1.Indulge the children with experiences vs. things.
2. Income should exceed expenses–weekly.
3. Dance like a teenage girl.
4. Maintain stability.
5.Quit reading troll boards.
6. Do not settle.
7. Buy organic.
8. Declutter, clean, and organize.
9. Pursue excellence.
10. Accept help.
11.Let the children…be children.
12. Set boundaries–no exceptions.
13. Fully embrace my free spirit.
14.Learn to say no–without guilt.
15. Focus on what I have–avoid gratuitious consumption.
16. Be accepting without judgment.
17. Get out there.
18. Breathe mindfully.
19. Explore different options.
20. Engage all 5 senses.
On Friday, Grandma offered my perfect children a treat–any toy they wanted from Toys R Us. As I took them there, I knew their selections would be modest and appropriate, but I also understood that choosing one item per child from myriad options would be challenging.
My 3 year old son was easy–the male gene kicked in and he picked a truck within the first 5 minutes and could not be persuaded otherwise.
In contrast, My 5 year old daughter spent 10 minutes circling the store and half an hour in the Barbie aisle. I encouraged her to expand her options and to my surprise she headed to the LEGO aisle. Moreover, I was surprised (although she was not) to learn that LEGO makes projects specifically targeting girls. My daughter picked one (building an ice-cream shop) and not only has it given us endless bonding pleasure, but it’s also given me the opportunity to teach math concepts in a fun way. As you know, math is something girls lose confidence in relatively early on.
For example, how to follow instructions from a manual, paying attention to detail, comparing and describing objects and their relative positions, and exercising good judgement.
Now this is a toy that I can believe in.
LEGO Girls rule ok!
I spent Valentine’s day with a clown with big feet. You know what they say about men with big feet don’tcha?
It was a spur of the moment thing but what the hey?
The Chick-fil-a location near me offers free kids meals on Tuesdays and they had a clown entertaining the children and making characters out of balloons and giving these creations away for free. Tons of parents and giddy children were there!
The children and I had a blast.
However, the clown did take a much needed break to ask me and my friend whether our husbands were so cheap that they sent us to Chick-fil-A for dinner on V’day. We both admitted that we had none.
Luckily, none of the couples who were having dinner there overheard him.
Because…he was a nice clown.
I’ve learned that women can be jerks too.
You know the ones who try to play “the okie doke.” For example, the “friend” who asks you to pick her daughter up from after care to be retrieved an hour or so later from your home but doesn’t until four and a half hours later (i.e. after 10pm on a school night). The reward for inconveniencing you and your perfect children? “You would save my life!”
Then 2 weeks later, said friend approaches you again for similar favor, but this time with a twist. Not only does she want you to pick her daughter up from after care, but now she wants to drop said child off at your home at 7am to catch the school bus at 8:05am. So that friend, can travel out of state, for a business meeting that she “thinks”she’ll be returning from on the same day. Afterall, I would be such a life saver!!!
No matter, that she knows I’d have drive all of the children to the daycare to drop my son off before even tackling the school bus.
I told friend that while I empathized with her situation–like herself, being a single parent and all, I couldn’t handle three children in the morning under such time constraints and recommended that she pay the $40 before care fee for the day. As a show of goodwill, I offered to help her with after care pick up if she was willing to observe my pick up guidelines.
Her rigid back the next day made it clear that she did not expect such a response from a lifesaver.
I guess I’m not that sweet.
A few days ago I had the difficult chat with my perfect daughter.
Not the one about the birds and the bees.
It was the one about the As and the Bs.
Or more specifically, smiley faces and stars which are indicators of classwork performance–since my daughter is 5 years old and in Kindergarten.
She now understands that smiley faces mean she needs to try harder, stars mean excellent and that Ws (with help) on her report card are not desired!
For motivation she now charts stars and smiley faces on a calendar everyday after school with the understanding that when she gets more stars than smiley faces, she’ll receive a treat at month-end, like a visit to Chuck E. Cheese.
Trust me. It works.
She is now better focused on understanding concepts like gravity. But now I have headaches!
“If gravity causes things to fall down, then why don’t airplanes fall out of the sky, Mom?”
Or concepts like gas, liquid and solid.
“If white lines in the sky created by planes are really a solid then why is steam a gas, Mom?”
In my younger years, I was one of the girls who only made friends with boys. Later, I grew to become a woman who wisely realized that I needed women in my life. But somehow I always felt I had to compromise my self somewhat to fit in with then. Men I thought, were more accepting of me and my quirks.
Now, I’m reading a book–Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister. A wonderful book about a woman recovering from cancer who challenges each of her five women friends to do what terrifies them most with insightul results. The book made me think about the joys I’ve been experiencing reecently and how they came about. I’m making new friends and acquaintences–one. a Hungarian divorcee whose daughter is my daughter’s BFF. Through play dates we’ve become fast friends and recently signed each other up as emergency contacts for aftercare. And today while waiting for the school bus I noticed an Indian woman releasing her little girl to join my daughter and her BFF–the three of them in matching assembles of pink, purple, and white. Later my daughter told me the girl was a member of their trio. And perhaps, I thought an opportunity for me to make another friend in my community! On my daily walks I meet the same elderly Chinese woman at the same point along my path. She speaks little English but always communicates to me in ways that make it clear that she is complementing my look and carriage, starting my day on a bright note. Today, at the bus stop I noticed her acting in grandmotherly fashion toward my daughter and her two BFFs, a proud senior matron escorting chattering charges on to the school bus.
I correspond routinely with my daughter’s teacher–sort of an email pal and it’s reassuring to know she looks out for my daughter, whose frequently surprised at how much I know about what’s happening with her in class, not being there myself!
Recently, my daughter’s school announced that they will be hosting an International Family night in March and I decided to volunteer, offering Nigerian artifacts, something I would’ve avoided in the past in my attempt to minimize differences. Now, looking forward to it!
What I’ve learned so far is that differences make each and every one of us unique and interesting, and ultimately more appealing.
The more time we spend with each other the more the benefits become abundantly clear.
And…vulnerability is a good thing.
As I was getting my 3 year old son ready for a bath, he looked into the mirror and marvelled, “Wow, mom, look at my penis!”
My 5 year old daughter overheard this as she spied her little brother admiring himself in the bathroom mirror and said, “Ew, it looks like a yukky brown crayon!”
I said it’s a matter of perspective…and left it at that.