Category Archives: Family

Cape Cod Nature Trails

2016 came and went with quite a bit of mixed emotions.  Another year older, another year of supposed wisdom. Yet, I find that with everything that happened in 2016, I still had a sense of helplessness and odd mix of anxiety about what this year held. Another year older and yet i don’t know that I have much to show for myself.  Another year of opportunity lies ahead and I plan on reaching again. If I don’t, then next year I will have even less to show for myself.

One goal for 2017 is to get out more.  Living on Cape Cod provides so many opportunities to get out into Nature. Some even believe walking in the woods is as good as getting therapy.  Everyone knows about the pristine beaches, but there are also many acres of preserved woods and trails all over Cape Cod that are free to the public.

We started the day after Christmas and have been off discovering trails we know and trails we have never even heard of.  It’s been fun exploring the beauty of the Cape in a new way. The woods have been relaxing and a personal experience, yet sharing the walks with family has been nice too because we are able to share in the beauty of the place we call home.

hiking_trail_sign_sticker

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Filed under Exercise, Family, Family Activities, Healthy Me - Yay!

Seconds of Summer

It is surreal.  For someone who doesn’t usually like to focus on herself or draw much attention to herself, I find myself in the strange position of putting myself out there and pushing something I created.  Then again, I wrote the story so people would read it.  I find myself following authors on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blogs – looking for hints about how they market their books.  It’s fascinating to me and sometimes feels a bit egotistical but I suppose we all have that little streak of ego that helps us move forward.  It is probably a good thing. Listening to that ego only takes a second and sometimes it pays off.

Today is the last day of June. They say we get a whole extra second today.  That extra second could make a world of difference to someone today and I find myself thinking about that second.  So many possibilities in one second.  I know in one second, the second I pushed that button to publish, I made a dream come true.  It takes just one second and a person ready to take that second and make the most of it.

Cape Cod Canal and The Sagamore Bridge

Cape Cod Canal and The Sagamore Bridge

It feels like summer today. So many seconds make up a summer day, roughly 86,400 seconds.  Seconds of laughter. Seconds of hazy heat.  Seconds of cookouts.  Seconds of music playing into the night.  Seconds of splashing in the ocean.  Seconds that make life wonderful.  Take those seconds and try to enjoy them.

As the Daughter and I were getting ready this morning, she was regaling me with stories of her first day at 4-H camp (which was a huge success thankfully and put this worried mother at ease), I took a second to just look at that little 6-year-old face. In that second, I saw her happy and innocent, enjoying life in its simplest form.  Out in the woods, out in the lake, out with people having fun singing camp songs.  No electronics.  No real worries.  Just sunshine and laughter.  Seconds of life that hopefully she will some day remember and smile about.

Go make the most of your extra second today.

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Family, Random Thoughts

Toys for Boys? Toys for Girls? Why not just “Toys?”

This game has been the buzz item this season, at least it seems to me to be the buzz item.  For girls only though so boys, tough luck.  Go back to playing with your Legos, Kinnex, and Erector-sets (are those even still a thing?).

Last year, my step-mother-in-law, got this for the Daughter (who was almost 4 at the time).  While she was a little young to really get it, we have since played it together as she has gotten older and better able to understand the directions that have to be read in order to play.  Yes, it teaches her to put things together in a process and have an end result.  It allows her to experiment with different configurations and introduces the very basic functions of physics to her.  Overall, it’s an ok game for her to learn how to experiment and see what results she may get and then engineer a system to get the desired results which, for this game, include getting Katinka the ballerina dolphin in a pink tutu, to spin in a certain direction.

It is true that there is a disturbing, alarming, and frankly disheartening lack of women in science.  However, does that mean we need to “girly” up science for girls to get more involved and interested?  And then there’s the gender question – can something like engineering be turned into a girl toy or a boy toy?  Shouldn’t something like science (or any subject for that matter) be gender neutral?  Or even better yet…be ready to gasp, dear reader…shouldn’t all toys be gender neutral?

Let’s look again at GoldieBlox.  The game itself a good idea.  Get girls interested in creating something.  I just wish it wasn’t all cutesy with pink and silly characters.  I also think that it still kind of perpetuates the gender bias in toys with the colors of the pieces of the set (Pink ribbon, purple dowels and purple board) by insinuating that a girl will only play with it if it has pink and purple pieces and cute animals wearing clothing…but it’s a step.  I cannot deny that it is a step.  Though, as a kid, I played with Legos and really did love building all kinds of structures.  I always wished I had a Kinnex set just because it looked like fun to design and build stuff.

