My Kid is Fine

by Jennifer Forte Cuomo, Blogger for a Day

As a child I distinctly remember a few things about being in elementary school. One is how terribly bored I often was with whatever lesson was not capturing my attention. The other thing I recall is how I enjoyed socializing with the other children. So much so that I was often in trouble for having limited “self-control,” as it was referred to circa 1980. My report card would come home and there were good marks (“S” or “E” for Satisfactory or Excellent) for everything but self-control. Next to that was always an “N,” for “Needs Improvement.” My mother would sigh and say something to the effect of “Really Jennifer? Again?” And life went on.

I suppose then, it should not come as a big shock to me that my son Nick has problems controlling himself at school at the tender age of 7. Maybe because he is a boy, maybe because he is a little indulged as well, his control is much less than we would hope and certainly beyond simply “needing improvement.” So much so that we’ve recently had lots of contact with the teacher, the social worker, the school psychologist, the vice principal and yes, even the principal.

Here’s the conclusion I’ve come to, after churning myself inside out over this for the better part of one year: my kid is fine just the way he is. Allow me to explain. I do not mean it is okay for him to misbehave or act out of turn. I do not mean we will not continually work to reinforce good behavior and reprimand bad behavior. I certainly do not mean that he can disrupt the classroom. All of this is being addressed on an ongoing basis and things have improved.

What I do mean is my son is an individual. He is learning about the world and himself in a way that makes sense to him. Sometimes we have to guide him in a different direction. Sometimes we have to allow him to make mistakes in order to learn something. He is just that kind of child. But he is also the kind that can add three and four digit numbers in his head since he was 6 years old. He is also the kind that reads a full grade level ahead of most of his peers. He loves math. He loves science. He asks a lot of questions. He loves playing with other children. He loves swimming, football, soccer and hockey. He will happily try any sport or game, and almost never gives up until he masters it. He is smart and goofy and athletic and social and we want him to be him. And oh yeah, he is also compassionate and kind. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.

We’ve opted out of getting Nicholas tested although it’s been suggested to us by more than one of his teachers. I’ve also been gently nudged into considering medication if he were indeed to test positive for ADHD. I have nothing against medication for children who need it to learn. However, my son excels at every subject in school so I can only assume medication would make life for the teacher easier, not for my son.

Do we get frustrated with Nick? Why yes, yes we do. He is a tough kid at times. But with the tools and strategies we’ve employed, his self-awareness and behavior has improved and we feel it will continue to do so. What we do not want him to feel is that we don’t like how he is so we’re going to fix him with pills to make everyone else’s life easier. What lesson will he learn from that? This is what he has been given in life–he has to learn to get it under control on his own. He can do it. We believe in him. We will continue to fight for him and his right to be himself. Because my kid is fine just the way he is.

Jennifer Forte Cuomo is a Mom of two actual children who secretly favors her dog because she never talks back and is always happy to see her. She runs her own PR agency specifically so she has an excuse to travel without any members of her household coming with her. She loves cooking, gardening and drinking coffee in the morning without having to reheat it in the microwave more than two times.
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Let’s Eat the Damn Brie

by Vicky Samori, Blogger for a Day

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I have been on a diet for as long as I can remember. I come from a household where image was everything and the media didn’t do anything to convince me that my body was okay just the way it was. When Sports Illustrated started to feature models with impossibly perfect bodies on their cover, both men and women would swoon, and I knew what I had to do. I began consistently passing on the cheese-drenched nachos, salty french fries and chocolate cake with creamy frosting in order to strut around in my tiny floral bandeau bikini without feeling utterly humiliated.

It didn’t occur to me until decades later that I live in the northeast. I mean, I knew I lived in the northeast, but I never did the math. Out of 12 months, there are really only two in which you can strut without freezing your ass off. And, if you factor in rainy days, sick days, and other non-bikini wearing events that occur in summer, there is really only a single month. So I spent 12 months a year for 40 years–that’s roughly 15,000 days, or 50 percent of my life–depriving myself of all that tastes good in order to look great in a bathing suit for a total of 30 sun-filled Bain de Soleil days.

Looking back, I can admit that I was flawed but it wasn’t my waistline or backside that was the problem. It was my youth. With maturity comes an ability to see the truth, and the truth is that stick figures are for cartoons, not for humans who need to eat and drink in order to survive and, I will argue, be happy. It’s true that there are a few anomalous mommies out there with amazing bodies who can eat whatever they want and not gain weight, but I choose to ignore you…sorry.

