Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Could it be...

Has it finally happened? I'm not really sure, the last time I had this feeling was March of 2003. My first child was overdue and for weeks I just sat around the house...feeling bored? Could it be? Bored? I wasn't sure I would ever experience this feeling again. Honestly for the first time in nearly six years there is nothing I need to do. Oh sure there are always things that could be done-should be done...but nothing pressing. Nothing I have to accomplish today-nothing for tomorrow, nothing for the foreseeable future. I feel empty inside.

Today I read a whole book-an actual grown-up book with no pictures. I should be thrilled to have a break-thrilled to read more than page at a time between interruptions-but instead of joy it feels a bit more like sorrow.

Usually I am manic with responsibility- errands, PTA, homework, projects, chores. Free time has been a rare and coveted commodity in my life for so long-shouldn't this respite from the grind be welcomed relief? Why do I feel so depressed?

I could ruminate on this for hours but I think the best therapy would be a extra large load of laundry and long walk. Reality and exercise - a sure cure for a boring day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas for Dummies

I was raised in a cult. OK-I'll be honest it wasn't exactly a Kool-Aid with Jim sort-of cult, but it has had a dramatic impact on my adult life. As a child our "cult" didn't allow the celebration of religious or secular holidays containing any pagan component-so, no Halloween, no Easter, and most traumatic of all, no Christmas.

As a child I sorely longed to “have” Christmas. I loved everything about it, well I loved it from afar, since we weren't allowed to so much as accept a Christmas present or even respond to a well wished "Merry Christmas" uttered from a passerby.

My most magical memories of Christmas came from visiting my cousin’s house. Her dark wood paneled 70's era basement was filled with trees, garland, mistletoe, wreaths, lights, and presents, (not to mention home-made wine, a disco ball, and squirrel taxidermy-but these were easily overlooked on Christmas). I dreamed that one day I might get to decorate a tree and open a gift on Christmas morning. I had to wait 18 years for that dream to come true.

I celebrated my first Christmas while dating my (now)-husband. That was 10 years ago. The previous 27 year Christmas void has manifested itself in my adult life as Katherine- Christmas fanatic.

I finally get to do it all, the lights, the trees, and the presents-sheer joy. Of course along the way I have had to learn to celebrate a holiday which holds no religious significance to me what-so-ever. But it also gives me the freedom to pick and choose how I want to celebrate with my family. It also allows me to create lasting family traditions-no matter how bizarre or inappropriate.

Even though I officially began to celebrate the Season prior to Thanksgiving I am sad to see it coming to an end. Happily I can say that this year I have baked numerous treats, attended a cookie exchange, read a Christmas novel, decorated every room of my house including putting up 7 trees, I have made Christmas crafts, introduced a shelf elf, bought heirloom ornaments, made a gingerbread village, watched every imaginable Christmas movie and come one step closer to fulfilling the dreams of a little girl without Christmas.

Oh Oh Oh Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Helpful Homemaking Tip of the Day

My helpful homemaking tip of the day is....drumroll...How to make your home smell of Holiday Goodness while vacuuming.

Step one: As a result of your children's insatiable taste for cinnamon toast you mix approximately 1 quart of cinnamon sugar and store it in a Tupperware container (on the highest shelf of the pantry).

Step two: While reaching for a bag of pretzels knock the completely full quart sized container of sugar out of the pantry and onto the kitchen floor

Step three: Curse uncontrollably as you watch the sugar cover every square inch of the floor and ooze under the refrigerator.

Step four: Apologize to your now-crying child.

Step five: Haul the vacuum upstairs and vacuum up the sugar (while cursing under your breath-this time).

Step six: Vacuum the house and enjoy the smell of burning cinnamon throughout the home.

Happy holidays from the anti-Martha.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saving the World One Plant at a Time

This inauspicious fellow is the Christmas Cactus that I rescued last year. Yes, I am a sucker for those in need even plants. I found this little fellow in the "save me if you can" section of my local nursery. He has rewarded my noble effort by blooming. Enjoy.

Monday, December 8, 2008

5 Year Old Fashion Accessory

While sitting in a diner this morning I had the chance to catch a few minutes of morning television. I have long made it a personal rule to avoid all morning talk/news shows for fear I will be sucked in their sheer vapidity. But finding it impossible to avoid a talk show positioned 3 inches from my right ear-I tuned in. A “doctor” (I’m guessing a PhD in art history or something) was advising a woman in the Studio Audience that by dressing her young child in head-to-toe designer duds, she was in essence using her child as a walking talking fashion accessory. The doctor chided her by saying the woman had her self esteem all wrapped up in the appearance of her progeny. The doctor then advised the women to allow her child to pick her own clothes which would most certainly be a mishmash of colors and patterns. The doctor then finished by warning that teaching a child to be materialistic at an early age would lead to insecurities and low self esteem down the road.

My first thought was amen sister. I had a sudden boost of confidence knowing I let my child leave the house in all sorts of inappropriate and poorly coordinating clothing. Conclusion: I must be very psychologically healthy (lazy) since I let my child pick her clothing. But then I had a further thought. Perhaps this “doctor” has no idea that it isn’t our self esteem resting precariously on the appearance of our children-but rather proof to the world of our ability to properly “mother.”

Has this “doctor” never been to a playground or on a play date? Has she no idea that women (who get absolutely no relevant validation of our parenting skills) judge each other solely and quite harshly on the following:

1. Coordinating clothing (bonus for Gymboree brand) and hair bows (includes properly styled hair).

2. Behavior of said well dressed child (bonus for sitting quietly and staring into space).

3. Amount of organic HFCS free snacks fed to the above well dressed and properly behaved child.

So if your self esteem is fully intact-go ahead and let your child dress herself but just know that an army of mothers are judging you and taking you off the guest list for the next playdate.