Local St. Paul Mom Gives Her 11 Year Old An iPhone

It was reported yesterday that local St. Paul mom and blogger, Tracy Morrison, gave her 11 year old daughter an iPhone of her very own. The news broke shortly after school when Tracy’s daughter Eloise sent an email to a friend, and end of the message read “sent from my iPhone.” As all news travels in fifth grade, soon hundreds of tweens across St. Paul learned the news and shared the news of the iPhone with their own parents over dinner that night.

 

“I’m not sure what Tracy was thinking!” Said an anonymous St. Paul mom over the phone when we called for comment. “I thought we had an unwritten pact in this circle of friends that no one would have a phone until junior high. I feel like Tracy is setting a precedence and frankly it’s upsetting to our family.”

 

Hannah Johnson, a good friend of Eloise’s from dance also received an email and then an iMessage from Eloise later last evening, was quoted as saying “Eloise is lucky. Her mom is much nicer than my mom. I cannot believe she got an iPhone. I mean all I have is this iPad Mini that I can’t leave the house with.”

What-age-is-appropriate-for-an-iphone

Hailey, Emma, Emily, Sophia, Maddie, and Eva – all classmates of Eloise, said she was like so lucky, but still had mixed emotions about Eloise being the first of their friends to get an iPhone. They were trying to be happy for her, but at the same time spent most of the evening complaining to their parents as most tween girls do about how life was so unfair for them since they only had a sad little iTouches.

 

We reached out to Emily’s parents for an interview, but they declined to comment yet mentioned something about moving Emily to a convent out East where technology was not allowed.

 

“I think it’s just totally unfair to the other parents that Tracy just went out and did this without first notifying us.” Said Emma’s mother. “I’m really disappointed in the whole thing. I mean it puts undue pressure on the rest of us parents – both financially and socially. Being a tween is already a difficult time – and now Tracy is really making our lives pure hell because of this iPhone.”

 

We sat down with Tracy last night to find out what prompted her to give her 11 year old an iPhone after stating numerous times over the past year that Eloise would not have a phone until she was in junior high. And in fact wrote in her blog in 2012 that “she’d be damned if Eloise would have a phone before she turned 12!”

 

“Well, it certainly wasn’t our plan to give Eloise a phone this early. However, as parents I think we all need to grant ourselves some flexibility with the right to change our minds. A big lesson I’ve learned about parenting is to never say never. Sure you might intend to feed your kids all organic foods – but damn Cheetos are yummy. It’s the same thing with the phone. We’ve always planned to delay this day for as long as possible, but since she turned 11 we’ve been giving her more independence in staying home alone for longer, being able to go off with her friends more, and she has more afterschool activities. She’s also proven herself as incredibly responsible. Quite honestly though, this weekend we called AT&T because they were raping us with our current rates and it turned out we could activate my old cracked iPhone 4 that was just sitting in a drawer and put her on our plan and actually SAVE $40 a month from what we were already paying because it was now a family plan. I call it a win/win.”

 

When asked how Eloise was handling her new responsibility with iPhone ownership, Tracy mentioned that Eloise understood there were many rules on usage with her new phone and she would not have it at school with her nor in her room at home, and that there were many blocks on websites and everything would be tracked carefully.

 

We tried to reach Eloise for comment, but she did not return our calls. Instead we received a text from her with just “…’sup, yo, who r u?” and then a long string of panda emojis. So we think that Eloise is enjoying her iPhone ownership very much.

 

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the kids and parents continue to react and accept the news.

 

–St. Paul Fake Planet News, Mandy Johansson reporting

 

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You’re Totes Jelly That We Met Veronica Roth LOL

Last night I spent about four hours with a few members of the local press and 1000 SCREAMING 13-18 year old girls.

 

See, this is the problem with reading YA – you end up hanging out with YA readers – and they are like 13-18 year old SCREAMING GIRLS. And oh man can those girls scream. And when 1000 of them do it at the same time, your ears bleed and you start talking in tween/teen-speak. Until your tween tells you to STOP because OMG embarrassing. Also – my future with three daughters who will be teenagers soon just flashed before my eyes.

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Eloise and I were invited, delighted, and over-the-moon excited(that’s like John Travolta’s systematic, hydromatic, ultramatic in Greased Lightning but in 2014) to see the new hit movie Divergent at a red carpet screening event at the Mall Of America last night. Not only did we get to see the movie two weeks before you all – but we also got to meet the author, Veronica Roth, and Ansel Elgort, who stars as Caleb!!!

 

We both read the trilogy during our vacation to Costa Rica – so we were well versed with the story and with our undying love for Veronica Roth. I also have a strict “No seeing a movie until you read the book” rule – so we were cool to view!

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Eloise was adorable as we waited for Ansel and Veronica to make it to our spot so we could interview them. She had tons of questions prepared. However, once Ansel made it to us, she whispered “Mom, I don’t think I can talk to him – so will you ask him my questions and introduce me.” OMG I died because she was so sweet. He signed her poster and hugged her and I got a great picture. I have to say he is ridiculously kind. He stopped and talked to all 1000 fans and took tons of selfies with them all AND he followed this old lady on THE TWITTER! Totes McGoats Y’all!

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Also, I’m old enough to be his mother.

 

Then it was our turn to chat with Veronica – WHO WROTE DIVERGENT WHEN SHE WAS A FRESHMAN IN COLLEGE! What an amazing woman. Eloise did talk to her. First words to Veronica were “You are so adorable!” And she IS. Everything about her and she was so warm as she greeted us and talked about the book and movie. Eloise also asked her “What advice would you give a young writer?” and “What faction do you think you’d be in?” And then she signed Eloise’s book and poster and posed for a picture.

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And then I asked Veronica the most important question? “OMG I love your boots – where did you get them????” She got them from ASOS in case you need a pair….

 

The movie was amazing and very true to the books. If you are a ‘book purest’ you will LOVE the movie still! I suggest getting in line now for that midnight showing. I think we may go see it again when it’s released.

 

And as far as ‘Is it appropriate for those under 13?” That is your call as a parent of course. But I felt it was very tame with the serious content it had to cover. If you’ve read the book you know there is some violence/death scenes as well as some make-out type scenes. These were done very well and were very tame. There was no gore/major violence or sex scenes at all. My 11 year old is very innocent and is uncomfortable with some violent or sexual scenes in movies…but there was nothing in Divergent that bothered her. As a parent I felt very comfortable letting my tween go to this movie. And when my 9 year old finishes the book – well she will get to go too.

 

Eloise is still crazy excited about it this morning and could not wait to tell her friends at school all about it.

 

Also, she didn’t get her math homework done. Do you think a note from Veronica and Ansel will suffice???

 

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Pitch Perfect

I was excited to pick-up the movie Pitch Perfect for $10 at Target yesterday. We’ve all heard some of the songs and it seemed like a fun movie for me and my tweens to watch on a cold Sunday afternoon. But my 11 year old deemed it inappropriate for all of us after watching for about three minutes. She really questioned my judgement of letting her eight year old sister watch, having her four year old sister in the vicinity of the movie watching, and how I thought something rated PG-13 and set in at college could possibly be an appropriate movie choice for any of them.

