I Blame the Mummies

My 11 yr old child: “I don’t know what I’m going to be.”

Me: “Good, I’m glad you brought this up. Healthcare. Healthcare is the field to go into. There will be more healthcare jobs needed in the coming years than any other profession- doctors, nurses, all kinds of practitioners. Right now is the time you need to start thinking about these kinds of careers. OR you can be a Coach. Not a sports Coach, a Coach who coaches CEOs of large companies and helps them achieve more in their professional and personal lives. This field is exploding right…”

My  bewildered child: “Huh? What? I’m talking about Halloween.”

Me: “oh.”

It’s recently become clear to me that I had no clue about the real world as a young person. I had direction, but no guidance. I blame no one. It’s not anyone’s fault but my own. You see, I didn’t ask for guidance. It never occurred to me to seek out council. At 9 years old on a class trip to UPENN Art & Archaeology Museum I decided to be an Archaeologist. It was the mummies. The mummies got to me.

I take it back. I blame the mummies.

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Twelve years and 90-some thousand dollars later I held a Classical & Near Eastern Archaeology Degree in my hot little hand but had now decided not to pursue my doctorate (like I ever was gonna). I had a new direction for my life. I was going to become a foreign missionary.

I’m not talking about regret today, I’m talking about zipping happily through this life without a clue and not stopping to ask for one.

I suppose now, at 40, my eyes are finally opening to how things work. I’m passionate about guiding my children in ways I never was – whether they ask for it or not.

Now that I think of it, dressing as a mummy for Halloween isn’t such a bad idea…

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Ready for Something New

Out In

For the first time in almost fourteen (14!) years I have seven (7!) hours a day with no children at home.

I knew once September rolled along things would be different. I knew/know something new was/is awaiting me. I’m not sure yet what it is but I have that feeling that doors are about to fly open.

And I’m ready.

With my new found thirty-five hours a week I’ve decided I need to have some sort of daily schedule to keep myself productive and to also carve out some time for creative activities. Doing what I love – just because I love it. I wrote about it earlier in the week here.

Friday is all about Creating. Laundry can wait. Cleaning the kitchen can wait. Office work can wait. Shopping can wait. Today, I create.

And I’m ready.

Today I will write. I will pull out and “dust off” a novel I wrote ten years ago. I will format it so it is neat and pretty. I will read it (for the first time in 8 years) and I will send it to a friend for her to read.

I am ready.

Ready for something new.

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Five-Minute-Friday-4This post was written for Five Minute Friday, Link up here

I Teach My Children To Be Rude

You read that right. I teach my children to be Rude.

These little angels? Rude?

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OK. I didn’t teach them that kind of rude. They were born with a complete knowledge of how to be rude to their siblings.

If you hadn’t noticed, I have FOUR daughters. Four girls. Four female children. And I am compelled to protect them.

Many years ago when I was barely twenty I traveled around the Middle East with friends. In Egypt, I traveled with two girlfriends. Two of us were Caucasian Americans and one of us was an Asian American. The two of us who were easily identified by Egyptian men as “White American” were targeted constantly. Men would walk up to us in a museum and grab our hands or brush against our bodies. In tight spaces or taxis men surreptitiously put their hands on us attempting to touch our breasts or bottoms.

Yet our Asian friend, as much American as us two white girls, was relatively untouched. The sleazy men didn’t identify her immediately as “American” and seemed somewhat in awe of her.

Here’s a fact, Middle Eastern men do not treat their own women this way in public. They did not treat my Asian friend this way. I’ve noticed the same phenomenon all over the world.

What is it about American women that make us targets?

Here is what I think. Women in other parts of the world are raised to be RUDE. If a man “accidently” bumps in to her, she hauls off and lets him have it with a verbal tirade. I’ve seen it – and the sleazy man slinks off. These non-American women have no internal restrictions that keep them from acting rude in order to let a creepy man know to Back Off.

American girls/women have been taught: Don’t make a scene. Don’t disrespect our elders. And because someone is a friend or relative of a friend that we need to listen to and respect them.

I say NO. And so I teach my daughters to be RUDE.

This has become more crucial in recent years because my girls are getting older. They go places – Without Me. Birthday parties, sleepovers, camping trips, etc.

Nowadays our conversations go something like this:

Me: “If a friend or relative of so-in-so is bothering you in the pool or keeps talking to you and picking you up and throwing you around, what do you do?”

Daughter: “I say, ‘Get off me. Stop doing that. I’m going to tell my mom.'”

I let my kids know that there will be NO negative consequences for being Rude to a person who is making them uncomfortable, harassing them (even jokingly)  or bothering them.

They have been taught their entire lives to be kind to others. I know, I was taught the same thing. I didn’t know I could or should open my mouth and make a scene.

This world is full of predators; to keep my daughters safe, I teach them to be Rude.

Don’t get me wrong, I do want my children to be kind as well, I’ve written about it here.

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I Made My Bed Today and The Dawn of a New Era

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I made my bed today.

This is a big deal. I can’t remember the last time I made my bed – I don’t even do it when I change my sheets. I have entered the Dawn of a New Era. Today is significant because it is the first full week of my children being back in school. Not only that, but it is the first full week of my youngest child being in school for a full day.

Seven hours. I now have 7 whole hours a day of no child time.

No “Mom, can you get me something to eat.”

No “Mom, can you wipe my butt?”

No “Mom, can you put on this movie.”

Seven hours when I am no longer primarily Mother and Caretaker.

Summer was hard. Not hard as in miserable or horrible, but 97% of my time was spent picking up and dropping off kids, feeding and entertaining. That only leaves 3% of my time to: run my business, clean, work on the household projects or anything else. The weekend before the first day of school I slept seven hours worth of naps. Seriously. Summer was exhausting.

I’m not much one for making or following schedules but with the amount of work pilled up over the summer months I thought I should try it. I actually made a Monday through Friday Schedule of how to most effectively use my time – but I can’t find it now.

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Never-fear, I’m going to try to remember it, here goes:

Monday: Work in office, cook actual dinner for kids.

Tuesday: Clean house and work on home improvement projects.

Wednesday: More office work and writing.

Thursday: Volunteer and cook a real dinner again.

Friday: Be creative!

With my house a total wreck and home improvement projects piling up I’ve been stymied all summer in pursing the creative activities that I love – WRITING (Blogging world I’ve missed you), Quilting, Sewing, Crocheting, Painting, etc…) I was hindered from creating by vicious Guilt that bound me in dormancy by a dirty house and undone projects (that weren’t getting cleaned or completed anyway – but that’s what Guilt does).

No more! Dirt or no, HI projects will wait – on Fridays – I’m creating…something.

And it all started with me making my bed this morning. This is the dawn of a new era and I am so ready for it.

 

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Blonds All Look Alike (to me)

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I’m confessing this right now: Blonds look alike to me.

I’ve always suspected it but it wasn’t confirmed until this morning when I tried to convince my daughter that her friend was standing on the other side of the gym. I kept pointing her out and saying her name while my daughter searched diligently for her friend.

At last a light bulb must have gone off in her head, (probably when I said, “There, sitting on the chair in the green shirt”) so she said, “That’s not her, mom.”

My eyesight is fine. I’m forty and don’t wear corrective lenses. Since I started using my iPhone my eyesight has deteriorated but I figure I have at least two more years before glasses. I reiterate, my eyesight is fine. I could see the girl. She was small, and blond. I can’t help it, they all look the same to me.

I have nothing against blonds. My heart is full of love for all kinds of lovely blond people. In fact, my BFF is a gorgeous blond. It’s just that, for some reason I can’t seem to tell them apart. All blonds look the same to me.

I can’t be the only one, can I?

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Battle of the Stuff

Inspired by Five Minute Friday today: Belong.

It would be a sweet post if I talked about belonging or not belonging or finding a place to belong, …but honestly, my thoughts can’t help but flow in this direction:

What do I do with this trashbag full of stuff that I cleaned out of the car the other week?

Finding a place for everything to belong is a constant battle. Stuff. Everywhere. Stuff!

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Downsizing and less stuff, blah blah blah, I’ve heard it/read it a million times – but I lived in India for 12 years and we didn’t have much but we STILL had stuff everywhere. My house was swept out at least twice a day and there was ALWAYS stuff in the way, on the floor, waiting to be put away. Stuff.

It comes in with the mailman, in school bags, on feet, from art classes, the pool… It enters in bags from Walmart, Justice, RiteAid, Target, ShopRite and the Thrift store…

Whenever I do a purge (which is often, believe me) I feel like my house is lighter somehow – but just like weightloss and those pesky calories, the Stuff creeps back.

I wonder if I were single would there be less stuff?

 

This post was written for Five Minute Friday. Link up here.5minutefriday

Making It Happen: The Other Girl’s Room

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Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/(usually) weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

Projects:

If you have been following along, you will know that within the last couple months our living space has doubled. This has added just a little bit more to my usual workload. Just kidding. This has added WAY MORE WORK to my usual workload. Honestly, it’s starting to wear on me – but the end is in sight. Hallelujah.

The good news is: I have really  buggy children who will BUG ME until I get stuff done – like their bedrooms.

