Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
A few weeks ago, Elizabeth wore a dress with tights and no underwear. I told her this was not ok and that she had to wear underwear.
Today, when I went to pick them up, her dress came up and sure enough, no underwear. When we were walking back to the car, I said, "Elizabeth are you wearing underwear?"
"No," she said. I again told her it was not ok to not wear underwear with tights. She asked why. I told her everyone would see her butt through her tights. I asked her if she was ok with everyone seeing her private parts and her butt on the playground? She said if she wore underwear they would just see her underwear which she didn't want. I told her seeing her underwear was better than everyone seeing her butt.
She started crying and said, "Mom, please, please stop saying butt! Please say bottom!"
Saturday, November 26, 2011
We went to LA for thanksgiving this year. We left Wednesday afternoon after Michael was done with work. There was a bunch of traffic, but it wasn't too horrible. We arrived past bedtime at the hotel in Valencia so the kids were in a bad place. But they fell asleep quickly leaving Michael and I to enjoy some room service for dinner. Then I watched the Rookie, which is a three hankie triumph. The next day, after Michael got up early with the kids to set up some cartoons, we slept in a bit and then got up to have a nice hotel buffet breakfast. I took the kids for a quick swim in the lovely hotel pool and hot tub while Michael packed up the room and car.
Then we were off to Magic Mountain. It seemed like it was crowded in the parking lot, but once inside we realized how empty it was. Michael and Parker walked on to all the big roller coasters without much, if any, lines. I hung out with the girls in the little kid area. We hooked up with the boys for lunch (pizza) and then did some more rides. We all did one together that was very scary. Everyone but me wanted to do it again. I'm such an old lady.
Miranda started to act really bad so we figured it was time to go. After some mood necklace purchases in the gift shop, we took off for Santa Monica. It only took about 25 minutes and the Marcuses were already there when we arrived.
We hung out, listened to my siblings play music, watched Oliver beat my dad in chess, and then ate a great dinner my mom made. I ate way too much (all day) but still crammed in some pumpkin pie custard. The kids went to sleep late again and I felt pretty gross by that point.
My parents got up with the kids early and we got to sleep in until 8. Michael and I did a run together, something that never gets to happen, down to the beach, and back. Then we met up with the Marcuses again for some hanging out and time at a local park where Parker did a lot of running. Then back to mom's for dinner and giant hoho cake made by Dad.
We got to sleep in again (thanks Mom and Dad) on Saturday, hung out for a bit at home and then took off back to Oakland at 10am. We thought we would beat traffic, but there was plenty including a massive accident on the other side of the freeway near Santa Nella. Michael drove the whole way which made me very happy since I always do that drive alone.
Kids were tired and hungry when we arrived home. Parker also had some strange rash all over his body. So after a quick dinner and dose of benadryl, they all went to sleep. Early for once.
It was a quick visit, but a good one. We'll see Amy and the clan soon as they are coming up after christmas.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Quinn is a girl the girls met in preschool. They have become good friends and we see Quinn and Ashley weekly and sometimes like this week, multiple times a week. She is being homeschooled due to poor kindergarten options, but we do playdates, outings, she comes to schoolmates and this week she is in the girls Thanksgiving week science camp. Sometimes I refer to Quinn as my third child. Every time, one of her moms reminds me I have three children already. (I always mean third daughter.)
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Took the girls to see Annie today. Two twin mom friends came with their daughters too. It was playing at a very Berkeley theatre and we had good seats in the middle half way back. I could see everything, but the girls had a hard time and took turns sitting on my lap and fidgeting to get better views. They did settle in after a while and enjoyed the show. It was a decent community theatre piece, but the girls both in the chorus and leads weren't very good. I was surprised that these were the best little girls they could get. Not great singing. No real stage presence except for one kid. And generally fairly stiff. Not that I was judging.
Obviously the girls didn't notice or care and were happy to see it all come to life. Elizabeth sang songs from the show most of the rest of the day and Miranda announced she wanted to be an actress when she grew up. At age 11. (Elizabeth said she wanted to be a cheerleader AND actress.)
