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Super Sisters

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Jen, Kristen, and Patience

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September 2008 Archives


A Supersister Baby

Posted by Patience on September 30, 2008 at 7:00 AM in Patience
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lyra smile.jpg

Lyra Grace Salgado

born at home, in the water, by candlelight

on September 26, 2008

8lbs. 10 oz

21 inches long

Lots of peace and joy surrounding!


Some things you can't pull over on the kids

Posted by Kristen on September 29, 2008 at 7:04 AM in Kristen
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This past Saturday we spent the day at the National Book Festival. Standby for lots of great videos from interviews with your favorite authors of kid's books. It was a blast. But it was not without some entertaining parenting moments.

Like when I was interviewing Susan Meddaugh, author of the Martha Speaks series and now the new PBS Kids show Martha Speaks. I made the mistake of using The Boy as a prop in my interview. All was well until he broke his little airplane while I was holding him. I thought for a second that he was having a heart attack or that perhaps having a pint-sized nervous breakdown.

I started with the pleading look. Nothing. Then I moved to 'the look.' Trouble is, I don't own 'the look.' You know the look of which I speak. My mother? Had the look. I try it out for size occasionally but my children are immune to it. I glared at The Boy in hopes that he would be quiet for the last 30 seconds of my interview. Oh, no. One look and he ramped up even more, wailing about his airplane. Susan continued to answer whatever question I had asked and The Boy did what every three-year-old would do. He wailed on. I put him on the ground and pushed him to his aunt. Still wailing. How long did it take to fix that plane? Two seconds. Sheesh.

There were also some philosophical parenting moments. I had that drama before we went, wondering what his reaction to the costumed PBS Kids characters would be. He ran past Clifford four times. Clifford looked at me. At least I think he did. I shrugged my shoulders. What are you gonna do? Two minutes later he was dutifully taking video of all the characters. Crisis averted, right? Not so fast.

In the car home:

Ethan: Why was Curious George so big and Clifford so small? Clifford is supposed to be as big as a house.

To crush a child's fantasy or not? Clearly he wasn't buying the fantasy. Resigned, his father turned around and explained costumes and pretend. The Boy nodded his head wisely.

Goodbye, Santa Claus. And I guess we won't even try with the Tooth Fairy?


Supersisters Weekend Roundup

Posted by Jen on September 27, 2008 at 7:00 AM in Jen
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apple trio

After living in Florida for half of my life, I'm glad to be in a climate where the end of September means a change in weather, the harvest of apples and time to pull out the sweaters. I loved how Alicia of Bloom, Grow, Love captured the wonder of the seasons (and the beauty of her dear girl) in this timely photo essay called "Change."

If you're deep in the day-in, day-out grind of parenting, wondering why these babies, why all this work, don't miss this post about why it matters from Liz of Mom-101. Sometimes it's easy to forget all this work translates into human beings who have a great future together. Thanks, Liz.

Homeschooling mama (code name Sugar) took a ride on the wild side this week and unschooled her kids on a recent family trip up the Oregon Coast. We haven't had any posts with the homeschooling/unschooling crowd in mind here on Supersisters, but it's never too late, right? Do you homeschool? Unschool? Leave us a link to your blog, and let us know you're here.

Tomorrow Kris and I will be braving the elements to go to the National Book Festival 2008. Please come by and say hi.


Soccer Girl Speaks: I Did It For Myself

Posted by Jen on September 26, 2008 at 9:51 PM in Jen
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soccer girl ready

I walked in the house the other day just in time to hear Madeleine on the phone signing herself up for soccer. This is where teaching your children decent phone manners and a good dose of independence will get you--ten weeks of outdoor soccer, complete with practice nights, weekend games and your turn on the snack list. I couldn't decide whether to be thrilled Mad was taking the initiative or devastated that I would now have to find the wherewithal to commit to the soccer schedule.

