Posts from — April 2012
I lost it a bit yesterday.
I’ve got a soda problem. I just love it. And I know it’s terrible. It’s chemicals in a can. It’s got caffeine, and I’m ridiculously sensitive to caffeine–if I have two Coke Zeros, then I’m screwed, sleep-wise. So I’m intermittently abstaining from soda, trying to quit, or off the wagon completely in what appears to be an endless cycle. If I could keep it to one or two cans a week, that would be acceptable, but it’s tough. Right now I’m once again in cold-turkey mode.
This time, I’m augmenting my #1 favorite beverage–tap water–with the occasional chai iced tea and club soda. Drinking club soda at my sister’s reminded me that I like club soda much more than seltzer. Which is a shame, because it seems very similar except that it’s got some added sodium and it tends to be less conveniently available. Also, the bottles, while cute, seem shockingly wasteful to me, yet I can’t commit to the big plastic bottles because I wouldn’t drink enough before they go flat. You know that I’m cheap. So I went out and bought myself some cute little bottles of club soda, but I perversely feel like they are a special treat.
Meanwhile, my kids aren’t allowed to drink soda. Or, at least, not under everyday conditions. Usually, we try to just act neutral and model good behavior when it comes to dietary choices, like my mentor Ellyn Satter says. But this doesn’t work, because Cute W and I love soda, and we hate how much we love soda. The girls can have a soda at parties, they’re usually allowed up to one soda per day on vacations, and sometimes at the movies or a restaurant. They rarely finish the sodas, like that time we bought them on our “live”-blogging car trip.
Really, they just like the idea of soda. Because it is forbidden at their house, it is pure animal instinct that they must ask for it repeatedly and accept it whenever it’s offered. Dogs have to pee everywhere. Seagulls must pester you if you try to picnic on the beach. And my children must beg for soda. We know (and if we didn’t, Ellyn Satter would tell us) we’ve created this monster. Still, it’s monstrous.
So, yesterday, M asked to try a club soda. She doesn’t like club soda. Both girls have tried club soda and seltzer, and they don’t like either one of them. Still, its soda-like effervescence called to her, and it seemed better to let her try so that she’d just remember that she didn’t like it. So I repressed a sigh and consented.
In opening the bottle, M sprayed club soda all over the floor. Okay. A rookie mistake. Then, as she started to lift the bottle to her lips, I suggested, “You know, it would be better with some ice. Room temperature probably won’t taste too good.” M ignored me and took a sip. And then, with great drama, she ran past the sink and to the nearest door, where she spat out her small taste of club soda. But she was determined, and J was now intrigued and asking for a taste. I pulled out the ice cube tray and two glasses. M ignored me and the glass, instead pressing an ice cube at the top of the bottle, because the bottle is cute. This drove me slightly crazy, because the ice cube was clearly too large for the mouth of the bottle. But I restrained myself admirably.
Finally, M gave up and poured some club soda over the glass with ice, setting down the half-full bottle as the (small) glass fizzed to the rim. I picked up the bottle in order to pour the other half into an ice-filled glass for J. As I lifted the bottle from the table, M grabbed it by the bottom. Because she did not want to share.
She did not want to share the bottle of the stuff that she had, moments ago, run moaning to the door to spit out.
I was forced to use italics so that we’re clear on how freaking ridiculous she was being.
Alas. I chose to descend to her level.
This is when I said, “Let go.” And she ignored me. Since she was tiny, M has done this. She digs in her heels, driving me from somewhat sympathetic to mildly annoyed to extremely irritated to ballistic. She was the toddler who ran screaming from time-out until I would put her into her room and close the door and hang onto the knob from the outside for her own protection. Usually it’s over something stupid. Like half a bottle of club soda. So we played tug of war with the bottle while I said, “Let go-let go-let go!” with a steadily rising voice, much like Bill Cosby with his “Come here-come here-come here” routine (which, if you don’t know this, you simply must click over and watch a bit–funny, too, because apparently he has child/soda issues, as well).
