In keeping with the theme of the past few posts, I wanted to post my own thoughts… so here goes: I have not read the Cinderella ate my offspring book, and I actually had never heard of it.  I would, however, like to read it.  Being a teacher who spends much of my day in my classroom with elementary aged kids, I’m sort of in a bubble when it comes to what’s going on in the outside world.  Sure, I visit a news website once or twice a day just to see if anything is “breaking” and see who thinks they might be able to fix it, but I don’t have access to a continuous feed of information throughout the day like some other people who have the luxury of taking a break from what they are doing to go and talk to their co-workers about this or that at the water cooler (huge run-on, I know).

Maya dressed up

Back in December, Maya attended the birthday party of a classmate who had just turned 3.  The theme was a Princess theme and she loved it.  The girls got to dress up as princesses in gowns, and the boys wore knight in shining armor paraphernalia.  Maya had a great time and has since been asking for a princess party for her birthday in March. (Too bad I’ve already booked the party with the magician.)  Ever since the party, and even a couple months before, Maya has shown a lot of interest in skirts, dresses, tutus and ballet attire.  When we get home from school she wants to put on her tutu skirt, or the leotard I got on clearance last year that is about 5 sizes too big for her.  She’s expressing some independence and we are letting her do it if it is safe.  For example, she has to wear pants and sneakers to school, but if she asks to wear her tutu skirt over that, so be it.  The other day she decided she HAD to put on tights, a skirt and her nice shoes before we could go grocery shopping.  Although Maya is very interested in princesses, tutus, etc, I signed her up for a mini-gym class at her preschool instead of the ballet class.  She probably would have chosen ballet over mini-gym, but she’s absolutely loving the gym class, and I love that she is getting to run, jump, tumble, etc.

Like Michelle, when I was little, I would probably have been considered a tomboy.  I was the ONLY girl in my entire town’s Little League baseball league (not team), and I was still better than the majority of the boys.  I even had a shorter haircut (thanks to some MAJOR miscommunication at the hairdresser in second grade), so many of the opposing players didn’t even know I was a girl unless I took my hat off.  As I got older I continued to play whatever sport I was interested in including baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball and soccer.  I remember my mom signed me up for ballet once, and I cried the entire time.  I don’t think I ever went back (Sorry for wasting your money, mom!).

The point is, right now Maya is at the age where she should be exploring different options and trying them out as she likes.  The tutu is certainly less expensive than the ballet class or dance company fees later on.  Right now she gets a kick out of dressing up, and tumbling in her gym class.  Cinderella might be trying to eat my daughter, but I’ll try to keep them away from each other for a little while longer!

More from this series:

I think I’m a good parent.  I think I let my kids have fun.  But I worry that sometimes I’m a bit too overprotective of their fun time.  Maybe I don’t let them have as much fun as they would like.  Do they have to be perfect all the time?  No.  Can’t I let them roughhouse with one another once in a while?  Yes.

When I was little, my family and I would go to IHOP every so often for breakfast.  It was a real treat!  I clearly remember my brother and I ordering milks and then both of us pouring in between 2-3 of those extra creamers that they always had on the table.  I probably wouldn’t let my kids do that at a restaurant, but why not?  Why can’t they have the same fun I had when I was little?  I also blew bubbles in my milk in restaurants.  I know.  So uncouth.  My parents probably asked me not to, but I still did it.  I was a rebel for sure. 

Shouldn’t I let my kids do the same-or at least pretend not to notice?  Sure.  I should, and I will!!

Maya

We were all walking back to the car the other day and I was holding Maya. I whispered in her ear, “Who loves you?” She replied, “Mommy loves me!”

“Who else loves you?”

“Daddy loves me!”

“Who else loves you?”

“Seth loves me!”

“Who else loves you?”

“ME loves Me!… Myself loves me!!”

 

Maya has now reached the stage where she is testing the limits of what she knows is right.  She isn’t defiant on purpose-she’s just having a little fun with it.  She’ll do something she knows she shouldn’t, we’ll warn her that she is going to have a time out or be removed from the situation (dinner table, play room, etc.), and then she’ll go right ahead and do it anyway.  She TOTALLY understands what’s at stake, and she does it anyway!!  I secretly love it because she has this really great sense of humor and is a really funny kid.  She still gets upset if we win and she loses, but she has fun with it.

Just the other day we were out for lunch and she was playing with the straw in her milk.  I asked her to please stop because it might spill and of course she kept right on doing it.  She even looked at me as if to say, “I dare ya to take it away!  No, I double dare ya!”  Well, I didn’t need to take it away because not too long afterwards her milk spilled and she had to clean it up.  What’s that I hear?  Mommy knows best?  Hmm.

