Load on a Grecian Urn

No, no.  I’m not butchering Keats.  I am reflecting on power.  Often as a mom, wife, and household COO, I feel overwhelmed, powerless.  But that is not so, moms.  That is not so.

We have power – loads of it.  In fact, we all share one super power.  We are super loaders, fillers.  

For example, I am the one who:

  • Loads the dishwasher
  • Fills out permission slips
  • Refills the toilet paper when the cardboard tube hangs empty 
  • Loads the groceries in the car
  • Fills out camp and school applications
  • Loads the washing machine
  • Fills small bellies with the best food I can muster at any given time
  • Refills the soap dispensers when they’re empty
  • Fills the Lego bin with the Legos on the floor before they lodge in someone’s foot
  • Fills in nametags on Xmas and birthday gifts (after loading them into the gift box/bag
  • Fills in the calendar with doctor’s appointments, birthday parties, due dates
  • Fills out the homework sheets and reading logs 
  • Loads the big garbage can so I can roll it to the street
  • Fill lunchboxes everyday x 2

I also work in reverse.  I often:

  • Unload the dishwasher 
  • Unload the washer (while simultaneously filling the dryer)
  • Unload the lunchboxes to make sure nothing spilled/gets funky
  • Unloads groceries that I loaded in the car earlier

See?  That takes power, energy, balancing all the million little details every day, every week.  And that’s all on top of whatever else I/you/we have going on: jobs, marriages, friendships (when there’s time), and maybe even a few precious minutes for me/you/ourselves.  Hell, we would’ve refilled Keats’ stupid urn had we been there, amiright?

So pat yourselves on the back and revel in your power.  I shall try to do the same.

Eye miss nothing

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When You Scare Enough To Send the Very Best

We attended our first family Halloween outing Friday night – a “haunted hike” at a local swamp.  Now before you out-of-staters get all freaked out, it’s a well-maintained park which cuts through a wetland.  While it does sport a ton of local wildlife, I’d be willing to wager you won’t find any 16′ gators in there.  In other words, it’s nice and safe.

We do this event every year.  They set up trick or treat stations throughout the trail system, and feature wildlife encounters with creepy critters such as Madagascar hissing roaches, rats, and snakes.  The kids get to don their costumes and bug spray, snag some treats, and get nice and worn out before bed.  For my crew, this event means they will be out past their bedtime.

Have you ever given a bunch of 4-8 year olds flashlights and sent them off on a path in the dark in a swamp?  It’s a swell idea.  My retinas are still blistered.

One issue we have with Halloween around here is that it’s quite likely that for at least some events, you’re going to be damn hot.  Friday night was no exception.  It got to 90 degrees that day, not factoring heat index.  Any parent, especially of male children, will understand that most pre-made costumes are designed for those lovely cool fall evenings such as one would find in the north.  I had bought the Dude a kick-ass Stormtrooper costume at Voldemart, but he would have wilted like baby lettuce had I dragged him through the swamp in that.  I needed a plan B.  I’m becoming pretty good at plan Bs.

Stella was a Peacock Princess, as I was afraid her “real” costume makeup would run off in the heat.

….and introducing Bahama Frankenstein. (Note to self: Buy better green face paint)

Felix became Bahama Frankenstein, sporting a Hawaiian shirt and some green paint.  Done.

The next 2 days were spent in the inflatable pool.  While I can’t be certain, I’m thinking this was the last pool weekend for the year.  The next 2 weekends are jammed full of events, then a beach trip, then a Girl Scout camp out. Oh, and the temperature has actually dropped a bit, mercifully.

Felix getting in one last shot before the pool gets packed up

Finally, I have discovered the Fountain of Youth: highlights.  While I had kind of sort of vowed not to dye my hair, to go gray with grace, that shit was looking bad.  It wasn’t so much the color, but the texture.  I’m a messy hair person.  I do nothing with it beyond washing it, brushing it, and then usually sweeping it up into a messy mom-bun or ponytail.  Well those damn grays had a texture all their own, sticking out at alarming angles.  I’m unbelievably pleased with my silly highlights.  I’m calling it the “Make MyMom Great Again” campaign.  Maybe I can sneak out for a pedicure soon.  Here’s a picture I took while I was in carpool giving some asshole the stinkeye for having giant metal testicles hanging from the back of his truck.

