Rules for Life

Politeness, the Internet, and Coffee

Dear Kid,

I’d stop drinking coffee, but I’m no quitter. ~Author Unknown

There are some things that don’t need to be stopped. Like snuggling puppies, giggling at minions, and drinking coffee.

There are other things that do need to be stopped. Like people being nasty online. That needs to stop immediately if not sooner.

Yes, we’re all entitled our opinions. That’s one of the things that makes America great. We know that. But we are not entitled to throw those opinions like an angry monkey throwing his feces at gawking spectators.

Yes, we’re all entitled our opinions. That’s one of the things that makes America great. We know that. But we are not entitled to throw those opinions like an angry monkey throwing his feces at gawking spectators. DearKidLoveMom.comRespect, people. Kindness. Courtesy. Civility. Politeness. The willingness to listen to people with a different point of view. These are not outdated ideas. They are important parts of a healthy society.

Also, coffee.

Love, Mom

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Wintercreeper is Coming

Dear Kid,

An anonymous source (code name: Dad) discovered that what some of us thought was vine-y vinca was actually wintercreeper.

When you bring a leaf inside and look it up, it’s obvious. Don’t know why anyone would ever consider it might be vinca. DearKidLoveMom.comWhen you bring a leaf inside and look it up, it’s obvious. Don’t know why anyone would ever consider it might be vinca. Silly me people.

Since wintercreeper is one of the nasty invasive species that cause all sorts of problems, this same anonymous source decreed we should eradicate it from the property. Since I love a good weed eradication, I immediately (and by “immediately” I mean once I’d been convinced that the vine in question was in fact wintercreeper and not vinca) signed up.

Do you know the definition of invasive? If you look up the word, you’ll find it means “refuses to leave the property without a serious fight.” And by “serious fight” I mean this weed has dug in, claimed squatters’ rights, and is refusing to leave without a long court battle. Fortunately, when it comes to weeds, I have a stubborn streak as deep as weed roots, so while it may take a while, we shall (eventually) be wintercreeper-free.

I hope.

Love, Mom

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Saturday and a Summer Cold

Dear Kid,

I have a cold. Nothing serious, just a summer cold. 

I’m vacillating between bursts of energy and wanting to curl up in a ball and sleep.

So I’ve decided to give myself a mini-vacation day. We went out to brunch this morning with Auntie C and Uncle D. Yum, yum, yum for the mango french toast!!!

Then I did some weeding. And now I am going to watch NCIS rereuns and take a nap.

Ambitious, no?

Sometimes we have to gift ourselves a little bit of time.

Love, Mom

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June 29th–Hug Holiday Day | The Thing About Hugs

Dear Kid,

Today, June 29th, is Hug Holiday Day. (I’m in favor of hugs. I’m in favor of holidays. And I’m in favor of days. But “Hug Holiday Day” needs work. Why not “Give Someone a Hug Day”? Or “Heaping Up Goodness”? Yeah, not great, I know, but still better than Hug Holiday Day. Just sayin’.)

A hug is like a boomerang—you get it back right away. ~Bil Keane, “Family Circus”

You can't wrap love in a box, but you can wrap a person in a hug. ~Author Unknown DearKidLoveMom.comHug Holiday Day was created by the Hugs for Health Foundation as part of their premise that “hugs, friendship and volunteer support are vital components to the overall senior care plan.”

Lovely. Let’s get to the hugs.

I love hugging.  I wish I was an octopus, so I could hug ten people at a time.  ~Drew Barrymore

Studies have found that not only are hugs good for the soul (and for inspiring fun quotes), they actually help improve health. Hugs decrease feelings of loneliness and tension, lower blood pressure, and improve self-esteem and immune system functions.

I have a present for you, but I need to borrow your arms for wrapping paper.  ~Author Unknown

Hugs can help ease fear. Studies have shown what every toddler knows: you feel less afraid when you hug something, whether it’s a person or a stuffed animal.

I will not play at tug o’ war
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs….
~Shel Silverstein

Every time I think of you, it is like getting a hug from the inside out. ~Author Unknown DearKidLoveMom.comHugs are nice. They are good for you, they’re free, and they’re fun. So go hug someone. Or two someones.

And remember that even though I’m not next to you, I’m hugging you long-distance.

