Monday, February 3, 2014

Why I didn't like the Superbowl Coke Commercial (It isn't what you think!)

Apparently there is a giant uproar over the Coke Commercial featuring the song "America the Beautiful".  And while I have no desire to wade waist deep into those shenanigans, I will admit my particular discomfort with above mentioned commercial.

Deep breath.

Confession:  I need continuity, symmetry, and sameness.  Our society jokingly refers to a bunch of traits as OCD, but I am working on not doing that.  Because people that actually suffer from OCD face a debilitating problem and I don't want to make light of their issues.

But I do have some routines, needs, and quirks.  Like Sheldon Cooper's need to knock on Penny's door 3 times with a specific knock pattern?  I get that.  Especially if it gets interrupted. If I see someone with a tag sticking out of the top of their shirt it actually bothers me.  I cannot focus on anything other than that tag-which usually prompts me to tell an absolute stranger that their tag is out and make me deal with a different kind anxiety.

So back to the commercial.  The switching to a variety of languages did not offend my sensibility of English or Americanism, but it DID mess with my need of continuity.

Seriously, Coke.  I listen to twin four year olds that chatter about different subjects at the exact same time such that my brain cannot process the activity I am trying to complete.  Why, why, why, would you break up a song into a cacophony of sounds without continuity?  I don't care what language you use, just please use one and keep it constant!  (Actually producing the commercial in its entirety in each language would be a kind of cool comment on our country's diversity.)

When lyrics to a song switch into different languages, each with their own cadence and flow, it MESSES with my poor befuddled mommy brain and I can't process it.  Mostly because I have small people that don't understand Mommy's need for brain processing time and the simple ritual of watching overpriced commercials is normally enjoyable for me.  A simple thought decompression time, if you will.

And darn you Coke, you ruined it!  I appreciate you making a broad social commentary, but please don't forget the fatigue ridden moms with quirky issues.  We need caffeine in the form of Diet Coke, too. ;)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I don't care how you parent

Seriously.

The mommy wars things makes me batty. If our own parents and society have taught us anything it is that there is not one correct way to parent.  All parents are imperfect and MOST are doing their best to raise their kids to be loving, caring, productive adults.

I Loved this photo gallery: Differing Parenting Styles
And it made me think about my own group of friends and family.  We all parent differently.  Some are more disciplinarian while others are more hands off.  Some are particular about foods, chemicals, breast feeding, formula feeding, circumcision, natural child birth, spanking, crying it out, attachment parenting, traditional parenting...The list is endless and you know what?  All of the kids seem to be turning out just fine.

And most importantly- the kids know they are loved by their parents. They know their parents will support them and care for them.

The photo gallery also made me think that some of the fault lies in our own harmless intentions.  I have issues with processed food-it is one of the battles I pick.  As a result, my Facebook page may have many references to 'real' food and how I think processed food is the devil (no lie).   I do that because it interests me and I am passionate about it.  But in this social media world I can see how easily someone might think that my posting an article about the dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup indicates that I think THEY are a bad parent if they feed their kids products with HFCS.  (I don't.)

Because when we are reading from behind the screen we take things more personally-even generalized observations. I can think of a few times when I was guilty of taking something too personally based on a FB post.

So, for one thing...we have to stop being so sensitive as a whole and agree to disagree.  We also need to post carefully-not to be politically correct but to remember that our online words matter too. We are each unique creations who parent the way we think is correct.  We will make mistakes and we will learn from them.

I believe that if you are raising a child to be caring, sympathetic, respectful, thoughtful, aware, loving, and (insert positive adjective here) you are doing a great job.  You love your child and you are doing the best you can do.

Take a deep breath moms and dads.  You are doing ok.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Dead Dads Club

17 years ago today, my dad lost a very brief fight with cancer. So brief, that as a 21 year old, it had taken me 4 weeks to adjust to his diagnosis. And he was gone. No epic battles, no long bouts of suffering, none of the lengthy horrors you dream about. Horrors many friends have had to endure in their battles since.

