These Are The Days

Smart ~ Writer ~ Mom

Month: February 2014 (page 1 of 2)


I just read this piece on NPR “ORPHANS’ LONELY BEGINNINGS REVEAL HOW PARENTS SHAPE A CHILD’S BRAIN” and it makes my heart hurt.

I struggle every day with inadequacy. Am I doing enough? Am I paying enough attention? Do they know how much I love them?

I wonder if my girls only think of me as the one that does the cooking and the cleaning and all that clickety-clack typing on the computer.

And then I read an article like this and it makes me want to run (swim) and run some more to Romania and scoop up the kids in these pictures and hug them and laugh and smile and play dolls and build blocks and sing the ABCs and color and run and jump and giggle…

And then I find myself wanting to go upstairs and look at my two girls as they sleep and know that no matter how shitty a parent I sometimes think I am, we’re all pretty lucky.



52 Weeks of Sisterhood: Teamwork

My girls don’t always get along.

Their seven year age difference is part of the reason. But when they do get along it makes my heart happy.

We’ve had way too much snow recently and it’s resulted in either school cancellations or two hour delayed openings for big sister. The most recent two-hour delay day happened to fall on the day little sister has her swimming class. So we all piled into the car and headed to the Y with plans to go to swim class and then rush home to get big sister on the school bus by 10am.

She wasn’t happy about having to rush. She wanted to stay home in her jammies for a bit longer and play on the latest tween obsession “Wee World.” Don’t ask.

But off we went. We sat on the bleachers alongside the pool, sweating and breathing in the humidity. We watched my little one practice her kicks and put her face in the water to blow bubbles. The class is only 30 minutes, but my older daughter’s face looked like she’d been there for days.

But then something cool happened. The teacher asked her class of toddlers if they wanted to swim the length of the pool to the deep end using their little floaties. Their eyes widened for a second before they all squealed and shouted, “Yay! Yay!”

The class slowly began kicking, making their way out of the shallow end. They swam in the crookedest line ever, but it was really cute. There are only three of them, but they each had a little cheering section on the bleachers. Kick. Kick. Kick. They were in the middle of the pool – headed straight for the deep end – when big sister got up and ran alongside the pool to the deep end. (Note: the lifeguards yelled at her for running, but she didn’t care.) She crouched down at the edge of the pool and started cheering and cheering and cheering for her little sister. “C’mon you can do it! You’re almost there!”

When the little one finally made it – all red-faced and breathless – it was her big sister who jumped up as if she had just won the kid lottery. And then she told her, “You did it! I’m so proud of you!” And my heart swooned.

Of course, on the way home, they fought about who was allowed to sing the Frozen songs. (For the record, my little one prefers to sing ALL BY HERSELF. Holy high maintenance.)

But I didn’t let it ruin my moment.

p.s. Cell phones aren’t permitted in the pool area so I failed to get a shot of little one kicking her heart out. So I include this one instead.

52 weeks of sisterhood

Holding hands so they don’t slip on the snow…


When You Held Your Breath To Find Out If School Was Closed

The view from our home - with a photobomb by the snowplow truck.

The view from our home – with a photobomb by the snowplow truck.

As I’m writing, snowpocalypse is raging outside my window. Another 10 inches or so is expected in our neighborhood. All this on top of the foot or more already covering the sides of the roads and everyone’s front lawns. I don’t mind the snow so much, especially now since I work from home and a daily commute is not something I have to deal with. It really is pretty to look at. But it’s getting old as we reach mid-February.

We found out last night that school would be closed today for my nine-year old. The list of school names – neatly arranged by county – scrolled along the bottom of the local New Jersey news station a good five hours before a single flake fell. We also received text messages and phone calls last night from an automated notification system – about the “impending weather.”

Now what fun is that?

I remember as a kid waking up early, raising the window shades and seeing the most glorious sight – SNOW! We’d run to the dining room, turn on our big stereo and tune it to the local station that was listing off all the school closings. The sound was all static and grainy – a sign of the times before satellite and digital radio. The announcers would list the names alphabetically. Our town began with “M” and we usually tuned in when they were somewhere at “S.” So we’d have to wait for them to loop around and begin again. Without fail, our town was one of the last to decide to close. I grew up in Melrose. And this is what we would hear:

Malden, Medfield, Medway, Middleton, Milton….

