Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Monday

Happiness is when your children find their passions, and are willing to  commit 100%.

Go #60!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Girls and Body Image


In light of two friends posting these links from
I thought this needed to be said.  It starts as young as 8!


“Mom, I’m fat.”

These words came from my daughter’s mouth as we tried on clothes one day not long ago.

She is not fat.  Not only is she NOT fat, at the age of 8-almost-9, she weighs only 42 lbs.  We are actually trying to find ways to fatten her up.  At this point, it’s a health issue.

She must have seen the shocked/appalled/panicked look on my face, because she instantly giggled and sheepishly said “no, not really.”

I asked her, “Meems, why on earth would you say such a thing?”

She shrugged.  Tried to backpedal. “I’m just kidding.”

But the air was thick with the meaning of those words as they hovered above us.  I looked at her little body, at the vertebrae I can see clearly and the rib cages that are so prominent.  I can see every bone in that child’s body.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.  It worries me to death, so you can’t imagine the horror I felt as her words began to settle to the ground.  I felt sick.

“Where did you hear something like that?  Has someone said something to you?”

“No,” she shrugged.  “I just hear girls saying it sometimes.”

“You don’t think you’re fat, do you?”

“No.”  Although it was more a question than an answer.

Historically, this impish little girl has said thing specifically for a reaction.  She has always enjoyed testing boundaries, so a part of me thought (hoped) that’s what she was doing now.  And maybe it was.  That is the point.

I turned her to face me.  She was embarrassed and confused. 

“You are not fat.  Those words are very painful and once you say them, you can’t take them back.  That's why it is very important that you never say those words again, to yourself or anyone else.  God made us all different, and we are all perfect, including you.  Beauty, TRUE beauty, comes from the inside…from kindness and generosity and integrity.  Girls will say those words to each other, about each other, and about themselves.  It’s very important to 1) not believe them, and 2) disagree with them and encourage them not to feel that way.  Finally, if you DO hear those words, directed toward you or anyone else, come talk to me.  Do you understand?”

A nod, then she turned to look in the mirror, and immediately freaked out because she was cold and standing there practically naked while I was talking and talking and talking and can’t we be done already?

That’s my girl.

Chances are, she will be the girl the other girls envy because she’s thin.  Which has its own set of problems that are bound to give me a headache if I let myself think about it too much.  But just because she may not ever BE overweight, doesn’t mean she won’t ever FEEL fat.  

Gosh I hate that word. 

This conversation only serves to remind me that little girls are far too susceptible to negative body image at an age far too young.  She doesn't look at fashion magazines yet, but that doesn't mean she's not exposed.  That glimmer of doubt and confusion I saw in her face is all I needed to see, and it breaks my heart and angers me to no end.  I hope she’s never heard those words out of my mouth.  I am determined now, more than ever, not to ever, ever LET her hear them.       

Which means I have some work of my own to do, now doesn’t it?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A-HA!


My children are growing up too fast.

The fact that they are so busy doesn’t help slow time.  Truthfully, though, they’re really not involved in that much (individually no, collectively yes).  We’ve made it a rule that they are allowed one sport activity and one music/art activity at a time.  So far, the only child with both on his plate is Will.  Little Meems isn’t interested in much, and Tate seems to be interested in the things his brother is interested in, because his brother is interested in them, however I feel  his talents probably lie elsewhere.  And he’s just getting started, because he’s finally old enough to participate. 

I had a long conversation with another mom the other day about the craziness of our children’s lives.  And in it, we both had one of those “a-ha” moments that all parents have once in a while.  We were making ourselves crazy trying to make plans that would make us crazy because of how hectic it would make our already crazy lives because don’t the kids need something to do?  We realized we had gotten sucked into that vortex of feeling like you HAVE to have things scheduled for your child because that’s what everyone around here does.  For me, it was a reminder of my hard and fast rule to let my children be children.  To not over stimulate and over schedule them.  To let them play.  And just be kids.

