Teaching Kindness

9.30.2010

This generation of students worries me.  For the past ten years, I've been teaching first-year college students, and as each year goes by, I receive less and less respect from them.  Still, this year by far has been the worst--a total breakdown of respect and lack for authority.

I used to shrug this behavior off, but now that I am a mom, I worry.  I worry about this new "culture" that is arising and how my son will be affected by it.  For those of you who are still uncertain as to what I am talking about, let me explain.

When I went to college (in the 90's), we treated our professors with respect.  We didn't dare speak or talk over them while they were talking, we never talked back, and we never, ever, ever, dared to cross the line and suggest that an assignment was STUPID.  They had authority, and we wanted to do our best by paying attention and learning as much as we could (even if we didn't like every single assignment.)  Sometimes we'd even give our professors gifts at the end of the class to show our appreciation for their help.

Today I deal with a new mindset.  Most (not all) students need constant reminding that they are not to talk, text, listen to music, or play with their cell phones, i-pods, or laptops in class.  Every day, I must constantly remind them that their education comes first and that they are paying top dollar for tuition.  When students miss information because they are too busy gabbing with their friends, they interrupt me and demand that I repeat it for them.

This is just the beginning.  Now students feel they can voice their opinions at any time that they want as well.  If they don't like an assignment, they very forwardly ask, "Why do we have to do this?" and sometimes they make remarks out loud in class like "This assignment's stupid!"  or "I don't understand why we have to do this anyway.  I'm not doing it!"

In some cases, their reactions remind me of my two year old.  However, instead of taking an all out tantrum because they don't have the vocabulary to express themselves, they use their words to attack, be cutting, and show disrespect.

In the long run, their grades resemble the effort they chose or didn't choose to put forth in this class, but there is something about this generation that really, truly concerns me.  That one thing is their lack of kindness

A few weeks ago, I asked a student if he wouldn't mind standing up on his chair to turn on the video projector, which was mounted to the ceiling.   He was sitting beneath it, and I couldn't stand up on the chair because I was wearing a dress.  He very pointedly answered, "No.  You do it!"

I looked around the room and asked if someone would volunteer, but everyone remained silent.  This mean student had set the bar as to how everyone else was going to react.  If he wasn't going to help me, then they certainly weren't going to do it either. 

Embarrassed by the situation (and quite honestly shocked), I offered extra credit.  Imagine.  I offered extra credit just so that someone could show some kindness and compassion!  At this point, I finally had a few volunteers, but did I really have to go to this extreme?  Do students today feel like they are not going to help someone else unless they know they'll get something out of it?

I'm disturbed.  I have more to tell (perhaps in another post), but I am worried that the children of Generation Y, for some reason, have not learned about kindness.  They haven't grown out of the two year old mentality that says, "it's all about me."  It makes me sad, and I wonder if this is just a stage that they will grow out of or if this is a larger implication that we may be heading for a "dog eat dog world."

If I can choose one major character trait for my little boy to take with him throughout life, it would be kindness--to treat others the way we wish to be treated, to show love, empathy, and compassion for our fellow neighbors.  I don't expect all my students to pay attention in class.  I don't expect that they like every assignment.  I don't expect that they thank me even though I try to be a sincere, kind, and compassionate mentor for them.  I do, hope, however, that they reconsider their current etiquette and treatment of others.  After all,  love and kindness are truly what makes the world go around.  Without it, does life really have meaning?

Tick, Tick, Tick

9.29.2010


Do you remember the days when you were a kid and time seemed to go by so slow?  The school year, especially the ones in elementary school, seemed to drag on forever, and even summers, no matter how fun they were, seemed to last for an eternity.  During the summer, if I didn't have a friend come over in the afternoon and there wasn't an activity planned, I used to drive my mom insane.

"Mom...I'm sooooo bored."

"What are you talking about?  You have so many toys to play with and things to do," she'd reply.

"I've played with everything already, Mom.  I don't know what to do....I'm soooo bored."

