Monday, September 26, 2016

The family meeting

Based on the advice of a few people we admire, we started having a family meeting once a week. It generally lasts 5-10 minutes as our kids don't have a lot of patience for it. Mainly, we talk about the schedule for the week. Ryan generally has no idea what the schedule is and Jack always needs reminders so we also post the schedule.

Then everyone gets a chance to talk. Tonight, I was the only one with a topic. It was "you are responsible for your anger. If you are an adult, you are responsible for your anger 100% of the time. No exceptions. Ryan was frustrated with Sonia yesterday and did something I found objectionable. When I protested, he blamed Sonia. This is never ok. Adults should never blame children for their poor behavior. Ever. I also see this blame game everywhere among adults:   in our school there's a teacher who blame students for her incessant yelling. Then there are the people who blame their boss or wife or the sales associate or the postal carrier or the person driving the speed limit when they're in a hurry (ad infinitum) for their unskillful and crappy behavior.

This blame game will not happen in my house.

That was the end of the meeting.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Happy Birthday to Sonia

Sonia turns 7 today.

We had a big birthday party for her and her buddies on Saturday. Then another party with family on Sunday. Then another small celebration at school with donuts. Then dinner out tonight. My kids are lavishly celebrated ( I can't find the right accent key for the word feted).

Sonia is an insightful person. She seems to know what everyone is thinking. She is driven and tenacious. She seems like a small adult... I can see some of the ways she is influenced by us: she seems open minded. Then I can see how she is influenced by the culture: she loves to acquire.

We threw a party at home mainly to avoid the expense of having the party at an outside venue. I wanted the event to be simple. I planned a treasure hunt with items we bought at a Japanese dollar store.  I hid things in the yards of our neighbors. One of our neighbors was having a garage sale. I told her about the party. She has children around the same age as mine but they attend private school so we don't know them well. She mentioned that her older son requested a party with no gifts. She then added that he also doesn't like cake or cookies. As I was filled with jealously and feelings of inadequacy, I had to laugh. The dad in this family recently took his company public and the rumor is that they are now worth half a billion dollars. They got to live abroad for a year. They are also lovely grounded people who attended ivy league schools but could not be nicer. And until the mom told me her son refused gifts, I have never felt an ounce of jealousy for them.

The pressures of parenting are profound, and paradoxically, with Sonia in my life, I can laugh more about them. She is a joy.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Summer highlights

The summer really flew by. I worked a bit more so time feels more chaotic when I do that. It was fun. We had some good weather and fun adventures.

The first week of August, the kids did the Museum of Flight camp. Then because we can't get enough of the MOF, we visited the following week to spend more time at the Above and Beyond exhibit.

While Jack got to go to a super cool beach camp, Sonia attended a less well-run and less fun gymnastics camp.

She was so jealous of Jack's camp, she convinced the camp to let her attend for a day. The trapeze is one of the cool and fun things the kids do.

Charlie's lovely family visited. We were so grateful!

Then we went to the Oregon coast for a few days. Kids stole my phone - took selfies.

One of our favorite beaches in the world thus far in Manzanita.

Then we headed to Camp Nor'wester. It's a summer camp for kids ages 9 and up. We got to see what the kids do for a month completely disconnected from parents and society in general.

The camp is on beautiful and secluded John's Island in the San Juans.
The family at family camp. We didn't shower for days.

Loved this fallen tree sculpture


In July, Sonia attended the birthday party of twin boys. The theme was magic and the boys dressed up as magicians. The invitation had invited guests to come prepared with their own magic tricks but I missed that detail. However, after the boys performed, the parents asked if any of the kids had a trick prepared. To my surprise, Sonia stood up and said she did. She had a quarter and held it up for the group. Then she put her hands behind her back, dropped the quarter (not surreptitiously) behind her back and presented her empty hands to the group. The kids were not impressed but the adults clapped loudly.

So I was less surprised when Sonia declared she would be performing at a talent show the last night of a family camp we attended at Camp Nor'wester last weekend. She told me she was going to dance. I asked her what music she would dance to and she looked at me blankly. She signed up, did a short display of the result of about 5 ballet lessons, and received loud applause for her efforts.

She thinks people are applauding her talent but when I applaud, I am applauding her nerve.

Dressed up for camp dance