I know, I know. Mothers across America are suffering in bleachers in rain, sleet and snow all fall long. I should not complain, but I've always been leery of having my kids in sports. I'm horrible at keeping track of too many activities, and I don't want my kids to be under pressure to perform (read: screaming coaches) when nothing about their genetics says team sports are anywhere in their future. For the longest time, neither kid has shown the tiniest bit of interest, and I've been reprieved.

But no more. When your kid signs herself up for soccer, you know it's time.

For the next five days she tormented me with questions about when we'd get her shoes, when we'd get her shin guards, when we'd get the t-shirt. When we finally had everything she needed, she paced the house until practice day. I started to feel guilty for not offering her soccer sooner.

The day of her first practice she could not understand why we couldn't go to the field two hours before time, just to make sure. When I wouldn't give in, she found a ride going five minutes earlier than we could leave. I thanked my lucky stars for the reprieve and let her go.

Later (five minutes later) I was thrilled to see my sweet girl have the time of her life on the practice field, under the care and encouragement of some really nice parents/coaches who clearly did not have it in them to yell--other than to encourage the girls to really go for it and not be afraid of the ball. What was I afraid of?

At bedtime, after a shower (one point for soccer--no arguing over bathing), I brushed out her hair, droning on and on about how proud I was of her, but she stopped me mid-sentence, a sweet smile on her face.

"You don't have to be proud of me, Mom. I did it for myself."

And that's when I realized the real reprieve was Madeleine finding soccer on her own. I didn't have the willpower (or commitment) to sign her up sooner, but it worked out in the end afterall. She's taking full credit for the joy of her experience, and that's more than any mother can hope for.

How about you? How do you navigate your kids' activities--when to nudge and when to let their own interests rise to the surface? I'm finding that on this point, I've got a lot more to learn.


Politics and Kids

Posted by Patience on September 26, 2008 at 7:00 AM in Patience
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obama post.jpg

What a sticky subject right? or maybe not at all. Last Saturday my neighbor called with a last minute invitation to go to an Obama rally close by. It was a no brainer for me, convincing the kids was another story.

Me: "Remember the man I told you about that might be the next leader of our country? There is a rally for him going on right NOW? Do you guys want to go? It's like were part of history here!"

Josiah: "Obama?! Is he going to be there?"

Jack: "Nah, I don't want to go. I'll just stay here."

Me: "I don't think he is going to be there but it should be very exciting. Come on!"

We eventually convinced Jack to go but only if we drove instead of walking. Lucy was devastated we weren't walking and everyone was grouchy by the time we got in the car 15 minutes later. I was hoping it was still a good idea especially when the questions started to flow on the way.

"Who is the leader now?"
"Oh, that guy started the war right? Is the new guy gonna stop it?"
"Why did we do that anyway?"

I was completely bipartisan giving both ends of the argument right? Not so much. I totally filled their heads with my political ideals and thoughts. I kind of felt guilty after. I was almost as bad as the smear commercial campaigns on television. It started a new little debate in my head.

Should we use politics as an opportunity to pass on our values?
Is it an opportunity to educate about the system and help our kids explore their own thoughts and ideas?
maybe a little of both?

I'm sure the answer is different for everyone but after the moment I wished I had asked my kids what they thought before I shared my views. I decided if a do-over is in my future there are a few questions that might stir up some conversation.

If you were the President, what would you do?
What would be important to you (and for all the people)?
What would you change?
What if kids ruled the world, what would it look like?

The rally ended up being a huge hit. There were bubbles, face painting, coloring, boat hats, healthy snacks and music. I was in heaven with all the change energy in air, the kids seemed mildly amused. I'm not sure I started any budding political activism with my crew but I was glad we went.

So I ask you Supersisters, what do you think? How do you handle politics at your house?
What part does it play if any at all? Does the media force you address it or are you blissfully unaware? What do you think kids should know?


The National Book Festival and Sid the Science Kid

Posted by Kristen on September 25, 2008 at 6:31 AM in Kristen
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asset6_sid_hi-res.jpgMy husband looked at me with trepidation.

