Thursday, October 6, 2016

I Like To Lead the Glamorous Life

(To see the fantastic video of the totally 80s song that inspired that title, please go here.

You are so welcome.


I hear that in those big cities with all the people and the bright lights and the coffee shops and whatnot, there are actually gyms you can go to that have child care. Like, you can leave your children elsewhere in the building to play with filthy toys while you go walk on a treadmill for half an hour in blissful solitude.

Well, solitude except for the fifty other people working out all around you, but at least solitude when it comes to screaming children.

Sometimes I think this sounds great. Except for the fact that I don't want to live in a city, have to get in the car to exercise, work out in a gym with other people around me, or walk on a treadmill. Ever.

Plus, my lack of access to such a thing means that if there's an unfortunate incident involving my clothing and coffee while I'm trying to balance a four-year-old and a toddler during a pre-workout reading of an oversized book version of Peter and the Wolf, I don't have to bother changing out of the clothes I'm just going to sweat in.

Luckily, my shirt took the hit for the couch and the children.

By the way, in case you were wondering who that person is on my t-shirt, it's William Penn. The shirt comes from Philadelphia and was a random gift from a family member. It has a picture of the man, and a quote that reads, "Let us then see what love will do." So it was obviously already some bad-ass workout apparel, which I further improved by cutting the sleeves shorter and cutting the neck wider, because I felt like it was choking me every time I wore it. And now it's covered in coffee stains.

But I can still wear it to work out! Here's to the home gym (by which I mean four square feet of my living room rug) and stay-at-home motherhood. Sure saves on the clothing expenditures.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Payoff for Tedium

I feel I should set the record straight on a statement I made on the last post, about parenthood always degenerating into unrelenting tedium. While true, it sounds more negative than it really is. I mean, sure, I really can't think of a great positive to the fact that every single day I have to wipe multiple bottoms other than my own, but other things that children do on repeat definitely make this gig more pleasant.

Take, for example, that book I mentioned, The Big Caribou Herd. All three of my children LOVE this book. It's about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and all the animals in it. It is, as I said, a very long book. But when I read it with Jack, he always, without fail, makes a growling sound when he sees the grizzly bear, a hooting sound when he sees the snowy owl, and a howling sound when he sees the wolves.

There are few things more adorable than a toddler trying to growl like a bear.

But there is one thing even more adorable and endearing than that. When we read Time for Bed and we get to the page with the deer: "Time to sleep, little deer, little deer. The very last kiss is almost here." On cue, every blessed time, Jack turns and gives me a kiss.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we soldier on with the unrelenting tedium.

Those kids sure are clever that way.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Tedium of Early Literacy

We all agree that it's important to read to our children, right? I mean, it seems as if the experts believe reading to your kids from birth--if not when they're still in utero--will result in everything from higher intelligence to better verbal skills to improved SAT scores.

This is all well and good, but have you ever had the privilege of introducing young children to books? First they squirm in your lap and try to tear the books apart. Then they squirm in your lap, fall on the floor, and chew on the books at every opportunity. Then they might sit on your lap, but only for two pages and only if you stay on those two pages for an interminable length of time while they point to the bird over and over and expect you to say bird every single time they point to it. If you do not say bird, they will be enraged.

And then, finally, they actually will sit still for an entire book! It's a magical, special bonding experience that quickly degenerates into what pretty much all of parenthood ultimately comes down to: unrelenting tedium. Because small children, they want to read the same books over and over and over and over and OH MY GOD, I CANNOT READ GOODNIGHT MOON AGAIN, CHILD.

Jack is currently in this phase of wanting to read a book dozens of times in a row. I literally cannot sit down without him finding one of his current favorites and bringing it to me. He flings it in my lap and prepares to haul himself up. If I tell him I can't read at that very moment, he will scream.

Just yesterday as A. was preparing for his fourth consecutive reading of Curious George Makes Pancakes, he sighed and said, "We've got to get these kids into television."

He was joking. I think. But I'm quite serious when I say that I have actually hidden The Big Caribou Herdrather than read it one more time.

If Jack gets less than 1400 on his SATs, he can blame me.

*  This is actually a fantastic book that I highly recommend if you know children who can sit still for a pretty long non-fiction book about real animals. All of my children LOVE this book. The length of it makes me love it a little less than they do, but it's still enjoyable to read. The first three times, anyway.