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Friday, September 28, 2012

A change in thinking

I had an interesting conversation with someone I work with the other day.  We were talking about the house he lives in (a super nice one in a nice neighborhood).  I said I didn't want to live where I live any more.  I also said I didn't want to be age 80 and still interpreting.  I told him of a few other things I didn't want to be doing.  He stopped me, explained some neuro-linguistic theory and asked me to re-phrase.  What do you mean? "Rephrase in the positive".  Rephrase in the positive ..... I had to think about that a bit.  "Think about what you're saying - is it positive or negative?"

Oh!  I get it!

That led to an interesting discussion with my girls.  One of our daily topics of conversation is "what did you do today to make a positive difference to someone?"  This fits with that.  It's made me think of how I speak.  "I don't want...." is getting replaced with "I would like to have" or "I will work towards getting..."  It's weird but I kinda like it.

It also leads to my kids having to come up with solutions, not just complaints.  Instead of "I don't want (whatever) for dinner", give me a positive statement.  "I would like to have kielbasa and pierogies for dinner.  Much easier.  "I don't want to clean my room" becomes "I would like to work for a half hour (and get it inspected) so I have time to play."  I can live with that.  It'll take a while for this to become our normal and truthfully I'm not sure that we'll ever get rid of all the negative statements.  But this is a good start!

Now, how to end the sibling bickering.....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lucky me

I am lucky for a number of reasons.  On this 11th anniversary of 9/11, I'm reminded of just how lucky I am.  I was thinking of this as I was writing my facebook status.  What a difference between my life and my children's lives.

Why I am lucky/grateful/thankful:

1.  I wasn't in the Pentagon on that day.  I worked over there enough over the years but was still on maternity leave.  My friends weren't there, either.  Very lucky indeed.

2.  I remember a pre-9/11 life.  I remember being able to take my mom to NIH when she visited, walking around without a security check.  I remember being able to go into the Smithsonian museums and the Post Office Pavilion without walking through metal detectors.  I remember being able to drive past the White House.  And, the one that really bothers me, I remember driving without the Report Suspicious Activity signs above the beltway.

3.  I know a lot of people who had family and/or friends die on 9/11.  I am not one of them.

4.  I am no longer naive.  I don't assume my world is safe.  I pay attention to my world around me.

5.  While I don't pretend to understand those that join the military, I am grateful for their service.  They do what I wasn't willing to do myself.  I respect that more now than I ever did before.

To those that died, we will never forget.  To those that protect us, thank you.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday 5 - Back to school twofer.

It's Friday - and as the saying goes, Thank God!  It's been a long week which is silly because it was a short week.  We've now been back to school for two weeks.  Two. Very. Long. Weeks.  There's a lot I liked.  There are some things I don't.  Maybe today I'll do a twofer.  I'll do 5 things I like and 5 things I don't like.  Wow, that's ambitious of me - before 8 am on a Friday!

Things I Don't Like:

1.  The 7:05 school bus that arrives early, takes my kids to a different school and makes them transfer buses.  Whatever happened to the bus that picked up at a normal hour and drove them directly to school?  Oh yeah, we're magnet school kids.....sucks to be us.

2.  The size of text books.  This is a big difference from last year.  I will be grateful is my kids don't look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame when they graduate.

3.  Physical Education.  They have it 3 days a week - but only for three semesters.  That doesn't make much sense to me.  Plus I never see the clothes they have to wear.  I can only imagine when the PE lockers smell like.....ewwww.

4.  Paperwork.  This school sends home just as much paperwork as the last school.  I have a forest worth of papers in my house that can be attributed to the junk from the school.

5. 7:55 start time.  Who thought this was a good idea?  Certainly not me.

Things I Do Like:

1.  Responsibility.  The girls have finally figured out how to get from point A to point B on time and generally remember their homework.  This is a major improvement.

2.  They can walk home from the bus stop by themselves.  They have some independence and don't rely on me to have to finish work by 3pm every day.  Serious progress.

3.  They do interesting things at school and they're meeting new people.  They're growing up....sniff....sniff.

4.  The media center (library back in my day) is their favorite place in the school.  They haven't read all the books in this one (unlike elementary school).

5.  Edline.  The girls can get school assignments, papers, etc. online any time they want.  Brilliant.  And it's about time.


Clever Compass' Friday 5

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Being grateful

I had an argument the other day with M.  "You don't understand what it's like to have to share everything!" she yelled at me.  She's right.  I don't.  "We're the only ones in our class who haven't been to Paris!"  Well, that's tough for you, isn't it?  Since when does an 11 year old have a right to expect things like a trip to Paris, an iPad or any other electronic or a big ass house?  I left that conversation mad at her and mad at me.  Clearly, I am failing in this area as a parent.  Overall, I think I do a good job.  But this kid does not understand how to be GRATEFUL for what she has.  i don't get it.

My friends tell me this is just the beginning of puberty hitting.  After getting so freaking mad at her, she has changed her tune a bit.  She doesn't like me mad, that's for sure.  I am pretty open with my kids about things - I can't buy what I want when I want because I have to be responsible and make sure things like the mortgage and utilities get paid.  School activities, their hobbies, clothes - it all costs money.  But the reality is everything they need, they have.  Ninety percent of what they want, they get.  It might not be on their time frame but they get them.

I thought we had instilled these values pretty early on.  They've only been allowed to ask Santa for three gifts.  That's it.  It has forced them to really think about what they want - not waste their wishes on silly things they won't use.  It's been good.  Until now.  I don't know if it's peer pressure or pre-teen crap or what but this stage is making me nuts.

Maybe it's time for self reflection.  Assuming that their dad and I are still their primary influences (and that's a big assumption), they must be learning something here from us.  Or maybe rebelling against what we've taught them?  Or may they're just tired of being very middle class and seen as a pair when they really are quite individual.  Maybe they're just testing their limits.  Maybe they're just trying to make me nuts.

It's back to the drawing board for teaching gratitude.  First stop, a homeless shelter.  Maybe seeing and helping others who are not as fortunate as them will help.  Maybe it will just make me feel better.  Maybe, maybe, maybe....

I'm encouraged by the knowledge that other people's twin girls have lived past age 11.  So I know we'll get through it all.