November 2007


Mr Izz is doing his psych rotation this semester in nursing school. Whenever we have a dinnertime discussion, we have learned over the past few weeks that anything we say can and will be used against us…psyco-analytically anyway. In lieu of this, we’ve kind of learned to keep our mouths shut to a certain extent. But of course with this crew, you can’t help but let something out that Mr Izz can (and will) use to bombard us with his newly found psychobabble. I’m beginning to think we should replace our dining room table with a couch. Either that or a new liquor cabinet. But anyway…why am I telling you this? There really is no reason…while Mr Izz loves to entertain us with his ramblings (much in the same way that I like to entertain you with mine), the topic of this posting really has nothing to do with his new interest. I just told you about that because I thought it was interesting enough to write about. But enough is enough…onward to the meat and potatoes!

While this isn’t about Mr Izz’s obsessive behaviour (HA! He should learn to self-analyse), it is about how something he does on a regular basis has a bearing on how the children act in their play. I think all children do this, but today’s example was particularly humourous.

This afternoon I was busy trying to get warm…it’s cold outside which means it’s cold in the house (at least in my opinion), and getting warm is a huge deal and takes up quite a bit of my time. It means I stand in front of the wood stove until it feels like my sweater is about to catch fire. So, as I stood there, I was watching the littles play whatever it was they were playing. Éamon in particular was piquing my interest for he kept picking up a basket with a longer handle on it and a book of some sort. He then would mutter something to himself and walk over to the door, and then walk away muttering something else. I would call his behaviour strange, but he is only 2, so it was more amusing than anything. But it was also perplexing, for I had no idea why he kept doing it. So I asked him what he was doing.

“Éamon, what are you doing?” I asked. He answered, but at that point, his response was more babble than real words. So after a minute or two, when he was walking back to the door, I asked him again….this time standing in front of him in the hopes of understanding him when he spoke in his Éamon-ese again. This time he said: “I go a sool”. Hmmm….interesting.

“What are you doing, Éamon?”
“I go a SOOL!” he said again, a bit more emphatically. I looked over at Katherine, hoping for a translation of some sort, when it came to me.

“Éamon, are you going to SCHOOL?”

“Yes, I go a SOOL!” and with that, he again picked up his basket and book, and proceeded to the door as if to go out. At this point, I was shaking with laughter. While Mr Izz doesn’t take a basket to work (a tisket, a tasket…), he does take a rather large messenger bag that has a long strap so he can sling it over his shoulder. He also quite often has a stray book in his hand as he dashes out he door. The only thing that was missing in Éamon’s paternal imitation was a travel mug of coffee. I do know that imitating their parents is a common occurrence with children, so I didn’t find his behaviour to be particularly odd. I just thought it was really funny that he, in his little imagination, found that to be like Dad, he had to “go to school”. Mr Izz is always going to school, it seems. Apparently this has made quite an impression upon Éamon…even more than I had thought.

But the story doesn’t quite stop there. As I had mentioned, he would pick up his book and basket, and walk to the door to “go a sool”, but as soon as he got to the door, he would immediately walk away muttering something. I thought that perhaps it had to do with forgetting keys or something, but no. As I carefully listened to him in his play, I found that he was combining two very common things that his parents do…the first one being his father going to school. The second one was far more hysterically funny in my opinion, for it was something I do on a regular basis these days. As he walked over to the door as if to walk out, he immediately turned around and said: “Iss too cowd out dere” which translates to “It’s too cold out there” for anyone not fluent in Éamon-ese. When I walk out the door on any given day as of late, that is the first thing that comes out of my mouth. For Éamon, the freezing temperatures outside were enough for him to call it day, and forgo school altogether (at least until he decided to give it another try a few minutes later). It seems he has his father’s thirst for knowledge, but also his mother’s aversion to the cold…and the “mom” in him won out. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but I do know I totally understand. How can anyone learn anything when it’s so cold? I’ll bet that Mr Izz can find something Freudian in that statement…but since I don’t want to know, I’m not going to ask him.

Éamon’s playing today made me think quite a bit about how our children learn from us, and how, because of that, we need to be very careful in what we do and say. Any of us that have used more “colourful” language in front of our children know that they pick it up much more quickly than if it we’d used something a bit more subtle. This also holds true in the way we behave around our children. If we behave in a good way, that is what our children will emulate. If we behave badly, then that is what our children will choose to imitate. Not that what happened today was even remotely bad…it was very funny and quite innocent. But our children really are like sponges, and they pick up so many things from us that we aren’t even aware of…some good, some bad. These characteristics will help to shape their personalities and future behaviours. Because of this, we must take care to surround our children with only those things that we want shaping their actions. This isn’t always easy…I know I’ve done and said things that the littler ones of the house picked up that I’d rather not have them picking up. But I try, as we all should.

