Despite being a professional multitasker (self-proclaimed), I’ve been falling woefully short on my To-Do list lately, as evidenced by the lack of Monday Minutes. It seems as though the more “minutes” I come up with to write about, the less time I have to write them.
A few weeks ago I found a fabulous website about The Orange Rhino challenge. I was inspired by a fellow mommy-blogger who resolved to stop yelling at her four children - reading her story was reading about my own life, and in that moment I decided to take the challenge. I made it through 7 days of not yelling at my kids – it wasn’t easy but it was a good, satisfying week. Of course, I blew it on day 8, then on days 2, 2, 4 and 2 since (what is it with the second day?), not in a monumental way but in a snappy comment after long days and one-too-many spills or accidents.
The reason I’m telling you about Orange Rhino is not because I love public humiliation, but because otherwise you’ll be completely lost in what follows. See, part of the Orange Rhino process is telling people about your mission so that you have support, witnesses and scorekeepers while you struggle – I mean, commit. And some of those people you must tell are your children. So one night I sat down at dinner and told them of my plan, which was basically to keep control when they lost it and to quietly punish them without yelling (and to respect them as human beings, cherish this time in our lives, etc. etc.). I told them they could remind me about not yelling by telling me “Orange Rhino,” and that if I yelled I would lose my gold star at the end of the day. They really took my crusade to heart. In a gleeful, persistent way.
It’s moments like this one that really challenge me. Mark my words, one day I’m going to hit the big time with this Monday Minute. In just a minute, it has laughter, tears, love, angst, fear, stunts, injury and redemption. It’s even got a frightened-woman-in-the-shower scene (cue screechy music here). Read more…
I am one of those people who really, really loves the holiday season, which in our house starts big time with Thanksgiving, but if I’m being totally honest begins with Christmas movies and music shortly after Halloween. However, loving the holidays this much means that I overextend myself in one way or another, and the joy and festivity can be lost in stress and exhaustion if I’m not careful.
Since moving here we’ve come up with some really neat traditions that are fun for everyone in our family, which means that they are generally special needs friendly too. And with so much to do and explore in a place like the Big Apple, you know the activity has to be pretty fantastic in order to repeat it. Even though it’s not quite Thanksgiving, there are already a few festive activities on my list that you can try out!
Top Ten: Family-friendly Holiday Activities Worth Repeating In NYC (in no particular order):
1. New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show – we go at least once a year for the Member’s Preview, but often make it out there two or even three times in a season. We get to see our favorite NYC buildings made out of plants, play in the Gingerbread Wonderland, listen to the Westchester men’s choir (amazing!) and watch the tree lighting ceremony. Add hot chocolate, tasty food at the cafe and tons of room for kids to run around and we’re set for hours.
Let me lead up a bit to this most epic Monday Minute. James was off school for Election Day, so I decided we would all go vote together. A long line and 45 minutes later, we escaped, but not until after a minor scuffle with an old man who decided for some unknown reason to pick Adam up and carry him closer to his mother (Adam was being totally fine, counting pumpkins on the wall as I had instructed him to while we waited for our big voting moment). Adam did NOT want to be picked up, and even after him screaming wildly and me shouting across the room to “please put the boy down,” the man brought him over and deposited him, writhing and shrieking on the floor, smiling as if waiting to be thanked. Thanks, buddy.
Fifteen minutes later Adam was recovered enough (or so I thought) - we all walked/scootered a few blocks down to the grocery store, first stopping for hot apple cider and cupcakes. I chatted with another mother as the kids all played nicely together, then headed across the street to the grocery store.
I usually do most of my shopping online but I needed 3-4 special allergen-free items that I can’t get for Ian. The kids all continued to be pleasant and helpful, and as a reward got to pick out character soups, Mario and Disney princess. As we headed toward the checkout I passed a great sale on Eggo waffles – 3 for $5 – and told the kids that they could each pick a flavor before we left. James and Margaret added their choices to the cart while Adam selected a family size box. “Buddy, you have to pick a small box. Those aren’t on sale.”
And that’s where it all went downhill fast. Read more…
James loves to trick or treat – but despite the garlic breath, he might not be ready for Halloween at all. Every year as the big day gets closer, James gets a little touchy about putting his costume on, even though he’s the one who adamantly picked it out months prior.
For some reason, James has been giving me an especially hard time this year, which is particularly unfortunate since he’s put on about 20 pounds this fall due to a change in medication (totally another story for another time). The whole saga reached a climax with us finally showing up to the trick-or-treating event at Ryan’s work still not having tried the freaking costume on. How did I let it get that far? The following conversation took place the night before. Read more…
Me: Hey, bud. How was school?
James: Great! No homework.
Me: Can I see your folder? I see a study sheet in here on the city, state and country where we live (seriously? this is what they’re testing him on?). Are you ready for the big test?
Me: Fine – what city do you live in?
James: New York.
Me: Right, but what part?
James: Colonial Road. (Okay, perhaps some review is a good idea) Read more…
Apparently I’m holding James back from realizing his true passions. For the sake of this post I will refer to the woman that sat our hibachi table as Surely, short for Surely-you-can’t-be-serious-right-now.”
I rate the following conversation right up there with the whole “rat on your back” subway debacle. I think I sincerely laughed just as hard on the way home. And lady, coming from a parent who has heard everything, that’s saying something.
We survived the trip back from a whirlwind week in Buffalo, but once home needed dinner in a pinch. Naturally, we went to the family standby – sushi. I set the table with small plates to encourage slower consumption and put out chopsticks for flair (and let’s be real here, slower consumption). In any case, I’m sure you won’t have to investigate too hard to discover that I’m not running a 4-star sushi establishment here. Just ask James. Read more…
Margaret: Can I pick up Ian?
Me: We’re on the bus, not now.
Margaret: I can hold him under the armpits – I won’t drop him!
Me: Maybe when you’re 5 years old.
James: Can I hold Ian when I’m 12….
Me: You are 12, in fact, you’re almost 13!
James: Oh, yeah. Can I hold Ian?
Me: Not on the bus, when we get home you can. So, what do you think you’ll do when you’re 13? Read more…