Tuesday, May 31, 2011

...Are we all morons?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has announced that sugared sports drinks and highly caffeinated energy drinks are harmful to children. JCK would like to thank The Academy for... this brilliant analysis. Can we say a collective...DUH....?!!

Caffeine and other stimulants contained in energy drinks "have no place in the diet of children and adolescents," cautioned Marcie Beth Schneider, MD, of Greenwich Adolescent Medicine in Greenwich, Conn., and colleagues.

Jesus, Mary & Joseph, and throw the Wise Men in, too. Has everyone lost their minds? JCK wonders ... Are we all morons? Or, are we just being treated as morons? JCK is not sure, but JCK is certain that these superb facts released by the American Academy of Pediatrics reflect poorly on all of us. And, that an entire generation of parents who came before us are spitting their coffee out this morning, at the idiocy of this announcement.

JCK is the first one to acknowledge that parenting decisions are challenging, but parenting is also about good old fashioned horse sense. Apparently, our logic has taken a hiatus. Common sense. Let's use it! We'll call it the new Parenting Revolution...

Image courtesy of Google Images.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the work will come

I am always flummoxed by the writing process. Some days the words tumble out, and it is all I can do to catch them. A joyful emptying and flow that invites me along for the ride. Other times, it is brutal. I paddle in circles, or my boat is sinking as I madly bail, the water coming in as fast as I can toss it out...

It helps to clear away the piles surrounding my desk, sharpen my pencils...how I love the smell of newly sharpened pencils, stack my post-its and yellow pads. Then walk away. The work will come.

So, I am immersed in reading a memoir. Bathing myself in another woman's words. It's all I want to do. Escape into a life story with a different rhythm. Safely. Under the covers of my own bed...

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Monday, May 23, 2011

I could never have dreamed you

My Darling Daughter,

Thank you for sharing the weekend with me. I treasure the time we spent together, just the two of us. I am so blessed to have a little girl like you. You are easy to be with, and I love it when we get silly. I do recognize that you are your own person, but isn't it fun how much in common we share?! We are list makers, you and I. The charge we get from writing and checking off our lists is a little scary...

You have such an innate curiosity about life, and I love exploring ideas with you. I was bowled over when we were talking about how some people home school their children, and you said if you were home schooled your first project would be to study Laura Ingalls Wilder. We had so much fun reading the series together this last year, didn't we?

Unlike your mama at 6, you are not boy crazy. Your life is so full of other things. You are very different than me in that way, and I wish for you smoother travels of the heart.

You have already explored the idea of a few careers. In preschool you wanted to be a pediatrician. Now you "know" that you want to be a Kindergarten teacher. If that is your path, I have no doubt you will be a great teacher. You have lots of time to decide, and it will be exciting to see what you choose someday.

Your notes and drawings are everywhere. I cherish them. You are free with expressing your love for me, your daddy and your brother. We are lucky to have your love.

I admire how physically strong you are becoming. I think it is important for you to know that you are strong in many ways.

You used to be attached to my hip or leg or lap at all times, whenever we ventured somewhere. Now, you risk little jaunts on your own - taking the escalator while I take the elevator, running ahead and waiting for me. You greet my approach with a huge smile; the confidence becomes you.

I remember I asked you if you remembered the song that I used to sing to you when you were tiny. The Precious Girl song, my made-up lyrics, that go to the tune of The Yellow Submarine by the Beatles? I sung it for you and you nodded your head, a smile tucked into your cheeks, cuddling with me on the couch.

Perhaps what I love most is your patience with your brother. You help him in so many ways. And, he adores you. You both are very different individuals, yet you recognize in each other a kindred spirit. I hope you share that connection always.

I could never have dreamed you.

Please, can we have more weekends together? Meanwhile let's write some more lists and check things off...



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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our children help shape us

I came to parenthood on the late side. Our son came to us through the blessing of adoption, and our daughter arrived 9 months and 27 days later through an apparent miracle of conception that was said to be impossible. We thought so. Surprise!!!

All the parenting books in the world could not have prepared me for the long, lonely nights of bouncing a colicky baby on a yoga ball, the darkness punctuated by the sounds of my own desperate breathing, as I struggled to stay awake, arms numb from holding my beloved babe against my breast. Or, that I would be mistaken for an over sized wipe, due to occasional vomit and pee, and oh yes...projectile poop explosions.