 

So we turned the movie off, they popped in Despicable Me 2 to watch for the 250,000th time, and I did some work while I heard the three of them laughing in the family room. “Silas Ramsbottom..” Hee hee.

 

Since Eloise left me questioning my parenting, I did what every mom does in 2014 and I consulted Facebook. Is Pitch Perfect appropriate for kids ages 8-11ish? The answers ranged from “Not appropriate at any age, because awful!” to “I let my 5 year old watch it and most goes over his head.” and “Not appropriate for my kids.” also “I watched movies like that when I was little – it’s a great opportunity for conversation.” and “My 11 year old watched it and came out unscathed.” to “I loved it but won’t let my kids watch it yet.”

 

And the “It leads to great conversation” argument always cracks me up – because while Pulp Fiction and No Country For Old Men would also lead to some interesting conversation in our home – I sure as hell am not going to show those particular movies to my eight year old.

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I saw my first Rated R move when I was 11. We lived in a very small town and in 1980- both Little Darlings and The Blue Lagoon were released. I rode my bike to town with a few friends and we were all carrying notes from our mothers…

 

“Tracy Morrison has my permission to watch Little Darlings today at the theater. Signed, Ginny(Tracy’s Mom)”

 

When you live in a small town – the theater owners knows you, your dog, your dinnerware pattern, and your mother’s handwriting.

 

And I sat there and giggled with my friends for hours. There were no conversations in our house that were off-limits and I am sure I rode my bike home and asked my mom a few questions about both of those movies.

 

But I was also that very curious girl who asked her mom about sex when I was five, insisted on knowing about everything by the time I was seven, knew everything by the time I was nine, so by 11 – a rated R movie was nothing. I was also that girl who was reading VC Andrews at 10, Judy Blume’s Forever at nine, followed up shortly with her ‘smash-hit’ Wifey, read Are you There God It’s Me Margaret so many times by fourth grade that I had to buy a new copy as mine disintegrated, and stayed up late on weekends to watch horror movies.

*****

My parents didn’t say no to me when it came to books I wanted to read, movies I wanted to see, or music I wanted to listen to. My parents did many things right(with a few questionable moments), but the one I admire them for the most is letting me decide what I felt appropriate for myself.

 

Even if it meant watching The Blue Lagoon when I was 11, because wow that was a bad movie. I kind of know now why my parents didn’t go with me to the movies that day.

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And I want to say that I appreciate how everyone parents their own children, and how they decide how media is available to them.

 

But I am choosing not to censor material for mine. I mean sure I won’t be giving them a note to go see The Wolf Of Wall Street at the theater next week, but within ‘reason’ – defined by each parent differently – I say watch it, read it, love it.

 

And I’m finding that my kids are finding their own barometers for what they want to read and watch and what they are comfortable with when it comes to media.

 

Case in point – Eloise read The Fault In Our Stars a few months ago. I had recommended it to her(and know many parents who don’t think their 11 year olds are ready to read it) and several of her friends had read it, so she indulged for a weekend. The book has some pretty mature topics – death, being a teenager, grief, love, and a light touch of a sex scene.  And Eloise did not enjoy it – mainly for those heavy subjects. She told me she felt uncomfortable reading some of the parts, and also didn’t like becoming so emotionally attached to the characters who may die. It made me remember Eloise’s experience with reading and watching The Hunger Games – it was Rue’s death that hit Eloise hard. The rest of the story sat fine with her. And while I let my kids watch The Hunger Games- I completely understand why some parents don’t.

 

I’m just grateful that my kids are already starting to establish their own limits for what material and subjects they enjoy and what bothers them. That’s when it’s my job as a parent to have those conversations, appreciate what my kids are curious about, and determine together what’s appropriate.

 

I don’t want to shelter my kids and I’d rather have the important discussions at home instead of on the bus, and I’m glad that Eloise is already drawing a line on her comfort level on certain subjects. I completely respect that and hope her peers do too.

 

And if it means that we watch Despicable Me 2 on a Sunday afternoon instead of something PG-13 – I say good for my tween to enjoy cartoons for as long as she can, because the being a kid time of our lives is already much to short.  I love this girl and her sweet innocent choices that seem pretty pitch perfect to me.

******

Do you set ‘rules’ for reading, media, or movies with your kids?

 

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You Is Kind. You Is Smart. You Is Important

“I don’t think I’m doing that great in math, Mom.” She said casually and without eye contact.

 

This girl is placed three years ahead of her grade in math and works like a dog. She’s one of those girls who loves school and everything about it – from the work to the social part to the teachers. She’s the girl that the teachers say each year at conference “I wish I had 30 Eloise clones each year.”

 

And I’m not sure what she is even doing in math because I no longer understand it.

 

Why don’t you ask dad to help you if there’s something you are struggling with right now. You know he loves to help with math. I mentioned back to her before she was all the way up the stairs.

 

She comes back down to talk.

 

“No thanks, I’ll figure it out. I just want you to be prepared for my grade.”

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(Her final grade)

*******

Eloise, do you mind if I share your poem on my blog? I understand if you don’t want me to  – but it’s beautiful and I believe that more people should read your words.

 

“Yeah, no. I suck at poetry.”

 

Not true – you’re a gifted writer and should share your work more.

 

“Yeah, no. My writing will never be anything special.”

 

I think it’s special.

 

“You’re my mom. It’s in your job description to like work that I do. I’d need a less biased opinion.”

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Your teachers love your writing.

 

“They don’t count either, because it’s for a grade. Not for an emotion.”

 

Do you love your writing Eloise?

 

“Why does that matter?”

 

Because if you don’t believe in your writing, no one else will. Do you think you’re a good writer? Because if you do – it doesn’t matter what I think or your teachers think or what the internet thinks. It matters what you think.

 

“I don’t think my writing is good enough to show other people, no.”

 

Okay. I can tell you otherwise, but you need to really think about this, Eloise, please think about how it’s okay to put yourself and your work out there.

 

“Maybe I just don’t want to.”

 

I understand and respect that so much. I love how humble you are, Eloise. And how you don’t need others to praise you and your work. It’s one of my most favorite things about you. But you know, we don’t live on an island. Sometimes it’s good to put yourself out there and see what happens.

 

“Yeah, no. I don’t want to do that. What if people hate what I write?”

 

You can’t control what people think about you or your work, but you can control how you accept things and know in your heart that you are good enough for you.

 

“Sometimes I don’t understand you, Mom.”

 

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m here. And if you want to ever put yourself out there now – I am here and your safety net. But somehow I feel like if you took a leap you’d find you really wouldn’t even need me. Know that. Know that you are smart and talented and kind and amazing. And just don’t worry about your poem. It’s fabulous. I don’t need to share it.

 

“Mom, I’m going upstairs to read.”

 

Okay. I love you.

 

Eloise brushes by me and our arms touch briefly. She’s not a hugger, but I know by giving me the slightest touch in passing is her way of connecting, without words.

 

She climbs the steps and yells back. “I’ll think about it.”

*****

My kids are kind. The purest and not-taught sort of kind – those who hold doors for strangers, give friends the last piece of cake, watch out for others, never go first, never fight over a toy, and don’t like to read satire because it somehow hurts them to their core – they were never the selfish toddlers that I read they would be. That they were suppose to be. The toddlers that I yearned would stand up for themselves and put themselves first. Just once.