Truck testicles. I mean, really?

Y’all have a good week.

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The Swift of the Magi

I’m trying to channel my Taylor Swift and shake it all off, y’all.  My heart has been heavy, as has my mind.  My household is down to only 2 stupid cats.  We have lost our emotional pee-er.  Watching Stella cry over it was pretty bloody awful.  It is also mystifying in that this cat absolutely hated her.  He hated everyone but me, but would pee on my stuff anyway.  He peed on everything by the end.  I didn’t realize how badly this neurotic cat had held our household hostage.  Now I can have bathmats on the floor, pillows on my bed, and throw cushions on my couch.   My kids’ rooms no longer smell like hamster cages because I can leave their doors open.  It’s liberating.  Sad, but liberating.  I wish things could have been different.  Stella’s already asking for a kitten.

I’m still waiting for a response from Felix’s doctor.  I know he has all the screening paperwork, so it’s a matter of  scheduling a consult and proceeding.  I’m anxious to get it done.  I really wanted some kind of answer and treatment by the weekend, only because I’d like to have the weekend to observe him if medication is warranted.  I’m thinking it certainly must be.

But oh, my dude is something.  Apparently his imagination is just as active – if not more so – during slumber.  Remember that song he wrote, “Crashing in the Why?”  When it all came to light, he had dreamed about this song and brought it out into the daylight hours.  We still sing it around the house.  Last night, he dreamed up his perfect Xmas present, and rushed to me chattering about it at 5:15 this morning.  It’s something called an Air Kid, although it seems to have nothing to do with a kid. It has a stem so that it can be inflated, a pulley assembly, which acts as the robot muscle for this thing, and at least 3 wheel assemblies.  He really really wants to ask Santa for it.  I had him draw it, hoping it would jog a memory of a toy seen in passing, and told him I was worried because I didn’t know what it was or how to find.  He wasn’t concerned – said we’d send his picture to Santa and he’d take care of it.  FML.

The plain Air Kid…

And a more fleshed-out version with some sort of assembly added. Seriously, if this rings a bell with anyone, Santa would be in your debt.

Shake it off. Shake it off.

But he is such a neat, neat kid.  As with Stella, I hate that some of the behavioral shit at school obscures this sometimes.  He’s so creative, and holy crap is he funny.  And polite!!  Did you  know he even thanks each and every automatic door he crosses?  “Thank you, Robot Door!” he’ll shout as we walk through.

So moving on, chipping away.  And Halloween, y’all.  Our season officially kicks off this weekend with at least one activity – a haunted hike at our local swamp.  I’m already scrambling to think of a costume for Felix that he can wear in our sweltering 90 degree heat.  His stormtrooper outfit is out, lest I cook my son.

We are weird. Can’t really deny it.

 

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Ride of Frankenstein

I know.  I never call.  I never write.  Once again, there just hasn’t been much time or energy left in the tank at any given time.  I’m trying.  I’m working on it.

I should hear back from Felix’s doctor any time now to set up an appointment to talk about moving forward.  They’ve received both sets of the evaluation packets from me and the school.  Hell, the school probably hand-delivered theirs that same day.  I can’t say I blame them, but I blame them.  Not really.  Well, maybe.

Moving on.

I’m trying to get amped up for Halloween, which is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, doncha know.  We actually decorated last weekend.  I was still in a pretty big funk and spending all Saturday at Girl Scout Camping Training didn’t help (and y’all, I tried very very hard to have a good attitude, but dammit I can build a campfire with my bloody eyes closed and know better than to attempt the overly-complicated and unrealistic recipes featured in the campfire cooking section in the 90 degree heat).  Years ago, I started collecting the Spooky Village set they sell every year at Michael’s craft stores.  Well, once we moved and the kids came along, I left them safely in the storage closet.  This year, I figured my gang could handle it.  It was kinda like my Xmas tree last year, breaking out the “good” stuff I hadn’t seen in years.   So yay.  Halloween.  And next weekend starts the spooky whirlwind of activities, with haunted hikes and such.

It seems like every once in a while I write about needing to find balance.  I’m definitely needing that hardcore right now.    I had lunch with my old boss yesterday, and coffee with a friend a couple of days before that.  I wish I could find more time for that stuff, for yoga or reading.  Something other than urinating cats or my messy house or ADHD.  I’m uninspired.

