I should be exercising. I should be cleaning. I should be doing anything but sitting on the computer (or watching Ally McBeal on Netflix – which is truly still calling my name). I have the house to myself and I could be getting a million things done but instead I am enjoying the silence (when the TV isn’t on) and solitude. I can leisurely sip my coffee, stay in my pajamas, and find a million reasons why I can’t make it to the gym. Yet, Jiminy Cricket will not leave my shoulder. Why do I feel so guilty taking this day to do nothing?! Kids are visiting grandparents. Husband is on business trip. I had such grand plans to have so much done – but here I sit, typing on my blog and feeling slightly less guilty than I did watching Damages on Netflix (trying to rationalize with Jiminy that the blog is like work so he can’t yell at me as much as when I was on the couch watching TV). In 48 hours, my house will be full again and this solitude will be gone. I need to let the guilt go and just enjoy…why is that so hard?!


Leave your children!

So a friend of mine is getting married and doesn’t want kids at her wedding – not a problem, her wedding, her rules. However, her brother just had a baby and is insisting that he be allowed to bring her (one of the reasons being that people will want to see her).  I have watched my friend go back and forth on this, yet happy that she is standing her ground. If her brother lived out of town, I could see wanting the child there as it would be harder to leave the baby and perhaps harder for family and friends to see her. But he lives in town with his sister and they have taken visitors to their house for infant viewings.  The main issue with her brother though is a mistake so many parents make after having a child – and that is staying with that child.  He and his wife are nervous about leaving the baby and don’t want to leave her with anyone!! People, you need to get out and get out quickly, LEAVE THAT CHILD ASAP!

I truly think the longer you wait to leave your child with a babysitter (or even your significant other) the harder it becomes for you.  You will be more nervous the longer you wait and you will be more paranoid the longer you wait.  You will start believing that you are the only person who is truly capable of watching your child & suddenly, you can’t leave them with anyone.  The anxiety you feel over anyone else watching but you becomes all- consuming.  You stop going out, you no longer see friends (unless they want to come over and watch you watch your child); essentially you miss out on being an adult.  Now, I am hardly saying that we should shirk our duty as parents and spend all our time apart from our children but adults still need adult time.  If you spend too much time with your child, they will develop an unhealthy dependence on you. Isn’t out job as parents to teach our children to be independent and self-sufficient so when the leave our house they are able to go into real world and are able to, not just cope, but take care of themselves?  What a disservice we do if out child is dependent upon us for daily care – what happens when they go to college?  Do they even go then?  My daughter was skeptical about riding the bus at a new school when she started first grade.  For awhile I debated just driving her every day, until a good friend looked at me and said “Are you crazy?  What happens on a day then when you can’t drive her?  Say you are sick? Or in the hospital? Or don’t have a car?  How much harder is it going to be then for your daughter after you have fed into her fear of riding the bus by driving her daily.  She made an excellent point.  My daughter took the bus and her fears were dispelled after the first day.  Our kids can, will and should survive without us.  Start that independence quickly – get a babysitter!

~and let your sister have her day – no need to share the spotlight with an infant…in my opinion ; )

Half empty, half full, half day, half year

Half year gone! Where on earth did it go? Can 2011 really already be almost be over? I think I let my daughter down today. I screwed up on a time – she was supposed to be somewhere at 4:30, I thought it was 5:30. She still isn’t really speaking to me, lol. I apologized. So our night is half over and I can’t help but wonder if she will wake up happier in the morning. Since, despite being late, she arrived JUST in time for everything and anything she had to do tonight. Perhaps the second half of the year I should work on scheduling and organizing. Maybe time wouldn’t fly by so quickly if I was more aware. Ha, oh well – here’s to the 2nd half of 2011!

Not Everyone Will Like You (or vice versa)

