Monday, August 22, 2011

Low Tech....Very Low Tech

My friend and I were talking tonight, and she asked me how savvy I was about social media.  I said, "What's social media?"

Seriously, I admitted that I am extremely low-tech.  Embarrassingly so.  It's amazing that I have a blog at all, in fact.  You know what I actually said to my friend tonight?  I said, "Having my blog was a hard row to hoe."

I mean, what hope could there possibly be for me when I'm using agricultural metaphors?  (Is metaphor even the right term?  I don't know, and I'm too tired to look it up.  Remember: I have three children and I work part-time!) 

Anyway, I could have used more up-to-date terminology.  But words like bytes and ram and other high tech words don't just trip off my tongue.

It was hard for me to set up my blog at first, because I couldn't comprehend the blog vocabulary.  I had to learn all about URLs and labels and so on.  However, it was all worth it, and I learned a lot. 

I'm still not on facebook, though.  I go back and forth about whether I should be.  Obviously there are pros and cons to everything.  And I haven't tried it, so I can't really speak comprehensively about it.  Or rather, text!  (Did you notice how I slipped that in there?)

We also got to talking about how much social media our children should be allowed.  It's an interesting topic. 

I remember with my oldest son that he had never been on a computer prior to JK, and I was surprised to learn it was part of the curriculum.  You could say I was shocked.  Now, my youngest has been on the computer for probably a year already before she has even started JK.  I figure if she needs to learn it she may as well start young.  And all she has done is type letters onto a blank word document.  But it has gotten her familiar with a computer keyboard.

I went to a Literacy Presentation once, and the presenter talked about how literacy takes all forms.  We need to be opening doors, not shutting them.

So I let my children have a DS and a Wii.  They play on the computer (with a great many limits).  I limit all the screen time.  My children also read books, play board games, word games, and pretend games.  We go to the park and hike.  The kids know there will be Lego time and backyard and reading time as well as screen time.  But they do read on the DS and they have to read certain things on the Wii as well.  And it's all literacy.  I think if children like it, they will explore it.  If they relate to it, they will enjoy it.  As with everything in life, it's a fine balance (thank you, Rohinton Mistry).

I want my children to be well-rounded.  And to not have to use agricultural metaphors!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Running Rules I've Learned

I went for a long run today.  As I breathed my way through the humid forest, I started thinking about everything I've learned about running, and realizing it all applies to life. 

When you're a runner, you gain a whole new level of appreciation for gravity.  When you're running down a hill, it feels so good and effortless.  You can feel a breeze and it's so easy you feel like you could run forever.  When you're running uphill, however, it feels like your whole body has become weighted down, and you have to work so much harder and breathe so much deeper just to make it up that long incline.  So you learn to enjoy the downhills.  Don't think about the hill that's coming up.  Just appreciate the break you've been given, and make the most of it.

When you're running uphill, you learn to breathe.  You need to take deep breaths, relax, keep your head up, and realize it will be hard but that you can do it.  And you know that once you reach the top, it will become easier, and you might even get the reward of a downhill slope coming up.

I've learned that having a running partner or partners makes running much more fun.  And they might drag you out for a run on a day when you wouldn't have gone alone.

Setting goals is helpful in running, like signing up for a race, because it adds motivation to train and to improve before the race.  It's easy to get lazy about training but if you've paid money and entered a race, you generally want to do your best.  Not 'the best', but your own personal best.  I try to remember that I'm not running against anyone but myself.

When my friend and I have run races, we always say we don't care about getting the fastest time.  Our main goal is just to do the race and cross the finish line upright and smiling.  I think it was John Stanton who first coined this phrase.  I love this motto, because it means we try to enjoy ourselves.  We're not in it to completely wear ourselves out.  We want to be able to run again soon, uninjured. 

The other night we went out with friends and my friend said our motto for the night should also be to end the night upright and smiling.  Always a good plan in general!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Good Morning...or Not

This is how my day started.  A doll was being banged on my head.  "Wha-at?  Stop doing that!"  I told my daughter.

She looked at me in wide-eyed innocence.  "But I'M not doing it, Mommy.  It's Baby!"

Okay.  I took a deep breath.  "Baby, stop doing that!"

Of course Baby started to cry.

Downstairs to breakfast.  My oldest son, who had woken up earlier, was eating Fun-Dip.

"We don't eat Fun-Dip for breakfast!"  I informed him, although he knew that already.

He thought fast.  "Well, I already had my breakfast."

"We still don't eat Fun-Dip at 8 a.m. in the morning."

Then I thought, hmmmm.  I looked around the kitchen.  It was spotless.  (Let me rephrase that.  My kitchen is never spotless, not with three kids.  But it was as clean as I had left it the night before, which was a dead giveaway.  My kids are seemingly incapable of having any kind of food item without leaving a complete chaotic mess in their wake.)

When I asked my son suspiciously what he'd eaten for breakfast, he said a waffle, but I knew there was only one left and it was still in the box.  Meanwhile my other son told me he wanted a waffle for breakfast, so I put it in the toaster.

Then I talked to my other son about how when he lies to me it hurts my feelings.  The usual parent stuff.  He said sorry and said he would have a waffle after all.  A real one.

I told him that his brother was having the last one.

He protested, "But that's all I want for breakfast!"

Other son:  "But I asked first!  I want the waffle!"

After an exhausting go around, my middle son said, "Oh, okay, I'll let Colin have the waffle - I'm going to have cereal."

I sighed and thanked him.  Finally, finally we had resolved the waffle issue.  Who wants to argue over waffles?  I can think of better things to argue toast!

But no.  Colin said, "I don't want the waffle anymore anyway."

This is the part where I started banging my head on the kitchen counter.  I took (another) deep breath.

"I've gone to the trouble to make the waffle (okay, I popped it in the toaster - but still!) and SOMEONE IS GOING TO EAT THE WAFFLE!"

Ryan said he would eat both his cereal and the waffle.

You see where I'm going, don't you?  No one ate the waffle.

Kids are so cute and interesting, but they sure can drive you crazy, can't they?

I can't think of any other examples right now - oh wait, they're all coming back.

Like when we're driving to my parents' cottage and Ryan yells grumpily, "Are we THERE YET?"

"Umm...we haven't left the driveway, that would be a no," I inform him cheerfully (note that I'm still cheerful at this point).

Then he demands to know exactly how much longer to the cottage, in seconds, and when you do the math in your head and tell him because he insists he absolutely has to know the exact total, he starts counting. "1, 2, 3 ...." 

And you think, it is four and a half hours to get to the cottage.  And you realize with a sense of desperation that if you have to listen to him counting the entire time, you are not going to make it!

This is when I put the earphones of my iPod in my ears and when I notice gesticulating, I just mouth, "Can't hear you - I've got earphones in my ears!"  (It works like a charm - I highly recommend it.)

The other thing is when they want a snack so they'll ask me what food we have.  I will patiently list all the food we have in the cupboard and the fridge that they can have for a snack.  I will wait.  There will be a long pause, and when I finally prompt them with, "Well...what will you have, then," they'll look at me blankly and say, "What do we have again?"

My new answer:  "Food - go eat it! Oh, you!"