The REAL Olympians

“Let the Games Begin!”  declared the Queen of England last Friday as 60,000 spectators; 15,000 volunteers; and 10,960 athletes filled Wembley stadium for the 2012 Olympic Games Opening.  It’s estimated the that 8 million tickets will be sold to spectators to watch the events live, and 4 billion viewers will watch the games on tv.  The US is fielding a team of  529 athletes-268 women and 261 men, the first time ever that the US team has more women than men.

Ye Shiwen is a 16 year old swimming phenom. Michael Phelps has made Olympic history with the most medals won – by anyone, ever.  The U.S. women’s gymnastics team won their first Gold in 16 years. Equestrian events are a favorite with the Queen’s grand-daughters.  And there’s Javelin, track & field, fencing, the decathlon…206 events in all.

But there’s not one event that recognizes the Olympics of Parenthood.

“Are those mummies and daddies?” Nell asked, as she waved to the television screen of athletes parading into the stadium.  Yes, lots of those people are mummies and daddies! On the US Olympic team alone there are 54 daddies and 13 mummies. But before I could answer, she disappeared.  Lego is, according the world of this toddler, much more interesting than the Olympics on television…as it should be.

True, being a mum or dad juggling 5 tasks at once while watching a toddler  takes a gold medal performance in gymnastics  to the next level.  Cirque du Soleil, take note.

True, parents wake up before dawn to prepare for a marathon day often following a marathon sleepless night.  And parents prepare for this not every four years, but everyday.

True, fencing is a sport that requires disciplined maneuvers, grace and lightening reflexes – but it’s no match to a parent’s super-human powers to defend or save a child in harm’s way.

A parent doesn’t question another parent’s abilities with demands for blood-doping testing.  Most parents might even concede that if a mom or dad has a great way to do something, we might all just take note.  Sure, parents are competitive.  We’re human.  Just like Darwin theorized – we compete to survive.  And surviving Parenthood is an Olympics like no other.  It does not give out medals;  it does not offer coaching to improve parenting skills; and  there isn’t a “Dream Team” of parents who have all the answers.  There is, however, one truism that shines as brightly as the torch passed from athlete to athlete: “no matter what you do (as a parent), you’ll always be wrong.”

And so, as we continue through the 26 days of great sportsmanship and world class competition, let’s pause to acknowledge the “real Olympians” – and yes, that’s you, mom & dad.


Perpetual (e)Motion

Everyday is a day of adventure. The sun is up, it’s a day for the beach, or the kite park, or visiting the turtles in the garden. Rain, rain, go away? No way.

It’s a day for my boots to splash through puddles. There’s just too much in the world to discover. How can We sit still? Yes, WE, the little ones who are now very mobile and you can’t catch us, no matter how hard you try.

Daddy says I’m like the bunny that keeps “going and going and going.”  Silly Papa. Bunnies don’t “go” they “hop and hop and hop.” Hey, what a good idea!

Let’s hop around the dinner table! Wheeeeee!

Mommy reads everything she can to figure out where my off switch is, but maybe she should read this from “What to Expect” (toddlers, 19 months)  I especially like this story, because it recommends squeezing clay and squishing paint as a good indoor exercise. Oh, the fun I have with that! PAINT e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.

Sometimes when I’m out and about, the big people say things like, “hold on tight, look left and look right…” and make me really look twice when we cross the street.  I learned that if I put my other hand up high in the air, people in cars might see me better because they’re big and I’m little.  I think that works, because everyone always stops and waves. I have a friend who has a leash, just like my dog.  Her parents say it’s because it’s safer.  That’s what ABC news says too:

I don’t know about that, but if she gets to have a leash, does she also get to drink out of the  dog bowl?
Hmmm, that sounds like fun too.

I wonder where I should wipe my


Painting Recycling by Numbers

I asked my mom, “Mommy, what do the numbers mean on the bottom of this water bottle.” She was drinking bottled water.  But my teacher Miss Lemon says, “when you really think about it, if everybody’s mommy drinks a bottle of water a day, that’s a lot of bottles that need to be recycled.” Miss Lemon says recycling is good, but it still uses energy, which is not so good.  So I think maybe a nice pretty glass of water, like Gran drinks would be better.  Or one of those hard ones I like to drum on that my teacher uses, but she doesn’t like me to drum on it even though it makes a good sound.

“Mama,” I said, (if she doesn’t answer to Mommy, I say Mama), “do you see these numbers on the bottom of the bottle, what is it?  Why is it a 1?  Why isn’t it 5?  Or ten? What’s the number for?  M- u – m – m – ee-e-e-e-e!”

My mom says the number means that the bottle needs to only go through one process (that means you only have to do one thing to it) to recycle.  She said that some things have bigger numbers, like 9.  So does that mean you have to do something 9 times to make some things okay again? That sounds weird.  Why don’t they just melt it, like I do with the marshmallows I’m not supposed to put in the fireplace.  So I asked Miss Lemon again.  She told me that a lot of people think the numbers are for the times it takes to recycle something, but that’s not really true.  The numbers are a secret code, well, she didn’t say they were a secret code, but I like the idea of it being secret.   So for all of you moms and dads and even teachers that don’t really know what the Recycling by Numbers is, here’s what Miss Lemon says:

1  is for PETE or PET, short for Polyethylene terephthalate

These are used for polyester fibres, thermoformed sheet, strapping and soft drinking bottles (like the one my mom has).

2  is for HDPE, short for High-density polyethylene

These are used for Bottles, grocery bags, milk jugs, recycling bins, agricultural pipe, base cups, car stops, playground equipment, and plastic lumber (plastic wood? if it’s plastic, it’s not wood. silly grown ups).

3  is for for PVC or V, short for Polyvinyl chloride

These are used for Pipe, fencing, shower curtains, lawn chairs, non-food bottles and children’s toys (like Baby Dolly, or at least her arms and legs).

4  is for LDPE, short for Low-density polyethylene

These are used for Plastic bags, 6 pack rings, various containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, and various molded laboratory equipment. (I asked Miss Lemon what a 6 pack ring is, she said she thought it was to hold soda cans together and that they’re not very nice for birds. Do birds drink soda?).

5  is for PP, short for Polypropylene

These are used for Auto parts, industrial fibers, food containers, and dishware.

6  is for PS, short for Polystyrene

These are used for Desk accessories, cafeteria trays, plastic utensils, toys, video cassettes and cases, clamshell containers, packaging peanuts, and insulation board and other expanded polystyrene products (e.g., Styrofoam)

7  is for OTHER or O, short for a lot of things: acrylic, fiberglass, nylon, polycarbonate, and polylactic acid (a bioplastic), and multilayer combinations of different plastics.

These are used for Bottles, plastic lumber applications, Headlight lenses, and safety shields/glasses. (More pretend wood again.  But I like the Headlight – is that a light I can put on my head? Wow. I think I need one of those).

8  is for…. oh, there isn’t a number 8.  Oh silly grown ups. You didn’t learn your numbers very well.  The number 8 comes after 7.

So these aren’t used for anything, because they forgot the number 8.

9  is for ABS, short for Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene

These are used for High-impact and chemical-resistant extruded or molded objects.  I don’t know what this means, and neither does Mommy or Miss Lemon, or Daddy, so if YOU know, please write to me.

Well, these aren’t secret codes, but I think the codes for plastic are really very complicated, so it doesn’t matter if it’s not a secret because I don’t think very many people know what any of it means.

I’m going to paint now.  Not paint by numbers, because I’m Nell, and I like to make my own paintings.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle