Monday, October 30, 2006

Inspired by a recent trip to Target

To all the moms I’ve judged before
Whose children ran around the store
I’m sorry for my glares
I know it wasn’t fair
To all the moms I’ve judged before

To all the moms whose kids ran wild
While I shopped peacefully without a child
I wish I could have known
I wish I would have shown
Some empathy and not gotten so riled

Oh the winds of change have blown my way
And now I think back on the day
When I could browse alone
And chat on my cell phone
Without displays and merchandise being thrown

To all the moms I’ve judged before
For whom the mall is such a chore
I now understand your pain
The things you do in vain
While trying to keep your children tame

To all the moms I’ve judged before
I know I wished you’d use the door
I dedicate this post
I raise my glass and toast
To all the moms I’ve judged before

Thank you Willie and Julio for the inspiration.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ready, set, potty!

Everyone's been telling me not to stress. That Peanut will use the potty "when she's ready." Which I suppose is true. I don't know too many 8th graders still wearing diapers, but still, that was hardly comforting because there's always the possibility we've bred the one child willing to hold out until junior high. I was starting to have visions of buying Depends for my 10-year-old.

But then today, she just marched down the hall, pulled off her diaper, sat down and used the potty. She then went into her closet and picked out a pair of big girl underwear, which she put on all by herself. She didn't even mention this feat to us and it wasn't until a while later when Mark picked her up and noticed she was not wearing a diaper that she revealed what she'd done. Sure enough, there in the potty was the evidence.

She used the potty all day after that and while I'm not jumping any guns, I'm obviously thrilled with this development. And to think, I was just about to resort to bribery by going out and buying a huge bag of M&Ms. She'll never know she was just days away from regular, daily chocolate. Let's keep that between us. ;-)

A freckle for every friend

Conversation that took place in our house this morning:

Peanut: Mommy, does Daddy have a lot of friends?
Me: Yes, he does.
Peanut: I thought so because he's so spotty.
Me: Spotty? What do you mean?
Peanut: You know, all his friendckles.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Brutal honesty

Yesterday morning, Peanut wandered into the bedroom as I was changing out of my PJ bottoms, a.k.a. an old pair of yoga pants.

Peanut: Mommy, are you taking off your big butt pants?


Conveniently, there happened to be a bag of clothes I am donating to the Goodwill right there, so in went the yoga pants. Let's just hope she doesn't say the same about my new denim pencil skirt, because I really, really love that thing.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A delicate balance

Last week, I walked into the babysitting center at my gym to find Peanut in tears. It took some coaxing to discover that she was upset because “a boy grabbed” her. I have no idea if it was a playful grab or something more aggressive, but Peanut is a sensitive soul, easily hurt and quick to back down in the face of more boisterous children.

I told her the next time it happened she should:
1. Tell one of the babysitters (I know, tattling is supposed to be bad, but I think something that upsetting to her warrants it), and/or,
2. Tell the other child, firmly, that you don’t like being , and to stop it.

When I told her she could (and should) tell someone being mean to her to stop it, she looked shocked. This was obviously news to her. We teach our children to be obedient, but sometimes we need them to speak up for themselves.

Ever since that day, I’ve been rolling this over in my head. In the grand scheme, this was a minor incident. But it raises questions. How do you teach your child to be assertive without being rude? To exhibit free will without being stubborn? To stand up for themselves without being a brat?

It’s a delicate balance.

Because not all kids are nice and not all touches are good. We won’t always be there to protect them, so they need to know how to protect themselves. Sometimes that involves simply saying no, firmly. Other times it might entail a lot more. I want my girls to trust their instincts, have the confidence to say no, the smarts to walk (or run) away, and the spirit to fight back if they have to. To fight for their life if they need to.

At the same time, I don’t want to terrify them, squashing all of that precious childlike innocence. They’ll be forced to learn that there’s bad in the world too young as it is.

I have no answers to these questions, and I know that’s just the nature of the beast. So for the moment I’ll just sit here, trying to balance, hoping for answers, and praying for the future.

Monday, October 02, 2006

When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong

So last Friday, I posted about the family retreat in a cabin that supposedly had no heat and no electricity. While it’s true that the “camp” did get its electrical power from a generator, somewhere between “no hairdryers,” and “we’ll lose our toilets,” was lost the fact that we were staying at an Adirondack-style, post-and-beam palace on a lake fringed with autumn color. And that the cabin we were staying in had a bathroom as big as my dining room. And that the woman who owned the camp was married to a very, very, very wealthy man who is a ground-floor founder of one of the world’s largest tech companies.

So . . yeah. Getting the picture? If not, this might help. This is the view out of the picture window in the cabin that my sister-in-law and I slept in.


The main house was gorgeous. My photos don't do it justice, so I'm sure my description won't either. It had a huge butcher block kitchen, an inside stone wall with arched doorways framing one of about a zillion stone fireplaces, lots of cozy "reading nooks," and windows all around that brought the outdoors in. The grounds (26 acres) were full of hiking trails, other buildings (our cabin was one of three in total), a private beach, outdoor fireplaces, a huge stone patio, as well as tons of large rocks, trees and other features left to keep the landscape intact.

All that rain that was predicted held off until Sunday, so on Saturday we went out on a boat and hiked half the day away. The foliage was incredible, especially against the spectacular blue sky.

And all those women I drove there to meet? Amazing. Funny. Bright. Warm. Welcoming. Easy-going. We ate fantastic gourmet meals, played games and laughed endlessly at story after story.

Really, it was all good.

Though I’ll still take that night of babysitting if my mother-in-law is up for it.