Thursday, August 27, 2015

No Time to Talk? 6 Easy Ideas for When to Talk with Kids


This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org as part of their #talkearly campaign.

School is starting and I’m about to freak out. My kids are heading into 7th, 5th, and 1st grade, which means I’m smack in the part of their lives where everything whizzes by so fast it makes my head spin. Once our school schedule clicks into place, we’re running from thing to thing and we can go days without slowing down long enough to have a conversation.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Staying in My Own Lane

Last week I had to bribe my son to swim backstroke. He hates it and as a result, he'd refused to do it since the beginning of this year’s swim season. With the prospect of money on the table, he was willing to give it one last try. 

Watching him race, I could see how much he'd improved, but he was still dead last in his heat. Though he finished strong, he got out of the pool hanging his head. He'd taken 14 seconds off his backstroke, which is remarkable, but in that moment all he cared about was the fact that he'd come in last. Had he been in a different heat that night, he might've won or come in third. In either of those cases, he would've felt pride in the accomplishment of getting so much better. Yet there he was, humiliated, hating a moment that should've been cause for celebration.

How did we get here? How did we land in this spot where (to quote the immortal sage Ricky Bobby) “If you’re not first, you’re last”?  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

10 Things I Learned from Actually Doing a Swim Practice

From Memorial Day until late July of every year, my family is consumed with summer swim team, also known as the Water Cult. For the past couple of years, the swim coaches have offered a "Masters Swim" for parents, many of whom are former swimmers themselves. The emails have been inviting us parents to join in for years. I have always deleted them.

This year, however, I have succumbed to the positive peer pressure of my friends, who are participating because they care about "fitness" and "health". I feel that my presence has downgraded the entire experience for everyone and that the practices should now be referred to as "Masters" with intentionally sarcastic air quotes. I mean, the only skills I've mastered are the world's slowest backstroke and how to be consistently ten minutes late to practice.

But it's been a fascinating learning experience that has made me appreciate what my kids go through every day and also how truly great the sport is. So here are 10 things I learned from actually doing a swim team practice:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Experiment: Apple Cidar Vinegar vs Stomach Flu

Last Friday, roughly 25% of the second grade at my kids' school was sent home with a nasty stomach bug that had kids puking in buckets in their classrooms. OH HELL NO. Parents received an email co-written by (no kidding) the Principal and the health department, with guidance from the CDC on how to handle such an infectious outbreak of nastiness.

I dubbed it #PukeFest2015 and of course, my friends, it has hit home.

My 4th grade son woke up the day before yesterday feeling sick, and has been periodically puking ever since. He's actually doing a lot better today, thank you baby Jesus, but we live in fear that this highly contagious virus will spread to other members of the family during this - the last week of school.

SIDEBAR: The last week of school is not all coasting, watching videos in school, and eating popsicles. The last week of school here is an activity-filled, non-stop, shit-show that requires to-the-minute scheduling and includes things like:

Friday, June 19, 2015

I am Terrible at Father's Day

This post is sponsored by Minute Maid as part of their #DoinGood campaign. The give-away is now closed and the $250 gift card has been awarded!

I am terrible at Father's Day. I never know what to get my husband and the ideas I have for my father are borderline demented. For example, I was very disappointed that the three foot tall garden gnomes are no longer available at my local retailer, as that would have been perfect for my dad. Because everyone wants an enormous garden gnome, right? Yes, of course they do.

I think one of the reasons I'm so bad at Father's Day is that my husband is a pretty self-sufficient guy, who usually says he doesn't need anything when asked. He also hates to spend money. These things combined make it very hard to know what to get for him. So we have to get creative and that's usually where we fail. I guess I could be like: "Happy Father's Day! Here is a pack of undershirts I got you at Costco because you're a wonderful dad and I noticed your old ones were fraying because our dryer eats things. God bless!"

That seems insufficient.

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