January 31, 2008
I hope Rob doesn't get a report card today...it would be too eerie. We had our conference at Henry's preschool and received his report card. And unexpectedly, Miranda came home with her report card today. They both did a great job. I swear Henry is test-oriented. Two of the things he struggled with were spelling his name and hopping. (he was terrific in the social and emotional side of preschool, he is still working on the motor skills) And so this afternoon, he sang his name to the tune of B-I-N-G-O several times. And he hopped and hopped. Maybe he didn't realize he was supposed to know these things until he was tested on them. Or maybe it was serendipity. Or me noticing it because it was pointed out. But I'd hate to think I wouldn't have noticed the loud and wild hopping all around the living room.
Miranda did well. She is thriving in school. I am so happy. We had a "snow" (as in so-freaking-cold-that-it-wasn't-safe-to-be-outside day) on Wednesday. There was some definite stir crazy feelings. Henry was delighted to have Miranda home. And she wanted to play, but I could tell her routine was thrown off. She kept yelling she didn't know what to do. And I am so not a routine maker or child choreographer. My suggestions of activites were met with outraged sighs or huffy cries. I know she was thinking, "Ms A would know what to do," because I was thinking it too.
January 29, 2008
It is so very windy today. It blew open one of the casement windows in the living room. And it is damn cold.
If you mention the words Disney and Land out loud, even in a veiled whisper, your child will hear you. And will demand to go right now. It sounds that exciting. And if you should happen to get a guidebook (one that coincidentally sort of drives your decision that the kids are a bit too young to really enjoy this trip and Wowee it will cost a lot of moola), do not leave it or its companion kid book laying around.
I am overwhelmed by options and trying to plot time off and school missed versus cost versus opportunity is just proving to me that I never took statistics or enough calculus to figure this out mathematically and these ideas don't quantify easily.
Things That Do Not Please Me
January 28, 2008
Narrow backspace keys. Should have listened to the reviews
Trying to please too many people in vacation planning
gigantic TV screens
Resorting to a Meme
January 27, 2008
When you walk in your front door, which room do you enter?
The foyer--staircase on the right, living room to the left, kitchen through the hall in front of you
Do you have a dishwasher?
Is your living room carpeted or does it have hardwood floors?
Carpeted. Only room in the house
Do you keep your kitchen knives on the counter or in a drawer?
On the counter in a wooden block
House, apartment, duplex or trailer?
How many bedrooms is it?
Four. We're contemplating making our bedroom and office into one bigger room and we're adding a new bedroom downstairs. This year, I hope.
Gas stove or electric?
Do you have a yard?
Yes. It is huge by my standards, almost an acre.
What size TV is in the living room?
32" or 36" It isn't a flat screen. It is absurdly heavy. No I will not spend the economic stimulus on a flat screen TV. But maybe Disneyland :) (paragraph 3)
Are your plates in the same cupboard as your cups?
Is there a coffee maker sitting on your kitchen counter?
Sadly yes. I have tried to move it after the coffee is made...but it persists.
What room is your computer in?
Two in my office, one in the family room
Are there pictures hanging in your living room?
Not right now. We painted. We have plans to put up something that goes with the new couch.
Are there any themes found in your home?
We have chickens in the kitchen. Otherwise, no, the house doesn't speak to me demanding my normal whimsical design ideas.
What kind of laundry detergent do you use?
Usually Tide. Maybe Cheer or Era or All.
Do you use dryer sheets?
Yes. Love them.
Curtains in your home?
Some rooms. Yes in the bedrooms. No in the living room, kitchen and family room.
What color is your fridge?
Is your house clean?
Mostly. Messy in many ways.
What room is the most neglected?
My office because I dump things here when they have no other home and Rob started an awesome reorganization scheme in fall and we haven't had time to put stuff in the closet. So it is a mess. Only partially tongue in cheek.
Are the dishes in your sink/dishwasher clean or dirty?
Dishes in the sink are always dirty. And I have a pet peeve that the dishwasher should not sit with dirty dishes in it. i think it makes the dishwasher smell funny. So I leave them in the sink until I have enough to run the machine. Or I run a partial load. It just grosses me out to load it and not run it immediately.
How long have you lived in your home?
8 months, just about exactly.
Where did you live before?
In the city of Milwaukee. A 1937 Tudor style house with loads of charm.
Do you have one of those fluffy toilet lid covers on your toilet?
Do you have a scale anywhere in your house?
How many mirrors are in your house?
4 I think. One in each bathroom. Two of the bedrooms have them.
Look up. What do you see?
