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
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.
"Kids spend so much time in and around school, it's the only place where some have a chance to develop an appreciation for a healthy lifestyle," says Katie Hensel, founder and executive director of Tri 4 Schools.
"I'm envious, mom," said my twelve-year-old daughter as she hopped in the car after theater camp last week. "All the other kids in my group seem to really like, and to be really good at, singing, dancing and acting. But I think all those things are just okay."
"People are looking to book space here all the time," says Remy Fernández-O'Brien, communications and facilities coordinator for the Lussier Community Education Center, a private, nonprofit community center on Madison's west side. "They want to throw their child's first birthday party here or hold a Girl Scout meeting. We're really busy year-round, but it's especially lively here in the summer."
Last week, in response to the county-wide Sleep Safe, Sleep Well public health campaign that encourages parents to "share the room, not the bed" with their sleeping infants, Isthmus contributor Ruth Conniff penned a lovely opinion piece in defense of bed sharing entitled "Confessions of a Co-Sleeper."
As much as I'd like to believe there is latent genius in my daughter's early finger paintings, I'm pretty sure her works are not distinguishable from those created by the pointer fingers and pinkies of thousands of other children from across the world.
Seeing Romeo and Juliet this past weekend was a definite reminder that I need to prepare for something that might resemble a (Near) West Side Story around our place pretty soon.
All during childhood, we calmly tell our kids they don't need to be afraid of the dark, thunder or the monster under the bed. But it's pretty hard to keep your parental cool when your kid is about to embark on the one thing that terrifies you. I knew the problem wasn't really with him. It was with me.
Last January, when temperatures dipped below minus 30 and most people between the ages of 16 and 24 did anything to stay inside, a small yet sturdy group of at-risk teenage boys and young men stacked wood and managed controlled burns at Festge County Park near Cross Plains. Five months later, following a temperature swing of more than 100 degrees, Isthmus found some of those same guys removing invasive honeysuckle and buckthorn at Lake View Hill County Park on Madison's north side.
The first week of summer break at our place usually comes and goes without incident. At times, one could argue, it even verges on pleasant. I have no school lunches to pack and the kids have no 7 a.m. buses to catch.
Have you tried getting anywhere on either Verona Road or East Johnson lately? I'm pretty sure a six-month old could crawl to Fitchburg, or across the isthmus, in less time that it takes me to drive there these days.
As soon as the door closed behind him, I poured myself a cup of the coffee he had made and took a moment to let the enormity of what just happened sink in. My son was ready that morning despite my inability to properly set an alarm clock. My kid was ready that morning without nudging, cajoling, or reminding. He was ready, even when I wasn't.
For the past 17 years or so (i.e., since I've had kids), I haven't made books the priority in my life I know they should be. It's not that I don't try. Just this past weekend I had the best of intentions of picking up, and even finishing, I am Malala, this year's UW-Madison's Go Big Read pick. But the copy still sits untouched on my nightstand.
The longest day of the year is upon us. For those of you keeping track, the sun will rise at 5:18 a.m. and set at 8:41 p.m. on Saturday, June 21. All that daylight, courtesy of the annual summer solstice, will provide the perfect backdrop for Make Music Madison, a daylong event featuring hours and hours of free performances in nearly every corner of the city.
Last week, for the first time, I made my way up to one of the open gallery nights during Madison West's Fine Arts Week, the school's annual showcase for all things creative. The scope of the event is huge, with nearly 1,600 students participating, and the quality of the presented works is phenomenal. It's almost as if the school had been lifted off its perch on Regent Street and traveled back in time to Belle Époque Paris.
If you have aspiring authors in your house, this summer offers a fabulous opportunity for them refine their writing skills. For its second summer, the Greater Madison Writing Project, in partnership with Olbrich Botanical Gardens, is sponsoring two week-long camps in August for young writers entering grades 3-8.
There are lots of benefits to living in a college town. First and foremost, there is always something going on -- a lecture, a film series. Maybe even a protest, if you're lucky. And since becoming a Madisonian, I, for the first time in my life, find myself interested in college football.
My passion for the talent show clearly runs deep, but I'm more than just a fangirl. This year marked my second as one of the "Ziegfelds" of the Follies, Hamilton's annual showcase for singers, musicians, dancers and other varied forms of entertainment. Trust me, when you are part of the spectacle's "producing/directing" team you get a new-found appreciation for how hard the kids worked to get up on stage.
My daughter, who turned twelve just this past week, is not legally "of age" when it comes to social media. But I guess, in many respects, especially in those that involve screens, I am a permissive pushover. I've allowed her join some networks.