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Posts Tagged ‘children’

 

Happy Friday. ­čÖé

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I love being home with Lotte. Love it, and I feel really fortunate that I’m able to be around for every adorable moment. Even the freak-out, face-down tantrums: those just make me laugh. I do miss the hell out of teaching, though. Being an art teacher is quite possibly the greatest job in the universe. Everything about it is the absolute best: from unpacking new supplies at the beginning of the year and setting up your classroom, to the joy in seeing kids look at their work with pride. This morning I came across a folder of some of the elementary student artwork that I had photographed a few years ago and I thought I’d share some of the awesomeness (from K to 5th grade).


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Dreary morning art projects

*All taken with my iphone: hence the fuzz.

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(This is not an advertisement. Nobody is paying me. Trust me.)

Have you heard of Pummelvision? If you give them access to your pictures: whether on flickr, facebook, instagram (or others) they’ll make them into an awesome video within an hour. Sure, sure, we all know how to make our own slideshows: but sometimes it’s fun to see what someone else comes up with. Oh, and did I mention it’s totally FREE!

I will admit, though, I was a little bummed about something. I have about a thousand images on flickr, dating pre-kid and pre-marriage. Pictures of trips, student artwork, my old classrooms, my wedding, the neighborhood and other pre-LJ moments. For some reason the folks (cyber-magical picture selecting robots?) only chose pictures of LJ between the ages of 6 months and now, making it seem like I never had a life before I squeezed out a kid, but that’s ok. I’m a Park Slope mommy now, right? Look at my baby! Look at my baby!

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So, I was sifting through some old photos, thinking about starting some new craft project that will likely never happen, when I came across two of my favorite childhood pictures. They were both taken while on Griswold-style family vacations, and depict totally normal snapshots of our typical, sunny holidays of fun in the sun.

Wait, you mean everyone’s parents DIDN’T take them to the CREEPIEST F*CKING PLACE ON EARTH? It was the late 70s: didn’t everybody frolic in some depressing wooded area straight out of Friday the 13th, and get stalked by some horrifying, filthy gingerbread man? Is that not the most terrifying picture EVER?! I’m all like, “What? He’s my boy.”.

That was taken during one of our annual summer trips to the Pick Point Lodge on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Here’s what I remember about those two (or maybe three) summers:

  • daddy-long-legs in our cabin
  • birds flying into the lake-front cabin window full-speed and dying
  • shuffleboard
  • daddy-long-legs on me
  • some old lady who would always give me those cheese and peanut butter sandwich crackers that came in plastic wrappers
  • stepping on daddy-long-legs everywhere we went
  • some guy would throw handfuls of shiny pennies into the lake for us to wade around and find
  • my mom loved the blueberry muffins at Bailey’s in Wolfboro, NH
  • Falling out of the very high bed onto the hardwoods every night and daddy-long-legs crawling in my mouth (probably)
  • the brown 1976 Plymouth Volare station wagon we drove to get there
  • At the start of one trip up I whined that I desperately needed oj from Mcdonalds. I was positively dying of thirst. We stopped, I had one sip and happily called out, “I’m all done!”. My father pulled the car over, turned around and screamed “YOU WILL DRINK THAT GOD DAMN JUICE!!!”. ┬áI cried, chugged it, and had to pee 20 minutes later.
  • ┬áthree awesome dogs (the lodge owner’s?) that milled around: one Newfoundland, one Samoyed, and an Irish Setter.
  • daddy-long-legs in my mouth

The place doesn’t exist anymore, which is a shame, because I know you’re all dying to take your kids there now. I swear it was fun, though. Cross my heart. I loved it.

Here’s another picture from a vacation to Disney? Bush Gardens? I’m not sure. I’m in about 5th grade. My sister’s in high school.

