Thursday, December 22, 2011

Refusing to Take My Own Advice

I lectured my son for quite a while yesterday evening about math. It was actually just a repeat of the same old lecture he's heard from me before. (It's amazing how parents always think that if we say something over and over at a higher decibel every time, then our kids will finally get it...)

Here's the lecture, in all it's glory:
"You have to take the time to write every single step of a math problem, even if you can do it in your head. For one thing, your teachers need to see your work - but more importantly, if you take the time to carefully write every step in the process, you won't be wasting your time and you are much more likely to get the right answer than if you just do the work in your head."

Nice lecture, right? You see - my son is rather gifted at math but he doesn't enjoy it. As a consequence, he's always trying to rush through his work and skip steps because he's able to do a LOT in his head. But that's a bad long-term plan because he sometimes makes silly mistakes when he does that and has to re-do everything. Plus, he often KNOWS how to do a math problem but doesn't know how he knows it. It's as if he can just look at some math problems and know the answer. But someday he'll be doing calculus and he needs to understand the process. (Or so I've heard. I have no personal knowledge to confirm that claim because I never got past algebra.)

To sum up, I'm telling him: take your time, be patient, make sure you carefully document each step and just generally do your best work.

In the meantime, I'm whining internally to myself about how I want to be a successful author but I'm not taking the time to write every day and do all the other little steps it will take for me to create success. It's as if I just want it to fall into my lap - not unlike my third grader who just wants the math to go away quickly without taking the effort to learn it.

It shouldn't be that hard for me. When I do write every day, I am happy and fulfilled. So why wouldn't I be writing?

I don't want to spend the rest of my life in an office, putting up with people who are nice but insanely power-hungry or completely apathetic to the point where I have to do their jobs for them if I have any hope at all of making a difference in my tiny little niche. So...why wouldn't I be working hard every day to create a career for myself that will free me from this?

It's time for me to take my own advice: take every single step that is required to accomplish my goals, do my best work, stop wasting my time with whining and make sure I avoid the people who are bad influences in my life.

I'm full of wise, motherly advice. My kids may or may not follow it, but I will.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Talking Through My Panic

You know how sometimes your kids will scare you? I mean, really scare you - not just shake you up a bit? Today, I took my youngest in for allergy shots just as I've been doing approximately three times a week for the last few months. Nothing notable happened while we were at the doctor's office other than his statement that these shots hurt more than the other ones. (We had just moved up into a higher concentration of medicine, the last step before hitting the 'real' allergy shot dose.) But all during the 30 minute observation period at the doctor's office, there were no signs of a bad reaction.

No. Why have a dangerous reaction at the doctor's office if you can have it at home later on? His body decided to go into an allergic asthma attack during the 15 minutes I left him at home while I ran to the grocery store to pick up four items for dinner. Picture this: the second I walk back into the house, he meets me at the door begging for his asthma inhaler. I was surprised I couldn't hear the wheezing from the front yard. It was THAT BAD. And yes, I felt like the worst mother on the planet.

Within 10 minutes the asthma inhaler and Benadryl seemed to have things under control, but he's still not completely cured - even at this late hour. I honestly think his arm will be bruised tomorrow from the swelling where he received one of his injections. All of this started at about 4:15 this afternoon and it seems to me that I have been talking constantly for the last five hours. Whenever I stop talking, panic starts to set in and I really, really don't like that feeling.

I've spoken to the after hours nurse twice (once when I thought things were going to be ok and then again 10 minutes after that when I realized his injection site had quadrupled in size), spoken with my husband CONSTANTLY, and finally been coached by my mom who went through the exact same thing with my own baby brother back in the 1970's.

Talk, talk, talk. I talk because I need a bit of reassurance but I honestly think that I also just sometimes need to hear the sound of my own voice. It keeps the demons away to a certain extent. I don't want to hear those voices reminding me that although I chose to have this child and I can do my very best to protect him, he has his own demons to fight during his life and I am not in control of the outcome. Asthma is a demon that is very real in my family. I'm grateful for modern medicine and beyond grateful that we have access to health care, unlike so many Americans, but that damn asthma demon doesn't seem to be going anywhere in the near future.

So to keep my fears at bay, I talk, talk, talk. And write in my blog. And at the end of the evening I do remember to pray. The first prayer that comes to mind is, shockingly, one of gratitude. For my family (especially my husband who listens to all the talk), for the fact that I could relatively easily pay $72 for a new asthma inhaler and epi-pens tonight, and simply for every single breath that we are able to take.

I guess Mary had some health scares with her little boy a couple of thousand years ago. Every mother does. Who knew that being forced to learn about epi-pen use for the first time in my life would make me look at Christmas in a whole new light? We bring life into the world and do the best we can...but I guess it always comes down to faith in the long run.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Up at 8-ish (or maybe 9-ish) to bake a double batch of my kids' favorite cookies (cane-sugar free of course) and make the grocery list for the nice Sunday lunch planned for tomorrow. to Whole Foods.

Back home before going with entire family to Target to stock up on cousin and babysitter Christmas gifts and then heading to eye doctor where we find out that the bad eye genes CLEARLY run on only the female line of our family. Good to know...

Oh - also took a trip to the fabulous bulk spice shop to stock up on cinnamon, allspice, anise and cloves so that we would have all of our supplies for the homemade Christmas gifts we are making this year.

Then home again to bake rosemary foccaccia bread which tastes great but looks bizarre. Prepped food for Sunday lunch so David will be able to get it together for me while I'm singing in second service.

FINALLY- tonight...I edit Chapters 1 - 5 of my novel and email them off to my daughter so she will be able to read them after she finishes her science project (probably tomorrow evening).

It's nice to get to the end of the day and say...I did that!'s way cool to feel how heavy 50,000 words are all printed out on actual paper! (I'm old fashioned and like to edit with paper and pencil.)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Goal for this weekend...

I need to read my NaNoWriMo creation this week, with pen in hand, to make notes about directions I want to take it in the long term. My feelings are a combination of terrified anticipation and excitement. (Terranticment?)

I suspect I will find quite a bit of crap. I'm also hoping to find a few jewels buried in the morass.

Wish me luck.