Okay, I'll spare you from the rest of the boring conversation.  I laugh at the absurdity of this now because today, no matter how hard I try, I'm never bored.  Okay, let me rephrase this...My goal is not to be bored.  My goal is to make more time for myself to think, reflect, and be in the moment, especially when it comes to spending time with my Lil' Lewie.  However, each time I try to make this into a concrete goal, I can't stop the nagging inner voice from inside my head that says something like this:

"Annette, you should probably take a few minutes to call Citibank.  You know they overcharged you on your last bill.  The interest rate was supposed to stay at 1.9%."

"You're running out of food in the fridge, Annette.  It doesn't look like you have anything decent to make for tonight's dinner."

"Your poor students are waiting to get their papers back, Annette.  Don't you think they deserve to have their grades by now?" 

"Your CVS coupon for $10 off a $25 purchase is going to expire today if you don't use it.  I think you need to make a quick stop."

The list of these nagging comments can go on forever, and yet, I don't know how to make it stop.  The clock keeps ticking away, and I'm pressed with an endless "to-do" list and a guilty conscious that says I need to make the most of these precious days with Lil' Lewie because once they're gone, I can never get them back.

At the moment, my only solution is to reserve this special "savor the moment" time on the weekends but even then, my "to-do" list creeps into the picture like a dark shadow in a horror movie. 

Today I am ever more conscious that I need to quell these nagging thoughts when they arise and learn to create a schedule that satisfies both my mommy time and my "to-do list" time.  Do you struggle with the same day to day anxieties/worries?  Have you found a perfect schedule that makes you satisfied on both ends?  I'd love to hear your opinions... 

Monday's Mommy Moment: Gardening?

9.27.2010

This weekend was my first attempt at trying some actual gardening and planting with Lil' Lewie.  I bought some Daffodil, Hyacinth, Grape Hyacinth, and Scillas bulbs and made a little sketch as to where I wanted to plant them in the front yard.  As I began to turn over the soil with my shovel (and made sure to give Lil' Lewie his own large plastic shovel too), I lost his attention in less than a minute.



Okay, turning over soil isn't exactly fun, so I prepared him for the next step.  Surely he would love helping me spread some fertilizer and soil in the flowerbeds while planting some of the bulbs.  Well, that didn't go exactly as planned either.  My tiny tot who once loved getting his hands dirty, now, evidently, doesn't like to get his hands dirty at all. 

"Common Lewie.  Now just grab a handful of soil from the bag and sprinkle it here like this," I said with the most encouraging of voices.  "Look how much fun Mommy is having."

He looked at me, looked at the dirt, and then grabbed my hand.

"Lewie, we're going to stay here right now. Okay?"  I tried reasoning with my two year old.

Silly Mommy.  Trying to reason with a two year old is like trying to reason with...um...a rock in the garden.  There is no reasoning.  If my little boy likes what I'm about to say, he's listening, but if I say something that he doesn't like, he ignores me like I don't even exist.   He continued grabbing my hand, this time with a little more persistence.

"Okay, where do you want to take Mommy?" I asked, shrugging my shoulders.

Just like I suspected, he lead me right to his swing set in the yard.  Our gardening experience lasted all of five minutes.  My equipment was spread out everywhere, bags of soil and fertilizer were open and scattered, bulbs were lying in the grass, and I was cajoled by my two year old to drop everything I was doing to push him on the swings and help him on the slide.  When I even suggested that we go back to the front yard to plant, he began to scream, cry, whine, and break out into one of his fairly typical tantrums.

My word of advice to any mommies out there with two year olds or younger is this--if your little one doesn't have a great attention span now, don't even try gardening yet.  There will be plenty of opportunities when they get older (I hope!)


"Look Mom, my hands are dirty!"
"Earthworms...Yuck!"

Friday Fun Flick: My Little Musclehead

9.23.2010

In May, I purchased a series of Pilates DVDs, so I could do my own exercise routine at home.  I'm happy with the results, but I never knew my Pilates equipment would be such a huge hit with my little boy.  As a result, I have to do my exercises in the morning when he's still asleep.  Otherwise, he takes over and doens't want to share.