Yep. This one always renders me speechless. There are no words, I think, that can accurately describe the insanity of this family photo, so I’ll just leave it alone.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who vacationed in Crazytown as a child…

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Sometimes I’m just all talked out, and it’s best to let my iPhone do the explainin’. Today we:

admired LJ’s new sparkly “big girl kicks”,

lovingly painted (and cracked) some eggs,

cheered on a dinosaur parade,

admired our super-cool hood,

… and had an unexpected visit from a pirate.

I’m wiped out, and it’s only 3pm.

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Dear coach of my kid’s future soccer team, Principal of her future elementary school and fellow parents:

If I show up to LJ’s first real soccer game and there are FOUR GOALS instead of two so the kids can “score easier”: I will go fucking bananas. If every kid wears the same color on field day at her school, to ensure that nobody has to actually TRY, and every precious little child wins: I will go fucking bananas. To the 85% of parents polled by the NY Daily News who said that Wiffle Ball, kickball, freeze tag and Red Rover are DANGEROUS and should be BANNED FROM SUMMER CAMPS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: You. Are. Pathetic. I feel sorry for your kids, because you are setting them up for a lifetime of frustration and mediocrity.

In the 7 years that I played soccer as a kid, I don’t remember anyone crying if we lost. Ever. In fact, getting our asses kicked 6-0 by the purple team (or by Rockville Centre’s ridiculous soccer prodigies) made us try HARDER during the next game. We ran a little bit faster. We cheered each other on, and learned how to be gracious winners AND losers. The truth of the matter is, and I’m going to sound like an asshole here: sports are not JUST about having fun. They’re about working well with others; learning how to have patience; gaining problem-solving skills; and improving confidence. They teach the importance of perseverance. If the scoreboard is taken away, and your kid is never allowed to experience the joy of winning or the frustration of defeat: they won’t even try. Can you blame them? The POINT of playing lacrosse is to work with your team to score goals. The POINT of baseball is to score runs. If you’re trying to teach them the game, well, quite frankly, that’s just how it’s played. There aren’t FOUR FUCKING GOALS (unless they’re toddlers, and spend ┬ámost of the time staring at the clouds anyway).

While out on Long Island for a day last spring, I happened to drive past my old elementary school during field day, one of my favorite childhood memories. It took me a while to realize it was field day, though, because the kids were all wearing the same exact shirt. There were no teams. The three things I remember being awesome about field day were: finding out what color team you were on, hoping it wasn’t something lame, like maroon; the tug-of-war at the end; and the fun competition. Now there are no colors, no tug-of-war (deemed too dangerous, of course), and no competition. There are no ribbons given out at the end. Now I realize that every kid is not athletic. At this point my 3-year-old seems to have 5 left-feet and prefers bubbles to her mini-kick scooter. ┬áThat’s fine. The thought of relay races might fill some kid’s bellies with anxious butterflies, but really, is anyone THAT amazing at hopping in a potato sack?

Throughout life we ALL encounter experiences that make us feel nervous and uncomfortable; moments of disappointment; and times where even busting our ass resulted in failure. We picked ourselves up and kept trying. Your kid probably won’t get into every college on their list, or get every job after graduation. They WILL experience epic failure, and won’t always be “smartest”, “fastest”, or “the best”. If you don’t stop coddling them, and don’t start teaching them the values of tenacity and determination at a young age, they will turn into self-entitled brats. Mark my words. I’m a teacher, I’ve seen it. We all need to stop praising our kids for every miniscule thing they do, and stop telling them they’re “so smart” for every line they scribble and simple instruction they follow. I’m guilty of it, also. I shouted “GREAT JOB!” when my daughter took off her sneakers the other day. It really wasn’t that much of an amazing accomplishment. She took off her fucking shoes. Big woop. Instead, we should praise them for… you got it, TRYING HARD. I know I sound all Tiger Mother-y, but so be it. We are raising a nation of wussies. It’s a problem. Let’s fix it.

Oh, and let them play KICKBALL, for christ’s sake. You seriously think your kid will get mortally wounded from a game of freeze tag? Really? Fine. Then let them play video games all day and contribute to the astronomical childhood obesity epidemic. Nice move. It’s your call.

Love,

Tracy

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