We're totally a Frozen household. And I love it. I love complaining about how many times I've seen the movie in the past two weeks; I love griping at playdates about how I have "Let it Go" stuck in my head; I love that Abigail gasps and points whenever she sees something with Elsa's picture on it. She's had her first indoctrination into Disney Princess World, and I love it.
Why? Because everyone else is.
You see, we all love to go on and on with quotes about how being unique and being different is better than following the crowd, the best way to achieve your dreams, the surefire answer to happiness. "If you are always trying to be normal, you'll never realize how amazing you are!" We all blasted everywhere when Maya Angelou passed. And that's all good and true to some extent. But humans are social creatures at heart. We were created to love and be loved. We strive for real connections with one another. We join clubs and share stories and celebrate holidays together and we want to fit in and be liked, maybe even loved. Well I've got built-in different. I've got built-in "not normal." And sometimes that gets in the way of real connections. I've lost friends and been unwelcome at playdates for our "not normal." But more commonly, I find myself sitting around playdates quietly. When the conversation turns to our kids, there are very few times I can say, "Oh, that's how my life is too!" Or if I'm describing something we're going through with Abigail, I rarely hear, "Oh my little boy did the same thing!" Usually I hear something more like, "Well, all kids go through that stage at some point." Then there's either awkward silence or someone overacting, "Yeah! My brother's kid was just like that when he was that age!" I don't often feel like I make real connections with other moms.
But when conversations turns to Frozen? Yes, we are all going through the same thing. My kid sings "Let it Go" at the top of her lungs too. And my kid asks to watch it several times a day too. We're all about the Frozen stickers at the doctor's office, the Frozen books at the store, and if our store wasn't constantly sold out of them, I'm sure she'd be all about the Frozen dolls too. And when she grows up and meets other kids at school or gymnastics class or art club, they'll have Frozen in common - pretending to be Elsa, building elaborate ice castles with their imaginations. Cultural references to the movie won't go over her head. We have lots of different, and maybe some people would argue lots of chances to realize our amazingness, but I love that we're a Frozen household because for me at playdates and for the rest of Abigail's life, when the conversation turns to one little princess movie, we'll all be on the same playing field.
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So Matt and I stumbled across old episodes of The Dog Whisperer online and we've kind of become obsessed with it. We're in love with Cesar Millan. Anyway, he has this principle that you have to exercise your dog before you can train them. You gotta fatigue them because when the dog is full of pent up energy, he can't focus and listen to your instructions. After a few days of thought, I realized that's true for people too. When I'm physically tired, I'm calmer and more patient. I care less about the one-car situation, I obsess less about the mess in the kitchen, I spend less time looking online for houses we're not ready to move to, I'm less depressed when I have to sit on the couch (again!) to nurse Eleanor (again!) because sitting feels good! And Abigail? When she's tired, she's less interested in climbing up onto the desk and throwing things off, she eats better, she listens better, she wants to snuggle more. We're all more pleasant people to be around.
There is less conflict around here when we've all been outside for a good, long walk. Plus ain't nobody going to argue that hearty exercise twice a day doesn't increase your quality of life about a thousand percent. Or help you lose the rest of the baby weight.
So I've been working up some plans for daily energy burns with Abigail. I secured a double stroller and fully plan to initiate long walks during our more stressful times of the day. I'd love to walk Abigail until she asks to be carried, then I'll strap her in the stroller and head home. And pushing them both means I'll be able to walk to parks in the area and let Abigail burn some energy there. Physically active playdates once a week, romps with cousins in their backyards, climbing up and down the stairs in the apartment building when it's raining outside. I'm making a list. I'm totally willing to give Operation Fatigue my full efforts. Plus it's the perfect way to enjoy summer and create happy childhood memories for my girls.