Aside

Sequins, the Beatles and Mother’s Day

For some, as seasons change it is a reminder of the quick passage of time.  It might be a glimpse of the first robin of Spring or the moment you slip on those flip-flops after a brutal winter just itching to show off your new pedi.

One of my markers of the passage of time involves sequins, fake hair, oodles of bobby pins and gaudy makeup.  No, I am not a stay-at-home Mom by day and a street-walker by night…It’s recital season. Ugh and Yay! all at the same time.

Twinkle Toes (what creative genius came up with that pseudonym?) has been dancing since she was three. She’s ready to hit double-digits in a couple weeks…so, a long time.

Image

There is always a little dread when coordinating the weekend. Rehearsal on Thursday night. Be there at 6 o’clock sharp.  Somewhere north of 50 people milling around all looking at their watches looking forward to being done with this necessary evil. Wishing for some couch time with an episode of Modern Family, just one more errand completed or a last-minute dinner that didn’t include nuggets or noodles.

Looking ahead to the weekend it’s always “cram stuff in, hurry home to get ready and fly out the door”. Make sure there is enough time to fight with Twinkle and her “bun”, apply just enough toxic hairspray to hold up a bridge and be sure to pick up all lost bobby pins lest they end up in Little Bee’s stomach . Apply said gaudy makeup and stand back and admire the horror of my sweet almost-ten-year-old looking just-enough garish so the back row can see her red-lipped smile.

But THIS year I was so looking forward to leaving Bee with my husband, parking my tush in that seat, taking a breath, relaxing and watching my daughter and all the young girls at the studio (and one very brave boy!) dance their hearts out and showcase their sizable talent.

After all was said and done it was hands down the best performance I have ever seen them produce. Literally blown away.  And it turned out to be an early Mother’s Day gift.

Sappy princess song after saccharin-sweet love song played on. But most of these performers were not the little ones looking backstage for every movement cue.  These girls/young women were pouring their hearts into some beautiful artistry. And quite honestly some very grown-up expression. So You Think You Can Dance had a few contenders here with this bunch, no joke.

As I sat there (in between my mother and Bee’s Godmother) a myriad of things was going through my mind:

Was it not just yesterday that Twinkle was dancing on her Dad’s toes in a costume made for a pre-schooler?  And here she was graceful and confident with a plié here and a relevé there.

Many of the older girls on stage are just on the cusp of what life will offer them. Will all the years spent honing their craft make an impact in their adult lives somehow?

As the strains of the Beatles’ Yesterday and Train’s When I look to the Sky played on (I’ll admit these two always kinda get me) I thought back to the last five years.  When did the engagement parties and baby showers I attended segue over to funerals and battles with disease? Passage of time.

Time is marching on and it is going so very fast. There have been great losses and uphill battles in the lives of many of my family and friends. People have come together. Communities have come together.

As Mother’ Day approaches a beautiful little ballet recital made me pause and think of the very best that the women in my life have to offer one another.

Countless meals, hugs and smiles. A phone call here. Several fundraisers there. A letter sharing empathy because someone else experienced it too.  The space to grieve. An angel pin. The t-shirt worn to support an effort. The poem read even when the tears were still blinding. A locket to house the most precious of photos. The book dropped on a doorstep because it had to be shared. The party thrown to offer support and say goodbye to something that no longer served its purpose. A good cry. A flower. A prayer.

I don’t know what impact these experiences my daughter has had dancing will have on her.  But they have surely left an imprint on her Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day.

 

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Aside

7 Steps to a Resolution with our Daughter’s Bully

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Sippakorn

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Sippakorn

A visit to the gym to workout today proved to be full of some pretty big lessons for my nine-year-old daughter (and me). While on the treadmill next to my husband (Ice) I looked over to see my daughter in tears and very distraught.  She approached him very upset and looking for his help. He left with her.  I assumed she was fighting with her brother on the basketball court and continued running. After a couple of minutes I decided to shut off my machine and go see what was up.

Turns out my son was not the culprit today, it was another boy she was guarding (or trying to) in what was supposed to be a friendly game of basketball among children.

According to her account, the boy was aggressive and rude the entire game towards her, he slapped her at one point, pushed her down and told her “You’re a girl, you can’t guard me!”

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Prawny

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Prawny

Step One: Find the Boy.