 

And how strange it seems that I’m trying to gently teach them this now. That they matter. Not just for how they serve others – but for how they serve themselves.

 

Will they ever serve themselves?

 

And I will go to my death saying those words to them – of their kindness, knowledge, and importance – but is it possible to really make someone believe that?

 

This is something they don’t tell us mothers how to do.

 

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20 Ways You Know That Your Preschooler Has A Tween Sibling

There is a seven year age difference between my oldest daughter and youngest daughter. When my oldest daughter was four I took her to music classes and we’d sing and clap to repetitive and traditional children songs, play with scarves, and roll balls back and forth to the rhythm of these songs. I remember smiling really big and thinking that this is what good parenting was all about. I bought Raffi CDs, we watched Baby Einstein movies, and I admit to spending $150 to attend a Wiggles concert. Twice. She loved Sesame Street and her stuffed Elmo tagged along with us on every outing, we had play-dates with other kids and their moms, and I spent more time picking out her preschool than we probably will for her college.

 

You know – we did the required first kid things. And while it’s typical for you to be a little less focused on doing all of the ‘right’ things with your third child, since now a trip to Target is considered just as enriching as a trip to the zoo, what I wasn’t prepared for was that my current preschooler would spend so little time seeking out appropriate preschool-age activities and more time wanting to be like her tween sisters.

 

And when this third child entered preschool and started making friends of kids who were the oldest in their family – well those parents may have questioned my parenting. As they should. Because my child is rapping to Low by Flo Rida while their child is rightly appreciating Puff The Magic Dragon.

 

But in about five years, when maybe their third child is in preschool and they have a fourth grader at home – well come see me my mother-sister and we will just laugh together. While the kids play in the other room and dance to music that we cannot believe we let them listen to. Because as sweet as a four year old is, a four year old with tween siblings is inevitably a bit precocious.

 

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1. Your preschooler says  ‘Well duh’ for almost every answer when taking her kindergarten readiness test. The evaluator just shakes her head, gives your daughter a perfect score, and jokingly tells you that she’d probably be fine in third grade too.

2. Wears Rainbow Loom bracelets all the way up her arm like all the cool kids do, and has mastered the coolest color combinations and wants a double/triple in all neon green.

3. Asks why her closet is full of pink and pretty clothing, tights and dresses that twirl, and cute mary janes, when she’d really rather shop at Justice and wear peace signs, bling headbands, and Taylor Swift concert t-shirts. A trip to Claire’s trumps a trip to the children’s museum any day for her now. “And when can I get my ears pierced, Mom?”

4. Has never owned or asked for character pajamas – and only wants tank tops and flannel pajama bottoms like her sister. You sadly fold and giveaway the Tinklebell nightgowns that her sweet sisters wore when they were little. The Disney princesses that ruled our life for years with older daughters has made way for reruns of iCarly and Shake It Up.

5. Hears a friend singing Wheels On The Bus and asks if you’ve ever heard that strange song. You realize that this child has never even heard London Bridges. When asked what her favorite song is she says it’s a toss-up between Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and Mirror by Justin Timberlake…and she also can sadly sing along to Blurred Lines.

6. You don’t have to carry around kid song CDs -instead you are ordered to turn on KDWB(the top 40 station) before the minivan is even turned on.

7.  She is used as a real doll by older sisters as they apply make-up on her to practice for their dance performances.

8. She knows full dialogues from the latest Sam and Cat and Good Luck Charlie episodes. She has never seen Sesame Street. In passing she has seen a large yellow bird. She asks what his name is. You feel like a preschool mom failure.

9. Is treated like royalty when she goes to her older siblings’ schools. Tweens gather around her, pick her up, tell her she’s the cutest thing ever, tell older siblings how lucky they are to have a baby sister. We don’t have to wonder why she is so spoiled. Ever. Or loved.

10. Has a hard time making friends as she talks like she’s 11 instead of 4 and KNOWS WAY TOO MUCH and SHARES. SHARES SO MUCH. Play-date invitations are few and far between.

11. Asks friends to come for sleepovers instead of play-dates because that’s what her sisters do. Now you have to awkwardly explain to the other mom that yeah, I don’t really want your 3 or 4 year old to spend the night. EVER.

12. Has never visited sproutonline.com or ABCmouse – but can kick some serious Just Dance butt when Roar comes on. Can possibly twerk.

13. Knows how to order dinner at the sushi bar and knows what gourmet cupcakes and real frosting should taste like. The sweet sugar icing on character cupcakes from Target just won’t suffice. She knows what ganache is.

14. Can work the iPad and can download music better than any parent. Has Minecraft houses and stuff and you just stare at her and wish she would play with Little Ponies.

15.  Has seen PG13 movies whereas her sisters at four years old had barely seen their first movie and it was most definitely rated G. Sorry, but this girl loves Harry Potter!

16. Is convinced that she should be able to stay home alone too like her sisters if you just run to the store. “I’ll be just fine, Mom!” Honestly, she probably would be – but you’d rather CPS did not pay a visit.

17. Instead of the sweet calls of ‘Mommy” and “Mama”  – at times she also thinks your name is really “MOM” or “MOTHER” said in the most OMG I cannot believe you just said that kind of tween voice.

18. She also makes “Please knock” and “Private – stay out” signs for her bedroom door.

19. Does ‘homework’ each evening when her sisters do theirs and tells you to be a little quieter so she can concentrate on her maths.

20. And the best tween habit – can do all of the chores her sisters can – from laundry to dishes to vacuuming floors. Dang, now why didn’t you teach your older kids how to do these important chores earlier?

 

What did I miss on how your littlest tries to keep up with their tween or teen siblings?

 

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Reading And Loving

Jed and I are doing what we used to do before we had children. We’re going to bed and reading for awhile. This seems like such a luxury lately and I’ve missed this habit. I think we used to do this before we had Wifi too -you know way back in 1999..so we could not bring work or Facebook to bed. Instead we just had a book and a warm body to be next to.

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Since the New Year, I’ve been shutting down my computer early, not even making it to the 10pm news, and heading up to bed to read.

 

Jed never quit reading before sleep. And I’m glad I’m getting back into the habit.

 

What we are all reading and loving right now:

 

Jed is finishing the last book in George R. R. Martin’s Game Of Thrones Series. I have no idea what it’s about or how it is – but he’s read them all now, so let’s just assume they must be okay. I was going to ask him for a review – but I didn’t want to interrupt his reading.

Esther finished Kate DiCamillo’s latest book last month – Flora & Ulysses(Winner of the 2014 Newbury Medal!). We’ve read and loved all of Kate’s books(and not just because she’s local and we’ve met her), but because she fills her books with wonder and love. Esther said it was a super fun book to read and it made her laugh and she loved the comics!

Eloise has read so many books lately that I wasn’t even sure which one to pick – so I’m going to pick one that we’ve both read lately. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Eloise knew a little about the holocaust from reading The Diary Of Anne Frank and discussions at home, but I don’t think she fully understood how devastating it was until she read this book. Narrated by Death – The Book Thief is so unique from any other book I’ve ever read. A story about a foster girl learning to love and trust again, while learning to read and the power of words. The characters in this book are so rich and interesting and the storyline mesmerizing. Eloise had a few questions as she read the book as it is historical, so she wanted some clarifications of what and why as the war progressed in Germany. I would say that she is on the ‘young-side’ for reading this – but she thoroughly enjoyed it, as did I. It is probably the book I would recommended the most to anyone looking for a powerful read with a beautiful, yet tough message.

