I couldn't have cared less about last weekend's Superbowl from an actual football perspective. And repurposed Wisconsin protest video and Ferris Bueller jokes aside, I wasn't particularly interested in any of the ads. But there was no way I was missing the halftime show. Sure, LMFAO has about as much appeal to me as pigskin or a Go Daddy commercial; I never have, and never will be, a "Party Rocker" who "Shuffles."
But can I still "Vogue"? Heck yeah. And I waited patiently through the whole first half for the chance to watch Madonna strut her 53-year-old glory across television's biggest stage. Madge is the unequivocal soundtrack of my young adulthood. "Holiday" and "Lucky Star" were the anthems of my senior year in high school---a turning point when I left Styx and everything Flashdance, including off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, officially behind. I made the transition to lace, quasi-lingerie, dangly earrings and big black hair ribbons quite adroitly; you could have easily called both my look (and musical taste) the summer after freshman year of college Desperately Seeking Sari. And just hearing the first note of "Like a Prayer" last Sunday brought back forever-pleasant memories of late-night clubbing in downtown Chicago with an ID that finally bore both my real name and birth date.
And I feel as though I've hit the musical-memory lane-motherlode this February. Bruce Springsteen is playing on the Grammy's this weekend. I feel a little guilty that I'm not really interested in hearing anything off his new album. My only hope is that he sings just one verse of "Thunder Road." I so wanted to grow up to be "Mary" of the "dress swaying" from the very first time I heard the song blaring from my older brother's record player. Roy Orbison may have been singing for the lonely. But The Boss? He was singing for 9-year-old me.
I am not sure there is a musical score to my life since I've become a parent, though. I vaguely remember "MMMBop" in the background with Son #1----VH1 was my best friend during 3 AM power-nursing sessions. And I'm pretty sure it was Avril Lavigne who dominated the airwaves driving back and forth to my newborn daughter's non-stop pediatrician appointments in the summer of 2002. But on the whole, whether I've been too busy, too distracted or too disinterested, I couldn't tell you much about popular music from the past fourteen years.
But it occurred to me that there's nothing keeping from me from a creating an original "parenthood" playlist. I could easily come up with an audio scrapbook that links favorite tunes from my glory days with important stages from my Mom-life. The first couple tracks could be labor and delivery oriented---think Salt-n-Pepa's "Push It", the Ramone's "I Wanna Be Sedated" or Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out." These would be followed up by tunes inspired from my kids' first years, possibly the Talking Heads' "Stay Up Late", Tom Petty's "Crawling Back to You" or NKOTB "Step by Step." Elementary school could be captured with, to state the obvious, The Jackson Five's "ABC." Or, if you'd seen me the day my youngest started kindergarten, Melissa Manchester's "Don't Cry Out Loud."
I could go on forever"and that's not necessarily a good thing. But if you have any suggestions to accompany the tumultuous tween and teen years, just let me know. Some days I feel like Green Day's "Good Riddance" sums it up perfectly.
And other days I'm all "Cat's in the Cradle." Because I'm not always ready for them to be "Growin' Up" (Springsteen, Greetings From Asbury Park, 1973).comments powered by Disqus
If I were going to pen a similar piece on my family's early sleep history, I might call it, "Confessions of a Much More Highly Reluctant Co-Sleeper." I never planned to sleep with my children as infants; I really didn't think of myself as the family bed type
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.
What adults love about camping -- sleeping under the stars, getting away from it all, the sounds of nature -- can be scary for children. It's dark in a tent. Nothing is familiar. Of course, camping with kids is more work for adults, too. Stay cool, live in the moment. Forget about that lost fork. Making s'mores, spotting wildlife, that's what kids will remember.
I have just returned from a whirlwind, five-day, four-city college tour with my son. You know those "101 Things to Know Before Visiting Disney World" guidebooks that experienced theme park travelers have written to help the uninitiated? I think I am now officially seasoned enough in information sessions and campus tours to give some serious thought to penning a similar "insiders guide" for the junior-year parent.
This past week, against both my will and better judgement, I accompanied 50 or so middle school kids to the Future Problem Solvers Wisconsin State Bowl, a popular academic and skit-writing competition.
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.