Sunday, October 23, 2005

Our roof is still leaking. Plus the water is starting to go into the kitchen wall.And the roofer isn't returning our calls. Now what do we do?

We had 20-30 people over for a potluck yesterday; it was really nice to see a bunch of our friends, meet a few new people, and get to hang out for a while. We need to get ourselves invited to other people's houses more, though, so we don't have to clean before AND after.

A slept for the first hour of the potluck. When I brought her down, I was afraid she was going to freak out because of all the people, but she did really well. She was a bit overwhelmed, and had to turn way from everyone sometimes, but overall handled it great. Only six months ago, she cried whenever someone outside of her immediate family LOOKED at her. She's come a long way!

I am hoping, though, that we're done paying for our sin of leaving her for all of five hours last Friday. My friend Mala came into town and Dan and I went to a party with her Friday night- other than C's hour-long open house, the first time we've been alone together since A was born. The kids stayed with Nana and Yeye, and we all spent the night. A wasn't thrilled while we were gone, but apparently she held up all right until bedtime, at which point Nana had to keep her in the sling to keep her content- which isn't unheard of at our house, either! BUT, ever since then, she's been super clingy, and for the first few days she was horribly "not-the-mama," even with Dan sometimes.

We had an excellent time at the party, though; food and drinks and music and friends and NO KIDS. Despite an unfortunate swing-dancing accident, we had a blast. Too bad we can't do it again without incurring A's wrath....

Friday, October 21, 2005

This activity sheet came home with C from Kindergarten today. Is anyone else as confused and disturbed by "boo blocks" as we are? (there were no additional instructions) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I really shouldn't make fun of other people's kids' names- who am I to judge after all- but I received an e-mail from a very nice woman today whose kids are named Samuel and Delia. I did a double-take before realizing that they're not ACTUALLY Samson and Delilah, but....

I'll write about our Night Without the Kids soon. But probably not in like 5 minutes. (Is it obvious Dan and A aren't yet home and C's in bed?)

And a happier post

The rest of the family went to the local coffeehouse to listen to some bluegrass tonight, and I picked C up at 8 to get him home for bed. On the walk home he pretended he was climbing onto some monkey bars and swinging across them. And there was a special button on top, and when he pressed it, it made it so when he came down, he was in Arizona! (There was a long, detailed explanation about how I got to Arizona too, but it involved rules of physics I haven't learned yet, so I can't recreate it here.) The rest of the walk home he talked about how Uncle Monty's ranch (the REAL Uncle Monty, not the imposter Uncle Monty) was right up ahead (from a Trixie Belden book we read like two months ago), and he played the game all the way through his going to bed routine- how the ranch was decorated so beautifully, and how he was going to meet Trixie and ride horses tomorrow, and how he'd better take off his shoes so he didn't track desert sand into the house. It felt like my C was back; the one I haven't seen since August. I hope he stays a while, now that he's gotten into the school groove.

And the bus drama continues

Apparently the bus garage realized that kindergarteners shouldn't have to sit on a bus for over 45 minutes, and added a new bus with only 10 kids that goes pretty much straight to our street. (They, of course, didn't tell us this, even though Dan had spoken with the woman in charge at length about why we were switching stops, etc.- we heard it from a neighbor on Monday, and the new route had begun on Friday.) I decided there was no way I was going to trek a few sidewalkless blocks to C's current bus stop when they started a new route essentially just for him, and when Neighbor Friend was on the new bus. He was freaked out; didn't want to switch; etc. We agreed that Dan would go to the school to get him on the bus the first day he rode it, and C was still not feeling good about it, but he had to suck it up.

And Dan calls the bus garage Monday to switch him, and is told only one person is allowed to switch bus routes, and she had a day off. (Tallying the number of things wrong with the bus garage evident in that sentence alone will be left as an exercise for the reader.) Really, it would have been no big deal, except we'd already gone through the angst with C, and we ended up having to do it again today, along with additional phone- and fax- tag with the bus garage.

