January 31, 2011

Free Chocolate? Yes, Please!!!

First of all, congratulations to the winner of the Calendar Giveaway- That Damn Redhead! 

I am happy to announce MORE FREE STUFF!  And this time, the best stuff on earth.  That's right, chocolates.  I'm giving away a free box of chocolates from H&S Candies.

How do you win my delicious prize?  Simple.  Leave a comment to this post telling me why you or someone you love should get a nice big box of chocolate.

DD and SI covered investigating chocolate birthday cake
I'll announce the winner on Valentine's Day!  You have two weeks!

January 26, 2011

Mutual Benefit

The time has come.  I can't take it any more.  I am potty training my kids.

Yes, I know they're only 16 months old.  Yes, I know that it's going to be a gigantic pain.

That said, my back is killing me.  There is no comfortable way to coerce a squirming 25lb bundle that seems to be made entirely of legs into a clean diaper.

THE POTTY BOOT CAMP: Basic Training For ToddlersI've got the potties.  I've ordered a few books on potty training (the one pictured seemed promising).  I believe it can be done.  My personal Mary Poppins believes it can be done.  M is... skeptical, but supportive.
Perhaps potty training will come more easily if I wait for another year or so.  But I just can't do it.  I am getting these children out of their diapers.

If you have any suggestions for methods, books, or favorite toilet related words of wisdom, please share!  I can't tell you I'm not a bit terrified.

Because I get the feeling that this might be pretty hard.

January 23, 2011

Michelle Obama and Cloud Computing

You asked and they answered.  Welcome to... "Ask a Toddler!"

Keep those questions coming, and we'll keep giving you the completely analyzed yes or no answers we know you need.

January 19, 2011

Amy Chua's Hubris- Where the "Tiger Mother" Fails

SuperMommy and her Super Sisters as small children
 There are many different ways to raise children.  The standards are constantly changing, from the recommendations for breast feedings to the methods for potty training.  Every once in a while, a book on parenting comes along and there is a giant shift in the process people use to raise their children.  The public tends to trust the so-called experts when it comes to the nearly universally terrifying task of turning babies into productive human beings.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherBy now, most of you have probably heard all about Amy Chua and, "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."  My friends and beloved bloggers have been both up in arms about her techniques and eager to go for the same results.  I am neither.

You see, Amy Chua's parenting style is aimed, as she says, at "raising such stereotypically successful kids."  Right there, there is the flaw.  "Stereotypically successful."

What sort of success is that?  Kids that get straight A's and perform at Carnegie Hall?

I have a different measure of success.  Happiness, and the ability to lead a normal, emotionally healthy life.

My family 15 years ago, including DD's namesake
My grandmother, who DD is named for, was sort of the Midwestern American version of the Tiger Mother.  My father was reading before he could walk, and his childhood was spent as a Child Prodigy, alienated and under constant pressure.  The argument could be made that it obviously worked, that he went on to achieve his Ph.D. from an extremely prestigious institution and become a leader in his field.  However, after having three children with similar intellectual ability, he made the very conscious choice not to raise his children in the same way.

My father in high school
Why?  Because, "stereotypically successful kids" are not actually geniuses.  They're normal children who have been pushed to succeed to the best of their ability, and the best of their ability is very impressive.  The best of anybody's ability is fairly staggering.  But only about half of the children out there are "normal."  The rest are outliers for some reason or other.

My older sister was not a normal child.  She is, beyond any doubt, absolutely brilliant.  She is by far the most intelligent person I have ever known.  A decade ago, she wrote a 'zine about her life.  It was witty, moving, beautiful... every word chosen perfectly.  A heartbreaking work of staggering genius.  But as it is said, there's fine line between brilliance and insanity.  While she might not be insane, she is genuinely troubled.  Her emotional and intellectual needs have never, not for one minute of her life, been "normal."  A Tiger Mother approach to parenting would probably have resulted in her running away from home at the age of ten, never to be seen again.  God only knows if she would have survived.