Lego also came under scrutiny recently when they launched a new line aimed specifically at girls.  They titled it “Lego Friends” and packaged it in purple boxes and made all the little Lego people women or girls.

girl legos

Again, can someone tell me when primary colors were deemed “boy” colors and that girls only like pink and purple?  Or when colors in general were deemed to have genders?  At any rate, they launched this product in the hopes to get more girls interested in architecture.  Apparently it is faring well because when you go into any toy store, you see rows of the stuff just on the shelves. But why?  Why did girls need to have this product line?  Why couldn’t they play with what was already out there?  It’s the same product, just different colors.  It’s the same concept, build a house or a castle or a wall or a tower or a whatever you imagine you have built and then play with it.  Why does it need to be specific for girls?

I know that I’m not a typical woman.  I do not wear a ton of make up or spend half an hour getting my hair to sit just right (if you know me, you know that my curls don’t like to behave anyway).  I know my fair share about cars.  I love watching the Science channel with my husband just because it’s interesting and the images are amazing on the nice pretty HD television.  I despise the color pink (please don’t revoke my woman card).  I don’t see a need for “girl” toys.  Does this factor in to my opinion of this game?  When my step-mother-in-law was explaining the GoldieBlox game, she said the creator made it because as a kid she didn’t have any toys like it to play with as a child.  At first, I probably reacted a bit rudely because sometimes, I can be a bit blunt with no filter (sorry step-MIL – didn’t mean to be rude at that moment), but seriously what did that even mean?  Didn’t she have access to Lincoln Logs or Legos?  Or was it that her parents didn’t buy those toys for her when she asked for them because she was a girl and her parents were stuck in a “this is a girl toy; this is a boy toy” mentality?

So, now let’s look at that idea – parents.  Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher.  Yes, we send our children to school to be educated and pass tests, and feel the pressure of pop quizzes, MCAS, SATs, PSATs, and ACTs.  But, as a parent, you can’t just rely on the school system to fully educate your child.  There are so many tests that the child must be taught to conform to.  There are so many guidelines that must be met in order to pass the child that parents need to have just as active an involvement in shaping their child.  Does that mean it’s easy?  NO.  Parents work a lot to maintain the basic life needs of a child (food, shelter, clothing) but, parents must also work to help their child explore their full potential.

That being said, isn’t it on the parents to introduce children to science in all forms and ultimately encourage the child to pursue what makes them happy no matter what that may be?  If your daughter wants Legos, buy her the Legos: Ninjago, Friends, Lord of the Rings…whatever.  If your son wants a kitchen set with pretend cupcakes and cakes, buy it for him. Haven’t you ever watched Ace of Cakes or the Cake Boss – those men are very manly and secure in themselves and HAPPY.  If your daughter wants dolls, get them.  If your son wants art sets, get them.  Do not tell your child, “Are you sure? Don’t you think that’s kind of girly/boyish?”  Do not perpetuate this idea that these inanimate objects have a gender specific target.  Let your child explore and discover what makes him or her happy.

As a parent, introduce your child to science.  It can be simple things at home, that are totally free like a Nature walk, a night-time “Star Party” to name constellations, a pot of water boiling.  The internet is full of great “free” activities that you can do with your child at any age.  Read your local newspaper to find local events that feature science.

science_works_better

We are lucky to live where we do because there is almost always something scientific going on somewhere.  If you aren’t as fortunate to have events to go to, just talk about it.  Just talking about it and pointing things out can help pique that curiosity that is naturally in your child.  If science isn’t want excites them, find out what does.  Nurture it and then watch as your happy child does something wonderful with his or her life.

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Filed under Family, Gift Ideas, Social Awareness

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Lunchbox

Back in August, we were back to school shopping.  The Daughter was beginning pre-k and she needed a new lunch box.  As we looked at the options, the Husband pointed out the My Little Pony lunchbox, the Doc McStuffins lunchbox, and the Hello Kitty lunchbox.  Each one was met with a very excited “Yay!”

That is until she turned her head slightly to the right.

She saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lunchbox.

tmnt-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles

She saw it and that was all she wanted.  I figured, what the hell.