I will say this:  As tired and overwhelmed as I get with all this stuff – especially the ADHD part – I did something last night that I never in a million years would have even considered a year or two ago.  My kids’ school had an event at a local goofy golf/go-kart kind of place.  The kids got free pizza buffet and outside rides/games.  There was a small roller coaster (for wee ones), swings, and bumper cars.  I took them by myself.  Best of all, no one lost their shit.  That would never have happened before now.  I would not have been able to manage them alone in a place like that, with all the sounds and light and stimulation.  We had a very good time.  Progress, I suppose.

Oh, and my hummingbirds have gone – flown the tiny coop.  I know they’re migratory, but I’m kind of sad no one stayed to winter with us.  I miss watching them.  Maybe the giant spider in my yard ate them.

See? That’s a serious looking spider…

Looks like we’ll get a very glancing blow from Nate this weekend, so it will be a weekend of much inside Togetherness.  Wish me luck.

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I’ll Have a Diet Joke, Please

My heart feels heavy, y’all.  It’s one of those times where things just seem ugly and hard everywhere you look.  My job runneth over with suck these days.  We just had a meeting in which our moves were discussed; we get to move not once, but twice in a span of about 2-3 months.  Great for productivity.  Great for morale.  I feel my motivation soaring like an eagle.  On the wise and powerful Facebook, I see lots of bitching about athletes kneeling and not kneeling and boycotts and such.  Je ne care pas.  Can we talk about something else?  My cat peed on my shoes yesterday.  What an asshole.  I need to meal plan desperately, but seem to have some sort of recipe-writer’s block.  I think my kids will be eating a lot of buttery noodles.  And I’m selling candy for my kids’ school and while I was at the aforementioned meeting some asshat stole 3 candy bars.

And the kids.  I’ve made appointments for them both tomorrow – a basic 3 month med check for Stella and the beginnings of the Does Your Child Have ADD/ADHD symphony for Felix.  I don’t want to do it.  You’d think it would be easier the second time.  Oh, and they’ll be getting their flu shots also, so that will make it better.

I guess I thought I’d be more jokey about this one.  I mean, there’s got to be good jokes about this shit, right? Knock, knock.  Who’s there?  I forget.   I’m  normally sporting a lively sense of humor.  It must’ve called in sick this week.

I want to fast-forward a few weeks – get this damn diagnosis and prescription writing/trying over with.  How do you get a 4 year old to take meds like this? (And yet another reason not to be religious, because there must be a special hell for folks who willy-nilly dose up a 4 year old.)  And do they have 504 plans and IEPs for pre-K kids?  I don’t even know.  And the idea of finding out is kind of breaking my heart at the moment.

Pssst! Hey, that’s the horrible woman giving meds to a 4 year old!

I need a good laugh, guys.  And maybe a cheese pizza.

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Stairway to Seven

So birthday season is FINALLY over.  September is a busy month for the days of birth, y’all. The culmination for my household is Stella, who celebrated her birthday on Sunday with her party on Saturday.  We actually had to go to another kid’s party on Sunday.  THAT was some serious ‘splaining.  “Why am I having my party on Saturday when that isn’t really my birthday?”  This literal-to-a-fault thing can be exhausting.  Luckily I had the ultimate bribe of a Baskin Robbins mini ice cream cake to assist her memory when we sang happy birthday to someone else on the day that was really her birthday.  Kids.  Dammit.

Her party was pretty awesome.  We had it at one of those painting places, where usually the adults get hammered on wine and paint, but for kids it’s way more innocuous.   Stella got to pick the theme: everyone would paint a unicorn living in a cupcake house.  Except Felix.  He went Halloween Abstract.  I was surprised he painted at all.  I figured he’d be out picking up rocks in the parking lot.  Regardless, it was a really sweet party full of sweet girls and one Dude.

His and hers, equally interesting

The token dude with his big sister

Nothing says “birthday” like a car full of balloons.

But 7 years.  Wow.  I’ve been keeping this blog up for over 7 years, deftly switching from a pregnancy blog to a parental survival blog.  Y’all never even noticed the switch, did ya? I’ve gone from sleep deprivation and nursing, to autism/ADHD screening, to another pregnancy, to more sleep deprivation and nursing, to the first years of big kid school, to  yet another first year in school with more ADHD screening in the wings.  It’s been a blur.  A really big, colorful blur.

