Blue Lights, Growing Old and Conversations with Kids

If you look closely enough, you can see blue lights flashing among the sea of white lights when the metro train whooshes in the underground tunnels.

The kids and I make a game of it. Whoever sees the most blue flashes wins.

The 4 year old always wins. For some reason she sees thousands even though she can’t count past 40.

The more time I spend with kids the more I appreciate their knack for seeing things we adults can’t see. I think I like it even more when they own it and do it on purpose.

When they tell you impossible things with a big smile on their faces you can’t help but play along.

It always makes for interesting conversations.

I never intended to become a nanny, I was supposed to go to grad school and become a great psychologist but I realized I’d be in the wrong line of work.

I was looking for conversations that made life seem like it was beautiful and simple, not scary and complicated.

That’s the sad part of growing up, the older we get, the more what we say gets weighed down by the ugly things we’ve learned about the world.

One time after our little game I asked if she planned to count all the blue lights to infinity.

Of course she said yes.

“Do you know what infinity means?”

She said yes.

I informed her that even if I counted from this very moment until the day I died I wouldn’t be done.

She looked at me for a moment, processing the information. She then asked me this:

“Can God count to infinity?”

*Photo Credit: saori usuki flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Animals as Family Members

I stumbled upon an article this week about a judge’s ruling in a divorce case in which the defendants fought over custody of their dog.

The judge decried the whole matter saying it was an outrageous loss of judicial resources. His exact words were that it was “wasteful” and “demeaning” to bring such a dispute to court.

The court ruled in short that:

Dogs are property and not family; thus fighting over visitation rights is pointless. 

Dogs were relegated to the same status as butter knives in a divorcing couple’s drawer.

The scary thing is I didn’t make this up. The judge actually used the butter knives example in his 15 pages decision ruling.

“Am I to make an order that one party have interim possession of [for example] the family butter knives but, due to a deep attachment to both butter and those knives, order that the other party have limited access to those knives for 1.5 hours per week to butter his or her toast?”

The whole thing is grossing me out so much that I’ve been thinking about it all day.

The “dogs are wonderful creatures but it’s still just a dog” saying rings true to so many people. You’ll see if you scroll down the comments.

It seems like even the most esteemed animals can’t catch a break.

If pets are on the same level as kitchen utensils, merely cared for out of sentimentality and practicality, I don’t know how all other animals ever stand a chance.

The truth is and I’m sure a lot of people can relate, the animals that we share our existence with are not inanimate objects. Sure we care deeply for them but not because of everything they add to our life. (Although the cuddles are always nice)

But because of the relationship we form with them.

You can’t interact with your possessions. And no Siri doesn’t count.

A lot of people say animals are our friends.

But to me, animals can and are family.

What do you think?

I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.

 

*Photo Credit: University of Liverpool Faculty of Health and Life Sciences flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Believing In Magic

This is the best time of the year. The only point in time where we make it our duty to encourage children to suspend their disbelief.

While it’s true that most kids have an imaginary friend and like to partake in pretend play, they are a lot more rational than we give them credit for.

When in doubt or uncertainty, they turn to the person who they know to be the most knowledgeable and critical about the world. Grown-ups.

Honestly, it’s not a laughable strategy. We look up to doctors, lawyers, professionals of all types.

I was made to believe in all sorts of magical things as a child. Santa Claus was not the most prominent figure by any means.

I was.

I made a potion when I was 6 that changed my life forever. It was a sub par version of the green slimy bubbling mixture from a real witch’s cauldron. For one, I had no grimoire. Secondly, the only green came from my dad’s mint flavored toothpaste.

I knew deep down that my bowl of water with bits of condiments and personal hygiene products was a total sham.

However my dad disappeared in the shower after tasting it. My mom freaked out. He came back and told me he was sent back to his previous life.

I had powers.

I truly believed I did for years.

I couldn’t explain why my parents would go out of their way to create such a charade for no reason that I could see.

It was easier to see myself as a witch then to fathom the idea that my parents could invent such a lie.

I continued on in my belief in magical things for a while after I found out the truth about Santa. He wasn’t real but I sure was.

It all came crashing down on me a few Christmases later.

I was in my bedroom when my mom stormed in.

I was 10 years old if I remember correctly.

She opened my closet and proceeded to throw all my unorganized mess all over the place.

Clothes and toys were flying and I was being put on the stake.

My own witch trial.

I was the mean old witch that ruined Christmas forever in our house.

Except I wasn’t.

My younger brother found Santa’s gift stash unbeknownst to me.

I was being accused of luring him into the secret hiding place.