 And I was grateful. Grateful that God answered a simple prayer. "If you are going to take him anyway, do it sooner. Don't make him suffer." That gratefulness didn't change my grief. Not then and not now 17 years later.

 Because contrary to the phrase, you never "get over it." You adjust. You adapt to the circumstances which become your new normal. But you never get over it.

 Sure. I am not in a fog of tears, grief, and frustration. I am not so exhausted and overwhelmed that my mother, aunt and I laughed and cried hysterically trying to craft a Eulogy in "Klingon". (Long story) There are no priests, no funerals, no cards. On this day of the year, it is always a bit darker in my world.

But it isn't just this day. There are little things, little moments. Like when I hear the song "They Don't Know" by Tracey Ullman. Because my dad was an avid music fan. His genre of choice was 50's and 60's music, but thanks to a full on 80's child he was fairly well versed in my own brand of music awesome. But that song he loved. It really reminded him of the music he grew up with. I hear it and I want to call him and tell him it made me smile to think of him. And I remember. There is no phone that can span this distance.

 Or college basketball. My dad was a huge UNC fan and I was a huge Duke fan. The yearly meet-ups of those two teams was an event attended eagerly by dad and I every year. My mom usually made herself scarce as it got pretty heated and dramatic in our living room. My dad and I didn't have a great relationship during my teenage years (I was a turd) but this was 'our thing.' Even now I can't stand to watch it. Though my husband has become a Duke fan himself and would love to watch a great rivalry in action, it is no fun to watch the game without having my dad there.

 Firetrucks. My dad was a firefighter. It was his passion to help others and as a fireman he was able to do so. He loved it so much he worked a paid firefighting job in a city and volunteered as a firefighter in our smaller suburb until he got injured and was unable to continue working as a firefighter. The boys are at the right age where they are fascinated with fire trucks. Any time we pass a station they shout and point at the trucks. Today one of the trucks had its lights on and they talked about it all day. My dad would be in his glory if he were here. The boys room would look like a fire truck threw up in it. And he would be laughing and playing right along with them. 

My dad could talk to anyone about anything. He would find a topic if need be. He loved sitting and talking with people where they were. I tell my husband he and my dad would have had a great deal to talk about.

 He was caring, kind, generous, and genuine. The kind of guy that would let you borrow anything, would save an injured cardinal from the road, and would sit and play board games with his family.

 And I will never get over missing him. Wishing he could hold his grandsons. Or give me a hug.

 There was a scene in the TV show "Grey's Anatomy" where the dad of one of the interns dies. Christina (the rigid, left brained, stone faced one) found her grieving friend and told him about the club they were both a part of. One you can't join until you are in it. The Dead Dads club.

 It is true. Not just for dads but all loss. Parents, spouses, friends, family. You can't possibly understand until you are there. But you really hope no one ever has to join the club.

 I miss you Dad. Today and Every day. God willing we will meet again. I love you.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Boys will be Boys and the Preschooler Mom

It started as a regular summer morning.  The dudes and I had breakfast, piled into the car, and made it to swim lessons a few minutes early.  Really that should have been my warning that something would not go right.

While getting E-dude's shoes off, G-Man was climbing on the lounge chair behind me.  Suddenly, a screaming cry.  Little G-Man had done a face plant into the concrete.  Sigh.

I picked him up, held him tightly, and fished out some wipes to clean up the blood on his lip.  And he kept crying.  And bleeding.  It took me a few minutes to register that he had not simply cut his lip...he cut his gums.

Above his big tooth-big gash.  (Gross picture at end of post)

And it was bleeding all over the place.  Good grief do mouth injuries bleed.  Little man missed swim as we tried to stop the bleeding-which took a little while but thankfully stopped.  Teeth still in place and no wiggling.

We got home, had some popsicles and I got a good look at his mouth.  And like any mom...panicked.  I took pictures, called his pediatrician, and a pediatric dentist.  Based on my description, the pediatrician said we could bring him in or wait to see if it improved.  They assured me gum injuries healed quickly and just to watch to make sure it was healing.  I wasn't assured.

The very kind assistant at the dentist said something similar but welcomed me to send her a picture so she could let me know if the dentist felt he should be seen.  