My older sister, taken by my younger sister
Now I don't generally like to say this, but I am very very smart.  In addition, the Tiger Mother approach wouldn't have made a damn bit of difference in my childhood.  I had my older sister to motivate me, to inspire me to perform as well as I could.  I got straight A's, at five years old I begged my parents to get me piano lessons, I began attending college full time before I was fifteen.

None of that was particularly normal.  However, under the Tiger Mother's tutelage, my childhood would have been filled with much more heartbreak.  Under her rules, I never would have been allowed to quit the piano.  Until I was eleven, I never had the desire to quit the piano.  I had fallen in love with the instrument after hearing my grandfather play "The Moonlight Sonata."  I spent six years practicing, albeit reluctantly on occasion, knowing that someday I would be able to play that amazing piece of music.  At eleven my teacher reluctantly agreed to help me with the piece, and it was then that my heart broke... my hands were not, and would never be, large enough to play it correctly.  I can't make the octave-one stretch.
Learning from my aunt, a concert violinist

Would the Tiger Mother have taken the medieval approach of breaking my thumbs to give my hands better reach?  If that was the only way to succeed?

Had I been raised by a Tiger Mother, I might have become more studious.  I might have actually achieved a degree in my twelve years of college education, and I might be a little more diligent about editing this blog for simple typos.  I, like M, am a dedicated under achiever.  For both of us, this is one of the coping mechanisms we developed for being alienated by being somehow not normal.

My younger sister becomes Aunt Geonocide
My younger sister was perhaps the most normal of us.  She moved through her social groups well, she was certainly smart enough to get straight A's without too much effort (although she didn't always put in ANY effort), and she had few of the emotional problems from which I and our sister suffered.  Perhaps the Tiger Mother could have kept her more in line as a teenager and made her put in that extra mile to do well in grade school, but even without the extreme rigidity of that parenting style, she finished her Master's Degree in Genocide Studies in record time.  She has made herself invaluable to her current employer, and has very exciting job prospects in her field.  (None of which actually include genocide.)  Ten years ago, the Tiger Mother would probably have looked over her body of academic achievement and her derelict appearance and considered her a total failure.

Most parents have the good sense to hope for a normal child.  A normal child can be pushed around, and you know how they will react.  Normally.  Amy Chua's children, while obviously smart and talented, are just as obviously NORMAL.  And this is vital to her success.

Me and Aunt Genocide in middle school
I am sure that she would say that the Tiger Mother model is not intended for children with severe disabilities, with low functioning Autism or Down's Syndrome, but I would argue that it is also not to be used for children who might otherwise be abnormal.  Who might be outliers for other reasons.

As a mother, I have some very strong ideas about how to raise my own children.  I always planned that they would learn instruments very young, at least as young as I was.  I've already decided to start SI on the recorder (she's quite remarkable on the flutaphone considering she's 15 months old) and DD on the piano when they're three or four.  I always planned to encourage them to succeed academically.  I always planned to push them, but only enough to motivate them to push themselves.  I will let them choose their own extra-curricular activities, to follow their own dreams and ambitions.  I never wanted to be the mother that ruined my children's live by making them unlivable.  Or by making them what I always wanted my own life to be.

Poppa reading to DD and SI
I watch my children grow and learn, and I constantly look for danger signs that they might be outliers.  I worry so hard for them, knowing how isolating it can be to be not normal.  And I remember how my own genius-sister had more influence on my academic life than my parents ever could, how siblings hold so much more sway on how a child develops than any meddling and well-meaning parent can hope for.

David Brooks of the New York Times poses another interesting point in his opinion piece about Amy Chua.  He says that by keeping her daughters so focused on their academic and musical successes she neglected their social education.  He argues that learning to navigate the social world of a teenage girl is a much more difficult task than completing 2,000 math problems a night.  In many ways, he is right.  Those social lessons are vital to survival in a social world, and they are not teachable by any way other than trial and error.  That these social skills translate to real world achievement as well as general well being.  If so, I have no doubt that the Tiger Mother would find a way to create a regimen of social exercises.  Perhaps with the children of other Tiger Mothers.  I wish them luck.

