Love, for Preschoolers

The other day I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 for my Bible study. I realized this could work really well from a preschooler’s perspective, so I decided to write it. If you haven’t read 1 Corinthians 13, read it here first so you know why this parody is amusing. (I also referred to this alternative, more literal, translation.)

Without further ado, here’s the famous chapter on love, from a preschooler’s perspective.

THE WAY OF LOVE

If I always use please and thank you, but don’t love, I might as well be throwing a tantrum.

If I can explain and understand feelings so I always think of others first, and if I am willing to share even my most precious toy, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give all my fishy crackers to kids who are hungry and even don’t complain when I get a consequence for something I didn’t do, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. No matter how well I use my words, how often I put others first, or who I play nicely with, it’s all pointless without love.

Loves tries its best to do its best.
Love shares.
Love doesn’t whine for candy at the store.
Love doesn’t boast about how it’s the best,
Doesn’t yell to get attention,
Doesn’t demand the first turn,
Doesn’t get frustrated and throw things,
Doesn’t remember when things weren’t fair,
Doesn’t laugh when other kids get owwies,
Enjoys telling true things,
Tolerates playing with littler kids,
Trusts that Mommy and Daddy will come back,
Keeps looking forward to free play
Even while sitting still and listening at circle time.

Love gives it two good tries. Schedules and plans will finish; play-doh will dry out; grownups will run out of explanations. Right now you can read a few words, but the words you can read don’t tell the whole story. But when you learn to read all the way, you’ll be able to understand chapter books.

When you were a little baby, you couldn’t read and follow Lego instructions to build cool vehicles; you just wanted to eat the little pieces. When you got bigger, you quit trying to eat the pieces and built vehicles from your imagination.

Now it’s like a bad computer phone call, with pixels instead of faces. But it won’t be long before we can actually be in person. We’ll see not only our family’s faces, but be able to get hugs and kisses and play with them.

But for right now, until then, we have three things to help us be more kind and patient: Playing, snacking, and napping. And the best of the three is napping.

A Girl in a Man’s World

I just read How the Bicycle Paved the Way for Women’s Rights, which is what got me thinking about being a woman in a man’s world. (Funny thing about the article: It basically devolved into a discussion of newspaper coverage of women’s cycling fashion from the turn of the century. What the heck?) I found it interesting to learn that my hobby played a role in women’s rights:

The bicycle took “old-fashioned, slow-going notions of the gentler sex,” as The Courier (Nebraska) reported in 1895, and replaced them with “some new woman, mounted on her steed of steel.”

I’ve always gotten along with guys; I don’t consider myself a radical feminist or anything. I’m a (fairly) wealthy white woman, and I do not consider myself underprivileged or victim of prejudice. But more and more, I’ve been thinking about what my life looks like and how it’s determined by these cultural norms outside of my control.

I’ve always gotten along with guys, and that’s good, because…

  • At the technical school where Ian and I went to college, there were more boys named Matt than girls in Ian’s class. But in my classes, which focused on biology and writing, there were more women.
  • My occupation, in the software business, once again surrounds me with dudes. But in my department, there’s a pretty equal split of men and women (although it’s two male managers in a team of six, hmm).
  • In my chosen hobby, there are way, way fewer women than men. Statistics on this are difficult to find and tend to conflict, but at the level I prefer to ride (as fast as possible, with as few stops as necessary), men comprise the vast majority.

(Sorry, I’m afraid I may use more bullets even in my everyday writing since I started technical writing full time. They’re just so darn efficient!)

One of the things I’ve learned, spending most of my free time and work time with guys, is to push for my view. I’ve always been loud and willing to express my opinions, to put it nicely. At the same time, I’ve learned that guys respect me and listen to me based on two things: How firmly I’m willing to speak; and whether I can actually put my money where my mouth is.

For example, when I’m biking with a group of guys, we often call out hazards or alerts to each other. If I call out, “Steep hill, gear down!” at the beginning of the ride, the guys will hear me (I am loud) but it’s not until I’ve beaten most of them up the hill that I earn their respect. The next hill, if I suggest to gear down, they’re more likely to listen. There’s not a lot of negotiation or worrying about feelings, and they aren’t likely to be miffed that I beat them up the hill. More likely, they’ll work harder trying to catch me, and I’ll work harder trying to stay ahead.

