All three of my children sleep through the night. I don't say this to brag or to make any of you envious. This accomplishment didn't come easy"it was years of work in the making. Ferber, Weissbluth, threats, rewards -- we used every sleep-training theory available to achieve the trifecta. Just thinking about the middle-of-the-night brings back unpleasant memories of exhausting feedings and the ensuing arguments about whose turn it was to get the baby. So please understand when I say that New Year's Eve holds absolutely no interest to me. I consider myself one of the lucky ones to have the luxury of passing from 2010 to 2011 in blissful slumber.
To be honest, New Year's Eve was not a favorite holiday of mine, even before kids. I always felt too much pressure. First, there was the pressure to find a date, or at least someone to kiss as the ball dropped. It was like Valentine's Day had come a month and a half early, but with genuine holiday legitimacy (no one takes Valentine's Day seriously after elementary school, right?). And then, even if a date was scored, there was pressure for big plans -- to be invited to the right (or some years, any) party, to snag reservations at a hot new restaurant, to get into a club before the clock struck midnight. In essence, I felt overwhelming pressure to have fun. I guess I've always considered one of the many benefits of "settling down" and starting a family was the right to stay home on December 31. I could now announce, using my best "Oh, I am so boring now that I have kids" voice, that I'll be watching New Year's Rockin' Eve. It's not that my New Year's Eve date had never been Dick Clark before, but now I could say it with mock horror as opposed to genuine embarrassment. I had finally gotten out of the New Year's Eve rat race.
But this year I don't recognize the names of half the folks who will be performing on the ABC special. Have any of you heard of La Roux or Far East Movement? And those I do recognize, namely the Back Street Boys and New Kids on the Block, have little nostalgic value to me. I guess I am probably more Bandstand than boy band. Besides, my kids are itching to actually do something this year. They must have gotten the "party" gene from their father. Maybe we'll try the family-friendly US Bank Eve I've heard so much about. The night boasts awesome acts like the homegrown live-band karaoke known as Gomeroke and the music of Madison's Ken Lonnquist, plus temporary tattoos, horns and a Monona Terrace balloon drop countdown at the fabulously sane time of 9:30 p.m. Perhaps it's worth extending bedtimes into the double digits, both theirs and mine, for a quick toast as fireworks explode over Lake Monona at 10:05. I'll have four fabulous dates, after all. All of whom I'd be happy to kiss at a fake midnight.
What is your New Year's Eve speed? Are you champagne at twelve or more Auld Lang Syne at nine?comments powered by Disqus
It may be a bigger waste of breath than electricity to ask my kids to turn off the lights when they leave a room. If I've nagged them once, I've nagged them a thousand times. No, I've never noticed anything amiss with their fingers. But it appears they are physically incapable of flipping a switch to the "off" position.
I want to say thank you to the Board of Education for allowing Maia to return to class, unquestionably the place she belongs, as well as to thank them for adopting the new policies. But just as importantly, I also want to thank Maia and her family for their willingness to come forward with their story.
Some clever-clogs is playing Rachmaninoff on the piano at a party, and there it is again, that oft-heard adult lament of lost opportunity from a dejected onlooker: "I wish I could play. I wish my parents hadn't let me quit music lessons. I was just a kid -- how was I to know?" It's a reasonable complaint.
If you're checking out summer camps for your child, there are many issues -- some obvious, some less so -- to keep in mind. Here's a list to keep handy when you contact camps and camp directors, looking for the perfect spot for your kids to have fun, relax, and learn this summer.
I know, in the grand scheme of things, that my kid issues, when it comes to dining out, absolutely pale in comparison to those of parents whose kids have special needs. Many kids, especially those who are on the autism spectrum, are disturbed by changes in their routine, or anxious around noisy places. They may not be able tolerate waiting for a table or standing in line. So unfortunately, many of these families just avoid eating out at restaurants altogether.
