Monday, April 30, 2012

Mommy, Who Do You Like Best? (Or Daddy)

"She" was given to me when my children were about 3, 5, and 7.
The purple things hanging from her hair, neck, wrist, and foot are babies.

With a coy look on her face and sound in her voice, my lifelong girlfriend said to me, “Sometimes I just don’t like them.” She was talking about her daughters who were about 13 and 8.  It was 1990 or so, and I was single with no kids… and dumbfounded.

“Mommy, who do you like best? Me, right!”
I’m happy to say that this is not a question I hear, although, they might “think” it sometimes.  Yes, I heard it a few times, playfully, when my three girls were in elementary school, but not now as a tween and two teens.

Sometimes I wonder why not. Anyone who has two or more children knows that they are individual and capable of displaying every emotion, causing Mom and Dad to do the same. And when a positive emotion is bestowed upon one kid and a not-so-positive emotion relegated upon another, how do you limit the sibling rivalry and keep all hell from breaking loose?

Okay, they’re not that bad.

My girls have similarities in some areas of their personalities; no problem responding there; i.e., similar advice and reactions for all. It’s the contrasts that require calmness and strategy. (Did I say calmness, that everlasting work in progress?)

Anyway, I’m dealing with full blown hormones, hormones upon the horizon, whining, giddiness, academic overachievement, academic underachievement, social butterflies, homebodies, queen bees (forced to work under duress), worker bees (when they want something), comedians, criers, sarcasm, wit, Chatty Cathys, mimes, singers, dancers, loud eaters, perfectionists, slow pokes, Speedy Gonzaleses, feistiness, huggers, non-huggers, lip kissers, “only on my forehead!” kissers, ETC!

I experience variations of these emotions and actions from ALL three kids… E-V-E-R-Y   D-A-Y.

It is NOT possible to treat them all the same and to LIKE them equally at all times.

What IS possible, is to LOVE them at all times and UNCONDITIONALLY.

Can you love all your children equally? What about liking them? I’d like to hear thoughts from parents of one child, and non-parents, too. Perhaps you’ll reflect on “your” childhoods.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Me Time at Science Museum of Virginia

Do you ever go to another city, town, state, or country as a tourist, and leave, wishing you could have seen more? Often, I have that feeling.

It occurs to me as I’m flying out of Puerto Rico, that perhaps it’s not necessarily the location that I’m going to miss, but the activities – the museums, the parks, the long walks, the beach and pools, the mountains, hills, and valleys, the trolleys, trains, and buses, the restaurants, and the other tourists traipsing around with a look of wonder on their faces, snapping pictures as they “ooo” and “ahh.”
I love seeing places “the first time” and will probably always have an intense curiosity to experience these “out of town” sites; however, there is treasure and history right in my own back yard, as they say. Sooo… while my tourist adrenaline is still flowing, I plan to go to the (this link has audio) Science Museum of Virginia  while my children are at school. There is an exhibit there that I’ve wanted to see for a few months that will end in two weeks.

I wake up to clouds and drizzling rain; darkness that makes my sedentary gene say, “Get the kids off to school and get back in bed with a book and read all day.” Thankfully, my energetic gene tells me to keep moving toward the goal.
It is not easy. Everyday necessities and obligations have to be completed. Chores have to be decided upon. I have to tell myself that it is okay to go alone; that the school kids and seniors will be there to fill the massive space.

I keep moving; and at 12:25 p.m. I disembark and head toward the museum, arriving with enough time to renew my membership and to see the 1 o’clock IMAX feature, Born to Be Wild. It is so relaxing that I almost doze off watching the orphaned orangutans and elephants.

When the film is over, 40 minutes later, I go to my originally planned destination, the exhibit: RACE – Are We So Different?

Because I am alone, I stop at all the text I want to read and press all the buttons I choose to press to view all the short videos I want to see. There are no kids saying, “Mommy’s still over there reading. We’ll be here awhile.”

And because I am reading so much, I don’t see the entire exhibit. Maybe I’ll come back before it closes on April 29 – another Me Time afternoon!

