I am a sucker for kids and their honest answers, and this Flight of the Conchords video is full of great ones. Jermaine and Bret of FoTC reunited to create this song to benefit Red Nose Day, an organization that helps fund research on serious childhood illnesses, and I’m so glad they did, because the results are awesome. They interviewed a handful of precocious young New Zealanders and then turned their answers into lyrics. Check it out when you need something to make you smile:
They’re funny, the things people say to you when you become a parent. Many times, advice is unsolicited (a hilarious take on that is here) and at some point, well meaning people start to sound like a broken record with the oft-repeated “Sleep when they sleep!” and “This too shall pass,” bits of wisdom. At the time, especially when I had a kid who never actually slept, these interactions provoked an inward eye-roll and an outward (exhausted) half-smile. But in retrospect, I understand that people say these things to new parents because there is a grain of truth in all of them. Especially, I’m realizing lately, this classic: “Enjoy every moment, because they will be grown up before you know it. ” I don’t know about enjoying every moment, because, really? We should have been out the door 10 minutes ago and my child is announcing SHE CAN’T GET IN THE CAR BECAUSE SHE HAS TO CHANGE HER SHOES – FOR THE 4th TIME – and it’s 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity INSIDE our house and I JUST NOW realized there’s a huge juice stain on MY shirt and OH YEAH! WHERE’S MY PHONE? I AM NOT ENJOYING THIS MOMENT, I am not enjoying it one bit.
But I digress.
The part about them being grown up before you know it? Today, that feels ridiculously, bittersweetly true. This morning I took F to her kindergarten orientation. She got the teacher we were hoping for, and she has two good buddies in her class already, and the morning was awesome and exciting and momentous and, just, wow. But after I dropped her off at YMCA day camp, I headed to work and I just felt sad. Time IS flying.
I remember vividly the first day I walked her into daycare. She was nine weeks old and tiny, so tiny – she’d only weighed 5 pounds 6 ounces when we brought her home from the hospital. I could hardly talk to the lovely, loving women I handed her to because I was crying so hard. It was so, so difficult, and I remember feeling like there was no way I was going to survive it. But we did, we survived and totally fell in love with her daycare and it became our village, and it all turned out great and we are all better people for having been a part of that village. But I remember that first day, just not even being able to fathom how other parents did it – I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to have a toddler or a pre-schooler, let alone a kindergartener. And yet, here we are.
The thing is, time will fly, and the tough stuff does usually pass, and if you can sleep when they sleep, then you are way ahead of me. But even with the hard parts and the moments I don’t enjoy, parenting is still incredibly, beautifully, powerfully awesome. Awesome in a way I could never fathom or imagine before we got to where we are. Awesome, like today? At kindergarten orientation? You know, the first time we get to meet her teacher & her first chance to make a good impression? When her new teacher told her to “Please go ahead and decorate a frame so we can put your picture in it,” F responded, “NO THANKS! Not gonna do that.”
This too shall pass… right?
Growing up, we listened to all kinds of music. My dad was mostly into classical music, but that included Vangelis (Chariots of Fire soundtrack, anyone?) and the “Hooked on Classics” series, so I use the term loosely. My mom was into James Taylor, John Denver, and Carly Simon, mostly, so that’s what we listened to in our house and in the car, at least while my sister and I were little. And then one Christmas we were given matching AM clock radios, and that was the end of that: we discovered pop music and never looked back. “Bette Davis Eyes” and “Maneater” and “Morning Train” and later, “Our House” and “White Wedding” and “The Safety Dance.” One way or another, we always had some kind of music playing and even now when I hear “Sunshine on My Shoulders” or “You’ve Got A Friend,” I get a little sappy remembering all of those good times.
When I was pregnant with F, I assumed we’d be the kind of parents who play Modest Mouse and the Clash for our kids; that we’d teach them to rock out and raise them only on “good” music. But as soon as I held that tiny little bean in my arms, something (actually, a LOT of things) changed. I felt so protective of her that I just wanted her to hear sweet, soothing music, not loud, abrasive stuff. Nothing too loud, nothing with adult lyrics, you name it. I was instantly transformed into Tipper Gore circa 1985, and I was ok with that! It was just another way I changed as soon as I became a parent, and while it took some time to adjust, it always just felt right to me. My hipster cred may have sailed right out the window, but I don’t think I really ever had any anyway, so oh well.
Thankfully, there is a ton of AWESOME music out there for kids now, both soothing and a little on the loud side. We got some hand-me-down Raffi and Laurie Berkner CDs, and we still check those out every once in a while. Jack Johnson’s “Curious George” soundtrack and classic Disney soundtrack music and Elizabeth Mitchell were all in regular rotation and some days, still are. As she grew we discovered They Might Be Giants and the Wee Hairy Beasties and more recently, Parry Gripp‘s little nuggets of silliness have become favorites. But all of the sudden, within the past 3 months, something life-changing has happened: F has discovered pop music. HELP.
It all started with Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” and summer camp. For most of the past summer, she went on near-daily field trips, and in the van, they listened to the radio. One day when we jumped in my car, the song just happened to be on my radio station, and while I absentmindedly reached up to change it to the “Tangled” soundtrack, she said, “MOM! WAIT! I LOVE THAT SONG!!”
