Wednesday, December 30, 2015

No Elves on this Shelf

I can't think of a creepier concept than telling your kids that you've invited some big-headed, lanky
armed freaky thing into your house to stare at them...for Santa. It's bad enough that we threaten/bribe our kids all year long with a promise that some big, bearded guy won't crawl down the chimney in the middle of the night if they don't behave. Now we are adding the Elf on a Shelf.

If you notice, it's not even enough to hide him around the house. Now people have to  be creative. He takes selfies with kids' phones when they aren't looking. He has tea with Barbies.
 He even gets crazy with the baking supplies.

As creepy as the little guy..girl...creature is, the real reason I celebrate the fact that the Elf wasn't added to the list of holiday lies we tell our children until after mine were to old for it, is this-- Elf on a Shelf would have simply been one more Mom Fail for me.

Case in point: The Tooth Fairy

When I was a kid and I pulled a tooth, I placed it in the "tooth glass" (a.k.a Dad's shot glass) that was filled with water and put it on my nightstand. In the morning, without fail, the tooth would be gone and in its place would be a couple quarters or a 50 cent piece.

When my kids pulled their teeth, it usually took about 3 days for the busy, busy tooth fairy to finally get to our house. By that time, the Mom Fail guilt from a string of morning cries because "the Tooth Fairy forgot" had hit and a five dollar bill would miraculously appear under the pillow--for one tooth. At that rate of return, I'm surprised the kids weren't pull them left and right and gumming their food. Five bucks for one little molar! Geesh!

The Easter Bunny was only slightly better. The furry guy never forgot to leave a basket, but there was that one mishap when he left a trail of jelly beans. The kids never saw the trail, but the dog did. Cleaning up rainbow colored dog vomit isn't as fun as you might think.

If I had had to care for that creepy creature, I'm sure that at some point, the stress of adding one more Big Holiday Bribe/Threat would have shredded my last bit of sanity and the inevitable would have happened. Yes, the torturous treatment of the devilish elf. Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue, folks!

Here's the thing I don't get. I know folks with no little kids who are inviting this eerie little elf into their homes. Sometimes, when we don't have the sweet souls of three-year-olds to reign us in, the humor goes right down the toilet pretty fast. Just ask my brother-in-law whose youngest is 21. His day to take care of "Clyde" resulted in an ugly, ugly trip to the crapper.

So maybe I can think of something creepier than bribing our toddlers with mischievous, stalking doll.

Adults, Grown Up People, Parents of Teens and Older Children Everywhere, hear me roar: You are off the hook! You do not need to shelve your elves. It's your turn to smile and smirk at the tired parents of toddlers who awaken on Christmas morning after only 30 minutes of sleep and 10 hours of constructing playhouses and forts and train tracks and weeks of creatively displaying Clyde.  Kick up your heels, sit down and relax, celebrate. You've earned it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

If I Can Do It...My Journey Into Homemade Salsa

It's 10:00 on a Friday. I'm making homemade salsa. Of course. What else would I be doing with my life?

Here's the thing--I don't really make salsa. Making salsa is falls under "cooking". I bake. I don't cook.

But there's that turning over a new healthy leaf thing, so when I felt the urge to turn my kitchen into a a Roaring Mom version of the Keebler Elves Treehouse workshop, I stopped myself. I've been doing pretty good on this health kick thing. It's all about breaking old bad habits and replacing them with new healthy ones.

I pulled out my Fixate (21 Day Fix Approved) Cookbook and searched for a healthy replacement. I've actually always wanted to find a good homemade salsa recipe because we go through the stuff here like it's water.

There are 2 steps in this recipe:                                                        
1. Combine jalapeno, tomatoes, and salt in a bowl and mix well.
2. Add garlic, onion and cilantro and mix well.

YES! Even I can do that...but wait!

The ingredients list says roasted jalapeno. How the heck does one roast a jalapeno? I roast a roast in a crock pot. I'm not much of a chef, but even I know that won't work. So I Google it.

