compassionate person. I have the ability to tackle new projects, organize events, and guide small children through a long day. I know how to bandage a scrapped knee, make toast, resolve an argument, write an email and get dinner started ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I am, in short, capable of many things. Then why, oh why, is it utterly impossible for me to be patient with my son when he is doing his homework???? As I write this, he is doing math at the table next to me. And I am trying desperately not to scream and jump out of my skin as I watch him day dream, pause, get distracted, take off his shoes, put them back on, adjust his paper, sharpen his pencil, take a drink of water, and generally STALL. I WANT TO SCREAM. We have been doing homework for 1 hour and 15 minutes so far, and he still has 10 math problems to do. He's gotten through two other assignments and half of this one in that time. The poor kid HATES doing h

Here Kitty Kitty

When I was a kid, so the story goes, I would pretend to be a cat, and my mom would put bowls of milk on the floor for me. I would only come to "Kitty." At least, this is what my babysitter, who wrote a paper about me for her high school child development class, claims. I do not remember this. I think it's very neat that my mom played along with the bowls of milk and all. And mom, you'll be happy to hear that the practice is alive and well at my house, only I have both a cat (Lola) and a dog (Elizabeth). Reminder to self, and to anyone else who would like to learn from my mis-steps : When attempting to settle your squirmy children down for bed, best not to give in to the temptation to be silly, as I did this evening. What possessed me? I do not know. For some unfathomable reason, when I was getting the boys to brush their teeth, I decided to do so in a French accent: "Take your teeeeth into zee bathroom, and brush them." Which then, getting sil

Childhood, Brought To You By...

I worry about the impact of commercialism and consumerism on my kids. Actually, I worry about it a lot, and I don’t think I worry about it enough. The older ones especially are very aware of and intrigued by brand names, logos, companies that seem “cool.” Lots of people will say this is just normal. But it’s SO prevalent these days, and SO insidious, that I suspect that we don’t even know what damage is being done. Since pretty early on, we have talked to the kids about commercials. While they don’t watch any regular programs on TV, we do watch sports. Soccer especially, lots of baseball, basketball…and the commercials for sports are fairly intense. My then 6 and 4 year olds had a conversation in the car one day about what make of car is the best, and I know they were basing their opinions on the ads they have seen. So we tried explaining to them that a company will make its car (or whatever) look absolutely great in a commercial, because the people who own the company want