Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Good chocolate and bad chocolate

I've heard people say that kids don't care if they are getting good chocolate or bad chocolate.  It's all chocolate to them.  I have to agree.  Because I see with my kids that they'll do anything for chocolate.  They'll bang their head into the back of the seat just because they are bored, and then "Hey, mom just gave me some chocolate!"  They'll pick at each other and fight because mom's bound to show up with some chocolate sooner or later.

I try and get them to do nice things with the hope that good chocolate will motivate them.  But they say "No Thanks".  They're happy with the bad stuff.

I'm glad they don't have handles, even though that makes it hard to manipulate them.

So the trick is to get them to develop a taste for the good stuff.  Take time with them, and give them good chocolate for the slightest positive turn.  So eventually they crave the good chocolate, and don't want the bad chocolate anymore.

Now, read this again, and think "attention" every time I wrote "chocolate".

As a person who hasn't developed a taste for good chocolate, I begin to see why my kids haven't developed a taste for my good attention... boo.  Try again!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Crazy mom that makes things worse

That's me.

Today as I took the kids to Wendy's, for free frostys, G was letting the last bits drip into his mouth.  I told him not to do that, because it sets a bad example for M and P.  Then as I tried to clean it all up, I dropped the cup on the floor.

I was agitated because it's always hard to take 4 kids anywhere, especially a restaurant.  Also there was a woman with some significant facial deformities and M kept staring.  I kept signing to M to stop but she didn't. 

So after my fumble with G's cup, I said we were leaving.  M and P weren't done yet, but I was freaking out so luckily they didn't.  Nice one E.  I probably made the woman feel more uncomfortable than the 6 year old child who wouldn't stop staring.

Then we went over to feed the koi downtown.  I had brought the stroller so bB and P were contained.  M had a jar of fish food and was walking on the curb behind me.  The streets are really narrow and I told M to stop walking on the yellow line.  She didn't hear me.  She was busy guarding the glass jar and balancing on the line.  So I stopped and asked her if she had heard me.  She hadn't.  I then cruelly showed her how easy it is to fall into the road.  No I didn't push her into the road.  But I did make her drop her jar of fish food when I jostled her (after making sure no cars were actually coming). M didn't freak out then either.

Later when we were getting back into the car she tripped and barked her shins on the ledge of the van.  She cried a bit, but calmed down when I held her. 

Mhe's getting resistant about practicing.  I gotta be nicer.  She really is so amazing and sane.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What is love?

What is love?
Baby, don't hurt me
Don't hurt me no more
Baby don't hurt me
Don't hurt me no more
What is love?

I grew up with this classic song.  There are other lyrics but these are the only ones that I remember.  Growing up in a home with an abusive father (not physically, to me), this low bar for affection seemed inevitable.

Spoiler Alert: I have a great husband who is amazingly not manipulative, or abusive in any way, wow!

So for a long time I've had this discomfort when people tell me they love me, except for P, and my children.  I guess I thought love meant you'd be willing to let them spit in your hand if need be.  And really there are not many people I'd do that for.  Hence, P and the children being the only ones that I was not uncomfortable with the proclamation of love.

But people say "I love you" often.  To me.  Strange.

This week I learned a new definition that allows me to declare love for everyone!  Loving someone means you want them to be happy.   This is a major epiphany for me.  Now when someone says "I love you" they are saying "I want you to be happy!"  And that is way more generally welcome than "I"d let you spit in my hand if you needed to!"

So, blog readers, all 6 of you, (who am I kidding), I love you.

Ironic Hipsters

I was picking up G from school yesterday and the principal and others were talking about Barry Manilow and the "ironic hipsters" who don't even know his awesomeness.

I've been hearing about these hipsters for a while now.  I have a friend who is definitely a hipster because she always says she like x "before it was cool."  She is fabulous though and lives life really full of fun things.  She even has 5 amazing kids, so I can't suggest she's a slacker in pursuit of her hipsterism.  She's just that amazing.

