Parenting Phase; taxi driving

If you read back in the archives, so much of my time typing into the void is documenting what child was doing what in each phase of development like sleeping, teething, walking, talking, potty training, reading etc.  I’m not as concerned with ‘normal’ as I am with ‘healthy’ and I feel a breath I didn’t know I was holding release every time they pass a milestone mark.  As they get older the phases become less distinct and their personalities become more of the obvious variable and the internet becomes less useful because the note “your 10m old child should begin walking in the next 3 months, early signs of walking are pulling up on furniture or finding balance standing solo” if those even existed for 10-year-olds it would be more like “your child will start puberty in the next -8 to 30 months, early signs are random and only obvious in retrospect, good luck”

ANYWAY, I’ve decided that I will call this current phase we are in “the taxi driving phase”.  This is the time when the kids all want to do things, independent things from each other and us, BUT they can’t drive themselves.  On the positive side, I don’t have to scrape my 3 kids off my legs to encourage them to do something, and, I’m not 100% responsible for filling their time.  On the negative, they sometimes want to do things all at the same time in 3 different directions (that honestly isn’t new, they just all talk more and lobby for their desire better and I can’t just pick them up anymore).  I expect this phase to end in 6 years when #1 has a license and I can get her to drive her sisters to some places and just like teeth growing in, I might have new worries, but they aren’t the same as the old ones.

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sometimes we car nap.  #Backseat Life

In any given week we have girl scouts, 2 different troops, gymnastics, jujitsu, and at least 1 other event at/for school that we need to be somewhere.  This isn’t counting my stuff and also isn’t counting normal travel for dr apt etc.  Throw in playdates and sleepovers and there is usually something every single day.  We have worn out our minivan and are car shopping and one of the factors I consider is how much stuff and people will fit because sometimes I leave at 1pm to run errands and go to the gym and don’t get to park for a final time until 8.  Note I say ‘park for a final time’ not go home because often we do swing by the house to drop 1 child or have a quick snack before we are out again but I start my day composing a post-it of all the stuff I need to remember to take out the door with me when I leave.  Luckily my husband and Vacation Mom are there for times I literally need to be in two places at the same time but here is one example of my taxi Tuesday afternoon;

  • 3:40 pick up Fi at school drive her to gymnastics
  • 4:30 leave Fi in gymnastics class, go BACK to school to pick of N&Z who had choir
  • 5:00 collect N&Z and drive BACK to gymnastics to collect Fi at 5:30
  • 5:35 drive BACK to SCHOOL, the place they JUST WERE but you can’t leave them for the 1h gap because of rules and good parenting and TAXI PHASE.
  • 6pm drop N&Z at girlscouts, drive home with Fi
  • 7:15 drive BACK TO SCHOOL AGAIN to pick them up and then home again

I’m really OK doing all this, it is a phase like potty training- don’t love the process but love the results.  They have passions and responsibilities outside of what I create and that means we are doing things right.   I sometimes feel empowered by how much I can schedule, sometimes I feel like all I do is juggle and worry about the potential for dropping something.  Sometimes I drop a ball and have to fix it because there isn’t really a net.  In general, I am evolving in this mother thing as my children grow and it isn’t easy but it isn’t too hard either.

 

Ps. These are my feelings and I’m allowed to have them.  I’m not complaining I’m documenting.  I realize that my problems are not ‘big’ and some people have it worse and other people wish they had kids to ferry around and why am I complaining at all.  Consider this my boilerplate memo for all child-related posts.

Never ending projects

Sometimes a project is absolutely necessary and so you just do it.  Time is found, maybe counters are dirty for a day but the projcet gets done.

Then there are projects that aren’t really neeeeeded right away so you do some planning, then pick up some supplies intending to do it ‘that weekend’ and then step over said supplies for a month (or more).  At a certain point, you might actually clean up the supplies to the garage and then have to go find them again.  I didn’t get that far this time, I finally finally got some of our storage shelving up today; only took 3 months.

Note I say ‘some’ because, in my mental fog of life+too many projects, I got 8f long shelves and 2 shelf brackets each.  Yeah, um, gravity etc.  Now I have 1 shelf left to go up and a single bracket.  Can I possibly complete a project without going to the store 3x?

I also got a tad frustrated because I had a great plan for spacing.  I got a new stud finder because my old one took a little too much head trauma over the past 10 years and it makes noises but not very accurate ones.  I marked studs, I marked and measured and used a level.  However, on THREE of my brackets, the spot for the screw was EXACTLY where the builder used a screw to attach the drywall.  I guess I should be proud I have the instincts of a builder but they got there first so I can’t also use that exact spot.  I adjusted around and maybe one of my brackets only has 1 fastener, this shelf is not holding up bricks, but it is up.  Do I go to the store for more brackets to finish the darn thing?  I’m not sure, once I get shelves up then I just have to clean and organize so if I never get that shelf I can leave it the way it is right?