At the same time, I’ve gotten many comments along the lines of, “You’re pretty fast for a girl,” as well as more overtly sexist ones: “Is this where the fastest housewives are?” and “If I was younger I’d want to marry you because you’re so fast.” DUDES. Would you ever, ever, ever in a million years say that to another guy? Harmless flirting with The One Girl isn’t harmless.

No, this isn’t the vast majority of guys I ride with. Most of them are great guys who want to know how fast my legs are, not what they look like. They treat me exactly the way they’d treat another guy, I think; that’s fair, and all I ask.

All I ask is the opportunity to earn respect, whatever environment I’m in — work or play; to show what I’m capable of and be judged on my abilities. Which is really all any of us could hope for, I suppose.

I’ve actually got a lot more to say about this, and about what I’ve learned being a cyclist in a driver’s world (can anyone say “discrimination”?), but unfortunately I’m out of time for now. Hopefully you won’t have to wait two weeks for my next installment.

Birthday Love

Yesterday I got a year older.

Actually, Benji asked me a real poser about that: “How do you get older?” I said, “One day at a time.” While I thought that was a pretty good answer, Benji didn’t really buy it. After that I ran out of answers, since “It just happens over time” also didn’t satisfy.

I had a nice birthday. Benji had the idea of making vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting and strawberries on top for me; he also wanted to go to the toy store and help Ian pick out a present for me. They did both those things, which was very sweet. The present was, perhaps not surprisingly, a 3-in-1 Lego vehicle set — the exact thing Benji would want! But in fact it does give me a wonderful present: peace and quiet while Benji “helps” build the set.

One of my coworkers made sweet biscuits and brought them in with strawberries and whipped cream to make strawberry shortcake for my birthday, which was also very kind and thoughtful. In the afternoon, I got to ride home with a biking buddy who works in Fremont, which was especially nice because we had a vigorous headwind.

And I got to have a nice hour-long chat with Colleen, who also sent me an adorable picture of Lumpy the Dragon for my birthday:
Lumpy

All in all, a nice quiet birthday. We’ll get together with my parents over the weekend and use the excuse of my recent birthday to eat tasty treats. I’m also using the excuse of my birthday to take Friday off and have a 4-day weekend. The weather has (mostly) turned nice, and things are looking summery, which bodes well for the 7 Hills of Kirkland ride we plan to do on Memorial Day.

Looking Summery

We made a water slide in our back yard over the weekend.

Summer Fun 1

Summer Fun 2

Summer Fun 3

Summer Fun 4

Summer Fun 5

It’s been about 9 or 10 months since we were able to play in water without getting hypothermia.

And, our lupines are doing fabulously — including a couple of genetic oddities.
IMG_20170522_192854

IMG_20170522_192936
It feels so bizarre to have bare legs and arms out in the outside (or at all, for that matter) — and, naturally, I got my first sunburn on Saturday because I forgot about the existence of sunscreen. I remember now.

Random Thoughts

Since my last update, I’ve mostly spent the time feeling really lousy. Benji, Mom, and Ian all got a nasty cold that consisted mainly of a really sore throat, bad headache, aching neck, and general exhaustion.  

I thought I’d dodged that bullet, but evidently not; my bullet was just delayed for a while. It was nasty enough I even took one day off work. The really under the weather feeling took a solid seven days to go away, and only yesterday did I start feeling a little perky again. Unfortunately, I’m not better: the coughing remains, and kept me awake most of last night. Which is a real bummer.

 Fortunately, I still have an Albuterol inhaler my doctor prescribed when I had pneumonia, and she confirmed I should use that when the coughing gets bad. I was concerned it would keep me awake last night, so I didn’t try it for a long time, until I realized I would be awake anyway from coughing. So I tried it and finally got to sleep. Next time I won’t wait!

That illness kind of dominated our weekend, so we didn’t get much done and Ian didn’t get any time to chill. Now I’m on the mend, hopefully both of those will change.

Speaking of on the mend, the weather seems to finally be realizing it’s spring. We had a lovely day over 70° yesterday, our first in more than eight months. The tops of my knees actually saw some sun, which was shocking for all I’m involved!

