parenting

My Dad

This was originally published over at Medium.com, but I wanted to share it here too. 

My dad is the cool dad.

The one that all my friends tell me they wish they had.

My dad is the brave dad.

The one that baits the hook and handles all the scary jobs, like catching spiders.

My dad is the protector dad.

The one I can always call, no matter the time of day or where he may be.

My dad is the strong dad.

He stands up to the bullies, even when they try to knock him down.

My dad is the example of who I want to be when I grow up.

My dad is weakening,

the strength he once had no longer what it used to be.

My dad is a body being ravaged by an invader,

being overtaken, cell by cell.

Now it’s my turn to be the cool one, put on the brave face, be his protector, and his strength.

Now it’s my turn to be there whenever and wherever he needs me.

Because this is the example he has set for me, and I am, after all, my father’s daughter.

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What Will You Do?

I’m sitting here this morning, my heart pounding in my chest, my brain spinning uncontrollably, trying to find words, having a difficult time putting it all in an order that makes sense to my brain and my soul.

I am trying to find a way to calm my daughter’s anxiety. I am trying to answer her questions.

How do I explain to her that people now feel they have been given permission to judge her based on the color of her skin?

That they can openly harass and deny services to her family members because of who they chose to love?

How do I try to calm her fears that old white men are going to tell her what she can and can’t do with her body?

Please, someone, offer me the words to explain this to her, because right now, I have none.

 

How Much Is Too Much?

I stumbled across this on Tumblr. Because I have a high school student (a freshman this year) who is going through exactly this, I felt it had to be shared.


teacher 1

parent 1

teacher 2

parent 2

parent 3

parent 4

 

SOMEONE FINALLY SAID IT

So if a teenager is at school for roughly 8 hours, and they are doing homework for 6+ hours, and they need AT LEAST 9 HOURS OF SLEEP FOR THEIR DEVELOPING BRAINS, then they may have 0-1 hours for other activities like eating, bathing, exercise, socializing (which is actually incredibly important for emotional, mental, and physical health, as well as the development of skills vital to their future career and having healthy romantic relationships among other things), religious activities, hobbies, extra curriculars, medical care of any kind, chores (also a skill/habit development thing and required by many parents), relaxation, and family time?  Not to mention that your parents may or may not pressure you to get a job, or you might need to get one for economic reasons.

I will never not reblog this

So my question is this – how do we change this? Why do we expect this much from our kids, when we aren’t even doing this much as adults. What exactly is this teaching them, other than to be work-a-holics when they are finally done with school and in debt up to their eyeballs. It certainly does not instill a love of learning or reading, key ingredients to living a fulfilled, enriched life.  The stress and anxiety that my 14 year old is going through this year is ridiculous. Homework is assigned over the summer and holiday breaks. Have schools and teachers forgotten the meaning of the word “break”?

Your thoughts?

Parenting A Tween

As a parent there is a lot to consider these days: education, diet & exercise, extra circular activities, general household rules… you get the idea. As a parent of a tween (soon to be teen) there seems to be a whole other dimension added to that I now get to experience. Fortunately (or maybe not) I remember my middle school years. I count myself lucky to still be in contact with my best friend from all those years ago too. (She knows where all the skeletons are buried)

I asked the question on facebook and got a variety of responses, and will ask it here too, because I enjoy the conversations it can generate and learning others views helps to expand mine.

Do you google or facebook/twitter search the boyfriends or girlfriends of your kids?

Growing up in the day before all this technology my parents knew the neighbors, they knew the kids I hung out with, they knew the principal at my school (at least through middle school anyway). They knew the pharmacist at the shop down the street, they knew neighbors on other streets that recognized me when I was out running around with my friends. It wasn’t easy to get away with things then. Don’t get me wrong, I did get away with some stuff and I did get caught doing other things I shouldn’t have. I expect this of kids of any generation. But because of the availability of information and the willingness of so many to share information with seemingly complete strangers in some regards, where do you draw the line? How much information is too much? When is it not enough?

Parent or not share your thoughts in the comments below.

Friday Fun 4/15/2011

So normally this would be “Tax Day” but because of “Emancipation Day” in Washington DC falls on Saturday (and all the federal employees having a day off on Friday) the dreaded day has been extended to the 18th. There’s your random trivia for the day.

Now on to the fun. This one is a question, and yes, I would like you to actually answer in the comments. Kthnx

What is the weirdest text message you ever got? Or sent?

