Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Food miracle inspired by Roald Dahl

I am accustomed to the fact that Jack generally doesn't each much unless there is sugar in the food -- in that case he can't get enough. A while ago, I decided to stop cooking separate meals. It was inspired by my friend Kate in London who was inspired by the French parents in her children's school. Tonight, Jack ate a large bowl of potato leek soup then he asked if he could eat an apple. It was very exciting. Vegetables and fruit consumed in one meal.

We have been listening to the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We've listened to it many times. Jack loves it. He pretended the potato leek soup was the watery cabbage soup that Charlie Bucket eats for dinner. He also likes to pretend that he is Charlie Bucket and I am Grandma Josephine.  Whatever it takes to get nutritious food into that wee little guy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The genius of The Simpsons

While becoming a part of Jack's school, I am constantly reminded of my favorite Simpson's episode. Lisa becomes a vegetarian. The school reaction is so funny, and it's also part of many experiences that have informed my opinion of schools in general. The independent thought alarm + the video from the Resistance is Useless series are my very favorite.

Lisa becomes a vegetarian

Sunday, September 16, 2012

the new school

I spent last weekend with high school friends in California. Ryan took the kids to my mom's. Here they are flying our b-2 bomber kite.
I returned Monday while Jack was at school. It feels like he is always at school now. He goes until 3pm. He also really wanted to take the bus home so then he didn't get home until even later. I decided the bus was too much for me. In fact, this whole long school day is too much for me.

 My back-up plan is homeschooling. I feel like I have my finger just inches away from a metaphorical eject button -- the button that activates the rocket underneath the seat of a fighter pilot to prevent him from going down in a burning airplane. A melodramatic example that captures my mood perfectly. School is the burning airplane in case you are not with me.

 I don't see how the structure of public school really educates anyone. It seems more like a prison intent on producing passive rule-followers. If you don't do well in school, you're a loser and if you do well, you're a winner. Our school does not have many of the problems most public schools have because the neighborhood is quite affluent.. still, I am not excited.

 At this point, my concerns about Jack's school don't have anything to do with Jack. I can't tell how he feels about it and I don't think he really knows yet either. He does like his independence though. He loves the bus and he is always ready for me to leave when I drop him off. We'll see.

Happy 3rd BirthdaySonia

Sonia turned 3 a few days ago. How the time flies. She stayed home from school. We threw a party at a nearby park. I packed the minivan with food, furniture, homemade bubbles and the grill. The weather was perfect. Sonia had so much fun she didn't want to leave.
Sonia started going to a new preschool this week. Every day when I pick her up she says 'That was so much fun.' At the new school, the kids can't wear diapers. Sonia had never successfully worn underwear before last Tuesday so I didn't think it was going to go well.

Surprisingly, when I picked her up, there'd been no accidents. Then she proceeded to have accidents the rest of the afternoon with me. I learned a lot when I saw that she could use the toilet, she just was not interested in doing what I had wanted her to do all summer. I was trying to be relaxed about it but she clearly picked up on my hope she'd be done with diapers.

 So, I let it go and decided we'd just go through lots of clothes. Not a big deal. Then she decided to stop wearing diapers. It is true what they say -- acceptance is the first part of change.

 I am glad I learned the lesson (again) because Sonia has recently become obsessed with princesses. I think my initial resistance to the princess thing helped fuel the obsession.. or at least it did nothing to stop it. She will only wear princess clothing. She picked out dinosaur pajamas tonight but then put them back and commented that princesses don't like dinosaurs. They do, I insisted. Princesses often have dinosaurs as friends. She accepted that and kept the PJ's. I don't think an obsession with princesses leads to being a passive female anymore than I believe that young boys who wear blue will grown up straight. But I am leery of these characters. They seem so uninteresting to me.. but then I am not the one into them.

Monday, September 03, 2012


On Wednesday Jack will go to kindergarten. I have a great deal of apprehension about public schools in general. In addition, Jack doesn't seem to be big into following orders. These two things together have made my sleep less-than-optimal this past week. I am doing my best to let events unfold without listening to the commentary in my head. I read a lovely book by Harriet Lerner called Marriage Rules. She also had a few suggestions for parents and one was, 'Don't make predictions about your kids.' The most common experience of the public schools (and Catholic schools) was boredom. I never critiqued my education experience until high school. I did well in school because I was very into approval. Once I got to high school I remember lots of boredom. I enjoyed classes that had good teachers (not many) and math. Today, if you have money, your kids don't have to have this experience. Seattle abounds in private schools. Some of these schools are probably structured and boring but in different ways than the public schools. The dominant parenting culture here seems to be one intently focused on traditional measures of success -- good grades and athletic ability. Where is the school for the parent that wants their child to know how to cope with life's challenges? I want my kids to love to learn, to work hard and have fun without undue amounts of anxiety. I don't know if there's an institution that can help me instill those values. I've also been reading a great book about homeschooling.. more on that later.

End of summer

We had a few more adventures in order to end our summer with a bang. We went to Hood River to go to a wedding of an old friend of Ryan's. I have friends from my college years who live in this amazingly beautiful town (3 out of 4 of the people work in health care which is probably the only reason they could live there since there aren't many jobs). We stayed with friends who have two kids and their home is outdoor heaven. They have a pond and a kid-sized kayak so Jack paddled around on his own with much glee. They keep bees so we got to see a hive and their honey combs. We visited the beach (a bay created from the Columbia River) and Ryan and Jack paddled around on a surf board. We swam. We built sand castles.
I got to spend time talking to my friend of 20 years about what our priorities are as parents based on our own life experiences. My number 1 wish is good mental health in order to have good coping skills. We went to the wedding in a small town called Dufur, not to be confused with Dufus which is what I thought the name after reading it once. It's a very small farming town east of The Dalles. Lots of rolling, golden hills and sun, it was a perfect wedding location. The kids did ok.. they mostly ran around and drank lemonade. These pictures turned out terribly - proof that Ryan needs a new phone since his lens is scratched..
On the way home we met Ryan's sister and niece in Portland. Portland has some great outdoor restaurants. We ate at a sandwich place called Lardo.. delicious.
Since I've had the kids around the clock, I've had to take them with me on errands. Sonia continues to have strong opinions about her outfits and I continue not to.
We met the family of a preschool friend at a great new water park in north seattle. thank you parks levy. We spent hours playing in the water and at the new play structures.