The Husband, however, was a little nervous.  He kept asking if she was sure she wanted that one and didn’t want the Ponies or the Doc lunch box.  She kept answering him with a very confident, nope.  I told him it was just a lunch box and if she liked it, she liked it.  He watches the cartoon with her every weekend.  I just laugh because I remember as a kid watching it with my brothers back in the 80s when it first came out.

The Husband said he was worried one of the boys might mistake it for their lunch box.  I told him I would fix that.  When we got home, I asked her who her favorite Turtle was and she told me that it was Donnie (that was just that day) so I went to my sewing box and found some purple embroidery thread and then sewed her name into the side of the lunch box, which was no easy feat considering I didn’t want to puncture the lining.

The first day of school, the Daughter walked in proud as a peacock with her new Turtles lunch box and was a hit with not only the boys but some of the girls too.

I tell this story, because today, I read an article on a “mommy site” that talked about a girl who was almost in tears when she saw two books titled “How to Survive (Almost) Anything.”  It wasn’t the book itself that made her feel the need to cry, but rather the fact that there was one for girls and one for boys.

The one for boys, as the article continued on, contained things like “How to Survive a Canoe Trip.”  The one for girls had things like “How to Survive a Slumber Party.” The stark difference in the books made the little girl feel sad, to put it mildly.

As I read, I couldn’t help but think about the lunch box.  It was funny how something that was deemed a “boy” toy would make the Husband feel uncomfortable, for lack of a better word.  Having grown up with three brothers, I thought nothing of it.  I played with He-Man and Ninja Turtles as well as My Little Pony and Barbie.

Going back to the article, I read the comments with the article and found that I agreed with the comments that said they would have bought both books and allowed the daughter to read both.  I would have done the same.

I think that while the publisher was wrong for publishing those books because let’s face it, they are pretty damn sexist, it’s up to the parent to then take that negative and turn it around.  First, I probably wouldn’t buy the books because I would have been ticked off that they were so drastically different and I wouldn’t have wanted to pay them and let them think that I was ok with these books as presented.  Second, if the Daughter happened to come across them in the library or something like that, I would use that opportunity to point out how yes, learning to survive a sleepover may be something she might want to learn, learning how to survive a camping trip might be just as important (and probably more fun).

I do this all the time with the daughter because I want her to know that, to quote Annie Get Your Gun, “Anything you can do, I can do better.”  Well maybe not better, but at least as good as…but let’s be honest, hopefully better.

 

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Filed under Books, Family

Anniversary Traditions

October 3, 2009 started out like a scene from Monsoon Wedding.  It poured.  We’re talking record downpours.  Something like an inch of rain in 1 hour kind of downpour. Apparently Mother Nature missed the memo that it was my wedding day and we were supposed to have an outdoor wedding.  Bitch.

The wedding was moved indoors without a problem but still.  It meant that the very nice gardens I had envisioned my wedding pictures in were out of the question.  The Irish say that rain on your wedding day is good luck.  We had a morning wedding with a lovely brunch (I love brunch and it was fun to have a morning wedding).  It was good. I figured it was good luck that the seafood crepes were so good…we still talk about how great those seafood crepes were…at least I do.  They were amazing and almost made up for the indoor switch.

The king of breakfast foods.

The king of breakfast foods.

However, after the party ended somewhat early in the afternoon, the Husband and I had a night off without the Daughter who was nine months old at the time. As we sat in the ridiculously large Presidential Suite (a gift from my Father-in-law and Step-Mother-in-Law), we realized that we didn’t expect we would be hungry by dinner time.  We quickly decided that we should hit up one of our favorite spots, the British Beer Company.

The Husband devoured a Buffalo Chicken pizza and I enjoyed a wonderful Wensleydale Cheeseburger.  Sadly, the burger is no longer on the menu. It was a sad day when that happened.  But, I digress.  We had a nice dinner, a beer, and then returned to the Presidential suite that was complete with its own sauna.

The next year, when the anniversary rolled around, we ended up looking at each other and saying, let’s just hit up the BBC again.  We had the same thing plus Pumpkin beers.  It was good.

Last year, we did not have the BBC but we did end up with burgers and milkshakes in Las Vegas (because the week before our trip, we needed to replace the ENTIRE exhaust system in one of the cars and it wiped out all our vacation savings…le sigh).

This year though, since we had no babysitter for the actual night of our anniversary and the Husband still had to work tomorrow, the three of just went to the BBC.  Once again, the Husband ordered his Buffalo Chicken pizza.  I ordered a delicious pumpkin beer.  The Daughter decided that orecchiette is better than penne.  It was a pretty low-key but sometimes that’s good.

