Saturday, June 17, 2017

spafikik.

Auggie struggles to say specific. It comes out spafikik. And I die laughing.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Interview with August, 6 years, 10 months

What is your favorite food? Umm..... my favorite food would be..... I'm thinking... everything.
What is your favorite song to sing?  probablllly... Yellow Submarine. Oh, .... "I me mine" actually
What is your favorite song to listen to? I don't quite have one. Classical or Beatles
What is your favorite movie? Trolls or the Narnia movies
If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be? Probably a cheetah
What is your favorite color? Red
If you could pick one vegetable for us to never eat again, what would it be?  um... mama? are mushrooms a vegetable. Oh, then MUSHROOMS
What is your favorite book?  um.... probably the perdayn chronicles and the chronicles of narnia. Do you know how to spell perdayn? P-r-y-d-a-i-n. 
Where would you like to go on a vacation? probably...um...... Puerto Rico again
Who is your best friend? Brixton
What do you like to do with this friend? Make potions and play Ten
What is your favorite outfit? ahhhh.... probably a red shirt and ... jeans if it's winter usually
Can you tell me a joke that you like? Why is 6 afraid of 7?..that one. That's a good one, right? it's kind of funny. 'Cuz 7 ate nine.
Fairies or Princesses?   uh... fairies
Favorite Flower? um.... the snow drop or maybe the rose. Oh! Tulips!
Favorite Bird? Chickadees and blue jays
Favorite Butterfly?  Monarch
Favorite Season?  Summer and winter
Favorite work at School? ummmmm ... reading comprehension
Favorite Dinosaur? Brachiosaurus 
What do you think are three words that describe you?  ummmmm... nice. snuggly. talkative.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A chef, an inventor, and an artist
Anything else you want to share? mmm... my favorite type of art? my favorite type of art would be making puppets. my favorite piano piece is Fur Elise. **whispers: that's my favorite** Oh, my other favorite would be probably the Darth Vador theme march. 

See also: August at 4 years 10 mos
See also: August at almost 3.

See also: August at 13 mos

Interview with Jorge, 10 years 4.5 months

What is your favorite food?  mmmm......does that count dessert to? oooooooohhhh... it's so hard, I have a lot of different foods. pasta.
What is your favorite song to sing? hmmm... the pikachu song.
What is your favorite song to listen to? The pikachu song.
What is your favorite movie?  Can I count TV shows, too?  I kind of like Star Wars
If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?  hm. A human.
What is your favorite color? green
If you could pick one vegetable for us to never eat again, what would it be?  mushrooms
What is your favorite book?  oh.... hm. I'm not actually sure cuz I'm.... The Warriors, I guess. I just read those all over again.
Where would you like to go on a vacation? Guatemala
Who is your best friend? Jasper and Brian
What do you like to do with this friend? Play Pokemon
What is your favorite outfit? Anything on top of my clean laundry
Can you tell me a joke that you like?  hm. I'm thinking... I like all jokes, except daddy's.
Fairies or Princesses?   neither!
Favorite Flower? Dandelion
Favorite Bird? Eagle
Favorite Butterfly? Probably those little white ones that we see
Favorite Season? Fall
Favorite work at School? Geometry
Favorite Dinosaur? T-Rex
What do you think are three words that describe you?  Energetic, Athletic, and Awesome
What do you want to be when you grow up? cook.
Anything else you want to share? nah.

Jorge age 8
Jorge age 6

Jorge age 4

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Interview with Maryna, age 19 and 2 weeks

What is your favorite food?  um, Thai food
What is your favorite song to sing? Despacito
What is your favorite song to listen to? 2U
What is your favorite movie? Hunger Games
If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be? Cat
What is your favorite color? Pink
If you could pick one vegetable for us to never eat again, what would it be?  Broccoli
What is your favorite book?  Hunger Games
Where would you like to go on a vacation? France
Who is your best friend? Sinedu
What do you like to do with this friend? Watch movies?
What is your favorite outfit? pants with holes in them, shirt, fuzzy vest
Can you tell me a joke that you like? no
Fairies or Princesses?   princesses
Favorite Flower? roses
Favorite Bird? [shrug and head shake]
Favorite Butterfly? [shrug]
Favorite Season? summer
Favorite work at School? Gym
Favorite Dinosaur? blah.
What do you think are three words that describe you?  [shrugs...]  adventurous, determined, smart
What do you want to be when you grow up? translator
Anything else you want to share? no.

