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Why We Celebrated Christmas In May
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Mind What You Say To A Highly Literal Child
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Chat App Fatigue
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Kids Learning To Play Again: A Quarantine Positive
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Social Isolation Drinking

Why We Celebrated Christmas In May

I’m on my way out to buy ingredients for a full-on Christmas dinner. In May. And I need Christmasy cookies and eggnog if I can find it. I realize this is weird and probably impossible, but when you screw up royally and nearly ruin future Christmases, AGAIN, you do whatcha gotta do. *Updated… you won’t find Christmas desserts in May, so your husband will have to bake gingersnaps. They’ll taste awful because he’ll use buckwheat flour and half the sugar to make them healthier. Ew. You’ll eat one and fake fawn over it to make your daughter happy, but you’ll stifle a gag.  We’re celebrating Christmas in May because of the penguin. Let me explain… We have a stuffed penguin named Quacky. He’s our family’s version of the “Elf on the Shelf.”  I’ll spare you the ridiculous story. Let’s just say we misinterpreted the concept and made up our own version.  This morning, Avery put on her Elf movie t-shirt, just because she loves it. This inspired her to search for her dad’s Christmas sweater. Upon digging through his sweater drawer she discovered Quacky, hiding in the back. Oh holy night.  With a quivering chin she brought him to us and asked why[…]

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Mind What You Say To A Highly Literal Child

My daughter is literally the most literal person I know. Her brain is just wired that way.  If she asks for an extra big scoop of pasta and I say, “I hope your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach,” she’ll say, “Nope. My eyes are normal size.” Or if you tell her, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” she’ll ask, “Which bridge? Are we driving or walking over it? Can I pack a snack?”   Until recently, if I snuggled her and said, “You’re so delicious, I could just eat you up,” she’d wriggle away in protest and exclaim, “I’m not food!” She understands now that it’s an expression of affection, and that I won’t actually come at her with a fork.  I love a witty figure of speech, a pun, or clever turn-of-phrase, and use them often. As a rule, I think this is the best practise. How else will a child learn to communicate effectively if we don’t introduce modern vernacular and push the language bar? This morning I inadvertently pushed the bar too high. The horrified expression on my sweet girl’s face is burned on my brain; because her literal brain mistook my “tech specific” language for something alarmingly[…]

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Chat App Fatigue

Two months into this Covid-19 quarantine and we’re running out of things to talk about and  “Chat App Fatigue” has become an actual thing. With each day blending into the next, there isn’t really anything new to discuss. An outing to the grocery store or the latest new release on Netflix aren’t the most riveting topics.  But, as much as I struggle to keep the virtual conversation going, it’s become even more challenging for my kids. The older one isn’t chatty to begin with. He’d choose folding laundry or unloading the dishwasher over participating in a Facetime any day. He’s the strong silent type. My youngest on the other hand is the chattiest Cathy Avery you ever did meet. However, she’s struggling to find the words. Five minutes of a Google Meet, Zoom hangout, or Messenger Kids chat leaves her mentally exhausted. This particular case of Chat App Fatigue has reached its peak.  She still enjoys an “actionist” chat —the kind where she’s actively doing something like playing BINGO or playing pretend camping under blankets with ipads and flashlights, or singing along with a Disney princess from Frozen in a group Zoom call. She’s happy when there’s something to do.[…]

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Kids Learning To Play Again: A Quarantine Positive

I still can’t believe this is happening. It’s like we’re living out a Netflix series. I’ve shared a bit about my personal struggles with the stress and my OMG PTSD, and so many have reached out to tell me I’m not freaking out alone. Thanks for that.  This situation is disarming with obvious negatives.  But, during this scary pandemic, there are some unexpected positives. Here’s one.  Kids are kicking it old school and it’s refreshing. It feels like some kind of childhood reset. Kids are learning to play again—they’re imagining, crafting, and pretending. Not all day, every day. Let’s be real. My kids have spent way more time online than I care to admit. For e-learning of course, but also for fluffy entertainment. When I’m working and need to concentrate, my daughter is usually on a device. Sometimes she’s doing schoolwork. Sometimes she’s on a chat app talking to a friend. Sometimes she’s watching Ninja Kids TV (her current obsession) on You Tube. Even screenagers are starting to say enough is enough and have found other ways to entertain themselves… offline. OFFLINE—the mysterious place where we GenXers used to roam, free-range style, until the streetlights turned on. My son picked up his[…]

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Social Isolation Drinking

It’s no secret that I enjoy a peppery shiraz fireside or a frosty Corona with lime on the patio. The sound of a beer top being popped is one of my favourite summer sounds, second only to maybe cicadas or a distant lawn mower (not sure why I love that sound… probably a pleasant childhood core memory). Drinking is a big part of our social culture. “Wine-c’clock” has been glamourized and normalized. Blah, blah, old news. This post isn’t about that, or about binge drinking, or the health risks specific to woman and alcohol. Nobody wants to hear that right now. Epic buzz kill.  I’m not preaching the gospel of sober living. That would be rather hypocritical since chardonnay makes my day. That should really be on a t-shirt. Anyway, I just thought I’d bang out a few words about how this pandemic boozefest has become less of a supportive crutch and more of a hobbling. For ME, specifically.  As a rule, I rarely set out to get “drunk.” I don’t actually like the spacey feeling of being intoxicated. It’s probably a type A personality, first-born, controlling Capricorn kind of thing. I like to be in control at all times. That’s likely a[…]

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