Friday, August 22, 2014

A Daily Dose of Humor

Can't every day be like this?

End of summer. Not my favorite time of year. My prescription for handling this is a daily dose of humor. In addition to all the other necessary self-care: the exercise, the meditation, the sleep, the healthy eating, time by myself, time with friends, time with Carl. Yes, I need all of it, and yes, sometimes it's exhausting. But right now, I also need to laugh. So much so that it is on my daily to-do list.

So here is a link to something that helped me look on the plus side of back to school. Baby Got Class. Enjoy.

And please - please post your favorite funny people or links here. Share the wealth.

Buying something cute for fall helps too - even if it's just one small thing. Just saying.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

What If He Wore Pajamas to School?

So apparently the "terrible twos" is a big fat lie and it's actually the "terrible threes." Here I was, thinking we were out of the woods, when the trouble was just beginning.

Okay, it's not all bad

Carl was away for nine days, though it's never easy, this trip coincided with the beginning of what I'll call an ornery phase. A few examples:

D: I want cereal for breakfast.
(upon seeing cereal in his bowl.)
D: I want yogurt for breakfast!!!

Me: Time for bed.
D: It's not time for bed.

Me: I like your haircut.
D: You don't like my haircut.

And then there's getting dressed. What was once a longish, fairly annoying process has become pure torture. For me. In Carl's absence, running late for work, out of patience, I slammed the bedroom door and told him that we weren't leaving his room until he was dressed. This set us up for a show down that left me completely drained, by 8:30 a.m.

Upon recounting this to a friend with adult children, she said, "What if you had just let him wear his pajamas to school?"

Her question stopped me short. I thought about it. "Everyone would have judged me," I said. "All the teachers, and other parents."

My friend paused, then said gently, "Probably not."

I exhaled loudly, realizing two things: she was right, and even if she wasn't, even if they all judged me, the awful fifteen minutes of forcing my child to get dressed was just not worth it. Let them judge.

So now, whenever I start to have a conflict with Daniel, I ask myself, "What if he doesn't: brush his teeth, put on his shoes, eat his carrots, say goodbye, etc?" And most of those battles, I let them go. Because if I'm going to survive the threes with any serenity, I'm going to have to pick my battles.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Goodbye to Age Two

A tender moment
On my son’s third birthday, I’m feeling a bit wistful. Even though I do NOT miss infancy, (I barely survived it with my sanity intact,) when I kissed my boy goodnight last night and said, this is the last time I’ll see you when you’ll be two, my heart caught in my throat.

I never know when these moments will happen. His first birthday came and went with no feelings. But when I turned his car seat from backwards to forward facing, I burst into tears, realizing, he’ll be riding forward for the rest of his life!

He threw a doozy of a tantrum on the eve of his third birthday as if to remind me just what I wouldn’t miss. But for the most part, I loved age two. I loved the sweetness of it. We’d be riding along in the car, and he’d shout from the backseat, “Mommy – school bus!” or “Bridge!” or “Digger!” So much about ordinary everyday life is so fresh and exciting for him, and he has the words to express it. I enjoy his growing independence, his ability to walk distances, put on shoes, pull up pants, climb in and out of the car. He’s not always cooperative, of course not, but he’s rather reasonable for a kid, and will often compromise, or strike some sort of deal. (Yes, toddlers should teach negotiation skills in law and business school.) Two was fun.
He's three!


One of my friends says each stage of a child’s life has gains and losses. I’m sure age three will have things I’ll like – goodbye diapers – and some things I won’t. I’ll try to keep focusing on the positive, enjoying the gifts of three and remembering that all we ever have is the present. 

As much as I may want to freeze him in time, in this sweet innocent phase, I can’t, and I don’t really want that anyway. The best I can do is to stay present as much as possible, and enjoy each moment as it unfolds, and when sadness arises, welcome that too, as part of being alive.

What did you love about age three? Any tips for the hard parts?  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Giving up Rushing for Lent (Again)

Two very wise creatures


Now that Lent is almost over, I can confess that I have given up rushing (again) and that I forgot that I had done this last year. So, there is still work to be done here. Yes, when driving. My instinct when driving is to increase speed when the light turns yellow, to go at least five miles an hour above the speed limit, to never wait behind someone making a left hand turn if it can be avoided. I have experimented over the past few weeks with noticing these impulses, and sometimes doing the opposite. The interesting thing is that waiting behind that car in the left lane is not that bad. It doesn’t take me any longer to get places than it does when I rush, and when I arrive, I am much calmer. Hm.
  
Besides on the road, the time I notice the most rushing is in the morning with my son. No wonder our mornings can be so unpleasant and full of conflict when I’m always rushing us. I realized that part of the reason for this is that we have to get to school by a certain time for him to eat breakfast there. So I experimented for the past two days, and fed Daniel at home, and it changed my whole attitude about our morning. I didn’t care nearly as much about when we arrived at school. Interestingly, we actually got there in time for breakfast, but the whole morning leading up to it was so much more pleasant for both of us.