My daughter has- and occasionally continues to – cause me more anxiety than any other human being on the planet.  Yet as hard as it has been – and it has been very hard sometimes – I’m glad she’s mine.  I look at her sometimes when things are calm and still.  She has these gorgeous big blue eyes with that blonde hair.  She has this tiny smattering of freckles just on her upper cheeks.  They’ll  fade with her suntan come winter.  She’s so pretty.  And so damn smart.  I can’t wait to see what she becomes, provided I can survive it.

Many of these were taken by Oui Oui. Most of mine had other girls in them, and I don’t like to post other people’s kids without permission.

That’s it.  I guess I was feeling a bit nostalgic or even melancholy about it.  But hey!  One of my blogging buddies asked to see the Star Wars necklace I got for my birthday, courtesy of my husband and ThinkGeek:

The necklace, complete with Death Star, Tie Fighter, Xwing, and assorted planets including Tatooine and Hoth. Love it.

Have a wonderful week, y’all!

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One Fish, Two Fish, Med Fish, Blue Fish

I’ve missed this.  I’ve missed y’all.  It’s been so busy lately, WordPress has become one of those things you occasionally stop and sigh wistfully about.  There have been birthdays, family drama (which I’d love to process write about here, but it’s not my story to tell), school functions, homework, Girl Scout obligations, including a craft debacle involving hot glue guns.  Three of the four in my little tribe have had/are having birthdays.  I’m 44 now.  Wow.

My birthday was good.  Will managed to pull one over on me and actually surprised me with flowers in the morning (meaning he had to buy them, stash them with water somewhere I wouldn’t look, and then retrieve them after I’d gone to bed the night before) as well as this amazing Star Wars necklace I had wanted.  I got lots of Facebook love, lots of calls and messages.  The ladies at work decorated my cube and left me some goodies.  I got some lunches.  I’m a lucky old fart girl.

I was asked by my kids’ school to come in and talk to all the students about landfills during their “green week.”  I love that shit.  I could do it every day.  To manage to get kids excited about dumps is a pretty cool thing.  The older ones asked so many questions that the teacher in charge had to shut them down.  The younger ones got distracted by my picture of Will and his homemade hummingbird feeder made from his 3D printer and some empty water bottles in my “how to help keep things out of landfills” section.  They asked me all about hummingbirds.  I knew nothing, Jon Snow.  But I’m hoping to be able to do more of that stuff now that they know I can speak in complete sentences and don’t have a soporific effect on my audiences.

I mean, I suppose I can’t blame the little kids for finding this interesting…

Reduce, reuse, recycle, y’all.

Now the big thing – the thing I need help wrapping my head around for whatever reason.  It’s time to take the plunge and have Felix evaluated for ADHD.  Honestly, I’m not surprised.  I had hoped like hell this wouldn’t happen, that he’d get to big kid school and start to toe the line, peer pressure and all that jazz.  Nope.  He makes animal noises, machine noises.  He refuses to learn his ABCs, telling his teacher he’ll “get to it later.”  During my  landfill talk, he spun around and around like a top on his butt, despite the fact that his MyMom was there talking.

So I had a conference.  By then, I had already made the appointment.  And no matter how much you steel yourself and  predict exactly what’s going to be said, it’s never easy hearing  negative shit about your kid, especially when this is supposed to be your “easy” kid.  This is my little bitty dude – my funny charismatic child, my son that still comes and finds me at night to snuggle with.

So I’m looking potentially at another 14 years of quarterly med checks and picking up hard copies of prescriptions and then filling them at the exact right time – because glob help you if you try to fill it too early or too late. And my god, what about summers?  Now I’ll have not one but two kids to worry myself to death about camp-hopping and possible bullying.  Can he/they behave?  Is he/are they getting too stressed by the upheaval?

I’m looking at being the only non-ADHD person in my household.  It’s a lonely idea, which I suppose is a stupid thing to say as these people never stop talking.  I hate it, y’all.  I’m sad about it.  I’m pissed about it.  I can’t believe in my mind I’ve already resigned myself to medicating a 4 year old.

The ADHD Brain at work: It’s fun to give kids super glue to play with.

