Thursday, February 28, 2013

Being seen.

You know, I really like people who make you feel like they see you.

Do you know what I mean?

People who make you feel seen are the people you feel connected to, I suppose.

I have this teacher. And I have been having trouble in her class and couldn't place why. I think she's a good teacher and I know that people respect her. But in her class I don't get a good feeling. And sometimes I leave feeling worse than when I came in. Feeling frustrated. Feeling invisible. One day we had a substitute and it was the best class I'd ever experienced. Someone in the hallway remarked something similar so then I knew I wasn't alone. But I still couldn't figure out what it was.

Then today, I decided to reach out and complement her on the class. I did feel really good afterwards and it was just what I needed. When I went up to tell her that, she walked right past me. She looked right through me and started talking to another student. And when I waited, I saw that she was going to continue on her way. I finally got right in front of her and made eye contact so she would have to stop and talk to me.

"Great class today." I said. "I had a really rough morning and this was just what I needed."
"Oh I'm glad!" she said brightly. And then rushed right past me. To talk to someone else.

I headed out and thought that's it! She doesn't see me. I feel invisible in her class and that makes me feel disconnected from it.

It makes me want to work harder to make sure in the classes that I teach and the programs that I run, that I make a point to see everyone. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

In like a...carpenter ant. Out like a ... carpenter ant.

So, this month, this happened.

Coen had his first experience playing video games at home.

It was regrettable at the start and regrettable at the finish.  Well, I'm being quite dramatic. It wasn't SO bad. 

Tad still has his original NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) and traditionally, he and I take it out and play at our leisure from Thanksgiving to New Years.  It's like our winter holiday mindless fun.  But this year we took it out to play in February. And I thought it would be fun to let Coen try.

Well.  He. Became. Obsessed.

We talked about Mario morning, noon, and night.  We only allowed him to play on weekends in February and the first couple times, after turning the cursed machine off, he fell to pieces.  "I'm BORED now!" He'd wail.  What? Bored?  I don't know, aside from lazy summer days of endless playing, that he ever says that.  And now he's bored? Oh my gosh, I thought, the video games have seeped into his brain and now he doesn't know what to do with himself without them.  WHAT HAVE I DONE?!!!!

Now, after some good conversations, he did manage to handle the unplugging of the game much better.  But still.

After the game was over, I was always on edge--video games do that to me. And so was Coen.  And he would want me to play with him immediately after the game at which point I would just want to take some deep breaths to decompress.  Coen would say, "Please PLAY with me, Mommy!" while I turned to Tad saying, "I don't WANT to play!" Tad was always bemused as I brought the whole thing on myself.  

Yesterday, when he was playing and I was giving him extra time, Tad started mentioning how it might have been going on too long.

"Hey Daddy." Coen said. "Get off of my cloud!"
That worked both for the figurative cloud (9) to which he was referring and the cloud upon which his little Mario character stood.

So today was his last day. And during his last game, two of his friends came to call.  I let them in to watch him finish it off and, being more novice players, were full of advice for him.  I started getting stressed out that he would get upset that they knew more than he did.  And at one point, he let both of them take a turn.  "Coen!" I said nervously, "We don't have time for you to get a hundred extra lives!"

I was on the edge of panic. "Mom." he said calmly. "I'm not getting a hundred extra lives. He's just finishing the level for me."

But you know, he did fine.  Even while I accidentally set fire to the inside of our oven and threw a bucket of water in it whilst opening all the windows and remarking about how it was getting late and the time for the game was almost up.  And even when it was over and I sent him outside to play with his friends and I scraped the black off the bottom of our oven while Lucy danced around the living room yelling "Fire! Fire!" He did fine.

At that moment, Tad arrived home and to my surprise, he was not annoyed with me for having extra children in the house, playing video games way past the agreed-upon dinner time. He was not annoyed with me for having a fire in the kitchen and not two but four wild-children running around.  And of course he wasn't.  He's married to ME after all and these things are sometimes to be expected.
Coen is now getting ready to take a bath.  I just heard him say, "I'm a little sad, Daddy."