Astrid is reading(and having read to her) as many books as humanly possible. That’s the beautiful thing about being the youngest child – your bookshelves overflow as older siblings outgrow books and they become yours. I think we will need to open a library just for Astrid and start moving out furniture that no longer fits. I know it’s time to go through some of our old board books but I just cannot part with any of them yet. So Astrid owns a gazillion books. So I will just tell you about one of her favorites that I just happen to read for her class last week.

 

First a funny story though – I actually read this book for Eloise’s class too back when she was in preschool, and as I finished reading, a little precocious girl stood right up and pointed at me and said “That was the most boring book that I’ve ever heard!” Gotta love kids. Also, that is why I don’t teach preschool.

 

The book is Millions Of Cats by Wanda Gag. There is not a children’s book that I love more. Maybe it’s because I have a link to New Ulm,  where Wanda is from, or maybe it’s because I love cats…but really it’s because the story is so sweet, the prose so lovely for both kids and adults – with repetition, an interesting story, lovely illustrations, and a nice moral to the story about humility. Who doesn’t want to read about hundreds and thousands and millions and billions of cats. If you don’t own this book – buy it now and you will keep it around for your grandkids.

 

What are you reading and loving right now?

 

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I Did This – I’m With The #HappyMamas

The quiet is almost deafening upstairs. Occasionally I hear soft stocking feet running down the hall, a giggle, or a door quietly shutting. But for nearly three hours it’s been silent.

 

If you are a mother of three, this could cause concern. The long quiet. Concern enough to go check on your children – are they free of blood, teeth intact, room not on fire, alive. But I never went up there. With three kids I expect at least one will be able to scream down for help in case the other two are dealing with blood or fire or broken teeth.

 

It’s our fifth day off school over a span of just two weeks. We’ve spent a lot of time together. A lot of time inside our home together. A lot of time not being able to safely play outside. A lot of time dragging out every toy, book, game, crayon, and snack we own.

 

And besides an hour in the morning as the zombies stare at the TV while they shovel in frozen waffles, or the hour at night when we catch-up on Dance Moms together or watch reruns of Sam And Cat – the TV is off, the iPad isn’t touched, and my computer is my computer.

 

The girls are brushing doll hair, putting on fashion shows, making pictures, having pretend picnics, and going through drawers of stuffed animals that haven’t been unearthed in years. Together.

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And frankly some of the time I haven’t even known what they were doing because they were playing. Without me near. For hours. By themselves. Like children should do. Maybe they sat and listened to music and took turns being the lead in a band, or maybe they put on puppet shows, or maybe they told each other jokes. What they did is their own thing. That they created for themselves. In their rooms. And they only came down for dinner when I called them to set the table. And they came down together and laughing. No blood.

 

I finished my work. It’s one of my busiest weeks at work, and having them home from school weighed heavy on my shoulders and mind as I saw the temperatures plummet. But I had nothing to worry about, because kids have the ability to make their own fun. And play with each other.

 

I want to whisper this secret to my friends with all little ones at home – that things will get quiet for them one day. That one day their kids will just go play without them building that Lego tower with them(not that I don’t love to do that once in awhile), but when they do need a three hour block to get some work done – their kids can manage that for them..and just go play. Like we once did as kids.

 

Yet my kids are still all here in our house. We’re still sharing space together. Even though they aren’t tapping on my knee saying “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom…”

 

And even though my kids are a floor away and not asking me for anything – I am still mothering. In fact  – I did that….I mothered enough so my kids know they can make their own fun and snacks and pick up their toys. I did that. I taught them boundaries and gave them a space to play. I let them know that sometimes mom needs to work and needs quiet, and to respect my time just like I respect a crazy amount of time with them. I taught them to be self-sufficient and to be happy even playing alone or with a sister for more than 10 minutes. I did this.

 

Watching your kids move away from you because they know how and can, is still mothering. Being a good mother did this. Being a good mother doesn’t have to be defined by how many games you played with them or how many plays you acted out. Being a good mother also means that they can go off for hours to create their own plays, but being there when they’re ready to perform.

*****

Galit and I were chatting and having a glass of wine together. We sat close and laughed about many things as we talked…we really talked, and finished sentences. We were out together bowling with our families…TEN PEOPLE..and bowling in a LOUD bar. And yet we sat and drank wine and heard each other. We talked about writing and work and sure, kids.

friends

And those SIX kids were just feet away from us, but they were bowling and talking and laughing and playing all by themselves. They never came to talk to us or ask for anything. They managed their own food and drinks. They took their turns and kept their own scores and just did what kids do.

 

We’ve done it. We’ve reached this sweet spot in mothering. Where the kids are old enough to do so much(nearly everything) on their own, and you can do things you enjoy parallel to them(like talking with a dear friend) – because they are still there. There – feet or a floor from you – but still with you. This sweet age when they can do for themselves yet they are still with you and not away with friends.

 

Dear friends – this is such a sweet time right now. I cherish this moment of motherhood before it flees too. Like all of the moments mothering do. Mothering has its beautiful and hard moments – the moments you miss and the one you don’t once they are gone – but I’m holding this now of motherhood tight.

 

This moment where my kids are here. But just not right here all of the time.

****

This was written as a Happy Mama Moment. A group of 12 moms have formed a Happy Mother Movement for 2014. Each month you can join us and link up with your Happy Mama Moment, inspired by Dude Mom.

happy mama movement logo

 

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Dear Nordstrom – About Your “Skinny Sleep” Pillow

Dear Nordstrom,

 

I posted a picture of me at 18 on Facebook the other day. It was from a time in my life that I didn’t love how I looked, but the picture was kind of funny with my huge 80s hair so I thought it was worth posting for a few laughs.

 

But only one person(my husband, the person closest to me), asked me what was up with my puffy cheeks in that picture. He could see from the rest of my body in the picture that I wasn’t overweight – so why were my cheeks so puffy.

 

He pointed out exactly why I hate all pictures of me for a period of four years, and almost 30 years later I couldn’t just tell him why I had puffy cheeks. I think I brushed off his question with an explanation of ‘left over baby fat’ and growing out of them eventually.

 

But my puffy cheeks were a symptom of my bulimia. And my bulimia started after suffering from anorexia and starving myself for months. Once I started to finally eat again – I purged for years.

 

And while I consider myself ‘better’ in that I don’t starve myself or purge my food – I will never feel thin enough. Ever. I still worry about everything I put in my mouth, how my clothing fits, and will catch glimpses of myself in every mirror looking for faults.

*****

My 10 year old threw a fit last year when I made her wear snow pants to an outdoor event. It was well below zero and there was no way we were going out without being bundled up from head to toe. “But Mom, my friends will be there and my snow pants make my butt look big.”

 

Your butt look big, Eloise? For one, that is impossible..and for two, everyone will be wearing snow pants..and for three, trust me, no one looks at snow pant butts.

 

My daughter is five feet tall and is lucky to weigh 60 pounds soaking wet and barely registers as having a  BMI. She could wear 10 pairs of snow pants without the worry of her butt looking big. But that fact doesn’t really matter, does it.

