I was a bit of a nervous flyer when the kids were younger. My anxiety had nothing to do with when to don an oxygen mask or how to prepare for a water landing though, but instead was brought on by a fear of what annoying things my kids might do once we were in the air. Would ear pain cause my son to scream bloody murder on both take off and landing? Would my daughter be the child that insists on enthusiastically demonstrating her sense of rhythm by kicking the seat back of the passenger in front of her the entire length of the trip? And I had never realized that in-flight vomiting all over the stranger in the seat next to us was in the arsenal of disgusting and embarrassing things my son could do until it happened one fateful toddler trip.
Trust me, I'd happily have removed a lot more than my shoes if the TSA agent could have warned me that my baby was planning a full-scale diaper blow-out. I've discovered, more than once, that it is not easy to give anyone (including myself) a head-to-toe bath in the tiny airplane sink.
Flying with older kids, though, as I did on our annual vacation last week, is a world apart. First, no one cries or throws up any more. And I'm pretty sure my children aren't too much of a nuisance to any of the adults on board, with the possible exception of the flight attendant when asking for a second bag of pretzels. But the best part, I've discovered, of air travel with teens and tweens is their unexpected ability to get along with each other -- at least for the duration of the flight.
While at the gate, my kids will bicker about anything and everything: What flavor of gum to buy, who gets to board first, who has to take the middle seat. But somehow as soon as the carry-on bags are safely stowed overhead, the rivalries and tensions seem to melt away. Like clockwork, all three of them will immediately pick up their individual issues of "SkyMall" and discuss the merits of owning a Lord of the Rings-inspired jewelry collection, ultraviolet shoe deodorizers, and elevated pool-side dog beds. They will spend hours discussing the likelihood that a passenger has ever been inspired to purchase a full sized replica of "The Peeing Boy of Brussels" fountain while cruising at 35,000 feet. They'll play cards, share sips of their sodas, discuss vacation plans, and even agree on which movie to collectively watch on the iPod using a set of headphone splitters.
This year our family went to California, a fairly long flight. And my husband and I relished the opportunity to sit three rows away from our offspring for four full hours pretending to be a much older version of the incredibly relaxed, purposefully child-free, couple on the cover of Time Magazine a few weeks back.
The serenity was, of course, short-lived. Because the minute we touched down, my oldest, perhaps by accident, perhaps on purpose, dropped a suitcase on my daughter's head while taking it out from the overhead bin.
Yes, we had been warned, that the contents might shift in flight. Carry-ons are notoriously unstable, much like my children's attitudes toward one an other.
But I will take this moment, nonetheless, to say thank you to the Wright Brothers for at least giving the mother of the Judge Brothers (and sister) the time to quietly enjoy her own SkyMall.
I am seriously considering purchasing the Guardian Angel of Peace statue. Something tells me I am going to need all the in-between-flight serenity help I can get.comments powered by Disqus
I think the first time in recent years that I've felt a real sense of shame, as both a parent and community member, was last Tuesday evening as I sat in a crowded elementary school LMC to listen to Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and his colleague, Torry Wynn, present key findings from the 2013 Race to Equity report to our PTO group.
It's Wednesday morning at Allis Elementary School on Madison's east side, and 16 third-graders " 10 boys and six girls " enter into an open-space classroom in typical wiggly, giggly style. Some are making goofy faces at one another, some are bouncing around hand-in-hand with friends, and others are just trying to stay out of the whirling-dervish path of activity.
Of the 789 poorly-composed, way-too-dark and out-of-focus photos currently living on my iPhone, I can count on two hands the number that show my kids and me together. And my husband is in probably no more than three or four of those.
Something kind of magical has happened these past two weeks during the Sochi Olympics. There is no question, debate or disagreement on what will be watched on television once all homework is done. Everyone in the family makes time to sit down together to watch an hour of so of the primetime televised games.