Until next year, Mario.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

This totally happens to me.

Coen has been reading a lot of comics lately.  And this morning I was looking at his Peanuts Treasury while I drank my coffee and I found this one.  I remember this one from when I was a kid.  I loved this strip because THIS HAPPENS TO ME!

Does it happen to you? Because it happens to me.  I become aware of my tongue. Sometimes I become aware of my whole mouth.  It is indeed an awful feeling. 

Sometimes, I'm even aware of my whole self.  I'll be at some sort of event--usually one in which I am out of my element or I don't know anyone.  And I'll become suddenly aware of my whole I'm acting, how I sound. And the more I try not to be aware of myself, the more aware of myself I become.  Until I feel both invisible and like fifteen feet tall at the same time.  It's much worse than being aware of your  tongue.  But if there's just one person there that I know well and knows me back..then I can say something to them about how I'm aware of myself.  And they'll either know what I mean or tell me how weird I am.  And I'll realize that they're right.  And either way, I'll feel better. 

Anyway, I thought I'd share in case any of you are ever aware of your tongue, aware of your mouth, or aware of your very self.  You are not alone.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lovely and insane

 Yesterday was a sort of self-created comedy of errors.  I forgot my hearing aid in the morning.  I also nearly fell down like eight times on the way to my car.  I guess I should salt our walk.

At work, my cube mate Tiffany called to me.  "Alie.  Do you smell Ben-Gay?"
My response? "Sure! N-E-G-A-T-E."
Tiffany laughed and I had to get up and walk over to her to hear what she'd actually said.

We had a two-hour meeting about our data entry system and subsequent paperwork.  Sounds like a tremendously boring affair, but I was actually really interested.  I don't know if it's that I just really like the people I work with, or I really needed to know the information being presented, or I was enjoying using a combination of sign language and facial expressions to communicate with Kathy, my coworker whose job is similar to mine in structure and the sometimes unique ways in which we decide to do our paperwork and data.  Or maybe it was all three of those things.  And then at some point, I had  a hand frenzy.  And in my hand frenzy, my pen somehow flew up in the air and landed on my head.  It stayed there for a second and then fell off on to the table. And then I couldn't stop giggling. There is nothing funnier to me than uncontrollable laughter in a business meeting.

After the meeting, and the rest of my workday, we had a potluck in Coen's classroom.  As people were arriving I had this conversation with my friend:
Melissa: Alie, do you think we should get more seats?
Me: Yes, let's just eat right now!  If we wait for everyone else to get here, it'll be seven o' clock by the time we do! Let's eat!!

So after that I had my hula hoop class and I came home joyful as I do from that class. My house was quiet and Tad was upstairs with Coen. I could hear him reading.  So I went in the living room and started hooping while I turned on the TV.  Tad has programmed our TV to go straight to the NFL channel when it comes on.  OBNOXIOUS!  Anyway, he came down and found me there, hula hooping and watching some old Packers game.  He shook his head and laughed.

"Want to see the dresses I got yesterday?" I asked him?

He did. So I tried on my dress for the 40 under 40 dinner and swished around the room with it on.  Then as I left, I walked into the wall.  We laughed and then I tried on another dress I got yesterday, a red and white polka-dot sundress which I am very excited to wear when it's warm.  I spun around the playroom, where Tad was looking through his closet.  I showed him all angles, hands on my hips and sashaying about. Then when I turned to go, accidentally stepped into a box of plastic toys. It flipped up, catapulting My Little Ponies at my legs and I fell down in a heap on the floor.  Tad and I both laughed again.

"You are lovely and insane." He said.

I'll take it.

Friday, February 15, 2013


It's a funny thing--Valentine's day.  Yesterday, I was at the Public Market with my parents and my kids and my sister and her kids.  I saw a line, like fifteen men long, at the flower shop and it just struck me as hilarious that all these dudes were just waiting in line to buy flowers because they're supposed to buy flowers on February 14th.  It seemed suddenly silly.  I laughed out loud at them, but most of them either ignored me or looked at me blankly.

