Wednesday, November 27, 2013

From paradise

I have often thought ( and I know I am not the first ) that Seattle and the NW look like Switzerland. We are in Hawaii this week and it looks like heaven... or what heaven should look like if it's paradise. Our trip was one I planned at the last minute. I found cheap tickets out of Bellingham. My mother's college roommate lives here and invited us to stay in her guest house.  I feel so lucky it all worked out so beautifully.

Nothing can spoil the beauty and peaceful vibe of this island. However, 2 children who fight constantly does threaten one's enjoyment of anything. The first two days we were here, the kids fought constantly. At one point, Ryan dropped me off at a grocery store. I told him not to worry if I didn't come out .. that I would meet him at the airport. In response, he asked if I'd left him the cyanide pill. It was not great. Luckily, they snapped out of it and great times have been had by all since.

Mostly, we've just hung out at some of the world's most beautiful beaches. Ryan has surfed. The kids play on the beach and swim in the water. We are generally out all day. We pack lunch, snacks and water. Often we stop for coffee and extra snacks. Today, we had shaved ice in Haleiwa at a place that had been open since 1951. There was a line out of the door -- it was worth the wait.

The kids seem to be stuck on Seattle time so they go to bed early and wake up early. We have dinner with our hosts in their amazing house. I am not sure if I have ever been in a nicer house ( see view below).  We are really grateful for this experience.

No jetway in Bellingham


Volcanic rock at Makapuu beach

Kailua Beach

No more fighting -- Kailua

Swanzy Beach Park -- Kaaawa

View from the home of our hosts. Swimming pool in foreground

We hiked up to Manoa Falls 

Banzai Pipeline, North Shore

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

post parent-teacher conference

Today I had my 4th parent-teacher conference. Since it would hard to have a worse experience than my first conference, this one was just the usual level of suck.  If you do not have a rule-follower who enjoys work sheets, you won't like them either.  Jack is unique. I'll agree to this. The struggle we (meaning me and the teacher) are having is that he is not motivated to complete his work. He doesn't seem to understand that there is a problem with not completing it. Either he doesn't get it or he doesn't care. I think it's the former. I understand his point of view. Why is it important that he finish math computations or handwriting practice?  He's not interested in my argument that pilots and astronauts are good at math. You have to build those skills. It's too abstract. He is not motivated by what those around him are doing... you can see how that might help him later in life.. even if it doesn't, I can't and won't change that about him.

Perhaps he is unlucky that he has a parent whose own parents seemed to always accept her as she was. I am still grateful for this so I am not much of a micro-managing parent. Maybe that is doing him a disservice? The tough part is that you cannot separate who you are as a person from who you are as a parent. I could never be a tiger mom. I am not that aggressive about anything in my own life. It seems to have worked out for me.. of course, I was a rule follower who enjoyed work sheets. I am sure my parents enjoyed parent-teacher conferences.

The worst part of this experience is that I have to believe the rules don't work for us and therefore, don't apply. I am terrible at that. Give me a formula and I will follow it. I told the teacher today that not all children have the same academic trajectory.  I want to support him. Honestly, where education is concerned, I just don't know the best way to do that right now.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Time is going too fast

People say this about adulthood but now it's getting ridiculous. A year feels like a month. I cannot believe it is November. Jack is 7. When did this happen? We have been very busy -- which is not my preferred way to be. I finally launched the software I've been building. See it live at Spilt Milk Nannies. The nanny part of the business belongs to a young woman who has watched my kids for a few years now. Her old website was hard to use and cobbled together. Soon, I'll create a simple website to explain the business more thoroughly. For now, my job is owning and managing the software. We hope to license the software to other like-minded entrepreneurial child-care providers. 

Anyway, I've committed to not reducing the amount of child care I am doing which means my life has felt a bit squeezed. That said, we've still had fun. Jack and Sonia are both happy in school. In addition, we go to circus school and sunday school and swimming lessons. This is what happens when your mom likes school. Lessons! Learning! I have chosen activities I think are fun and I participate as well. Circus school is my favorite. For now, the kids enjoy these activities. Weekends are fairly low-key for the kids but I've been working so Ryan and I split the child care on weekends.  In a few days, we go to Hawaii. We are looking forward to the sun, the beach and the warmth. 

Sonia and I at a birthday party for a friend

Watching our newest neighbor, Mo.

Smoothy mustache!

Happy 7th Birthday Jack!

Well, it's getting real over here. Jack is 7 today. Jack has been here 7 years. I have been a parent for 7 years. The transformation is so complete I can't imagine not being a parent. While it is still challenging, its more fun now than ever.

Jack is a great kid. He is adventurous, easy-going, adaptable. He loves legos, books, and playing outside with our neighbors... They especially enjoy playing Harry Potter or Star Wars and their favorite place to play is inside our mini-van. They pretend its a ship. An unexpected thing about Jack is that he is an adventurous eater. He still has 100 calorie days which still drive me insane .. but I try to be ok with it. Mostly he eats like a normal person which I never thought possible. He is still, as he has always been, his own independent-minded person.  He does what he wants with whom he wants. He can't be talked out of his own ideas.  We went a restaurant of Jack's choosing last night - Vios (for the mac n cheese and gelato). Each of us said what we loved most about Jack. I wish I could remember what Sonia said but Jack said his favorite thing about himself is that he is brave. And this is true - he is.

We celebrated with Jack's buddies over the weekend. We also went to a birthday party of another friend. They had music and Jack danced up a storm.

We're so glad you're here Jack!