I’m not proud of this. Here’s yet another way in which I am utterly screwed as a parent. I hardly ever yell. You would think that my children would appreciate that, especially when you can hear parents say all sorts of nasty stuff in all sorts of mean voices just at the grocery store. Oh, no. Instead, I have raised children who are deeply sensitive to the slightest change in tone of my voice. So when I raise my voice into loud talking, they are appalled, wounded, aggrieved. And I feel like CrapMom.
At approximately the fifth “Let go,” M wisely chose to let go, and I proceeded to pour the other half of the club soda into J’s half-filled glass. At this point, M, emotionally-wounded-by-loud-talking-Mommy, exited the house. Whether it was merely to avoid hanging around with me or, as I suspect, in order to try one more sip of the cold club soda and then feel free to pour it into the closest shrubbery while I wasn’t looking, I don’t know. What I do know is that we have a no-walking-outside-with-glass-or-ceramics policy that I had not yet reviewed for the spring season. Still, you’d think my 9-year-old would remember this. But instead of following her and insisting that she re-pour the club soda into plastic, I just thanked my lucky stars that she was out of the damn house.
Then I turned to J, who was attempting to dislodge additional ice cubes from the empty ice cube tray. “Two ice cubes should be plenty to make it cold enough,” I advised. “If you want it colder, you can stir it around.” She wanted it colder, of course, because she does not like club soda. She thought that if it were colder, she might actually like it. She sat for a minute, looked at me furtively, then got up and walked over to our counter-top water tank to add some water to the club soda to make it more palatable.
At which point I lost it again. “Stop right there! If you want to add water, it’s because you don’t like the club soda! Give me your club soda and I will drink it for you, because I actually like the club soda just the way it is! And I actually have to go to the store and pay money to buy the club soda. Water is free! So, if you don’t like the club soda, don’t drink the club soda! Drink the delicious, readily-available, completely free water!!!” All of which I said in my very loud talking voice.
She looked like she might burst into tears. And I was overcome with remorse. “No, J, it doesn’t matter. Add water if you want. Just don’t take more if you don’t like it. Can you see how I would find this annoying?”
“Never mind,” she sniffed. “I don’t want it anymore.” And she took her glass of club soda and fled the room.
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Last night I tried to write this post and it felt too unbelievably tedious to write. Because it was so unbelievably tedious to experience. But I know that some of you are entertained my most most epic parenting fails, so. . .VOILÀ.
And it gets even better. The girls were awake this morning before either of us, and when he came downstairs, Cute W discovered a half-full bottle of club soda sitting on the kitchen table. He asked, and neither of the girls ‘fessed up.
So, what about you guys? Do you have food or soda battles? Do you think I should never mention club soda again, forbid it and lock my club sodas in a liquor cabinet, or give up and have us all drink soda to our heart’s content?
April 18, 2012 12 Comments
It’s that time of year again. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus presents FULLY CHARGED! at the Times Union Center from May 2nd to May 6th. The circus is always super-fun, and I’ll be updating you when I hear more about any circus brouhaha, like parading the animals in, feeding the elephants, and more.
And, hooray! Once again, I’ve got two sets of Family 4-packs of tickets to see the show on Opening Night, Wednesday, May 2nd at 7 pm!
To enter to win a Family 4-pack of tickets, comment once on this blog post by Friday, April 20th at 5 pm. Now, you can say anything in the comment, but for those who need a topic, hmm. . . . Last time, I asked folks what your act would be if you ran off to join the circus. Which was fun. But I’ve got to come up with something new. So. Imagine that you go to the circus and have a lovely time, but then you and yours are accidentally locked in the circus venue overnight. Where would you choose to sleep, and why? Keep in mind that I’ll choose winners randomly, so you don’t have to sit there at the computer with writer’s block trying to come up with something unbelievably, winningly witty. Just relax and comment.
This year, I’m just going to pick two comments randomly, rather than making us all do extra work for a second entry like I did last year. But of course, I still appreciate it, always, when you fill out the Playground Survey: Share Details on Your Favorite or “like” or “share” the Capital District Fun page on Facebook. Perhaps that will bring you just the right amount of karma to win you some tickets? Actually, I’ve been hovering at about 920 “likes” for a while now, and I was thinking that maybe I should promise to do something really silly if I reach one thousand “likes”? Cartwheels through Empire State Plaza? Discuss among yourselves. . . .
