Holiday Madness & Other News of the Week

This picture is here because it's pretty. Regal Rabbit by Cathy Gruetzke-Blais, part of last summer's Dedham Public Art project. There's another one coming up this April, by the way. We can't wait. (Photo: Shala Howell)

This picture is here because it’s pretty. Close-up of the Regal Rabbit by Cathy Gruetzke-Blais, part of last summer’s Dedham Public Art project. There’s another public art project in the works for this spring & summer, by the way. We can’t wait. (Photo: Shala Howell, Regal Rabbit (c) 2012 Cathy Gruetzke-Blais)

Greetings from the one remaining corner of my home where there is room to seat both me and my computer. I really thought that this decluttering stuff was supposed to create space. Instead it seems to have eliminated nearly all of it from my life. I hope to have better news on this front next week.

But first, here is this week’s news party.

From Kristen Howerton: “Can We Bring the Holidays Down a Notch?

Her rant:

Fellow parents: St. Patrick’s Day is supposed to be a “phone-it-in” holiday. Yes, I’ve turned into a bit of a grinch, but SERIOUSLY WITH THE HOLIDAY OVERKILL. It used to be Christmas was the main event, but now it’s as if every holiday must be at a Level 10. And if Christmas wasn’t already hard enough as a parent, someone also decided that we have to move an Elf around every day, into creative tableaus? And then someone else decided that the Advent Calendar was A Thing beyond a simple religious observation and now involves some kind of gift each day leading up to Christmas?

And about a month after having survived that whole mess, we’ve got Valentine’s Day, which has became The New Halloween, because God forbid you send a simple store-bought card. You’d better include some candy or your child will be shunned. Shunned! One of my kids came home with not just a candy from each class, but a WHOLE FREAKING GOODIE BAG from each student.

And then, I think I’ve got a break for a month BUT NO. Surprise! We’ve got 100 Days of School to celebrate. And by “celebrate” I mean the kids sticking 100 things on a hat. And by “the kids” I mean me.

And suddenly Pi Day is a thing? My children expect to be served pie because someone at school told them so?

And Dr. Seuss’s birthday? Sure it’s a great event for school, but my kids are now asking what we’re doing to celebrate that at home, too.

And do not even get me started on what Easter has become.

It’s like she’s installed a web cam in my house.

Here’s my reaction. I’m the parent in this relationship. It’s my job to teach The Five-Year-Old that life is not an ongoing festival in which people shower you with unearned booty every two weeks.

Does that mean you don’t pause to enjoy the fun times on the calendar? No. Eating green food on St. Patrick’s day is fun. Marching in the children’s parade on July 4th is fun. Wearing costumes and trick-or-treating with friends on Halloween is fun. There’s nothing wrong with that.

We will continue to do those things, but I’m not taking Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Valentine’s Day to DEFCON1 just because her school or the family down the street does.

I have three holidays that have special meaning for me — Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. And that’s because they are wrapped up in happy family memory bows. So those are the holidays that I take special care with for The Five-Year-Old. I want her to have those wonderful memories of time taken out of a busy life to be with the people who matter the most as well.

Everything else (including presents, btw) is just gravy, and that’s how it’s going to stay at Caterpickles Central.

The Rest of the News:

Because I used up all my words on that rant:

You know, really, I could have titled this section: “Shala Reads the Huffington Post so You Don’t Have to.” Opportunity lost.

Happy Friday.

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book, Did Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons?, is currently planned for release in 2018. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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One Response to Holiday Madness & Other News of the Week

  1. Pingback: Mother Nature hates New Jersey and other news of the month | CATERPICKLES

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