the five-year mark

Five years ago today, I opened my first account at Blogger and started this blog. At that point, the Bee was a five-year-old in kindergarten, and the Potato was only 18 months old. There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then, both in our house, and on this site. I’m glad I’ve kept this blog going, though it’s been tough to focus on, sometimes. I usually post a year-in-review on my blogaversary (sp?), and I’ll be doing that today. It’s also, as you can see, time for my annual blog redesign.

Tune in tomorrow for Landismom’s greatest hits of the past five years.

February

Believe it or not, I only wrote one blog post last February, which was about my kids’ newspaper reading habits. The irony of that juxtaposition* does not escape me.

March

In March, I posted a couple of times about the effects of the recession, on the kids’ school and the number of people that I knew who were looking for work. We also welcomed a new niece to the family, and the Bee had some advice for her older sister.

April

The Bee took home her first spelling bee trophy. The kids staged their first demonstration. And I worried about how to push the Bee out of the nest, a tiny little bit.

May

In May, I took a step back and wrote two posts about ten things I love about each kid. We had some major emotional breakthroughs in our house, which were difficult for everyone. And on the cusp of fifth grade, the Bee got made a safety.

June
In June, I spent a solid week wearing green in solidarity with the Iranians who were protesting the theft of their election, and marveling at the online support their democracy movement was receiving. The end of the school year came, and with it, a use for my blog that I never would have anticipated when I started it. I also violated my son’s rights in a most egregious way.

July

This year, for the first time, our kids went to day camp together. I took a solo trip with the kids to visit my mom. I was glad that the Bee was in therapy before we took that trip, and while things aren’t perfect, they’re slowly getting better.

August

was a jam-packed month, with the tea parties, and various vacation-related events. The kids started school before Labor Day, for the first time ever.

September

Not much happened in September, except that I painted a chalkboard on our basement wall. Oh, and the Bee turned 10. 10!

October

I got a creepy email from a campaign worker (whose candidate ended up dropping out of the race…go figure. And the Bee had to deal with another kid stealing from her in school.

November

I might have blogged in November more than any other month of the last year. Maybe that NaBlWriMo (?) thing worked, even though I’d never sign up for it. I did a fair amount of thinking about blogging and other forms of social media. I also taught the kids to sew, and took a picture of our pumpkin-like cat. Finally, I gave thanks for the little readers my kids are becoming.

December

In December, I had a crazy amount of work-related travel. The Potato wrote me his first-ever “mom’s going on the road” note, and got a Christmas present for his stuffed animal. The Bee came up with an idea for a new reality show (not, thank god, Jersey Shore). And I had my heart embiggened by a huge blizzard.

January

So far this year, I’ve been wondering about kids growing up, and enjoying the things they do now.

*the irony being that newspapers are dying the death of a thousand cuts via the internet being the topic of the only blog post I wrote in a month, that is

January 31, 2010. meta. 4 comments.

it must be that time of year

when people start to put together their fifth grade yearbooks. I’ve gotten a couple of searches for “fifth grade yearbook questionnaire” in the last couple of days. Here’s mine, for those of you looking:

# favorite book
# favorite movie
# future career
# favorite sport
# favorite food
# favorite TV show
# hobby
# birthday
# favorite place
# favorite website
# favorite band
# favorite subject

If you’re not yet the parent of a fifth grader, bookmark this for later!

January 28, 2010. the joys of PTA. Leave a comment.

Would Omar Appear in a Green Jumper?

Even though the Bee has never been a Girl Scout, landisdad & I have ended up with a large amount of cookies this year. Several of the girls in the Potato’s class, including my own niece, the Butterfly, are selling.

First, a girl whose mother is my Facebook friend, posted about the cookies piling up in her living room. “Bring her over!” I commented. “We’ll buy some.”

My SIL was outraged (well, fake outraged) by the first mother’s encroachment onto what was clearly the Butterfly’s turf (namely me). So I ended up selling 6 boxes for my niece, to various co-workers who live in Girl Scout-free zones.

I came home on Friday to discover 2 more boxes of Thin Mints, which had come via the third grader who lives two doors down. Are we a soft touch, or what? So now we have ten boxes of Girl Scout cookies in our house (6 of which are destined for other homes, but still!).