But I digress.
If the suspense of a giveaway kills you and you just want to just go ahead and buy tickets, you can click here. They’ve got a variety of showtimes, which is good if your kids are usually asleep by 7:30 pm. Whether you win tickets or buy tickets, or if you’re trying to decide whether to go, my review from last year’s circus over on KidsOutAndAbout.com can offer you some insight and logistical advice.
Thanks for reading and participating, and good luck!
April 16, 2012 25 Comments
Spring break’s over and it’s back to the ol’ routine. Here’s what’s happening this week. Remember, click on the day for more events.
All Week/Multiple Days:
- Riverway Storytelling Festival
- Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm
- O!Baby Children’s Consignment Sale
- Berkshire Children’s Theatre presents Thumbelina at the Berkshire Museum
- Let’s Be Sense-able at The Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST)
- Mornings at the Museum at the Rensselaer County Historical Society
- ARTfull Afternoon at The Hyde Collection
- Little Wonders of Science: Look for the Lorax at the Schenectady Museum
- Silly Science! at The Children’s Museum at Saratoga
- Screening of “Miss Representation” at Union College
- Pre-School Story Hour with Pam at the Open Door Bookstore
- Eagle Watch at Moreau Lake State Park
- Teen Anime and Manga Club at Sanford Town Library, Colonie.
- Parents Night Out at Tiny Tots Tea Room
- Albany Legends Professional Basketball
- GLSEN NYCR Breaking the Silence Rally – Day of Silence Celebration at the Egg
- Public Star Party at Landis Arboretum
On a completely random note, I’m super-excited about this new site, A Mighty Girl, with recommendations for girl power books and movies.
April 15, 2012 No Comments
We enjoyed our first completely unscheduled Saturday in months. The gorgeous weather was a bonus.
Cute W spent much of the day staining a desk that his dad made for him.
Staining furniture has got to be on the Cute W’s top ten list for things that make him most tense, ever. For part of the time I stood next to him, catching errant drips with a rag, and listened to him moan, mutter, and curse. This was particularly amusing to me, because it seems like a pretty Zen process. That’s largely because he doesn’t trust me to do it myself, so I don’t have primary responsibility. You might think I’m kidding, but he truly would not let me do it. Anyway, I asked, “What is it about staining that stresses you out so much?” And he answered, “Because everything is a potential mistake.”
Ah, yes. So then it struck me as a perfect metaphor for parenthood. We’re walking around this desk, fussing over the imperfections and touching up what we can and fretting. Because it’s a race against time: if we don’t fix something quickly, it will become a permanent flaw. Cute W is afraid that there will be a thick, ugly drip that he’ll see every time he sits down at his computer desk for years to come. A constant reminder of a momentary lack of competence. Just like parenting, when we encounter bad habits or annoying phases and wonder, is this something that will pass, or is it an indication of a permanent character defect? A defect which is no doubt due to our own parenting incompetence, something that we could have prevented if only we’d been more vigilant? I was thinking all of this while Cute W stained and I wiped drips and we both fretted over the mottled surface.
Then J came along and said, “Wow! That looks wonderful! You guys are doing a great job!”
When we weren’t staining, we were walking. Yesterday, I took the girls to visit my sister and her family in Vermont. When we returned, the weather was gorgeous and I desperately needed to get off my butt. J was at gymnastics, so M and I took a walk. Strangely, this was a revelation. When the girls were in the Baby Bjorn-and-stroller stage, I walked with them often. But we haven’t taken too many random strolls lately. M gushed, “We never just walk without going somewhere. We bike around, or we walk to somewhere, but we never just walk around.” She decided that we should walk far.
When we returned home, we mapped our walk to find out how far we’d walked, and then we logged our time and miles.
So, today, M was eager for another walk. First, J came along. This was a bit of a flop. J didn’t walk fast enough for M, and M wanted to walk farther than J. There was drama and sorrow. We ended the threesome walk, then M and I headed back out.
By the end, M was tired. I asked if I could take a picture for the blog, and she consented.
Then she began to collapse for the camera.