Apparently I need gloves to handle the jalapeno. I don't have jalapeno-handling gloves. Hmm... A plastic bag will work, right?

It is gonna have to. I am not going to the store (for probably the third time that day) just for jalapeno-handling gloves.

So back to this jalapeno roasting thing. First, I have to cut the peppers (while carefully holding them with my plastic bag). Then I have to take out the seeds. Seeds are tricky little boogers to pick out with a shopping bag on your hand. Next I place them in the oven on a broiler pan. (I may or may not have Googled what a broiler pan is.) Guess what? I do, in fact, have a broiler pan. Who knew, right?!

Who knew, also, that the peppers still aren't ready for salsa inclusion after they are cooled? They also must be peeled. How does one peel a roasted, broiled, blackened, jalapeno?

Google was busy that night.

Place the jalapenos in a sealed paper bag for fifteen minutes and the skins should peel right off. Only, I don't have paper bags. I have only plastic. You know, in case I have to handle jalapenos. I can also place the peppers on a plate and cover them with a bowl.

Meanwhile, I have some cilantro to chop. I'm not exactly sure cilantro can be chopped. It's wet and sticks to your hands and kind of tears or smashes. It doesn't really chop. I remove the bag/glove and tear the cilantro. Done.

Eventually, everything else is chopped, too--even the roasted, broasted, broiled, steamed, peeled jalapenos.

But wait! There is a recipe "tip"! I could have just pulverized it all in a blender for a less chunky version.


I have to try it. I like less chunky salsa. And I've come this far, anyway.

Well, it smelled great, but resembled a bowl of vomit.

Luckily, I had saved back a bit of the colorful, chunky, guilt-free, homemade, 21 Day Fix approved salsa. It tastes like accomplishment...and jalapenos!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cool Kid

Roaring Moms don't play have favorites when it comes to their children. At least that's the official position right?

When my kids accused me of having favorites, I would answer, "You're right. My favorite is whichever kid is doing what I ask without complaining."

Yeah...I must admit I never saw that comment suggested in any parent book. After four kids, the filter doesn't always work.

So even though there is no favorite child, from time to time there is a coolest kid.

The coolest kid title doesn't really have any specific criteria. One time the coolest kid was the one who reported cyber bullying to the principal at the risk of social repercussions. The coolest kid was once the one who lettered in two varsity sports and made the honor roll, too. Once it was the one who performed on Broadway. More than once, it's been the one who could make us all laugh, even when not much seemed laughable. Very often, it's been the kid who cleaned the kitchen or did the laundry without being asked. Or the one with the best sarcastic comeback. Because we value that in our family. Probably too much.

Anyway, last week the coolest kid was my oldest--not just because she hung out with Mumford and Sons, Billy Idol and Elton John all in one weekend, but because she recognized and appreciated the absolute, drop everything, importance of such an opportunity. Furthermore, she immediately called me to report this Proud Mom moment and the kept me updated all weekend. She thanked me repeatedly that she grew up on good music--a lot of 80s rock, some 70s and 60s, classic stuff. Even classical stuff. A fair amount of Broadway and even some decent country.

So as my Cool Kid enjoyed the final moments of Elton John in concert, she struck up a conversation with a Cool Lady. She looked 30, but was actually 46. Exactly my age. The lady was immensely impressed with my Cool Kid's knowledge and appreciation of great music. I think my daughter's answer was something like, "Thank God my mom didn't fill our heads with stupid Brittany Spears bullshit." The Cool Lady approved. "I think I like your mom," she replied.

So there you have it. I have the approval of a Cool Lady hanging backstage with my daughter and Elton John. I'm not sure it gets much better than that.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

10 Reasons I'm Dreading Back to School

I want to be ready. I really do. But the answer is no on every single level. I am not ready for Back to School. I don't even feel like thinking about getting ready. All the television ads keep telling me I should be overjoyed to be send the kids back to school. There must be something wrong with me because I'm just not feeling it.

