I don't mean to alarm anyone... ...but according to our math... ...Baby Ike is five years old. I don't know how that happened either, but here we are. A fully-formed little boy with a big personality, who smiles with his entire body, who hurls himself around the house with the sheer force of a superhero-fueled imagination. A sweet little boy who still wants to hold my hand and cuddle, who quietly asks "but will you be with me?" before any new situation or outing, revealing a painfully shy streak underneath all that ham, bravado and cheese. He loves animals, great and small. If he had his way we'd have a horse in our backyard, maybe some bunnies, and definitely more cats, because you can never have too many cats. More cats mean it'd be easier for him to find one to hold. He misses Max and Ceiba so much, and talks about them often. I've caught him talking to their ashes more than once, telling them about our new pets, but reminding them that he still loves them. If you ask, yes, he is still mad about his hair, and is back to insisting on at-home bang trims ONLY so... Read more →


What a week. With all the dog eyeball drama, cats jumping out of second-story windows and babies graduating from preschool, it's all been A Little Much. Make that way too much. Ike's preschool did a whole proper graduation ceremony, with hats and Pomp & Circumstance and songs (that Ike did not sing, choosing instead to cover his ears in protest) and awards and enough mini-cupcakes to send the entire graduating class into a final sugar-fueled frenzy. Ike won an award for being "kind and huggable" and hammed it up during his teacher's little speech about him, making a series of smug little faces similar to the one pictured above. I'm not sure it's fully hit me that not only is Ike done with preschool, we as a family are done with preschool. No more tuition checks, no more separate drop-offs and pick-ups, no more half days, no more days when the highest expectation is mostly to have fun and not bite anyone. Maybe fingerpaint a bit. This fall, all three of my babies will get on the same bus and go to the same pressure-cooker of an elementary school. For all of one year, before Noah moves up to sixth... Read more →


This morning Ike insisted on bringing his current-new-favorite-toy-ever in the car on the way to preschool. It's a crappy plastic toy from a Happy Meal (come at me bro) and also kind of creepy: It's the dog from Adventure Time, but his torso has been replaced with a rigid plastic spring. So he...kind of wobbles? You can...sort of stretch him out but not really that much? It's literally hours seconds of fun WTF! Now Ike has never seen Adventure Time. Noah went through a incredibly brief phase where he watched it, and we have at least one t-shirt and pajama set from that period floating around the hand-me-down chain somewhere. But it never really stuck. Probably because I actually found it to be somewhat entertaining, and my children are allergic to any children's television programming that DOESN'T make my eyeballs and eardrums recede into the depths of my skull. Anyway, this toy has been the Best Thing Ever for a good 24 hours now, but on the way to school Ike realized he didn't know the dog's name. So he asked me. "Oh, um, hmm," I replied, drawing a blank. My brain immediately loaded up the show's theme song, which... Read more →


Before I left for my (brief, more-time-on-planes-than-on-the-ground) trip to California (for all of one day at the Mom 2.0 Summit), I had a LOT of shit to get done. Important shit. Like this: My track record for chaperoning field trips in horrible weather remains almost impeccable. If there's an outdoor activity planned, the temperature will inexplicably drop 20 degrees that day. If there's a hayride involved, it's going to rain, so prepare yourself for a damp butt. I was supposed to chaperone Noah's fourth-grade field trip to Annapolis that morning, before realizing I was double-booked. Triple booked, actually, because Ezra had a doctor's appointment to get his hearing re-checked, so Jason had to cover that one, right before I bailed on him for the next two days. Whoops. So yeah. Ezra recently failed a hearing screen at school. Just like he failed a hearing screen back in preschool. That time a follow-up revealed nothing out of the ordinary, and the doctor suggested that he was just too little to understand the testing instructions. This time the follow-up revealed that his eardrums are misshapen. That's usually is the result of chronic ear infections or allergies, neither of which really applies to... Read more →


Wow, what a completely boring, uneventful weekend we just had. Amazing how much life calms down once all your pets stop dying. Jason's company threw a party at an Orioles game; I did not attend, even though I am once again technically working part time for his company (yay me! yay money!). He sent me photos of the open bar while I stayed home and sent photos of the calzones I made for dinner. These were mushroom and collard greens calzones, which my children actually honestly ate with so much enthusiasm you'd think we were in a Totino's Pizza Roll commercial. Calzones just might be the new stupid tiny buns. Later, I sat uselessly by for the accidental malicious destruction of one of the 45 million stupid asshole Minion toys the boys seem to have accumulated... ...only for Jason to arrive home with some instant karma he'd bought the kids at the ballpark. Just look at those fucking things. I've never been so consumed with the simultaneous urge to shove something in my mouth while also wanting to see what would happen if I just hurled it at the wall instead. (We realized none of the boys had ever tasted... Read more →