My oldest son is experience driven.  He wants to try everything.  My youngest son wants to try things, but maybe not with quite the passion with which his brother pursues his activities.  My daughter – there’s plenty of time for my daughter to find something she loves.  If she has an interest in something – a genuine interest – we will find a way to make it happen.  But so often, I feel like I’m pushing her towards an interest, and that’s not fair. 

However, we raise our children now to excel, in everything, and to be well-rounded (by our definition).  There’s some sort of cache in the fact that your child is active in art AND music AND multiple sports AND is in all the gifted programs at school to boot.  We hold our kids back to give them advantage over their peers, because we think they won’t rise to the occasion and perform at an age-appropriate level.  Granted, there are kids that NEED the extra time (my daughter included) but I have never believed in “red-shirting” simply because they might be the youngest child in the class.  In my book, guidelines are there for a reason.  And children, for the most part, tend to rise to the occasion and meet and/or exceed expectations.   I refuse to under-estimate my children.  Or maybe it’s a competitive agenda (see above).  Or perhaps we’re so afraid of their boredom…but why???  Honestly, my children become bored more easily when there’s too much going on, because they forget what to do with their downtime.  They become lost when they’re not being continuously stimulated.

Back to my a-ha moment.  Summer vacation is upon us.  My sons will do swim team.  And that is all.  Yes, it’s an everyday commitment, but it provides some structure to their day (which they really need), and they’re going to be at the pool anyway, so why not?  We can’t afford multiple camps – there are three children and one camp generally costs the same as an entire summer of swimming.  As for Little Meems?  I don’t know what she’ll do.  A veteran of swim team, she opted not to join this year.  It’s not her thing.  And that’s fine.  Why not a summer to just play and get lost in her imagination and have adventures?  She deserves to read and lay in bed and daydream and languish in not having to BE anywhere.  They all deserve that.




Because their childhood is passing too quickly.  Not just for me, but if we’re not careful, surely for them too.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy Monday!


Tate's at such a great age.  And he's such a sweet boy.

"I love you Mom and Dad.  Your hugs and kisses (xoxo) make me happy so much.  I love you Mom and Dad."


What could be better than getting a note like this home from school??

Happy Monday!



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Socks


The Easter Bunny is still alive and well in our household.  Knock on wood.  I thought it was a goner this morning when I realized I forgot to leave Will money for the tooth he lost.  Truthfully, the tooth fairy is a bit of a spaz around our house.  I panicked – if he loses faith in the tooth fairy, then there goes the bunny and Santa. 

The truth is, he’s 10.  And I think he knows.  Or at least suspects.  But until he comes out and asks me, point blank AND NOT IN FRONT OF HIS SIBLINGS, we will all pretend.

The Easter Bunny used to, in an effort to control my kids’ candy intake, bring mostly little gifts.  Trinkets.  Things like books, goggles, cars, puzzles, bubbles, silly putty.  Little things that were cheap and made them happy and not hyper. 

This year they’re getting a little gift and tons of candy.  And a matchbox car and some goo in an egg.  Sparkly goo.

Meems is getting feathers for her hair and a little pair of earrings I’m sure she won’t wear (feathers in lieu of matchbox). 

Tate is getting a spy watch.  He got the tres expensive version for Christmas, but it’s too complicated so now he wants the cheapo version.  Did someone say cheap?  Done.

Will is getting socks. 

That's right.  

But not just any socks.  Seriously, these are apparently THE hot thing among the athletic boy set.  And at $14 a pair, they better take him through college. 

Awesome, right?


Did I mention it was a wild goose chase finding the things?  Every store is sold out.  I finally found them at Dick’s, but the salesperson explained to me that what I was looking at was a shipment they had received just 2 days before, and it was almost empty.  People were stealing them.  They had them on lock down, practically.

Socks.

