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I found this article through STFU, Parents that tells about a mother of five who is pursuing a master’s degree and brought her infant with her the first day of class, only to be told that bringing infants to class was against college policy. “I just didn’t even think it would be a problem,” she said–so imagine her shock when it was.

The STFU, Parents lady (whose name I forget) pointed out that the mom in question was a BYU graduate, “so that explains a lot.” Ha ha, yes. Yes, it does. Even so, this mom said that back at the BYU, there were “occasionally” children in class. She didn’t say children were a regular feature of BYU classrooms, and yet she showed up her first day of class with an infant and all her baby gear in tow, not because of any childcare emergency, but because she just “didn’t even think it would be a problem,” implying that she was just intending to bring her infant to class every time–presumably because she’s breastfeeding, and that would be more convenient (for her). (And the baby, of course.)

I have mixed feelings about this because on the one hand, it’s nice when people accommodate mothers, particularly breastfeeding mothers. It’s nice when women are able to get some work done along with caring for their infants, who don’t always need intense, one-on-one attention. I learned how to do a lot of things one-handed (including diaper changes) when Mister Bubby was an infant because the little dude always had to be held. I had to hold him always. I call him the “little dude” because “little bastard” seems a little harsh, at least in retrospect. At the time he was pretty much ruining my life. Well, anyway–point being, he was happy (i.e., quiet) as long as he was being held, so in theory I could have gone to a college class and taken notes (I only write with one hand anyway) while holding him. I can see why maybe a mom would think it would work to take a baby to class, especially if the baby in question were one of those “easy” babies I’ve heard so much about. It’s nice when people see babies and children as just part of normal life–rather than the part of life that has to be walled off from all the other parts of life. Say what you will about Sarah Palin (for example), but I loved seeing pictures of her carrying her baby in a sling whilst carrying on the business of being governor. (I often wonder what might have happened in an alternate universe where Sarah Palin remained governor of Alaska and John McCain just picked some random white dude to be his running mate. But that’s getting off the subject.)

So there’s that, on the one hand. On the other hand, I’m hip to the fact that there are some places babies just don’t belong. I’ve never been one of those people who gets upset when folks have adults-only events, for example. (I don’t mean “adults-only” like an orgy or something, but every time I write or say “adults-only,” I feel like I have to clarify that I only mean that just adults are welcome.) Frankly, I have always been the type to prefer adults-only events to bring-the-whole-family events because so often bring-the-whole-family events turn into manage-your-kids-in-a-novel-environment-until-finally-it’s-time-to-go-home-THANK-GOD events. When I couldn’t get a babysitter (which was often), my attitude was “doesn’t it suck that I can’t get a babysitter,” not “doesn’t it suck that people won’t let me bring my kids.” When given the choice, I always opt not to bring my kids. We’re all happier that way.

In general, I think people could stand to be more patient with kids, and also with parents of kids, because kids happen and that’s life. I don’t think people are entitled to a child-free environment at all times. If you want to live in society, you should be willing to put up with some babies and kids, even the ill-behaved ones, because we all start out as kids, some of us were ill-behaved, and most of us grow out of it but not until we learn to behave better (or just get older). Parents shouldn’t be expected to keep their kids at home until they are perfect. Not only is it unrealistic, it wouldn’t result in raising good, productive citizens. Kids need to be out in the world and exposed to different situations, and the rest of us just need to suck it up and deal with some occasional crying, whining, or other disruption.

HOWEVER, parents do need to be considerate of other people’s needs. There are situations where bringing your child(ren)–who are apt to cause some disruption–is just plain rude. Sometimes people bring their babies to movie theaters, which I guess I don’t have a problem with provided the baby sleeps the whole time. (I do wonder about the effects of the Dolby Surroundsound on their little ears–movie theaters can be loud.) I myself would never have dared to bring an infant to a movie theater because a) there was no freaking way a baby of mine would sleep the whole time and b) assuming I did have a baby who slept all the time, it would be just my luck that the one day I choose take them to the movie theater would be the one day they decided they had colic or something. That is how my minds works. In general, I don’t think babies belong at movie theaters or concerts or plays or other entertainment events that are intended for adult, i.e. able to sit still and not make noise, audiences. If they just sleep the whole time, awesome. Congratulations, your baby is awesome! I am retroactively jealous of you. But if they start crying and you don’t leave, you’re being rude.

(None of this applies to a family-friendly movie, concert, or play or whatever. Unless your baby is really really super loud and you don’t leave. Then you’re being rude to all the other babies and kids who are trying to disrupt the show in their own ways.)

Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid disrupting other people’s lives. Sometimes you just have to take a baby or young child on an airplane. I know, I’ve done it. Lots and lots of times. And believe me, karma has paid me back SIXTEEN-FOLD for all the times I, as a young childless adult trying to sleep on red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Greensboro, NC, resented all the babies who were flying (and not sleeping) with me. Sometimes babies cry. Sometimes children throw fits in stores. Sometimes they make messes when they ought not to. Blah blah, I’m cool with the fact that sometimes babies and children just suck. Let me tell you: now that I no longer have young children of my own, there is no greater feeling than to witness a child misbehaving in public and being able to say, “Ahh, not my problem.” IT’S AWESOME. But back to the point–I get that disruption-by-child is a part of life. No one is entitled to escape, even if they never had or don’t plan on ever having children. If you were once a child, you owe some kids and their parents a little slack. BUT if you don’t anticipate the possibility that your baby or child might be disruptive or otherwise somehow inconvenience others, and your attitude is always “they should just suck it up,” you’re being inconsiderate and narcissistic. The world doesn’t revolve around you or your special snowflake.

I don’t doubt that the mother in this article had planned and prepared to make class time with her baby go as smoothly as possible. Maybe it would have gone smoothly. And the more women are allowed to keep their babies with them (and not have to hire a sitter), the more opportunities women will have. So my inner feminist is very sympathetic to letting moms bring their babies to class. But I’m also sympathetic to people who argue that they paid to be in this class too and they don’t appreciate someone just assuming they can bring a baby–an obvious and predictable distraction–to class. (Everyone who commented on this article was sympathetic to people who have childcare emergencies and maybe have to bring their kid to class once, but no one liked the idea of just routinely bringing kids to class, which is the issue the above article and this blog post are addressing.) So I’m conflicted.

Would a baby distract me? Eh, maybe not. I’m used to that sort of thing. Would it have distracted me back in the day when I was not yet used to these things? Not sure, but possibly. I honestly don’t know. I went to a Baptist college and no one brought their babies to class. On the other hand, I go to church with Mormons every Sunday, and say what you will about Mormons, but we’re very accepting of babies and young children. As a result, our services all have a generous amount of background noise. (Unless you’re in one of those rare congregations that is short on young children, in which case it’s like being at a funeral, only less interesting.) I’m not usually distracted by anyone’s children not my own. They have to be really, really loud. But I know other people are more sensitive. (My childless teenage daughter, for example–not that she has any room to complain, as she has historically been the most disruptive individual in the chapel, long after the time when such behavior could be excused as youthful exuberance. But that’s another story.)

