Thursday, September 30, 2010


It's been grey and rainy, so after we splashing a few pubbles, we hunkered down and played indoors. Yesterday and today we did a bit of painting, and this was the first time Pumpkin was included. He LOVED it as you can plainly see!

Friday, September 17, 2010

She is a really big girl...

After all my searching for answers about preschool and finally deciding to just not do it, something new dropped into my lap. I was searching online for something and up popped a link to a children's center about a mile from the house. I had previously discounted it based on the little buses in the parking lot - I assumed it was the same run of the mill standard child care machine as all the other ones. Well, I clicked the link and read on. To my amazement, I saw words like unconditional, respect, consumerism (as in "bad for kids"), and references to Rudolf Dreikurs and Vygotsky. As I continued to read, I saw the tuition info and it was not crazy at all. So the next morning I called and was greeted by a sweet woman who said we could stop by anytime. Now if you have not yet stepped into the world of preschool, you don't know that this is unheard of. Most places want you to come to their open house so they can be prepared for you. To have an open invite was a really welcoming sign.

I stopped in with the kids and got the tour. All of the staff were nice. Whether teachers or administration, they were concerned about Peanuts reaction to the classroom since there were "big kids" using it at the time and they wanted to be sure she knew that other little kids like her would be in her class. The facilities were clean and tidy and preschool like. As we talked about their special programs, the staff person said they had a TV studio so kids could make their own commercials. That way, they will understand that if they can do it, anyone else can too, and they will be more likely to understand that TV is fake and commercials are trying to trick you into buying things. What? Did she really say that? So then I was pretty sure we were in, since although the school is not as holistic as I might like, they are clearly open to a new path. At the end of our visit, the woman who would be Peanuts teacher arrived with a new kitchen set in a big box. When she told Peanut about it, her eyes got big as saucers. She talked about it for days afterwards which was my clue that she would be attending this preschool.

She had her first day yesterday. We kept it really low key as did the teachers, and she made a nice transition with a bit of nervousness. She later told me that she said "hi" to the other kids and she sat next to "the girl with the ribbons" at snack. She actually spoke in the classroom, and participated in most of the activities for the day. As for me, I almost didn't know what to do with myself. Having only one child to care for is really super easy when you are used to two! Pumpkin and I went to the grocery store, came home and cooked and played, and then took a nice walk to pick up the Peanut. Pumpkin was funny - he walked around the house looking for his big sister and calling her. When I asked if he was ready to go get her, he said "uh-huh!" and ran for the door. He was really missing her!

So a new era has begun. I know the first day of school was way harder for me than it was for her - it took all I had to keep it together until I got to the car. Then I cried to Honey. But I had seen her already playing with another little girl before we left and I knew it was good for both of us that she have more social opportunities away from me. She wouldn't let me take a picture at school, but she did allow a few before we got there - here's my cutie patootie!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Disintegration of the day

I spent most of the past week visiting a friend and her family up north. She had recently moved from here, and Peanut is great friends with her little boy. So yes, I got on an airplane with a one and three year old, rented a car, and got us there in one piece. It was smooth sailing, and I discovered that you can still rely on the kindness of strangers. I also discovered that rental car companies can be very accommodating (plug for Hertz inserted here). I got upgraded to a minvan, the shuttle bus driver got out and got all of our stuff in for me including Peanut in her stroller, and on the way back they waives my gas fee and drove us to the terminal in our car since we were so late we couldn't wait for the shuttle. Love them!

Once we reached our destination, we had a good time spent exploring and just hanging out, but man did I get spoiled. When two women are in a house, we can tag team a bit. Someone keeps everyone busy while someone else makes lunch. And for me, Pumpkin is so active and mobile that I really need to keep an eye on him at all times, so having another set of eyes was really wonderful. I could relax a little, play a little, and just chill. Not to mention that someone else cooked our meals all week - oh heavenly! Of course, there were still stressful moments and some difficult bedtimes and the kids needed some help negotiating play, but having another mom there helped me to be calmer and more flexible than I may ordinarily have been.

I think this may not have completely hit home until this afternoon though. We arrived home yesterday, and this morning we had our regular HMN playgroup here at the house. It was a busy day with lots of moms and kids so I had plenty of company, extra hands and eyes, and could walk inside to make lunch or go to the bathroom and know my little ones were OK. This afternoon continued to be busy, with some painting, baking, and creating a birthday party with Peanut's girls in the playroom. Pumpkin took his usual minuscule nap, while Peanut was having non of the napping, and of course, everyone continued to become more and more tired and crabby as they day went on. by 4pm, I was totally done. They were at each others throats, intermittently crying and whining, and had eaten their way through a small picnic cooler of food.