Do you like everyone?  Do you get along with everyone?  No one does and it’s impossible to put such expectations on our children.  They will not be liked by everyone in their class, on their team, or even in their extended family. And that is OKAY! Nor will they like everyone in their class, on their team or in even in their extended family. And that is OKAY too. We need to let our children know that it’s okay to not be invited to every birthday party (note to schools- stop insisting that if we send invitations to school, every child in the class must receive one), they will not be invited to every sleepover, and they won’t always have a friend to play with on the playground.  And that is OKAY!  I can think of quite a few people who don’t like me and I am sure you can think of a few who don’t like you.  As adults it’s a part of life, so why are we sheltering that part from our children, which is essentially lighting a fuse that explodes in middle school and high school when kids really start to realize they don’t like some kids. I once had a principal try to tell me that if a certain girl wanted to play with my daughter, my daughter had to say yes “it was the Christian thing to do” – well, I respectfully disagreed and told my daughter that the next time the girl asked to play or (in this particular case) insisted on playing, she state to the girl, “I’m sorry but I don’t feel like playing with today, maybe another time.”   There is NO NEED for a child to be rude when they don’t like someone, but you can kindly decline an invite to play. Adults do not have a problem saying to each other “No, not today.” Or “I’m just not in the mood for that.” Or just plain, “Sorry, no.”  Our kids have to see the same people every day at school for 6-7 hours a day, just like an adult at work.  Adults get tired of seeing the same faces everyday and they don’t like everyone they work with, nor do they want to go to lunch with the same person every day.  Children certainly feel the same way, they get tired of the same kids each day, they don’t like everyone that is at their school or in their class, nor do they want to play with the same person every day at recess. I went on a road trip with two friends and my kids once, one of my friends truly got so far under my skin I was losing my mind. My kids noticed and we discussed it when we arrived back home. It’s human nature (and by the way, still love that friend, just can’t travel with her). When any human is with another human too much, they get annoying.  Let’s give our children the tools to understand when someone has had enough of us, and learn to walk away and not be hurt when someone doesn’t want to or doesn’t like playing with them.  And let’s give them the tools to say, kindly, to another child that they have had enough of their company.  Teach our kids to use their words!

The Law of Averages

The Law of Averages

It is amazing how many children are talented and gifted these days…or let me put it another way, how many parents believe that their child is talented and gifted.  Many parents not only overstate their child’s abilities but they truly believe they have begotten the next Albert Einstein or Jesus of Nazareth (–is that too much, lol) .  It appears that the law of averages has been forgotten amongst a large portion of parents as 8 out of 10 parents will or would claim that their child is above average and is talented and gifted.  Sorry, it is just not true.  Your kid may read and write well for his age but that doesn’t qualify him as the next John Steinbeck.   Sure he can throw a football, doesn’t mean he is Walter Payton.  My daughter can act, doesn’t mean she is the next Katharine Hepburn – nor do I let her think she will be.  It’s great to encourage our kids and watch them learn and excel  but let’s not fill their head with hot air and over-inflate their abilities.  We keep over inflating their abilities and suddenly we have a population that all thinks they are incredible when in fact they are just average and our nation suddenly comes to a standstill as none of these kids are actually as special as they have been lead to believe and really can’t come up with a creative thought, idea, artwork, performance, invention or analysis.  They are now out into the real world facing the reality that they “aren’t all that” and their world will come crashing down and they will inevitably blame their parents (after all, it was the parents who spoon fed their children fallacies).   So not only are we setting them up for failure, we are setting them up to dislike us.  Let’s tell our children they are good at certain things and not good at other things.  Be honest about their abilities – “yes, you can throw a football but your catching isn’t so great, how about we practice that.  Oh and by the way little Jimmy, you need to do better in math as very few people ever get to the NFL. Your education is just as important as your sports.  Your hard work in school and after-school activities will pay off”.  Teach them to work hard with what they have, practice with them on what they are lacking – because every kid lacks something and most kids are just average.

Your child IS or WILL BE a loser!