Can I buy this in the stores?

Can I buy this in the stores?

Every year since the downpour of a wedding, we have been lucky with gorgeous October days to celebrate the day we stood up and said, yep, I’ll stick it out with this one.  Today was in the 70s and it was sunny and beautiful.  It’s funny how the weather on our wedding day makes me think that it was like a sign.  There will be storms, but the sun will come out, just like it did on our wedding day.  There will be days when it pours, but the next day will be beautiful.  Then there will be a string of sunny days, where everything feels perfect.

Today was one of those days.

62172_476316555375_711236_n

 

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Brainwashing?

As I went through my nightly news round-up, I stumbled upon an interesting article on the Huffington Post.  A complete and total aside – I have to admit that lately, the bias on the Huffington Post has started to really irk me.  It’s so biased that it’s hard to tell if the news is reliable.  I miss the days of unbiased journalism and I know that my award-winning journalist grandfather is rolling in his grave, but that’s another story for another time I suppose.

At any rate, I saw this article and I read it and was relieved that there was a mother out there who knew what it was like to have young children in church.  At first, I was brought back to that day when the old man yelled at me in church for letting my kid color on the offertory envelopes that are left in the pews for visitors.  It was keeping her quiet and as one of the former high school kids who used to open said envelopes, I wouldn’t have cared to come across an envelope colored by a kid.  It was nice to see this article almost giving some comfort that there were others out there who had the same moments of embarrassment when bringing kids to church. Most recently, my moment of embarrassment came in the form of my daughter critiquing a girl in the children’s choir who had just completed a solo by saying “that sounded horrible.”  If I could have shrank down to the size of a fly and fly right out of that church, I would have.

This article showed me, however, that I’m not alone.  There are other mothers and fathers who do the same thing every week.  These parents bring their children as their parents brought them when they were children.  It was reassuring.

Then I read the comments.

Man – people harbor such hatred of organized religion.  The insults that hurled on those comments were just uncalled for.  At one point, someone said that parents were brainwashing their children and teaching them to not think for themselves.  I suppose that is when I really got annoyed.

You see, I was raised Catholic.  One of the reasons I chose my undergrad college was mainly because it was a Catholic college and I knew that it was going to offer what I needed.  Yes, there were a lot of things over the years that caused me to question.  The sex abuse scandal.  The treatment of women in the church.  Some of the rules the church abides by were just nonsensical to me.  For a while, I stopped going to church altogether.  It just didn’t feel right.  Everything I had grown up knowing had been severely shaken and every time I stepped into a church I didn’t feel like I was being true to myself.  However, during all that time, I didn’t stop believing in God and still had faith in the things I was taught as a child.

I remember one day, when I was making my daughter’s baby quilt with my aunt who was dying from cervical cancer, we started talking about our faith.  She knew that I had stopped going to church.  She knew that I had some issues.  I let her know that I was going to baptize the Daughter.  I could almost instantly see the relief in her face as I finished the sentence.  We then had an amazing conversation about faith.  I asked her how she could reconcile being a Catholic and not finding some questions about it all, because by definition of the pope at the time (I believe it was the Nazi Pope – sorry I have no love for Benedict…) meant accepting EVERY tenant of the doctrine, including the ones that almost contradicted the teachings of Christ.  I believe the term “cafeteria Catholic” has been used to describe people who pick and choose which parts of the Catholic doctrine they want to follow and practice.

She surprised me with her answer, surprised me in a good way.  She said that we should question it.  We have our faith and the belief that everything happens for reasons we may not always understand and we have our belief in His love.  But we can question the teachings and the interpretations.  There is always room to better ourselves and if we don’t ask the questions we’ll never be able to get to a better understanding of the whole picture.  Religion is just a piece. Faith is the bigger picture.

I remember driving home that day thinking about what she had said.  The Husband doesn’t practice any religion.  He says he believes in God but just doesn’t want to be brainwashed.  Some of the comments on that HuffPost article reminded me of things the husband has said.  I don’t care though.  Tomorrow morning, the Daughter and I will go to church and we’ll say our prayers and sing the hymns.

hands praying

I know that I cannot force her to believe anything.  All I can do is introduce her to what I believe and then I will take a page from my mother’s play book.  You see, when Catholics get confirmed, they are finally seen as adults in the church (that’s the basic explanation of that sacrament).  Only those who truly accept the teachings of the church should be confirmed, though lots of kids do it just to appease their parents.  My mother, however, took each of us aside when we came to that year and told us that while she had hoped we would get confirmed, if there were any other religions we might want to look into before we made that choice, she would help us find out information.  I didn’t take her up on the offer, but Brother 2 did.  My mother followed through with the offer.  She got him information on eastern religions and offered to help find someone for him to talk to if he wanted.  I thought it was cool that my mother offered to do that and actually did it when one of us asked.