Here's a quick video of my little boy lifting my Pilates bar.  Of course, I made sure to remove the weights on the ends before he started pumping "iron."  I suppose one day, he may become my own little (or maybe not so little) "gym rat." 


video



Welcome Fall!

9.22.2010

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Some goals for this season include...

  • Going apple picking
  • Making yummy caramel apples
  • Making apple crisp
  • Going pumpkin picking
  • Making scary and funny Jack O' Lanterns
  • Toasting pumpkin seeds
  • Planting spring perennials like Hyacinth and Daffodils
  • Putting out our scare crow and other fall decorations
  • Taking fall hikes and collecting colorful leaves
  • Jumping in leaf piles
  • Dressing up for Halloween
  • Counting our blessings on Thanksgiving
Last fall, we had the pleasure of taking Little Lewie pumpkin picking for his very first time. In fact, it was his first time visiting a petting zoo, too. Since I didn't blog last year, I thought I'd reminisce and share some of our old photos. It's hard for me to believe that Lil' Lewie wasn't even walking yet at this time last year. He could stand and balance himself up on the fence, but when it was time to let him loose in the pumpkin patch, he just crawled and crawled from one pumpkin to the other.

Now that he's a toddler and RUNS most of the time instead of walking, it should be interesting to see what he does at the pumpkin patch this year...

What are some of your goals for this fall?




Happy Fall Everyone!

My Great Aunty Sarah

9.20.2010

Last week, my Great Aunty Sarah was admitted to the hospital. She was having difficulty breathing, and there was speculation that she might have pneumonia. Like most people, my first instinct was to brush the seriousness of it off. Being in her late eighties, she has had many frequents to the hospital, and my first reaction was to stay calm. Surely she'll be out in a matter of days. She just has a bad cold and needs a few breathing treatments.

Now, more than a week later, I'm not sure if there is any good news in sight. My Aunty Sarah is feeling weaker and weaker, and she has little to no appetite at all. Yesterday she didn't even pick up the phone to speak with anyone because she said she was just too tired.

As I'm writing this, my eyes are tearing, and my hands feel shaky. It's been over fifteen years since I lost my grandparents, and only three years since I lost my dad. As selfish as this may sound, I wanted my Aunty Sarah to be around for us. I had dreams of taking Little Lewie over to her apartment to do jig-saw puzzles together and play board games like Chutes and Ladders and Sorry. (At the present moment, we haven't been able to visit much because Little Lewie doesn't know how to stay still. I didn't want him breaking any knickknacks or getting into any mischief. Now I wonder if I just should have gone regardless of his possible tantrums, etc.)

I know it's still too early to give up hope, and so I'm praying for her to feel better as each day passes. I still have so many questions to ask, Hungarian recipes to try, and family traditions to learn. She is a living window to my (our) past heritage, and she's always been like a second grandmother to me.

Please forgive me for this digression away from my typical "mommy moment" posts. Today I honor my Aunty Sarah--her spirit, her spunk, her sassiness, and her amazing kindness and generosity. May this sassy spirit that I know and love so well be able to rise to the surface once more and crush this terrible bout of sickness, tiredness, and weakness.

Aunty Sarah and my Lil' Lewie
  
Please get well Aunty Sarah...we love you oh so much!!!!

My Little Boy's Hands...

9.19.2010

My little boy's hands
take me for a walk.
They like to lead me to the swings,
and they point and sign to talk.
My little boy's hands
try to shoot hoops and play b-ball.
They climb up playscapes and ladders,
and they come out to break a fall.

My little boy's hands
scoop up dirt and rocks.
They push cars and trucks
and often grab his feet to take off socks.

My little boy's hands
like to make a mess.
They scribble with his crayons,
and they play with food, I must confess.

My little boy's hands
like to drum and clap.
They move to the music,
and they like to tap, tap, tap.

My little boy's hands
like to touch things and explore.
They like to play patty-cake
and open and shut our door.

My little boy's hands
wave when he says "hi".
They cover his eyes for "peek-a-boo,"
and they blow kisses when he says "bye".

My little boy's hands
reach to give me hugs.
They often poke and tickle me
and scare me with plastic bugs.

My little boy's hands
like to help me bake a pie.
They like to be mommy's helper
without ever asking "why?"