Everything went fine today, and C's bus beat Dan home; we're really happy about the new route. Soon we'll have another "discussion" with the bus garage about dropping Cadao off at our house. They drop all the kindergarteners off right at their doors, except for him, because the circle we live on is tight for a big school bus. We have to walk to Neighbor Friend's house. BUT now he comes home on a mini school bus, which can easily manage the road. I'm sure they'll claim that equipment can change, etc. and refuse. Grrr.

I'm especially annoyed at the bus garage because I feel like Dan has spent vast amounts of time lately on the phone with various entities just trying to get them to do their jobs. When we came back from Twin Trees on Columbus Day, our mudroom roof was leaking. It had been repaired last January and the roofers guaranteed their work for a year. Dan called the roofer multiple times, the roofer claimed he'd come multiple times, never did (and never even called when he didn't bother showing up), and most recently claimed he sent people over who did the work on it while we were out on Saturday. (There's no evidence of work having been done, but it finally stopped raining, and thus leaking.) The roofer is still ignoring us. Dan also recently spent hours on the phone with our insurance company, which pulled a bait-and-switch routine on us; and we won't even talk about the various health insurance and government offices that are lying to or ignoring us.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

bus drama

We live a 5-minute drive from Cadao's kindergarten, but it's not a viable walk or bike ride for him, and there's no way we'd drive him to or fro daily, so he has to take the bus. (This would not be necessary if his kindergarten was in the same building as his first through fifth grade will be, but that's another rant.) He's one of the last picked up on the way to school, so has a quick trip there. However, his ride home is about 45 minutes long. He doesn't enjoy sitting on the bus for 45 minutes, and I can't say I blame him. (Why does anyone think it's okay to have 5-year-olds sitting around bored and essentially unsupervised for 45 minutes? School is only 2 1/2 hours long, and if he spent a quarter of his classroom time sitting still with no teacher guidance, I don't think anyone would find that okay. But whatever.)

His bus route makes a loop however, and in the first part of the loop, it passes Cadao's old preschool, about 2 blocks away. It's an annoying walk, because despite our complaints the local car shop thinks it's okay to park all the cars they're working on in the sidewalk, but it's not too bad. So we decide to switch Cadao's bus stop so he'd get off at his old preschool and we'd walk home from there. This makes my life significantly more difficult, but cuts a half hour off his ride- definitely worthwhile.

Dan calls the bus garage, explains the situation, and sends a note in to make the switch as directed. He specifies the exact route number Cadao would continue to ride. At 3:25, I go to the new stop to wait.

At 3:35, his bus roars by, stopping a few houses down to let off another kid, and takes off again. I chase the other kid's mom into her house and borrow her phone to call Dan. He calls the bus garage to find out what's up while I drag Whiny Baby back towards home, figuring I'd get him at his old bus stop.

Halfway home, we encounter Dan running around the corner. Despite explicit instructions to the contrary, the bus people decided to put Cadao on a different bus. Luckily, this bus goes even closer to our house, and we meet it at the corner and retrieve a crying, distraught Cadao, who had been all psyched up and prepared to ride his regular bus but get off at a new stop.

We were furious (and I didn't sleep last night, feeling sorry for poor Cadao; the experience felt lik a kidnapping to him), but rather excited to know that an earlier bus comes so near our house, so Cadao could have a shorter ride without an annoying trek down the sidewalkless street.

But, of course, after his experience on that bus, Cadao refuses to consider riding it. Ever. In his whole life.

So we gave in. Dan spent forever talking to the bus people and ensuring they were going to put him on the RIGHT bus this time, and he was going to get off at the NEW stop, and we had to pretend his babysitter lived there for some obscure reason, but at any rate, it's done. We used that stop today for the first time, and it worked well, although its going to be much less pleasant when there's a foot of snow on the ground. Even with the walk, he gets home 25 minutes sooner than otherwise, which makes us all happier. But none of us like the bus garage very much....