An Interview with Katie, age 12

What is your favorite food?  Tacos
What is your favorite song to sing? Anything, I guess.
What is your favorite song to listen to? Same. Anything.
What is your favorite movie? I don't know.
If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be? Probably a cat
What is your favorite color? lavender or turquoise or silver
If you could pick one vegetable for us to never eat again, what would it be? [looooong pause] I have no idea.  
What is your favorite book?  Can I say 'all of them'?
Where would you like to go on a vacation? Puerto Rico, Spain, or France
Who is your best friend? Probably Anna
What do you like to do with this friend? Talk and play games
What is your favorite outfit? Tshirt and sweatpants, except in the summer, then it's a skort.
Can you tell me a joke that you like? [shrug] not one of daddy's
Fairies or Princesses?   Fairies
Favorite Flower? Probably lilies
Favorite Bird? I really like cardinals
Favorite Butterfly? Probably monarch. wait can I say a moth? then Madagascar sunset moth...they're so pretty.
Favorite Season? Spring
Favorite work at School? Math workbooks
Favorite Dinosaur? Brachiosaurus I guess.  or Pterodactyl
What do you think are three words that describe you?   smart, bossy, and... [long pause] crafty I guess? 
What do you want to be when you grow up? Actress or fashion designer
Anything else you want to share? [shrug.]
As you can see, 12 has hit with the vague non-committal answers...

See also:
Katie, age 10
Katie, age 8
Katie, age 6

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Repeat repeat...

Still here. Still in every kind of waiting.

Tenure? waiting.
Talking? waiting.
Summer weather? waiting.
This wart on my foot? waiting again (with occasional wailing)
Figuring out what we're going to do for Katie's school next year since she graduates this week? waiting.
Trying to find a 3rd car? waiting.

The last two years have felt like 100 repeats of the same frustrating, semi-decent-but-almost-better week over and over and over. Every single week I think: "I'm sure at least some of this will be resolved within a week or two..." And yet, here we are. 2.5 years home. Two years since I submitted for tenure. Waiting, waiting, waiting, delaying any actual confrontations or decisions, hoping for some kind of (positive) resolution.

And so it's hard to see the little progress steps that we do make.  Maryna turned 19 this week. She had prom 2 weeks ago. She got a job nearly 2 months ago. Katie sang a beautiful solo at her concert about two weeks ago (Francesca Batastelli's "He knows my name").  She's in Canada for a French immersion trip with her class this week. August is crazy brilliant at math. He never stops talking. Jorge has grown so much and no longer drives me completely bonkers with his decision making every hour of the day (maybe a few days a week, but infinite improvement). He's actually so patient and helpful and forward-thinking now that I sometimes feel like I don't even know this boy. I'm excited to get to know him.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Parenting (some navel gazing and thinking that no one asked me about)

"Just wait, it gets worse. Enjoy it now."

If you're a parent, you've heard that about whatever stage of life your kid is in, and it's crap, really.

My theory on parenting difficulty is this: the average never changes but the variance does. Picture parenting difficulty as a graph over time. In my experience (as a parent and as the kid to some parents), it looks like this:

Babies are hard, but predictably and managably so. They're the marathons of parenting. Every single second there's something going on that requires your parenting decision making, but mostly those decisions are not terribly difficult. "Should I feed my child again? Should I change the diaper? Should I keep mosquitoes and bees and spiders off of my kid?" Yes. Yes you should.  And if your kid is upset or things seem difficult, parents of babies are given a lot of sympathy (and annoying free advice, but that's going to be a constant).

As the kids get older, the difficulty starts to vary. Sometimes they're super easy ("Look, he's been coloring for an hour! Look, she's totally happy just doing her Legos!) and the rewards are higher, but when they aren't easy, it's also a bigger deal with more judgment (tantrums at the store, running into the street, hitting and biting other kids, etc.)

As you move through elementary school and into high school, the variance just gets more extreme. Easy days or weeks are just magical but the hard stuff gets uglier and more intense, too. Failing classes, life-changing decisions with friends and loves and substance abuse, car crashes and milestone accomplishments. Parents and kids are judged based on these extremes and frequencies.  And parents of college and adult kids see the biggest possible challenges spaced out between (hopefully) longer periods of smooth sailing.

And as the kids get older, these challenges become harder to answer with confidence. What should be done about those failing grades? How much should we interfere with consequences of bad decisions like failing a test or losing a job or getting a ticket? How much should we help with arguments between friends, and if we do help, what is the right thing to even suggest? Questions about life, love, friendships, career goals... let's be honest, we're still trying to figure this stuff out for ourselves! When dealing with things like "Should I ignore this bully or confront them?" it's easy to see why we mourn for the days of the obvious: "Don't hit your sister."

But I think it's unfair to call it harder. It's different. Parenting Maryna is definitely different in its challenges, risks, highs, and lows than the current stages of parenting Katie or Jorge or Auggie.  They all come down to the same main issue, though, across time: "How much do I let go and let them figure this out; and how much do I try to fix it for them?" Whether it's a baby fussing to sleep or a 5th grader worrying about a last minute project or a teenager balancing too many responsibilities and some risky choices or an adult child losing a job, the difficulty of wanting to help while raising an individual is a constant balancing act.