They are doing Pirates of Penzance later in the year and it might be fun to take them to that too. I remember that as being of the first "musicals" I ever saw life.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Parker's class had their thanksgiving feast today. There was tons of food. Most of the kids stuck with the safe stuff, but some were adventurous. Two kids got totally overwhelmed by all the people, noise, food, and kid and lost it. I have a kid that would do that so I felt for them and held one of the mom's other kids so she could deal with her 1st grader.
My cake was a big hit. One of the only things that was eaten completely.
We were asked to bring a dish from our heritage to Parker's Thanksgiving Feast today, but since I'm pretty much heritage free, I decided to bring the hoho cake since that is the only thing that we are guaranteed to eat annually. I fancied it up a bit with edible bouche de noel decorations. It looks pretty darn good, if I do say so myself!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I took Miranda to Puss n Boots today after school. Elizabeth chose to skip it and stay at schoolmates (god bless piedmont). There was only one other person in the theatre. I'm not sure how much of the movie she understood and it was more violent than I thought it would be, but she loved it. She also loved her popcorn and junior mints and the alone time with mom.
I thought the movie was a little boring (I'm not a fan of action movies or animated movies), but had some funny parts involving a spoof on Lost and when one character says, "Cat people are crazy."
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Elizabeth is starting to write. She writes cards, notes, charts and signs for doors. She is very pleased with it all and tells Miranda, "I can write anything. You just have to sound it out!" I remember when Parker did this (at a younger age of course) but for some reason I still don't really believe Miranda and Elizabeth will ever be able to read or write. It's nice to be proven wrong.
Here is a card she wrote to Miranda this morning. "Dear Miranda. I hope you find your key. Love Elizabeth Ann Long."
Monday, November 14, 2011
I emailed the coach about my concerns regarding swim team and she responded that everything I was concerned about was very normal/typical for kids Parker's level and age and that most of what this level was about is figuring out all this stuff and learning the routine of practice. I felt pretty bad about that since I had told Parker what he was doing (not paying attention, asking endless questions, looking at team mates, not following instructions) was bad so I told him I made a mistake and he was doing just fine. Today he dressed after practice in the locker room with the other boys. He didn't shower, but Michael is gonna go and help him do that soon. Progress.
So I guess the real problem with swim team is me. It's the same problem I have with all the kids classes. I just hate watching them. I get so stressed out even when they are doing just fine. Most parents have feelings of pride or joy or something else when watching their kids, but I just get annoyed. Sure wish I didn't, but I do. So...I'll bring a book and try not to pay attention to his lameness.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
The trampoline that we inherited had a small hole in the enclosure net. Over time the whole has gotten bigger and new ones were created. I kept thinking I needed to order a new net and pads but I just never got around to it. Until last week. I got the manual that the previous owner had given me, looked up all the replacement equipment on line, called to verify I was ordering the right stuff and place the order. It arrive a few days ago and Michael and I agreed to put it all together today. When I returned from my run, Michael had already done it. But he said something wasn't right so I went to help fix it. It was then it became clear, what we ordered was too big for the trampoline we had. What?! I had the manual in front of me! I verified the order! How could it be wrong?! Michael was doing a good job of staying calm while I was freaking out and went to get his measuring tape. When he confirmed we had a 12 foot trampoline and not a 14 foot one, I almost cried. Why the previous owner gave me a manual for the 14 foot one, I will never know. So we took everything off and told the kids they were not allowed on it. I get to explain this all to JumpKing tomorrow. I hope they don't laugh too hard.
Through my bootcamp class I've met lots of great people. People that I would never have met nor thought I had anything in common with and yet now I consider them my friends. One of those people is Sara. Sara is unlike anyone I have ever met. She is almost always in a good mood, but not in a good mood that makes you want to hit her. She seems to be genuinely happy most of the time. I realize this is not the case in reality, but I'm impressed she seems that way much of the time. Sara is also one of the only people that can multi task better than I can and never seems intimidated by an outing or adventure. She has two kids, one 4 and one is 1st grade and she is always going somewhere fun with them. She works too. She does bootcamp (and extra training runs). She used to be in the Cal Band and now plays trombone in a band called California Repercussions (or something like that.) She seems to know everyone in a way that seems almost impossible. She has mom friends, band friends, bootcamp friends, preschool friends, alameda friends, family friends, work friends, cal friends, and I'm sure many other categories of friends that I don't even know about. And she sincerely seems to care about all of them. I can barely care about my family, but she keeps tabs on what seems like hundreds of people at at time.
I like Sara for many reasons not limited to her sense of humor, ability to roll with the punches, while still being very much a control freak, the fact that she is always trying new recipes all the time without a worry about the outcome, her attitude towards fitness, and how fast (or not fast) she runs. She and I are very equally matched in pace. She generally out runs me on hills (I hate hills), but in long runs without hills, we can stay together nicely chatting about kids, parenting techniques, schools, teachers or gossiping about other bootcampers.
She's been doing these trail runs lately as she is training for her next race (she is always doing something race-wise) and as much as I hate trail running (too many hills!) I feel compelled to run with her so I've done a couple. Today was one. Just over 6 1/2 miles of pure up and down, heavy on the up. And heavy on the mud. My shoes were so full of mud at some point, my shoe was actually coming off. But there was Sara right in front of me, happily trudging up the mountain admiring the views of Mt Tam and Mt Diablo and asking me "how lucky are we?" Ok, maybe I did want to hit her a couple times today. But then we were done and enjoyed a lovely coffee and pastry sitting on a bus bench in the sun, watching the strange berkeley people go by.
I'm very glad I've met all my bootcamp pals, but I think I'm most happy about meeting and becoming friends with Sara.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Michael's had some hard work weeks, so I thought I would take the kids away and give him a little time to relax. I talked Susan and her kids into joining and all 7 of us went up to Fairfield, a shithole of a town off 80, 45 minutes northeast of Berkeley. We got a great hotel room with two bedrooms, a fabulous pool and hot tub we had to ourselves the whole time, and a lovely breakfast buffet for all of us. Then today we played at Fairfield's local attractions, Scandia Family Fun Center (where you want to kill yourself from the over stimulation in minutes), Chick Fil A (Susan's Favorite) and the Jelly Belly Factory. All the kids got along great the whole time. It was a great mini trip for us and quiet time for Michael.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Swim Team isn't going so well.
Don't get me wrong, Parker is still a damn good swimmer. Better than many older than he.
But the general experience of swim team is not working for him or me. For one, he doesn't really pay attention to the coach so he doesn't know what the drill is. He either does it wrong or waits and watches other kids to know what to do. He is intimidated by the bigger kids, never wants to go first, and gets really, really cold. He's not cold in the water, but when he gets out, he's an ice cube. He's too cold to get dressed by himself, so I help him like he was a 2 year old holding up a towel. I recently told him that we weren't going to be able to do that because 7 year olds need to be able to take showers and get dressed on their own in the boys locker room (he's too old to come with me in the girls). He didn't like that at all.
And it's very frustrating for me to sit there and watch him. The coach will tell them to take off their flippers and grab a kick board and Parker will just float there, staring blankly off into space while all the other kids do what they were asked. Then Parker realizes something happened and follows along. It's maddening to watch and it happens 10 times a practice.
I've emailed the coach to get her opinion, but I'm thinking we stop and maybe take it back up when he is older, saying 8 or 9. That will free up his afternoons for playdates or other activities and little league which starts in February.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Parker recently started saying "Who Cares?" as a response to most things that his sisters say and some things that I say. After a while I told him this was rude. After a while longer I told him to stop.
Today he told me that he has replaced it with "So?!" which he thought was much kinder.
So at dinner we had a little role playing exercise where the kids told me things and I answered with "So?!" or "Really?!" and then they told me how they felt. Then we talked about body language and did the experiment again. I think they got it.
But I don't think that is the end of "Sooooo?!"
While at lunch today (see post below) Elizabeth started crying. I asked what was wrong. If something was hurting. She said through tears, "I just miss Miranda so much. We should leave so I can see her again." I told her we would leave as soon as we were done and I reminded her I asked her before lunch if she wanted to do special mommy/elizabeth lunch or go get Miranda (who was at schoolmates) first and what she had chosen. She remembered but said she had changed her mind.
