tO qUIT OR nOT tO qUIT

A question, for you, O Internet: How do you decide if, and when, it's okay to let your kid quit? My children have quit lots of things. Every sport they've ever attempted, for example. I still have a garbage bag full of karate belts in the basement somewhere, probably buried under Ezra's cricket equipment. (That passion flamed out when he realized he actually wasn't any...good? At cricket? And that was fine, because I was likewise not any good at being Team Parent. I still have the t-shirt, though!) They're all good strong swimmers but begged to quit lessons once they hit the higher levels that involved the diving board and the unheated pool at the Y. And we let them quit because we got super sick of listening to them collectively bitch about it every goddamn Saturday morning. Ezra dabbled in guitar and attempted violin (arrgghhh my earssss) before finally settling on the flute -- which he loves! And actually IS very good at! Like kinda phenom good at! Which is great! Except it means the cheap little student flute we bought for $75 off Craigslist is no longer working for him and I just learned what an "acceptable" flute... Read more →


Magic Ike

We had an IEP meeting yesterday. Another IEP meeting in an endless series of IEP meetings. Yesterday's meeting was for Ike, and then there's another meeting for him in February, and then one in March for Noah, and I think one more after that, to finalize his schedule for high school. (Tonight is technically Ezra's middle school orientation, but we're going to skip it. We already know everything about the middle school and how things work and where the IEP meetings happen.) The purpose of the meeting yesterday was to go over Ike's reading and writing levels and finalize the academic parts of his IEP. It was an unusually tense meeting. The district imposed new rules for who can receive certain accommodations for standardized testing. Ike meets every single criteria except one: He's been receiving services for dyslexia for one year instead of the required two. So he'll get extra time, but nothing to help him read or decode the test questions. I thought back to kindergarten, when I begged his teacher to have the school's reading specialist come and observe him, to look at his mixed-up writing and spelling and his struggles with basic sight words. Wait and see,... Read more →


Things That Do Not Work, Part Three

(Things That Do Not Work is a sporadically running feature on things in my house/life/general existence that Do Not Work. Sporadically means "I haven't written one of these since March of 2019." Try using it in a sentence today! Anyway, here is Part One and Part Two.) This towel rack. It Does Not Work. This particular towel rack was left behind in the kids' bathroom by the previous owners, probably because they learned, as we have, that it Does Not Work. No one uses this towel rack. Except for me, when I hopefully and foolishly hang fresh, clean towels on it every laundry day LIKE A SUCKER. THE FLOOR IS OUR TOWEL RACK NOW, MOTHER. There is a photo somewhere, in the deepest recesses of my camera roll (aka last month), of two towels I discovered on the floor of their bathroom. One is absolutely covered in black mildew spots. The other has been peed on -- likely quite recently! -- by a dog. I will not post it here, because it is entirely too disgusting. (Apologies to all of my friends and family members who received said photo in an ALL CAPS text message from me. You are the... Read more →


ON SECOND THOUGHT

Anybody got any recommendations for nice-looking fake trees that I could maybe get on sale right now? Because look at this shit. Although, honestly, I just swept up the carnage and burned it all up in our fireplace. Jason came inside from dragging the tree-corpse to the curb and said our neighborhood smelled amazing! *** Hey, remember when I had a baby? Don't ever do that, because look at THIS shit. A smallish-large niche corner of the Internet lost its mind over that, while he was just like, "GREAT, another THING I have to DO now. It never ENDS, these days." *** (I just now watched the yard trim collection guy pick up, toss, and mulch our giant-ass tree. It took him barely a minute, but I bet he hates us now.) (Yes, it snowed! Don't worry, they didn't cancel school for that piddly lil' covering. They simply closed three hours early yesterday and had a two hour delay this morning for maximum schedule fuckery. YOU CAN STILL SEE GRASS, PEOPLE.) *** Look at this shit, for no particular reason (other than BFF doggo adorableness, of course): We originally decided that we wouldn't take in another foster dog until the... Read more →


