Archive for June, 2008

Media Blackout

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

I’m taking the kids on our annual trek to Europe tomorrow, to show them the family roots and to try to force them to eat various foods whose names they can’t pronounce. Taking them to Germany is something akin to serving them Slimfast for a week.

Also: no TV, no computer, no movies. For a week.

I’m not sure they’ve quite digested this fact yet. They’re still starry-eyed from thinking about the flight on which they each get their OWN TV SCREENS embedded in the chair in front of them. The flight during which I allow them to watch 7 hours of TV straight and… I don’t complain! Amazing!

It will be sooooo good for us. By the time we get back they might just have been weaned. At least temporarily.

* Sigh*

I was brought up without TV, so the constant media onslaught of our day and age is hard for me. Sometimes I just want silence. SILENCE! Lots of it.

What the Doctor Ordered

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Here’s the amazing thing: at home, we see the very best and the very worst of our kids. As a consequence, sometimes we’re much too hard on them. Other times, much too indulgent.

Today, observing my oh-so-forgetful-one (the kid who is taller than his father but can’t find his own teeth to brush them), I was humbled. And I was proud–of him, but also of myself. Let me explain.

Peter, who is 14, is running a lacrosse camp for 5-6 years old this week. He’s dealing with the e-mails, the reminders, the schedule, the emergency phone number, the cash, all of it. (That’s why there’s $$$ all over the kitchen table and a bunch of kids just never turned up, but you live and you learn, right? Gotta let him make his own mistakes… right?)

His father and I have been looking over his shoulder, suggesting things and helping him get organized and trying our darndest to lay off the poor kid. I’ve been nervous because I have writing to do, and no time to babysit six little kids during a regular work day.

So this morning, I sat upstairs in my office for four hours, listening for trouble. Nothing but laughter and grunting from outside. Peter ran these adorable little fellows all over our yard, organizing drills, joking around with them, being a big brother. He never once asked for help and afterwards, he even cleaned up after himself. Wow.

Now, a therapist once told me that kids function  at the level you expect them to function. If you say, come on, you’ve got to get over your laziness and DO something, they’ll fulfill your expectations by being lazy. If, on the other hand, you expect competance, they’ll be competant.

Sounds so obvious doesn’t it? Why is that so hard for us moms to achieve? It was great watching HIM be in control today, and keeping out of his way. I felt pride for both of us: I helped shape this little airhead into a functioning human! All those hours spent looking for lost items, reminding him of things, pushing him out of his comfort zone… and the breathing space we give him works. It’s hard for us to step away sometimes and let them take control, but it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.

Up and Running

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

I thought a lot about the post in which I wrote that I haven’t been exercising . I kept thinking to myself, how can I put this on the back burner when I know I need to get my body moving again? I need to take some of my own medicine!

When I exercise, I feel more energetic and my moods are much better. Just ask my husband! I used to run three times a week, do a couple of weight classes at the gym and do yoga. As work got busier, that was pared down. A lot. The less I did, the grumpier I became. I had no choice about doing the work, but of course exercise is always optional.

Soon I was down to one weight session at home, squeezed in before making dinner and after a Herculean day writing at the computer. Not a successful combination as I could barely even lift the weights above my head and who am I kidding anyway? Once a week is not going to cut it!

But I really needed a break. I just loathe routine. I told myself that I can’t push myself to capacity 100% of the time and that I deserved a break.

So I took one. It lasted two months and 5 pounds.

So I’m up and running again now. The kids are out of school already and I get up really early to run before they wake up. I have to drag myself out of bed (I am NOT any early riser by nature), but I already feel better.

Really, I do!I still haven’t quite found the old spring in my step I had this winter, but at least I’m up and running.

Modern Art Sucks

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Last night was a triumph!

Kevin and I took the kids out for dinner to celebrate graduation. First, they ate using their utensils and didn’t burp loudly, drop food all over the floor or complain about having to wait.

Well, they are no longer toddlers, so I guess that’s all a given… but I’ll take my little triumphs where I can get ‘em.

But the clincher was, for me, a heated discussion about modern art.

Peter said, “I hate modern art! It’s crazy–why would anyone pay a gazillion dollars for a line drawn on a canvas!”

Greta said, “But what is art anyway?”

Svenja said, “Where’s the ketchup?” (She’s a work in progress.)

I tried to explain what art is. We all discussed Warhol’s can of soup and Damian Hurst’s pig in formaldehyde. Kevin mentioned the sculpture of the children with phallic noses that we all saw in in the Saatchi Gallery in London. Okay, sure, that took us a bit by surprise–we’re walking along quite happily and BAM! Ring around the rosie with big penises hanging off little girls’ faces… Modern art definitely pushes the envelope. Sometimes it’s disgusting, or boring or seems meaningless. But it almost always makes you think and often, it sticks with you in unexpected ways.

I was happy yesterday. Art! Food! Discussion! That’s life!

Maybe Tomorrow…

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

At graduation ceremonies from Middle School today, I was struck by the energy and hopefulness of the students who took to the podium and shared their experiences.

Energy… hopefulness… remember that?

Really, there’s almost nothing better than waking up in the morning with a spring in your step. Too often, I wake up in a daze because I am still tired (too many late nights watching Workout on Bravo, my guilty pleasure).

Okay, sometimes it’s because of that extra glass of wine. And yes, sometimes it’s because I forget to take my thryoid meds–despite the turning point documented in the book when I was half dead before I realized that if I would only take care of my health by taking my medicine, I would be all right again….

Maybe the spring has left my step because… I am not exercising. There you go, I admitted it.

Yes, I know, we have a whole chapter in the book about THE NEED TO EXERCISE AND TAKE YOUR HEALTH SERIOUSLY. Hmm.  I’m afraid that exercising is the very first thing that gets chopped off my list when I have too much to do.

I have made peace with that. It comes and goes. As long as I maintain my weight (kinda) and commit to re-committing when I have time again (!), I cut myself a break on the exercise front. You just can’t have it all, all the time. Something has to give.

But when I saw those fresh faces today, all that repressed energy and those bright eyes, I did think to myself, maybe I’ll go for a run tomorrow…