My sister  was saying that the other night she was doing the dishes and heard a conversation between her husband and son.
Sean: Dad?  Is Valentine's Day tomorrow?
Leo: Um...noo...I don't think so.
Sean: Are you sure?  I thought it was tomorrow.
Leo: No.. I don't think it is.
Beth: Um, Leo? Tomorrow IS Valentines Day.

And my dad said that my mom had scolded him for his ignorance as well as he said, "Sweetheart, is Valentines Day February 12th or 13th?"

It's a funny thing too because, while I don't subscribe to celebrating a holiday such as Valentine's Day, as romantic as I am, because I would rather my romance come at unexpected moments, instead of on a day that everyone is doing it.

But it's February and my introvert husband is in hibernation mode.  He is retreating within himself to recharge and gather his internal energy before spring.  It's an expected time in our house.  It's part of the ebb and flow of our relationship.   But I am all flow and no ebb and it's a hard time for me because I WANT his energy.  But it's just not available.  So we were lying in bed last night after having talked about how it's okay for me to be annoyed with him for not having energy for me and it's okay for him to not have energy for me. So even though I don't do Valentine's, I couldn't help but see all the roses and cards and chocolates people posted on their Facebook pages.  I hmph'd.  "I want a box of chocolates!"  I had said.  "Stupid Valentine's Day!"

Tad held me closer.  "Do you want me to go on Facebook and tell everyone I bought you a diamond encrusted suitcase for Valentine's?"

Very funny.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Telling the troof

I promise, this is my last Maurice Sendak-inspired blog post!

He was talking about a little kid writing him a letter to say she hated his last book and she hoped he'd die, and how much he loved the letter.

The interviewer said that he seemed to find the unvarnished truth consoling, even if it's vicious ad painful
He said, 
"If it's true, you can't care about the vicious and painful. You can only be astonished."

My kids always say, "Tell me the TROOF!"

 When children tell the truth, I can only help but laugh, even if it does sting a little.
"Your breath stinks."
"Mom, why are women's breasts so floppy" (staring at me after I've come out of the shower) floppy?!
"How come your tummy looks like there's still a baby in it even though you already had a baby?"
"You look grumpy in the mornings."

Yeah, whatever. They're observations. They're vicious truths.  They don't mean anything.

There was a book that I adored as a child and still love called The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop.  (read it! read it to your kids!)

It's about this little boy, William who gets an antique castle and a silver leaden knight. The knight comes alive and magically shrinks William to come into the castle and embark on a journey to save his kingdom.  At the end, William must defeat this magic mirror that, when turned toward you, shows you all the horrible things inside you--all the greed and meanness and insecurity.  Powerful knights have died before the mirror upon seeing their insides--what they'd hidden from themselves.  But when the mirror is turned toward William, he just sees himself.  That's it. Just himself.  He saw his insecurities and his anger, but he already knew they were there.  So he just sees himself.

So my goal in life has been, since I read that book at age 10, to be a person who would always just see herself in that mirror.  To be a person who is always WHO I AM through and through, no matter where I am and who I'm with.  To be transparent about my own falterings.  To be REAL. 

I think when you're in that place, you can hear the truth. Let it sink in and burn a little bit.  But know it was always there in the first place.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Spanning out.

Saturday I wrote about this Maurice Sendak interview I read. 

I have just a little more to say. 

I think we're all a little more the same than we think we are.

In the interview, he was asked if he was concerned about how different children are now than they were during his own childhood.

And he said "There are rich kids. There are poor kids. That's the only difference. Some kids get more than others."

I know some of us live in small houses and still some of us have several large mansions all over the world.

But if you spanned out on the camera to a full view of our Earth, that tiny trailer in the trailer park, that small patch of land that is your own, and that set of three large mansions in three different places, wouldn't look all that much bigger than the other.  If you spanned out.

Coen's been watching a lot of space documentaries.  And that's what it made me think about.  We have all this polarization about country and religion and region and political parties.  But we're all on the same planet.

