Friday, February 26, 2016

Science is cool

I chaperoned a field trip yesterday at this really cool and beautiful and amazingly expensive science building on campus.

It was...long.

I am not a huge fan of field trips truth be told.  So many kids.  So much screaming.  Also, I hate telling other people's kids what to do, and you do a lot of that on field trips because kids are dumb.  My knee jerk reaction was to tell Harry that I couldn't go.  But then he was like why and I told him I was going to be at work, and he was all but the field trip is on your campus.  And then I had no other outs.  I could avoid the bus ride by just walking over there from my office, so how could I say no?

(It was a 3 hour field trip.)

The class did some experiments about micro and macro fluidity, ate lunch, and then did a scavenger hunt (led by a woman so ill-suited to her job and crabby with the kids that I ran back to the other group and snagged the classroom teacher, hoping she could help the lady calm down-- which she did) and then learned about the Fibonacci sequence and searched through some really cool gardens to find it happening in plant spirals.  The kids LOVED it.

I was thinking of what I learned about sciencing today at Cooper's conference when his teacher told me he loves to do experiments and is most delighted when his initial hypotheses are disproved by what he's doing.  Maybe he'll be a scientist.  This is something I have never thought about being, BTW.  It's not how my brain works, but how cool if his does.

OK.  I have worky work things to do at work (on a FIRDAY afternoon-- unheard of), so here're a few pics of the field trip:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ball-Gate, part 2

 I never should have let Dorothy take the above nap because she didn't go to bed until 9:00.  I mean, she's IN her bed and has been supposedly since 7:30, but she has been awake.  Like, standing on Cooper's top bunk and getting ready to jump awake.  The thing is, Dorothy is a HANDFUL, and when she falls asleep, it's sooooooo tempting to let her rest for a little while.
 Ben took Cooper to the doctor yesterday because poor Cooper could not sleep Monday night and sure enough double ear infection.  The doctor (not our usual guy) asked if Cooper went to school, I think meaning daycare.  But Cooper said he had preschool the next day (today) and the doc encouraged him to stay home.  Which, dude.  It's only 2.5 hours!  We're not talking daycare here.  Still, Cooper took his advice to heart and took a sick day.  We dropped Dorothy off, and her teacher noticed how happy he was to be home sick with me.

We went to the grocery store first, the one by the fire station and sure enough, a huge ladder truck of firefighters was there shopping, and they gave Coop a hat.
 He was super helpful.
He looooved our trip to the library because he could do whatever he wanted, and none of us had to traipse around after Dorothy.

We came home with 45 minutes to spare, and I put away groceries, dusted and vacuumed the living room and 4 bedrooms, did some laundry, and wiped down all the bathrooms before we went to get our little spitfire.

Before all that, though, we had to run by the boys' school on our way to preschool to drop Dorothy.

So I told you last time about the ball thing, right?  Well, it worked out great-- the principal called me finally when she was done with various meetings and appointments and told me of course he could play basketball and it was not cool, etc etc-- everything I wanted to hear.  She said that the staff member should have told him that if he dropped his ball in the street it might get run over and then let him manage the ball himself-- exactly right in my opinion, and she agreed that the point should not have been following directions especially after 8 hours of  keeping his shit together in school. I told her that the staff member in question is terrible and has yelled at Cooper before for running in circles during pick up and that I have, in turn, yelled at her for that.  And I shared my concern that if nasty staffers are the ones implementing even the most ambitious behavior policies like the one our district kicked off last year, there is going to be a lot lost in translation.  It was a great conversation.

So today, we went upstairs to give Harry something he forgot at home, and then we came downstairs, and Dorothy ran across the totally empty cafeteria toward the door.  That same staff member rounded the corner and barked, "Hey friend!  Walking feet!"  To my 2-year-old who was maybe 5 feet in front of me, her mother.


I was really proud of myself for not cussing, but I did say, "Have you lost your darn mind lady?"

She said, "It's my job to keep kids safe."

I said, "Mind your own business," and she said kids were her business.  I pointed out that little kids in the building with their parents were only their parents' business.  And then I got a little close to her and maybe pointed a little and said, "Leave.  My.  Children.  Alone."

And she said, "Noted," and rolled her eyes.

I think maybe she wanted me to freak out, and I clearly did not disappoint.  Something about me?  I am NEVER the bigger person.

