Friday, May 23, 2014


Tomorrow is the last day of school. They just keep moving on. Next up, fifth and eighth grades.

Today was the last day at the preschool where I work. Parents were tearfully snapping end-of-year photos of their five year olds. Their children are done with preschool and ready for kindergarten.  The parents are not ready for kindergarten. I know I wasn't. I wasn't ready for middle school. And the talk of high school makes me dizzy.

Pook's first day of preschool was the beginning of a big change for me. For the first time he'd had a day full of new experiences and I hadn't been part of them. And he told me nothing about them. I wanted to share in his day. I asked him open-ended questions to lead him into longer stories. In the end, all I ever learned about his preschool days was who he sat with for lunch. In elementary school I learned what he ate for lunch. In middle school I only know that they do eat lunch, but what else happens is a mystery. Just like all of Pook's days.

Bug tells me a bit more. Sometimes I hear stories about his friends and the silly things they do. And yet it is still all factual. There is no commentary. Maybe this is a trait held by more girls. How do you feel? What are you thinking? Can I see inside your brain and into your heart?

Friday, May 9, 2014

life choices

While tucking Bug into bed, after his first ever band concert, I complimented him on being so well rounded. I love that he plays the trombone AND the piano, plays baseball, basketball, and swims, plus likes to read, write and draw. He seemed uncomfortable at the compliment, but apparently not for modesty.

"I know. But when I'm good at so many things, how do I choose a career path?"

Thirteen years ago when CD and I turned off The West Wing and headed up to bed, my waters broke. Many hours later I became a mom. Tomorrow I will have a teenager. Pook, I couldn't love you more.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

got pants?

"Hey, guys, your piano recital and band concerts are coming up. Do you have dress clothes and shoes that fit?"

"Uh, mumble, mumble, uh huh"

"Can you pull them out for me to see?"

(multiple sighs)

Bug has his bedroom organized these days into the following piles (to the best I can discern): dirty clothes in hamper, dirty clothes under the bed, baseball clothes in milk crate and the floor around the milk crate, cardboard box of shorts and swim suits which I pulled out but which are getting worn without ever being put in a dresser, clean laundry still in a laundry basket, dress pants on a shelf in the closet, a scattering shoes on the closet floor (mixed with toys and clothes which have fallen off hangers.)

He pulls out the dress pants and says "Here, see" in that 'duh, mom' sort of way. I clearly decided to torture him because I then said, "Try them on."  (ack, horrors!)

Pook's floor looks better, there is only a hamper of dirty clothes and a cardboard box of shorts and swim stuff but if you look in his closet you will see scores of shoes from years gone by, clothes I hardly recognize because they have collars and therefore are never worn, and well, you really can't get in the closet to see what else is there. That might be for the best.

"Try 'em on guys."

(multiple sighs, groans and "aw, mom"s)

Bug: "I just wore them. They fit fine."

"Prove it."


"Why don't you button them?"

"Uh, maybe they're too small."

"What size are they?"


The next pair was the same. The third pair fit. Size 12. They get pulled off and left, inside out on the floor. I'm picking my battles, so I fold them and set them aside on top of the khakis he's planning to wear to the first concert.

"How's it going, Pook?"

He hasn't started trying on clothes but is instead standing in his underwear playing with the Electronic Pocket Distraction (EPD) he removed from his pocket when he took off his pants.

We find him pants which fit, but he can't locate the dress shirt he says he owns. Turns out, it is two sizes too small and I'd put it in Bug's closet. Nevermind, he needs a tux shirt one night and anything with a collar the other.

Now to Pook's shoes. He pulls out five pairs of black dress shoes, two pairs of holey running shoes and two pairs of sandals from his closet. I immediately throw some in the trash can. He begins to try on dress shoes. Bug grabs a pair and puts them on.

"They're fine."

I suggest socks be added to the try-on process. They begin an argument over who owns which black socks.

Pook is still working on shoes. Bug is now at the top of the stairs looking classy, wearing shorts and t-shirt, black dress socks, and shoes which maybe would fit Pook better but Bug got to them first. Their feet may be the same size.

"Hey everyone!"  My mom is standing at the bottom of the stairs. (Holding a cookie jar!)  "The garage door was up and the door was unlocked and no one heard me, so I just came in."

I'm trying to avoid losing control now. "No cookies until you're wearing clothes!"  She eases herself away and I get them back to the business of trying on shoes. Finally, success. I put aside the remainder and offer them online to Friends With Boys.

If I had a chance to do it again, I'd join with a few families of boys and suggest we buy one pair of black dress shoes in every size. We could swap them around for 18 years.


It is ten minutes until we should leave for the recital.

"Mom!  My pants don't fit! I can't button them!"

Sure enough, the khaki pair Bug wanted to wear today (did I ever see him trying them on?) is too tight. Size 12. Super mom that I am, I locate a pair of 14s.  I'd cut off his head but it wouldn't make the pants fit any better.

5 minutes later:

We will never get out the door.  Bug came down in khakis (which fit, with a belt) but black socks.

"But I don't have any khaki socks!" (Clearly I am guilty.)

I find the child some khaki socks.
 in the car, running about five minutes late:

"I guess these shoes are a little too small."

between the car and recital hall:

"My shirt is missing a button."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

it must have been the right "stuff"

A camping Pook will go!

Pook and his friend Tuck attended a weekend retreat in March, up in the North Carolina mountains. They must have had a good time because when they came home they began to talk about possibly going there for summer camp.

I don't know how many of you have sent kids to summer camp in the past thirty years (that leaves out you, Mom) but oh holy hiking trails are the prices high. It isn't unusual to find week long sleepover camps priced over $1000.  I have looked and I have considered and I have then distracted the interested child and looked at day camps instead. (Although $250 for a camp that sends them home after they eat their self-packed lunch is still pretty crazy.)

This time the price was $600. But then came an email: "Thanks for attending our retreat. Any of the children who attended the retreat and come to summer camp for the first time can receive a $100 discount."

Ok, this we can work with. I spoke to Tuck's parents and they were feeling the same way. Child interested, parents on the edge.

"What if the boys helped earn the money?" The church had been saying that they needed people to make Wednesday dinners. Having done this with a group before and made about $250, I found a good date and picked the menu. The boys wrote out emails to help advertise and Pook made a list for me of possible baked potato toppings. I thought they had a chance of making $100 each, maybe more if they plead their case well and put out a tip jar.

Then the organizer told me to expect more like 40-50 people, not the 100 plus I'd had last time. It was too late to back out, but suddenly it didn't feel like it would be worth the effort. The other mom and I each made a large pot of chili, we bought cheese, butter, sour cream, broccoli and all the rest.  We sent the boys' emails to the youth director, who sent it to all the families with children. The choir director sent it on to his members, who rehearse Wednesdays. I decided to aim for 60 people. Leftover potatoes make fine potato salad and everything else was usable or freezable.

Wednesday night Pook put a sign on the tip jar, his Nana put seed money in, and we began.

Twenty minutes later we were out of potatoes and chili. I offered to take Pook out for fast food if he'd sell his meal to one last customer.

An hour later, eating the remaining cookies, Pook and Tuck counted their money. $399.  It must have been the advertising:

Come to this week’s Wonderful Wednesday Dinner!

Help us go to summer camp

April 30 at 6:15

Social Hall

Potatoes with chili and other stuff