Sunday, July 23, 2017

Camping Trip #2

Timothy Lake...

Not very much driving
It's a lake! And it's swimmable! And the weather was perfect for it.
Good rock-skipping areas.

Nine billion other people there with us, some of whom were obnoxious.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Camping Trip #1!

We camped! We stayed at the Twin Falls Campground, and visited Tahklahk Lake, where Cook and I took a mini-hike to a lava flow where we could see Mt. Rainier AND Mt Adams all in one 360-degree view. While we were doing this, the girls and our friends were rowing around the lake in a boat kindly (and spontaneously, which is why nobody's wearing life jackets...) loaned to them. We also visited the Lower Lewis River Falls. It was a lovely weekend. There were s'mores. (And mosquitoes.)

Walking to the Swimming Pool, 2017 edition

Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer, part two

I still haven't really settled into summer. (We're coming up on a streak of camping trips three weekends in a row, so that will be hectic.) I keep starting my bike ride home from work, and realizing I don't know what route to take, because I haven't thought through who needs to be picked up from where. The thing is, nobody needs to be picked up, because the kids are already home. Nothing needs to be picked up, because I can just send the kids to get groceries or pick up library books if needed. Bliss. Also, nobody has homework to throw tantrums about!

The kids haven't really worked out how this is going to go, either. They swim in the morning and then they bicker and read and are bored.*

Skipper is, as I mentioned, very angry that I have signed her up for some activities (frisbee, choir, and some dancing) - I secured her grudging agreement when I signed her up, but now that the activities are getting closer, she's getting very upset about it. I don't think she's ever going to be comfortable being bad at things. This weekend, I finally just handed it all over to her, because it's time for her to own her discomfort.  She needs to take responsibility for her choice to try or not try things (and she frequently does want to try, deep in her terrified little heart). It can't be me or Cook. I told her I'd withdraw her from any or all the activities she's registered for, no questions asked. She said she needs to think about it. (She least wants to do ultimate frisbee, but she's very seduced by the new cleats we got her, so she's waffling on that. Gear is really compelling.)

This wasn't a principled parenting decision, made calmly according to all available information. I'm just tired of doing the work for her, and I doubt that it's the best way forward anyway. I'm just giving up on the emotional effort, basically. It scares me, though. I am afraid that she will cramp herself into the smallest possible life; she is actively afraid of taking up space, of being seen and heard and acting in the world. There's nothing wrong with a small life,** but I would like it to be an informed choice instead of an entirely fear-based choice. However, I don't get to choose for my fierce little fear-monkey, so it's up to the siren song of the cleats.

I will note, though, that her swimming skills, and her confidence in them, have improved enormously already after a few weeks of swim practice, so at least she'll be a fear-monkey who can swim.

*They get really bored. Cook and I are 100% unsympathetic.
** I have a small life, and I really like it. It's definitely somewhat fear-based, but there were choices involved, and I know I turned away from the wider world. (I was just listening to a podcast interview with Denis McDonough, and I realized that I would really like to be White House Chief of Staff.  If any of you become President, please keep me in mind for the job.)

Saturday, July 1, 2017


We've gotten over the jet lag (I woke up at 5 am every day for a week) and are finally settling in to this whole summer thing. This was an exciting week; BOTH girls went to sleepaway camp. (Different camps - Duchess went off to Dorks-in-the-Woods camp and Skipper went to a coastal marine ecology camp.)  Cook and I weren't sure what to make of it, but it turned out that we really enjoyed their absence. We ate spinach and poached eggs for dinner and NOBODY COMPLAINED. We tidied the living room and IT STAYED TIDY. These were lovely things. But we missed the whiny mess-makers a lot, too. We retrieved them, sunburnt and filthy, on Friday, and listened to all their boring stories about their adventures.

Skipper really enjoyed the learning parts ("Mom, I got to see aggregating anemones!") but not so much the social games stuff that is essential to any summer camp. She hates icebreakers. She made friends, including one self-identified fellow bookworm with whom she swapped book recommendations. She thinks she would like to go to sleepaway camp again, but maybe only for three nights, as she was much more homesick than she expected, and cried herself to sleep a lot.

Duchess had an unequivocally fantastic time and (I suspect) felt no homesickness at all. She loves being with a group of people who are stuck together, enduring mild discomfort and doing stuff together, and she loves collaborative story-telling - it's pretty much her dream environment. She had several pleasant flirtations, felt an enjoyable mastery of relevant skills, proved a sexist camper wrong about her expertise with fire-starting, and found herself to be popular (she seems to have started a small semi-ironic cult, which I think is useful career experience). She loved it.

The girls are both doing swim team - we'll see how it goes. Skipper does not like being one of the worst swimmers, and is very stressed about that. She's also pretty mad that I signed her up for ultimate frisbee once a week, because she's bad at it and feels very stressed about that.* The Blond Twins are signed up for it, too, though, so I'm hoping that helps. Duchess is all in for ultimate frisbee - starting next week, she will be playing 8 hours a week, and she's going to a tournament in Minnesota in August. She is NOT doing kung fu this summer, which is her first departure since she started doing it 4 years ago - she chose ultimate instead.

Anyway, we're home, and it's summer. The girls are figuring out how to be together and do nothing all day, and are spending a lot of time in the yard, often with the very confident and friendly neighborhood cat (Velvet Elvis, according to its collar, and I've never met a cat for whom that name would be so apropos) who comes by for petting.

*This is one of those decision points - force or concede? I'm going with force. But just for the summer. I think we'll let her do nothing but school during the school year.