Halloween Kitty Makeup!

 

Our Daughter Was A Pink Kitty This Halloween!

 

Make A Halloween Kitty Face Using Your Own Makeup

 

I purchased some Halloween face-paints but did not like how easily they wiped off, and the pigmentation was not very deep.  We looked through images online to find inspiration for our daughter’s Halloween Kitty Makeup and tinkered with sponges and brushes and makeup remover wipes until she was very happy with this look.

 

We ended up using some of my favorite cosmetics to make her Kitty face, starting with the Too Faced Hangover RX Primer to keep everything in place.  (This primer smells and feels wonderful!)

 

Urban Decay Electric Palette

Urban Decay Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color In Big Bang

Urban Decay Eyeliner In Perversion

Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Fuchsia

Lorac Front Of The Line Pro Liquid Eyeliner

 

How To Make A Halloween Kitty Face Using Your Own Makeup

 

Longwear Tip:  For the palest parts of her Kitty face, I used a brow highlighter pencil over the primer to make the outline and to fill in the area.  This helped the silvery eyeshadow stay in place all night!

 

PLEASE SHARE SOME OF YOUR HALLOWEEN MAKE UP TIPS!

 
 
 

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Problem-Solving: Kids See Potential In Everything

Kids See Potential In Everything.

We’re In The Middle Of A Move and it’s been an adventure, sometimes fun, sometimes funny, sometimes groggy (cross-country driving with the kids), and sometimes even a bit cranky (did I mention we were driving cross-country with the kids?).

Coffee has helped with the groggy-crankiness…and sometimes earplugs.

I have often been amazed at how clever children prove themselves to be, so naturally and innocently, unencumbered by the learned parameters of “expectation”. Kids truly do see potential in everything around them.

(This same ability, can arguably, also be a “CON” when experiencing a child’s developing IMPULSE CONTROL, but that is something to explore in another post….)

Last month, while watching our son transform a large yellow pipe cleaner and plastic pirate chain into a pretty convincing Spinosaurus costume, I was in parental awe at the sheer simplicity of the solution.  You can read about that HERE.

And, I hear the best stories from other mothers who view the ingenuity of their own children with a combination of delight and exasperation.   For instance, my friend, Gretchen, who co-authored the Laredo Splash Park Review, recently told us about a plan her kids were concocting to conduct an experiment in the house.

“This conversation just happened in a New York household…

FOUR YEAR OLD:   “Mom, get out of the kitchen.”

MOTHER:   “Why?” 

FOUR YEAR OLD:   “We are going to do an experiment and the refrigerator might explode.”

BEST reason not to vacate said kitchen. EVER.”

That’s probably A Good Call!  Although, I have to admit I’d be a little interested to know what they were going to try….   

I was reminded, again, of what a child will do to overcome boredom this morning in our sparse hotel room, with few toys and other conventional forms of child entertainment.

We gave our son a tangerine.

And, the play commenced.

Kids See Potential In Everything.

 

As a mom pursuing her own entrepreneurial pursuits, working to build a new company from the ground up, and trying to do it as practically as possible, these resourceful reminders are fantastic.   I’m not going to build a company on tangerine peels or plastic party chains, but I can remember that simple solutions using available resources might be, literally, right in front of me.

During this business Work-In-Progress, I have found that the solutions that have worked best, were often simple and available at the onset of the task or plan. But, those solutions were not necessarily clear or even part of the brainstorming process. Much work and energy can go into implementing a plan or a model that is more complicated than it needs to be. I want to strive for an elegant solution, and I think making a crocodile out of tangerine peels when there is nothing else to play with, is pretty darn elegant.

I think we can all benefit from re-routing traditional thinking when it comes to problem-solving to find the potential in the things, opportunities, and people around us….and, let’s not forget about the potential within ourselves!

SO….The Next Time A Challenge Presents Itself, 

 

SIMPLY LOOK FOR THE CROCODILE

HIDING IN THE FIGURATIVE CUTIE PEELS.

 

ALSO, TRY NOT TO BLOW UP ANY REFRIGERATORS….

 

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A Child Will Build What His Mind Sees

Like a lot of kids, our son is fascinated by wild animals and ancient dinosaurs.

He loves to dress-up and build habitats, watch documentaries, and read books about dinosaurs and crocodiles.

And, our son had been running around with an attached leopard tail that belonged to his sister’s halloween costume because it was the only tail he could find to pretend he was a full-fledged Spinosaurus when he’d create makeshift costumes.

 

I told him that we’d figure out a way to make a better tail.  I considered cutting out scute-like ridges from cardboard, painting them green, or maybe cutting pieces of scaly felt and gluing them together to trail behind him.

I went to do some chore and forgot about the whole missing-dino-tail-and-I-promise-to-make-one predicament.

When I went back upstairs, I was reminded that I had forgotten that task when I saw our son, again.

But then, I was also reminded that it didn’t matter that I had forgotten, after all.

 

Our 5 year old son had figured out a perfectly workable and realistic solution, himself.

And, I must say….It is absolutely Brilliantastic.

 

A Child Will Build What His Mind Sees

 

It’s True.

Kids won’t allow a seeming lack of available resources to inhibit their goals.

It is refreshing to watch a mind work in creative ways

because it hasn’t learned to place boundaries on solutions.

 

A Child Will Build What His Mind Sees.

A Child Will Make Her Thoughts Come To Life.

 

I mean, I can almost not even see our son in this photo….He becomes a Spinosaurus down to those perfectly curled therapod claws and that realistic hissing roar that sounds like the ancient reptile actually needs to clear his throat.

 

Can You Just Hear It?

 

It’s A Good Lesson For Us All, To Remember, Really.

 

Don’t Just Love The Spinosaurus, Become The Spinosaurus.

 

Learn Everything You Can About That Spinosaurus.

 

Use Whatever You Find Available To Make Spinosaurus Happen.

 

Don’t Wait For Mom To Go To The Craft Store To Cut Green Scutes Out Of Tag Board.

 

There’s No Need For That Kind Of Unnecessary Delay!

(She’ll Probably Just Forget, Anyway!)

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IS PUT ON That Cheap Dollar Store Hat That You Begged Your Very-Resistant Mom To Buy (Because It Might Be A Buck, But, Seriously, How Long Is It Going To Last?   Over A Year, Surprisingly),

 

TWIST That Over-Sized Pipe Cleaner Into The Neck Of Your T-Shirt Until The Head Hole Stretches To Fit A Beach Ball Through It When You Finally Take It Off To Make A Spiny Sail,

 

TUCK That Handy Plastic Pirate Chain Into Your Belt Loop (Which, Interestingly, Also Doubles As The Leash You Fasten Around Your 2nd Grade Sister’s Waist When You Pretend To Use Her As Bait To Catch Crocodiles) And Make A Long And Fearsome Tail,

 

CURL Your Fingers Into Terrible Three-Fingered Claws That Look Like Perfect Garden Rakes,

 

ROAR A Throaty Roar That Would Inflict Laryngitis On Lesser Humans, I Mean, Ancient Reptilian Crocodylomorphs…

 

AND STRIKE Fear Into The Hearts Of ALL The Other Dinosaurs In Your Imagination As They Tremble In The Sharp-Toothy Face Of Your Boundless Cleverness.

 

PROVE Just Why YOU Are The Apex Predator In This Food Web Of AWESOME…AGAIN.
 

WHEN YOU DO ALL THAT, YOU ARE A SPINOSAURUS.

 

When I see children solve problems by seeing the potential in

the simplest things that lay in front of them,

I am reminded that we, parents, might not be missing

as many spinosaurus tails as we thought we were.

 

The solutions to our everyday conundrums might just require

an adjusted approach,

a less conventional perspective,

or, at the very least,

one really awesome plastic party pirate chain.  

 

Everyone should have one of those.

 

 

 

 

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Why Would Anyone Live By A Volcano? { Kid Conversations }

 
 
critters and crayons, Photo Of Volcanic Rock From "Why Would Anyone Go On Vacation Near a Volcano?"
 
 

EVERY DAY, THERE IS NEWS THAT MAKES US GASP.

 

EVERY DAY, THERE IS NEWS THAT MAKES US SAD.

 

AND, EVERY DAY, WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE,

 

I FIND HOPE IN SIMPLE KID CONVERSATIONS.

 

My children are not unique in the way that they can turn DNA-infused maternal worry into comforting hope that THEY/WE/THE PLANET will be okay.
 
In the elfin voices of children, we hear the barebones logic of kindness.
 
I was reminded by our nearly seven year old daughter of this in a bedtime conversation as we read another chapter from The Magic Tree House Series , this time from Book #13, Vacation Under The Volcano.
 
By Chapter 3, the kids were introduced to the concept of The Gladiators, a strong, soldierly-looking group of men, who were fighters bound by ankle-chains.
 
Our daughter asked,
 

“WHY?  Why would such strong men have chains?  Did they do something wrong?”

 
I explained they had not.  I tried to break it down for them as succinctly as I could so they could understand the concept.

  • These days, if we see people in physical chains, it would normally be for prisoners in jail.
  • The chains would be there to protect others, and to keep them from escaping.
  • But, we are lucky to live in a time where most people in the world understand that people should not be treated like prisoners in chains if they have done nothing wrong.
  • The word for those people is “SLAVE”.
  • And, all around the world, and throughout history, many people had slaves.
  • Slaves were owned by other people.
  • In the case of the gladiators in Roman times, they were slaves who were owned by people who made them fight.
  • But, other slaves had to do other types of work, and it was a hard life.
  • People were not free.
  • And, if your parents were slaves owned by someone, the children were often born as slaves.

 
Our kids, 5 and 7 years old, seemed genuinely horrified.
 
Our daughter shouted,
 

“I DO NOT AGREE WITH THAT!!!!!”

And, this made me a very happy Mom.  But, she kept on.
 
She said,
 

IT MAKES NO SENSE!   A HUMAN SHOULD NEVER OWN ANOTHER HUMAN LIKE A PET!  

AFTER ALL, THEY ARE THE SAME SPECIES!”

 

Our son gave his ardent support by adding that it was true!

 

“HUMANS ARE NOT THE SAME SPECIES AS CROCODILES!”

 

{You’d have to have been following this blog for some time to understand why that crocodilian reference makes complete sense.….}

 
The conversation morphed from discussion of why it was not right to own humans into another very salient topic:
 
 

“MOM?  WHY WOULD PEOPLE GO ON VACATION TO A PLACE WITH A VOLCANO?!?!”

 

This question arose because Chapter 2 of the book indicated that Pompei, Italy was a place where ancient Romans would visit on vacation.

 

The kids were serious when they asked the question of why anyone would visit a place for fun knowing that a volcano was right in the middle of it.

 

Our daughter said,

 

“It just seems….UNSAFE.”

 
I’ve never lived near a volcano but know a lot of folks who have lived in Hawaii.
 
Perhaps, one of them might be better equipped at explaining their reasons for choosing to do that to our daughter.
 
I was thinking that there must be some science on our side now-  seismological Doo-Hick-A-Ma-Bobs that gave enough forewarning to make millions of people feel safe, but I thought using “Doo-Hick-A-Ma-Bobs” in a sentence might harm my credibility, even in the eyes of these kids.
 
So, I thought about how to explain why millions of people live in, around, and on active volcanoes, by choice.
 
All I could recall about living near volcanoes in my youth was the observation of the panicked dispersal of former Subic Bay High School students to other high schools throughout the Fareast after Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991 in the Philippines.
 
Some of the students came to our high school in Seoul, Korea and they brought with them, the awesome footage of the aftermath.
 
The images showed a thorough destruction that laid deceptively beautiful sheets of chalky basalt in its cooled-magma wake.
 
(The other short-sighted downer for my then-high-school-self was that the volcanic eruption seemed to send some of the best Subic Bay athletes on the Girls’ basketball team to rival Fareast Tournament schools in Okinawa, Japan, and Guam.)
 
I chose not to relay that example to the kids to explain why it’s safe to live, or even better, to emplace an entire military base and billions of dollars in sensitive military assets, near an active volcano, which totally exploded.  
 
Maybe, folks just needed one of those seismological Doo-Hick-A-Ma-Bobs, so a more geothermally-stagnant location could have been chosen…
 
Oh, wait! I remembered, there might be another story to tell.  Her Papa, my dad, actually gave the kids a rock this past Christmas that he picked up on his own visit to Pompei.  It’s a piece of pumice from one of Mt. Vesuvius’ many eruptions.
 
The very reason their Papa visited the city was to see the recovered ruins that had been unearthed after having been completely covered in volcanic ash in 79 A.D., that were only discovered in 1748 B.C by a survey engineer.  
 
This didn’t seem to support an answer about why anyone should go on vacation or live in a place with a volcano considering the mass death and destruction that has cyclically ensued over Mt. Vesuvius’ lifetime. But, it appeared that Papa was lucky that he made it home, especially since he had no special early warning Doo-Hick-A-Ma-Bobs.
 
So, I just agreed with her.  She appeared to be right on, again.
 
We finished the chapter, gave Goodnight Kisses, and as I prepared to flip out the light, I asked the kids one last question.
 

“You know, guys….We’re leaving Laredo soon.  
  What place, here, are you going to miss the most?”

 
I figured I’d hear “The Imaginarium!” or “The Science Center!” or the name of some park.   But, instead, I heard something even more special and profound.
 

“WELL?  
  What I’m gonna miss the most is not really a place…..
  Actually….It’s actually the people here.  

I’m gonna miss my friends the most.”

 

And, for another moment, I had to stop and think about our conversation, again.

 

When you spend a lot of time moving in your life, “Friendship” BECOMES A Place.

It turns into a proper noun, entitled to capitalization,
with all the grammatical rights of any fixed city on a map.

 
So, I answered….
 

“Me, Too, Kiddo.  

My Friends Are The Place I’m Gonna Miss The Most, Too.”

 
 

The Simplest Things Can Make Us Happy And Hopeful.

 

There WILL Always Be Something That Makes Us Gasp.

 

BUT, There WILL Always Be Something That Makes Us Laugh.

 

There WILL Always Be Something That Makes Us Sad.

 

BUT, There WILL Always Be Something That Leaves Us In Awe.

 
 

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE THE BRILLIANCE OF A CHILD TO REMIND US THAT THINGS ARE GONNA BE ALRIGHT.

 
 

And, If The Brilliance Fails To Inspire You, Just Follow The Unbridled Laughter….

 
 

 
 

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Fortune Cookie Messages For Outnumbered Parents At Kite Festivals

These Are The Days We'll Remember...At The Laredo Kite Festival.  By Critters And Crayons.

At The Laredo Kite Festival

 

One of the festivals we absolutely love to attend each year in Laredo is the Kite Festival in March.

Today, we attended our fourth.

This means that we have attended since our children were in diapers, nursing, learning to crawl, learning to walk, learning to talk….all the way up to this year.

This year is the first year both children are past all of those milestones, but they can also both hold their own kites, fly their own kites, and be genuinely interested in holding and flying their own kites.  

They can do these things after getting just a little bit of help by Mom or Dad to catch the wind, of course.

I have to say, though, there is one truth that appears to be self-evident and inviolable.

If I had a fortune cookie message to foretell my future or offer sage advice about taking more than one child to any Kite Festival alone, it would read:

 

“Winds Favor The Wise Parent Who Is Not Outnumbered By Children Or Kites.”

 

Another possible fortune cookie message might bring a different perspective while delivering the same message:

 

“One Foolish Parent With Two Children At Kite Festival
 Will Be Entangled In The Strings Of Crashed Kites.”

 

Each year, we pile into the mini-van on a beautiful, but very hot day, with our newly selected kites.  We walk to the festival from our distant parking spots.  
 
We find a plot of land that is not completely marshy and that is not so packed with people that we might get one of our kites airborne.

 

But, the unspoken and unfair Law Of Wind Dynamics For Parents ALWAYS kicks in.

 

That law, in case you have not experienced it firsthand is:

 

“Your Child’s Kite Will Only Fly When Your Other Child’s Kite Crashes Into Some Unassuming Picnickers.”

 

And this Law is also supported by a couple of Theorums:

 

“The Vertical Height Of One Child’s Kite Is Directly Proportional To The Vertical Drop Of Your Other Child’s Kite.”

 

“If You Rescue One Child’s Kite By Gaining Wind Resistance By Running,

You Will Surely Run Through A Mudhole Where You Sink 3 Inches Before Kite Still Crashes Into Some Unassuming Picnickers.”

 

(Seriously, I cannot believe they didn’t move the first time.)

 

But, do you know what?

 

I’m certain we’ll be back, again, next year.

 

We may have muddy shoes and ankles, and some tangled kite string, and maybe even some occasionally frustrated children who haven’t completely grasped how to keep their kites in the air for longer than a few minutes, but, overall, we’re making some serious improvement.

 

Next year, we may be able to break that Law Of Wind Dynamics For Parents and its supporting Theorums.

 

Maybe, our Fortune Cookie Message, if we had a fortune cookie with a message about the Kite Festival, might read:

 

“Outnumbered Parent At Kite Festival Will See Two Kites In Air Simultaneously.”

 

or, maybe:

 

“You Will Not Trip On Tangled Kite Strings This Year.”

 

That would be cool.

 

But, maybe next year this fortune could really happen:

 

“You Will Remember To Wear Crappy Shoes To Places Where You Know You Will Run Through Mud.”

 

And, maybe, just maybe, some folks will get this fortune cookie message:

 

“Picnicker Who Moves After Kite Crashes Into Face Finishes Rest Of PB&J In Peace.”

 

But, I want to wish “Cheers” to all of the families out during the pretty Spring Days doing these kinds of activities.

 

There is humor in them, and sometimes, a little frustration.  
 
Yes.  Sometimes, you cave to the frustration after that Law Of Wind Dynamics For Parents kicks you in the teeth and ruins your shoes, again…when those imaginary fortune cookies foretold the future you should have predicted yourself.

 

For instance, I FINALLY cut the streamers completely off of one kite, and even sliced clean through the strings from the kite handle to regain the circulation to my legs after a near tourniquet had been formed by an errant kite with a very strong and determined child yanking on the other end.

 

I DID offer to pay the screaming child for the damage but she ran off to find her parents before I could give her any money.

 

(Um…..Really Sorry About That If It Belonged To Your Kid And You’re Reading This Now After Wondering Why Your Wailing Kid Brought Back A Kite Frame, But I Couldn’t Feel Anything Below My Ankle…..)

 

Seriously, though.

 

Days Like Today Are Never Boring. The Never-Boring Days Are The Real Memory-Makers.

 

THESE REALLY ARE THE DAYS WE ALL WILL REMEMBER.

 

HAVE YOU BEEN TO A KITE FESTIVAL?
 
STORIES!

 

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“Great Work! For a Girl!” A Conversation With My Daughter On International Women’s Day

 
 
 

 “Great Work! For a GIRL.”

 

These are words that I heard from my first grade daughter’s mouth this morning about her OWN work.

 

There was a major learning event in our home this morning, and it is fitting that it unexpectedly happened to happen on International Women’s Day 2014.

 

As our daughter worked on a very intricate Rainbow Loom rubber band bracelet, I heard her utter the words with pride and seriousness,

 

“Great Work! FOR A GIRL!!!”

 

Time Stopped.

 
It is not an exaggeration to say that I felt like my heart stopped a little.

 

What did she just say with such happiness?  How?  HOW????!!!

 

It was clearly time for a serious talk.

I asked where she’d heard that phrase and she said she heard it on Scooby Doo.

 

I explained to our daughter that it was a line meant to be an insult because whoever said it didn’t think that a girl could do great work in whatever situation they were working in.

 
Both our 5 year old son and our 6 and a half year old girl found this very confusing.

 
How was that an insult?  That was not an insult.  They said, “Great Work!” and it WAS “Great Work… For A Girl!”
 

Oh My. Oh My.  Oh My, My, My, My, My…….
 
 

There is work to be done in this home…

in this home where we celebrate women….

NO…

In this home where we celebrate PEOPLE

who work hard and achieve,

who do good things, and who make a difference.   

There is work to be done in this family of open-minded people,

from our ancestors,

to our extended family,

to the friends we laugh with,

to the teachers we honor,

and in the way we live,

where we recognize

and exalt and read about

THE PEOPLE WHO DO GREAT WORK….

 
 
The first answers to the questions I asked were a bit alarming from our little Pre-Schooler and First Grader.
 

  “Do you think girls can do the same great work boys can do?

‘Do you think girls can be just as strong or fast as boys?”

“Do you think girls are as smart as boys?”

“Do you think boys can be just as good as girls at art, or cooking, or fashion as girls?”

 

(*I used those fashion & cooking examples because they are traditionally ascribed to stereotypically “girly” pastimes and commercial toys-  like the color pink.  And, I know these are the activities my children associate with activities that GIRLS should be better at than BOYS).

 
 
And, then, I recalled a Super Hero episode I overheard recently where Batman and Superman ordered burgers and milkshakes and then cut Wonder Woman off as she ordered a salad and whole wheat toast.
 

“She’ll have the same! Make it 3!” Superman yelled.

“You’ll work it off later, Princess,” Batman responded.

Wonder Woman sat quietly and waited for her burger.

 
 

The Messages. Those Messages.

 

The Subliminal and The Overt.

 
 

They had already chipped away at the developing worldview of my perspective-vulnerable kids, and I had not seen it.

 

I remember watching an Independent Lens Documentary about the rise and fall of Wonder Woman.

 
She went from empowering icon to a female super hero who needed to be rescued herself as her own powers had devolved to be…Just….LESS THAN.
 

It was called “Wonder Women!  The Untold Story of American Super Heroines”
 

I watched that documentary because it happened to follow the other Independent Lens Documentaries I’d DVR’ed.

 
The Wonder Woman episode followed one about a man obsessed with Chinese Mail-Order Brides and another on the dwindling number of nomadic Mongolian tribes still bartering with precious strands of silk that had to be vigilantly protected from mold or rot to avoid complete destitution.
 

It was just a documentary between documentaries.
 

It was just a documentary because we really had moved forward and past that kind of thinking.

 

UNTIL TODAY.

 

TODAY, WONDER WOMAN LOOKED AT THE NEW LASSO OF HOPE

THAT SHE MADE HERSELF

ON THE UBIQUITOUSLY AVAILABLE AND AWARD-WINNING

TOY OF THE YEAR!”,

AND SHE EXCLAIMED,

“GREAT WORK! FOR A GIRL!”

 
 
And, it happened, of all days, TODAY, on International Women’s Day.
 

By the end of our talk, I feel like both of our kids understand why saying “Great Work! For A Girl…” is NOT a compliment.

 

“Great Work” Is Very Simply “GREAT WORK”.

 

EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US IS CAPABLE OF IT.

 

EVERY ONE.

 

AND “BAD WORK” is equally, and simply, “BAD WORK”….

 

For instance:

“BAD WORK” = Bad script writing where Wonder Woman isn’t capable of ordering her own lunch.

 

 

I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW, PARENTS….

IF YOU HEARD THOSE CRAZILY ANTIQUATED,

HEART-BREAKING,

AND SO INNOCENTLY UTTERED WORDS

COME FROM YOUR OWN AMAZING, CAPABLE, SMART, DEVELOPING CHILD’S MOUTH…..

  WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE SAID?

 

 

 

AFTER OUR TALK, I HAD BOTH OF MY KIDS YELL SOMETHING.

 

OUR BOY YELLED IT.

 

OUR GIRL YELLED IT.

 

I YELLED IT.

 

I HOPE YOU AND YOUR KIDS YELL IT, TOO.

 

"I WILL DO GREAT WORK!"  A post by Critters And Crayons On International Women's Day 2014.
“I WILL DO GREAT WORK!”

 
 

MAY EVERY SINGLE PERSON

ALL OVER THE WORLD

ORDER HIS OR HER OWN LUNCH,

AND BE GIVEN CREDIT FOR GREAT WORK

BECAUSE IT IS JUST, SIMPLY, GREAT.

 
 

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!

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Parenting Is Like Sledding. Sled Optional.

My kids often surprise us with the unspeakably comical things that they say.

They also make us pause when their questions require an honest and thoughtful answer.

We’re coming off of a holiday trip that bore some of the typical challenges of traveling during an already busy season.

Sometimes, reality didn’t match the idyllic scenes in a Hallmark Movie for the various tugs and pulls of life, and family, and obligations.

Essentially, it was a normal holiday season- one that many might relate to, and one that might lead a child to ask a simple, but very thought-provoking question of her parents like our six-year old daughter did tonight on the way back from a drugstore where we bought vitamins for immunity support to stave off any more festive seasonal illness-on-the-go.

 

“Mom?  Is It Easy Having Kids?”

 

I could have answered her quickly with a fleeting and dishonest, “YES! It’s Super Easy!”, but I’ve got a sort of rule about not lying about that kind of stuff. 

I don’t want to be the Army Recruiter who promises someone a job in a highly marketable computer field who then lands him in a basement working with dot matrix printers circa 1985.  That’s just bad Mommy PR.  So, I told her the truth.

 

“No.  Having Kids Is Not Easy.”

 

Our First Grader looked concerned so I elaborated,

 

“But….It IS Awesome!”

 

Our daughter was confused.

 

“How can something be hard and awesome at the same time, Mommy?”

 

I didn’t have any concrete examples to give in that second.

 

But, I told her that most things that are completely awesome

in our lives are usually not that easy.  

BUT, THEY ARE USUALLY WORTH IT.

 

I may have blanked on examples but our daughter threw one out.  She said,

 

“You mean like if we’re sledding

and we have to walk all the way up

to the top of the hill in the freezing cold

so that we can sled down super fast

and have all that fun

spinning all the way down?”

 

I didn’t think I could put it any better myself so I told her that was pretty much exactly right.

Really, that is about the best metaphor I could think of that I didn’t think of at all.

Maybe, to complete the parallel, I could have added a few crash-and-burns at the bottom of the hill, some broken sleds, or a dud slope or two to round out the analogy, but I felt pretty good she now understood that something can be TOTALLY NOT EASY while still being simultaneously TOTALLY AWESOME.

That’s Us.

We Parents.

 

We’re all trudging up a slope,

looking for a safe route,

eyes on the peak,

moving forward when it hurts,

striving upward when we fall,

willing onward when we’re cold,

and getting to the end

as honestly and happily as we can

so that the long and arduous trip

might all be worth it

for one magnificent launch,

followed by a brief 

and validating

soar to the bottom,

on a cheap, round sled

that spins you like a top

until you crash,

or fall,

or coast to a stop,

Hoping For The Coast,

Always Hoping For The Coast,

so that we might trudge back up

to do it all over,

Again.

 

That’s Us.

That’s Parenting.

It’s Not Easy Having Kids.  But, It IS Freaking Awesome.

 

It’s Like That.

 

 IT’S ALSO LIKE THIS.

 

Parenting.  We Got This. From Critters And Crayons.

 

Trusting Clutches, Giant Smiles, And Closed Eyes

 

 Astride Quiet Screams And Immense Hopes

 

 That You Will Coast,

 

Coast Without Crashing,

 

 Still Smiling, Still Laughing,

 

Without Breaking Anything,

 

After That Fervent And Amazing Ride

 

Hoping You Didn’t Lose Your Sled On The Way…

 

But Even If You Had,

 

It Would Have Been Worth

 

Every

 

Terrifying

 

 Moment. 

