Nothing is fair in love and war…or cupcakes and siblings. Try as we might, we can’t provide the same childhood experiences to each child we may be blessed with (and I use the term blessed with all due respect owed to whomever and whatever Creator, omniscient being, doctor, partner, scientist, birth mother, surrogate, stork or dumb luck fairy you might believe it is owed). I remember reading an article once about how these two kids who grew up with the same parents, in the same house, had drastically different recollections of certain of childhood events. I remember thinking, “of course they did!”
We all approach each situation with different eyes and expectations. We look at the same exact thing and see different things. Eyewitness accounts vary greatly when people are interviewed after a crime is committed. One saw a 6 foot ten, pasty twenty-something. Another saw a red hat on a kid of about 5’ 7”. Another saw a knife with a black handle and nothing else. It is it any wonder that kids in the same house, experiencing the same thing recall it differently? I have a sister. She and I have not compared notes, but I am as sure as my face is freckled that my sister has a different recollection of our shared childhood on a number of major points. Continue reading
There is a fine line between self-deprecating and self-defecating. Just a quick switch of the pr with an f and you’re there. As a parent, I’m all too familiar with defecation. On more than one occasion I’ve found my kid’s poop on the cuff of my suit jacket half way through the work day, courtesy of a hasty diaper change before I left the house. (I’ve since learned to roll up my sleeves, I promise. But I’ll understand if you politely refuse to shake my hand after reading this.) As someone with a job that requires annual self-reviews, I’m also familiar with self-deprecation. I’ve sat through more than one women’s empowerment lecture on the topic of effective self-promotion and I’ve read plenty of articles and books that describe the tendency of women to minimize their roles in the success of their organizations. Too often, according to the experts, we ladies hide our lights under the team bushel. “My team had a great year, and I’d like to believe that I played a significant role in our success.” This is shitty way to promote oneself, according to those experts. I agree.
But I still think a little self-deprecation can go a long way, and conversely, there is such a thing as getting carried away with the touting of one’s achievements—e.g., any bald attempt to steal the light from someone else’s bushel is not a good idea. A little self-deprecation adds credibility in some situations and, in others, it can soften a hard target or make someone else feel a bit better about themselves. There’s a time and a place to be self-deprecating. Yet, when it comes to parenting and evaluating our own performance in that realm, I think most of us are too self-deprecating. You might be thinking: Oh no, you are sooo wrong. You should scroll through my Facebook feed and see all the shameless self-promotion that goes on! Continue reading
We had a chat about spirit animals, and the internet is not my friend.
I have no idea what it was like to answer kids’ questions before the internet. I’m sure my parents just made things up, just as I do sometimes. Mostly I answer the best I can and when I don’t know the answer, and there’s wifi available, we all huddle together around a screen and look together. Of course, I find the right website first, before the screen is turned to the wider audience. [This is a lesson I learned with Peanut when she was 4 and we were debating whether dinosaurs breathed fire. She agreed that, yes, dragons had fire breath, but refused to concede that dinosaurs did not. For 10 minutes we talked about the difference between mythical and extinct creatures, until she told me, “I got that, Mom. But dinosaurs breathed fire too!” So, I went to the videotape…or rather internet. I googled dinosaurs and fire, clicked the first result and, lo and behold, there was a creationist educational site that showed a dinosaur and dragon in a fire fight, both shooting flames from their snouts with some exceptional 90s-style CGI. The website explained that all those plants the dinos ate created methane gas that was ignited by electric eel-like sparks in mouths…or something like that. Peanut 1, Mom 0. Now, I find the site first then share.]
I travel for my job. Not as much as some friends I work with, but more than others. And not as much as those parents that need to leave for really extended times…members of the military and foreign service, folks on ships and rigs, actors on sets in Toronto (isn’t every movie filmed in Toronto?) and so many others. There are also plenty of nights when I have to work so late that I miss bedtime and might as well be in Toronto.
Every night away can feel like one too many. Here’s the truth, though. My kids are fine. Sometimes they miss me and, frankly, sometimes they don’t. Continue reading
Peanut: Mommy, what are the rules again?
Me: Listen to the coach and don’t use your hands.
Peanut and Sass (5, 3) and their cousin, Fro (3). The girls told us the story of the Goodbye Chicken on a Sunday morning after their first trip down the aisle as flower girls. This short tale–and subsequent story arc (as the adventures of the Goodbye Chicken are frequently used to coax picky eaters through dinner at our table)–has stayed with us ever since. The call and response at the end leads to giggle fits every time.
The Goodbye Chicken once lived in a house made of corn. He was, and still is, hungry all the time. So hungry that he ate his own house and now he just walks around town all day looking for snacks. He carries a ketchup bottle in a belt around his waist because…well… everything tastes better with ketchup, doesn’t it?
There is a raccoon that lives on the top of a telephone pole. Silly to live on a pole, you might think. But this raccoon knows what she’s doing. She needs a safe place to sleep during the day, a place that is far from the busy houses and yards below. The pole is high, a mile high in raccoon distance (there are 10 human feet for every 1 of a raccoon).
There once was a kitten who lived in a cave so that no one would bother her, and she could have lots of time to have lots of big ideas. When she grew up, she came out of the cave and became the Queen of the World.
Sass, 4. Continue reading
The kitten roamed the forest lonely, looking for adventures. She was the only one of her kind on Earth, sent to this strange planet when her parents thought it was no longer safe on her home moon. She resembled a cheetah, but was mostly pink with green spots. Her color was not the only thing that made her different. Her ears. They were really special.
A 6 year old at bedtime.
Wait. I have one more question. I don’t understand what happened to the Ancient Egyptians. They had everything so together. They had gold and pyramids. They had food and lots of beaches to play on.
Mom interjection (“MI”): Well, sand. They had lots of sand.
They were beautiful and now they are gone.
MI: Goodnight, sweet pea.