Thursday, February 28, 2013
With a birthday coming up, and lots of ankles and wrists sticking out of clothes, I decided to do a closet purge. I have to do it when she's not home because she bursts into tears at the thought of getting rid of any of her clothes because they are all her FAAAAvorite, especially the ones that don't fit and that she never wears.
So I'm going through drawers and making piles and when I find the little tiny baby sock, my heart stops for a second.
I am not one of those people who couldn't wait to clear out all the baby clutter. I know people like that, who showed up at my front door with garbage bags full of clothes and gear at the first mention that I was pregnant. I am not one of those people who is longing for the day when all the kids in my house are out of diapers, or who cheers when they realize they don't need highchairs anymore.
I am the person who holds each baby sock tenderly and folds it and can't quite put it in the Goodwill pile.
I am the person who kept the highchair in the basement for years, just in case, and only was persuaded to let it go, ahem, a couple of months ago.
When we moved the kids into their shared room and thus Brixton moved into his big kid bed in January, I kept the crib. Of course I kept the crib. It's stacked in pieces in the basement. In case we have any baby house guests.
I'm always glad to see the ways my kids are changing and growing and learning and becoming more themselves. I love it, I love hearing about what they love and what they know and what they wonder about.
But I miss when they fit in the space between my wrist and my elbow, I miss feeling their tiny limbs fluttering as they turned around and around in their universe inside me. I miss knowing that I was walking around with life growing somehow in the spaces I carry.
A couple of years ago, I was wearing Brixton facing out in the Moby and I went to a Greek Festival at a local church. There was a room with tables full of food and crafts and all the Greek bubbies were there selling their wares. As soon as I walked into the room, one of the bubbies motioned me over.
"You. Bring that baby over here." I did as instructed, and she reached across her table of fancy feta to tickle his feet and squeeze those lovely plump baby legs.
Even then, I realized I was looking at my future. That I am going to be that lady, commanding visits from the babies and admiring those legs. And that future is starting in five...four..three...two...
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
We have been talking lately about how to teach the kids about money. It's one of those things that can be tricky- we don't want them to stress about it but we want them to know the value of things and be aware.
The new approach is that they each have chores to work on during the week. Brixton has three and Unity has six. Not every chore is needed every day but they know they need to do some things every day. On Sunday we hand out the allowance money- Unity gets five cents per chore and Brixton gets fifty cents per week. I know our allowance is probably way cheap compared to other families, but right now we are just teaching them about money and what it means and what to do with it. When they start asking for fancier stuff maybe we'll raise it. Maybe.
We use this great bank called the Moonjar. Obviously the thrifty thing to do would be to make it ourselves but it's a local company and I like supporting them. The bank is divided into three sections- one for saving, one for spending and one for giving. When the kids get their allowance, they divide it into the three categories. Then, when we're out and they start asking for stuff, I tell them they can decide to use their own money to buy it, if they can afford it.
This past weekend we were running errands and Unity wanted to bring her spending money- all three dollars and eighty cents. She got really into the idea of buying something, to the point where she wanted to buy almost anything, it was just the act of spending her own money that she was excited about. We walked around the store and looked at lots of prices. She was starting to get sad that she couldn't afford all the flashy toys but we talked about how she could save up for something bigger. She finally found a small notebook with a pretty cover that was in her price range and she was happy with.
It was a really good exercise and a reminder that kids need a foundation for this stuff- otherwise they will be totally overwhelmed when they get to college or get their first apartment. So, we're starting.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
This weekend we had some doughnuts and some music and some sewing.
The barista told Unity that her new nickname should be Sprinkles.
She likes it.
Brixton wants you to know he is wearing his jammie shirt in this picture.
We saw a Kindie band we dig- the Board of Education.
They have a great song called "Why does Dad get so mad about Star Wars?" that discusses the very serious issue of the movie prequels and the generation gap.
Unity and her dad worked on the dress. It might be finished by her birthday!
Scraps make good headbands. She wore this outfit to the grocery store
and got three compliments.
We love our brassicas. It makes it hard to plan our garden rotations but
we always have to have our broccoli and cauliflower.
Linking up with Amanda for Weekending.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
We went out to breakfast last Friday, just Unity and me. You have to have pancakes on a day off, right?
