Stories from October 2010

Start ‘er Up

Linda Kennard

Dear husband,

We’ve been together a long time now, and after all these years, I’m happy to report that I’m still crazy about you. You’re my best friend, my favorite hanging buddy, and the man who makes this house my home. I respect and admire you now as always and love the father you are. And, much to my advantage, you’re a good lover, even a great one.

Most of the time.

But, occasionally you mistake me for a car. I am not a car, my darling, and never will be. This means that when you get a hankering for a midnight drive or a sunrise spin, I’m afraid that you cannot start me up by using only the key. It’s just not that simple.

If I were a car, getting this engine from 0 to 60 would take considerably more effort than putting in the key and pushing the gas. For one thing, I’d expect all my parts, exposed and hidden, to be thoroughly lubed and oiled before every driving session. I’d expect you, as driver, to admire the make and model, spit shine the headlights, and caress the steering wheel for a very long while—before pulling out the shiny little key—big key, I mean. Very big key. (No one is complaining about the key here!) I’m just saying that if I were a car and got that kind of treatment, that’d make the engine purr.

It’s important to note that the fact that I’m not a car is not my fault and is nothing I can change. It’s a design issue. (Read more…)

For the Love of the Game

Lisa Douglas

My oldest son is playing tackle football this season. A sport I love to watch professionally (GO STEELERS!), but to watch one of my children play? Gulp. I see the tackles, the injuries, the blood, the pulled muscles, the torn ACLs all the time on TV. Trying to imagine my son ever enduring something of that sort sends me into a ball of tears, mumbling for my mother in a corner.

He’s always been a soccer player, playing for as long as he could walk, dribbling the ball around the house, outside, anywhere he could. He’s going to be eleven in December, and is 85-pounds of pure muscle. The kid is fast and has soccer moves that I’m hoping could get him a full ride to college some day. When he announced his intention to play tackle football this season instead of soccer, I whimpered, “No! He can’t give up something that could send him to college, just to try something else!?”

And then I immediately shut up. Sure, a full ride to college would be nice. He loves playing soccer and scoring goals, but what if he turns out loving football more? What is it that I care about more—my son getting a free college education, or going to college (including mom and dad’s savings) playing a sport he lives for?

I want his happiness. I want his head to hit the pillow every night knowing he lived each day doing something he loved to do, living a full life. Soccer or football, whichever he chooses, I cannot be the one to pick for him. It’s his life. His love.

Turns out, he loves both.

And, even better? He’s great at both.

He’s a wide receiver, and the kid shakes tackles and runs so fast, I scream and jump and cry big, fat happy tears watching him and his team march ahead to 4-0. Undefeated.

That’s my son. Undefeated—by his passion for sports, his mother’s (overbearing) love, and his will to play hard.

(Now, if only I get him to apply the same passion towards making his bed, putting his clothes in the laundry, remembering his trumpet for band every day…)

Yep. She’s a Teenager.

Linda Kennard

The most insulting thing that I can say to my daughter is that she’s acting like a teenager. Jay prides herself in being a mature and atypical teenage girl and, to her credit (and my great fortune) she is—in many respects. She never rolls her eyes at me (maybe because she knows I would roll them right out of her head if she ever tried), she’s not boy crazy (interested yes, crazy no), and she doesn’t care what her hair looks like. (Maybe that’s not true: she does seem to me to spend a lot of time trying to make her hair look like she hasn’t fussed with it.)

BUT, Jay does fall victim to a handful of traits that are typical of teens. . . .

1. If Jay had it her way, she’d sleep until at least noon. This irritates me, so I burst into the room around 8:00am and say something like, “Get up! Feed your dog!”

2. Jay’s room is a pig sty. I have to shout “Feed your dog!” from the doorway because making my way to her bed is like navigating an obstacle course. Shoes, jeans, shirts, underwear, socks, school papers, her guitar, even her cell phone sometimes. There’s just $#*^ everywhere.

3. She keeps her cell phone with her at all times but somehow it’s impossible to get in touch with the child. It’s a mystery, particularly because when she’s at home, she’s perpetually texting. I hear that thing vibrating in my sleep. (Read more…)

The Evolution of the Bedtime Routine

Karrie McAllister

I swear, when my first kid was born, it used to irritate the heck out of me when my husband dressed her in mismatching pajamas.  “Pink stripes and pink stripes!” I’d yell, in total disbelief that he’d actually not color coordinated her entire evening attire.

“She’s just going to sleep,” was his response.

Yeah, right.  Going to sleep was just one part of it.  There was an entire evening planned around this kid.  From bath to powder, snacks and stories, rocking and nursing, all capped off with one special lullaby that would surely be doubly awesome if her PJ’s matched.

It took time and effort, but it was rewarding in that thank-goodness-the-baby-is-asleep sort of way.  Because let’s face it, as cute as they are when they’re awake, they don’t ask for cartoons when they’re asleep.

But time went on, and sure enough came baby #2 who completely threw off the routine.  With multiple children to bathe and clothe, snuggle and snack, rock and read, things started slipping.  The first thing to go was the frequent bath.  I began spacing out their cleanings more and more, not to mention cutting back on the number of books read and the quality of snack.  What was once warm milk and low-sugar treats was now fluorescent yogurt with a handful of cereal in it.  I’d purposely pick books that were short and the only rocking happening was me, rocking slowly out of the room so that no one would wake up.

By the time those two kids were old enough to dress themselves and other such standard things, baby #3 came along. (Read more…)

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This Weeks Tip

You would think at our age that we wouldn’t have to worry about these things. But, as Kate will attest, even at *ahem* 27, untimely breakouts can (and will) happen. What to do? Apply an ice cube for 30 second. Then soak a cotton ball in eye drops and press it to the “spot” for 3 minutes. The theory is that the ice and drop combination will cause blood vessels below the surface to contract—leaving you looking, well, a little less like Rudolph.