I’ve categorized this post under a new label called “If Not Now, When?” I don’t think you need an explanation.  Just ask yourself the question the next time you have a desire to do something. And not always when contemplating big things that require big money, big time, and big plans; think about the little things that also provide pleasure. Enjoy your staycations and backyard treasures.

Do you put off things that you want to do, or make excuses for why you can’t? Or, are you satisfied with your personal amount of fulfillment? Have you seen all the treasures in your hometown! J

Monday, April 2, 2012


Is cooking one of those things that either you like to do, or you don’t? Is there a middle ground?

For years, I’ve tried to figure out why I have an aversion to it. Could it be that I lack a “cooking gene,” just as I lack a “shopping gene?” (I wrote about it in May, 2009.)
I hear some of you saying, “She doesn’t like to cook. She doesn’t like to shop. What kind of a woman is she?” Do these voices reflect my lack of self-esteem in the kitchen and the mall? (By the way, is self-esteem still a buzzword? I like to stay current.)

I grew up in a family where cooking was executed more from necessity than joy. There were no home-made rolls or lasagna.  Everything was made quickly, aside from a few Sunday and holiday dinners. However, the southern roots of my parents made certain familiar things easy and fast. Cutting up a chicken was done lickety-split, and so was the mashing of potatoes.
As a little girl, baking Betty Crocker cakes and homemade peanut butter cookies was fun; especially because I got to lick the bowl. (After a few fights over the bowl, Mom devised a system for brother and me to have an equal share.)  But as I got older, it was time to step it up. Once, Mom left a chicken thawing in the sink for me to disassemble when I got home from school.

“Ewww,” is what I felt. I’d seen her do this a hundred times, but still, the headless, fleshy creature grossed me out. That was the beginning of my realization that I don’t like food preparation and ultimately, cooking.

How can a person love, love, looove food, yet lack the motivation to prepare and cook it?

I know – there are millions of others who feel the same. And I guess they do what I do – they get by.

Oh, once in a while I enjoy making something. It has to be delicious and highly anticipated; and I can’t be rushed.  But, after five or six times of making it, the process goes into the boring and tedious category. The thrill is gone.

Another deterrent is my finicky family. My husband hardly eats carbs, so there goes rice (I use brown rice!), pasta, white potatoes, rolls, and anything with sugar, like a pineapple sauce over chicken. Leftovers hidden in clear plastic containers evade his palate, too.

Daughter #1 doesn’t eat beef or pork. And, if there is the slightest hint of even a piece of onion being in a dish, that’s a deal breaker. Same for things in the wet category like mayo or salad dressing. There goes chicken, shrimp, and tuna salad. Thankfully, she does like pasta sauce.

One of my favorite standards is a broccoli and diced ham quiche. Three of the five of us like that - 60% approval – not good.

I could go on, but I won’t. I think you get the point.
Somehow, we all eat and we’re all healthy. Everyone has learned to roll up their sleeves and modify their meals.

The cooking dilemma is on my mind because I have children – girl children.
The majority of women I socialize and/or communicate with, believe that it is their job to prepare the meals. They don’t actually say it, like, “It’s my job,” but they say other things, like, “John will be home soon and will want his dinner.” Or, “Michael doesn’t like fish, so I hardly ever make that.” Or, “No way Fred will cook.” Is it the same with the younger women, too?

What’s in store for my three girls? One of them helps her dad with cooking on holidays when he makes the meal, and she will cook an occasional Saturday morning omelet. Another will make sandwiches filled with cheese, hummus, and her favorite veggies. The third thrives from things that she can take out of a bag or box and put into the toaster or microwave.

Poor girls. They’re just like their mama! When they get married, will their husbands be the sons of mothers who never expected them to lift a finger in the kitchen. I hope not.

So many of you like to cook. I see it on your blogs. It’s like art.
For me, it seems a waste of time; like I could be doing something else. But, gotta eat; gotta do it. And really, it’s okay.

And my girls will be okay, too.
What is the cooking routine in your home? Are the kids included? Is there a difference between what the girls and boys do?