giving thanks

I was lying in bed this morning, wishing that my brain would let me sleep past 7 a.m., when the Potato walked into our room and asked if he could have a cuddle. I pulled the blankets aside, and after a few minutes of whispering and wiggling (landisdad, to his credit, does not have a brain that insists that he wake up early even when it’s not a work day), he toddled out of the room to get a book.

He came back in with a book I had recently gotten him from the library—Porcupine’s Pajama Party, or something like that–and proceeded to tell me the whole plot, as he had read it the previous night. Then he left again, and came back with Horton Hatches the Egg. As I sat there watching him read, I realized that the thing I’m most thankful for, this Thanksgiving, is that both of my kids have inherited my love of reading.

The Bee, on a daily basis, is almost late for school because she’d rather read than get dressed. She walks to her safety post, and then pulls a book out of her backpack and stands on the corner reading it, stopping only to help younger kids cross the street. As an inveterate reader myself, I never thought this was a particularly noteworthy behavior—until many other parents in the school made comments to me about how much they like seeing her there, reading, which made me realize that none of the other safeties do it.

She went through a phase of trying to read Jane Austen a few weeks ago, and it warmed my heart to see her wanting to make sense of a book that’s a few years out of her reach—she’d gotten the idea from reading some other book where the main character (a 12-year-old girl) read Emma & Pride & Prejudice. Ultimately, she didn’t make her way through the dense thicket that Austen can construct, but she also didn’t hate it—just wants to try again in a year or two.

The Potato has also turned into an adept reader. He’s moved into early chapter books—lots of Nate the Great and Little Bear. I was a little worried, for a while, about his ability to concentrate long enough to consume a whole text, but his ability to focus on lego construction should have assuaged those fears. He’s not yet the book addict that the Bee is, but I think he just might get there.

I’m glad that we’ll always have this to connect us. I like to read about life in Jo(e)’s house, and imagine what my living room will look like in 6 or 7 years–and I’m always hopeful that I too will have a living room full of laptops and literate kids.

November 26, 2009. the cutest kids ever!. 5 comments.

fuzzy orange, meet smooth orange

We still have one pumpkin that never got carved for Halloween, hanging out in our house waiting for Thanksgiving. Our cats are generally mystified by it, especially since I put it on the chair near the front window that gives them a view of the neighborhood, including some random other cats that occasionally wander onto our porch.

This is a shot of our cat, Ichabod, with a pumpkin. Icky was a stray kitten who was hit by a car, and then taken to our vet by some kind strangers on Halloween. The folks at the vet fixed him up, named him, and put him up for adoption–they knew we were in the market for a new cat, and called us. We’ve had him for about five years, I guess. He’s developed a remarkable resemblance to a pumpkin, at least in plumpness if not texture.

November 22, 2009. family life. 2 comments.

crafty kids

Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to get my kids interested in sewing, with little success. The Potato saw me getting ready to make some Christmas gifts the other day, and they both decided that they wanted to give sewing another shot–they’ve been valiantly hand sewing various items ever since. I got this book a while ago, and they both decided they wanted to make things out of it.

The Bee is making herself a purse–it’s a very small purse, but it has two pockets, and a butterfly decoration that she drew, cut out and sewed on herself. The Potato is making a book cover, with a “Bad Guy” applique.

They both had half-days at school today, and since I had to work at home in order to get our sink fixed, they came home right after school. I cruelly oppressed them by refusing to allow them to watch TV for the whole afternoon, so they decided to work on their sewing projects, after they got their homework done.

It’s really pretty cute to watch them sew, and to hear the Potato say “ow!” every thirty seconds when he pokes himself with a needle. His stitches can tend toward the way-too-far-apart, but overall I think they’re both doing a great job. Landisdad picked up the Bee’s purse last night and said, “honestly, I don’t think I could sew any better than that,” and it’s true that she’s made much more progress in the hand-eye coordination department than ever before.

I’ll post some pictures when they’re done, assuming we get there. I have to say, I’m a little astonished that they’ve maintained interest for three days, even after it got difficult.


November 16, 2009. family life. 2 comments.

Don’t Mess with Textas

Earlier today, I was at a meeting where someone made an announcement about another meeting–the topic of which related to “teens who text instead of talking to their parents.” The person organizing that meeting went on a rant about how teens are “texting, tweeting, FaceSpacing (sic)–they’d rather talk to someone 20,000 miles away, than talk to their own parents!”

I leaned over to the friend next to me & said, “if my kids knew about this kind of intervention, they’d stage it on me, not vice versa!”

He leaned back & said, “I’m pretty sure someone made similar complaints when they invented the telephone–‘No one writes letters anymore!’.”

November 9, 2009. meta. 8 comments.

growing up again?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I have felt the need to blog less and less frequently. I think that’s because I don’t want to admit that the time for blogging has possibly passed, and I’m just riding a trend too long.

So here’s my counter-argument.

I started this blog in 2005, when I was the mom of a kindergartener and an eighteen-month-old. While I’ve always had a full-time job, I was tele-commuting then, in a job I had very recently gotten. My kids were young, and my life revolved around them. I spent large parts of every day thinking about them, and about the choices that I was making that affected them

And now it’s four years later, and they’ve grown up some. They’re much more self-sufficient, although not, of course, fully grown. While I still spend a lot of time thinking about them, and talking about them with their father and my friends, I feel less often like the choices that I’m making will unmake or be the making of them. There is a foundation that has been laid for their lives, and while I worry about the walls being straight, I don’t feel like one simple decision will cause the house to be less-than-true.

It seems to me, that just as there are stages of growing up for kids, there are stages of growing up for parents. I feel, to a certain extent, like I’m growing up as a mother.


November 5, 2009. thoughtful parenting. 5 comments.