Top 10 Reasons I'm dreading Back to School:

10. We are not morning people. Even with a daily caffeine overdose, my brain doesn't work until at least 10:00 a.m.. During the school year, I'm out of bed a 5:30. Because I can't jump right out of bed like my mother who thought it was a great idea to start her children's day out blaring opera, I push snooze at least 5 times before I flop my lifeless body out from under the covers and slither to the shower like a dying snake. 5:30 a.m. in house full of night owls is ugly. Pure ugly.

9. Homework: Teachers assign too much of that crap. It's a ridiculously impossible mountain designed to produce panic attacks, fits of frustration, low self-esteem, temptation to cheat, and general FML pity parties. And that's just for the parents.

8. Lunch: The guilt associated with forgetting to load up the lunch account and hitting snooze so many times that you don't have time to pack a lunch and neither do they can drive a parent to drink.

7. Socks: From August to may, there is no such thing as a pair of matching socks. Is there anything that puts a nail in the coffin of your day before you even walk out the door like having to wear mismatched socks?

6. Math

5. Permission Slips: They are forever being lost in the black hole of the back pack. Is teaching your kids to forge your signature considered bad parenting?

4.Late Night Laundry:There must be an unwritten rule that whatever uniform or favorite jeans or spirit shirt my child needs for the next day won't be located until 10:30 at night in the bottom of a hamper.

3. Special Project Supplies: I guess it's not that big of a deal that I'm doing laundry in the middle of the night because I am probably going to have to run to Walmart anyway for the special sized poster board and e colored marker that no one told me they needed until after we located the favorite jeans in the bottom of the hamper.

2. Young Love: Teenage boys are cruel and teenage girls are crazy.

1. And the number 1 reason I'm dread Back To School this year--My youngest two have only two years left. I can't bear the thought of all of my babies leaving home. What on earth will I do at 10:30 on a Wednesday night with no socks to match, no uniform to wash, no markers to buy, no permission slips to sign, no heartbreak to mend, no homework to finish?

I can't believe it's almost over. It really did go by too fast.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What They Don't Tell You

Do I have to decide right now?
What do you want to be when you grow up?

That's the question we ask kids, right? It's the question we were asked as kids. What do you want to be when you grow up?

It's the wrong question, because there really is only one acceptable answer. Happy.

So the question we should be asking kids is--how are you going to be happy when you grow up? In fact, I wonder what kind of answer a child would give. Would they look at us like we are crazy? Would they simply reply, "Duh!" Because, I bet, to most children, it's seems kind of easy.

Do stuff you like. Hang out with people you like. Watch funny movies. Laugh. Sing. Dance. And if the child is a boy, possibly--make fart noises.

I guess it is pretty simple, but there is a lot about adulthood they never tell you.

I met a really nice woman recently at my kids' soccer game. We struck up a conversation and hit it off. Our kids didn't attend the same school. They weren't on the same teams, but we had a lot in common nonetheless. So two days later when this woman coincidentally walked into my place of business (she didn't know where I worked), and we hit it off again, I thought maybe we're supposed to be friends. Maybe we met each other twice in three days for a reason. Which would be nice. It's sometimes hard to make new friends as adults. We often become restricted by our workplace or neighborhood. I've been lucky to have awesome co-workers and fantastic neighbors, but that's not always the case everyone. And if it's not the case, how do you go about making friends as an adult? No one tells you how to do that.

So it got me to thinking, what else don't they tell you about adulthood.

My oldest daughter is a fairly new adult, only 23. She has great insight. Here's her answer:

You never poop normally again after pregnancy. You can't make your own friends. Spiraling depression is almost guaranteed. No one really cares about you other than your family. You'll make more money and still never have enough. You can't call out sick. You are always going to avoid going to the doctor and just hope you don't die. You never have to do to the dentist again if you don't want to. But then your teeth are probably rotting. You actually want to sit at the kids' table again to avoid having to talk about your shitty life with other shitty adults. Don't ever think about new clothes. Not gonna happen. Overall, no one has any idea what they are doing, and no one ever admits when they're doing it wrong! 

