Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sometimes Mom Needs A Little Love

I was invited to a Nintendo Wii Fit event last week at the fab Bliss Spa in the W Hotel on Lexington.  It was billed as a "mom playdate" - a chance for mom to be taken care of in her busy days leading up to the holidays.  I went because I said I would - but couldn't help thinking  I really didn't need downtime, instead, maybe I'd suggest to my dear Nintendo contact that the next event include children.  

Then I got there.  They took charge of my next two hours in the most comforting, soothing and well, even inspiring way and I realized that maybe these lovely people who put together events for mom bloggers really are doing it because they know we need a little something to reenergize us.  

First, they did my nails - which "oh my gawd!" did I need. Next, an arm massage - that was lovely but I kept aching for her to work over my shoulders, too.  Then I was treated to personal trainer instruction on the Wii Fit by - as you can imagine - an enthusiastic, informed and super-encouraging personal trainer, Ary Nunez.  I learned everything there was to know about the Wii Fit - gratefully Ary allowed my to by-pass the BMI measure in her presence - and I felt inspired to really work on getting back in shape in my own home.  Unfortunately, the auxiliary input connection on my TV is on the fritz - thus my workout program has yet to begin - really! - but I am feeling like the Wii Fit could help me get in shape while having fun with my kids and not really thinking about working out - kind of like when we were kids and managed to exercise and call it fun!   

Monday, November 10, 2008

Does It Really Take 13 Years To Break A Kid's Spirit?

Or why do we send our kids to school to be educated? 
I read an interview with a this funky, crazy writer in the NY Times last week and in it Charles McGrath, the reporter mentioned a bumper sticker on her husband's car "School takes 13 years because that's how long it takes to break a child's spirit."  The writer, Carolyn Chute and her husband live this "off the land" life in rural Maine so you wouldn't necessarily expect them to join in the realm of standard education, but the bumper sticker sums up my endless ambivalence about public education.  

Then, this morning, well, as these things do from time to time, the concern came home to roost.  My boy, while getting ready for school suddenly became very sullen and even a little teary.  When asked, he explained that his teacher told him he couldn't write about soccer anymore for his "Weekend News".  He's written about soccer every week since school began and she's decided he needs to branch out.  So, like a dutiful mother raised herself in the public school system, I suggested other things that happened over the weekend that he might write about:  when he met daddy's college roommate and his teenage daughters for lunch perhaps.  Or when his football rolled into a dirty puddle and the guy from the graffiti store came out with paper towel to clean it so he and dad continue to play while running errands.  His reply was there's no emotion in those things.  I tried to point out the emotions: happy, relieved, curious.  He wasn't having it which could be explained as stubborn.  or it could be that he is passionate about soccer and just loves to write about that and so why can't he?  Seems a fairly arbitrary suggestion on the part of the teacher - whom I love - so this is not a diatribe against her.  But if David Beckham was seven and we knew he'd grow up to be David Beckham wouldn't we let him write about soccer every week at school if he wanted to?  

Now, I'm not suggesting my kid is the next David Beckham but he does want to grow up to play for the Yankees - will the same rule apply when Little League season rolls around?  Or what about when Mitch Albom was a boy - was he allowed to write every week about sports - he grew up to make a successful career of it ultimately branching out into other topics when he was ready.  So, I'm just wondering why it is the teacher feels the need to eliminate a topic of writing for one boy instead of letting him write about it until it's no longer of interest for him.  

And as I struggle to provide explanations for my boy - well, sometimes we have to do what is asked of us even when we don't agree - then I wonder what he is really learning - to follow rules, tow the line however arbitrary it might be?  I want to raise kids who follow their passion and live according to what gets them most jazzed - not what pleases the most powerful person in the room.    

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Recently a friend shared with me the idea of writing down five things you were happy about every day before going to bed.  It is supposed to increase your general happiness everyday.  I've made it a habit that I'm extending here.

Five Great Things
1)  Two healthy kids - maybe that is two things?
2)  A husband who still makes me laugh after 19 years
3)  A school I feel great about sending my kids to
4)  Coffee - when I stay up to late and have to get up too early
5)  New York City - where I can walk anywhere and see the most amazing, freaky, cool things daily.

