Archive for February, 2012

Tread Lightly


Sometimes, as a parent, you just hear something happening in the other room and you don’t want to mess it up by actively noticing.  It is the Hawthorne Effect of parenting, as soon as you are observed observing the event, it changes it.

I had to risk a quick photo, though, tonight when I told the kids it was reading time and Rose headed into Dillon’s room and cuddled up next to her brother and began to read out loud (you know, like you do when you are a second grade reader).  I think D was initially ignoring her – he can ignore anything when he has a book in his hand – but then he started helping her with the words she got stuck on.

Kids and a Book

So they just hung out and read.  Happily, they ignored me completely when I silently snuck in and took the picture.   Rose just kept reading to her big brother.  And I might have let them stay up a little later than usual because they were being so awesome.

A new hope


We’re trying to toughen up Dillon a bit.  It occurs to me that perhaps a kid shouldn’t get super-offended and tear up at a professional soccer game because some rabble-rousing fans are holding up signs that says “the Wave sucks.”  (He turned to his grandpa and said, “That is just SO inappropriate!”)

Don’t get me wrong, I love that he is a sweet, sensitive kid.  But he’ll be entering 6th grade (maybe at a new school next year) and probably he should be able to handle unsportsmanlike behavior and just let it roll off, you know?

So what is my strategy for this, you ask?  [Drumroll….]   I am making him watch movies.

We don’t watch a lot of TV as a rule, no screens on school nights pretty much ever, unless you need to type up some homework or something.  And when D does have screen time, he’d rather play a videogame than watch a movie.  But I am forcing the issue a little (in a very nice way), and so we’ve watched Ghostbusters, Goonies, Star Wars: ANH (that’s Episode 4 if you don’t know), and Lord of the Rings: Fellowship and the first disk of Twin Towers (it’s the 3+hour director’s cut, so we had to stop midway through because it just got too late).  Basically, we’re nerding it up by watching all my favorite movies.

I’ll let you know if he learns the important life lessons from Han Solo and Gandalf and Mikey and Egon.  In the meantime, it’s just pretty fun to watch these again with my kid.

Comfort Zone


Took the kids rollerskating today.  It was someone else’s idea, one of the Girl Scout troop leaders, and so a bunch of my girl scouts were going, and Rose wanted to, also.  She was really, really excited about it.

But here is the thing.  I haven’t been on roller skates since I was 12 years old. Literally.  I haven’t ice skated either.  These are not even things I was good at when I was a kid.  So I was a little apprehensive about going.  But Rose wanted to do it, so I just decided to try.  Siblings were also invited, so Dillon, Rose and I picked up Auntie Kate and headed to the roller rink to meet a bunch of our friends.  I had warned the kids that we were going there to skate, we weren’t going to play arcade games or do any of the other stuff, and when we got bored we could leave.

The kids have skates, but Kate and I rented some.  And it was fun.  I fell on my butt a couple of times (though one of them was one of those situations where Rose and I were holding hands and I am not sure which one of us lost our balance but we went down together), but all around we had a great time.  We skated until the skating was over, for about two and a half hours with a short break for water.  Dillon and Kate were looking really great, and zipping around in the fast part of the circle.  Rose and I were in the outer orbit, and she was being my cheerleader (“you are doing really good, Mommy!”) and falling down a LOT.   But she kept getting right back up and having an awesome time.  Kate was working out fancy moves like spinning around and stuff, despite also not having been on skates since she was a kid.  I have a feeling she was much better at it than I ever was back then.

I had worried about going and how stupid I would look on skates, falling down and totally clumsy as an adult, but it was really silly of me to consider not going because of that.  And so, today I’ve been reflecting on how being a mom has often pushed me beyond my comfort zone.  From the moment I was in the delivery room in stirrups, trying to push a twelve pound baby out, and not having the energy to feel self-conscious that twenty doctors, nurses, and medical students were all taking turns looking at my girl parts, there has been a part of me that realized – you just have to get over some of this nonsense.  Just be a grownup and deal with it, and maybe it won’t be so bad…  (Side note – that whole labor situation – it was totally that bad.)

There have certainly been crappy ways that being a mom has made me grow up (I’ve had to deal with a lot more puke and blood and other bodily fluids than I ever really thought I could.  I’ve been peed on by a two-year-old on an airplane and just had to deal with it).  Mostly, I can laugh about that stuff.

But there have been many more ways that my kids have pushed me beyond what is easy and beyond what I would rather do.  Those things have probably made me a better person.  Their questions have made me want to learn the answers.  Their tough conversational topics (thanks, NPR, for starting a lot of very awkward conversations in the car) have made me clarify my positions and think through my beliefs and feelings.  Because I want to raise kids who would rather play outside than on a computer, we spend a lot more time outside, and a lot less time with screens than my default workaholic would otherwise.  I try new things because I want the kids to.  I have new experiences so they will be open to them.  And today, I was very frank with them about being nervous about rollerskating, and then we went anyways.

I think that might be one of the most important lessons for them – even though something scares you a little, if you power through and try it, you might have a great time.