Friday, August 15, 2008

Open Book Answers PART V (by H)

You appear to be the "perfect" family. As a fellow mom of twins and a singlet, I have many trying days. Do you ever have a bad day and lose your temper with your incredibly active kids? Do you ever make mistakes as a parent--what are they? What do you feel is your biggest mistake? Would you do anything differently as a parent? ~Momto3: Oh pleeeeaaaaaaaaaaaase! We are soooooooooooo not the “perfect family”! What is the perfect family anyway?! Momto3, remember, this is a *BLOG* so you aren’t getting the full picture! You don’t see me when I’m about to lose my mind (which happens on average at least once per day). You don’t hear about all the time-outs that K and O have for serious infractions (which happen on average at least once per day -- each). You don’t know about the stress behind the scenes when the boys are acting up and my heart-rate is rapidly escalating and the sensation of my blood pressure blasting through the roof is palpable (which happens on average at least once per day). You aren’t a fly on the wall before Braydon and I finally collapse into our bed at the end of the day and I’m drinking my wine and de-compressing about the day’s dramas. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t *try* to present our family with any kind of spin. I honestly don’t. But I am very aware that I’m not often blogging about all the gory details of the YUCK. Because for me, the focus of the blog (and the focus of my life in general) is on the good. I am naturally and organically and intuitively a glass-half-full kind of person. I have a post in my head about this (Glass Half Full) that I’ll put on the blog soon (I’ve been batting it around in my head for a few weeks now). Bottom line: My kids drive me nutty and, like you, I have many very trying days! Yes, I lose my temper (on average at least once per day)! And that, in a nutshell, is my answer to your next question --- I feel that my biggest mistake(s) are when I don’t keep my cool and instead lose it on K & O. I do not hit/smack/slap/spank them, but I would be dishonest if I weren’t to admit that boy am I often very tempted to! They are very challenging to parent. The thing that is most challenging to me is not any particular issue or specific behaviorial problem, but rather just the daily grind and wear-and-tear of the *constant* movement/action/activity/roughness of them… the low-level agitation of their sheer energy level and SPIRITED nature TIMES TWO (but anyone with active twin boys knows that it is really more like times twenty). The two of them combined, with their willful confident (too often *defiant*) way-of-being is just plain exasperating. Ask anyone who’s ever cared for them for more than a couple hours and they’ll tell you that these two give you a run for your money. And that was before Meera! Add the baby to the mix… and… well, um, yes, Momto3, yes, it is trying. If I could do something different I’d take more deep breaths and ‘detach with love’ more often. I wrote about that in a previous question/answer on Open Book Answers Part III. I am working on that every single day. Working my tail off on that. But it is really, really tough. When K & O are running/jumping/screaming/slamming/sliding/shoving bouncing-off-the-walls getting into everything and seemingly pushing my buttons on purpose and I’m sitting there trying to nurse my 11 week old baby who just had 3 explosive-diapers-requiring-complete-clothing-changes-all-within-a-short-10-minute-time-span and dinner needs to get on the table 5 minutes ago and Braydon has just called to say he’s going to be late coming home from work and the phone is ringing and the cat is scratching at the door to come in and the house is a wreck from a day of play and K & O are saying to me every 2 seconds “I’m hungry Mom!” and I have a bunch of work stuff that is just waiting for me to take care of and I’m way behind on a couple of big work deadlines and the swimming pool needs to be cleaned and the gardens need to be weeded and the kitchen sink pipe is leaking and we still haven't called the plumber and I haven’t been grocery shopping in 7 days and I still haven’t sent out the thank you notes for all of the baby gifts (let alone the birth announcements) and and and… well, it is very hard to not lose it! And this is on maternity leave. I try hard to not even think about what it is going to be like when I go back to work… eeeeeks!!!!
I'm really wanting to know what your favorite salad recipes are...we have been LOVING your blueberry pecan salad recipe the last couple weeks and are in dire need of another! ~Sarah: So funny! O.k., I’ll give you another good one, but you’ve got to swap---- give me a good salad recipe too (leave it in the comments)! Here’s a good easy salad we love for late summer/early fall: Lay down a bed of nice baby greens. Add fresh, thinly sliced pears. Add thinly sliced red onion. Add a handful or two of glazed pecans or walnuts (back before we had K & O I used to make them from scratch, but I now buy them in the grocery store – ‘candied’/glazed pecans or walnuts). Add crumbled gorgonzola or bleu cheese (quality is key here – you’ve gotta buy the good stuff). Drizzle with good olive oil and good balsamic vinegar (again, quality is key – splurge for the pricey stuff if at all possible!). Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
What are the boys' favorite videos? How much t.v./ video time do they have on a weekly basis? ~Momto3: Favorite videos are (in this order): 1) Curious George, 2) Diego, 3) Wonder Pets. They also have a Red Sox 2007 World Series video (that MorMor gave them) that they are currently really into watching. They really only watch videos; almost no t.v. They’ve only seen 3 full length movies – Curious George; Charlotte’s Web (in the theater); Horton Hears A Who (in the theater). It isn’t a huge deal to us, we don’t make a big thing of it or anything, but we would prefer for them to have very limited media -- especially t.v. – mainly because of the advertising (we just don’t want them to see that at all). So, we almost never have the t.v. on when they are awake (not even the news/weather/etc.). The only exception is Saturday and Sunday mornings—sometimes we let them watch PBS or Noggin (virtually no advertising on either of those) from our bed on “S Days.” Braydon also sometimes puts the Golf Channel on in the kitchen for them in the morning every once in a great while (for maybe 10 minutes max to get a glimpse of Tiger Woods). The first time they’ve really seen ‘real t.v.’, actually, has been just this past week. A couple of times we’ve turned on the t.v. to NBC for them to see the Olympics. They’ve seen some swimming and diving (we really wanted them to see Cullen Jones and Michael Phelps swim -- which they did) and some gymnastics. Regarding videos… during this past school year they watched no videos on school days (this is a Waldorf thing—their Waldorf school *strongly* discourages any media viewing on school days—and we happily oblige because we agree with it philosophically). During the school year they watched 30-60 minutes of videos on Friday and/or Saturday before bed. Now that it is summer they’ve been watching 30-60 minutes of videos almost every day (probably about 5 days per week) from around 5:00-6:00pm while we wait for Braydon to get home from work and I get dinner ready. Once school starts again we’ll go back to the no-media-during-the-week thing. Oh! I forgot to mention—whenever we go on trips they watch videos on airplanes and/or long car drives on portable DVD players. We’ve been doing this since they turned two years old and we bought the DVD players for our trip to the Turks & Caicos. We can’t imagine traveling without the portable DVD players!!!!!!!!
Our question is do Kyle and Owen know about the blog? How long will you keep doing it? ~The Josephs: K & O don’t really know about the blog or any blogs or really anything about the internet or computer, etc. They do see the blog, they see the photos of them on there, etc., but they don’t really understand it at all. They have very limited exposure to computers in general (other than seeing us use computers all the time). Again, this is a Waldof thing (to seriously limit their computer use until they are much older), and we agree enough with the philosophy of it that we’re going with it. We see no rush whatsoever to expose them to really using computers themselves. We figure they have the rest of their lives to be immersed in the world of technology. They play with two old broken laptops of ours (that don't turn on) and pretend to “work.” But they’ve never actually used a real computer. Every once in a while, though, Braydon shows them clips of airplanes taking off and landing on YouTube. They love to do that with Braydon! As far as how long we’ll keep doing the blog… I’ve always thought that we’ll do it until it is either: 1) no longer fun for us to do anymore, and/or 2) K & O are not comfortable with us doing it.
Have any of your colleagues offered unsolicited advice about the blog (i.e, be careful what you post; aren't you worried about security?; etc.)? ~Gooch: Surprisingly not! But then again I don’t do anything to make them aware of the blog (let alone encourage them to read it!). If they do find it, that’s fine with me. I have nothing to hide. And I am careful (very careful) about what we post. You’d think from our blog that we put everything out there but in truth what is on our blog is only a tiny tiny tiny fraction of what is in our lives/minds/hearts/souls. I’m sure that is the case for most all bloggers. I only have one colleague that I know of at Lehigh who reads the blog. I have some friends (who are also professional colleagues) around the country/world who I know are reading it. And I am aware of some students of mine (current and alum) who read it. That is all fine with me. A lot of people tell us we should be worried about security, etc. I am not concerned about it, but I am going to have Braydon answer that part of this question in one of his Open Book posts (because he knows a lot more about it than me and I defer to his judgement on this subject).
I know that you write books I have figured this out from some comments that others have left in the past (or I should say I think I figured this out, because maybe I mis-understood) I have tried to find these books and have not been able to. is it open ended enough just to ask for a link, to said books? ~Happy Mom: You’re probably having a hard time finding me as an author because professionally I don’t use “Johnson-McCormick” so you have to search for ‘Heather Johnson’ or ‘Heather Beth Johnson’ when you’re looking for my published work in academic journals, books, volumes, etc. In addition to articles/papers, etc. I have a book that came out two years ago -- The American Dream and the Power of Wealth: Choosing Schools and Inheriting Inequality in the Land of Opportunity (2006 Routledge). Here’s the link to it on --