There are the mundane tasks: the meal planning, the laundry, the multiple driving destinations, and the endless picking up after small people. Sometimes, we are so caught up in the doing that we can miss the being.

Yet, out of the mundane and ordinary spark those little jewels. The moments when you are slayed by what your children say and do. Our children help shape us. Hopefully we become better people, because we are forced to look into our own childhoods to see what worked and what didn't.

To respect who they truly are is not always an easy task. Too often we get caught up in our own stuff. Our own projections of who we think they are, or who they should be. Or worse, what other people might think of our children.

I no longer have a baby snuggling into my neck who smells of yeasty milk, or a toddler reaching up to a table loaded with possible dangers. My daughter no longer cries when I leave her with her peers. She wants to be a participant without me. My son checks in with me more often, asking if he can have another cookie, or have computer time. We have conversations. On good days, they share what they did at school. They've memorized our phone numbers. They sing songs. They have full little lives. Sometimes with me and sometimes not... It is only when I step into their room at night, enveloped in darkness, that it feels the same as when they were babies. I stand and listen to their soft breathing in the dark, kiss their velvety cheeks, and weep...

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Friday, May 13, 2011

the things you worry about the most, end up being nothing at all

JCK wonders how she has come to this. Nirvana achieved. Five o'clock known around her back yard as Jack O'clock, dinner with friends, in bed attired in silk pajamas at 9:05pm. Years ago would have been deemed appalling. Now? Heavenly...close to room service. Life has changed. Indeed.

JCK's children, who should be worn out from hours of pogo sticking, laser gun fights, soccer/kickball and inhaling numerous substances called hot dogs, chips and yogurt,and multiple triangles of watermelon are still...chatting. Indeed, sadly, JCK is readier for sleep than they.

All is good with the world for the moment. JCK's son sailed above and beyond the blood draw, distracted by the idea of Super Hero numbing ointment, an over sized lolly, and Asterix. Of course, JCK was proud of him, but most importantly he was proud of himself.

Sometimes, the things you worry about the most, end up being nothing at all. Parenting is never a known entity. As in life, it is full of unknowns and curve balls. JCK often finds herself fully in the game, garbed in protective catcher's gear. But, there are those times, when she doesn't need the body armor, and she is surprised...

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Monday, May 9, 2011

How to survive having a BIG Needle go into Your Child's Little Arm

In all the Parenting books she's ingested, JCK wonders how she could possibly have missed this one. It must have been in very small print. At the back. Titled: Why Not? Inducing a Nervous Breakdown for your Child and Yourself, Part XIII.

JCK is absolutely certain in all those bloody pages, those preachy, smug pages, there was never, ever a section on: How to survive having a BIG Needle go into Your Child's Little Arm and draw out Blood. Nope. JCK is sure she didn't read that anywhere.

After days of procrastination, JCK has decided she has to buck up and take her boy to the lab tomorrow. Accompanied by her small girl. Because they travel in 3's. Her son's pediatrician has ordered blood work, and JCK must fulfill her parenting duties.

JCK would like to point out that she will be the only adult there. Her husband E.K. is noticeably busy tomorrow. JCK is hoping that he will suddenly be afflicted with GUILT over THIS, and decide he must accompany them posthaste. If this doesn't happen...JCK hopes that the fleas of a thousand camels will inflict his arm pits.

You see JCK comes from a long line of Fainters or Pass-her-Outers. Those who keel over in dizziness, and wake up later in a cold sweat on a strange couch. In fact, this family generational weakness goes back so far that JCK believes her ancestors invented the Fainting Couch.

JCK would like to point out...there have been No offers of HELP from the man who doesn't faint.

JCK will be fine! She will be strong. She will not need smelling salts from the Dead Sea. Except that... this is her son, who tends to swing between panic and MORE PANIC in just his natural rhythms. Her son who feels everything on a BIGGER level. Like Elliot in E.T. Except that JCK isn't sure who is beaming those feelings into her little guy. She just knows he's got buckets of them.

But, no worries! Just in case the world is still here tomorrow, JCK has ordered The Special Ointment. It is so special that it had to be special ordered. Hence its name...The Special Ointment.

When the pediatrician handed JCK the lab order form two weeks ago, and it fluttered to the floor uncaught by JCK's trembling fingertips, he seemed to realize that he would have to do something drastic. This was when he whipped out the order sheet for The Special Ointment. An ointment so special that it is an anesthetic. Smiling he told her that she could rub it on her son's inner elbows 30 minutes before the big needle STICK, and he wouldn't feel a thing. Really? Really. JCK could even do a practice test if she wanted.

