Thursday, October 28, 2010

(bi)Weekly update

* Life continues busy as usual. The children and I have acquired the sniffles, which is mostly annoying and keeps us all slightly dragged down, but not enough to give up and take to our beds. But mostly, life is just routinely busy, in a very boring way.

* We are watching the new BBC version of Sherlock Holmes on PBS right now. It's actually our second time through because we acquired it when it was being broadcast in Britain, but it's well worth more than one watching. Really, highly recommended viewing, legally or not.

* My birthday was a week ago last Sunday. I spent most of it working, but the compensation for that is that I had taken the previous Friday off when B also had the day off, so we got to spend a whole day together child-free. We had lunch out and got to browse in a bookstore without once spending time at the train table. And now I have new books to read - the latest Terry Pratchett and Caroline Stevermer's Magic Below Stairs, although they're languishing a bit behind the stack of library books.

* Alec has recently decided to start expressing his frustration by headbutting things - the table for instance, or my face if I'm picking him up to take him away from something he wants. Does it make me a bad parent if when in a fit of pique over some outrage like not being allowed to play with knives he pounds his head on the table, I have trouble keeping myself from laughing at the outraged look of "Hey, that HURT!" on his face before he starts crying? I don't actually laugh at my child's pain, of course, and he gets duly comforted, but I confess my sympathy is somewhat tempered by the fact that I'm quite certain he's going to give me a bloody nose before the instant negative reinforcement finally ends this delightful phase.

* K has declared that she is going to be Cinderella for Halloween. Or Belle. Or possibly both, possibly at the same time. I've been working on a Cinderella dress, and I decided to hedge my bets and bought a Belle dress last weekend. I know that both dresses will get plenty of use, but I'm damned if I'm going to work to finish a dress on a deadline only to have K decide she wants to be a different princess. Although I suppose I could have split the difference and made her a green dress.

Update: apparently buying the Belle dress was an excellent example of cunning foresight, since we got a note today about a costume parade at school on Friday. So I seem to have saved myself from having to frantically finish the dress by Friday instead of Sunday. See how smart I am?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Two day weekend!

I didn't realize it when I woke up this morning, but I appear to be enjoying an honest-to-gosh, bona fide two-day weekend. B and K both have the day off because of Columbus Day, but I was expecting to put my four hours in as normal, although enjoying the fact that instead of taking care of Alec all day and K after 3 until 8pm when B gets home from work, then starting in on my paying job, I would get to have a leisurely day at home with another parent to help out, dinner together as a family and maybe even a family outing if we were organized enough.

Instead, once I finally got on the computer (I spent a leisurely morning reading a book. How analog of me), I discovered the server was down at work. And sure enough, when I tried to log in, I got a long page of computer code. And now the server has been taken down deliberately for upgrades. So no work for me!

Two days off together in a row. Gosh. I admit we haven't done much with them - lunch out and a trip to Trader Joe's yesterday, followed by an afternoon of napping, then K and I went to take advantage of good sales at the fabric store today - but not having to do anything is a big treat in and of itself. Somewhere in the dim recesses of my memory, I remember this is how normal weekends used to work, you know, the kind that lasted two days in a row with nobody having to go to work.

What shall I do with my evening? I meant to do some crafting Saturday and Sunday, but I wound up, well, picking up the house and sleeping. Worthy pursuits, but not exactly soul-enriching, you know? K and I bought a bunch of fabric today which I have promised to turn into a Cinderella dress before Halloween, so I think the evening shall belong to that.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

No time

Last time I was working both of these jobs, I had spare time. K was in daycare every day and B took bedtime the nights he was home, so I had plenty of blocks of time to both work and do, well, anything else (like update my unbelievably neglected blog).

This time, all of my time is neatly spoken for. Alec is only in daycare three days a week, so I can't start working until after 8pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, which sets me up to need to sleep late Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I'm trying to recover from the night before when I could be working in the morning. Then B comes for lunch, I take him back to work so I can pick the kids up, and if I have a single errand to run, that's pretty much all the time left until I pick K up at three and Alec shortly after. Then dinner, homework, bedtime, and somewhere in there, I attempt to start work. Then I'm up super-late and the cycle starts all over again. Which isn't so bad until I have to be up in the morning on a Friday or Saturday for my other job.

I'm not sure how long I can keep this up. I took a mental health day yesterday and only worked one job. And it felt so good not to work all evening, it's making me seriously question if I want to start working again on Monday. Sigh. Between daycare and taxes, I'm barely adding anything to our monthly income, which just doesn't feel worth it. I think once 's raise finally comes through, I'm going to have to reevaluate the working situation.


We have survived two full weeks of kindergarten so far. K seems to like it and has almost always been happy when I pick her up at the end of the day. We had a lot of resistance the first week when I think it was starting to sink in that this was the new routine and she had to do it every day. But I don't think there was a day once last week that B had to leave her there crying, so that's improving. She seems to be making friends and is getting greeted by classmates as we arrive or leave.

Homework is... argh. It's not hard at all, and there are times it's fun and easy to get her involved with it. Her math assignments, for instance, which involve things like going through the house to find things with numbers on them and pouring water in and out of different containers to see what different volumes look like. Those have been easy to get through. There's just so much more of it though. I've given up on the alphabet flashcards because she doesn't need them, and I save the number flashcards for when she clearly has energy to spare after finishing everything else. The handwriting worksheets started out well but had definitely palled by the end of last week, and by Thursday night, I had to decide how much I intend to flog my five-year-old into finishing her kindergarten homework. Not that much, is what I decided. I have declared that after dinner, there will be no tv until homework is done, so if K wants to watch anything before bed, she has to finish her homework. But if she decides that she doesn't want to watch tv enough to slog her way through it all, I'm not going to try hard to get her to finish. I don't know what consequences there are for not finishing homework at this level, but she can experience them. I realized Thursday that a great deal of my problem is that I don't want to look bad to the teacher, and since her homework requires so much of my involvement, it's hard to detach myself from that. But it's really hers, so I need to give my inner teacher's pet a rest and let her sink or swim based on her initiative.

I'm not sure my opinion on giving kindergarteners homework at all is printable. Part of me sits and wonders why it is exactly that I decided not to homeschool if we're going to go through this volume of schoolwork every night. This is not at all developmentally appropriate, and it really shows in the fact that she's often just too tired to concentrate well. Can they really not accomplish learning letters, numbers and writing in a six-hour schoolday?


And as a break from the tired complaining, a brief update on the one member of our family with energy to spare. Some days, Alec is so high on life he has to lie down and flail his arms and legs out of sheer happiness. He adores Little Einsteins, and will dance to the music and wave his arms when they're increasing the tempo. Tonight, he came by to visit me while I was in the bathroom, and after a brief tour of the room to do important things like poke at the wastebasket and throw some toys in the bathtub, he turned and gave me a big small and a wave good-bye before he left. That boy is so delicious I could devour him whole. I love fifteen months.