Saturday, April 25, 2015

Funny But Also Sort Of Sad

Today is Opening Day for Thing Two's baseball season.  He's had practices, but no games yet.   He's still pretty new to the sport, as well...he played two years ago for the first time as a first grader and then not again until this season, so he's a little shaky on the fundamentals.  Including the parts of a baseball uniform, as it turns out.

Not that the last part is really his fault, mind you.  Due to the jam-packedness of our after school schedule this spring, every time this child has had a baseball practice, it has been immediately after a soccer practice.  As in, the eat-your-dinner-in-the car-on-the-way-to-baseball, play-baseball-in-your-soccer-cleats kind of immediately after.  So, when the boy was getting dressed in his baseball uniform this morning (NOT after soccer, for once), I shouldn't have been surprised that he asked me where his shinguards were!  The poor kid has still been wearing his soccer shinguards for every baseball practice because there wasn't time to take them off in between (and, in truth, because I figured that they might help keep him from taking a line drive to the shins, as long as we were making a virtue of necessity) so he legitimately had no idea that shinguards are not normally worn while playing baseball!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Why Mothers Drink

Take a look at the picture below.  There's a whiteboard in the kitchen on which I keep track of the kids' weekday activities, and this is a shot of the Tuesday schedule.  Observe that there are three activities, one for each kid, all of which start at 6PM.

Of these three, one is at a park in our township, one is at a park toward the near edge of the next township over, and the aikido class is at the far end of the next township over.  That is to say, there is no possible way of getting all three of them to where they need to be on time on Tuesdays short of cloning not only myself, but also my car.



Sunday, April 19, 2015

Yes, I Am Old, But I Am Not *THAT* Old

Yesterday was a beautiful day, and I took the two younger kids to the playground. At one point I was on the swings with them, all three of us in a row.  My otherwise beloved daughter asked me--in all seriousness, mind you--if swings had been invented yet when I was a kid. 

Good thing she's cute!  No danger of my ego getting out of hand with her around.  :)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Long Time Coming

Thing Two went to a friend's birthday party last night.  By the time I got him to the friend's house, a number of little boys were already running around the yard yelling and chasing each other and generally having a grand old time.  The second Thing Two got out of the car, one of the other boys yelled, [Thing Two], you're on our team.  Come on!" and he was off to join the fun just like that.

No delay in pulling him into the game.  No "you're on the other team."   For a kid who has always had significant social delays that are secondary to his language processing issues, this was so huge I wanted to cry right there.  The other kids are used to his idiosyncrasies, no doubt, but the social differences that mark him as separate from the "normal" kids are getting smaller and smaller as he grows and clearly he has friends in spite of them, thanks be to all the angels.  

Friday, April 17, 2015

And So It Begins

Read an interesting article the other day called "Dear Well-Meaning (But Ignorant) Parents: This What Your Teens Are Really Doing On The Internet."  Written by a young high school teacher, it lists a bunch of apps and services that many of her teenaged students are using and goes on to say that she'd almost guarantee most parents haven't even heard of one or more of them.  Granted, my eldest is 11, but she's right...a couple of them were news to me entirely and most are only peripherally on my radar.

It's unrealistic to expect even preteens like Thing One to be completely off social media these days, so we're easing him in.  He has an email account (linked to my iPad so I can monitor all messages) and the ability to text (but we have the passcode for his phone and the right to inspect his texts at any time.)  Most of his friends use Instagram, but I think I inadvertently put the fear of God into him with the discussion about pictures lasting forever in cyberspace and he decided on his own that he doesn't want that responsibility yet.  Fair enough.  So, I thought we were doing okay with the first tentative forays into social media...all text and email monitoring was coming up clear except that I lose brain cells every time I look at his text messages with his buddies, all of which are dingbat boy stuff and full of emojis.  But then I happened to look at his email inbox last night and saw five messages in a row from an app called Kamcord, which I'd never heard of and wasn't mentioned in that article, either.  Most disturbingly, every one of the five was an email informing him that somebody else whose name I didn't recognize was now following him on an account I didn't know he had.

As you might expect, we had a conversation first thing this morning.  There is a game he loves playing called Goat Simulator (yes, you get to go around the world controlling a goat--don't ask, just see above regarding dingbat boy stuff.)  Apparently you have the ability to record the things that your goat does in this game and post videos of this (Kamcord is the service) for the amusement of other people whose idea of fun is watching animated goats wreak havoc online.  We clarified that none of these videos are inappropriate and that none of his personal or identifiable information is available on this service.  We also had a long chat about the need to talk to a parent before establishing accounts of this sort.  This particular one seems harmless enough, but my radar is now *really* up, and my resolve to continue all monitoring is redoubled.  I'm glad that this stuff wasn't even around when I was a kid, but protecting mine while they develop good judgment of their own is clearly going to be a big job.

Friday, April 10, 2015

I'm Officially Hooked

Went to my second aikido class tonight.  Only three students this time, different instructor, and a whole different experience.  Much more explanation, which helped a lot: clearly Fridays are going to be better for beginners like me.  The pace was slower and I actually felt like I had time to figure out a technique (more or less, anyway) before we moved on to the next one.  Hell of an ab workout, too...get knocked down, roll back up, get knocked down, roll back up, repeat.  If I can't do an effective back breakfall at my next taekwondo belt test, it won't be for lack of recent practice!  The two styles are very different and I'm going to have a hard time leaving all my taekwondo muscle memory at the door when I'm practicing aikido, but it is truly amazing how easy it is for me to bring down a man twice my size when I do it right.  The whole concept is that you get out of the way of the attack and then use the attacker's force and momentum and what they actually *want* to do against them, adding little to no force of your own.  Really, really cool.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On The Kindness Of Strangers Who Are Clearly A LONG Way from Home

The minivan was parked by the side of the road with its hazard lights blinking and I was sitting on the guardrail near it, phone in hand, when the car pulled up next to me.  The first thing I noticed was the Oregon plates, which are (to put it mildly) not often seen in my neck of the woods.  A man stuck his head out the driver's side window and asked if I was okay, which startled me, since I was very much okay and it hadn't occurred to me until that moment that I looked like a damsel in distress!  The man very kindly said that if it was his wife, he'd want somebody to make sure that she was okay in my situation, then drove off.

As it happens, I was sitting on the guardrail because I had just found a geocache magnetically attached to the back of it (using the GPS receiver in the phone) and was in the process of signing the log.  A friend and I were doing what's called a power trail, which is a series of caches placed close together for easy finding, in this case all along one road about 600 feet apart.  Since power trails often require a lot of hopping in and out of the car, usually one person drives and the other does the hopping; my friend was still in the minivan and had just pulled over to the side of the road so I could grab the cache for us.  Things were not at all what they seemed, in other words, but I can still be grateful for the thoughtfulness of 'left coasters' who were concerned when they saw a woman sitting by the side of the road.  Apparently chivalry is not dead!