The Irreverent Professor

Unvarnished realities about life, teaching, learning, and change in this wild, wild world

Archive for the tag “child”

That’s What The Holidays Are All About…

Two things: (1) I don’t write a mommy blog, but this is about mommy stuff and (2) I’m sorry I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I miss it.  With the semester and my other work, time just got away from me.

Anyway, it’s the winter holiday season and you know what that means!  That’s right:

1) Grades are in and I’ve been completely burned out for a week or so, reeling from the exhaustion and brain fatigue that comes from grading finals, dealing with grade grubbers, and hoping my class would make for next semester. It didn’t :-(.

2) I’m doing the “politically correct” dance and waiting for repercussions for saying “Merry Christmas” (which is the holiday I celebrate…although more in a secular than in a religious way) versus “Happy Generic Winter Holidays If You Celebrate Any of Them.”

and

3) My sweet 5-year-old son is completely and totally out of control with excitement.

Just a few of our festive decorations.

Just a few of our festive decorations.

It’s a joy to be able to see his face light up as brightly as our Griswald-esque Christmas decorations. It is also a joy to be able to wield the “Santa’s going to put coal in your stocking” threat over his head. It’s a refreshing change from the threat of:

  • Time out
  • Spankings (yes, I know, barbaric, horrible, call DFACS, leave snide comments on this post if you must)
  • Taking away one or more toys
  • Forced child labor
  • Making him live in the backyard
  • Making him live in Siberia

or the truly cruel punishment of…gosh, I don’t even know if I should say it in a public forum…

  • Making him play with his toys in his room by himself.

We are truly evil, no? At least to our little extrovert. Being alone is the worst punishment he can think of. Although we have recently discovered another powerful threat: Telling his teacher, Mrs. T, that he’s been making bad choices. She’s a lovely woman, so I’m not sure what he’s afraid of, but I got this hint from him: “If you tell her, she’ll make me eat lunch by myself.” Ah.

He’s an interesting cat. A little super-extrovert athlete being raised by older introverted geeks. It’s going to be a wild ride.

In the spirit of the holidays, please allow me to share my favorite Boy-ism (so far) from my son this season: “When are we going to have hot chocolate? ‘Cause that’s what Christmas is all about.”

The reason for the season...according to my 5 year old.

The reason for the season…according to my 5 year old.

So have some hot chocolate and Happy Holidays!

Carpe hot chocolate!

Insides Outsides…Reprised

Never compare your insides

@gapingvoid (swoon) http://www.gapingvoid.com

You know that saying, “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides“?  It’s a great saying.  One of the best.  Right up there with “Fake it ’til you make it” (my personal favorite), the Golden Rule, and “Life’s too short to drink bad wine.”

The thing is, I thought I had really taken the saying “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides” to heart.  I am very comfortable with who I am.  My whole 47-year-old, BMI of 27 (is that good or bad? I’m not even sure), high-cholesterol, chocoholic self.  I’m comfortable with eating out alone (in fact a lot of times I prefer it, but that’s probably because I have a 4 year old).  I’m comfortable with going out in public without (gasp!) any makeup on.

This is not to suggest that I don’t have insecurities.  Several people in the last week have expressed surprise when I have mentioned being insecure about something (see “Fake it ’til you make it” – I must be doing that pretty well. Ha!).  But I’m comfortable having some insecurities too.  I work on them.  Some improve, some don’t.  Eh.

"Every child is different" Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know.

“Every child is different” Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know.

So imagine my surprise today when I found myself all the way back on square one with this issue.  I walked my 4 year old into his pre-K class and there he was–this other kid writing his name on a piece of paper.  Perfectly.  Upper case, lower case, beautifully formed letters.  And I cringed.  Because my kid writes an almost recognizable W…backwards.  And he does a decent 7, 4, and E.  But otherwise he’s all scribbles.  And the thoughts jumped into my head before I could stop them–“Why can’t my kid do that? Is he not developmentally on track? Are we not teaching him enough at home?”

Before you accuse me of being a Tiger Mom (or a Slacker Mom), you should know that I know that I have the coolest kid in the world.  And he has gifts–mostly athletic and social.  Writing is just not one of them.  But the kid can order a complete meal by himself, call a waitress over to correct something, eat a plate full of cooked broccoli (voluntarily), talk the ears off a cornstalk, climb a rock wall by himself and walk across the top of the monkey bars with perfect balance.  He just can’t write his letters yet.

And I happen to know this other kid (the show off…kidding) has three older brothers.  So he has probably been exposed to such things as writing for quite a while.  Still…I think after karate, we may practice writing some letters and numbers.  Then we’ll have pizza at our favorite pizza joint and kill some zombies in Plants v. Zombies. ‘Cause that’s how we roll.  And it’s ok.

Carpe insides!

Don’t Have Kids

This is what my mother said to me.  Well, actually what she said was “No” (in response to the question “Do you think I should have kids?”) but I didn’t think that made a very good blog title.  I asked her the question just before I surprised her with the news that my husband and I were going to adopt a child, so I set myself up to be especially dramatic and distressed by her answer (dysfunctional much?).

Image

My mom in a field of Texas bluebonnets

The reasons she said I shouldn’t have kids were two-fold:

1. She said no woman should have a child unless it was her intense heart’s desire to be a mother.  And since I had spent most of my married life saying, “No, we don’t want kids.  We are happy with our life as it is.” she felt pretty sure it wasn’t my heart’s desire.

2. She pointed out that I didn’t like kids.  I didn’t.  And I still don’t really like other people’s kids.  (Except the kids of my friends who are reading this.  I love your awesome, talented, wonderful kids, of course.  Really…)

My mother was a smart woman.  But she and I never really understood each other.  She didn’t understand my life choices, I didn’t understand hers.  We had exactly three things in common: a love of animals, a love of food, and a sense of humor.  But I loved my mother very much and am sad that she never got to meet my son (she died of cancer earlier the year he was born).

And here’s the thing: she was right.  I totally, completely, vehemently didn’t want kids…until I did.  And the fact that I was over 40 when I finally did…well, that’s just the way it happened for me.  There was a spell just after we were married that we “tried.”  And when it didn’t happen for us in spite of the evil, crazy-making fertility drugs that I took, we stopped and said, “Wait.  Is this even what we want?  Or are we just doing this because we feel like that’s what we’re supposed to do–get married, buy a house, have a kid?  So we embarked on a fun-filled 10 years of living child-free by choice.  Getting lots of education, traveling, building our careers.  Until we were 40-somethings saying, “What are we going to do for the next 40 years?”

Now I have an awesome, incredible, smart, hilarious son who is four and a half and I can’t imagine a life without him in it.  Sure I get frustrated and tired and aggravated with him (as I’m sure he does me).  That’s part of being a mom.  But he’s the best part of my life…other than my husband, of course.  (Dodging bullets left and right.).  My sweet son makes my life richer.  I have become more mindful because of him.  I stop and look at bugs, pick flowers, sing songs, dance in the rain.  Image

So mom was right.  And wrong.  Don’t have kids a moment before you are ready for them.  But if you do have them–by choice or otherwise–give them your whole heart and embrace your “momness” (or “dadness”).  No matter what anyone says.

Carpe momness.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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