Category Archives: Motherhood

swim swim swim

B: I don’t like it when you leave me home alone.

Me / H: When did we ever leave you alone?

B: When Daddy is working and Mommy is resting and L is having privacy.

Me / H: (laughing at the cuteness of her turn of phrase) You don’t like it L is having privacy?

B: It’s not fair when some people are having privacy and other people are bored.

Me / H: Don’t worry, when the new baby is here, you’ll always have some to play with.

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L had her first swim team practice yesterday.  Pro tip: In Washington, swimming pools, even outdoor ones, are always heated!  The pool is actually quite balmy, even though it’s still in the 40s at night.  I was quite pleased with the revelation.  Anyway, I’m quite proud of L.  She did great.

H attended the swim team parents’ meeting tonight  (I’m still only marginally functional due to morning sickness, so he’s been basically single parenting the last seven weeks.)  He was intimidated by how serious it was.  “Everyone was like – swim, swim swim, my kid has been swimming for years, swim, swim, swim, everyone so obsessed with swimming.”  What else would you expect at a swim team meeting?  But I’m amused.

I think swimming is a great life skill, and I think after a couple summers of swim team, you’re a swimmer for life.  You’ll always be confident in the water, even if you never swim competitively again.

a new addition

I’m 12 weeks, 5 days pregnant.  Due date, 11/26.  H and I decided to get on the merry-go-round one more time, and so we’ll be a family of five, with a third little girl joining us.

The first trimester has been its usual misery.  Perhaps it’s easier when you know what you’re in for, but mainly it hasn’t been as severe this time as in past.  Constant nausea, but no vomiting.  I often feel OK for an hour or two in the morning, which gives me much needed mental relief.  My last pregnancy, the vomiting was sufficiently severe that I took meds like Phenargen and Bonjesta during the day, both of which have fatigue as a side effect, which left me feeling like a miserable zombie.  This time, the evenings have been brutal, the days hard, but the mornings are better.  I’ve even been able to run in the mornings, albeit slowly for short distances, which has helped my mental state enormously.

It’s obviously been hard having this line up with taking a new job.  I could have delayed switching jobs, or I could have delayed trying to get pregnant.  But really, there’s never a good time.  I’ve been working 30 to 35 hours a week, and hopefully I’ll feel better soon and be able to get up to 40 hours.

falling in love

I was watching The Bachelor on my computer.  (Some seasons are free with Amazon Prime.  Who knew?

B: What are you watching?

Me: Oh, just some people talking about falling in love

B: When me and L grow up, I hope we can fall in love with you.

Me: I’m already in love with you.  Do you think we should get married?

B: You can’t.  You’re already married to Daddy!

Cute.  Obviously they’re still a little hazy on the nitty-gritty of falling in love.  But they’ve figured out polygamy is not OK!

Treehouse and test drive

We found out a week or so ago that the Subaru is a total loss.  Our insurance company is cutting us a check for about 24K, roughly $1000 short of what I think they should be cutting us a check for, but it could be a lot worse.  For a while, I thought they were going to build us a new psuedo-Subaru from non-OEM parts.  We test drove a 2019 Subaru Outback and a 2019 Honda CRV today.  They were very similar.  Each had a few advantages and disadvantages, but I feel like they’re fairly comparable.  Any thoughts on which compact SUV to purchase?  The one thing we are doing differently is spending on safety features as needed.  That really ends up being about $1000 for the Subaru, which isn’t bad.  For that you get lane cross detection, blind spot detection, and a few other features.  Having been in the crash has made me more paranoid about being in another one, but I don’t think there’s anything human or computer could have done from my vehicle to prevent it.  Looking at the bright side, new car.  Fun, right?

Amusing conversation with B and L.  I’ve been plowing through the treehouse books for the two girls.  L is not a huge fan, but B absolutely loves them.  Our two nightly chapters are seriously a highlight of her day.  We’re on something like Book 18 – the Titanic.   We finish the chapter with everyone boarding the lifeboats and both girls look terrified.

Me: B, are you scared?

B: Yes, but not really because I’ve looked through the book lots and lots of times and I know they didn’t get sinked.

So cute.  I love her turn of phrase.  You’d think by book 18 they’d have figured out everything always works out for them!

school

I’m fairly amused by L’s writing.  Because she’s going to French school, she writes her numbers the French way, and they write English exclusively in cursive.

Sample 1:

I’m too lazy to search for a writing sample at the moment . Maybe later.

So far, I’m actually extremely pleased with L’s school.  H and I thought the academics were probably sub-par, a conclusion we drew form the 90s era “computer lab” and the fact that they obviously have a much smaller pool of teachers to draw from.  But I think the coursework is actually fairly rigorous for first grade.  Memorizing 10 lines of French poetry every couple weeks is on the face of it rather pointless, but I think it’s teaching L a type of rigor that will serve her well.  Weekly spelling tests in French and even French worksheets are always challenging, just due to the language barrier.   L’s French has taken off, thankfully.  (At one point late last school year, I was wondering if she would ever learn.)

