June 1, 2007
Christina M. Currie's Touch of Spice column appears Fridays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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To some, it's a shift in the air that blows dryly through the trees, smelling of melancholy.
I was pretty excited when the movie "The Velveteen Rabbit" arrived.
I don't find it difficult to find something (or 1,000 somethings) to occupy my time on a construction site, but my children do.
We currently have two houses, and my children, Lord help them, live in the car.
I don't know if it's the news reports or the fact that my girls listen to adult conversations a little more closely than they should, but for being 7 and 8 years old, questions about finances come up a lot more often than I really expected at this point.
We have undertaken the overwhelming process of remodeling two houses - one for resale and a new one to call home.
I attended a high school assembly not too long ago and was shocked by the amount of side conversation, obvious indifference and general lack of respect that I saw.
Drive to Hayden, jump on a plane and spend three blissful days in Wendover, Nev. It was the perfect way to escape - for a short while - the mud season doldrums.
The time has come.
Being in the audience of an elementary school production is painful.
My father has a theory that I recall often. If you think you're sick, you will be.
There was only one way to say it. We officially were white trash.
Eight-year-old Katie and 7-year-old sister, Nikki, were fighting in the bathtub. It was one of those "he said, she said" type of arguments that are hard to get to the bottom of because everyone denies culpability.
It's happened. I'm losing credibility. And who's beating me? Whose words and experience mean more than mine? Pretty much anyone between the ages of 8 and 10. I have to say, I'm a little hurt.
If you want to learn anything about kids, you don't ask, "How was your day today?" You don't ask, "What do you think about that?"
It's the same every year.
My daughter is 8 years old. She's in third grade.
When gauging the workforce readiness of new employees, employers interviewed by the Partnership for 21st Century skills listed oral communication as the third most desirable skill and written communication as the ninth. And, those same employers said those are two skills that most high school and college graduates are lacking.
They say that girls are sugar and spice and everything nice. Boys, on the other hand, are snips and snails and puppy dog's tails.
I'm so glad my children are back in school and can experience the joys of recess.
I know now why Bill Cosby thought that the things kids say were worth a 30-minute time slot during prime time. Their innocence and the fact that they haven't developed many filters between their brains and tongues is often amusing, sometimes embarrassing and almost always worth listening to.
It's been quite the interesting week.
Puppy preschool ended with our little one lying comfortably under my chair, not barking at other dogs or pulling to get free.
Children are such bad liars.
I've mentioned before that I think the skills I'm learning to train our new puppy would translate nicely into training children (and men).
For the first five years of my daughter Nikki's life, she shared her birthday with her sister, older by 14 months.
Even with these gas prices, when you're planning an 800-mile car trip, your biggest concern is how to keep a 6- and a 7-year-old fully occupied.
Even in the most surprising circumstances, people have nine months to get used to the idea of having a baby. I have to say the closest I've come to that type of commitment and responsibility - outside of my own children - was getting a puppy.
I'm not sure what the motivation was - to give my children something to do or to get a semi-unruly dog trained - but when a friend suggested that one of my girls participate in some agility training using her dog, I had to think about it for a few days.
I continue to be amazed by how creative hotels are when it comes to those little extras that make you remember your stay.
Two weeks ago, I was in Florida, laughing with glee as I saw pictures of home where cars were covered in eight inches of snow.
Even her teachers comment, 5-year-old Nikki writes her name very well. Sometimes I am surprised. Sometimes I am not.
Again with themes. Maybe it's just me, but I'm still seeing connections all over the place.
What amazes me sometimes is how a specific theme works itself into your day. I often find myself talking about one thing in the morning, only to have the topic come up in several different ways throughout the day.
I'm five days into a seven-day stretch without kids.
Alright. Who told? Seriously. Clearly, there has been a breakdown in communication. I will try to explain so that there's no confusion in the future.
I haven't decided yet whether children oversimplify things or whether adults complicate them.
Love is in the air. At least, for my 6-year-old and 7-year-old daughters, it is.
I've decided that the way to judge the quality of a parent is by evaluating how they handle a good, old-fashioned temper tantrum.
It is oh-so tempting to establish yourself as all-seeing and all-knowing when it comes to the way you want your children to perceive you. I'm telling you now, it will come back to haunt you.
I want a job where I only have to work seven hours a day, 177 days a year. I want between three and six breaks a day. I want to be able to show up regardless of my performance and have a myriad of counselors and specialists at my beck and call ready to help me succeed. I want lunch to be delivered to me and cost no more than $2.
I've seen studies that indicate the need to nurture is genetically ingrained in those with a female chromosome, and I've seen that need reflected in my two girls.
I have some questions about the value of educational programming. I mean, I learn a lot, but all my children learn is how little I actually know.
Seven-year-old Katie has a hard time focusing.
My father and uncle have some property that's ideal for family gatherings.
Twas the night before the last day of school before Thanksgiving break and all was quiet in the house.
I'll give teens a warning now: There will never be a time when you don't dread parent/teacher conferences.
It's been a long time since I've checked the score in the nature versus nurture debate, so I've got no idea whether genetics or environment are ahead.
Ever since 7-year-old Katie had the miraculous discovery that her two front teeth were lose, part of our bedtime ritual includes me wiggling them and then predicting when they'll fall out.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it'll cost me more than $500,000 to feed, clothe, transport and care for my two girls. That's assuming they move out they day they turn 18, and that doesn't include any college-related expenses.
One of my fondest childhood memories is of a late, late night coughing so much that I couldn't sleep, but barely aware that I was awake. I remember my father coming in with cough syrup.
I was not quite 22 when I got my first taste of the role meetings play in how society functions. I can't imagine sitting down and trying to calculate just how much of my time since then has been spent in meetings.
When I told Katie that she would have to be 6 years old before she would start losing her teeth, she couldn't wait to turn 6. On that blessed day, I woke her up singing "Happy Birthday" and told her she was 6 years old.
I'm a fairly logical person, which puts me at a distinct disadvantage with children. Like most adults, I like to progress from point A to point D via B and C.
Touch of Spice
I have to admit that my resolution to become Super Mom this school year hasn't ... well, let's just say I've had my off days.
Seven-year-old Katie was excited to open her folder to show me all the work she's done as a second-grader. Considering the fact that I made her redo all the problems she missed on her math assignment, I doubt she'll be as forthcoming in the future.
Ever since I couldn't keep a strong grasp on the foot-long water snake startled awake by the lawnmower, the girls have bemoaned the fact that they don't have a pet snake, belittled my snake-catching skills and basically called me a sissy.
"You're the best mommy ever!," 6-year-old Katie said while giving me a hug.
The Fourth of July has always been a special holiday for me and my girls. They really love Christmas and birthdays - you know, holidays when they get presents - but Independence Day, despite its lack of gifts or cake, is special to them.
Touch of spice
On Sunday morning, I was patting myself on the back for hosting such a successful camping trip.