Archive for the ‘Choices’ Category

But I Don’t Want A Cherry On Top!

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

My 2 1/2 year old daughter is painfully literal and it frequently gives us a giggle.  Olivia is going through a phase of barking out orders.  “I want my milk” she announced not long ago.  Her father and I are both working on curbing her habit to demand.  “You don’t ask your mother for milk that way,” my darling husband corrects.  “You need to say may I have some milk mom…pretty please with a cherry on top.”  Instantly Olivia was in hysterics. “But I don’t want a CHERRY on top,” she wailed.  Her literal mind was sure her father was suggesting she request a cherry on top of her milk.

Our communication missteps remind me of a kindergarten teacher I once knew who remarked how often adults fail to say what they really mean.  They think they’ve been clear and that their point has been received as intended, and yet they’ve botched the message severely.  It’s funny when we do it with kids because we are willing to laugh when we’ve been misunderstood.  We don’t really blame it on ourselves, but on the fact our kids’ sense of language is still developing.  We think it’s cute.  When it happens with other adults we are less gracious.

It’s not rare to see ‘situations’ develop as a result of poor word choices or expressions.  When called on it, adults will often argue “well, that’s just semantics!”  As if using the more accurate word(s) isn’t necessary because “well, you know what I meant.”  The thing is though, people often really don’t know what the person meant.  I know I get the eye roll often for clarifying what someone is attempting to say.  This is especially true during intense exchanges.  It’s not to be annoying.  I’ve just ridden the drama train enough times in life to realize the wisdom in verifying the need to be pissed off before handing my ticket to the conductor.

And She Wanted Cans?

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

My kids’ Great Grandmother gave them each $5 for Christmas.  My son is too young to know about money and buying things, but my 2 1/2 year old sure was excited at the thought of cash.  Grandma made it clear she wanted Olivia to go to the store and buy a treat with the money.  Olivia and Grandma both have a sweet tooth the size of Mount Rainier and can often be found tucked away in Grandma’s room indulging in naughty num-nums.  I fully expected Olivia to jump at the opportunity to buy junk food.  I was imagining donuts, ice cream, cookies and chocolate as top contenders on her list of possible purchases.

The day before I planned to take her to the store, we went over a list of things she could afford with $5.  Junk food was on the list, as it was in line with Grandma’s plan to spoil her, but my husband and I also worked in practical things like Dora panties, a tooth brush, a coloring book and lotion.  She loves all of the above.  After hearing the list Olivia shocked us both by picking something all on her own, something that hadn’t been on the list of possibilities at all.   Olivia wanted to buy cans.  Cans?  I clarified to be sure I was understanding what she meant.  Yes indeed, she wanted to buy cans and she wanted to be the one to put them in the cart.  “Cans with things for eating, mommy…MMMMMM!”  Oooooooookay.

When we arrived at the store, Olivia was ready with her money.  I had other shopping to do and fully expected her to waffle on what she might want to buy as we worked our way up and down the aisles.  We passed candy, donuts, yogurt smooties…all sorts of yummy stuff.  When we got to the aisle with all of the cans Olivia’s eyes lit up.  She was ready to make her selection.  She was ready to pick out her Christmas present.

Canned vegetables really aren’t our thing, so I steered her towards the fruit.  She looked at the labels and proclaimed peaches the winner.  She was thrilled to realize $5 would buy her more than one.  As I handed her cans to her and she set them beside her in the cart she had an enormous smile on her face.  I did too, for that matter.  My daughter’s maiden voyage on the roller coaster of making good choices with one’s money was a success.  She used her $5 to buy something she needed, something that was good for her and something she liked a lot.

By the time dinner rolled around that evening, Olivia was brimming with anticipation.  “Let’s have a can, mommy.”  Peaches are normally lunch food in our house.  I try to keep sugar at a minimum at night so I don’t have to battle kids bouncing off of the walls at bedtime.  We made an exception, however.  Olivia ate 1/2 a can all by herself and then offered to share with her brother.  He thinks peaches are a gift from the heavens.  Such a good sister.  Such a wonderful present.

