Giving Kids A Lifelong Sport: Tennis Anyone?

My father taught my younger sister & I how to play tennis when we were eight or nine years old. We took lessons, practiced regularly and played on the school tennis teams. My father, who is now 73-years-old, is passionate about tennis and still plays 2-3 times per week. Despite his age and slight limp, he can get around a tennis court. Many of his opponents have learned the “you can’t judge a book by its cover” lesson on more than one occasion.

Growing up, we spent many hours on the tennis court together. At times, my mother would join us and we would play a few hilarious sets of doubles together. I use the term “hilarious” because my mother would play the net like a maniac, flying through the air awkwardly to return a lob or totally missing the ball and accidentally tossing the racket mid-swing. I’m sure onlookers thought we were crazy. I remember laughing so hard, I could barely swing the racket.

Today, after nearly 25 years, my father, sister & I still play tennis together. We don’t play often because she lives in a different state and I get busy being mom and doing mom things. When do play, it’s just like old times. We giggle when we successfully drop shot dad and I still run around my forehand because I prefer backhands. My sister mutters funny stuff under her breath when she crushes her forehand and we both blame the other one when a ball whizzes by us on the center line. “That was yours!?!”

We’re teaching my children how to play tennis, although they are still too young to fully understand the concept. It’s a chaotic scene – me, my husband and my father trying to convince two small kiddos to hold the racket steady and swing. They’d rather chase tennis balls, tug on the net, drag the racket on the ground or use it like a golf club. And that’s all just fine with me.

One day, we will all play doubles together. My kids will laugh at my silly antics at the net and I will marvel at the great shots they make. We’ll spend time on the court talking about nothing special, enjoying the physical activity, the smell of new tennis balls and relishing in the perfect cross-court winner.

Are We Ever Genuinely Happy for Someone Else’s Child?

I will call this post a ‘Mommy Moment’ and you can decide if you agree or not…

The other day I was at a store and overhead a little toddler counting. She had beautiful flawless skin, big bouncy curls and expressive brown eyes. She was adorable! She counted to 20…then to 30…and finally stopped at 50. Her mom beamed and she smiled at me when she was finished because she knew she had a small audience. Amazed, I asked her mother how old she was. She was three and a half. “Good job,” I said enthusiastically. I was lying.

My mind immediately started racing. Was this normal? Can all kids her age count to 50? Are my young children on track? Is she ahead of the curve? Are my kids behind it? Thoughts were racing through my head and I wanted a computer so I could Google it until my heart was content.

Luckily, the non-mom side of my brain kicked in and squelched the mom racket. The fact that this little girl could count had nothing to do with me or my children. This was someone else’s moment, not mine. I realized how easy it is and how nature it feels to be competitive with other children. Which makes me wonder, are other parents ever genuinely happy for someone else’s child? I sure hope so. After reflecting on my actions, I’d like to congratulate that bubbly little girl on her impressive counting skills. She deserves it.

Elizabeth Adeney: Really? Come on.

It’s not even necessary to go into a lot of details about this breaking news story. Elizabeth Adeney is pregnant at 66-years-old. She now wears the crown for being the oldest pregnant woman in England’s history. Yeah, that’s a long time folks. Confused by all the buzz about her situation, Adeney replies, “I’m just a pregnant lady.” Really? Hmmm, let’s think about that.

I, MommyQ, am in my mid-30s with two small children under the age of five. After a day with my spirited, funny, active, goofy, demanding, jumping, leaping, walking, running, throwing, tossing, eating, napping, griping, giggling, smiling, frowning kiddos, I’m exhausted – both physically and emotionally. Again, I’m in my mid-30s. Based on nothing personal about the woman – just math – I think this is a sadly selfish, unethical situation.

When her child is an active toddler, she will be approaching 70-years-old. When her child is ten-years-old, she will be getting close to 80-years-old. It’s simple mathematics. Just because one can do something, doesn’t mean one should. In my silly little opinion, this is completely unfair to the child. I cannot imagine being 30 years older than I am and attempting to raise a newborn. It’s too absurd to even consider.

Adeney might be the best, most loving parent in the world, but the odds are not in her favor to be around for her child’s life. Not to mention, the ew factor is pretty high too. (Having a baby at 66? Ew.)

What do you think MommyQ readers? Is she just another pregnant lady?

Getting to Know the Real Gerber Baby

Today I came across an interesting factoid. Do you know who the Gerber baby is? It’s a face we all know and love, even if you don’t have kids. It’s the standard for cute babies, boy or girl. “Oh, he looks like the Gerber baby!” That’s a huge compliment, even if he is a she.

The real Gerber baby is Ann Turner Cook, a mystery novelist and retired English teacher. She was the subject of a simple charcoal sketch by Dorothy Hope Smith, an artist who specialized in drawing children.

In 1928, Gerber was ready to launch a campaign to market its brand new line of baby food. But they needed a face first. A face that would move mountains, sail ships and yes, sell baby food. Smith, the artist, submitted her drawings amid competitors who submitted elaborate oil paintings. The Gerber executives fell in love with that cute little smush-face and she became the most popular baby in the world.

In a short amount of time, Gerber adopted the sketch as its official trademark in 1931. Since then, the Gerber Baby has appeared on all Gerber packaging and in every Gerber advertisement. Now that’s exactly what should happen when you win a cutest baby contest, right? Today we just get a fake magazine cover image, geez.

In December 1996, Ann Turner Cook herself was present at the unveiling of Gerber’s first new label in more than 40 years. And while Gerber Baby Foods embraced a new look, Mrs. Cook’s young face is still a part of the Gerber image. Awe.

Updated October 14, 2008 – Funny story… MommyQ was is Las Vegas a few months ago and actually met a real Gerber baby. This guy, who happens to work for MySpace, claimed he was an official Gerber baby. Evidentally there are quite a few. He didn’t have a certificate or anything, but for some reason I totally belived him!