I could mention that G-Man was in great spirits and taking full advantage of the popsicle angle.  Other than his mouth hurting, he didn't seem to be bothered.

The dentist felt that as long as the tooth wasn't loose and G-Man wasn't complaining, to just let it heal and keep an eye on it.  

That finally made me feel better.  At least for the moment.  Because we all know that this is the easy stuff.  All parents of older boys give me that look and say "just get used to it."  But...does anyone really get used to it?


TheBetterMom.com

Monday, June 17, 2013

Face Time Fails and Preschoolers

Picture a Sunday morning.  After a late night for the family before the house remains quiet until just before 8am-a joyous victory given the normal 7 am wake up call.  Picture rolling over and getting a chance to snuggle with your husband for a few precious moments as you both listen to the giggles of your sons as they wake up for the day.

Now imagine the little voices traveling into the living room, where their Leap Pads sit on the table waiting to be played.  Sometimes, the dudes will choose Leap Pad time in the morning, giving mom and dad a few minutes to wake themselves up.

Still cuddled with your husband, imagine hearing the vibration of your phone. If you are anything like me, a phone ringing that early in the morning is either an emergency or a wrong number.  Knowing my grandmother had been ill with a virus earlier in the week caused me to leap from my warm spot to grab the phone on the floor.

And I looked at it with my tired, non corrected eyes.  Apparently my husband was attempting to Face Time me.  Except as you recall he was still in bed.

The only other device in the house that would 'call' me besides my husband's phone was the Ipad.

Uh-oh.

I  answered the FaceTime request, which rewarded me with a blank screen-indicating that my clever boy was already engrossed in another App.

"Hello?"  I asked.

"Who's this?"  G-man's voice answered in return.

"What do you mean who is this, who are you?' My husband chimes in, an impish grin painted across his face.

"Daddy, what are you doing"
"What are YOU doing G-Man?  You called us."

"Oh...sorry...sorry guys."

Of course DH and I dissolved into belly laughs at the sound of our G-Man saying "sorry guys." A casual, but surprisingly funny statement that time of day.

And just a minute later came the text from my mom "Did you just try to Face Time me using a different number?"

"That would be your grandchildren with the Ipad."

I wonder who else got an early morning call?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Good Dog. Losing a Pet 3.5 year old style.

We lost our dog Tinker last week.  She was 13.5 and had definitely slowed down in recent months.  A Jack Russell/Beagle mix, she was about 35 pounds (ok, a little more since she grazed and stole kid food) and lived to be a pretty decent age for a geriatric dog.

I hope you will allow me to talk a bit about her before I get to the twin related aspects- I figure some back story is always welcome.

Tinker came into our lives around Christmas in 1999.  The SPCA had a set up in one of the higher end malls to adopt out as many dogs as possible while people were shopping for the holidays.  This particular day, they had almost run out of animals and had to make a trip to the shelter to bring more dogs up to the mall.  While they were trying to clean out cages, I volunteered to hold this sweet and terrified little puppy they had brought in.

She dug her tiny claws into my neck as if she were clinging on for dear life.  Her little body was shaking in terror as she took in all of the stimulation of a busy mall.  It didn't take long for me to realize I could not put her down.  Could not put her back into a crate when she was so scared.  Even when I looked more closely at her face and noticed the fleas crawling on her (so gross).

DH sighed in resignation and our little scaredy cat became a member of the family.  She was always terrified of strangers, particularly men.  There was a good chance she would never approach a guest in our home to be pet- and if she did, it would be on her own terms.  She never snapped or tried to bite, and the only 2 people I ever heard her growl at turned out to not be of upstanding moral character in the long run- I always called her the best judge of character.

She didn't play regular dog games, rather she liked to tease our other dog, Max,  by stealing his toys and growling at him when he tried to retrieve him.

She loved the boys tremendously.  A little worried mother, she always went in to check on the boys after they went to bed and whined if they were upset.  They loved their "Tink Tink" and loved on her as only little boys can.

