Mom Thoughts

Worst Parents Ever

Dear Kid,

We have a problem.

Dad and I were working in the backyard this weekend. We’re starting to get a new garden area ready because…well, because we’re insane. That might sound like it’s the problem, but it’s not.

The Puppy was outside with us, wandering around and sniffing and generally being his lazy puppy self.

All of a sudden, he (the Puppy) perked up and started pawing at the ground near the corner of the house. Dad looked up and smiled. “He found a mole or a vole or something.”

I glanced over and saw one nose poking around and one tail waiving frantically at the other end of the Puppy. “Should we stop him?” asked Dad.

“Why? He looks so happy.”a

“I just don’t want him to get his nose bitten.”

“I don’t think he’ll get his nose bitten.”

“What has he got?” “I’m not sure.” “It’s a RABBIT!!” “It’s a baby bunny!!!!” “Puppy, stop that!” DearKidLoveMom.comWe stopped what we were doing and went over to watch.

“What has he got?”

“I’m not sure.”

“It’s a RABBIT!!”

“It’s a baby bunny!!!!

“Puppy, stop that!”

Daddy grabbed the leash and pulled the Puppy away from the baby bunny. The Puppy was not amused – we took away his friend and he didn’t like that at all.

The bunny hugged the wall of the house and tried to act invisible.

Dad took the Puppy inside where he barked and howled and explained his problems at the very top of his voice. We ignored him. He reached new octaves of outrage.

He expressed (in no uncertain terms) how badly he was being treated. How unfair it was that we had taken him away from his new favorite toy – that moved all by itself! And how mean we were to put him inside when we were staying outside where his new friend was. AND no one was feeding him. Unforgivable. 

If he had fingers he’d have texted everyone on the planet. And called the newspapers.

Worst. Parents. Ever.

(Fortunately, giving him dinner seemed to solve most of the problems. His tiny little brain and generally forgiving nature solved the rest.)

Love, Mom

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The Most Important Part of Basketball

Dear Kid,

Are you aware we’re in the middle of a major basketball tournament? Of course you are because you’re alive and connected to the internet.

And do you know there are weird moments in March Madness? Of course you do, because it’s sports and what sporting event lasts more than 37 seconds without weirdness and tradition? None.

And do you know that even after consulting MFtI, I do not really understand the weirdness associated with March Madness? Of course you do, because you know I am not exactly a huge b-ball fan.

Polar Bear eating basketball DearKidLoveMom.comAnd do you know that there are lots and lots of basketball quotes? Of course you do. Because basketball has coaches and coaches have a gift for being quotable. Or at least a gift for being quoted. Here are three I found that I particularly like.

“There is a lot of basketball beyond our control, but a player should never let anyone try harder than he does.” – Dean Smith

“It is foolish to expect a young man to follow your advice and to ignore your example.” – Don Meyer

“Never give up. Failure and rejection are just the first steps to succeeding.” – Jim Valvano

And one more quote just for fun.

We have a great bunch of outside shooters. Unfortunately, all our games are played indoors.  ~Weldon Drew

Happy March Madness.

Love, Mom

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Abby Wambach Speaks #Forward | Paying Attention to What Matters

Dear Kid,

While you were (doubtless) studying on Saturday, I was hanging out with my new BFF Abby Wambach.

Ok, she’s not exactly my BFF because I haven’t actually met her and by “hanging out” I mean listening to her speak at the Women’s Fund event. But I was in the same room and I had a great seat and the rest is semantics. Thank you Girlfriendology for the great ticket.

It will not stun you to learn (and by “learn” I mean be reminded) that I don’t take shorthand. [Do kids these days even know what shorthand is?] So I cannot replicate the afternoon verbatim. But I can share some of the highlights.

First a couple of people from the Women’s Fund spoke. The Executive Director talked about understanding the economic situation so many women find themselves in. Best quote: It’s not enough for someone to occasionally beat the odds—we need to change the odds.

Then a woman told her very inspiring story of making it from a high-school drop out single mom to where she is today.

Abby Wambach's biggest fans. Cincinnati Women's Fund. DearKidLoveMom.comAfter that we learned a little more about the Fund’s work and then two young ladies were introduced. They’d been chosen (via a big contest) as the biggest Abby Wambach fans. A-dor-a-ble. Even better because they got to talk about why they love her and then introduce her. She hugged them. We all kvelled.

She hugged them. We all kvelled. DearKidLoveMom.com

Here’s what I think about Abby: she’s pretty amazing. She’s not the slickest person you’re ever going to meet (thank goodness!). She’s real. She knows who she is, she’s comfortable with who she is, she knows that All is not Right in the world, and she’s Taking Steps to do what she can do. She’s real and I loved it.

Abby Wambach speaking at the Cincinnati Women's Fund event on gender equality. #Forward #Important #LookUp DearKidLoveMom.com

She’s also angry. Angry that she—the best soccer player in the world (repeat: the world. The entire freakin’ world) was payed bupkis and the pretty dang good men (but not even close to the best) were payed ridiculous sums. NOTE: She should be angry. It is not even close to right.

Some of my favorite moments from hearing her talk.

Speaking to a group of little girls at a soccer event: I want you to feel you’re actually equal to the boys—because you are.

Talking about how to make the group more successful even if you’re one of the standout players and learning leadership from Mia Hamm (“You’ve heard of her? Yeah, she’s pretty good.”).

About the 2011 World Cup when the American women lost and having to “find different things to do to not have the same outcome.” Think about that. The best player in the world saying I have to be even better, I have to question myself, I have to work harder, I have to try different things. Impressive.

On teamwork: We have to figure out ways to inspire each other.