Mine – a text from my daughter while she was playing at a friends house. “Mom, can I shoot a b b gun?” Umm… the number of thoughts that went through my head in 3 seconds ranged from “what?!” “you’ll shoot your eye out” “girls don’t shoot b b guns” “is there parental supervision” “why?” and “please be careful”, just to name a few.  After a couple more messages back and forth it was established that there was indeed supervision, and they were being safe. Turns out the “target” practice only lasted about 5 minutes after the message was sent. And no eyes were shot out.

So you now it’s your turn. Comments are now open.

Bee-lated Valentines

Valentines day is not a big deal around our house. So when I was out of town this year, it wasn’t as though the world would come to an end. But I had to share this, bee-lated as it may be, because of the emotion and heart and soul that was put into it this year.

Amy handmade 2 cards, one for Dean and one for me. Here is what she wrote. And if you are prone to tears at Hallmark commercials, have tissues on hand.

First Dean’s card.

To – Daddy Love/From Amy Didn’t think I’d forget did ya?

Game: Figure out the list!

Awesome. Funny. Smart. Loving. Cool. Caring. Kind. Fun. Nice. Can’t figure it out? Well it’s about all the adjectives that describe you.

There once was a man named Dean. He loved a woman named Michelle and got married and they adopted a so awesomely cool it’s unbelievable daughter. They named her Amy. Amy grew up to think her dad was cool but that grew up to an awesomely nice dude. The End.

Next Michelle’s card.

Happy Beeeelated Valentines Day! (with a bee drawn here too)

To: Michelle Elizabeth Becker (AKA Mom) From: Amy

Didn’t think I’d forget did ya?

Love and hugs to the best mom in the world. I love seeing you everyday! (Except when you’re mad 😦 ) Love you bunches. Amy

Rainbows (drawn) Unicorns (drawn) and Socks (drawn with a hole)

I can’t tell you how much these cards meant to me. Especially after being gone for 10 days away from the two I love most. The work she put into them, the drawings and the sentiment, touched my heart to the very depths. She is one amazing kid.

Push Here

At what point do you actually make your child do something? Even though they say they don’t want to do it. This was the question I had been struggling with for a few weeks. Now I know the answer. At least for this particular situation.

One of the reasons for our move was to have more creative outlets and opportunities for Amy (and us as well). Last night she had the first of one such opportunity. She went to her first acting class. She didn’t know she was going until dinner time. We had intentionally not told her, knowing we would get a negative reaction, which in turn would lead to a sour attitude, and well you parents know how that turns out.

Rewind a few months, I had seen a flyer hanging up at the storage facility we rented for a kids drama school that meets here in Redmond, not to far from where we are living. I mentioned that this might be something fun for her to try since she has such a flair for the dramatic – making up plays and scenes on a whim, and being over the top in her reactions some times too. The idea was met with the typical reaction, “no” and “I don’t want to”. So the subject was dropped.

Fast forward to Christmas break and she’s asking us to give her ideas of things to act out. We would throw out an idea – waiting for the bus while listening to crazy music – as an example. And she would create this entire scene around this one idea. These scenes were pretty funny. Other times it would be something completely random that she would come up with, at any given moment. Imagine living with a female Robin Williams (only not as vulgar – remember she is only 10 after all).

Skip ahead to 2 weeks ago, me with nothing to do but rest after my surgery. I looked up the information again on the acting classes to see when the spring session was starting. Much to my surprise it hadn’t started yet and they still had openings in the class. After discussing it with Dean (out of earshot of prying ears) we decided to go ahead and sign her up. Keep in mind, she still has no idea that we are doing any of this. And of course there is that voice inside my head questioning the decision, are you sure this is a good idea? Will it be a waste of money? Will she resist and be a grump every time she has to go for the next twelve weeks?  There was no way of knowing the answers to these questions, all we could do is just proceed and see what happens.

Now here we are at yesterday. Dean makes plans to take her out to dinner. Just the two of them. She wants to go to KFC (which I don’t particularly like), so it works out well. He picks her up after work and they go to dinner. Still she doesn’t know that she’s going to class after this. While at dinner he tells her that she is going and is met with exactly the reaction we expected. But she goes, accepting the fact, grudgingly, that it is only an hour, one day a week.

Which brings us to the present time. She went in to the class with the  hopes that she wouldn’t like it. Much to her (and our) surprise, she did have fun and seems to be looking forward to going again. Her reaction upon first coming out was lukewarm, but by the time she got home and described it to me, she actually had some enthusiasm in her voice. But what really tipped me off that she had fun was one little statement on twitter that she made “Just got back from my first acting class!!!!!!” I think it was the 6 exclamation points that made me realize we had made a good decision.

So yes, sometimes it just takes a little push (and maybe a clandestine decision) to get the momentum going.