Alas, that was likely a fluke, and we’re back to rain again this afternoon. After 45″ of rain since October, I wish we could send our water somewhere else where they need it. My rain/commuter bike has gotten lots of miles this year, and I’m hoping when I finally switch to the fast bike, I’ll actually be fast thanks to all that resistance training.

There’s lots of other stuff going on, but it will have to wait for another bus ride!

Big Boy Behavior

This morning, Benji just dressed himself while I was brushing my teeth.

It was sure a growing-up moment. I told him he needed to put clothes on before we watched our 30 minutes of videos; he disappeared, and a few minutes later came back completely changed into perfectly appropriate school clothes. Some things may be on backwards, but overall, a job well done.

The other day, we were at mom and dad’s house, and Benji was playing with dirt and water and some trucks. On the way home, Benji told me that the trucks were making cement for Moss Town. In Moss Town, people build their houses on cement (I didn’t tell him we do that too), and he told me all about how they needed special cement, how he was making the cement, and what Moss Town people would do with it. He quite matter-of-fact and he had clearly developed a full imaginary story in his head that I only heard part of.

In general, it’s getting to be more fun and more challenging in proportion as Benji gets older.

At school, Benji doesn’t want to sit in circle time and he doesn’t want to participate in the dance/movement time. We’ve been pondering how to get him to at least behave at circle time–sitting still when you don’t want to I’d an important life skill!–and we’re going to try a behavior chart with rewards for times he succeeds at sitting still the whole time. 

When the teacher told me Benji was disturbing other kids be being too wiggly and bonking into his classmates, I felt like a total Mommy fail. I know Benji can sit still, even when he doesn’t want to; reading him stories, I’ll tell him to keep his bottom on the chair and he can stay for an entire (short) chapter. But at school he chooses not to. 

I think it’s a matter of properly motivating him. He doesn’t see any reason to sit still, so he doesn’t try. I’m hoping that fun prizes will prove incentive enough.

Thinking about it, I realize that is probably true for everyone. I just have different motivations. I don’t want to be embarrassed or bother other people, whereas? Benji doesn’t care about that. I wonder how much of our “good” adult behavior is really just enlightened self-interest like that. Huh.

Easter Weekend

Saturday morning I did a bike ride with Dad. The weather held fair, so we rode fast bikes, and fortunately the group was pretty mellow. Even so, we only did 65 miles of the stated 82-mile route, and that was good for me, too, because I got a cold from Benji and was definitely not feeling frisky.

But with riding to and from the ride, I ended up getting in about 82 miles anyway, still my longest day of the year so far. But May is coming, and that means we start riding centuries. I’d better avoid any other cold viruses!

Hat Weather
Saturday I got to break out my hat for the first time this year. I wore it to weed the front yard, also for the first time this year. That really needed to happen sooner, but hey… the weeds are happy to wait for me to get to them.

Sunday was Easter! Christ is risen — He is risen indeed!

We’ve been talking about Easter a lot, reading the Easter story with Benji. He’s acted it out with props at Mom’s house many times. I think he gets it. On Easter morning, I drew on the daily board a picture of a sunrise with “Happy Easter!” written on it.

Benji came and modified it to this:
Easter Chalkboard
On the left-hand side, Benji drew Good Friday, when Jesus died. He drew dark skies and a tomb with a rock still in front. Then, on the right-hand side, he drew a tomb with the rock rolled away. (You do have to use your imagination, as with all art at this age.)

We had an okay Easter church service, but unfortunately, due to a pervasive viral infection shared by four of our family, we had to cancel our planned family dinner. Instead, we took a long nap at home (two of us, anyway), and then Benji and I went back to my parents’ house for the afternoon. We walked to a nearby elementary school and played on the playground for a while. We even had a fun walk home.

Easter Dash with Papa

Easter Walk with Nana

After dinner, Benji drew some planets. Because what else would you draw, I guess.
Easter Planets

It wasn’t the Easter we planned, but it was probably the Easter we needed. Everyone is feeling a little healthier this week, I think.

That’s good, because on Thursday I have my first publish to production at work, which means staying late at work.