More Bullets.

And, in a stunning display of “la la la I’m not listening to the predominant news stories on my feed right now” I offer you this semi-holiday-themed bullet list:

  • The Who is currently on the pot, humming loudly. This has nothing to do with the holiday upcoming, but he does seem to be humming “Jingle Bells.” So, there’s that.
  • The Giant wasn’t nearly as crowded as you might have expected at 5pm on the day before the first forecasted winter storm and two days before Thanksgiving. And they weren’t sold out of anything that I needed. Thanks for coming through for me in the 11th hour, Giant.
  • Many profs cancelled classes today. I did not. But we did play Cards Against Humanity and called it a lesson on sentence structure, diction, and knowing the appropriate language for your audience.
  • I felt a little bit of anxiety as I picked The Who up from his extended day care today. This is the same place where he spends three mornings a week before PM kindergarten, but because his school is closed for conferences, he spent the entire day for the first time. I reminded myself that I left him for longer periods at a younger age at his last school and that helped. Still. It seems I have gotten out of the habit of having him in one place for seven straight hours. Just in time for, like, the rest of his life of full-time school.
  • This is the first year that I have not made (or been served) turkey for Thanksgiving (unless you count that one tragic Thanksgiving where my grandfather decided to dispense with tradition entirely and serve pea soup.) Coincidentally, this is the first year that The Who has even given the menu a second thought. “But it’s called Turkey Day. You can’t serve chicken!” And yet, I am.
  • When The Who was born, six years ago on Thanksgiving Day, my labor nurse said, “He’ll have a birthday on Thanksgiving every six years. So, on his 6th birthday, it will be Thanksgiving again!” Pfft. He’ll never be six, I thought. Um. Yeah.
  • There will be succotash because it’s m*’s tradition. There will be sweet potatoes because it’s mine. There will also be chilled, jellied cranberry sauce, still looking like the can once it’s on the plate. Because yum.
  • M* has been away for two nights on business. In her absence, I have made 4 dozen meatballs, 4 dozen mini cookie cupcakes, 5 cups of blue buttercream, and a mess.
  • Tomorrow: birthday cake procuring, house tidying, guest-room prepping, loud music listening, and a whole lot of gratitude for a whole lot of things.
"To get a more vibrant hue, use gel food coloring." (So says Liv, the cake lady.)

“To get a more vibrant hue, use gel food coloring.” (So says Liv, the cake lady.)

Bullets.

  • Too few hours of sleep and too many hours of cooking/dishes today. Left me feeling a little like the dishrag I kept slung over my shoulder most of the day.
  • Perhaps, finally, “Simply Lemonade” is the [expensive, non-shelf stable] alternative to my old, beloved, irreparably changed Vitamin Water. (Damn you, Glaceau. No, fuck you. That’s how much I loved a cold, old-formula bottle of Tropical Citrus that I can no longer enjoy because they went and changed the sugar to Stevia. Grody.)
  • Hay Day. It’s the stupidest time-suck ever. And I totally love it. There is something so insanely satisfying about harvesting wheat with the sickle. Why? Why do we love to swipe screens with our fingers in order to “milk” bloated, mooing cartoon cows?
  • Speaking of sickles — my raincoat makes me look like the Grim Reaper. Not necessarily what you want to see approaching the elementary school midday.
  • I continue to be shocked and awed by The Who’s Visual and Language Arts abilities. The kid’s penmanship is almost better than mine, he can read upside down (so we can see the pictures, obvs) and his block letters are the envy of all who see them.
  • For those playing along at home, the bacon-and-egg muffins were a flop; seems he’s not a fan of the baked egg texture. Homemade peanut butter granola bar seems to be a winner, but he’d enjoy more chocolate chips per square inch. Who the hell wouldn’t?
  • I’d be in bed right now if teleportation were a thing.
  • And now, for your perseverance and diligence, some photos:
    Hay Who. Your penmanship's kinda awesome.

    Hay Who. Your penmanship’s kinda awesome.

    Playing cashier at the school book fair, which opened today.

    Playing cashier at the school book fair, which opened today.

    Orange Jeans.

    Orange Jeans.

    Egg muffins. Delicious-looking, right? Whatever. I like them.

    Egg muffins. Delicious-looking, right? Whatever. I like them.

    Not enough chips. Apparently.

    Not enough chips. Apparently.

