I’m not going to tell my kid this time 
May23

I’m not going to tell my kid this time 

I’m not going to tell my kid about the bombing, this time. And yes it’s the privilege of being unaffected enough to not have to, I know. After the Boston Marathon bombings here, I know the other side of that, too. 

I know all the reasons to tell her. I’ve written some of them here before, but this time feels different. Too close to her childhood, maybe. Too close to her understanding that those were kids just like her. Too close to why is everything so terrifying. 

I’m scared a lot of the time. She will be too, soon enough, I imagine. But she doesn’t need to be yet. 

I don’t want to tell her. And if she finds out and asks more? This time, I’m keeping it simple. Vague even. Maybe for her. Maybe for me. This time is too many times. This time is too much. This time shouldn’t be again

I’ve turned off the radio. I bought a subway pass for the week and left the car at home. I don’t want to hear about it. Let’s go to the playground. Let’s take the way too old dog for a way too long walk. Because being a part of something bigger sometimes starts in the neighborhood. 

This time, I don’t need to know every detail. I’m not going to solve the world’s problems by scrolling through Twitter. I don’t need to process or wonder or hear any of it to know that this, again, is devastating. I don’t need to tell my kid and I don’t need anyone to tell me. Not this time. I can’t do it this time. This time is just too many times. There’s nothing left to say. 

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On Starting Slow and (Not) Obsessing
Mar06

On Starting Slow and (Not) Obsessing

This post is sponsored by WeeSchool, the all in one parenting app from birth to age 3. All opinions and stories are mine, though. Because Roozle. Download the WeeSchool App here by June 1, and you can register for free, lifetime access to all premium WeeSchool content and features.

“How old is she?”
“Almost one!”
“Oh! Is she walking yet?”

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My Body, My Rules
Dec16

My Body, My Rules

She doesn’t stop for a picture as much as she used to. She rolls her eyes more when I start a conversation on purpose to teach her some kind of lesson. She argues. She responds to all things with, “My body, my rules.” This is 7 and a half. This is second grade. This is new, as all childhood phases are. Because this is growing up. And sometimes, this is a challenge. Mostly for me. My parenting tricks don’t work anymore. Especially the ones for bedtime. Sometimes nothing works except independence. Except letting her sort it out. Except showing up to check in, setting super clear limits and expectations, and always following through with all of it. Parenting is still a lot of work. Parenting is still this imperfect game of having a strategy and also figuring it out as we go.

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Sometimes A Little Is A Lot (especially when it’s a BABY GOAT OMG)
Dec08

Sometimes A Little Is A Lot (especially when it’s a BABY GOAT OMG)

I don’t have a lot to give her, but I still teach her to give. I teach her that when you don’t have money, you can give time. I teach her to donate the things she’s grown out of. She thinks about the things she doesn’t need and how others might need and want them. She considers the things she likes and puts that stuff in the bags too, because if she likes it, someone else will like it too. She fills the bag on her own and we go together to drop it off.

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I Can’t Give Her Everything She Wants, But I Can Teach Her To Be Okay With That
Nov16

I Can’t Give Her Everything She Wants, But I Can Teach Her To Be Okay With That

Do kids like it when parents say no to them?

No. Because they really want to do the thing.

Why else?

Because they really want to say, do, go, and be how they want. And get what they want.

Do kids like it better when parents say yes if they ask for something?

Yes. Because they get to do the thing that they want to do.img_6327

What happens when you ask for something and I say no?

I say “okay!”

Did you always respond like that?

No. I would get mad because I really wanted the thing and I wanted to do or go somewhere and I felt like you didn’t hear me and that I wasn’t getting respected or getting to do what I wanted to do.

So that made you feel mad and frustrated?

Yeah.

What is different now?

I get tickets whenever I say, “Okay.” I get mad inside, but I know that I want to get a ticket because each ticket is a dollar and I can buy something that I want.

So what do you do with your body and your words to get the ticket?

