Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sucking you back in

The week before school starts is always busy. Its a time to grasp the last of summer as well as prepare for a change in routine. Its time to let them stay up all night but also to adjust to bedtime at a more reasonable hour. Its a time to attend all those school socials while your sanity is already frayed from one-too-many hours stopping the kids cutting popsicle sticks on the deli-slicer [the one you found free in the street and thought it looked too good to pass up]. At times it feels like struggling to put a car in first gear while running out of control down a hill. You start wishing for an emergency pull-out.

Well, this weekend I am going to have one. I am going to see Dave Matthews perform at the Gorge. This will be my first time at the Gorge and my first full DMB concert. I am very excited on both counts. I am going 'alone' but with a group from our last school so I don't have to worry about the details which have all been arranged for us. I was planning to drive up alone but Wren is going through a particularly intense period of separation anxiety (he panics if I go outside to bring in the garbage can) and screams things like "I am going to lose my family" and today, at the school social "I think you sneak away from me!" This morning he told Joshua "I love you don't go to work." Perhaps he has seen the memo about me looking for work? Anyway, instead of being away for almost 24 hours I am going to bring the family with me. They can stay at the motel while I head off to the land of live music and VIP passes (oh joy) while they watch PPV movies and eat room service.

School starts next Wednesday which should bring us all down to earth.

Thing is, after this period of adjustment for all of us I think things will be much easier. By all accounts Frost should have a good year at this school and Wren will have more peace during the day. Even if I get a job I think things will work out after some discomfit. I will be happier. Just completing a job application I sense a huge resurgence of energy. In some ways my life at the moment feels like being on vacation without my suitcases. You know, you go on holiday and you think you are going to go swimming and look gorgeous and have all this time to read your books but the airline loses your luggage and you are in limbo. You buy some cheap PJs and some toiletries, you make do, but all the time you are missing your electric toothbrush and slippers.

Well, applying to return to work full-time feels like finding some suitcases which have been missing for 8 years. I've been on a long vacation in America using a travel toothbrush. Its been so long I have forgotten the combination to my luggage.

Of course its not so clearcut. Today I took the kids shopping and Wren had me in stitches with his thoughts. Frost earned 50c for doing some errands in the store and Wren asked for some money so I gave him a quarter.

On the way home Wren said "Do not look at me while I do something dangerous!"
"I am looking at you! What are you doing?" [I peek in the mirror]
[Again, I peek in the rear vision mirror and see Wren with the quarter in his mouth. If you don't recall he swallowed two coins a few months ago which gave us all a scare.]
"WREN, SPIT IT OUT! Do not put money in your mouth." [I keep my eyes on Wren and the road, and the road.]
Frost starts screaming "DO NOT DO IT WREN. YOU WILL CHOKE! SPIT IT OUT."
Wren: "But I HAVE TO. It smell delicious. It taste like watermelon."
Me: "No, it does not! That is my lip gloss. Do not eat the money."
Wren: "I must do it. I must do it dangerous! Do not look at me!!!!"
I pull over. I take the money.
Wren is sad.
In the bath last night Wren sees my fat belly. He asks "what is that" and I explain it is my belly which is fat because he was inside it when he was a baby [this is the same *BS* which my mother told me for many years. Bear in mind that she was 18 when she had me and I was not responsible for her long term weight gain. However, this family myth is easier to perpetuate than to stop eating double cream french cheese so I use it too.]

He looks worried and stands up in the bath.
"You not suck me back in?" He checks.
I make a funny face with my belly and say "I gooooonna suuuuck you in"
"NO NOT SUCK ME BACK IN" he says in a scared voice and gets out the bath.
"I was only joking" I say. Apparently I am so large that it is feasible that a nearly three year old could be consumed by my belly. Joshua says that I should not take it personally because Wren also fears being sucked down the plug hole, neither being rational concerns so perhaps I am overreacting.

Frost's 8 year Well Child Visit
Frost had his annual checkup with the Pediatrician today. Here are his stats:

Weight: 67lbs 80th percentile
Height: 51.5 inches 60th percentile

These were unchanged for the percentiles.

I talked about his night and morning cough and she felt it could be allergies to dust mites or something in his room since it was when he lay down and in the morning. She suggested we try Claritin after this current cough subsides to see if there is some allergy component.

He must drink more milk or take calcium supplements. He must drink less juice. He must clean his teeth in the morning as well as before bed.

In other words, Frost is fine.

