Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Last Saturday, Thing One was tripped while making a full-speed run at goal during a soccer game.  Both boys went down, Thing One landing heavily on his left wrist.  He nodded when the ref asked if he was ok.  But he wasn't.  I could tell by the way he was holding his arm for the remainder of the game.  Thank all the saints his wrist wasn't broken, most likely just (ha!) sprained.  After a week or so he had most of the full range of motion back in the joint and had stopped wearing his protective wrist brace, although he did say that when he raised his hand in class yesterday the entire class cringed at the bruising that still stretches halfway down to his elbow.

Then, two days ago, he was in another on-field collision.  Legitimate, nothing dirty, just an opposing striker trying to score and Thing One the centerback hell-bent on stopping him.  The other boy got up, but Thing One did not.  He was down on the field, curled on his side.  Since the ref can't stop play for an injury (soccer having a horrible track record of flopping) the boys on his team were screaming at the kid with the ball to kick it out of bounds.  The second it cleared the sideline, the boys were kneeling by Thing One and two of them put their arms around his shoulders and helped him limp off the field while we watched in horror, having no idea what was hurt or how badly but guessing it was his ankle.

For injuries not requiring an ambulance, it's not cricket for parents to approach the bench during a game.  We sent Petunia over to scout out the situation, and he told her that he'd been kicked in the ankle and was doing okay but wouldn't be playing anymore that game.  The best of a bunch of bad alternatives, to be sure, but his ankle was still swollen and black and blue when we got home and got a look at it.

At this level, the kids aren't man-sized, but they are big enough.  Thing One is about 5'8" and 130 pounds and a good number of the kids out there are bigger than he is.  When two of them crash, or when even one of them hits the ground, there's a lot of force involved and somebody is going to get hurt.  Force equals mass times acceleration and all that.  Physics is a bitch.  And I am going to be spending a lot of time over the next few years watching my babies get hurt and hating every goddamned minute of it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


For those who care about soccer, it was a big deal that Wayne Rooney was dropped to the bench for Man U yesterday.  (If you've never heard of him, don't worry about it.)  My eldest was all agog with the news.  Then he said to me, 'Well, you know, he IS getting old."

The man is 30.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Possibly The Strangest Question I Have Ever Asked A Grown Man

"How far do you have to walk until your egg hatches?"

Two take-home messages from this:

1) Context in conversation is everything
2) I don't even have to make fun of Pokemon playing.  All I have to do is ask a legitimate question (see above) and it is done for me.  Especially when I am addressing a man who is well on the far side of the AARP cutoff and there are no children in sight!  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mostly Good News

Well, we're now up to our *eighth* offer of help to get Thing One to his game on Saturday now.  Pretty damned amazing.  Love this team.  Apparently he had a good practice tonight but I didn't see any of it because I was in the car in the parking lot with Thing Two (parked under a streetlight with the roof shade open so we could see) helping him with his math homework.  Oh, the joy of 6th grade math.  Ugh.  He's a fifth grader but in high math, which is 6th grade math.  We spent a good hour multiplying decimals, him doing the problems and me checking them.  I miss the days when checking the kids' math homework did not require half an hour and a calculator!

Thing Two had his second session with his former preschool teacher this afternoon.  She's trained to teach pretty much everything from K-8, both general ed and special ed.  She's the one who finally managed to reach him in preschool, and I was overjoyed that she was able to add him to her tutoring schedule this year.  They are focusing on reading comprehension but also adding in the social and behavioral piece.  The only downside is that this looks like it is going to be just like obedience training for the dog, in the sense that you have an hour or so a week with a professional trainer but that this hour is spent teaching *you* how to train your dog.  The actual training of the dog takes place outside of class.  I mean no disrespect to my son whatsoever in comparing him to the dog, hopefully it goes without saying...I only bring this up because he seems to be getting a ton of homework every week from her and we have to juggle this into the schedule with everything else.  Oh well.  She worked one near-miracle with him already, and if she can get him better-positioned for middle school than he is now by the end of the year, all will be worth it in the end.

In other news, Himself is still in Amsterdam for work, I managed to get myself stung by yellow jackets four or five times in rapid succession while geocaching yesterday (ouch!) and both of the younger kids did very well on the standardized tests they took last spring.  Hallelujah.  No surprise for Petunia, but Thing Two was actually within spitting distance of "normal' (whatever that is) in Language Arts for the second year in a row--utterly amazing given his language deficits.  He scored solidly in the normal range in math and actually blew the doors off the science test...a score of 250 put you in the highest category for results and he got a *271.*  There's a fine brain under those crossed language wires, yessiree.

Off to bed.  Very glad it's Thursday.  See you on the flip side.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

As I've mentioned a time or two, our schedule is pretty crazy. I spent part of last Sunday hyperventilating while I wrote it all out on the whiteboard I keep in the kitchen, since both Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning were physically impossible to accomplish with one parent and one car (Himself is out of town on business through Saturday afternoon.)  I *hate* asking for help, but I had no choice.  

