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Overscheduled and Overwhelmed

20 Sep
Why do so many parents feel compelled to sign their kids up for soccer, music lessons, art class, dance, gymnastics, softball, or whatever so that everybody in the family is running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to be on time for all these things? It’s a trend I’ve noticed since having my first child and it has me worried.

At first, we gave in to the pressure to get our daughter into everything possible before she was three years old. We took her to ballet class and she looked so damn cute in her little pink tutu. But, she seemed more interested in making faces at herself in the mirror than she did in learning to plié or relevé. We thought perhaps ballet wasn’t for our daughter so we got her into soccer. She loves to run so we were sure this would grow to be her “thing.” Well, she loved running and did so but everywhere except where the ball happened to be. By the time our daughter turned five, we started to get nervous that maybe we’d never find her special talent. All the other kids seemed to have settled into something that suited them whether it was a sport or a fine arts activity. Desperate, I signed my daughter up for expensive gymnastic lessons at a renowned center for training potential Olympians. My thought was that maybe community center classes weren’t focused enough so perhaps my daughter would do better with tougher coaches. Wrong. She tried very hard but kept getting injured and down on herself for not being able to do handstands or back bends as fast as the other girls in her class.

Then my son turned four years old and I hadn’t gotten him into anything! I panicked! I immediately pulled out the community center guide and got him into a Taekwondo class. He hated it! The first class he cried the whole time because the instructor yelled, which is what they do in Taekwondo , but my son thought the instructor was yelling at him. Every week when Wednesday at 4:30 pm came around, I’d dread it because I would have to literally drag him to class and practically do the punches and kicks with him. After a summer of dragging my kids to classes that were expensive and they didn’t want to go to, I just decided to drop the whole thing and not sign my kids up for anything. *gasp*

It was tough because a lot of my kids’ friends were involved in sports or other activities and I didn’t want my kids to feel left out. After a while with no extra-curricular activity that we had to dash to right after school, my kids seemed to just relax, and so did I. But am I depriving my children of learning experiences because I don’t want to drive them all over the place? Will they miss out on a once-in-a life opportunity to find their talent? I really don’t think so. Stressed-out kids, and a stressed-out Mom, aren’t really in a place to enjoy the experience no matter how cool or life-enriching it may be so I’ve put those worries to rest.

What does worry me however is that my kids may be behind the eight-ball when they do decide to join a soccer team, art class, or try a musical instrument when they are older. Why? Because the kids who have been playing that sport or musical instrument have been doing so since they were three years old and may reach almost professional status by the time they are in their ‘tweens. I worry that we as parents are still pushing our kids into things at too young of an age, and not allowing them to PLAY and be children. Again, I’m not judging anybody because the pressure is real. We feel compelled to get our kids exposed to as many things as possible so they will have all the opportunities in the world. Our intentions come from a very loving place. However, I believe it has be age appropriate and not overwhelm the child OR THE PARENTS! What good are we doing our kids if we constantly complain about taking them to the soccer game, or to softball practice, or to piano lessons? We are sending a weird message to them if we say, “Jimmy, let’s get you into soccer so you can experience what it’s like to play on a team but it’s a major pain the ass for us to get you there.” Maybe soccer can wait for a year or two. Maybe it’s better if you aren’t stressed out, trying to get Jimmy to all his extra-curricular activities THEN get home to do homework, get dinner made, and get everyone to bed so they’ll get enough rest to do it all over again the next day.

As for me and my kids, we are focusing on school, being together as a family, and playing. We’ll have plenty of time to worry about schedules in a few years.

THIS IS MY OPINION and it is NOT A JUDGMENT on how other Moms decide to do things. Are we okay, K? Okay.



I Will Survive

24 Aug

If you ever think to yourself that you could never survive something horrific, simply go visit your family for a few days and you’ll be stronger than ever.

I took my two kids (7 years and 4 years) on a road trip just last week to visit Papa & Nana, Auntie and Cousin, and two other Grandmas. It took us 6 hours to drive from Northern California to the OC, which is where I’m from although I don’t like to admit it to most people. We did this all without The Hubby since he couldn’t take work off. Now, you might be asking yourself “why?” Well, even though my family drives me batty I do get an urge every once in a while to connect with them and make sure my children know they are loved by them. I was suffering from such an urge when I decided to embark on this trip.

The only reason we made it through the grueling 6-hour drive through nowhere land without any major incidents is my Honda Pilot has a DVD-player. The kids watched The Artistocats, The Lion King, Peep, The Wind in the Willows, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs while I put on cruise control sipped my Starbucks coffee and kept my eyes on the road. It. Was. Great. Except when somebody realized they had to go potty right when we were trapped behind a big rig truck with no rest stops in sight.

Anyway, we did the drive and got stuck in Los Angeles and OC traffic, which is probably the worst in the entire world. When we arrived at Papa’s house the kids literally screamed their heads off. I know they were excited to see him but I also think they were like pent-up animals thrilled at the prospect of freedom.

We spent time with Papa (my Dad) and Nana (his second wife) and soon I remembered why I was glad that I moved out of my house when I was 18. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Dad and I adore his wife, but my Dad can be very impatient. He doesn’t want to wait one second when there’s something he really wants to do. With two kids, I simply cannot rush out the door without going through my checklist first. He’s great with the kids because he’s very much like a child himself and while this is good most of the time, when he gets his mind set on something you cannot sway him at all. He spoils the kids rotten too.