So, given that perspective, why in the world are we asking kids what they want to be when they grow up? Instead, why aren't we asking them how they are going to be happy when they grow up. Contrary to what my daughter's answer might insinuate, she does actually have a pretty awesome life, and she is grateful for it. She's simply a realist. With that kind of reality, shouldn't we be teaching our kids to focus on happiness rather than occupation? Besides, I know 100 people who aren't doing now what they thought they would be doing when they grew up. The real trick is to be happy doing...or not doing it.

So, how are you gonna be happy when you grow up? Here's a tip...if you aren't dead, it's not too late.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What's Cookin', Good-lookin'?

Is this a midlife crisis? Is it menopause? Is it premenstrual premenopausal problems? Is it early onset dementia? A.D.D.? Heatstroke?

Seriously, there is something wrong with me. I'm excited about buying a cookbook.  A cookbook!! I don't cook, folks. I really don't.

This confession made to another Roaring Mom nearly ended our friendship.

Me: I don't cook.
Friend: That can't be true. You feed your kids something. What did you have for dinner last night.
Me: Cereal.
Friend: Cereal? That's it?
Me: (Proudly) No, that's not it. I thought we should also have some lean protein, so we had shrimp cocktail, too.
Friend: (Dead stare) Cereal and shrimp cocktail? I don't think we can be friends anymore.

My dear children still remind me of the time I did try to cook dinner and had to bring out my Emphatic Voice (you know, the one they say sounds a lot like my Angry Voice) when they kept interrupting me. What can I say? I was putting a lot of thought and effort into it. I had purchased those Tostitos Scoops chips. I carefully spooned a bit of canned refried beans topped with a dab of pre-shredded cheese into each one. I placed the plate in the microwave, set the timer, and kept watch so they wouldn't over heat. No one likes cheese that's been over-micro melted into plastic. The kids had no respect for my slaving over this creative cooking.

While I stood watch, I heard from beyond the kitchen: Where's my cleats? What time is practice? Can you help me with my homework? I need poster board for school tomorrow.

Finally, I had HAD it! I, uh, said emphatically..."Can't you see I'm trying to make dinner here?!"

"Mom, it's nachos."

"It's fancy nachos!!"

Ungrateful kids.

So the fact that I am now excited over the launch of a new cookbook is kind of...weird. Something strange happened to me this summer. I got hooked on eating. I mean really eating. Not stuffing my face. Not grazing. Not snacking. Not snarfing. Just eating for nutrition, to fuel my body, to create a healthy  me.

So far, I've been able to get by without actually cooking. The grocery store makes a mean roasted chicken and the deli sells delicious shredded turkey. These foods fit beautifully into the 21 Day Fix program I've been using as a guide to better health. Now Autumn Calabrese has created the Fixate Cookbook full of 101 recipes for my 21 Day Fix. They include vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, healthy meals for a healthy me. For a healthy family!

My Roaring Mom Friend has often told me that sometimes she thinks food = love. Some moms overfeed and under nourish. Some try a special show of affection with fancy nachos. Some get it right and fuel their kids for health, success, fitness, and all that good stuff. I might be a little late getting on that band wagon, but at least I'm getting on.

The 21 Day Fix has lasted a lot longer than 21 Days. It has certainly fixed a lot of what I didn't want to realize needed fixing. I feel better. I have more confidence and more energy and now a new interest in learning a new skill--cooking! The best thing, however, is hearing my kids say, "Mom, we are so proud of you!" Those are just about the sweetest words a Roaring Mom can hear.

Interested in starting your own 21 Day Fix? Comment below or click here to order your own Fix!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Getting Real

I plan my Parent Nags. I practice them. In the shower. In the car. In my head. Even with my 4th kid just 2 years from flying the nest, I still hold on to the idea that Perfectly Practiced Parent Nag is my best weapon of choice.

Today’s message wasn’t practiced. It wasn’t even planned.

