Devils Workshop

has been moved to new address

Sorry for inconvenience...

Mommy Truths: September 2008

Mommy Truths

The Hard Learned Lessons and Eye Opening Realities of Raising Young Kids

Thursday, September 25, 2008

When Should You Lie to Your Kids?

This morning, our third day at the O.K. Corral, I figured out how to explain the explosive gunfire sounds bouncing off our front porch to terrified two-year old Daughter.

A little background: Our house is situated on open space of heavily wooded terrain. At the end of our street is a large reservoir and dam. At the base of the dam is a deep gorge in the woods. Our local police department has decided it's the perfect spot for their yearly weapons training. We get pistols in the Spring, rifles and rapid fire automatic weapons in the Fall. (Why our little town of 9,000 residents needs such protection is still a question for me. One of our biggest crimes of the last few years was an eccentric (and high) genius blowing up Porto potties at the base of trail heads.)

Anyway, I've taken my seasonal distress all the way up to the Chief of Police ("It wakes my daughter up from her nap!") so there's not much more for me to do than live with the disturbance and help my children cope with the awful sound. But how?

Four year old Son isn't phased by it. Daughter is alarmed and frightened. When we heard the first blasts Monday morning at eight a.m. I went down the route of rational explanation.

"Well, honey, the police practice using their guns to keep us safe. They are down in the gorge at the base of the dam. You know the dam where the pretty water falls?" This was the "It's all good" approach. Problem was, the idea of guns scared her more. I have no idea where she might have heard or learned of them, but they scared her.

She talked about "the guns" all day and didn't go to sleep until 10:30. I asked Husband, "What was I supposed to tell her?" His answer, "You don't know what it is."

I'm trying to be open and honest with my kids. But, the truth is there's probably a time when age dictates a certain fuzziness of facts.

So, yesterday morning as we all climbed into the minivan amidst the staccato burst of rifle fire and when she said, "Where are the guns?" I announced, "They're not guns, they're.... firepops!"

"Firepops?" She was intrigued. Conjured images of Popsicle, maybe lollipop, she couldn't put her finger on it but it didn't sound all that bad. "What are firepops?"

"The boom boom boom sound."

"Okay." Sold.

This morning in the minivan Daughter proclaimed: "Mommy, I love firepops."

Son: "Mommy, can I have one of those firepop Popsicles one day?"

"Sure, but they're kind of spicy."

Labels: ,

Monday, September 8, 2008

Scheduling's the Way

Now that we're back to school, I can't believe I lived without a regular weekly schedule. Last May I looked forward to the lazy, unstructured days of summer. I'm kind of a summer gal, actually, and relish beach time as much as my kids. I'm actually like a kid at the beach, happy to sit in the sand and help dig holes or bury feet.

But by around mid-July, I found myself short-tempered and calling my niece to help out twice a week. I kept harping on myself for not being able to hack it all day with my own two kids. But I see now how much a scheduled day and some simple structure helps keep my family in harmony. (Well, Husband goes off to work whether the kids and I live in harmony or not.)

And, the start of school inspired me to get off my butt and organize our mornings better, pack lunches the night before, even plan projects for after school. Oh, did I mention that I even set the table for breakfast last night and put out little bowls for an applesauce starter? Neither child touched it. But they did seem impressed with the whole set table thing and waited patiently for their scrambled eggs. A far cry from their usual pounding of forks on table while screaming, "Where's my cereal?!"

Set Timetables
I also got smart and actually thought through how long it would take to get them ready and out of the house (hopefully, you've been doing this all along).

Here's my morning schedule:
6-7:30 am Play or watch TV (I put out play dough when I made my coffee)
7:30 Make breakfast
7:45 Serve breakfast
8:00 Get dressed, brush teeth and hair, put on shoes
8:30 Get in car (remember the 15 magically disappearing minutes it takes to get the kids settled in carseats. Especially, if Son is buckling himself!)
8:50 Drive away to make 9:00 am drop off at school.

Of course, today I had the wonderful "Let's not be late for our first day of school!" mantra to call upon. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Palin's Choice, Mommy Consequences

Upon hearing of John McCain's veep pick, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, I thought, hmmmmm, he chose a woman (I predicted he'd make such a move to my husband a week ago.) Then I heard she has five children. Double hmmmmm. Raised in a family of five children by a mother who ran the PTA, then founded and ran a small business with my Dad, I was impressed, shall we say, that Palin would enter such a campaign and potential position. There weren't enough hours in the day for my mother to run her business and family and worry about both. She is an exceptional leader and organized and efficient manager by nature. Heck, she could have run for office. But when discussing Palin's candidacy she said to me, "Whenever someone came knocking for me to run for a local office, I didn't see how I could do it with all of you. I didn't want to take that on." Thanks, Mom.

Then, I learned that Palin's 5th child is four months old. Four months old!!! I was still postpartum four months after delivering each child. So kudos to Palin for having her hormones in check enough to coolly deliver a speech at the press conference. But how good can it be for an infant to be carted around to campaign events?

When my own son was four months old, I was heartbroken to return to work part-time. And I rushed home to spend every extra moment with him. Now, I'm all for mothers working full-time or running a business or whatever. (I actually launched a magazine on the side, so to speak, after returning to work part-time. It helped that Son went to sleep at 6 pm each evening.) But choosing to have a big family demands a certain attention to said family that the campaign trail can only prevent.

Then I learned that Palin's infant son has Down's Syndrome. And now I think she's just plain irresponsible. Equal rights or not, at some point a mother needs to make a choice to care for her child. Period. Equal rights in the workplace don't eliminate the need to make smart choices. Especially when you have the financial ability to choose your work.

And choosing to have a child with special needs is a choice that demands some follow through. It's one thing to put your pro-life beliefs into practice. It's another to "choose life" then choose a candidacy that will most likely leave your special needs infant son in the arms of another. Yes, the beauty of our country is that Palin's choice is hers to make. It just wouldn't be mine.