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I’m the chaperone who demands candy

Over the years, Otto and I have worked out a system for being Involved Marching Band Parents, and it’s served us pretty well. My responsibilities include working in the concession stand whenever we have a home game (after my baptism by fire three years ago I somehow ended up a permanent fixture in there), assisting with the mad scramble that is uniform fittings/distributions in August, helping with fundraisers, and dropping everything to show up at any rehearsal where a child of mine has completely lost their crap and requires an intervention (fun!). Otto’s responsibilities include most rehearsal pick-ups and rides home for orphan children in addition to our own, chaperoning away games, and taking lots and lots of photos of the band (much to Chickadee’s chagrin). Because we are team players, we split the “talking smack about the parents who never ever bother to volunteer” task evenly between us.

Now that Duncan has to eat every few hours, Otto stays home for home games and I stay home for away games. And while Otto chaperoned our first competition this season, I felt like maybe I should do the second one (even though I typically do not ride school buses!), so this past weekend, I did. I rode on a school bus. (Not with my own children. HEAVENS NO. They were on their own buses.) I ran around adjusting uniform hems. I doled out meals and snacks and gave Monkey money for funnel cake and cheered until I was hoarse and gave up my sweatshirt when it got cold after dark because SOMEONE left theirs on the bus. Also, I saw teenagers eating Sour Patch Kids on the way there and said one of the kids’ names in a VERY STERN VOICE and when she turned to me—worried she was in trouble—I asked if I could have some. It’s remarkably effective.

The kids did great and I woke up the next morning with ebola. Or a cold. Whatever. I HAVE BUS FLU. Still: worth it.

While I drink all the tea in the world and attempt to recover, I have a semi-serious (okay, mostly serious) post over at Alpha Mom today answering all of the questions you never knew you had about DBT, because… just because. DBT is good stuff when life is hard. Maybe you don’t have any band kids to give you Sour Patch Kids; I don’t know. I don’t judge.

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Band, band, band, band, and band

But first… a scintillating Duncan update: He is very much enjoying his hobbit meal schedule. Where he used to just sleep in my office all day long (presumably due to his low blood sugar and being mostly dead), he now hops up and follows me around the house. Bathroom break? Duncan is there! Grabbing a snack? Duncan is ready! Someone at the door? PERHAPS HE HAS KIBBLES! Duncan now believes it is his birthright to have a handful of kibble in his face at all times, and he’d be happy to follow you around to remind you. He is forgiven, because 1) he’s adorable and 2) this newfound energy came with a bonus in the form of Formerly Cantankerous Dog now being downright cuddly. After dinner he paws at my leg until I pick him up and let him sit on my lap at the table. He leaps up on the couch and curls up against the nearest human. He GIVES KISSES. I don’t know who this dog is, but I guess I’ll keep feeding him all day long.

In non-Duncan-y news, we are deep into marching band season. This means Otto has gotten to make his favorite “our kids are the ones in the funny hats” joke multiple times. And it also means I am thrilled to see both kids enjoying the anchor of a great activity, surrounded by good kids, led by amazing staff. Over at Alpha Mom, someone asked how you know if a band program is a good one, and I’ve tried to offer some guidance. If you have kids considering marching, definitely give it a read.

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Pay no attention to the shitshow behind the curtain

You know how people say that God won’t give you more than you can handle and then you want to punch those people in the face because clearly you are dealing with more than you can handle and the idea that someone or someTHING handed it all to you on purpose, with thought and consideration, is kind of the the very last straw? That’s where I live, now.

To be fair, it’s possible my tolerance isn’t very good. But it’s also true that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and three fun days in Boston has since given way to three ridiculous are-you-fucking-kidding-me-with-this?? days upon my return. FUN! More on that later, maybe. (Or not! Misery is boring!)

Anyway, before everything went sideways, there was a sweet and wonderful thing that happened with my kids. I’m glad I write this stuff down because sometimes (like today!) I really need to be reminded that things are not always awful. I wrote about it for Alpha Mom, and if you love a D&D nerd (or are a D&D nerd) I think you’ll especially enjoy this one.

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Pretend I know what I’m talking about

There’s a certain magical thing that happens as your children get older; at least, it’s happening to me. In the very beginning, when they were tiny babies, I was sure I had no idea what I was doing. Over time, I gained confidence, and ever-so-steadily inched into a place where I felt like a competent parent. But then they turn into teenagers and once again I have no freaking clue how to do anything right when it comes to them. It’s just that instead of a colicky baby I now have stressed-out humans who are larger than me. Neat!

But if I actually DID know anything, I’d write about it all expert-like. Or, uh, I’d write about it all expert-like and we’d all agree that my theories are excellent, whether or not they work in practice. Then maybe we’d go for coffee, because coffee is always a good idea. Yes? Yes! So if you have homework issues at your place and are okay with pretending I know anything, you should head on over to Alpha Mom today because I’ve got the scoop on how to keep homework painless.

Trust me! I’m an (Internet) expert in (fictitious) children.

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Poster children

And lo, it did come to pass that the edict came down from the grand high ruler of the land (if we agree that by “land” we mean “this particular science class my kids are taking”) and the charge was thus: create a poster of determinate size and scope and breadth and beauty.

First, the children diligently argued over the dimensions of said assignment, for somehow the rubric and the spoken words from the ruler’s mouth, they didst not match. A missive delivered to said ruler was mirthfully replied to including the line, “I just love your children!” which is indeed ancient code for, “Wow, I see your entire family is strange and difficult.”