We were not taught to blindly follow.  Maybe we are an exception.  Maybe we grew up in a more liberal minded home.  I know that even though I hope that the daughter accepts what I’m currently exposing her to, I know that I cannot force faith upon her.  She must come to it on her own.  I will answer any question she may have along the way though.  And I pray that she asks questions.  How else can she learn to think for herself and make an informed decision on her own.  Oh yeah, and to the comments that thank the people for raising their kids to be scientists…I hope my child can achieve her dream of becoming a doctor and still have faith in something.

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Filed under Family, Family Activities, Tales of Parenthood

When the Kids Don’t Always Play Nice

The other day, as I was reading through the blogs I follow and so often read (but lately have been lurking rather than commenting – sorry folks!), I read a post that talked about making meaningful friendships as an adult by Emily at Nap Time is My Time.  In her post, she talked about how she plans on trying to connect.  It’s funny because in an earlier post on her blog (which you really should check out for some of the crafting ideas alone!), she talked about how it is frustrating and the whole “why me” mentality that sometimes befalls us when we find ourselves on the outs with people we thought were becoming friends.

It got me to thinking because recently I had my first instance of “I’m not sure our kids are really friends” and I found myself kind of hurt by it all.  The daughter made a friend at the playground a few months ago.  Her mom and I started chatting and seemingly hit it off.  We had a few out of the home play dates and things seemed to go well.  Then we went to their house one day and the Daughter was beyond excited.  She got to see where her new friend lived, saw all the toys the new friend had that she didn’t, and then did a thing that a lot of four-year olds do and got a little territorial, despite the fact she wasn’t in her own house.  I found myself somewhat floundering.  I was trying to gently explain that it was her friend’s house and her toys and she couldn’t tell her friend what she could play with in her own house.  It was awkward.  We stayed a little while longer but when it was clear that they were not playing together, rather fighting together, we left.

I was well aware that my child was not exactly behaving well on this play date but it was one of those things where you kind of wanted to see if she could work it out on her own, like they try to do at pre-school.  But on the other hand, there were times where a little guidance was needed.  It was also possible that the play date was running a little longer than it should have, but I’ll chalk that one up to my fault.

After that fateful day, we didn’t hear from them for almost a month.  I began to wonder what if I had done something wrong and that was the cause of the radio silence.  Then we got an invite for another play date.  Things started out ok until the Daughter felt like her friend was ignoring her and playing more with the other kids at the playground.  Then all hell broke loose.  The crying, the whining, the fighting, it just imploded.  I forget the exact comment I made but the other mother said something along the lines of yeah, I didn’t know how to bring this up but The Daughter is a little bossy and it made the friend not want to play with her.  They decided to give the Daughter another chance though.  She also explained that there were other reasons we hadn’t heard from them in the month but I guess that was big factor (at least that was how it registered in my brain).

By Luis Argerich from Buenos Aires, Argentina (SWING SWing Swing swing) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Luis Argerich from Buenos Aires, Argentina (SWING SWing Swing swing) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It was weird, the emotions that I ranged through, as I sat and listened.  At first I thought it might be a reflection of me as a mother.  Then I thought there was something wrong with the Daughter.  Then I didn’t know what to think.  It was just one of those moments I probably took personally and maybe shouldn’t have?  Who knows.  As the play date went on, the kids clearly were not enjoying each other’s company and when we said it was time to leave, the Daughter broke down into a meltdown of epic proportions and I watched as the friend and her mom made a quick exit.  They texted me later to see if the Daughter was ok (which she was, she just didn’t want to leave the playground and was probably a little tired hence the extra drama).  I just felt weird though.  My kid made quite the scene at the playground – I could feel all the other mothers’ eyes staring.  One even tried to offer a sympathetic word, but it just was one of those moments where my head was swimming from the conversation, my child was clearly upset, and I just didn’t know which end was up.