So Not-So-Baby Ike got his hair cut this weekend. He is still kinda mad at me about it. I fully admit that I accidentally created a Hairz Monzter, a kid whose long blond hair became a really big part of his self image and identity, and who would cry at the mere suggestion of a big kid cut. People have been making a fuss over his hair for as long as he can remember, and it set him apart from his brothers, or all the other boys at school. His hair made him unique and he definitely understood that. "I won't look like Ike," he'd wail, any time the topic of a proper haircut came up. He would tolerate "at home" haircuts, provided I promised not to cut too much off the sides. But I am terrible at cutting hair -- and no amount of online/YouTube tutorials helped improve my utter incompetence, particularly with a wiggly preschooler who refused to sit still. The small handful of times I managed to convince him to let a professional trim his hair or add some desperately needed layers/shape were just awful for him, with so much crying and anxiety. Plus he was so... Read more →


I've been asked that question a lot lately. Overall, I think the boys are coping with the double-whammy loss pretty well, albeit each in their own way, at their own pace. Noah -- who remembers the loss of his grandfather the most vividly -- is probably doing the "best," although that's really not the right word. He's the most pragmatic and accepting, it's pretty matter-of-fact to him now. As I already wrote when we broke the news about Ceiba, he very literally experienced every distinct stage of grief right there at the dinner table, one right after the other. After that, he was "okay," more or less. He understood why we had to put her down and would patiently explain it to his brothers ("she's sick and going to die anyway, it's our job as her people to make sure it's not painful"). He sought Ceiba out for extra love and attention during her last days, but was also very focused on the exciting possibility of a new dog. His rapid-fire approach to grief certainly came in handy with Max, as we had less than zero time to adequately prepare the boys for what was happening. They'd known he'd been... Read more →


Allow me to present the greatest photo in the history of #BabyIke #NOTTIRED: Apparently Ike and Ezra decided to play a late-night game of house, resulting in Baby Ike being carefully and compactly tucked into Ezra's doll crib. Where he then stayed until midnight, completely sound asleep, when I found him and moved him to his regular bed, like a real drag. Ezra was deeply displeased with me and the theft of his real-life baby in the morning. "You nearly gave me a heart attack!" he scolded, "I was so worried!" Ike denied anything out of the ordinary happened until I showed him the picture, at which point he was still like, "this proves nothing, I was just pretending to sleep." #NOTTIRED4LYFE Read more →


Special Needapalooza

I went to Noah's IEP meeting yesterday, our first "real" meeting with the new school. We had an initial "move everything from County A to County B and try to not let anything get lost in translation" meeting in the beginning of the year, but this was the Actual Annual Big-Deal one, where we determine services for the next 12 months. The good news is that...well, it's all good news. Noah has transitioned beautifully and his new team loves him, and even better, REALLY understands him. After years of being classified solely as a SPD/ADHD kid at his old school, to the point that the team seemed surprised by his eventual Autism diagnosis (and then had to rapidly overhaul his IEP), I think it was really beneficial to move into this school with the ASD code firmly in place. No question, Noah needs those specific needs met, and here is everything this school can possibly provide. His new IEP is strong, comprehensive and best of all, was written from the point of view that this is just who Noah is and how he thinks and learns. He is not a problem to be solved. He is a child who will... Read more →


I noticed a couple topic requests for Further Yakking About from the comments on the last post, and as I am in a procrastinating mood and have nothing better to yak about, let's do it: 1) The time-limit parental control thingie. Our kids used to solely play with our old, discarded iPhones. Plus an iPad that was technically still mine and I don't remember giving up custody but eventually it was chock full of nothing but kids' games and was always sort of sticky. I was never really happy with the parental control options in iOS. App purchases and downloads required a password, but I wanted to be able to set time limits, block certain websites, and just sort of generally know what they're up to without having to literally sit there staring over their shoulders. (And thus, having to listen to the Angry Birds theme song over and over and over and over...) There are two choices with options like that: Amazon Fire Kids Edition with the Amazon FreeTime subscription service, or a tablet with full Windows 10 installed and Family Safety enabled. At the time, we didn't have an xBox or anything, and Noah was DESPERATE to play... Read more →