ten things I love about my daughter

1. Despite the fact that it sometimes hits me personally, I love the fact that she is one. tough. girl.

2. Her enormous vocabulary

3. And wonderful sense of humor

4. Her agility, both in running and in thinking

5. The lovely, high arch of her foot

6. Like me, she’s an inveterate reader, and will spend many hours alone in her room, devouring a good book

7. Her lively interest in what makes the world go ’round

8. How she has finally learned to ask for what she needs, at least sometimes

9. The fact that she’s just as likely to pick up a sword as she is to pick up a stuffed animal to play with

10. Her ability to walk in some of my highest heels, even if it’s just around the house (and OMG, she’s too close to fitting into them for realz!)

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May 29, 2009. the cutest kids ever!. 8 comments.

10 things I love about my son

1. The little sprinkle of freckles on his nose

2. His wide, wide smile

3. The way he wants us to pose math problems to him at every possible opportunity

4. His sweet & generous nature

5. When I come home from work, he runs up to me yelling, “Mommy!” and gives me a big hug

6. His ability to sleep through being taken to the bathroom in the middle in the night

7. How he tells me, “I am not your Potato anymore!” when he’s mad at me

8. His nearly endless energy

9. The fact that, at five and a half, he’s better at talking about his feelings than everyone else in our family combined

10. He knows that it’s okay for boys to wear pink, and does wear his pink shirt, even after some boys at school told him he shouldn’t do that.

May 27, 2009. the cutest kids ever!. 3 comments.

it comes and goes

I’m thinking that maybe I’ll be lucky if I post once a month in 2009.

De-lurking for a moment, on this holiday weekend, to post.

We’ve had an up and down month so far. Our spring, which has been filled with so much stress, finally exploded in the first week of May in a massive, all-out fight between me and the Bee. Which culminated in her exploding in a way that was not just inappropriate, but dangerous to herself.

For a long time, we’ve known that the Bee has issues with anger management, and dealing with frustration. I once wrote a post about feeling like the prison warden from The Great Escape, and to be utterly frank, that was not an experience that was limited to the Bee’s toddler years. As she’s grown older, it’s become more and more apparent that when she gets very angry, she loses the capacity for rational thought.

So we’ve been seeking help. I got a great parenting book The Explosive Child, which has helped me to see that our method of interacting with the Bee when she’s in a state of anger is practically the worst thing we can be doing. It’s always nice to know that your instincts are completely wrong. On the other hand, this was practically the only book that didn’t advocate being harsher disciplinarians, up to and including physical discipline—and there’s a road I just won’t go down as a parent.

We’ve also been searching for a therapist, and I think we’ve found one. Landisdad and I met with her on Friday, and we both really liked her. She’s seeing the Bee for the first time next week, so we’ll see how that goes. The Bee is not so thrilled about having to talk to a therapist—the first one we found was not really acceptable to any of us. But she’s happy that no one at school will learn about it—unlike when she was seeing the school counselor once a week.

It’s hard, feeling like we need outside help to parent our daughter. It’s also hard, imagining that we will spend the next nine years fighting like this if we don’t get help.

May 24, 2009. books for grown-ups, thoughtful parenting. 5 comments.

safety patrol

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The Bee achieved a lifetime ambition this week, by being appointed to the school safety patrol. This is her, looking proud, but also irritated that I am publicly demonstrating that we are related, by taking her picture while she’s trying to be cool. Note the bright yellow belt, sign of maturity and imminent promotion into the fifth grade. Not every incoming fifth grader gets to be a safety–but most of them do. I wonder how it feels for the four or five kids who don’t get to do it. Probably, it sucks a lot, though I’m sure the pain is eased by the first bitterly cold, rainy morning in the fall.

When the Bee entered kindergarten, the safeties looked so huge to my eyes. Now that I’ve got an almost-fifth-grader on my hands, it’s a little overwhelming. She’s only got one more year of elementary school, and then she’ll be off to the middle school, where she’ll again be one of the younger kids.

She has to be on her post by 8:05, and for the last couple of days, she’s stood in the kitchen, fully dressed, with her book bag and her lunch box over her shoulder, waiting for the clock to hit 8. I’m not sure what would happen if she left the house at 7:59, but she’s clearly not willing to risk being early.

I’ve had a sort of laid-back week, so the Potato and I have been walking to school. He’s been chattier than usual, since he’s not competing for airspace with his big sister. I’ve heard all about the caterpillars that they have in kindergarten now—which will build cocoons, morph into butterflies, and be released by the kindergarteners—including the one that he named, “Mr. Thousand.”

It’s nice to have the time with the Potato, time that reminds me of when I walked the Bee to school every day, when he was still in daycare. Reminds me how she would tell me things, and make up games, and generally just have private time with mom. I’ve struggled, with both my kids as they’ve grown older, to find one-on-one time to be with them. It’s nice that the Bee’s new independence gives me a little time alone with the Potato in the morning.

May 14, 2009. growing up. 4 comments.

dear everything

I’d like a minute to catch my breath. Can we work that out?

There are moments in my life that I’ve thought, ‘gotta step away from the computer and get some real life going again.’

Lately, I’ve been wishing for less real life, and more virtual life. More time to spend noodling around on the internet, anyway, as opposed to just reading my work email.

More time to spend blogging, and reading other people’s blogs. I can’t remember the last time I discovered a new blog (well, at least a new blog that wasn’t work-related–I’ve had lots of new work-related blogs to read this year!). I’m starting to feel like I need to investigate the world of middle-school blogging, since the Bee is going into 5th grade next year.

Seriously, though, I’m taking some steps at work to slow my life down a little bit, and I can’t wait until that starts working. Because it’s affecting my ability to be a good wife and mother, and I don’t like that.

We work to live, not live to work. Hard to remember sometimes, but worth it.

May 5, 2009. thoughtful parenting, work. 2 comments.