One text, and Petunia had a ride home from Girls on the Run on Thursday afternoon.  One email to the other parents on Thing One's soccer team, and I had five, count 'em, FIVE separate offers to bring him to their Saturday game, which conflicts with Thing Two's Saturday game.  Including two offers from women I can't 100% guarantee that I would recognize if they were standing next to me on the sideline, given that I am still trying to figure out who all the kids are and which parents go with which kid.  (That says a lot about how unbelievably nice the parents on this new team of Thing One's are, by the way.  Man, did he-- and we-- fall into a pile of roses with the recent club switch.)

So, for the time being at least, all is resolved.  And I continue to be grateful to the universe for surrounding me with good people.  Not something I take for granted.  

Friday, September 16, 2016


The craziness, it is here.

Soccer practice four evenings a week: three days a week for Thing Two including keeper training, two each for Thing One and Petunia.  Soccer games: between the kids, three on Saturdays, two on Sundays.  Thing Two has tutoring two days a week right after school; one session of speech, one of reading comprehension.  Add in taekwondo when we can get there and a few other things and it is a recipe for insanity.  For all of us.

Livin' the American Dream of overscheduling.  Ugh.

Friday, September 9, 2016


I am just fascinated by people.  What they look like, how they choose to present themselves.  What they choose to share about themselves.  Especially when what they share about themselves blows my preconceived notions about them all to hell on a fast train.

Take a guy I've known casually for three or four years now.  Looks and dresses like your standard East Coast preppy WASP.  He's a successful broker, drives a BMW.  His wife drives a Porsche and spends all her free time at the tennis club.  They have two boys who always wear collared shirts and like to play golf.  Despite the obnoxious picture I'm sure that my words are drawing of this couple, they are lovely people.  I just hadn't spent much time talking to either of them beyond the superficial and would have bet dollars to doughnuts that both of them were raised in privilege.

Then, one recent hot sunny afternoon, I found myself sitting next to the guy for a couple of hours.  Turns out he's 110% self-made.  Child of divorce, dad is a plumber, stepdad is an electrician, mother is a real piece of work.  All kinds of tension with siblings and mother to this day.  He grew up in a ritzy area but on the wrong side of the tracks.  Nobody in his family had been to college, nobody cared about his grades, sure as hell nobody was expecting him to go to college or would have had the first clue how to help him get in even if they'd cared.  He worked afternoons as a landscaper in high school, nights cleaning up at a club.  Worked his way up to the DJ booth and helping to manage the club because he always showed up for work.  Took some classes at the local community college (paid for this himself, of course) and did well after a rough start.  Prof told him he was in way over his head, though.  Didn't sit well with him; he put a chip on his shoulder and that was it.

After two years, he transferred to a four-year school.  He watched all the kids whose parents were driving them to school and helping them move in and swore that if he ever had kids, he'd be that kind of parent.  He'd driven himself to school alone.  Somewhere along the line, he met another student who was a business major.  Asked what kind of jobs that would get you.  Liked the answer, asked the kid what classes he needed to take and then took them.

Graduated from college, started out on the bottom rung.  100% commission sales job.  He was married by then, wife (from not too different a background) was working retail.  They scrimped and save to buy their first house.  When they finally did, and he proudly told his parents, his mom asked him who the hell he thought he was.

Both of my parents are college graduates.  They put themselves through school, and wanted my brother and me to have it easier than they did.  There was never any question of whether we were going to college, and they paid for it.  They deal was that we had to take it seriously and work hard.  That was it.

I did work hard, and I did succeed. But success was mine to lose from the start.  Life set him up to fail, and the fact that he ended up succeeding anyway makes for one hell of a story.  And this, my friends, is why I like it when people talk to me.  You never know what you'll learn.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

We're in that in-between age on babysitters. Thing Two and Petunia aren't ready to be left alone for more than a short while in daylight.  Thing One can be left at home for more extended periods, with and without his siblings, but he really doesn't like being home at night sans adults. I get "Where are you?" texts from him every five minutes after dark. The problem is trying to find a sitter who can watch a large thirteen year-old boy in addition to his younger siblings!  Most high schoolers are too close to him in age and size to be legitimate authority figures, and adult sitters are hard to come by.  Who guards the not-quite-fully-fledged guardian?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Fairies At The Bottom Of The Garden

The only good thing about the amount of driving kids around I do is that sometimes I have a meaningful conversation with one of the kids in the car.  Today, it was Thing One.  I had to drive him to and from a friend's bar mitzvah, so he had lots of questions about the Jewish faith.  Not that I'm any kind of expert on that, but I tried to explain at least on a general level.  That led to him asking how interfaith marriages work for reasons I don't remember offhand.  Told him that there are probably as many answers to that question as there are interfaith couples.  

I know of one in which the mother never converted but her kids took her husband's religion and they all attend his church now.  In another, the older daughter took the father's faith and the younger the mother's, so they split down the middle every Sunday.  In one of the sadder stories I've ever heard, one man I know who was raised Orthodox Jewish married a Catholic woman against the wishes of his parents and they actually sat shiva for him.  He was dead to them until they died decades later.  He and his wife had one child and raised her as an atheist.  Can't say as I blame them.  Thing One couldn't begin to wrap his head around the concept of being so upset with your adult child's choices that you'd rather pretend that he is dead for the rest of your life than accept them, and I have to say I'm glad about that.  There's enough misery in the world already. 

School Logic

Yes, I’m still alive. All is pretty well, even...it’s just been crazy, and now it’s been so long since I posted that it seems like whatever ...