Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The other parent....

I thought about making this post about Dads - but then as I was thinking about it this afternoon, while watching Mr. M - our neighbor try to teach his 3 year son, his 7 year old daughter, L & E - the basics of back yard football, I decided that it is not a Dad or Mom issue - but rather it is about the other parent. In our neighborhood it is mainly Dad, in other places it might be the working mom married to the stay at home dad or in other family dynamics it might very well be my "other Mommie" or "my other Daddy." What I am driving at is the parent that does not spend most of their time nurturing the child, not the primary caregiver.

I have noticed this very profoundly in our family. H is way more motivated to let them do things for themselves. Not that I am not focused on independence, but he is in different way. L is washing her own hair and using the shower attachment to rinse it herself. I can assure you I did not teach her this. No way. Like I need a bathroom overflowing with water - at 7 pm after a long day of nurturing. E is now washing his own hair and waiting for someone to rinse it for him. Did I teach him this - no way - I wash him up as fast as possible, moving on to the next task.

But H, who is gone alot - will come home and on his days here, roll up his sleeves and dive right into the parenting. He is not afraid to take a chance. He maintains it is because he is lazy and wants them to be able to handle it all on their own in the near future. What do they say, "teach a man to fish......"

I have been viewing the tasks from the point of view of how much more work can this cause me - after an already long day, whereas H is viewing these tasks as how can I make life easier in the coming days.

It is also like this I think at the park. H will let - no encourage them to take risks, to grow - whereas I am more careful, I want everyone safe and in one piece. L would still be on the little slides - if H had not stepped in and taught how to climb the ladders and go for it.

Today Mr. M was charged with the task of explaining to his 3 year old, why incidental pushing and tackling while playing football is ok - but not ok otherwise. It was a talk he was having to have at each play. No matter how tedious it is a lesson worth learning.

Watching this and thinking about H and I's discussion about self help in the tub, made me think about the importance of the "Other parent." The one who is not always the day to day care giver but plays a vital role in the child's development.

As an aside - this observation is not to say that single mom's and dad's cannot raise kids. Not in the least - I am for all intense and purposes 4 or so days a week - a single mother. I can only imagine what it is like to never have the calvary come to the rescue. It must be an uphill battle all the way.

This entry is however about my observation of the dynamic I have witness and thought to comment on. It does take a village to raise a child - I think and I am further discovering that it everyone in the village has a role to play.

Life's little adventures...

Today I am sleepy - both little angels decided they really needed my company - IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT! But it is all good, right my biggest concern today was laundry, the dishwasher repair guy and making jack-o-lanterns - in the grand scheme of life - nothing earth shattering.

As I walked to get L from Kindergarten - though the night of next to no sleep was catching up with me. I was feeling tired. I thought, oh - I can make it a few more hours - surely nothing else will come up.

Well, as it happens as we walked home, the neighbor's little white dog falls in step with us. I had a vague notion where the little guy belongs - and it is not on our street. So I stop him, check his tags - thank goodness he had some - and then told L & E were were going on a little adventure. I fashioned a leash for him out of spare stuff in the garage and we head off, L walking, me with little dog and stroller - E riding in style.

After we dropped off the little guy, L says - "well, that felt good Mommie - we did a good deed and got him safe and sound back with his Mommie. Let's go home and have a snack."

Let's indeed.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

21 Big lessons from Little Kids REVISED: 21 things I have learned since I have become a mom

H brings me magazines all the time. Newspapers too! He collects them on his trips. It is great fun to get these every time he comes home. This trip he brought me a copy of Men's Health Sept. 2007. (BTW this is a great publication and the recipes they have every month are Yummy and Easy!)

I especially like the article "21 big lessons from little kids."

So I decided to come up with 21 Lessons I have learned since becoming the mother of 2 little kids:

1. The hours between 7 am and 7 pm - roughly the time they are awake can be as pleasant as you make them. You can dread every hour, fear every tantrum or you can embrace the day, make the most of it and that includes yogurt on the ceiling and the screaming fit in Target. Actually I have found the more relaxed I am the more relaxed they are.

