Quarterlife+


5 things I’ve learned from my baby&toddler

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on May 25, 2015
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5. Jumping up and down on a bed never gets old.

4. My toddler is the grand interpreter of all the baby’s needs.

3. To a toddler, sharing means letting you play with whatever he doesn’t want at the moment.

2. The child equivalent of walk it off is run faster like it never happened.

1. Fight or flight occurs whenever they get a whiff of any time of sleep or rest.

At the ages of 10 months and 3 years, my boys keep me busy. Keeping these moments of truth in my back pocket helps to keep me sane.

What child truths have you stumbled upon in this crazy journey called parenting?

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When a Swiffer just ain’t a Swiffer

Posted in Life,Writing by Ashley Franklin on April 8, 2015
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I love my Swiffer. Ever since I worked at a daycare and found myself using one daily, it’s like my bestie. (Looking back at that sentence makes me a little sad.) I love the scent of Gain, which makes Swiffering (Is that a word?) that much more fun for me. The only cleaning supply I love more are my Lysol disinfectant wipes. I will wipe down something in a  nano something. I literally freak out if I run out. To me, the ideal marriage would be to have the little Swiffer refill pad things with Lysol. I think it’s a no-brainer.

Sorry! That’s enough about my unnatural love for a mopping instrument. Well, kind of. Let’s talk about the fact that I”m the only one that uses it as a mop. I regularly have to save the Swiffer from my kids. No matter where I put it, they find it. It’s like they have a tracking device on the thing. In what situations would I need to save the Swiffer from a 3-year-old? Here go a few:

(charging towards the chandelier with the Swiffer high in the air) “That’s not a piñata; Swiffer down!”

“Get it off the edge of the sofa! It’s not a slide!”

“Don’t charge at closed doors with it!”

I’ll spare you any more. Now, the baby is much kinder to it. He takes the handle and just shakes it up and down at different speeds. I don’t know what it is to him, but he gets a kick out of it every single time.

So why am I the only one not having that kind of fun with the thing? Did my kids steal my imagination? I promise you that i have not looked at it once with a “What if?” I know for a fact that I used to ooze imaginative chaos. I mean, I’m the same person that once drew up the 10 Commandments on a whim out of stick figures. Now my ideas come out like brain vomit. I’ll have nothing for the longest, and then all of a sudden it’s flowing out of me for like a solid twenty minutes. And…then we’re back to nothing.

Maybe I”m thinking too hard. Maybe I’m not thinking hard enough. Maybe it’s time for pie and ice cream. Yeah, I’ll contemplate over the first two while I get a bowl for that last one. Now there was an idea that I was quick to put into motion.

WAHM (yet another questionable life choice)

Posted in Uncategorized by Ashley Franklin on March 30, 2015
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I love my kids. I love working from my home. In a perfect world, nothing could be more brilliant than putting together two things that you love. I must have forgotten that I live in the real (imperfect) world because HONEY, this is ROUGH!

There are some days when I can’t get enough of PBS and watching my kids run around and learn the world around them.Then there are those other days–the ones when I’d rather scrape off my skin with a spork than watch PBS and my kids are running around so fast that they’re almost in slow motion. Those are the days that are becoming more frequent. That’s the funny thing with kids. They get faster and faster. I’m getting slower. They’re getting smarter, and I’m pretty sure I’ve nearly plateaued. (It’s all about repackaging the smarts from here on out, my friend!)

Today, as my toddler and baby were having a raspberry blowing contest (Thanks for the initial lesson, Elmo!), it occurred to me that there is a reason why there is a take your child to work day and not take your child to work year after year after year after year after…

You get the point. There are days that WAHM might as well stand for What about harpooning myself? The idea of simultaneously raising children and working from the same location seems like it sprang from the same basket of horrid maybeit’spossiblebutwhyonearthwouldyou ideas.

Do I clean the house or clean the kids? Didn’t I just feed you? Whoops, you can’t eat that without teeth. Not in the house! Take that back outside! Where are your socks disappearing to? Your brother is not a horse! Stop yelling! Oh, that’s me? Stop making me yell. 

And then it happens. The baby takes three steps–two more than he has ever taken at a time. My toddler runs up to me with a block and announces he has the letter M.

“M is for monkey!”

It’s also for maybe. Maybe this is what makes it worthwhile. Maybe this is why so many families sacrifice and have one parent stay at home.

Since when are life choices easy and foolproof? I should’ve known better. Did I make the right choice? At the end of the day, no matter how exhausted I am, I can think back to something that my kids did during the day that made me smile. When I smile again, I’m always reassured.

There goes a spanker!

