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Six Years

Dear Peeper,

You are six years old today. How the hell did that happen? It really seems like just yesterday that I was awakened at 4 am, by my water breaking, and tried to wrap my head around the idea that I was going to be having a baby in a few hours, rather than in a month. Then, oh child, the crap you put us through with your health scares, and your no-nursing, and open-heart surgery, for God’s sake. But you certainly got over all of that, and here we are.

Six.

And what a year it’s been. By far, the biggest and most important milestone you’ve hit in the past year is not starting kindergarten, although that’s certainly a big deal, but rather, that you weaned. Completely of your own accord, practically over night, with no trauma or drama or tears – well, at least none from you – at the age of five years, three-and-a-half months.

It’s funny how quickly we both adjusted to our new normal, but I do still miss having that in my parenting “toolbox,” especially when you’re very upset or you’ve hurt yourself. But, we’ve found new solutions to those problems, and we’re doing just fine.

A related big milestone is that in August, you spent three nights without me – one, when I got a hotel room an hour away between two days of exams that I was taking, and the other two when you and Mommy went to Myrtle Beach with Eena and Papa and your aunt and cousins. When that was suggested last year, my answer was “Oh hell no,” but by this summer, you were several months weaned and I knew you’d be fine with Mommy at bedtime, and that answer changed to “Hell yeah!” You two had a wonderful time and, although I missed you, I enjoyed my little vacation, as well.

A possibly-related milestone was losing your first tooth a few weeks ago. I think it’s really cool that that happened just a few months after you weaned. They do call them “milk teeth” for a reason, you know.

So, what is six-year-old Peeper like? Well, the short answer is that you’re a pretty damn cool kid. You’re continually amazing me with the things that you say and that you come up with, and your interests are so eclectic and often beyond your years.

You love Frozen, of course, and we’ve expanded our viewpoints a bit to allow “self-rescuing” Princesses ™  which, at this point, include Anna and Elsa, Rapunzel and Merida. Recently, we started letting you watch Once Upon a Time, after much debate about it’s appropriateness. You binged-watched seasons 1 – 3 over the course of just a few weeks, and are now caught up and appalled that you have to wait a whole week between episodes. We are considering watching some of the other Disney Princesses ™ movies, in order to better understand some of the story lines on that show, but we generally prefer their version of most of the princesses, versus the traditional Disney movie version. We all particularly dig Bandit Snow White.

You’re also still very into presidents and money (both collecting bills and coins, and earning and spending it), history and science. This summer we started reading the American Girl books. We finished several of the girls, but need to get back to that and read the rest. Right now, we’re reading a book of stories about “Real Life Heroes” and you love that.

A couple of days ago, we had this conversation:

You: Are superheroes real?
Me: Well, what do you think? (you thought not)
Me: No, superheroes with super-powers are imaginary, but there ARE real heros. Who can you think of who would be a real hero?
You: Susan B. Anthony!
Me: Yes! Who else?
You: Rosa Parks!
Me: That’s right! Who else?
You: Martin Luther King, Jr.!
(Ok, you might have left off the “junior.”)
Me: You’re right, Baby. Those people were all heroes. Can you think of any jobs where people might be heroes?
You: Doctors! Because they fix people when they get hurt, or when they’re sick or ill. Is that redundant?

Yes, redundant. You and your words. You’ve learned a lot of big words from us, of course, but you’re also a big fan of both Word Girl and Martha Speaks, and you’ve picked up quite a bit from them, too.

You also like Peg + Cat, and use lots of their math terms in casual conversation, which is just awesome.

Recently, you and I joined Girl Scouts, and I’ve somehow found myself as the leader of your Daisy troop. Which is, of course, fine by me. You’re really enjoying it, and so am I, when my six little Crazy Daisies aren’t being too wacky.

You are a kid who is usually marching to the beat of her own drummer. For example, when every little girl in America is dressing up as Elsa this week, you had your Frozen birthday party, but decided to be The Nutcracker for Halloween. And assigned me and Mommy roles as Drosselmeyer and the Mouse King, respectively. We evidently managed to pull it off pretty well, because we won the down town costume contest in the group category!

I know I’ve really been falling down on the job with the blogging and it’s been a long time since I’ve posted an update of the things you’ve said, so here are some of the best over the past few months:


Yesterday, you were very excited about your birthday party, and couldn’t wait for it to start. Unfortunately for you, it was scheduled for 4 pm. At one point, you said, “How is it still morning? Time has stopped!”

At 3:30 you were whining about “I want my guests to arrrrivvvve!” A few minutes later, I looked at the clock and it was 3:35. I said, “They will be here soon. Look, 5 minutes has already passed while you’ve been whining.”

