Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer, Day 1

Yesterday seemed like the first real day of school vacation, since it wasn't a weekend or a holiday or anything. The beginning of a new routine is always a little strange--it feels like more work or more hustle-bustle than it really is. Our day went like this:

I got up at 8:30 to take Laura to her 9:00 swim team practice at the pool. (This will be every weekday until the end of June.) Matt and Hank were still asleep. I dropped her off and went back home to wait for H to wake up (dude is like a teenager--he always sleeps 'til after 9). I dressed Hank and ran back up to the pool without even feeding him breakfast in order to get there when LJ was finished, and we played on the playground for a while.

Then we went straight to Publix (where Chips Ahoy cookies were buy-one-get-one AND there were peelie coupons for 75 cents off each bag, YAY, but that's a different blog). Hank wanted to ride in the big car buggy that is seriously like steering a water buffalo. Back home, the kids chilled in front of some Nick Jr. and I caught up on the latest issue of Vogue instead of folding laundry. The new waking up time was taking its toll on me by this time and I was yawn-y. I know that having a toddler who doesn't get up at the crack of dawn is in itself cause for celebration. It's all a matter of what you are used to, though, and I don't do the mornings around here. (My loving husband did bus duty all year, so this is the start of a REAL vacay for him.)

During H's nap I decided to try to snooze in my room. I told LJ not to bother me unless something was on fire. In the end, she only came into the room twice--once to tell me about a dream she'd had the previous night, and a second time to tell me something that she forgot once she was in my room.

When H woke up, I bundled all of us off to the gym we just joined. Everything in this place is shiny and beautiful. I wanted to try a step class for the first time, which meant taking them to the gym childcare for the first time. I figured that since Laura was with him, Hank would be happy enough. (He did fine and the class kicked my butt.) Then I retrieved the kids and we got changed to go out to the pool. Once we'd spent 15 minutes getting swim diapered and sunscreened, we got out there in time for the pool to be closed due to thunder. Hank's disappointment at seeing the pool, and then being prevented from entering it, was acute. "Come back in 20 minutes," they said. We went to the cafe to kill a little time, then went out to the pool to be denied again. Disappointment: still acute.

Went home, met Matt, left Hank, took Laura to our third pool of the day for her stroke technique class (this is only on Tuesday). She just kept her bathing suit on for twelve straight hours. Her lesson was over at 8pm.

When we got home, Matt had covered his entire back with hydrocortisone cream, because he got sunburned over the weekend and he was experiencing some itching. He begged me to go to the store and find a product that would either stop the itching or render him unconscious. He was describing the itching to me in exquisite detail, apparently suffering the torments of the damned, while simultaneously installing and troubleshooting a 22 inch computer monitor he bought. I had to admire his ability to multitask. While I was cooking and we were having this conversation about the itching, we didn't notice Hank standing in a chair and stomping on a pound of strawberries--basically the way you would stomp them if you were trying to make strawberry wine. I started cleaning up the mess and Matt decided to try putting Hank in time out. We never really were into the Theory and Practice of Time Out, so I dunno where this came from. But Matt whisked Hank over to the white couch and sat him on it. With strawberries all over his feet and legs. Sigh. I succeeded in not being a total crazy person about it. Thanks, Tide Pen. And goodnight, dear children.

I went to Target and got some products for Matt's sunburn. When I came home he was sitting shirtless in front of a box fan and making terrible, miserable noises of misery. But I felt fine and the rest of the evening was very nice.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cottage Industry, Part II

You may recall that each child in L's class was charged with making 25-30 items to sell at their Mexican Market Day. We wound up basically doing what Brenda suggested and made clay necklaces. With a sun design because, you know, it's sunny in the desert.

Don't you think these are a bargain at 5 pesos? I know, we're not about to open our own etsy shop anytime soon, and you can see why this is not a craft blog, but Laura did every bit of this herself, except for tying the knots in the cord. We got some fimo clay (which was on sale for $.99 a package at Michael's--yay) and used a jibbitz (you know those little charms for Crocs?) to make the impression. Working with the clay and stamping the designs was fun. Then we baked them. We made some frogs too. Desert frogs!

