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By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
It was quite a weekend for this rock-star mom.
I scrubbed our bathroom. I know, I know, I'm living on the edge here.
While I enjoy clean stuff, I'm not big into spending my few moments of free time souring and polishing. But I made an exception Sunday.
Bill took Margaret to Powdaerhorn and I enjoyed my day alternating between cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry and mopping the floors and listening to NPR and surfing the Web.
The life of a rock star is oh-so glamorous.
I was pretty domestic on Saturday as well, but in a more creative fashion.
Since Margaret starting going to pre-school three years ago, we've (meaning mostly I) made the Valentines that she's given to her classmates. This year I decided to get our Valentines project done early.
I like to embark on these projects with some professional supervision in our dear friend, Tracee. She's an art teacher and an all-around crafting goddess. It seems every couple of months there's reason to make cards and Tracee is always the one I call on for guidance and support.
So with our table littered with glitter, stamps and ribbon, we began.
Margaret made some big ones for her best friend, Kate, and her music teacher while I toiled away on cards for her classmates. Tracee, on the other hand, created a handful of gorgeous one-of-a-kind cards (she could totally sell them).
I was pretty pleased with the result and took the opportunity to show them to anyone who had the misfortune to step foot in our house over the weekend.
I know that I could've saved a couple of hours of time and some money if I just bought Mar a box of SpongeBob Squarepants Valentines, but there's something satisfying about giving things that are homemade.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, January 29, 2007
As mentioned before
, I have not been a very good friend lately. The past year Soren has held my rapt attention leaving me with little time to spend with my girlfriends. I'm not going to apologize for it but I am going to try to do a little catching up. That's a warning really to my friends...expect a phone call from me out of the blue to just say "hey".
I started with a movie and one of my favorite girlfriends. When invited I knew she was genuinely surprised and happy that I said "yes" as I've said "no" so many many times this year. The last movie I saw outside of the house was King Kong. I was seven months pregnant and everytime that gorilla shouted Soren kicked me frantically from the inside. I knew he could hear loud and clear before they ever gave him a test.
We saw Catch and Release....and it sucked. It is set in Boulder and was a running cliche of Colorado. It started with the Fat Tire they drank, the posters of festivals and Bolder Boulder obviously placed, to the Subaru Outback the chick drove. The scenery really drove me nuts. I hate that kinda crap. Aside from that the story was pretty lame and predictable too.
But it doesn't matter. What matters is I was in the outside world again past 6 p.m. I relaxed in the new theater's bouncy seats and I didn't talk about my kid very much. And you know what? It felt good. And I didn't allow myself to feel guilty about Soren going to bed without boob.
Friday, January 26, 2007
So I ask him, “Alex, it’s my turn to blog tomorrow. What should I write about?”
“As long as it’s not about me and Suzie Q I could care less.”
Suzie Q is his friend-girl and not her real name. I say friend-girl as opposed to girl-friend because I am not ready for him, nor is he ready in my opinion, to have a girl-friend.
Having explained all that, I figured I might as well go ahead and blog about it.
Suzie Q is a very cute girl. She is also intelligent and as far as I know a good student. I have met her briefly once or twice and seen pictures of her on Myspace. Alex has been smitten with her for months now. They have gone to numerous movies together, been ice skating and I’m fairly certain they will be attending the winter dance at school together next weekend. Now the good part of this for Alex at least is that these social events are attended with a group of friends and are not technically dates. This means that he does not have to pay for them, or more accurately, her.
Where it gets puzzling for me is that they have endless, and I mean endless, phone conversations. I am always amazed that two teenagers who have spent the better part of the school day together can talk for hours on end later that same day. What the heck do they talk about? Bush’s state of the union address? The pros and cons of nuclear energy? Amnesty for illegals?
The part of this I struggle with is if and how I should limit these phone conversations. Right now, I see no real negative effects. His grades are fine, he is no more or less well-behaved, and as far as I know they are not plotting anything immoral or illegal. It just bugs me that he is in his room literally from the time he gets home from school until the next morning, emerging only to eat and shower. I don’t like the lack of actual face-to-face socialization that goes with the whole cell phone, instant messaging stuff.
And to be honest I ask myself if I’m struggling with it because it’s his friend-girl or would I be equally, or more, concerned if it was his guy friends?
How do other moms and dads deal with this? Advice? Suggestions?