A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go. ~Author Unknown

Love, Mom

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To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Dear Kid,

“To die, to sleep – to sleepperchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams may come…” Hamlet

“To die, to sleep – to sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there's the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams may come…” Hamlet DearKidLoveMom.comHamlet was worrying about eternal dreams (of the bad kind) if he gives up and dies. Turns out, only 50% of people report having occasional nightmares. Those of us who do, understand Hamlet’s fear. Eternal nightmares would be…er, a nightmare.

Researchers believe that fear is not the main emotion in most nightmares. Rather, sadness, guilt, and confusion take center stage. FACT: These researchers have not checked with me. When I have that awful dream about being late for an exam in a class I’ve never attended, my main emotion isn’t sadness, it’s fear and panic. I’ve had nightmares where confusion reigns, but not all that often.

Turns out, most people generally dream about normal situations with familiar people. Uh, huh. I sometimes dream about normal stuff. Like finding myself back in college and not having gone to class for an entire semester, or working with people I no longer work with. But I also dream about really weird stuff too. Don’t most people?

Do you dream in black and white or color? Before color TV, most people dreamed in black and white. I have no idea which I do. I have a hard enough time remembering the dream, I don’t have a shot at remembering whether there was color or not. According to researchers, within 5 minutes of waking up, people forget 50% of their dreams. After 10 minutes, they have forgotten 90%. No word on how long it takes to forget whether you dream in color.

Scientists used to believe we dream only in while in REM sleep, but now they think we dream the whole time we’re asleep. We just don’t remember most of the dreams. Which is unfortunate, because I’m pretty sure there is some weirdly interesting stuff going on in dreamland.

Sweet dreams whenever you find the time to sleep.

Love, Mom

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More About Sleep (You Will Be Amazed)

More About Sleep (You Will Be Amazed)

Dear Kid,

As you may have noticed over the last few years (and by “last few years” I mean your entire life), I feel strongly about the subject of sleep. As in, I believe in sleep. I believe in the occasional weekend nap, I believe in sometimes snoozing in the car while Dad drives, and mostly I believe in not being woken up from a sound sleep.

My alarm clock doesn’t always agree with me on this last point, but that’s a different subject.

This koala does not need sleeping lessons. DearKidLoveMom.comHumans spend about a third of their lives sleeping. This is good because it means you are awake enough to enough the other two-thirds. However, about 1 in 5 adults (3 out of 5 college students, and 4 out of 5 dentists) don’t get enough sleep. This is sad, because it means they are actually sleeping through parts of their awake time.

People can take cat naps with their eyes open without even knowing they were sleeping. This is dangerous, because it means you may miss the most important part of a lecture or the exit ramp you were supposed to take.

According to a 2008 study, 34% of respondents say their employer allows them to nap during breaks and 16% said their employer provides a place for them to do so. A) I have never worked for an employer who allows napping, B) I don’t know anyone who works somewhere that allows napping, C) while I have read articles lauding the idea of a mid-day siesta I’ve not read about workplaces providing nap-rooms (except for preschoolers), so D) I am highly skeptical about the veracity of the study.

Sleeping makes you skinny. (Now you’re paying attention. Now I’m really paying attention.) First of all, when you sleep, you can’t eat. Believe me, I’ve tried. Secondly, levels of leptin (an appetite-regulating hormone) fall when people are sleep deprived, leading them to eat more.

Dysania is the state of finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning. That’s the scientific name. The more common name is “real life.” This is especially true for parents of very young children (FACT: Most parents lose between 400 and 750 hours of sleep in each child’s first year of life. You owe me.). And for parents of older children (FACT: Most parents lose between one and two zillion hours of sleep once their children begin driving.).

After only 17 straight hours of being awake, people begin experiencing symptoms of sleep deprivation, which includes functional deficits similar to those experienced by people with a blood alcohol level of .05%. This means pretty much anyone who watches late night TV and all college students are ridiculously sleep deprived. How are you supposed to learn if you’re “sleep drunk”? (I just made that term up. But it works, no?)

Not only does staying up late make you sleep deprived, but your roommate can make you sleep deprived–and sick. And not just by bringing all sorts of nasty germs around. Noises at night—especially during the first and last hour of sleep—can disrupt your immune system. Who knew?

Get a good night’s sleep tonight. You can thank me later.

Love, Mom

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