Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Getting me a Cat Muff!

I had thought that Danny's pre-school might be getting better but it isn't really. Today he cried his little heart out when I left and kept saying "I want you mama! Don't leave!" It was heartbreaking. The teachers are obviously used to it and trying to get me to leave quickly but it all feels a little cold. One of them said to me "Shut the door on the way out" which was a bit uncalled for as I don't think we'd been in the class room for more than 3 minutes. I must remember to scowl at her next time we go.

When I picked him up I was told that he had an ok morning but didn't interact with the teachers or kids at all. At reading time he sat by himself and at snack time he was on his own. She said he likes to have a choice and then go be by himself. That just breaks my heart. It also makes me a little mad since the whole point of pre-k is to gradually introduce him to social situations and I don't like the idea of giving him a choice to go and be by himself. We're only two weeks into this though so I obviously have to give it more time.

Jack has play-dates with school friends tomorrow and their mums are coming. Yea! More people I don't know to entertain. Sigh. And the forecast says rain so that's 6 kids and 2 adults in the house with me for at least an hour. Please let the kids be nice. I've had my fill of non-disciplined kids this last couple of weeks. I have taken to boycotting the local parks now & again just to give my blood pressure a rest because the parents drive me nuts. I met a history professor (from England actually) that was complaining to me that his son slapped a girl and her mum discliplined him. He thought that the mum was out of line but he gave up looking for sympathy when he saw my face.

This would all be much more tolerable if I had a glass of wine in hand right now but I'm off the wine for now - trying to be healthy. Health"ier" I should say since I just ate a tube of Smarties after dinner (thanks English family!)

And the cat, Tutz, continues to poo in odd places. Basement windowsill today. That's 4 times in the last week. I'm going to cut her nails, groom her, clean out her litter tray and try to pay her more attention and if that doesn't work then I might just have to send her away and have her made into a nice muff for winter.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Impromptu is the Best

I love impromptu moments. They are always the most enjoyable and fun. This particular one was a 3.5 hour outside play-date and picnic by chance. If you had asked me if I wanted to play outside for close to four hours I'd have said no way (housework and far too much stuff to do) but it was great to just enjoy the time with friends and kids. I just enjoyed the moment, which I do not do 99% of the time, and it was lovely.

My Hubby the Confidence Builder

At soccer this morning Jack nearly scored three goals, which is a major turn-around from previous weeks. He does great in practice but then doesn't have the confidence to get stuck in and get the ball during games. He actually didn't like playing games because of this. This past week Craig took him to the park for a couple of hours to try and get him a bit more used to it and it really made a difference. At the end of the game today he said he was sorry that it was over. Nice job hubby!

This boy will have no problem getting stuck in during games. If he wants that ball he'll just dive right in and take it! I can't wait until I can get him signed up for games.

On the way home Jack said again that he can't wait until Monday so he can start being student of the week at school. When I asked if he'll get to lead the color parade on Friday he said with genuine passion "oh yeahhhhhhh". I think it's the best thing that's ever happened to him in his life.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tough Week

What a week!

Tuesday was nuts. After taking Jack to school and Danny to school and then going home to walk Cody, I finally got in my car to go to work and halfway there got a call that Daniel had "had a bowel movement and you must come back and change him", so I did an illegal u-turn and swore like a sailor all the way back to pre-K. He was happy to see me so I can't be mad at him but I do wish he'd embrace the whole toilet training concept. When I finally got to work I managed another hour before they called back and informed me that Daniel would absolutely NOT do lunch. So back I went, after picking Linda up first. Then when I walked into my kitchen Tutz had crapped all over the window seat. You can imagine the language out of my mouth I'm sure. Linda must have thought I'd finally lost my marbles when I took a picture of the window seat and sent it to Craig with the message "I am DONE!" I seriously considered giving her away that day but thankfully that moment has passed. That was a bad day though.

Wednesday wasn't much better. First off I locked me & Danny out of the house when we took Jack to school, then I went to Lake Erie for work and forgot my purse so spent all day with no money. That sucked as I couldn't buy food & drink and I worried that a policeman might pull me over and go nuts on me for driving a state car with no ID. I got home at 6.15pm and had a The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meeting at 6.30pm. The PTA meeting was a bit weird. Telling maybe. There are 206 students at Jack's school and only about 14 people were there at the meeting and 4 of them were brand new, like me. That does not give me confidence that the parents like the current PTA committee. Is the PTA committee clicky maybe? Closed to new ideas maybe? In the "any other business" thing at the end I mentioned a new Facebook page that's all about our local schools and the PTA President said she hated Facebook and also said (and I sort-of quote) "I don't care that people went to Bob Evans for dinner! Why do people say that? I don't care. Facebook is for stupid people". This was after at least two of us parents had said we used Facebook. So I'm thinking these PTA women are clicky, resisting change and totally not open to social networking, which is just ignorant. Social networking is not going away and if anything is going to become more helpful and more important as a way of interacting with people and getting your message out.