So I’m ambivalent. What do you gentle readers think? Is it cool for someone to bring their baby to class, as a matter of course (ha ha, get it, COURSE)? Or should they suck it up and get a sitter, just as common courtesy? I can’t quite decide.

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If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

This is another one of those hard questions. It’s like asking me about my regrets. I don’t like to think about my regrets because there’s nothing I can do about my regrets. Regrets make me feel guilty and/or unhappy, and I try to avoid unpleasant emotions whenever possible. Because that is the sort of weakling I am.

I can’t imagine how I should have been raised differently than I was. My parents did all right. They were about the right amount of strict vs. permissive. I think the circumstances under which they were working were fine, too. (I mean, there was indoor plumbing and everything.) I guess I am curious, though, about how I would have turned out if I’d been raised without television.

Actually, our parents tried (briefly) to raise us without television. I mean, my parents had a television, as most folks did by the 1970s, but at some point they were inspired to take the TV away and see what happened. I think maybe our cousins or some friends were TV-free, and my parents thought, “Hey, good idea,” so they decided to give it a whirl. Unfortunately, instead of getting rid of the TV, they just put it out in the garage. And my siblings and I found it and we would plug it in and watch it out there in the cold, huddled up in our blankets. So my parents decided to just bring the TV back inside.

I do have memories of watching TV out in the garage, but I didn’t know until I was much older that this was my parents’ experiment with the TV-free lifestyle. I would mock them for their efforts–if you were serious, why didn’t you just get rid of the TV?–but considering my own experiments with trying to direct my children’s free will, that would be ridiculous. So this is no slight against my parents, and I did turn out non-psychotic, if I do say so myself. But I do wonder occasionally if my desires and aspirations–not to mention my attention span–would have been different had I grown up without TV at all.

It’s not that I watched TV constantly as a kid. I had two siblings very close to my age, so we played together a lot, and unlike a lot of kids, I also enjoyed being by myself. But I did watch quite a bit of television, and the television was almost always on. We didn’t even have cable most of the time I was growing up. We had it for about a year, maybe, when I was 10, but we dropped it when my father lost his job, and we never had it again. We still watched a crapload of TV. I don’t know what would have happened if we’d had the internet in those days. Nothing good, surely.

When my husband and I got married, we lived in an area where we couldn’t get TV reception; you couldn’t watch any TV unless you had cable, and we couldn’t afford cable, so we didn’t watch TV. We had a TV, and a VCR as well, so we could watch movies, which we did most weekends. When Princess Zurg was a toddler, I let her watch Richard Scarry videos and Fantasia. I don’t think we had anything else that was suitable. But by the time Mister Bubby came along, we had a pretty good variety of children’s videos. Back in those days I was very optimistic about limiting the children’s TV time. I started off with a half-hour, but that proved to be too exhausting for me, so I bumped it up to a whole hour. Ninety minutes or two hours, tops, if I was having a hard day. I actually did pretty well most of the time. But it was a daily struggle. Not because the kids demanded TV, but because they demanded me. TV was my respite babysitter.

I would often wonder what caregivers did before there was television, and of course I know what they did–they put the children in play pens and let them cry a lot. I mean, before there was television, housewives had a lot of work to do; they couldn’t be taking all day to bond with their kids and provide them with stimulating activities and also supervise them. I suppose if I had grown up on a farm in another century or something, my character would have been a lot better and I in turn would have done a much better job raising my kids, but it’s too late for that, I guess.

The big problem with television is that it makes people addicted to visual stimulation. So while you’re plunking your kid down in front of the TV because you can’t handle entertaining them all day, you’re just encouraging their habit of being entertained and their need to be entertained. It’s really a horrible, horrible thing, television. If only it weren’t so darn entertaining.

Our family never has had cable, so we’ve never had a constant stream of television programming coming into our house, the way I did when I was growing up. This has given us a little more control over what our kids watch, and it does mean that they watch a little less television than their peers do, but as far as total screen time goes, they still have way too much. In my day (cue Grumpy Old Man voice) we didn’t have video games or the internet, so we just watched TV. Unless there was nothing good on, in which case we did something else. My kids, on the other hand, have way too many choices. If they want to watch a show, they’ve got Netflix and Amazon Instant Video offering hundreds of selections. There’s always something good on, or something good can always be turned on.

But Girlfriend’s the only one who really enjoys watching TV shows. The boys prefer video games and PZ prefers the internet. PZ is on the internet so much, I can hardly use it myself. On the one hand, it’s a problem. On the other hand, it’s one of the few social outlets she has, so who am I to begrudge her? Indeed, the internet is one of the few social outlets I have, so should understand. People often talk about how online life has become a substitute for real life, but what if your real life was non-existent before? I mean, I remember the days before the internet. They were a drag. I don’t blame my mother for watching soap operas. At least that was only two hours a day. (Two and a half hours, I guess, before The Doctors was canceled.)

I’ve gotten a little off track. I meant to talk about how my life would have been different without TV, but I guess I’m afraid to face that alternate universe. Too fraught with regret! That, or years of watching television as a kid and being on the internet as an adult has made it impossible for me to stick to the subject without getting distracted. I guess we’ll never know.

What would you change about the way you were raised?

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

The answer to both of these questions is “probably this morning.” I sing to myself pretty much daily, and when my kids ask me to stop, I sing to them instead. That’s pretty much routine in the Madhousehold.

What’s funny about this is that I didn’t always like to sing. I don’t know if I can honestly say that I like to sing now. I do sing, but I think it’s due mostly to me not being able to help myself. It just happens. So what’s funny–in the sense of curious–is that I used to not have this particular compulsion. Quite the opposite, in fact. When I was a kid, I hated to sing, and nothing could get me to do it. This was one of the reasons church was so hard for me–too much singing. (Now, of course, I think there is not nearly enough singing at church. I would much rather sing for three hours that spend those same three hours listening to other people talk. But that’s another story.) I don’t know what it’s like elsewhere, but in my church, when I was growing up, a kid couldn’t just refuse to sing and expect other people to mind their own business. Grown-ups were always telling me I had to sing and hassling me for not singing. Eventually I just started mouthing the words to get them off my case. (It worked.)

You might wonder what repulsed me so much about singing. I wonder too because I really don’t know. I have a couple of theories, though.

