Catfights in the Sandbox

A couple of days ago my ten year old scored at her volleyball game. She pumped the ball thirteen times before popping it over the net and she scored!  Yes, it was a really big deal, partly because of how elated (and in shock) she was.  And for me, to know that she weighed a mere four pounds when she was born and now she’s playing volleyball of all sports was an emotional double take! My eight year old leaned over and asked if I was crying. I didn’t think it was obvious so I explained they were happy tears and that I was so proud. “So if I get really really really happy, I’m going to start crying? That doesn’t make any sense Mommy.” Nothing like that rubber band to snap you out of your moment:)IMG_1122

I remember when my oldest was born and my dad said “she’s not even as big as a five pound bag of sugar.” She was healthy, just tiny. No explanations why. As a new mom, I couldn’t help but worry but after lots of reassurance from the doctor and my intuition, I knew she was ok. Funny how things shifted on the playground. That’s where I endured endless chatter of those moms whose children were smarter, bigger, faster, slept longer, ate more, cried less, talked earlier, walked quicker,  had more hair, more teeth, anything that could give that mom a home court advantage over us visitors. They could smell the fear in new moms and rather than give comforting advice, they would wave those percentile charts over our heads like victory flags. (My child barely if rarely was even on those charts). More than once I left the park clutching the remainder of my nonfat latte in one hand maneuvering my non-cooperative stroller with the other wondering if I had just made more organic baby food or switched to cloth diapers or nursed EVEN LONGER, maybe then my child’s head circumference would be in the 80th percentile!

I finally migrated to the moms who’s kids were the ones eating sand and they just smiled and cooed at them without concern. They were the ones who weren’t worried their children would catch a cold being barefoot in November or that their child didn’t get into the baby Mozart class with all the other perfect children. Looking back it was always their second or third child. They learned from the first, that barefeet and sand snacks wouldn’t kill them. And that was brilliant advice to me. I, too, let go of the fear with my second one. I tossed those awful baby books that convinced me of all the possible things that could go wrong with my child. Remember them? The ones that we read like a bible daily to guide us through pregnancy and baby years. They guided me alright-into sheer panic.

images-8And now, I have two extremely different children whose interests are polar opposites. I have one with the intensity and focus of a laser with artistic ability far beyond her eight little years. And another who floats around the room like a butterfly who connects the dots of life in a unique pattern all her own. They keep me guessing everyday as to who they will become. It’s exciting to watch and I hope everyday goes slow.

In the chaos of daily parental Olympics, the competition is exhausting to me.  Everyone is racing for gold. I wholeheartedly admit I run towards the back of the pack at times, and it’s not because I don’t want my kids to excel. I refuse to get tangled in the drama. It’s a fine line of pushing your child to their max to succeed and pushing them in the opposite direction. It’s the difference between encourage and force. We decide where that line is drawn.

So fast forward a few years and my little four pound baby is now playing volleyball. I won’t remember who she played or if her team won. But I will remember that she played. And even scored! I’ll remember that she laughed with her teammates and looked cute in her uniform. And that I sat on the sidelines with tears of joy.

So, if my children don’t make straight A’s and O’s in elementary school, will this lead to a mediocre academic life with no chance at a 5.0 GPA and no college acceptance?  Should I have painted their walls in primary colors versus pastels to boost their IQ? I’m going to walk away from this sandbox with confidence and know that they’ll do great. Call it Mom’s intuition.

Tammy 

“There’s a crack in everything.  That’s how light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen

Why an Eight Year Old Needs a Cell Phone

When my 8 year old asked me when she could get a cell phone and I was about to say “two weeks from your sixteenth birthday”, I stared at her.  The eagerness in her big blue eyes to be in touch with all the other eight year olds and their social agendas was cute and pathetic.  She’s convinced she NEEDS it.  And my 10 year old has made me feel its just pure neglect that she doesn’t possess an iPhone, only a measly iTouch that she “doesn’t even like”.  I’m such a mean mommy. I’m fairly certain it qualifies as child abuse in the state of California. “But EVERYONE else has one!”  “But punkin’, they are going to be socially stunted as adults.”  “Whaaaaaaa?” I wanted to tell her to Google it, but I stopped myself.

Remember when a keyboard was only on a piano and a virus was the flu?  Only spiders lived in a web? Yes, it is hard to comprehend our lives before we had cell phones and the Internet.  Our Universe shrunk down to the size of a pea and answers to everything were two clicks away.  Our friends could be phoned almost anywhere (for 40 cents per minute) at any time and it was AWESOME! The new technology was exhilarating!  I remember my dad carrying around a cell phone the size of a briefcase, He loaded it in his car to with the same finesse that we load a carryon on a plane, except his bag phone was probably bigger. People would stop and stare.

Our lives before this social media onslaught seem to be pre Civil War (ie Gold Rush or insert event from the 1800s).  We thumbed through the Encyclopedia Britannica and marveled over its slick glossy pages and colorful photos. The library was our only source for term papers.  We utilized mountains of books.  For hours.  I had a row of dictionaries in my room in high school that graduated in line due to their thickness. My big blue one I ultimately filled with my friends’ high school photos and two ‘mums’ from a couple of promsJ (I found it a few years ago when cleaning out a bunch of old boxes. It was bent from the memories and a big ol’ rubber band held it all in place.).  We had a rotary phone mounted to the wall in the kitchen.

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An Apple a day…..

Recently, when I had my third iPhone replaced (sigh), there were a mere couple of hours that I wasn’t ‘connected’ with the world.  You heard right.  Hours. Diagnostics were done.  The Apple Doctors were baffled. Replace the organ! (I mean phone).  Transfer everything AGAIN?!   I admit, I panicked.  My umbilical cord was severed. Waiting a nanosecond for a text response has on occasion put me near Stress Con 5.  I looked at The Genius Bar in Apple and imagined that it served martinis.  Apple martinis! A mirage.

Remember when we used to pass notes in class and it worked! My girlfriend got asked to the prom via a neatly folded note in the middle of Advanced Biology during a lecture on porifera reproduction (you may need to Google that). It was the preferred, well only, method of immediately sending and receiving information on fashion, dates, weekend plans, MTV, feathered bangs, and football games, and “like, how boring this stupid class is and like will this teacher ever like shut up!” But you had to make sure that you had allies beside you, otherwise the covert operation would be thwarted (ie. the future hackers). There was always somebody in the group waiting to grab your notes.  And if you got busted or it got in the wrong hands, the best-case scenario was the note got ripped up and valuable information ‘deleted’. The worst was the teacher read it to the whole class and your crush was revealed and his girlfriend happened to be sitting beside you. And there’s still 45 minutes left.

Google has done for our brains what karaoke has done for our voices.  We are all fucking geniuses holding mini PhDs in everything and we are all one beer away from being ‘discovered’.  If it all boosts our self-esteem in this sea of crazy uncertainty that we all live in, then why not?  Google away! As far as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and all the others go?  Stick needles in my eyes. Facebook has exhausted me but I caved in. Though, the conversations, the photos, the comments, thumbs up and thumbs down, it’s a lot to keep up and raise kids too. I have to put my virtual foot down and say “No more social media!” (at least for another week or so…….)

So, when I hear, “Mommy, you don’t understand!”  I actually really truly do.  But the answer is still “No.”

Tammy

“When I delete someone from the contacts in my phone, it feels like I’m deleting that person from existence. “
” I answer unknown calls on my cell phone because I’m a fearless person. “