Exactly three years ago today, I began my tenure as a veteran.  No, I hadn’t fought in any foreign war, but I was fighting a form of combat that no one really understood.  I’m talking about the war my body was raging against itself.  You see, on Veteran’s Day 2008, I found out that I was going to be on hospital bedrest for the long haul.  I was just about 20 weeks pregnant with Maya, and all was going well . . .or so it seemed.  It was a day off for me (my school was closed), so I took advantage of that and had scheduled both my 20 week ultrasound and my 20 week OB appointment back to back.  First up was the sonogram.  I figured getting that done first was smart because if anything was found to be unusual, they could call ahead to my OB and we could discuss it then.  I’d already have an appointment.  To make a long story short, it was discovered at the sonogram that my cervix was extremely short and that time was not on our side.  I was going to need to head to the hospital for an emergency cerclage.

Surprisingly, I took this all in stride.  At that point, I wasn’t thinking that this would be anything bigger than a simple surgery (although surgeries are never simple) and that I would go home later that day-maybe the next.  Little did I know that I would be spending the next 3 1/2 months, yes, MONTHS in the hospital flat on my back.  I was lucky to have landed myself at INOVA Fairfax where I became a patient on the High Risk Pregnancy floor (known as HRP to those in the loop).  I was even luckier to have landed the most prestigious doctor in the area for my surgery.  Luckiest of all was that he was able to do a successful surgery (despite telling me afterwards that it was the hardest cerclage he had ever done) and save Maya’s life.  And wouldn’t you know, Maya’s birthday is even on St. Patrick’s Day.

In any event, even after the surgery there was uncertainty, tons of stress, and a not-yet-two-year-old-Seth to take care of.  It was confirmed that I wouldn’t be going home anytime soon, so my parents basically moved in to our house to cook, clean, help with Seth, pick him up from school when necessary, and visit me daily.  Other friends and family members pitched in to help Seth and Philip, and to keep me company in the hospital.  It wasn’t the ideal situation for anyone, but it worked.  For this I am grateful.

So, I’m a bit overwhelmed.  I have one of those email addresses where they give you the option to “prioritize” certain incoming mail, mark other mail as less important and put stars next to even more mail.  It is meant to keep one organized, but it hasn’t worked out so well for me.  Right now I have almost 150 messages in my “priority” inbox.  I have hundreds in my starred category and literally (I’m not kidding) thousands in my regular mail.  I’m the type that needs lots of time to sit and focus on a task so that I can complete it well.  I’m not a good multi-tasker and I have a hard time getting things accomplished when I only have time to complete part of it.  So, that explains why I have probably 25,000 emails.  I may have time to read the email, but if I don’t have time to respond or follow up on the email right at that moment, then it gets marked as unread so that I know to come back to it.  Invariably, it will be forgotten.  Then if I do come back to it, yup, I get overwhelmed.

At issue as well is my house.  We have had our fair share of school projects that have come home with both kids from preschool.  Most of it I keep.  How could I not??  Now that Seth is in Kindergarten, he is coming home with even more.  This is the real stuff.  Real School.  I can’t possibly throw any of this stuff out.  So my question is . . .now what?  If I can’t keep my virtual world clutter free, how will I ever succeed with my real life one?  Suggestions?  Oh, and when during my hectic life do you propose I find the time to organize all the stuff?

When I was in Middle School we had something called “Late Day”.  Late Day happened twice a week and it was a day when we could choose to stay after school for an hour for an elective.  The best part was that we were old enough to buy a snack like Rolos, Twizzlers and/or a can of soda from the Student Council to eat beforehand.  The electives were varied enough so that everyone who wanted to attend a class could do so.  At 4:30 pm we would either take the late bus home or get picked up by our parents.  Sounds fun, and it was.

What reminded me of Late Days was seeing the parents that have been steadily streaming through my school’s doors today.  You see, many of the kids that go to my school also go to the after school program located at my school.  For some of them, Late Day isn’t 4:30 pm, it is more like 6:00 pm.  For many of them, Late Day is every day.  Now I know that many parents work 9-5 jobs, so 6 is the earliest they can feasibly get to their kids, but I just wonder how that affects the whole dynamic of family time.  I know that when my kids were at their old preschool, I was able to get to them and get home by 4:45.  Earlier if I wanted to.  Now that they are further from my school and it takes more time to get there, get them, get them to agree to come to the car, and get home, we get home later.  Getting home later means that things get pushed later into the night.  Things like dinner, showers (my kids aren’t much into baths), pajamas, books (Maya made a pile higher than Mount Kilimanjaro last night) and bedtime get pushed later because the time they used to have for things like free play, coloring, and riding bicycles is slowly ebbing away.  They need this time to decompress from their day, and frankly so do I.  So I wonder . . . how do the kids that are just leaving school at 6pm deal with it all?  Do they get any family time before it is time to get up the next morning and start all over again?  I guess this is what they call “the daily grind” elementary style.