back to school

For the first time in living memory (well, at least my living memory), school starts before Labor Day this year. The superintendent of our district realized last year that if school started after Labor Day, the kids would still be going in the last week of June, so he decided to break a decades-long tradition in our town.

I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now.

We had a kid-therapy session today, and the therapist suggested that we have a talk with the teacher about the Bee’s issues, which have come to be identified as a sort-of OCD-ishness. During the session, we went to the play therapy room, and the Bee and the Potato both had to make up a scene about the first day of school. The Potato’s involved a police helicopter and a T-Rex (god help me). The Bee’s involved going to a circus, a carnival, and finding buried treasure, which the class all shared. They both had ten minutes to pull their scenes together–the Potato finished his in about 2 minutes, while the Bee used up her whole time, and was still putting on the finishing touches while the Potato was telling us about his first day.

My work life is about to heat up again, too, and I’m worried that the combination of school starting and me being gone more is going to cause the Bee to have a setback. I just wish we could hold on to summer for one more week.


August 31, 2009. thoughtful parenting. 5 comments.

beach trip

We just got back from a couple of days at the beach. Unfortunately, it rained all day today, so we ended up playing miniature golf and visiting a local museum, instead of surfing. On the other hand, we got to leave a little early, and mostly miss the end-of-vacation traffic.


Here are the kids, engrossed in their own pursuits (the Potato playing his DS, the Bee reading a book). I realized that I haven’t posted any pictures of the kids in a while, and I’d better do it before the Bee figures out how to use Photoshop or something.

We stayed in a motel just a couple of blocks from the ocean, and it was nice to be able to walk lots of places during the day.

Our first night there, I shared a bed with the Potato, which is always an adventure. During the course of a normal day, the Potato is a very active boy. In sleep, he spends the first couple of hours knocked out cold, then starts moving all over the bed, like a maniac. At home, I often find him spun around in bed with his head against the wall and his feet hanging over the side, or sleeping with his head where his feet are supposed to be, with the pillow knocked on the floor. When sleeping with a parent, he seems to take revenge for all the petty slights & denials he suffered that day. I woke up at least once with him rapping me on the back of the head with his elbow, as if to say, “see Mommy, you really should have given me that second ice cream cone!”

Both of our kids love the ocean, and they spent the entire first day there digging holes in the sand and jumping in the waves. The Bee, unfortunately, developed quite a sunburn, and from then on, felt quite sorry for herself and covered herself in lotion at every opportunity.

August 28, 2009. family life. 3 comments.

fear of falling

I’ve often wondered why people at amusement parks so frequently seem to be in a bad mood. Then last weekend, landisdad and I took the kids to an amusement park. While we were there, the following thought occurred to me:

When you’re a kid, going to an amusement park is fun, because you think you’re immortal and nothing can hurt you. When you’re a parent, going to an amusement park is terrifying, because you know how many things can go wrong, and here you are, deliberately putting your child into harm’s way.

From about the time the Bee learned to walk, I suffered from a recurring nightmare. This dream would visit me once every six months or so, and always took the following form–me, landisdad & the Bee on some high, touristy place (the Empire State Building, a mountain, the Grand Canyon). And the Bee fell over the edge.

When the Potato was born (and learned to walk) the dream became so intense that whenever I would have it, I’d wake with my heart pounding, would run in to check the kids’ rooms, and would be unable to go back to sleep for at least an hour.

Needless to say, going to amusement parks and riding on things that go high in the air is not number one on my list of fun things to do with the kids.

I’m not really sure where this fear came from. Pre-kids, I was never afraid of heights. I climbed all manner of high things. For pete’s sake, I practically majored in climbing around in rigging, when I was in college. But somehow, the fear of heights became a stand-in for all my parenting fears, became the thing that embodied everything in my kids’ lives that might go wrong.

So it’s an act of faith for me to climb up on a ski-lift-y type of thing with the Bee, and to dangle our feet several stories above ground, as we travel leisurely from one end of a park to the other. Speed-wise, and gyroscopically, it’s by no means the scariest ride around. But from my psyche’s perspective, it might as well have seventeen loop-the-loops and a straight drop down fifty feet, y’knowwhatI’msaying?

I finally get why parents at amusement parks spend so much time yelling at their kids. It’s because we’re spending half our time on an adrenaline rush of “is-that-thing-hooked-on-really-and-isn’t-he-much-too-little-to-ride-it-I-don’t-care-what-Mr.Inchworm-says,” and the other half of the time fending off our children’s requests for ice cream.

I did eventually get rid of my kid-falling dream, after a particularly vivid experience imagining the Potato falling off the Golden Gate Bridge. I made myself go back to sleep that night, and dreamed I jumped in after him. Now, why do I want to pay $80 to recreate that experience by visiting Six Flags?

August 24, 2009. thoughtful parenting. 7 comments.

a hell of a week

I’m having an up-and-down week. Or rather, a down-and-up-and down week. But I’ll be on vacation soon, and then it will all go away. Right?

There’s some sensitive family stuff going on, and it’s got me down (extended family, not the kids). There’s also the fact that two of my co-workers told me they’re pregnant this week–and one of them is likely not going to be able to sustain the pregnancy, due to some pre-existing health conditions. So I’m happy for the one who is expanding her family, and grieving with the one who may not be.

And there’s the complicated fact that, although my blog is still pseudonymous, some of you know who I am and we’re connected on Facebook. And some of the people that I’m talking about in this post are also on Facebook. So let’s keep this stuff between you and landismom, not you and that other chick. I don’t need a repeat of last year’s Facebook drama.

August 19, 2009. random other things, work. 1 comment.

a random observation

Does it make sense to clean the bathroom floor, ever, if there is a 6-year-old boy living in the house? Seriously, I never knew it was so difficult to aim at a toilet.

August 17, 2009. family life. 5 comments.

who put the ‘hell’ in ‘health care reform’?

I had a very instructive set of experiences yesterday around health care reform and the current state of our health care system.

First, I went to a town hall meeting that my local Congressman was having, and was blown away by the vitriol expressed by the right-wingers who were there to basically disrupt the event and to keep the conversation from getting to the real problems in our current system. They had a real plan to just shout down everyone who was for reform, and to raise bogus issues to redirect the conversation towards people who are afraid of the government.

One of the first people to ask a question who was in opposition to health care reform asked this question: “I already have to wait too long to see the doctor–if we add coverage to 47 million people, I’ll have to wait even longer. Why will that be better for me?”

*cue jaw dropping on the part of landismom

The second experience that I had yesterday was that the Bee broke her finger, and I got to sit with her for five hours at the ER on a Sunday night. The closest ER to us is an urban, Level 1 Trauma center–and I get that a broken finger is not as serious as a head injury, or a car crash, or any of the myriad of other bad things that can happen to humans. But the reality is that most people I saw there were there because they were using the ER for primary care. Because they don’t have primary care.

And I wanted to ask that woman from the town hall meeting who didn’t want to have to wait for her health care if she wanted me to sit in the waiting room with my daughter for five hours, because she was denying most of the people in the ER the right to access primary care from a primary care physician.

August 3, 2009. politically motivated. 3 comments.