Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Golden Shoes

Tate has his own sense of style.  He's opinionated.  He's not shy about sharing his thoughts (last week he said, "Mom are you wearing those shoes with that outfit?" This afternoon, he sighed when he saw me and told me my knee socks, just barely peeking out of my boots, were pulled up too high).  And he knows what he wants.

Since Christmas, he's been asking me for a pair of golden shoes.  They arrived last week.  He was giddy with excitement on Monday, the day he knew they were scheduled to arrive.  He wore them to school Tuesday, and when I picked him up, he told me the after-school-care director told him they were so fancy that he could wear them to the Oscars. On Wednesday morning, he said, "Mom, these shoes are awesome.  Even the fifth graders are talking about them!"

He's not wrong.  They are awesome.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Soccer Post-Season Success

Have you read those articles where they tell you not to put too much pressure on your kids because you don't want to scare them away from the sport they love?  I think the one I remember best is the Ride Home one from Changing the Game. I read it a few years ago, and it always stuck with me.  I mean, I feel a little conflicted. I think talking about strategy and visualizing success and evaluating what went well - and what didn't - could be important, too.  If you know what you're talking about.  But I don't.

So, instead, each game I try to find something specific that Casey did well, and I point that out.  Like this past weekend, he scored the only goal in game #2 at a tournament- which helped his team make it out of bracket play and into the finals.  I don't think he's scored a goal in quite some time (you'd think this is the type of thing I might track because I actually handle the game cards and report the results to the league, but I really don't pay too much attention to it).  And it was exciting. It was, of course, a team effort. There was a pass. And a little of a ping-pongyness to the play.  And then I watched him chip the ball up over the keeper's shoulder and - boop - into the goal it rolled.  But what I remember from the game came later -- when he chased down a player from the goal box of the opponent and caught him before he got to the goal box on the other end of the field.  I watched him fly out of nowhere.  I know he can be fast - but where did that speed come from in the heat of the day?  I love watching it.  So graceful.

He had his not-super-great moments, too.  He missed a play or didn't cover a man or whatever.  I bet he knows exactly what those moments are, though.  So I try to just remind him of what he did well, too --

Is it making a difference?  Probably not.  Maybe so. I don't know.  But I know he likes having me there.  And I like being there.  And that's good enough for now.

They won the tournament, by the way.  In a nail-biter of a final game.  When the boys scored, we jumped out of our seats to cheer for them.  Casey took notice -- "Everyone was yelling - but because they were happy!"

Casey is second from the left, front row.

After the game, the tournament had the team captains from each team present the awards.  The finalists went first, and they were super gracious.  Then our boys went and were equally gracious.  They celebrated their team success - and even called out their keeper for managing a shut-out.  Quite a weekend. . .

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Five-Year Familyversary

Well, it's been almost a year since I posted.

It turns out it gets harder to post as your kids get older.  It's not the lack of time (though that doesn't help).  It's the interest in privacy.  If I write about how kiddo X is struggling with ______, will kiddo X read that in 5, 10, or 15 years and be angry that I wrote about it?  (Who am I kidding?  What are the odds that kiddo X will ever care enough to read this blog?)  In any event, it's been harder.

But I'm still here.

And today is our last familyversary.  "Last" in the sense that it's the one that completed our family and turned us from a foursome into a fivesome.  Of course, I'm terrible about tracking these sorts of things.  Marcie's familyversary was just about a month ago, and it completely escaped me.  Between birthdays and "gotcha" days (our familyversaries) and official, legal adoption days, it gets hard to track.  But the timing of today worked well.

Tate's transition to public school has been a little rough.  Last year, in Transitional Kindergarten (TK), we got called more during the school year by the school than we have by both other kids in the past 7 years (12 if you count up Casey and Marcie separately).  This year seemed to be going better.  Until they went from 1/2 day school to full-day school this week.  I mean, we haven't gotten any calls from school yet, so that's good.  But Tate seems pretty unhappy.  Tate has always complained that school is boring -- "too much sitting, not enough playing," he says.  And he gets sent to the "thinking chair" too much, he says.  But now that it's sitting for even more of the day, he is not happy.  And this is only day 3 of full-day kindergarten.  Actually, today was an early-release day, so it wasn't even day 3.

Anyway, when I picked him up from school today, I told him that today is his Familyversary day, and he took to it right away.  "It's my China Day!" he announced.  And he's been repeating it ever since:

  "We can have Chinese food for dinner because it's my China day."
  "We can go out for frozen yogurt for dessert because it's my China day."
  "I can have dessert even though I didn't eat all my dinner because it's my China day, right?"

The kids knows how to work the system.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Day Without Touch

If there are even five people out there left who ever check in on my blog, please visit the link below and check it out.  It's a worthy cause - and it's a good reminder that as human beings, we thrive on contact with others.

Click here for more info:  A Day Without Touch

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


I haven't written in a very long while.

Mostly, it's been lack of time - or not prioritizing the blog, I guess.
But some of it has been that the things that eat at me, the things that I want to write about suddenly seem very personal.  Not to me, really.  But to the other people in my life.