Last Tuesday Randy called me into the bedroom saying there was a problem.  Our sweet girl was very sick.  Initially I thought maybe she had been 'poisoned' in the sense that she ate something she shouldn't have.  But it was more like a stroke, she just wasn't there.

We got her through the night and brought her to the vet who was honest and caring and felt it was likely an issue with her central nervous system.  He gave her a steroid and a sedative to see if that would help but braced us for the possibility that she wouldn't recover.

And she didn't.  She couldn't get up on her own.  She registered that someone was in the room with her but didn't respond to inflections of voice or tone.  She wouldn't eat and had a tough time drinking. There is a point when your dog is too sick that they just look at you and you know.  They are ready.

As difficult as it was to let go of our sweet little dog, the worst part for me was deciding what to tell the boys.  They knew Tinker was very sick and we had to be quiet around her.  But when we got home and G-Man asked "Mommy, where's Tinker?" I nearly lost it.

I gathered them both in my arms and told them Tinker had died and went to be with Jesus (I don't want to get into a theological argument about the potential inaccuracy of this).  E-Dude asked me to go get her and cried when I told her I couldn't.  As I held my crying boy in my arms, my own tears blinding my vision, I felt the soft pat from G-Man on my arm as he tried to comfort me.

"Tinker's in Jesus' House?"

"Yes, Baby."

"In Heaven?"

"Yes."

"Ok."

Every day since we have talked about Tinker being in Heaven with Jesus.  And it is hard, because I miss her.  But I love the gentle hearts of my little men as they adjust with their loss.  They know she is gone and they miss her, but they rest comfortably in Jesus.  Knowing somehow, He is taking care of their precious friend.

Amazing how they can teach me.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dallas Zoo Excursion


As a teacher, my days off tend to coincide with the days off of many other districts, which in turn leads to massive crowds at family friendly places.  Like zoos, aquariums, museums, etc.  My mom and husband can attest to my complete lack of patience with the behavior of people in crowds, so in an effort to save lives, I tend to avoid places when they will be ridiculously crowded. (You know, like malls at Christmas crowded)

This means that in the 16 years I have lived in Dallas, I have never visited the zoo.  And I love animals.  So when winter graced us with mild weather and my district got a day off last week (reserved for a snow day).  My husband and I decided to take the boys to the Dallas Zoo.

If you have ever lived in Dallas, you will always hear that the Fort Worth Zoo is the better zoo and better experience-although recently Dallas has added a Wilds of the Savannah exhibit which helps it tremendously.

With 3.5 year olds, I figured an excursion around the Dallas Zoo would be plenty.  And you know what?  We LOVED it.  Several areas have lounging chairs and benches where you can relax and watch the animals do their thing.  We were tempted to relax and watch the zebras and giraffes wander about while we sat on comfy chairs.  But the dudes were way too excited for that.

I also recommend bringing your own food.  There are plenty of picnic areas and zoo food is pricey! 

It was so much fun watching the boys enjoy different areas of the park.  E-dude loved everything- he is my animal boy.  And even though feeding the giraffe was a little bit overwhelming for him, he adored the giraffes.  And the cheetah-that walked up to the glass like he was saying hi. 

Or the penguin that leaped into the water, swimming right towards them.  My little E-dude loved it all.  He got SO excited.

G-Man loved the Golden Lion Tamarins-their wild energy matched G-Man's own, and he cracked up watching them scamper about.

It was a wonderful day-and the zoo has plenty to do.  Looks like a Zoo membership for this family next year!
Hanging on the crocodile statue.



No joke, we went to look at the lion and this cheetah walked up to the glass and just sat-like he was saying "hey, come back, I am WAY cooler than that lion."




This crazy penguin jumped in the water and swam right over to the boys.  He hung out and they chattered with him. E-Dude was quite perturbed about having to leave.


An interactive area where you can feed the birds nectar.  This was slightly traumatic for me as I had flashbacks to the movie "The Birds," but as you can see, E-Dude loved it.


See?  They tried to eat me.  One of them initially landed on my head and then bit me when I was trying to get it off.


WE could have watched these guys all day.  E-Dude was excited to feed them until the big head got close.


My loves.


G-Man was not keen on pictures today.