Archives for August 2010

Things I Love – #1

Tattoos.  I LOVE tatoos.

I have no tattoos, but I love seeing others’ tattoos.  I love imagining what tattoo I might get one day if I got one.  I actually spend quite a lot of time doing just that.

I know that there are many different opinions out there on tattoos.  Some people think that tattoos are tacky, a bad decision, or a regret waiting to happen.

Some people have a small tattoo that is rarely if ever seen.*

365.40 not sharpie by rachellake via flickr

Some people have a few tattoos that are visible when they want to show them off and also easily hidden if they want or need to cover them up.*

Others have many tattoos on their bodies and show them with pride.*

This post to this point has taken me a couple hours to write.  Looking back, I haven’t even done much writing, but I ended up spending the majority of that time looking at the different pictures of tattoos on Flickr.  I guess that you might say I was sucked in.

The other night, I was telling Jason how much I like tattoos and how it seems like a contradiction to my personality and style.  I think part of the reason I have held off on getting a tattoo to this point is that I don’t want it to look funny or like a mistake on me.  I also haven’t been able to think of something that I like enough to put on my body for the rest of my life.  I also want to wait until I’m done having kids.  I would suppose a tattoo might not look the same after it experiences a pregnancy.

In the course of that conversation, Jason mentioned that a friend of his from college had a big pet peeve about people who got tattoos that seemed to be trendy at the time.  This friend of Jason’s didn’t like when people got tattoos like Chinese symbols.  He seemed to think that they hadn’t put enough thought into it or something.  At first, I didn’t think much of it, and then I got a little mad.  Wait a minute!

Tattoos are a means of personal expression.  I am in no place to evaluate the thought process or logic behind someone else’s decision, nor do I want to!  I know there are people who get tattoos in the heat of the moment and have them removed later.  I know there are others who get tattoos when they are in one stage of life and find that when they are in another stage the tattoo no longer represents the same thing to them.  I also know that a tattoo is a personal decision.  I knew a woman in college who had a pretty large tattoo of Yoda on her back.  While Yoda wouldn’t have made my Top 10 List, he was also not on my body, so he didn’t have to.

People choose many different ways to express themselves from piercings, tattoos, hair dye, and clothing to writing, dancing, speaking, and blogging.  It’s not up to me (or anyone else) to approve of or validate these decisions.  Personal expression is just that, personal.    Instead of using my time to judge someone else’s choice, I will use my time to admire, learn from, and be inspired by those choices.

Do you have a tattoo?  Is there a story behind it?  Do you have a picture of it you would be willing to share?  I’d love to hear the stories and see the pictures!

____________________________________

*I don’t know if the people in these pictures hold the same opinions on tattoos and why people tattoo as I do. In fact, I assume that they probably don’t hold the exact same opinion.  I used the pictures because they illustrate different opinions that I’ve heard expressed on tattoos over the years not to say that the subjects of the pictures agree with or hold my opinion.

Outgrowing Toys

Outgrowing Toys

Lately, I’ve been noticing something at our house. Kael is 4 years old (5 in November), and Asa turned 3 in July. It seems to me that right now their interests and abilities are probably as different as they have been in quite some time. We have definitely taken advantage of the fact that they are close in age when buying toys, games, and other play things around our place. We often buy things for them that we know they will both like and be able to use. Up until now, I think this has worked pretty well for us. They play together pretty well for the most part.

They have great imaginations and do a lot of creative play and imaginary play.

Asa with his cape and water shoes giving me the angry eyes.

They have no problems finding things to do when we are out and around town at parks or friends’ houses.

Playing at one of our favorite parks

The problem (if that’s even what it is) comes when we are at home. Kael is outgrowing many of our toys. He’s showing more interest in reading books himself, spelling things, manipulating numbers (and memorizing my phone number!), and mazes to name a few of the more “academic” interests he’s showing. He’s showing less interest in his fire trucks, stuffed animals, and other toys. More and more often, I find that he is getting out toys, playing for just a few minutes and moving on to something. Sometimes the thing he moves on to is another toy, but many times it’s irritating his brother. (No pictures of that. 🙂 )

For a while I thought maybe he wasn’t getting enough active play. Maybe he was too tired and needed more sleep. Maybe there was a diet imbalance or sensitivity to something we were eating. Then, today a friend mentioned she and another friend had felt similarly about their children who are about Kael’s age.

Another observation that my friend made was that Kael’s birthday and Christmas are about six weeks apart. This means that the majority of the stuff he gets as gifts comes during this time period. It also means that by this time of year, most of those things are also geared for someone almost a year younger than he is. I feel like much of what we have to do around our apartment is geared for the 2-4 or 3-5 age range. I also feel like Kael is moving very much into the next bracket whatever that is. Maybe 4-6 or 5-7? I am not really sure since this is new territory, but I think you probably get the idea.

What do I do about this? I’m not really sure. There are a few things that Jason and I have thought about and talked about. None of them seem to really solve the problem, so I’m guessing the solution is more of a little of this, little of that kind of solution vs. a black and white answer.

We talked about getting Kael some new stuff. I feel like cringing as I even write that sentence. On one hand, I know that stuff (games, toys, books, etc.) is not the answer. However, on the other hand, I understand the value of having age appropriate and challenging opportunities available for him.

We talked about doing some sort of playdate exchange with a friend where one day a week, Kael would go to a friend’s house to play for a few hours. This would give him a change of scenery, some new toys to play with, and a different experience than he would have at home. My hesitation with this one is that I can’t just send him to a friend once a week. I would also need to have this friend’s child over to our house for a morning once a week. With the upcoming move and a baby on the way this seems overwhelming right now.

We talked (very briefly) about putting him into childcare or preschool for a few hours a week. Neither of these were quite right either. We don’t need someone to just keep him at a childcare center and watch him play. We also are not all that excited about most of the options that are available here. There are a couple options that we are comfortable with as far as the philosophy of the preschool goes, but they don’t work out for other reasons. One costs more than we are willing or able to spend on a “just because” preschool. Another is just a couple hours in the morning and requires fairly frequent parenting participation. Between the short time period and the required participation, I think it would be nearly impossible to work out the logistics after Baby is born.

As I read through this post, I feel like the last part is quite a bit of, here’s what we could do, but here’s why it won’t work sort of excuses. I’m actually a little hesitant to leave it like that, because when I have a conversation with someone with that attitude, I usually want to say something like, “Well, I guess you’re stuck.” But, I’m going to leave it mostly as a train of thought sort of post.

So, what would you do? Have your kids ever outgrown their toys? What toys, games, activities, supplies, books, etc do you recommend for an almost 5 year old? Any other thoughts or ideas?