Theory #1: I was a quiet child, just as I am a quiet adult. I don’t and didn’t very much like talking, particularly not when I think people might be listening. Of course, not liking attention, it is curious that I preferred to draw attention to myself by not singing rather than just suck it up and sing along with the group. Of course, I fixed that attention-getting thing by pretending to sing, which shows that I really just hated singing that much. But why? This theory does not explain very much at all.

Theory #2: I didn’t like being told what to do and when to do it. I suppose this might make sense, considering how few things one has control over as a child. If I could get away without singing when I didn’t want to, it’s really no wonder why I refused to do it when asked. But I hated singing all the time, not just when I was supposed to be singing, so that theory isn’t helpful either.

But then there’s always Theory #3: Who knows why I do anything? Maybe I just like to be difficult.

So my youthful hatred of singing remains a mystery, but that shouldn’t keep us from moving on. You might wonder what it was that changed my mind–or heart–about singing. I certainly don’t have a problem with singing anymore. I’d pretty much stopped having a problem with singing by the time I was an adult. Well, certainly by the time I was 25. What changed? I don’t know. I don’t remember when I started singing at church, but it was well before I had children, which was when I started singing a lot.

I guess there’s just something about babies that makes you want to sing to them. It might be the fact that they cry and won’t go to sleep and you’d do just about anything, up to and including selling your own mother, to get them to shut up and leave you alone. Since my mother had already passed on by the time I had my first child, that left me with singing. I sang all of my children to sleep as babies and well into their toddlerhoods. Princess Zurg, in fact, insisted on being sung to every night until she was maybe four or five. There was a whole catalog of songs we had to go through before she would go to sleep, and she would throw a fit if we tried to leave any of them out. We learned to sing them very quickly. She was okay with that. It was the routine she cared about.

Ironically, PZ is the kid who has the lowest tolerance for my singing now. I guess once she leaves a routine behind, she really leaves it behind.

Not that any of the other kids care for my singing either. Actually, one of Mister Bubby’s first complete sentences was “Don’t sing.” Since he mustered up the energy to say this while he was hooked up to an IV in the ER while suffering from stomach flu, I tend to think he felt strongly about it. You might wonder what I was doing, singing in an ER. Well, it’s not like there was anything else to do. (In other words, I don’t know the answer to that question either.)

So my two oldest children hate my singing. That’s fine, actually. Just another weapon in my arsenal. Heh heh heh.

My two younger children are less virulent in their opposition. That is, I’ve never heard either of them say, “No offense, Mom, but you’re not the best singer.” (It’s true. I’m not. On the other hand, I’m not the worst singer either. I think, gun to the head, even the kids would admit it.) Elvis objects to my singing only when he’s trying to concentrate on something else. Girlfriend only objects to my singing when it’s a song she doesn’t like, i.e. one that’s not about dogs. But no one’s making requests, if that’s what you’re wondering.

My mother liked to sing, but I don’t remember her singing a lot around the house. She was more of a whistler. I can’t whistle. Maybe if I could whistle, I’d sing less. Yes, I think I would.

My father, on the other hand, sang a lot. I have many fond memories of all the songs he used to sing. Among his favorites were Arlo Guthrie’s “Motorcycle Song” and “The Story of Alice” by the Chad Mitchell Trio. He also sang a musical version of the A.A. Milne poem “Disobedience,” but I can’t find the version he sang on the YouTube. (I can find other versions, but none of them is right.) But my father was known to alter songs to suit his own purposes. It was years before I realized that it was “Springtime in the Rockies” and not “Bath time in the Rockies.” Boy, did I feel silly.

When I stop to think about it, it’s really curious that I sing as much as I do. It’s not like I’m a Disney princess or anything. I’m actually kind of gruff and aloof. Well, I know that I come off that way to other people. I know that because other people have told me so. True, none of these people has ever caught me singing “When Doves Cry” in the canned vegetable aisle of the grocery store. Maybe if they did, they’d rethink their impressions of me.

“So she isn’t rude and unfriendly. She’s just a complete nutter.”

Well, time for me to go pick up my daughter from school. I will probably be singing in the car.

I don’t know yet. In January 2014 I wrote two posts. Can I break that record for January 2015? I think I can. I know, that’s big talk for someone who only has nine days left in the month, but what can I say? I’m feeling cocky.

Shall we make it more interesting? In all of 2014 I wrote fifteen posts. Can I break that record? Can I double it? Can I triple it? Is there any limit to how much better a blogger I can be in 2015 than I was in 2014? I think not.

Here are some things that have happened so far in 2015:

* I decided to give up my housekeepers in favor of having my kids clean the house. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking one of three things:

1. “Have you adopted new kids?”

2. “What’s the matter with you?”

3. “What took you so long?”

The answer to #1 is no, I still just have the original kids, and no, they haven’t undergone radical personality and temperament changes recently. But I was getting tired of the fortnightly stress of clearing all my surfaces in preparation of having them cleaned professionally. Plus, Sugar Daddy and I have noticed that the quality of the work has gone down over the years. Not that I blame the housekeepers for losing their motivation to make everything sparkly. I lost the will to clean my house just a few short months after we bought it. Why should a total stranger have more incentive than I? Plus, they can probably be forgiven for thinking we wouldn’t notice. There are six of us here and we’re obviously slobs. Sometimes there is ketchup on the wall. Not that the housekeepers have ever tried to wash my walls, but when you see a thing like that, you might think, “Why do I even bother?” I mean, that’s what I think just about every day of my life.

So it got to the point where I figured it wasn’t worth the money or the hassle, and SD hit upon the perfect incentive to get the kids on board with our new plan. If they do all their chores, we’ll take them out to dinner. If they don’t do their chores, he’ll take me out to dinner and they can stay home and eat macaroni and cheese. Now, my kids happen to like macaroni and cheese, especially if it’s out of a box, but what they don’t like is knowing that they could be out eating at a restaurant but they’re not. My kids are such entitled narcissists. It’s about time I used it for my advantage. Unfortunately, I had heretofore been unable to think of something they would want more than to sit on their fat cans playing video games. Money means relatively little to them. They like money, of course, but they don’t need money. They know we’re going to feed and clothe them regardless of what they do. Even if I decided to get all hardass and tell them they’d have to start paying for their own food and clothing, they’d starve and go naked just to spite me. Then CPS would come knocking on my door, just when I’d finally gotten them to leave me alone. But they love food, especially when it’s not cooked by me. SD has promised them that the quality of their dinner will match the quality of their housecleaning efforts, so we’ll see how much fine dining we end up doing.