You said, “If I whine, will it make the time go faster?”


s

Tooth Fairy Time!

Not long ago, I checked to see if Peeper had any wiggly teeth, and felt nothing. Nor did she. Until today.

Surprise!

She says she was lying on the floor during story time, chewing on her fingers (as she does) and felt it wiggling. She wiggled it and pushed on it a bit, and it just fell right out in her hand. She waited until after the story to tell the teacher, “because you’re supposed to be quiet when you’re on the braided rug!” The teacher took her down to the nurse to get a “tooth box” (little plastic treasure chest) to put it in. She then put the box in a ziplock labeled “Peeper’s tooth” with the date. 140911-d 140911-e When I picked her up from school, as the teacher was putting her in the car, she said, “She has a surprise for you, it’s in her folder,” and Peeper shouted, “I LOST MY TOOTH!” I was completely floored. The pick-up routine is that a teacher sticks the kid in the car, then you drive around to the other side of the circle, hop out and do buckles, then go on your merry way. As you can imagine, we spent quite a bit of time parked there, while I took photos and sent them to Shrike and then Facebook. (Both with Peeper’s permission.) As luck would have it, Shrike is working day shift this week, so she was headed home not long after that. I’m really glad she got to see her right away and didn’t have to wait until morning to get a good look at her. As we started talking Tooth Fairy, I remembered that when we were at the Kid Vendor Day, Shrike’s parents bought a few postcards from Peeper and then wanted to buy something for her from one of the other kids. I suggested that they check out the Tooth Fairy pillows that some girls behind us were selling, and hinted pretty strongly that I really dug the smaller one with the stars and the rainbow. I was thinking that they’d bought it, but wasn’t sure and if they did, I couldn’t remember if they still had it or if we did. Peeper wanted me to ask Shrike to call them and find out, so when she called from the grocery store to see if I needed anything, I was telling her that when she said, “Hey, there’s Papa now! I’ll talk to you later!” She went and talked to her dad, and made plans for us to pick up the pillow this evening. So, we popped by there and got it (and Peeper played for a while, of course) and then went out for a celebratory dinner. While we were there, we ran into one of the girls who was a kindergartener in her class last year, so we told them about it and swapped tooth stories.

They still work!

Our celebration dinner was at our favorite local Mexican restaurant. It seemed appropriate because this tooth (her first, at 8 1/2 months old) cut through her gum while she was gnawing on fajita meat at our favorite Texas Mexican restaurant.

When we got home, she dictated a letter to the Tooth Fairy, and we got everything all packed up and ready to go under her pillow. 140911-f 140911-g A couple more photos in her jammies, and off to bed. 140911-i 140911-h In case you’re wondering, just looking at her mouth, it might be hard to tell that this is the first tooth that she’s lost. It kinds of looks like she has an adult tooth coming in on top. That is the remainder of one of the baby tooths that was capped. The cap fell off, and when we were at the dentist shortly after, it was too soon for insurance to pay to replace it, so we’re waiting and maybe just letting it go, because everybody her age is snaggle-toothed anyway (and she would be now anyway!) and she’ll be losing it within the next couple of years. (Or maybe sooner, evidently.) Oh, and it might also look like she’s already lost one on the bottom, but she actually only has 3 incisors down there. The outer one on the right never came in, and according to xrays, neither the baby one or its corresponding adult tooth exists. We’re told that as her adult teeth come in, they should just fill up the space, and if not, we can deal with that later.

Back In the (Photo) Saddle!

I’ve been limping along with a three (at least) year old cell phone that’s been swimming and has a drowned camera for a couple of months now, waiting until we hit the point in our contract that we could upgrade early for just a small fee, and have access to free phones. As it turns out, the only free smart phone that looked like anything we’d be interested in was the iPhone 5c, so we’ve made the big switch from Android to Apple. So far, we are digging them.

And the camera works!

I don’t know what this face is about.

Nor this one.

Misunderstanding

Peeper: What does it mean when you have a period? 

Me: That’s when ladies bleed, remember? 

Peeper: No, like in a sentence.

Me. Oh.

Schoolhouse Rock

Peeper’s been watching the School House Rock DVD and goes around singing all the songs. Today, we were working with her movable alphabet and she wanted to make a sentence using “a explanation mark.” We did, and then she looked at the box of letters/punctuation, and asked, “Where’s the bycom?” 

“The what?”

“The bycom! You know – ‘…or a bycom if the feeling’s not as strong.’”

I knew what she meant. Do you?

Facebook Rant of the Day

Lately, I’ve been seeing friends on Facebook post things like this:

I decided that I’ve had enough of this sort of ridiculousness, and posted this.