Don't we all just go home to our places and get into cozy clothing and settle in for the night?  Don't we all need food and water and shelter and love?  Don't we all just want a patch of time for peace and quiet, a book to read, a painting to create, a little music to listen to?

Aren't we all born into this world in harshness, light and sudden unmuffled noise?  And don't we all leave this world by taking our last breath and emptying our bodies of our souls and spirits?

I don't know.  Between this interview and the space documentaries and this conversation I had with friends yesterday out for lunch...  I'm just thinking... If we all just focused on ourselves.  If we look inward and realize that all we can control is what we do and how we react and what we think...  If we realized how much better it feels to just breathe in and out and BE than it does to be moving around and trying to get more more more all the time....  That land and money and politics wouldn't be so important.

And as far as these ever-changing children, however much STUFF they get, doesn't really matter.  What matters is the energy, light, LOVE, and space they get.  To express themselves. To grow on the outside.  To grow on the inside.  To spread out and tumble around and  BE WHO THEY ARE.

I know this post is sort of a ramble.  Being inspired by a writer, friends and science all at once is weird!  I appreciate that my parents encouraged me to be who I was.  My dad used to call me his "strange and wonderful child" and I loved that. Always.  My kids are strange and wonderful.  So are yours.  So are you, as a matter of fact.  I think that's what all we need to know.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How a Marice Sendak interview could make me feel alright about my place in the world

I just read this wonderful Maurice Sendak interview.

I always sort of disliked Where the Wild Things Are.  I know it's a critically acclaimed book and everything.  But poor Max.  He's just trying to express himself.  I know he was being naughty.  But he's an artistic kid.  And maybe he just needed his mom to talk to him instead of sending  him to bed without his dinner.  But having read this interview with Mr. Sendak, my perspective has changed.

Maurice Sendak was a really wise, genuine and utterly real man. At least that's what I gathered from his interview.

He said some things that really made me think.  So below, for your perusal, are some of the things he said and what I think about them.

What he said:
I hate [ebooks].  It's like making believe there's another kind of sex.  There isn't another kind of sex.  A book is a book is a book.

What I think:
I am still in love with solid books.   I love the way they smell, the way they feel in my hands. I love the sound of paper pages turning, the heft of it in my hand.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to read my books on a screen.  (which is funny considering I'm making you all read this on a screen).  A book is a book is a book, though.  It is to me.

What he said:
I went through [an] album and picked some of my mother's relatives and my father's relatives and drew them very accurately.  And they cried. And I cried.  So there was that. And there still is that. 

What I think:
This, for me, is about the last two statements.  So there was that. And there still is that. Isn't that just the truth about so many things that hold power and meaning in our lives.  There was that. And there still is that. I love this.

He said that some people should not have children and was asked about the criteria
What he said:
Well, you should be as sane as possible.  You should have had a childhood that was as decent as possible. A mother and father who cared about you.  If you don't have those components of compassion, love and curiosity, don't do it.

What I think:
I think lots of people have children who did not have decent childhoods and do a wonderful job of it. Or those who had a mother or father or one or both who didn't express care and despite that or maybe because of it, are able to express that they care for their own.  I think people who have those experiences can still make good parents and that sanity (however you define that) is not necessarily a prerequisite.  BUT.  You definitely need compassion, love, and curiosity.  You need those things.  And if there were a pre-parenting test-- compassion, love, and curiosity could even be the only things on it.

What he said:
If you are an artist, you should not have children [because they'll come second]. Or if they come first, your art will come second.

What I think:
I get why he said that.  I do.  I don't think it's true. I don't like 'should's' or 'shouldn't's'  I don't think there are cut and dry should's and shouldn't's in life.  But I get why he said it.  I'm an artist. And I have lots of friends who are artists.  And yes, some of us put art first and our children second.  And some of us put our children first and find that when art comes second it is harder and harder to do as much of it or practice it as deeply as we wish.  But I think artists who want children and have children can do a lovely job of doing both.  And children are not children forever.  But the art stays if you let it.

