Deep thoughts…

September 25, 2014

Today at 6:30pm I found an airplane sticker on my butt.  I went to the bathroom at least three times during the day. This means I pulled down and up my pants at least six times in total.  I probably sat down at least ten times during the day giving the sticker ample time to stick to my underwear at the very least.

This leaves me to wonder…how did it get there, and how did it stay there?

Deep thoughts….by Jennifer White

Please, Thank You, Your Welcome, and May I?

August 13, 2014

Do you suddenly find yourself with a soon-to-be five-year-old who doesn’t believe in pleases, thank yous, your welcomes, or may/can I? Instead of asking for things, he demands them?

“My glass of milk is empty.” Empty stare from across the dinner table looking at you waiting for you to jump up and fill his milk glass.  When you do, he takes one sip.

“Get me out of the bath. Where’s my towel,” he yells from down the hallway even though he’s perfectly capable of getting himself out and his towel is resting on the sink in plain sight.  But you’re a parent, so you rush to him from the kitchen fearful that THIS time he might slip and fall out of the tub knocking himself unconscious.  He get him out, and wait for the “thank you” that never comes.

“Give me that train!” he exclaims after you dare to pick up one of seven trains in the room available after demanding that you play with him.  You apologize and move on to the next train hoping that one is “okay”.

You’ve gone out of your way to take him to a museum that he loves thirty minutes away.  While you’re there he is rude to absolutely every child he encounters.  He even expresses out loud “I will not be nice to anyone under three-years-old.”  After gritting your teeth as he precedes to treat every child like a criminal, you finally leave.  Luckily, he leaves without much ado.  You get to the car, and start buckling him in, “Mom, I’m tired.  I’m hungry.”  But that’s it.  No, “Thanks Mom for taking me there.  That was so much fun.”  No, “Wow, you really went out of your way to make a fun day for me and I really appreciate it.”  No, “Man, Mom I wish I listened to you when you suggested I eat the other half of my sandwich.  Oh, well, guess I’ll listen to you next time.”

Well, at this point I start to wonder, “Surely this is happening to other parents.  I must find the reason why this is happening and how can I fix it before my son turns into a criminal himself at an early age because he never learned to appreciate people or be gracious.” I begin my search that very night after the museum, and what do I find?

“Children learn to be gracious when they see their parents behaving that way.”

Wait.  What?  We’re nice to each other.  We say “thank you” and “please”.  We appreciate each other…don’t we?  Regardless of whether we do or we don’t, I start to thank my husband for everything I can think of in front of August, and I thank August for whatever I can muster up.

“Thank you August for leaving the museum without a fight.  I really appreciate it”

Blink, blink. Then he starts to talk and I’m hopeful that he’ll turn around and thank me for bringing him.  “Sure, Mom.”

This morning we drove my husband to the airport.  On the way there, I say, “Thank you for letting us take you to the airport,” expecting to get a “Thank you” in return from my husband all for August to hear.  Instead I get, “Of Course!”.  Not quite what I was hoping for, but he was looking up the terminal for his flight so maybe he wasn’t really hearing me.  We arrive at the airport, and I try again.  “Thanks again for letting us take you to the airport,” I say letting it hang in the air hoping he’ll get the hint of my ridiculous statement.  Nope.  Nada.  “Oh sure,” is the response I get.  Dammit, this is going to be harder than I thought.

I guess we’re on this journey together the three of us.  We’re all needing a little “Thank you”, “Please”, “Your Welcome” and “May I” in our lives.  Do you remember what he said last year at this time when I asked, “What would you do if you had all the money in the world?”  His reply, “Give some away.” Where did that guy go?

STUCK!

July 2, 2014

There’s a story by Oliver Jeffers about a boy who initially gets a kite stuck up in a tree. So to try and get it unstuck he throws a pair of shoes, a cat to get the shoes, a ladder to get the cat, a bucket of paint to get the ladder, a chair to get the paint…you get the picture…but everything gets stuck up in the tree. Until he hurls a saw up in the tree and that finally knocks down the kite. If you have kids, I highly recommend any Oliver Jeffers books, but this one is particularly fun.

