Wednesday, July 30, 2014

This week

Skipper is in nature camp this week. She says she likes it, but she also weeps heartbreakingly at drop-off. But it's Skipper, so heartbreaking weeping at departure is pretty much a given. Cook has been dropping her off every day, and he hates it, because it makes him so sad to peel her off his leg and walk away.

Duchess is at Chinese camp, which she also likes. It turns out to be pretty much a preschool- all the furniture is wee, and they have a nap time every afternoon. There are only 12 kids enrolled, and most of them are 4 or 5 years old. Duchess has a few like-aged friends, though, and, as usual, she's perfectly happy with the situation, in spite of nap time. It's a complete language immersion situation, so she quickly had to learn how to ask to be excused to use the bathroom. I figure that's going to be useful when we send her to China to work on a farm for a year. Though I guess she'll probably just pee in the field.

The babysitter continues to be excellent. Duchess has begun dressing like her, which is kind of adorable in a Single White Female kind of way.

Cook and I are still struggling with getting dinner on the table before bedtime. And I'm struggling with figuring out how to bike to work on hot mornings without arriving with a red face and damp hair.

That's this week.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Skipper does this weird thing where she withholds information and/or pretends ignorance - I can't tell if she's doing it as a power play, or if she feels less vulnerable when she reveals as little as possible. Today she came into the bathroom while I was making one of my occasional half-hearted gestures toward personal grooming.

Skipper: What are you doing?
Me: Plucking hairs out of my eyebrows.
S: Why are you doing that to your eyelashes?
M: Not my eyelashes, my eyebrows. I'm doing it so they don't take over my entire face.
S: What are eyebrows?
M: (touching her eyebrows) These are eyebrows.
S: The fuzzy things on my face?
M: Yes.
S: I didn't even know I had them!
M: Okay, now you're totally pulling my leg.
S: (runs out of room)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brief check-in

We're almost through the week! Skipper has enjoyed some elements of her camp experience, and definitely NOT enjoyed others. Today she went on a field trip and refused to participate in any of the activities. But she went! Small steps. She's been very clingy, and mostly just wants to cuddle when she's got a parent at her disposal. Skipper's happiest when her world is rock-solid, and having her daily routine changing every week is really screwing with her sense of stability, so she feels very vulnerable. She's powering through, though. She's learned some dance routines and martial arts routines at camp, and she really likes those. She puts on her hand-me-down taekwondo outfit after camp and punches and kicks very seriously.

Duchess has loved robotics camp. She is one of two girls out of the twelve kids participating, but four of the boys are classmates of hers from school, and she likes three of them, so she's pretty comfortable. They play games like "Secret Circuit," which is apparently great fun. AND they're going to have root beer floats and watch "Spirited Away" tomorrow, which is even greater fun. (The kids at this camp are the sort of kids who spend time arguing over whether they should watch a Harry Potter movie or a Hayao Miyazaki movie. As I guess you would expect from a robotics camp.)

Duchess is still swimming, before camp, and enjoying it a lot. I think she may be at the highest fitness level of her life right now, having spent the last five weeks doing 7-10 hours of fairly intense aerobic activity (swimming, kung fu, gymnastics, and ballet) a week. Between camp and swimming, though, she's very much missing loafing-on-the-couch time, so she burrows into it whenever she can.

And Cook and I are staggering through our days. Cook has a bunch of work projects he's mightily struggling to wrap up before vacation, and I have a big work surge next week  We're mostly just adjusting as best we can to having both of us working full-time - staying up late washing dishes and putting together lunches, and trying not to forget anything as we rush out the door in the morning. There's a chance my job (currently scheduled to end in October) might lead to permanent full-time employment, in which case we'll have to get a slow cooker and come up with some better strategies.

Monday, July 21, 2014


We went camping this weekend. That was great, though I once AGAIN sunburned myself, something I don't understand how I can possibly fail to prevent as an adult. What is wrong with me? (On an entirely unrelated note, I once put my finger on the burner of an electric stove to see if it was hot enough yet.)

Anyway, when we got home on Sunday evening, the newly-hired babysitter visited briefly to get the bike trailer hitch put on her bike and learn what she needed to do with the kids. Then we ate dinner and showered and scrambled to get ready for this week.

This morning I took Duchess to swimming (returning home once to retrieve her swimsuit), then to camp (robotics), before heading off to work. Cook took Skipper to camp (Japanese), left her there weeping and pleading for him to stay, and went to work. Cook and I talked by phone, and agreed that we weren't very happy with this week's jury-rigged arrangement, which depends heavily on one 19-year-old babysitter we barely know.

At 3, the babysitter picked up Skipper, biked her to her last hip-hop class, texted me a report, and then biked up to the home of one of Duchess's classmates, where she had been brought after camp, and biked everybody home again. She managed all of this on time and gracefully, and the kids both loved their camps and think the babysitter is the cat's pajamas. So it turns out that the arrangement is totally fine. And we will muddle through all this, with the help of some excellent childcare.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I want Audie Cornish to hang out with me.

Sometimes I brush my teeth and put on my pajamas while Cook is working on the computer or something, and lie on my bed in the dark, listening to a podcast that makes me feel like the people on the show are my friends. I love them. Pop Culture Happy Hour, folks. I recommend it to any of you who like some trashy tv in your spare time.

Swim Meet today

Duchess swam in five events this morning. She had a pretty good time. She still struggles with her dives (which remain hilariously bellyfloppy), and isn't confident enough of her flip turn to deploy it at meets, but she's now officially a better swimmer than both her parents.

These are some crappy phone videos. The first part is Duchess on the return trip of her 50M butterfly leg of a relay team that was dramatically behind even before she hit the water. By the time I started recording, her stroke had deteriorated (due to fatigue) so far as to be almost unrecognizable as butterfly, but I was just impressed that she wasn't drowning, because butterfly seems insanely hard to do. The second part is Duchess's 50M freestyle race. (Her best friend from kung fu is racing in the lane beside her.) She won her heat and came in fourth overall in the 9-10 age group.

She placed second in her age group in breaststroke later in the day. She also competed in a freestyle relay and a 200M individual medley at which she did fairly poorly. She was pretty crushed by that IM experience, because she had been weirdly overconfident about it and I think she thought she might win. So. Lessons were learned, bellies were flopped, shoulders were sunburned.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

perfectly average

Skipper fits into size 5 clothes, more or less. I look forward to finding piles of dinosaur clothing dumped on our doorstep!

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Skipper has a pretty solid wardrobe of hand-me-downs, but she prefers to wear only a small selection of things. She most likes clothes with pictures of animals, and she has asked repeatedly for shirts and sweatshirts with dinosaurs on them. She wants a swimsuit with fish on it. Or any sea creature, actually. And as all her swim suits are baggy and threadbare, I thought I'd find her a cheap new or used suit with a fish on it. And I can't find one. Flowers, yes. Fish, no. I've found a hundred boys' swimsuits with fish on them, but she wants a girls' suit. So here's a quest for you - find Skipper a swimsuit. If it has a swimming dinosaur on it, you get bonus points.

Friday, July 4, 2014