My little boy's hands
like to flip the pages of his book.
They like to snuggle with his blankie
and rub his eyes with that bedtime look.

My little boy's hands
will grow to be big one day,
but while they are still little hands,
we'll make forever memories, and laugh, and play.


Confidence

9.16.2010

As a college English instructor for many years, I find it easy to pick out the confident students in my classroom. They enter with a "can do" attitude, and they're usually, happy, polite, attentive, and inspired. They take diligent notes in class, they ask sophisticated questions, and they show little concern for wanting to "impress" or receive validation from their peers. In other words, they feel comfortable in their own skin and secure in their abilities...period.


One thing that has become increasingly apparent to me is that my two year-old little boy exudes confidence. From the time that he wakes up in the morning until the time that he goes to sleep, he approaches everything with an unrelenting curiosity, desire to learn, and “can do” attitude. Thus, his days are spent exploring his world—seeing what he can lift off the counter, discovering what he can accomplish by pushing buttons, figuring out how to open and close cabinet doors, finding new methods to play with his toys, and most recently, testing his physical ability, agility, and strength.


Yesterday, I discovered that a little self-confidence goes an amazingly long way. While I sat on the porch and watched my little boy explore his swing set, I saw him attempt to climb the rungs (a.k.a. rock wall) to the slide. My immediate reaction was complete and utter dismissal.  He’s not going to figure out how to climb that rock wall. That thing’s meant for a five year-old, and even then, I still don’t think it’s that easy to climb.


As I continued to watch him, my jaw dropped in utter disbelief as he made it to the fifth, sixth, seventh, and then last and final rung. What? Did he just do what I thought he did?  He immediately sat his little hiney down on the platform as he’s been instructed to do all summer long, and woosh, down the slide he went without a single bit of coaxing, coddling, lifting, or pushing from mommy.


Watching him conquer that slide was like watching one of my most disadvantaged students ace a speech or writing assignment. It reminded me of what “mind over matter” can accomplish and why the “I think I can” attitude desperately needs to be nurtured, supported, and encouraged.


Children are born with self-confidence. After watching and observing my Lil’ Lewie, I’m sure of it. Now, it’s my role as a parent to make sure he keeps it. Where does it go? Why do most of my students (like 80%) no longer have it? I’m not sure.


Somewhere along the way, my insecure students were told they were not good enough, and they believed it. Perhaps it was a message sent by their own parents or perhaps it was a message sent by their peers. All I know, is that I’m going to do whatever I can to help my little boy preserve his. It will be the single most important gift I can give to him as a parent.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Frustrations with Dieting

9.14.2010

I gained 50 pounds during my pregnancy with Little Lewie. The doctors weren't concerned because I was still getting a lot of exercise by walking everyday, but once I had my little boy, I slowly learned that losing the weight was going to be an uphill battle. For one, I only lost twenty pounds after having him. Then, when my milk flow didn't come in right away, my little boy became more accustomed to the bottle. I still nursed him in the mornings when he was sleepy, but the rest of the day I would pump my milk. For some reason, this routine of mostly pumping didn't allow me to lose any additional weight.
My weight didn't start coming off until Little Lewie 1) started sleeping through the night, and 2) became more mobile. Once my son started getting a full night of rest, I was able to sleep too, which meant I could get up in the morning before him, feel refreshed, and do a half an hour Pilates routine to work my muscles, especially my mid section. Then, once he started getting mobile, I was definitely burning calories chasing him around the playground and going up and down the slides myself.


It took me two long years to lose the baby weight (double the time it took me to put in on), and although I'm satisfied with my weight for now, I've been known to fluctuate and sometimes go on "yo-yo" diets. The winter is quickly approaching, and I can guarantee that I'll be at least another ten pounds heavier before the spring arrives...it all comes with the territory of loving food and having a 30 year-old's metabolism.


For anyone who's on a diet, especially a "yo-yo" diet that just doesn't seem to be working. This top ten is for you...