We’re also seeing Girl Scouts on practically every street corner these days. In front of the grocery store, at the post office, you name it, they’re there in their little green jumpers. Landisdad and I got to talking about it last night, and he mused, “how do you think they figure out their turf? Is there some kind of Girl Scout Brother Mouzone who enforces which troop gets which corner?”

It’s a good thing I married that guy. Other people might be disturbed by such a concept, but I just thought it was funny as hell.

January 25, 2010. random other things. 4 comments.

separation anxiety

Remember when this was a blog about little kids? /sigh/ Those were the days.

Back in the day, the separation anxiety was all on the kids. When they would cry as I left them at day care, they worried, but I always knew I’d come back for them, so I didn’t fret. These days, the anxiety is much more on my end, as my kids take the normal steps to grow up—and separate from me and their dad.

Remember when you first had that baby, and she still felt like a part of your flesh? The first time the Bee got hurt, she was a couple of weeks old. Landisdad was trimming her nails, and cut her finger by accident, and it was as if she was bleeding my blood.

As the Bee’s gotten older, my sense of her body being a part of me has dimmed, of course. But it’s only very recently that I’ve started to feel, way back in some old, deep part of my brain, that she will never be mine again in the way she was in those first days. That she owns her body, and while I can stand to one side and make suggestions, it’s hers to do with as she wishes (within legal parental reason).

This week, the fifth grade started having the kinds of health classes where they separate the boys and the girls, and talk to them about puberty, and show movies about the physical changes that lie in store for them. Surprisingly, the Bee came home that day and wanted to talk, not about her period or when she might develop breasts, but the fact that she needed to start taking a shower every day.

We’ve had some struggles about showering recently, so landisdad and I were a little surprised, to say the least. It’s been difficult to get her to take a shower more than twice a week, so for her to suddenly develop a theory that she has to take one every day is a big breakthrough. It’s only been two days since that fateful proclamation, but she has gotten up, dutifully on each of those days at 6 a.m. to take her shower. She’s gotten dressed on her own, and come down to have me brush her hair.

Landisdad joked that we should see if we can get the health teacher to tell her that she has to start doing something else, like taking out the trash once a week, or helping make dinner every night. I’m not sure that would work, though I am hoping that this wave of cleanliness will also make her see brushing her teeth as less of a chore.

I guess in some ways, the loss I’m feeling isn’t just about our physical closeness, but the loss of being the trusted authority. I’ve been telling her to shower for a year—and now, in one day, she’s changing her behavior because “it’s what you do.” The Bee will usually be a kid who wants to conform—she doesn’t want to be the wacky kid who misbehaves, she’s more interested in being the star pupil. If taking a shower every day means that she’s performing as normal, then that’s a good enough reason.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I know that she won’t, for example, let someone push her around just so that she can fit in. Her ideas of fairness and justice will trump the need to conform, almost every time. The separation anxiety I’m feeling is my own loss of her—but that loss is ameliorated by the knowledge that what I am losing, the world is gaining.

January 22, 2010. thoughtful parenting. 6 comments.

ah, boys!

Me: How was school today? Did you do anything interesting?

Potato: Me & J played Girls Chase the Boys at recess. But we couldn’t get any girls to chase us. So then we just pretended that my mittens were explosives. We pretty much exploded everything on the playground.

January 14, 2010. random other things. 4 comments.

no longer the PTA president

Did I mention that I finally ended my tenure as PTA president this year? It feels pretty good. Actually, it feels better than that.

Lamely, I haven’t been to a PTA meeting yet this year—because they’ve all coincided with nights I had to work (now that I’m not scheduling them). I’ve done some minor volunteering, most notably at the fifth grade holiday party. It seems that most of the other parents got smart, and realized that spending an extra half hour with a roomful of 11-year-olds hopped up on sugar right before their holiday break was not exactly…relaxing.

The one major project I agreed to take on this year was putting together the fifth grade yearbook. I’m very excited about this task, although I may not be by the time I have to scan fifty or sixty pictures with our not-always-functional scanner.

I got the fifth grade teacher to send home some samples of prior years’ books, and it was so sweet, seeing the kids who have graduated before the Bee when they were kindergarteners, in their earliest class pictures. I knew most of those kids as the ‘big kids’ in the school, when my kid was the littlest. And now she’s the biggest. Sigh…

January 6, 2010. the joys of PTA. 4 comments.