Impossible as it seems, I am approaching the big 5-0. Instead of feeling old, I feel liberated. I am done counting calories as if my life depended on it and will no longer look in the mirror with self-loathing. I am embracing the new me. This version has a little more junk in her trunk, but she also fills out a t-shirt nicely. It is in that spirit that I raise my Nutella-filled spoon to all my fellow middle-aged women and say, “F**k it, life is short….let’s eat the damn brie!!”

This summer, I’ll be ditching the tiny bandeau for a body shaping tankini but you can be sure I’ll still be strutting. And I won’t feel utterly humiliated–I’ll be feeling pretty darn good about myself. Cheers!

About Vicky Samori: Vicky is a stay-at-home mother of two (four if you count her husband and dog). She devotes all her time trying not to screw up her children but does find time to read, torture herself with hot yoga, and continue to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. 

I Hate Shopping

by Jane Hart, Blogger for a Day

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I’m not sure when it occurred to me that I hate shopping, but I know it had something to do with having children. From my teens to my twenties, I actually enjoyed clothes shopping. It was an event I could do with my girlfriends. We would try on clothes and give (mostly) honest opinions about the outfits.

I am now responsible for many household purchases, including food, home décor, and electronics. All of this shopping saps my energy, and I’m too exhausted to shop for clothes for myself. Or the kids. I loved shopping for them when they were younger. They would wear anything I picked out. Now that they have minds of their own and I am the parent of a preteen, it’s not so easy. Said preteen does not like anything I choose and must scour the mall before making a decision on even one single article of clothing. Back to school shopping was not without its drama. The three of us (me, older daughter and younger daughter) traipsed around the mall one hot August morning. None of the shirts in her favorite store came even close to meeting the dress code requirement (4-finger-width shoulder straps and must actually conceal what’s under the shirt) so on we went to the next store (my choice). The shirts all had a design on the front or a pithy saying – which is passē once you turn 11.

So when the time comes to buy clothes for myself, I have neither the time nor the patience to get the job done. Is it any wonder, then, that I buy my clothes at Costco? It’s quick, easy and mostly painless since I don’t have to try anything on after sampling the artichoke dip, the power bars and the new salsa they’re selling. Well, it always seems like a great idea until I have to stand in the mile-long return line because the jeans made me feel like a sausage squeezed into its casing.

Uh oh! I mentioned the four letter word – jeans. Okay, so it’s five letters, but I believe every woman out there knows about the dreaded jeans shopping. I feel like a foreigner in the jeans section. Boot cut, slim cut, low rise, flare, skinny jeans, jeggings. What does this all mean and why can’t I find a pair of jeans that fit? After I had children, my body shape changed and buying jeans became a much bigger chore than before children. I am essentially the same weight and I haven’t grown taller, yet I still cannot find jeans that fit and don’t have my underwear hanging out the back. Who came up with low rise anyway? I have owned bikini underwear with a higher rise than some of the jeans I’ve tried on.

Sizing for women after children should follow an algorithm, like Garanimals for adults. Plug in the size you were before children into the computer, your present weight, and height and how you like to feel in your jeans (sexy, somewhat comfortable, glamorous, fun loving) and the computer spits out the perfect choice for you.

So, after Christmas, I’ll be the one cursing in the return line at Costco hoping my one good pair of jeans will survive the 4007th washing. It’s only six months until swimsuit season, I should start looking for one now. Shopping for a bathing suit must be easier than finding the perfect jeans, right?

About Jane Hart: When she’s not shopping for ill-fitting jeans or working at her job as a physical therapist, Jane can be found leading Girl Scout expeditions while eating chocolate and reading the New York Times.

Blogger for a Day

Are you a Mom or a Dad with something to say but not enough time or patience to have your own blog? Do you love to write but never get the chance? Do you have any tips Moms or Dads could use to help make parenting easier and more enjoyable? New for 2015 is a feature I am calling Blogger for a Day. Here are the rules: type something up (around 600 words, give or take) and send it to me with a short bio as well as any accompanying images via email: gmacrandall (at) gmail (dot) com. If I think it fits, I will either edit it or not and feature it on my blog as a regular post. After it goes live, I will provide you with a link to share with your friends and family on social media, and I will do the same. Sound good? I hope so! Can’t wait to see what you all come with.

With love,

Gina