I’ve had no recent run-ins with the law, my bodily functions are just fine, I have enough toilet paper on hand to supply a small village, and although we would have loved to have given Peeper a little brother or sister, it wasn’t in the cards, and I would never, ever make joke about that.

Looks like it’s that time of year again, and I’m feeling uncooperative, so instead of posting a bogus status update to trick you into a silly “game” that is somehow suppose to increase “awareness” of breast cancer, I’m going to say this:

First of all, in 2014, how are we possibly in need of breast cancer “awareness?” We all know that breast cancer exists. Hell, in a few weeks, the entire grocery store is going to turn pink. We are well aware of breast cancer, and even if we weren’t, a “secret” Facebook game certainly wouldn’t change that.

If you want to post something that might actually help your friends to be more aware of breast cancer, ask if they’ve had mammogram lately, or if they do regular self-exams.

Share links to information about breast cancer risk factors. Here’s one.

Do your research and donate to a charity who is going to use your money smartly and efficiently to make real change. This might be a good place to start.

Or think locally, and find an organization supporting breast cancer patients in your town. If you live near us, here’s a good choice (link to local breast cancer alliance).

Know someone who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer? Call her up and ask what you can do to help her and her family. Can you drop off a meal? Babysit a kid? Make a grocery run?

Am I doing all of these things? Of course not, and don’t expect you to, either. But I am posting this, instead of some silly untruth in the name of “awareness.”

And if I do even one thing on this list, and you do one thing and your friend does one thing, then maybe, together, we’ll actually make a difference.

Seventy Months – The Night Before Kindergarten

Dear Peeper:
You are seventy months old today. That is, it’s only two months until you turn six years old, but more immediately, you are starting kindergarten tomorrow!

On the one hand, it’s kind of a non-event for you, since you’re still at Montessori, and with their three-year classes, you’ll be in the same room with the same teachers and most of the same kids, just doing full days instead of half days – and you’re definitely looking forward to “staying for lunch and being an afternoon friend.”

And, it’s also sort of a non-event for me, too, because I know that you’re totally ready to stay all day (you did just fine at the all day summer camp at your school a couple of weeks ago) and totally ready for the more advanced works that you’ll be seeing as a kindergartener. (Well, except maybe for the writing, but your teachers know exactly where you are with that, and will be giving you works at the appropriate level.)

On the other hand.

MAH BAYBEE IS GOING TO KINDERGARTEN!

WHO LET THAT HAPPEN?!?

Ahem. I’m fine. Just had a moment there.

I have no concerns about how you’ll handle it, none at all. It’s just the whole milestoniness of it all. Kindergarten. What the fuck?

I know this is such a cliche’ but it really does seem like just yesterday that you were that tiny little thing in my arms, refusing to nurse, and scaring the hell out of us with your holey little heart.

When I first got involved with MOMS Club, you were almost a year old. I looked at the preschoolers and couldn’t even picture you at their age. Now the preschoolers are “the babies” from whom you hide your good toys when we host playgroup. You are almost always the oldest kid at any club activity we attend. When did you become “the big kid?”

Just two years ago, when you started Mother’s Day Out, I was so worried about how you would handle it, and with good reason – you cried every morning until February. Last year, you just got a bit lip-trembly right before time to go to your brand new classroom at your brand new school.

Tomorrow, I’m pretty sure the only tears will be mine. Well, and maybe Mommy’s. I promise we’ll do our best to wait until you’re out of  the car.

Because, I know you will be fine. You are going to totally rock kindergarten. And your teachers are going to be amazed by how much you’ve learned and grown over the summer. Mostly how much more confident you are, and how much more mature.

Oh, not that you can’t pull a good one when you don’t like what we have to say, but you’re also doing things like brushing your teeth all by yourself (sometimes it gets a bit messy), finally going potty alone and actually wiping (usually), saving up your allowance for things you want, talking to strangers politely and appropriately, coming up with your own ideas for little projects and seeing them through, suggesting that we take brownies to “someone who doesn’t have much food,” and just being an all-around awesome kid.

I cannot even begin to make you know how very, very proud I am of you, and how proud I think you should be of yourself.

I love you, kiddo. Have a great first day of kindergarten.

Love,
Mama

Catching Up (again)

What with my phone and then my other-phone-camera pooping out, plus just being a big ol’ bum, I’ve not actually blogged in ages. Bad, bad blogger.

I just posted several post-dated photos and cute stories, back to my trip to Texas, and as soon as I can get my hands on Shrike’s phone to suck the photos out of it, I’ll add some more, including some from our quicky vacation to Washington, DC.

(Or maybe I already have, depending on when you’re reading this.)