    All the moms and grandparents, looking jauntily and somewhat skeptically to the side, a la the opening credits of the Brady Bunch. Also: Hebrew. A la totally not anything even remotely related to the Brady Bunch.

    All the moms and grandparents, looking jauntily and somewhat skeptically to the side, a la the opening credits of the Brady Bunch. Also: Hebrew. A la totally not anything even remotely related to the Brady Bunch.

Breakfast.

Houston, we’ve got a problem. And its name is Oreos For Breakfast.

Somehow, what happened is that The Who wakes up on his own now, nukes his pre-prepared (by me) chocolate milk, and then settles in for some indeterminate amount of tv with his milk and a snack. For a while, this was fine. He was sated and I got to sleep a little later. Win-win. But lately, instead of snacking on Pirate’s Booty or Trader Joe’s fruit strips (neither exactly nutritious, but both passable as far as I was concerned) he’s been opting for Nilla Wafers and Oreos. So this means that by the time I am up and trying to motivate him to get dressed for school, he’s cranky and lethargic and then I’m sending him off to school with no fortification. That’s some stellar parenting I’m doing right there.

I feel like I need to pause here to briefly discuss our decisions around food and choices. The Who, while a lover of sweets, is also a lover of fruits (mostly berries) and most animal proteins (you might recall that he counts frog legs and salmon among his favorite dinners.) He has always been able to limit himself when it comes to food and rarely (if ever?) gets a tummy ache from overeating or too many sweets. He can be offered dessert on the same plate as dinner and eat it all in equal parts and after Halloween this year, he willingly offered up all his candy to be shared with us and, just as he has after all previous Halloweens, basically forgot about his candy bucket the next day. So, I do believe we are doing something right in terms of choices and allowances overall. But, that said, when it comes to breakfast, we’re doing it all wrong.

He’d eat eggs and bacon and toast and cheese any day of the week if I got up and made it for him, but my dilemma is this: how do I get him to independently make his own breakfast food that is not made of fail?

My first effort is going to be egg muffins and I will cross my fingers that the texture isn’t something that will turn him off. (It’s one of the reasons smoothies don’t work, so don’t bother suggesting them; he doesn’t even really like milkshakes that much.) My plan is to make a bunch and freeze them individually so he can just microwave them himself. Next, I’ll try homemade granola bars or protein bars — the benefit of homemade being that I can control both the sugar and the ingredients so that it’s something he likes. (I’m not a fan of the Truvia in this recipe, so I may experiment a little.)

Do you have any other great ideas for healthy breakfasts that The Who can prepare himself? I’ve got to turn this morning Oreo trainwreck around.

lmgtfy.*

One of the things I love most about The Who is his inquisitiveness. He asks questions all the time and although there is sometimes a string of mindless whys, usually his questions are probing, thoughtful, and complex. And now that he is older, at least half the time, I don’t have the answers.

I have never shied away from the “I don’t know; let’s look it up” response, but it has then always been on me to follow through. Several times, even pulling over to the side of the road while driving in order to google something on my phone. But now — with the addition of the laptop at his work/art table — he can start to find some of his own answers. Which is exactly what he did tonight. Baby’s First Google. Perhaps among the Gen X-er parent’s proudest moments.

He asked me, at dinner, which was taller: the Eiffel Tower or the Space Needle. I, needless to say, had no idea. Not even a hunch, frankly. And as soon as he was done eating, he strode right over to his desk, armed with the proper spelling of the search terms and set about finding out. I have http://www.safesearchkids.com bookmarked on his browser, which returns only kid-appropriate Google results (and uses a sister site — http://www.kidzsearch.com — for images) and within seconds, he had the information he was looking for.

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With some guidance, he brought up the calculator then, to figure out the difference in height and was ultimately so proud of his process that it was the first thing he told m* about when she walked in the door.

Say what you will about screens and kids, but I’m pretty satisfied with the way The Who is using this one these days. Technology for the win.

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*www.lmgtfy.com is one of my favorite sarcastic websites. It stands for “Let Me Google That For You” and it’s used for, well… you can see for yourself by clicking here.

Four.

1. The bathroom, she is juuuuust nearly done. Waiting on the delivery and then installation of a cabinet and the procurement of some yellow towels and then I will exhale. In the meantime, we have a squeegee and yellow hand soap; things could be worse. Also, rainbows continue to stream in through the window. It’s one of my favorite things about the whole house: morning bathroom rainbows.