On the social side, I am worried.  I see in L all the things that I myself struggled with in elementary school – paralyzing shyness and general social awkwardness that my sister never struggled with, and similarly, L’s little sister has no issues with.  In addition, L has a level of cautiousness that I never had, and the combination I fear will make life difficult for her as she grows older.  Her teacher says she is usually on her own at recess, apparently by choice, because she considers the games too rough.  (L says the same thing.)  Her teacher is absolutely wonderful and working to help her include herself in the games, but just as lack of ability in math or reading given a different rate of learning will become more pronounced, I fear the same will happen with social skills.

For myself, I feel that I’ve managed to attain enough social skills to function relatively well in society and at work.  My theory is that most people plateau at some point, maybe 16 or 18 or 21, and for those of us who were behind, if we continue to work at it, we can catch up.  I do feel I caught up a bit.  In school, I do think i struggled doubly because I was much younger than everyone else, thanks to starting school in PA with a 12/31 deadline and a 12/23 birthday and then moving.  L is nearly a full year older than I was in first grade, and I’m hopeful that that will help her navigate a little better socially.

school days

L’s been back at school now for about a month.  Homework started in week 2, and it’s more or less ramped up since then.  Occasionally she has a worksheet to do, and those are no big deal.  What’s much, much harder are things that require studying.  First of all, she has two spelling tests each week, one in French and one in English.  Trying to get her to study has been like pulling teeth.

Then, she had to memorize a French poem that was about 16 lines long.  Now, Jonathan and I both studied French in school, but that was a long time ago, and many parents are in the same boat, so the teacher sent home a recording of the poem being read.  But that just makes it that much harder to learn, as we have to try and play the recording over and over again, at least until we can pronounce it properly.  (To our ears anyway – L is not impressed by our French.)  Learning a 16 line poem or song in English wouldn’t necessarily be a walk in the park, even.  So that was a challenge and nearly brought us to blows.  After a couple weeks to learn the first poem, we all heaved a sign of relief . . . and then L brought home another French poem to learn today.

We’re also struggling to figure out what she’s supposed to have done when.  I expected she’d just bring home a worksheet or something due the next day, but we’re getting a bunch of these studying tasks with a few days lead time that require our participation.

Friends with kids . . . is this similar to your experience?  I don’t see why homework is necessary in first grade anyway.

On the plus side, L told me she made a new friend today, with a new girl who only speaks French.  (It’s funny how L classifies kids in her class.  Last year she insisted – accurately no doubt – that she didn’t speak French.  All the other kids in her class were classified as English speakers, French speakers or both – no wiggle room.  You either speak a language or you don’t.)  Anyway, even after a year, L hadn’t owned up to actually speaking any French except on rare occasion.  But now’s she’s starting to admit she does speak a bit, and she apparently had a conversation with her new friend in French, which is kind of cool.

 

in my mind, in my head

Loving the Gigi d’Agostino mix of In My Mind.

I’ve been reading to Isla for about four years now.  Every night.  It’s one of the most effortless parts of parenting for me.  The kids are happy, and I’m happy.  Reading kids books, the picture books, can make me a little crazy.  I don’t mind the good ones (Ox Cart Man, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, Make Way for Ducklings, etc.) but the lame ones are just horrid.  Chapter books, though.  I love them.  The kids are still letting me pick, and I’ve been picking ALL my childhood favorites.  I wanted to make a list, so here goes.

Surprise Island (Boxcare Children #2), The BFG, Stuart Little, Where The Mountain Meets the Moon, Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories (I can’t recommend this one), The Moffats, Abel’s Island, Strawberry Girl, Island of Blue Dolphins, Caddie Woodlawn (twice), The Secret Garden*, Over Sea Under Stone, Heidi*, The Trumpet of the Swan, The Family Under the Bridge, Betsy-Tacy, Little House on the Prairie* (thrice), Pippi Longstocking, Little House in the Big Woods* (twice), Fantastic Mr. Fox, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Winnie-the-Pooh, Danger in Ancient Rome, Rescue on the Oregon Trail, Charlotte’s Web (twice), James and the Giant Peach, The Tale of Despereaux, The First Four Years, Those Happy Golden Years, Little Town on the Prairie* (twice), The Long Winter (twice), By The Shores of Silver Lake (twice), On The Banks of Plum Creek* (twice), Matilda*, Anne of Green Gables*, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I may have missed one or two, but that’s the bulk of them. 45 readings of 36 books.  There are still a good few I want to read.  A Little Princess.  Joan Aiken’s series, including my favorite, The Stolen Lake.  Maybe James Herriot.  Little Women.  What am I forgetting?  I finally bought the first four of The Magic Treehouse, mainly to appeal to Briony.  I’ve actually read her a few Amelia Bedelia.  She’s been slower than Isla to take to the chapter books.  Isla loved LHOTP at age 2, whereas Bri is only really now having the patience and vocabulary to appreciate them at age 4.  Anyway, I thought the treehouse books might appeal to her.

I can see Isla’s reading comprehension growing by leaps and bounds these days.  Whereas before she definitely missed a lot of subtleties (in the early days, she missed a lot of important story points, never mind the subtleties), she follows the story much more closely these days.  Bri still misses a lot, but she seems to enjoy listening anyway.