Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Self-Centered Interviews of My Kids

Hi! I have vowed not to start this by blogging about blogging, or rather, blogging about not blogging, so now that that's out of the way, let's just dive right back in.

There was a set of questions circulating on Facebook recently among a few of my FB friends. I thought it would catch on more widely, but it seems not to have. The gist of it was that you interview your child, about yourself, and see what awful or adorable truths they come up with in response. I got a kick out of seeing my friends' children's answers and thought I'd give it a whirl, but I decided to record the answers here on the good ol' blog rather than FB.

The instructions were, "Without any prompting, ask your kids these questions." To save you some scrolling back and forth, I'm going to paste the questions in 3 separate times, since I conducted three private interviews.  I've included a few of my own thoughts in brackets; couldn't help myself.     

(6 years old)
1. What is something I always say to you?  You either say, "Home sweet home!" or "Alright, here we are," when we pull into the garage.  No!  You always say, "I love you."
2. What makes me happy?  When the house is clean.
3. What makes me sad?  When I get a burn.  [Ed.: True.  June recently burned her hand on a hot skillet.]
4. How do I make you laugh?  By reading the part in the book that says, "My only friend in the whole wide world is a hippo named Boo Boo Butt!"  [Ed.: That's a reference to "The Book With No Pictures" for those of you not in the know.]
5. What was I like as a child?  I don't know!
6. How old am I?  I don't remember.  Something like in the 80's or 70's.  [Ed.: To be clear, she was not speaking of the 1980's or 70's.]  
7. How tall am I?  Half of my stomach and one of my brother and half of my brother.    
8. What is my favorite thing to do? Go have fun.  [So then I asked the follow-up question, "How do I have fun, though?"]  By snuggling. 
9. What do I do when you're not around?  Do stuff on your phone and computer. 
10. What am I really good at?  Yelling.  [Ed.: Ouch.  The truth hurts.]
11. What am I not very good at?  Thinking of stuff to play.  [Ed.: It's good to make them think for themselves, right?]
12. What do I do for work?  Be our mom. 
13. What is my favorite food?  Vegetables.   
14. What do you like to do with me?  Go to fun places with you.  And also, make you spend money to take me on rides. (*insert June's cackling maniacal laugh here*)  [Ed.: I think she was specifically referring to a couple of Ferris wheel rides that were quite memorable to her.]

(4 years old)
1. What is something I always say to you?  I love you!
2. What makes me happy?  Cleaning up. 

3. What makes me sad?  I don't know.  That I shoot rockets on to pictures and the pictures fall down... At least I don't actually do that.  [Ed.:  Waylon has been indiscriminately adding the phrase "at least" to at least 80% of his sentences for at least 6 months now.]  
4. How do I make you laugh?  When you say, "Don't smile!"
5. What was I like as a child?  I don't know.
6. How old am I?  Give me a clue.  (It's a number, honey.  You have to pick a number.)  I don't know - 10? 11? 
7. How tall am I?  Very tall.
8. What is my favorite thing to do?  Reading Penderwicks and painting with music. 
9. What do I do when you're not around?  You miss me!
10. What am I really good at?  (HUGE PAUSE...)  (Shakes head...)  Throwing balls up in the air and catching them.  
11. What am I not very good at?  Lifting weights.  [I giggle and say, "How do you know?  How do you know if I'm good or not?]  I just know because your age.    
12. What do I do for work?    
13. What is my favorite food?  That's a hard answer. 
14. What do you like to do with me?   Have mommy days!  [Ed.: "Mommy days" are what we call me pulling preschoolers out of school whenever I want to, to do whatever else we'd rather be doing, simply because we can.  Once they hit public school, we take attendance more seriously, but until then, all bets are off.]     

(8 years old)
1. What is something I always say to you? I love you.
2. What makes me happy?   Food.
3. What makes me sad?  When we don't pick up our toys. 
4. How do I make you laugh?  By tickling me.  
5. What was I like as a child?  I don't know.  You lived right across the street from your school.  
6. How old am I?  39.  Going on 40.  
7. How tall am I?  5 feet 14 inches.  I think.  
8. What is my favorite thing to do?  Do art with me and June and Waylon.  
9. What do I do when you're not around?  Big mommy projects.  Like organizing drawers.  
10. What am I really good at?  Trumpet, cooking, and soccer.  Mostly cooking because you're a real good cook.  
11. What am I not very good at?  Starting big projects and finishing them.  [Ed.: To be clear, it's not the "starting" part that she's being critical of here...]    
12. What do I do for work?  Take care of your family.
13. What is my favorite food?  That's hard.  You eat a lot of foods when I'm not around.  Sushi maybe? 
14. What do you like to do with me?  Projects.  Like art or sewing.  And cooking.