I want to write about how the mean girls at school affect my daughter's psyche.  How what happens at school day in and day out affects our relationship.  How I worry that my Marcie will get sucked into the meanness.  I want to write about how she copes (or doesn't) with the difficulties of being an 8-year-old girl.

But I don't - because it would reveal so much about her.  About my relationship with her.  And I worry that - because my blog is not anonymous - it's too personal to her to share.

This is mildly ironic, too, because the joke in our home is that I always make everything about me.  (Maybe it's not a joke?)  And here I am, worrying about her.

So, generically, here's what's been eating at me:  When did it get so hard to be eight?  Eight should be about riding bikes and playing with dolls.  Eight should be about sleepovers with pillow fights and putting on play-make-up.  Eight should be about being on a sports team and not caring if you're the best because you're having so much fun.  But it doesn't seem to be that way anymore.  Now eight seems to be about being smart enough - but not too smart.  It seems to be about dressing in the right clothes.  Now eight seems to be about who gets invited to which sleepover - and who doesn't.  Now eight seems to be about who is the best, the prettiest (but not the smartest).  When did this happen?  And why?

Oh, I've got other worries, too.  But this one - it keeps me awake.  It makes me ache for days gone by.  Eight-year-old relationships just shouldn't be so complicated.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Emotional Roller Coaster

Parenting a daughter is so complicated.

It shouldn't be that hard, right?  But some days, it is.  Like today.  Today Marcie came home hungry.  She asked if she could have mac and cheese.  I was working, and I told her she could if she could make it.  Instead of just asking me for help, she began screaming at me:  "I don't know how to turn on the stove!"

I popped my head around the corner, and I said, "Now you cannot have macaroni and cheese.  You could have asked for help, but instead you screamed at me."

She began yelling more.  I sent her to her room.  (Luckily, she went.  She's almost my size now, and I wasn't sure she would go.)  She screamed and screamed and yelled a little and screamed.

I went to her room and told her she could come out when she calmed down, but no mac and cheese.  She could have eggs, watermelon, cheese, cereal, chips, cheese and crackers, trail mix, a banana - but no mac and cheese.  She stomped past me and pulled a hot dog out of the fridge.  I ignored her until she began banging on the microwave and yelling at it, telling it that it was stupid.  I said, "All you have to do is ask for help, and I will help you."  She screeched back at me:  "NO! I AM NOT GOING TO ASK FOR HELP!"

She screamed some more about how I am mean and a terrible mom and blah blah blah.  And I sent her back to her room to calm down.

The whole afternoon went on like this.  She'd freak out at some inanimate object.  I'd ask if she wanted help.  She'd yell at me.  She also yelled at the TV.  The TV remote.  And the dog.  I told her to sit at the table while she ate (this was to alleviate the dog issue - and after she did ask and I did help her with the hot dog). And then she said the most profound thing:


And I understood completely. She just wanted to exercise a little control over her small corner of the world.

She eventually collapsed into a weeping puddle on the couch, and I held her.  She told me about how she had argued with her friends at recess because they never share a particular toy.  She told me how she felt bad because her brother got a pizza party at school today and she didn't (even though she had an ice cream party yesterday) - she said the "bragging" bothered her.

And then she eventually calmed down, ate her hot dog, and even got the TV to turn out without destroying the remote. Being 7 is a lot harder than I remember it.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

How Karen S Does It

The NY Times Motherlode is running a series to show how, really, none of us does it alone.  You can learn more about it here:

It kicked off with Mother's Day and a post from Debbie Wasserman Schultz

I decided to write my own a few weeks ago, and I'd forgotten about it until I saw another "How We Do It" piece.  What has struck me about each one so far is:

  1. How involved in the day-to-day operations spouses are (managing children, cleaning, cooking, etc.).
  2. How flexible so many women's jobs are.
  3. How much time women are spending, at home, doing work-related business (probably because this is a trade-off for flexibility).

Anyway, here's mine:

6:00 a.m. Alarm clock goes off and I hit a 10 minute snooze, but before I fall back asleep, I hear the puppy whining in the family room.  After I take the dog out, I decide to start making lunches, and I set out the bread.

6:10 a.m.  Marcie appears in my doorway and asks what the weather will be.  HOT, I tell her, while I rub Tate's back to try and get him to wake up.  I head back to the kitchen to finish making lunches and catch the puppy swiping a piece of bread of the counter.  Casey appears on the couch.

6:20 a.m.  I tell Casey to go get dressed.  He ignores me.  I repeat myself three times and then tell him I won't repeat myself again without consequences, so he grudgingly gets up to leave.  I continue making and packing lunches until Casey returns, dressed in sweatpants.  I tell him he will be too hot and suggest he puts on shorts. I ask him to grab milk from the garage for the lunches.  He obliges on both counts.  While I am getting the lunches together and pulling together the after-school-snack I know the kids will eat in the car, Jason is getting Tate dressed for the day. I carry Tate to the kitchen and sit him down in front of a yogurt breakfast he picked out from the store.  When he says he doesn't like it, I make him a pancake sausage.