While I was enduring the PTA, Craig had to take the boys to soccer with no snacks when it was our turn to take snacks. I was trying not to stress about it but poor Craig did and was late for practice so he could buy some. He's a good sport. And Jack scored his first goal!

Thursday Daniel did great at pre-k and, according to his teacher Mrs N. "sat on the rug at story time, danced and used the potty" Yea! Maybe he won't get expelled after all.

Today our Jack (drum roll...) was made "Student of the week" at kindergarten so next week he gets to sit in the comfy chair at reading time, he gets to lead the color procession and be a leader all week. He's so excited and can't wait to sit in that chair. 'I can hardly stand it!" he told me tonight of the wait until Monday. I asked him why he was chosen and he said "I didn't hit anyone and I was quiet in the hallway and didn't sit on my knees and raised my hand when I wanted to talk. And I didn't go to the Principal's office". I'm so happy for him. He's loving school and his confidence is blooming.

And finally, me & Craig are ok but exhausted. It was Craig's first week in his new job and that's exciting but yesterday he got the spare tyre knicked of the back of his Jeep so he didn't sleep last night he's so fed-up about it. That's another $300 expense we could have done without. Bow hunting season starts this weekend though so I'm going to push him into the woods on Sunday to go and get some Craig time.

I'm ok too, really. I'm actually much happier and smiley than I sound on this blog post! I just had a mad busy week at work and my feet are still killing me. I've been saying I'll go to the Docs since Christmas last year and I need to do it. Yeah right. God I sound depressing don't I? Sorry. It's been a tough week. I hate to write blogs like this but this week has been hard.

Let me think of a happy highlight...

Jack will take part in a parade in a couple of weeks and he's learning a song at school. All night tonight I've heard him singing "Baby you're a firework!" by Katie Perry, which is hilarious to watch. I'm going to embed the video in this blog purely so he can practice (I promised him I'd have a video of it tomorrow morning)

After a good night's sleep and a weekend off work I'll be okay again. Back to my old cheery self.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Little bit of Opera

I was sat having a glass of wine with my summer helper Tom (from England) a few weeks ago and we talked about music and he said he loved opera and I said I didn't. Then he said that he just picks songs from films that he loves and gets that one and before you know it, you love Opera. No one has ever said that before - that you can just like a song. I always felt like I had to embrace the whole thing or be naught.

So, I have two opera songs from films that I love but this is definitely my favourite so my only post (the next one later maybe). I have loved this film for 20 years called "A Room with a View". Helena Bonham Carter and Julian Sands have the best kiss ever in a movie. Ever. If any of you can find a better kiss then tell me about it.

And the music building up to and during the kiss is...

A Laugh I Love

Daniel has a great laugh. Here's just a snippet ...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Please Excuse the Stink

We've had a great weekend. Busy as usual with cook-outs and gardening and trying to clean the house at the same time as amusing two children. Someone told me recently that some good advice they were given as a parent was "raise children, not grass" in reference to to making the most of the kids and not worrying about the lawn. That would be perfectly okay except that I'm not just a neat-freak but I actually LOVE gardening. I am at my happiest when I'm stuck into a gardening project or just pottering about with my secateurs.

I might have pushed things a bit far this time though. On Friday I took a days vacation and went to the local sewage plant to get biosolid compost and then we (err, Craig) spread it over the back lawn. It will do wonders for my lawn I know, but good grief it stinks like poo. Which is what it is actually so why am I surprised? On Saturday we had English friends over for a cook-out and we had to set it up outside of the garden proper and still, as you ate your sausage or took a sip of wine, as gust of wind would come though and waft a foul smell and we'd all go quiet. I apologised at least 10 times and they politely insisted they couldn't smell anything "No, really, can't smell a thing, honest". We English are extraordinarily polite. My American friends would have said "Damn woman, what have you guys been feeding the dog?"

So the smell is still here, two days on. Might last a good week and will surely shock the postman tomorrow. Can't open some windows and both kids and the dog are barred from the back yard for at least a week. But my lawn will look gorgeous next spring!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Loving Cliff!

In contrast to Daniel's despair at going to school, our Jack has taken to it like a duck to water. He loves the social aspect and the chance to make friends with kids and teachers. Tonight he did a rendition of his music class this afternoon, complete with musical actions "jump up and down and all around, you're all in the show!" It was like watching someone practice for a play. He has a best friend every day and tells me who got sent to the principals office. He usually helps me pack his lunch too. I hope Danny gets to love it as much.

