There are plenty of parents out there who are adamantly opposed to the idea of young children watching TV. And I should know, because I used to be one of them. For the longest time, I refused to let my toddler sit on the couch fixated on a screen. I wanted him to spend his time playing with puzzles, building with blocks, and moving around–not glued to the television.
But one day I had no choice but to try a TV-related experiment. My son’s day care lost power overnight during a storm, and I found out the next morning that the center would not be able to open that day. Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t have been worse, as I had a (pre-nap time) work deadline looming and needed at least an hour to complete a major project. Rather than ignore my son, I decided to try turning on the television to see what would happen.
At first I wasn’t even convinced he’d have the attention span to sit there watching Barney (yep, I went old school), but after a few minutes he seemed fairly content. I, on the other hand, was not. Even though we were only talking about two back-to-back kids’ shows, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this one concession would kick-start an unhealthy habit that I’d previously gone out of my way to discourage. In fact, following that incident, I made a promise to myself that TV would be limited to “emergency” situations alone. And for some time afterward, it didn’t actually go on at all while my son was around or awake. Read the rest of this entry →
Despite the apocalyptic weather conditions, New York City schools were OPEN today (because we’re crazy), but just about everywhere else in the country, flights were canceled, highways were gridlocked, and kids enjoyed a national snow day–even in North Carolina, which has been pummeled by an ice storm named Pax.
Well, two school administrators, headmaster Michael Ulku-Steiner and director Lee Hark at Durham Academy in North Carolina, broke the the news to students with a hilarious cover of Vanilla Ice’s ’90s hit–yup, you guessed it–”Ice, Ice, Baby.”
Enjoy the video and for god’s sake, don’t go outside!
If you’re a mother in a balmier climate, known to complain about fifty-degree “freezing” temperatures, you probably can’t relate–but feel free to read on, if only to have a laugh while you snuggle into your cotton sweater. Fellow cold-weather moms? You know how we feel about winter. Now let us count the ways:
1. THE HONEYMOON PHASE
On the surface, this a part of winter isn’t that terrible. That first nip in the air doesn’t come as a warning; it’s almost welcome. That little chill is a harbinger of holidays, of cute sweaters, of paper snowflakes and other wintry-themed craft projects. The early part of winter passes by in a blur, what with taking cold-weather clothes out of “storage” (i.e., a trunk or bin stuffed to the max with snowsuits and puffy jackets), the luxury of indoor playdates (no pressure to go outside when the temperature dropping!), or visits to the playground when it’s almost empty (“Gee, it’s not even that cold,” you think to yourself. “Those other moms are total wimps!”). Getting ready for the holidays puts a palpable excitement into the air and the radio plays holly-jolly music twenty-four hours a day. What’s not to love? But then…
The gifts have been opened; the playground is finally too chilly for even the heartiest of families. Then the realization sets in that you are facing months more of this. Months more. Read the rest of this entry →
There has been some sort of snow or ice on the ground in Pittsburgh since Thanksgiving. I am six months pregnant, driving a brand new (covered in dirt and salt) minivan, and schlepping around two kids. Did I mention we moved a mile down the road to a bigger place at the end of December and then my whole family got H1N1 a few weeks ago?
Yeah, I’m over it.
These are my normal “I’m a mom of two” standards: There is dust on my TV stand but I scrub the toilet bowl and sweep/vacuum bi-weekly (as in, twice per week). My kids don’t eat cereal for dinner but I am not opposed to Trader Joes frozen meatballs or Spaghetti O’s. I shower every other day, and shave at least once per week. My kids wear clean clothes every day but pajamas can be used two nights in a row. Bath night every other night. My kids each get two stories before bed and a song. There must be dessert in my house; my kids aren’t usually allowed to eat it. Milk plus back up milk, fruit, and peanut butter at all times. One or two TV shows after naptime, and family movie night is Friday with popcorn if you ate a decent amount of dinner.