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storage room ‘so far’

I’m glad that I pulled myself away from computer work and routine housekeeping to get this done.  I always feel better for making headway even if I don’t finish.  That last shelf might just decorate the floor for a bit longer but probably not forever.

my rude iWatch

I have come to the conclusion that my iwatch and I are frenemies.

Maybe it knows that I don’t think it is a good pedometer?

Maybe it is vexed that I constantly let it run out of power?

Maybe it is actually possessed by a minor daemon that at best is passive aggressive?

 

First of all, I have plenty of good things to say about the iWatch.  It is stylish, it is waterproof, it keeps time very well, I like seeing my text messages blip onto my wrist.  It is extremely handy for finding my phone because the ‘ping’ feature will make the phone make a noise even if it is on silent and I can track it down.  I’m constantly leaving my phone in interesting places because women’s clothing does not have pockets.  I also love being able to answer my phone via watch because of the aforementioned lack of keeping track of the actual phone.  Plenty of good, plenty really, just a few little things that point to passive-aggressive wrist daemon.

  1. This all started with is ‘suggesting’ that I get up, as in, I’ve been sitting too long.  I really do not sit long in my days, constantly getting up for something is my normal, so I actually get the also annoying message “good job! you stood up!” about 6x a day.
  2. Reminding me randomly that I’ve some time in the past done more walking/standing/workout by this time.  This would not really be annoying except for the fact that it seems seriously random.  It is NOT a good pedometer, I have not hit 10k steps while wearing it nearly ever when I would routinely get 10k steps in a smaller house and working out less frequently.  I’m ok with it not being good at that but it should just drop the pretense.
  3. It tells me to ‘calm down’.  You know the theory that nobody ever actually calms down for being told to…  well if my heart rate spikes it suggests “I spend a few minutes breathing deeply”.  I did not ask for this feature!  (BTW, excellent heart rate monitor).  So I’m mad about something and then my watch buzzes telling me I’m mad at something, how is this helpful?

This was my list that was on the annoying side but like an understanding friend, I just let the quirks roll off my back.  Sometime in the past week, two new charming features started up;

First, when a text comes in you have the option to reply via watch with some pre-canned options, an emoji, or, a little writing screen.  I’ve used it, it is useful, but this past week it started auto texting back “no” all by itself.  I swear I didn’t touch it, I read it, but didn’t touch the screen but then a moment later get a reply from my friend acknowledging my dissent.  this happened 3 times so far.  my friends are understanding and I can quickly reply that the real answer is XYZ and even if it includes a negative, I’m much nicer than a 1-word answer BUT MY WATCH IS NOT.

The next thing I probably have something to do with.  I activated the sleep tracker to see how I’m sleeping.  It was something I loved on the Fitbit and I miss the data.  Somehow this watch is very confused because it reports to me that I sleep very soundly about 15 hours a day; from 7am until 10pm.  This is when I’m AWAKE and you should know that watch because you are constantly congratulating me on standing up.  How does it think I am sleeping soundly (ie not moving/low heart rate) when I’m also working out and walking and generally, you know, moving?  I’m turning this bit of rudeness off, it is like telling me “yawn, you did nothing, you might as well have been asleep…”  Rude watch! I’m doing what I can!

Somehow I still put it on every day and since a friend gave me a stand for it (that I love!) I’ve gotten 99% better at charging it regardless of our differences.  I’ll keep using it because the good does outweigh the bad.  Seriously though, I already have sassy children, I don’t need the watch chiming in.

Cookie weekend

This year I am the cookie mom.  A phrase that is greeted by a ‘thank god it isn’t me’ or ‘wow are you slightly insane’ look from every other adult I run into.  It isn’t so bad really, we have the space, I have a background in logistics and I’m pretty well located for the troop.  Some things I messed up because I was new but nothing really bad and I know how to fix them.  The online system is ‘functional’ and that is a kind description but it is better than nothing. It eats up time and energy and resources and I’m frustrated at the issues in the system and our local area.  However, I volunteer to do this because my kids truly benefit from the cookie selling process.

why?  how?