Wishing you five (or more) great things today.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

They Need Me More Than Ever

One thing I am learning as my children age is how much more they need me then I ever realized about kids of nine and seven.  It's funny because you sort of think once they can feed themselves, fall asleep on their own, wipe their butts and tie their shoes well, then parenting is just about getting them to school on time and making sure they don't watch too much TV. But it  is so much more now, so much more complex, so much more intense.  They want to know things now and not just details like why the sky is blue.  They want to know what to do when a friend says something mean or a teacher won't let them go to the bathroom.  They want to know why countries go to war and why someone would kill Martin Luther King.  

And, sometimes they want to know things you think they already do.  We were playing Yahtzee last night - a game we've played before - and I was suggesting my son take his score in his ones row.  He looked at me in dire frustration and said, "I don't know how to talk Yahtzee!"  And I realized for all he does know, all his ability to decipher the Wii way better than me, to play the DS with a sure and steady hand, that there are still things he doesn't know and it is still my job to guide him.

And it made me feel a glad to know he still needs me.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Her Hand Is Bigger Now

No longer plump with the extra pudge of toddlerhood when tiny fingers and cushy palms slipped - sweaty and small into my thin, bony mitts.  Thick around the knuckles but delicate in the digit, I took photos of her hand in mine in those early years with the idea to record its growth with this comparison shot every year.  Along the way somewhere I forgot my vow.

Now, today, she seems so grown, her thoughts rife with complexity, she astounds me.  I notice her hands as she fashions a shadow puppet on the wall.  Thinner, much thinner than those toddler hands, longer, more dextrous, still they are a child's hands with extra flesh and the stubby blunt fingernails easier for climbing.  They meet in small ways as she constructs ephemeral art with them.  Bracelets of colored elastic adorn her wrists still her fingers are too small for proper rings.  Her nails she keeps short and only occasionally polished.  

I am grateful to know in all her maturity, in all her distance from that cherub I attachment parented with momma gorilla-like ferocity, she is still a girl, my child, an angel of heart-rending proximity for at least a few more years.  

Friday, August 22, 2008

Too Much Screen Time

Every parenting manual, pediatrician, psychologist, school teacher recommends limiting screen time for kids - but what about their parents?  I spent my day on the computer - working, writing, researching and when I was done I was sick to my stomach and more than a little depressed at having been so disconnected from humanity while connected through a machine with some virtually existing world.  OMG - get me back in the playground!!  

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Back-to-school is just around the corner.  As an NYC public school family we are back to the grind the day after Labor Day - just 12 days away.  I'm not ready.  I still have all those plans I made for this amazing summer with my kids - going to the beach, visiting the museum once a week in some great scheme I had to create a science curriculum with the summer and they are still not done.   They all just sort of fell by the wayside between my new found work obligations and those lazy, hazy days of summer at the pool.  But still I  wish I'd done something - I wish I'd really accomplished one amazing summer activity with my kids.  We played games, we read books, they built things and drew things and made up games but still somehow something seems a little "not done" as we are about to get back to the reality of school days.

Is it just that summer is so short now that my ennui had not really begun to set in and then it's over?  When I was a kid summer was a solid two weeks longer than it is for my kids.  Or am I just a poor planner?  Never really getting ahead of the game enough to make a real plan for the summer - yeah - that's probably more like it.  And what will my kids remember of this summer - will they say that was the most boring summer ever??!!  Or will they remember it like I'm going to chose to - as the summer we as a family really spent some time together - in the playground, out on the fire escape, playing the Wii and just hanging out.  Because while I regret that the summer is coming to an end and we don't have any grand anything to show for it, it's been the little things that have made this summer special.  Like when my sweet pook discovered all my old earrings and started wearing them around like she had precious jewels in her ears.  Or when my dear boy beat my husband in a remote control car race and gloated a little but did not cry when later he lost in Wii baseball.  

So yeah, we don't have any grand vacation photos and my kids haven't learned the Latin name for horse but still we've got the little moments and sometimes those are the best.      