10. Your new diet has required you to stock up on health foods--low calorie fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, etc. (You know the drill.) Since you can't eat anything fun, other than the caramel flavored rice cakes in the pantry that taste like cardboard, you've decided that no one can eat anything fun. Thus, the family revolt begins...


9. You catch yourself at the scale constantly. You need to have reassurance that this diet is working NOW. Didn't your new diet PROMISE that you would lose five pounds per day? (Sounds unrealistic but this is where hopeful optimism kicks in...)


8. In order to feel better about your diet, you make sure to rub it in the faces or all your friends and coworkers. Hey, since you can't have what they're eating, you can at least make them feel guilty about their overindulging. "Wow, you're having onion rings? I used to eat them all the time until I put on an extra twenty pounds..."


7. You find that you're constantly giving yourself a pep talk. In fact, you hope that once you say certain statements enough times, they'll magically become true for you. "Oh, this salad is so delicious--I just love leafy green vegetables. I can eat them all day long..."


6. You have to report that there's been a horrible tragedy in the house. The scale, sadly, took its last breath and then jumped out the bathroom window. The intervention came too late.


5. You make sure to watch all your favorite TV shows AFTER they have been recorded. Who wants to see those stupid Outback Steak House and Wendy's commercials, when you can just fast-forward through them and get to your favorite program?


4. Going to the grocery store is your worst nightmare. Before your trip, you make sure to strategically map out your route to avoid the ENEMY a.k.a. junk food. You pretty much have a fool proof plan, but in case it backfires, and you are in enemy territory, you have an exit strategy.


3. You catch yourself trying awful recipes like "spinach brownies" and "apple sauce, carrot cupcakes" just to try and satisfy your "sweet tooth."


2. Friends and family complain that you're always, unconsciously, talking about food, staring, and salivating when you watch them eat.


1. You've never enjoyed math, and yet, every day, you find yourself struggling with the most confusing algebraic equations. If X = (230 calories) and Y = (10 grams of protein) then Z = the culmination of X and Y plus the saturated fat and trans fat minus the heart healthy soluble fiber.

Bonus:

You battle it out one morning with your skinny jeans. "Fit dammit. You should fit by now! Common, I know you can zip. ZIP! Stupid jeans! Stupid zipper! Common!" --I'll let you decide who wins...

Monday's Mommy Moment: The Man Cave

9.13.2010

Last Christmas, my mom bought Lil' Lewie an Elmo tent.  It was a hit as he loves to climb in and pretend it's his own sacred little place.  For the past year, it's provided entertainment in the following ways:
  • Peek-a-boo Kitty the puppet likes to go inside and entertain Lil' Lewie
  • Mr. Alligator, our wooden toy, likes to wait outside because he loves Lil' Lewie's toes (although he can never seem to catch them because Lil' Lewie is way too fast)
  • The two of us play an interesting game of catch as I like to send in toys, and he usually tosses them back out
And....finally....the tent has become...


...THE MAN CAVE

That's right.  Somehow, I've been booted out because there are no chicks allowed.  It's Lewie's and Daddy's secret time to...um...be men.  Still, they usually don't bond for long.  Since I am the hunter-gatherer and provide the food, I know exactly how to lure them out...

The Sweet Blog Award

9.12.2010

I'd like to thank my special friend Sandy from Suddenly Sandy for giving me The Sweet Blog Award.   She, like many of my bloggy friends, is a great mom who shows extraordinary love for her family.

The rule for this award is easy--simply pass it along to 10 other sweet blogs.


I've been looking forward to sharing this award because it gives me an opportunity to highlight some amazing blogs, and in the process, thank these gals for being wonderful friends.

The Sweet Blog Award goes to...
Happy weekend to all!

Friday Fun Flick: Napping, Swinging, or Both?

9.10.2010

A few weeks ago, my husband and 'Papa' finished installing a swingset in our backyard.  (We had half inherited it and half paid for it when my husband's sisters moved to Florida.  They've since returned--long story.)  Anyways, we now have a beautiful swingset that Lil' Lewie loves more than life itself.  He's constantly begging me to strap him in, which is usually a blessing.  The only downside is that it interferes with our outside dining at the picnic table because he even prefers the swing to food.