 As the Carmen part of the Frank-n-Carmen was on the floor beside me, sweatin’ it out in a torturous abs work out, the other part of that duo sat on the couch repeating, “I don’t want to run. I don’t want to run.”
Let me explain right now that I completely, totally, wholeheartedly understand that sentiment. In fact, I think people who want to run are a little weird. I took a poll once back when I first contemplated self-loathing through 5K training. I asked about a dozen runners what they liked most about running. Every single one of them said the same answer—stopping. So all of these folks were forcing themselves to take up a hobby that the most enjoyable part of occurred once they stopped doing it? What. The. Hell.

But my immediate response to my son was not that I understood his mantra. Instead I broke out the Emphatic Voice with a strong encouragement to get off his lazy ass and go run because his team was scrimmaging next week and even if he didn’t do it now, he would be sorry later if he didn’t so he should stop whining and just do it already. (Okay, so the kids are right, my Emphatic Voice sounded a lot like my Angry Voice. Also, my strong encouragement sounded a lot like a nagging nag.)
My oh-so-wise son shot back, “Geez mom, since you’ve been on this health kick, you’re really getting on to us about working out.”

Hmm…that was not my plan. That was not what I had practiced. It was time to improvise. It was time to get real.

I explained that my attitude really had nothing to do with a health kick. It had everything to do with how much 2015 has sucked. It started with the death of my beautiful friend in January, followed by the pointless still-born birth of a co-workers baby. Then my daughter’s future mother-in-law was found dead. A few weeks ago, another daughter attended the wedding of her dear friends, just to turn around and attend the funeral of the newlywed husband two weeks later. Last week, my third daughter’s classmate unexpectedly lost his dad to a brain aneurism.  Just this week I was informed of the suicide of one my students. It’s only June, folks. It’s only fucking JUNE!  
So I told him that if nothing else, 2015 has given me an intolerance for bullshit and excuses. If you want something, you’d better go get it now. Life is short. We don’t know if we’ll have a tomorrow. So what the hell are we waiting for?

He said, “Wow, Mom. That makes a lot of sense. That was probably the most motivational thing you’ve ever said to me.”

Wow is right! Maybe the Perfectly Practiced Parent Nag isn’t my best parenting option.  Maybe real life is enough all by itself. In this case anyway, I couldn’t have motivated more if I had planned it. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Play Angry is the New Play Nice

Last night a wise friend gave me some sound advice. The phone conversation went like this.

Friend: What are you doing?
Me: I'm trying to decide if I'm so upset I can't eat or if I'm so upset all I want to do is eat.
Friend: Of course you want to eat. Who doesn't want to eat?
Me: (trudging my pathetic corpse to the kitchen for ice cream) Okay, I'll eat. I'm just so mad!!
Friend: Good. Be mad and stay mad. You have a right to be mad.

I nearly cried for joy (until I remembered I was supposed to stay angry). And at some point during our conversation, I began to believe him. I traded the soggy, melted, soppy ice cream for crunching crackers, because--let's face it--ice cream is just not an angry food. A bottomless box of Cheez-its? Now that's angry food.

I've spent most of my adult life trying really hard not to be angry or ignoring my anger or apologizing for it. I never wanted my anger to make someone else feel emotionally uncomfortable. In fact, I got so good at disguising my anger that usually the people I'm angry with think I'm joking.

Just ask my kids. They laugh at me when I'm mad. Truly laugh at me. Which only makes me madder which makes them laugh harder.

A few years ago, my alma mater adopted the motto Play Angry!    
 I'm not sure what the Wichita State University Shockers were angry about, and I'm not sure it mattered--as long as they were angry and stayed that way and played that way.

Their Playing Angry has served them well. They played angry enough to get them to the NCAA Men's basketball final four. They played angry enough to complete an undefeated season. They played angry enough to earn the respect of many naysayers.

And that's the thing my nice little apologetic mad moments were lacking--respect.

One of my favorite movie scenes comes from Terminator 3 when John Conner is lamenting over the fact that he is chosen to lead the world against the rise of the machine. The movie came out like 10 years ago, but I've always remembered the message of this scene.

