Saturday, August 18, 2012

To Have an Ordinary Child

The 2012 Summer Olympics marked the first time I watched the games as a parent of two mobile, destructive active children. As such, I noticed different things about the coverage. I noticed the parents. They were there in the
stands going through every emotion of which a human spirit is capable (Notice how I managed to not end in a preposition by sounding like a Bronte sister. It's August, my inner teacher needed some stretching.) as their children achieve (or failed to achieve) feats that took the body and mind to the absolute limit. Really, even though they are spectators, they are the ones who made it happen or at least started their child down the path. They figured out how to maneuver through coaches and money and schedules and school and practices to make sure their child's Olympic dream came true. They had to decide, usually when their child was at very young age, how far they all were willing to go. It is an epic feat of parenting. There should be medals. (See what I did there? Heh.)
Is it wrong that I sort of hope that it is never me?
As a parent, aren't I suppose to want my child to be Olympics (Am I the only one who can never type Olympic correctly the first try?) level extraordinary? Isn't it every parents dream to have their kid achieve such a lofty goal?
It just kind of ties me in knots because I worry about my kids having an extraordinary talent. It can take over lives. It can be the end all and be all of not only that kid's life, but the parent's, siblings', grandparents', third cousins' lives too. Striving to always be the best at something that could potential be humanly impossible is a lot to put on a kid especially when a lot of these athletes start at five or six. (Note: I apply this idea to all talents, music, art, dance, juggling, jousting, etc.)
As the parents, it would be John's and my role to make CJ or Leila find balance if they happen to be in the upper echelon of some active community. While we would be numbing our butts in bleachers and screaming our heads off, we would also have to make sure there was time for school and friends and family and other pursuits. It would be up to us to make sure that if the dream is Olympic gold and that never happens, that life is not over.
That is a lot of pressure on parents on top of the pressure of just being a parent. The pressure of extraordinary reverberates through a person's life, and the first choices on the path are made by the parents. Please, don't think I am disparaging athletes or their parents. On the contrary, I am in some awe of them. But I am scared to be one. I would not let that fear stand in the way if CJ or Leila prove to have the talent and the drive, but that doesn't stop it from existing. It will be there even if I end of being interviewed by Bob Costas.
(The parentheticals were inspired by Megan at Best of Fates, the queen of the parentheticals.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

While We're Away, the Kids Will Get Hurt

Last weekend, John and I went to BlogHer. For those of you unfamiliar with the conference and too lazy to follow the link (I know who you are.), it is an event for lots of bloggers (mostly of the female variety) to get together to drink network and party boarden their blogging opportunities. It was a really amazing time. John and I are attention whores people persons, so it was great to meet friends, old and new, who until Friday and Saturday had only lived in our computers via Facebook, Twitter, and some truly wonderfully written blogs.
On Saturday evening, we were doing some pre-dinner chatting over some drinks in the hotel bar when a text came in from Alex with this picture.

Yes, that's Leila's foot swollen to an alarming size. (Hey, it might not be alarming to you, but it was to her mom.) Alex was asking if she could give her Benedryl. The official party line on Benedryl is that no one under four should even be able to look at the stuff. The unofficial word is that a half dose or so has saved my kids some rough times. So I told Al to do the half dose. She ended up putting some cream on it. By the time we got home on Sunday, the red was gone and the swelling was significantly less. Chances are it was some kind of a bite. She had had something similar around her eye early this summer. The doctor had said keep an eye on it. So, you know, it was not worrisome. I guess.

Now, my sister and my mother did everything I or John would have done for Leila. In no way shape or form would our presence in Carlisle instead of NYC have changed any treatment or conditions. 

Try telling that to my mom guilt heart. I did enjoy myself for the evening over a lovely Italian dinner and too many Asian appetizers, but part of me, more than would have been pre-text message, was trying to parent through my phone; texting questions. Was the foot hot to the touch? Was she favoring it? Did she have a fever? None of which were really constructive, but when your kid is remotely injured or sick, you must know everything. And not being there to find out was painful. While laughing and chatting and watching dogs and bloggers strut down a runway (If you don't know, you don't really need to.) a part of me was calculating the potential cabfare and time back to Will's apartment in Brooklyn (where we stayed) then the drive home if any of the answers my mom or sister were sending me proved too vexing. Maybe hopping a train would be quicker?

Essentially, the point  of the post is, parental love is not logical thus should not be trusted to respond reasonably even if the said parent appears to be acting reasonably. You may find this knowledge useful at some point if you end up dealing with a parent in such a state.

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Kids Are Beach Kids

You never know what your kids are going to like. You just pray it's something you can stand. Phineas & Ferb over Jake & the Neverland Pirates, for instance. (What? Those little pipsqueaks give me a cavity.) Or Click Clack Moo for the millionth time instead of that damned Easter Bunny book for the hundredth.
Then there are times when they love what you love. This happened with the beach. John and I are both beach people. Hours in a beach chair just watching waves or reading with a dip or two in the ocean was a perfect vacation for us. Now those trips are more about running around after the kids as they cover themselves in sand and run away (CJ) from the waves or run into (Leila) them. It is not as relaxing as it once was, but it is just as satisfying if not more so.
John and CJ spent hours together, John waist-deep in the water with CJ on his hip waiting to jump the big ones.

Leila and I joined them for spurts, but she really preferred jumping around in the surf on her own independent terms or with a friend.

And, of course, it wasn't a day at the beach unless they were covered from hairline to toe nails in sand. There was hole digging and sandcastle destroying. Yes, destroying. They were very anxious to have someone else build one so they could go Godzilla on it. Even after hours on the beach, going home was a little disappointing even though they looked cool doing it. 