 

So, to wrap it all up in a nice, pithy little phrase:

 

Parenting Is Like Sledding.  Sled Optional.

 It’s  Easy  AWESOME!

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Mom, What Is College? Do They Let You Go To Recess Every Day?

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These days, the kids have been on a roll when it comes to verbal communication.

This morning, our 4-year old son informed me that I was “spectacled”.

I don’t wear glasses so he was using that term properly, but in a more unorthodox way.  His knowledge of that term comes from his obsession with crocodilian species, and the spectacled caiman is one that is spotted.

He was referring to my freckled face.

I can’t complain, though.

When my daughter realized I had freckles, she mistakenly called them “pickles”, and explained that they were, “You Know!  The Dots All Over Your Face!” as she poked the air like she was popping balloons with a needle.

 

Then, there was a HILARIOUS circular conversation between my son, my daughter and me the other day about his puffy coat.

He didn’t want to wear it.  There was a reason for it.     It was an astonishingly funny and unexpected series of accidental insults and miscommunications.  To read that one, go HERE.

 

Fast forward to tonight.

As I was putting the kids to bed, our 4 year old boy piped up with the statement that he didn’t want to go to college.   He’d been told that college wasn’t fun so he had decided he didn’t want to go.

I explained that he didn’t know what college was just yet, so he asked,

 

“Well, Mom, What IS College?”

 

So, I tried to put it in the simplest terms.

 

“Son, you are in pre-school, and your sister was in kinder last year.  

You’ll start kindergarten next year.  

Then you go to first grade.  

Then second.

Then third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh,

eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh,and twelfth grades!  

Then, you go off to college!  

It is great fun!  

Your daddy and I loved it so much we went to college even after college!”

 

The kids looked very surprised.

And, then the real questions started.  It was tough to keep a straight face- but I did, because the kids were earnest with their genuine questions about college now.

 

Our daughter asked,

 

“Mom?  Do they let you go to recess every day?”

 

I told her that they normally did.

 

And, our son asked, “

“Do they let you bring your toys to school?”

 

I told him that they did, but I never knew anyone who wanted to bring their toys to class.

 

And, then our daughter asked,

 

“Can you sit anywhere you want to at lunch? I mean, can you sit with anyone you want to sit with?”

 

So, I told her that was one of the best parts of college!

 

I also explained that many kids couldn’t wait to go to college because they could live in a big building with all of their friends!  Everyone has their own room.  So,our daughter’s best friend could live across the hall, or our son’s best friend could have a room next door!

 

The kids looked horrified.

 

They both yelled, “NOOOOOOO!!!!    I want to live with you and daddy! “

 

I told them they might change their minds one day.

Then, as I was turning out the light and tucking them in, our daughter whispered something to me,

 

“Mom.   I WILL probably get my own apartment when I go to college.  

BUT, you can come and visit me anytime.  

You can bring anything you want if you want to stay with me.  And, you can stay with me anytime.”

 

I’m not sure how binding that is without credible witnesses.

Her brother doesn’t count as one because he still believes in imaginary creatures and his signature is too shaky to hold up on any affidavits, especially since most of his letters are still backward.

 

She gave me a big hug and a kiss.

 

And, I whispered back,

 

“Thank you, Honey. I will!   And, and if you want, I can also be a recess monitor!”

 

She beamed.

 

“REALLY, MOM???!!!   THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!!!  

COLLEGE IS GOING TO BE SO FUN!!!”

 

 

I’m optimistic that she might still feel this way in 12 years.

It could happen, right?

:)

HAVE YOU HAD ANY FUNNY CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR KIDS LATELY?

 

PLEASE SHARE!

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It’s All About Winning In First Grade Girls Basketball

One thing I am over the moon about is that our 6 year old girl loves to play basketball.

It is pretty much the only sport I know how to play.

I am nearly 40 years old and truly have no concept of what “fourth down” or “offsides” means. Basketball is IT.

It has been amazing to watch a team of girls go from not knowing how to simply dribble at the try-outs, to watching them practice fast break drills.

The hoops are lower and the rules at this early level of girls basketball can pretty much be boiled down to the following,

“You Are Allowed To Travel All You Want,
Just As Long As You Remember To Double-Dribble In Between!”

They often forget.

It is a real highlight to watch a little ponytailed girl fight for the ball, and with exuberant intent, take off down the court in a full sprint, protecting that ball like it’s the hot Black Friday Toy Of The Year.

One thing that all of our girls can do this year is protect the ball. We have come up with a drill wherein the first one to grab the rebound or the fumbled ball yells, “I’ve got it!” so that team-mates don’t continue to try to wrestle it from her.

WE ACTUALLY PRACTICE NOT STEALING FROM OURSELVES.