The first week we went without the housekeepers, I decided to do the cleaning myself, just so I could get a handle on what all the jobs were and figure out what I could realistically expect the children to do. Oh, boy, never again. I’d forgotten how much it sucks to clean the bathtub and shower. I mean, I remembered that it sucked, but I’d forgotten just how much. This was definitely going to be a job for someone not me. I spread the cleaning out over a couple of days, which was actually much less stressful than prepping the house for the housekeepers to do it on the designated day. (That was another annoying thing–they were very unpredictable; they always came on a Wednesday, but it could be at 8:30 a.m. or 4:30 p.m., you just never knew.) Vacuuming was also much tiring than I remembered. I mean, I had certainly vacuumed in between housekeeping visits, but only quick jobs, and only downstairs. Vacuuming one’s entire house properly is rather a workout. I suppose it doesn’t help that my vacuum weighs about six hundred pounds. That might be an exaggeration. I’ve never been very good at estimating.

Anyway, I’m getting off the subject. This week was the first week the kids have had their new chores. So far everyone has completed theirs except for Mister Bubby, which is typical. In his defense, he doesn’t get home from school until after 4 p.m. and he had to go to his church group Tuesday evening, and he had jazz band until 5 p.m. Wednesday, and it is finals week. In his non-defense, he had Monday off school and spent the day playing Super Smash Bros., so whatever. And tonight he has a trombone lesson. Oh, well.

That was a long bullet point. The others will be shorter, I’m sure.

Just in case you’ve forgotten, the topic is what has happened in 2015 so far.

* I cleaned my kitchen floor today. You might think this should fall under the housekeeping section, but it’s actually something quite spectacular and special. This is one of the things that the housekeepers never did very well. It wasn’t really their fault; they were probably used to mopping floors that actually come clean with mere mopping. Our kitchen floor is the original linoleum–or vinyl, I guess, not linoleum–that went down in 1987, so you can imagine what sort of shape it’s in. Now imagine something worse than that. That’s our floor. It has absolutely no protective coating left, so you have to use a great deal of elbow grease to get dirt and food stains off. If there’s one thing my housekeepers aren’t contracted to do, it’s use elbow grease. At least not on kitchen floors that don’t appear to be worth saving. But whatever. Who am I to complain when I can’t be bothered to do it myself? Except I did do it myself today, after I had already worked up a good sweat vacuuming my entire house (with a 600 lb. vacuum). I had to get down on my hands and knees and use a scrub brush. I’d scrub off the first layer of dirt, mop it away, and then get to work on the second layer of dirt. It was tedious. But the floor is as clean now as it’s bound to get, ever. Do I want to give this job to someone else? Yes, very much so. But let’s be realistic.

Will the kitchen floor get scrubbed again in 2015? It remains to be seen.

* I taught Sunday school to a bunch of teenage boys for a couple weeks. For the past three years SD has been our ward Sunday school president, and last month they made him the stake Sunday school president, so technically he’s not in charge of Sunday school at the ward level, but the new ward Sunday school president was out of town for a couple weeks, so SD was continuing to take responsibility for the ward Sunday school classes, and since they were short a couple of teachers and SD couldn’t take any of the classes himself (as he used to do) because he was gallivanting around the stake teaching other wards’ Sunday schools, he volunteered me as a substitute. That was kind of him. Well, he told me I could say no, but I didn’t, so there I was.

It was actually a very nice group of fifteen-year-old boys. I had never taught that age group before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Don’t worry, I didn’t try to be cool or anything. I’m not a complete idiot. The new Sunday school curriculum is pretty bare bones. It’s supposed to encourage discussion. Unfortunately, this was a rather quiet bunch of fifteen-year-old boys, and I’m a quiet 43-year-old woman. I’m not very good at facilitating discussions under the best of circumstances. But it wasn’t a complete disaster. That was due mostly, I think, to the boys being such good boys. I noticed that this one boy kept turning to the guy next to him and showing him his phone and they were sort of whispering together, or whatever the masculine equivalent of whispering is, and I figured they were just discreetly distracting themselves from a very dull Sunday school lesson. As a Sunday school teacher, all I really ask of my students is that they be discreet while they’re ignoring the lesson, so I wasn’t upset or anything, but then I happened to hear what they were saying, and they were actually talking about the lesson. I won’t lie to you. It kind of freaked me out.

* Also while my husband was off gallivanting about the stake performing Sunday school responsibilities, all of the ward organists got sick or were out of town. Since my husband is one of the ward organists and was not sick or out of town but otherwise indisposed (see: gallivanting, responsibilities thereof) but nevertheless felt obligated to fix this problem, he volunteered me to play piano for sacrament meeting (since I don’t know how to play the organ and indeed have never so much as touched an organ with intent, so a public meeting wouldn’t be the best place for me to start). I don’t ever mind playing the piano. I am competent enough that I don’t embarrass myself, but people are used to having the organ, so I felt very conspicuous. Well, beggars can’t be choosers. Everyone just had to deal with the situation.

The opening hymn was “I Believe in Christ,” which those of you who are Mormons know is the longest hymn ever written and is only bearable when it’s played at a brisk tempo. I prefer to think of it as a joyous tempo, myself. I mean, do you believe in Christ or not? Then let’s get on with it. Those of you who are Mormons also know that most Mormon congregations have never met a hymn they didn’t want to sing at half-speed. Maybe this is true of other churches too, I wouldn’t know. But SD has always insisted that no matter what tempo he and the music director start a song at, the congregation ends up slowing it down; it’s unavoidable. I never had reason to doubt him, but after my experience on Sunday, I knew exactly what he meant. It’s like the lotus-eaters out there. It’s very difficult not to succumb. But I have very strong feelings about the proper tempo of “I Believe in Christ,” so I persevered in my resistance, refused to fall asleep at the keyboard, and finished about 30 seconds before the congregation did. I’m just kidding. I made them work for it, though. Keep up or be left behind, kids! Piano players can get away with crap like that. #StandingForSomething

* I actually haven’t done very much in January, and not much has happened to me. And now I have to take my kids to Grandma’s house for dinner. Gentle readers, adieu.

I am trying to get myself in the mood for Christmas by listening to Christmas music. I like Christmas music, but only when it’s Christmas time. When they start playing Christmas music in October, I want to punch someone in the head. I don’t know why I have such a violent reaction to it. I guess, as I get older, that I’m very aware of the passage of time, and I don’t like people rushing me into Christmas and the end of the year before it’s time. Let me enjoy autumn, people! Of course, one could also argue that life is too short not to listen to Christmas music any time you feel like it. I’ll buy that. But only so long as you listen to your Christmas music in the privacy of your own home or car or earbuds and are not inflicting your out-of-season musical choices on others. Not everyone likes to rock around the Christmas tree on Labor Day weekend.

Personally, I don’t like to rock around the Christmas tree even when it’s Christmas. I also do not like to jingle-bell rock any time of year. Basically, I eschew all Christmas-themed rocking. Unless it’s Christopher Lee’s metal Christmas album, which I feel compelled to respect on principle.

A regular heavy-metal Christmas album, okay. Maybe I’d like it, maybe I wouldn’t. But heavy metal + Christopher Lee? What’s the point of living in the twenty-first century if you don’t take advantage of these modern innovations?