Then we visited my Mom (Grandma L) who constantly complains about her ailments and has a negative view on most things in life. She loves the kids and spoils them but she also loves to point out why things suck so bad. Kind of a bummer most of the time, which is why I think my Mom and Dad didn’t last very long after my brother and I moved out of the house. Mom has good intentions and her heart is in the right place, I just wish she could see the positive side of things.

Finally, we stopped by my Mother-In-Law’s. She is very old school and set in her ways. And since she’s 77 years-old, she’s not about to change for anyone. She makes it clear that she certainly wouldn’t do things “that way” and tries not to be judgmental. But she is. Most of the time she talks and talks and talks and talks without giving much attention to whether someone else would like to say something. But again, she loves the kids and spoils them.

The bottom line is I survived the visit with my family, and I will survive the next one too because I love them (but can only spend about 3 days max with them) and they love my children.


13 Jan

What are yours?

Random Chick is busier than…

8 Sep

1. a one-eyed cat watching nine rat holes.
2. a one-legged man in a butt kickin’ contest.
3. a one-toothed man in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest.
4. a cross-eyed air traffic controller.
5. a cat with puppies.
6. a weatherman in a tornado.
7. a desert cobra at a mongoose convention.
8. a termite in a saw mill.
9. a dog scratching fleas.
10. a one-armed-pimp in a bitch-slapping contest
11. a one-armed trombone player.
12. a mosquito at a nudist colony.

So don’t expect RC to visit you any time soon. She has to change poopy underwear, go grocery shopping, do the laundry, edit a 550-page technical document, and pull out all her hair first!

Boys and Their Penises

11 Aug

Since I wrote about my daughter in the last post, I thought I’d talk about our adventures in potty training our son.

He’s three years old and couldn’t care less about learning how to pee pee and poo poo in the potty. As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago he told me that I should change his diaper and wipe his butt because “You’re better at it, Mommy.” If he could order me around and tell me to wipe his butt, then he was mentally ready for potty training.

As a parent, you soon learn that bribery works very well in these kind of situations. I figured out that he really likes Skittles candies so every time he’d sit on the potty and pee, he’d get some Skittles. This worked great! I would take him to the potty every hour or so and have him sit down. He’d look at me as if I was the one who would make the pee start because it was clear he still had no idea how the whole process worked. He’d pee and be amazed that it was coming out of that thing between his legs. We called it a “pee pee” but he got confused when we would ask “Do you have to go pee pee?” He wasn’t sure if it was something on his body or if it was something he did on the potty. In the end, we’d told him the actual name of it: penis. After he’d pee, we’d give him Skittles and he’d get all excited that he did something great but wasn’t exactly sure what he was doing that caused all the whooping and hollering from Mom and Dad.

We moved him from diapers to “big boy” underwear thinking he got it. But we were wrong. He’d be playing or we’d be in the grocery store and he’d have a puddle between his legs and a strange look at his face. Of course, he had no clue what happened but he knew his pants were wet. We’re not even into the poo poo yet either. Those were some very messy and stinky accidents, especially if we were out and about. People would look at us as if we just released the most heinous fart into the atmosphere, then they’d run.

It wasn’t until my husband stepped in with the same equipment and showed our son how to pee pee the right way as a man: standing up. For some reason, standing up and holding his penis in his hand gave him a sense of accomplishment. He got it then. He’d tell me every ten minutes he had to pee where before he didn’t have a clue. Of course, he really didn’t have to pee every ten minutes. He just wanted to play with his penis. He was fascinated with it and would stand in the bathroom for long periods of time just seeing what this amazing thing would do. I’d give him some privacy to let him figure it out, but I got a little worried when he’d sit in there for too long. Would he ever come out of there?

I’m happy to say that my son is finally potty trained, but every so often we have poo poo accidents. I’ll be glad when he figures that one out. It’s a milestone when your youngest child masters the potty. But he still loves to play with his penis and grabs it whenever he can. It’s something I’ll never understand. As long as he keeps it in his pants until he’s twenty-one, I’ll be okay.

Insane in the Membrane

29 Nov

Have you ever wondered to yourself…what the hell am I doing?

I have this thought often.

It usually happens when my arms are full of jackets, wadded up Kleenex, mini dinosaurs, Barbies, and dried bits of Play Dough. I wander through the house at 10:00 p.m. trying to put things in their places. It’s some kind of obsessive disorder I have where I have to put things back where they belong before I can sleep, but I know this crap will somehow find its way out and on the floor again..what the hell am I doing?

It also happens when I’m trying to create some kind of wonderful family experience, like say, capturing photos of us frolicking through the park on a crisp Autumn day. I ask the children to stand together and they poke and pinch each other..or worse breathe on each other and the Hubby decides to walk off in another direction pretending not to know us. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “We will capture this priceless moment, you sons of bitches!!” I try to herd my reluctant family into a Hallmark moment…what the hell am I doing?

It happens as well when I try to talk with my Dad about religion or politics. I tell him that it doesn’t make sense to me why God would even give a damn whether we ate stale crackers and drank grape juice one a month when there are much bigger problems I think he cares more about…like children being abused or greedy people taking advantage of the less fortunate. Yet, he always has his argument about “God’s Will” and I get caught in his trap every time. I end up having to meditate so that I don’t strangle him for his myopic points of view…what the hell am I doing?

It happens again when the Hubby and I attempt to accomplish a small task or project together. We start off okay, trying to discuss the best way to approach the problem at hand, but then we try to convince each other why our way is the best way. We will spend 90% of our time trying to prove our methods rather than actually doing anything and the task or project never gets finished because one of us ends up walking away in huff…what the hell am I doing?

Sometimes I really wonder if I am insane in the membrane.

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