Archive for March, 2009

Las Vacaciones, Dia Cuatro

On our drive back we took a detour through Taos, most specifically Taos Pueblo. It’s amazing to think about these buildings existing in this area 1000 years ago. We don’t think of America being that old.

Overall, I would call the vacation a success. Of course, there were meltdowns and limited patience (from all parties). But really? Four kids and two adults and everyone came home with souvenirs.

Las Vacaciones, Dia Tres

More museums. Some shopping. And the sun came out. Thank dog for the sun, 25 degrees is not commonly referred to as “sight seeing with children” weather.

Las Vacaciones, Dia Dos

Ah, sweet sleep. Everyone was in bed by 9:40 last night. What a difference a solid night of sleep makes.

Well, it’s an improvement – but not life altering.

Anyway.

We went to the Museum of International Folk Art and made Wayang Kulits. The five public museums in Santa Fe have an amazing bargain: children under 16 are free and you can purchase a pass to visit all the musuems within 5 days for $20.

This afternoon after a lunch with some of the most expensive guacamole known to man, we went to Palace of the Governors. It’s the oldest continuously occupied public building in America. There is a chapel inside with some uncountable number of crucifxes. Some on the wall. Some larger than life. Of course, Elliot wanted to know who the guy on the “T” was. I had to explain that it’s Jesus knowing full well that the next question is “who is Jesus?” So, in the end, there’s this guy nailed to the T and some people think he was important. The end.

Not really ready to explain that Daddy is an Atheist and Mommy is agnostic and Jesus was just a guy. Also not sure that the inside of a chapel is the proper venue.

Las Vacaciones, Dia Uno

We rolled into Santa Fe a little before 1am. Some portion of the kids had slept some portion of the drive. All the kids struggled getting settled into their sleeping arrangements. But finally, somewhere around 2:30 there was sweet silence. And then at 7am they were awake! and ready! and hungry! and are we there yet?

I have to be honest, this morning was rough. Not enough caffeine. While we’re looking for a) a parking spot b) coffee and c) something to do all I can think is “hey, that building is latte colored …. mmmmm  latte.”

—–

Fully caffeinated we headed our for adventure. Our first stop was a bus tour. It was really pretty and really interesting and really cold. Did you know Santa Fe is 7,000 ft above sea level? It was 40 degrees today. Not really all that comfortable in an open bus. We did however get to see much of the town and stop in a few places.

Santa Fe is known for its art, there are sculptures everywhere. Here are a few that I snapped today. And a picture of the kids so we can remind them that we had fun. Damnit.

Spontaneous

I have a list of things to do. Literally. I made a list. A list of things to pack. A list of places to map. A list of things to do before I pack (laundry). A list of people to call (down to one: the hotel).

Amy & I have lost our minds.

We’re taking our four (count them: 1, 2, 3, 4) kids to Santa Fe for a little road-trip. Without back-up parents. I repeat, there are no dads on this trip. Just two moms and four kids in one car for six hours.

And folks? This is as spontaneous as I get. Amy asked me last Friday if we wanted to go to Santa Fe this week. And here we are T minus 1380 minutes and I’m blogging.

Blogging!

Hey, at least I have my priorities.

Date Night

It must be hard being 5 1/2-years old. Goodness knows it’s hard to parent a 5 1/2-year old. He’s not yet in Kindergarten but is so big, so able. He can tie his shoes but cannot undo the knot he made untying them. He can tell time but not give me five more minutes to finish what I’m doing.

I took him to see Race to Witch Mountain.I had no idea what to expect. Would he be into it, a kid movie that’s not a cartoon? Or would he be completely freaked out? In the spectrum of our friend’s kids, Elliot is about average. He’s not as naive as some kids and he’s hardly as worldly as others. His knowledge of Spiderman is limited to what he overhears at school but his knowledge of Obi-wan Kenobi is first hand. He knows who Spongebob is but hasn’t seen an episode. Our friends kids range from those that are pop culture kings to those that still watch Backyardigans (even in Kindergarten).

