Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tadpole fishin' and a lesson for mom

Last night was an amazing night! Well it was pretty awesome anyway. I live in the country and I wouldn't have it any other way. When my husband and I were talking about having a family we talked about where we wanted to raise our kids. We were both raised in the country - me on the outskirts of Eugene and him in a little country town.

The beauty of our house is we bought property from my family and built our own house. Its exactly what we want.  On our property we have a pond. Not a spectacular pond and not a year round pond. More like a hole filled with water in our pasture... but we call it a pond so there ya go.

Well K's teacher sent a request to families to see if anyone could bring in some tadpoles for the class so they could watch them develop. Of course I immediately volunteered our pond and tadpoles for the adventure. K was very excited to go tromp down to the pond and look for the little suckers.

As a child, I fished for tadpoles from this very same pond. I was with my brother and best friend. We each got a bucket and tied a string to it. Then we got a rubber raft and floated out into the middle of the pond.  We tossed those buckets into the water and pulled them out for hours. We had a blast! We got soaked!  We got sunburns.  We did not, however, catch any tadpoles. It's a memory that is still strong in my mind today.

I wanted to create those memories for my son. But I wanted a more successful outing then the one I shared with my brother.  So we got our grubby clothes on. Put on our rubber boots. Grabbed our aquarium fish nets and trekked out into the pasture.

There is a creek that goes through the property leading to the pond... so since we were wearing our rubber boots... we walked right through the mud. And got stuck!  K got his boots stuck and so did I.  So I had to help him out  and then try and free myself.  We managed to get unstuck without loosing any boots or covering ourselves in mud.

When we got to the pond we started our fishing.  It started out rather uneventfully. We would see a tadpole swim and try and catch it.  That method sucked! We only caught one little tadpole. The water got muddy and then we couldn't see the tadpoles we were so studiously stalking. So we moved to another part of the pond... same results. Only this time, no tadpoles.

So I thought like a five year old. Who cares if we can see 'em. Who cares if we don't catch any. Let's have fun while we do it. Like throwing the bucket into the water from a raft. So we moved a little farther down the pond to a clear part of the water and just went to town. I told K to just scoop and see what he can get in his net.

And that's exactly what we did.  We got mud. We got twigs. We got bugs. We got plants. But most importantly we got Tadpoles. Lots and lots of tadpoles. Probably about twenty of the little buggers in all different sizes. We laughed and laughed and at one point K fell backwards into the water. His little rubber boots were full of water (he was thrilled as we walked back because he could hear his feet squishing in the boots!).

It seems that sometimes when we plan things too studiously we forget why we're there.  And although our main goal last night was to catch the tadpoles, it was also to have fun. It was also so my son and I could bond. It was so I could teach him how to be a child and have fun in the country. It was so when he grows up he'll remember this and want to raise his own kids in the country.  It's moments like this that reminds me why I wanted to be a mother.  So that I could learn how to be a kid again!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Grow the F*@& up? Would ya?

Yeah that's right... I just swore! Now don't get me wrong, I don't swear a lot. OK, so I swear a modicum amount; but that's not the point. I try not to drop the F-Bomb unless I'm truly, TRULY, ticked off. Now this little item I'm about to rant on just frosts my nuts, on a pretty regular basis.

Where I work, I deal with teens trying to become adults. Now, as they try and become adults, there are certain things they have to accomplish to gain that maturity. Enter high school, get their permits, get their license, start dating, have their hearts broken, rebel against their parents... you know, typical teenage achievements.

However, it seems that parents don't want them to gain some of these milestones. I do understand that one! My kids are only 5 and 2 and their achievements scare the crap out of me! For example, my oldest is starting kindergarten in September. How the hell did that happen? My two year old is potty trained and now wants to go to the bathroom by himself! I say again... WTF?!?

So I do understand wanting to keep children being just that, children. But there comes a time when as the parent you have to let go. Like letting C go off to the bathroom by himself. Like letting K ride the school bus to kindergarten.

So here's the thing that pushes my buttons... When parents refuse to let that happen. When they are helping their kids try to become adults, but doing all the work for them. How does that work? How does that teach the child to become an adult? To do things for themselves?

As the child grows there are things you have to teach them. Going poop in the potty, how to speak, how to feed themselves, and these are things you cannot do for them. So why is it that as the child gets older and there are things you teach them you can do for them, some parents just do it! They stop teaching!

If you want your child to be driving a vehicle because they are 15, doesn't that mean they should be filling out their paperwork? Talking to the employee of DMV? They are becoming an adult and will be driving a 4000 pound hunk of metal down the road. They should be able to speak for themselves.

If you want your kids to start dating, doesn't that mean they need to have the ability to speak to the opposite sex? To treat the girls or boys with respect? Parents aren't going to be with their kids 24/7 so if you don't teach them to have a voice, how are they going to communicate with out you?

When they were little you helped your child learn how to speak. You taught them language now give them the skills to use that language. By doing everything for them, you are crippling the man or woman they will become. Stop speaking for them... let them find their voice!

Let them grow up and in the process, you will do the same. It'll make you a better teacher and a better parent.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Work out, schmerk out!

The gym. Working out. Running. I hate it all.