Whew, domestic much, Kate?  That last answer of Georgia's was influenced by recency I'm afraid.  We had just finished sewing a button on a cloak that she insisted on creating for wearing to a friend's fairy-themed birthday party; however, this project was a rarity.  Most sewing in this house still consists of minor repairs that are delegated to Joe.  

So, there you go.  I'm dipping my toes back into the waters of blogging with an entry that wrote itself.  Baby steps, but I have to blow the rust off somehow.  Thanks to those of you who faintly heard this tumbleweed blowing by and clicked over to read it.  Leave me a comment if you have a moment; the dopamine sensors in my brain have been trained by years of Facebook and Instagram use to expect it.  Grrrr.... (Now there's a meaty topic for a different day.)  

I'm off now to go throw some balls in the air and catch them.  Or maybe start organizing a drawer that I will never finish.    

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

2014 Puppet Show Video

So, given that I failed to blog most of 2014 (and may still throw 2014 events up here in perpetuity if I feel like it, thank you very much), I thought I'd start by throwing up a 5 minute video that perhaps only a mother could love.  This thing cracks me up.  It kind of captures the kids in 2014 pretty well I think.  This is them at their finest version of 6, 4, and 2: silly, happy, creative, and (mostly) cooperating with each other.  Like most siblings they argue, they annoy each other, they make up, and sometimes, they play together blissfully well (and a choir of angels hovers over our living room).

I love these goofballs. 


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Learning. And Science.

[source: HitFix Entertainment News]

I saw this and it made me laugh, because I took June and Waylon to the Museum of Science and Industry last week and was just pondering with Joe whether all of our adventures teach the kids anything by osmosis so to speak.  Other than enjoying ourselves and exploring, I rarely explain anything or read the displays or plaques to the kids.  They did touch a big glass ball with electricity flowing through it, though.  BOOM!  SCIENCE.  DONE.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Back to School 2014

So, back to school 2014.  Georgia's first day was in late August, and June and Waylon started after Labor Day.  It's probably a good thing that it has taken me a few weeks to get this post up, because it has also taken us that long to get in a groove with this whole school business.  (Truth be told, the kids have adjusted well, but I'm still trying to get in a good groove.  I do not like the current groove.  I miss the days of summer and doing whatever we wanted to, and not having to drive everyone around, and I have gone into a temporary funk that I am trying to work myself out of, one way or another.  Joe is being very patient but I can only assume he is quietly freaking out on the inside, since I've resurrected the tried and true, "Let's uproot our whole lives and move back to the city because that would solve all of my so-called problems!" reasoning, which tends to be my go-to solution.  I guess I don't really mean it, but my mind goes there all the time.)

But to recap:  Georgia started first grade.  June started her Montessori kindergarten year.  (We're planning on putting June in public school kindergarten next year, though, so I still think of this year as an extra year of preschool for her; we're not really sure what to call it.  You'll notice in the photos below that we haven't made her a "Class of 20__" poster yet, because technically the jury's still out on whether she'll move on to kindergarten or first grade next year.)  Waylon started 3 year-old park district preschool.

Georgia got a big case of nerves in the days leading up to her first day, but I think she got all her tears out of her system beforehand, because she has had none at the drop-offs.  (I was nothing short of stunned by this on the first day.  To be clear, I don't mind a lick when she's nervous; I love her unconditionally.  It's just that I see how hard it can be on her, and I see how earnestly she tries.  So, for each small victory and measure of progress, (of which there have been many in the last year), I am proud and happy for her.)  As expected, her first few weeks were rocky, coming home wiped out with complaints of the long day and having to figure out the lunch routine.  She's currently sitting at a peanut-free table in the cafeteria, which has presented a few extra challenges.  Also, it didn't help matters that Georgia only made it to 2.5 days of school before being sent home sick!  Then came Labor Day weekend.  So, it took us until the third week to accomplish five full days in a row.  Recently her class was issued iPads, (which I have mixed feelings about, but am slowly coming around toward), but I have to say that her excitement about wondering "Is today the day I'll get my iPad?" was just the carrot we needed to get over the hump and have her eager to return to school each day. 

