ending our cable-less life

We’re restoring our cable, effective in January. Actually, we signed up for FIOS, since the three-service deal was only $10 bucks a month more than what we’re paying for phone and internet–adding cable for ten bucks a month made it affordable.

Last summer, when we canceled cable, CamiKaos gave me the great suggestion that I should check out hulu.com. I’ve been grateful for that, especially since they have the rights to the Daily Show and the Colbert Report–two shows I couldn’t have survived without doing our recent election.

But now, it’s gotten even better. Now, they have the rights to Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.

Landisdad and I watched the first episode tonight, while I was wrapping presents. Another treasured memory from my childhood ruined…


December 22, 2008. family life. 4 comments.

a Norman Rockwell moment

In the kids’ elementary school, there is a holiday concert every year where the 4th & 5th grades perform, both instrumentally and vocally. It’s a big rite of passage for the kids, to finally be in the holiday concert.

We went last night, and as we sat there, listening to the squeaking clarinets, and the Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks imitations, I thought, “there are people all over the United States right now, having this same experience. We’re part of this great circle of parents, listening to their kids sing awkwardly.”

There’s a lot of parenting that’s hokey. We do these pedestrian things that parents have done for decades, or milennia.

And that’s what makes it beautiful.

December 18, 2008. family life. 5 comments.

games to check out

The Potato is home sick from school today. He spent yesterday in a listless haze, rising occasionally to puke. He voluntarily went to bed at 7:30 p.m., and then slept straight thru until 9 this morning, waking to puke again only when I got him up to pee before I went to bed.

Landisdad had taken the Bee to school, and I was sitting at the dining room table, emailing my boss to let him know that I wouldn’t be working today, when I heard a plaintive “hello?” from the top of the stairs. I think he was afraid that we had all just taken off for our days and left him here. It was quite pathetic.

Since then, we’ve been playing rounds and rounds of Racko, while he sucks on Pedialyte popsicles and chomps on dry toast (so far today, no heaving, I’m happy to report). Racko is a game that we encountered at my mom’s house last month, though I definitely do not remember playing it as a child. It’s recommended for kids 8 and up, but the Potato really enjoys it. My kids liked it so much that my mom ended up buying us our own copy, so they could take it home with them.

rackoThe basics are this: each player has a card rack that holds 10 cards. You’re each dealt out ten cards, and you have to put them in the rack in the order in which they are dealt. The goal is to be the first player to rearrange their cards so that they are in numerical order–but you can only move one card per turn. There are some special cards in this version (like “take an extra turn”) that didn’t exist in my mom’s, much older version. It seems to be one of the few board games that my kids can play together without the 4-year age difference creating an insurmountable gap.

It’s hard for the Potato, but not impossible. He doesn’t win very often, but he gets close enough that he doesn’t find it incredibly frustrating. It’s easy enough for the Bee to beat him, without it being too easy for her. I don’t find it that easy to find games that the two of them can play together without him having to have an adult on his ‘team.’

December 15, 2008. the pop culture. 4 comments.

kid cussin’

Ah, another developmental landmark has been reached!

Last night, I was helping the Bee make her bed. I had pulled the bed away from the wall, and she was behind it, gathering up the stash of books that had fallen down between the wall and the bed and accumulated underneath. She couldn’t reach a book, and she muttered under her breath, “sugar honey ice tea.”

It took me about five seconds to piece that together, and I said, “what did you say?”


I left it alone, as it clearly wasn’t directed at anyone, and god knows I mutter enough curses under my breath when I’m frustrated. I’m not even sure the Bee knew exactly what she was saying, although she probably did. I remember first hearing another kid say the word ‘fuck’ when I was about ten, and just being dazed by the awful power of it. I’m sure that she’s heard that word on the playground by now–there are enough ten-year-olds in her class.

I should say that, while landisdad and I will occasionally mutter curses under our breath, it’s been our policy since the Bee was born not to curse in front of the kids. In my adult conversation, I tend to curse like a sailor, but I never think it is cute when a three year-old drops the f-bomb. (I’m of mixed minds about “freakin,'” though.) This has become extremely difficult to maintain, especially since I got car that basically broadcasts my cell phone like a speaker–many’s the time I’ve had to admonish one of my co-workers, “hey, I’ve got kids in the car!!”

My parents were diametrically opposed when it came to cursing. My dad cussed like a sailor when he was at home (a high-school English teacher, I can only assume that he refrained at work). My mom, on the other hand, rarely curses. I think I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve heard her use the word ‘fuck,’ and probably four of those happened over 20 years ago, when my parents were still married.

I want my kids to know that they can’t use curse words in every setting, and to know that they need to be able to express themselves clearly in English. On the other hand, I’m not going to freak out if, in high school, they’re using Anglo-Saxon terms with their friends, as long as they keep it out of the classroom.

What’s your theory on cussin’ kids?

December 6, 2008. thoughtful parenting. 11 comments.