We set off to find this young man. Calmly and purposefully. When he saw Ice he started to bolt in the other direction with his little sister. Ice asked him to stop and follow him to the front of the gym.

Step Two: Ask for assistance from the staff.

Ice asked for the help of the man behind the front desk in resolving the issue.

Step Three: Give our daughter a chance to tell her side of the story and look this child in the eye.

We let her speak and then asked the other child if what she re-told was what he thought happened. Was it easy for her? Not at all.  But it was so important for her to stand up for herself with our support and encouragement. She had been really shaken up until this point and rather than be the victim I felt it was so important for her to gain back her composure and some of her control of the situation.

Step Four: Arrive at the truth.

When the boy denied the events happening or his involvement in them my husband told him the best thing to do was to tell the truth otherwise we would be waiting for the staff to find his parents and get them involved.  He re-considered his position and agreed that he had been physical with her and abusive with his words. We asked if there was anything else he wanted to say and he apologized.

Step Five:  Accept the apology.

Our daughter looked him in the eye and hard as it was I could tell she really meant what she said when she accepted his apology.

Step Six: Try and re-cap the lesson.

Ice told him not to pick on others. “Girls can do anything boys can do”, he said. “And if you were my son, I would want to tell you it’s never a good idea to run from your problems because they only double in size.”

Step Seven: Close the loop with the staff.

Ice approached the front desk to let them know the entire turn of events and provide our name and number for the child’s parents to get in touch with us if they wanted to discuss anything.

So far we have not heard anything. But I do hope that this child really stopped, whether then or later in the day, to let it sink in that what he did was wrong.

There are so many other ways that this turn of events could have been handled.  But I feel so much more at peace with how it was handled. Calm, firm, up-front, transparent.

Not every situation can be so cut and dry. Circumstances can be so much more serious, less controlled, lacking any adult supervision in the vicinity and on and on…  But when I asked my daughter to recount for me what happened today, she had a better handle on it than I did.  I actually consulted her before sitting down to put this to words.  She truly was impacted by what happened and walked away stronger for it.

I am so proud of her and my husband.

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Aside

Not Applying for my AARP Card Just Yet

I hope I have a long way to go until I am hunched over, walking with a cane and talking about “those young whipper snappers.” But I got more than a glimpse of what it means to be an “older generation” this week.

While walking through the mall with Little Bee I had to approach the information desk to get my bearings.

“Is there a Hallmark store in the mall?” I asked the woman behind the desk. (There wasn’t.) But the mall cop who was shooting the bull with her offered me some suggestions. When I looked into his eyes momentarily I was struck right away.

He looked like he had escaped from the middle school lunch table.

Last night, inspired by a new recipe from one of the many recipes I’m guilty of collecting (and never making) the iPod was blasting and me and Little Bee were putting on a groove shoe… minding our own business.  I glanced over at Twinkle Toes and her eyes bugged out like Macauley Culkin in Home Alone. (Does anybody remember that movie or is it just me?)

home alone

Apparently I had stepped into shaky territory feeling it was safe to dance in my own kitchen. Because I have now become the mom with jazz hands whose kids run in the other direction when Kool and the Gang comes on.  Well, not really Kool and the Gang, but you get the idea.

And I know every generation has their lingo.

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’, Groovy! and Don’t have a cow! come to mind.

greaser

But now there are text abbreviations, the ever-popular LOL, lmk and btw.

I remember the first time I heard “B.T. dubs.”

Huh?  

Took me a senior moment and then I got it.  Stands for the phrase “by the way”. It’s abbreviated in texting form to “btw” and now the young ones actually say “B.T.dubs.”

I told Techno, “Uh, yeah, please do yourself a favor and don’t talk like that.”

But then what will he have to look back and laugh about when he’s my age?  And isn’t that part of the fun of getting older? Laughing at your younger, stupider self? I can’t bear to deny him THAT joy.

 

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Aside

Good Call

Whtiefish BayA few days ago I went for a long walk with my Dad and Little Bee. It took a week to coordinate schedules but it was a call that was long overdue.  As summer nears its end, it was a gift of a day.  Beautiful and comfortable.  Now having a very busy family life,  I am ashamed I don’t make time more often to experience such a simple and satisfying activity as a stroll with my Dad.

