May 19, 2013 § 3 Comments
Last night at dinner my kids forgot all of their manners; talking with mouths full of mashed potatoes and stripping off clothes and kitchen dancing instead of “May I please be excused?”
General heathenism saved especially for their mother.
With only three more days of pre-school, I find it hard to believe that these nuts will be entering Kindergarten in a little more than three months.
Thankfully, having twins has provided some insight into what I might expect next year when they are no longer in class together (or with teachers who love them so that silly five year old behaviors are no big deal).
Turns out, Kid A, the one we call the wild woman (since the moment she was Baby A right out of the womb) innocently narcs out her sister enough that I’ve re-examined my beliefs about these kids whom I think I know so well.
Turns out, Kid B (known as the quiet, second-born leader) gets the time out chair an awful, awful lot.
While watching them at dinner, I asked Kid B why she got the chair this time.
The wheels turning in her head, she smiled a wickedly lumpy potato-toothed smile, clearly relishing the thing that got her into trouble to begin with.
Her explanation for the latest chair-putting infraction was weak.
Kid A may always be my wild one screaming into the lights of that hospital room the moment I laid eyes on her. Kid B may always be my quiet leader who from day one let her sister do most of the talking.
But out in the big wide world it seems that labels on kids are interchangeable.
“Dear Merrill Kindergarten Teachers,
Give ‘em the chair. I’ve got your back(s)!”
Do your kids act differently at home than at school?
April 26, 2013 § 12 Comments
Yesterday I went for a run along my usual route.
Around familiar corners and through the prettiest neighborhood I came across a car with a sticker on the back that said, “It takes a HUNTER to make a HUNTER!” and below, “Become a hunting mentor.”
In the backseat was a gigantic rubber turkey. I jumped, it looked so real.
I jumped and then I made a face.
A disgusted face.
I hate dead things and I really hate hunting.
I know all the usual reasons that people are pro-hunting.
- People hunt for their food; food that’s free from man-made “intervention.”
- Hunters aid our economy by millions through licenses and taxes and fees.
- Hunting is considered “conservation,” keeping populations of animals from becoming disproportionate.
- It “helps” the animals whose habitats have declined due to pesky humans taking over their land. We pesky humans are doing them a favor, because they’d suffer and die from not having access to foods that they’d normally find in their natural environment.
- Some people believe hunting is a healthy sport for families, because it keeps kids off of computers.
- And last, but not least, death is a part of life.
That last one, I know is true.
I’m a fair-minded kind of girl. If it floats your boat and you’re not hurting anyone (do animals count?), then go ahead and do it.
But I’m stuck on the killing part.
Isn’t killing bad?
Just now I fed my kids rolled up turkey slices with apples and crackers.
Kid A asked if turkey was ham, to which I responded, “No, turkey’s a bird. Ham is a pig.”
Kid B said, “So do they kill the pig to make the ham?”
“Um. Yes. Yes, they do.”
“So do we put the pig in the oven and bake it?”
“Um. Um. Yes. Yes, we do.”
And as I watched them eat their organically fed “healthy” turkey rolls I realize that I’m a hypocrite.
Must go now … off to defrost a chicken for dinner, whilst figuring out how I can live with myself.
I recognize that hunting and raising animals for human consumption are different processes. But it’s all killing, no matter how you slice it. Thoughts?
April 22, 2013 § 11 Comments
Monica Rogers was my friend long before we ever discussed social media business marketing, which we do now on the same schedule as her hair coloring appointments (she texts me from the chair).
When I told Monica that I wanted to start doing giveaways, she immediately offered up one of her solid toddler car seat covers (retail for $92.00, fully lined, piped, durable, washable, providing a protective barrier from the off-gassing of manufacture car seats).
Having been featured on the Today Show, Instyle Magazine, and the New York Times as a new parent ”must have”- LB car seat covers are famed as being the most stylish accessory to hit car seats since… well, the inception of instant car seats!
Constructed with gorgeous fabrics and monogrammed (or not), they’re a celebrity favorite. Developed in 2004, Monica’s mission is about doing your “little bit” to make a difference in the world- whatever that may be; all of her car seat covers were made from exquisite end of bolt fabrics.
Winner of the giveaway will be able to choose one solid fabric toddler car seat cover with piping color of your choice. Monogram will be included.
Winner (must be in the U.S.) will place their order with Monica upon Rafflecopter’s closing of the giveaway on May 6th (12 a.m.).
Rules are as follows …
Mandatory for eligibility …
1.Like LB on Facebook for 2 points.
2. Like MarthaWills(dot)com on Facebook for 2 points.
For extra points …
1. Like @MerrillMartha on Twitter for 1 point.
2. Leave a comment introducing yourself for 1 point.
3. For 2 points tweet this about the giveaway – “Adorable monogrammed car seat cover giveaway from @MerrillMartha! #kids #gear #celebfave http://marthawills.com/”
Oh, and we’d really love a photo of your child in their seat once you’ve received your prize!