 

She’s a healthy eater, gets plenty of exercise as a dancer, and even though she has a mother who will probably never be totally past her eating disorder(what addict is), we still never talk or show unhealthy habits around our kids, and live in a home with healthy food and people who exercise regularly. We don’t own a scale.

 

And she has the same body I had at 10 and 11 – tall, seemingly impossibly thin, and with legs that go on for miles. I’m not worried about her – she’s a healthy girl – but to hear her worry about looking fat….

 

I sank. My heart broke for her into a million tiny pieces.

 

And I want to do everything to make sure my three daughters daughters do not become one of the 10 million Americans with eating disorders. Of which, 20% of those suffering will die.

 

I see the stick thin models on the runway, the supermodels on the cover of magazines(many photoshopped), ads everywhere on how to have a flat stomach and the importance of a thigh gap, and a diet ad on TV during almost every show. Daily I feel like I’m trying to push away the negative media images and reinforcing to my daughters what is really important – health and the importance of loving themselves.

 

As I whisper to myself – don’t be like your mother, don’t be like your mother.

*****

At this point you must be wondering why I’m writing this very personal letter to you, Nordstrom. Well, it’s because I was shopping with my daughters at your store(one of my favorite places to shop) on Friday and this pillow prominently displayed in your store stopped me in my tracks.

nordstrom-skinny-sleep-pillow

Actually, it stopped my daughter in her tracks… “People can get skinny by sleeping, Mom? I had no idea.”

 

No hon, you can’t get skinny when you sleep. You have good sleep because it makes you healthy and strong. That pillow was meant to be kind of a joke I think – and a horrible one at that.

 

Oh Nordstrom – we have skinny drinks and skinny food and skinny pills and see skinny ads and read skinny articles…and now, now you have to make our daughters think that there’s skinny sleep? We’re embroidering skinny dreams on our pillows now just like the ones that we can’t etch out of our hearts?

 

Please don’t send a message like this. It’s not okay. It’s not message we need. It’s not a message that they need. And if my daughter is asking about this – how many other daughters are asking their mothers the same question?

 

Did you know that approximately 40 percent of American girls ages 9 and 10 report being or having been on a diet to lose weight.

 

Let’s do better by our daughters and our sons and start making strides on focusing on healthy messages and giving them more positive images of what a real woman or man looks like. And should look like. I know we have a long way to go and daily we are bombarded with negative influences..so some might say “What’s the big deal about a pillow with a cute little saying.” And I’m saying – taking a pillow off the shelves is one little step in the direction where millions of steps still need to be taken if we are ever going to stop this cycle.

 

Having an eating disorder is like being a drug addict, this illness is always near the surface just waiting for the right trigger…and while one can survive without drugs or alcohol, a person with an eating disorder is faced with their biggest fear – food – every single day. So whether you want to believe it or not – even seeing the words ‘skinny sleep’ on a pillow can trigger us into thinking something is really possible. Just like my daughter asked me such an innocent question about it on Friday in your store.

 

Don’t make her even have to ask those questions. Don’t make her think that skinny is ‘in’ or that skinny is even important.

 

Don’t be responsible for adding to this devastating epidemic.

 

Thank you for listening,

 

Tracy Morrison

Woman, Wife, Mom of Three, Eating Disorder Survivor

*****

Update Sunday Night 1/26 – I received the following DM on Twitter from Nordstrom…

“We’re so sorry we disappointed you. This is a sensitive subject and we take what you’re saying seriously. We totally see your point here and would never want what was suppose to be a play on a well-known saying as sending a different message. We appreciate you sharing your perspective with us. We’d like to share this feedback with our buyers and get back to you.”

 

I’m glad Nordstrom responded so quickly – and I actually tweeted them about this three days ago – but now it’s time for them to remove the pillow from their stores. And it’s honestly a pretty sad ‘play’ on a well-known saying – that truthfully I already don’t love.

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The Guinea Pig

I spent the morning with Esther and Eloise, who had the day off from school, while their little sister did have school. We all kept looking for her behind and beside us as we all grabbed for a hand that wasn’t there.

 

At one point Esther was convinced that we left Astrid at the bakery. And for the moment after that I was convinced we left her somewhere too. But we have Eloise to keep us in check. She’s the hand for Astrid when mine are full, the one to bathe her when I have to work, and the one to remind me what time school ends or dance starts.

tween-girls

And Eloise does all of this without me asking. Esther easily picks up that slack if Eloise is busy with friends or dance.

 

The rythym of the three always keeps me calm as a mother – because I have help in so many other hands and hearts without question.

 

And maybe it helps that Astrid is five and seven years younger than her sisters – because having a “baby sister” is easier to handle than just a typical “little sister.”

 

As Eloise says, “Astrid leads a charmed life.” But then Eloise doesn’t do anything to make it a less charmed life – in fact I think she makes sure of the charm.

 

So this morning I took the big girls out for pain au chocolat and cafe au lait(chocolat chaud for them..but Eloise does sip off of my coffee…don’t tell Jed). We sipped and ate and talked about school and friends and how we will visit Paris someday soon. We made plans for their school Valentines and made a grocery list. Then Eloise looked at her watch and told us to hurry and finish so we wouldn’t be late picking up Astrid.

 

“I love Astrid’s school.” She said as we gathered our coats and hats. “I wish I went to preschool there. She’s so lucky.”

 

I know, hon..it is a great school. But your preschool was pretty great too. I didn’t know where to send you – you were my first, and I think we did okay.

 

“You did – and I liked my school. I’m always your guinea pig though.” She looked at me as she said this and I could tell by the light in her eyes that she was slightly teasing me. “Being the oldest means you can try things on me to see if they are good or bad and then make better decisions for Esther and Astrid. And I’m okay with that as it’s fun to be the first and to try things. And I will always tell you if something sucks…you know, so my sisters get something better.”

 

So you don’t mind being our guinea pig, is that what you are saying…because if you realize this is truly a fact(it is) and you own it and kind of like it, well there are many more new experiences we can try. Just wait for high school!

 

“Sure Mom, I can handle it. I just hope my sisters know what I’ve done for them.” Eloise kind of laughed as she said this.

 

I don’t know any two sisters who look up to their big sister more. Ever. They will always look for your guidance and your hand, because you’ve always given it so freely to them.

 

“Soooo, maybe now that I know I’m a guinea pig…I can actually have one as a pet?”

 

Don’t push your luck, sister.

 

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I’ll Tumblr 4 Ya

Eloise and I have set-up a Tumblr account. Some of you(Mom) are probably now asking “What’s a tumbr account?” And my response to that is “I really have no clue!” Really I don’t. But it seems to be some place where you can just set up an account and then post pictures or short stories or something. It’s like “quick blogging” or something like that. And then you can follow and comment on other tumblr accounts.

 

Or maybe tumblr is nothing like that and I don’t know what I’m doing. Yes, this is probably what the real story is. I have no idea what tumblr is. But I’m using it anyway. Kind of like my iPhone that I only text, take pictures, and email on. Turns out there are these things called apps though that I know nothing about. Jed likes to lecture me about how I don’t use my technology to it’s full capabilities. To which I respond “huh?”