We were both laughing, because we were passing by a neighbor’s house, and they’re always posting photos on Facebook of the whole family climbing mountains. I jokingly narrated the contrasting families’ adventures, “Here’s so-and-so on mile 8 of our trek at 320 feet, still looking good! . . . “Here’s M after a walk around the neighborhood. We borrowed a stretcher for the final block of our stroll.”
So, I’m hoping we stick with this new mother-daughter ritual. J was tired today, but I suggested that we take a one-on-one walk soon. At this rate I might need to get a decent pair of sneakers.
Oh, hey! Stay tuned for another circus giveaway coming up soon!
April 14, 2012 No Comments
Hey! Happy Friday the 13th! I consider this day especially lucky for me. At some point in elementary school, I read that it’s lucky for anyone born on the 13th of a month Here’s a big pile of links for you.
The Power of Moms has a post called Your Children Want YOU! which made me feel much better about how very little I accomplished this week.
All Over Albany reports that there’s an Egg Hunt for Grown-ups in Troy’s Prospect Park this Saturday.
I am loving Jezebel these days. Specifically, I award them the Best Post Titles in My Entire Google Reader Award. I was forced to invent this award due to their awesome post titles, like: Teacher Fired for Being Pregnant Wants Public to Know She’s Not Like Those Other Whorish Single Mothers. . . Meet the Rising Republican Star Who Would Love to Punch Hillary Clinton in the Face. . . Pageant Moms Resolve Feud, Are Still Terrible Parents. . . Why Marie Curie is Awesome, Now With Finger Puppets. . . Men Are Getting Bikini Waxes. Our Work Here is Done. That’s pure entertainment, baby!
On Thursday, April 19th at 6:30 pm, there’s a Screening of “Miss Representation” at Union College. I’m super-excited that I’m finally going to get to see it, especially since I just recently missed it for what turned out to be no good reason. Here’s the trailer if you’re trying to decide whether or not to go.
Look at this awesome New York Camping Guide 2012! Thanks to Cute W for sending me the link.
Speaking of parks, did you know that Saturday, April 21st to Sunday, April 29th is National Parks Week, with free access to national parks? Yeah, I didn’t, either, until I read it on the New York History blog. Find a park to visit here.
More calendar stuff! April is National Poetry Month! Learn more at Scholastic or Poetry Foundation or Poetry 180: A Poem A Day for American High Schools or that post I did recently. April is also Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month? Learn more over at Ask Moxie. No, I am not even kidding. Really, every month is extra special in many ways: here’s a huge list of all that makes April oh-so-special. Besides the showers, of course.
Meanwhile, Keep Albany Boring reports that the Albany Bicycle Coalition is already looking forward to May, aka National Bike Month, with plenty of events.
April 13, 2012 No Comments
We went rollerskating at Rollarama this afternoon. We’d planned the outing with friends days ago. When it was time to go, I was a bit disappointed, because the girls were happily playing imaginative games with the neighbors outside. It felt criminal to leave and spend money to do something indoors. But then the neighbors had to go inside and it started raining. The swiftly-descending gloom made me downright cheerful.
I said rollerskating, but we actually used roller blades. This was J’s and my first time ever, and we did pretty well! I was going to get an adorable photo of the the girls skating, hands clasped, disco ball spinning. But my camera battery was shot. So you’ll just have to visualize it.
The weekend feels a little bit lame to me, I’m sorry to say. I think people try to avoid spring break in their planning. But as always, there’s still more going on than any family could possibly do, anyway.
First, here’s the latest KidsOutAndAbout.com newsletter. The following is a selection of some of what’s going on. Click on the day for more listings for that day.
- Sunset Boulevard at Cohoes Music Hall
- FOCUS GROUP—GE Presents: The Mystery of the Albany Mummies by Albany Institute of History and Art at a variety of locations
- Pre-School Story Hour with Pam at the Open Door Bookstore
- April 2012 Vacation Daze: The Puppet People presents The Last Dragon
- Spring Craft and Games at Moreau Lake State Park
- Spring Day Special: Bluebirds with Bob! at Grafton Lakes State Park
- Eagle Watch at Moreau Lake State Park
- Spring Break Nature Activities for Kids at Up Yonda Farm Environmental Education Center- Bolton Landing
- April Break Activities @ Schenectady Museum
- Albany Legends Professional Basketball
April 12, 2012 3 Comments
This is my favorite new three-of-us-from-the-back picture in a long time, from today’s visit to an African marketplace!
