Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

Welcome 2011

I used to be one for New Year’s resolutions, but somewhere along the way, I gave them up. Too easy to fall off the wagon. Now I just go for little goals without big consequences if I don’t follow through. But I do have some parenting goals I hope to remember all year.

  1. Listen. Really.
  2. Talk less (you lose them after two sentences anyway).
  3. Smile more often.
  4. Catch my kids doing good things.
  5. Stop nagging my son. Okay, maybe just do less of it.
  6. Be consistent.
  7. Be in the moment.
  8. Be grateful. Remember life can change on a dime.
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Honda Whispering

Our car, an aging automatic Honda Odyssey, has taken to getting stuck in Park. I have been stranded in all manner of places—parking lots, driveways, in front of the library, you name it, and it’s kind of embarrassing.

I keep thinking it’s a metaphor for parenting. Similar to a recalcitrant toddler, the car can’t be forced. Wrenching on the shifter only serves to remind me I might break the mechanism and be stuck for good. Last week, picking up Leah from middle school, I got stuck for ten minutes jiggling the shifter and feeling mightily irritated.

Like most parents do with tough kids, I’ve taken to anticipating the issue, except instead of warning my charge we won’t be buying treats while grocery shopping or wondering whether today will be the day I will abandon a full cart due to a meltdown (I never abandoned a full cart and now, looking back, I wish I had), I park so I won’t ever block anyone (that happened in a driveway last week, and naturally it was when the blocked-in driver was in a hurry). I also park in the outer reaches of parking lots where there are fewer witnesses to watch me go through my round of tricks.

I’ve tried all kinds of tricks: wheeling the steering wheel around as I pull down on the shifter, turning the engine off and turning it back on again, setting and releasing the parking brake several times, and taking deep breaths to minimize the red flush that invariably crawls up my face.

But, like a toddler bent on independence, the car only does what it wants to do when it wants to do it—I never know what pops it into gear, although recently when I took to stomping on the brake pedal (my husband’s trick), I discovered more consistent success. Hmm, the car equivalent of spanking?

Luckily, with a car, you can just call in the mechanic. In fact, it’s in the shop today. I hope it’s easy to figure out—they have never run into this issue before. Story of my toddler parenting life. Thank God I’m done with it.

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Boy Disputes

Yesterday a friend of Ty’s spent the afternoon at our house, and at some point not long before it was time for him to go home, I realized the boys had had a silent falling out over sharing a book. I tried to help them come to a solution, but they were pretty clearly positioned in their corners, and Ty’s friend ended up going home in tears.

“How was F. today?” I asked Ty when he got from school this afternoon. “Was he still mad?”

“No, he was fine. We agreed that I was mean and he made a big deal out of something small.”


I’m thinking the female persuasion could learn something from this.

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Lost in Lost

I don’t know where our family has been the last five years—under a rock apparently. Actually, I know where we’ve been: parenting younger children. But now that we have an almost 13-year-old, and the new season of Lost has begun, Leah has suddenly brought the show into our home, even if we are five seasons behind.

Since we don’t have cable TV, Leah is watching Lost on the computer. The upside to watching TV on the computer is you can watch your show whenever you want. The downside to watching TV on the computer is you can watch your show whenever you want. Leah started with Season 1. In two weeks, she’s nearly through it and anticipating Season 2. We’re to the point of saying, “No more Lost for the rest of the day.”

On the other hand, we do have fun discussing it at dinner. Because, guess what, the rest of us are tuning in too.  I admit it, I am hooked on the plot.

Dinner conversations, though, are less about plot for me. Leah wants to talk plot and the bigger implications and hint at what she’s already seen. (The rest of us are many episodes behind.) But I find myself comparing the show to Survivor, which she’s never followed.

“It’s not realistic that they’re not losing weight,” I keep saying. “Hurley? The big guy? He should be skinner by now. You can’t live on fruit and not lose weight. And where’s the food, anyway? They should be obsessed with it. And what about Shannon? I’m sorry, you can’t look that good when you’re sleeping on the ground every night. And how come they haven’t built an outhouse, anyway? That’s just unsanitary. Jack’s concerned with sanitation. Why hasn’t he brought it up?”

Leah sagely reminds me that although we all know people have to poop, they don’t have to include it in a TV show. For some puerile reason, though, I want to know these things about being plane-wrecked on an island, never mind if it’s a TV island.

Ty is quick to point out that we did get to see Hurley gathering large leaves and not for eating. Ty and I think the leaves are pretty funny, and at least a token effort toward acknowledging the obvious. I also want to know what the women will do once a month—raid the suitcases?—although I haven’t said this out loud to my kids (Leah would be mortified), and why none of the women have armpit hair growing, and why the men all have three days’ beard growth, never more, never less. And why isn’t Jack’s short hair growing out? You never see anyone cutting his hair. Come on, Hollywood, a little reality please.

Leah gets impatient with me. Who cares about poop and other unmentionables? She just wants to catch up with her friends so she can discuss this season’s plot. Life is not in the details, apparently, it’s the bigger picture that’s important.

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Halloween Germs

Yesterday, Ty came home from a Halloween trip to Value Village with his usual get-up. Every year since he was about three, he has opted for a scary mask—the scarier, the better—and some sort of robe. Very simple, really. This year he came home with a mask of a gorilla with pointed teeth and a women’s leather coat that covers him to his knees.

I love the mask. I told him I’d like to wear it next year.

“Do you want to try it on?” he asked.


And then I got this queasy feeling, much as I now get a queasy feeling at the thought of trying on hats in a store. Once you go through a lice outbreak in your house, you never look at hats the same way again (the lice thing was several years ago—we’re not live, don’t worry).

This time? Swine flu germs. Think about it. How many people do you think tried on that mask before my boy bought it, breathing their soggy germs all over the nose cavity? How many of the multitude of masks have been tried on by hundreds of people only to be put back on the rack?

I’m not normally a germ phobe—I’m the last person to ask my kids to wash up before dinner—but this year I often find myself making them wash their hands when they get home from school. So far we haven’t been hit with flu germs, but really it’s only a matter of time, I think, before we go down like dominoes.

Somehow Ty and I got distracted, and I didn’t have to try on the mask. I’m going to give it 72 hours. Do you think that’s long enough?

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