 

So we are on tumblr. And again I don’t know what it is. But there are people who post adorable and hilarious cat pictures…so truly it doesn’t matter what tumblr is as long as there are cute cat pictures! Also, does tumblr know that tumblr is spelled incorrectly? Or is it spelled wrong on purpose and it stands for something? These are things that I ponder as I post pictures of pandas.

 

Because THAT is why we have a tumblr account.

 

PANDAS!

 

Specially Po The Giant Panda that I cannot stop blogging about. So now I’m going to stop blogging about him and tumblr him instead. Is that a verb? I dunno.

po-the-giant-panda

Eloise and I have set-up this Tumblr(is tumblr suppose to have a capital ‘T’?) account where we will post daily pictures and short blurbs about The Life Of Po The Panda.  I think you can follow us or like us there or something. Maybe you can’t. I really don’t know. But pandas make life better – so you need to follow us to improve your life.

 

Eloise just wanted to post cute pictures of Po in our home. But I want to take him places and take pictures out and about to post. Like to Target or out for coffee..and I was all like “Isn’t that a great idea, Eloise! Let’s take Po places!” and in typical tween fashion, Eloise said “Um, okay but you can just do that without me there…”

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She is so not fun. How is that embarrassing? I mean it’s a giant panda. Who would laugh about a giant panda at Target? No one I say!

 

So follow or like us or ignore us or tumblr with us. Or just sing the new Culture Club tune “I’ll tumblr 4 ya” with me every time you go on tumblr.

 

Or do nothing. Just nothing. Because you hate pandas. Don’t be a panda-hater. Tumblr with us.

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Soft Landing

Eloise received a giant stuffed panda bear for Christmas. ‘Po’ has now become more treasured than the cat, a bed companion, excellent lounge chair, and is constantly being dragged around the house. He even has a chair at the dining room table as he’s required to take meals with us. Eloise takes him to sleepovers(sorry sleepover-hosting people) and I’m required to kiss him goodnight as I tuck him into bed each night next to her.

 

Certain sisters use him as a napping stop when Eloise is not at home and must leave Po behind. I might also rest against his soft, fuzzy belly in the cold afternoons.

giant-panda

I was surprised when Eloise asked for a giant stuffed animal for Christmas. It was the only item on her list. Most tweens probably asked for new iThings and video games and cool clothing and things that sparkle or beep.

 

But she just wanted a soft spot to land each day.

 

Don’t we all. And I admit that I like Jed even a little more when he wear a soft fleece vest that feels nice when I rest my head on his chest as we snuggle on the couch.

 

Life can be very hard and sharp some days. This season the winter storms beat on our faces with ice pellets, words can be sharp against us, and love can be complicated. My dry skin cracks and hurts in the same way that the dark days of now can so easily determine bad moods of depression.

 

Sometimes it’s so hard to see the sun through the gray and to know that when you are home you can find that soft place to land. Soft in heart and love as you are surrounded by your closest trust circle, but also now by an overly large panda bear who has found just the perfect home.

 

I think Eloise has been feeling a bit ‘alone’ lately. Growing quickly out of little girl looks and wants and into a new chapter of her life. I think she needs me more than she cares to admit, and as a shy girl she’s unwilling to ask questions or inquire about important and even frivolous life things. She’s not a cuddler and will duck away if you try to steal a hug or kiss. She is sharp herself – bony and angular without a physical hint softness to help her land.

 

But her heart is pure and soft and kind. When you meet her and know her she kind of feels like it does when you watch one of those cute baby panda videos as they slide or play with a ball. You can’t help but smile and feel like the world is pretty much perfect because they are in it.
Maybe that’s why Eloise likes pandas so much.

 

And I hope that Po will give her the soft landing she needs for many years to come. We all need a friend like him.

*****

My friends Alison and Greta are hosting a year-long photography project “Through The Lens Thursday” – and I would love for you to click over the learn more about it. The theme this week is ‘soft.’  My goal in 2014 is to meet my camera again. “Hi Camera! I’ve missed you!” and perhaps their project is just the soft kick in the designer skirt I need to get started again.

******

In other exciting news – A new site is launching soon called the Twin Cities Mom Blog and I am thrilled to be a contributor! More info coming soon when we launch later this month!

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Halloween Changes, Tweens and Foxes

You might find something(someone) missing in these photos. I’m calling this phase of our lives “The Tween Times.”

fox-costume

But it’s hard to not smile at the adorable and cuddly panda bear and the fantastic yet fashionable fox. What does the fox say? It turns out our whole neighborhood is over 78 years old or doesn’t have internet access as not one person understood why Esther was asking that question after she said “Trick or Treat.” Also, they were stumped by what a fox really says.

what-does-the-fox-say

I’m glad my kids choose costumes that are warm so we can layer and stay cozy when it’s only 42 degrees on Halloween night. It’s better than having to put your snowsuit over your costume like I used to have to do.

snowsuits for halloween

But still – I didn’t get a picture of Eloise this year. It’s weird and good and strange and okay when your child reaches the age when they would rather go with a friend…and thus leave an empty space in my photo lens. Eloise was Cat Girl and I’m sure she was fabulous. And her smile, stories and bag of a candy when she returned later than usual – at 9:30- told me that she had an amazing time. And I know she has many more years to celebrate Halloween with us. And maybe I just need to catch her in a picture at 3:30 before she goes with her friends. If she lets me. I’ll have to bribe her with an iPhone or something.

panda-costume

I did not dress–up this year which was a huge disappointment to my kids. After Effie and The Pioneer Woman - it turns out that I peaked too early.

halloween-costume

If you loved our costumes but you are are still partying this weekend and need some costume ideas – well The Wisest Kid has you covered.

He’s also knows what kids love to eat – so that is never a mystery to us anymore.

 

Be sure check out the Campbell’s Facebook page to keep up to date with The Wisest Kid and find more  kid approved recipes,  get your own beard at the Wisest Kid’s Page at Campbell’s Kitchen.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Campbell’s Condensed Soup and I was compensated as an Ambassador, but all opinions are my own.

 

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When Your Tween Steals Your Laptop

I love to brag and rub it in your face about the fact that my kids don’t really use technology. They play dolls, run around the neighborhood playing with friends, or spend hours on art projects on the family room floor. I mean sure, as a family we own two laptops(one for me and one for Jed), and we have a shared family iPad, and we both have iPhones…but the kids do not own anything techie for themselves – no gaming devices, no tablets, no iPods, no laptops, no phones..nothing. Basically it’s because we don’t love them as much as the parents who buy their eight year olds laptops and iPad Minis.

 

But maybe the future therapy bills will be more expensive than just buying them a tablet?

tweensandtechnology

They’ve never asked for anything with a screen or on-button. And until lately, they rarely have asked to use our computers or phones, and I just found the iPad under a pile of books – and it had a lot of dust on it.  It also took me three hours to find the charger cord thing.

 

We also don’t ever talk in hashtags in our home. And my kids have never sent a text. #lame

 

Oh my gosh – I’m raising outcasts.

 

But this school year is killing me and my computer time. I know some of you probably nobody have been wondering why I’m not blogging as much, and can you guess why I’m not blogging…

A. I’ve made all of the money I care to make blogging and I’m now so famous that I need to give someone else a chance.

B. I don’t remember my passwords.

C. My 10 year old has to type one million pages a week  and do research on one million projects for school

 

The correct answer is probably actually ‘B’ – but today let’s just say ‘C’ or this post won’t make any sense.