Here is my story;  My oldest was painful, hide behind you, shy.  Something about selling cookies helped her interact with other adults.  She listened when we said ‘talk to their eyes’, the script is easy and expected, and people generally like the product so she was rewarded over and over by people saying yes.  Now she has a much easier time giving asking questions either in class or in a store and her independence and self-confidence grew because of this process.  That will be something that will help her in ways she won’t even know.img_9621

My second is a natural talker but this gives her not just an opportunity to interact but a showcase.  She can dance and nobody tells her to stop.  She also gets a bit of the lesson that when you pay attention to the process it works better as her sister racks up sales by asking every.single.person.

Number 3 was a tag along for years and now has her own troop.  Doing something separate from her sisters and me is great for her.  By all reports, she is a star at the booth and that is just how kids are – when mom is gone behavior is 110% better.  I did join her for a booth this weekend and she was very well behaved and a good salesperson.  They are only 6 but are doing a great job.

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All three of them are amazingly nonbiased in their sales.  Person covered in gang tatoos?  “would you like some girl scout cookies?” Group of teens not speaking English? “would you like some girl scout cookies?” Little old people who literally can’t hear them “would you like some girl scout cookies?”.  I think people buy them just because they are considered worthy to ask when others would cross the street, ignore, or avoid them.  How great is this for their future?  They live in a world where everyone is worth the time to ask and every decline is answered with a “have a nice day” because the next opportunity is moments away.  <- BTW this was also a great learned trait, the No’s are as valuable as the Yes in learning about the world.

The primary purpose of the cookie sales is to fund the girl scouts but for me that is a side benefit to all the great personal skills they are learning.

 

That being said, in the past 7 days I’ve been to a cookie booth on Thursday night 6-9, Saturday 12-2 AND 5-8. Sunday 4-6. Monday we stopped at a few places and today we have another list.  In and around cookie booths I grocery shopped, had an extra kid for a playdate, saw a local school play, and in general had a great weekend because we had things going on but nothing was overwhelming.  This week we are entering the tricky phase of getting rid of inventory and I have some good plans to hopefully make it work out.  In the end it is worth it and if anyone feels like supporting a MN troop here is our online link. 

(seriously though, no pressure)

 

ps.  Just because I find value in this crazy activity does not mean I won’t be very happy when its over.  I’m already thinking of ways to celebrate freedom from the cookie mafia.

 

Reality TV

I’m all in, I’m watching the Cohen trial.  What and how did we get here?

Sorry to my family, the laundry did not get folded because my phone stream gets fouled up so I have to watch it on TV downstairs.  It is a nice balance though that our ‘live’ TV has a second use in the year, although, the Superbowl has more amusing commercials, I actually know more about what is going on with this scenario.

Is this the Nixion trial of my generation?  Are they setting up the rest of the family?  I don’t think that a writer could have come up with this, but, there are some great lines in this.   It isn’t as good as asking what beer he likes, but there is still time.

My life has been a bit crazy these past few days.  I’ve been trying to get things that bother me off my plate so I can focus on the things that matter.  I think I’m making good choices even if they are not easy.  It’s going to be an interesting time to reorganize but I think it will be good.  Among many positives, I’m very glad that so many of my friends and family took the time to offer support on the decisions.  My story, this trial, all things not scripted are evolving and we just have to see what happens.

Other Kate!

3 in a row!  Don’t get spoiled people 😉

I know at least 1 reader out there adores the ongoing saga of my Other Kates.  I’ve collected a few over the past couple months that together make a fun post.

Recently AUKate has generously offered to cover for a coworker, I’m assuming for a good reason like having a baby but who knows with Australia, they get something like 20 weeks of vacation a year.  Anyway, I’m alerted to this by the normal method of reading her misdirected mail.  This alone was not going to make a post but I just got another fun one for her.

AUKate is cordially invited to a holiday party…. in November.  Save the date!  Technically *I* was invited since the invite came to me and a BCC list of what I can only assume are fellow Doctors and Staff but who knows, maybe her hospital is throwing a random invite international party?  Why else give 11 months notice other than to allow for travel.  I should really show up to one of these parties I get invited to.  They don’t give too much info but they do say there will be a dinner, tempting, I’ll see if they follow up with notes about entertainment or an open bar.

UK-Kate has been quiet lately except she signed up for StitchFix and even loaded up her credit card info but not her address and somehow used my email as the login.  I was asked, very nicely via email, to fill in a survey so they could accommodate my taste.  The temptation to go wild was there, but, I’m not that kind of Kate.  I hope she got it straight and they don’t just send her generic stuff.  I did dig a little to see if I could find her actual address on the site but that section was not visible and so I did the kindest thing and unsubscribe saying I didn’t ask for this.  Maybe somebody will call her or something, I do hope UK Kate gets the fashion she desires, my sister loves the service.

Thus completes my semi-regular update on the people who accidentally use my email address.