Posted in children,Life by Ashley Franklin on October 4, 2011
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To be completely racist and unintentionally racist at the same time, I’ve always found white people amazing for the most part-particularly white parents. Here’s why: I’ve never known any white people who got spanked as a child. I’ve been around white people my entire life-moreso than black people. While I’m sure that are some white parents who spank, just as I’m sure there are some black parents who don’t spank, I have not come into contact with any of them. How do they do it?

If you don’t know, I LOVE Katt Williams. One of my faves is when he says maybe black folk should stop beating their kids… publicly and does a bit about a mom beating her kid over the kid wanting some skittles.  (I’m telling you now, don’t click on that link if you’re sensitive to foul language. You’ve been warned.)

So my overarching question is this: how do you discipline your kids if you don’t spank them? Like, if you and your spouse both come from homes were spanking (or beating) was okay but decide it’s not for you, how on earth do you discipline your kids without going back to what you’re accustomed to? Having worked at a daycare, I’ve seen many a child laugh at time out, come out worse from it, and even give thankful praise for the privilege of having time to sit alone (that’s another story). 

So dear reader, were you spanked as a child, and if so, did you decide to spank your kids as well? If you’re not a spanker, how do you go about disciplining your child?If you haven’t had children yet, what’s your take? I’m just a little curious. 

Thanks, Facebook, for proving I’m not a nurturer

Posted in Life by Ashley Franklin on February 11, 2011
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Every few weeks, I say to myself, “Maybe it’s time to start a family.” I mean, I”m not getting any younger. (Don’t get me wrong; I’m not super old either.) It never fails that in ten minutes or less, something happens to quickly make me rethink it. Sometimes it’s a snotty-nosed child throwing a tantrum on the floor for no apparent reason. Sometimes it’s an awesome moment with my husband that makes me think that I’m not quite ready to share him yet.

When one of those type moments are scarce, all I have to do is log in to Facebook. Remember when the “Make a Baby” app was popular? Hunny, I had like 5 kids. They were well fed, nicely clothed, and I worked hard picking out their names. I was in close contact with all of my “baby daddies.” My fervor lasted all of maybe 3 months. The ease of clicking the kids to happiness was short-lived. They grew up. They were temperamental. They took up more and more time. They were expensive. They were a pain in my butt. They ended up on doll mode.

Much, much later, I boarded the Happy Aquarium bandwagon. Every few hours I was cleaning, feeding, breeding, and decorating. My tanks were immaculate! I trained fish. I bought fish. I sold fish. I bought them larger tanks. Then the app got fancy. I was supposed to go on a treasure hunt, do something with shells, help out neighbors, etc. I was supposed to care too much for fake fish. I’ve had many a betta over the years that didn’t require as much effort. It’s been easily 4 months since I’ve logged into Happy Aquarium. I see the new gimmicks they regularly come up with, and I’m momentarily intrigued. Then the realization hits me that I”ll have to clean ALL of my tanks and feed ALL of those fish.  Yeah…no thanks.

Perhaps I should have known better. The days of my always-dying Little Mermaid Tamagotchi are definitely in the not-so-distant past. Maybe I should start on a Baby Alive, lol. Do they even still make those?

Hear the tick? It’s my biological clock.

Posted in Aging,Life by Ashley Franklin on August 17, 2010
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Occasionally, I feel like there’s a time limit on my ovaries. Sometimes it’s due to my own power of suggestion. Other times, life sends me a small dose of sarcastic hilarity. Recently I got one of those Gerber life insurance things in the mail. Gerber, apparently, thinks that I should be planning for the future of my child (and preparing for its death as an adult). First, though, shouldn’t I have a child?Surely, I should at least be pregnant. And that got me thinking: Am I late?

Isn’t the double meaning of that question fantastic? I love it. Facebook constantly bombards me with ultrasounds, baby announcements, and chronicles of parenthood. It’s not that I don’t care. But, are you more special than I am because you’ve decided to reproduce at this time and I haven’t? Where’s my list of congratulations for still choosing not to be pregnant?

Gerber thinks I’m late. Sometimes I feel late when the same people I used to party with in college are spitting kids out left and right and announcing it to the world on Facebook. But, then I see all their griping in their statuses and I feel better. Last time I had “that yearly checkup,” the gynecologist said “Oh, so you’ve never been pregnant?!” Is that like a “Way to go!” or “Wow, that’s surprising!”? Either way, I gave her a good guffaw.

If I should happen to embark upon parenthood in the near future, will I make grand announcements on Facebook? I doubt it. But, whether I do or don’t, it won’t make me any more special than you.

Life Questions, No Answers

Posted in Aging,Kid Stories by Ashley Franklin on October 16, 2009
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What time is it?
4:27.
4:27?
Yup.
What’s that mean?