A white ceiling.
Do you have a garage?
Yes. A 2 car garage, not a 2.5 car. Can't fit the snowblower and 2 cars. After we get another bedroom added to the house, we'll pursue more garage space.
Ways to tell you've been watching too much Scrubs
January 24, 2008
When you're putting your daughter to bed, you have to take the Dr Cox smirk out of your voice, you have to refrain from using his hand gestures and annoyed face, and you have to stop yourself from going on and on when you are trying to tell the girl that she needs to be quiet in order to fall asleep.
And way to feel just shitty
Miranda says she is putting her clothes in the hamper. Henry wants a certain book that he thinks is downstairs. Henry leaves the room, in your mind, you think he is going to find the book. You find the book. You yell, "Henry, I have the book." He doesn't come back. You go into the hall, see the hamper is laying on the floor. Thinking in a Dr Cox-ian voice--why did she do that? Pick up the hamper and yell "Henry!" Hear the loud and freaked-out cry from Henry, who had climbed inside the hamper and is now upside down in the hamper, his head having just hit the floor. Reach inside the hamper and pull Henry out by his foot, while screaming. Henry cries. And cries. And I will probably cry later. Or else drink. That worked so well for Dr. Cox.
If I have to be a Scrubs character in my own head...Dr Cox is a tough choice.
No joy in Mudville
January 21, 2008
Well, the Superbowl is just too exciting when you actually care who wins.
And in other news, I wish I had found something to do today to celebrate MLK. Of course, even if I had not been painting the living room, Miranda was ill and home from the school she was supposed to attend, it snowed a lot this evening. A lot like they took someone's city lot and dumped all the snow in my yard.
It is my won little irksome thought that school should not have happened today because MLK day is a federal holiday. And yet, if she had gone to school, perhaps they did some MLK-related activities. I know we did in elementary and middle school. I was sad to realize I don't quite have all the words to We Shall Overcome memorized anymore. I should look that up.
Now for Something Completely Different
January 20, 2008
Rob and I have a standing bet, in the Superbowl he gets the NFC and I get the AFC. In the years I remember it usually works out in my favor. The standing ante is a dinner out at a restaurant of the winner's choosing. I was teasing him that I was sure to win this year, as the Patriots are unstoppable. And the Packers are dear, and play well as the underdog, and our hometown favorites, but...have you seen the Patriots' record? So Rob asked me if that meant I was actively rooting for the Patriots today. And I didn't know. As a Wisconsinite, I am rooting for the Chargers as I think the Packers have a better chance. But in the spirit of the bet, hmmmm.
Somehow I think this post may be more controversial than the last :)
Blowing things out of proportion
My Feminism Take
January 20, 2008
I have been mulling a snippet of life. And I think I am blowing it out of proportion, but I know why it bugs me at the same time.
The scene: a gathering of children. Chaotic children running amuck. Parents ignoring the muck as it was loud not troublesome
The players: a Boy, older and a Girl, younger
Boy and Girl running. Girl starts screaming. She has some lungs. Loud screaming.
A mom says: Stop screaming Girl
Another mom says: please be quieter
Girl: But he won't listen to me!
A mom says: Who do you think you are Girl, queen of the world?
Another mom shushes the children downstairs to play
Boy remains silent throughout the yelling and shushing.
And my reactions were:
A. God that's loud
B. Why no comment from or toward the Boy? In my balance of the things I am Trying To teach My Children to Become Nice Grown-ups Someday, listening is a big one. Listening even to people you don't want to hear from.
I am not huge on politeness. When I hear people obsessed with Please and Thank You, I sort of shrug. Your kids generally follow your model. If you say please and thank you (to them especially) they will say it too. But I do care about the meanings behind manners and politeness, (that scene in Blast From the Past when Brendan Fraser explained manners to Alicia Silverstone and Dave Foley has always struck me a great guidepost in behavior) which is why I try to model please and thank you. And when I break up a kid fight, I try to make sure that both sides face the music, whatever tune is owed to them.
I am troubled by the "queen of the world" comment because it seemed out of proportion to the offense. Because it seemed mean. Because it seemed to say that even if she had asked in a very quiet and polite voice, he didn't have to listen to her. And if the Boy had spoke up to say "No, Girl, I don't want to get knives in the kitchen" or "I told you we'll do that later," I still would have thought it was mean, but perhaps understandable. She shouldn't scream that loud, true. But I could interpret his non-response to her as Passive Aggressive (the silent treatment) and that's annoying and should deserve a comment from his mother.