Me and my older sister

Amy Chua is no doubt a fine mother, but what works for her cannot and will not work for all families.  I would remind you of my first General Rule of Parenting- whatever makes you a happier, saner person is good parenting.  If inflicting the rigors and hardships of a Tiger Mother style on your child would make you less happy, less functional, it becomes bad parenting.  And I posit a new General Rule of Parenting- remember always that your child is not you, and that they are an individual that requires an awareness of and respect for their own individuality.

Tiger Mothering cannot work for me, it did not work for my father, and I urge all of you who might be considering it to first consider your child, and then consider this.

Do you want your children to be "stereotypically successful?"  Wouldn't you rather that they were un-stereotypically successful?  Or even better, went on to lead happy, meaningful lives?  Are either of Amy Chua's daughters engaged in meaningful social relationships?  Do they have friends and lovers and a support network that might not include their parents?  Are they autonomous adults who can maintain balance and harmony in their own lives?   What you might consider success for yourself could translate to a life of misery for another person.  And that other person might be your child.

Isn't that a little more important that memories of playing Carnegie Hall?
Me at age 6 with my new kitten, the happiest of memories

January 16, 2011

Favorite Parenting Quote

"The children they would have someday together. She told him, they're always there, towing along behind us, like balloons tied to our ankles. They aren't captives, just clouds. Only clouds."

-Noe Venable, "Aren't Captives" from Down Easy

...also one of my favorite albums of all time.


January 12, 2011

Parenting is Gross

For those of you who might not have children, you would be shocked at how disgusting parenting can be.

The girls have been eating a lot of orange segments lately.  Well, not as many as a few weeks ago.

You see, orange segments make the. world's. grossest. poo.

While most of the fruit is digested, some goes through completely unhurt.  Those tear-shaped bits that make up a citrus fruit's delicious juiciness?  They come out completely unharmed in toddler poo.  They're also ridiculously hard to clean off, as they're sticky and just sort of roll all over the place.  While you're trying to change a squirming toddler.

Worst of all... once in a while... they pop.  And then you've been squirted by a globule of poo-juice.

Just think of that next time you decide you might want to have kids.

Or never think of it again.  I certainly try not to.

Toilet training starts next week.

January 10, 2011

Eat It

DD and SI feeding themselves some squash
I was raised a vegetarian.  My parents, several of their siblings, and one of my siblings are still vegetarians.

Lots of people have told me how strange this is to them.  My husband, a dedicated omnivore, was exclusively the meat-and-potatoes type when we met.  Our children are being raised (until old enough to make their own decisions on the matter) as vegetarians as well.

Probably the biggest reason there was no fight at all about what to feed the children is that I am, if I dare say so myself, an excellent cook.  I LOVE to cook.  I'm a kitchen experimenter.  I love combining flavors, creating new delicious dishes, and covering a table with more food than can possibly be consumed by present company.  My favorite part though, is when everyone at the table rolls their eyes with delight, over-stuffs themselves, and compliments the chef.

Cooking, for me, is a fairly self-congratulatory activity.

Which brings me to my current difficulties.  You see, I have spent much of the last two months encouraging the girls to feed themselves all of their meals.  This means that they won't accept being FED by another person as a general rule, and that their diet has become a bit limited.

Why?  Because I'm a bit of a coward.  I don't want to deal with more blueberries on the ceiling or steam cleaning my floors on a daily basis.  So mostly they eat fairly easy to clean finger foods.

Which unfortunately doesn't include a lot of vegetables.

My children love scrambled eggs.  I had thought that perhaps I could sneak veggies into their diets by adding them to the eggs- make them omelets!  SI is perfectly happy to eat them, but DD... let's just say, she hasn't had a real breakfast in a few days.

Now here's the rub- I am taking it SO personally!  I'm eating the exact same thing, I know it's delicious, I know it's all things IN the eggs that DD is perfectly happy to be spoon fed in blended form, but she won't eat them!

It's as though she's calling into question all my self esteem, all my sense of identity, and any other sources of confidence I might have once had.

