we went to the “y” yesterday morning instead of in the afternoon. i knew this change in our schedule would “rock the boat”, we have a pretty consistent schedule and any variation can take a bit to overcome. i believe this to be pretty normal for kids – the need for structure and consistency – but i know it is also something that i need. any change that is not in my control takes me a moment (sometimes many, many moments) to process. i’m conscious of this and continue to work on “going with the flow” – r. is amazing at it – a survival technique developed from living with me for 13 years. this part of me is probably why i like teaching and being at home with the kids, among the other obvious benefits and challenges, there needs to be a flexible structure in order for the whole thing to work. yesterday mornings change of schedule was so that i could meet with one of the “y”‘s trainers and get an understanding of their machines and computerized fitness program – which is pretty darn cool. i have been running consistently and wanted to get on the machines more – i had no idea where to start – which ones i should be on, how many reps i needed to do, and i was intimidated to be “in the pit” looking silly. i needed direction. r. of course said ‘there’s no exact science to it – just get on em” my trainer for the day was a fellow german, who answered all my questions and understood, or played along with, my need to hear everything twice and know exactly how and why i was doing what i was. by the way – in the past few days i haven’t seen my friend “mister music pants” as i like to affectionately call him (previous blog).

we left the “y”, went to the pool, napped and went on our bi-weekly shopping trip. i guess i figured that the day was already full of so much pinchy-poking-off schedule funk that i would go for broke. well, we went broke. there were maybe a few shreds of mellowness left in the tank by the end of our trip. it started with the carts – they have these cars in the front of the shopping carts which makes them 10 feet long and impossible to negotiate turns in the produce section – oddly enough it also leaves you with a deep, narrow, and short cart. okay, if i have two kids, which is what the car in front holds, you would think i would need a bit more room for my groceries – i’m obviously feeding at least 3 and in this case 4 people. i wish they would leave the play cars for amusement parks and other places where time, patience and space are not important. such a great idea if you have only one child. if the size of the cart with the car was “all cart” i could throw a. in the basket have h. up front and enough space for our groceries. isn’t the world suppose to revolve around my needs? yes, i feel better now. and normally the cars are a hit – just not today. wait, let me get all my complaining out of the way quick. having employees who bag customers groceries is another great idea, if they are taught how to bag groceries. please, perhaps a 20 minute video demonstrating the ins-and-outs of this job (which i don’t take lightly having had done it for 3 years) with skit titles like “milk or bread – which first” “should i wipe my nose before touching a customers produce”, and “did they bring their own bags so they could serve as protection for our plastic bags?”. a. and h. went through waves of laughing, pinching, crying, trying to get out of the cart, getting back in, pulling hair and basically acted like a 4 and 2 year old sisters who were in a funk. my patience was tested. at one point they were both out of the cart and i raised my voice when i “asked” them to get back in. a. told me “you shouldn’t raise your voice dad.”. she got a look. i get a B. the truth is that i love grocery shopping – i love watching people, searching for deals, trying new food, and having the kids help pick out what they are going to eat. i guess yesterday was just not the day to go. though i was happy when i woke up this morning and we had choices other than tofu or izze for breakfast.

teaching is learning – i am learning to loosen up – and honesty is the best platform to demonstrate/model for kids the appropriate way to handle situations. honesty is letting people, your kids, students etc. know when you acted inappropriately or made a bad decision. i struggle with the phrase “daddy said so” or “yes, i am an adult i can act this way” to justify very basic contradictions in what we are trying to teach. yes, there are times when kids shouldn’t argue or question adults, and they need to learn that there is a respect you show elders, but should our ego get in the way of teaching them that we are all working towards being more compassionate, honest, and overall healthy humans? i struggle with this. if you let kids “in” too much, pull the curtain back “too” far – will they think they have all the answers and not show the respect that is deemed necessary in our society? but wait. why aren’t we listening? what are we afraid of? are we afraid that the truth is coming out of their mouths because they are not trapped by “knowing” the rules of the game. when a. told me that i “shouldn’t raise my voice” to tell them to get back in the cart was i upset that she “talked back” or that i looked foolish getting as upset as i did. cosby’s “kids say the darndest things” did more to harm the voice of children than help. children do have a voice and a perspective – one that we should listen to, not just giggle at. do not ignore. even if they have no idea what they just said – what did it mean to you – why did it make you react strongly enough to tell them to go to their room. obviously i am not speaking about blatant disrespect – i’m talking about those times that we silence children because we don’t value what they have to say. or because we are afraid of what they are saying – verbally and otherwise. (see columbine) i remember r. and i were having a “discussion” in the front seats of our car one day – h. and a. were in the back. the discussion got a bit heated, and a. said “daddy, i think mommy needs some quiet time” it stopped us. we could have hushed her or played it off – we both stopped. she was the voice of reason. she was right. her place? yes, young children have friends from mars, say their hand hit their sister they didn’t and say some of the most hysterical things. they also have the ability to share a reasoning and perspective that if tapped into can be beneficial. i lighten up on this topic, but am fascinated by what, how, why and from whom we learn.

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