What with the radio silence, you’d think that not much was going on here, but trust me, we’ve got plenty. The biggest things at the moment are:

  1. Peeper starts kindergarten in three days. What the fuck?
  2. Next weekend, Shrike and Peeper are going to the beach with Shrike’s family – and I’m not.
  3. I’m looking for a full time job.

#1, I’ll be talking about plenty in the next couple of days, so I’ll just wait on that.

#2, We’re all pretty excited about. Actually, Shrike’s mom proposed this plan last summer and my answer at the time was “Aw, hell no!” but Peeper is a year older (and six-months-weaned) and Peeper and I are both fine with it now.

This is the same time share we went to when Peeper was almost-two, and stayed in a two-bedroom suite with Shrike’s parents, sister and her two kids. Too many people for that space, and I’m not a particular fan of the beach, and Peeper and I go on trips to Texas to see my family all the time, so I think it would be great to start a tradition of her taking an annual trip with Shrike and her family, too. And of course, the occasional family vacation for just the three of us.

When we made the plan, it was going to be Peeper’s first night away from me, but we actually did that a few weeks ago when I stayed in CapitalCity when taking my teacher certification tests. She did just fine that night, as did I, so I’m not worried at all about this trip.

My biggest worry, to be honest, is Peeper’s hair. Shrike doesn’t braid, and really isn’t too into doing much with it, and it absolutely must be braided for sleeping and swimming, or it will be horribly tangled by the end of a long weekend. The plan is that I will put her in two braids (the most secure ‘do we do) and if our 14-year-old niece can’t braid it (forgot to ask when we saw her the other day), then she’ll just leave it braided. It won’t be pretty by the time they get home, but it’s probably the best option.

I am a little sad that I’ll miss seeing her have beach fun, but not sad enough to want to change the plan.

(I may actually be looking forward to it just a little bit. There may be a plan in the works for Sunday that involve my friends A and T and some wine. Just sayin’)

As to #3, we’ve been going back and forth all summer as to whether or not I would go back to work full time once Peeper’s in school. I put in a few applications back in the spring, and actually had a couple of interviews that didn’t pan out, but I was pretty ambivalent. Then we actually decided that we’d be okay to just keep going with my part time position and web design consulting, so I stopped looking, but then we bought a new toilet and a new clutch for my car, and scheduled a $10,000 mold remediation project for our basement.

Sigh.

So, now we are way farther into our home equity loan than we’re comfortable with, and Mama needs 40 hours of income.

One of the jobs that I interviewed for in the spring was for high school director at Peeper’s school. Long story short, it would’ve been about half facilitating online classes and half other stuff, including community outreach, service learning, etc. It sounded perfect for me, but required high school math certification, which I don’t have.

So, I signed up to take the certification exam, busted my ass studying for it because I remembered very little trig and no calculus, took the exam, and scored two fucking points below the passing score. 

I thought about trying the middle school math instead, and maybe science, but then we decided I wasn’t looking for full time yet, so I didn’t.

Then a middle school math and science position opened at Peeper’s school, but it required – you guessed it – middle school science and math certification.

I couldn’t get it done in time for that job, but I did take those exams – a three part middle grades “core” (pedagogy, English/history and math/science), then the math and science exams. That’s when I stayed overnight in CapitalCity, because I tested one evening and the next morning, and it’s an hour away.

So, where are we now?

I’ve applied with some local school districts, but they started school today, so nothing’s happening there. I’ve applied for a position at a nearby college that would be great money, but is a stretch as to whether I’m qualified – and given that it’s been a week with no word, I’m guessing they don’t think I am. I think I’ve sent some resumes for web design work, but nothing there.

I do, however, have a strong possibility, as – get this – director at a learning center. The same “brand” as where I worked before, but this is the local center, which has a different owner from where I worked before.

I interviewed there on Wednesday, and today I got a call-back for a “final panel interview” on Friday. That all sounds quite promising, if we can make it work with our life.

It’s about five minutes from our house, which is great, but I suspect the money will be similar to where I was before (not great, but better than part time, so…) and the hours may be an issue, because they teach until 6 pm Monday – Thursday. We have some ideas about how to handle the Peeper logistics, just have to figure out the details.

Meanwhile, classes started today at the college where I tutor. I work about half my regular hours this week, doing prep work, class introductions and tutoring for walk-ins, and my regular schedule will start next week. Kind of hard to get real into the introductions and preparations when I don’t know if I might be leaving soon. My boss knows that I’m looking, and that I had an interview last week. I’ll give her a heads-up about Friday’s interview, so she’s not surprised if I show up Tuesday with my two-weeks notice in hand.

Or, maybe this one won’t pan out either, and we’ll just keep on keeping on for now.

Time will tell.