Anger is a more useful emotion than despair. God, it's so true isn't it? What does despair do for us but dive us into gallons of ice cream and ruin our mascara and make us proclaim pathetic, embarrassing, abusive self-talk? Anger IS so much more useful and powerful.

I've always told my children that they have a right to their emotions. The best way to handle emotions is name them, claim them, process them, and move on. Looking back, I wish I had followed my own advice. I was too busy justifying others' emotions and apologizing for my own. Come to think of it, that kind of makes me mad. And I should be mad! I have a right to be mad! Anger is a perfectly good emotion and I've been ignoring it, wasting it all this time!

Time to take my own advice. Time to take my friend's advice. If it's good enough for The Terminator and the Shockers, it should be good enough for me. Besides, you know what they say about nice guys? Playing nice gets you last place. Playing angry just might help you save mankind or get you a shot at the title or maybe some deserved respect.

Or in my least a good laugh.

Monday, June 15, 2015

When Your Kids Don't Need You Anymore

She was about five when she tied her shoe by herself for the first time. I smiled, all teary, at her and said, "Pretty soon you aren't going to need me anymore."

She gave me a giant hug and said, "But Mommy, I'll always use you!"

I hope it's true. I hope they always, always use me. That way at least I'll feel like they need me for something.

This week I listened proudly as my oldest daughter told me about her job interview with a company that is looking to expand. She excitedly explained how she was the right one for the job. She knows what they need to do to succeed and is confident in her ability to make it happen--all while she's planning a wedding and raising her two-year-old son.

My second daughter drove herself all over the Mid-west like it was no big deal. From Kansas to Oklahoma to Dallas to New Mexico. No big deal. Now she's in LA, where she knows almost no one, training to accomplish her life's dream. No big deal.

My son (my baby) drove himself all over--well, not the Midwest--but far enough for this Mom, anyway. He also decided he'd teach himself to play the guitar. Two weeks and TEN SONGS later, he's already performing for family and friends.

My 17-yr-old flew unaccompanied half-way across the country. Her first tweet from San Francisco informed the world that she was never coming back. She's already chosen her California college. Just last week, she insisted she was attending a Kansas university only 3 hours away. That was enough to kill me. Now it's San Francisco.

No. Big. Deal.

Here's the flip side.

Just this week my oldest daughter just had to call me all excited about this new job opportunity, so she could discuss with me the pros and cons. My second daughter cried in my arms as she mourned the loss of a dear friend. She knew I understood. My son didn't need me to nag him to practice the guitar, but still required some gentle persuasion to do his homework. My senior texted me all jealous that my first Instagram picture was of her brother--not her. ( I also know she's quietly excited that I'm redo-ing her room for her while she's gone--just in case she does decide to come back.)

There is a definite longing for younger days when your young-uns gain their independence. There is a tugging at the heart, a sort-of-happy sadness. It sucks. And it's beautiful.

Watch out all you Moms of Toddlers. There will come a day when they no longer need you. I guess the good news is, they will always use you.

UPDATE: As I write this, I just received a picture from my second daughter of the latest long underarm hair craze because, apparently, she's jumped on this bandwagon. I'm shipping her an assortment of razors and shaving cream first thing tomorrow, along with a sternly worded note to have some self-respect and consideration for the folks around her. I guess maybe sometimes they need us more than they know. If only so we can help them help themselves. Roaring Mom to the rescue once again!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Best Thing I've Ever Done

As a mom, I get it wrong a lot! 

I got it wrong when I gave my daughter permission to get her nose pierced just because I was mad at her dad.

I got it wrong when I let my kids quit piano, or so they have told me repeatedly.

I got it wrong when I told my daughter she wasn't sick, she just didn't want to go to ballet. And then she puked in the van on the way to ballet.

Every now and again, however, I get it right.

My son's favorite music artist was going to be in concert in Kansas City. He had to go! I agreed and bought the tickets.