Do you know that Christopher Lee is 92 years old? That’s about eight years older than I thought he was. Amazing.

Anyway, back to my original topic. I’m trying to get into the Christmas spirit because Christmas is, in fact, my favorite holiday, except for all the stress. Even when I was growing up, I hated the stress of Christmas because I absorbed my mother’s stress. But I also loved Christmas, so what could I do? As an adult, though, I feel like I can’t enjoy the Christmas season until I am prepared for Christmas. Because that’s what everyone is talking about at Christmastime: have you done all your shopping? are you ready? I hate listening to other people talk about their Christmas shopping–because usually people who talk about their Christmas shopping are the kind who get it done early and like to brag about it. Frankly, I might brag too, if I had it together enough to finish Christmas shopping before December even starts. But hearing about how much farther ahead of me everyone else is just adds to my stress. Not that it’s a competition or anything, but it just reminds me there are only so many shopping days until Christmas, especially if you don’t want to end up wandering aimlessly around the mall on Dec. 23.

One thing that is easing my stress this year is that my mother-in-law will be visiting one of her other sons on Christmas. Not that I don’t enjoy my mother-in-law’s company, but the Christmas shopping deadline is more flexible because we won’t give her any gifts until she gets back. So at least I don’t have to worry about that.

The worrisome gift recipients this year are Mister Bubby and Elvis. They both really like football, but you can only give someone so many footballs. You can only give them so many Ducks jerseys. You can only give them so many DVDs of the 2012 Rose Bowl. You kind of want to encourage their other interests, if they have any. Elvis really doesn’t. Mister Bubby is very into trombone and jazz (especially as it relates to the trombone), but you can only give your son so many trombones. When he wants to listen to music, he turns on YouTube while he plays Elder Scrolls, or whatever. He likes clever t-shirts, so while I was surfing the web looking for clever t-shirts related to his geek interests, I looked for trombone-themed shirts. Let me tell you, the trombone-themed t-shirt market is about what you’d expect. There’s not much clever that doesn’t involve puns on boning and doing it in seven positions. I may be the woman who stood idly by while her husband bought their eleven-year-old son a “Get Porked at Billy’s” shirt at the barbecue place, but I have to draw the line somewhere.

Anyway, last Christmas was dubbed “Year of the Clothes” by MB, so we’re trying not to repeat that error.

On the plus side, the Christmas tree is up and decorated. It looks pretty, which is good since it will be there until February.

In non-Christmas news, I made a hair appointment for Monday at 11:30. I have clogging until 10:30, and the dance studio is on the way to the hair salon, which would be convenient except that I’d really rather have a shower before going to the salon, so I will have to rush home, take a shower, and rush to the hair appointment. I probably should have made an appointment for another day, but I just accepted the first date she offered me because I guess I didn’t want to seem hard to please. In retrospect I have no idea why I didn’t ask for a different date. It took all of my psychological strength to overcome my fear of making telephone calls to make the telephone call, so once I was in the telephone call, I had nothing left for negotiations.

I’m going to quit writing now because I’ve been on this computer forever, trying to do all my Christmas shopping online because the thought of going to an actual store fills me with dread.

I keep hearing and reading different places that all children want is a (relatively) small amount of a parent’s undivided attention. The “undivided” part is key: you can’t be looking at your phone or reading a book or doing any other thing while you’re interacting with your child. As long as you give said child your undivided attention, they will be satisfied after, say, fifteen, twenty minutes.

When I first heard this, I admit that I was skeptical. In my experience, the more attention you give children, the more they want. Whatever amount of attention you manage to give them one day becomes the new standard by which they measure every other day. If you pay less attention to them today than you did yesterday, they think they are starving. Admittedly, though, it has been quite some time since I’ve tried giving my children undivided attention. Once I realized what what greedy little attention hogs they were, I started giving them mostly divided attention, or otherwise I would not have been able to get anything done. So upon reflection, realizing that I had twelve weeks of no-school days ahead of me, I decided I would try this undivided attention thing and see if it resulted in my children feeling attention-sated.

What this “give your child 15 minutes of undivided attention and they’ll leave you alone” theory fails to take into account is that it is impossible to give a child undivided attention if you have any other children in the house. Someone else always wants something while you’re trying to provide their sibling with your undivided attention. It doesn’t matter if attending to the other child takes only five seconds, if you’re only dividing your attention long enough to say, “Shut it! I’m paying attention to So-and-so!”–once you have divided your attention, the damage has been done. I guess a clock resets. Maybe. I wouldn’t know. After hundreds of hours of data collection, I have yet to give anyone fifteen minutes of undivided attention, and I have come to the conclusion that it just isn’t going to happen and I may as well start ignoring the children in favor of more rewarding pursuits.

(Just so we’re clear, I don’t actually tell my kids to “shut it.” Usually.)

My clogging group has adjourned for the summer–called a recess? Something like that. Usually we meet through the end of July because usually we perform at the county fair in July, so we are practicing up until then. But this year we are not doing the county fair because too many of us were going to be out of town that week. Also, several cloggers were heavily involved in the LDS Portland Youth Dance Festival, which finally happened a couple weeks ago, and after a year of constant dance-related toil, they were ready to take a sabbatical. So there has been no clogging since May ended, and my body feels deprived of regular exercise. My intention was to get a lot of practice in this summer so I’d be the clogging equivalent of tanned, rested, and ready come September, but so far there has been none of that.

The reasons for this are several-fold. No, actually, it just comes down to one thing: I have other priorities. There are the usual chores–laundry, dishes, shopping, cooking–and there’s the divided-attention-giving. That takes up a lot of time. But there are also things like eating and grooming. Some days I skimp on the grooming. Okay, let’s face it–most days I skimp on the grooming. Some days I don’t just skimp, but I skip the grooming. But other days I feel like if I don’t get some grooming in, I may lose my humanity. So I decide to groom instead of exercise because I only have  so much time. Is it worth it? I don’t know.

I’d muse on this some more, except it’s time to take Elvis to his swim lessons.

Mister Bubby: This is the ringtone I want for my phone. When I get a cell phone.

Madhousewife: What do you need a cell phone for? Who would you call?

MB: Well, you are going to get me a cell phone when I go to high school, aren’t you? You’ll have to because I’m going to be a social butterfly. All the girls are going to call me and be like, “Hey, Mister Bubby, want to go on a date?” And I’ll be like, “Sorry, ladies. Not until I’m 16. In two years I’ll take you all out on a date. At the same time.”

.

You know what’s the worst? When you have a dream at night that you have to do something, but you can’t get it done, and you’re running out of time, and you keep trying to do it but you can’t and the time is getting shorter and shorter and you keep trying and trying but you just can’t and it’s so frustrating, and you just dream like this all night until you wake up, exhausted.