I thought I was making a friend but if the daughters don’t get along, then can that friendship work?  I know that both are only young children and both have very clear ideas of what they want and when they want it.  In that sense they are both very similar.  However, is that really the only reason for the playground blues?  Is there more to it and does it involve the moms too?  I just know that it was not pleasant and I found myself wondering if I would ever have a close group of local friends with (or without) kids that I could go out with or have over or make plans to just drop by for coffee?

One thing that came from this whole thing was actually a glorious epiphany.  I realized that it was ok.  It was ok that this may not work out.  If it does, that would be great, but if it doesn’t it will be ok.  The Daughter may have to learn the hard way that being bossy isn’t the way to make friends. So be it.  But on the other hand, knowing what you want and learning how to express that in a positive way, that is a skill that every person should possess.  I just need to figure out how to teach that balance.  I know with age, it will come. I also know that as I get more involved with school activities, and going back to school myself, I will hopefully make those connections a little closer to home.

I know I do have a good, nay – amazingly fantastic, group of friends that I can at least call to talk to and hopefully someday, we might all live a little closer to each other so we can go drink bucketfuls of margaritas when things like this happen.

By Jon Sullivan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jon Sullivan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Filed under friends, Tales of Parenthood

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

If you haven’t noticed, it’s September.  You probably knew that though, by seeing the countless photos and posts about children going back to school accompanied by the photo of them standing, waiting for the bus.  This year, I did not take a picture of the Daughter’s first day of pre-K.  I don’t know if it counts.  God knows I have a million pictures of her and it’s not like she has stopped going to school.  She’s been going all summer long because I work.  I guess that’s why for me it wasn’t a huge deal that she was starting pre-K, aka preschool.

Preschool

It wasn’t a big deal until I realized that she was not going to be home during the day with me unless it was a vacation day or a sick day or I kept her out of school for the day.  Then, I oddly became overwhelmed with emotion.

When she was a baby, I missed her  while I was working  full-time but now that she can have conversations with me and we can do fun things together and we have had almost four years of me working part-time from home, I feel a little sad.  I know that this is a very important thing for her to go to and I know that she benefits greatly from being around her friends.  I just didn’t realize how fast these years would go by.  Yeah, it’s a little cliché – childhood going by in the blink of an eye, but it oddly does.

Now, I find myself realizing that we are at the very beginning of her official education, because honestly, pre-k is now what I grew up knowing kindergarten to be.  I am excited and anxious for my child all at once. I don’t want her to feel overwhelmed but I want her to do her best.  I loved school. I want to make sure she loved school.  I want her to think of school as a fun place to go and as a place full of adventures.  I want her to grow her brain, learn to think for herself, and realize that the world is amazing, full of amazing people and amazing things.

The funny thing is that I am realizing that I am now forced to really figure out more about myself.  I now have free time.  What do I do with that free time?  Going back for my Master’s degree is calling me.  Every day, I find myself searching through various programs, looking at course catalogs, and dreaming about back-to-school supplies.  I realize that I am on the precipice of a major life change.  Many women face this issue and I don’t know that they talk about it much. I  know that it does make it into the news but sometimes I don’t always feel I relate to those women.  I don’t think I’m “leaning in”  though I have to admit, I have not read the book.  Maybe I should?  I just know that I want to be around for my daughter and be able to be at school plays and take her to whatever extra-curricular activity she ends up selecting and at the same time, I want to have a career, something I love and am good at doing so that I feel like I am not wasting away.  I need to think and use my brain.  God gave it to me, I had better use it lest I have to answer for not using it.  I need to be engaged but I want to be able to be around for the Daughter whenever she needs me.  Yes, I want to have my cake and eat it too.

image credit: http://tidymom.net/2012/chocolate-frosted-yellow-cake/

mmmmmmmmmmmm….cake….
image credit: http://tidymom.net/2012/chocolate-frosted-yellow-cake/

What changes do I have to make to be able to do that?  I think step one is finding where to go to school and what exactly to study.  Meanwhile, I’m going to figure out where to place the preschool art gallery that will be slowly adding pieces over the next year. And I may just enjoy a day or two of not having to watch Super Why! or Bubble Guppies.

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Filed under Family, Tales of Parenthood

Did She Really Know He Was Trouble When He Walked In?