There’s my story for today, and a bit of advice to go along. Free of charge, I might add. Call it an early Christmas present. 😉

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I’ve hit 100 posts. Wow! I’m impressed with myself! I think I said a while back that I had assumed that I wouldn’t go too far with this…that I would get going, and then allow it to fade into obscurity or something because I’d lose interest. I guess that wasn’t the case. I still really enjoy writing here (despite the lack of time I’ve had as of late), and am anxious to continue putting my ideas into a blog form.

So, congratulations to me! And thank you to those that actually take the time to read my silly ramblings. 🙂

Not too long ago, I received an email from a dear friend of mine (you know who you are, Michele 😉 ). She was lamenting the fact that I hadn’t posted anything new in quite some time, and she needed her “fix” so to speak. She’s right…as of late posting on the blog hasn’t been priority numero uno. Life, as I know it, has been crazy…yeah, I know, I always say it’s crazy here at Casa Izz. But even the regular craziness is crazier than usual. That really is saying something.

Much of this has to do with my time being filled with homeschooling, errands, housework, meal preparation, etc. Most of this is normal, everyday stuff, but it seems that the homeschooling has become very time consuming. I know it sounds like I’m saying that with a tinge of bitterness, but I’m not. I like the fact that I’m busy. I really do hate having large amount of time where there doesn’t seem to be something to do that’s useful. I feel lazy when there is. But regardless, I still seem to have very little time for anything else….and it seems that my blog has come in dead last in my list of “Priorities”. I do feel sorry for that in a way, for it does seem that there are a few of you (at least one!) that actually like what I have to say. I must admit I’m a bit floored to hear that, but I’m also a bit excited that I seem to have somewhat of a fan base. Makes me feel famous or something. HA!

So, anyway….here I am writing at the request of my friend Michele, hence my subject line. I do know that for the past couple of weeks, I’ve had quite a few ideas bouncing around in my head wanting to be fleshed out in a more tangible form. And normally I would sit down in a comfy place (preferable one that is warm!) and jot my ideas into my writing journal. But obviously that hasn’t happened any time recently. So the ideas are building up, and bouncing into each other at a tremendous rate. Boing, boing, boing! It’s enough to give you a headache. Which only means I really ought to try to get them down onto paper. Time, why dost thou alludest me?

Now I must be off, to knead the bread so it’s done in time for dinner. You see? There never is time. Although, perhaps if I forgo my reading of Plato’s Republic, I might have more time to post here. We’ll see….

It’s only November! In my mind, the weather should still be balmy and warm. But this morning, as I took Mr Izz to school (story of my life these days…), it was cloudy, cold, and it was precipitating a mixed bag of goodies…first some rain, then some sleet, then some snow. SIGH! I really was hoping to get through at least until January 😛 . Yesterday, as I cooked the rice outside on the camp stove we have (don’t ask….really…you don’t want to know…), Victoria came out and asked if it was going to snow soon. I told her more than likely, but hopefully it will wait for another month or two…or three…. All of this despite the smell of snow on the chilly wind that was coming in from the north. Yes, snow really does have a smell. And it looks like I pegged it, as I always do (patting myself on the back, thank you very much). I’m just not ready. I know, I never will be, but my lack of readiness and general avarice to such things as snow and cold really ought to be taken into consideration before they are inflicted upon us all.

The other thing that’s annoying me today is the whole “holiday season” thing. Why on earth do we start with this madness so early? Do I really need to be thinking about Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas, before Halloween? I don’t think so. And yet, as I watch my telly or listen to my radio, I am bombarded with commercials laden with the sounds of sleigh bells and random “ho ho ho”‘s. I swear it gets earlier every year.

I think that if we banish snow and cold until around…hmmm, let’s see….the middle of December perhaps, then maybe we’ll be able to circumvent the whole “holiday season” garbage. It won’t be cold enough for sleighs, therefore no sleigh bells, and there won’t be snow, so no one will want to think about ho ho ho’ing. And I’ll get a bit of peace and quiet on the holiday front, along with good weather for longer. Sounds good, don’t you think? Unfortunately, given the fact that I live in the frozen tundra which is the North Country, neither of these things is going to happen any time soon. Which only means I’m going to have to find my boots, which are still packed away…somewhere in some box in some void which no one in their right mind would ever enter. Except me, of course. But only because I hate cold feet.