Okay: not really. We visited go: where children discover the world, the exhibition space for the World Awareness Children’s Museum in Glens Falls. It’s small but fun and worth the trip. I’ll be writing a more detailed review soon.
We also stopped by the Crandall Public Library, both because they have an exhibition of award winners from the museum’s International Youth Art Exchange and because I’m a Library Slut. It’s funny: whenever I think of that post about visiting lots of libraries, I do a search using the term “library slut” because that’s what I called it in my head when I first wrote it. And every time I search, nothing comes up. Because at the time I didn’t want to use the term for fear of being offensive. That was more than two years ago, when I was a newbie blogger. Such a newbie that when I just went back to look, I realized that I let through a spam comment because it seemed sincere. I was so naive. . . . Anyway, I had to confess that I still think of that post as the “Library Slut” post. Besides, aren’t we all supposed to be reclaiming slut by now?
The girls liked the art as well as the child-sized easy chairs. I loved its sparkly cleanliness and huge windows.
April 11, 2012 5 Comments
I don’t quite know where the day went. That’s what it’s like when the kids are home.
Well, first, it’s not entirely true. In the morning, we visited an orthodontist. Little J has crowded teeth, and we were hoping that today’s second opinion would echo the first opinion so that we’d just know what to do. Dr. First said pull 4 teeth and see how it goes. Which sounded awesome to us, because we love to procrastinate. Actually, by “us” I mean Cute W and me. J thought that this was a bad idea. In fact, we walked out of the office and she told me, “I feel terrified.” It took quite a bit of coaxing to convince her that it wouldn’t feel all that different from getting a cavity filled. What, you don’t agree? Well. . . just zip it, okay? We don’t need to know.
This morning, Dr. Second was in favor of keeping the teeth and going straight to some braces. He argued convincingly that while extraction works for some, in J’s case, the braces approach would lead to greater “aesthetic success.” This term had Cute W and I snickering immediately. Because, I’m sorry. That’s just funny. I’m already figuring that this will become a new phrase for us, like when we’re out running errands and I’ll lean over to Cute W and say, “Ouch! Aesthetic failure in aisle 5!” Which is wrong. And bad karma. But sometimes it’s difficult to hold back.
The point is, we left the office and had a five-minute conversation about just how confused we were before splitting up for the day. Cute W arrived home from the office with a print-out of approximately 70-odd pages of someone’s thesis on the timing of tooth extractions that he’d Googled . He pronounced it, “Interesting, but inconclusive.” After a swift check of the introduction and conclusion, I’ll agree only to the latter portion of that statement.
Meanwhile I’d ignored Google, except to locate, and make an appointment with, Dr. Third. Looking forward to it. Oh, wait! But the best part is that I hadn’t yet broken it to J that we’d set up a third appointment, so she found out when Cute W was chatting to his mother on speaker phone tonight, and then Grandma started talking on. . . and on. . . about pulling teeth while J’s face collapsed in much the same way that Dr. Second predicts will happen if we choose to extract her teeth. So that was a good time.
The girls were playing together nicely for quite a while this morning and early afternoon, so I was lulled into complacently believing that I could stop puttering (laundry, dishes, etc.) and do more brain-involved computer work. Unfortunately, my psychic children sensed that I had decided to blow off activity for the day, so they reported to the computer to plead for a fun outing. Or, really, any outing. By this time it was about 1:45 pm, and J had evening gymnastics, so I just looked at them, slightly stunned and saddened that my opportunity for productivity had slipped through my fingers. Seeing my slack-and-stumped face, M grouched, “Don’t you, like, run a website about fun stuff to do or something?”
Dammit. Apparently I do. But the girls didn’t realize that organized activities tend to be at 10 am or 1 pm but definitely not, say 2:30 pm, which would have worked for us. Plus we had limited time. We ended up feeding and playing with the neighbors’ pets, visiting the library, and then going for a bike ride.