2. Honesty so is the best policy. Little ones will tell you when you look funny. They will also tell you that you are the most beautiful woman in the world - and coming from them I know it is true - they are not just giving me a line.

3. Honesty is the best policy when dealing with them. If they ask how long you are going to be - tell them the truth. If they want to know why they have to eat veggies - tell them the truth. If they want to know why they have to go to bed, tell them the truth. Kids are so down with the truth to the extent they can understand. Like a dog can smell fear, kids can smell a lie.

4. It is perfectly acceptable to just do it! Stop thinking it over, stop hemming and hawing and just do it, the worst that can happen is you fall on your ass - best case - you have alot of fun.

5. If you are the one with the crayons - then the sky can be green and the grass blue - so there!

6. It is ok for someone to spit partially chewed food into my hand. It is not so bad really. Soap and water or a baby wipe will make my hand good as new. Honestly!

7. Bodily functions can be the ultimate comic relief.

8. Reading the same book over and over - really can be fun - especially once you have the story memorized - takes the pressure off - you could read it in your sleep or after being up all night.... The same applies to questions. Ask the same question enough and you might get the answer you are looking for.........

9. Sleep - well sleep is optional.

10. A 5 course gourmet well planned and executed meal has nothing on Mac & Cheese, yogurt, bananas and gummi bears - sorry Martha!

11. A kiss and a cuddle really can cure a world of hurts.

12. Waiting is silly, if everything ran on time everyone would be much happier. There is an reasonable amount of time one can wait and then you just bag it or throw a tantrum....

13. Outfits should make you happy - matching or seasonal appropriateness - well that is so last year.

14. Living the hell out of life is the point.

15. Eating with your fingers really does make the food taste better.

16. Listening is optional. Singing loudly so one does not have to listen - required skill.

17. At the end of the day, they do go to sleep, some nights quietly and other nights it is a struggle - but sleep they do.

18. The most peaceful sound in the world is the sound that one hears once they have gone to sleep - Silence.

19. One of the scariest sounds in the world is that same silence heard during the day followed by a shrill - "Moooooommmmmmmieeeeeeeeeeeee." Oh shit - what now?

20. Nothing compares to a big smile - on L or E's face.

21. While my life is drastically different and I am so not where I thought I would be - I would not trade any of it for all the money in world.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I think I know what the problem is....

I try not to harp or pick on people. Most people know, if they ask me for my opinion I am inclined to offer my honest opinion - I try to be kind but from me you get the truth. I have always been of the opinion that if you have bothered to ask - then you must really want to know.

So that said - I think I know what part of this countriy's weight problem is all about. People sit on their butts too much - mainly in their cars! Seriously, I love our neighborhood. It is a lovely neighborhood. Our yard rocks, we have mature trees! At night, it is so quiet in the neighborhood you can hear a pin drop. Would I like the energy of a more urban setting - some days yes and some days no. Do I feel safe and peaceful here. Yes.

What I am not such a fan of is the fact that it is suburban and as such, walking places is a bit harder. I can walk to the library - more correctly I ride my bike. I can ride my bike to the post office. H and I have ridden our bikes out to breakfast and lunch. I think I could ride my bike to the grocery, it would be a bit of a challenge, but it is possible.

One of the things I love most about Europe, NYC, Chicago, San Fransisco and other large urban centers, is that you can walk so many great places. You can take public transit to so many great places. You can ride your bike so many great places. It is expected that you walk, ride or take public transit so many great places and all points in between.

In the suburbs it is expected that you will squeeze your ever expanding butt into your over sized SUV and drive so many places. I am not down with this. One, I overall hate to drive. Secondly, it is not good for the environment. Currently it is expensive to drive everywhere. Furthermore, it is healthy to walk.

