Before I get into today’s main topic and talk to you about how to build a reading habit in children, I’ll tell you a rather enlightening anecdote in this regard. I have bought a great book. A great, great book. Pure literature. The kind of book you don’t understand a word. But it looks cool under my arm: the book cover matches my shoes.
Going to the beach with kids makes you realize a lot of things. I don’t understand how the idea of going to the beach makes people so excited. Starting with me. Let me be clear. I’m not thinking of a deserted beach in the Caribbean, with white sand and turquoise water, where palm trees lean over the sea defying gravity, etc. I’m talking about an overcrowded-grey-sand-turbid-waters type of beach, where the only thing that leans over the sea and defies the law of gravity is your flesh after three pregnancies. Every year I can’t wait to go there, and every year I can’t wait to LEAVE.
Today I’m going to talk to you about the benefits of watching movies for children. Yes, movies. That thing I haven’t had any contact with since Emma was born. I’m sure any real-life mom will agree with me when I say that, for me, movies now only have beginnings: ten tiny minutes during which you’re filled with faith and think that your children will stay away while you enjoy a good movie after lunch. Ha! I don’t even remember how many times I fell for that one … You start by putting your feet up on the couch, and pulling the blanket a little bit … and next thing you know, they are on top of you screaming in your ear.
The other day I saw a documentary from the 60s when people really started “going on holiday” in the summer. They weren’t afraid of packing with children then! The whole family could fit into a Chevy. And when I say the whole family I mean the father, the mother, the four kids, grandma, and grandpa… And even a canary cage! Really? In the roof rack, two small suitcases. REALLY?
Traveling with children dramatically changes the idea of what travel means. I have friends who are “backpacking” mothers. Or so they say… although I don’t really believe it. Or maybe they have the wrong concept of what a backpacker is… The first principle of every backpacker is freedom, uncertainty, the ability to improvise… concepts that clash head-on with the condition of being parents and, therefore, with the fact of traveling with children.
The other day I was thinking about how to tackle environmental education with my children and how parents should address issues such as responsible consumption, environmental sustainability, ecological footprint, or the importance of recycling. To do this, I went back to the time when I started recycling… What a memory! How beautiful it was. And how important we felt sorting waste. Once, I even cleaned my waste before taking it to the dumpster!
Experts say kids should eat vegetables. And kids say experts should eat them! Meanwhile, here we are, mothers, caught in the middle of that crossfire, pulling out crazy tricks for children to eat vegetables. I’ve tried everything, even marketing tactics: I once dressed up as a VIP! (Very Important Pea). You may think it’s crazy… and it is… but, let’s see, I said to myself: a mascot always works. Well, it’s clear that, in this case, it didn’t: while Marie and Emma looked at me with a mocking look, David broke down in tears, heartbroken. I suppose he thought that the giant pea had eaten his mother.
Being a mom is never easy, but being a mom during confinement is a different story. Today I’d like to discuss the subject of homework assignments. Come on! The very first day they sent things to print. Who the hell has a printer at home anymore! Documents are printed at work, that is a fact! Just because I’m working from home doesn’t mean I have a printer AT home. Alright? On the second day, they sent out an educational website. Very nice, if it wasn’t for the fact that it required Flash Player! Are you kidding me? Since when you don’t renew content, since Y2K? Craft activities have reached a whole new level. Was it just me, or did they send you all the activities to do with toilet paper towels? In the middle of the toilet paper crisis! Now that I think about it, maybe the school crafts were the reason for the shortage.
Being a mom during confinement means to multiply yourself at least three times. Remember when we thought confinement was going to end by Easter? Look, a chance to get the work-life balance! That is what most mums thought … What fools we were! What a childish innocence! … More than a month later, locked up at home with three children, with homework, working from home and the news, I realize how fine the line is between conciliation and being a geek. To be a mother in quarantine.
When you become a mother, you’re given superpowers. For example, you can now taste food at magma temperature without getting burned, you’re able to develop cheetah reflexes, and you’re surprisingly able to smash any kind of insect, no matter how big and hairy it is. But life isn’t all that rosy! With the first child, many fears of motherhood (a.k.a maternal neurosis) appear. You know, that thing that makes us suddenly crazy if we lose sight of our kid even though it’s only for a thousandth of a second.