5 going on 15?

My daughter turned 5 just a few short months ago, yet instead of heading toward age 6, she seems like she is heading toward 15. I look over at her now as she chomps away on goldfish while 20 brightly colored necklaces hang from her neck. She looks like she just stepped off Bourbon street after a fun evening in New Orleans during Mardi Gras or she raided Claire’s Boutique at the mall.

Unfortunately it isn’t just necklaces, it is also the shoes that seem to be propelling her to teenhood. For the two weeks leading up to Christmas she asked me every day to buy her ‘high heels’. At 5 years old you can give them the dress-up plastic shoes to satisfy them, at least temporarily. Even Santa was smart enough to imbibe her with more ‘heels’ in the form of Ariel dress-up shoes. Surprisingly my daughter even managers to jump rope in these things. I look down at my own Dansko clogs and shake my head, why does my daughter look ready to dance at the club (or at least an upcoming ball) while I am stuck in comfortable shoes?

After receiving fancy dress-up shoes from Santa, one would have thought the need for shoes would end. But, no. One day after Christmas she was asking me to take her to buy boots. Not the practical winter variety (you don’t need them in Arizona anyway) but some pink cowboy ones or ones with pink fuzzy edging around the top. I sadly admit that I was over 40 before I bought my first pair of stylish boots, so should my daughter have them before she reached her 6th birthday? Through distraction and procrastination I have avoided the fancy boot shopping spree. If I can delay a bit longer I will be spared since it won’t be long before it is time to pull out shorts and flip-flops for Arizona spring.

My final straw and realization that my future ‘teen’ problems were brewing was a trip to ToysRus. She found lip gloss. Not just 1, 2 or even 3, but 5! When you open one of them, music comes blaring from it. Not Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, but some kind of rock music. I know, I should never have bought a set of 5 lip glosses, but what was the alternative? Nail polish and eye-shadow? Lip gloss sounded good. It is clear anyway so it doesn’t even look like she is wearing anything (thank goodness!).

Each of these individually didn’t seem like a big deal, but when I put them together I already had a teenager on my hand or a least one brewing. Now I just have to sit and wait for the hormones to start churning. Hopefully the lip gloss, high heels, and fancy necklaces will be enough to keep her busy for a while – like 6 years? A mother can hope can’t she?

A new form of meditation: The Oreo cookie

As Paige was eating an Oreo cookie after dinner tonight, she closed her eyes as she savored the taste of the cookie. For a moment it looked like she was meditating. I wondered if it was possible for an Oreo to trigger a meditative state. Seeing her like that made me think about how I feel when I am hiking or even writing. If it was possible that she could meditate eating an Oreo cookie, how many other ways was it possible to meditate?

Yesterday was Sunday, my day to refresh and clear my mind. No, I didn’t go to church, but I do have a place for my own form of prayer as it were. On a Sunday morning or Sunday afternoon I love to head out with the family for a hike (assuming Tucker has not hidden at the neighbor’s house to avoid the hike). Also hiking is seasonal even in Arizona. For some reason I can’t get excited about heading out on a hike at 2 in the afternoon when it is 118 degrees. Maybe if it was only 102, just not 118. I had been waiting weeks for the opportunity to hike (when it wasn’t pouring down rain) and my body was feeling like it had been ‘missing out’ on something these last few weeks. Was it possible that meditation was what my body was missing?

There is something ritualistic about strapping on hiking boots with leather that has been scratched with wear and are so covered with dirt that it is impossible to see the original color of the boots. Boots should be well broken in, and mine certainly were – even for this relatively short hike. For those who know me as a bit of a tomboy, they would be surprised to know that I wear a skirt to hike in Arizona. REI really knows their stuff, so if they sell a quick-dry, brown skirt with numerous pockets, I feel obligated to hike in it. I realize I live in Arizona (and the heat doesn’t require it) but I still wear wool hiking socks. Either I am too cheap or too lazy to buy new ones, but I patiently wait for them to wear out so I can purchase new ones.

Hiking with two kids can be a challenge. The amount of water and snacks required to keep them happy on the journey seems to add up to the same weight as my college engineering books (combined). This is a lot more than I enjoy carrying; however, I have learned from experience that either I carry all the ‘stuff’ or listen to whining and complaining for the full length of the hike. Yesterday’s hike was planned to be over 3 miles, so 3 hours of whining? or a real ‘workout’ from carrying the extra weight? I chose the weight. I guess another option would be earplugs, but that would just defeat the purpose of relaxing to the sounds of nature.

On the hike yesterday I wandered along the narrow and winding path, with Paige shuffling along in front of me, and I felt like I was in another world. It was quiet. The ground was covered in a green carpet rarely seen in Arizona. The wildflowers were amazing. Poppies were a beautiful orange-yellow and everywhere you could find these teeny tiny flowers. I had escaped my busy life and my blackberry for a few hours and all I could focus on was the scenery (and of course keeping the kids moving along and nourished). For me, hiking is so much like meditating because the mind seems to be ‘free’ to finally relax and escape the over-stimulation of daily life. Writing actually has a similar effect on me. I am not sure why, but something happens during both of these activities that is so similar, yet so different.

Whether you go for a hike, sit on your patio to listen to the birds chirp, go to your local church for a sermon, or you have some other tradition you like to do on Sundays (or any other day for that matter) you should savor this meditation time. With the overflow of text messages, e-mails, and mental demands it is nice to escape that for a while. I am looking forward to trying a new form of meditation soon…over an Oreo cookie. I think Paige has something there.