The totally ironic thing is that our district is spending a bajillion dollars on consultants to research their community and family engagement problem and there's a low-level district employee, the kind of person who spends the MOST time with kids and their families doing her damndest to make the school as UNWELCOMING as possible,  Who the fuck yells at little kids in schools?  How the fuck are people supposed to feel good about volunteering at school if their little kids aren't welcome?  Who the hell has time to volunteer in elementary schools?  People who ARE HOME WITH THEIR SMALL CHILDREN.  I mean, seriously.

And Dorothy wasn't being rowdy or yelling or disrupting anyone-- she was just running.  In an EMPTY room.

Ugh.  Now I'm all mad again just thinking about it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mom Hair, Again.

Gah!  My new year's resolution was to post MOST OF THE TIME, and I am not keeping it.  ALREADY.  What the hell?

The weather!  Is finally not terrible here!  We even went to the ZOO.

On Friday, I got almost the exact same haircut  got almost exactly a year ago, but this time my long bob is not inverted and I have legit side-bands instead of just face framing layers on one side:

I like it and made an appointment for 8 weeks from now to actually maintain it instead of letting it grow into a ragged hot mess over the next year.  We'll see how it goes.

Saturday was lovely.

Harry had an early hockey gam,e and Ben had to work the concession stand, but when he was done at 11, we all headed to the zoo, some of us without coats, even.  It was in the 40s which felt tropical.

Look at Cooper hanging all over Harry-- he is like a tree frog, and Harry and Jack try hard to be as patient as they possibly can be.

 We had a picnic lunch
 Not only did the woman in the black coat holding that toddler leap in front of my picture at the last second and block Dorothy, but she told her toddler that seals are mermaid puppies.
 Jack, measuring himself against a bison
 And riding the turtle he always rides outside the reptile house.
 We were so happy to be outside!
Sunday was less awesome because I had major PMS and actually GOT OUT OF THE CAR at a stop light and walked home from a couple miles away instead of going to Jack's final hockey game because Ben and I were having a stupid fight about leaving the house 9 minutes later than we'd planned.  Then Ben pulled the car up alongside me, and I assumed he was going to apologize and ask me to please come with everyone to hockey but instead he said, "Please, just give me the iPads," so of course I kept walking.  But we had a fun pizza dinner later and played Scrabble-- Harry is really goos at Scrabble, BTW.

Our no-coat spree continued yesterday when Dorothy was fancy free outside The Little Gym after class.  She loves Mondays because she has an excuse to wear the leotards she was gifted from a friend of ours whose little girl outgrew them.  Dorothy wears them everyday, but on Mondays they make sense.

And now I am going to vent my PMS on the kids' school because a power-hungry paraprofessional with a walkie talkie and a bad attitude told Harry he can;t play basketball at recess for a WEEK because he bounced his ball OUTSIDE yesterday on the way home from school.  We have contacted her and the principal and are not getting any satisfaction here, but I am so mad I could explode.   Ben's just happy I have a place to channel my feelings.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

So much wine

Ben and I got to go to school today and watch Harry compete with his team in Book Bowl, which is a city-wide thing.  In teams of 4, 4th and 5th graders read 13 books and then answer trivia questions about them.  The first place team from each school moves on the the city-wide competition.  Harry's team got 3rd, and we were so proud of Harry, who knew the answers to every question about the books he read, including the one he stayed up reading until 10 last night because he has apparently inherited his father's need to work up to the deadline.  My dorky little self would have read all 13 books.  3 weeks ago.  Book Bowl was ADORABLE, and Harry was super intense.  As Ben said on Facebook:  "All of the other kids were clearly participating in a book bowl. To Harry, his team scored a goal with every correct answer and celebrated like they were a hockey team."  Harry also jumped up and down doing jumping jacks while they tabulated the scores, which killed us because he is on ADHD meds-- what would be have been doing WITHOUT them?  At one point, he made a gesture like he was going to rip shit shirt in two Hulk-style.  SO.  INTENSE.

Also, this happened yesterday:

I thought my nap with baby days were over.
 My GNO group did an awesome craft party at a place called Board and Brush-- it's a chain, so if you have one in your area, you should grab a dozen friends and GO.  We all made adorable rustic wood sign and drank way too much wine.  It was so fun-- you start with a pile of boards, and they give you all the stuff you need to distress, stain, paint, and drill them.  Loved it.  That was Tuesday.  Then last night, we had our monthly wine club meting at a cute little boutique that was open after-hours just for us.
Don;t let me happy smile fool you-- I tried on just about everything in the store and looked good in NONE of it.  I bought earrings (which I am actually super happy with) but felt really fat and shitty afterwards.