*** Please note: LB car seat covers fit most standard size car seats including Graco, Britax, Evenflo, etc. but do not fit Peg Prego at this time.
Have fun and good luck!
Addison is sitting in the LB car seat cover in hot pink with lime green piping.
LB ~ Covering mistakes since 2004.
For more information or if you can’t wait for the winner to be chosen,
contact LB directly (here) to place an order.
April 11, 2013 § 6 Comments
I’m leaving on a jet plane to see my grandparents whom I’ve only met once.
That’s what happens when you’re adopted and your birth sister searches you out and finds you before your fortieth birthday.
You’re a grown up going to visit grandparents you don’t even know.
But when you get the call that granddad might not be doing so well, you book a flight, because who knows how many more times you’ll have to visit with the patriarch of this family who share your biology.
Even though the trip was a spur of the moment decision (and probably not going to be easy), it is a welcome break from the never-ending assault of divorce, and a spouse who doesn’t like me at all.
My kids might need a little break from me, too, to realize how much I actually do for them.
I’m not saying they’re ungrateful, they’re just too small to be fully aware and too big not to appreciate me more than they do.
Yesterday there were a lot of tantrums and tears. Cooperating with mom was low on their list of priorities.
One child, unaware of her strength, pulled a set of curtains straight from the wall after I refused to let her climb on me while I was on the telephone.
She wouldn’t just “give me a minute” and flew into a temper fit for the books when she realized that I locked myself behind the bathroom door; escaped to finish my conversation.
I did finish my conversation, an important one that needed to be had, but there went the drapes.
The other kid (the one who wears the same thing every day because the rest of her wardrobe tickles) refused to put on a pair of shorts, despite the temperature gauge hitting ninety.
I thought we’d have Spring to ease her into dresses and shorts that annoyingly brush the skin above the knees, but mother nature decided against it and I’m left dealing with “It TICKLES” tantrums.
The only one who hasn’t thrown a wicked tantrum around here is me, but what I would do if I could.
Would you believe me if I said I could scream and cry (on par or) better than the world’s best tantrum throwers?
It’s been done.
But when you’re on the verge of single-motherhood, pitching a fit is not allowed.
Keep it together. Keep it together and it will all work out.
So I’m leaving on a jet plane, but unlike the song, I know when I’ll be back again.
Leaving my kids is hard because they’re the two people I wish I could spend every waking second with.
But this can’t be.
Until Monday, holding my breath, hoping they don’t miss me too much, and daydreaming about the moment I run to hug them, “Hello.”
How do you feel when you leave your kids? When was your last full-fledged tantrum?
Link for Nhuthu @ Etsy
February 28, 2013 § 4 Comments
One of my tasks this morning was to tape up the wide, paper box of old photos, so that it could be moved to the garage, next to the stack of my things; waiting, ready to be moved.
But first, I took the opportunity to let my fingers walk through the images. How could I not?
History in a box.
It reminded me that one of these days I need to transfer all of the digital images of my own children out of my phone and into a box for them to finger through one day.
I came across some gems, like this one of me circa 1978 wearing an outfit that looks awfully similar to one I wore just last week!
Do you dress like you did when you were 7?
February 26, 2013 § 6 Comments
Everything is keeping me from yoga this morning.
1. Two workmen are supposed to call me at 10:30. I told them I’d be available to talk to them at 10:30, but I was mistaken, as I’d gotten confused about my classes start time and said, “9:00,” instead of,”9:30.” Right about the time I should be balancing in tree or warrior or something, I’ll be worried about angry, burly workmen instead of focusing on a point and staying upright on one leg. This is the worst, and enough to keep me from class altogether.
2. I haven’t showered in two days. I never don’t shower for two days, but having signed with the realtor on Sunday, I am in “get the house together pack, pack, pack” mode, and neglecting to showering on Sunday was a mindful decision (she was coming, I showered the night before…it was alright). Neglecting to shower yesterday was a complete brain burp. I should get up and shower right now, but I’d rather write about it. I also feel better sharing that despite the lack of showering, I did manage to brush my teeth morning and night. I’m disgusting, but not that disgusting.
3. It’s raining again. Yesterday was the coldest 52 degrees you’d ever felt. The day before was the most glorious 63. We can thanks this flip-floppy weather for the massive illnesses that every poor Raleigh child has fought this winter, as well as the confused red budding trees outside my front door. Is the rain really keeping me from yoga? No, not really, but it sure isn’t acting as motivation, either.
