Thursday, July 31, 2014


I'm listening to my kids talk on the porch with their friends.  It's so interesting to hear them telling and re-telling recent events, and getting their take on it. They are especially interesting to hear on who among them they consider popular. How do kids figure this out? They all do. But it's fascinating to see/hear how they talk about each other TO each other. They're so much more honest and up front about things. They were talking about where they ranked, but were very matter of fact about it.

They also talked, or perhaps the better word is, gossiped, about this one little boy who is, unfortunately for his sake, the neighborhood pariah. He has terrible impulse control, anger issues, and poor social skills, all encompassed in a huge mask of bravado to conceal his massive insecurities. Your heart breaks for him.

The thing is, he's come a long way, socially speaking. He doesn't randomly walk into our houses any more, nor scream through the mail slot "IS ANYBODY HOME?" over and over.

He seems like he's growing up, and maturation is always a good thing. But yesterday he hit one of the neighbor boys with a baseball bat. So we're not there yet.

Social stratification starts young. Layers of power and status begin in early youth. It really is amazing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Growing Up

Summer time and the living is unstructured and easy. Sort of. Lots of screen and complaints about being bored. Eventually the kids get outside and all is well again. I can't have them in camp all summer, that would suck, but these long days of neediness and complaint aren't the most fun. I always do better with structure, and right now there is a serious lack of it. So I am kind of stumbling along behind my kids, picking up after them and trying to get them to eat on some sort of reasonable timeline.

They are growing up and out and do not need much from me a lot of the time. Until they do, and then they really do. I guess I also have to get used to not being needed as much. When they were young, parenting filled my every waking (and often, sleeping) moment.

Now? Not so much.

It is harder to connect with my kids these days, as they literally zoom by me in their rollerblades and I sit with my heart in my mouth for fear of another broken bone.

Parenting is never over. It just keeps evolving. I need to remember that and not get too agitated about it. That's my challenge. I need to grow up, too.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mellow Out

I'm attempting to be a mellower person, inspired by Buddhism and the fact that life is too short to spend it with my unders in a twist about every little thing.

An example: my two kids and two friends are outside on the back patio deck blasting music and playing a drum machine. Sine the friends live next door, and nobody lives next door on the other side at the moment, I doubt that anyone in the neighborhood cares. So why should I? At least they're outside.

I used to get super uptight when there was this much noise, and while it's still not my favorite thing, the kids seem to be enjoying it and it isn't hurting anybody. I just need to take it in and not get involved.

That's another area of self-improvement I'm intent on: not getting involved in my kids' petty disputes with their friends. That smacks of helicopter parenting, and I don't want to do that to them (or myself). So my challenge is being able to listen to them argue, but not step in. Or, for example, when one of my children comes home crying about an injustice, they are now old enough that they should be able to use their words in a conflict situation as opposed to "running to tell".

This is challenging work. It's hard work being mellow.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


I'm about to be child-free for two weeks, which both daunts and thrills me. I can do whatever the fuck I want, but there's still a gaping hole where they kids should be. I'm happy to share them with their grandparents, but two weeks feels long. Last year they kept them three weeks and I nearly lost my mind. This year feels more manageable at two weeks. I actually won't be home when they get home, I'll be on a quickie visit with my sister. But I'll be home the next evening, so it's not so bad.

So I have these lofty goals of organizing my office and the kids' rooms, and all of this and I'm just a bit overwhelmed by it. Guess I need to do things one step at a time and try not to get too overstimulated.

I have various doctor and therapy appointments during the week to give me some structure, which is good. A gal needs something to hang her hat on.

I just uncovered a book given to me by my best friend, "The Idle Parent", at least I think she gave it to me. I have no memory of buying it. I am going to give it a look-see. I could stand to back off a bit from the hovering mode I sometimes get into.

I know she gave me "Free Range Parenting", which is probably along the same lines as "The Idle Parent." So maybe I bought this one as a follow up. 

I have more books than I can possibly read and it's time to start figuring out what goes and what stays. It is so hard for me to give away a book. i find my identity tied to so many of them, that giving a book away is like giving up on my dreams. If I get rid of some of my early childhood books, does that mean I won't work in early childhood? I'm still in early childhood education now, only with more of an arts emphasis. The nuts and bolts books for a full time preschool teacher are the ones I'm grappling with. To keep, sell or give away? I just don't know. It's an incredibly privileged position to be in, I realize that. So I am not complaining. Just musing.

What books are the most meaningful? What books do I feel most essential to me as a teaching artist, which is my identity at the moment?

I don't know. Guess I'll just have to go book by book, bit by bit. See what happens.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Uncouth Youth

So I'm just back from a walk in the woods with my kids that had some unsavory elements, in the form of four middle school-aged kids, three girls and one boy, who were hollering and shouting and just being general low grade obnoxious.

Until they saw us. Then the boy just kept yelling at us, really aggressively, "Sup?!" over and over. We said hello and I stared down one of the girls who was trying to give me the stinkeye. But since my kids didn't say anything and I didn't say much, the boy started shouting, "Can't you talk, bitch?" which, needless to say, was unsettling,

Where does this hatred come from? Sure, they're probably just a bunch of bored tweens looking to stir shit up, but what could they possibly gain from us, such low hanging fruit? We were just generic mother and children minding our own business.

We walked away and unfortunately it was not the way home, so we eventually had to turn back, which we did. We saw a young woman with a dog and asked if we could walk with her, safety in numbers. And when we did, in fact, run into the foursome again, one of the girls admired her dog and the "Sup?!" Boy just kept yelling "Sup?!" but it was easier to ignore.

I do know that my kids now know bitch is a bad word. I feel lucky I didn't swear back at those fucking kids. Because I sure as hell felt like it. I felt like, if they were to come at us in any way, I would have fucking gone off the rails to protect my kids. I've never felt vulnerable in that park we walked and I often run in, until today.

Which I think is just sad.