Since my washing machine is still broken (ahem…), I needed the car today so I could go to the laundrymat. This, of course, is something I look forward to with every ounce of my being (another “ahem”); who doesn’t love watching the laundry spin around and around (obviously not I, for I am sitting here writing instead…). Anyway, I needed the car, so I had to take Mr Izz to his clinical (he’s on his OB rotation at the local hospital. I’m not worried about this…he probably has more experience than most of the doctors, HA!). So, we drive into town…only about 10 minutes away…grab a coffee at the coffee shop, and then drive over to the hospital. There is a bit of traffic in town, for it’s the North Country’s version of “rush hour”, but on the whole, nothing big. Bored yet? Don’t worry…the climactic element of my story is close at hand!

As I drove back through town, I noticed the traffic had let up a bit. But as I turned on to the main road out of town, a guy that had been behind me at the light quickly switched into the passing lane (mind you, we had only just turned at the light) and flew past me. Now, I was going 30 mph, which is the speed limit until you leave the city…about another mile up the road. The guy in the big, bad SUV must have been going 45 mph at least. Could he have been late for work or an appointment? Might there have been some sort of emergency that he needed to get to? Sure…any of these scenarios are possible, but more than likely it was none of the above. Finally, I’m getting to my point in writing this!

Americans, as a whole, are a very impatient people. When we want something, we want it NOW. Delayed gratification is a concept which is very foreign to us. Don’t believe me? Look at how much the fast food industry makes per year…someone is buying those “Billions and Billions” of hamburgers from McDonald’s. We can’t be bothered to take the time to actually cook; it’s far easier to get it on the road, since that’s where we spend most of our time…this one has soccer, and that one has band, and I have Yoga or whatever; everyone has their own thing to do, and n’er the twain shall meet. Who has time to cook and come together as a family? We need to have something NOW!

But there’s more…when you go grocery shopping, do you just go to any checkout when you are ready to checkout? Probably not, if you are typical. More than likely you walk up and down in front of the registers, trying to determine which one has: a)the least amount of people, and b) the least amount of stuff that needs to be checked out. Getting out of there as quickly as possible is the only priority…don’t make eye contact with anyone, you might get stuck! Don’t have a conversation with the checkout person…it might take 5 more minutes!

And look at the beginning part of this story…Mr SUV didn’t have to go 45 mph in a 30 mph zone, more than likely. He just didn’t feel like waiting. This is the story of our lives….and I’m sure that many of you reading this are guilty of it as well. You might even be one of those that lays on the horn if the person in front of you doesn’t hit the gas the very second the light turns green. See yourself in any of these examples? I know I’ve been guilty of at least a couple.

So why are Americans so impatient? It’s hard to say. I tend to think much of it is cultural, and stems from the fact that we, as a nation, are still very much in our adolescence (and very much behave like we are as well). We have a need to be always running here and there; to this event and that game. We also need to be constantly entertained, and have that entertainment at our fingertips instantaneously….if this might be judged by how much television we watch or how many movies we rent. TiVo and DVR have become necessities, along with a stove and a washing machine (as I watch my clothing merrily spin…), and Netflix or some similar thing, has superseded even junk mail in our mailboxes. Entertainment, how and when we want it. No waiting until it comes out on cable, let alone at the theatres. Simple methods of entertainment have become passé…why read when you can rent the movie, and watch it in a fraction of the time it would take to read? Or why play music yourself, on your own instrument, when you can just listen to someone else play it on your iPod? Or, and this one amazes me, why cook from scratch when you can buy something similar, pop it into the microwave and eat it in the fraction of the time? Why does this amaze me? Because I can’t, for the life of me, understand why anyone would want to feed their family such disgusting stuff when they can make something themselves that tastes way better, is much healthier, doesn’t take as much time as you’d think to make, and costs far less. But apparently my position is not very well taken. No one cooks from scratch anymore…at least if the colourfully painted pie pumpkins at the grocery store were any indication. Heaven forbid we should use a food item as food.

I find this whole “hurry up” culture we live in to be irksome. It’s always hurry, hurry, hurry…no one seems to have time to meander by a stream, or watch the sun set the sky ablaze at sunset, or even just reflect upon the day. We’re far too busy going, trying to make sure we get that last “thing” in before it’s too late. But what we don’t realise is that it already is getting too late. Blink an eye, and the children are grown…their littleness will never again charm and delight us. We’ll be too old to meander along the stream, too blind to see the fiery sunset, or too forgetful to reflect upon the day. These are the things we all stand to lose in our “hurry up” way of thinking. Is this what we really want?

I guess my point here (as I continue to watch my clothes spin around and around) is to remind everyone, including myself, that there is more to life than the endless running and hurried pace that consumes our lives. Believe me, the place you are racing to get to will still be there if you drive the speed limit. And maybe, just maybe, if you do go a bit slower in life, you’ll see a few things along the way that you hadn’t seen before. Those things really are worth the time…I promise.