Posts tagged ‘parenting’

June 21, 2011

Mommy Needs Sleep

“Mom needs a good night’s sleep,” Chris told the kids.

After the dinner of tabouli was cleared away, we had a family meeting on the subject of Mom and sleep.

The night before last was horrible. H. came into bed with me because he was hot and I have the only bedroom, thanks to the generosity of our building’s handyman, with an air conditioner. Then C. came into bed an hour or two later because she couldn’t sleep. All the lights were still on. It was 3 in the morning. Chris was watching a movie. It was disquieting. When I left my bed for hers, crowded out by C. and H., C. followed me back into her twin bed, calling, “Mom? Where are you?”

“I’m in your bed!”

Musical beds.

Because of Chris’s very irregular sleep habits — he’s up all night playing bridge on the computer or watching movies he borrows from the library and he snores loudly — we hardly sleep together any more. We’ve set up a twin bed for him in the dining room.

As Chris said at the family meeting: “Do not wake Mom. She needs sleep.”

To that I said, “Thank you. As a mother I need patience. And as a writer I need mental acuity. Both of these are possible with a good night’s sleep.”

Last night I went to bed at 10. Then I read the paper in bed for 20 minutes. It was heaven. No one bothered me all night.

This morning I have woken full of patience and mental acuity. Who knows what is possible after a good night’s sleep?

March 6, 2011

Am Running Today

This is my least favorite part of the day, waking the children. It’s drizzling and it’s Sunday. They’re not excited about today’s 5K at 9 am. A part of me does wonder, Why am I making them and myself run? It’s a huge hassle and I’d rather stay in bed with the New York Times.

I want us to run, because I know we will feel euphoric when we finish. We will have set and then exceeded some small goal. Life rarely offers opportunities to chart your progress.

I remember the first time I took my son ice skating in Central Park. The first time he went around the rink, he fell eight times. The second time around the rink, he fell two times. And after that, he hardly fell at all. That is how it goes. Take them out and let them fall. And soon they will stand and even skate and run on their own. And there’s some pride in that.

Wish me luck in waking my darlings, in finding running shoes, and in getting to the race on time. It’s not easy, but I believe, somehow, it will be worth it. If we just cross the finish line, we will have won.

January 24, 2011

Motivating for Fitness

Give the late Jack LaLanne props. Sure, he was a comical character. When I was a kid, my brother John and I would make fun of his TV show — yet he was an uber manly and enthusiastic man, unlike our intellectual (yet, of course, manly) father.

But Jack LaLanne inspired his viewers to get up off their duffs and get fit (and he was an old man when I was a kid). Inspiring others to exercise is not easy. As any hardened Middle School gym  teacher would probably tell you.

LaLanne made fitness look sexy and fun. I went to my lunchtime Pilates class today. It was neither sexy nor fun.

We had to hold the plank position for one minute and I managed 38 seconds. That might be my record. I can’t believe that the rest of the class could do it. I sat on my heels marveling at their ability. I was very jealous.

That was probably the advantage to working out at home with Jack LaLanne — you didn’t have to witness how the rest of the world had much better upper body strength than you (or me). (On YouTube, I checked out Jack LaLanne’s 10-point plan 1. exercise 2. nutrition 3. positive thinking 4. good habits 5. grooming 6. smile 7. posture 8. help others 9. relaxation 10. faith. YES!)

So to commemorate Jack LaLanne, I am going to motivate my kids to get fit tonite. I am going to make them do 50 sit ups, 50 push ups or one minute of plank.

I will join them.  Because I experienced a weird thing after Pilates today. I felt taller. I felt more aligned. Although it was exceedingly cold in NYC today, my lunchtime fitness workout warmed me.

December 28, 2009

Akumal Run

Running in Akumal

I tried to run. I did. I made it about five minutes. I couldn’t go longer because of the humid air and the fact that I forgot to pack my sports bra. Also, I was running with college athlete, nephew Chris and my Middle School cross country competitor, son Hayden.

The two of them flew ahead towards Half Moon. And there was Catherine behind me barefoot, running, tagging along. I want her to be physical. I remembered some South African Olympian who ran barefoot so I didn’t exclude her based on no shoes.

Of course, I kept turning around to check on her. Just as Hayden in front of me, kept turning around to check on me.

I had an epiphany then. Maybe I somehow – unconsciously – encourage my kids to tag along because I want them to hold me back. It’s possible that I use my kids as an excuse for not running faster, farther, reaching some potential.

And if I do that, it’s okay. I am surely not alone. And maybe that’s it too. I like being not alone. And I let my responsibility (over-responsibility?) to others hold me back.

November 19, 2009

One is too slow; the other too fast

On Sunday, I ran with one of my 10 year olds and also my 12 year old.

My number one son kept telling me to take longer strides. My daughter kept stopping to stare at the Hudson. Note to self: Run alone next time!

The only time we were all at the same pace was at the counter of the Korean deli at 72nd and West End where we stopped for juice, gatorade, bagels, and sliced mangoes. We really enjoyed the run at that moment – the moment the run was over.  We then sat together in front of the statue of Eleanour Roosevelt at Riverside and 72nd.

I thought running would be a good way to bond with children. Now I think that sitting on a bench together is a good way too.

September 10, 2009

Health Care for Caregivers

Just checked out the

Everyone has a health care story. This is the first one I read.

As a United Methodist Minister and Health care worker I affirm the church’s position and pledge my support on this issue. As a small membership pastor I do not have health insurance because the congregation I serve cannot afford the rates of the church sponsored plan. Since my health care job is on a “as needed” basis (prn) I do not qualify for health insurance. – Allen Noah Converse, TX

I do not know Allen Noah. But I believe he should have health care. I do not know a lot of people, but I believe we should all have health care. 

I have a place in my heart for people who care for other people – pastors, parents, caregivers, teachers, and doctors. I believe they especially need care. Just because someone does not have a traditional job that offers health care, that person should not be penalized or denied.

Is a small-town pastor less important than a big-time CEO? I don’t think so. As a follower of Jesus, I want to love, care for the least, the lost, the lonely. I want the above-mentioned pastor to have health care. I want the parent who opted out of the workforce to care for her infant to have health care.

I believe a country pastor or a stay-at-home parent is as valuable to our nation – even more so – than a corporate mogul who carries health insurance for his or her family.

I know several parents at my girls’ NYC public school, who have health care for their children, but not for themselves. They cannot afford it. They are parents who have jobs, but those jobs do not offer health care. And even if they did not have jobs, they should still have health care. I worry about them, I worry what would happen if they required major medical care.

God know, my family has needed major medical coverage over the last several years. My 12-year old has had three heart procedures. My husband had radiation for cancer and care for his Parkinson’s Disease. I have absolutely no doubt these procedures, treatments and doctors’ visits would have bankrupted us, had we no health insurance. Surely, we would be a million dollars in debt.

As we in the United States debate how to provide universal health care, I suggest we remember parents and pastors. Let’s not forget people who care for other people. Their work is priceless and too many of them are not insured.

September 2, 2009

“Mom, you’re just too good for me.”

I swear to God my son just said that to me on the tennis court. I swear to God. This is the happiest day of my life. The best thing anyone has ever said to me.

Okay, okay, I’m a little competitive. I take a lot of (too much?) joy in beating people at tennis. I know I should be a bigger person. I should hit the ball gently to a 12-year old. I should hold back. But, God help me, I love to win.

The game was kind of crazy because we played Australian – or is it Canadian – doubles. The two of us against Chris, but Chris’s adding was getting a little funky. It was deuce and he’d say it was 15-30 – that kind of thing. He wanted to sit out. He dozed off on the bench, watching us play. Well, he wasn’t watching. He was dozing.

Hayden and I kept playing. The game was 3 to 0 in my favor. And he said that ill-fated line. “Mom, you’re just too good for me.” Oh God. I can’t tell you how good that felt. I asked him if he minded if we put that on my gravestone. I felt the endorphin rush.

Then he came back. It was 3 to 3. And it was game, set, match point; we were playing to 4 games.

Hayden served. It was deuce, add in, deuce, add out.  It was deuce, add out, then he double-faulted. I hate when anyone double faults, but in this case, I took the victory. It tasted sweet. I’m just too good.