On Fridays Jack gets to take something for show & tell, so he's taking a toy London bus tomorrow and made me put the You Tube "Summer Holiday" clip on again so he could sing along. I do get a big kick out of my 5-year old's love of Cliff Richard (the American equivelant would be Buddy Holly maybe). It makes me feel like things are coming full circle because he likes songs that I loved as a kid.

I'm hoping his connection to England will be embraced by his friends at school, and not considered weird. Adults all seem to love England but who knows how 5 year olds think!

It Can Only Get Better, Right?

It can only get better. That is what I'm going to tell myself.

This morning, Danny's 2nd day at pre-school, he was distraught. He refused to wear his name badge, cried hysterically and tried to bolt from the room several times and then sobbed for most of the time there. There was some respite when they took him to the rumpus room but then he got hysterical again. When I went back to get him he was shell-shocked, with a blotchy face and what I suspect was some sick down the front of his sweatshirt. His teacher looked like she'd had a rough morning and just said "It will get better, day by day" and she handed him off to me.

On the way home he sat looking out of the window and didn't say a word. He looked like he was in shock. Poor little lad.

I don't know how to make this better for him & I'm dreading next Tuesday already. Where's Mary Poppins when you need her.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Danny's First Day at Pre-K

Danny had his first day at pre-school today and I was a little nervous. He hasn't been in a day-care situation since he was nine months old so I didn't know how he'd react to other adults looking after him. I've been building him up about how great and fun it will be and it all seemed well as we were leaving the house.

Once we got in his room he got stuck into the toys and actually played with another little boy a bit and interacted with one teacher a tiny bit. There are a set of triplet girls in his class that are just gorgeous and I met another mum that I got on well with. So all was well and then parents got asked to go to the parlour for a meeting with the centre director for 1/2 an hour while the kids stayed with their new teachers. As we started to leave the room, the 3 girls just started bawling and one boy's lip started quivering and I looked over at Danny apprehensively but he had his back to me playing on a magnetic board so I snook out. I felt so bad that I didn't tell him I'd be back, but I also didn't want to get him riled up.

When I got back to the room it was bizarre. He was stood by the big window, looking out, with his back to the room. He had his hands clenched and hanging down by his sides and his head was set far down, almost touching his chest. The pose he has when he's really mad or upset. I scooped him up and he said "and there's my sticker!" and pointed to his crumpled-up name badge on the floor. I desperately wanted to ask his teachers what had happened but the next group of new parents and kids were coming in so we left.

I tried to get him to carry his new bag and let me take his picture but he was not a happy camper at all, so this is my best shot..

As soon as got went into the school playground he was a different boy of course and back to his cheery self.
A lot of people have asked me how it went but I don't know really. He didn't cry but he wasn't happy. Not happy at all. He can be very shy at first and isn't a social butterfly with anyone except those closest to him (in contrast to Jack who wants to be everybody's friend). I knew he wouldn't interact too much but I didn't think he'd be unhappy or mad - like I think he was when I got back to the room. Time will help I know. I just need to give him time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stuff & Nonsense

I feel like there's lots of little things to do an update on today.

Firstly and most importantly, my friend that had cancer surgery has been told that it was at stage 1 and she doesn't need chemo - so that's a huge relief. She posted recently about food worries then we went and met tonight at the park after having both eaten HUGE amounts of pasta for dinner and we both just wanted to lie down and rub our bellies. I do wish I could be satisfied with a salad and a glass of water instead of pasta & wine!

Next, suddenly we're all so busy. Not just with hectic work stuff but with soccer practice, soccer games, swimming, doctors appointments and open evenings. I have so many schedules stuck to my fridge that I've run out of magnets and am having to double up. I hate the mess of it but find myself letting it go. Where once I was regimental about cleaning, now I can step over a lump of sticky stuff on the floor and not bat an eyelid. And I've started wearing vests around the house and tying my hair up. Good lord I'm turning into a slob aren't I? If you ever see me wearing a house coat give me a good shake.

Tomorrow will be nuts. It's Danny's first day at pre-school so my first attempt at getting them both out of the house dressed, fed and clean by 8am. I'm already half-panicked about it and hope I can keep my cool. It's that time of year when I have my windows open so I would hate for neighbours and passers-by to hear me ranting like a sailor every morning. I once asked my immediate neighbours if they could hear me and they said "No, but we worry that you can hear us too!" So wish me luck on my morning runs.