I be nice and I say “okay” because I don’t want to be mean.

Is it okay to ask for things?

Yes and you shouldn’t do it THAT much.


After a shopping trip full of Can I have that? Why? Why? Can I have this? Why? Please? Please? Why! I pulled over on the way home to google “How to get your kid to cooperate in a grocery store.” It wasn’t helpful. We went home and I made the kid cover our back window in things she’s thankful for because OMG WHY. It was a hard day. As a single parent, I have to say no more than ever. My budget is tight. And a kid who goes back and forth between two homes asks for a lot. Without the consistency of a single home, it all sometimes rises up into TOO MUCH. We got there a few weeks ago. How am I raising a kid who can’t hear the word no? Is this normal? Did I do this? And how on earth can I fix it? At some point in my stumbling through the internet for a solution, I came across the idea that it’s good for kids to ask for stuff. It’s good for all of us to learn how to ask for help, ask for what we want, ask for what we need. The problem isn’t with the asking. It’s with the reaction to hearing no. And with that, I found the solution.

New rule: ask for anything you want. You can only ask once, because once I’ve answered, I’ll just repeat that I’ve already answered. If the answer is no, you have a choice to react or respond. A response is to accept the no as what it is. To trust that I have a reason for it. To drop it. To react is to FREAK OUT IN PUBLIC. I’ve been there too many times. I can’t anymore.

When you respond, you earn half a ticket. When you react, I take a ticket away. Tickets may be saved up and turned in like earning an allowance for chores (she also earns tickets for chores, so these tickets just get added in).

And with that? Everything changed. She still asks for everything. I still try to say yes when I can. When it’s reasonable. When it’s safe. When it’s appropriate. And I still say no. A lot. Because there are lots of asks. And there are limits. But now? There are tickets not freak outs. There are responses, not reactions. And I now have a 7 year old who reminds me to respond instead of react, too. Thanks, Roozle.


What about if you asked for something, like having a sip of my beer?

I would think about it and I would change my mind because beer is alcohol and I don’t want to go crazy.

If you were really curious about it, how could we respect your curiosity while taking good care of your body?

I would use the 5 senses!

What’s that?

The 5 senses are: smell, hear, touch, taste, and see.

Oh good idea! Just like we do with trying a new food! We could do that with a drink you might be interested in so you could be curious about it, and we could just skip the tasting part!

No, because we taste it.

But you can’t taste alcohol. So we’d skip that.

Yeah, skip it.

Do you think that the work we do about me saying no to you about stuff helps with the times I have to say no to keep you safe?

Yes because I want to be safe and maybe because I’m used to hearing no now and yeah.

Good. I’m glad. I don’t like to say no to you, I’d rather say lots of yes’s to you, but sometimes I have to say no as a parent to keep you safe and because sometimes we all hear no. It’s good for all of us to practice responding instead of reacting, even grown ups. Have you noticed that I’ve been working on that?

Can I type now?

Yes.

(typed by Riley) Yes.

Do you think I’ve been doing better responding to you instead of reacting?

(typed by Riley) Definitely because I have heard you say, “Okay.”


This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org. I am working with them as a #TalkEarly blogger this year to help them “Empower parents to be confident about their own decisions regarding alcohol, model healthy, balanced behaviors, and create a foundation for starting conversations with their kids from an early age.” Let’s all do that. Because that totally rules.

 

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Her Style Is All Her Own, Her Style is #RoozleApproved
Oct24

Her Style Is All Her Own, Her Style is #RoozleApproved

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This kid knows her style. From the first time I put her in baby overalls and she cried and pouted all day, she’s had a lot to communicate about style. This is a kid with fashion opinions. A kid who takes what you give her, once she has approved the choices, of course, and makes it all her own.

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So when Crazy 8 asked if she wanted to try out some of their clothes, I took one look at their site and replied YES PLEASE. Because this? This is Roozle Approved. LEOPARD TIGHTS OMG.