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The nothing summer

We are doing nothing this summer.  The kids are not going to camp, we are not taking a vacation - well, if you count one overnight with a friend next weekend - then yes a small vacation.  But mostly - nothing.  And , you know, I'm fine with that.  It is how I remember summer as a kid.  Hanging out at home, playing with the neighbor kids, finally getting a chance to stay up late on a weeknight.  I'm doing the same for my kids.  Except no one is around!  No big kids in the playground they are all at day camp or sleep away.  Friends - theirs and mine - are all away on vacation.  

How are they supposed to tell the difference between school and summer vacation if we don't give the kids a chance to hang around and get bored, fight with each other, stay up late, sleep in late and generally be lazy, imaginative toads for nine weeks?!  

Every summer I say I'll sign the kids up for a couple of weeks of camp here and there and at least my older one says she wants to go.  Then the slow, lazy, unscheduled days of summer arrive and I'm glad to not have to make lunches and hustle the kids off somewhere for the day.  I'm glad to just hang out with them, let them hang out with each other and generally tell the whole structured world we'll get back to them in the fall.  

This summer I'm working a good amount - but I can work at home.  My husband, too, is busy but he works both in and out of the house.  We've set up a space in the bedroom for our work and the kids are old enough to create projects and games for themselves while we work.  So far this summer they've built forts, constructed homemade race tracks, made spaceships from chairs and pillows, baked brownies, made instant pudding and homemade lemonade and finally bonded with our often cranky cat.  

Sure, I'm fortunate to stay home - of course that could explain why we aren't going on vacation but it's a trade-off.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.  I just wish more people did the hang out summer - then we could all be rockin' the summer together.           

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Synchronicity rocks

Researching an article about synchronicity and seeing all the coincidences in my life that point to signs I am moving in the right direction.  Synchronicity is not the Police album - it is instead the idea of coincidence - running into someone you just thought about or having a dream about something that then happens.  It is a concept first advanced by Carl Jung - who is the king of the collective unconscious which is the basis for all the Law of Attraction stuff.  It's super cool amazing stuff.  Totally just wanted - after my last bummed out post - to be flowing the positivity of synchronicity and all the goodness of the universe.  This rambles - but it is a happy ramble.  Consider the joy!
Tomorrow is the birthday - first time I haven't paid too much attention to it.  It's only taken me 44 years.    

Friday, July 11, 2008

Rockin' very anxiously here

Still trying very hard to rock it here - but it's been two months since I happened on this brilliant idea and well - no posts.  Today I rectify that.  I guess, what I can do now is document in some blog fashion my struggles to be a rockin' mom.  It's just life is a boatload of stress these days.

But I'm working on it - I'm writing regularly - recently found a paying freelance gig - that is helping.  I am working diligently on other writing projects.  I am (mostly) thinking positively while enjoying my kids for the summer.  Just now I am sun burned (shame) and tired, and sweet pook, my daughter is not feeling well.  I am alternately looking forward to the weekend and panicked because business doesn't happen on the weekend. 

My rockin' mom feature today is a friend who said -"Don't worry.  Whatever happens to you good or bad, it will happen.  Whether you worry or not."  I'm choosing to hold tight to that sentiment just now.     

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Welcome to This Mom Rocks It

It's a bold name I've chosen for this blog and I have been schooled, like all good girls, to behave more demurely.  But as someone smart and famous once said (I paraphrase) - 'Nothing amazing has ever been accomplished by following the rules.'

What I'm hoping to set in motion with the sheer bravado of my blog title is a life lived "rockin' it" and to inspire others to do the same. Because (let me again grab my dictionary of quotations):  
"I CAME TO LIVE OUT LOUD." - Emile Zola.  
I think we all did.  But I get down, I worry, I feel insecure, and it is those times I look to the mothers around me for inspiration.  If someone has done it, is doing it, whatever "it" is, then my dreams seem all the more possible to me.  

So my intention with this blog is twofold:  first to inspire by celebrating moms who rock and second to inform and entertain by exploring amazing - or mundane but fun - things to do to keep rockin' this life with kids!  (Okay, enough with the rockin' reference snarks my inner critic.)