JCK is beyond hopeful that The Special Ointment, The Special Anesthetic Ointment, will work. She is counting on it. She has promised her son that afterwards they will go to the store and pick out a BIG TOY, and then go home and eat ICE CREAM. JCK is pulling out all the stops. JCK is blubbering herself to sleep...

JCK can't think about the possibility that The Special Ointment will not work. Or, that her son will panic and create a fracas in the laboratory. All is possible with her son of many colors. But, if The Special Ointment doesn't work for pain reduction for her son, she figures she can add it to her Boudoir Collection. 15 years of marriage. Some Special Anesthetic Ointment might come in handy...

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Mother's Day Poem

Will I remember it,
this life we have now
moments in a day
long passed.

When I measured them
against a doorjamb
with pencil, a ruler
and pink measuring tape.

Each rushing to be
the first one
Me First! No, Me!
But, it's MY turn.

When I said it was not quite
time for me to say good-bye and
she said she wanted to hug me
just because she wanted to.

When I overheard their battle
he shouting, I'm leaving
and she said, filled with hope
To Africa!?

The many nights of losing sleep
because he came into our room
yet once, after a night out
gasping, Mom, you're home!

The push and pull of asking
for help or NOT
Mommy, will you tie this in a bow
...I can do it MYSELF!

Seeing the metamorphosis from
tentative to self-confident
painstakingly slow...and
then like quicksilver.

Stepping on train tracks
strewn carelessly
across the floor, out the door
and to his imagined beyond.

Her small hand tucked in mine
so soft, so very soft
the tiny fingers growing
bigger every day.

The way he threw his arms
around his swimming teacher
topped off with a kiss
upon her shoulder.

Pretending to fly with them
running and flinging ourselves
upon the couch, tummy first
muscles screaming, yet worth it.

The cadence of her voice
filling the room
as she "reads" aloud
for her own pleasure.

His blessing at dinner
thanking God for us
for his grandparents
and the homeless woman.

The hours they spent
in make-believe lives
playing together and
needing no one else.

Will I remember sitting here
on the edge of his bed
small, overturned shoes
cradling my tired feet.

A boy not yet ready
for me to leave
him alone, eyes closed
to his unknown dreams.

A girl attuned to his every sound
lying in her bed, across from his
deep breaths stirring in the dark.

They are my children, these two
one a boy, on his way to five
and a girl almost four
two of them, ten months apart...

Will I remember it,
this life we have now
Oh Yes! in every fiber,
every cell, of my being.

by JCK

Happy Mother's Day!

Read JCK on the Huffington Post.

Will I remember it - a Poem by JCK - 6/8/2008

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I want so much to provide my children with... a kind of childhood that doesn't exist anymore

It is now when I need to treasure the simple things. The pride on my daughter's face when she's promoted to Shark, the only 6 year old, in her swimming class. The day my son hands me a note, the letters a struggle, but they line up to say...To mommy. I love you mommy. I love you mommy. The warmth of my husband's skin. The patient ear of a friend who really listens when I go on and on...

We do not live in innocent times. We live in dangerous times. Whether destructive tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis or human beings killing thousands of people, sometimes it seems that the world has gone crazy.

Often, the reality of the environment in which we are raising our children seems to mock our endeavors. Our quest seems illusory and unrealistic. I want so much to provide my children with...a kind of childhood that doesn't exist anymore.

But, I can't give up. Every child needs that time. To feel safe within your arms. To believe that you are everything, and all things. That we can conquer the Darth Vader's of our world and in our own psyches.

Later, not much later, but later... we will talk of how things are not as simple as good guys and bad guys. That there is relief when someone can no longer plot evil things, but that doesn't make it all OK. That we are not innocent in our doings, much as we like to think that of ourselves. Layer upon layer upon layer...

So, for today, I will encourage their silliness, and join them in their moment-to-moment experience of how they see the world. Here, there are good guys and bad guys. Life is black and white. The grey will come later. Right now, their world is tidy or messy. And, we can always clean up. They need that simplicity, and I need it, more than ever...

JCK also has a Featured Member Post, "Can We Stop Using the Word Tramp,” in the Family topic on BlogHer.com this week. Come join the discussion!

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