Last week, after we both caught colds from daycare, Lil' Lewie, in typical fashion, asked to go on the swing.  It was close to his naptime, and...


video


well, the motion just rocked him to sleep.  It was such a tender moment that I had to catch it on film, especially because he had 'blankie' with him too.  Needless to say, he was carried off to nap in his crib without a single problem.

May everyone have a fun, relaxing, and restful weekend!
We all certainly deserve it...


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The Sunny Side of Daycare

9.09.2010

My theme last week, for the most part, centered around the idea of placing my little two year-old in daycare.  At the time, it was easy to point out the disadvantages--the anxiety of leaving your child in the care of someone else--the perpetual rounds of colds and sickness.  Oh yes, my Lil' Lewie and I both caught colds for our first time this season.  Not fun!

Still in the midst of all the negatives, there are positives to daycare.  In fact, the Psychology Department Chair at the college where I work reminded me of this fact.  She claimed that daycare
  • increases children's socialization skills
  • teaches children to share, cooperate, and play in groups
  • helps children with their verbal and literacy skills
  • strengthens their immunity (over time) to colds and illnesses
I found several articles confirming these facts that I wish to share with everyone below.  I, being the nerd that I am, decided to make my own list of positives too.  (Even if it's just to convince myself that this can be a beneficial experience for him.) 

First, during the daycare orientation, I learned that the teachers provide a carefully structured environment of art time, snack time, outside time, lunch time, reading time, naptime, etc. etc.  Most studies conclude that children who have schedules tend to cope better emotionally and perform better in school.  While I tried to have a routine at home for Lil' Lewie, there were days when we would have to veer off schedule for doctors' appointments, play dates, and necessary errands (a.k.a. the trivialities of life).  In daycare, the fluctuating time schedule and frustrating errands do not exist.

Lil' Lewie's Classmates
Another benefit is the various skills he will learn from his different play segments.  Throughout the day he will be doing art projects, music and movement, science exploration, and even unique activities like Yoga.   While we did a little of this at home, I'm far from being an expert in many of these fields.  Also, I don't have specialty items at home like a water table, sand table, magnifying glass station, or clay table.  A good day care provides well trained teachers in each of the subject areas and the specialty items/resources to teach these subjects.  The truth of the matter is that he will learn more, simply because there are more people to learn from...

Finally, daycare gives Lil' Lewie the ability to learn how to cooperate and socialize with children his age.  In this setting, he will have the chance to meet new children and choose his own friends.   He needs time to build up relationships and friendships--a day out at the park or even a play date every once is a while cannot provide the same social environment that allows Little Lewie to break out of his comfort zone and meet new people.

For more info, please check out this Baby Center Article about the pro's and con's of daycare and this article from SelfGrowth.com about the positives of daycare.

Yes, if I had a choice, I would continue to be a SAHM with Lil' Lewie for another year or two.  However, since this isn't an option for us right now, I'm glad I can rely on a well-structured daycare to provide a new experience for him three days per week that offers socialization, structure, lesson plans, exploration, and even some self-discovery.

The Art Station
The Magnifying Glass/Exploration Station

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Signs It's That Time of the Month...

9.06.2010

I still remember the days of my childhood. Like most, I was too concerned with growing up and spent much time wondering what it would be like to be a woman. Yes, for some idiotic, strange, dumb, silly (you can fill in the blank) reason, I thought it would be cool to get my period. I obsessed with it...that is...until I got it. Now, I'm looking forward to menopause (but from what I understand...that's not much fun either). So, what can I do? I can sit here and curse the day that my blasted "friend" ever came, or I can make fun of my irregular, irritable, heavy, obnoxious (you can fill in the blank again if you wish) time of the month. The only time I enjoyed it was during my pregnancy. That's right because I didn't have it for those 40 glorious weeks. (Of course, I had other things like nausea, heartburn, and cankles, but that's another story all together.)

Here they are...in no particular order...The Ten Signs that It's That Time of the Month:

10. You look in the mirror only to notice that you've broken out like a 13 year old school girl again. You wouldn't mind. Acne is a sign of adolescence--of youth--except that every time you examine a zit, you notice a new wrinkle too.