So.  I have stopped lying to My Fitness Pal, and I am really hungry and still making bad choices, but fewer of them.  We hit the beach in a month and I'd like to at least be at the old weight I was unhappy with last year.

And tonight, it's the husbands' turn to go out, which only seems fair, before we go out as couples on Friday-- phew!  So after special person night with Dorothy at preschool, I am going to spend the night ensconced on the couch working on my memoir, which is coming along well, you guys-- I'm so excited!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

TLG at NIGHT. Crazy.

I really do want to lose weight.

That is something I have to remember when I decide to get champagne drunk on a Monday night and eat a sleeve and a half of Thin Mints.

Think Mints are dead to me now, by the way.  So are fucking Veggie Straws.

I took Dorothy and Cooper to a makeup Little Gym class last night, and they were both animals because they were off their routine. Cooper cried almost the whole time, in part, I think, because Jack dropped the bomb on the way over that he and Cooper are likely getting their tonsils out in the very near future.  Cooper said he's not, actually, because he needs his tonsils to eat.  Jack explained that's not true, and Cooper said he is not doing it anyway.  'I am keeping them," he told me.  So.  Look forward to hearing more about that soon.

 They really are best friends.
 I made pesto last night, and it does not look as delicious without fresh basil-- the color is definitely off.
 Yesterday was such a terrible slog that I felt compelled to pop the champagne the minute everyone was asleep.  Which wasn't until 8:47 because Dorothy couldn't fall asleep, something she must have forgotten about when she popped out of bed at 5:08.  Blergh.
ETA:  I already told this story on Facebook, so I didn't think about putting it here, but it's pretty funny.  In class today, I was pacing in front of the room with my hand in the deep pocket of my sweater because that's my go-to I-want-to-look-smart gesture, and I felt something in my pocket.  I pulled it out only to discover with horror that it was MY UNDERWEAR which I immediately dropped back in the pocket and am pretty sure my students just think was a giant flag-like handkerchief.

Monday, February 15, 2016

V-day and some randoms

 We have been doing  a lot of the above.

Also a lot of hockey spectating. (Harry's team is going to STATE!)
 This is hilarious:  We were at a v-day party(ish) last night, and all of the kids were playing Minecraft on their iPads and the were having a virtual reality fight.  They were screaming at each other, but they looked so calm siting at the bar.  It was weird.
 Dorothy is always a lady.  A friend of ours gave her some old leotards, and she immediately took off all her clothes and put one on.  She is wearing it right now at Little Gym class.
 Jack had a class play today.  He is George Washington, obvi.
 And how could I have forgotten to share our VALENTINES?!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The personal is political, and maybe you should skip this unless you want to talk politics

I made a reference to Bernie Bros in class yesterday, and a sweet, smart, earnest student came up to talk to me after class to tell me that he is organizing for Senator Sanders and the people here are not bros at all but are labor leaders from way back.  We talked for a few minutes about nuance and sexism and Donald Trump saying pussy-- all larger themes we had been discussing in class.

I try really hard to shit on all of the candidates equally in class, and I am pretty good at that.  I pride myself on creating an environment where conservative students feel good about being Republican in one of the most liberal places in the world, and we always have excellent dialogue about political issues, and no one feels like their voice would be unwelcome.  I get political papers in election years, and I love how many young Republicans find their argumentative voices in my class, even though you all know that socialist is maybe not a liberal enough way to describe me.

Yesterday, we talked about Elizabeth Cady Stanton's famous "Solitude of Self" speech right after we spent a class period talking about Hillary Clinton's 1995 "Women's Rights are Human Rights" speech form Beijing.  I asked students to think about what these two speeches had to say to each other, and I contextualized them in the waves of feminist activism metaphor, hoping to help these kids understand why Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright are saying the things they are saying.

I think I am a second-wave feminist born in the wrong era, and I want to see a woman president.

I have a daughter this election cycle, and I want to her to know that her future is limitless because she accepts achievement without boundaries as the way things have always been.

First waver feminists had the 19 amendment as their big accomplishment, the piece of legislation they could look to and say "See?  We did it!"  I mean, sure, most of them died before suffrage was a thing,  but the wave has a definite end (How does a wave end?  Crest?  This metaphor annoys the shit out of me).