What he said:
I refuse to lie to children. I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.
What I think.  I like this one.  I told Tad about it and he said this:  "Innocence should not be a roadblock to the truth." I tell my children the truth about all things they ask. Even the hard things.  About whether I believe in God and heaven and hell.  About sexuality and relationships.  About violence and greed and anger. About love and peace.  I don't think that my telling them the truth does harm to their innocence.  Innocence is just the lack of experience, in a way. Children are people with less experience.  I'll tell them my truth. And they'll discover their own on the way.

Maybe innocence and magic stay in tact for those who simply let it.

Well, anyway, Thanks Maurice Sendak for making me think a lot on a Saturday morning.  His words about himself and his life and writing and music and art were honest and open and real.  And what I agreed with and what I questioned made me feel good about thinking, about being alive, about being me.

Let the wild rumpus start!!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mental health days

When I was younger, my mom would occasionally let my sister and I have a mental health day--a day off from school to just stay home and play. 

Today I'm taking my own mental health day.

Last week at work was so stressful and busy, with project after project and phone call after phone call.  I have worked already 83 hours in this two week period.  Last week, I even thought, for the first time in my life, I understand why people drink!

Now if you know me, you know that I don't drink. I've never had a drink of alcohol in my life.  I had one period in college when I thought I should start drinking, mostly because I was bored and all my friends were out at house parties.  But I called my mom, who supportively told me it was my choice and that she understood.  My mom had not had a drink for about four years at that point.  After getting her support and love, I hung up and decided not to.

Anyway, last week was hard!  And I felt like it would have been nice to just get a little fuzzy.  To get into a feeling out of my own brain's control and disappear into it.

But I made it through the week.  And yesterday I told my supervisor that I had a meeting today and that I probably would not come in after that because I'd worked a million hours the last two weeks. She laughed and I laughed because obviously I was exaggerating, but it sure felt like a million hours.  And I am so lucky to have a supervisor and work for an agency that believes in me and allows me to be flexible with my hours when I need to.

So after my morning meeting, I started my mental health day.

I've been listening to a Bob Dylan station on Pandora, worked on a story I'm writing, cleaned the whole house, got groceries, got books from the library for a class I'm teaching next week, checked my work and personal emails, wrote this blog post and looked around on Facebook. I'm going to spend my last two hours working on some sewing projects.

The music and the checking of things off my to-do list and the solitude and time to think have been wonderful.  And I feel fuzzy.  Mental health days may just be my own kind of alcohol.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A note from beyond. Well, really from October 2nd, 2001

When Harald was dying, I wanted to ask him to send me some sort of a sign, if there really is something after this life.  But he had not come to terms with the loss of his own life and it seemed unfair to let him know that I had.  And I guess I was a little scared to talk about him being gone.

And since he died, last May, I am always hoping that I'll see him in my dreams, as Lucy predicted.  Or that there will be some sort of sign from him. 

Today, I was looking through my email for an old contact for work. I came across this message, subject: Love, love, love, From Harald in 2001. We were still in the Peace Corps and I had just returned from a weekend at his place in Hiiumaa, having taken the ferry from my place in Saaremaa.  See map:

Here's the note:

Alie, in my 9th form class yesterday, Holger, the smart (and smart-assed) kid I really like, asked in class why Americans always laugh so much.  "What do you mean?" I asked.  And he said the other night when you and your friends went for a walk, one of your friends, "the short one," he said, would laugh at ANYTHING.  Then he demonstrated: "Oh! look at the tree! hee hee, ha ha! Oh, look at the wall! Ha ha, hee hee!"
This went on for a half a minute, and I realized he was talking about you.  I started laughing, and he says, "See? What the hell is so funny?"  And of course I started laughing more.  It was hysterical.  So there, you've made for an encounter of the Estonian kind without even realizing it.

Alie, thank you for coming to the party here.  I love hanging out with you, and believe me, this weekend was one of the best ones I've had here.  Thank you also for coming early and helping me with the shopping and getting ready, and generally holding my hand and helping me get over myself and my internal devices that make me nervous.  You are one of the best friends I've ever had.