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ah, so much to write about when we update so rarely! Let's see. One of C's friends got the chicken pox, and we made the mistake of telling the school about it, so when C went to school with bug bites on his neck, they sent him home early claiming that he had the Dreaded Pox. So we had to take him to a doctor, who confirmed that he did, indeed, have bug bites, and that bug bites were not contagious.

A usually refuses to eat anything from a spoon now, which makes it hard to sneak in foods like brewer's yeast and ground flaxseeds that I like to add to her cereal. However, she willingly eats many things she can feed herself, and they're cut into such tiny pieces that it takes her FORVER to finish a meal. She likes tofu and beans and green peas, and tolerates rice, but she LOVES broccoli and fruit. (We suspect she likes broccoli so much because she's rebelling against our efforts to prevent her from putting leaves and grass in her mouth.)

She doesn't care for long sleeves and long pants, and while she has adapted to crawling with long pants and socks or slippers on her feet, it takes a much greater effort so she's more likely to stay put these days. Her frustration with crawling may be why she's taken to walking with push-toys so much lately. She toddles along, using a toy for balance, and complains loudly when she is thwarted by a wall/rug/toy barrier. (She has not mastered the art of turning yet.)

One of the toys she often pushes along is a large bead-and-wire toy. She encountered a smaller version at Maia's house, and despite the different size, shape, and colors, recognized it as belonging to the same family of toys. Alas, Maia's had suction cups on the bottom, and even if it had been tall enough to function as a satisfying push-toy, the suction clubs kept it from sliding at all. A grew very angry with what she perceived as a malfunctional toy. Maybe someday she'll learn that you're supposed to push the beads along the wires....

A is also currently very frustrated with Dan's sneakers. We spend a lot of time hanging out on the porch, where we can enjoy nice weather without the threat of choking-hazard acorns, and the porch is also home to about a dozen shoes. A thinks they are toys and crawls around with them and fiddles with their closures and generally enjoys them, and we figure the exposure to all the nasty stuff on them is probably good for her developing immune system. Well, we haven't figured out just what it is that she wants Dan's shoes to do, but for the past few days she's been furious with them, so much so that today I had Dan spirit them away when she wasn't looking. I tried tying them, untying them, giving her both, taking one away, flipping them over, putting them on top of each other- to no avail. Whatever she's expecting from them just isn't happening, and she objects to this injustice very loudly.

She's equally obsessed with her swing, and she demands to go in it every time we walk past it outside, and sometimes she'll stand by the porch door pointing to it and asking to go for a ride. (She has her own word for it too, that sounds something like "een.") She likes to go super-high and she likes it when we let it go crooked, in "loop-de-loops" as C says. The only problem, besides the fact that I frankly find swing-pushing to be quite boring, is that she never wants to stop, and cries nearly every time she is removed from the beloved swing.

C is still adjusting to kindergarten. He's still not really himself- much whinier than usual on school days, maybe in part from overtiredness- but it's improving, and we're hoping a soon-to-come switch to a shorter bus ride home will help too. He continues to refuse to tell us much at all about his school days, but he is very excited about a book-writing activity they do, in which the kids draw pictures and dictate stories about the pictures to the teachers. So excited that he told us about it before he remembered that he's supposed to keep everything that happens at school secret from us, just to be contrary.

He's been on a big inventing kick lately. He's been drawing plans for "inventions" for a long time, but lately it's been several a day. Some of them are really innovative- like the device that pushes a platform up from the bottom of a swimming pool if it detects that someone has been underwater for more than 30 seconds to prevent drowning, or like the microwave accessory that stirs food while it's being microwaved so it's evenly heated- and all of them are beautifully illustrated. Most of his pictures are intended to become advertisements for the future product, so he includes prices on them, and incorporates clever marketing strategies in his art. ("I'll draw a bunch of people smiling and looking happy so people will see that they're having a great time and want to buy it!")

We're mourning the lessened sunshine, but enjoying the cooler weather. I've made a habit of brushing my hair outside, to minimize the shedding inside our house, and have come to enjoy feeling the changes in temperature every evening, noticing the position and phase of the moon if it's risen, and hearing the insects in the dark. We'll see how long I can do it into the winter.