Now that you understand this story, you can understand mine, or ours. About a month ago, August went to a birthday party and got a cute little blue parachute man. It’s basically a blue man attached to a small plastic parachute. It’s quite fun to play with – you throw it up in the air as the wind is blowing just right, and off it goes. One night August and I decided to take it out in the backyard to play with while waiting for Brent to get home from work. Then just as Brent and August are starting to play with it, a huge gust of wind comes up, August lets go of it at just the right time, and off it goes over our fence and out towards the street. We all chase after it, but by the time we get to our fence we have lost sight of it. The three of us look everywhere and we don’t see it. Brent and I are of course laughing, however, August isn’t finding it so funny. We convince him that it’s okay because the man has decided to take a trip across the county, and phew, August buys it and we all go inside believing the little blue guy is lost forever.

Two weeks later, I’m sitting at the dinner table across from August gazing out the window when I notice what looks like a small white plastic bag stuck to the very top of a tree that is taller than our house.  I look a little longer at it while August is talking to me about who knows what.  And I start to wonder “What could that thing be? It’s strange that some piece of trash would get stuck so high in the tree…oh, wait, no it can’t be, is that our parachute man?  It looks like it could be, but I don’t see the little blue man.  Well, maybe he fell off and it’s just the parachute.  I’m going to get the camera, zoom in, take a picture and get a closer look – I just can’t be for certain.  Hey, August, I think our parachute man is stuck in that tree.”

I get out our camera, zoom in, and take a picture but the tree is so far away and the small white plastic thing is so small I still can’t really tell.  We go to a different window to get closer to the tree, but we’re still not sure.  When Brent gets home, we have him take a closer look, and sure enough, he agrees, it’s our parachute man.  Now, how do we get it down.  August comes up with various ideas:  call the police (“um, yes, hello can you come over and get down our little blue man from the tree?”, call the fire department (“You rescue cats, why not parachute men?”), get a ladder (too short, but not a bad idea), throw something at it….this sparks an idea from Brent.  We’ll spray water at it from our hose.

A few days go by and we finally we find the time to try spraying water at our man.  Surprisingly he was still there stuck up in our tree.  Only problem was that we couldn’t find our sprayer.  No problem, we’ll just use the hose as is and use our fingers to spray the water.  Nope, didn’t even come close to reaching the top of that tree.  August wants to try – he firmly believes he can do it.  We give him the hose, and I think he merely got the sidewalk wet.  Meanwhile, several people, including our neighbors have either walked or driven by witnessing our shenanigans.  Next, Brent gets our tent poles, and attaches them all together in the hopes of poking our blue man out.  But the pole only reaches midway up the tree.  Then he gets a rope and attaches some sort of metal hook on the end.  He flings the rope and the hook up into the train, and the hook comes off the rope and gets stuck.  August and I are literally laughing our asses off at this point.  Of course, now we begin to make reference to the Oliver Jeffers story “Stuck!”.  

Brent takes the rope and throws it at the hook, and the rope gets stuck.  Luckily he and August were holding on to the other end and they were able to yank the rope out – but no metal hook. Then he brings the tent poles back out of reject pile in hope of now poking the hook out of the tree.  After several tries, it works.  But still no little blue man.  It’s now bedtime for August, so we all go in saying “Back to the drawing board.”

Another week has gone by, and the little blue man is still stuck in our tree.  We ending up buying a sprayer for our hose the other day, immediately went home to try it out, but it did not even get close to our man.  Every day at dinner time, I sit gazing out our window wondering what will happen first.  Will the man finally get blown out of our tree, or will we come up with a way to get it out?

Suggestions?  Love to hear them!  Post your comments here.

What your kids are doing when you’re not looking…

May 22, 2014

August has taken several different types of classes since I became a SAHM: Yoga, Swimming, Gymnastics, and our latest Soccer.  Now that he’s older and capable of being in a class without me, I have the luxury of sitting on the sidelines and watching.  I really love watching August and other four-year-olds attempt to do these activities.  It’s not only entertaining but mildly funny.  Watching a group of four-year-olds listen to a soccer coach take five minutes to explain that the kids wearing yellow jerseys kick to the yellow goal and the red jerseys kick to the red goal, and then watch those same kids kick to the exact wrong goal.  It’s not only cute, but funny.  I mean, seriously, isn’t this why people watch “America’s Funniest Home Videos”?

So what I don’t understand is why other parents aren’t watching their kids? Why aren’t they finding it entertaining?  Am I that easily amused?  I don’t think that’s it.  Unfortunately what I see most parents (if not all) doing during these classes is either checking Facebook, texting, or playing a video game on their phones.  Today in swimming class I was literally surrounded by parents playing video games on their phones.  I used to be angered by this, but honestly now I’m just sad for the kids and sad for the parents.  Can’t they stay off their phone for thirty minutes (because that’s the average length of a class at this age) to watch how cute their kids are?  