And trying to get a toddler to eat something that she's decided is a personal affront...

Asking politely doesn't work.  Bargaining doesn't work.  Begging doesn't work.  Force-feeding doesn't work.  Yelling certainly doesn't work.  Punishment is largely a joke- how do you punish a toddler who doesn't even understand what's happening to her?  It's been a trying couple of days.

In the meantime, SI just sits there eating peacefully until DD gets herself into trouble.  The moment she realizes that DD won't eat something, she won't eat it either.

The worst part?  The waste of food.  So much food gets spit out onto the floor, so much gets crammed under the seat cover, so much gets trampled on...

We're spending more money on food that I COOK and then THROW AWAY than we are on food that we eat.  And it's driving me a little crazy.

What else doesn't DD eat?  Macaroni and cheese.  She hates it.  But she just loves brussels sprouts, yams, and zucchini.  Take that, veggie naysayers!

January 9, 2011

Using Your Words

SI took this picture.  I swear, DD is not the devil.

DD is learning to talk.

SI... not so much.  She might have said her first word more than a month before DD, but as in all other things, she's waiting until DD gets good at it to really put forward the effort.  I imagine she'll be completely non-verbal for the next year or so, and suddenly start speaking in complete sentences.

But DD, she's figuring it out.  Every day she points at something, listens to what it's called, and then repeats it.  Almost perfectly.  Yesterday it was "shoe," today (so far) it's been "door," "bird," and "juice."

She doesn't often remember them, but once she does...

Rasta SI
The other day I went into their room after their afternoon nap and started changing SI into a clean diaper.  DD was still sleepy in her crib, but once she really woke up she saw me playing with SI, and not HER.  In a very stern voice, she said to me as she shook her head until she fell over...

"No, mommy!  No!"

It was her first complete sentence, and her first fully articulated thought.

I would have been proud to bursting if I wasn't doubled over with laughter.

January 7, 2011

The Other Shoe

At 6 months
I have easy babies.  Most nights before going to bed, I listen to my children laughing over the monitor, talking to their toys or each other and generally going happily to sleep.  I look at M and I say, "Why are they so good?  HOW are they so good?"

He says he doesn't know, and we probably shouldn't question it.  And I shake my head and wonder, "When is the other shoe going to drop?"

When we go on vacation and they're pleasant and playful EVERYWHERE, they go to sleep in the car, and they don't puke on anything, I wonder when it will end and I'll have to learn how to cope with a difficult child.

When they both enter and exit Sam's Club without a trip to the bathroom, a single cry, or a furious need to pull things off of shelves. I wonder what on earth I would do if they weren't both such easy babies.

One should never ask these questions.  One never wants to know the answers to these questions.

You might think that, having fifteen month old twins, I would know what to do if my children had a gigantic freak-out in public.  You would think, being a fairly competent mother, I would know how to maneuver two hysterical toddlers on a city street.

I have seen my children have meltdowns before.  I know that DD needs to be hugged and distracted when she's very upset, that SI requires a little more time and calm and effort than DD, and that her tantrums can set off DD as well.  I also know that as soon as DD decides that SI is ACTUALLY in trouble, she turns silent as the grave.  She just watches and waits, because something must obviously be wrong with SI.

I'll admit, I was not at my best this morning.  My alarm had gone off at midnight instead of seven, I hadn't had breakfast, and I'd had blueberry oatmeal flung at me.  I then made the very mistaken move of taking my children out of the house.

First, SI wouldn't wear her mittens.
She had to wait on the lawn while I got DD in the car.  She didn't like that.
After that she had to watch SuperMommy have a big fight with the (broken) car door, and then get strapped into her car seat.  She didn't like that, either.
Then she had to sit in the back seat, with SuperMommy in the driver's seat.  She DEFINITELY didn't like that.  At this point DD decided that whatever was wrong with SI was not going to get better, that SuperMommy was NOT going to help, and it was time to freak out now.
Then SuperMommy had to park, and LEAVE the car to go pay for the parking.

