Hey, I’m doing it again – posting here just to tell you to click away. You’re awesome, though, so I know you won’t mind. I’m at Jackie’s blog, With Just a Bit of Magic, today, and I’m talking about a serious issue. It’s an issue that I think about almost every day from March through September:
Clearly, Stacy and Clinton have never tried to look presentable and raise small children in the summer. And certainly not in Texas.
Okay. It’s possible this issue is not as serious as I’ve made it out to be. But I do hope that you – and Stacy and Clinton – will click over there to read A Letter to What Not to Wear.
Thanks & hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July! read more
I feel the need to write something here, but all of my good somethings are still bad. They’re unfinished, at any rate.
Here’s the deal. Once my head cleared after this, summer started. Did you know the schools are very firm on that last day? No wiggle room there, friends. You must collect your children on the last day, and then you must keep them until school starts again.
I later edited this calendar, because it turns out that if you have a schedule-less mentality, you might almost forget to go to swim lessons.
Truthfully, summer has been great so far. With a few caveats. Namely…
There is not enough deodorant on the shelves of Target to handle the heat. I expect to have sweat pooling in the creases of my eyelids when I’m in spin class; I do not appreciate that level of sweat accompanying a trip from my back door to my car. (I promised myself that I would not spend all summer complaining about the heat. This is one promise I probably won’t keep; consider yourself warned.)
I love not having a school schedule, with daily drop-offs and pick-ups, and lunches to pack, and backpacks to sort. Also, I hate not having a schedule. It always takes a few weeks before we figure out our summer routine. (Please see the next caveat for a more detailed – and riveting – status update on our schedule-setting.)
I spent the first week of summer with an infection I called Coughing, Aching, General Misery, Fever, You Are Dying Disease. The doctor called it bronchitis. It was accompanied by a delusion-inducing fever that had me thinking I was the Countess of Grantham and all of my servants were plotting against each other, thereby neglecting their duties. Once I kicked the fever and accepted that I do not have servants (because that would be wrong), and that the only person willing to polish my
chandeliers cheap lighting is, well, neither servant nor countess, we were squarely in week two of summer. I am behind schedule in developing a schedule.
In summary: hot, sick, no schedule. But summer is still pretty fun, even if my to-do list is not quite ever ta-done.
A note… I don’t really blog about blogging, but just as I felt I needed to write something here, I feel I should saysomething to my blogging friends: when you see the weird troll lurking for many hours on your site, it’s not a troll. I’m just catching up. I’ve read here and there, but mostly I’ve marked a lot – a lot – of stuff as to read. I’ll be by soon.
:: Am I the last person to start watching Downton Abbey? Anyone else have a bit of a crush on Mr. Bates?
:: How long does it take you to get in the swing of the summer schedule, or lack thereof? read more
We sing a lot at our house.
That’s not entirely accurate; Mark is musically inclined. He can play the guitar and carry a tune. I cannot. But I am not deterred by my inabilities. What I lack in musical skill, I make up for in killer lyrics. I’m a rhyming fool, yo.
As I child, I loved that the Cosby family would just break into song around the dinner table or during dream sequences, and wanted the same for my family. We encourage silly singing. Mark even instituted Guitar Bath Time, when he plays while the kids rock along to cover tunes and some of Mark’s original songs.
P. is actually Mark’s primary audience these days, as H. is a big time six year old now and takes showers that require one of his parents to stand in the bathroom and give detailed instructions, every day, like get your entire body wet, now use soap and scrub your whole body, now rinse. Yes, your whole body. Rinse all of it. Yes, I am including your hair when I say body.
We had to eliminate dinnertime singing for a while, though, because it’s hard to sing without arm gestures. And arm gestures inevitably lead to spilled milk. Which inevitably leads to crying, and therefore I find the don’t cry… cliché utter bull. Aside from the obvious problem with this rule (i.e., it’s not very Cosby-esque to outlaw singing at the table), the primary issue with No Dinnertime Singing was this: Mark and I kept breaking our own rule.
Since we live with Taskmaster, Rule-Follower H., our hypocrisy was regularly pointed out in a manner that made me feel very un-Cosby-like. There is little that irritates me more than a smug know-it-all, and when that smugness emanates from my own offspring? Forget sitcom-worthy teachable moments.
To avoid future hypocrisy, at least where this issue is concerned, we now allow some table-side song stylings. We have eclectic music tastes, so I’m sure our kids have heard a little of everything around here. For years I didn’t censor what I played, because they weren’t paying attention to the words. These days, however, I skip any songs with explicit lyrics, and play pretty tame stuff.
So, when H. let this one fly at dinner the other night, complete with swagger and some eerily-gang-like hand gestures, we were amused. And scared.
[Mumble, mumble – perhaps a verse's worth of rapidly mush-mouthed words that we didn't entirely follow and then...]
When you’re at the top of your game,
You’re at the top of the chain.
Couple cars in the garage,
And two juice boxes.
[More mumble... something about your friends thinking you're cool. Repeat chorus.]
Of course Mark and I raised the roof and completely encouraged H. to keep bustin’. He indulged us for about two minutes before beating his fist against his chest, throwing a peace sign and saying, “I’m out.”
Ladies and gentlemen, Taskmaster H. is in the hizouse.
We always say that we don’t care what our children do, as long as they follow their passions and create a life they love. So if he wants to be the next Eminem, I guess his dad and I won’t be buggin’ – especially if he brings home enough scrillah (look it up) to give us a nice retirement.
:: Have your kids ever exhibited a surprising, uh, skill?
Today’s post is from the archives. In honor of the holiday weekend, here is a piece I wrote right after Easter last year.
I watched you search.
In turns, you tried different tactics.
You stood in one place, glancing in all directions, unable to decide where to go.