I do think the screamer should have been told to stop. And maybe even instructed that she'll get better results with a quiet voice. And if she has a screaming history, perhaps a punishment should be warranted. And I might feel differently about her screaming if she had been screaming not to get someone's attention but to yell "butthead" or "I hate you!"
To get to my lofty Feminism thoughts, I don't like putting down a little girl trying to say something. There had been some general laments about the level of pinkness and princess in girl's toys. I think telling her she doesn't deserve to be listened to will hurt her more than all of the Barbies in TRU. Granted in our rights to free speech we don't have the right to be listened to, suppressing that spark to speak seems to go against all of the lovely liberal politics and parenting the parents in the room espoused.
And in my trying to tamp down the out of proportion energy this small moment took on for me, I considered lots of things. The children see each other far more than they see me. Maybe this is a continual problem. The parents see each other more too, so maybe this level of teasing is normal. Maybe the boy has trouble speaking up. I couldn't find a "maybe" that made me accept it. Except maybe it was an anomaly. One insult rarely breaks us, especially strong young girls trained by the princess cartel to expect the best and the most.
Girl Scout Cookie mania
January 17, 2008
I have been meaning to tell my small and loyal (I know all 4 of you :) readership that Miranda, the Brownie, is selling Girl Scout Cookies. If you need a fix, we can help you out.
January 16, 2008
I have been forgetting to post this tidbit. Gosh, I miss the blog fodder from riding in the car with Miranda.
M: Mom, I heard about this alert thing you can get. You press the button and help comes. Like if you fall. Just press the button.
[I can picture this commercial for First Alert with the elderly woman saying First Alert saved her life. Darn Tom & Jerry and their stupid non-kid commercials.]
Miranda mentions several other situations in which it would help me.
Me: Do you think I should get one of those?
M: Well, no. It is something in case you are alone. And you're never alone. There's always Henry or Grandpa or Grandma or me or Papa around.
And then we ride a little longer, go to the grocery store and we leave. I have Miranda stand by the car while I put the cart away. She worries if I leave her sight line, but I didn't, I swear.
M: How would I get home if you got hit by a car?
Me: Well, the ambulance would take you home. Or the ambulance people would call Papa.
M: Who would call the ambulance?
Me: A grown-up. You'd ask for help, right? You'd make sure I was OK and if I wasn't, you'd call for help.
[aside, when Miranda was 4, her pediatrician made one of her annual physical questions: if Mommy fell down the stairs, what do you do? Just checking on me was enough for a pass. Miranda passed with a little prodding. I don't think this has been weighing on her mind, it is just what I started thinking about as this conversation progressed.]
M: You want me to talk to a stranger?
Me: Well, how badly am I hurt? If I can call 911, I will.
M: Because I don't know how to use your phone.
Me: But If I am hurt, you'd ask a grown-up who came to see what was going on. Or go in the store.
M: the store?
Me: Yes, the people in the store would help you. I guarantee it.
M: And leave you alone?
Me: Miranda, it depends. If I am hurt and I can't talk to you, you have to get help. If I can talk, I'll help you.
M: This is a time when that alert button would be good.
January 13, 2008
Happy Birthday L!
When I retrieved the newspaper this morning, I saw these:
I think raccoon, rabbit and suburban mom.
January 12, 2008
Henry is riding in the car. He puts the blanket over his head. "Momma, I'm spooky. I've invincible."
H: "Spooky is invincible"
My parents took the kids to The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. They drove my mom nuts by being scared. And trying to walk away. And hide behind her. She thought for sure they hated it. And then the whole ride home they talked about their favorite parts. And how much they liked it. And how it was so funny. I didn't see the movie so the parts they described to me make no sense. But that's OK. They have talked about the movie over and over. I am glad we're reaching the age in which movies are pleasurable.
My children are growing up so much. I don't know if the maturity changes really happen in punctuated spurts or if we as parents only notice the changes in spurts. Miranda can read now. She is at the edge of reading whether she wants to or not--like when Rob leaves the closed captions on. She catches the words. She loves school--she is happy to go, happy to join the other kids. She misses the daily schedule when she is at home. She is figuring out how to resist doing school work, especially math. I am concerned about her far vision. I really should hang out with some other 6 year olds to find out what a normal-visioned 6 year old can see. Our last ambylopia checkup did not go well. She was seeing at best 20/70. But, in the left / right eye tests we did prove she was seeing with both eyes. And that means her brain is using the eye and not suppressing it when both eyes are in use. We need to patch more consistently. I again think I may need a sticker chart. And she may need a Nintendo DS.