 

Because now Eloise needs technology to complete her homework – from setting up an email account for her to communicate with her teacher and classmates with whom she is working on projects, to researching the Kwakiutl Tribe, to typing out a five page personal narrative every single week. And if you are adding up all that computer time – in blogging time – that’s about 5,000,000 hours and 3,000,000 posts that I can no longer write because HOMEWORK, and the girl is always on my computer.

 

So I find myself at 7pm whining and stomping around the house and throwing a tantrum for my 10 year old to just get off my laptop so I can work check Facebook! And Eloise is all “Well maybe it’s time that I own my own laptop!” And I’m all “Well maybe you need to get a job!” And she’s all “You don’t love me and you want me to fail school because you won’t let me use your laptop to complete my homework!” And I’m all like “I did like you better before you learned how to type!” And she is all like “Nobody understands me around here!” And I’m all like “I hope you still believe in Santa because the big guy might be your only saving grace of owning your own technology this year!” And she’s all like “Does he love me enough to buy me a MacBook instead of a cheap Windows machine?” And I’m all like “Have you seen the unemployment numbers lately?” And she is all like “Mother!”

 

And then I just go watch Orange Is The New Black on Netflix until she gets her paper finished ON MY LAPTOP. But by the time she is done and is in bed at 8:30pm I am too tired to do any work – so I just fall asleep too.

 

Thus – NO BLOGGING and my TWEEN HAS TAKEN OVER MY COMPUTER TIME!

 

And I really don’t want to get her a computer. Because she’s only 10 and why does she have all of this homework????

 

But I can no longer live in technology-denial…..So we are making a plan for her(and her ‘soon to have too much homework too’ sisters) to ‘earn’ money to help buy one laptop for ALL THREE GIRLS TO SHARE and maybe Santa will kick-in the rest.

 

But until December 25th – you may never see me again. Because homework.

 

So what say you internets(not that I can respond..BECAUSE HOMEWORK) – do your elementary age kids own technology thingys???

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Their First Concert – Taylor Swift

I took Eloise and Esther to see Taylor Swift in concert last night. It was their first major concert and honestly when I shelled out the $$$$ for the tickets last Fall I thought I had lost my mind and that truly an 8 and 10 year old have no business attending a concert.

red-taylor-swift

I was 15 and in the 10th grade when I attended my first concert. A group of us girls saw Billy Ocean. And it was as awkward as it sounds….eight teenage girls at a Billy Ocean concert that was in a fancy venue. The place was packed with professional couples in nice clothing, sitting peacefully and enjoying Billy’s songs as they maybe tapped their feet, sang a few bars and held the hand of their date. But in the third row  – eight teenage girls – concert virgins – yet had watched Bruce Springsteen and Madonna on Friday Night Videos on NBC, thus’ knew’ what attending a concert meant…stood up and screamed while waving cheap Bic lighters that burned their fingers the whole two hours that Billy played. Those adults probably hated us. And they probably hated us more when the eight of us squeezed into the bathroom with filterless Camel cigarettes and chain-smoked during intermission. And then chewed a lot of double-bubble to rid ourselves of the smoke smell before the parents came to pick us up.

What our sign looked like at the concert

What our sign looked like at the concert

So I guess it’s a good move to take my kids to a concert now, when they are so young since they don’t smoke. Also, they don’t own lighters and it turns out that people don’t even use lighters at concerts anymore. The whole cell-phone as a flashlight thing just truly ruined my night and made me feel old. I guess I could just go to an REO Speedwagon concert at a state fair somewhere and I would see lighters again. I would also probably see that guy from high school who still lives in his mother’s basement.

taylor-swift-red

Also, I had forgotten that the money you spend on the tickets is just the beginning of the expense – then there’s parking, t-shirts, posters, lighted tube waving things, bags and scarves! You must buy all of the stuff. Because memories.

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But just like the perfect MasterCard commercial – no matter how much we spent – it was completely priceless. The girls had an incredible time – and we stood, sang, danced and screamed for over three hours. We love some Taylor Swift. And damn that girl has some nice clothing.

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And I’d do it all again tomorrow if I could. After a good nap of course.

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So if you are questioning your sanity because you are thinking of treating your young kids to their first concert and your mom is like “Back in my day, we had to wait until we were adults and had our own money!” – Well just ignore her and go make some crazy, fun, expensive and totally worth it memories. I know my kids will remember that night forever. And not just because I’m making them frame the $40 shirts that we bought.

 

What was your first big concert? Have your kids been to a concert?

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(linking up to What I Wore Wednesday with The Pleated Poppy - Esther is wearing a jacket, tank and skort – all from Justice, Eloise is wearing a tank and scarf from Justice and skirt from The Gap, I’m wearing a Kitty dress from H&M and boots and belt from Anthropologie.)

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Back To School

The big kids went back to school this week.

First Day Of School

And I miss them.

 

Or Astrid misses them. And Truffle – dang Truffle cat misses them a lot because now Astrid has no one to play with, so Truffle has to wear stuffed animals on his back and try to put together puzzles. And he’s really bad at puzzles because he doesn’t have thumbs. So he was fired yesterday as Astrid’s playmate and she asked me to step-in.

Save me!

Save me!

I also suck at puzzles. Also, I’m horrible at playing Little People. And her dress-up costumes don’t fit me. She also doesn’t think I’m very good at reading. You see she and Eloise were trying to get through all of Roald Dahl’s books this Summer and they didn’t quite finish The BFG yet – so she asked me to read a chapter. And I guess I really suck at reading…so Astrid told me to stop because Eloise does voices better and I’m super boring.

 

So I’m apparently not good for anything but fixing snacks and wiping her butt.

 

Other than that – Astrid wishes that her sisters never had to go to school.

 

I’m feeling that way too. I miss them. We had an amazing Summer. From roadtrips, to camps, to days at the pool, and cool nights of riding our bikes to ice cream – this Summer might go down as one of the best.

 

Which just means that I am going to plan for The Super Sucky Summer of 2014 – because I don’t want to miss my kids next Fall when school starts again.

 

Because it hurts.

*****

But the girls are back in the school-grove and seem crazy happy just living their fancy school lives without us. They missed their friends I think. And maybe they were sick of me nagging them to clean their rooms.

back-to-school-fashion

(Eloise is wearing jeggings and booties from Justice, a top from Nordstrom and we hand-painted her panda nails)

Eloise loves fifth grade and has an awesome teacher. In Eloise’s words – and in one really really long run-on sentence “Seriously, my teacher is amazing – she is super strict – which is so awesome because you know I love class control and someone who is organized and structured and keeps the crazy boys inline – and she’s is totally that kind of teacher…AND the best part is that we get homework every night – even weekends and we have to write a three page essay the first night of school – this is like crazy amazing and I really love my teacher and it’s going to be the best year ever and I’m going to my room now to do my homework so don’t bother me and I hope we get even more homework tomorrow and I’m going to work on some extra math tonight because I am going to try to get placed in 7th grade math this year because I want more work and to learn more and always be challenged.”