Derek: I don't think you want to do that.
Ethan: Do what, dad? Daddaddaddaddaddad?
Kristen: Ethan, did we tell you what we are going to do this weekend?
Derek: Babe...
Ethan: What, Mom? Whatwhatwhatwhat?
Kristen: Would you like to meet Sid the Science Kid, Ethan?
Ethan: (looking at me like I had maybe one too many that morning) MOM. Sid is on the TV!!!!!!!! You can't meet him. He isn't real.

Does this mean that Santa Clause will be out this year too because frankly, I am thinking that the tender of age of three is a little young to be on the reality page with Saint Nick.

Kristen: I KNOW he is on t.v. but he is also going to be at the National Book Festival this weekend.
Ethan: Mom, he can't be on the t.v. AND at that book thing.
Kristen: He is. I promise. And so is Clifford and there is a rumor about Super Why.
Ethan: Can we go today? When is it? When is Saturday? Is it Saturday now? Why can't it be Saturday?

My husband had no mercy for me. I knew better than to tell The Boy less than 2 minutes before it was actually happening. But NO. I was too excited myself. The kid will NOT stop talking about it. If you are in D.C. and around this Saturday, September 27, you should totally come too! The National Book Festival is from 10-5 and PBS Kids has its own tent. How cool is that? I don't think Clifford will be to scale because that would be the size of the Lincoln Memorial, right? Susan Meddaugh, author of the Martha Speaks series and inspiration for the newly launched PBS Kids show Martha Speaks will be reading throughout the day. You should come.


My Children, The Cheaters

Posted by Jen on September 24, 2008 at 1:00 AM in Jen
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There will be no photograph accompanying this post because I don't want to tip the principal off to where the morally bankrupt are at the moment. No extra clues on my watch. I have my hands full with in-house detention and other various reform programs. My children--cheaters? How did this happen? Where did I go wrong?

It all started last week when a certain older girl child declared that yes, she knew my artist mom friend's son so-and-so because he had let her copy off his paper so she would be all caught up from what she missed earlier in the day. This followed by a cheerful confession from child number two who said he was able to finish his homework quickly because so-and-so the next door neighbor supplied all his (now correct) math answers. No amount of lecturing or friendly chatting up the virtues of doing your own work could convince either child otherwise.

It was faster.
It isn't a big deal.
I don't think my teacher would mind, Mom. Seriously.

This is the part where I deeply regret not taking them to Sunday School, where I imagine their future behind bars, where I decide that today, yes, today, we will have a conference with the teacher to find out what she really thinks about you copying someone else's work.

I grew up in a sleepy town where we attended private schools with serious religious training and even more hammering away at our (assumed) questionable ethics. Copying was considered cheating. Getting caught would send you to the principal's office, not to mention the shaming experience of having to call your parents. I was terrified of stray eyes--mine or someone else's--and religiously avoided any appearance of cheating. Is that so wrong?

I tell my kids these stories and all I see is goody-two shoes run across their not-so-innocent eyes. Am I old-fashioned? Is copying your neighbor's work the new norm? Inside I wonder if my primary vices--ignoring the speed limit and being blind to no parking signs--are the real culprits. Are my kids simply mirroring my own bad behavior in another form?

Tell me Supersisters. I need your full confession. Did you cheat in school and how would you react if you found out your lovely ten and seven year old were cheerfully copying other people's answers so that they could get out to recess five minutes quicker? How personally do you take it when you find out your kids are breaking the rules?

I'll be waiting here, ready to take notes with my number two pencil in hand.


Google calendars and Kid predictions

Posted by Patience on September 23, 2008 at 6:51 AM in Patience
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september 2008 037.jpg

a couple of my family fortune tellers

There it was in teal highlighting on the shared online google family calendar- Baby will come. Lord knows it will happen if it's on the calendar right? It was my husband's attempt at manifesting. He put it up over two weeks ago. The 22nd of September was the first day when work was quiet, a good day to have a baby according to his very busy schedule.