It was great to catch up on all the important and even mundane things going on in our lives. I took some time afterwards to reflect on the lessons learned from him when growing up in the hopes of being more intentional to pass them on to his grandchildren.

1. It’s always nice to greet people with a smile and say hello. Each person we encountered got a sincere greeting and a smile from my Dad.

2. Be on time and be ready. I can always trust that my Dad will be somewhere when he says he will.  And because it was so ingrained in my own upbringing, many times I am unfashionably early or on-time for things.  Maybe a little socially uncool…but It’s hard to curb the tendency to be so punctual as the daughter of a military man!

3. Protect your health. Exercise. Take vitamins. Long before GNC’s and juicing were en vogue my Dad was touting the benefits of vitamin C and the like. It has definitely made life easier and more enjoyable to have that example to follow.

4. Enjoy the spice of life. An appreciation for good food and good music is essential to my existence. From a slice of Chicago-style pizza to the funk and soul of Earth Wind and Fire, I can’t imagine how awfully vanilla my life could be if little influences like these had not been on my radar.

5. Be willing to work…hard. Starting with a dose of effort, adding some elements of detail and purpose and finishing with a dash of pride and any project he was willing to put his name on was done right.

6. Make time to goo goo and gaa gaa with the baby. It’s completely endearing how much joy and sweetness are wrapped up in a greeting for Little Bee – or any of my children when they were babies.  There is no care or concern for who’s watching or how un-masculine it could be perceived.  Babies grow up fast and there is no time to waste a kiss or a squeeze.

7. If you want something in life, find a way to remove the obstacles and make things happen. My Dad started out on a college track that didn’t satisfy or suit him.  He made some changes and ended up with a long career he loved as a corporate pilot. When I was little I remember him telling me that one of the best parts of his job was that he could see the sun almost every day. Pretty cool.

Dare I hope there might already be a few seeds of these great tools for living starting to grow in my kids? Glimpses of some of them are already visible.  And while on a walk with my Dad it was with great joy that I reminded myself exactly where they came from. Good call.

Aside

Get Me a Technology Transplant, STAT!

MinionsI have become the old, out-of-touch Mom. It’s official. Even my siblings are calling me out.  I am locked in to a contract with a cell phone company until March.  I am a dinosaur in the cell phone world. Who stays with their cell phone provider for eleven years? Apparently this girl!

The first day of school rolls around and amid hundreds of Facebook posts you won’t find my kids. Nope, their Mom does not get 4G service in our town. Thus no instantaneous posts touting the excitement, fun and fashion of the first day of school. Bad Mom.

No less than fourteen texts came in to my phone that morning while having coffee with friends that included pictures of my niece and nephew in all of their first day of school glory, comments from my siblings and Mom. Digs at me. How old-school I am. Lots of cyberspace chuckles were had at my expense.

Being passed around our table at the coffee shop were iPhones, iPads and a rather fancy uploading device to immediately transfer pictures from phone to tablet. I had nothing to share. Old fashioned digital camera for me.  Gasp! The pictures are still locked in my camera and have yet to see the light of day. Please, don’t alert the technology authorities.

Rewind a few days before this, while driving I heard this comment out of the mouth of my oldest: “You automatically get a banana vacuum.” Excuse me?! What planet are we on? Apparently this sentence does actually exist and makes sense to a kid playing Minion Rush, a video game based off of the movie Despicable Me.

A few minutes later was heard: “The Beijing police just came out of the sky and got me!” Really. This revelation is brought to us by the game Subway Surfer.

These kids today…

Can you just see the little minions laughing at me?

Aside

Unexpected Tales from Summer Vacation

IMG_6727

Three kids and a minivan ago we’re cruising in a convertible up Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to San Francisco.  Speaking for myself, I am on top of the world. The unmistakable sound of the ocean, the rush of the surf, the delicious, warm sun and oh my the smell of it all.  Besides the smell of my newborn babies, to me there is nothing as wonderful as ocean air.

Both of us working for an airline in what feels like a past life, we spent as much time as we could traveling around the country. One of our most favorite destinations was always California.  It has been years since we touched down at LAX or SFO.  Surprise One: that it would take over a decade before we visited together again.