I was indignant of being wrongly held responsible but mostly I was stunned.

Why was it so bad if nobody in our house believed in Santa anymore?

I didn’t understand.

However I saw clearly for the first time how important it was to my mom that we held on to believing in magic.

I had no witchy powers at all except those she wanted me to believe I had.

The following year I invented that Cupid came every year for Valentine’s Day and hid gifts with clues all over people’s houses. I made my brother believe in it with a surprising facility.

The Valentine’s Day treasure Hunt was my mom’s new way of creating magic for us.

Maybe I didn’t have powers but I helped create magic for years.

Maybe this is what the large scale deceiving is about; finding the bit of magic in ourselves and judging it important enough to spread it.

*Photo Credit: Javcon117* flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Poop on Princess Shoes and Other Gifts From the Universe

Today marked day 120 of waking up annoyed.

I might have missed a day here and there but for the most part I’ve been having quiet rages under my pillowcase every morning for the past few months.

Everyone deals with crappy neighbors at least once in their lives. I’m sure you can relate.

It all started last summer when I would get these weird intense rashes in the middle of the night. I’ll spare you the details but I was living on top of the worst case of bed bug infestation that the exterminator had ever seen. And this was coming from a guy who had to tear down walls one time in order to eliminate the buggers. The apartment below me was worse.

It was.

Thank goodness, that part is over.

I was slowly recovering from that ordeal (1 month of sleep with the lights off, yay me!) when last year’s mega hits mania started.

I brushed it off that first morning. (Is 5 am really morning?)  I genuinely thought it had to be one of those once in a blue moon workout to lame hits frenzy everyone has.

That was months ago.

By now, either my neighbor is fit as fuck or a total loony-tune. Or both.

I’m not one to complain to the universe but this week I did.

It got back to me today.

Part of my daily routine is taking off princess shoes off of tiny feet. At the last second, I saw it. No, it was definitely not mud.

She didn’t know when it happened or even realize it before I pointed it out to her. She was too busy ruling her kingdom.

Moral of the story is; even princesses get poop on their shoes.

The universe has gifts for everyone.

At the end of the day, a princess will still be a princess.

As for me, I may only be a writer (and nanny) but I know now that I should focus on the gifts the universe gives me, not so much on the wrapping or what might be stuck to it.

Have you ever thanked the universe for your shitty days?

Let me know in the comments!

*Photo Credit: lambsandivydesigns.com flickr Creative Commons 2.0

You will never be ready

Here I was, waiting with my soapy hands. Exasperated.

“No! I’m not ready!”

For the fifth time, I tried to coaxed her.

“It’s time to wash your hair. You can play as much as you want after.”

She kept ignoring me.

As it turns out, 3 year olds are really bad at delayed gratification. If you have kids you probably already know this.

I stayed quiet for a while. Looking at her and searching for the perfect thing to say, it hit me.

You will never be ready. 

More so, will never be ready.

 If you never get to hang around kids, I tell you, you should. Kids are a sobering mirror to look into.

I have been a nanny for over 6 months now and it only occurred to me last week, I am no better than a 3 year old child.

In fact, if your answer is yes to any of the following questions, you are in the same boat my friend.

Have you given up on your new years’ resolutions already?

Have you ever checked instagram or facebook for hours in the last week?

Maybe you are better than me, which I hope for your sake. This post is for the rest of the population who, like me, are constantly fighting with their 3 year old inner child screaming “I’m not ready!”

We all have dreams. Few of us have projects. Fewer of us have finished projects.

Even if you are successful and a typical go-getter, it is likely that there is at least one thing you’ve been putting off. Who doesn’t?

We all know it comes down to priorities. If you don’t do something it’s simply that you’re not ready to do it.

Deep down we want our dreams to come true. For some elusive reason, we’ve decided that we’re not ready to go after them.

So like a child, we play with our toys, screaming at the top of our lungs “I’m not ready!”

That was me for the past 25 years. This is still me.

I’m never going to be one of these people who preaches, pretending to have it all figured out.

To be honest with you, I’ve been trying to finish this post for the last 3 weeks. The fight with my inner child is real. 

The point of it all is, we will never be ready.

This year I’m doing everything I’m not ready for. I hope you will do the same and come on this journey with me.

In the end, I washed her hair while she played with her toys. She didn’t even notice.

Don’t get me wrong, you will get exasperated, frustrated, impatient and will want to give up but it’s worth it.

You can’t give up and let your 3 year old rule you.

*picture courtesy Christian Schnettelker http://www.manoftaste.de/