I’m proud of my daughter.  Can you tell?

What Ya Don’t Want To Smell

Friday, January 9th, 2009

I’m just going to put it right out there.  When I come to your house the last thing I want to smell is Febreze.  Why?  It’s not that the smell is all that unpleasant, though I’d hardly dub it the olfactory delight the commercials make it out to be.  Nope, the smell in itself is not the problem.  It’s the fact once I smell it I know for a fact I am sitting on or near something that would likely make me shudder.  Sure, that baby throw-up, athletic residue, pet disaster or toddler pee has transformed into a fragrance resembling a meadow on steroids, but that is all that has happened.  An odor has been killed or subdued.  The instigator of the odor remains reveling in its new found stealth ability.

Shame on the Febreze company for making their product so recognizable.  Do they not see the social consequences exposing consumers’ friends and families to a trademark smell that should set off warning bells to anyone with an ounce of good sense? I don’t know what’s worse, smelling the original odor or allowing one’s guests’ imaginations to run wild with what the homeowner is attempting to cover up.  For me, it is my nature to march mentally to the worst possible scenario. The unknown is much more tragic than facing the truth head on.

So, to the loyal Febreze groupies I say this.  Put down the spray bottle.  Masking isn’t the answer.  Cleaning is.  I say this as I prepare to sign off and wash my daughter’s bean bag chair of Febreze and something else I’d rather not mention.

You Shouldn’t Have

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

There is no joy in receiving a gift from someone when you know they can’t afford to give it to you.  I hate how the holidays create this air of obligation between close friends and family members to produce a trinket or coin in order to show love and appreciation.  Times are tough for lots of people and it crushes me some are choosing gift giving over a meal or bills.  How bad does the economy need to get for people to divorce themselves from the retail aspect of holidays and special occasions?

Motor City

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

This morning I woke up to the hum of a motor.  My tired mind was slow to guess the source.  After a few attempts at grinding my ear into my pillow, ‘snow blower’ popped into my head.  My neighbor was up and doing his noble best to clear the massive load of wintery bliss we must have been dealt last night.  Visions of my husband laboring for hours with our tiny shovel danced in my head.  Poor guy.  That’s what we get for moving to Michigan, right?  I crept out of bed to survey the damage.  Parting the blinds I could see my neighbor’s mighty machine having its way with what must have been a 1/2 inch of snow.  A 1/2 inch!!!  He got up at the crack of dawn, piled on tons of clothing and fired up the beast to clear snow I could have blown a way with the breath from an excited conversation.

I have a feeling I’m going to be waking up to the hum of a motor for a good chunk of this winter.  Just as I spent many an afternoon in the fall listening to the motor of a blower any time a leaf dared to fall off a tree.  Detroit isn’t the only Motor City in Michigan.

Buttons

Friday, November 21st, 2008

The best way to find out all the things your remotes, computers and electronics can do is to give your toddler a few seconds alone with them.  Several times a day I find myself in the middle of the “what the heck could they have pushed” game.  I have to admit I’ve discovered features I never would have had a clue about were it not for my tech savvy children.

Of course, my kids have also managed to push some of my own buttons that I wasn’t exactly aware of either, the internal kind that can leave you anywhere from mushy/sappy to psycho/crazy.  And just like with the remote, the mommy buttons that lead to a bad result seem to be the most intriguing to them.  On the positive side, once they’ve pushed a not so great button I know exactly how to undo the damage quickly the next time.  I can also anticipate when they are about to push something with dire consequences and redirect them.

Scars

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Until Sunday I thought seeing red was just about being angry.  My daughter’s innocent dance twirl that catapulted her face first into our television stand changed all that.  Where delicate flesh met unforgiving wood, injury reigned supreme.  I saw red alright.  My heart wasn’t angry, it was shattered.  What was supposed to be a relaxing afternoon at home turned into a chaotic race to the hospital.  There capable hands worked to put her back together again while I struggled to keep my emotions in check.  How did it happen?  How did the little twirl she’d done countless times before go so wrong?  How was my little girl smiling and facing needles and thread so bravely when her big and protective mom wanted to sob on the floor?

