Tuesday, August 26

HRC Baby, You Know Me

I feel like I need to get this on "paper" for my daughter: Thank you Hillary Clinton for your work tonight. You represented me, my mother and my daughter so well. You made history tonight; feminine, a pro, direct, American, a class act. I can't imagine what it was like tonight for you. But I'll tell you what it did in this family:

"Eighteen million cracks in the ceiling," makes it just a tiny bit easier for my girl to blast through it someday.

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Highlights from the First Day

1. Thing 2 stood at the door screaming, "Bye Mom, I'm going NOW to Kindergarten!" She did that for about a half-hour.

2. The class indeed is 100% in Spanish. The kids are already asking what this and that mean in Spanish. The word of the day? Helado! We got the kids ice cream sundaes at 31 Flavors after the first day today. (a nod to our own childhood special occasion place).

3. Thing 1 was a little shaky, but confident. His teacher is gorgeous, kind and smart. She's perfect for him. He's got three friends from preschool in his class.

4. Thing 2 found the most scared child around almost instantly and plastered herself to the girl. When the kids left the room, she took the crying girl by the hand and kept telling her, "Mommys always come back, don't cry." Later, when I praised her for her kindness, she smiled at me and told me, "That's my job, mom."

5. The Things teachers have very different styles. Somehow I expected a lot to be the same. One gave a PPT presentation while the other artistically floated between languages and conversation. I learned that not even the field trips will be the same -- I've got a lot ahead of me as chief mom.

6. The Things were EXHAUSTED after just a couple of hours. They are hankering for school tomorrow already and have picked out their clothes.

7. It takes about 25 minutes to walk to school leisurely; a lot longer than I thought it would. Good to know!

I tried to let go gracefully today, but I paled in comparison to my children who took every moment of change from teachers to new rules, clothes and friends. Today is a day I will never, ever forget.

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Monday, August 25

Home Changes

Mommy: I have to finish my chores, so I can't play anymore.

Thing 1: Why? (x300)

Mommy: I have to do more chores now so I can be the one to pick you up from school every day.

Thing 1, Thing 2: What chores can we do? Let's put away the clothes! Let's clean up! I can help! Clothes are put away! What's next Mom?

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. No crying until after Wednesday, the first full day of Kindergarten. This is harder and more precious and more beautiful than I thought it would be.

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Saturday, August 23

Kindergarten Class Lists are Up

I don't even have words...

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Wednesday, August 20

Washable? My Sorry Domestic Ass

The top three stupidest arts and crafts products purchased this summer:

The Crayola Sidewalk Paint Sprayer

Riiiight. Unless Crayola meant wash and wear, this paint is not at all washable, leaving stains on my sidewalk, bricks and children's fingernails for days on-end (Yes, I washed the children and the bricks -- although I gave the bricks a better scrubbing since they don't yell at me.). Did the product mention the part about splattering out of the sprayer on all sides, leaving a massive green muck explosion on my walkway?
Rating: Colored Crap (CC)

Party Hair Color

Such a great day camp my kids attended that I'll even forgive the "temporary" hair spray. So temporary, in fact, that it wouldn't come out for six days. That's six long days of strangers asking me if we were "at a carnival today?" I sent La Gringa scrubbing poor Thing 2's scalp after photos from The Picture People came back a little, um, reddish on the noggin.

Rating: Colored Crap with bonus Chemicals. (CCC)

Elmer's Squeeze 'n' Brush

And the winner for the dumbest Target purchase of the summer season: The Squeeze 'n' Brush which is more like Squeeze and Burst (All Over My Kitchen Walls). Washable? Okay, fine, on the table, yes, on the walls, sure with a little elbow grease and Clorox Cleanup, but on the kids and me? NFW. I can't get that fricking paint out of my nail beds for all the manicures in Vietnam.

Rating: Exploding Colored Crap (ECC).

I'm sticking to Marks'a'Lot permanent markers. Even *that* washed off the kidlets easier -- well, at least with a little baby oil and a brillo pad.

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Monday, August 18

My Son, Michael Phelps?

My Son, Michael Phelps?, originally uploaded by Thing Family.

Friday, August 15

The Band Played On

Last night Thing 1 talked me into buying him a hotdog (guess the organic pistachios and flat fruit didn't cut it.) at the Music in the Glen at WGE. As we were ordering, the old Kwanis Club man serving the food, began to collapse, his brain, you could see was being attacked -- aneurysm? stroke? He fell to the ground right in front of me, shaking violently from the seizures that overcame him. I was horrified, frozen.

I couldn't move back and I couldn't move forward, I was trying to stay calm for the kids and people scurried to his side. A beer-filled EMT screaming at us to lie him down, people screaming into their cellphones to 911 operators trying to be heard over the live music. The man's body just kept writhing, splattering salsa everywhere. I was saying over and over to myself, STOP SHAKING.