But how can I not?  I’ve seen the wonders it’s done for Stella.  I now see that, as ridiculous as it sounds, my 4 year old very-bright-child is at risk for falling behind because he’s unable or unwilling to participate and learn what he’s “supposed” to because he’s running around trying to demonstrate what a “strong powerful male” he is.  I see the kindergarten teachers across the hall from his classroom, and I don’t think I could face catching an expression on their faces as they look at my son, obviously thinking “I don’t want THAT kid in my classroom next year.”

So yeah.  That’s what’s been going on.  Lots of digestion and coping.  Lots of juggling appointments and conferences and work and house stuff (please don’t look at my floors or commodes right now).

I’d just like to go shopping and have some champagne for a while.

Y’all have a good weekend!

You only get rainbows after it rains…

 

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Something Wicked This Way Hums

I was at my kitchen window about a week ago and something caught my eye.  We get hummingbirds migrating twice a year, and I intermittently put a feeder up when I see them.  Let’s be honest: they’re kind of awesome.  They’re these tiny, fragile, beautiful creatures.  My original feeder (hanging up empty since spring) wasn’t easy to see from my window.  Once I filled it with the nectar solution, I started to see a small flock of them.  Of course I had to buy another one and put it right in front of my face.

I must say, y’all, that I have finally found something that fights more than my children.  These things are downright bitchy.  I have 2 feeders, each holding over a cup of solution.  It should be enough to feed about 200 hummingbirds for a full two days.  But there is one king bitch that is lording over them all, chasing everyone else away, up to and including dragonflies.  He dive-bombs me when I go to fill them up.  And did y’all know that they are vocal little things?  They talk almost as much as my son.  It’s been a lot of fun.  I hope some of them winter with us.  I’m about to start Googling wee little birdhouses for hummingbirds.

In other news, the kids had a busy and cerebral weekend.  I took them to our local art and science museum to play in the science room and check out the planetarium.  The next day, we drove down to New Orleans to hit the aquarium and the insectarium.  The major bummer was that the butterfly room was closed for cleaning.  But any disappointment and pouting was mitigated by a trip to the gift shop.  The little ingrates had the audacity to whine about being “bored” on Monday.  I was wracked with guilt.  Not.

Planetarium selfie!

If you get to the Aquarium early and get to the parakeet room, they might actually still be hungry.

Girl Scouts has geared back up – Brownies this year.  We have a bigger troop with 6 new girls.  I love our new additions.  All the girls come together in such a neat way.  What is hilarious are the reactions to our upcoming camping events.  We have several day trips and a couple of overnights scheduled.  This will clearly be the first time at least a few of these girls have spent any appreciable amount of time outside.  Several are allergic to mosquitoes.  One girl is allergic to grass – not grass pollen, mind you.  Another girl is allergic to snakes.

While it can be stressful and one more thing to juggle, I do love being involved with my Brownies.  This is my 3rd year with most of these girls and watching them grow up has been amazing.  It looks to be a good year for my little tribe.  Stella is doing well.  Felix seems to be doing well; at the very least, he’s been his normal chatty self, informing me that rhinoceros males use lots of kinetic energy (What 4 year old talks like that?!).

My kids are so lucky to be in a good school with good teachers.  Not every kid is as lucky.  Several of my girls have a teacher that isn’t doing so well.  One girl broke down crying during our meeting yesterday, quite likely from anxiety.  Her mom says her teacher is just freaking her out, and she isn’t the only one.  I hate that.  No kid should have to deal with that at the age of 7.  It certainly brings back bad memories for me.

Everyone be safe and good to each other out there.  Texas, we’re still thinking of you and sending help.  Florida, we’ve got your back as well.

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Putting the Chart Before the Horse

So it seems the charting has begun in Felix’s pre-K classroom.  I can’t say I’m surprised.  I suppose I had hoped the new teacher would have stuck to her guns a bit longer, but hey – I’m just a dumb geologist, you know?

Growth.  It’s nice to have those “aha” moments where you really get that growth has occurred.  I got that today when I opened the Dude’s folder and saw The Chart.  A square for today was shaded purple.  Purple means he had an “OK” day, as opposed to green which means “great.”  I suppose I should be grateful that he didn’t get a yellow (“caution”) or red (“Oh no!”).  But that smear of color was it. No explanation or clues.  I asked my son about it, of course, and apparently there was clip moving and he reported that he had done something “mean.”  I still have no idea what happened.  It may or may not have something to do with getting out of his seat.