One of the funniest things to see in a game is how desperately and self-sacrificially these 6 year olds will throw themselves on a basketball, and how difficult it is to pull it from their grasps. The person who seems to have the most difficult time getting the ball out of a little girl’s hands is the referee.

You can often see the referees attempting to get the ball after repeated pleas for it. When they get ahold of it, they nearly lift the determined girl’s body up as a rigid unit since she has encased the ball in a tight fetal position, sealed with the resilience of Super Glue, eyes closed, and with a clenched will to NOT LET GO.

We may also not have our shots perfected, but they are generally headed in an upward AND forward direction.

This is a vast improvement from where we started 2 months ago.

Getting the ball INTO the basket, or simply NEAR the lowered basket, is on the long-term training agenda. Just you watch. We’ll be swishing soon.

It is helpful to remember that these are skills that are cumulative.

We’re going to get it.

Besides, these young ladies and future UCONN Point Guards and Forwards have already demonstrated a tenacious spirit and drive to WIN.

As you can see, they are a formidable bunch in pink.

Attentive. Driven. Ready To Go!

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The diminutive hoopsters with matching pink hairbows (which will surely result in technical fouls in later years if worn during a game) are pounding the court!

Go Pink!

On those hairbows, the greatest problem with them is not that they are particularly hazardous in the under-the-basket brawls for the ball.

It is that they tend to fall out, and the little girls spend their time searching for the fallen bows on the court rather then focusing on their part of the zone defense.

It’s a little comical to watch. “I Got Her! I Got Her! Wait a minute. Where’s my hairbow? There it is by the boundary line!”

And a nice little hole is made for the fast break straight to the basket.

Often, the little girls end up tossing their hairbows to mom in the sidelines as they run up the court after a basket was made because they were obliviously searching for their lost hair bows.

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Even so, the B Team is waiting with baited breath for the chance to go in and redeem that error!

We’re down by 2! Put Me In, Coach!

Well, Sorta.

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I have absolutely no idea why we lost.

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Killer Instincts.

We’ve got ‘em.

We may have lost the basketball game, but some of these girls were TOP DOG in Rock Paper Scissors.

My daughter can often be overheard after a hard-won Handsie-Game on Sidelines as saying, “ROCK ALWAYS WINS! I LOVE ROCK!”

And, don’t get me wrong, we didn’t just lose because second string likes to play Say Say My Playmate.

Lots of parents want to know what the Red Shirt Policy is.

Some of those opposing team kids look like they’ve already started memorizing multiplication tables.

They probably already know how to tie their shoes and keep their letters facing the right direction. I bet their lower case “b’s” don’t look like “d’s”, anymore.

Just saying.

It can’t possibly be this.

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Just give us a couple of years.

Cumulative.

It’s All Cumulative.

We’re working on dribbling without looking, fast break drills, a crippling man-to-man defense, and a very cool double-back-hand-reverse slap for Say Say My Playmate, in the meantime.

DO YOUR KIDS PLAY SPORTS IN EARLY ELEMENTARY?

ANY FUNNY OBSERVATIONS?

PLEASE DO SHARE!

** HUMOR DISCLAIMER: I am by no means implying that there is any wrongdoing by any teams in the league we play in. That snippet about the Red Shirt policy was thrown in for comedic effect. I’m sure there are lots of reasons for 5 ft tall 1st graders with uncommon hand and eye coordination to abound on some teams.**

 

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Kids Play In The Same Language

 

 

Kids Play In The Same Language

 

Kids Play In The Same Language.

 

They just a find a way to get over the minor obstacle of competent verbal communication.

One of the best aspects of living on the US/Mexico border is the opportunity for our children to experience a different culture and language.

I was reminded of this today as my children played at an indoor play area.

I posted about it on the Critters And Crayons Facebook Page and realized that such a great thing really warrants its very own blog post.

Our 6 year old daughter ran around playing tag with a new friend.

She ran up to me and said,
 
 

“Mom! I made a new friend!  She doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Spanish!   So we made up a game!”

 

 
 
I asked how they played that game.  And our daughter answered,
 
 

“I teach her English and she teaches me Spanish!
It’s called Speaking Different Languages!”

 
 
I noted how brilliant that was.

It is, isn’t it?
 
 

When you have so much in common,

like the need to be gleeful in the moment

for the sake of loving that moment,

then language is not a worthy foe.

 
 

That’s something children have figured out.

A reader commented on Facebook, “And a child shall lead them.”

Yes.

 

Kids Play In The Same Language

 

And So They Shall.

And So They Do.

 
 

For more posts on bilingualism and culture with kids…..

 

But, She Doesn’t Like Me….

 

Bilingualism, The Border, Dora, And Kids…

 
 

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