I looked down and the Things were both crying.

I sat down in the crowd to talk them through what they just saw. Thing 2 said she was crying because she didn't know if the man was good enough to go to heaven. Thing 1, well, he said through his tears that he was crying because the man died before he could give him his hotdog and he was *really* hungry.

I wanted to laugh outloud. I'm not sure why. The absurdity? The truth that comes from children? The kids were truly let down: no music, no hotdogs, no stickers from the fire fighters. I wasn't quite sure what to do. We said a quick prayer together and to hammer home the message, Thing 1 finished his prayer and asked if the hot dog man was dead could he go see the popcorn lady?

The ambulance pulled away, the music started again with the band leader saying, "I'm not sure if we have something in our playlist for this moment," then began playing "I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends..."

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Thursday, August 14

Are We Wearing Sparkle Butt Jeans This Fall?

Are we supposed to be wearing sparkle bum jeans again this year? Are we going low rise (man, I hope not) again or the super high rise that defies all fashion on the planet?

And by the way, what's a mommy supposed to wear to the park? If I see one more pair of khaki 3/4 length pants and cut little shelf bra tank...

Anxious to see what the Wal-Mart 11 Moms think...

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Tuesday, August 12

Tennis Camp

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Wednesday, August 6

Mr. Rogers -- The First Social Media Evangelist

I normally don't blog about work, other than my lameass struggles as a mom trying to work and visa versa. But talking to an old friend today, got me thinking about Mr. Rogers and social media -- my entire industry became clear to me. Mr. Rogers was the first-ever social media evangelist.

When I was a kid, I was a Mr. Rogers fanatic. I never liked cartoons (too fake), but with Mr. Rogers Neighborhood I could learn, share and -- with all the transparency in the world -- enter a world of make-believe.

What Social Media Can Learn from Mr. Rogers:

1. If you invite someone into your world, address them as personally as you can and let them see more than the front door.

2. Learn something. Listen to someone. Teach something. All the time. The synchronicity of these things working together that Mr. Rogers does with such ease is what marketeers investigating social media cannot seem to grasp.

3. Pick a topic other than ones you are interested in. Even toilets are interesting (I stopped being afraid of falling in after seeing that episode with Mr. Rogers). Mr. Rogers was best known for engaging in real conversation with people of all walks of life. Does your social media strategy do that? Do you care? Are we just numbers?

4. Engage in make-believe, but let your audience know that you are. No fakes allowed in social media. That's a big stretch for the PR industry (although my best client is doing great at embracing the idea) whose world is about spin.

5. Be human. When my mom took me to see Mr. Rogers Live as a kid, I was star struck. My brother crawled right up on the stage and sat on his lap. I gave him flowers. I knew him already. I know his world because he let me see it.

6. Be honest. I had no fear of Mr. Rogers, not one single episode. I don't have a fear of anything he addresses with my own children. I trust him. Over time, he and I built trust for one another. He trusted I'd show up to watch his show and I trusted that he wouldn't frighten me while still showing me a new world.

7. Move slowly. Mr. Rogers' ability to let us learn as he slowly drew us in was always mesmerizing to me. We have the ability with social media today to blast out emails, slam opinions down a Comment field at the speed of light or Tweet our frustrations so fast, even auto-fill can't keep up. Move a little slower. Remember to unplug (that means even ones without plugs) and walk away every now and then. The web is a crazy index -- careful not to get caught up in using the megaphone too quickly because it'll be out in the sphere forever.

8. Stick to your convictions but never, ever, be disrespectful. Mr. Rogers was a vegetarian, Presbyterian minister and conservative. However, his lifestyle never encroached on anyone else's. He was always courteous. Social media can be a breeding ground for disrespect. Respecting our consumers, our readers, our fans, friends and colleagues (however different their take is) is an absolute foundation of our industry. I've seen CEOs mouth-off on blog comments like they were in a combat zone. We can, and should, do better.

9. Let technology pave the way, however frightening. Mr. Rogers spoke before Congress during the time when VCRs were becoming household items. He was a strong supporter of the home-based technology and its potential. He spoke on behalf of parents, children, as an educator and television producer. Afterwards, his show had a short feature each day called "Picture Picture" where a video tape, delivered by the mailman, would play, teaching us all something new. Social media's current darlings like Twitter, FB and mobile video (yes, honey, that one is for you), are only precursors to what is next. What is next? Who knows? But Mr. Rogers knew enough to stand on the bleeding edge of technology.

10. Stick to it. Come on, seriously. The Internet (don't give me that grandfathers of the internet thing) has been mainstream for 14 years. That's nothing. Social media has been popularized (although by so many other names) for two years. Mere infancy. If we have the stay power of Mr. Rogers, we'll be the luckiest industry around. His show aired from 1968 until August 2001. Through that, he managed 33 years of consistency and longevity -- two qualities social media needs to survive.

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