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When the boxes arrived, she ran inside, changed, and posed. Because Roozle. So fancy. And this is way better than the uniform she has to wear at school.

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I wish you could’ve heard her gasp at the sight of this. Those snowflakes ARE GLITTER. She stopped BREATHING.

Crazy 8 is Roozle Approved

Yes, my love, you can dance on the table. Maybe just this once. You need a stage. This is serious. Now please take a breath. It’s okay. The glitter can handle it.

#Roozlestyle is all in for Crazy 8

And a few days later, it was the big moment she has been waiting her whole life for… A WEDDING. She had dreamed of this moment since she knew how to have fashion dreams and here it was, the fanciest wedding I’ve ever been to, her first, in New York City on a Friday night. How can you get fancier than that? So she took all her fancy new clothes and jewelry (The Crazy 8 necklaces have those kid clasps so she could do it herself and she was SO PROUD) and made it all her own, with #Roozlestyle. Because that’s what she does.

Thank you, Crazy 8 for making Fancy Roozle’s dreams come true. All of Roozle’s clothes and shoes and jewelry shown above were provided by Crazy 8, Roozle’s style is all her own, all opinions of Roozle’s style are mine. She’s my favorite. It’s an honor to get to parent a kid who knows her way so well. Ironing board photobomb courtesy of The Metropolitan Club, NYC. Maybe next time we get real fancy, we’ll pick up a bit before our hotel room selfie. Wedding courtesy of Lizzie and Howard. May all their fancy dreams come true. Crazy 8 is officially Roozle Approved for all your fancy kid fancy needs. 

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38 Things For My 38th Birthday
Sep16

38 Things For My 38th Birthday

  1. It’s my birthday
  2. Every year for my birthday, I write some big list with the number of years old I am that year.
  3. It was an excellent way to have something to write on my birthday when I was blogging every day
  4. But I don’t blog every day anymore
  5. Because life got complicated as life tends to dobirthday-2
  6. And having it all on the internet felt like a bad choice
  7. Pro tip side note, don’t put it all on the internet, that’s always a bad choice
  8. So this year I didn’t write very much
  9. And I miss it. A lot.
  10. But don’t know where to start where to stop what can I say when I can’t say all the things, I can’t say all the things
  11. So this year ended up being censored in a lot of ways
  12. This year ended up being quiet in a lot of ways
  13. I wrote haiku
  14. I fell in lovebirthday-1
  15. I learned more about myself and the way my brain works
  16. I learned more about myself as a parent
  17. I played less music
  18. I laughed more
  19. I learned how to drink tequila
  20. I thought all the thoughts about gender
  21. I thought all the thoughts about life
  22. I think a lot
  23. Everything mattered and then nothing mattered at all
  24. I figured out what I want in a church, in a friend, in a partner, in a school for my kid
  25. I got it all
  26. I have it all
  27. Things come together, things fall apart, things come back together again
  28. My kid calls me Apa, but decided that Mommy is my parent middle name. Because all this stuff moves, we can’t get stuck. I don’t want to get stuck.
  29. I started reading Harry Potter then stopped. I’m bad at popular things.
  30. I rode public transportation for two months then ditched it for my bike
  31. I love my bikebirthday-3
  32. Tomorrow I’m riding it 68 miles to raise money for Fenway Health
  33. They helped me make that kid of mine, so it’s the least I could do really.
  34. I like that kid so much.
  35. So today is my birthday and I’m a year older and I know exactly where the year went and don’t know why people say that time flies or whatever that doesn’t even make sense
  36. This 37th year had a lot of questions, as my years tend to do
  37. And also a lot of Bieber. Thank goodness.
  38. At least 38 rhymes with great and I always forget how old I am anyway so it doesn’t really matter. Let’s have cake!

 

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Double Jeopardy Applies Even When You’re 7
Aug17

Double Jeopardy Applies Even When You’re 7

Double Jeopardy Applies Even When You're 7

Me: Remember, you can say anything to your doctor. You won’t get in trouble. This is like a free pass for saying stuff.