And it seems that a lot of the people I know are sort of in the realm of hipster.  But they're not jerks.  Maybe hipsters are just into the things we're into at the moment.  Or maybe, and more likely, the hipsters are just making fun of the things we're into.  Because the people I hang with are not highly tattooed.  I've never seen anyone drinking a Pabst beer (supposedly the hipster drink of choice).  And none of the people I know have a handlebar mustache (not surprising since most of them are women).

Oh well.

One of the school counselors (who tells me, every time I pick G up from school, that we are the cutest family) said I am an ironic hipster.  I said "No, I never do anything until it is well proven to be cool.  Like having 4 kids, way cool."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January; so far has been pretty great.

 We celebrated G's birthday with some friends from school on a moderately cold day in January.  It was the first time his Winter Birthday party has fallen on a day that wasn't unseasonably nice.  We used straws to suction marshmallows, drop them in a cup, and then make hot cocoa.  That was the highlight.  Everything else sort of was a drag because of the wind and cold.  But we did have a lot of fun playing the "Bugs in the Kitchen" game my sister Mary gave us.  All the kids were very entertained by that.  Win!

One of Geoff's friends have him a set of mustaches, so now we have this timeless family portrait.
 I love pecan pie!  Grandma L gave me some mini pie pans and I was able to make 4 little pecan pies last week.  I put extra nuts, relative to the filling.  P said his favorite part was that he could just hold it in his hand and eat the whole thing.  Ditto.
 A friend gave us this sweater when it was still too hot to imagine using it.  During the little cold snap last week, it was so perfect.  It's so soft, and matches bB's personality rather well.
 He's such a smiling, peaceful baby.  He reminds me so much of G, but G was going through chemo.  So his level of serenity was amazing.  I thought G's way of just laying still and looking around was his personality +/- chemo.  But bB is similarly peaceful.  M was peaceful too.  I guess it's just that lP was the most recent baby and she was born with an opinion.
I'm practicing the piano almost daily.  I love being able to tackle this previously unattainable skill, and seeing myself progress.  I also love feeling so self-righteous as I take time to practice.  Piano is a way better excuse for ignoring your children than facebook. 

Yesterday lP wanted me to do a puzzle with her and I said I needed to finish playing London Bridge.  I just wanted one more time.  But she told me I should play it 3 more times.  She's 3 and everything is better in sets of 3.  So she patiently waited for me to play it 3 times.  That filled my cup up to go and do puzzles.  It's really so good for me on many levels.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"I like Crazy!"

So I'm half way through watching a movie that I've already decided to buy, and that's rare.  But so far I love the way it depicts a girl falling in love with a guy she just met, and getting engaged.  Having read the Wiki synopsis, I now how the story ends.  And even half way through, the guy seems to be a catch.  Nothin' wrong with falling in love really fast!   So far I'm really enjoying the movie and love the "teachable moments".  Also, the music is awesome.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Amazon, wow!

I sometimes feel guilty when I buy things from Amazon instead of from a "store".  Stores here in town employ people here in town.  As someone who likes people to have jobs, I like that.  True Amazon has to have people, maybe, involved to box things up, maybe they use a really sophisticated vending machine...?

One time when I needed to return something, I clicked on the "contact us" button.  Instead of taking me to a screen with numbers, that would lead to automated systems, it opened a button that said "Call me now".  So I clicked on that button and my phone rang.  Weird.  Amazing.  I answered the phone and there was an Amazon customer service person on the phone, with my account already open, ready to look up my concern!  Or a very clever robot.   Anyway, I loved it!

My brother sent us an Amazon gift card.  When I went through the process of redeeming the card, it popped up a screen with his email for me to send a thank you message.  Brilliant!  Because I am too lame to send a thank you without the prompt.  I want to be a more thoughtful person.

So thank you Amazon for having awesome contact set up, and for prompting the thank you note that should be automatic.