Jack is doing great at Kindergarten and told me proudly today that he was the table captain. His table are called the "Blue Unicorns". (I typed Blue Leprechauns at first and thought who in their right mind calls kids after little scary freaks? I had to go and check a note on the fridge and realised my mistake!) One thing I have been a bit surprised about is the homework which he's had almost every night. It seems a little extreme after 6.5 hours of school every day but I'm jollying him along and he seems to like it.

A few last things - I was upset to hear that Andy Whitfield died this past weekend. Craig and I loved the Spartacus series and it's so sad that he died so young.

We watched "Paul" this weekend and it was great - very entertaining! It's a comedy with the Sean of the Dead cast about them rescuing an alien from Area 51. In keeping with the alien theme, I gave up on my historical book about area 51. It just got too political and technical and, let's face it boooooring. I can accept the theory that the Roswell crash was a disk-like aircraft from Stalin's Russia that contained "beings" bred in Mengele's lab. Seems far more feasible to me than little green men. I'd like to say I garnished a bit more from the book than that but it was far too boring to read. Sorry.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Innis Woods & Craig's New Job

We took the lads to Innis Woods Metro Park today. I am ashamed that I've lived here for 12 years and only just went today. And I could kick myself because it's wonderful, with all kinds of gorgeous gardens and things for the kids to see and do. How can we not have been before?

It seemed like the perfect thing to do today, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack. I wanted to do something low-key and quiet. Plus, we watched some of the live tv this morning but it upset me too much so I'm glad we got out of the house. It's hard to believe that ten years have gone by so quickly isn't it.

It's a big day from Craig tomorrow as he starts his new job. Same place but a bigger and better job and more money. And he gets paid every two weeks so the last week of the month doesn't need to be quite so stressful! He'll get 3 paychecks in December. How great is that! We are both over the moon about it, not just because of the money but he'll be working with someone he really likes and doing something new.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Loving that Rumpus Room

Danny does not start pre-school until next week but tonight we took him for the open house where he met his teachers (hereafter to be known as Mrs J and Mrs N) and he got to play with stuff and go to the big indoor rumpus room*. When we left he broke his heart. Good grief will it be this easy next week? Will he love it and not be a looney when I leave?
More on this next week, obviously...

*As Jack flicked through photos on my camera tonight he saw a picture of Danny at pre-K tonight and cried "My rumpus room! Oh I miss the rumpus room!" What a shame that the rumpus room isn't something all kids have until they are 10.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Jack & Me Today

Where do I start? Maybe with Jack.

He had a full day at school and then a trip to his pediatrician (Dr. S.) for his 5-year check-up and kindergarten vaccines (I forgot to do this ahead of time and had to be reminded rather sternly by his school nurse, whom I showed the same fear that I did my own school nurse 35 years ago!) So he had two jabs in each arm and a flu spray up the nose. SIX MEDICINES he kept telling me on the way home (the spray counts as two seeing as she sprayed up each nostril he informed me). Luckily the lady at the desk let him have a spiderman sticker on the way out of he may never have gone back. So here are his 5-year statistics:
He weighs 50 lbs (is in the 90%ile)
He's 46.5" tall (is in the 95%ile)
As usual he talked Dr. S's ear off about school and superheroes and private matters ("Daniel won't ever eat food!") but he did great and only cried a little bit when he got the 4 jabs. I told him he was a brave lad.

Then Dr. S. asked me if I had any concerns and I have one that might seen silly but it's been weighing on my mind for as long as I knew I needed to get him these injections. When he had a jab this time last year, the week after he got HSP. So I'm nervous that these vaccines will trigger it again. Dr. S. had a niece that also got it last year and she said she researched the link between vaccines and HSP and there's only one slight mention but that Jack didn't get that particular vaccine. And then she also said what I know anyway - that the medical field has no idea what triggers HSP. Well like I said, I feel a bit silly about it all since I have friends going through a lot worse worry that this kind of thing right now.

So anyway, after a full day of school and then injections, Jack had soccer practice in the rain and then homework. That seems like too much to me. He's only five! He did get his soccer strip tonight though (ready for his first real game this weekend!). His strip is black & white. They are, after all, The Penguins!

My day was bonkers as usual. Got up at 5 am, drove 3 hours to South Point, (which is a pretty little town on the Ohio River) and did some work then drove back. I love driving through SE Ohio, especially along the river. It's sad to see how bad some people have it, living in the hills, but just the most gorgeous scenery. Bittersweet would be the word. Best of all about these trips, I get a bit of alone time to energise my thoughts for work, daydream about opportunity and plan. I love it.

