Monthly Archives: September 2013

Sunday September 1, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

In parenting magazines, I read about “you messages.” This is when someone turns a situation around and puts the pressure on YOU. We were taught that “you messages” were not good disciplinary tools and should not be employed when having a heart-to-heart conversation. Rather than say, “You made me angry today,” a parent should say, “I felt angry today, and we need to talk.” I practiced this as much as possible, but the art of defusing a situation by not putting guilt onto the other person failed to precipitate down to the offspring. Things that I could not possibly be responsible for suddenly became my fault. This candy wrapper incident enlightened me to the fact that my kids were as good at game playing with words as we were!

Monday September 2, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Boredom is the thing that drives kids to get into all kinds of mischief. It was hard to find stuff for my kids to do that wasn’t electronic or fattening! This is where being “artsy-craftsy” came in handy. As long as I had art supplies, my kids had a project. I credit my mom for inventing many of the things we did!

Tuesday September 3, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

I remember being so bored, I thought the day would never end. I’d lie on our old blue sofa and wish I could see into the future so I could know what to prepare for. I wanted to get started as soon as possible. Art came so easily for me (I never expected it to provide a living), so I worried about not being smart enough, not being liked, and not fitting in. Being a kid had so many limitations. I wanted to be grown up and gone! I felt imprisoned in a kid’s body.

Thursday September 5, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

I have always been at least ten pounds over the weight I want to be. When my brother was in the agonizing throes of nicotine withdrawal, I likened it to not being able to have a second helping of spuds and gravy, and he said it was not the same. I argued. I thought it was exactly the same. He just had to practice a little self-denial. He said I was completely out to lunch. Having never been a smoker, I really had no idea what he was going through.

Sunday September 8, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

The other day I watched a young mother guiding her son around the grocery store. She was letting him do all the shopping. She asked him what ingredients he would buy if he was going to make chili and what would make a nice salad. The child was about four years old and right into the project. This was a shopping trip just for him. He had to think about what he was buying and why. He was told about the cost, how one kind of bathroom tissue might be a better value for the family than another. He made decisions about desserts and treats and whether one kind of bread would be more nutritious than another. I was so impressed with this young woman’s insight, patience, and ingenuity that I had to compliment her. She just said, “He was interested, so I thought it was time.” As I watched her continue to the checkout counter, I wished I’d had her good sense when I was shepherding my little ones!

Monday September 9, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

The first day of school was always exciting for me, and a new teacher was fresh meat. The ones who were most successful in taming our classes began by setting down the rules. They were strict, no-nonsense people who could stand up to the most irritating kids. If they also turned out to be creative, entertaining, funny, and fair, they had us in the palms of their hands, and we learned — just to earn their praise.

Wednesday September 11, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

When I read that saying “I don’t do mornings,” I see someone who doesn’t have kids. If you have a family, you do mornings until everyone is grown and gone. You do mornings in your pajamas and housecoat, and if you’re lucky, you can swill down a coffee while you dress. The only family member with the luxury of NOT doing mornings is the family pet, who simply wonders why everything has to be so complicated.

Friday September 13, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Alan bought and tried a cigarette substitute. It was a plastic inhaler with a nicotine hit. He wandered about the house trying to look nonchalant, but like all the other “quit the habit” innovations, this too was destined for failure. I had to give him credit — at least he tried. And when he flung the bogus butt into the woods one day, he didn’t swear in front of the kids.

Sunday September 15, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

For years, I looked around my busy house wishing things would stay in place, wishing there were no towels on the floor, no sand in the hallway, no toys on the stairs. Then my kids grew up and left home. For years, I had a perfectly tidy house. My dear friend Janet helped me to keep it immaculate. My kitchen sparkled, and my collection of knick-knacks stayed dust free. I truly enjoyed my organized and consistent environment.

Eventually, however, Elizabeth’s comment in this Sunday strip came true. My home was neat but empty. It was missing something. Then, my beautiful little granddaughter was born. I have a bouncer and a bassinette in my living room now. Infant toys are piled behind my reading chair, and I’ll soon be putting away anything that can be knocked down and broken. I’ll have to secure the cupboard doors where breakable things are kept or store them elsewhere. With a toddler around, my house is going to become chaos once more — and I’m looking forward to it. I know how fast she will grow, how soon she’ll be gone, and how much I’ll miss her.

Wednesday September 18, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

There were times when housework depressed me terribly. The fact that it had to be done over and over again made the effort beyond unsatisfying. Being a mom and managing my other job meant that I was working (I figured) 10-12 hours a day. Eventually, my mom-in-law suggested I ask one of her friends to help me once a week, so I happily made arrangements to hire “Mavis.” This hard working and thorough housekeeper indeed lightened the load, but she wanted to have her lunch prepared and she scoffed if I gave her a store-bought dessert! This meant that the time I saved was spent in the kitchen…but it was a CLEAN kitchen!

Friday September 20, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

I could never understand the cavalier way in which the men and the kids in my life regarded cleaning and maintenance of the house. They never seemed to take into account that the hall had been neatly tidied — they just kicked off their boots and happily dumped their clothing on the floor. My complaints were greeted with surprise and a “what’s your problem” shrug. Later, after I hired someone to help me clean up, I too became complacent about dirty shoes in the hallway and wet towels on the banister. “Oh well,” I’d say to myself, “Mavis will take care of it tomorrow!” A mess only registers if you have to tidy it up yourself.

Saturday September 21, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

I have always needed a career. I needed to express myself creatively. I needed to earn my own living, and I needed the companionship of other adults. Even though I felt guilty for putting Aaron in daycare, I was a better parent because I was working. I was also able to pay the bills! The alternative at the time was to go on welfare, and I wanted so badly to avoid this.

Tuesday September 24, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

Like Michael, I wanted my room to remain in a constant state of upheaval when I was a kid. The mess was a sign of independence, a statement that marked my room as mine. Commands to clean it up were greeted with indifference. Even if I was forced to comply, the state of “tidy” might have only lasted a day. I could never see the reason why a room had to be kept in order if nobody saw it but me. A kid needs solid reasons, and the threat of punishment wasn’t reason enough!

Monday September 30, 2013

Lynn’s Notes:

During my coffee house days, I was often among the great and wanna-be greats of the folk music scene. One evening I joined a group of musician friends for beer and pizza. The young man sitting next to me was rapping constantly on the table, ignoring our pained expressions. Fed up, I put my hand over his the way a mother would silence a child. He was furious! Turned out he was the drummer for a famous group. He did stop tapping, however, for which everyone was grateful!