My brother once said that going to the gym, running, lifting weights or just working out needs to be a priority. A priority for single people or people without little kids... that's what I say. Maybe that's harsh, but I have other priorities.

I like going to the gym and running. It actually makes me feel better when I'm done. I get why it should be important for people to take care of themselves. People should make it a priority. Get healthy, take care of themselves and work out. Frankly if I had more time in the day to actually go to the gym and work out I would. But I don't have that kind of time!

My brother seems to think it's just about "making it a priority" and doing it. OK, I say, sure... but what in my life should take a back seat? My husband? My kids? My house? My job? Let me tell you a typical day for me.

I get up in the morning and take K to school. By the time C and I get home it's 9 o'clock in the morning. I then have to make breakfast and get C to eat it. By the time he's done it's now 10. Depending on who's watching the boys that day I have about an hour to play with C.

Around 11 I take them over to my parents house (or leave for the great-grandparents house). I then leave around 11:20 and get K from school. It's only a short drive (about 15 minutes) to his school. I get him from class - and because of the Aurora shooting in December security is tightened (Thank God!) - and take him back to my parents. I drop him off there around noon. I then have to be to work at 12:30.

I work from 12:30 to 4:30. More often then not I have to work after that and don't leave until 5. Here is the prime opportunity to go to the gym. If I go to the gym I leave there around 5:30 - 6 (depending on when I get off work that is). Here however is what really happens...

I get off work and have to go to the grocery store to get food (usually only one night a week but sometimes two). Then two nights a week I have to take K to his swim class, which means if I get off work on time I have maybe an hour to myself or to hit the gym. However, we have to leave the house by 5:45 to get K to the pool before 6:20. Class gets done at 6:50 and by the time we change and get home it's 7:30. Then we eat dinner and get the kids in bed by 9.

So I basically have from 9 until when I go to bed... around midnight, to spend some grown up time with my husband. So that's my day... where do I have time to go to the gym? For a while it was right after work but my parents, in-laws and babysitter really want to be done and free of the kids after watching them for 6 hours or so. And frankly I want to be home with them and spend time with them!

I love my kids. I love my husband. I love my house. I love my dog. I like my job. So which of these things gets sacrificed so I can make working out a priority? Well I can tell you what thing gets sacrificed. The gym. I would rather be home with my family living our very hectic lives then running on a treadmill for an hour. I may not be the fittest or skinniest mom around... but I am around to spend time with my kids!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

History Colliding

Tomorrow, January 21st 2013, is a very important and memorable day.

Tomorrow we celebrate the life and times of Martin Luther King Jr. We celebrate his life and what he helped this country to become. Some will argue that civil rights haven't come very far. But I disagree. Of course those that disagree might say I'm a privileged white woman, but hey... opinions are like assholes... every one's got one.

MLK Jr was a courageous man in a time of struggle. He was a baptist minister who fought for civil rights with out weapons. He used demonstrations, sit ins, speeches and marches to demonstrate his point. He was one of many leaders of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This boycott ended racial segregation on buses in Montgomery and Alabama by a Supreme Court Ruling. Until the ruling black men and women were required to give their seats up to white people when they got on the bus. Rosa Parks sparked the boycott by refusing to relinquish her seat when a white person got on the bus. Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end racial inequality with nonviolent means.

Dr. King was a great man. His life was cut short when he was assassinated on April 4th, 1968. He was killed because of his efforts in the civil rights movement. He was shot by a high power rifle. This event prompted riots and calls for peace for days.

Tomorrow we will also celebrate the inauguration of the President of the United States. President Barrack Obama is about to begin his second term as President. He won the election last November against Governor Mitt Romney.

President Obama is a black man. The first black President. Is that important information? To an extent; he's the first but other then that, no. The color of his skin should be irrelevant. But it is because of the work the Dr. King did in the 60's that our President is a black man. And he is also the reason it should be irrelevant. With out the efforts and contributions of Martin Luther King who is to say where our civil liberties would be... for man, woman or child?

Now it seems that President Obama wants to pass legislation regulating gun ownership in our country. Some people feel this is a huge violation of our civil liberties. Some people think this is important to safe guard our families and prevent automatic weapons, high powered rifles and extended magazines being sold to criminals.

What the plan is, is to keep these weapons out of the hands of criminals. To prevent killings in our schools or movie theaters or other public places. It's also to prevent shootings in private I'd guess. My question is how does making those things illegal stop criminals from using them? I mean after all... criminals by definition don't follow the law. So does that mean that the law abiding citizens are the ones that are going to suffer from this law? Is it a violation for our second amendment rights to bear arms? Should the government have the right to tell citizens what kind of guns they can or can't own to protect themselves and their loved ones? Only history can tell us how it'll turn out.

It seems ironic to me that tomorrow we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King who's life was spent trying to up hold civil liberties for all and who's life was taken by a high powered rifle. And we celebrate a Presidents new term in office when he wants to cut civil liberties by taking away high powered rifles.  It's something to think about how the histories we celebrate tomorrow are colliding. How one man has come to such great heights because of another mans efforts and death. And how that mans efforts at maintaining civil liberties seems to be being cut short by a man who owes his rise in power to that effort.