Friday, April 17, 2015

Mom Parodies of Pop Songs

Seconda, who is now 8, has been bitten by the pop music bug. It's all about Taylor Swift and Katy Perry and Megan Trainor.  The maddening thing about pop music is that it's so damn catchy; as if it weren't bad enough to be listen to "Shake It Off" on repeat play in the car for a half hour, I've got the damn song lodged in my brain for two days after.

But, on the upside, my recent education in contemporary pop has made me appreciate these hilarious mom parodies of pop songs, courtesy of Deva Dalporto, a mom of two kids (5 and 8) in San Francisco.  Her videos can be found on the My Life Suckers channel on Youtube and it will make you laugh . . . Though, chances are, her lyrics will get lodged in your brain just as quickly as Taylor Swift's.

If you like "Shake It Off" . . . Knock it Off

"All About the Bass" . . . I Just Need Some Space

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Builds Character

Few people are more quotable than Helen Keller. She was one smart lady and she knew how to take all that intelligence and distill it down into little, digestible kernels of wisdom. My favorite, though, is this one:

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

The reason I like it, besides the fact that is rings so true, is that it makes me feel hopeful for my children. After all, there is never ease and quiet in our home. 

They are going to have more character than they know what to do with. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A new (insane) perspective on sibling rivalry

When I added another child to the family, I greatly multiplied the possibilities for sibling rivalry. If you were a math person, you could compute the exact number of permutations or combinations or whatever you call it. I am not a math person. I am a sandwich person.

By my count, we've got the following combos on the rivalry menu:

Big Boy vs Big Girl aka The Original Combo (Primo vs. Seconda)

Biggest vs Smallest ( Primo vs Terza)

Girl vs Girl (Terza vs Seconda)

and then your more harry fare, the two against one deals:

Bigs vs Small (Primo and Seconda vs Terza)


Girls vs Boy (Seconda and Terza vs Primo)

So many options for sibling throw-downs! Which is great, because variety is the spice of life!

Despite the number of possibilities, though, there is one combo that is far more popular than the others, winning by a landslide. That's the Original.

I don't know whether it's the fact that Primo vs Seconda deal has been on the menu five years longer or the fact that Primo and Seconda are just such contradictory flavors that it makes for an incendiary melange, but whatever it is, the big kids arguing accounts for 90 percent of all sibling rivalry. Roughly. I'm no mathematician.

If you're feeling irritated by this seriously overused metaphor, that really wasn't that sound in the first place, consider this: by thinking of my children as sandwich fixings and their showdowns as sibling panini, it makes the chronically unbearable business of sibling rivalry so much more tolerable. Since I don't have anything useful to offer in the way of advice for you, fellow parents, about how you might address sibling rivalry, let me suggest this coping strategy then: imagine your children as lunch meat.

It's the least I can do.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

In Darkness and In Light

It has long been a dream of mine to share my story in the Modern Love section of the New York Times.

A few days ago, that dream came true. You can read my story here.

If you'er looking for another story about love and blindness -- a stunning one -- read this Modern Love by writer Ryan Knighton, author of the memoir Cockeyed: Seeing The World Through My Wife's Eyes. Prepare to weep!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Facetime Babysitter

You have to respond to a pressing email or get dinner in the ocean and your 3 year-old is running amok. What do you do to get 20 minutes to take care of business? You may just dial up Aunt Rita or Grandpa Mo and ask them to babysit -- through your cell phone.

According to The New York Times's Motherlode,  FaceTime Babysitters  are becoming more and more popular for short stints of time -- when parents are at home but need to get stuff done. It's not the worst idea is the world but it's probably not the best idea either.
“The art of dealing with boredom or nonstimulation is an exquisite skill that children need to develop,” said Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician in Seattle and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Communications and Media. 
Of course, this begs the question: if Grandpa Mo or Auntie Rita are really boring, is it OK?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Opinions on parenting

I used to have a lot of opinions on how parents should raise their kids. 

Then I had children. 

Little by little, year by year, my opinions grew weaker until they began to disappear altogether. They were replaced by opinions on how I should raise my own kids, whose needs I understand thoroughly, and who belong to a family, whose needs, talents and limitations are very clear to me. 

But the more kids I have and the longer I raise them, the fewer opinions I have about parenting in general. That's because I see the tremendous range of children out there and the tremendous range of families who are trying their absolute best to support those kids and love those kids and make those kids into great adults. I see how little I actually see of families inner workings, and I see how many of my assumptions over the years have been inaccurate. And having seen all this, I realize there can never be one right way to do something as complex as raise a happy, healthy, good human being. 

Love your kids. Love yourself  Laugh. Ask for help. Give some thought to your decisions about their care. Try to see the forest for the trees. 

Those are my opinions. And if I didn't already believe every single parent I know was doing all of these things already, maybe I'd venture to offer them. 

The one opinion I have that I think parents need to hear is that if you have a lot of opinions on child rearing, you should probably keep them to yourself.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Oh my gosh, the lights!

Larry Hester, who has been totally blind for 33 years, recently saw New York City with restored sight, courtesy of a prosthetic retina.I read about him in this story in People magazine and it totally reduced me to tears. Especially this part:
"Oh my gosh, the lights," he says while squeezing his wife Jerry's hand on world-famous 42nd Street. "They're everywhere."
It's a terrifically inspiring story about hope and love and gratitude. Read it!