Case in point, I walk everyday to get L from school. It is about an 1/8 of a mile each way. I am one of the only moms in the neighborhood who is doing this. Everyone else is driving. For the most part, I think this lazy. Sure, I guess if your schedule is so tight and your kids are in so many activities, that you have no other recourse - but I have thoughts on that also.

Walking is good for you. It is a time to unwind, to take a breather, to enjoy the day. Sure this week, it was cool and rainy - but last time I checked that is why we have rain boots, umbrellas and rain coats.

So when the other mothers comment on how I have lost weight and always seem so serene, blah, blah, blah - I just smile and say, well I guess it is all those hours in the gym. Which in part have helped - but honestly, if they drove a little less and walked a little more - it just might have an impact on a number of areas in their lives. It would also teach their children the value of life long exercise and and an appreciation for what Urbanites and Europeans have known for along time - walking does the mind and body good.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A new year

I rarely make New Year's resolutions. I also do not give up anything during Lent - as a general rule - I mean I do not smoke, I drink only off and on, I cannot eat most sweet treats, dairy products, wheat and corn. Dark chocolate - well it is in no one's best interest that I stop eating that. I gave up watching TV for Lent 2 years ago and well I never went back - I now hardly watch tv.

So while I do not make resolutions as a general rule - I am a goal driven person. I like the sense of accomplishment a job well done brings. So I have to say that 2007 has been a year - in which I have striven to bust out of my shell and go for it - full force! I decided in February to get serious about dealing with my food issues, to lose the last bit of baby weight and then some, I resolved at that point in time to take up running. I honestly thought I would shoot for a 5 K - well while that was the logical way to go - I instead just went for the 1/2 marathon - when I go for it, I go for it. The same with writing. I thought this little public diary in cyberspace would cure the writers' urge - but no - I have now not only kept up this blog, but also ventured into freelancing, written 2 short stories (one of which was rejected and one of which I just sent off for consideration.) I am going to buckle down and get started on the novel - which I have been working on and off and on!

So on balance in the last 6 months - I have taken on some big goals and accomplished them and I feel all the better for it. It is hard - I mean I hurt in a huge way today - but I did it. I trained (maybe not enough) but I did train for the run and ran I did! The story rejection stung a bit - but just made me all the more determined to improve my craft - to get better - to keep writing. I labored over this last story. I really am pleased with it. It is a good story. So I will just wait and see - but by no means will a rejection cause me to stop trying. I know I can do it. I ran and finished the half marathon and I will get published. I just will. I want it and I will work until it happens.

I have no idea what 2008 will hold - but right now 2007 is shaping up to be a very good year for me.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Well that was fun...

That is what I turned to JS and said at 10.78 miles after we had run a brisk jog. I was smiling when I said it. In fact the entire 1/2 marathon experience was FUN! Now let me just say that the longest I have ever managed to run is 7.5 miles. I should have been able to run 10 miles - but I never got there - so we did walk a good bit of the course - say from 7.5 miles thru about mile 11.5 or so - but it was a fast walk. So I will recap random thoughts about the day - since I am feeling a bit random and putting it into usable prose is not going to happen.

1. I took chap stick. Yep - I had it in my sock. It was me and chap stick. I had not given a thought to food for during the race, car keys or otherwise. JS had her camel pack and a running watch with GPS and the whole deal. She had said if I wanted to run ahead I could. I asked her if she was nutts. She had all the good stuff - I was sticking to her like glue.

2. We ran the 1st mile in under 10 minutes. In fact we were moving at a fast clip for the 1st three. So I now know that my race style is more 5k than say 1/2 marathon. I like to bust it out and be done - thank you very much. I also know that I could run a 10 K and do ok also. I will not be attempting the full marathon anytime soon.

3. L asked me tonight if I won the race. Well not exactly. I mean I finished. I actually did it in under 3 hours - which for someone this time last year would tell people she would only run if chased. I mean a few years ago- if you told me I would run and finish a 13.1 mile- race - I would have told you that you lost your mind.