Scholars trace the next big swell of feminist work to the 1960s.  Most say that Betty Friedan's 1963 The Feminine Mystique heralded a new era of women organizing qua women.  And of course, there is a ton of great scholarship about the blurriness of these lines and the things women were doing as communists and as other social activists that blended with their feminism.  And, of course, this happened in the first wave, too, with abolitionists and temperance women working on their own causes before and after the Seneca Falls convention.

The second wave, though, doesn't have a huge accomplishment like the 19th amendment to point to.  Roe v. Wade, maybe, but reproductive rights weren't the sole focus of second-wave feminist activism, and reproductive freedoms have been slowly chipped away since then.  Women could have sex outside marriage and think about maybe not automatically being housewives, but these are more amorphous gains than voting rights.

(And then after the second wave there was backlash and post feminism and a really wonky third wave and now maybe a fourth wave or maybe Dalloway feminism?  I DON'T KNOW. The metaphor only really works for the first 3/4 of the twentieth century)

My point in class and my point here is this:  Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright said things that sounded anti-feminist to today's feminists, the women my roughly age and younger who have grown up with in a world where feminism is like fluoride-- in the damn water.  But the idea that a woman could really be the president of our country is a HUGE THING to second-wavers, and , I hope, to us, their daughters.  A thing we probably can't fully understand because to us the possibility of a woman president has always been there, even if the actual thing hasn't happened yet, thank, in large part, to the very women we're all getting up in arms about right now.

Is gender a voter issue?  Maybe not for you, but it is for me, I mean, as long as I also like the candidate.  I am probably more liberal than Clinton, and the "safe, legal, rare," abortion rhetoric of the Bill Clinton years is a real bummer, but I get tears in my eyes just thinking about taking my 3 year old daughter into the voting booth to cast a ballot for a woman to be president.  And I suspect this isn't as big of a deal for fathers and sons because that's been the way things are in our country since we were a country, back women women weren't citizens and could only go to school because they happened to be raising future citizens.

Is gender a voter issue?   I think it is for more people than will admit it.  Think about the people flocking in droves to an ancient Vermont senator who only has 60% name recognition nationwide.  I'll bet at least some of them are doing it because he's not a woman, even if they don't say it like that even to themselves.

I gender a voter issue?  Maybe for women who care about maternity leave and abortion rights and healthcare and their aging parents AS WELL AS national security and the economy and don't want to be patted on the head and told that these are special interest issues, that we'll be taken care of when the revolution happens, as long as we stay in line and keep cleaning up everybody's shit.

This is one of those times when I really wish I had that awesome bumper sticker I see around town sometimes that says "I'll be a post-feminist in a post-patriarchy" because seriously.

We still need feminism, and feminism has to be about more than women acting like disembodied liberal citizens (liberal like political theory, not liberal like partisan politics) and about the feel-good/mean-nothing refrain of respecting each other's choices.  Feminism is about more than gender equality.  It's about women claiming our rightful place in the public sphere and remaking the world to reflect our participation in it.  And to me, it is about supporting women, especially when one of them is poised to be a revolution just by being herself.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Homemade Valentines


And the kids made them, even!

I took the pictures in about 25 minutes one random Monday afternoon in Cooper's room before we ran out of sunlight.  Dorothy and Cooper and Jack all glued their own pictures to their card stock in like 15 enjoyable minutes yesterday.  Then Dorothy was done, and she scampered off to be 2 somewhere and I wr0te the names and washi-taped the bubble wands.  Cooper spent another 10 laborious minutes writing his name on all of his cards.  The he ran away, and I washi-taped his tattoo boxes. Jack did the whole damn thing himself, even taping on his Blow Pops after I stuck 42 peices of washi tape to the side of the kitchen table (he needed 2 pieces per sucker and they will still probably fall apart between here and school).  Harry? Harry's pictures, card stock, tape, glue stick, and Tootsie Pops are in a plastic bag in the front closet waiting for him to remember it's almost V-day.  I think he can handle it.

Jack surveyed his work proudly and said, "I didn't think we were the kind of people who made our own Valentines."  Indeed.  Neither did I.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Quitting the Yelling Day 9: Progress?!

Those pictures up there? Are scenes from a yell-free Monday morning. Even though I was late. And hungover. 