If anyone knows the proper response I should have given this child, please let me know. I had nothing. I had no witty remark or logical response for a five year old, and I have nearly a twenty year advantage of thinking  on him. I took many college courses before I got around to questioning the meaning of time and its relativity. Some questions are just harder to answer than others.

It’s kind of like “What’s good with you?” What kind of question is that? First of all, let’s come up with a standard definition of good as it’s used in this question. This isn’t your regular good. This is good as a life qualifier. How are you supposed to quickly come up with a response for that in everyday conversation?

“What have you been up to?” is just as bad. You try not to panic as you come up with a response that makes it seem like you don’t suck as much as you think you really do. It’s one thing for you to think it about yourself but another to give someone the ammo to think it about you.

I guess what I’m starting to realize is that  maybe the problem is with the questions and not the answers.

Dandelion Daze

Posted in Kid Stories by Ashley Franklin on October 14, 2009
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” Where’d you get that dandelion?” I asked with genuine curiosity.

“Right here,” she trailed the ground with her foot, “I picked it up because it’s cold so I can save it and warm it up.”

I’ve been at my job for over a year now. Seeing children pick flowers is nothing new to me. There’s always one child or another picking flowers to make stew, sell at the store, or make homes for bugs. Although I must admit that my favorite flower usage occurs when I see the boys pick flowers. I was initially intrigued by their determination to fill up several plastic pails. I soon understood when I saw them chasing girls around and throwing handfuls of flowers at them. Maybe they’ll have a little more finesse about the way they give females flowers when they’re older.

This time, as I watched the back of a head full of ponytails and barrettes skip away, I felt a little sad. She crammed the flower in her pocket. I’m sure her intentions were good. I could even understand her logic. I imagine it went something like this:

It’s cold out here. I have on a puffy coat. It keeps me warm. Look, it’s a flower all alone. It must be cold too. I can help. My coat can keep it warm too.

It was the only dandelion on the entire playground. Now it was being saved in her coat pocket. This one flower had survived the wind, rain, cold, lawnmowers, and whatever else nature usually throws at flowers. But, it couldn’t survive a five year old.

I guess that’s life. You work your butt off to be the last one standing only to be uprooted by an unexpected event. Sometimes the unexpected event is a person who tries to save you from one thing or another. People like this may mean well, but their help may do more harm than good.

The Brown Boy Did It!

Posted in Kid Stories by Ashley Franklin on October 8, 2009
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Oh the things I witness working at a daycare. I never know what I’m going to see or hear. I want to talk about a lesson I learned about colors. Things aren’t always black and white, and with kids, things are no different.

While walking around the playground, trying to make sure the kids didn’t kill themselves on the equipment, I heard screams coming from the swing set. Sure I was going to see blood, i ran over to see what was wrong. Fortunately, there was no blood. What’s greater than that is the fact that i didn’t have to run far. The screaming child met me half way. I do detest running, but that’s a different story.

“The brown boy did it!” He wasn’t holding any of his body parts, no parts were hanging off, and there wasn’t blood gushing from mysterious places. Why on Earth was this child screaming and crying hysterically?

“Did what, and what brown boy?” I asked totally confused. I looked where he was pointing and saw two children happily playing on the swings. One was of a mocha complexion, the other caramel. I didn’t know which was more important, figuring out what happened or identifying the culprit. At this point the child had stopped crying and was just angrily pouting and pointing.

My curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to hear more about his brown boy logic ( I hate quotation marks, they look so messy to me, so I’m going to opt for different colors from here on out.):

-Well which brown boy did it?

-That one!

-Which one? The one on the right or the left? (That was sure to confuse him. Whose left/right? Ours or theirs?)

-Ummm….that one?

-Which one? Which kind of brown?

-Ummm…the lighter brown one. The lighter brown one took my swing. I was on it first.

-How’d he take it if you were on it first?

-Cuz I got off.

-Sweetie, someone else can get on if you get off. Why don’t you go play something else until another swing is free?

-Okay.

He happily ran off.

The brown boy comment made me smile. I honestly hadn’t been sure how he was going to identify the child he felt had wronged him. He said it with no maliciousness. He said it as a matter of fact. It’s not the first time I’ve heard one of the kids refer to someone as peach or brown when tattling. It was, however, the first time I’d heard one of them try to differentiate between different brown people.

It made me think of how I identify people. I’ll be honest. I’ll usually start off with the white/black girl/guy. I’ll then go to hair color, clothes, and then personality. Why don’t I use peach or brown? It sounds a great deal nicer. Black and white doesn’t really do much for a description either. Maybe this is an early indication that children don’t see race. Maybe they just see different shades of people in general. Would that make them colorblind or color indifferent?