I decide to go with it even though my due date is still 11 days away, I'm more than ready to have a baby. He's been on a roll lately with inviting good things to come into his life, and then claiming them whole heartedly.
I noticed his facebook page had been updated:

"Jorge is on high alert...we can't wait to meet our new baby!"

This, of course, started a flurry of return wall-to-wall comments and actual phone calls.
Have I mentioned I'm not even in labor? There has been not one contraction all day.
He came home from work last night and jokingly said, "Hmm...Is the baby here yet, is she cute?"

I have been walking around 3 centimeters dilated for weeks now. High alert passed for me somewhere around last Monday, I've moved to quiet desperation.
I decided to ask a very small child for a prediction as I've found in the past they can serve as excellent magic 8 balls. Lucy, at the age of almost three is the perfect candidate.

"Lucy, do you think we are having our baby this week?" I inquire.
"Nope." She says oh so casually.
"Do you think we are having our baby NEXT week?" I say in my best shocked tone.
"Yep." She replies nodding her head.

So I'm moving on with my family fortune tellers. The phone rang late last night. It was a dear friend who is due with her baby on the exact same day. She was calling to ask me if I thought she could be in labor. I think the google calendar was for her.

Calling all Supersisters- Care to make a prediction in the comments? Or at least tell me what you did to pass the time at the end of pregnancy when you feel like a whale?


Camping: it's all about the dangerous tools

Posted by Kristen on September 22, 2008 at 6:31 AM in Kristen
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This weekend my husband took us camping. Normally he likes to take us camping when it is 95 degrees and there is a possibility of a thunderstorm or a mass mosquito attack, so I was pleasantly surprised to be camping in temperatures with highs of 75 and lows of 55. You can't beat that.

Ethan has been asking incessantly to go camping. Of course he has. His contribution to camping involves nothing related to packing or doing laundry or getting work done so we can leave. But he has that cute little voice and he whines until you break down. At least that is what his father says.

When I agreed to go camping, I didn't realize that the drive would be four hours. Four hours is a bit of a trek for an overnight stay in a tent. But my husband knew how to get all of us on his side. He told us that we were going camping at Assateague Island. He made promises that we would see wild horses and lots of wildlife. Wild horses? It took the four-hour drive to explain to Ethan the difference between tame horses and wild horses. Which was instantly shut down when we arrive because the horses were wandering between campgrounds, looking for a nice piece of steak or maybe a quality organic burger. Even with a whopping $500 fine, I have a feeling the "wild" horses are eating a little better than that sea grass we saw everywhere.

It was only after we arrived that I remembered WHY Ethan loves camping so much. Ethan loves camping because his father allows him to wield large, dangerous and sharp tools. I turned around after setting up my side of the tent to find Ethan banging a stake into the ground. With the back side of a hatchet. If it makes you feel better, he read the look of shock on my face and proceeded to explain to me exactly how to be safe with a hatchet. Me? I could do without taking any chances.


Supersisters Weekend Roundup

Posted by Jen on September 20, 2008 at 7:51 AM in Jen
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amelia says hi

I love the way many moms today are keeping track of their parenting days by writing love letters to their kids online. Some moms choose to write to their children on their birthdays, others on ordinary days. Either way, I love this trend and this particular note to "Kid A" from Journey Mama. Are you writing to your kids directly on your blog? Leave us your links in the comments below.

Other points of happiness, mom of brand new kindergarten Amelia Lee, posted this adorable picture and post about how it feels to be a big girl going to school. I love the way kids (like Amelia pictured above) express their pride in their accomplishments and how moms (like Jen) aren't afraid to get all into the glow.

Sheryl from Paper Napkin writes this week about how a pep talk about resilience and not being afraid to ask for what you want creates just the right atmosphere for her son to shine. I especially loved how her little guy saw her nudge as proof positive that he was deeply loved.

And what would happen if you showed your kids this video (warning: there's kissing! ewwww!) and then invited them to be a part of sending something lovely to the filmmakers? Check it out and see what you think. Personally, I can't think of a better way to get your kids interested in a worldwide community project that clearly has a heart. Read more about the filmmaker here.

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