The Greatest Gift(s)

Happy New Year! So much has happened since I last posted, most of it documented in photos I don't feel like editing yet. Here are a few I managed to resize down to something that won't blow the creaky wheels off this ol' antique of a website. First up, the second-greatest gift I received, courtesy of Jason: A Wall Of Julia Child for my kitchen. We were at a restaurant recently that had this delightful photo framed on the wall and I declared that I needed it in my life. He found it, printed and framed it, along with two other photos of Julia posing maniacally with mallets and knives. And then, to complete the set, he added a classic still of Dan Ackroyd as Julia. I giggle like a goddamn idiot every time I look at them. And I look at them A LOT. But the number one greatest gift I received was courtesy of Ezra, who made me the following book in honor of my birthday. (Which also happened, as much as I'd like to deny that I am creeping ever deeper into my 40s. But my eyesight and knees and graying roots and widening feet and everything... Read more →


Christmas Tree Farm Massacre

Sometime before Thanksgiving, Jason wondered if we should consider getting an artificial Christmas tree this year. I looked at him like he'd sprouted a second head, and that second head was suggesting that we go vegan, give the dogs away, and consider getting an artificial Christmas tree this year. We were both raised in Artificial Tree Households -- my mom told me I was allergic to real trees; his mom couldn't stand the needles and mess -- and our mutual dislike of the fake trees was something we discussed during our engagement. I would take some Claritin and we would be a Real Tree Household. Our first real grown-up rejection of our upbringing. Then my in-laws generously gifted us with their giant (and super expensive) fake tree and most of their ornaments. And because I didn't want to offend them with my Controversial Tree Views (on top of not going to church! and registering as a Democrat!), we dutifully used it for our first couple Christmases, hauling it from one rental apartment to another. I have no memory of where we even stored the thing in a few of those places, but after we bought our condo in DC I... Read more →


The Scottish Play the Musical Jr.

It's the most! Wonderful time! Of the year... ...When our school district decides to cancel a full day of school over a dusting of snow so inconsequential you can still see the tips of grass and the roads could maybe be generously described as damp. Even Noah was like, "I'll take it, but they're crazy." The cancellation also means Ike's long-awaited performance of Elf Jr. The Musical has been rescheduled for a still TBD future date. Or maybe it's Elf The Musical Jr.? Hmmm... I don't think anybody knows, to be honest. He was super disappointed, but quickly saw the bright side of having more time to work on his lines. He has a scene playing "Greenway," the Evil Children's Book Publisher who demands Buddy the Elf's dad work on Christmas, the monster, and he is hamming it the fuck UP, delightfully so, but he's still struggling to pronounce the word "unemployment." It keeps coming out as "unempointment." (Everybody gets two speaking scenes as different characters, unless they're singing a solo, which Ike didn't want to do. So he also has a scene as Buddy, where all of his lines are delivered at top volume while running around in excited... Read more →


Plushie Power

To encourage Ike to stick with his various reading and writing exercises, we bribe incentivize him with plushies. The kid is crazy for plushies. Jason came up with the ingenious idea to buy a couple bulk bags of cheap knock-off Ty Beanie Boos. (You know, those little toys with the oversized sparkle eyeballs that they sell literally everywhere, so you can't walk into a grocery store or even a gas station without your child begging for a fuchsia and purple giraffe-type thing that you could've sworn you've bought five times already, but nooooo, that was Gilbert, this is Twigs. And then the other one is Sweetums, whose birthday is in February, not August. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AND VITALLY IMPORTANT, MOMMMM.) Ike gets to pick one as a reward for say, mastering a new sight word deck, doing well on a spelling test, completing a writing assignment or a challenging book, etc. The plushies make him very happy, and the possibility of even more plushies motivate him to seek out even more challenges, vs. doing the bare minimum or nothing at all. Which is what we were getting before, in the pre-plushie era. I'd find stacks of homework worksheets mashed into the... Read more →