The previews were a little loud, little ears were covered. The beginning of the movie was a little un-nerving and we held hands. And then he wanted to leave because it was too scary. No problem, we left. He suggested video games or bowling. Given the hour the bowling alley would be packed and the arcade would be 21+. So, I told him we could leave – that would be no problem but that we wouldn’t be able to do another activity tonight. I let him think it over while I used the facilities. He decided to stay. We went back in. There were a lot of car chases. A lot of assurances he didn’t want to leave. Then 10 minutes before the end, he wanted to leave – definitely too scary. We left, bought some Whoppers, he wanted to see if maybe the scary part was over. We went back. And watched the credits.

Overall, the story was too sophisticated for him. I’m actually glad he found it scary, that he’s not numb to all the shooting and violence yet. He’s only 5. He has the rest of his life to be jaded. For now he can stay young and carefree.

He goes to Kindergarten in August. He’s thrilled. I’m excited to see him so excited. But I’ll miss my baby. I know that what I’ll get back will be awesome and amazing too. But the kid that I get back won’t be scared by a little gun fire. He won’t want to hold my hand in the movie theatre. The little kid I send to Kindergarten will come back a kid that says things like, “moooom you are like sooooo lame.”

And that’ll be my role, to be the lame mom to a little boy trying to grow up. It’s the cirle of life.

Ooh, maybe we can watch Lion King. Except the beginning. That shit’s scary.

#15

Elliot missed the cut-off for Kindergarten by one week in our school district. Our neighboring district he would make the cut-off. In the end, it’s better that he didn’t go to Kindergarten this year. One, I would have cried a big wide river every day. And two, he’ll do better down the road having the benefit of being a little more mature. If he had gone to Kindergarten this year I would have sent my seventeen-year old baby to college. No. It’s just not happening.

But that extra year? Gave me more time to kvetch. And kvetch I did. And read. And memorized. I knew all the due dates for all the applications for all the schools in my district. I knew which schools required an IQ test (with a real-life psychologist), which schools had full day Kindergarten, which schools charged for their Kindergarten. Rinse, repeat.

In December I submitted an application to a school whose focus is math and geography. Great for us, Elliot loves those subjects. The school tested well. Turnover is low. Great school on paper. And then I went to a parent’s information night. The principal stressed their rigor. And how rigorous the school is. And the rigorous homework. They cannot have morning recess for the Kindergartners because 15 minutes per day over the school year that adds up to 40 hours – and they cannot give up the week of academics.

What?

No recess for little kids because you need that 15 minutes? Maybe you think that energy would be run out in PE but you’d be wrong. PE is only once every 3 school days. Oh, and Kindergarten homework is 20 minutes per night. Nightly. In the upper grades the equation is grade-level times 10 plus 20 … so 4th grade is an hour per night. Nightly.

Again, what?

We pulled Elliot out of the assessment for that school.

Our neighborhood school has full day Kindergarten, it’s not offered at every school. My neighbor told me she was at the school last year at 5:30am to sign up for the program (first come first served). I got there at 5:30am this year and was number 15 in line. FIFTEEN. Guy #1 got there at 3:30am. I got Elliot a seat in the full-day Kindergarten program. Phew.

How did we get here?

I was in line at 5:30am because the full-day Kindergarten program was important to me. Elliot’s been going to daycare most of his young life. He wouldn’t get the rhythm of a half-day program (which around here is only 2.5 hours). Full-day Kindergarten is not the default. In fact, it’s a tuition based program. I talked to some of the other parents while waiting in line. We all agreed it was ridiculous. But what were our options? Show up at a reasonable time and risk not getting a seat?