OLIVE GREEN. That was the previous color – ugh. I lived in that olive green room for three years – not my choice. It is now mint chocolate chip green and Paris themed. One super cute eleven year old is just a teensy bit happy. OK, kidding again, she is ecstatic. In fact, I haven’t seen her since we finished the room on Saturday – I suppose she’s still up there reveling in her “private” space. I know she’s still alive because I periodically hear her yell, “GET OUT!” to one of her younger sisters who was apparently attempting to get in.

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Since my last Making it Happen post I’ve also: Moved into my bedroom, Almost got the new kitchen livable and Cleaned up and rearranged the “little” girls’ room. Now I just need to find enough time to actually work, build my business and earn enough $$ to hire a cleaning lady.

Amen.

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How Much Would You Pay for a Dime?

I think my five-year-old P has gotten pretty bored with the staying home in the mornings routine. She’s taken to collecting random things from the house and asking if she can go outside and sell them. I try to discourage this, but she has some mighty long eyelashes and she works them. The last time she asked we negotiated for a while and she somehow convinced me to put the miscellanea in a box and send it to Canada.

This morning she had a single doll shoe, a plastic doughnut and a dime that she wanted to sell. She also carries around a metal briefcase of random other things that I don’t touch because it appears to be smeared with lip gloss.

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I finally caved under the pressure, so I told her she could go out front and “sell” them on the steps. A few seconds later my brother looked out the window and said, “How far are you going to let her go? She’s already made it to the house with the For Sale sign.”

I can move pretty fast and by the time I vaulted through the construction obstacle course in my “new” kitchen, she was already standing on our neighbor’s porch pushing their doorbell.

Maybe she’s got a future in door to door sales: vacuums, glass coffins, Bibles… Keeping her away from the Jehovah’s Witnesses might also be a good idea. In the end my brother bought the dime for 11 cents. I didn’t know he was that generous.

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I should send her to the train station to beg (or sell her crap). We’d be rich. Who could resist this face?

New Delhi/ New Deli & My Inner Snob

On Saturday I asked my girls to think about where they wanted to go for lunch after church on Sunday. I suggested a few places and decided to let them choose. On the drive to church and my oldest daughter was advocating for one of the Indian restaurants in town.

We love Indian food, but the Indian restaurants around here are fancy schmancy and it is way too stressful to eat there with my 5 and 7 year olds. When I explained this to my daughter she insisted that I had suggested the restaurant as a choice for lunch the day before. She even got the eleven year old on her side.

They were so insistent that I started to believe that I must have suggested it in a moment of insanity even though I KNEW I never would have. I let it go, as I always do. Arguing with children is futile.

I kept thinking about it and as we walked into church it hit me – I had suggested the “new deli” in town and to my daughter’s brain that translated to “New Delhi” = Indian food. Everything became clear.

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All four of my children are native Hindi speakers and English is their second language. For  the oldest, especially, this can cause confusion. Heck – kids are confused and confusing most of the time even when they share your mother tongue.

With their diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds my girls also tend to be sponges. This can be great! This can be not so great.

1284For the last few days, my seven year old (who has always been my language powerhouse) has soaked up the expression, “no more” from somewhere. I’m entirely used to my children speaking with accents, mispronouncing things and misusing words, but for some reason, every time G says, “no more” instead of “anymore” I feel a fire start to burn at the back of my neck and I have to hold myself back from biting her head off. I am consumed with a need to track down where she picked up this horrid expression and then squash the culprit. This is very unlike me.

My inner snob.

My inner snob.

At moments like these I realize that my inner snob is popping out. She’s pretty laid back most of the time and seems content just keeping me in check. True to her nature as a snob, she tends to ignore the children with their malaprops and mispronunciations. Most of the time she shrugs her shoulders and goes back to doing whatever it is that she does.

I suppose “no more” must be her hot button.

Things could be worse: Bad Words

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Her Little Hands Far Away from Mine

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Today my little P left for school in the morning with her sisters for the first time.

Until now she’s attended afternoon pre-K so she and I spent every morning together. Her little hands raised in the air as I pull on her shirt. Her hand on mine as I lift her up to sit on the toilet. Her tiny hand hidden in mine as we cross the street.

Right now her little hand is holding her friend’s or maybe someone else’s mom’s hand as she climbs into a big yellow bus for the first time. Her little hands are exploring the wonders of the children’s museum as she walks around on her first ever class trip. Her little hands are opening her brown paper bag to grab her chips and eat her lunch.

Her little hands, far away from mine.

Today my big P left for school in the morning with her sisters for the first time.

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I link up with Lisa-Jo Baker every Friday and we write intensely for 5 minutes. Find us/Join us here: Five Minute Friday.

Guess what today’s word prompt was… 😉

 

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