Currently? There is dust all over my house and pee all over my toilet. My kids ate frozen waffles and bananas for dinner the entire week I was sick. Fruit snacks now count as a fruit. I still try to shower every other day but you could braid my leg hair right now. Kiddo bath every third night, smell jammies on the floor to see if they are clean. Bake to keep the house warm, ration each child one cookie/brownie per day, eat the rest yourself after they go to bed. Go outside only if we run out of milk. Listen to the Toddler Pandora station in the morning, maybe one episode of Daniel Tiger, then a movie after nap. Sure kids! Eat all the pretzels you want for snack if it keeps you quiet. That means you will be less hungry for dinner which is good because I have no idea what we are having which is a problem because it’s 7 p.m. Read the rest of this entry →
It’s a snow day here in Boston. You know what that means: kids that have to be dragged out of beds on school days are up before dawn and weary parents are staring glassy-eyed into their coffee as they negotiate who gets to go to work and who will stay home with the Tasmanian devils who have somehow managed to trash the house before the garbage truck has rumbled by.
I logged onto Facebook this morning and wrote: “They woke up at 6:30 AM and are currently wandering around the house in thin cotton summer dresses. My girls are terrible at snow days. At least it’s beautiful out.”
It was your run of the mill, slightly less than clever, semi-whiny, halfhearted attempt to garner sympathy from my friends and find something positive about the day. A few friends “liked” my picture of the snowy scene from my front door, and in the midst of a few sympathetic comments, my former boss wrote this:
“You need to get in full camp counselor mode! Bake cookies, dance party, art and crafts, story time, sledding, etc… hopefully, by later in the day the roads are a bit more cleared…I am hoping our Y is open to get them out of the house and swimming….good luck!” Read the rest of this entry →
Depression and motherhood do not mix. Before I was married I was aware that my offspring could possibly carry the same genetic predisposition that I have for depression. I don’t mean the “blues” or feeling sad for a couple of days; what I do mean is months of feeling hopeless, helpless, sleeping in excess, and feeling completely alone.
Unfortunately for me, I produce a low amount of serotonin which is needed to maintain a cheery outlook, and to just feel balanced. Add some generalized anxiety to this and you’ve got what has been my life for the past 20 years. I have learned great skills in dealing with it and know when I need to re-group. I also have very supportive family and wonderful friends. I am actually lucky as I have only dealt with a few instances of clinical depression and have come out the other side each time. What works for me is talking and medication. There it is…no stigma.
2. My Daughter
My daughter is one of the happiest people I know. I constantly watch her in amazement. I see her easy-going demeanor and I wonder, where the hell did you come from? My husband is not exactly laid back and I bring the depressive/anxious traits into the mix, so how did we end up with this happy, sparkly child? It baffles me on a daily basis. She is not overly dramatic when something does not go her way and accepts things in a positive way. She is by no means perfect, but I can’t imagine her ever being sad for a long period of time. Read the rest of this entry →
The true mark of adulthood is not age: it’s whether you react to a snow day with despair or delight.
“Thank you, God!” my 4th grader yelled, as he hopped from foot to foot in a spontaneous variant on the hora with his 3rd grade brother (I had thought the school superintendent was responsible for making the decision on calling off school on account of inclement weather, but never mind). My 2-year-old, upon learning she would not be going to school, promptly burst into tears.
I totally know how the 2-year-old felt. With less than two weeks until the interminable winter break–I mean, that joyous time with no school, when babysitters all have better things to do than hang out with your kids–all work for the work-from-home parent needs to be taken care of today, if not yesterday. Having three kids at school was essential in order for me to accomplish anything, whether that “anything” was work, newborn baby gift thank you notes, or simply sitting down.
I’m also the kind of parent who sees snow as something best viewed through a window or in an Ansel Adams photo. I see snow and I start thinking of snow scrapers, rock salt ruining my shoes, and moving to California. Read the rest of this entry →