Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

The "Move It, Move It" Workout


Here's a quick snapshot of what our after-dinner entertainment looks like :-). You'll probably need to turn your sound up if you want to hear the audio part of this. . . . This is one of Luke's favorite new games!
(Please ignore the mess in my kitchen . . . .  although this is one of our good days, we don't usually advertise the clutter in our house LOL)

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,
I write this on the eve of your inauguration. Although I have voted in every presidential election since I turned 18, you are the first candidate that I’ve ever been excited to vote for. My daughter, Ashley, is also excited. She told me just a couple of days ago that when she grows up she wants to be “a president” so she can go to live with you in the White House.
She’s only 4, so I’m not sure what you’ve done to inspire her, but you rank right up there with Hannah Montana and the Disney princesses! Since you have young daughters of your own, I don’t have to tell you what an honor that is in her world.
Ashley has asked me every day for the last week when you’re going to be president. And today, she’s walked around asking people if they know who is going to be president, and then excitedly telling them “Obama’s going to be president.”
She’s far too young to appreciate the historical significance of your presidency. She goes to daycare with two children from Tanzania and has no idea that the difference in skin color between her and those two friends is any more significant in our society than the difference in hair color between her and some of her other friends. (I’d like to think she’ll never have to learn otherwise, but I suspect that may be a bit too optimistic.) But even if she doesn’t realize the history being made tomorrow, she has certainly picked up on the sense of excitement and hope that many of us have about your presidency.
So I write today as a 40-something adult who has been inspired and impressed by the way you ran your campaign both in the primaries and in the general election. But I write mostly as a mom, who hopes that her daughter’s new hero won’t let her down.
I don’t have to tell you that when you take office tomorrow, you have great challenges ahead of you – both in the world at large, and here in America.  
In addition to my daughter, I have an 18-month-old son. I don’t want them growing up in a world where war is the normal state of affairs. Vietnam was the war of my childhood. In elementary school, we collected gum and penny candy to send to the soldiers each year at Christmas. I remember the first Christmas after the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. Christmas break was approaching and I realized the school hadn’t asked for candy, but I knew they would, so I told my mother we had to get some for the soldiers. She explained to me that there no more soldiers in Vietnam. I was confused because I just assumed we always had soldiers there. My children are still too young to know about the war in Iraq. I’d like for it to be over before they have to learn.
We are a middle class family like many. We struggle to pay daycare for two children and find money for gymnastics lessons and other family activities while still paying the mortgage and buying groceries – and finding a way to save for college and retirement. We owe far more than we should, and we won’t be getting any bailouts from the government. I work in a program that provides wrap-around services to young moms in poverty to help them become more self sufficient. I’m watching state funds to programs such as ours being cut so that people who are already the most vulnerable are being impacted even more. So we need you to fix the economy . . . and healthcare . . . and social security.
You don’t have easy tasks ahead of you. And while I very much hope that you, your administration, and Congress will find solutions to the very complicated problems we face, I hope that you’ll do it in a way that lives up to the rhetoric of your campaign.
What has inspired me most about your campaign was not any single policy decision. (I’m a Democrat, so the odds that I was going to agree with your policies – or at least agree more with them than with John McCain’s – was never really in doubt.)
What inspired and excited me is the way that a sense of integrity and respect seems to underlie the way you conduct yourself. So I’m hoping that there really will be change in the way government business is conducted, that you will set the tone that we can discuss hard issues – and disagree about them – without resorting to name calling or the “line in the sand” mentality that never solves anything, and that you will work with everybody in a respectful way to come to solutions.
I hope that you will conduct your presidency in such a way that my daughter will be able to see that if she chooses to be president one day, she can do it without giving up her moral compass. And even if she doesn’t choose to be president, she’ll have an example of how to use power in respectful and conciliatory ways. Most of all, I want you to be worthy of the excitement you’ve inspired in my daughter.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Temper, Temper

“But I don’t like time out!” Ashley shouts from the step where she has been sent after throwing a toy across the room because she was told she couldn’t watch television.  I resist the urge to shout back “You’re not supposed to like it,” and instead turn my attention to loading the dishwasher.

I remember reading somewhere that moms and their toddlers argue an average of 20 times an hour. And while I never counted, I’m fairly sure that Ashley and I were pretty average while she was in the “terrible twos” (and certainly at least average when she was in the even more terrible threes).  We argue much less now, but what we lack in frequency, we often make up for in intensity.

Ashley is my intense child – spirited, vibrant, and absolutely sure of herself. When she’s happy, she’s a true joy, with an energy and spirit that draws people in.  When she’s angry or frustrated, she’s a whirlwind of energy and temper. I’d like to say that I’m always able to remain calm and patient in the face of that tempest, but I have to admit I get sucked into it more often than I would like.

And now Luke – my calm, compliant child – is entering toddlerhood with his own temper and sense of outrage when the world doesn’t work quite the way he wants. At 18 months, he still prefers to express his anger by collapsing on the floor and screaming. But he is learning the power of “no.”

Just a couple of days ago, we had our first “argument.” I was getting him ready for bed when he threw his pajamas on the floor and shouted “no way” (a phrase he’s learned from his sister).  “Yes way,” I said (a phrase I’ve used often with his sister). He looked at me defiantly and, in the most confrontational voice he could muster, said “Way!” And in true Luke fashion, he then sat down in front of me and allowed me to finish dressing him for bed.

 I wish all my arguments could be resolved so easily! (Who knows, after all that practice with Ashley, maybe I’m finally getting good at navigating disputes with the little people who live in our house.)

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