Last night I dreamed that I had to write an essay for a college class I couldn’t remember going to at all, but apparently I had done a rough draft of this essay that the professor said I needed to make significant improvements on, and I thought, “Okay, I can do that,” but when I went to write it again, I couldn’t make my hands form letters. Yes, I was writing it out longhand. Because I didn’t have a computer or anything. I thought to myself, “This would be so much easier with a keyboard,” but I had to write it longhand, and my hand kept seizing up and I couldn’t write whole words before the muscles in my hand would just start cramping and I couldn’t get a whole word down on paper before I had to stop and take a rest.

You don’t think this dream was symbolic of anything, do you? Because I’m pretty sure it was just random.

I did wake up extremely frustrated and tired. It was almost as bad as the time I dreamed I was moving and I spent hours and hours packing up a room full of toys and art supplies and other crap–just tons and tons and tons of crap, sorting it and boxing it up so I could put it on the truck–and I woke up with very mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was very glad that I was not actually moving and under any obligation to sort and box up my crap. On the other hand, I’d gotten a lot of work done in that dream, and now it was all for nothing. I felt robbed, actually.

There are only nine days of school left. More like eight, since this school day is almost over. Then it will be summer vacation for twelve weeks.

Here’s what I like about summer vacation:

* Sleeping in.

Here’s what I don’t like about summer vacation.

* Everything else.

More specifically:

* Kids home all day, requiring entertainment, refereeing, or a (figurative) whip to spur them to do the chores their father expects them to get done while he’s at work.

* Driving kids even more places than they usually have to go.

* Swimming lessons.

* Everyone wanting me to make them lunch–which wouldn’t be so bad if they’d all sit down and eat the same lunch at the same time, but no, that’s not how they do. Yes, I know, they should make their own damn lunch, which is pretty much what I tell them, and some of them will, but not all of them, not always. I still end up spending a significant portion of the day managing their stupid eating schedules. WHY DO PEOPLE ALWAYS HAVE TO EAT, EVERY DAY? It’s so tedious.

* “I’m have nothing to do.”

* “I don’t WANT to do THAT!”

* “Fine, I’ll just go live in a different family!” But she never does.

* [Whining]

* [Screaming]

* [Eventual fisticuffs]

* Having to lock myself in my room to keep from killing them, and they keep pounding on my door anyway. No, you can’t come in! It’s for your own safety!

* The going-away part of summer vacation, where I have to pack up all our belongings so we can spend all day together in an unfamiliar location, where I usually don’t get my own room to lock myself in.

This year for going-away summer vacation, we are going camping. This is the first time we have ever gone camping together as a family. I know. Sugar Daddy and I have been married for 17 years, and this is the first he’s suckered me into going camping. I don’t remember how he did it. I don’t remember why I agreed. Because if I didn’t agree, he’d make me plan vacation. Yes, that sounds familiar. The only thing I hate more than going on vacation is planning a vacation. I’m a good follower. I’m good at doing what people tell me to do. Within reason. (In case my husband is reading this and wondering why I still haven’t cleaned out the closets. Some people can kiss my big toe.) So that is how I’ve come to be scheduled to go camping for the first time in…I can’t think how many years. When was the last time I went camping with my family of origin? I want to say 1986. That might be right. I’m not convinced it’s gotten any more glamorous or convenient in the intervening years. But at least I don’t have to plan it.

You know what my ideal vacation plan would be? I stay here, you all go have a good time. (My husband doesn’t accept this variety of vacation plan. So he may as well do it himself.)

SD and I are also planning to go away for a couple days by ourselves this summer. Well, it’s a little less romantic than you might think. My niece is getting married in Salt Lake City, and I thought I would go to the wedding. I didn’t know if SD would care about going or not. But he said he wanted to go, and while we were at it, why not make a long weekend of it or whatever. Okay. So we’re going to have our romantic getaway in Salt Lake City in August. You know, even now that I’ve explained it, I still don’t understand what happened there.

Time to possibly eat lunch before picking up my high schooler.

.

Mister Bubby: Mom wants to be a bus driver.

Mad: No, I don’t.

MB: Why not? It’s a respectable profession.

1. For years she was always the tallest kid in her class–usually by a lot–but she hasn’t grown at all since the fifth grade. At 5’1″ she is shorter than her two younger brothers. Her baby sister might eventually eclipse her too, but that still remains to be seen. She does not like to be called short. She does not like being short. But she takes some solace in the fact that she will never have to worry about towering over her dates, even if she wears high heels.

2. She hates shopping. This is why I don’t take her shopping–because I also hate shopping. She and I go shopping, and it’s “See anything you like?” “No.” “Fine. We’ll leave, then.” Somehow her dad manages to get her to try things on and buy them. And he always gets things on sale. Okay, now this is saying more about her dad than about her, but all I meant to do was highlight the difference between her relationship with her dad and her relationship with me. I’m here for empathy. Her dad is there for persuasion.

3. She is mostly over the breakup of My Chemical Romance, especially since Gerard Way will soon release a solo album. But she is also getting into some other music. She is going a little retro. She is very into the Cure right now. She asked me if I’d buy Pornography for her. Now she says she’s addicted to it. “Mom, I think I may be a little too into Pornography.” She thinks that’s a very funny joke.

4. Her latest major obsession is Frozen. Her favorite character is Olaf. (As her 13-year-old brother admitted, who doesn’t love Olaf?) She pretty much has the movie memorized. You wouldn’t think the music would be her cuppa, but she sings all the songs too (although she is less fond of “Love Is an Open Door,” possibly because she hates Hans–and she says she never liked him from the start, even before [SPOILER REDACTED]). Her love of this movie has allowed her to bond some more with her younger sister.

5. There is a boy in one of her classes who has a crush on her, but she can’t decide how she feels about him.

6. I promised her I wouldn’t tell anyone about her latest crush, so you’re just going to have to use your imagination.

7. Politically, she has a wide libertarian streak, which isn’t surprising, given the political leanings of her parents. However, she is intensely anti-abortion–which is a little bit surprising to me, abortion not being a super-popular topic of conversation in our household (at least not until she became interested in it). She is adamant that she is pro-life not for religious reasons, but for scientific ones. In fact, she’s incredibly frustrated that most pro-life groups are comprised of religious nutjobs (her characterization, not mine–no angry letters, please!) and she belongs to all these Facebook groups like “Riot Grrrls for Life,” Secular Pro-life,” and “Badass Pro-life Feminists.” Recently an anti-abortion group protested in front of her high school for three days. It was one of those religious nutjob groups, which upset her, so she had sort of a counter-protest…or a counter…counter… protest, where she held up signs that said things like, “May the fetus I save be gay” and “For the embryology textbook tells me so.” It was probably one of the highlights of her life so far. My daughter, the nuanced protester.