My four-year old loves to sing.  She’ll sing anything.  She made up a great song this past Memorial Day, a new family classic.  “It’s Memorial Day.  It’s Memorial Day.  Everyone shout hooray, hooray!”  It went on for about four verses and I was lucky enough to capture it on video.  I also have her on video singing along to “Call Me Maybe.”  Not my proudest moment but she begged to have a video of it.

I sometimes worry about the songs I let her listen to on the radio and after reading this article on the Huffington Post, I’m glad to see I’m not alone in my worry.

I know that I can’t keep her in a bubble but I want her to be a little girl as long as humanly possible.  I know right now, she’s just innocently singing along to Taylor Swift but I still cringe hearing that innocent voice singing those lyrics.

Parrothead-20My Mom is a Parrot head (aka a die-hard Jimmy Buffett fan).  We were raised on Jimmy Buffett music, long before the masses were singing Margaritaville and reminding us all that it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.  The staple in her car during our childhood was the greatest hits album, Songs You Know By Heart, aka the yellow case.  Almost everyone who knows Jimmy Buffett knows this album.  It’s got them all.  Mother, Mother Ocean. A Pirate Looks at 40.  Cheeseburger in Paradise.  Boat Drinks.  And then there’s the song that was always fast forwarded.  The one that Jimmy Buffett once called the New Bedford national anthem (it got a lot of laughs from the crowd at that concert).  The one that as a kid all I remember was the part about a water bed.   Now that I’m an adult, I realize that she was trying to make sure our innocent little minds didn’t come up with questions she didn’t want to answer.  I can only imagine how that conversation would have gone…

Us Kids: “Mommy, What’s ‘get drunk’ mean?”

Mom: “It means drinking a lot.”

Us Kids: “Oh, like too much kool aid?”

Mom:  “Yes. Exactly.”

A moment of silence and then the chorus comes back on “Why don’t we get drunk and screw?”

Us Kids: “So does screw mean go to the bathroom?  If he drank a lot of kool aid, he would have to pee.”

Mom:  “Yes.  That’s exactly what that means.”

Because of that glorious little fast forward button, that cassette tape hardly ever played that song.  We never had a chance to really ask that question.  Even if we had asked the question, I wonder if we would have understood the answer.

The scary thing for me is that the radio plays much more intense things now.  That would have been considered mild today.  Would have and is… It’s not just the radio though.  As the article points out, it’s tv too.  There’s so much that is said and it’s as if we forget that the English language is fortunate enough to have THOUSANDS of words to describe so many different things.  But pop culture seems to dictate speaking in text talk, hash tags, and with a profanity laced dialogue (or monologue depending on the person) that once upon a time would have made a sailor blush.

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Even today, when we were driving home, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” came on and she was soon singing along in the back seat “We’re up all night to get lucky.”  Either I have a dirty mind or she’s singing something she has no idea about.  I felt like a prude.  The song has an awesome beat and you can’t help but want to dance to it, no matter where you are.  I like it.  It’s on almost every radio station every ten minutes or so.  You can’t avoid it.   What does that mean as a mom?  Do I resort to censorship until she’s old enough to have a better understanding even though the very thought of censorship makes me feel a little nauseated?  Do I put her at a disadvantage, even at 4, because trust me, the kids know what is cool at 4.  Or do I just go along and pretend like it’s nothing until she asks?

It’s such an odd question to have to deal with. I will not worry too much about it right now but I will turn off the more “suggestive” songs (read “Blurred Lines”) even if I want to listen.  I’ll blast them when I’m driving to and from work.   In the mean time, I will continue to play the Beatles, big bands, and folk music mixed in with the occasional top 40 radio station that incessantly plays the same five songs over and over and over and over and over and over…

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Filed under Culture, Tales of Parenthood

Perfect Summer Day

Today was a perfect summer day.

The Daughter woke up and wanted to go to the lake. We spent three hours down there, playing and splashing. Her swimming skills are improving and that just makes me so very happy! I did 7 laps from the dock to buoys that mark the swim zone for the beach, easily 50 meters each way. It felt so good!

Came home, had lunch, and then we all took a little siesta. The heat and the sun made us all a little lethargic. The naps helped though. The Husband looks like a lobster but I am sure he will be tan by the morning, the lucky stiff.

The Barnstable County Fair started tonight. We went around dinner time and had fun checking out all the animals and exhibits. Then, we played a few games and let the Daughter ride a few of the more mild rides.

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Fair food did not disappoint and we even got to catch a bit of The Spinners perform.

All in all, I consider this the perfect summer day!

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Filed under Family, Family Activities