Riley: Stupid stupid stupid. Can I put up my middle finger? Like Beyonce?

Me: Um, no. Not like that. I mean, you can say whatever but I meant that she’s going to ask you questions and I want you to be honest. And whatever you tell her, I won’t like make a big deal out of or whatever.

Riley: Okay but you said I could say whatever I want. So. STUPID. STUPID. STUPID.

Me: Fine. But will you answer her questions?

Riley: Yes.

Doctor comes in…

Doctor: Hi Riley! You’ve grown up so much! How’s your summer?

Riley: Good.

Doctor: Are you going to camp?

Riley: Yes.

Doctor: What do you do there?

Riley: I don’t know.

Off to a great start! But the pediatrician was ready. She reworded her question to add today. And Riley answered. And cooperated for the whole visit. She didn’t tell her anything that would change the world and overall, it was a pretty boring visit. But that’s fine with me.

Sometimes this kid tells me all the things. Especially when she’s watching a YouTube kids video about Barbie making cupcakes and I’m trying to make dinner. She’s always all in for that.

And sometimes? It’s all I don’t know. And yes, no, no, no. Even when the question wasn’t some kind of multiple choice. A long time ago, we started sharing one happy thing, one sad thing at dinner. It has helped. A lot. But at 7? She doesn’t want to talk over dinner. She wants to tell us stuff or ask to play Barbie UNO while we eat (the answer is always yes), or getting real serious about (phonetic) Bananagrams. Dinner isn’t the time for big deep vulnerable conversations. We do still share a Happy/Sad Thing, but these days I try to move around when I ask for it. Sometimes in the morning. Sometimes when I’m tucking her in. Sometimes on the train ride to camp. Sometimes when we’re hanging on the couch together or biking or walking somewhere. By moving it around, I seem to hear the most about how the boys were being too rough or one of the girls felt left out and how she swam so hard and was frustrated that they didn’t have enough free time.

Double Jeopardy Applies Even When You're 7

But in this house, there’s still one rule about talking: Double Jeopardy. You saw that movie? Okay it was a little different than what applies to a first grader, but around here, you can never ever get in trouble at home for anything you got in trouble for at school. It’s our favorite. Because of our rule, she tells me when she’s corrected for talking too much. She tells me when the kids got in trouble on the bus for not listening and lost swimming time. She tells me that she wasn’t listening either, but then started listening after the warning so she didn’t lose swimming.

By knowing she won’t get in trouble with me, it shows her that I trust the other people taking care of her. I trust her other parent, her camp counselors, her teachers. And yes, I do occasionally check in with them about some of the things she tells me (hello camp counselors playing Pokemon Go on a field trip), but she isn’t in trouble for any of it. She learns that making mistakes is part of building your story and I’m teaching her to tell it. She learns that getting in trouble doesn’t affect how you are loved and cared for. She knows that kids are learning, and adults are too. We’re all figuring it out as we go and it’s way better when we keep talking. Even when it’s hard and annoying and omg stop asking me questions.

I thought this would all get harder as she grows up, but so far, we’ve worked hard on building a foundation of communication that has actually made it easier. For now, it’s about who wasn’t listening, but eventually it will be about who was swearing, and then who was drinking or talking about hurting themselves or someone else. We can’t do that without this. We can’t be ready for the big kid hard stuff if we don’t start early with the little kid hard stuff. And oh boy is it sometimes hard. Age 7 is no joke. But we’re here for it always. For the happy things and the sad things. For the everything in between. For mixing it up and listening and laughing and doing the work of growing together. I’m all in for that. Always.

This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org. I am working with them as a #TalkEarly blogger this year to help them “Empower parents to be confident about their own decisions regarding alcohol, model healthy, balanced behaviors, and create a foundation for starting conversations with their kids from an early age.” Let’s all do that. Because that totally rules.

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