As I strapped the two screaming and flailing toddlers one by one into their stroller, people all over the parking lot stopped to stare.  Some with loathing, some with pity, all with expressions that said, "I'm not going anywhere NEAR you."  I pushed 140 decibels of angst 50 feet down the street to a door, barely wide enough to squeeze the double stroller.  Through the lobby shared by our pediatrician's office and a bank, and up to the elevator.  Oh yes, dear readers, this was a trip to get shots.  We rode the barely-large-enough elevator up, up, up to destiny.


I used to use a meditation technique to go to sleep.  You imagine that you're in an elevator, and as it rises higher you imagine leaving behind your muscles, your face, your ears... until you are nothing but thought.  You hear nothing, you feel nothing but warm and secure, and you rise weightlessly into the endless stars.

That was nothing like this elevator ride.

When we arrived at the doctor's office, the waiting room was blessedly vacant.  The doctor told me she heard us coming down the hall (at least that's what her hand gestures said), and to go ahead and calm them down.  As if I knew how.  Somehow our stuff ended up EVERYWHERE.  It was on the couch, on the chairs, behind the desk, on the water cooler... and the stroller was partially disassembled.  I sat on the floor attempting to herd my shrieking, flailing toddlers into my lap and calm them down.

SI rolled all over the floor, unable to express her misery through sounds and tears alone.  This made everything worse for DD.

She couldn't take it anymore and smashed her face onto the floor.

They wouldn't even LOOK at a book.  They wouldn't listen to words or music.  They wouldn't "Dance Away the Sadness" (our usual method when all else is failing).

I ended up with DD tucked onto my lap under one arm, clinging to my shirt with her breath hitching and the occasional squeal of her repressed cries coming through her lips.  SI was spralwed across my lap on her back, her head resting on one shin and her feet dangling over the opposite hip, with eyes closed... COMPLETELY silent and still.  It looked as though she had fainted.  It was only worse once she finally opened her eyes and stared vacantly into space.

We stayed like that for about five minutes before going in and getting the girls their shots.

They were champs.  Even when SI had to sit on the floor while DD got her shot.  They were champs.  They went back into their clothes, coats (although not SI's mittens), stroller, car, and then HOUSE without complaint.  And then they sat in the living room, perfectly calm and watching cartoons for half an hour before going down, without struggle or complaint, for a nap.

So, here I am.  With a nice cup of almond tea, lunch, and a baby monitor playing quiet, uninterrupted lullabyes.  Contemplating my fate.  I have no doubts that this will happen again, and I have no doubts that it will occur in a less toddler-friendly environment.  Who's to say there will be a nice quiet waiting room?  Who's to say one explosion won't just lead to another, worse meltdown?  Who's to say people will be nice to us?

My mother says it's like losing your virginity, having your kids melt down in public.  You don't really know what it's like until it happens.  With sex, you get better as you do it more often.  With your kids' meltdowns... well... I just don't know that I want to try it enough to be sure I'm doing a good job when it happens.

I still don't know how or why my kids are so good... GENERALLY... but I don't think I'm going to question it anymore. 

That other shoe's a bitch.

January 4, 2011

Get Free Stuff!

I am pleased to announce my first giveaway!

Comment with your "to-do" list for the year, and I will MAKE one lucky reader their own OCD calendar system!  A 2011 calendar, calendar square sized to-do lists, a glue stick, and a few little extras to get you going on the right foot.

Let's hear those 2011 goals!

January 3, 2011

SuperMommy v./ Mother Nature, MN:1, SM:0

Ah, Mother Nature.  My arch nemesis.  We meet again.

As far as I'm concerned, there are two types of women in the world.  Women who DO, and women who DON'T.  That latter category has a hard time understanding the former- it's hard to exactly sympathize with something you don't understand.  They don't understand how it completely alters your mental state, how it makes you a genuinely dysfunction human being for stretches of time, or how all consuming and destructive it becomes.

They don't understand how women that DO begin to alter their entire lifestyles out of fear, out of misery, and out of desperation.

