There are times when figuring out what to write about doesn't come easily. Weeks with no obvious holiday tie-in, no top-of-mind funny kid story, or no crisis in the parenting world are always a bit of a challenge.
And then you have a week like last week. The blog-post-idea heavens opened up and didn't just sprinkle or drip. It was a complete and total downpour.
As of last Tuesday I was sure this week's piece would be a tribute to Maurice Sendak. I didn't grow up in a house with a ton of children's picture books. My dad was a visual artist and a bit of an illustration snob. Lots of kids' fare drove him nuts. But not Sendak's. My siblings and I went to bed every night with Little Bear and Where The Wild Things Are images dancing through our heads. And I'm pretty sure my life long aversion to cooking can still be attributed to seeing Mickey swim around the "morning cake" batter of In the Night Kitchen.
But then came Wednesday and President Obama's long-awaited affirmation that same-sex couples should be able to get married . How could I not use my 500 or so words for the week to attempt to wax eloquent on how his public support must feel to two mom and two dad households. My life changed forever the day I got married. For me it didn't feel like the continuation of living together or a small step forward; everything was immediately different. There was something about the ceremony, coupled with the legality, that emotionally hinged my now husband and I together. So I wanted to write about how amazing it is to have a president who supports a gay couple's right to feel the same way.
And then came Thursday and the outrageously sensational Time magazine cover. No better way to charge up Mother's Day celebrations nationwide than to throw down the parenting gauntlet with a loaded question like "Are You Mom Enough?" accompanied by a picture of an extremely attractive young mother breastfeeding a child clearly old enough to drink from a cup. The ideas were spinning around in my head. Should I write a post on extended breastfeeding perhaps? I did it with two out of three. Or maybe a few words on attachment parenting (what the article is actually about)? Or perhaps just save my comments for this coming December when that mom, or that kid, is inevitably named Time Magazine Person of the Year for making the newsweekly so relevant again?
But all this got pushed aside on Friday when the Mitt Romney the bully story broke. I've always struggled to find the best way to deal with bullying in the blog. Do I share a personal story? Write about the movie? Talk to an expert? And now we find out the likely Republican Party presidential nominee was an absolute jerk beyond measure during high school. And the fact that he refers to the forcible shearing of a fellow classmate, which he claims not to remember, as "hijinks and pranks"? This was no crank call, Mr. Romney; it sounded more like an assault. Do I think people can change from who they were in high school? Of course. But even so, this was an incredibly disturbing thing to hear about a man who'd like to be the leader of the free world.
So I guess what I've ended up with for this week is a bit of a hodgepodge; a sprinkling of half-posts instead of anything in-depth. And for this I apologize.
But I guess sprinkles are what you end up with when its pouring ideas.
I could probably use a bit of a dry spell.comments powered by Disqus
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.
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.