This is June's second year at Pathway Montessori, and now she's part of the "top of the heap" - the kindergarten aged children who get to look at things a little more in depth and serve as leaders to the littler kids.  (Or so the Montessori people say.)  I can't say I'm totally in love with the place, only because June doesn't seem to be totally in love with the place, which is a sharp contrast to her continued lauding of her 3 year old co-op preschool in the city, including placing her former teacher, Ms. Linda, on a veritable pedestal.  It's hard to say what of this praise is deserved and what is revisionist history.  I'm not sure how to describe June's attitude toward school.  She frequently says she doesn't want to go, and voices several mild complaints about the place, but then hops out of the car with a smile and is smiling when I pick her up.  I hope that's a good sign and that her reluctance just stems from preferring to hang out with Waylon and me and go on adventures?  I do intend to pull her out as much as possible this year to do just that; it's all part of our plan to slow down and draw out early childhood and push off the attendance policies of public school.  What's the rush, right?  But it's also a plan that I have second-guessed so much that I'm embarrassed to admit it.  Why can't I just make a decision and move on, be grateful that we even have these choices, and not obsess?  Well, tuition is expensive, and though her birthday falls just 12 days before the cutoff, in many ways she was ready to start public school.  I think she could've hacked it.  But between wanting to keep our kids spaced grade-wise just as they are chronologically, and wanting to give her another year of half-days and as much freedom to play as possible, we've decided this path is right for our family.  That's the key, I know - there is no "right" answer.  I just wish I could shut off the pesky part of my brain that thinks about what everyone else is doing and then feels insecure about our choices.  (Shut up, brain!  Leave me alone!)   

Waylon loves his preschool and confidently marches right in each day.*  He and June are both kids that have to be reminded to say goodbye and give mom a kiss before parting.  (Sidebar:  please, please, thank your lucky stars if you have one of these children.  I often hear parents jokingly say, "I don't know what's harder, having a kid crying about leaving, or one that forgets to even say goodbye!"  I realize these are always good-natured remarks, but just in case there was any actual doubt in anyone's mind, let me answer that for you:  it is much, much harder to deal with children who are upset.  It is no picnic for parent or child.)  Funnily enough, Waylon is a better reporter than either of the girls about what goes on at school.  He comes out chatting and happy.  There's not much to his preschool in a way, but that's okay with me, because he basically just turned 3.  He may be a third child, but due to various circumstances, his is the fifth preschool we've tried!  I could write my own preschool review book at this point!  Right now, my only tiny beefs with the place are that it's not long enough (twice a week for 2 hours, which after subtracting travel time and June's drop-off gives me only 1.5 hours of freedom to actually get anything done, which lately has been consumed by billable work), and apple juice. 

[Another sidebar:  I think you all should watch the documentary movie Fed Up if you haven't already.  Pretty sure you can get it via Netflix or iTunes.  I had this whole rant about preschools serving apple juice written, and then deleted it because, well, you'll think I'm crazy, and besides, there are refugees, and wars, and poverty, and disease, so apple juice is not a big problem in the grand scheme of things.  But then I watched Fed Up last night and felt like, no, my little pet peeve actually does matter.  By the way, the movie is not about apple juice or preschool, per se.  Anyway, you should totally watch it.]

On to the pictures!  By the way, next year Joe and I are totally getting our hair done and wearing new outfits for this first day business, what with all the photos. ; )  Okay, I will at least get up and shower for BOTH first days next year.   

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{This picture is so dorky I can't *not* include it.  Joe leaving for the train.} : )

Goodbyes on the playground...



[The following week...First Days, Round Two!]:
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Showing off some "ballet moves"...
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And they're off!

(Okay, one more for good measure, because there is little on Earth cuter than three year olds sitting in cubbies waiting for dismissal.)

*Update:  Okay, so I wrote this about two weeks ago and then ran into technical difficulties getting the pictures uploaded.  And now, Waylon's taken to crying at the drop-offs.  : (  (His teachers report that he recovers fairly quickly.)  Maybe the excitement of newness wore off?  Hopefully it's a passing phase.  Hang in there, Waylon.  You are "Special Person of the Day" tomorrow at school and everyday at home. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Trees Make Me Happy

When I'm feeling a little sad, as I was after I dropped Georgia off at school this morning, getting out in nature can go a long way toward improving my mood. 

I told June and Waylon that I needed to take a long walk, so we did. We discovered Lake Marmo, which we renamed Lake Marzo. It's ours now, but you're welcome to borrow it anytime, heron and all. (Or, "Bye bye, ostrich!" as Waylon put it. What is it with my kids and birds? June comically confuses seagulls and eagles all the time.)

After putting up with my walk, we headed over to a children's area and were pleasantly surprised to find that we had it all to ourselves today. I let the kids run off on their own and *mostly* avoided bothering them with photographs.

They started playing some version of Little House on the Prairie. Waylon sure makes a mean baby Carrie. I brought applesauce for a snack, but upon sitting down to eat it June informed me that, "Pa just killed a wolf. So we are having wolf saliva."  Followed by, "What's saliva, Mama?"

All in all, it was just the dose of trees I needed. 

[Programming note: I am trying out a mobile blogging app. I never can seem to get these things to work. So apologies if this looks all wonky.]

[NOTE:  Okay,  it probably looks normal to you.  It looks like crap to me.  Why do my pictures get cut off, turned into squares, and pixelated?  Ann Price, I am personally contacting you for technical support.  Don't fail me now!] ; ) 
[Just so you can see what I'm talking about, here are some of the same photos pasted in my "normal" way.]
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