Have to go.  Love and peace, Harald.

Whether or not this is some sort of sign, like I was looking for, doesn't really matter.  I am missing Harald today and I found this note.  He's one of the best friends I've ever had too. And if it is a sign?  Thanks Harald.  Actually, thanks no matter what.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Good is not a specific enough word, in my opinion.

Good morning's fine.  Good afternoon.  Good day. 


Good job!
That is a really good painting.
What a good boy.
You're a good mom.


I don't like it because there's judgement involved in each one of those sentences. 

"Good job!"
I guess that one's not that big of a deal.  But I did love it when my friend Christina, in the Peace Corps, would write "Top job" on her students' work just to mix it up.  Kind of obscure. And fun.  Top job. It could mean a lot of things. 

But if my child comes to me with a painting and I say that it's "good", it's like I'm judging it.  Wouldn't it be better to say "What a colorful painting." or "I like the details in your painting"? 

I feel like saying that something is "good" implies that it could also be "bad". 

While I'm not immune to saying "You're such a good boy." to Coen. Or "What a good girl." to Lucy.  Or even telling Tad that he's a good husband. I try to be much more elaborate and specific.  I think why do I want to say this? 

If Coen has done something nice for Lucy, then I could say "Coen, that was a really thoughtful and kind thing that you did."
Or if Lucy brings her dishes to the sink without being asked, I could say "Lucy.  What a responsible girl!"
And if Tad is sitting next to me and I feel moved to give him a compliment, I try to think of exactly what it is that is making me, at that moment, think that he's a good partner.  So I might say, "Hey. I really appreciate how you were funny and light this morning when I was in a bad mood. It really cheered me up."  Sometimes I just jump suddenly on his lap and say "ohmigod you are SO attractive to me!"  Kind of obnoxious, but I'm being specific.

That last statement gets me the most

"You're a good mom."

What does that even mean? 

And in this time of negativity and bashing among women, I'd like to avoid judgment of any kind.  Working moms bashing stay-at-home moms and vice-versa. Moms bashing women who chose not to be moms, Women judging other women by how they look or how they dress, full of disdain and venom.  What the hell! 

And among mothers...we all HAVE to know that we're just doing the very best we can with what we have. And what we have is not limited to our work schedules, or incomes, the help we get from our partners (if we even have a partner), the help we get from others, or the disposition and/or abilities of our children.  It is also our own countenance, how much mothering comes naturally to us, how much alone time we need, how easy or how hard it is for us to share our bodies, our minds, our daily energy supplies....  GOOD gracious, it is hard to be a mom.  We all know it.  Right?

I hear mom telling each other that they're good moms.  I see moms looking at the woman yelling at her kid in the grocery store or handing her child an iphone to occupy him while she reads a magazine...and calling her a bad mom.  Maybe we should stop calling that mom good or bad...or judging her at all. 

Truthfully, I only know how to be a mom to Coen and Lucy Kriofske Mainella. That's it.  I don't know how it feels to be another woman, to be the mom to other children.  The best thing I can do is love myself, love my kids and love the other people in my life the best I can. 

Because when we judge other people, there's a part of us judging ourselves.  The part that knows that we've yelled in a grocery store or handed our kids a device.  Or not.  But if we concentrate on being happy with what we do in our own lives and who we are in this crazy world, I think we're not going to worry so much about other people's faults or strengths. 

You're not a good mom.  You're not a bad mom.

I'm not a good mom. I'm not a bad mom.

You're a playful mom or a creative mom or a patient mom or a loving mom. 

We can insert all kind of adjectives about what kind of moms we are.  We're all different.  So should be the words that describe us.  And we're doing the best we can with what we have. 