4. I noticed that girls tend to run in twos. JS and I ran together and we were not alone. In fact there where two girls dressed as rabbits - complete with pick knees socks. There were also many couples - I guess it is a great way to spend time together. However - I am not sure H is going to be running with me anytime soon. Besides he runs too fast - I am realistic about just how much I can take.

5. I had taken one of my favorite ABC cookies with me for after the race. I was so looking forward to it smeared in peanut butter. In fact at mile 10 I was really thinking about that cookie. So when the race ended and I could actually eat my cookie - well I did not want it anymore. Further proof that God is not a woman - a woman would have fixed the comic gliche that would do such a thing to a person who had just run/walked 13.1 miles. I still do not want that cookie - darn it! (For those wondering - yeah - I kinda wanted to puke...)

6. Not that I want anyone to think that I am superwoman - birthing babies the old fashion way and all - but because God is not a woman - it happened that my period started on Friday evening, Nice! But still managed it ok.

So the big question is who will be joining us for next years race? I mean we plan to do it in 2.5 hours. If you get off your butt now - you just might make it!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cross your fingers cuz holding your breath might get you killed

All joking aside - I did it today - I sent my short story off for consideration. It was a long work for me 9000 words - my first try was only 1500. I have been laboring over this story on and off since March. I think it is a good one. I really like how it came together. It is an erotic romance. The potential publisher will pay me nothing - but it might get my name out there and it is a chance to try out the process. I am learning on the fly.

I think if anything my witting is improving. I am getting better at telling a story. I am developing my own style. I am learning what works for me and what does not.

So please cross your fingers. Serious do not hold your breath - all that will happen is that you will turn blue!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Allow me to introduce Cinderella

L and I made this for her pumpkin contest at school. We painted her with pink tempra paint and made her a crown of flowers and a button face. L gave her pink glitter glue hair.

L named her also. Watch out Disney there is a new Cinderella in town.

It was great fun.... I love Halloween.

Daylight and Dark

H and I have hit a parenting milestone. We are done with diapers - during the day. E is in underwear and doing fine. It was painless. With L the entire potty training process closely resembled HELL. I mean I was ready to ship her back and demand a refund. It has been the greatest parenting challenge to date. I was dreading even thinking about it with E. But H - my knight in shinning armor - was home for a week and decided we should try - I mean if he had not taken the lead - I was fully prepared to let E go to college in diapers.

Well - all in all it truly is up to the child. E took to it. Is doing great. I mean this is who those freaky people who right the how to books are patterning their examples after.

This leads me to another thought. We have two totally different little people. As individual as they come. My mother says the same thing about my brother and I. She says she has daylight and dark.

I have to say that E and L have many similar traits and they are also - in the areas they are different - a great compliment to each other. For all of L's intensity E is laid back. For all of her enthusiasm, E is understated and quiet. L will dive in head first and E stands back to consider the possibilities.

E is the child that would convince you to have more. That however is not going to happen - we are content to enjoy them each for the individuals they are and enjoy their differences and similarities.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hats of to the folks at LGA

Ok - so I went to NYC last weekend and had a wonderful time. The weather was excellent and I had a super run in the park. Shopping, food and shows - excellent.

This time I told H - my trusted travel consultant that I refused to go through JFK - I do not care that it is free - I refused to go to that place.

So this time I flew through LGA and I have to say for as clueless as they are at JFK - the folks at LGA have it together.

I go there early on Monday morning - remember I have to fly when no normal sane person would - and I got checked in and noticed that the line to get through security was longer than the terminal, it was going out the door and onto the sidewalk. Now - I at first blush assumed that LGA would operate like JFK and I was in for a huge catastrophic ordeal and I had visions of being stranded, because for me it was the early flight or not at all.

