Sunday, June 28, 2009
...And it isn't the kiddie pool.

After playing on the beach for a while, we decided to check out the pool on the way back to our room. We saw it on our way out and knew exactly where to go as it was beautifully exposed to the entire hotel populous. Full of people greased-up and cooking like fresh vegetables on a hot, fat-free olive oil Pam-sprayed skillet.

Like a good hotel guest, I read the "Rules of Entry" sign and noted rule number 1 was "No One Under 18 Allowed!" Huh!? I gasped. After pointing this out rule out to my husband who was queuing (with my son and daughter) to get in, an "Over 18 Guest" pointed "over there" to a thick grove of trees. "The family pool is over there. The kids will love it." Uh-oh, I thought.

So off we trekked back in the direction from whence we came. We burrowed around the hedges and thickly fauna-ed "wall" to locate a long line of "We may be over 18, but our kids aren't" folks waiting to get wrist bands to gain access to the pool that was deemed hidden or remote enough for them.

At first, I was insulted. What's wrong with us?, I considered. (Or at least, what's wrong with us that is so obvious that would prevent us access from the other pool.) Then, I looked around. Hey! I thought. This is where my peeps have been hiding. Apparently, the "Over 18 Pool" was code for "The Pretty People Pool" because all of a sudden I was at home in a veritable sea of imperfection! Hurray!

I guess once you have kids running your life, you no longer have time to look pretty sunning by the pool In fact, for 10 minutes, I simply counted mismatched swim suits: 31! Incredible. These people were so overwrought with their parenting responsibilities that they couldn't even match a bikini/tankini/T-shirt/sun cover-up top with an appropriate and similarly coordinating bottom.
Not only that, but those who were greased-up were cooking like Thanksgiving turkey with all the fixings. And, those who weren't laughed freely at my "Rock Lobster" jokes.

The kiddie pool is a beautiful thing!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Since I'm not a father, but claim to be one who doles out parenting advice, I thought I'd honor Father's Day with something specially for fathers. In tribute, I offer up this.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Over the past few weeks one phrase has become very popular at our house. My nearly 6-year old son believes that he is now equipped to make all decisions for himself. He thinks that the end to all arguments is to say, "I make my own decisions!" and storm off in a sulky huff (with the recent addition of firmly shutting his bedroom door behind him). I thought I would have at least another 6 or 7 years before this became a serious concern in my daily life.

On top of this, my son and 2 3/4-year old daughter just can't seem to give each other a break. Lately, we've been in a power struggle, particularly over property rights, and I'm starting to get worried about witnessing Cain & Abel take place on my Cheerio-covered living room floor.

Everything is "Mine! Mine! No, mine!" all day long, it seems. What makes it worse is that now my son yells out (at the peak of every argument), "It's mine! I make my own decisions!" To which my response is "Actually, it's mine! And I make ALL the decisions." Today, that caused both kids to storm off in a huff to their own rooms which turned out to be fine because I got some quality Facebook time in peace.

Anyway, I know this response isn't helpful (unless I want to spend all day on Facebook, of course). My only defense is that I'm driven to it. I don't really think I do make all the decisions. Not only that, but I don't want to make them. Decisions = work. And I have enough of that already.

Not only that, but this puts me, as a parent, in a very tricky spot. After all, the consequences of dealing with this situation could affect whether or not I have a 35-year old, jobless, son living at home with me. I do want him to make his own decisions. And, yes, I even want to give him room to make some bad ones. After all, one day I won't be there to make all his decisions for him. But, I don't think I'm ready for that yet. Even if he is.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I don't often pat myself on the back, especially for things such as organization prowess or parenting skill, but today I think I really deserve some kudos.

I have a habit of carrying around random items in my bag or in the stroller "just in case". Items include things like the standard parenting items, such as wipes, Bandaids, crayons, pad of paper, and leash; and often some less than traditional items, such as super glue, magic erasers, light bulbs, powdered water, etc. One day I even acquired a small, super absorbent towel that professional swimmers use to dry off.

