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Toes are delicious

There are a couple of times I’ve written about volunteering at my kids’ school (or schoolS, back when they weren’t at the same one), and it nearly always evokes at least one indignant WELL THAT IS FINE AND WELL FOR YOU, MS. PRIVILEGE PANTS, BUT NOT EVERYONE CAN DO THAT response. Being me, I thought hey, people must be misunderstanding my point, perhaps I will devote an entire post to it to explain why it is important TO ME and is something that I think, actually, most people can do in some capacity if they really want to (maybe not as often as I do, but at least once).

Well. Um. You would think that a decade as someone who makes their living writing would’ve meant I could communicate that clearly, but this is me we’re talking about. I went ahead and wrote that post for Alpha Mom and managed to piss off the first two commenters, right off the bat. Mission not accomplished. Toes, however, very tasty. Which is good, as I apparently spend a lot of time with my foot in my mouth.

Really my POINT is that I, personally, enjoy volunteering and arrange my life in such a way that I can do it. I am lucky to be able to do so, I know. I meant it to be encouraging to those who maybe haven’t quite figured out a way to make it work. I don’t know if this is a hot button issue because I’m really screwing it up badly or because people get very defensive about this topic. Maybe a little of each? Either way, I guess you can come over and yell at me, too, or maybe my point—YAY VOLUNTEERING WITH OLDER KIDS—will actually come across. We’ll see.

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The flow, man, the flow

That’s me, a go-with-the-flow kind of person. Nary a care! No anxiety! No stress!

Haaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaha! Hey, at least I can always make myself laugh, right? Right.

I’m working on that whole go-with-the-flow thing. Why, I recently realized that my car is missing a hubcap. Where did it go? I have no idea! Oh well! Also, this morning my hair was falling in my face and bugging me so I tied it in a knot. Then I realized that if it was long enough to tie in a knot, I’m about six months overdue for a haircut. (I feel like there’s a fine line between “flowing mane” and “aging hippie,” and past a certain hair length, I’m crossing it.) Did I make myself an appointment for a haircut, though? Nope! No biggie!

Yep, that’s me. I’m just rolling with it all. Or pretending to, anyway.

But hey, it’s all a part of learning to be wherever I am. Today I’m over at Alpha Mom, working on crossword puzzles and acceptance.

It’s all good. (Except my hair. I really do need a haircut.)

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You get extra credit, and YOU get extra credit!

Everyone made it out of the house on time and in costume, and everyone got extra credit. In addition, Monkey “won” for his class (which was apparently chock-full of Rosie the Riveters and not a lot else). While Chickadee’s teacher admired her commitment to the pun, they apparently had a spot-on Andrew Jackson in her class, so no grand prize for her this year.

I give you… the government shutdown, and the Great (grate! get it? GET IT??) Depression:

halloween2014

(Adjusted for the Witness Protection Program, natch.) I do feel a little sad that I cannot show you Chickie’s Emo-ized makeup because… it actually looked amazing on her. I’m glad she’s not a makeup kid, normally, because it make her look about 20 and ZOMG NO THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Tonight there shall be football, but no uniforms—the kids are allowed to wear costumes. No one thinks I’m funny when I suggest they dress up as marching band nerds. Hmph.

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Also, Halloween is coming

Once again, the kids’ social studies teachers are offering extra credit to kids who dress up in themed costumes for Halloween. This year Monkey is in the Government class his sister took last year, and Chickadee is in US History. I both love and hate this idea; I love it because it’s (supposed to be) fun and gets the kids engaged, but I hate it because who ends up doing all of the work, I ask you? (*AHEM* Exhibit A.) (Please also note that SOMEONE is refusing to let her little brother borrow her Bill costume this year EVEN THOUGH he doesn’t have the same teacher she wore it for last year.)

If they let us grab some pictures, I’ll show you their creations later this week. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked Chickie out of being William Howard Taft stuck in a bathtub. (“YOU CANNOT WEAR A BATHTUB TO SCHOOL” = an actual thing I said.) You know us, I pull for punny/easy any time I can, so the end results should definitely be groan-worthy. Will they get extra credit? (Maybe!) Will anyone have a giant meltdown? (PROBABLY!) Stay tuned!

In the meantime, I’m pondering teenagers and Halloween over at Alpha Mom, because apparently I’m supposed to have a lot of feelings about it. (I mean, beyond the whole “don’t wear a bathtub to school” thing.)

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Why (an explanation)

So my folks were here, briefly, and my father mentioned no fewer than three times that he was going to check my blog to see if I’d written. “Um, I don’t really write much anymore,” I said, as if he didn’t already know that.

“Yeah, but how will I know what’s happening in your life?” he said.

“It’s terrible,” added Otto, never one to shy away from ganging up on me with my dad. “I used to be able to check the blog before I came home to find out what I’d done that day or to know if I should be worried about something. Now I just have to GUESS.”

I waved them off. Whatever.

A day later, Chickadee cornered me. “Hey,” she said, “why DON’T you write anymore?”

She’s a visual learner, so I made her a diagram to explain.

venn-teenagers

Now you know, too.

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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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