Next, keys were mashed at the large computational portal at one of the kitchen whilst at the other, decorative dyes were flung thither and yon. Voices were raised. Disputes were had. And in the end, it was right and good that two children with two posters departed for school, and glory be to God in the highest, I didn’t stab either of them, not even a little bit. Amen.

[You can read more about it over at Alpha Mom. It's gonna be a long school year, is all I'm saying.]

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Rites of passage everywhere

Every time I think I’m getting the hang of this parenting gig (don’t worry, it doesn’t happen all that often; just the rare, delusional flash of perceived competence), something new comes up.

Chickadee’s been doing marching band for years, y’know, so I figured I had the routine down and everything would be old hat with Monkey. But I forgot that he’s a boy and she’s a girl. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know, but I forgot that once they got into uniform fittings there are… ahhhh… different concerns for boys and girls. Marching band uniforms are… very form-fitting. VERY. FORM-FITTING. Do you get where I’m going with this…?

I had to buy my son compression shorts, okay? I’m pretty sure it was traumatic for both of us. There is no comfortable way to explain to your kid that no one wants to see his junk while he’s wearing his uniform (Me: “No one wants to see your junk while you’re wearing your uniform.” Him: “GOD! MOM!! WHY WOULD ANYONE BE LOOKING AT MY CROTCH??”) or to handle trying on and assessing fit without wanting to stab out your own eyes, afterward. We got through it. Now let us never speak of it again.

No less traumatic, but 100% less groin-related, was taking my kid to get a checking account. It’s almost like I expect her to be a fully-formed adult in the not-too-distant future. That’s weird, right? I think it is. We lived, and I wrote about it for Alpha Mom, because there’s no spot in the baby book to record Baby’s First Debit Card.

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A fitting end to the summer (part 2)

I think I promised you some super-exciting content about our last visit to Costco. (I tell you what, this blog is worth EXACTLY what you’re paying for it. Such value!)

Before that, though, apparently I am falling down on my chronicling duties by not verifying that 1) my children went back to school and 2) they were wearing shoes when they did it. Here you go:

1stdayshoes-2014

[Obvious from the picture: My darling vegetarian has thus far refused to let me buy her leather boots, which means she wears these crappy ones that fall apart and make her look homeless. I'm not saying she doesn't rock that particular look---she's pretty cool and all---but lord, child, let me buy you some decent shoes. Not obvious from the picture: Monkey's shoes are, for the first time, larger than his sister's (I think his heels are just further back).] (more…)

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You can call me Shorty

It finally happened; after months of hovering just under my height—and countless mornings of not-so-subtly sidling up to me and comparing our stature—this morning Monkey came downstairs and I was struck speechless for a moment.

“Holy crap,” I finally managed. I turned to Otto. “Are you seeing what I’m seeing here? Isn’t he, like, an inch or maybe TWO taller than when he went to bed last night??”

Otto concurred as Monkey grinned and bounced by my side, using one hand to supposedly feel the plane from the top of his head to over the top of mine (though he was a bit slanted, and we had to point out that no, he’s not a foot taller than me… yet). Today was a long-awaited triumph for him, and reminder 749 to me that my darling boy is a late bloomer. He’s no longer the smallest kid in the class as he was for so long, but neither has he hit anywhere close to what I assume his eventual height will be. (People love to gently tell me that maybe he’s just going to be short. His dad is really tall; I think he’s just on his own growth curve right now, y’know?)

That brought me back to thinking about all of the joys of asynchronous development, so I wrote about it over at Alpha Mom, because the only thing more fun that trying to figure out a teenager is trying to figure out a teenager who is both ahead and behind.

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*insert band geek gang symbol here*

Some people love the Christmas season, others twirl around with glee in the early spring when the flowers begin to bloom. Me, I think mid-summer is the most wonderful time of the year. Everyone else is all “It’s so hot! It’s so rainy! I can’t believe school’s starting soon!” And then I’m over here on cloud nine, all, “IT’S BAND CAMP SEASON, BITCHES!”

Band camp is a miracle, wrapped in jubilation, taking the covert form of teenagers who are happy and too tired to be difficult.

Sure, getting up early and packing lunches again isn’t really something any of us missed, but it’s worth it. Chickadee’s in her happy place. Monkey’s stretching himself and finding his way. The groundwork is being laid for an awesome return to school and busy, happy fall days. I like it. Nope, scratch that. I love it.

And hey! This one time, at band camp? I wrote about my continuing love for band camp and all things marching band at Alpha Mom. Long live marching band, man.

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Gluten-free thug life

Someone asked me the other day how long I’ve been gluten-free, and I couldn’t remember. I ended up sounding like a complete moron, I’m sure (this would be different from the hundred other ways I normally sound like a complete moron…), with my response of, “Oh, you know, a bunch of years? Maybe 4 years? Wait, 5 years? 3 years? I MISS REAL PIZZA.” [I just looked it up. 5 years!! Whoa.]

It’s been a long time, is all. And I feel better and my skin isn’t falling off anymore and so that’s all great. I appreciate not being a giant wad of eczema.

In the beginning I tried my hand at various wheat-free substitutes, and spent a lot of money on the gluten-free versions of foods, but it became clear in very short order that:
1) Gluten-free imitations of normally gluten-free foods tend not to taste very good,
and
2) Specialty gluten-free products cost twice as much as their wheat-filled counterparts, either to buy pre-made or to make, myself.

As a bonus: 3) Anything that should be wheaty which is now gluten-free and actually tastes good is generally laden with sugar and salt and fat (yum yum) and really bad for you.

So mostly I just skip the normally-wheat-containing foods. (more…)

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