If you are reading this, and you’re one of those parents let me tell you what you’re missing.  Yesterday your daughter Summer kicked her first goal in Soccer class.  Today your son Teddy was crying for twenty-three minutes because he couldn’t get his goggles on correctly.  Your son William is literally on the verge of graduating to the next swimming class he’s doing so well.  Your daughter Lindsay finally did a somersault after weeks of trying.  And all the kids ran in the exact wrong direction on the soccer field, but were able to laugh about it.  

I mean, come on people, this is great stuff.  This is what memories are made of.  If you can’t put your phone down for thirty minutes to watch your child, he will literally grow up before your eyes, and you’ll only have yourself to blame for missing the “golden years” (I’m convinced it’s not when your fifty, it’s actually when you’re four).  Please, I’m begging you, put the phone down.  You can have back in thirty minutes.

You can’t make this shit up!

March 3, 2014

This post is the first entry of what I’m currently calling “You can’t make this shit up”.  

Every day August is in preschool from 1pm – 4pm.  That is three blissful hours all to myself.  Because we did not own a car last year, it was easier to stay in the neighborhood then to go home and come back again.  Hence the beginning of my journey with a nearby gym.  (To protect the innocent, and my membership, I will not name my gym for fear they may kick me out. )  Although we recently purchased a car,  (that’s right people, after seven or so years without a car in San Francisco we finally caved and bought one in October) I have become so addicted to the gym that I continue to go at least four days a week.  Monday through Friday (excluding Wednesdays) I am at my gym between the hours of 1:20pm and about 3:30pm. These are what one might call the “off hours”.  Typically this means that the gym is less crowded during these hours, however, in my case it ALSO means that the crowd is, well, let’s just say, atypical.  The average age in the locker room during the above mentioned hours is what I would guess to be sixty years old.  The average age continues to entertain me everyday, some more than others.  

And so concludes my introduction to “You can’t make this shit up”.  Some entries will be dialogue, and some will be mere observations.  I hope to have MANY “You can’t make this shit up” entries for you in the future, but for now I have just two. And I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

February 20, 2014, 2:43pm

“Achoo,” I sneezed while putting on my boots one day in the gym locker room.

“Bless you, ” said the woman dressing the the right of me.

The woman two aisles over to the left said, “Bless you, you must own a cat.”

I giggled of course, but then I could tell she was serious and waiting for a response, “Umm, nope, no cat.”

“Oh, must be a dog then,” she replied.  At this point I’m thinking she thinks I have an allergy.

“Nope, no dog either.”

“Oh my. I hope you have a boyfriend or a husband at least,” she said expressing concern for my sad life. 

“This is getting awfully personal for a sneeze,” the woman to my right said expressing her concern for this discussion.

I took a little longer than everyone was comfortable with to reply to her question.  I mostly hesitated because I wasn’t sure I wanted to share my life with these ladies, and I was curious whether I could get away with no answer.  I couldn’t.

“I have a husband and a four-year-old son,” I proudly responded.  Although I thought about saying I had no one just to see her reaction.  

“Oh well, that’s good.  I hope you have a lover too.  I didn’t get to be seventy-nine years old, and this happy with just a husband,” she stated much to my surprise.  

You can’t make this shit up!

March 3, 2014, 3:03pm

Usually I try to keep my head down as much as possible for fear I might turn to glass if I look up too often.  However, for a brief, although not brief enough, moment I looked up while putting lotion on my face.  Two aisles over to my left, a woman about seventy years old was brushing her entire body with a hairbrush.  I do mean entire.  She left no stone unturned. I should have stopped watching after the first glance, but I had to see where she was going with this.  I wish I hadn’t.  Although it did leave me wondering, “Is this some way of achieving a younger looking body?  Maybe this is similar to how Marcia Brady brushed her hair 100 times every day?”

You can’t make this shit up!

Has this happened to you?

February 24, 2014

The first two hours of my day began with August asking me to build him a LEGO house.  He’s usually very good at playing by himself for long stretches of time, EXCEPT when he’s tired.  Today he was tired.  So, I put him off until I was done with one cup of coffee, one bowl of hot cereal, putting away the clean dishes, washing the newly dirty ones, and saying good-bye to my husband as he left for work (It all sounds so 1950’s when I write it down like this).