It was very sweet.
For the last year or two, we had been going to a dentist in Alameda. The dentist was nice enough, but the wait for appts and at the appt was too long. They also changed appt times almost every single time which was frustrating. And they weren't even members of our insurance so not everything was covered. I finally got around to switch and picked an in network dentist that was close and would take me and the kids.
I took the girls about 3 week ago for cleaning and check up and was told Elizabeth had 4 cavities. WHAT?!?! For some reason I don't take it personally that she has asthma, but I took it to mean I was a bad mom because she had cavities, despite the fact that Miranda had none. (I guess I'm a better mom to her.) The new dentist was a jerk. He just said, "She has cavities. You need to floss." When I asked for details or an explanation he just repeated himself. To top it off, he said he didn't do children's fillings and I would have to go elsewhere to a pediatric dentist. Seriously? So I looked around and couldn't find one our plan accepted fully so I selected one a block away from our house that had been recommended by several people.
Elizabeth and I went today and it was lovely. Kind people. On time. Thorough. In fact, so thorough that they couldn't really read the xrays that were provided by the other dentist so did them again and confirmed that Elizabeth, in fact, did not have any cavities. The other dentist had taken bad images and read them wrong. I almost hugged the dentist. I was redeemed!
Elizabeth and I celebrated with a sushi lunch where we sat at the bar for the 1st time. She had a rock n roll, unagi and avocado roll. Delish!
Saturday, November 05, 2011
The conferences with the kids' teachers went well. We didn't really learn too much that we didn't know. Elizabeth is exuberant and interested. Miranda is sensitive and self aware. Parker...well...he likes math.
We asked about Parker's social skills and she said he was doing great and was impressed how easily and quickly he settled into a new school with new teacher and new friends. She said he has some trouble during free choice time not knowing what to do. He usually asked her for more math work during that time since he didn't want to play with legos or magnatiles.
Apparently neither Miranda or Elizabeth can count. They can't count numbers higher than 10, they can't identify numbers written in the teens. They can't sort. They can't do much mathematically. Which totally cracks us up. As we walked back to our car we realized we sort of failed them because we never had to do any math stuff with Parker (like reading number books or asking him to count outloud) so we never learned to do it and didn't do it with the girls. And we should have because they are, as the teacher said when I asked what was typical for this age, "A bit low on that." I guess we'll start counting now... 1, 2, 3...
Susan is due in a little over a month so we went to Calistoga yesterday for a last hurrah. We relaxed in the pool, had dinner, had massages, enjoyed a lovely room, an outdoor fireplace and overall had a simply lovely time.
It was cold outside, but the mineral water pool is so warm (102!) that it just didn't matter what the temperature was outside. Even when it started to rain.
Friday, November 04, 2011
Michael and I will be having parent teacher conferences today for all three kids. I think I know what they will say about Parker and Elizabeth, but I'm eager to hear how Miranda is doing.
We heard back from speech therapist at school and the girls are "fine"...their pronunciation and articulation is in a acceptable range. Miranda is in the 50% for her peers and Elizabeth had no issues. For receptive vocabulary, they are 84% and 95% respectively. She wants to keep an eye on Miranda's slight lisp, but thinks it will go away with age.
Parker is now working in a math group with 4 second graders who are advanced. Not advanced like Parker, but it wouldn't be reasonable to put him with 3rd or 4th graders. He knows one kid from the playground and one from swim team, but he was a little sad to know no other 1st graders would be in the group. Get used to it kiddo.
Miranda and Elizabeth have taken to playing Police after school with some boys. They basically chase them all over the place, grab them by their clothes and then "put" them in jail. It's a very physical game and each day I say, "be careful, don't grab the boys", but the boys say, "WE like it! It's ok!" and the game continues...
The district is having a presentation on playground stuff for 1st and 2nd graders to help the parents help the kids navigate being teased, bullied, or excluded. Perfect timing!!!