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, January 25, 2007
"Well, at least it makes me
feel better," Lynn replied as Bill and I told her of our parenting woes over several bowls of soup* Friday.
Both our kids have been ... well, just not acting right and it's really getting me down.
My 16-year-old stepson's story is so frustrating and sad that I always end up just shaking my fist in the air and crying, "Teenagers!" in a disgusted voice. Plus, it's really not my story to tell, so I'll just focus on Margaret.
Margaret ... my 6-year-old little darling.
She brought home two
notes, on two
consecutive days last week about talking back to her teacher. Talking back to her teacher!
Gah! What kind of parent am I?
I am mortified by this. Her teacher is an earnest, hard-working and dedicated woman whom Margaret has always liked. And I feel like an ostrich parent saying, "I have no idea where this behavior comes from." But really, I am surprised.
Oh, that's not to say she isn't more lippy at home than I'd prefer, but she seemed to act right (mostly) at school.
Not anymore. And we're not really sure what to do about it.
We "grounded" her for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday with exceptions being that she got to go to Powdercats
(because I prepaid good money for that and, bad behavior or not, she was going) meaning that she couldn't watch TV or play with her friends. We spent extra time doing homework and practicing the piano.
But I'm not really sure that it did any good.
Saturday evening as Bill and I watched some television, Margaret came out of her room and without a hint of sarcasm stated, "I thought I was going to hate being grounded, but I'm finding much better things to do than sit around watching TV."
Yeah, how do you respond to that?
I always end up blaming Margaret's bad behavior on Bill, because I never got in trouble at school. But then I remember that this isn't about me. It's about Margaret and then my head starts hurting.
I think I'm going to stock up on extra-strength Excedrin.
*Our office held a soup potluck Friday. I was amazed at the variety of soups that were brought in. We have a lot of good cooks who work at the Sentinel. Bill was invited to the office potluck because he's the one who actually makes the food I bring to potlucks.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
My kid just ate a whole taco burger and a half a jar of peach baby cobbler for lunch.
I can't believe that such a little guy
could pack away so much food! Where is it all going?
He's still small for his age but there isn't much to be done when he eats like that.
Yesterday he ate cereal, a whole muffin, six ravioli, the other half of the peach cobbler, some pancake snacks, some Wheels, and a small bowl of salmon chowder.
When this kid hits the teenage years I'll have to get a second job just to feed him!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Last Saturday I lay Soren down for his morning nap, grabbed my keys and announced that I was going to the mall to get a much needed haircut and eyebrow wax.
I nearly ran from store to store in desperation trying to get as much personal maintenance done as quickly as possible. The list of "must-do" items getting longer and longer as I went along. Store displays with their flashy clothes and high heeled shoes kept catching my eye. I longed to linger sans baby and look at clothes without a hint of mommyness to them. I wanted to plop myself down in a massage chair and get a pedicure. Before the baby, I wouldn't have given it a second thought.
And I could have if I wanted to. There was no time restriction placed on me. No place that I had to be or appointment I had to keep. The only thing preventing me from enjoying a little luxury was me.
It was just that I felt guilty for being at the mall on my day off when I should be at home playing with my baby.
Then I started to think that my trip to the mall would have been more fun if I had a friend to share it with. "Oh that's right" I thought to myself, " I suck. I never call my friends anymore since I had the baby."
Why is it so hard to take time for yourself once the scarlet M is slapped on your chest? Does it get any easier?
By Robin Dearing
Monday, January 22, 2007
Sunday was Margaret's second day spent with the Powdercats ski group at Powderhorn.
Powdercats is a great program that works with kids ages 4 to 8 on the fundamentals of skiing. And she is definitely getting the basics down pat.
to see a short video of Margaret skiing with her dad and with the Powdercats.
We had a minor set back yesterday as her ever-fussy stomach started to cause her fits. She took a break from Powdercats but we were able to convince her to take another run with her dad and our friends down the bunny slope.
Margaret agreed but only because she loves our friends, Eric and Elissa, so much. They are the nicest pair of kids we've met in a long time and Margaret would do anything to get to hang out with them. So much so that she even agreed to go to the top of the mountain and ski down a blue (intermediate) run with them.
I was nervous but I didn't have to be. After a short run down a steep part of the run, Margaret gathered all her skills and traversed the blue run with gusto.