I went into his room, grabbed a spot on the floor next to him, and began building.  Normally, I don’t take architectural direction from a four-year-old, but since he had been begging for two hours I reluctantly began to build him a LEGO house.  After building what I thought was a damn fine house with a slanted roof and a window for the entry, I presented it to August.  

“Ta-da.”, I exclaimed brimming with pride.

“What is it?” he said as if he’d never seen a house before.

“Umm.  The house you’ve been asking for.”

“Oh.  Can I see it?”

“Um, well, okay, “I said knowing full well where this was going.

And so the quick destruction of my house began.  He hooked his LEGO trailer bed up to the bottom of it, he ripped off my masterpiece of a roof, tossed it over his shoulder, and replaced it with some LEGO-crafted airplane wings, and it just went on from there.  He had spent two hours begging me for a LEGO house, and spent ten minutes destroying it beyond all recognition.  

Sometimes, I don’t know why I bother.  Does this happen to you?  Your kid asks you to build something, you do, you become completely attached to it, and he destroys it without even the slightest hesitation?  

What’s New?

February 3, 2014

Ever since I’ve become a SAHMAM (Stay-at-Home-Most-Awesome-Mom) the question I have come to fear the most is “What’s new?” It seems like a sweet and simple question, but really all it does is make me feel bad about myself.  Every time someone asks me this question the same thing happens to me.

First, I smile big in order to make time for myself to think of something, anything to say in answer to this question.  Once the smile is over, and I’ve realized that nothing is coming to mind, I say, “Umm, hmm, umm…” again to stall.  I always think, “Come on, there MUST be something new with you!”.  Then I remember what’s new:

  • August had athlete’s foot last week – (not quite the something new that I was hoping for)
  • August composed a song called “I love you” – (I think this is cute and funny but not everyone will)
  • August wrote a book called “Where does Eeyore sleep?”- (this isn’t what’s new with me, it’s what’s new with August)

And that’s it.  That’s all I got.  So, I go with the last one, “August wrote a book”.  And now you see the problem with this question.  For a SAHM, it’s not what’s new with you, it’s what’s new with your child.  And the people who usually ask this question don’t understand this.  Of course my fear is that I’m alone out here; that I’m the ONLY SAHM who feels this way?  Do other SAHMs have an interesting answer to the “What’s new?” question?

Here’s how I wish I could answer this question:

  • I got a paid writing job working from home
  • I’m traveling around Europe starting next week and I don’t know when I’m coming back
  • My best friend from France is coming to visit (okay, so I don’t have a friend from France, but imagine how cool it would be if I did and they were coming to visit)
  • My article got published in the San Francisco Chronicle
  • I’m taking a writing course

So I’ve decided after being asked this question yet again recently that I would at least sign up for another writing class.  Then next time someone asks me “What’s new?” at least I have a decent answer that doesn’t involve my son.

Rediscover San Francisco Through Your Children’s Eyes for FREE

January 14, 2014

I put together this little piece, and for those of you who live in the Bay Area…..enjoy!

There are endless ways to entertain our children in San Francisco, but most come at a steep price.  We’ve combed the city for our favorite FREE activities .  Because of the low-low price our children can become resident experts at these San Francisco gems.  Seeing them in different seasons and times never gets old.

Moraga Stairway

When is it FREE: Rain, Fog or Shine 24/7

Location:  Between 15th and 16th avenue on Moraga Street

Pause at the base to appreciate the continuous piece of art created by the 163 mosaic tiled steps.   Crawlers to jumpers can’t help but appreciate the intricate details in each step, and the view from the top is worth it.

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Insider Tip:  Climb even further to the top of Grandview Park for more spectacular views! 

 Botanical Gardens

When is it FREE: 8am to 4pm Weekdays, 10am to 5pm Weekends to SF Residents

Location:  1199 9th avenue right inside Golden Gate Park entrance

With 55 acres and 8,000 types of plants, odds are in your favor that one is blooming today.  Bridges, ducks, and off beaten pathways will entertain the kiddos long enough for you to finally finish a cup of coffee.

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Insider Tip:  Bring your balance bikes. The wide sidewalks provide solace from busy streets.

de Young Observation Deck/Sculpture Garden

When is it FREE: Tuesday – Sunday 9:30am – 4:30pm (closed Mondays)

Location:  50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive

Even on a foggy day the observation deck of the de Young tower is impressive.  If anyone tires of the view, take them outside to the Sculpture Garden.