9. You immediately start giving the finger to every bad driver on the road. You don't have the patience to deal with other drivers’ shortcomings. It's not road rage...it's called MHIS (Mobile Hormonal Imbalance Syndrome).


8. You look underneath the bathroom cabinet only to recognize that you're out of all maxi pads and tampons--Murphy’s Law.


7. You avoid the scale at all costs; you know that bloated feeling probably constitutes for an additional 10 pounds of water weight gain. Really. Who wants to weigh themselves when they feel like they resemble the likes of the Pillsbury Doughboy?


6. Your stomach feels tied up in knots--seriously, like two people are pulling each end in opposite directions as tightly as they can possibly manage. Yes, taking Midol is supposed to be the cure. I say having a sex change is...


5. Every compliment turns into an argument.
Husband: "You look so beautiful in that dress."
You: "Bite me!"


4. Your family members go into hiding for the week. They only come out for breakfast and dinner, and that's only if they're really starving.


3. You cry while watching comedies like Weekend at Bernie's and There’s Something about Mary. Even silly movies toy with your feelings and turn you into an emotional basket case. Your inner dialog sounds something like this: "That poor Bernie...if only he was still alive...WHAAAH...sniff sniff...to be part of those...sniff...beach parties. Why can't...sniff sniff...I live...sniff...in a beach house like that? Oh, that's so $@#*!@% (fill in the blank) unfair! That bastard!”


2. You have that "not so fresh" feeling.


1. Your husband becomes an emotional punching bag. You curse the day that men ever walked the planet, and you remind your husband how inferior he is to your sex.

You:  "You would never be able to handle my cramps, and you would never ever be able to handle giving birth. I was in that hospital for twelve hours with the most intense contractions of my life pushing out a bowling ball through an opening the size of a pinhole."

Husband: Silence. (He's not a fool. He knows he can't win this argument.)


And finally, if you're reading this while having your time of the month, then I guess the female cycle is so powerful that it can even regulate itself to match mine through cyberspace. (There's a reason why all women under the same roof end up getting it at the same time--to make men's lives hell on earth. Hey, we need some form of retribution.)

BWS tips button Tuesday Tag-Along

Monday's Mommy Moment: Those Final Days of Summer

In Connecticut, the fall is showing some signs of permanent residency. This weekend, cooler evening temperatures returned. As a result, some of the leaves on the trees are starting to yellow, and our lawn, garden, and even our weeds have stopped growing altogether. While we have had an extraordinarily hot summer this year, and I love the cooler fall weather, I am sorry to see the season of innocence and fun in the sun leave.

As a final tribute to our summer 2010, I'm posting our last few memories of our August stay-cation.

Oh, farewell my warm sunny friend, and thank you for being a part of Lil' Lewie's first time at a beach, first time at a carnival and merry-go-round ride, first time at a sunflower maze, and first time at a lobster dock. Until we meet again...


Friday Fun Flick: Weebles Wobble But They Don't Fall Down!

9.03.2010

Okay, if you read my last post, you know that I felt a wee bit of working mommy guilt after I brought my two year old to daycare for the first time. Alright, who am I kidding? I felt horribly guilty. I understand working is a part of life, and my little boy could actually benefit from a little socialization, but...as much as I can rationalize this one, I can't seem to get this message through to my heart. My heart's still weeping...

After my little boy came home from daycare on Wednesday, I decided to take a special trip. That's right. I decided to take a special trip to Toys "R" Us. My mission, originally, was to buy the book by Audrey Penn called The Kissing Hand. It's a story about ”Chester the raccoon, who is reluctant to go to school for the first time until his mother shows him a secret way to carry her love with him.”

However, when I didn't find the book, I went against my usual principles, and well, bought Lil' Lewie a toy--The Playskool Weebles Musical Treehouse. I know what you're thinking. Oh no, don't tell me this chick is now going to smother her son with toys to compensate for not spending enough time with him. No, really, I do know the dangers of this, and I don't want my son to be raised to just expect that he's going to get everything he wants in life. Still, just this one time, I couldn't resist. I had Weebles growing up, and the treehouse was so cute...