I am, of course, talking about getting yeast infections.

It's amazing, as I look back on the last decade I realize how much of my life has been dictated by being a woman who DOES.  Those of you who know me have no doubt noticed that I almost always wear long, flowing skirts.  That I eat (and make) a fair amount of yogurt.  That don't drink much.  That I have probiotics lying around the house.  What you may not have noticed is that all my body and laundry products are either unscented or have only essential oils added, or that I use only cotton sheets.

Christmas did me in.  Between all the sweets, all the booze, and the VERY long and dry car rides (in a poorly chosen wool/poly blend skirt) the holiday led to a PARTICULARLY nasty invasion of my personal space.

In short, ladies and gentlemen, it was as though somebody had rudely and without warning thrust a small hive of live bees into my privates.  Eerily peaceful, but constantly ready bees.

Now, I'm normally a very functional human being.  But being in the throws of one of the top three worst infections I've ever had, I began to decline.  I stopped sleeping, I left burners on the stove alight, I paced and got lost in the same room.  The bees were entirely in control.

But SuperMommy!  Surely you DID something?  Surely you called a doctor, or took some marvel of modern medicine, or made a magic potion!

Ah, dear readers, I did all of these things.  I drank probiotic elixers.  I downed the magic single dose pill.  And that's where Mother Nature got me.  Her and her hornet's nest of the damned.

You see, the female anatomy maintains a delicate balance.  When you so forcefully attack one type of organism, another grows to take it's place.  Now there are GOOD organisms.  Like the ones in yogurt that keep your lady parts healthy and insect-free.  But those aren't the ones that take over after SuperMommy's attack.

I take the magic pill again.  I try the Ovule.  I guzzle yogurt, but to no avail.

SuperMommy, you'll pay for your hubris! laughs Mother Nature.  You dare disturb my magic bees?  I'll teach you, you meddling fool!

The bees laugh as well, whirring their wings and spinning tiny circles as I try to sleep.

When I awake, the bees have been joined by DIFFERENT bees.  Suddenly there are massive, malformed bumble bees lurking among the calm but ready bees.  Evil bumble bees.

The first bees don't like this, and they attempt to flee.  This infuriates the evil bumble bees.  They become enraged, but it seems... trapped.  They are confused.  Dangerous.

My misery increases accordingly.  All sleep ceases.  My mental state deteriorates.

I call my OB/GYN at dawn, desperate.  I set an appointment.  When I arrive her waiting room is packed.  More full than I've ever seen it before.  The computer system is down.  Everything is taking longer than usual.  Too long.

The bees settle, waiting for the right moment to strike.  Waiting for the signal.

Hours after my set appointment time, after a too-long commute and with a sitter on the clock, I am led to a room and told to disrobe.  My wait continues endlessly.  On and on I wait, as I become more and more aware that I've hardly slept in five days, that I haven't eaten in hours and hours and hours, and that I am extremely cold.  My mind wanders from pure psychic bee control to other things.  My guard is down.

NOW! cries Mother Nature,  NOW, MY PRETTIES!  THE TIME IS NOW!

And the bees attack.

I scream.  It's unavoidable.  I desperately want to leave the room, to go screaming through the hall for the doctor, to beg somebody, anybody, to just...


I pound on the door.  I return to the exam table and weep.  I don't even know what sounds I make.

The door opens to reveal my OB/GYN.  Like all other women from the OB/GYN planet, she is a small, eternally perky gal with a high, cheerful voice.  She has a permanent smile fixed to her face, and her pretty eyes never seem to be actually looking at you.  She deals with hysterical women a lot.

In her cheerful voice, she apologizes for the wait and she informs me that I need therapy and that I'm frightening her other patients.

I apologize, assuring her that I'm a perfectly normal person in total control of my actions and senses.  She acts skeptical.  She performs an exam as I sob on the table (awkward for both of us, I'm sure) and sets me a new regimen of magic modern pills to take.

Ones that will give me a yeast infection.

