Thursday, July 30, 2015

What did you (I) say?

Yesterday evening, James was whining. This is nothing new; we're evidently going through a whiny phase. There's evidence to suggest it's nearly over, though, and during certain times, I'm confident I've handled it pretty well. At least a few times I've said, "James, it's hard for me to listen when you're whining. It hurts my ears and I get really irritated." I'd say that about 50% of the time that has led him off of the whining path. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Please (Don't) Follow My Facebook Example

Today, I placed the following status on my Facebook page: "How do I know you're from Mass? It's not the gentrified, luxury SUV that parks itself and makes you pancakes while getting 3 miles to the gallon with Mass license plates. No, it's the snotty-ass look you gave me when I smiled and waved when you "allowed" me to back out of my parking space at Hannaford. Shall we call it 'resting Masshole face'?"

A good friend pointed out that this wasn't exactly in line with UU principles, and she's right. But this blog isn't just about UU principles - it's about my foibles as a UU parent. So what does this bitchy Facebook comment have to do with that?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Explaining Things to a Four-Year-Old: TMI is TMI

Let me preface this post with identifying myself as a certified OWL teacher. What's OWL, you might ask? OWL is the acronym for Our Whole Lives, the UU version of sex ed. That's really a gross over-simplification; what makes OWL unique is its focus on intimacy, respect, and introspection, with a distinct lack of judgment or shame. OWL has different curriculum for different stages of development, spanning across - you guessed it - our whole lives, from early childhood development to retirement.

Friday, July 17, 2015

"This one, I think, is called a Yink."

"He likes to wink and drink pink ink." - One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, by Dr. Seuss

James' favorite color is pink, and it has been since he was old enough to identify colors. Two years old, maybe? Not that this should particularly matter, anyway, but pink, for most of American history, has been considered a masculine color. It was thought of as "too striking" or "too aggressive" for women to wear, until around 1950. Why? During war, rivers run pink, because that's what you get when you mix lots of blood with water. Think about that the next time you get out your poodle skirt!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sink or Swim

Knowing how to swim is important for everyone. We live less than a mile from the ocean. Knowing how to swim for our kids is doubly important. I hold these truths to be self-evident to my coast-dwelling family.

Monday, July 13, 2015

How did I get here from there?

I would love to be able to say I had some glorious spiritual epiphany that led me to Unitarian Universalism. I'd like to be able to write an essay about being one with the greater consciousness. I do tell people, when asked, that the reason I began going to a UU church was because I want my children to grow up with compassion and respect for a variety of spiritual and religious practices.

There's some truth to that last one, but that's not the whole truth. The whole truth is actually quite a bit simpler and much less idealistic.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Down (the Hatch) with Junk Food!

On the surface, many, if not most, UU parents seem very devoted to healthy dietary choices. Of course, that's true for parents in general, but once I became a UU, I became conscious of food in a whole new way.

Two things are at work here: first, parts of the seven principles. For anyone unfamiliar with the details of Unitarian Universalism, please allow a brief explanation. Many religions have rules of some sort. Perhaps the ones with which the western world are most familiar are the Ten Commandments, utilized by Jews and Christians as part of their religious doctrines. UUs don't have commandments (although we can totally support your pursuit of your own, of course). There's no way many of us could even deal with the term "commandment" - it sounds oppressive. We don't like to follow traditional rules around here (this can make this whole parenting business very difficult). We would rather dissect the rules, learn about their origins, and spend hours debating why they are, or are not, pertinent. We might even form a committee to do it!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Judgment Day

My husband and I took James and Violet to a wedding a few weeks ago. One of my Young Religious Unitarian Universalist (YRUU) graduates got married in an absolutely beautiful ceremony at Belfast's City Park, with a view of the bay just over the trees in the background. Absolutely lovely. The words of the service were poignant and inspiring, and I listened, rapt with attention; this marked my first UU wedding experience. Sure, I saw Violet, out of the corner of my eye, yanking the baby's breath out of the mason jars decorating the aisles of chairs. And yes, I was completely aware of James, who was hot, couldn't sit still, and desperately wanted to either a) rush the minister and demand playtime or b) head the opposite direction to the playground. 

What I wasn't aware of was the stress it was causing my poor husband.

The Beginning: It's the Cheesiest

I haven't figured out how organize this blog yet, but it's important to me to get started. I can't imagine I'll lose the clear memory of its inspiration - oh, wait a moment, there's a four year old with an existential crisis and a one year old who's teething. Indeed. What was I trying to remember?

The title for the blog is because of a conversation between my then-three year old, James, and his affectionately termed "adopted grandmother." She asked him what they should make for my birthday, and he said, "Macaroni and cheese."