Melrose should fit neatly between Medway and Middleton, right? But it never did. At least not on the first read-through.

No, it wasn’t until after I had taken a shower, gotten dressed, had breakfast and was ready to go.

We’d listen one more time…Malden, Medfield, Medway, MELROSE, Middleton, Milton…


Back in our jammies for a day full of cartoons and sitcoms 🙂

52 Weeks of Sisterhood: Paging Doc McStuffins

(Disclaimer: I realize these are supposed to be weekly posts, per the title. But I got a late start, so I’m catching up. This one gets me current through the end of January, which is fine with me)

My girls are quite healthy. Sickness is rare in our home. *excuse me while I go find some wood to knock on*

I know how lucky we are.

Part of the reason they don’t generally get the normal colds, coughs, etc. is because I’m a total freak when it comes to hand sanitizer. There are easily four bottles in my purse on any given day.

But we’re not always immune when the stomach bug makes its rounds. Such was the case for my older daughter last week.

Luckily it didn’t last for long, and so as soon as she started to feel better, her trusty sidekick was right there with her “Doc McStuffins” tools to help fix her up and make her feel better. Have you seen this adorable character from the Disney Channel? So cute – and it’s such a good show. It usually has a good story, a nice lesson and a cute little song. I even watch it sometimes when no one under the age of 9 is home. Well that’s not weird at all, right?

52 weeks of sisterhood

Doc McStuffins taking care of her big sister

Anyway, she’s got the whole doctor bag going on. And she can tell you the names of all her tools in her little two year old voice. Otoscope. Stethoscope. Bandaid. Needle for a shot.

She was even Doc McStuffins for Halloween.

If one of us isn’t feeling well, we can always count on our little Doc McStuffins to sing some songs and help us feel better.

Doc McStuffins

My little Doc McStuffins

McDonalds Needs a New PR Person

Did you hear the latest about a plastic ingredient in the bread that Subway makes and sells? A very persistent blogger called them out on it. Apparently the ingredient they’ve been using for their bread is also found in plastics and is used to make things like yoga mats. The substance – azodicarbonamide – is apparently banned in Europe as being unsafe and has been shown to cause respiratory issues and to exacerbate allergies. But it’s OK here, I guess. Other fast food companies use it, too.


Subway issued a statement and claimed they would  remove it from all their products although they didn’t say when. Burger King, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Wendy’s and others use it too in some of their food products. Most of the fast food places said they’d reevaluate the use or look into the studies further to determine how and if it affects people. But the response from McDonald’s bugged me.

When asked for a comment, McDonalds said, “What? A toxic ingredient? Ah screw it, the FDA approves it so we’re just gonna keep on using it to make the yummy tasting products that our suckers continue to buy.”

Maybe that’s not an exact quote but that’s basically what they said.

Whatever happened to good public relations? To good customer service? Getting out ahead of a bad story? Doing the right thing? Out the window.

My family used to visit McDonald’s on a semi-regular basis. Mostly as a pit stop when traveling. The occasional hamburger here and there won’t kill you, right? Plus I was always in love with my annual Big Mac. The caloric consumption was so great and the deed so sinful that I relegated myself to a once-a-year “treat.” Our visits have waned over the years and thankfully neither of my girls are addicted to the lure of Happy Meals. I realize there are bigger mountains to die on, but for goodness sake now that we know how icky this ingredient is, why on Earth would you put it in your body?

This from the woman who still consumes diet coke with a vengeance. I know it’s poison, but I drink it in full knowledge. I’m not perfect.

I’m disappointed in McDonald’s. And so I’ve signed the petition to speak up and get my voice heard. She has more than 78,000 signatures so far.

I won’t be visiting McDonald’s anytime soon. But if they happen to be part of those pit stop mega-restaurant places, at least I know I can practice my yoga.

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