While the standards get used frequently, it is not too common that I get to use the more creative or insightful objects that I pack. Until today....

It started simply enough with a trip to the BX. Emma in the stroller, for a while. Running down the sidewalk for the rest of the time. She was wearing my most-hated child (and adult) clothing item...Crocs. (I like to call them portable death traps.) Anyway, she tripped, fell, and grazed her knee. Out came the wipes, the anti-bacterial ointment (on my key chain no less), and the Bandaids.

Once I cleaned her up, we stopped to get the mail at which point the bug she had picked up on the last leg of the walk bit her hand. Out came the wipes, the Benedryl spray, and another Bandaid.

Then, it was on to the BX for some stuff. Diapers. Play Doh. Toilet paper. Workout clothes. The usual stuff. While I was looking for the right sized diapers, Emma pulled on a plastic shelf-thingy and snapped it. (Don't worry. It wasn't for sale. Just part of a display rack.) Oops! Out came the Super Glue.

On to the food court for lunch. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, Emma located the crayons in my bag and took them into the play area. While I was contentedly enjoying some "peace" (suspiciously quiet, with 20/20 hindsight) and eating my lunch, Emma was creating some beautiful artwork on one of the walls concealed by the climbing apparatus. Crayons in trash. Out came the magic eraser and, finally, the cleaning wet wipes (for all surfaces!).

At this point, at you can probably imagine, we felt compelled to leave. So we loaded up the stroller, topped-off our drinks, and began our trip home. Since you can't go anywhere here without seeing people you know, and it was the busy part of the lunch rush, I immediately ran in to a line of people I know waiting to place their orders at Pizza Hut. I, being the super social person that I am, stopped to engage in some skillful small talk.

Now this is where it gets really good! This is the action that put me in line for my "Prepared Mother of the Year" badge.

Emma turned abruptly knocking her full drink on to the floor. Sweetened iced tea everywhere. But no worries! With nary a pause in the conversation and under the eye of some parenting-inexperienced young military men and some parenting-experienced mommies, I whipped out my super small swim towel and lay it over the mess. Absorbed the tea. Picked up the ice. And with a smile, moved on.

Really, I expected applause, but the shock on the nearest young airman's face was enough. It was, perhaps, the most graceful parenting move I've ever made, I don't mind saying. Unfortunately, I expect it will be the last, so I will revel in the glow of my finest achievement for at least another 24 hours. Don't worry if you see me and I'm floating on Cloud Nine. Just congratulate me and get back to what you are doing.

Now, where's my badge?
School's been out for less than 48 hours and I'm already in a state of parental henpecked madness. Clearly, I realize, I need a plan. I think it will involve the following components:
  • Earplugs
  • SPF 70+ sunscreen
  • A whistle or bullhorn
  • Airplane-sized (purse-sized) bottles of gin
  • Benedryl
  • A lasso
  • At least 3 combination locks
  • Duct tape
Let me know if I've missed anything.
Monday, June 1, 2009
I've spent literally years of my parenting life eating crow. In fact, I've developed an especially tasty recipe that I thought I'd share.
  1. Find something about which you feel passionately. It is often helpful if it is something other parents routinely do "to survive" (so they say) and which you have not experienced first hand.
  2. Take a stand.
  3. Broadcast your position LOUDLY and CLEARLY on the playground or other socializing venue.
  4. Blow off the nay-sayers with appropriate disdain. It is especially delicious if you pepper your disdain with statements such as "how could they?" and "I would never..."
  5. Post your position on Facebook.
  6. Season with sangria or other "beverage".
  7. Sit in the sun for 20 minutes at 80 degrees and have a sanctimonious moment. Do not over bake.
  8. Remove from heat. Let cool.
  9. While cooling, whip up a small amount of doubt. Place on one side.
  10. While waiting for the food critic to arrive, cut pie, top with whipped doubt, and serve. Best served same day, but equally delicious at any time.

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