I was completely exhausted after attending my first West High football game last Friday night. The emotional Regent loss coupled with the crash that inevitably follows a dinner of concession stand-Lemonheads didn't leave me much energy for Saturday's sporting event--getting my ninth grader ready for his first homecoming dance. I had believed quite foolishly, and perhaps sexist-ly, that because it was my son who would be attending this all-school social event, as opposed to a daughter, I'd be able to avoid much of the dance-day drama.
And I was wrong. Boys, too, it turns out, have "getting ready" anxiety.
I fully remember the stress I felt around school dances growing up. Once I got over the horrible disappointment of not being asked by the right boy, the pressures of what to wear on a date with the wrong boy (always a "friend") felt absolutely enormous.
Would I sport on the shoulders or off? Do I wear tea length or long (homecoming circa 1981 was a much more formal affair, at least in the DC suburbs, than nowadays in Madison)? Should I try to put my hair up or just leave it down? For me this wasn't much of a decision; it was going to frizz-out in the heat of the overly decorated gym regardless.
But it wasn't until last Saturday that I realized boys have their own version of this torture. And my husband wasn't even around to help our son out; he had picked an inopportune weekend to head up north with his college buddies. Sure, it was the sartorial advice of a man who had made the unfortunate decision of wearing a yellow tux to his own senior prom that we were missing. But my husband at least knew how to tie a tie.
As it turned out, to "tie" or not to "tie" was fashion choice number one. And as a woman who has been known to wear full-on sequins to events where a simple pair of jeans, without bedazzling, would suffice, my gut instinct said my son should wear one. Together we settled on tasteful silver number from my husband's under-utilized collection. We then went through a checklist of further style decisions that could rival anything back stage at a Marc Jacobs show. Dress shoes or high tops? Shirt tucked in or left out? And was any guy in the ninth grade wearing a jacket at all?
My son pulled it together just in time to make it over to a girl friend's (not a "girlfriend""he's destined to be a "just friends" person, like his mother) house for group pictures. And as I snapped away, it became clear to me that this school dance ritual isn't just for the kids, but for us parents as well. It's a chance to take our daughters shopping for that first pair of heels, praying no ankle will be twisted on the over-crowded dance floor. It's an opportunity for a father to experience what can only be called a "Sunrise, Sunset" moment as he watches his son climb into the back seat of a van sporting his own ill-fitting sport jacket. I realized that evening how little help my son asks for these days, and how much I like giving it when he asks. Even if the help is only to decide if his shirt matches his tie.
Which it did. Because as far as I am concerned, silver (and sequins) match everything.comments powered by Disqus
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?
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.