Monthly Archives: November 2013

Every Parenting Article Ever Written, Consolidated

I’ve read a lot of articles about parenting. Here’s what they say, in a nutshell.
1. Don’t Helicopter
and yet
2. Know Everything Your Kid Is Doing On The Internet And Know Who Their Friends Are

Chop chop chop. Here’s the sound of me proudly hovering, since 2001. You know your kid, and your gut is probably telling you whether or not to hover.

3. Vaccinate! Diseases Are Deadly!
and yet
4. Don’t Vaccinate! Shots Are Poison!

Grrr. Here’s the sound of me regretting vaccinating after I know what’s in them. At least for the less deadly illnesses. But I’ve read articles on both sides, and let me save you a lot of time. We just don’t know the answers yet.

5. Save Money For Their College
but
6. Feed Them Organic Produce
and
7. Take Them To Disneyland While They Are Still Young
and
8. Get Them Piano Lessons

Cha-ching. Here’s the sound of beautiful piano playing, so good for the brain and soul, and pesticide free foods, so good for the body. We don’t have a savings account, but darn it, she did get to Disneyland once while she was young. You can afford college for your kid because they ate whatever processed food was on sale? That’s cool too.

9. Reward Good Behavior, Never Yell

STOP WHINING!!! That’s the sound of me forgetting rule number 9.

10. Get Your Child On A Sleep Schedule In Her Own Room
or
11. Let Your Child Sleep When He’s Tired.
and
12. Let Your Child Know He’s Safe And Loved By Letting Him Sleep In Your Bed

All these things are recommended by experts. Our daughter slept with us until I started falling out of the bed. My friends got their babies on a military sleep schedule before they could say Mama. They. Are. All. Fine. I say, give your kid lots of hugs, and he’ll grow up just fine. Let her watch TV, or don’t. Homeschool, or don’t homeschool. Give him time outs, or lectures. Or ignore tantrums. He’ll survive. Kids have good brains. They figure things out. My favorite advice for parents is, unless you are neglecting your kids,

13. You Don’t Need Advice *

*Unless you do, and then you are not reading this.

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Olga Lives Every Day Like It’s Her Last

“Hello, Mom?” Olga says tearfully.
“Hi Olga.”
“Mom, I don’t have much time, so I’m just going to come out and say it. I only have a day to live.”
“Oh Olga, it’s been six months, Honey. Aren’t you done trying to live every day like it’s your last?”
“Mom, when are you going to come to California? I can’t go all over the country in one day visiting relatives.”
“(Sigh.)”
“Well,” Olga says, “if you can’t come, I’m going to go to the beach. I just want one last glimpse of that beauty. I’m not even going to waste time calling in sick.”
“Olga, your boss replaced you months ago.”
“That reminds me. Mom, could you transfer a little money to get me through the day?”
“I would, but I’m running out of money, dear. I had to pay your rent when you forgot last month. Sweetheart you really can’t live every day exactly like it’s your last. The first time you did, I almost had a stroke! And I put a prayer request on Facebook and then I had to tell all my friends it wasn’t true after all.”
“Sorry mom. Well, I’m going to hit the beach now.”
“Olga, when’s the last time you cleaned your bathroom?”
“Mom, when you’re living every day like it’s your last, you don’t bother with the toilets.”
“(Sigh) bye Sweetheart.”
“Bye Mom.”
Olga drives through town, sorry she doesn’t have a thousand dollars to give to a homeless man on the corner like she did on her first last day. She unbuttons her jeans, six months of chocolate eclairs pushing uncomfortably on her waistband. In her first month of last days, she apologized to everyone she’d ever slighted, down to grade school broken crayons, so she is free. She drives through the outskirts of the county and can almost smell the salty sea air when her car runs out of gas. When it’s your last day, you don’t bother with the gas station.

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Take the Poetry Challenge

Right now I’m chairing the Redwood Writers 2013 poetry contest. The 300ish members of Redwood Writers who don’t know me will probably associate me with poetry now, but truth be told, the reason I volunteered was because it was the one contest I KNEW I’d never want to enter. The only thing I know about poetry is that Haiku doesn’t have to be 17 syllables, like I learned in elementary school.

But skimming through the contest poems as I numbered them and sent them off to the three esteemed judges, I caught the bug. I wanted to try it, too. I couldn’t enter the contest, but I could try my hand at writing a poem. I made up my own form (I think). One syllable for the first line, two for the second, and so on up to six, and then back to one. Here it is.

Syllables*

One
Perfect
Syllable
Is all I need
To say how I feel
About you and that girl
Yes, one syllable
Or maybe two
I think, two
Which two?
Guess

I suspect that a real poet would know that I only spent about four minutes on it, but we all have to start somewhere. And you never know when you’re going to accidentally create something that will last through the ages. I mean, when someone first wrote, “He who smelt it, dealt it,” do you think he or she knew it would be one of the most recited poems of all time?