Will he be excited?  I dunno.  They are, after all, socks.  Maybe I shouldn't put all my eggs in this basket.  Haha, get it?  He spotted some other Nike black crew socks in Dick’s the other day and he said he wanted them.  These are much nicer than those.  Of course, those were 3 pairs for the $14, but they don’t have the cool stripe.  Did you ever think black crew socks would actually be in style?  Pulled up?  I ponder, while the non-stripe socks are a better deal, more black crew socks will encourage him to wear them more often.  Which is a bad thing.  However, knowing him he will want to wear them for every lax practice and game and to school too, which means more laundry for me.  Also a bad thing.  Oh my gosh, am I really having this conversation with myself right now?

Maybe he’ll react like this (yes, Meems got a feather duster in her basket once – she liked to help me clean!). 
Um, seriously?


Maybe not. 

I think he'll be excited.  And, I assure you, he will try to get away with this.   

This shirt also comes in tennis ball green.  Yes.  And we have it!

Wahoowa!




If he has his way, this is what he would wear to school every day.  Miss Peterson (his teacher) you can thank me later.  I have spared you a massive headache.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Good Morning

No sleep.  Tate kicked me all night long (Stephen was out of town and there's usually a child flailing in the bed in his spot) and Tess woke up at 6.  Then, Tess went hyper crazy and began play biting and barking incessantly.  Just when I got the boys to take Tess downstairs and was going to peacefully lay back down for 15 more minutes, Little Meems woke up, came in and delivered a 13-minute run-on sentence.  She proceeded to talk nonstop about the booboos she suffered last night, and complain about her throat, her finger, her muscles and joints and the fact that Tess barked all evening and she got no sleep.  She asked what she should wear and if we could get manicures and screamed in fear every time the dog barked.  I finally got out of bed when she asked me if she needed a shower tonight, and, upon finding out she did, suggested we take one together this morning!  I discouraged that idea, much to her chagrin.  After  my shower, I opened the curtain to find her standing there holding her ear and complaining about her earring hole, that it was red and sore and is it bleeding?  She made the boys’ breakfast (cereal), then fretted because they were outside with the dog and their cereal was getting soggy and ruined after she'd done a perfectly nice thing for them, then proceeded to ooh and ahh over the hummus and veggies I packed her for lunch.  And ponder the fact that she loves vegetables so much.  And ponder the fact that the boys don’t.  And whine and moan again about her waist injury (a strawberry she got skidding on gravel last night at her brother's lacrosse game) and her elbow.  And worry about what she should do if it hurts at school.  Then she sang Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” with the wrong words for the next 45 minutes while she got dressed, brushed her teeth, brushed her hair, practiced faces and drama in the mirror and tied her shoes in the doorway to my room.  This was occasionally interrupted by her concern for her cousins Grace and Finn and Jane regarding their Grammie (who sadly just passed away), and sadness for Grammie, and confirming that her play date with Ella is NEXT Thursday, the week AFTER spring break, not the Thursday OF spring break.  Then more singing Adele with the wrong words, but with lots of vocal stylings.  While watching herself and flipping her hair in the mirror.  Then she went outside and jumped on the pogo stick a couple hundred times. 

Whew.  How was your morning?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy Monday!

I've been bogged down in the mire of every day life.  Stressed to the max.  Life with 3 kids can be crazy, and this spring is proving no exception.  In fact, things just keep getting crazier.  And I have felt a little overwhelmed.

My big idea during the Christmas holiday was to find one thing each day that made me happy, for whatever reason, and allow myself to enjoy those little things.  And the holiday was smooth sailing.  In fact, I can say it was probably my happiest holiday in a long time.  That's not to say there was no stress...but it was lessened.

My goal with this blog, ultimately, is for my children to read it one day and get to experience their lives through their mother's eyes -- the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Because reality is ugly sometimes.  I also want them to understand a little more about me in the end...my joys, my heartaches, my personality, my inspirations, my ideas, lessons I want them to learn, how proud I am of them, how much I love them.  So, this quest for focusing on little happy things is important for them too.

Each week, I will focus on one little thing that makes me happy.  What better day than Monday?  Because in the end, the little things can bring us as much joy as the big things.

Today, my happy Monday is this picture.

Will's first Easter
Find happy today!