We're also glad they are turning into biking kids too.
Even though CJ is cautious, they are both kids who will try something new like riding a horse. Chincoteague and Assateague are known for the wild horses that roam the wild life refuge.

We plan on at least one annual trip to the beach. I love knowing that it will be something the kids look as forward to as I do.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Camping with Toddlers! And others

We took the kids camping for the first time this weekend. We went to Killen's Pond state park in near Rehoboth, Delaware. John picked that area for a very specific reason. We went with some old friends and some new friends. There were eight kids in all, but eight adults, so we managed to maintain some order with man-on-man coverage. Somewhat.
The campsites were beautiful. There was plenty of shade and quiet and a really pretty meadow. It was a little inconvenient to the bathrooms, but it was worth it to not be near the RVs and their generators.
John and another dad, Jason, along with his two minions sons, Anthony and Ethan went down on Thursday to set up camp toddler-free. CJ's insistent,"I halp!" is cute, but potentially dangerous when putting up a tent. And God bless them because it was HOT! They were real troopers. When I showed up with our kids, other mom, Kirsten, and other toddler, Keira, on Friday, we dropped our stuff, looked around, and said, "Water park!"
Best. Idea. Ever.
  (courtesy of Domestic Deeds)

When we got back much cooler and happier, it stormed (shortly after the rest of our friends, the Layous and Aycocks, arrived and got their camps set up). Which is not the ideal camping fun unless it is breaking the gawd awful heat. Also it was awesome because it made this happen.
Fortunately, the rain stopped long enough to let us get dinner (kabobs over the fire thanks to John.) in and a quick round of s'mores before it started up again and drove us to our tents. Sleeping in a tent with toddlers does not involve much sleeping. It involves much rolling off of an air mattress and John eventually sleeping across the bottom of said mattress. Thank goodness I am short.
Fortunately, there were pancakes and bacon and coffee in the morning, thanks to the Deeds, followed by another trip to the water park where Leila spent her time running from one slide to another while CJ tormented sprayed victims friends with a play hose. After lunch we decided it was nap time. They were asleep before we got them to the car in the water park parking lot. Once back at camp we settled in for some actual camping. John entertained the children.

   (again, Deeds pictures, thanks Kirsten.)

While the Layous made us a delicious tortilla dinner. Camping is really mostly about the food.
We taught the kids basic camping skills that involve sticks and marshmallows .
I shall gloss over the epic tantrum CJ throw before finally falling asleep on Saturday and just say we were all so satisfyingly exhausted that tent sleeping was possible. Sunday we had another delightful breakfast, courtesy of the Aycocks followed by the not-so-fun packing, courtesy of John, but then a delightful lunch at Dogfish Head Brew Pub in Rehoboth before we all parted company. John and I took the kids for a quick trip to the beach before heading home. Leila, of course, ran straight into the waves, while CJ made John hold him for a couple of minutes before getting his toes wet. 
All in all the kids were a delight for most of the trip, and I think I can safely say that they had an excellent time. I see many a family and friends camping trip in our future. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Motel Toddler

We had our first experience with the kids in a hotel. I learned a lot.

The room was really set up for me. All the surfaces, including the sink, were low, a bonus for a short person. Not a bonus for a short person, with toddlers, who wants to sit and eat a sandwich and watch the television.

One of CJ's favorite things is ice, and here, right in front of him, was a bucket full of it. I don't think he knew that much could exist, and there was nowhere to put it out of his reach. Heck, even the fridge was within his grasp. As was the door that's latch was on the loose side. As were the television buttons.

Within minutes of entering the room, we had to disconnect the phone because Leila was talking on it and pressing buttons. You know she would have managed to call Luxembourg, and it would have ended up cheaper to buy the motel than pay the long distance bill. Honestly, until Saturday night, I wasn't sure they knew what a lan line phone was for.

We decided to get a room with a king sized bed. Even at home, the kids end up in our bed every night, so there is no chance they won't when we are away. It was easier to just start out that way. In theory. Apparently, in her sleep, Leila mistook the new environment for an obstacle course with John and I being the obstacles. Her favorite obstacle was John's head though she might have thought that was a sparring dummy with the amount of kicking it she did. Maybe she is a Potential. At one point she, for her own reasons, crawled to the bottom corner of the bed and just passed out there, face down, sprawled. I ended up sleeping with my head down next to her, with my hand on her, so she wouldn't roll off the bed. I wasn't about to move her once she actually fell asleep.

CJ, you ask? He pretty much slept through it all.

In the morning, there were really only two things that were going to make John and me functional, showers and hot beverages of the Starbucks variety.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Our First Snow Adventure

We have not done much with this blog. We put so much on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, that it can be hard to find more to add. But now that the kids are a little older, and we can go on more adventures, we'll try to elaborate on them here. Hopefully.
Any snow adventure starts with the snow suit prep. This? Is a process, especially the first time when the kids have to investigate all the puffy warmness first. But within an hour of starting, we had all four of us ready for action.
The sliding glass door open, and the kids ran out in excitement. They stopped short. Walking was hard! Arms up! Mum! Da! (When it comes to calling us, apparently our kids become Irish.) Thus carrying them out of the fence to our little hill commenced.
They stayed true to their personalities. Leila thought laundry basket sledding was great.

YouTube Video

CJ did not. He liked flinging snow.

YouTube Video

It wouldn't pack into balls. And of course once they got use to the idea, running around in the snow was great.

They both thought snow angels were lame.
Of course the best part was introducing them to after snow hot chocolate.
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Useful site and free stuff

As fundraising will probably be in my parental future, this looks like a helpful site. And I really want an iPad.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone