What do parents do? An interview with a six-year-old.

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Do you ever wonder what kids think about adults? Ask any child to describe an aspect of adult life and you will find an explanation that is most likely quite funny, but also very different from how you would explain it. In an effort to highlight just how differently kids and adults think, I interviewed my six-year-old son to see what he thinks the role of a parent is.

Me: What is the role of a parent?

Riley: To go to work and make money for their home and help their child’s future.

(This was a real eye opener. I promise that we love him as well. Geez.)

Me: Why do parents make rules?

Riley: To keep their kids safe.

Me: What do parents do for fun?

Riley: Try and take kids to places that are fun, which is usually toy stores and other fun places.

(I guess he’s noticed that we don’t do much without him anymore, but I have to admit, that I have gone to the toy store by myself before. He’s going to be so pissed when he finds out!)

Me: What makes parents angry/happy?

Riley: Parents get angry if their child does not respect the rules that they make or if someone has been rude to their child. They are happy when the child respects rules and respects them; having a family.

(Nailed that one buddy! Although I have to say that hugs make me happy too!)

Me: How old to you have to be to be a parent. Why?

Riley: Past any teen numbers. Because then you know everything you need from the parents you used to have.

(Apparently I don’t have parents anymore.)

Me: If you were a parent what would you do?

Riley: I would buy a house and get a wife. I would have kids and I would help their future by teaching them life lessons, feeding them, and giving them money for college.

(Well, at least he’s going to feed his kids, that’s good.)

Me: Is it fun to be a parent? Why?

Riley: Sometimes, if your child is nice. It’s fun to have kids, a mortgage, and a home.

(Yep, super fun to have a mortgage.)

Me: Why do you love your parents?

Riley: They help me every step of the way and they do everything they can to keep me safe, and they love me.

(Spot on, buddy.)

If you have access to a small child, ask them what they think about your role as a parent or for further laughs, ask them what they think about other topics such as: marriage, work, responsibilities, aging.

Enjoy!

Jodi

Would You Rather…

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Have you ever played the game Would You Rather? If not, it’s basically a game where one person asks another person to choose between two, equally horrible scenarios. There is never a winner, just laughs and the occasional, “I just threw up in my mouth a little.” My son has a kid friendly version of this that he likes to play while we are driving in the car. One day, while being forced to choose between having cherry flavored earwax and a slushy made out of Saint Bernard slobber, I came to realize that I play this game all the time. I don’t have to make gross choices like the ones my son gives me, but I do have to decide between options for various circumstances on a daily basis. For example, would I rather sit and watch the squirrels chase each other or empty the dishwasher? Squirrels win every time.

I make these decisions daily without even knowing what I am doing. It’s not until I am faced with two extraordinary or hard choices that I actually pay attention to my decision making process. This is why games like, Would You Rather are good to play. Those questions, as inappropriate as they are, force us to stop and think about what we like or don’t like, why we like it, and what is going to produce the best outcome. They jar us out of the doldrums of decision-making and that is what we are going to do here today.

WOULD YOU RATHER:

  • Eat a gallon of ice cream or an entire cake?
  • Run in a marathon or swim five miles?
  • Quit your job and become a street performer or add 20 more work hours to your week?
  • Play golf with Tiger Woods or play basketball with Michael Jordan?
  • Climb Mount Everest or write a novel?
  • Be married or be single?
  • Live in the city of your choice or live in the country?

Okay, these aren’t terribly exciting questions, but they do hit on different aspects of life: diet, exercise, work, etc. Did you think about the choices or did you just make a quick decision? Give yourself the opportunity to think of why you chose one option over the other, you may learn a little more about yourself. Or, play the game just for the heck of it, it’s quite funny and pairs nicely with a few beers and or vodka tonics!

March Madness is exactly that- Madness!

March (noun)-

The third month of the year, containing 31 days, 15 of which are consumed by college basketball.

That is my definition of March. I used to think it came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. It gave me reason to drink green beer. At one point March signified the end of winter, but now it means background noise of whistles, squeaking shoes, and cheering, weeks worth of kissing my husband goodbye as we part to watch T.V in opposite rooms, and the ever dreaded pressure to create a bracket. For me it starts around March 5th and goes something like this:

March 5th– Crap, two weeks until March Madness.

March 12th– The first time I shoot down creating a bracket.

March 16th– The second time I shoot down creating a bracket.

March 18th– Fine, I’ll make a bracket, but I’m making it based on what teams I want to win, not what is actually realistic. Looks like this-

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Yea, that’s right, I picked them according to which mascots I liked better. It got really hard when faced with the possibility of a Wildcat going up against another Wildcat so I had to mix it up and throw a Badger in there.

March 20th– Husband wants to go out to watch the games. See ya! I’m watching Glee.

March 21st– The first round results are in. Don’t care.

March 22nd– Husband informs me that one of my final two was upset. Sounds great, I’m trying to read.

And so on.

I understand how not being a big sports fan in general may cause me to not fully grasp the importance of this tournament, but is it possible that weeks worth of basically 24 hour college basketball is just a bit much? If we were to reexamine what March can mean, does it make sense to sit inside and mindlessly watch basketball when it’s finally sunny and warmer outside? Argh!

It’s fine. I think I will just add it to the list of things that I don’t understand about life, right under why God created spiders. Thankfully, it all ends April 6th. Wait, that’s opening day for baseball. Sigh…

The little surprises of aging

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When was the last time you claimed your half birthday? Were you 12, 15, 29? At my age half birthdays are red flags warning me that I only have 6 more months until I have to admit that I am aging. I like to think that I have retained some of my youthfulness over the years, but the fact of the matter is, things have changed. I’m not against aging as it is inevitable and fighting it costs too much, but I find myself surprised at times at what does change with age. For example:

  1. More often than not I wake up in the morning and expect the lines on my face to disappear as if they were pillow marks. Um no, those are your new wrinkles. Have a good day!
  2. Sure, go out and enjoy a night of drinking, but be prepared to spend the next three days paying for it.
  3. Who the hell are some of these kids accepting movie, T.V., and music awards?
  4. I find myself afraid of teenagers, especially the ones who have just gotten their drivers licenses. Their thumb muscles are abnormally strong from all of that texting, they are unpredictable and impulsive, and they listen to crazy music.
  5. I really don’t mind staying in on Friday evenings. I don’t mind staying in on Saturday evenings either.
  6. It’s 9:00pm? Sounds like bedtime to me! Thank goodness for DVR. I can catch up on the late night shows the next day.
  7. I’m not sure that I can pull of those new sports leisure pants and the crop tops that are now in style.

I’m not sure why I expected my life to stay as that of a 25 year old. I knew about wrinkles, crepe paper skin, and early bird specials, those are the obvious changes with age. I was not aware of the rest. In fact, I told myself that I would always stay up to date on the latest fashion trends, listen to current music, and remain a night owl, but when it comes down to it, I’m relieved to not have to live that life anymore. It was exhausting, truly the life for someone with the energy of a caffeinated toddler. What I do now works for me and I am guessing even that will change. Am I ready for more surprises? (Hesitates to answer for at least 5 min.) Fine, I may embrace them with grace, and then again I may look into just how much a good fight costs.

What has surprised you when it comes to aging?

Cheers to timelessness,

Jodi

Why are we friends? A look into how people build friendships.

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Webster’s definition of “Friend” is: A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; a person who gives assistance; supporter. An evening that I had recently proved to me that friendship is much more than something as simple as affection. It is feeling completely comfortable with someone even if you haven’t seen them in a while, it’s side splitting laughter, it’s candidness, and teasing without hard feelings because, hey, we’re friends and we can take it and give it with nothing but love. True friendship is not just being a supporter, it’s knowing how to support. It’s knowing when to help and when to keep quiet. Most of all, friendship is acceptance and love that has no agenda and doesn’t have to follow the same “rules” of other relationships.