But you know what?  I’m not worried about it.  I feel as if I’ve demonstrated that I am more than a willing participant in my kids’ education.  If the issue isn’t severe enough to warrant even a one-word description of the offending behavior, I’m not worrying about it. We’ll just be purple.  I dig purple. 

Lest you think me an asshole, I do totally get that my kids aren’t perfect.  My son never shuts the hell up.  He would irritate Beethoven if he was still around.  It’s constant.  My day today started with a dissertation on how “rhinoceros males have a lot of kinetic energy “. That’s a direct quote. I can’t make this shit up. And I can see where this behavior would be less-than-desirable in school.  I hope we can get some strategies to curb this -at least a little, but until someone talks to me directly, I must believe that his non-stop prattling isn’t so bad.  Maybe the other kids are paste-eaters or biters.  They’re only 4 after all.


So I’m letting it go until I am given cause to do differently.  It’s pretty F’ing liberating, I must say.  And I’m further buoyed by Stella reporting that she and her new teacher have daily hugs.  That made my day.

As a final, serious note, please please keep our neighbors to the west in your thoughts.  We here in Louisiana have a pretty good idea of the enormous awfulness that those folks in Texas are dealing with.  We still have people from last summer’s flooding that are not back in their homes yet; you can see them practically breathing into paper bags, terrified we’ll get too much rain ourselves again and feeling such sorrow for the people now enduring what they did.  It’s a shitty feeling here, not being able to help – to help with supplies, laundry, cleaning.  Lots of our “Cajun Navy” have headed that way- just regular guys with boats helping to pluck people out of the water.  They are lucky in that they are able to make such an important and immediate difference.

If y’all want to help, I would suggest donations to the Houston area food bank or ASPCA.  If you are part of a church, see if your congregation can organize something with a church in that area that can distribute aid directly.  Just food for thought.  Thanks.

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Memes Like Old Times

Do y’all remember that old movie, something about Bodysnatchers?  As I recall, it’s basically the classic scenario where aliens descend and use mind control to take over people in an attempt to ultimately conquer the planet. I think those bodysnatchers are real.  I know this because each and every day my children come home with their memory completely blank or erased.  To be fair, a more realistic scenario may be that they both suffer from multiple personality disorder – I think they call it dissociative personality disorder nowadays – but I speak of the variety in which the personalities are not necessarily co-conscious of each other, rendering the afflicted with huge chunks of lost time.

I know this is a thing.  I’ve seen the memes.

It drives me crazy.  I have no idea what is happening at school.  I know, I know.  I need to get all Elsa and let it go.  I suppose to some parents it’s enough not to get calls from the teacher or principal, or to get scathing notes sent home full of frowny faces or red ink applied with such irritation and force that the words are embossed into the paper.  No, that’s never happened to me. Why do you ask?

Part of this is due to the fact that Stella had such an amazing and heroic teacher last year, and now the bar is set so high that it has left Earth’s atmosphere.  No teacher will ever compare.  I get that.

But this year, crickets.  Cheeeeep, cheeeeeep.

Stella will answer direct inquiries if phrased correctly.  It’s like a damn game of 20 questions.  If you ask what ancillary classes she had, she’ll tell you, or if you ask if she played with anyone at recess she’ll name a kid or say she did her own thing.  If you ask her something generic like “what did you do today” she’ll say she doesn’t know.  If you ask her “well, weren’t you there?” she’ll look at you like you’re the crazy one.

Felix is another matter altogether.  He won’t answer generic questions or specific questions.  If I say “Hey Felix!  Did you sing songs today?” he’ll say something like “This box is part of my special machine.”  Or he’ll run away.

We finally had open house last night, and I got to speak to each of their teachers, albeit briefly.  Stella is apparently doing well and not acting like a jerk-face.  Felix talks.  A whole lot.  Oh, and he has a friend named Sawyer.  So I guess that’s something.  But I’ll tell y’all something: I wouldn’t say no to a couple of those tiny go-pro cameras, just to see what’s really happening.

See? He torments his MyMom. Little brat.

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