See, at work here at FM 94/9, that was one of our most requested songs this year. That means I’ve played it so many times on the radio that I sing it in my sleep, even when I think as hard as possible about ANY OTHER SONG PLEASE GET THIS ONE OUT OF MY HEAD! SUNSHINE ON MY SHOULDERS! MANEATER! THE SAFETY DANCE! ANYTHING! And: nothing helps. That ubiquitous song was just constantly stuck in my head. I couldn’t escape. So when F announced that not only was she aware of its existence but that she “LOVED” that song? I may have lost time for a minute. When I came back to reality, I took a deep, cleansing breath. I counted to ten. And then, I did what any self-respecting parent would do: I downloaded it for us.
We listened to “Pumped Up Kicks” on repeat in the car for the next few months. We listened to it at home and a few times, we even listened to it at the beach. And you know how so many parenting experts advise you to “dig deep” when the tough stuff comes up? Reach down inside yourself to tap into your deepest wells of patience? Well, I’m happy to say I found those places, and for the most part, I listened to it with her with a smile on my face. My teeth may have been gritted, but I have to admit: it was pretty cute, her first real pop music experience. Thankfully she has no idea what the lyrics mean and misheard most of them. But we survived the Spring of Foster The People, we made it through with our sanity (mostly) intact and we even started to listen to some more They Might Be Giants every now and again. Until yesterday.
She came home from camp singing Gotye, “Somebody That I Used To Know,” and told me that it was her “NEW FAVORITE SONG, MOM! I LOVE IT!!”
The Summer of Gotye is upon us.
One of the (many, many, MANY) things I did not know about parenting before I had my daughter was how hard it is to put together an awesome outfit – and walk out of the door wearing it properly – when you have a young child. Before I had F, I could take my time picking out each day’s outfit. And while some days it was frustrating (“I have NOTHING to wear!”), most of the time it was fun to get creative with my clothes and accessories. I loved to shop, to try on a bunch of different things and take my time and maybe get a coffee while I leisurely strolled through the mall du jour. I planned outfits for special occasions (like a Flaming Lips concert or a wedding) well in advance. I stood in front of my closet and tried on different pairs of shoes until I found just the right one to compliment that day’s get-up.
AND THEN I GAVE BIRTH.
As I left my daughter’s summer camp this morning, I looked down at my shirt, then grabbed one of the side seams to make sure it wasn’t on inside-out. This was AFTER I’d dropped her off. See, nowadays? It is rare that I even have time to glance at myself in a full length mirror before we leave the house. I’m so used to it now, but for a long time after she was born, it was tough going. In retrospect, I can see the stages:
1) When she was a newborn, it was the “I don’t care what I look like, as long as it is clean(ish), fits this post-pregnancy body and my boobs aren’t leaking through my shirt” stage.
2) From 6 months – about a year, it was the “As long as it fits, matches, doesn’t have snot or food stains, and my boobs aren’t leaking through my shirt” stage.
3) And from around age one to the present, it’s been the “I’m doing my best, cut me some slack! As long as it fits, matches mostly, has no holes and isn’t stained and is relatively hip and fashionable, give or take a decade” stage.
Now that F is 5, I have been able to steal a few moments here and there to rip into Anthropologie and find a few things that make me happy. I also have learned how to incorporate clothes shopping into errand running (Thank you, Target) and I do shop a little online. But make no mistake; I consider it a good day if I get out of the house in the morning with everything zipped and buttoned properly. And I’ve had my moments: I’ve come to work in two different flip-flops (one black, one brown). I’ve unknowingly run errands in an inside-out shirt. And just last week, I walked from my car in the parking garage all the way into the building and up to the seventh floor with a silver dollar-sized hole in the seat of my pants before I noticed a breeze where no breeze should be. Thankfully, I could borrow an FM 94/9 hoodie from the prize closet to wrap around my waist. BUT STILL.
The bottom line, for me: thank goodness I work in radio and not TV. Because, moms who always look put together? HOW DO YOU DO IT? And, will you teach me? Let me be the Karate Kid to your Mr. Miyagi. This mama could use some tips.
I’m typing this in the FM 94/9 studio, playing the new Fiona Apple song on the radio, thinking about how far my little family has come in the past five years, and how grateful I am to have had so many great resources online to help me navigate the wild world of first-time parenting. From Ask Moxie to Parent Hacks to Rookie Moms, there are some websites out there that have helped me hold onto my sanity more than once as I stayed up late, Googling whatever challenge was presenting itself that night. But I have yet to find a parenting website that is both extremely helpful and San Diego-centric, so when I was asked to be a part of MySDMoms.com, I jumped at the chance. To have a website that is local, and reassuring, and full of good information – that is a win, all the way around.
So on that note, welcome! My name is Hilary, I am the midday DJ of FM 94.9 here in San Diego and I’m wife to the awesome J and mom to a super-awesome-while-also-being-precocious-and-challenging 5 year old daughter who I will call by her first initial, F. We have come a long way in the past 5 years, and over the life of this blog, I’m going to dig in and share it all. I’ll open up and tell you about my struggles as well as all the good stuff, and let me tell you: the older she has gotten (and the more experience as a parent I’ve gotten) the easier and better and more fun it gets. I follow plenty of “mom (and dad) blogs” and am excited to share links here to some of the best stuff about parenting that I come across online. And we’ll have guest bloggers here too, Tammy from KSON (who could teach us all a thing or two about parenting), and Steph (also from KSON) who is pregnant with her first! So exciting. Finally, we look forward to hearing from you and would love for you to use this as a forum to share what’s happening with you on this adventure we call parenting too. Until then…