I return home and deep clean my dining room and kitchen while my children play with blocks.  I furiously will myself to think of nothing below the waist.  And still the bees remain.  Lingering... waiting for the next perfect moment to strike...

January 1, 2011

A Glimpse into SuperMommy's OCD and Best Pictures of the Year

I have a little OCD problem.  It's under control- I've gotten good at forcing myself to take steps onto non-matching cracks and different surfaces, and I rarely find myself tapping each finger the exact same number of times on the exact same spot on, say, a button.  But my bedroom calendar is where my OCD completely takes off.

First of all, Facebook has nothing on me for birthdays.  Everyone I love- their birthday is on that calendar.  But don't go looking for yours toward the end of the year, because it will be gone, hidden underneath my constantly shifting scheme for marking off the days.

It started off simple enough.  I drew a face that illustrated how I felt that day, so I could keep track of my (then fairly serious) depression.  As the years went on, I began also keeping track of my sleeping and my menstrual cycle.  From this I learned, amazingly enough, that my depression, insomnia, and period all coincided.  The obsession became stronger.

This past year, I printed out about 380 tiny lists of my goal for the year.  Each day, I check off what I accomplished, and glue it onto that calendar segment.  This allows me to go back and actually quantify my success for the year.  Well dear readers, here's how I did this year.

I wrote in my journal on 257 days.  Not exactly close to my 365 goal, but not too shabby.

I read 21 books.  Just three shy of my goal.

I cooked at least 239 meals for my friends and family.  Again, this is significantly shy of my 365 goal, but I do feel pretty good about it.

I completed my homework on 246 days, including days that I didn't have any homework to complete, which meant that as far as I was concerned, it was done.  Cheating?  Me?  Never.

I played with my children for two cumulative hours on 351 days.  The days that I failed were mostly gearing up to finals, or during which I was ill.  While it makes me sad to know that two whole weeks of my year passed without my actually engaging my children in a meaningful way, I will try to keep from feeling guilty about it for the rest of my life.  I won't make any promises about that, I know myself too well.  I'm going to feel guilty about this for years at the minimum.

I lit Sabbath candles ten times.  That's less than a fifth of all the year's Sabbaths.  I am determined to do better.

I "cleaned" my house 269 times.  Or at least that's what it says.  But I know better.  I know that several of those "cleanings" are just laundry days, or just dishes.  I'm really not certain that counts.

I left the house on 269 days.  Again, a fair bit shy of 365.  And I must admit, THAT is a depressing figure.  Nearly a third of the year I didn't actually see the sun or sky a single time.  What is wrong with me?

I made art 25 times, although most of them weren't actually paintings.  This year, non-paintings absolutely count.  Halloween costumes, for example, counted towards my "paintings" last year, this year the goal has been changed to simply, "Make Art."  I feel pretty good about it.

This year's checklist, which M lovingly helped me cut out of 16 sheets of paper, is as follows:
Wrote in journal
Cooked a meal
Completed homework
Left house
Ate minimum 2 meals
Maintained hygiene
Exercised ≥20 min
Observed Sabbath
Finished a book
Made Art
The big difference that you might notice is that this year I'm focusing a little more on keeping myself healthy and functional.  I have to eat, bathe, exercise, and see the sky on a daily basis.  Let's see if it helps me maintain my humanity a little better.

And without further ado- my favorite pictures of the girls from 2010!!

January- a tie, the first time DD smiled for the camera

January- a tie, the first time SI smiled for the camera

February- Holy Rosy Cheeks, Batman!

March- taken on my old phone, and my wallpaper for a long time

April- in their beautiful dresses and smiles

May- Bathing Beauties

June- Another tie.  DD at Guppy Lake, aka the ancestral homeland

June- Another tie.  SI in a REAL jolly jumper and Daddy's hat

July- DD and SI are chubby grubling friends

August- Another tie, but OMG DD's eyes!

August- Another tie but OMG the SI cute!
September- Aunt Genocide reads her nieces their favorite bedtime story

October- My little penguins

November- Extremely happy grublings

December- SI finally walking


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Vote for me!

Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!