Monday, February 4, 2013

Yin Parent / Yang Parent

I saw this and completely identified with it.  It made me think about how, as a teenager and a twenty-something I was always just in love with hanging out with kids.  I found them to be fascinating, magical, innocent and brilliant.  I loved to rile them up and leave them to their parents. I loved to talk with them and hear all about their perspectives. 
And I still do.
To a point.
And at those young ages, I would imagine myself as a mom, eternally patient, ever interested in what my kids had to say, a veritable fairy queen of maternalism.
I guess I never took into account that I would also be working full time and packing lunches on a daily basis, tripping over elaborate Lego villages and diapering fake babies whilst pretending to eat fake food.
Now when my kids say "Mommy! Do you want to play house?" I'm thinking No, I don't want to play house. I LIVE house.
So when I lose my cool, nowadays, or just really do not want to play at the moment...the above image makes sense. 
But that's me.
On the other hand...there is my husband.
I told Tad about this picture.  I described it and told him the caption.  He looked at me.
"I don't get it."
"What? How can you not get it?" I explained it again.
"I just don't get it. Is she being mean to her kid in the picture?"
"No! She's just got her arm around him."
"Then why is she saying that?"
"You know, she imagined being this great parent...but her kid is being difficult so it's making it harder for her to BE the way she wanted to be..."
"Well, it's not his fault.  It's her own!"
So we had this discussion about how sometimes I am just mad at them for being difficult to manage or for not listening or for doing anything after which, I do not act according to my prior version of myself.  But Tad just never even considers that it would be the child's fault at all how the parent reacts to things. 
Which is annoyingly, completely correct.
And it's true. After an incident, he's always thinking how he could have done it better.  He's hard on himself sometimes too, both with his kids and in his classroom.
But I still identify with the woman in the picture.  Because in my own childish moments, I am thinking "WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME SO MAD!!!!"  When in truth, I'm in control of my own response..not my kids.
I know our kids can drive him crazy too.  He has times when he just doesn't want to read any more stories or play with toys or wrestle anymore.  And he loses his cool too.  But he always puts the onus on himself when that happens. 
I suppose I do too, in the end
But Tad and I are as different as two people can be. I'm an extrovert where he's an introvert. I'm loud and obnoxious where he's calm and relaxed.  I'm terribly socially awkward in situations where he can completely work a room.  I'm willing to get on the strangely rigged contraption that the children have created and start playing with them where he's thinking about the potential dangers. 
And it goes the other way too.  I'm unwilling to wrestle where he's taking turns letting the kids tackle him.  I'm listing off all the upcoming social events and nights I have to work in the next two months where he's just focusing on what we are doing in that exact moment.  I zip through museums impatiently where he takes his time and reads each exhibit.
And I'm glad I'm married to such a person who is so different from me and helps me think about how and why I do things.  And who marvels at my difference from him.  And learns from me too.  And such a person who would never blame a child (even in his head) for his reaction.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I don't care if Monday's blue, Tuesday's Grey and Wednesday too. Thursday I don't care about you; It's FRIDAY

This morning Tad and I hit the snooze button twice. 

Well. I didn't really do anything. I just gladly snuggled back into Tad when HE hit the snooze button.


We got up and showered and I turned up the heat and flicked all the lights on around the house.  It was about a half hour later than we usually wake the kids and Coen yelled down,
"What are you guys doing down there?"

I went upstairs and ruffled Coen's hair. "Good morning buddy."
He smiled a sleepy smile and sat in front of his space heater, with his clothing for the day on his lap.

I went in Lucy's room.
"I want Daddy." She said from under her blankets.
"You do?" I said.
"Yes. I want Daddy." was her muffled response.
"Well, Daddy's still getting out of the shower. But I am here..."
She peeked her head out of her covers. 
"Daddy likes it when I do this..."  And she pulled her whole body under the blankets and started rolling off the edge of the bed.
I knelt down by her
"And you have to catch me." She said.
"Okay" I said, putting out my arms. "I'll catch you."
"Not like THAT. You have to catch me and then pretend you're sleeping." She faked a snore. 
"For a long time."
"I have to catch you and pretend I'm sleeping?"
"For a LONG time."
"I'll go get Daddy."

Ah but It's Friday morning. And this week has lasted a LONG time.  I am so thankful for the weekend.