Monday, September 3, 2018

Fairy Tales for Moms: Sleeping Beauty

Aurora sighed as she examined the endless piles of laundry in the castle kitchen. She could use another cup of coffee before she tackled the folding. While her household budget had plenty of room for a maid's wages, the dragon lurking outside the castle scared off most potential servants.

Earlier that morning, Aurora had trundled the twins off to school, and she had six hours to herself before they arrived back home. She mentally ran through her list of chores, and then decided she definitely needed a jolt of caffeine.

With a groan, Aurora kicked the cabinet door in frustration as she searched for the coffee beans. The cabinet door answered with a groan of its own, and Aurora poked around at the back of the cabinet in surprise, discovering a false door.

Aurora managed to squeeze in the narrow passageway, despite the extra 20 pounds she'd gained since turning 35 the year before. Dusting herself off, she looked around a small storage space. A curious contraption took up one corner, a large wooden wheel attached to some sort of pedals. Aurora gingerly approached the device, then realized it was an old spinning wheel.

With a sigh, Aurora sat down on the splintered wooden seat. Maybe she should take up a hobby. Her husband, Phillip, was always encouraging her to take an interest in something other than the girls, but her limited free time seemed to preclude new pastimes. She reached out to touch the needle, and felt a sharp sting before falling into a deep sleep.

Some hours later, a commotion ensued in the kitchen. Phillip and the twins had returned to find no supper, and were at a loss of what to do next. "Aurora, darling," he called out, sounding increasingly desperate.

The twins shimmied through the cabinet opening to find their mother sprawled out on the floor, deep in sleep. "Mom, wake up," they chimed in unison. Phillip followed suit, grumbling all the way. He bent down to kiss her tenderly, the kiss of true love. Aurora stirred briefly, then pushed him away. "Go away, I'm taking a nap," Aurora mumbled.

THE END

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, July 1, 2018

Wait, I Don't Need Bifocals -- Do I?

As I approach my 45th birthday, I have been facing the signs of aging with equanimity. I dye my hair every month and fastidiously pluck out the gray hairs from my eyebrows. I have accepted the fact my metabolism has slowed down since my 20s.

However, I didn't realize I would need bifocals so soon! This has been a major stumbling block for me. Although I squint while reading the newspaper, and may have picked up a few large-print books from the library, that doesn't mean I need bifocals, right?

Bifocals mean I am unequivocally old. Bifocals mean I am turning into my mother. Bifocals mean an AARP membership is looming in my future.

In a desperate bid to stave off bifocals, I even went to a LASIK consultation. The eye doctor rattled off a bunch of jargon, and then told me he would have to do bifocal LASIK surgery. One eye would be optimized for near distance, and another would be optimized for far distance.

Or I could both eyes lasered to 20/20 vision -- and then have to wear reading glasses anyway.

My mom assured me that no one can even tell she wears bifocals nowadays. Her blended bifocals are both discreet and fashionable, with no tell-tale line demarcating the lenses.

In hindsight, I should've also listened to my mom 35 years ago. I would sneak a flashlight to bed and stay up late reading under the covers. When she caught me, she said I was going to ruin my eyes.

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.

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.