Why do we accept that children are better served by an extra 15 minutes of instruction instead of 15 minutes of recess? No wonder children can’t focus, they aren’t getting enough physical stimulation. When I’m lacking focus I can go take a walk. Kids? Well, apparently they can sit there longer and suffer through the instruction. And when they don’t do well on the standardized tests? Add more instruction. That’ll solve it.

Are our children scoring better on standardized tests than we did? I recall the annual Iowa tests. I wonder – are our kids actually smarter than we were at their age? More worldly, yes. But smarter? I’m not convinced.

Are you?

Stuck in My Head

And now yours too. You’re welcome.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

I was a late adopter. But hooboy, once I adopted I was all in. And now? Now I have 87 friends. I need to break up with about 40 of them. Or, more accurately, remove them.

You know what I’m talking about right?

At first I was only friends with my friends. Then I was friends with people I used to be friends with. It was all good. I looked at pictures of people’s babies, I saw that people were alive. I was happy for them. And then slowly I began comparing … why is he friends with her and not me? what are they talking about on their walls? why don’t I have the decoder ring?

The final straw was when someone that I am friends with in real-life, or at least am friendly with (I handed down boxes and boxes of baby clothes to her, so she’s not a stranger) had a status of “is sad that people are so mean” the same day that she sent me a message saying that if the baby clothes I had inquired about were so important that I would unfriend her then she would get them back. Of course, I took the status personally. Of course I get my knickers in a knot about why doesn’t she give me the benefit of the doubt. In short, she and I had been unfriended. I didn’t do that. I had no reason to. I had asked her about some baby clothes and when she said they were onto another friend, I replied with “if they’ve already found new homes, then awesome – no worries! I’m glad they’re getting another go-around.” And I thought it was over.

But my knickers were knotted.

This leads me to thinking that that particular medium isn’t a healthy social networking platform for me. I compare. I feel less than adequate. I wonder what people are thinking about me. And you know what? I would guess about half my friends are not people that I would choose in my current life. Sure, they’re great people. But we have our own lives. We’re not who we were at 16. And now that I’ve seen their baby’s pictures and been assured that they haven’t died of some horrible accident – my curiosity is satiated.

I’ve already set my security in such a way that I’m pretty hard to find. I block most applications (I have no garden, am on no mobs, won’t give flair). I won’t be friends with anyone I work with (they don’t need to know I’m swinging from a chandelier). I’ve kept it compartmentalized.

<like 2 minutes later>

I just did my first, and maybe only, prune and only got rid of 19 friends. Maybe I wasn’t as over-extended as I suspected. If I unfriended you and we really have a relationship (even if it’s all virtual) email me. I’ve been drinking. We might could get back together.

But really what is it with that damn application? Why is it so addictive?

Triskaidekaphobia

Happy Friday the 13th. Again. It’s the second one this year. There’ll be another in November in case you didn’t give this one the proper reverence.

I’m not afraid of the number 13. If you are, you are triskaidekaphobic.

I’m not particularly superstitious. At least I don’t think I am. I don’t step on cracks in the sidewalk but that’s more because I like to have the same number of steps in each concrete segment than anything else. If I step on a crack did that foot fall in the last segment or the upcoming one? See. A conundrum that can be avoided by not stepping on cracks.

(tangent: there are two flights up stairs in my building that I walk up and down multiple times per day. Recently I’ve started taking the stairs 2 at a time. One flight has an uneven number of stairs. I have to take an extra step of just one step on that flight. This bothers me. It bothers me more that the other flight is not similarly designed.)

I’m not afraid of black cats. I used to own be the guardian to two.

I’ll walk under a ladder. Usually I’m holding it so my dear husband doesn’t topple over. So, I’m not afraid of the ladder, I’m afraid of being a single parent.

I will tell you to “break a leg” if you’re in the theatre rather than “good luck” because of your own superstitions. Not mine.

On second thought, I am afraid of the number 13, as it pertains to children being that age. I am very scared of 13-year old children in my family.

Hat tip: NPR

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