I'm leading a school tour tomorrow for prospective parents. I remember it well from last year, trying to gather as much information as I could, feeling overwhelmed with choices and trying to navigate a complex system. I'm so glad with how it turned out, so happy with our school and so double-triple-quadruple glad to be done with the process.
One of the things I really like about our school is that there's no such thing as "normal." I was thinking about this the other day walking home, that when a school's population is about one third African immigrant, one third African-American and the rest White and Asian and a few Latina/Latino kids- there is just such a wide range. It's amazing. There's no such thing as a normal name, or a normal family or a normal lunch. And so that spectrum of culture and heritage and language and everything else- that is the normal for these kids.
I think there is an innate value in learning how to relate to people who are different in some way or another from one's self. It's a skill that is so useful in later life. It's not always easy, of course, and there are places where we can't connect or don't want to. But the trying and the reaching. It's so important.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Yesterday I got to attend Quaker Lobby Day with Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy.
I wasn't sure I'd be able to go because the kids didn't have school and Chris was planning on working but a very kind woman from my Meeting offered to babysit so I could go and then Chris ended up taking a half-day so it all worked out.
It was interesting (and a little frustrating) to learn more about the political process and how things get done (or don't.) I had a lot of interesting conversations with Quakers and legislators and aides about the death penalty and background checks for gun sales and health care and creating a state-owned bank. Some things I know a fair bit about and some things I am just learning about but it was great to be in the presence of all these amazing people thinking and talking and writing and advocating for Quaker values in our political process.
I'm thankful that I got to go and I'm thankful for the community that helped make that happen, both at home and in Olympia. The changes that we long for may not happen this year, but we are committed to doing the work and coming back to it year after year, in Olympia and in our schools and homes and communities. Doing the work. There is something satisfying in that.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Apparently our local school board doesn't think highly of February either. Or at least they don't think the kids will learn much in such a short month. Why not give them an early dismissal? Or two. And hey why not throw in a "mid-winter break" while your at it. Um, excuse me, a what? Oh and this is my favorite, we got a day off called "the day between semesters." Because how else can you honor that deep and pernicious transition than by taking a day off to recover from all of the many decisions and travails of the previous semester before steeling your mind to begin again.
But I'm not complaining really because we had sun, we had friends and we had a long and lovely afternoon at the zoo. (Brixton was not so lucky. The preschool does not hold mid-winter break in such high regard.)
So we had this gaggle of girls, two sets of sisters and my Unity, and set them loose to gawk at animals both exotic and mundane. It went well. They have the kind of overlapping relationships that so often happen here: Unity is friends with B from preschool and R from her current school. R and B live near each other and their parents are tight from way back working on neighborhood council stuff. R and B both have big sisters that Unity likes and admires.
It all works.
Maybe I do need a mid-winter break after all.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Guess what we've been working on? Shhhh. Unity's school has a rule, as I'm sure they all do, that if you bring Valentines you have to bring enough for everyone. We had fun making the stacks for her friends at school and perhaps another person or two.
We also got to rock out again on Saturday, this time with Recess Monkey.
We really love them, especially their song about popcorn where they kids curl up in a ball on the floor and then start hopping around as they "pop."
In case you hadn't noticed, Chris decided that it's haircut weather. It's not really but maybe this is like the groundhog? If he tells us it's time to shave the beard then Spring is almost here.
Friday, February 08, 2013
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Friday, February 01, 2013
So Unity had the day off from school today. I was feeling a little under the weather, so Chris took her to work with him which she always loves. She reads and draws while he does his thing. After eating in the cafeteria where she got to eat a burrito AND chips AND french fries, they came home and started a Lego project.
I have a confession. I'm not much of a Lego person. I mean, it makes sense to me in theory but it's not my favorite way to play. My games as a kid were more about using my dolls as props to act out the stories in my head. It wasn't so much about following a blueprint to build a boat. But then there's Chris, who spent his childhood taking apart appliances with a screw driver. So the SAT analogy would be:
Playing Legos is to Chris what reading Sideways Stories From Wayside School is to Polly.
Reliving the best parts of childhood.
So Chris decided to do a Lego project with Unity this afternoon. They went to our local coffee shop where everyone knows our names. Or at least our kids names. They took photos of the coffee shop and then replicated it in Lego form.
Unity tells me they're not finished, they still need to do the upstairs with the little tables and put more people in, but pretty good so far, don't you think?