We are very lucky to have a lot of people in our lives that are very generous with the girls. We are also very lucky to be in a position where we can give the girls plenty of gifts ourselves. This does create one of those always enjoyable Chinese finger traps puzzles that seem to pop up in parenting every other hour. You love your kids and want to give them presents or the things you didn’t have, but you also don’t want to create raging, entitled brats.
If you’re a parent, you most likely encounter this yin-yang most in the form of the thank you note. If you want a threat with some teeth that will put the fear of God in your kids, just work thank you note into the consequence then watch them writhe in agony as they lose control of their limbs and slip from the chair.
We don’t eat out at restaurants very often. Both Michelle and I like to cook and, unless it’s a special occasion, we can often make something just as good and healthier (never mind cheaper) at home. We’ll sometimes cave to convenience, but I’d guess we only eat out as a family about 2-3 times a month.
When we do go to a restaurant, especially if it’s for lunch, we like to find something quick, tasty, and healthy-ish. Cava, a new fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant that recently opened in Dedham appeared to fit that bill.
Next week Cecilia turns nine. She’s getting very good at rolling her eyes. Allison has just a few months left of daycare. If you turn your back on her, she grows three inches. It feels like that moment when the plane is vibrating and hugging the runway, but about to lift off. We are headed somewhere new. Not the teenage wilderness everyone assures us is coming, but somewhere new beyond car seats and labeled food containers.
What challenges might this new place bring? How will the girls react? How can I help them?
I’m a worrier. My mind drifts out to the future and I convince myself of a story that isn’t actually true. When the kids get sick, I’m a basket case convincing myself that a mild cough might be TB and will soon spiral into a hospital stay in the isolation ward. It can be exhausting and with the Addison’s literally bad for my health.
One reason I take the time to do these Saturday posts is because it can act as an antidote. It forces me to stop, slow down and just be with the kids, with Michelle, with myself. At least for one day. I don’t always succeed but there is relief in trying.
Whatever this new place might be, I don’t want to miss out on what is happening now. Like making pancakes with the girls or dancing (poorly) to big Broadway show tunes…..
Sometimes you make a parental decision in the moment that seems innocuous but actually ends up having far-reaching consequences. You might turn on the ‘Cats’ cast recording as a joke one day in the car. You might let your oldest learn to tell time. You might let your youngest put on their own band-aids. Or you might let them watch one live-action Disney show. All terrible parenting decisions that continue to haunt us to this day.
Here’s one more. Seven years ago we included a rather distinctive ‘golden’ egg in our annual Easter egg hunt. When Ally came along, we couldn’t find a matching golden egg, so we added a silver one. We were nervous about swapping out the golden one and producing awkward questions about the Bunny’s operating procedure that might trickle down to other holidays.
Each year, that golden egg decision rises higher in our worst decisions rankings. They start talking about it soon after St. Patrick’s Day and the trash talking, scheming and strategy only grow more fevered throughout Lent. Who will find it? What will be in it? Where was it last year?
If only Cece put this much thought and effort into her multi-step math problems….
My youngest daughter has an incorrigible sweet tooth, but even if your child is only lukewarm on sweets The Dessert Workshop is almost sure to put a smile on their face and a sugary jitter in their step. If kids were allowed to design the restaurant of their choice, I’m pretty sure it would like very similar to this almost 4-year old spot in Needham Center.
Yesterday was a Saturday for mothers and daughters. A rite of passage that is sure to become a lasting memory. It certainly became clear in talking about it to various people in the last year, that just about every woman has a very clear memory of getting very sharp things pushed through her ear lobes.
Or, as Ally said, as Ce nervously waited her turn, “It doesn’t look that bad except for the very sharp needle they push through your tender ear.” That girl loves creating drama.
As part of her ninth birthday present, Cecilia has now joined the ranks of the 83% of Americans that have their ears lobes pierced. Let’s all hope it stops there. Or that I never find out about any others.
I’m often asked how I could possibly find the time to read 50 or 60 books a year with a job, a family, exercise and every day social media distractions. I always tell them the same thing: I don’t try to gulp down books. I don’t set aside time for reading. Or plan to read for an hour after dinner. I just read whenever and wherever I can. Sure, sometimes I do go on hour-long binges, but mostly I read in 5 or 10 minute sips. I read in line. I read in waiting rooms. I read during lunch. It adds up to a lot of books over the course of the year.
I’ve found this small, simple act has become a cornerstone of my life as I get older and appreciate the inevitable and inescapable impact of time. Take one tiny, simple step. Repeat it daily. Have patience and the results will begin to accumulate. That’s it. It’s not new. It’s the debt snowball. Or Seinfeld’s chain. Or Ericsson’s rules for deliberate practice. But it’s no less powerful and I’ve come to appreciate it’s impact.