Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Love Letter to the Library

Dear Library,

I love you. Thank you for letting me borrow books, and then return them! Most books I read these days are one-time books. I live through the stories once and don't feel the need to go back. Some books are awful and I am happy to forget all about them as soon as I drop them off (or they magically disappear from my Kindle). Many books are fun, but not particularly special, so I can enjoy them once and move on to other books. Some books are spectacularly amazing - I think about them fondly, but still have no desire to experience them again. And then there are a few books that I keep coming back to, in my thoughts, over and over. These are the books that I crave to re-read. These are the books I may, at some point, purchase. Because there is limited space in my house - and I already have too many books (most of which I don't look at) - I love you, library, for letting me read hundreds of books without becoming buried in piles them.

I love books... but books crave to be read. They go sad and stale, when sitting on the shelves for years, without being touched. So thank you, library, for this chance to read so much without the guilt of untouched books on my shelves.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Gentlemens and Ladybugs!

What our younger daughter can do (at three-and-a-half):

* Announce with pomp and circumstance: "Gentlemens and Ladybugs!"
* Ride a bike with training wheels... at least half a mile without complaining.
* Scream very loudly, pinch, and kick her siblings
* Drive bumper cars
* Dislike "scary" movies with bad guys (aka "Dennis the Menace")
* Take "Tom and Jerry" way too seriously (including thumb-in-mouth and worried facial expression)
* Fold things
* Recognize letters "C" and "O" reliably.
* Confuse "A" and "B"
* Show tremendous interest in identifying first letters in everyone's name
* Show tremendous interest in identifying printed letters (especially C and O).
* Identify numbers 1 and 2 (possibly others, we haven't gotten that far).
* Count really well to 10 and with some hilarious mistakes beyond 20.
* Sing
* Improvise words to songs
* Pretend-read books to herself
* Color and hold the marker the proper way.
* Scribble, very excitedly, and look for letters in the scribbles.
* Give excellent hugs and kisses
* Be gentle with the cat when others are watching
* Bite the cat, pull on her fur and tail when no one is watching
* Eat most things with enthusiasm and gravitas.
* Make everyone laugh.
* Blow bubbles
* Swing on the swings - all by herself!
* Jump into the pool
* Swim a little
* Do crazy underwater flips.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thinking About Fall

So it is August. Time to purchase  all the back-to-school crap. Time to figure out who will be doing what this fall.

My son is super-enthusiastic about everything. Do you want to do soccer this fall? Sure! Swimming? Yes, he loves swimming. Pottery? Art? Theater? Robotics? I know that pretty much anything I mention, he'll be thrilled to try it. Which means, I have to limit the options and make him choose. Swimming or Soccer? Gymnastics or Basketball? My personal goal, for the time being, 2 activities per kids per season. One of those activities should be music (violin for my son, piano for my older daughter). The other activity should be something active (sports... dance... ). There will be occasional art clubs, chess clubs, or game clubs on top of that.

The youngest child, who is 3.5, has already asked me (numerous times) if I've signed her up for gymnastics.

Not yet. But I will.
 I am not ready to start her with any music lessons yet (she says she wants to do violin!), so I think she'll just do gymnastics for the time being.

Lucky for me, when my older daughter heard that her little sister wants to do gymnastics, she was quick to jump on that wagon. I am so glad I can have 2 kids doing the same thing (I found gymnastics classes that have different age groups at the same day/time). Just to be sure, I asked her if she would rather do swimming, but she chose gymnastics and said she would do swimming in the winter. I also asked her if she wanted to do soccer - she thought for a moment and then answered, in a very grown-up way "No, not this year."

I might have to think about other sports that she might enjoy that take advantage of the warm outdoor weather in September/October. Still,

There are a number of things I still want to do this summer:
* Take big kids to Franklin Institute (science museum) - there is an optical illusion exhibit there that looks really neat.
* Go on a family bike ride
* Go to one more outdoor concert (this is the last week!)
* Go to one more "dining under the stars" but just get desserts this time.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Of Swimming, Biking, and Catching Things

We spent a week in Ocean City, NJ with my husband's family (his parents and sister with husband and 2 kids). I worked 3 days from a library and then spent evenings with the kids going for bike rides or going to the beach. I had a mini-vacation for the remainder of the week. I love having this kind of flexibility.

We went to the beach every single day. I have to spell this out here - I am not a big fan of beach vacations. I am not a big fan of the beach. Before kids, I was never lying on the beach with a book (I tried... it just never worked for me). I would go into the water, suck in a ridiculous amount of ocean, then go for a walk, then leave. With kids - it's been constant vigilance. This was the first time I felt I could sit back and just watch the 2 older kids play in the water and sand (and they did play in the shallow water and sand for extended periods of time). The youngest, who is 3.5 still required constant parental vigilance (and hand-holding).

Digging for sand crabs was awesome. Unexpectedly awesome. I never thought I would enjoy it this much. Watching kids catch sand crabs was cute, sure, but there was this strange, grim satisfaction ("gotch ya!") when I would put my fingers into the sand and feel around for something hard, then drag it out and the thing would be trying to escape (futile!) by burrowing into my hand. It was so relaxing (not for the poor creature, sure) and addictive!

Then we stumbled across a tide pool with a ton of hermit crabs. I didn't like catching them as much, but it sure was entertaining watching them marching on the bottom of the sea, or fighting with each other inside a bucket full of sand and water that the kids used as a temporary holding cell for them.

Oh, and the tiny clams, moving around in my hand - mini massage! Felt so good.

We have released all the critters we caught.

Every day, there was something new at the beach...  the kids couldn't get enough. It has gotten easier, compared to the previous years... big kids can rinse off all by themselves in the shower. They can even rinse off their little sister (if she lets them). There are no diapers involved. They are bigger and stronger, so there is less wining.

Oh, oh, before I forget - this was the first year the big kids went on the "big" rides - the roller coaster. My daughter loved it. My son said it was terrifying.

Over and out.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My Parents are Coming!

My parents are buying a house that's a 15 minute drive from where we live. It has been a long journey and it's not over yet. They plan to put their house on the market in a few days. They are stressed out, scared, and perhaps a little excited. They will be here at the end of August for settlement. The house they are getting will need some work: they are going to add a walk-in shower and install the washer/dryer on the main level. The walls need paint and the floors - refinishing. So they will need to hire a contractor to do the work. They also need to figure out the moving stuff - the costs, the companies, loading/unloading the grand piano.

This is going to be an adjustment for everyone. Adjustment of expectations and relationships. It's been a long time since I've lived near my mother. I predict some friction and hurt feelings on all sides.