Anyways, today's Friday Fun Flick is just a quick video of my little boy's first experience with Weebles.  I knew he'd have fun with the treehouse, but I never imagined he would have so much fun just tipping the Weebles over and over again.  Evidently, this toy is perfect for his age and is still popular with any generation. (Do you remember the old Weebles commercial and jingle growing up? Now there's a new 'dance club' version of the jingle-LOL!) 

video


P.S.  I did get to buy The Kissing Hand too, right at the Barnes & Noble next to Toys "R" Us.  How convenient!

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First Day of Daycare (The Tale of Running Mascara)

9.02.2010

Yesterday was my little boy's first official day of daycare. I have to be thankful that I've had as much precious time as I did to stay with him for most of his two years of life, but this year, with the increased burden of new credit card bills and unexpected expenses, I had to add additional hours to my schedule and secure new adjunct positions to teach a few more courses. (Ironically, I added one additional course just to cover the expense of daycare--Ugh!)

Instruments in Lewie's Toddler Room for Music and Movement Hour
I'm sorry to say that the working mommy guilt reached an all-time high today. As my husband and I brought Lil' Lew to his special toddler room at the college we both work at, we greeted his new teachers and other parents with pleasant smiles but watery eyes. Of course, my eyes only blurred more as we unloaded the car.

"Okay is everything all here? We have our large box of diapers, a tub of wipes, bed sheets, his favorite blanket, his striped blue and white tiger, and extra sets of clothes. Oh, and here's today's lunch with our first check to cover the month of September."

Looking at all the bags and boxes, I felt like I was preparing more for a camping trip or a sleep-over party, than daycare. It felt surreal--like my little boy was moving away from home. The teachers helped us put everything in their rightful place and tried to soothe Lil' Lewie who was now crying because we shut the door behind him, and he realized that he wasn't allowed to escape.

I brought my camera thinking I would capture the moment and the essence of his big day. To me, it was like his first official day of school since we were meeting all of his teachers and classmates for the very first time. Unfortunately, I never had a moment to compose myself to take his picture, and my little boy never stopped crying as long as I was there. After everything was stored in its rightful place, my husband and I were encouraged to keep our goodbyes short and sweet. We both gave him a hug and kiss, and we left the room with drooped heads--my husband expressionless and me sobbing.

As we walked down the hallway further and further away from the toddler room, Lil' Lewie could still be heard screaming in the background. "How could I do this? How could I leave him and let him think that mommy and daddy have abandoned him?" As the thoughts rushed through my head, my heart sunk into a bottomless pit. My husband gave me a hug, which only triggered me to cry harder and smudge more mascara--so much for getting a special mommy and me photo today.

Three hours later, my husband and I picked up Lil' Lewie. Normally, he would be going to daycare for a full day, but we decided to start him off slowly. Before rushing into the room to give him a big hug, the nurse recommended that we go into the observation room (nicknamed the "crying room") to watch our little boy in action. With a huge window that only looks like a mirror to little Lewie, the observation room let my husband and me watch him without being detected.

"There he is!" I exclaimed, noticing my little boy sitting next to one of the teachers with his "blankie" on his lap.

The lights were off in the room as the teachers were trying to prepare the eight toddlers for naptime. Lil" Lewie looked like he might be winding down for a nap too, but then, getting a quick burst of energy, he got up, ran, and squealed like our happy little boy.

"Oh, I so needed to see that," I said with more tears, confirming the "crying room" nickname.

"Yeah, I came here an hour ago, and he was having fun. He was playing with a pair of sunglasses and talking to himself," my husband replied.  (It was great that both our offices at the college are within walking distance of the daycare.)

To my delight, the teachers told us that Lil' Lewie did great. He made some of the other kids laugh, and he entertained himself with their toy telephone and bead maze. They gave me a cute little "report card" to take home and then opened the toddler room door to let us greet him.

I was glad my husband and I had the opportunity to watch him smile and play from the observation room. It was enough validation for me to realize that he'd be okay without us and perhaps...(gulp)...even enjoy some time away.