 

Mon Dieu.

tween-fashion

(Esther is wearing a dress and jacket from Justice. Sandals are Lelli Kelly)

Eloise loves third grade and her teacher is also super amazing. Esther didn’t have much to say except that she had two recesses and they had grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. Also, her old boyfriend is in her class and she giggled a lot about that because she still likes him, but he likes Ruby better now, but Ruby is Esther’s friend – so it’s okay that he likes her. And she played with lots of friends at the playground and they chased and stuff and she needs to wear bike-shorts under her skirt tomorrow because she wants to climb on top of the monkey bars. Also, they had popcorn for snack and Maggie got cool new shoes and she’s looking forward to music class.  Also, a boy said bad words on the bus, so she moved seats. Obviously.

 

I think maybe Esther also had math, reading and other such school subjects – but those were not mentioned.

 

So happy school year everyone!

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Ode To The Little Toilet Paper Pieces

I bought Eloise a razor last week. She mentioned to me that she hates the long black hair covering her legs, and since her skin is quite porcelain, well you probably understand just how that looks. I’ve never mentioned her leg hair before and she’s never asked me about why I shave my legs, but suddenly she just said “I hate that Esther has thin blond hair on her legs that just kind of blends into her skin, and I have to deal with this. It’s embarrassing.”  So I asked her if she wanted to start shaving her legs to remove it – but warned her that once she starts – that this is a lifelong ‘thing’ – just like brushing your teeth or combing your hair – you will continually have to remove the hair on your legs. Unless she wants to go back to 1968 – which would be kind of awesome. And also, she’ll eventually realize how awesome Minnesota living is, because we pretty much can take a ‘pass’ on leg shaving from October until April. Of course ‘I’ would never take that break though.

 

I remember being excited when my mom FINALLY let me start shaving my legs. Truth be told I probably asked her to start when I was five at the same time I asked about where babies came from…and she put off the full truth of both of those subjects until I was in fifth grade. I can still picture the bathtub in our old brick ranch house and how one evening my mom showed me how to shave my own legs. And also how to rip little pieces of toilet paper off the roll to put on the many cuts on my leg as it’s the most effective way to stop the bleeding.

 

So I expected Eloise to be excited to start shaving her legs, but she doesn’t get excited about anything but new books. She just quietly said ‘okay’ as I told her I’d get her a razor. And now she hasn’t asked about it again. I worry about our communication and that I’m not exactly what she needs. I was such a “tell me everything RIGHT NOW!” kind of girl and Eloise is more of a “tell me as little as possible and when you do have to tell me, just say it quietly through the door and maybe in another language so I don’t completely understand, and no, don’t even buy me a book about it, because I don’t want to read about things like that either.”

 

So this road of adolescence we are on is both confusing and quiet. Especially when we must deal with the hairy legs.

 

And I have a feeling that she won’t even let me show her how to shave her legs – she’s more of a trial and error all by herself girl – which scares me when deadly weapons are involved. Will she even let me show her the toilet paper trick?

Last year, after I tried to talk to her about how her body will change, and she decided that was the stupidest conversation ever, I bought a journal for us to write notes to each other as I know Eloise and I are women with few spoken words – but we both love to read and write.

 

So I lovingly wrote her a heartfelt letter in the first page of our shared journal about how I was looking forward to reading her words and answering any questions she had or even just using it for writing jokes, silly pictures and funny stories. This journal would be private between just us for as long as she wanted to talk this way.

 

Eloise returned the journal the next day with the words “I don’t want to do this.”

 

And while living in denial is glorious for awhile…reality will eventually bite your ass so hard that I fear the road to be traveled will be bumpier than it needs to be. Ripping off a band-aid in the future is much more painful than the comfort of a your mom applying a square of toilet paper to softly soak up the blood.

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Is your tween ready to shave her legs? Here’s what I’ve learned over the last few weeks..and seriously, are we ever experts at anything? NOT! And remember every child is different. And so is every mother.

1. I don’t think there’s an ‘age’ guideline that you can follow for this important right of passage for womanhood…ask yourself and her..

Does her leg hair bother her? Does she ask about removing it? Let her lead the conversation.

Do you think(and ask her) is she responsible enough to take on this commitment of hair removal.

Do you think(and ask her) is she ready to handle a razor. (I still question my razor abilities at 44 years old).

Most people report that their daughters(and they) started shaving their legs sometime between age 10 and 13. But try to have a conversation BEFORE she tries to shave her own legs! How many of us did this when we were girls???

2. How will the leg hair be removed – this is also at your(and her) discretion..

I personally am not a fan of chemical removal products(like Nair,etc) and won’t have my daughter handling them as a tween.

I think there are so many ‘safer’ type razor options now like Venus or Intuition – and it’s time to say good-bye to that pink Bic disposable that your mother gave you in 1979.

I am not going to even bring up waxing or lasers or the EPILADY (OMG – did you have one in 1990? I still remember having to get drunk in college just to use that sucker), as those are choices she can make for herself when she is older and has her own money to deal with hair in her own way.

 

At what age did your tween ask to start shaving her legs?

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How To Make A Fool Of Yourself In Front Of A Brand

I’m at BlogHer this weekend. And I admit besides seeing old friends, meeting new friends, attending sessions, getting blisters walking the expo floor, and trying to find MORE WATER, I attend a few private parties that are a good fit for me, my family and my blog.

 

I love BlogHer. It will always be my favorite blogging conference for a myriad of reasons.

 

But I think that they will never let me come back…because yesterday I cried in front of a lovely group of ladies who were showing this new Dollhouse to us.

 

Seriously, do you need a moment? I need another moment just looking at.

 

You mean you are not crying thinking about how you are going to fit your 14 American Girl Dolls into this house, their furniture and their 135 wardrobe changes? What??? You are heartless. I mean, I could have four of these things – a WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD OF MY GIRL’S DOLLHOUSES and my life would be complete. I mean my children’s lives. Of course.

 

So here’s why I cried. I cried because I saw Christmas morning. I did. You know how those little feet come down the stairs in the pre-dawn hours and just the tree is lit softly in the shadowy warm living room and you put out the first thing your children will see and then they immediately start running towards it while screaming “OH MY GOSH, IT’S WHAT I’VE ALWAYS WANTED!” Well, that’s the moment I had when I came around the corner and saw an actual house made for American Girl Dolls. AN ACTUAL HOUSE. A house that your child can even build on-line with interior room options and everything. Like, why am I not nine years old anymore?

 

And I don’t care how cold your heart is – when you see something as a mom and your mind immediately sees that Christmas morning picture. You cry. You do. You cry. And I did. Because gosh we want to do anything and everything for our kids.

 

And then I apologized to the beautiful ladies about 1000 times for my behavior…and they politely fanned me and gave me water. Seriously, I am a crazy lady.

 

Anyway, the lovely people behind My Girl’s Dollhouse didn’t ask me to write this(or maybe even want me to write this or see me again and now will throw away my card) nor will they probably let me near the dollhouse again because after I cried I actually tried to get into the dollhouse with the dolls..because HELLO – AG DOLLS!

 

I just wanted to let you know that now emotionally verklempt over dollhouses…and Christmas morning perfections. And if you need a takeaway for attending a blog conference…don’t cry over things…because it makes you the crazy lady.

 

Love,

 

The Crazy Lady

 

P.S. What makes you cry easily(besides onions of course)?

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