And my poem is no Billy Collins or Dylan Thomas, but at least it doesn’t leave you thinking, “What the heck was THAT about?” I know this also marks me as a poetry novice, but I want to know what’s going on in a poem.

So here’s my challenge to you. Try something new. Write a poem. If you love meter, like me, think about the syllables. If you like rhyming poetry, make yours rhyme. If something’s pressing on your heart, put it in words, and double check the words to make sure your reader will feel the pressure, too.

Write a poem! And feel free to share it in the comments.

*This poem does not relate to my own life. It is especially not about Sean Millard.

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The Worst Dog Walker In The World

I love dogs. I ordered business cards. I saved up plastic bags from buying produce. I was ready to be a dog walker.

Here’s an example of the kind of Sales and P.R. I did.

Them: Nice to meet you. What do you do?
Me: I teach music, do a little writing, mostly a stay at home mom.
Them: Oh. I just went back to work full time. Too bad we just got a new puppy and it has to stay in its crate all day.
Me: Yeah too bad. Well, have a good day!
Me ten minutes later: Dang it!

Finally, though, I got a dog to walk. She was a sweet lab with sweet owners. On my drive over to the house with my daughter, I thought I hope she still likes me even though I’m coming into her house by myself.

She didn’t. She sniffed us nervously with the door cracked open, and when we came in, she barked and snarled, “Intruder! Intruder!” Then she ran into a back bedroom. I didn’t want to go down the hall and make her feel cornered, so I threw a tennis ball down the hall and called, “Sweetie, want to go for a waaaalk?” Even the ‘W’ word didn’t work.

I took my daughter home and drove back by myself, the whole way wondering just how bad it would be to let the dog pee in the house, and finally praying, “God help me get the dog out to go potty!” I firmly believe that God listens to even little prayers like this. Well, maybe not firmly, because I was still worried.

When I got to the house, I called my mommy. “Mom, could you meet me at the dog’s house in case I need someone to call 911?” She came, and didn’t even call me an idiot, which she has every right to do, considering the brave things she’s done.

But I didn’t end up needing my mom because (cue the angels singing) a neighbor drove up, said she knew the dog, and braved the house, even though the dog barked at her, too. She got the dog to go in the back yard, but couldn’t get her to come back in out of the rain. I even stayed on the front porch in case it was me she didn’t want to see. The neighbor even lured Sweetie with a treat. “No way,” said Sweetie.

My mom said, “Maybe if I go into the back yard through the gate it will scare her into the house.”

“She hates, me – I’ll do it,” I said.

So I did.

In she went. (Maybe I did need my mom after all!)

The neighbor reminded me to lock the front door (did I mention I was the worst dog walker in the world?) and I left. Turns out I only love dogs when the owner is home. Good bye Sweetie. Good bye dog walking.

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Deck The Halls (obnoxious version)

Deck the halls with leaves from shoe soles
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Tis the season for new potholes
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Don we now our ugly sweaters
Fa la la, la la la, la la la
Which somehow smell like Irish Setters
Fa la la la la, la la la la

See the merchandise before us
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Strike the clerk who won’t ignore us
Fa la la la la, la la la la
“Follow me,” demands security
Fa la la, la la la, la la la
“It’s not helping that you’re flirty.”
Fa la la la la, la la la la

Fast away the old year passes
Fa la la la la, la la la la
But the traffic’s like molasses
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Ride we in the car together
Fa la la, la la la, la la la
Inching through the nasty weather
Fa la la la la, la la la la

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Thirty-one Days of Thankfulness

I am competitive, so I see your thirty days of November thankfulness and raise you one day. Also, I’m lazy, so I’m doing them all at once. And, I like a mental challenge, so I won’t use the easy ones (though I’m very much thankful for God, family, health, freedom, and home.) Further, I love poetry, so they will rhyme. Just kidding, too lazy.

1. I have never been seen by the police when I run the stop sign by my house. Taking one for the team so the people behind me can get out, too.
2. I don’t have lice.
3. My pants have never fallen down in public.
4. Fall leaves.
5. I never watch the local news, except for right now, when I’m waiting to see our local high school football team. Horrifying.
6. No poisonous snakes live in my neighborhood.
7. I have some Kozy Shack pudding in my fridge.
8. I got a new fridge for my birthday.
9. Libraries.
10.Indoor plumbing (that’s for my mom, who always puts that on her thankfulness list.)
11.Music
12.Buster Posey
13.No one’s called the cops when I’m brushing my daughter’s hair.
14.All those struggles that have made me a better person. Just kidding! We’re supposed to feel that way, but I don’t. I think I was nicer before.
15.No one has cloned me.
16.I’m halfway through this list.
17.Snoopy
18.That person who says what we’re all thinking about a rude customer.
19.I’ve seen shooting stars.
20.But never up close.
21.Denial.
22.Parties.
23.Privacy.
24.Change, when you want it.
25.Monotony when you don’t.
26.Colors.
27.Fantasy.
28.Wait, Buster Posey should be number 28.
29.I’m almost done being thankful.
30.Humor.
31.Baskin Robbins.

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