One thing I did do today was go into Kohl's and buy a $50 pair of Levis jeans that I LOVE LOVE LOVE. Then Linda asked me if I had lost weight and Craig said I looked lovely. I haven't spent $50 on a pair of jeans in 5 years (age of Jack - not a coincidence I feel) And you know what - it feels great. I'm not feeling guilty at all. Gulp.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Another Little Leap of Independence

Jack can have free breakfast at school but hasn't been doing so far. This morning however he decided that he would, so off we went a little earlier than usual so that he'd have time for a bite to eat before the tardy bell went off at 8.25am (I do love the name "tardy bell" by the way, as we just used the name "school bell" when I was a kid in England).

As we neared the lunch room I could see he was getting a bit nervous and he did a little grab of my sleeve and looked at me imploringly, so I told him that Danny & I would stand near him until he got his food. I was watching him as he stood in line, getting more and more agitated knowing that he'd have to tell the lunch lady what he wanted and he was wringing his little hands by the time she asked him. But he got himself a muffin and a juice box and punched in his number in the machine and off we went, looking for a pal to sit next to.

He spied 3 boys sitting together and he approached them and I was nervous too by this point thinking "please say hi to him!" and then they made room for him, right in the middle of the bench and he squeezed in and one boy said "Hi Jack!" and he looked at me and smiled so I whispered "bye" and we left. I was in bits the whole way back and had to fight off tears. What a brave boy he was and how great that he has friends. I have a feeling that my morning time with him just got a bit shorter and I'm glad for him but sad for me.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

Last Friday night we had yet another trip to Children's Hospital urgent care after the boys were wrestling and Danny got a dislocated elbow. The doctor got it popped back in and he's perfectly okay, but it certainly didn't tame the rambunctious behaviour like I hoped it would. Bickering and tussling are par for the course in my house. It's got so bad now that if we buy them anything (toys, food, clothes) we have to buy them the same thing or they'll spend hours squabbling. They even stake a claim on drinking cups while I'm filling them up!

I'm sure this is normal but gosh it's draining. More than anything I want my boys to be best friends and take care of one another through life but right now they can't even share a plate of cheese and crackers. They are both vocal and independent and maybe that's why they won't give an inch.

I wonder when the bickering stops? Hopefully before my sister and me - I think we were in our teens before we actually liked each other!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Piece de Resistance

After another busy day, Craig goes to the shops about 5.30pm and I am with the kids, intent on doing laundry and finally getting round to bisselling the front room carpet & couch, when my friend Michelle phoned and said she was at the park with her kids - so we all stopped our current doings and left to go and join them. And I also took Cody along.

It was lovely to see them, and me and Michelle had a good chat about her recent surgery for cancer which she has blogged about. Jack & Lauren were off doing their thing and Danny & Michael were chums. It's great to watch them all. Then it all wet bonkers. Cody had 3 poos and I had no proper bags and he was pulling on his lead then Danny started being a nightmare (tired) and had a potty training incident in his pants, then Jack had some kind of domestic with his buddy Lauren, and so it was time to go home. Me & Michelle hugged and said see-you-soon and off I went home, hoping Craig was back from shopping.

When I got home I ignored Cody begging for a treat and Jack wanting 100% of my attention and took Danny in the office to the changing table. I was sweating and all kerflustered and wanting to just have some peace. I'm sure you know the feeling. THEN I took his undies off and as I pulled them down over his knees they twisted and did a catapult thing and a little ball of poo hit me in the cheek! And I laughed because it actually brought the whole thing into perspective and actually it just made me laugh for no reason. Having a ball of poo fired at you isn't as bad as you think, honest.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

An End of Summer Saturday

Good grief I'm tired. It was my turn to get up this morning with the kids and they chose to make it a nice early rise then terrorised me for a couple of hours.

Then I went and stood on the sidelines of a football game for 4 hours in 100 degree weather and thought I was going to die. Seriously. Especially because I had on long pants and proper shoes with socks. When I got home I was nearly purple-coloured with the heat stroke.

So we took the kids to the local outdoor pool and swam from 6-8pm tonight and it was WONDERFUL. All the stress of today just blew away.

Then we got home and finally got the kids to bed and then the electric went off.

Then it came back on & we watched a film and it was ok. A Bourne rip-off at best.

Now Craig is collapsed in bed and I'm not far behind. Just one more glass of wine to unwind and I must stroke Tutz (who's sitting beside me) as she's been a complete basket-case since we went on holiday and if I don't show her attention she's likely to go off and crap in a bizarre place that I won't find for a couple of days (really - that's what she's doing right now. It's like hide and seek with cat poo). Sigh.

Thank goodness it's a long weekend for Labor Day!

Danny being a cannon-ball and Jack doing handstands ...