I’m sure by now you are thinking of the friends in your life, perhaps recalling time spent laughing, an issue you supported your friend through, or a bender you went on in Acapulco together. Have you ever wondered what makes you friends in the first place? I mean, I can be friendly with a lot of people, but there are few that I would share my feelings with at 11:00 at night while sitting in my pajamas, eating a pint of ice cream. So, why are we friends with our friends? Here are five factors that help us choose who we become friends with.

  1. Proximity: We tend to live near the people that we are friends with. I’m not sure how Skype or Facetime plays in to this, but for now I can understand how it’s easier to become and stay friends with people who you see more often.
  2. Association: We form opinions of other people based on how we currently feel. For example, if you hate your job, then you will associate those negative feelings with the people that you work with and will be less likely to form a friendly relationship with them.
  3. Similarity: Expanding on the example above, let’s say you are getting sloshed at a work party, because 1. You hate work parties and 2. Listening to your coworkers Karaoke is making you dislike them even more. An equally drunk colleague comes over and starts complaining about the very job that you hate. Bing Bang Boom, you have a new friend. The similar hatred of work and Karaoke, coupled with the dual appreciation of a good martini has forged a new friendship.
  4. Reciprocal liking: Twitter and Facebook capitalize on this rule. I’ll like you if you like me.
  5. Attractiveness: Don’t scoff at this one, you know, deep down inside that this has merit, as shallow as it seems. We tend to be friends with people who we think are attractive and who are close to how we see our own attractiveness. To makes you feel less superficial, attractiveness can be broken down into subcategories:
  • Physical Attractiveness
  • Sense of Humor
  • Education
  • Wealth

If education is more important to you then you will look for a friend that is as educated, if not more, than you are. Same goes for the rest. It’s all about what you assign importance to.

I ask you to think of your friends again. This time, try to remember how you became friends with them. Did you live down the street from your best friend? Did you meet at an art show? Did you take classes together in graduate school and you sat next to her because she was not only smart, but also pretty and funny? Now, what has made the friendship develop into more than just affection? Do you still live near each other? Do you both enjoy skeet shooting? Maybe it’s all of the laughs you have or even the tears you’ve shed? Here’s an exercise in understanding the basis of your friendship and what keeps it going. Share it with your friend as a friendship check in!

My friend is _________________________________________________________________________________

I met him/her _______________________________________________________________________________

I knew we would be friends when _________________________________________________________

We both like __________________________________________________________________________________

I appreciate my friend for ___________________________________________________________________

My friend has helped me____________________________________________________________________

We probably shouldn’t have ________________________________________________________________

We laughed the hardest when ______________________________________________________________

Where were you when…

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It’s late, you’re curled up on the couch, nursing a nightcap while reminiscing with friends about the old days. Nostalgia takes a turn and heads straight for the morose when someone asks, “Hey, do you remember where you were when the Challenger exploded?” This question of course is a result of talking about material posted on FaceBook and the many articles commemorating the 29th anniversary of the tragedy. Further conversation is built upon that topic as you each take turns exploring your memories of other significant events in history. The evening ends with everyone feeling emotionally spent, but in awe at how well your memories work despite age and drinks consumed.

You see memories aren’t always reliable, but when something significant occurs our brains sit up straight and pay closer attention. For example, I can’t remember the details of what I did last Monday, but I can remember everything about the morning of September 11th. The term for these types of memories is, Flashbulb Memories. They are very clear, detailed recollections of events that happened as long as decades ago and are said to be so vividly complete because of their emotional importance to us (Brown&Kulik, 1977). These memories not only bring back the details of the event and where we were in relation to it, but the emotion, albeit not as acute.

The topic of this post came to me while reading about the Challenger and I was struck at the memories that came flooding back. I don’t remember everything, but I do remember where I was and that I was confused and scared more by my teachers reactions. A lot has happened in the world since then. Some I remember easily and with great detail, others I had forgotten about and was reminded of as I wrote this post. We have endured many horrific events, but there are also some amazing, inspiring, historical incidents that are equally as important in they way they affect us. Do you remember where you were when…

  • President Kennedy was assassinated? (1963)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated? (1968)
  • First man landed on the moon? (1969)
  • Woodstock festival? (1969)
  • Elvis died? (1977)
  • The Berlin Wall came down? (1989)
  • OJ was acquitted? (1995)
  • Princess Diana was killed? (1997)
  • 9/11 attacks? (2001)
  • The Asian tsunami hit? (2004)
  • Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans? (2005)
  • Barack Obama became president? (2009)

So when you’re hanging out with your friends or family, and you find the conversation winding down, throw out one of these doozies and see what people remember. Make sure you include the happy memories or one nightcap may turn into three.

A little advice for my younger self.

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This past weekend I went to Kalamazoo (for all of you non-Michiganders, yes, it’s a real city) to visit the old college town. I am still reeling from how different it is now from when I went there 15 years ago. Excited to see the school and experience what made college so great (*cough* the bars *cough* ) I pumped myself up to relive one of the best times of my life just for a night. And then it happened.

-The restaurant/bar that I worked at my senior year, the place where I spent equal amounts of time working and playing, had closed.

-The bar that everyone went to Thursday nights for $5.00 pitchers of mixed drinks (I’m surprised my liver functions as well as it does) was no longer the hot spot.

-Whatever entertainment was left included some very bad singing on behalf of the piano bar employees and another place that mixed bull riding with the screeching of a metal band.

CRASH! There went my expectations of reliving the fun of college. We still had a good time, but most of it was back in the hotel room where we listened to 90’s R&B while playing card games. Waking up in the morning was no real joy either and reminded me once again that things are different now. I’m different, what I like is seemingly much different, and it took that kind of night to tell me. The thing is, I don’t mind. I’ve grown up and know a lot more now than I did then, like it’s really not a good idea to walk through the woods by yourself to get home after a night out. I loved college though and despite all of the ridiculous things that I did, I survived and managed to get a degree out of it. It wasn’t perfect, nor should it have been, but if I could give my 18-21 year old self some advice just to smooth out the experience I think I would say:

  1. Try wearing something other than black pants when you go out. Also, let’s leave some to the imagination with those shirts eh?
  2. The professor can still see that your sleeping regardless of where you sit in the room so make more of an effort to stay awake.
  3. If you are that tired, don’t go out Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.
  4. Buying a planner is pointless if you don’t use it. Organize yourself then maybe you won’t forget when you need to study.
  5. You probably shouldn’t wear that to a house party thrown by someone you don’t know. Actually, you probably shouldn’t go to a stranger’s house even if you’re with a friend.
  6. Wear sunscreen would ya? Yes, golden skin looks much better with your black pants and bar tops, but just think of what your skin is going to look like in 15 years.
  7. Oh, it’s hard to go to school and have a part time job? Just wait until you have kids (laughs maniacally).
  8. Stop complaining about the way you look. You don’t even have cellulite yet, sheesh.
  9. It might be a good idea to save some of that money. You don’t need to spend so much when you go out, especially if the pitchers are only $5.
  10. You need to work hard, but don’t work for what you think life is going to be like once you are done with school. It won’t be that way, not even close.

Could I have used that advice? Sure and it’s possible that it was given to me at some point. Would I have used it? Um, no, I was young and needed to learn my lessons even if I am paying for them now with sun damage and only student loans to remind me that I took some classes. It’s an interesting exercise though, giving the old me advice considering that the old me made the current me. What advice would you give to your younger self? Enjoy the trip down memory lane!

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