Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Have a Bad Attitude

I usually try to keep things pretty positive on the blog, but in honor of spring break, giant puddles of melted snow, Jesus and the Easter Bunny, I'm going to indulge in one of my favorite activities: complaining about stuff that irritates me. It's Bad Attitude Week here at The Hometown Tourist, and I'm going to engage in what I like to call rage training, which is like emotional cardio in that it raises your heart rate for a bit so your resting state can be more zen.

Today's topic is: Five Things I Hate About the Way We're "Supposed" to Do Parenting. This is my little list of bourgeois parenting norms that seemed to be designed to take the wind out of my sails just in case I was enjoying my children too much. Didn't you know that parenting was supposed to be the hardest and most rewarding job you'll ever have? I'm sorry, I thought I was just having a relationship with these neat little humans that I made from scratch in my uterus. If it's supposed to be a job, I want to renegotiate my compensation package. Anyway without further ado:

1. Screen Time: Look, if you want to limit the amount of time your kids spend with computers, video games, and TV, do what you think is best, but do we have to make up a stupid name for it, and then use it like we all agree to treat technology like some sort of controlled substance. (Only, of course, when it comes to our kids, though. How many hours of "screen time" did you have today?) It is true that we don't know what the long-term effects of so much interaction with technology will be, but why do we have to assume all of them will be bad? People had the same reaction to television when I was growing up, and yet we all seem to be decent and terrible in equal measures the same as any other generation. Humans adapt. Relax.

2. Play Dates: One of the reason I had so many children is so they'll always have someone to play with around the house. I also think that children should be able to play in their neighborhoods and you shouldn't have to drive your kids somewhere to play or call up and make appointments with people you wouldn't talk to for any other reason. Why do we have to micromanage all the little details of our children's lives? I am their mother, not their social secretary. The only time I make special arrangements for my kids to play with other kids is if it's their birthday or if I also want to hang out with those other kids' parents.

3. School Projects: I do not think that children should be assigned homework that they cannot complete on their own. I think that my role with homework should be as back-up helper when they get stuck, but it is their homework, not my homework. Here's why I hate school projects that clearly require parental support: 1) It puts kids whose parents aren't able to help them at a disadvantage 2) I passed fourth grade thirty years ago, I don't need to do it again 3) I don't remember giving my kids' teachers permission to schedule my time in addition to my children's. 4) I actually like to do things with my kids, but I like us to decide what those activities will be without deadlines, grades or other methods of outside accountability that TOTALLY RUIN EVERYTHING.

4. Reading Logs: I have been an avid reader all my life. I was a freakin' English major. We have shelves full of books and boxes in closets of books that don't fit on our shelves. Ellis and Charlie started reading before their fourth birthdays. We read, okay, we read. But nothing spoils reading more than having to read twenty minutes a night and write it down on a little sheet and turn it into your kid's teacher. Some nights, when the book is good, you want to read for hours. Other nights, you want to make milkshakes or completely destroy your children by letting them look at screens for hours and hours while you write a blog post on your own little screen. Just stop it with the reading logs. Making reading a chore never made anyone love books.

5. Picture Day: I hate the crappy ugly pictures that these "professional" photographers take of my kids and I don't appreciate having to spend money on them. I take beautiful portraits of my kids on a weekly basis that reflect them in a way that only someone who knows them as well as I do can. And yet, my kids will feel sad if they don't get to participate in picture day like everyone else, so alas, I write that damn check. And why is picture day twice a year now? You win, Lifetouch, you win.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Eleven Months Old

This was a month of crazy growth. He finally gave up and decided to get some teeth. They're pretty cute especially since he seems to have gotten the message that biting me is a one-way ticket to wean town. I also could be imagining things, but it seems like he only says "na na na" at breakfast in the morning when I give him his favorite bananas to eat. Best of all, he pulls himself up to standing on any low piece of furniture and then creeps along through the house until he runs out of surface to hold onto. It looks like he is going to walk without even trying to crawl. I'm going to blink and he will be one.

Friday, March 22, 2013

This Week (365 Photos)

I resolved to take pictures every day this year. My plan is to share them weekly on this blog.

This week, while the temperature hovered below freezing, I went desperately searching for signs of spring...

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Friday, March 15, 2013

This Week (365 Photos)

I resolved to take pictures every day this year. My plan is to share them weekly on this blog.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Decade of Ellis

The Beginning

What a great ten years it has been. In the past few months, I look at you, and you are barely a kid anymore. I look forward to the ways our relationship will mature along with you. What will the next decade bring? 


Likely, in the next decade, someone else besides me will become your favorite person in the world. I hope so, because you have a big heart that needs to be stretched as far as it will grow. Even as the time is coming where you won't automatically grab my hand when we're walking together, I look forward to bringing you little by little into the grown-up world of feelings. I know I cannot spare you the heartache you will have as you learn to love, but I hope you will allow me to help you by sharing the things that I learned the hard way in my own heart's journey.


Perhaps, in the next ten years, you will start the video game company you want to, or at least build the skills you need to do that. I promise to continue to talk to you about the things that you want to do, and show you how to make a plan to get there. Dream big, kiddo, don't ever let anyone tell you what you can't do.


Before long, you will grow taller than me. I can see it already in your broad shoulders, that the day is coming that I will look up to you. I don't worry that you will be anything less than a gentle giant, because I remember the way you would reach over as a toddler and softly pat my hand. For you, I wish you confidence in your growing strength and the knowledge that you don't have to choose between the life of the mind and the life of the body.


In the next ten years, we will travel together and have many adventures. I look forward to discovering the world together through our journeys. I also look forward to exploring the inner world of ideas with you. I already love the way your mind works and there's so much I want to share with you of the ideas that have lit up my brain over the years. I love it best when you bring me new things that spark my imagination.


Whatever happens in the years to come, please know that I am grateful to have you in my life. Thanks for making me a mom ten years ago. It's one of the best things that ever happened to me.





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Friday, March 8, 2013

This Week (365 Photos)

I resolved to take pictures every day this year. My plan is to share them weekly on this blog.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

This Week (365 Photos)

I resolved to take pictures every day this year. My plan is to share them weekly on this blog.

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