Friday, November 30, 2012

Better With An Audience

I recently became aware of a little known fact as it applies to myself, Hubby and the Critters, and more than likely, to you too.  In fact, I'm pretty sure it applies to the majority of the human race.  As a side note, I'm positive it applies to dogs, especially our Fudge.

Here it is ---- drum roll, please.....

We're better with an audience.

Okay, so that was anticlimactic since the title gave it away.  But I wasn't sure if you were listening yet.
And just to be certain, let me reiterate: We're better with an audience.

Case(s) in point:  

Normally the most mild-mannered-though-extremely-intimidating-to-strangers, lady-like, well behaved canine in the world, Fudgie nonetheless becomes a sneaky, cat food pilfering, trash snarfing, toy chewing mongrel when left alone in the house.  We have taken to closing every interior door on days too cold to leave her outside.

The Critters - Let me count the ways! 1) Left to their own devices they would exist solely on chips, chocolate and ice cream.  Unless I'm counting as they go out the door, two gummies packs, two chewy granola bars and two bags of chips will accompany every lunch bag to school.  Stashes of Nestle's morsels have disappeared into the ether on more than one occasion.  To ensure something will be in the pantry when I need it nowadays, I hide it!  2) They often "forget" to do homework, chores and self-care/maintenance, but I've never known them to miss a line on stage, and believe me, they've had a LOT of opportunities.  3) Oh, and the stuff that goes on when I'm not looking!  Snapping towels, siblings in headlock, monkey bites (if you don't know what that is, ask a kid).  Yet, when I come back into a room all I find are innocent smiles and angelic faces.  4) Okay, no!  I don't need to go on, you get the picture....

Husband - Cookies are his weakness.  We purposefully own a cookie jar with a noisy lid to help him be good.  But, other than that, he's pretty much a saint...

... and then there's Momster (that's me) - I spend a fair share of time on my own recognisance.  Being an artist and writer, I don't necessarily like an audience while working, but I'm certainly more productive  at least knowing that someone is going to enjoy what I create.  Otherwise, I procrastinate, boredom eat,  fritter away time online, and am generally lazy - at least, artistically speaking.  Okay, okay, and generally speaking too!  Which is why dinner is often late, the carpet bears striking resemblance to the dog, and the furniture looks like it might be from a house in Pompeii.  Unfortunately for Sweetie Petite-y and her allergies, it would be better if she were here more during the day as a constant reminder of my responsibilities.

How about you?  Are you "good" on your own, or like me, would you be inclined to exercise more and binge less with your own personal trainer constantly hovering?  Would knowing your actions affected others make more of an impact if they were staring you constantly in the face (or sneezing into it!)?

I get tired of policing the family, tired of nagging and double checking.  Yes, the Critters do better when I'm watching, but sometimes I just want them to make those right choices without supervision.  And when they do, it makes me so happy and proud!*

I believe that must be how God feels.

Now... if only we'd remember that even when it seems like he's left the room, He's always watching...

* The Critters really rose to the occasion recently. They not only held down the fort while Hubby & I were away celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, but they handled the food preparation for the Thanksgiving feast all on their own!  Kudos, Critters!


(Sooooo...... you would really be doing me a favor if you checked in occasionally, and shared this link with your friends if you enjoy it! A click on the Top Mommy Blogs icon will boost my ratings too. Wanna help put me in the top 25?  I really am better with an audience, so the bigger, the better!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Time Vortex

FaceBook is a GREAT BIG time-sucking black hole! - But.... no offence, as the Critters would say.

I have only been on a few weeks, and am already wasting more time than with any other form of entertainment.  Because that's what it is - entertaining.  Especially if you're not so much active participant as spectator.  Not that I don't occasionally comment or even Like something.  I'm even catching on to emoticons, leaving the text language to the kids.  But, while I don't mind sharing a few personal tidbits on this rather anonymous blog, I'm hesitant to really put myself out there.  Contradictory as it is, I'm a very private, gregarious person.  Also, afraid of accidentally insulting someone who I can't see face to face.  I have a way of putting my foot in my mouth whenever I open it, so instead, opt to just put a sock in it. 

Most of the time.

Consider another time-sucking vortex: American political campaigns.  Why does it take four years (and billions of campaign $) when the last two weeks decides everything?  Not that I'm not glad its over....