The thing about living as a single mom on a teacher's salary...well, I'm a single mom living on a teacher's salary.

The day arrived, I filled up the gas tank and carefully budgeted for the trip. By budgeted, I mean we stayed at the cheapest motel I could find. The view included what my son referred to as a "rape van" just outside our door. You know--big, white (even the windows painted white). But the room seemed clean enough and the bars on the windows of the little check-in office made me feel really long as I was standing in the little check-in office.

We checked in, got ready, ran past the rape van to the car, dined at the Hardees Drive-through, and headed to the Power and Light District where I proceeded to show my son around to all the restaurants he would have had the option of patronizing if his dad had taken him to the concert. We meandered our way past the Fred Phelps clan and their "God hates Great Britain" signs, pausing only for my son to ask them, "Is that all of Great Britain, or just certain parts?"

We found our seats and the concert started. Just a boy and his guitar--Ed Sheeran took the stage.

My son was clearly impressed, enthralled, enthused, and cool. I, however, lost it.

Here I was sharing this moment with my son. It was his first time to see in person the artist who inspired him to pick up a guitar, who let him understand that sharing the gift of his voice was okay, even noble. Here was my son in the presence of his inspiration, and I was there, too.

I sat back and watched a boy and his guitar, and a boy and his inspiration and a thought--from somewhere outside of me--entered my psyche, and I knew it was the best thing I've ever done with and for my son.

It was better than the times I made his sister stop forcing him to play dress up. It was better than when I took him to the batting coach because I didn't know a thing about baseball. It was better than risking having a stroke because I finally relented and tried to teach him how to drive.

It was just a concert, but it was also a moment--the kind that you never forget.

It didn't happen the way I wanted. I wish I could have made it more, made it better. But in the end, it was the best thing I've ever done.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Why We Should Hang Out With Two-year-Olds

I recently returned from spending a week with my oldest daughter and her two-year-old son. I've known for a very long time that our children teach us the most valuable life lessons, but being in the presence of a two-year-old who isn't your own child, can remind you of life joys most of us forget.

The Top Ten Reasons Why We Should Hang Out With Two-Year-Olds:

10. They run everywhere! When it's time to eat, they run to the highchair. When it's time to go outside, they run to the front door. When it's time for a bath, they run to the tub. Maybe if we tried it, we would experience the same exhilaration for the simple things. Time for work, run to your desk. Time to walk the dog, run to get the leash. Time for your spouse to come home, run to the door. I think it could make a difference.

9. They love books! And when they find one they really love, they read it over and over and over! There is joy in reading. Most of us have forgotten that.

8. They dance. If it has a rhythm, they wiggle their little bodies and laugh and smile to the sound. Exercise and endorphins, and they didn't even have to join a gym!

7. They know what they like. Two-year-olds have favorite toys. My grandson's favorite happens to be a set of stacking cups. He stacks and unstacks and sorts and unsorts a million times a day. He doesn't feel guilty about the soccer ball lying idly in the corner or the firetruck half-hidden under the bed. He isn't full of "I should be doing this or that". He likes stacking, so he stacks.

6. They laugh. I read somewhere that the average child laughs 300 to 500 times a day while the average adult laughs only about 15 times a day. Hang out with a two-year-old, and you'll up your average.
5. They nap. Who doesn't like a good nap?

4. They learn new words daily, sometimes hourly. The English language grows almost that fast. Merriam-Webster added 150 new dictionary words just last year. We all should aspire to broaden our linguistic lexicon.

3. They like what they see in the mirror. My grandson spends a lot of time smiling, giggling, talking, and admiring himself in the mirror. Wouldn't it be great to check yourself out and love what you see?

2. They throw tantrums. Come on. Aren't there times when you would like to throw yourself down to the ground, have a good cry, and then be over it? Maybe they have this emotional stability thing figured out more than we do.

1. They kiss and hug for any reason and for no reason. That just feels good.

Here's to channeling your inner two-year-old, or at least finding one to hang with for a while.