Wren's Stats:
Weight: 31.5 lbs
Height: 37.5"

Wren is moving along OK but it would be great if he could make 32lbs by age 3 so he hits the 50th percentile.

Seeking Employment
As I mentioned earlier, I am actively looking for work. Its very exciting - almost like the feeling at graduation where you sense the many options before you. I have applied to the Gates Foundation. Working in one of their programs would be my ideal but it might take a while due to my break from fulltime work and the point that I haven't had paid work in the US. Thankfully there are many other exciting employers in Seattle.

My quick summary is: A market research professional with a history of high level academic and workplace performance looking for a position in a non-profit with an international focus. I am particularly interested in a program evaluation and improvement role and a position which requires reporting, writing and presenting information for a range of audiences. I am good at my work.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Apple Harvest

Last week Wren and I harvested all the ripe apples from our garden. We have two tiny apple trees espaliered to the side fence but they have produced a large number of apples. Here is Wren with the first bucket of apples.

We used Granny's old apple peeler to peel the apples. This peeler never worked well in on bought apples which are too large but it works very well on backyard apples. The kids didn't want to eat the apples but they sucked up the peel just as fast as they could make it.

Unfortunately the pictures of the peeler in action have not worked out but I shall post them anon.

Meanwhile here is the pie dish after the blueberry and apple pie was eaten. ALL GONE.

While I was typing I have to note the latest Wrenisms. This morning I took Frost to the orthodontist. When Wren senses that I am going out he panics and follows me around hoping to come with me. He almost always does. This morning I told him we were going to the orthodontist and he kept following me around saying:

"We going to the awful dentist now? Wren is going too?"
"Yes, you are coming with me to take Frost to the dentist."
"We going now?"
"No, soon. You need shoes on."
"We going awful dentist now?"
"Why do you call him the awful dentist?"
"Mummy call him it. AWFULdentist."
"Oh, I said ORTHOdontist not AWFUL dentist."
"OOOH, I think you said it."

Dr Koh has now been renamed The Awful Dentist (which he is not).

Frost's teeth are doing well. The lower teeth are now straight and we are waiting a few months for one of his upper incisors to come down before upper braces start. They will be in for about 3-4 months.

Another odd thing Wren does is pick up little phrases that he thinks are cool. For some strange reason he has taken to yelling "BUD LIGHT!" as he does something dramatic. Bowling in the bedroom? As he bowls he yells "BUD LIGHT". As he does a trick its "BUD LIGHT!"

Bud Light is a brand of beer. We do not drink it. This is a mystery even Frost cannot solve.

I made this Lego tank and the kids are all fighting over it. I am pleased. It took a scarce hour out of an evening when Wren went to bed early.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Countdown to Brickcon '09 (and the legos going crazy)

Every couple of days Frost asks me how many days till Brickcon or how many days till Halloween. They are both in October and among the most anticipated days of his year. I bet he would pick Halloween over Christmas and Brickcon? Well, what can compare?

Frost's main goal in his savings is to have money to create a Lego army. He is building a "terrorist army" because they are the "Bad guys". Occasionally he plays that the bad guys are Hitler - his Jewish friends have told him stories about the bad things that happened under the Nazis so its very powerful to make a bad guy Hitler and I see Frost feels its a bit like saying F*ck. He looks around to see what will happen.

Anyway, the Terrorist Army [this is what you get growing up post September 11th) has taken over a tanker (what you get for reading the paper) and lines up along the edge with all their weaponry.

I have bought new storage for the lego and am shocked... genuinely shocked... at how much there is. I bought a large 4 drawer stacking bin and had to buy a second one and there are still about 3 drawers of overflow pieces. Our current storage is as follows:

1) Drawer for minifigures, horses and their equipment.
2) 1 drawer of grey / black castle and spaceship pieces.
3) 1 drawer of shrubbery, trees and green bases.
4) 1 drawer of Lego City (crane, boats, cars, signs)
5) 1 tub of BLUE blocks.
6) 1 small tub of white, 1 small tub of red.
7) 4 large drawers of mixed lego bits (including all of the above categories unsorted).

Joshua says he is not surprised because (by his wry estimate) we buy 1 pound of new lego per week (from thrift stores as well as new). While he vastly over-exaggerates there is definitely a pooling effect as no Lego is ever departs from our house. I am not sure what to do. To me, lego is an asset one does not let go. It is like potential energy. You store it up and it keeps well until you need to use it and then you may need any piece and you may need A LOT. How can you predict where imagination will take you?