It's weird to admit this, especially in a city surrounded by as much outdoor beauty as Madison. But frankly, I'm just not that into nature. I'm more of an indoor kind of gal. Give me an afternoon at the Chazen or the Wisconsin Historical Museum over the Arboretum or Olbrich Gardens any day.
Lavish costumes, gorgeous sets, a full orchestra and a concession stand where nothing cost more than two bucks and you have a pitch perfect experience at the theater. Oh, and did I mention the ticket prices were just $10 dollars apiece? One could afford to take the whole family for a live theater experience for less than an evening at the Lego movie would cost including popcorn.
I think the first time in recent years that I've felt a real sense of shame, as both a parent and community member, was last Tuesday evening as I sat in a crowded elementary school LMC to listen to Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and his colleague, Torry Wynn, present key findings from the 2013 Race to Equity report to our PTO group.
It's Wednesday morning at Allis Elementary School on Madison's east side, and 16 third-graders -- 10 boys and six girls -- enter into an open-space classroom in typical wiggly, giggly style. Some are making goofy faces at one another, some are bouncing around hand-in-hand with friends, and others are just trying to stay out of the whirling-dervish path of activity.
Of the 789 poorly-composed, way-too-dark and out-of-focus photos currently living on my iPhone, I can count on two hands the number that show my kids and me together. And my husband is in probably no more than three or four of those.
Something kind of magical has happened these past two weeks during the Sochi Olympics. There is no question, debate or disagreement on what will be watched on television once all homework is done. Everyone in the family makes time to sit down together to watch an hour of so of the primetime televised games.
Truth be told, though, this month I'm feeling a bit cinematically fried. In some ways, I already feel like I've spent the last week or so at a film festival. A festival specializing in minute-long glimpses of ordinary lives all ending with credits that feature the ubiquitous blue thumbs-up. Yes, it's been the February of the Facebook movie.
Just last week, on precisely the same day the Momastery post was getting over a million well-deserved views, Madison mom Suzanne Buchko was telling a similar story. Not on a blog but instead in the confines of the modestly circulated Franklin-Randall Elementary School weekly newsletter.
Late last month, the Madison Metropolitan School District adopted a five-year, $27.7 million technology plan calling for all district students, including those in the primary grades, to have significantly increased access to their very own tablet or notebook computer by 2019. Some parents, as well as education professionals, questioned whether elementary-aged kids, especially kindergarteners who aren't even able to read or write yet, will gain much benefit from introducing yet another screen into their lives.
This past Monday, had winter's unrelenting weather allowed, Middleton Cross Plains School District teacher Andrew Harris would have once again been at the helm of a classroom. After nearly four years of fighting his dismissal from Glacier Creek Middle School for viewing and passing on sexually explicit material on district computers, MCPSD has been legally forced to reinstate Herris, this time as a seventh-grade science teacher at Kromrey Middle School.
In a study published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, academics have found that the 16 and Pregnant series may have played a significant role in the recent decrease in U.S. teen pregnancies.
In our house, sad but true, we've rarely spent the Martin Luther King holiday discussing race, social justice or the power of non-violent civil disobedience. Instead, the third Monday in January has historically been treated as just another day off school, just another long weekend. And it's been a missed opportunity.
It's not something that happens very often, but last Friday, as news of the impending arctic cold snap reached our house, my kids were rooting for Governor Scott Walker. They were rooting for him to take Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's lead and cancel school throughout the state. They couldn't care less if he had the authority to do such a thing -- if he called off school, he'd be their hero.
Late last semester, as students were packing up their backpacks one final time before winter break, Middleton High School principal Denise Herrmann and assistant principal Lisa Jondle were co-authoring a note home to parents informing them of a widespread cheating scandal involving nearly 250 calculus students at the school.
Breathe in, breathe out. Have you ever been in the heat of a parenting moment with these words ringing through your head? Then you're on the right path toward mindful parenting.