It was snowing at 7 when the boys went to walk the dog-- beautiful, silencing, sparkling snow-- and the babies wanted to walk, too, so we did, all of us, despite the morning rush. A

Today as we were leaving Little Gym, Cooper had a fit about going to get a cookie at the coffee shop across the street and we couldn't go to the coffee shop for a cookie because I we just a huge rude bitch to the staff about the pre-class latte I ordered that took ten minutes to arrive even though no one was in front of me. It was bring a friend week, so we had 2 preschool friends with us, and good byes were awkward because of the screaming. To cheer them up (because class ends right before lunch and the transition is always hard for Cooper), I said we could walk a couple of blocks to an organic bakery and get cupcakes for a treat. Cooper was still crying. Instead of yelling at him (which was SO TEMPTING because he would not stop and it was embarrassing and stressful), I gave him a hug. And he stopped. 

Then we walked to the bakery in the cold. And it was closed for a private party which was hard to explain to the kids because it said closed but people were in there. Cooper almost freaked again, but instead wee walked to a pizza place with a shabby playroom the kids love and we've been there for an hour. A really happy hour. 

When Ben comes home at 3, it's my turn to work, and I think I might do it from the library. 

Best day ever. 

Saturday, February 06, 2016



I think I have the virus that knocked out Harry and Jack for a week each.  I am on day 3 (it started Wednesday at dinner time) and feel like total dog shit.  I spent all day in bed on Thursday with a 103.4 fever (taken with an ear thermometer, so it was probably actually like EMERGENCY ROOM HIGH).  I took ibuprofen and Tylenol alternately every 4 hours like I was a little kid, but nothing really helped.  Occasionally, I would get down to a 101 fever and the air would not hurt my skin, but mostly I just laid around and moaned.  I couldn't even sleep.  Finally on Friday morning at 2 am, I took 3 ibuprofen instead of 2 and about an hour later, I was completely drenched in sweat and my fever came down to 99.  I felt amazing.  Then I took some Tylenol and was drenched again, and my ear thermometer read 96.5, which made me really freaked out about the 103.4 from earlier.

I was able to go to the hotel with Ben and the kids and our friends for a sleep-under staycation yesterday because the kids were off school, and now I have spaced my alternating meds out to 6-7 hours, and my fever never gets too much above 100.  I was really sick in the middle of the night last night.  I ended up getting up at 2 for a mug of tea and a popsicle and ibuprofen and an extra quilt (brining my total to 2 plus a blanket and sheets) and watching Tammy and Reno 911: Miami.  I finally fell asleep again around 5, and Dorothy woke us up at 6:30.

Ben took all of the kids back to the hotel to swim until lunch and then he took them to hockey, and I have been in bed with The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Master of None.  I got up to do laundry and clean up lunch, and it almost killed me.  If my throat still hurts tomorrow, I am going to get a strep test just to be on the safe side.  Tonight, we hope to go out with friends for dinner and a movie, but I still feel terrible.  I really want to feel better before the Superbowl, AKA buffalo chicken dip day.

Before I got sick (which had probably been happening gradually for a day or so, but I had been taking handfuls of ibuprofen every 4 or so hours, per my doctor's suggestion, for cramps, so I didn't notice until Wednesday night when I was all the sudden achy and freezing and home all night with 3 kids while Ben had the other one at hockey), I baked a and cooked a lot, just to make sure everyone who hasn't already had this virus will get it.
 Ben knew I had a rough Wednesday working from home with Dorothy and Cooper, taking Dorothy to the dermatologist during my usual writing time, cleaning the house, running errands, etc, so he brought home lovely, cheerful flowers.  And I am so happy I put them on my dresser because I was struck down with the virus from hell only hours after their arrival, and they've been nice to look at.
 I'm so pretty, obvs.
 Dorothy has spent a lot of time sitting on me and speaking loudly.  Yesterday, she climbed off me after saying, "You're stinky again.  It's your breath this time."
 The kids loved the pool.  They swam from 3-7:30 last night and from 8-11 this morning.
 IDK what this face was all about-- he really did love it.
 All by herself in the deep end.
 An important hot tub convo
 Dorothy's animals and princesses
 There were 11 kids, and we fed them all pizza in the hotel lobby after we trashed the entire pool area with snacks and booze in cans and juice boxes.  The other guests LOVED us.

 We showered all the kids and took them home and they all fell asleep by 8.
 So many swimsuits.
 Before she went to hockey today, Dorothy gave me her Lollaloopsy and said I could sleep with it and she hoped it would make me feel better but please don't break it or get germs n it because it is very special to her.  I'm doing my best.