4. Grace is still asleep, which is unusual, because we travel in a pack and when one wakes up, so do the other two. This can only mean two things. She’s either going to be a whiner, angry that we left her, or she’s coming down with something. In that case, there will be no school, which definitely ixnaes any yoga.
5. I am getting up now. Going to make lunch and shower and brush teeth and dress the kid who’s up. I’ll see what’s up with the other kid and assess her situation.
What are the chances I’ll make it to class?
Om shanti shanti. Your guess is as good as mine.
How’s your morning going? Any tug of wars happening in your life?
February 19, 2013 § 12 Comments
This afternoon’s chapter 76 of the Life of Pi tied in beautifully with this morning’s lesson of the day, taught over the marble kitchen bar wiped clean, so that the Barbie’s had a pristine surface upon which to dance.
The lesson was about mean girls. It came up, and so a teaching opportunity was taken.
Me: If it looks like a duck, it’s a what?
Daughters: A duck!
Me: If it quacks like a duck, it’s a what?
Daughters: A duck!
Me: If it look like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a what?
Daughters: A duck.
Me: Very good. Next.
Me: If it looks like a girl, it’s a what?
Daughters: A girl.
Me: Yes. If It’s mean, and a girl, it’s a what?
Daughters: A mean girl?
Me: If a mean girl says something mean to you what do you do?
Me: Stand straight (maybe jut a little hip). Head high. Look them in the eyes and tell them that they’re mean.
As it relates to chapter 76, which was not discussed with the five-year olds, but which I can discuss with you here …
Dealing with a mean girl is exactly the same as dealing with a constipated tiger when you’re lost at sea together (how Piscine survives I just cannot ascertain).
Look them in the eyes “long enough to give them the right signal … long enough to give them the willies … glaring, but not so long to provoke … badger, but not so long that you’ll be their next meal.”
“To stare is an aggressive act.”-Yann Martel
Protection happens when your eyes meet the eyes of the aggressor. Somehow it gives your words more meaning. -Me
Ever been a mean girl? Ever confronted a mean girl? Ever talked to your kids about mg’s?
February 2, 2013 § 7 Comments
A couple of months ago I pulled out my Prismacolor markers; a Christmas gift I’d received from mom a few years back, but hadn’t yet found time to play with.
Like moths to flames, my five year olds begged to use them, but I was hesitant. Prismacolors are not cheap.
At roughly $60.00 for my set ($400 or so for a real professional’s case), I tried to keep them far from little hands. But after agreeing to allow their use, all of us sitting and drawing together, the quality of the medium (and the art that resulted) made the decision to hand them over a no brainer.
Prismacolors are used by professionals for a reason. Their water-based colors are rich and vibrant, and can be layered upon each other, instead of bleeding and/or creating one blob of black (as cheaper pens and markers do).
My children’s artwork has come alive and they color and draw for hours and hours everyday (on Target’s packs of $2.00 recycled printer paper).
The key is to begin with the “kid art tools” first (Crayola markers, crayons, Target brand, etc.).
Then, when the pretty markers are pulled out, mom or dad MUST sit with the kids are go over how special the new tools are. Tops must be put back on or they will dry out. We can’t afford to buy more. These are too special not to be cared for.
The good news is that my daughters have become aware of the importance of caring for their markers much more than they ever cared for the cheaper tools that never gave them the desired effect and that always wore out too soon (we’ve only had a few sacrificial lambs….sad when you want to use a yellow, but it’s pointy tip is dead).
The best news is that I’m creating little artists who experiment freely with their hands and minds; expressing themselves in a way that words cannot, and giving me have piles of paper memories to be kept and cherished forever.
Do your kids like to draw? If not, think they might with better tools?
January 31, 2013 § 11 Comments
I read a blog post yesterday, written by a well-educated mother named Jessica Smock, who despite enjoying the television show Girls, found herself so “horrified” by the behaviors and flaws of the fictional characters portrayed that she viewed the program as a “valuable learning tool on how to parent.”
The piece, entitled, “5 Parenting Vows I’m Sticking To After Watching HBO’s Girls,”was featured at Blogher.com.
With respect, I find the whole idea of making parenting decisions based on how you don’t want your kids to grow up to be a wasted and misguided effort. It’s absurd, actually, and while I’m not accusing her of it, find it too closely tied to that fantasy of Polly Perfect Parenting (perpetrated by many a parenting blog) to not rebuke the thoughtful article that may have simply been written from a place of fear.
The truth is that all parents can try their best, even following all of Ms. Smock’s good rules (giving authentic feedback, avoiding sarcasm and cynicism, letting the kid fail, teaching him that friends don’t have to look just like he does, teaching a healthy respect for authority) and still… wind up with a kid who’s totally screwed up.
It’s the truth about parenting that no one wants to admit. Read The Glass Castle if you want proof that totally shitty parents can raise a real-life amazing person. Vice-versa is true, too; perfectly well-equipped, bright and loving parents can raise kids who horrify and disappoint by not living up to the standards of appropriate behavior.