Truth be told, though, this month I'm feeling a bit cinematically fried. In some ways, I already feel like I've spent the last week or so at a film festival. A festival specializing in minute-long glimpses of ordinary lives all ending with credits that feature the ubiquitous blue thumbs-up. Yes, it's been the February of the Facebook movie.
Just last week, on precisely the same day the Momastery post was getting over a million well-deserved views, Madison mom Suzanne Buchko was telling a similar story. Not on a blog but instead in the confines of the modestly circulated Franklin-Randall Elementary School weekly newsletter.
Late last month, the Madison Metropolitan School District adopted a five-year, $27.7 million technology plan calling for all district students, including those in the primary grades, to have significantly increased access to their very own tablet or notebook computer by 2019. Some parents, as well as education professionals, questioned whether elementary-aged kids, especially kindergarteners who aren't even able to read or write yet, will gain much benefit from introducing yet another screen into their lives.
This past Monday, had winter's unrelenting weather allowed, Middleton Cross Plains School District teacher Andrew Harris would have once again been at the helm of a classroom. After nearly four years of fighting his dismissal from Glacier Creek Middle School for viewing and passing on sexually explicit material on district computers, MCPSD has been legally forced to reinstate Herris, this time as a seventh-grade science teacher at Kromrey Middle School.
In a study published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, academics have found that the 16 and Pregnant series may have played a significant role in the recent decrease in U.S. teen pregnancies.
In our house, sad but true, we've rarely spent the Martin Luther King holiday discussing race, social justice or the power of non-violent civil disobedience. Instead, the third Monday in January has historically been treated as just another day off school, just another long weekend. And it's been a missed opportunity.
It's not something that happens very often, but last Friday, as news of the impending arctic cold snap reached our house, my kids were rooting for Governor Scott Walker. They were rooting for him to take Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's lead and cancel school throughout the state. They couldn't care less if he had the authority to do such a thing -- if he called off school, he'd be their hero.
Late last semester, as students were packing up their backpacks one final time before winter break, Middleton High School principal Denise Herrmann and assistant principal Lisa Jondle were co-authoring a note home to parents informing them of a widespread cheating scandal involving nearly 250 calculus students at the school.
Breathe in, breathe out. Have you ever been in the heat of a parenting moment with these words ringing through your head? Then you're on the right path toward mindful parenting.
The week between Christmas and New Year's is famous for all sorts of things. Malls are packed with folks exchanging those holiday sweaters that don't fit just right. It's the week those same folks pledge to never again eat another frosted sugar cookie or candy cane (hence the sweater issues). It's also the week the media saturates the public with dozens of "Best of Year" lists.
This will not (although it could) be a treatise on the value of "alone time" for a healthy marriage, though. Nor will it be an ode to how nice it was for me to have a few days off from lunch-packing, carpool-driving and homework-nagging.
For those of you who haven't yet seen it, the eight-week-long transit campaign, placed both inside and on the outside of buses, features a photo of an orange tabby with a stainless steel bar drilled into its head accompanied by the line "I am not lab equipment. End UW cat experiments!" Just as PETA hopes, the image is shocking and demands an immediate response.
If I had my druthers, I'd sit out the entire shopping week that follows Thanksgiving. Black Friday, for starters, has corrupted the fine art of bargain shopping and turned it into a gladiator sport. There is no percentage off that is worth losing sleep, or even worse an eye, over. Especially if you have kids in tow.
When you shop for toys, there is always the conflict between what you think is appropriate/adorable and what the child being shopped for might actually want/play with.
Many of the pop-culture seasonal touchpoints of my youth are completely lost on my kids. You see, while I may have memorized every word to both the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser's songs from The Year Without a Santa Claus, I'm pretty sure the only Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas special my kids have ever seen has been Rudolph.
I am so thrilled that the United Way is sponsoring a Teen Gift Drive this holiday season. Sure, teen "wants" often aren't as fun to shop for as precious baby dolls and sweet Lego sets. But middle and high school kids still "need" to feel valued and loved during this time of year. And helping a family in need to provide this for their child is a wonderful way to get in the spirit.