Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Yo Ho Ho...Geek Parents Plan a Disney Scavanger Hunt for Christmas

Nathan (4) and Inara (6) got tickets to Disney Pirate Princess Jr. Live from Santa. As parents, we were worried that they would be under whelmed by an envelope from Santa. Peter Pan left a series of clues for our kiddos that sent them on a pirate adventure. Four treasure chests, 1 mile, a sunken bottle and some pixie dust later and our kids saved Christmas. Hook had stolen both their present from Santa and the puppies gifts: they had to follow the clues to save Christmas.

First, the kids found a box with instructions that they had to find 3 gold doubloons and hand them to their 6 foot tall grandpa to retrieve their first clue (it was on top of the tree). In line with the magic of Christmas, the children did not attempt to ask grandpa to get them their clue without paying Peter Pan’s requested toll.

We are very lucky to have a relative within walking distance. The first clue told the kids they had to walk 4 blocks to their great-grandma’s (GG) and save her from dragons. When they arrived she informed them the dragons were shy and they would have to find them. They found the clue and the box informed them they had to find a bridge (back to our grandparents house).

As the kids, still in their PJ’s ran enthusiastically back to their starting point. Our son hit every passing bush with his sword just in case Hook was hiding. Our daughter sang Jake & the Neverland pirates song at the top of her lungs. Neighbors arriving to celebrate Christmas in their driveways waved and laughed as though children in their PJ’s dressed like pirates is perfectly normal.

As we walked home the magical iphone informed us that the next clue had sunk. Grandpa saved the day and pulled it out to shore before the little ones arrived.

When we arrived back at the driveway our 6-year old remarked “why did we just walked all that way, instead of taking the car?”

After providing the puppies with their Christmas treats the kiddos returned to the map.

It took a little searching but they found their bottle washed ashore which prompted them to follow the pixie dust to the final clue. The final box was suspended in air and the kids had to chant

“Yo Ho, Hook Let the Box Go” -- 3 x’s - while throwing pixie dust everywhere.

It will likely not surprise any parents that our kids were much more excited about the treasure chest and gold chocolate than the tickets to the show. It is almost 10 am and they have not opened another gift. They are still relishing in the excitement of their adventure to save Christmas.

Thanks to all the relatives and friends that helped coordinate. Thanks to my awesome partner who painted treasure maps, rigged up floating treasure chests, used his modeling paint to decorate authentic chests.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Feminist Parenting

My daughter is a brilliant artist who is great at math and just turned six-years old. It is said all to often that they grow so quickly. What surprises me the most is how much my thoughts on feminist parenting have changed over the last six years.

When I found out I was pregnant I did not want to know the gender of my child. Much to our family’s dismay, we bought neutral clothing, bedding and toys and I was determined not to gender my child. If someone told me that I would enjoy purchasing hairbows and tutus I would have laughed hysterically: I love buying bows and the bigger the better.

For her birthday my daughter requested a trip to the Los Angeles Natural History Museum and wore said bows and an adorably gaudy green St. Patrick’s tutu. As she pranced around looking at dinosaur bones and reading plaques I watched grateful to have such a unique and adorable daughter.

One area of improvement is that I need to work on what I say in front of her because she will always repeat it and sometimes it makes me so happy she did.

To the parents at her school who bring their children McDonald’s for lunch and my daughter shared concern for their well being.

What I said: We do not eat at McDonald’s because it is poison.
What I meant: We do not eat at McDonald’s because it is poison.

For the little girls who dressed up like Monster High dolls on Halloween and had encounters with my daughter and were very confused.

What I said: Monster High Dolls are too hoochie.
What I meant: Monster High dolls are too provocative for your age group. As toys they should have less make up and more clothing if they are going to marketed to young girls. The hypersexualization of children’s toys is to widely accepted and just because they are ‘monsters’ does not mean that they do not objectify women.

For the woman at Target who recommended the term “special place” and was aghast as my daughter shared an all to common refrain with her brother.

What I said: Don’t touch your penis please. (to my son)
What I meant: Don’t touch your penis in public.

As our children grow we must protect them but also embrace the people they become (huge bows and all). Most importantly I remember that the way I love myself projects the capacity my daughter will have for self-love.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Getting Better

Carrying my children to bed, teaching and practicing yoga, spooning with my husband and writing papers for my Doctoral program have been painfully impossible tasks since my scooter accident on January 16th. On Wednesday I got my second cast removed and I wanted to celebrate 3 small moments from this week that I did not realize I missed so dearly.

Brushing Hair

Much to my chagrin my 5-year old daughter Inara has beautiful, thick and very long hair. I complain pretty regularly about styling her hair because I often go a few days without brushing my own. Losing function in my left arm made me realize that losing that extra 20 minutes a day fighting to make the tangled mess in my daughters hair somewhat presentable is a special time we get together. John does a great job with bumpy ponytails accompanied by large hair bows but I miss the time we spend together each day getting through this ritual.

Video Games

Many people know that this blog started as a space to vent about marriage, parenthood and gaming. It is difficult to use a controller with one hand. My 4-year old son was in the hospital for a serious infection. His room at Memorial hospital had an Xbox and as per usual he asked me to jump a platform he was struggling with. Such a small request became a difficult moment for me and I am so glad when he asked to play Castle Crasher this week that I know I will do better (not good but better).

Reading Books

It is awkward, uncomfortable and difficult to read a book or nook with only one hand. I took for granted bubble baths and late night reading where I swapped hands and turned pages with ease. I love to read paranormal romance (Patricia Briggs, Laura Hamilton, PC Cast), fun mysteries (Evanovich) and trashy romance novels (any NY times best sellers). Being able to read a book to unwind without being in physical pain is a remarkable improvement in my life.

While I was recovering my daughter did cover my cast in jewels which made me look way more artistic than I really am. I also learned a lot about myself. I discovered I find jazz music incredibly soothing and that as much as I have resisted a housekeeper sometimes its good to ask for help.

There is still numbness, limitations and pain but each day I am getting a bit stronger. I accept that I will not be as I was before but that does not mean I cannot get better.