She talked for a bit about the relationships we have with our devises rather than each other. Kids are not learning how to connect as people. (Hopefully, there are more houses like ours where no one would dare come to the dinner table phone in hand.) She also talked about the very real problem that what we see on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. is the edited version. We delete the ick photos. Which is fine—except then people often have a skewed vision of the world in which everyone is perfect—except them (enter emotional problems, stage left).

Her biggest message was about gender pay equality. Basically, women not getting paid anything near what men are being paid. Personally, I find it revolting that in 2017 we are having this conversation. Not that we’re having the conversation, so much as that we have to have it. How is it possible that equal pay is not a done deal? How is it possible that paying women the same wages we pay men is not something we do everywhere? How can this still be?

Abby: We don’t have to pay women more. Just pay men less. That will get their attention.

The room was stunned. I think at first we were all shocked that someone would even contemplate paying men less. Then we tuned into the reality of the statement. Yep, that would get men’s attention all right.

Abby Wambach talking with Betsy Ross about gender equality. #Forward #Important #LookUp DearKidLoveMom.com

I consulted My Friend the Internet. Not only are professional women athletes underpaid compared to their male counterparts, female athletic trainers are also underpaid. And underpromoted (hello, glass ceiling).

Think this doesn’t impact you because you’re male? Of course you don’t because you are a wise child. But in case you’re not sure, it impacts everyone.

Look up, lean in, pay attention. Perhaps right now you can’t do anything except be aware. You’re a college kid, I get that. But as you move forward, as you meet different people, as you hold different roles, be cognizant of what you can do to change the status quo and create a new reality.

Love, Mom

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You Won’t Believe What’s Playing at Our House | West Side Story IRL

Dear Kid,

It’s West Side Story at our house. You can tell because the birds are walking around wearing teeny tiny leather jackets, snapping their wing feathers, and breaking into song as they squabble over territory.

The birdfeeder is neutral territory. Everyone is tolerated. Mostly. DearKidLoveMom.comThe bird feeder is the gym—neutral territory.

The Puppy is Officer Krupke—cute, tolerated, mostly ignored, and completely ineffectual when it comes to regulating gang or avian activity.

The lead roles are still in tryouts.

The director’s instructions are clear: Try to stay on key—but above all, be loud. (Sing out, Louise!)

Rehearsals begin exceptionally early (and by “exceptionally early” I mean before daybreak) and are currently running 7 days a week.

We have a full season subscription, so I’m looking forward to them going into full production.

Love, Mom

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Sauna Etiquette and Other Important Things

Dear Kid,

As the song says, there are some things you just don’t do. You don’t pull on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask of the Lone Ranger.

And you don’t pour water on the heating element of a sauna when other people are expecting a dry sauna experience.

It turns out that some people (me) thought you should save water for a steam room and never ever pour water on the “coals” of a sauna. It further turns out that the experts on the internet are quite comfortable with the idea of a wet sauna experience in which one adds water and keeps the temperature at a lower level.

Hey! Guess what happened at the gym the other day? Jenelle and I went into the sauna expecting dry heat and this chick kept pouring water on the rocks. We were not amused.

If I'd wanted steam I'd have gotten a cup of hot coffee. DearKidLoveMom.comIf we’d wanted steam we’d have gotten nice hot beverages. We wanted dry heat.

Not having consulted My Friend the Internet, I was convinced that the chick was a heathen and going to break the sauna and electrocute us all. Turns out I was wwwwrong, but facts are not the point here. The point is that it’s a public place and you follow public etiquette in a public place.

Why didn’t we say anything?

We tried the subtle method of delicate commenting, but she had headphones on and her music was cranked loud enough for the entire city so I’m pretty sure she didn’t hear us.

More importantly, she looked like she could kick our butts without breaking a sweat.

Love, Mom

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Weird and Wonderful Stuff You Don’t Know About Tea

Dear Kid,

Admit it. You’ve been waiting for it. You knew that sooner or later I’d get around to weird and wonderful facts about tea.

Ta-da!

The ubiquitous tea bag was invented by Thomas Sullivan. He put tea in little silk bags to give samples to customers. He called it marketing. Customers called it convenient and thought they were supposed to put the whole thing in their tea pot. We call it innovation. Not everyone thinks tea bags are a good thing, but most of the western world appreciates not having loose tea floating around in their drink.

You’ve been waiting for it. You knew that sooner or later I’d get around to weird and wonderful facts about tea. DearKidLoveMom.comThe art of reading tea leaves is called tasseography. Remind me to check the tea leaves to see if I should write about reading them.

If the Queen visits, you need to know that to serve tea formally one requires a formal tea service. That means teapot (duh), sugar bowl, milk pitcher, coffee pot (for the heathens), slop bowl, teacups and saucers, and the tray (because how else would you carry everything out?). The slop bowl is not for the pigs, nor is it for the used tea leaves (one leaves the leaves in the tea pot, m’dear). The slop bowl is to hold the hot water you used to warm the tea pot prior to pouring in the hot water for tea. Don’t worry. The Queen doesn’t usually drop in unannounced, so you have time to figure it all out.

Once upon a time, there was breakfast and there was dinner but there was no lunch. In the 1800s, Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, got hungry in the afternoon. So she invited guests for tea and sweets (and conversation). This is where afternoon tea began.

In ancient China, tea was a form of currency. Tea leaves were pressed into bricks and scored on one side so it could be broken to make change.

It takes about 2,000 little tiny tea leaves to make a pound of tea. A pound of tea makes about 200 cups of brewed tea.

The best tea is grown at high elevation and is hand picked.

Tea plants can grow into tall trees (up to 52 feet tall according to one source I read). It is difficult to reach 52 feet high to harvest the leaves, so most plants are pruned to waist height.

Tea plants require 50 inches of rain annually.

All of which means we will continue to purchase tea and not attempt to grow any in the backyard.

Love, Mom

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