8. When I picked her up from the aforementioned protest, one of the members of the organizing (alleged religious nutjob) group told me, “Your daughter has a very sharp mind.” Yes, she does.

9. She still hates church. I guess I’ll let you know when she stops.

10. She is taking a foods class this term, and one of her assignments was to make an entire meal at home from scratch. She made Indian food, including naan, from scratch. It was delicious. She only cooks vegetarian food, not because she is a vegetarian (she is decidedly not), but because she doesn’t like handling raw meat. And who can blame her? Raw meat is gross.

11. She is trying to incorporate more color into her wardrobe. Most of her clothes are still black, white, and red with a smattering of purple, but now that she is embracing nautical fashion themes, she has a little bit of blue in there too.

12. She still likes to play fashion dress-up games online.

13. She spent a great deal of time learning how to put her hair up in victory rolls. She has really long hair, so I’m very impressed with this accomplishment.

14. At the same time, she is still not very good at brushing her hair.

15. She worries a lot about the future of our country. Particularly the economy. She’s afraid she’s not going to be able to get a job that will support her in the manner she’s become accustomed to. This might be partly our fault.

16. She is sixteen years old today.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PRINCESS ZURG!

 

1. He still likes Monopoly, but his new favorite game is chess. Initially he learned how to play with his dad and brother. Then he honed his skills by playing against the computer. He has learned a great deal about chess. The other day we were playing together and he said, “If I move my pawn to bishop five, I can do en passant move.” And I was like, “What the what?” Anyway, he did it. I used to let him win, but now I don’t and he still wins.

2. He just earned his Webelo in cub scouts. Now he is a Boy Scout. I never sewed any patches on his uniform shirt because I’m a terrible human being. (Actually, this isn’t quite true. I sewed a few patches on his first uniform shirt, which he quickly outgrew. I never got around to sewing patches on his second uniform shirt. I’m still a terrible human being. But this post isn’t about me.)

3. He still gets up every Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. to watch the garbage trucks. The recycling and the yard waste trucks come before he has to go to school. The regular garbage truck comes while he’s at school, but he’s always excited to come home and see how many of the neighborhood’s garbage can lids were left open by the trash man. He still plays with toy garbage trucks and trash cans.

4. He is still fascinated by traffic lights and all rules of the road. He always knows exactly what the speed limit is and makes sure you follow it. He is definitely going to pass his driver’s test the first time.

5. Usually he whines when he’s frustrated, but sometimes he whines just because he likes the way it sounds. Unfortunately, he is alone in that sentiment.

6. He’s been following college football for a long time, but recently he started following pro football too. His father and brother both favored the Broncos in the Super Bowl, but Elvis liked the Seahawks. He was very pleased with the outcome of that game.

7. Now he follows college and pro basketball too. He went to his first Trailblazers game this year.

8. He is obsessed with the weather. For a while he was keeping meticulous records of temperatures, whether it was sunny, cloudy, partly cloudy, etc.

9. He enjoys dancing. He has some pretty sweet moves.

10. He wears a men’s size 10 shoe. The kid’s a freaking moose.

11. He is eleven years old today.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ELVIS!

Let’s sum up the month so far.

February 1 was Elvis’s basketball tournament. Elvis participates in a basketball program originally sponsored by Special Olympics but now under the purview of our school district’s special education department. I think. It’s hard to keep track. Anyway, this is his third year as a player. Last year Mister Bubby was a peer coach, and this year both Mister Bubby and Girlfriend are peer coaches. In previous years Elvis had good basket-shooting skills but little ball awareness. Over the last few months he’s been playing NBA Live on the PlayStation and now understands the game very well. He’s one of the better players on the elementary-age team.

The job of the peer coaches on the court is to keep the players engaged (e.g. make sure they’re running in the right direction) and facilitate play (depending on the strengths/weaknesses of the players). Mister Bubby is very assertive about getting the ball for his team and giving his players opportunities to shoot, so rebounds and assists are his game. Elvis has gotten really good at getting rebounds and passing the ball as well. He scored a lot of points and was fully engaged in all three games he played. (In past tournaments, he was only able to pay attention to the first game.) Girlfriend, while not as aggressive as MB, acquitted herself nicely, especially considering she was one of the smallest kids on the court.

Everyone had a good time. My mother-in-law’s courtside manner was somewhat embarrassing. But I got over it. Except I have to relive it every time I watch the videos I took that day, and I took quite a few because in the past I’ve always managed to miss whenever one of my kids did a good play, and I was determined to get footage of something worth watching this time–which I did, but I’ve had to sift through quite a few videos to find those moments so I can post them on our family blog. It’s tedious work, but someone has to do it, i.e. I have to do it. Well, I don’t really–I guess I could just not, but I took all these videos, so I may as well.

Our team got third place in its pool–which was last place, but that was mainly because one of the other teams had its coaches doing all the scoring, which was uncool. We probably would have beat them otherwise. I mean, I’m guessing we would have because if they had players who could score, they would have let them, wouldn’t they have? One would think, but whatever. We had fun, and that’s what matters most.

Groundhog’s Day: Don’t remember it.

We got snow in Portland that first full week of February. The school district decided to close schools two hours early, but that was probably two hours too late, at least for the middle schools, which didn’t get out until 1:40 p.m., when the snow was really coming down. Buses didn’t start showing up until 3 p.m. and most buses didn’t show up until after 5 p.m. So instead of getting out two hours early, middle school students ended up staying two hours late, which sucked for them. Poor Mister Bubby.

Elvis’s school got out at 1 p.m., but he was home in a timely manner. As soon as he came in the house, he announced he wanted to play in the snow. So he goes back out in the snow and about fifteen seconds later he comes back in and says, “It’s. FREEZING!” He had tried to make a snowball but had forgotten his gloves. So he put on his gloves and went out again and stayed out for much longer.

The next day school was canceled. (Good call, school district.) As chance would have it, this particular weekend was one where I had planned a road trip with a friend of mine to see Biffy Clyro in Vancouver, B.C. It’s a long story. Would you like to read it? Well, apparently you have nothing better to do, so why not? My friend lives on the east coast and is a huge Biffy Clyro fan and was coming out here to visit family and see Biffy’s shows in Vancouver and Portland, and she wanted someone to make the drive with her. I had not really any experience of Biffy Clyro, aside from my friend’s constant Facebook posts about them, but you know me. I’m open to new experiences and excuses to get out of the house. (Sometimes.) So back in December I said, “Sure, I’ll drive to Vancouver, B.C., to see Biffy Clyro with you,” not having any idea that there would be all this snow the first weekend in February and the roads would become hazardous. Because who could have predicted that? No one. Because it never snows in Portland, except when it does.