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2. Fall weather is in and out. I love the way the seasons fold into one another. It’s sort of like coloring a rainbow with crayons, overlapping the red into yellow and orange and then blending the wax on the page with a warm fingertip. Hard to see where one ends and the other begins. Yesterday was actually chilly. Today, warmer. Tomorrow, rain. It’s non-linear and it reminds me of New England with its April snowstorms.

3. We repurposed a piece of bathroom furniture (which was already a repurposed piece of The Who’s nursery furniture) and turned his art desk into more of a hybrid art/homework space. A MacBook (my old one) now lives there. Because it’s almost 2015 (what? How did it get to be the future?) and don’t all 6-year-olds have personal computers in their homework spots? That said, he is mostly using it for [child-safe] image searching so he can draw pictures of things. That’s my boy.
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4. The past month, though full of good things, has really been cramping my style. I understand that all things ebb and flow. I’m ready for some flow, please.

Golden.

Three things happened in sort of succession today. First, there was a little verbal tussle at the playground with a very good friend whom The Who really loves. But often, they miss the mark with each other and end up hurt and angry. In this case, I felt strongly that The Who had not been kind and empathetic–pretty much the two most important things. I believe that being kind to others and being kind to yourself are the keys to an entire life of contentment and success. And he wasn’t kind today. He was selfish. And then unforgiving. And, I get it. He’s five. But it doesn’t mean I don’t address it and encourage him to think about it and make it right.

So. Yeah. That happened. And we had a long talk about it in the car. And I explained the kind of response I expect from him and we talked about The Golden Rule and ultimately, I think he understood and took it to heart. And later, before bed, with some encouragement from me, but in entirely his own words, he wrote a letter of apology to his buddy.

Then, despite what should have been, by all accounts, an exhausting day, he had a very hard time falling asleep. He didn’t seem troubled or upset, but he was just — well — awake. He tried doing the Gratitude Alphabet (thinking of something for which he is grateful for every letter of the alphabet) and then he tried thinking of something in our house for every letter, but had no luck sleeping. In the end, I climbed into bed with him and swept my fingers across his temples the same way I did when he was an infant until his eyelids became too heavy to keep open, the same way they did when he was an infant and he drifted into sleep.

The third thing that happened was that I learned, during one of his insomniac visits downstairs, that he had misunderstood something a friend told him today. He has a play date with this new friend tomorrow and the friend is apparently going to the Monster Truck Jam with his dad tomorrow night. So, when the kid said, “we are going to the Monster Truck Jam tomorrow!” The Who naturally thought he meant during the play date. And he told me that he expected to be doing that at the play date since the kid told him so. I set him straight as gently as I could and although he admitted he was a little disappointed, he didn’t seem to be catastrophically so. I think maybe I am sadder at my own memories of disappointment and embarrassment due to misunderstandings than he actually is.

And now I’m down here in the quiet living room, wading through this sort of unidentifiable blue feeling. A combination of my disappointment with his behavior this afternoon, his misunderstanding of the play date events, and my empathy (or maybe projection) of his feelings about that. It’s complicated and simple all at the same time, but none of it is insurmountable.

Still, there it is: this general sense of hovering ennui on a Thursday night in early October. I think it’s time I put myself to bed.

Ten.

Ten things I learned this week:

  1. When I say I want a short haircut, I probably mean I want a short haircut. Not a shortish haircut, which is what I got.
  2. Although I felt certain that I had a kid that didn’t fall asleep watching TV, if the week has been long and so has the show, the kid might just drop off during the closing credits.
  3. 44lbs is probably my limit for carrying as dead weight up a flight of stairs.
  4. When making buttercream icing, use less sugar.
  5. Finding one-piece, cotton,  summer-weight (i.e. not fleece) zip up, footless pajamas in a size greater than 4T is next to impossible — even on the almighty internet. (Unless you are willing to get one that has a butt-flap with a punny saying on it like “Tail End” or, alternatively, a classic solid red with a butt-flap.
  6. Using the search term “union suit” might get you, finally, what you’re looking for.
  7. However, using the search term “union suit” might also get you this. And this.
  8. Baking a cake, walking my kid to school, doing the dishes, and coordinating homeroom mom responsibilities will indeed make me feel a little like Donna Reed.
  9. Picking out tile for the new bathroom is truly my idea of a good time.
  10. I prefer my ginger ale slightly frozen.