I guess you can call me the "Mom Who Cried Potluck." Just three short months ago, this blog waxed poetic on how ridiculously crazy the end of the school year was. It seemed impossible to me at the time that any month would dare to be busier than June.
But failing memory is just one more unpleasant by-product of advancing age; I had completely forgotten how nutty September, in all its back-to-school glory, can be. I just pray that I am asked to bring the paper products to this week's "All School Welcome Picnic"; I don't think I have another pasta salad in me.
Over the next week or so, I will have the privilege of attending no fewer than four different back-to-school nights. To be honest, I am not sure how this happened. I only have three children and I'm pretty sure each attends only one school. And fall sports and afterschool activities are back with a vengeance. My electronic calendar now looks like a Rubik's Cube with its constantly shifting matrix of color-coded calendars, one for each family member. And much like when wrestling with the annoying 3-D puzzle, I don't dare shift any activity off Wednesday, the day currently wreaking havoc on my carpool schedule, out of fear of what that one change will mean for the other six days of the week.
While I'm not much one to romanticize the past, this flurry of activity makes me a little nostalgic for the time when my kids were much younger and our lives seemed simpler. I vividly remember, not so many years ago, when I was dying for a reason to get out of the house instead of dying for a night when we could all just stay home. Some of my fondest parenting memories are of fall, when my toddler son and I would head up every afternoon to the fields behind the Natatorium to watch the UW Marching Band practice. We could while away the "witching hour"-- the dreaded stretch from naptime until dinner-- listening to the strains of "On Wisconsin" and "Roll Out the Barrel."
Neighborhood construction was another welcome "what to do when you have nothing to do" time-passer. My oldest son, passionate about heavy machinery from the day he was born, could distinguish a front loader from a backhoe long before he could walk. I think he may have said cherry picker before he said Mama. Man, would he have loved to attend Madison's inaugural "Big Rig Gig" , a showcase of city construction equipment big, loud and dirty, at the Goodman Pool parking lot. If I could force myself to find the time, maybe he and I can bring my three-year-old nephew down this Saturday and relive the days of when "Here Comes a Dump Truck" was the preferred tape in the VCR. I wonder if my son can even remember that time, long before Netflix streaming, when we actually owned a VCR.
I'm writing this post at 6 a.m. Saturday. My son is up as well. We were both awakened by the sounds of the UW Marching band's crack-of-dawn practice before their first Saturday morning game. It is a gentle, if not ungodly early, reminder of that time not so long ago when he and I made plans vs. felt so planned out. And it isn't like we don't need to be up anyway. We have a soccer game at eight. It's on the calendar, in yellow.comments powered by Disqus
New Year's resolutions are hard to keep. In fact, something around 90% of people fail every year! But one way that you can increase your odds of victory is to get other people involved.
Like many parents, I look at the wide world around my kids and do my best to prepare them for life. We talk about working hard, being kind and responsible, Internet safety, stranger danger, and the (gulp) birds and the bees. But what about a topic such as race?
If you're like me, looking around your house in the weeks before Christmas will probably have you convinced that the last thing your kids need to find underneath the tree is a pile of new toys.
I spend a lot of time talking to my kids about how lucky we are to have what we have. Though our house is tiny and our van is unequipped with automatic doors, we have all we could ever need, and a lot of what we want.
On the evening of Nov. 6, a throng of people gathered at Monona Terrace. They were there to attend an impressive anniversary shindig, but the real buzz of excitement centered on the event's guest of honor.
You may call them "play dates," but I like the term "mom dates," especially since my kids are still too young to really care that there's another small person to squabble over toys with.
If there is an excuse for not working out and eating healthy, I have used it: I don't have time. I'm too tired. I'll start tomorrow. I'm no good at this, I give up. I don't know where to start. Yes, I have used all of these and more.
At almost a year old, my kids are in the blissful stage of life where they'll eat nearly anything that I put in front of them (at least as long as it doesn't require much in the way of molar action).
My family recently went through something that we have not experienced in over eight years. We have become a household that no longer harbors a crib or a changing table.
"There really is no wrong way to do it." That's how Madeline, age 13, describes creating artwork. She and her classmates at Prairie View Middle School in Sun Prairie are honing their artistic skills by participating in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Art on Tour program.
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?