Lent is almost over, but I hope to take these lessons with me. Rushing only makes me less happy, and doesn’t get me there any faster. Maybe Mr. Rogers was right about taking our time, like he was right about so many things.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Just pretty. No relation to text.
Seriously, it's a good question.

Well, for the past month, I've mostly been sick with headaches. You can read more about that at 4 Broads. I am thrilled to say that I have been headache free for five straight days, which I think means the cycle is broken, and I'm on the road back to health. Goddess-willing.

I've also been writing a lot about breastfeeding, and one of those articles is going to be published in Bitch magazine - yippee - as soon as I finish writing it.

I've been editing lots of work for other people. If you need help with editing, or know someone who does, please contact me. I love editing other people's writing. It gives me some kind of sick satisfaction. So much easier than creating my own work.

But yes, I'm still creating my own work. I'm finishing up my first novel. For real this time. I'm working on poems and essays, and even a 10 minute play.

I have a new website in the works too.

So that's a little about me. What are you up to this spring? I'd love to know.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

9 Ways to Like Winter More

Nalu and I huddle for warmth
Okay, it will never be my favorite time of year. I don’t love that I have to wear a knit hat and four layers of clothes, inside my house, just to stay reasonably warm. But I’m trying to look at the bright side.
Work with me, people!

1) Plan fun events. Carl and I have concert tickets for Feb. 28. My mom and I are going to see a favorite writer speak next week. I have two birthday parties coming up. In winter, I can't rely on fun just happening, I need some guarantees. Plans help.

2) Get a vacation on the calendar. Even if it's not until July, you can start dreaming about it now. My mom and I just bought plane tickets to Paris for April, and boy has that put a spring in my step.

3) Spend time outside. I know, it's freezing - literally. We still need fresh air. Bundle up and take the dog, the kid, or yourself for a walk. Even 20 minutes will help. I promise.

4) Have things that force you to leave the house at night. It gets dark so early. If I'm home, I'm likely to curl up in front of the TV, which is okay sometimes. But if I have a plan to meet a friend or hear a lecture, I may have to drag myself out of the house, but I'm always glad I did.

5) Start a book club or coffee clatch or sewing circle. I really wanted a writing group and I couldn't find one that worked for me. Desperate, I started one, inviting a few friends and acquantainces. Not only does it get me out of the house every other Thursday, I get to share the joy and struggle of writing with people who understand. Priceless.

6) Appreciate time to hibernate. Catch up on Oscar nominees, Downtown Abbey, whatever you missed while you were enjoying those long summer nights.

7) Take up a winter sport. Ice skating, skiing, snowboarding: these are things that could help me to enjoy winter. (So they say. I've yet to try this one.)

8) Take baths, sip hot tea, make soup. Strictly winter pleasures.


9) Visit museums. Winter is the perfect time to rediscover the joy of dinosaur bones or Matisse or medical oddities.

What have I missed? Seriously, I need help with this one.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Make a List, Check it Twice


A few weeks ago, I asked my co-worker Evan how much time he spent in Wegman’s when he did his food shopping. “30 minutes or so,” he said. I was spending, on average, 60 minutes each time I went there, and not coincidentally, way more money than I planned to. “It’s all about the list,” he said. I told him I usually had a list. "But do you stick to it?" he asked.
What a concept.

Although I have a list when I go to the store, my eye wanders, especially at Wegman's. Maybe I do need that hot wing cheese dip. Or that new brand of granola, or the chipotle hummus. Maybe the blue corn tortilla chips are healthier. With so many choices, my trips there became endless, overwhelming, exhausting.

The next week, I took Evan’s advice. I made a comprehensive list and went into the store, determined to only buy what was on it. It took great discipline with so many temptations: the funky car magnets I’d admired, pita chips for the aforementioned hummus, pepperoni for our pizza – but no, I stood firm, stuck to the list, and got out of there in 30 minutes, on budget. Amazing.

As I resisted each impulse to buy something not on the list I realized those urges came from a scarcity mentality – I have to buy it now, because maybe I won’t have another chance. I’m not sure what that’s about, but once I realized it was driving my buying choices, it was easier to say, no, I food shop at least once a week, if I really need eggs, I can get them. Having a list helped me feel more secure that I wouldn't have to do an extra grocery trip for a forgotten item.

The ultimate triumph of the list came the following week when I took my list, my new discipline and my toddler to Target. Somehow, I found everything that I needed and was back in the car in 30 minutes. With a toddler. This might not be walking on water, but for my world, it was miraculous. 

The list made me realize how susceptible I am to clever marketing, how distracted I am, how tempted to buy things I don't need, and have never considered until they catch my wandering eye in the store.


Could this possibly work for Christmas shopping? If you try it, let me know how it works out.