And it really wasn’t that much snow–I mean, it was a LOT of snow, for Portland, but not compared to places where it actually snows as a matter of course. But because it never snows here, no one is prepared and there are no plows and we just have to wait for the snow to melt, basically. I mean, that’s pretty much the case. So my friend flew in to PDX Friday night, 10:30 p.m.-ish, and I met her at the car rental and we started driving north. On the plus side, there were no cars on the road. On the minus side, the roads hadn’t been plowed and there was all this snow and we could only go about 35-40 mph on the freeway. On the plus side, once we got to…Chehalis, I think? everything was clear. We arrived at my sister’s house, just north of Seattle, around 3 a.m. and crashed there for the rest of the night. We woke around 8 a.m. and drove into Seattle to eat breakfast with some other Biffy fans my friend knew but I had never met before. We took two of them to Vancouver with us.

The roads were fine. The border guard was a bit confused as to how the four of us from four different states managed to end up in the same car going into Canada, but we weren’t flagged as terrorists, so it all worked out. Unfortunately, by this time I had a splitting headache. The original plan was for my friend and me to drive back to Portland directly after the concert. It became apparent that this might be a poor idea. Fortunately, one of the women riding with us had had the foresight to book a hotel room in Vancouver for that night, and she invited the rest of us to stay with her. So we had this hotel room, so I got to lie down and nurse my headache in the hotel room while the other, more hardcore Biffy fans went out to explore the surrounding area and hang out around the venue where Biffy was going to play. One of them held a place in line while the other two came back to the hotel to get me, refreshed and ready to rock (mostly). We waited in the cold for about an hour for the doors to open. Then we waited for another hour or so for the show to actually start.

The good news is that we were in the very front. Truthfully, I didn’t care that much about being close to Biffy, but I did appreciate having the barrier to lean against when I got tired. It was a good show. There were some drunk dudes moshing or slam-dancing or whatever it is the kids do these days, and my sneakers got stuck to the floor, but I was able to peel them off and walk again when it was over. Between the opening act (Morning Parade, also very good) and Biffy, the show didn’t let out until around 12:30 a.m., at which time my friends (old and new) wanted to hang and wait for the band to come out and see if they could get autographs and whatnot (because this is what they do). Because I’m open to new experiences and didn’t want to walk back to the hotel room alone, I stayed with them. But the band didn’t come out and the band didn’t come out and it was cold and while it hadn’t been that bad to wait in the cold at 7 p.m., it was much worse to wait in the cold at 1 a.m., and I was really tired, so I walked back to the hotel and probably fell asleep. I don’t remember. Sometime in the middle of the night the others came in too. (They had gotten to see the band members and went to get something to eat, since none of us had eaten since breakfast that morning. I was too tired to be hungry.)

Because the woman with the foresight to book the hotel room had not foreseen that she would be inviting three people to stay with her, what we had was a small hotel room with one king size bed. So three of us slept in the king bed and the fourth took the extra pillows and made a pallet on the floor. It didn’t occur to me until much after the fact that I was sharing a bed with a person I had just met that morning. Well, she was nice and she didn’t snore. (And yes, I was in the middle.)

We drove back on Sunday, dropped the other two ladies off in Seattle, where it had snowed a little bit, and then went on to Portland, where the snow had developed a crunchy, icy surface upon which had fallen more snow. But it didn’t really get uncomfortable until we were on the freeway headed toward the suburbs, and it didn’t get really bad until we got into my actual neighborhood, where apparently no one had left their houses since Thursday, and then it was somewhat harrowing. But we made it.

School was canceled again on Monday, although it did stop snowing (finally). Sugar Daddy and I had tickets to Biffy’s Portland show, so that evening we met my friend (and new friends/bedmates) at the Doug Fir Lounge and I got to see the show a second time. Afterwards, Sugar Daddy had a brief chat with the lead singer of Morning Parade, who complimented him on his jacket, a vintage Sears apparel item he inherited from his grandfather. (It’s pretty badass.) On Tuesday I was very tired.

Valentine’s Day: I attended the Valentine’s Day party at Elvis’s school. I usually try to avoid class parties, if at all possible. I usually try to avoid going into my kids’ schools at all, if possible. But Elvis wanted me to come to the Valentine party, so I said I would, and I was glad I did. For one thing, I was merely a guest and didn’t have to actually do anything. Well, that was really the whole thing. I don’t mind going to a party where I’m a guest. (I did ask the teacher if I could bring something or help out, and she said I could bring beverages, so I brought beverages. That was easy.) Elvis was very pleased to see me. As he told me that morning, “I will hug you when you come to the party.” And so he did. Many times throughout the party, actually. The kids played bingo and delivered their valentines and did some dancing (yes, dancing) and ate some treats. Then they cleaned up and went home. It was awesome. Every party should go so smoothly.

Speaking of Elvis, I have an IEP meeting this afternoon for him. We will be discussing transition to middle school. Can you believe it, gentle long-term readers? Elvis is going to middle school in September. That’s hardcore. You know what else is hardcore? Sick children. I have one of those too. Princess Zurg is sick with a headache and sore throat. I’m taking her to the doctor in about 40 minutes. I’m hoping it isn’t strep because strep is horrible, but on the other hand I’m kind of hoping it is because if it is, at least there’s antibiotics for that. The worst is when you just have to suffer with something and aren’t able to do anything about it but just wait and wait and wait for it to end. Le sigh. Oh, crap. I just remembered I have to buy some pizza sauce for Girlfriend to take to her church activity this afternoon. It’s a good thing I typed that for posterity. Now I’ll remember it long enough to do it. Maybe.

I should eat lunch before I take anyone to the doctor. Gentle readers, I hope you all have a great George Washington’s birthday this weekend.

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4thWaveNow

A community of parents & friends skeptical of the "transgender child/teen" trend

gambolinthegrammar

not so distracted by zombies anymore...

Shut the door!

The intersection of LDS discipleship and conscious citizenship

Beserker Life

Feed the fish...walk the blog.

The Two Boys Club

If strangers can tell you've got your hands full, you've found a new home on the Web.

This is the Corner We Pee In

Bulletins from the Parenting Trenches...

Miss Order

If you can't be a Good Example, you'll just have to be a Horrible Warning.

astepclosertoperfection

The Life and Times of Me

Transvestite Rabbit

Not what you expected

Alison Wonderland

Rantings and ravings about the kids, work, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

TheWoobDog's Weblog

(Shhhhhhhhh! Don't tell...)

By the lbs

nutty goodness in bulk or by the pound

Bored Bunny

Seen any field mice lately?

By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog

The greatest Mormon blog in the universe.

ordinarybutloud

This is where I landed.

turnedgreen

further down the journey of a greener family

Dandelion Mama

A Memoir From the Trenches

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.