Today was the big market day/fiesta, and Laura decorated a display poster and hung the necklaces from it. She sold out of them, so she was happy. In all honesty, they were way better than what some kids brought in (I'm looking at you, neighbor who printed little pictures of donkeys and glued them to magnets).

Which reminds me, I realized while in Michael's that there are certain areas of crafting that I just hold in contempt. Am I the only one? I mean, like beading. It just seems sad, the buying the beads, and the string or whatever, and then the putting of the beads onto the string. Like maybe that should only be enjoyable if you're in neurological rehab of some kind. Is that too mean? Also those little unpainted birdhouses. They just seem forlorn. Dunno, can I get a witness?

Now felt, on the other hand--felt is cool. I've never done anything with felt, but it just seems like a neat thing. I don't know what I would make except maybe little Robin Hood hats.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Let Me Get Right On That

Laura had a friend over to play yesterday afternoon--a child she loooves to play with, the girl who unfortunately has an alien Amwaybot mother. Let's call the child P. L and P spent a good while playing up in L's room and out in the backyard. P had arrived with her cell phone, which she always carries in a little furry phone pouch, and apparently also with a little box of mints. By the way, P is required to always have her phone on her person "so her daddy can get in touch with her at all times." Once, while her mom was dropping her off, she put her phone on my kitchen counter and was rebuked for it. Anyway, when she left yesterday, she had her phone, but the girls couldn't find the candy, and as far as I know, P told her mom this.

Just now I got a text message from the mom asking me, "when you walk up the hill [to get L from the bus], would you bring P's tic tacs and put them in our mailbox?"

Reader, I will not. What I will do is continue to be polite to this woman because Laura adores her daughter, despite the fact that the woman is a classic underminer and a total frenemy. She once asked me, of a painting I had propped on my mantle, "Did someone you really love give you that?" And to Matt, who had just come home from work, where he makes computer games, "Did you program anybody getting shot today?" This is a woman who once asked me to put Laura on the phone to urge her daughter to write birthday thank-you notes in a more timely manner (no). A woman who routinely invites me to "parties" where you have to pay an admission fee in exchange for the pleasure of getting the hardsell on various Amway crap, with invitations couched in terms of "Girls' Night!" and "Makeover!" A woman who, when she saw me wrapping an American Girl doll for L for xmas, asked me if I was aware that the American Girl company "is run by feminists." There is so, so much more.

So what I will do is to continue to forgive this woman for her lapses of taste, manners, and decorum, because I believe that it is not her fault she was raised in a barn. She had a pretty hardscrabble upbringing, from what I can tell. Every bit of middle-class comfort that she has attained, she and her husband got for themselves. And I should say that I do believe somehow that she is a good person. So I will continue to tolerate her eccentricities. But here's what I'm not going to do: go up to Laura's room and look for a half-box of tic tacs.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Makin' Waves

This is the last day of relative quiet on the extracurricular front. Neighborhood swim team practice starts tomorrow, and will happen every weekday at 4pm. Then, after school is out and until the end of June, it will be every morning at 9:00. I don’t really, um, like to do things before about 10 (okay really 11), so getting Laura and Hank up to the pool every morning, with goggles, towel, sunscreen applied, cheerful “hey neighbor” gameface on, and coffee in hand, requires considerable maternal stamina. I did it last year, though, so I guess I can do it again. Back then Hank wasn’t walking yet, so it took a lot of work for him to hurl himself into the deep end. This year I might just stay on the adjacent playground with him and not go into the pool area at all.

Also, for the next four Tuesday nights, LJ will have a “stroke clinic” to hone her technique, ‘cause the seven year-olds have to swim all four strokes in the neighborhood swim meets. If you are looking for a way to spend hundreds of dollars on your child’s recreational/sporting life, then a graduated series of swim classes (this will be the 4th session we’ve done since the winter) is one way to go. Yikes.

That said, I think swimming is a great sport for younger kids, because they can really do it and compete at the same meets as the big, fast teenagers. It feels like the real deal to them. And the multi-hour meets are fun for the whole family, what with the standing around and sweating, and the chatting, and the mosquitoes. Better than it sounds!