Monday, August 31, 2009

Hope is Not a Plan

by Amy Platon

How does it go? Never underestimate the power of a back-up plan?

Well I would totally buy that. Especially with the little things. For instance this weekend, hubby and I re-touched our walls around the house. But of course, once you get started in a “little” project like that, before you know it you’ve painted everything in the house.

I gathered the children. “Family, the entire house is wet. Don’t touch the railing on the stairs, any wall, any closet or room door. In fact don’t touch anything white anywhere.” As my kids blinked at my directions, I could see their little minds taking themselves through the house on what would become a complete obstacle course. “You’re right. Let me try that again. Try not to touch anything white in the house, you will get paint on you.”

Anyway, once I said that, ineviatabley someone NEEDED to go potty. Someone else HAD to go downstairs to eat. And though both of those things went well, we all know wet paint never goes untouched.

Enter: the back-up plan. “When you do touch the paint that I’ve just told you not to touch, do not wipe it on your shirt. Hold your hand up, come find me and we will wash it off.” It ended up we only had a minor incident. The paint dried fast and we were back climbing the doorframes and using the walls as brakes in no time.

Having a plan for the failed first plan was just what the kids needed to limit residual damage. Because hope, as they say, is not a plan.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Do You Hear That?

by Amy Platon

I thought it might have been something in the air. I started to think it, could have been that football season was coming around. One thing I knew for sure was that it was nowhere near Christmas. But the parents in my group of friends were especially happy - giddy even. I had never seen so many hi-fives and fist bumps as I did last weekend when we got together. Smiles were contagious and the off and on whines from the children went utterly unnoticed. Patience saturated every moment.

Then I realized what it was. It was the last weekend of summer break. And as happy as we all are for summer to roll around, we are just as happy to see it go – Or should I say, just as happy to see fall arrive.

My enthusiasm for Monday morning came as inevitably as the school bus did around the corner. I waved a vigorous goodbye and boasted an energetic smile. Of course, I was just trying to help my boy feel excited for his first day of first grade. My son and all of his neighborhood friends peered out the windows smiling back at me only because it was expected.

No, he didn’t want summer to end. And we did have a ton of fun! But I have to tell you, going back into a quiet house that stayed clean almost all day was a beautiful thing.

The tissue train made no stops at my house. I did have friends who mourned for a moment, or two. It is hard when all your kids are out of the house for the first time. I remember constantly checking the back seat for my daughter the first time she went to school. Then when I did have them with me, I would second guess who I should have with me. It is an adjustment. I get that, but I’m not gonna lie – I am enjoying the silence.

I love my children, but even moms need a little personal time. I needed a little time from them and they need their time away from me. Hooray for school. High five! And God bless those teachers!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


by Amy Platon

“Mommy, I want to be a ballerina when I grow up.”

As a Mom, I guess I’m supposed to have faith that she’ll grow out of that. Not that I’m opposed to ballerinas. It’s just that I’m one of those Moms…princess stories don’t scare me. That is, when I watch a performance or a movie that spotlights a female in need of rescue, I’m not the kind of Mom that worries if my daughter will reenact that behavior in her real life.

How can I be so sure? Because, she’s got me for a Mom.

When my daughter said, “Mommy, I want to be a ballerina when I grow up.” I said, “Oh, honey. I think you would make a fabulous ballerina. And did you know you can be a ballerina, AND something else?”

“I can?”

“Yup. You can be as many things as you want to be. Say your brother wants to be a football player when he grows up. Well, there are football teams for dads to play on when they are home from work or on the weekends. Just like there are mommy ballerina classes. When you grow up, and have a job, you can be a ballerina after work and on the weekends.”

“Oh.” She says. “So, I can be a Mommy and a ballerina?”

“And what ever else you want to be. You don’t have to choose just one, you can be them all, if you want.”

Poof! Just like that, her fantasy becomes a workable reality. She doesn’t have to be the best ballerina in her class. She just has to love it.

I wasn't born this way. I was that dreamer. I didn’t have someone helping me move the pieces of this puzzle we call life. Showing me how they fit together. In fact, I'm pretty sure someone took a few of the pieces from my box. But I’m the kind of Mom who is going to give every secret to my children. Everything I’ve learned I will give to them, so they can be a step ahead of me when I was their age.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Dr. Is In

by Amy Platon

Advice on stitches removal. Hand the tweezers to your six-year old son.

I see that look of horror on your face. But I mean it.

Lots of good things come out of empowering your kids with real responsibility. The beautiful thing about stitches is that they look so medically important. They look complicated, painful, and even a little gross. But the reality is, that at the end of their term, there are virtually painless. They’re also super simple to extract… only the kids have no idea about that. Let’s face it, my kids think rice crispy treats require culinary skills, and I’m nowhere near bursting that bubble!

So, on to some good ol' fashioned Mommy Magic. I called the whole family into the bathroom. I cut the knot off and I pulled the first two stitches out to show them how it’s done. Then I handed the tweezers off. My son pulled out the next two and my daughter (not enough coordination to use the tweezers) pulled her two out with her fingers.

They were so absorbed in the experience that 1. I trusted them with not just my body but with my boo-boo. 2. It made them feel like doctors (no harm in that). 3. It Dissolved any potential fear about getting stitches, should they need them in the future. And 4. I had them “fix” something on me, that I didn’t scream and cry about.

And believe me, I made that point clear. “See Mommy doesn’t mind letting you help me with my boo-boo. Just like you let me help you with yours.” Ahh yes, I do believe the lights came on about that one!

Don't have any stitches to share? Well next time you get blood drawn, have the kids watch - if you don't scream and cry that is. Or let them put your eye drops in for you. Still not that brave? Let them administer your band-aid then. They'll totally love you for it!

I guess I need some sort of disclosure about this post, just to cover any potential issues, so here goes: I’m no doctor, despite the title. These are merely suggestions from a crazy mom who just wants to take any opportunity to open her children’s eyes a little wider to the world around them. Her stories are for entertainment use only!

But they are true.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Gift of the Magi

by Amy Platon

So remember that skate camp I sent my son to? Well I thought I’d share a beautiful piece of advice that his instructor shared with him. His instructor’s skate name is Magi, hence the title. Wink.

Well Magi told my son that when he tries to learn a new trick, try not to get frustrated. Which is a big expectation for a six year old. But then Magi said this: “You know what I do when I’m not getting a trick? I just go back to a trick that I can do, and do that one for a while so I start feeling good about myself again. Then when I feel good, I try the new trick again.”


So, later that day we were at home. My son came downstairs to whine about how he wasn’t getting to the next level of the game he was playing.

I evoked my inner Magi and asked him, “What would Magi do?”

“I don’t know.”

“Magi says to try a different game until you start feeling better about yourself then go back to this game and try again.”

“That’s for skateboarding.”

“No, it’s for everything you do. If you get frustrated, take a break from it and do something you are good at, then try again.”

Pretty good advice for just about anyone, don't you think?