Life is about winning.  Everyone wants to win; be it in sports, work, and grades – but in reality we all can’t be winners. So many of the teams my kids have been on give out trophies to every child when the season is done – why? So every kid feels special and feels as if they had a stellar season.  When in reality, as my kids have noticed, sometimes their team sucks. Why are we rewarding the kids and making them feel as if they should receive a trophy when their team really didn’t win at all. I don’t think Major League Baseball gives out trophies to the team that comes in last in each division. Losing is a part of life. Your child will not win every game or even make every team. Jobs, especially today, are competitive. Even if your child is  qualified there will be other people that are just as qualified (and some more qualified) and they will get the job (and let’s not forget sometimes its just who you know & has NOTHING to do with your/their qualifications). Your child will not get into every college that they applied to. Your child will not get an A on every test; in fact your child will probably get a D or an F at some point during their school years. Your child will sometimes even make a simple basic decision that will make them a loser. Isn’t learning how to work through those times of failures part of life’s lessons? For instance, when my daughter was 12 years old she kept insisting she was able to take the subway by herself, fly and navigate through an airport by herself, and could possibly even live in an apartment in a big city by herself.  I respectfully disagreed.  Although, she was more capable than most 12 year olds, and even some adults I knew, I just felt she wasn’t aware enough of her surroundings to be completely solo. Yet, a moment came up when she had the opportunity to fly by herself.  She had to do security alone, find her gate, get her ticket, and board.  Guess what happened? She missed the flight! She went to the wrong gate. She sat there and was not aware of her surroundings. By the time she realized her mistake, she ran to the correct gate, just to watch it pull away. Do you think she felt like a winner at that moment? Hell no! She has said how her stomach just dropped and she knew she had made a huge mistake. Did I tell her she was a loser? Hell no! She was hard enough on herself and knew that she had completely failed. But let me tell you, the next day she got up and did it all again PERFECTLY! The best lessons in life are taught by life! She is now aware of her surroundings; she now can navigate airports and subways. She is not complacent when venturing out on her own and pays attention rather than letting her guard down and just assuming all is good. She failed the first time. It was devastating. Her phone call to me was gut-wrenching. But through that losing moment, she gained far more than I could’ve taught her. Let your kids feel what it is like to fail. Let them know that through those failures and losses come bigger and better things. Stop giving them trophies when their team sucks. Losing is part of life, let them get used to it and learn from it!

Mother “crossed” the line

My babies had their naming ceremony – now mind you, I don’t do baptisms. My husband is an atheist. I consider myself Christian but not practicing. I was raised in a Catholic house and my mother is still a staunch Catholic (and that is putting it lightly). So rather than a baptism, my husband and I agreed on a naming ceremony…and let me add that I had to fight for it. He really didn’t want anything that resembled baptism, initiation, dedication, or whatever you wanted to call it, he just didn’t want it. For me to get him to agree to the naming ceremony was monumental. But he finally agreed; I was happy, he was happy. It was going to be perfect.

3 days before the big day, my husband’s mother passes away after never completely recovering from a stroke. It was heartbreaking. Yet, we decide to have the naming ceremony still and have her memorial service the following week. Now we aren’t so happy but we still want to celebrate the birth of our two girls who are new to this world.

The big day arrives; family & friends come to our house to join us in the naming ceremony. The sun is out, the day is as perfect as it can be while we are missing one grandma.  My mother still came, along with my siblings, their spouses & my nieces & nephews (my husband’s brother & his wife were there as well). All in all, we think it was a success. Even my mother seemed happy with the ceremony, despite it not being in the Catholic way. (I reflect on that thought quite often, as she truly did seem happy, yet as the events progressed I question if it was all fake or if she was simply happy with herself for what she did and it really had nothing to do with the naming ceremony…but I am getting ahead of myself). We eat, we open gifts, we say our goodbyes and the day is done. All that is left is the clean up.

We each take a girl to put into bed before we start to clean. We walk into their room & look at each crib – WWWWHHHHHHAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTT?!? We are both standing, jaws dropped, shocked & not quite sure what to think or say. Above each crib is a cross nailed to the wall – and not just a colorful children’s cross, a cross with a body, the body of Jesus, nailed to the cross, it even had specs of blood on his hands & feet where the nails went in AND it is nailed to OUR wall – our girls wall – above their cribs!!  I know who did this. My husband knows who did this. Yet we are still speechless & shocked that she would really do this! Two crosses, nailed to OUR walls – did I say that already, as I find myself repeating it over and over and each time the shock doesn’t get any less. My mother in her flawless Catholic ways came into our house, with a hammer, with two nails, with two crosses, and nailed them to my wall, above my children’s beds WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. And it was pre-meditated. She knows my husband is an atheist. She knows I fought for this naming ceremony. Yet she still did this…it’s one of those stories you hear and think -Wow, that woman is nuts, glad I don’t know her – Ha, and its my mother! How on earth can you think you have the right to nail anything to the wall in someone elses house, but to nail a religious artifact?! I was furious. My husband was hurt –  and he was already dealing with his own mother’s death, now my mother has nailed a cross to the wall. INSANE, simply insane. She has crossed the line – pun intended. But is it worth my time to even explain to her how insulting and ludicrous her behavior is/was? I am at a loss.

Right now I need to plan my mother-in-laws memorial service and I truly don’t have the time or energy to deal with her. I will repeat. I am at a loss, a loss.