Archive | December 2014

Yesterday, I blamed the Big Guy.

 

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Before I had children, I had a solid grasp of childrearing.  I was going to be firm, consistent and hold limits with my kids.  I had witnessed many offenses in parenting where moms and dads were overly permissive, sent mixed messages or avoided being the “bad guy” to name just a few.  And in my head, I believed that I knew better.  When it was my turn, I knew that I would never make these mistakes.

I can barely read that sentence without giggling at myself.

Fast forward to last night.  It must be said that Charlie and Giuliana are a rambunctious pair of three and a half year olds.  Just in case you are new to the blog.  My average day includes setting hundreds of boundaries and limits.  If I had to pay a royalty for using the word ‘No,” I would have to get a second job.  On the average day, I’d grade myself with a C+ or a B- as a mom.  People close to me seem to think I’m more of a B+/A-.  I am a tough grader–maybe they grade on a curve.

Last night after an entire day of “stop climbing that,” “don’t do that,” “give that back to your sister,” “give that back to your brother,” “get off your sister,” “get off your brother,”  “where did you get that?”  and probably a hundred similar phrases, I must have reached my limit.

It was bedtime and the children were chasing each other around.  We needed the children to settle down and listen to us.  I pulled out the big guns and did the ultimate December namedrop.

“Are you listening to Mommy and Daddy?” I said.  “Because Mommy and Daddy will be calling Santa tonight.  And we want to tell him that you are good listeners.  Are you both listening to Mommy and Daddy?”  Almost immediately, the children fell in line.

I was glad for the results, but felt crummy about the method.  In my years, I had witnessed parents shuffling the blame for their requests onto someone else.  I was confident that I would never do this.  I would never stand in a store and tell my children they needed to behave or put something down, because “the man” was going to get upset.    Using “the man” to get kids to behave seemed like such a cop-out.  I felt like I would figure out how to get my future children to behave strictly on the merits of my own authority.  That’s how it lived in my head.

Last night, I was tired.  I just wanted a teeny tiny break from being the “bad guy.”  “The bad guy” is a role that I am very used to occupying.  I am aware that it’s a role I’ve willingly signed up for, for many years to come by becoming a parent.  I only wanted a moment’s respite from that thankless position.

So I blamed the Big Guy.  Mommy’s just the messenger, is what I conveyed.  Santa is the one who wants you to listen.  Not exactly model parenting.

Maybe it’s just me rationalizing, but I began to consider that maybe my judgey pre-children self didn’t understand the whole picture.  Perhaps those parents, the ones I judged, were just tired.  Maybe I was seeing them in the 10th hour of holding their line and they simply wanted a break–one brief moment in time to not be the “bad guy.”

So, I blamed the Big Guy, certainly not my finest hour.

So what.  I blamed the Big Guy.  It’s not like I’m going to be calling the Easter Bunny in March.

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Winter Solstice…what the heck does it mean?

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Things to know about Winter Solstice

  • This year, in the Northern Hemisphere Winter Solstice occurs on December 21st.
  • The official beginning of winter will happen at 6:03pm on the 21st of December.
  • This day is the longest night and shortest day of the year.

What does all this mean?  According to Time Magazine, Winter Solstice is the point where the northern hemisphere is the furthest from the sun that it will be all year.  This means less light and temperatures that are colder.  From this point on, the days become longer in the northern hemisphere until June 21st, which is the longest day of the year.

I know, I know, you’re thinking…Jill…you are such a wealth of information…

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The Problem with Peeking Out

Schaefer Farms Light Show

Over the weekend, my cousin and I took my children to see Holiday Lights on the Farm at Schaefer Farms in Flemington, NJ. (If you are NJ local, check out my new Family Fun pages.)  I began the night by showing my children pictures of the farm light show on the computer.  The vote was unanimous, they wanted to go see it live.

We piled into the car, picked up my cousin and headed to the farm.  As we drove down the county road in the pitch black night, we began to see lights on my daughter Giuliana’s side of the car.  The children began to pipe up and chirp excitedly about the bright lights displays off in the dark.

From the street we saw huge light structures in wonderfully festive colors.  I pulled the minivan in, and followed the arrow.  The woman at the ticket booth informed us that a 15 car pay it forward chain was underway, so we paid it forward as well.

We traveled the winding route, seeing lights of all kinds.  Some simulated motion, some familiar characters–all fun.  I am not sure that I would have enjoyed it as much on my own, but the combined enthusiasm of my children and cousin was contagious.

At the end, we parked at the viewing site and watched the synchronized light show out in the field below.

The car next to us had its sunroof open and two children were peeking out.  Charlie and Giuliana saw this, and immediately wanted the same.  I slid the sunroof open and moments later, both children were unbuckled and popping their heads out the sunroof giggling.

Eventually the fun ended when my son announced he had to use the potty.  Sunroof was closed, kids returned to car seats and we were off.  Apparently, for Giuliana, the fun ended too early, because as we headed to our next destination, she insisted that I open the sunroof so she could keep “peeking out.”

“We can’t peek out when I’m driving,” I replied.

“But Daddy lets me peek out,” she replied.

“When he’s driving?” I asked, knowing full well that my husband does nothing of the sort.

“Yes,” she insisted….for what was probably only a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity.  And I’m not sure whether I should be impressed or frightened by her creativity.

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