Can you tell us what book you're reading right now? ~Julia: I always have at least a couple of books going at any one time. Right now I’m reading a book that my dad recommended I read-- New Passages: Mapping Your Life Across Time, by Gail Sheehy. I’m also reading Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited, by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein. And I’m also reading (for the 2nd time) Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson. Oh!---and the current issue of People magazine (with Brangelina and their twins on the cover)!!… I know that doesn’t count as a book but I just had to buy that at the grocery store the other day and I'm savoring every page of it! ;-)

Someone else asked if you have any regrets about the boys that you'll do different with Meera. Here's the opposite question from me. Tell us one thing that you did with K & O that you will definitely do the same with Meera? ~Dan and Sue: We did some basic baby sign language with K & O. We made up signs for “please,” “thank you,” “more,” and “all done.” It was absolutely amazing how being able to sign those four words allowed K & O to communicate with us (and vice versa) so incredibly well when they were babies. Four words/signs can go a long way!!! That is definitely something that we will do with Meera starting pretty soon!

1 comment:

Mark and Sarah said...

Okay, Heather, you got it! Thanks for your pear pecan salad recipe. I know I'll love that already. Okay, we love feta cheese, so here goes:
Lay down a bed of baby spinach. Top with a nice and ripe sliced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, red onion, sliced cucumber and fresh bacon bits (optional). Top with feta cheese. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle Briana's poppyseed dressing. Yum!

Oh, and I have to say your choice of reading material right now sounds familiar! I'm also reading "Raising Cain" and was just about to pick up the People issue with Brangelina's twins and plan to savor it as well.

Okay, can I ask one more question (your answers prompt more questions!). I'm quite intrigued by the Waldorf method of teaching and am contemplating finding a school for my sons when they're old enough to attend. Can you recommend a good book about the Waldorf philosophy? What do you like most about it and why does it suit your sons so well? Thanks!