Now it is the night before our Northern California adventure and I am mildly freaking out. There must be a handbook somewhere that explains how a Mom can get her family ready for vacation without needing to take a vacation by herself first.  The piles of clothes, the baby toys, the bottles and bags; the activities and snacks for the plane, the just-in-case-medicines, do I really need this many ridiculous chargers??, the stroller and all the suitcases.  Everything but the kitchen sink.

And now, the long-awaited (and MUCH needed!) family vacation for all five of us is now one for the memory books. It was so anticipated and the most well-planned trip Ice and I have ever taken. This one HAD to be! There were just too many variables – aka – how would Little Bee fare?  Or so I thought.  We planned on staying in a different hotel almost every night.  When it was all tallied up we drove a total of 26 hours in the car those nine days.

The kids had never been to California before.  I heard phrases like “Mama, I’m so happy to be in California!”  And “California is exciting!” Yep, that must be a chip off the old blocks! I felt the same way.

Surprise two: As we rolled over the Golden Gate and into Sausalito to visit an old café we loved, we spotted a deer. In the middle of a neighborhood right after the bridge. Unexpected.

IMG_6468

We strolled the streets of Sausalito and got our bearings back.  “Honey, remember this…remember that” was heard regularly.  I’m sure Techno and Twinkle were ready to drop kick us already.

“Proposal Point” as my sister dubbed it was up next. The bench overlooking the Golden Gate where Ice proposed.  Surprise three: Little did I know I would be “re-proposed to again. Did NOT see that coming.  Someone was even videotaping us as it happened. He said he thought it was the real deal and was going to post it on YouTube.  Really? We were quick to inform him he was 17 years too late. Social Media was definitely something we did not have to worry about back then!

IMG_6505Off to Muir Woods, a heavenly place in my estimation. I never feel like I get to spend enough time there.  The thought occurred to me that if I could, I would just drink in the beauty with a straw.

We entered an area in the forest called Cathedral Grove. It is here that delegates from the world over met in May of 1945 to draft and sign the Charter of the United Nations.  There is a sign that says “Cathedral Grove – Enter Quietly”.  Of course Little Bee can’t read, so what does she care?  So amusing and NOT a surprise I guess.

IMG_6520

Next up was Fisherman’s Wharf. We stayed one night and packed a lot of fun and sightseeing in for the older kids. During our seaside adventure we were approached by a handsome, nicely dressed, professional young man hoping to find some new fans of his music. He offered us a copy of his CD for a $3 donation. Like a good Dad, Ice asked if his music contained explicit lyrics. The young man looked him in the eye, said no and promptly reached for the CD he had given Ice and replaced it with a different CD. Mmmm. No thanks, guy.

Almost immediately following this encounter we passed by a less-than-put-together young man down on his luck holding a cardboard sign asking for money. I didn’t see the sign but was later told by Ice it contained an obscenity. Common to hear and see such things by the Wharf.  Okay. But as soon as he saw our young kids, the man dropped the sign to hide it from them out of respect.  Ice nodded his head in thanks and we kept walking. Surprise Four.

The next day after a phenomenal tour of “The Rock”, Techno was lagging behind looking around and taking in the sights.  He noticed a penny on the street. “See a penny pick it up…” came to mind.  He tried to pick it up. Gotcha! Surprise Five: The penny was literally embedded into the sidewalk! Someone’s idea of a cute joke or a metaphor for things not always appearing as they seem. Take your pick.

Surprise 6: A four-and-a-half hour plane ride. Hotel after hotel. This crib and that Pack-N-Play. Car ride after car ride. Little Bee was a champ.  We could not believe how well she adapted to her surroundings. It was such a relief. One night we had a “shooshing contest” to see whose “shoosh” could be held the longest without taking a breath. This is what you’re reduced to when in a hotel room with five people in the dark who would all rather be reading, watching television or talking but can’t because of the resident 12 month-old Sleeping Beauty!

IMG_6843Monterey Bay and Yosemite were breathtaking. Lake Tahoe was literally delicious as we met up with friends for two days and home-cooked our way through the weekend in our suite. This cloud formation was an image I found interesting on our way back to the airport hotel the night before departure. Just another beautiful landscape to etch in my memory.

As long as I live I will remember with immense pleasure the first vacation we took as a family of five sharing with our kids where it all started. Surprise. Who knew?