You ran frantically without pausing to watch where you were going.
You set your sights on an object and walked purposefully.
You walked tentatively, knowing where you wanted to go even though you weren’t sure it was the right direction.
I watched you find.
Most of the time you cheered, holding up your prize to show it off.
Sometimes you were reckless, taking quickly without examining your spoils.
Once, your face showed disappointment. What you found was not what you hoped for.
At times you were surprised by the outcome, but still pleased.
My heart soared.
I watched you search and felt joy.
Later, my stomach lurched.
This time, the stakes were low. The prize was eggs.
Some filled with your favorite candy; some filled with licorice jelly beans.
A couple had money in them, but even the cash-poor eggs were rich.
One day, the stakes… Well, they’ll be so much more.
The prize will be a place on the team. Or not.
The prize will be a first-choice college admission. Or not.
The prize will be a dream job. Or not.
The prize will be the girl you thought was The One. Or not.
I know you have to search in order to find the prizes.
To find yourself.
To find your place.
To find your peace.
To find your salvation.
That’s what yesterday was about, after all. Salvation. You are still accepting, unblemished. You still understand with a pureness of heart, an absence of ulterior motive.
I ache for what’s ahead.
Maybe you’ll never face a crisis, one in which all you ever believed is shattered. Maybe you’ll never look at the search before you, and feel completely alone.
But I know better.
So I ache, because you are human. It is your nature to question. It is the world’s nature to disappoint and confuse.
And then I rejoice.
I rejoice, because I have faith. I have faith that at the end of your search, you will find your prize.
It’s been here all along, after all.
H, on the hunt. (Easter 2011)
Success! (Easter 2011)
:: In the age of extreme helicopter parenting, what are you doing to ensure that your kids figure out life for themselves? (And how hard is it to stand back and watch them fall sometimes?) read more
Almost two years ago I was preparing to hunker down for some severe weather. And by preparing, I mean checking Twitter for my weather news. Weather Man Mark* was keeping an eye on official weather reports, but I prefer to know what the person on the street – or Internet – has to say.
So I was hanging out on Twitter and saw a tweet from B. about the weather. We’d chatted via tweet before, but I never realized she lived so close to me. The Internet is magically weird that way. Now, thanks to Austin Bloggers, B. and I – and a whole bunch of other bloggers – know each other outside of our computer screens. The Internet is also magically weird that way. There are real people in there.
My point? Thanks to the magically weird Internet, I’m fortunate to know some fantastic people I might never have met otherwise. And sometimes these people invite me to hang out in their little corners of the blogosphere, so I’m not here today. I’m at B.’s place, Unexpectedly Expecting Baby, writing about marriage, because… B.’s getting married this week! I’m sharing a story about the day I woke up and felt gobsmacked by the concept of, gulp, forever.
You don’t need to make any major forever commitments to me (it’s cool if you want to, though); instead, I thought we could have a one-day stand over at B.’s place. Follow me over there, won’t you? I’m sure she would love your words of wisdom, too, so leave her a comment with your best marriage advice.
*Not a real weather man. Just a real weather dork. And he’s all mine, ladies.
P.S. - There won’t be a guest post this week on Wonder, Friend. We’re taking the week off for Easter (and it’s Spring Break for a lot of the country, too). Check back next week! read more
I’m not sure what happened. I went to sleep in 2006 and woke up in 2012 (or actually, I haven’t slept much at all since 2006, so perhaps that makes the question moot and explains my surprise at the passing of time?).
My firstborn turned six this month. What the…? Six?
The morning of his birthday, Mark asked, “How does it feel to be six, H-man?”
And H, oh that child, he said, “Awesome! I get to learn to drive!”
Sixteen is when you learn to drive, friend, not six.
“Oh, well that’s okay. Six is still pretty cool.”
Mark and I had a good laugh. I wonder if H had ever considered why none of the other six-and-overs at school were driving themselves around? Underneath my laughter, my stomach clenched and tears worked at the corners of my eyes. At this rate, I thought, I will doze off again and he will be learning to drive.
But I won’t have to wring my hands and worry about him driving too fast, testing the limits of the law, because he is a responsible type.
He knows what time it is – exactly what time it is – at all times. He does not round to the nearest :15, :30, :45, or :60 yet. He knows what his school assignments are and when they’re due. Thank goodness one of us in on the ball.
He doesn’t stand for flimsy excuses or halfhearted explanations. This doesn’t always bode well for parents who just want everyone to go to bed already, but this should be a very good thing for his future. Nobody’s going to pull one over on H.
He loves police officers and the law with a fervor I, frankly, find maddening at times. Although I won’t be too awfully sad when he outgrows this obsession or the little police game he’s invented with his neighborhood cronies, I do hope his love for justice and peace prevails always.
He falls apart now and then, of course, because he’s only six. But this kid, who spoke in complete sentences, with passionate hand gestures and facial expressions to match, when he was still barely walking, thinks and operates in words. We can talk through things; he gets it. Usually.
He gets scared and nervous sometimes. And when he conquers something new, overcoming his fear or nerves? He manages to appear proud and a wee bit embarrassed, quietly grinning, while he tolerates our whoops and hollers of congratulation.
So I’m not sure how it happened. I’m not sure when the 5 pound, 11 ounce baby turned into a one-inch-shy-of-four-feet tall boy. I’m not sure how we went from Baby’s First Christmas to writing his own letters to Santa.
I swear I just closed my eyes to rest for a few minutes.
That was one hell of a nap, I guess.
From 6 weeks...
...to six years. I love this picture. I think it captures his thoughtful nature.
:: Do your emotions get all mixed up and struggle to outdo each other as you watch your kids grow? Joy, sadness, pride, fear and so much more? read more