Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Yesterday I asked her what she's saving her money for, and she said, again without hesitation, "Animals." It turns out that she's saving up to buy a farm.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Friday, July 26, 2013
I'm trying to balance my angst about not having a job, plus my guilt about not holding up my financial end of the household, with my pleasure at having this kind of summer. At the end of the day, when Cook comes home and I'm telling him about our adventures, I frequently have to admit that yes, I had a really lovely day. Sure, the kids were sometimes (or often) assholes, and I spent about half the day escorting them to their activities, and I did some tedious housework and errands, but the truth is that I also did a lot of stuff like lying on a lawn chair at the pool reading a book while Duchess swam and Skipper talked to Rosemary the baby doll.
Truly, I don't even mind the escorting part of my days. I just read a (different) book in which a character referred to something she did as a parent as making a deposit into the account of her kid's future wellbeing. I think that my faith in that idea is what gives me satisfaction from the soccer-mommy part of my summer. (Not that anybody's doing soccer at the moment, but you get the gist.) Yes, I'm spending my time helicoptering my children around,** but it's not a bad thing to do. It feels, mostly, like making lots of future-wellbeing deposits, and that's very satisfying in itself. Last week, for example, in the short-term wellbeing investment category, Skipper very much enjoyed "Space Camp"*** and is feeling very confident and excited about her big-kid chops. (The teachers were somewhat concerned about the fact that she just watched everything and didn't talk to them or to her classmates, but I assured them it was actually a raging success, because she didn't cry, and she reported she had fun.) We hope this will translate into a smoother transition when she starts preschool in September. And in the longer-term category, Duchess is learning how it feels to swim for five hours a week. In my parenting fantasy, this will help get her into a lifelong habit of regular exercise. **** I'm pretty convinced that that parenting doesn't actually work like that, but I can pretend it does, in an optimistic summery kind of way.
**Except that while I've got the spending-lots-of-money-and-time-on-kids'-activities part down, neither Cook nor I are actually very helicoptery about the activities themselves. I'd chalk it up to a healthy sense of perspective, or our desire for the kids to own their activities, but it's also at least partly about our disinclination to invest any more energy in something we find boring. Swim meets, for example. Ugh.
*** Actually 2 hours each day of low-key preschool activities with a space theme. She brought home several craft projects involving aluminum foil and glitter.
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
I have surrendered to summer. Today we stayed at the pool (or at least within the park in which it is located) from 9 to 1:30, so we could enjoy the free open swim period. Then we biked straight over to drop Duchess at her afternoon circus camp, and Skipper and I biked home (I biked, while Skipper napped in an extremely uncomfortable-looking position in the trailer) to hang up swim suits and recuperate with all the blinds closed. She's quietly playing with the babies,* and I am computering. I feel pickled, and faintly grimy, and definitely overdosed in sunshine. I have mosquito bites. I have a pink-nosed husband newly sporting a summer haircut and a summer sunburn.** (He's sunburned because he spends all his leisure time painting the house. I spend mine complaining about the heat.)
I realized today that all of Duchess's summer pursuits are physical. Her brain is resting while her body swims (and swims and swims) and does martial arts and (this week) circuses. I think it's probably a positive thing - she's doing lots of reading, so it's not like she's truly mentally ossifying, and the habit of physical activity is a good one to start early. Math camp can wait a little longer.
It's also worth noting that Skipper, who is suddenly starting to look more like a kid and less like an elderly toddler, is really enjoying swim lessons. She participates with enthusiasm - she smiles, and even laughs during her lessons, which is unheard of. Next week she has a parks and rec preschool camp in the mornings - we'll see how that goes down...
*The babies are the favorite play activity right now - Duchess and Skipper appear to be operating a fairly sketchy orphanage. Yesterday they got ALL the baby and babyish dolls out, and got out lots of pretend food and whatnot so the babies could have a birthday party. Our whole dining room was committed to babies.
** Cook rarely sunburns, preferring instead to turn enviably golden of hair and skin as the season progresses. I met him at the end of a summer in which he had spent a lot of time outside, and it took me probably six months to realize that he was actually light-skinned and brown-haired.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
We had family visit. We visited family and friends in Seattle. All of that was excellent, except that the kids turn out to be woefully ill-prepared for long car trips, and almost died of frustration during the drive to Seattle. Otherwise, lovely. Did you know there's a park in Seattle where you can ride a zip line, watch polynesian cricket, and visit a food forest? There is.
Then the girls and I went on a trip to visit friends, which was also lovely. The only sad part of our trip was that Cook stayed home to earn money and hoard his scarce vacation hours.
And THEN we went on a weekend camping trip with friends, which was also lovely. And now we’re home.
Our summer routine is anchored by Duchess's swim team practice, an hour every weekday morning. This is kind of an epic thing for an 8-year-old, as it turns out. I think she'll enjoy it more when she gets to know some of her teammates better, but for now it's just a lot of swimming. A LOT of swimming. Watching her attempt the butterfly after 45 minutes of nonstop swimming makes me feel tired, even as I lounge by the pool reading Richard Scarry books to Skipper. Duchess doesn't hate it, and she is proud to be pushing herself, but she's not enthusiastic.
For me, the summer so far is about learning the limits of my parenting toolkit. Skipper is in what I desperately hope is a difficult stage, and not the flowering of a sociopathic personality. She likes nothing more than provoking a response from me, and she's at least as happy with a negative response as a positive one. Duchess has had evil stages, but she's always remained heavily invested in getting approval from authority figures. Not so with Skipper. Skipper doesn't care. She is also very proud, and cannot admit fault. Oh, AND she's finally transitioning out of napping, which means she's exhausted and horrible by the end of the day. And timeouts just don't work on her. All of which, when you throw in an impatient, ungenerous parent, is a recipe for disaster. Or at least a lot of yelling.
The other thing we're doing this summer is watching the original Star Wars movies. We are very busy.
Monday, July 8, 2013
|Walking to the pool|
|Skipper and I hang out by the pool for an hour while Duchess swims.|
|Skipper participated! Duchess and I were very proud.|