6:25 a.m. I head back to the bedroom to shower and dress for work.  I hear Tate screaming at the dog, and Jason goes out to help.

7:05 - 7:20 a.m. I tell the kids to stop yelling in the backyard, where they have been playing with Bandit while I get ready, and I ask them to go get in the car.  As Tate moves past me, I ask him to pick out a change of clothes to leave at school because he used his spare set on Friday.  By the time we leave the house, it is 7:20 a.m.

7:20 - 7:30 a.m.  I hit all green lights and there is virtually no traffic. I admonish Casey for losing my Fastrac transponder, which means I will have to drive in rush hour traffic instead of the carpool lanes.  Then I tell Casey I'm just irritated and not really mad at him.  "I know, Mom," he says.  After I drop Casey and Marcie at the front of their schools and tell them to have a great day, I head to Tate's school.

7:30 - 7:40 a.m. I help Tate put his lunch in the school fridge and his spare clothes in his cubby.  We find a thank you note from his teacher for our teacher appreciation gifts last week, and I read it to him.  When his teacher shows up, he asks me not to leave, but then he realizes one of his best friends is there early.  I suggest a game of My Little Ponies, and the two hold hands over to the ponies, where Tate dumps them out.  "See you later!" he calls to me as I leave the school.

8:25 a.m. I am at work and take the elevator to my floor.  It's a slow week for me - no scheduled appointments.  I meet with a student who stops by and a colleague.  Jason and I exchange emails about a lacrosse round robin and about dinner.  He says he will stop by Costco to pick up a roasted chicken for us since he may beat us home.

2:05 - 2:35 p.m. I leave the office to head to the kids' schools. In the car I listen to This American Life and then chat with my sister on the phone (using an earpiece, of course).  I pick up Marcie and Casey at after-school care, because they'd rather spend the afternoon with me and Tate at the speech therapist's office than stay in after-school care. I pick up Tate at preschool, where he is still napping. He doesn't want to wake up, so he sleeps in the car.  On the way, the kids recount what they have for homework.  Casey asks who made him - and this launches us into a brief, scientific discussion of how babies are made.  Tate sleeps through the whole conversation.

3:20 p.m. Tate works with the speech therapist while Casey plays on his iPad and Marcie reads.

4:00 - 5:00 p.m. We leave the therapy office and head back home. We stop stop at Target to return a broken clock we bought on Saturday.  We also pick up some ice cream bars and stop for frappuccinos from the Starbucks in the Target.  We run into one of Marcie's Girl Scout leaders and chit chat with her for a bit, then finally go home.

5:00-5:20 p.m. Casey works on some homework.  Tate keeps screaming at Bandit, the dog, for jumping up to lick his frappuccino cup.  Marcie works on a project.  Jason arrives home with roasted chicken from Costco and I put some rice in the rice cooker.

5:20-5:40 p.m. I answer work emails.  We are the team manager's for our son's competitive soccer team, so I email the league management regarding uniform and players' card issues while I listen to the kids dancing around in the other room.  I also hear Jason telling Tate to stop pulling all his sister's clothes out of her drawers for dress up.  Tate and I walk out to the mailbox to check for knee socks we ordered online as a reward for good performance/ behavior at speech therapy last week.  Tate is thrilled to get the socks, and he puts them on immediately.

5:40 - 6:20 p.m. I fold laundry I put in the dryer last night and dump a load of Casey's clothes in the wash.  Jason washes strawberries and pulls the meat off the chicken in preparation for dinner.  We sit down at the table to eat, and Jason has to put the dog outside so he will stop jumping up on the table.  At dinner we talk about how peer pressure is not an excuse for poor behavior choices and how good friends do not choose actions that they know will embarrass their friends.  After dinner, the kids run out back to play while Jason heads out to get a hair cut.  I get online to answer some student emails and update the blog.  It's warm outside, and the sun is still out.

6:20 - 7:10p.m. The kids empty the dishwasher and take out the trash, dripping chocolate drink across the floor of the entire house, and into the garage.  I follow after them and clean up.  I hear a crash on the side yard and the kids come rushing through the gate. I have them turn around and pick up all the cans for recycling that they knocked over playing chase.  They play in the yard some more, together, while I switch over laundry loads.  Jason gets home and jumps in the shower - he is itchy from the freshly cut hair.  I answer some more work emails and I read some articles about law school grading.

7:10 - 8:45 p.m. I go to a zumba class.  On my way home, I call a friend to chat about her job.

8:45- 9:00 p.m. Marcie is asleep.  I read books to Tate (and Casey) and sing a good-night lullaby.  The dog is sacked out on the floor and Jason is on his computer playing a game.

9:00 - 10:15 pm. I read a book for work while I run the TV in the background.

10:15 - 10:30 p.m. I shower and get ready for bed.

10:30-11:30 p.m. I read some more for work and then go to sleep.