Well, to my surprise, the staff at LGA made sure the line stayed orderly, somehow managed to scare up some TSA employees to operate the second check point and then culled the line - taking people based upon their departure time. At JFK I am certain we would have all stood there in the midst of a riot and more than likely missed our flights.

All I can say is - clearly this is a prime example of how good management works. Situations are dealt with. Solutions are found. Details are taken care of.

So - LGA hats off to you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thankfully it was not a spelling test

You Scored an A

You got 10/10 questions correct.

It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.
If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.
As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.
And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.

Angelle had this over on her blog so I decided to check it out also. It is not as tricky as I thought it might be. I hate proofreading. It is hard work. I struggle with it. But there are somethings that do make me crazy and this little quiz speaks to that.

Now about spelling - I am horrible. I am dreading when L needs to work on spelling words. I can blame it sometimes on the fact that my hands and brain cannot always get it together - but honestly, spelling has never been my strong suit.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Free Fall

Do you remember doing "trust falls" when you were younger, in a team building exercise? I was never very good at them. I mean in a pinch I think I would trust someone to catch me - but do I really need to test this in practice. Same thing with bungee jumping and sky diving - if ever I absolutely have to jump out of a plane or off a bridge - I think I could rise to the occasion and do what it takes - but "practice it for fun" - can I pass?

Now I have friends who have gone bungee jumping and sky diving - they have described the rush of the free fall and the sheer excitement of being weightless - if only for a few moments. It sounds wonderful. (I am still not going to do it.)

The other day in the park, H & I were watching L & E play and I was sitting on the ledge of the jungle gym structure and H wanted me to lean back and do a "trust fall." I could not do it. Now I know with all of my heart that H would catch me. He has done so in so many ways in the past. I trust him with my life - but I still could let myself fall off the ledge.

Today as I drove to the airport for my flight to NYC, I was thinking about how much I do love and trust H. We actually have a bit of an inside joke - "Who is always right?" (Hint - it is not me!) So today as I drove to the airport, following his time table to the letter, I was struck by how right he is. He had my travels mapped out by 5 minute increments. Now he should know - but my point is I trust him. I know he is giving me good advice. It has always been this way.

So while I might not be willing (or perhaps it is I am willing - just not able) to lean back off the the jungle gym and fall. I am willing and able to do listen to his sound advice, to trust him with all of my love and really - that means all the world to me.

Monday, October 1, 2007

5 reasons I think I might be too old to read Cosmo

I usually do not read and run - it is hazardous to my health. However today I did the elliptical as some cross training today and to give the knees a break. (Yes I know the race is coming up JS, but after 2 babies and being 34 - a girl has to be careful.) So while I was looking through the magazines I pulled out the October edition of Cosmopolitan. Now let me be the first to say that I love Cosmo. I have read it since I was in my mid teen years - but today I felt like perhaps I was getting too old to be reading Cosmo:

1. In several articles, there was mention of living at home still. Or living with parents or going to visit your honey and they live at home. Wow, I have not really lived at home since I was say 19 years old.

2. During the career pieces, everyone is very worried about their first "real" job. Or there is discussion about getting that first promotion. MMMM, wow that seems like a long time ago.

3. One women was lamenting the fact that her boyfriend always leaves to go home in the predawn. She was really wondering what that meant. (News flash - that means he is not all that into you or he has an early meeting or he needs to invest in a good overnight bag.) My only predawn lament is a) H is not home to take a turn tackling whatever problem L or E is having b) or when H is home, what are the chances we can sneak in some cuddle time - before they need something.

4. That almost all the men and women featured in the true confession segments are younger than me by at least 5 year. Shit when did that happen?

5. That the hottie bachelor or steamy superstar featured is also younger then me by 5 years. MMMM.

Now all of that aside the 2 reasons I will more than likely still read Cosmo from time to time:

1. They can do a fashion spread to die for in my book. Love it. Maybe would never wear it - but love it!

2. Articles like the one this month on the combo full body orgasm - because let's be honest - when I am too old for that - I hope I am dead!