Saturday, April 14, 2018

Developing Calluses for Parenting

I recently started teaching myself the acoustic guitar. After scoring a $100 used guitar from Craig's List, I sat down and practiced every day for a week, until my fingertips were tender. Eventually, second thoughts starting creeping in as I winced every time I tried to play a note.

Is this going to hurt every time I play the guitar?
Can I return a guitar I bought from the backseat of a Kia?
Am I going to be as bad at the guitar as I was at the violin?

Finally, after a couple of weeks, I developed calluses on the pads of the fingers of my left hand. I showed my husband proudly, making him feel the toughness at the tips of my fingers. Now I can play guitar to my heart's content.

Now that my children are older, I feel like I have finally developed calluses for parenting. If they're crying inconsolably after 8 p.m., I don't try to analyze the cause of their distress. I just put them to bed.

If the children don't want to eat my home-microwaved meals, I don't dig through the cabinets searching for a delicious meal they will accept instead. I just tell them they're going to be hungry later.

There's still a few situations I haven't developed calluses for, including any situations involving actual bloodshed. Also, when I unexpectedly find them holding hands, my heart also still melts into a puddle.

What are some of your parenting calluses? Let me know in the comments section.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Choose Your Own Adventure for Middle-Aged Women


I remember loving the Choose Your Own Adventure book series for children. Before the Internet, it was as close as you could get to interactive entertainment because your choice would determine the next adventure.

For some reason, there is a dearth of Choose Your Own Adventure books for my current demographic, which is the untapped market of middle-aged women. I suppose this means I will have to create my own series.

1. You wake up on a Sunday morning and the children are still asleep. What do you do?
A. Do the crossword puzzle
B. Go back to sleep
C. Wake up the children because you miss them

If you picked A: Yawn! Live a little, but continue to the next adventure.
If you picked B: Good choice! Continue to the next adventure.
If you picked C: Bad choice! You just broke the silence. Your adventure is over. Start again.

2. You feel like you need a new hobby. What do you do?
A. Join a book club
B. Learn how to play acoustic guitar
C. Take up belly-dancing

If you picked A: Yawn! Live a little, but continue to the next adventure.
If you picked B: Good choice! Continue to the next adventure.
If you picked C: Bad choice! You just broke a hip. Your adventure is over. Start again.

4. It's time to go car shopping. What car do you decide to buy?
A. A sensible minivan
B. A cost-conscious compact
C. A snazzy convertible

If you picked A: Yawn! Live a little, but continue to the next adventure.
If you picked B: Good choice! Continue to the next adventure.
If you picked C: Bad choice! You just broke the bank with your insurance payments. Your adventure is over. Start again.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

A Cynic's Guide to Children's Clothes

Usually, I enjoy shopping for children's clothes -- except around Valentine's Day. Something about the forced symphony of pink hearts and cloying phrases brings out my cynical side, which has been more or less held in check by the hormonal rush of motherhood.

As I wandered through the aisles of Target, this Minnie Mouse number caught my eye. "Perfect Match" is emblazoned across a T-shirt featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

But are they a perfect match? They are the same species: cartoon mouse. However, they have been dating since shortly after their introduction as cartoons in 1928. Basically they have been dating for around 90 years without getting married.

I would say it's time for Minnie to kick Mickey to the curb. Is there a T-shirt which reads "Dating for 90 years means he's a commitment-phobe" out there? No? Not a best-seller, I suppose.

Another pair of girls sweatpants proclaimed "Love Conquers All," on which I again beg to differ. Sometimes geography conquers all. Sometimes jealousy conquers all. Sometimes illness conquers all.

Perhaps it could be changed to "Sometimes love conquers all, but sometimes it just helps you through a rough patch." Again, perhaps too long for sweatpants. But it could set up little girls for more realistic expectations.

On the other hand, boys clothes seem to have a variety of cheeky phrases that don't revolve around love. A boys T-shirt with Darth Vader proclaims "I need my space." I can get behind that one.

I fondly remember the wave of NASA T-shirts for both boys and girls last year. Can we just do "I need my space" for both genders and leave love out of it?

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.