By the time we made it home, my daughter was lost in the joy of the grape popsicle she earned for being such a good patient.  Though well aware of her boo-boo, she was completely over the events that led us to that point.  Mommy wasn’t though.  When she asked for some music and for us all to dance I wanted to say no.  I wanted to bundle her up on the couch with a good book and make sure she was safe and sound.  Her eyes pleaded as only a 2 year old’s can.  So we danced and she spun and I realized a split lip and a couple of stitches wasn’t the worst injury she could have walked away with.  Had her confidence been damaged, it would have left a deeper wound.

Name That Christian

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

One of the saddest developments in the 2008 election season was the endless questioning of Barack Obama’s faith.  Yes, it could be argued whether or not some of his beliefs or decisions live up to Biblical expectation.  The fact is though, all Christians are flawed in some way.  That is why all needed to be saved.  The most important aspect of Christianity, in my opinion, is accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.  Once you’ve done that publicly it is pretty much between you and God to know how true it is.

Up to the election, and even now, you can still find individuals denouncing Obama’s Christianity.  Some do so as a result of his stance on gay rights and abortion.  Never mind he himself is not gay, nor has he ever had an abortion.  He is right with what some believe God expects, he simply believes, as do most, politicians are in place to honor the Constitution of our country and churches are a place to honor the law of God.  And if we want to hold the Bible to the letter, I don’t think there is a politician in existence, with all sins being equal, who is in the clear.  There are plenty who not only condone things that go against the Bible, but practice things that are actually part of the 10 Commandments.  Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not commit adultery and thou shall love thy neighbor (and not bear false witness against them) are the top three that come to mind.  Those candidates don’t seem to attract the same level of condemnation for their direct sins against God.  It makes it hard to consider the Christian Right credible when they rise against a candidate over abortion and homosexuality, but shake off the indiscretions of those who happen to line up on their side of the abortion/homosexuality issue.  Again, all sins being equal.

The most upsetting for me is those who say Obama is not a Christian because of his name.  They admit this with a wink and a grin as if his name exposes him for the fraud he is.  I want to shake these people and remind them of their Missionary work.  How many Christian soldiers are spread throughout the world right now converting non-Christians?  Thousands.  Those who have converted are not named Peter, John or Michael.  So, is their conversion a fraud?  Or perhaps they are a lower level Christian?  It’s disgusting and a slap in the face to what Christianity is supposed to mean.  It’s also a publicity nightmare for the faith in general.  I’m sure many of the faithful in the US and abroad got the message loud and clear.  Christians are willing to accept you as one of them when tallying their conversion points for God, but not when it comes to supporting your efforts to serve your public and your country.

Commercials Kill Me

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

It’s so obvious when commercials are created by or written for people who never are in the situation actually being described.  Have you seen the one with the woman who is faced with a giant rolling ball of laundry?  Apparently it is 6 months worth of dirty clothes.  Normally the task of doing that much laundry would be daunting.  Not in this case though.  She has a front loading washing machine that can store up to 6 months worth of detergent.  She need not worry about pouring soap to get the job done.  Suddenly her life is easier and that massive ball of laundry isn’t so intimidating.  The end of the commercial shows her happy with a mountain of clean and neatly folded laundry beside her.  I believe the machine runs about $1,500.  Dare I say it’s a rip off?  Unless I’m unique, in the overall scheme of things the pouring of the soap is hardly noticeable.  If the washing machine industry really wants to make that giant rolling garment ball less of a chore, invent a machine that sorts, empties pockets, treats stains and folds.  Just saying.

Hen Pecking

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Hens don’t peck outcast chicks to somehow make those chicks better at conforming to the group.  They do it to destroy the chick.  Often times the chicks are pecked and bloodied for no more reason than being themselves.  It’s devastating to watch.  You try to distract the hens and coach the chicks, but there is often little that can be done other than completely isolating the targeted chicks.  Watching nature take its course is tough.  Seeing the proud chicks, heads held high with feather remnants dangling from their beaks, is one of those things you never really get used to.  Although, getting used to it would mean losing yet another thread of compassion that makes humans so special.