The good news is that J is finally getting used to her bigger bike, which she began resisting as too scary approximately forty minutes after begging for it please-please-please and five minutes after the credit card slip was signed. So that’s progress. Beyond that, it’s difficult to point to much that was accomplished. I read some more Harry Potter to J. I cut apart M’s wrists after J duct-taped them together (in fairness, M did it to J first). M and I took a walk and briefly kept our legs perfectly synchronized, left/right, as I realized that soon I’ll be able to rest my chin comfortably on the top of her head. Some days, noticing that the kids are still here and growing is the all the accomplishment that a Mama can hope for.
Besides, there’s always tomorrow.
April 10, 2012 10 Comments
I was so excited about all my pretty pictures that I blew off listings of what’s happening this week. So I’m blatantly copying from the special edition of the KidsOutAndAbout.com newsletter. If you know about other fun that’s happening, let us know in the comments or, better yet, let the organizers know that they can add their own events and camps to KidsOutAndAbout.com any time.
Don’t forget that there are also links to playgrounds and hikes over to the right.
Here’s what’s happening this week:
ALL DAYS: Zoo Can Do It: 2nd Annual Capital Region Canstruction at the New York State Museum at New York State Museum with other spring break activities planned as well.
Family Music Mondays at My Place to Play
April Break Activities @ Schenectady Museum
Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm
Exhibit: Our World—Thinking Green! at World Awareness Children’s Museum
Preschool Movies at Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library
VACATION ART BREAK—Great, Strange, and Rarely Seen at Albany Institute of History and Art
“Sheila Says We’re Weird” at Thacher Nature Center
Seven Green Bananas at Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library
Spring Break: Albany Sweets Tour & Cookie Monster! with Albany Aqua Ducks & Trolley
Tuesdays for Tots at The Children’s Museum at Saratoga
Rain or Shine. . . It’s Reading Time at the New York State Museum
ARTfull Afternoon at The Hyde Collection
VACATION ART BREAK—Great, Strange, and Rarely Seen
Alphabet Soup at The Children’s Museum at Saratoga
Music Jam at the New York State Museum
Sunset Boulevard at Cohoes Music Hall
hip hop yoga with Devonna at Breathing Room
VACATION ART BREAK—Great, Strange, and Rarely Seen at Albany Institute of History and Art
April 2012 Vacation Daze: Silly Billy Magic at Steamer No. 10 Theatre
Silly Science! at The Children’s Museum at Saratoga
Albany Devils vs. Norfolk Admirals
Girls Night In at Tiny Tots Tea Room with Dove Chocolate Discoveries and Madison Handbags
Eagle Watch at Moreau Lake State Park
Albany Legends Professional Basketball playing at Christian Brothers Academy
April 9, 2012 No Comments
Do you ever read one of those magazines and they’ll say “So-and-so hosted a casual buffet with some neighbors and invited us to see her easy-breezy style”? And what follows is several pages of impossibly gorgeous spreads of food surrounded by distinctive and clever decor and people who look impeccable and beautiful in every way? And you think, “Who the hell hosts a party like that?” Well, once a year my big sister does with her Easter Egg Hunt and Lunch. Here are some pictures:
Cute bunny adorning the dessert table.
Plenty of fresh flowers already planted (she’s in New Jersey, so it’s a bit warmer).
An Easter wreath. One decor tip I’m going to try to adopt is that she has all of her decorative wall hangings–like autumn and Christmas wreaths–hanging out in plain sight around her basement. It makes the storage area prettier and more cheerful, makes it more difficult to forget about seasonal decor, and frees up shelf space.
J insisted that I take a photograph of the deviled egg tray. She loved how her aunt fancied it up.
Hi from the girls, playing on the hammock.
Bunny ears for everyone!
So pretty they look fake. But they’re alive!
Frankly, I think the woman has a wreath fetish. But who can blame her? And I love this door, too.
What’s a pile of asparagus without pansies?
For the egg hunt, a plastic egg tried to blend in with the decorative eggs.
More egg hunt.
Another “hidden” egg.
April 8, 2012 1 Comment