Now combine the two and what do you have?  Endless confrontational rants by normally civil friends and relatives over increasingly polarized political viewpoints.  Eternally grateful that I refrained from entering the fray, I nonetheless eavesdropped on (was invited to witness?) the circus as it played out online.  It was more riveting than another Grisham novel....and just as unnecessary to read.

One thing that isn't a waste of time? Watching the Critters take to field and stage.  There have been far fewer instances of the former than latter, but then, theater blood runs through their veins.  After sitting through countless rehearsals over the years (they do summer children's theater too), and enjoying the vicarious thrill of applause for my offspring, recent performances in particular swelled this Momster's heart to overflowing.  Earlier in the year it was Firstborn as the Jester in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and, the very same weekend, Only Son, Third Child and Sweetie Petite-y were the Captain, Louisa and Brigitta Von Trapp respectively.  (As Maria in a former incarnation, that was especially sweet... the hills are alive!) Last weekend, Firstborn rocked her first college production as part of a six person cast in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) Revised.  If laughter is the best medicine, she provided a near fatal dose!  And here I sit, twenty-four hours after seeing Only Son crucified in Godspell, still  reflecting.  His performance (and Third Child's as part of the ensemble) was, well...divine.  What could make a mother more proud - or more humbled - than watching her offspring confidently proclaim the Good News to an enraptured audience?

Husband & I have been going around and around about how much time the Critters spend in theater related activities vs. other extra curriculars (not to mention how much time we spend driving them).  Popular theory is that they need to diversify to improve their chances at college scholarships.  But, will it really make them better individuals to comply with popular theory rather than focus on what they love and excel at?  Isn't time spent on a soccer field wasted when one is longing for the stage?  And how much time and energy should a parent waste being the bad guy when the payoff is so uncertain? Especially when it means encouraging your children to participate in mediocrity instead of striving for excellence?

Time is our most limited resource. I don't always use mine wisely, and neither do the Critters.  But since theirs is not something I can repay, I'd rather they not associate me with a GREAT BIG time-sucking vortex.  It's much more rewarding just being their loving, supportive Momster.


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hope your day is filled with much to be grateful for..... and I'd so be grateful if you would click on the Top Mommy Blogs icon to cast your vote!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Taking the Plunge

The world of technology is like the ocean.  Some people approach it with caution, sensing the awesome power of something so much bigger than themselves.  Wary of currents that might pull them under, they wade in slowly, and stay near shore.  Others dive right in, sink or swim, just knowing they wanna get wet.

I have been resisting Facebook since its inception.

After all, I am my father's daughter, a very social person.  I grew up being introduced to strangers like they were already friends, since Dad seemed to know everyone.  I like people, and usually (hopefully) they like me. But since becoming a mother, I have become leery and (over?)protective.  While the Critters are perfectly comfortable growing up in the techno-age, and see the connectedness of the web as normal, I'm constantly watching for the spiders waiting in the shadows. 

Firstborn, our guinea pig, was the last of her friends to take the plunge and "get connected".  Only Son was allowed to wade in a year earlier as a Sophomore, and Third Child dove right in  as soon as we let her her Freshman year.  Sweetie Petite-y just recently got email - no swimming in shark-infested water at our house until high school - and Bonus Baby is still in water-wings.  The ancient, hand-me-down computer  she uses isn't even hooked up to the web, though she knows how to surf for Dora games on my touchscreen like a pro.

As for myself, I've been content to scour the shore for treasures, occasionally dipping my toes in the water (email, web browsing and this blog), but otherwise content to play lifeguard.

All that changed when Firstborn went to college.  While she was more than eager to share photos and tidbits gleaned from her well-connected news feed, Only Son is only interested in the hilarious & freaky, and Third Child bristles at POS (Parent Over Shoulder - though I'm not "allowed" to use "breives" online).  Since they are both good kids (and because occasional POS happens or more stringent restrictions apply) I have finally decided its time to swim...........or at least float.  Hopefully not sink.

I quasi-set up my page and immediately friended several relatives (if I missed you, it was an oversight, not intentional - this family is HUGE!).  It was only then that I realized I only knew how to dog paddle and this was the Olympics.  Someone posted on my timeline, and I didn't even know I had one!

Mere minutes after I friended her, Firstborn sent me the following, used here with permission.  Apologies for the fine print, but click to enlarge and/or dig out your reading glasses over-thirty crowd :

Since keeping in touch with her was a motivating factor, I'm happy to abide by these "suggestions". 

And when I don't feel like following the rules, there's always this blog...

P.S.  Remember to vote for me!