The other day when I went to pick up my girls from my mother’s house, they ran and hid, as they like to do when they have a visitor (it’s a game).
They high-tailed it to the top of my mother’s long set of stairs that leads to the never-played-in playroom. Listening, I gave them a good head start as I tip-toed through the front door.
I then began to play my part of the game; loud questioning about their whereabouts, adding mystery to the search.
“Mom!!!! WHERE CAN MY GIRLS BE?????”
When I approached the bottom of those endless stairs, the girls were whisper-giggling and holding tight to the top of the banister, eventually jumping up and down, delighted to have been found.
And between louder giggles and higher jumps, my five-year-old’s innocent voice squealed this …
“Heyyyyyy Mommmmmmm. We’re Hiiiighhhhhhh!”
And like a lightening bolt through my very being, I saw images of young women with my daughters’ faces getting caught sneaking out, having sex before they’re ready, getting into cars that drive too fast, fighting with friends over boyfriend stealing, getting higgghhhhh … all of this separate and apart from me, reminding me of the truth about how nothing I do or teach will change what they decide to do when faced with the realities of youth.
Some of the commenters in response to Ms. Smock’s article claimed that they hadn’t seen the show, but assured her that they certainly would not now. I find this the saddest part of all. The readers of the piece are missing out on an amazing, truth-based experience in glorious half-hour increments.
What are they really afraid of?
The girls on Girls are flawed. They’re young and self-absorbed, make endless stupid decisions, date idiots, and have more sex than can be good for them.
Are we more worried by the behaviors we see, or by the judgements and fear that we (as parents) are to blame?
Were none of us twenty-something? Have we forgotten what it means to be young? Are we too self-absorbed ourselves to accept that no matter what we teach, in the end, the decisions don’t belong to us?
In a way, it’s a lot like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates.
You never know what you’re gonna get, but cross your fingers that your kids turn out to be butter-cream sweetness who makes perfect choices all their lives.
It’s unlikely, I’m afraid, as life doesn’t work that way. No matter how many loving and thoughtful decisions you make (no matter your parenting style), when it comes to the future of your most priceless and important possessions, only time will tell how it all works out and those secrets are hidden in the stars.
Agree or disagree? I can take it if you think I’m way off.
January 25, 2013 § 9 Comments
Today is the cutoff day for parents in Wake County, North Carolina, to decide which school they will send their children to next year. There has been a convoluted plan for choosing, which has created a flutter-buzz of confusion and chattiness amongst parents of said children. What to do? What to do? What to do?
After years of parental unhappiness with board member decisions (over student placement), and Jerry Springer like drama amongst members of the board (seriously), parents this year were given three segmented time fames to make decisions determining their children’s educational establishment for the following school year.
The first step was for parents to register their kids at “base schools,” or neighborhood schools determined by address.
Then, over a two-week period, parents could sign their children up for a lottery of “Magnet Schools;” schools granted extra funds to set up specialized programs (leadership based, museum and art focused, technology rich, etc.).
If your child gets chosen for a Magnet school, though, their base “seat” is forfeited. Should you decide later that you really didn’t want a Magnet after all, you’d have to start the appeals process or wait for the next choice to be up for grabs when year round schools open up for the choosing.
I, a former Magnet teacher, thought for sure I’d be adding my kids to the lottery, fingers crossed they’d be assigned to the place where I’d once worked and loved.
The first day I walked into my former place of employment I felt a rush of energy that made me certain that I was exactly where I was meant to be. It was bright and new, the walls were covered in children-created murals and painted benches. The energy was electric and forceful in it’s rightness.
So when I went back to visit this week for a walk-through, this time with the eyes of a parent, imagine my surprise that it felt so different from that day I’d first arrived; exuberance running over, hopeful for a job, a resume on pretty paper, a portfolio full of enhusiastic lesson plans.
Maybe it was because the place was so familiar. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t anymore.
New faces walked the halls. Different children filled the rooms. A reserved feeling between me and recognizable staff was thick, the result of a six-year absence.
As soon as I got home I logged into the Wake County website and took my kids off the Magnet list, both comforted and confused by my decision. My girls’ Kindergarten year will be spent at our base school, of which I only know from word of mouth and a brief visit, but my gut says is the right decision.
I’m reminded of the universe’s truth; time steals energy, and going back is never the same.
A new energy will move with us into the new school year. My children’s energy will fill the new space. New friends will be made. New teachers will be loved.
And I will be the mother of Kindergartners (for which new energy will be needed).
And time, as it does, will continue to march along.
Have you ever gone back to a place only to find that the spark has gone and the energy moved on? Does it make you a little sad or confused?