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Last year I told the kids Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy weren't real. Then yesterday I made up the Switch Witch. Damn, I'm a bad mom. I told the girls first about her saying that she visited kids' house a couple days after halloween to get candy. If you left the candy for her, she would take it and switch it with a toy. But they had to leave the candy in the fireplace with a note telling her what you want. (In the past, the amount of candy obtained on halloween wasn't that much and they could eat it within a week or so. But this year, the amount was ridiculous and it would have taken us months to eat it all. With Elizabeth's recent dental check up (that I haven't mentioned here because it only reinforces what a bad mom I am), I decided with Michael's approval that we would get rid of the candy. The switch witch was what I chose.)
I was shocked how quickly they bought into it. Almost immediately, Miranda and Elizabeth negotiated that they would combine candy to get a bigger toy rather than two smaller ones. They agreed on asking for a horse for Elizabeth to match Miranda's recent marble purchase of a giant pink pony. It was a bigger toy than I would have wanted to get them, but I appreciated the way in which they worked together and Miranda's ability to give away all her candy. They told Parker about it and after eating 4 more pieces of candy, he was ready to give it all away. Parker asked for...wait for it...an angry bird. Some strange piggie. He had a ton of candy and this toy did not match the amount he was willing to give up. I told them all to write notes to the witch about what they wanted and put them in the fireplace. I told him the Switch Witch might not know that specific piggie so perhaps he could draw a picture for her. Which he did. I told them she might not come tonight (in case I couldn't find the toys) but if she did she would take the candy and leave the toys.
Then after dinner, I went to work out and then hit the two stores. Success at both. I got Parker some extra angry bird stuff. And I got Miranda something special too for being so nice to Elizabeth. Back at home, Michael and I wrote notes to the kids from the Witch with clues to where they could find their toys. Parker's was a scramble and the girls were just hints. I was still at bootcamp for the hunt, but Michael took pictures on his phone and said they had a great time and were quite happy with the whole situation.
Today in the car, they were discussing if the Switch Witch was real. Parker said, "Of course she is. Didn't you see what she brought us?" Elizabeth said, "I don't think she is, I think it is just someone dressed up like a witch" which I thought was hilarious since they didn't actually see her.
Regardless, the candy is gone (well...not gone, but in a high shelf wrapped in a bag "a la" frog and toad's will power story. Neither of us are eating it...now, but it just didn't seem right to throw it all away. :)
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
The parade at the kids school was yesterday. I picked up the girls, took them home for lunch, got them dressed and made up and then went back to school to get Parker ready. He needed a little help with his costume. When we arrived, he was still in recess. I immediately noticed all his friends were playing football, but Parker was not there. Then I saw him sitting by himself. Then I noticed he was crying. A teacher/yard duty walked over and started to talk to him. I hurried over. When I got there I asked what happened. He said, Jack ZN excluded him from football and that made him sad. He was still crying. I sat with him a bit and another teacher came over to say that wasn't ok and he would be talking to Jack ZN. When Parker had calmed down a bit I asked how he was excluded and he said that Jack ZN had said, "You can't play football, Parker!" which seems pretty clear to me. Parker added that it wasn't ok to exclude kids.
It was heart breaking. Since we've realized Parker was different, I've strived to ensure he had playdates, did social things, went to parties, and joined teams. I never quizzed him on math or made him do lots of reading. I only focused on sports and social stuff. So to see him crying because another kid wouldn't let him play just killed me. Especially a kids that Parker thought was his friend and who Parker seems to idolize.
Back at home, I had a talk with him about what a friend means and how friends don't exclude you and how sometimes you think people are your friends, but maybe they are not. Then I asked him about other kids he liked in class and maybe that he could play with at recess. He said that Jack ZN always played the games he wanted to play. I suggested that if he was playing wall ball, Parker could play tether ball. Parker just seemed sad about all of it and didn't understand why he wouldn't want to play with him.
I told Michael about all of it and he had a slightly different reaction which was to want to tell Parker about how he needs to stand up for himself and not let kids push him around. To tell Jack ZN, "I wanna play football and you can't stop me." He hasn't had that talk yet, but I don't get the feeling Parker will be that kind of kid.
I'm still sad about it and besides setting up playdates with other kids so Parker can see he is well-liked, I'm just not sure what to do.