Henry has abandoned toddler behaviors to be such a kid. Funny and kind, he can both throw a tantrum because Miranda won't share a toy with him and then when she, under duress, shares, he offers it back to her so she'll cheer up. He recognizes several letters and numbers. He has an uncanny ability to guess the correct answer for math problems. I am not really exploring that. His fine motor skills are developing--cutting and crayons and glue. And he remembers people, places, things. What I said last week. When I promised we'd go to McDonalds.
As much as they have grown-up and learned new things, I am still feeling chicken about taking them away by myself. Like along on conferences where I'd have 10 hours to fill by myself. I so totally respect the moms I know who handle the kids 10 hours a day every day. But that is not me. If I didn't have help, I'd have fled to the office and that set of guilt. Younger me, with small, crying, sleepless babies would have laughed at me to have such small problems. And older me will probably look back without much pity. Ah, to be at such a point in life...
Can we play gas station?
January 11, 2008
The children woke me up before I was ready to be awake. And Henry's first words were, "can we play gas station?"
No, he isn't imagine a dystopian future, Rob borrowed some PlayStation games and they all played last night. And Henry wanted more. Even after being corrected, he still shortened it to "Station."
January 8, 2008
I just like that movie. No news here. I put it in the DVD player tonight. When we watched it the first time, I thought it would be one of those movies I can return to over and over. And then we watched the deleted scenes. And gag reel. And bonus DVD of more deleted scenes. The more background I watched, the more the plot sort of disappeared into a monologue of sex jokes. I did laugh, a lot. And I was caught up in trying to pinpoint the moments when I thought Leslie Mann was just spot-on exactly-inside-of-my-head right.
Is it a sign of a desire to escape (winter? painting? Webkinz world?) that I am missing movies like they are old friends I haven't seen in years? Sunset is topping my list right now. But to get the Super Saver Shipping I added in Johnny Be Good and Blast From the Past.
January 6, 2008
Happy Epiphany if that's one you celebrate. Our Christmas tree and decorations (winter pagan solstice symbols mostly anyway) have been down since the 31st. Perhaps if Christmas didn't start Nov 2nd, I'd be able to still enjoy it January 6th.
The worst parenting moments ever post and comments at Finslippy right now are thought-provoking. And ruefully funny. And I am glad to not feel alone. Reading through the 100+ comments and nodding, laughing and grimacing, I either repress or dismiss my worst moments. I've certainly yelled and sometimes even spanked, smacked or slapped, but the incidents don't stand out as some guilty moment I regret and repent in times of insomnia. I freely admit the kids have picked up most of their swear words from me (usually just "Damn" or "damnit" luckily.) And I'll admit they even copy some of my facial expressions--the raised eyebrow, pursed lips and cock of the head. But beyond knowing we've had meltdowns, temper tantrums, timeouts and screaming, well if there aren't any stand-outs, with any luck the children won't remember them either.
Alice at Finslippy does recount the horror of socks. I do relate to that one. Miranda has things about socks. She spent last winter refusing to wear them. And her shoes and boots stunk in a way that made me fear her teenage years when her sweat glands start really working. She also refuses pants with waistbands that cling--they have to have perfect elasticity. Socks are worn this winter (I'm not sure I am more stubborn than she, but if motivated I can be more stubborn), but to my grandmother's dismay the socks much be worn inside out. She claims Miranda is the cause of the massive snowfalls this year. It is sad that I still consider it a victory (for peace, decency and American commerce) that she wears socks at all.
January 3, 2008
Which one of these things did not happen today?
A. I got lost driving in Madison.
B. I found my way easily to Dicks and bought snow pants for my mom.
C. Miranda lost a library book. It will cost $20 to replace.
D. My car, which I was in but I was not the driver, ran out of gas just west of Jackson.
E. We picked up a new recliner. It was much larger than we expected because we picked a medium sized recliner from the store. How big do people want their furniture that our new gigantic chair is a medium? I yearn for Danish modern.
Conversation without context
January 2, 2008
Her: candles, massage oil, books, time to pull out that Shania Twain poster
I did wonder which party that last one was intended for. And do people really pull out posters?
It is 2008. How did that happen? I say good riddance, 2007. The Internet seems to have loved 2007, but me, not so much. I am having a cynical week so I can't even post resolutions or goals and guidelines. Or greatest hits. But I am writing. There has been an update. I promise more.
Pictures from Christmas
Oh, Henry isn't looking at us
Still not looking at us and our smiles feel less sincere.