My mother always warned against discussing religion and politics in polite conversation. But, while I hate the idea of ignoring her advice, I tend to talk about both publicly quite a bit. I guess happily navigating an interfaith marriage (and working for a UW-Madison religious studies institute is just too big a part of my life to ignore"even with strangers. And avoid discussing politics in Madison, especially this year? Come on, Mom. Even you've got to cut me a little slack on that one.
And besides, I am not the least bit interested in the only mother-approved cocktail party small talk out there"the weather. I know nothing about atmospheric shifts or super cells. I've never been a fan of Al Roker and couldn't tell you who the weather guy is these days on Good Morning America. And, to be honest, my hair looks better wet.
Normally, a rainy day, even on a Monday, doesn't get me down.
But this April has been a different story.
Everyone dreams of a White Christmas; snow in December is not just allowable, but preferred. A White Thanksgiving, while perhaps a bit premature, certainly falls within the acceptable range. But a White Passover? You've got to be kidding me. Last week pretty much felt like an eleventh plague of biblical proportions was being visited upon Madison. Was this some sort of divine retribution for our current political situation in Wisconsin?
I might have preferred Lake Mendota turning to blood. Fortunately, we were spared a white Easter. Although I guess colored eggs would really pop in the snow.
And it seems particularly cruel that the cold, snowy, dankness had to fall on Madison's schools' spring (or should I say winter?) break. There was just no respite for the desperate Moms trapped inside all day with kids suffering from acute spring fever. This is the time of year where I depend on the opportunity to kick the kids to the park. But no, the closest we got to an outdoor activity was in the form of video games. I kid you not; my kids all developed Wii tennis elbow over the course of the week.
And even when rain, snow or hail is not falling from the sky, the ground is a complete mess. I have tried to convince my kids to consider playing indoor soccer year round, if for no other reason than to spare my floors and furniture. There are muddy cleats in my living room, wet uniforms in the dining room and filthy jackets in the kitchen. I realize I can't really blame my kids inability to put their stuff away on the weather (or the Regent Soccer folks), for that matter) but I am just furious enough at this particular spring to direct all my festering frustration toward Mother Nature. Can't she sympathize? I am pleading--from one mother to another.
How did you cope with the winter that would never end? Any tips for survival while waiting for May flowers?comments powered by Disqus
I'm having trouble enjoying the season, because I can't keep myself from thinking about the miserable weather that's sure to be following close on the heels of the crisp, pleasant fall we've been having. I am not at all emotionally prepared to be the parent of two toddlers during a Wisconsin winter.
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
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.