In order to keep calm, I tossed them into the stroller and went for a walk. 40 minutes later, I had a better grip even though much of the walk was spent listening to Peanut whine about her shoes or how she wanted a snack or how it was too sunny. Honestly, how many moms have thought what i was thinking - dammit just take an effing nap!!!! I'm glad to report that while I vehemently thought it, those words did not pass my lips. I did however, tell Peanut that starting tomorrow, we were re instituting "quiet time" in her room, no ifs, ands or buts.

I got home and began dinner preparations, so we could eat as soon as Honey came in. I knew the kids were exhausted and wanted to get a meal in them before they passed out. Thank goodness I did that, since they both barely made it past 6:30 before falling asleep. I can't believe that I could hardly survive three hours alone with the kids today. Makes me wish I had some kind of communal housing arrangement really. Well, tomorrow is another day - with Quiet Time.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

There's Always Next Year

Anyone who gardens knows that we planters can't control the urge to plan for next year. We'll be planting seeds in the early spring and already thinking about what we will do differently next year - We'll start earlier, have more varieties, only plant that one kind of bean, build a trellis over the winter, move the beds in a better's a constant thing.

I've been planning all kinds of neatly organized, weed free garden plantings for next year, while I stare at the sad overgrown patch that I continue to dive into every few days for more produce. I had planned on a few fall crops, and have actually planted some kale and snow peas already, but my fall garden plans are coming to a close. We currently have a huge infestation of squash bugs and these other red/orange bugs that I have yet to identify. I've been beating them back a bit with some vinegar and soapy sprays, but they have a hold on these plants like nobodies business and my yields are getting smaller and smaller.

So today, I took the first step towards next year - I began fall clean up a bit early, and started pulling all the "too far gone" infested plants. It was quite sad, but it had to be done. It looks like our cherry tomatoes are continuing to do fine - the Roma's are a mess. We have a few late peppers, and I pulled up our first parsnips today! So although the cucumbers and melons have bit the dust, we are still getting some vittles. We did have a lot of cantaloupe plants which did really well at the beginning of the summer until the squash bugs got them. Not one melon came out of the garden, but we did get one that self sowed under our composter. We opened it today and it was pretty good - not as sweet as I like, but decent for a volunteer!
We also have a few pumpkins - one came off the vine today, and there are two or three more in the garden. I pulled the last of the beets and turnips, and a few carrots, and I think our string beans are on their last legs too.
So what does next year hold? Well, raised beds will be the answer to my inability to weed large pathways. I'm planning four or five beds with a streamlined veggie selection. There was too much planted this year and it was hard to keep it all maintained and separated as the garden grew. In my ideal vision, the garden beds are around a little patio area with a bistro table or bench, and they are neat and tidy with trellises and stakes that are functional but look reasonable as well. We'll do lettuce and spinach again as we really ate well in the spring this year. I'll plant more string beans since the kids and I love them, and Honey has grown to enjoy them (I think - he eats them, so I'm making an assumption here). I'd like to do cucumbers and tomatoes, and maybe set aside an area of the yard for vining plants like pumpkins, squash, and melons. We had way too many patty pan squash this year - although they have been really mild and surprisingly sweet, and a bit too much in the greens department. As I plan, my small plans become bigger and bigger....I can already see it happening. A terraced area for an English herb garden with a boxwood hedge....

Maybe the following year.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

One Completed Thought

I was reading an article the other day, and I - oh honey careful for that - thought of you and your hunt for - is that mine or yours? Oh no, that's mine. Coming sweetie! Oh I see you wanted that toy and Susie has it. Have you tried asking her for it? Well, it looks like she is not ready to be done, is there another toy you might use? Yep, that one is free. All right. So, what was I saying? Oh yeah, so how's that going? If we lived a little closer we would be really into that - babe crayons are for paper. Only on paper. - this is nice tea, where did you - only on the paper. Uh oh! Looks like you need to use the potty! Come on, let's go together... Here's a stool to climb and wash your hands. All set? Let's go see your friends! - You know I can't believe she is tall enough to get to the faucet herself. They grow so quickly and get so independent! Yesterday, you should have seen it, the two of them were - wow you are up really high! Let me stand close to make sure you stay safe. OK, step down like this, yes, there you go. Did it! - He is really giving me a run for my money. There is nothing he doesn't climb. - there you go! I bet she feels really happy that you gave her a turn. - With two, I feel like I can never finish a thought or a sentence before I have to - Oh, maybe you two can work something out. I bet you can both play with that toy together or you can take turns. - negotiate something or another!

It's a wonder that moms can create friendships. Thank you to all of my mom friends, past and present, new and old, for bearing with the scattered conversation and working on making real connections. I couldn't do it at all without you.