TurrellSM

Insider Tip:  Follow the sidewalk to the often-overlooked James Turrell “Three Gems” dome at the back of the Sculpture Garden.

 Japanese Tea Garden

When is it FREE: Monday, Wednesday, or Friday 9am – 10am

Location:  75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive at the corner of Martin Luther King Drive

Explore the many bridges, flowers, and pagodas, at this oasis inside Golden Gate Park.  Your children will appreciate the Koi ponds and sometimes challenging stairways while you appreciate a San Francisco relic.

TeaGardenSM

Insider Tip:  Treat yourself to Taiyaki (fish-shaped pastry) while you’re there.

 Randall Museum

When is it FREE:  Tuesday – Sunday 10am to 5pm (closed Mondays)

Location: 199 Museum Way

No child could possibly be bored at this fully equipped museum featuring live animals, (guinea pigs, rabbits, and raccoons oh my!) a toddler room, and a few playhouses.

                 RandallSM

Insider Tip:  For your budding engineer, visit the downstairs train room complete with train tracks.  On Saturdays the electric model train room is open.

 

2013 in review

January 4, 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

How I know He’s Growing Up

December 17, 2013

I always hear parents say, “They grow up so fast. Enjoy this time, it goes by quickly. This is the best age; enjoy it; it doesn’t last forever.”  To be perfectly honest, my reaction is usually a polite smile but inside I’m thinking about how I don’t entirely agree.  Until recently, that is.  

One of the very first things I looked forward to when my son was born was his independence.  It sounds harsh, but being the baby of the family I’m not used to someone relying on me for their every need.  I got through the first six months knowing that everything we did for him and with him was one step closer to him relying more on himself than me.  It started with milk. The more milk he gets the stronger he gets.  And the stronger he gets, the more independent he gets.  Then it moved on to tummy time. The more times he’s on his tummy, even though he hates it, the stronger he gets and the more independent he gets.  That moved onto bigger things like putting him into his own bed, sleep training, scooting, crawling, talking and then finally walking.  

The stronger August got, the stronger I got, and the more I was able to appreciate all the little things about raising a little person. And trust me, I do enjoy all the little things – as many as I can.  I try to remind myself every day that this person is growing and some day he’ll be a teenager and then it’s all over.  But man, lately, he’s really becoming independent, and below are the ways that he’s showing me…

  1. He doesn’t cry every morning when he wakes up (He did this for the first two years of his life until we took the side off his bed – I would have done it sooner if I had known!)
  2. He goes to the bathroom by himself in the morning without asking us to help him take off his pajamas. (Every single morning, he’d either call us loudly from the bathroom for help or drag us out of bed to simply take off his pajamas which we KNEW he could do by himself. Then, one morning it stopped and now he does it without us even knowing about it)
  3. He can and does completely dress himself (Of course he doesn’t dress himself all the time, but the point is that he can and does sometimes.)
  4. He plays happily by himself for a good amount of time in the morning. (We have a clock that turns yellow when he’s allowed to come bother us.  Not only does he abide by this rule, but he doesn’t even notice when it goes yellow anymore.  These days I get up because I feel guilty that he’s been playing by himself for so long.)
  5. He can put on his own shoes. (He actually WANTS to put on his own shoes, rather than me begging him to sit still while I put them on for him.)
  6. He wipes his own butt successfully. (I know this sounds like nothing, but after years of diapers wiping one’s own butt is a big deal!)
  7. He has recently learned how to zipper. (This really got me.  Zippering is tough, I’m still learning how to do this myself.)
  8. When we’re in a store, he puts things back where he found them. (I’ve been reminding him for what seems like forever to put things back where he finds them, and the other day I just turned around and he had done it completely unsolicited.)
  9. He told me that he enjoys preschool becomes it gives him “some privacy” from me. (Ouch, but hey, I enjoy preschool for the same reasons.)
  10. When we park on a hill, he knows better than I do which way to turn my wheels. (And he’s right every single time.)
  11. Recently he told me, “I’m tired of telling you which way to turn your wheels.  You’ll have to look at other cars to figure it out.”

And there you have it.  Careful what you wish for I guess.  He is in fact growing up and becoming more independent at an astonishing rate. Honestly, it’s not that I want it all to slow down, it’s more that I don’t want to forget any of this and I want him to remember at least some of it.


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