Just another reason why we love living in western Colorado.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, January 19, 2007
“He’s eating conditioner!”
“You think he’s okay?”
“Well how much did he eat?”
“I don’t know. Some chunks off the top of the bottle.”
I made a quick mental rundown of the lists of ingredients I thought I could remember.
Mom Assessment: “I think he’ll be okay as long as he didn’t eat too much.”
The thing is no matter how hard you try, no matter how many times you crawl on your belly to inspect under couches, despite how diligent you are about relocking the cabinets and shutting the bathroom door, stuff happens.
The Mesa County Health Department said in a press release that unintentional injuries is the number one killer of children.
They are organizing a new group to help parents protect their children called Safe Kids Mesa County. The first meeting will be from 4-5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 at the Mesa County Health Department, 510 Road 29 1/2.
The group will address topics such as bicycle safety, pedestrian safety, poisoning prevention, water safely, firearm safety, and suffocation. For information, visit www.usa.safekids.org.
I visited and read the poison prevention tips. You just can’t be too careful or assume you know it all no matter how old the child is.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
“Hey Mom, can you take me to get a haircut?”
“A haircut? You think you need a haircut?”
“Do you not see this bush
growing on top of my head?” (Accompanied by the world-famous teenage eyeball roll.)
I admit I might be a bit absent-minded these days, but I’m pretty sure I would notice an actual bush growing out of my son’s head.
I tried to imitate the eyeball roll and told him, “You never would have survived the 60’s.”
Forty-five minutes and a trip to Great Clips later, he was all smiles as he admired his freshly shorn head.
“Oh dude, that feels so much better. I can’t stand it when it gets so long.”
Aliens. That’s the only explanation.
My son has absolutely gorgeous hair. Thick, shiny, wavy (when it’s longer than a quarter inch) and absolutely unruly. When he was a young babe and before his very first haircut he actually had ringlets. As he grew he wanted it shaved close to his head. He couldn’t bear to take the time to comb it or “deal” with it. I bought one of those clipper things and would take him outside or sit him in the bathtub for a number 3 buzz cut. I figure this has saved me several hundreds of dollars over the years.
Recently though he has decided to grow it out. For him, that means number 3 on the sides and maybe a number 4 or 5 on the top. I can’t deal with multiple numbers so now I’m paying for his coif at Great Clips or whatever chop-shop has a coupon.
This going against the norm strikes me as odd. Don’t most parents nag their teenage boys to get a hair cut? Maybe if I told him I really like it short and think it looks great, that would immediately make him want to grow it out. Then he would have to spend more time in the morning “dealing” with it. Then we would be late for the bus, then I would have to drive him to school, then I would be mad . . .
I guess I should count my blessings and fondly remember when it looked like this:
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Awhile back, my band
was scheduled to play two shows in Denver on the same day. We found ourselves at a bar in a strip mall in Littleton with several hours to kill until we played our second set.
In order to amuse ourselves, we began playing a rather rowdy game of what we ultimately dubbed “Riveter pong.” It was like ping-pong only the object was not to score, but just to keep the ball in motion
at. all. costs.
As a result, we would find ourselves hitting the ball with careless abandon. As one could imagine, the normally harmless, ping-pong ball turned into torture device for those unfortunate enough to be trying to play pool at the tables around us.
We hit one guy with the ball several times. Each time, we’d genuinely apologize but then continue our reckless game.
Finally, Bridgett, our good-conscienced drummer, said, “At some point, saying sorry just isn’t going to be enough.”
I whine all the time that parenting is hard. And I’ve admitted that I’m kinda sucky at this whole “mom” thing.
Some people have said that because I worry that I’m a bad mom means that I’m not. But honestly, I know that not true.
Most people don’t see me at my worst — when I’m afire with anger or lost in sorrow, when I’m mean or careless.
But just like the apologies for our transgressions during “Riveter pong,” I’ve come to realize that just saying I have sucky mom moments, just isn’t good enough anymore.
So this year, I’ve resolved — and this isn’t just for this year, but for always — to never be complacent and always be striving to overcome my incendiary temper and my tendency to be selfish and “me”-centered.
My other resolution for this year is to be nicer to everyone, myself included. So, I’ve been allowing myself more time for one of my favorite pastimes, which is reading.
I wonder what it says about me that the books I’ve been reading lately are memoirs about people who have had crazy childhoods punctuated by equally crazy mothers:
The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs