Sunday, January 4, 2015

The First Four Days

I am so sad our break is ending.  I'm sad every year, but as I watch Cora delightedly toddle back and forth between the four of us- she's so fun and growing so fast!, I'm particularly loathe to return to reality. I so love time when it's just the five of us together doing all of the things and none of the things all in the same day.  Lots and lots of time for the kids to just play and JP and I to do our own thing and occasionally eavesdrop and chuckle under our breath at whatever game they've created or serious topic they're discussing.  I think maybe my favorite thing in the world is watching them play together.

the kids are in there somewhere

In answer to a reader question from last week, we don't really do electronics- we don't own an ipad or any video games, the kids aren't allowed to play on our phones, and our one TV is for JP and I to watch after they go to bed (and occasionally for them to turn on a weekend morning when Cora decides to sleep past 8 and JP and I decide to go back to bed), and while I don't necessarily think electronics are bad, I am thankful everyday they aren't a part of our kids' lives.  At least not yet. They're only 7, 4, and 1- there's plenty of time for them to become obsessed with their phones (or whatever exists by the time we let them have one), and I think it's been good that they're unplugged for now. I think it's subtly taught them patience and how to pass time just doing nothing- like waiting for a doctor's appointment or table at a restaurant, something I think is a necessary life skill and one that seems to be lost, including by me, as I inevitably start to reach for my phone when waiting in line somewhere. And I think it makes their play more inclusive and creative.  While the fact that they don't fight is in part just who they are, I think it's aided by the fact that they spend so much time coming up with things to do together each day.  So while I'm sure electronics will worm their way into our lives eventually, and that will be fine- JP grew up watching TV and playing video games every waking hour he wasn't at school or in practice and he turned out great (though interestingly, he's far more anti-electronics than I am), I do love that for now, Landon just has a blank look on his face when our contractor asked him if he loved Minecraft.

So far this year we've baked and decorated our (very belated) Christmas sugar cookies, and since it wasn't Christmas any more, I used the opportunity to buy some new cookie cutter shapes. A high-heeled shoe was among them.

Cora tried a cookie, and after initially being very concerned when the icing came off on her fingers, she soon decided it was all DELICIOUS and I was relieved I wouldn't have to question her origins again.

After eating my traditional way-too-many cookies and feeling sick and going back for more, Claire trounced me in pick-up sticks. Is it her tiny hands?  Is it that I was never meant to be the surgeon I used to think I wanted to be? Or was it the sugar crash overwhelming me? After losing 4 out of 5 games, I'm still not sure.

Landon had basketball practice on Friday (ugh, I forced myself to sign him up again; he loved it last year and I have got to get over my dislike of all after school activities that don't involve me just dropping Landon off in the parking lot of a pool where JP coaches, and even those days aren't my favorite, and someday we have GOT to actually sign Claire up for something, but she loves coming home with me as much as I love not taking her anywhere, so a bilingual-musical-sports-star she is not, yet), so JP took him and I stayed home with the girls.  I asked Claire what she wanted to do and she said yoga, painting fingernails, and a bath.  So that is exactly what we did, with Cora's help of course.

Halfway through her yoga video, she kicked back on the mat, crossed her hands under her head and said, "Mommy, I'm just going to watch these people do the yoga for a while."

After yoga and before the fingernail painting, and free from certain anti-Taylor Swift male personages in the house, we decided to memorize the new Taylor Swift album.  But then we discovered this mashup of "Style" and "Blank Space" (our VERY favorite song that we listen to on repeat in the car between her school and Landon's when we have to switch to something non-Swifty) and we are obsessed.  After our 3rd listen, Claire said, "Mom, I just want to listen to this 2... no 5... no maybe 12 more times."  An unabashed love of Top 40 pop radio and a boundless endurance for repeat favorites?  That's my girl!

Yesterday the sun finally appeared, so we got to play outside for a bit.  Cora sat in Landon's old cozy coupe and watched the action while Landon practiced basketball, JP practiced his long jump (yeah I don't know, but I'm pretty sure he's measuring his jump here), and Claire tooled around on an old tricycle in her cowboy boots. Just a typical Saturday morning.

I ran out to get some things to make for the teacher's belated holiday gifts (the kitchen reno is to blame for all the belatedness) and then we made blizzard party mix, this year without the pinterest-deviltry of the Santa hats.

But I did drizzle a bunch of dark chocolate over one of the batches, so that's fancy. I wrapped them up in big glass jars and ribbon and heartfelt "thank you for loving and caring for our children" Christmas cards, to be delivered tomorrow. Who doesn't like the holidays to last a little longer, right?

I've gone to yoga and/or barre every day of this break and I am so sad to lose my perfect 12:00 p.m. workout time on Monday. At that time, Cora's asleep, the big kids are deep in some game or another, JP does his swim school work, and I can slip away for my time without missing much at all. I've loved it. I'll miss it. I like working, but there's no doubt that not working is way better, though it is wonderful to know I'm returning to a job where I get to do things like take off from Dec. 19 - Jan. 4. It's like a tiny maternity leave without a pregnancy or a newborn, and with presents, cookies, and all my favorite holiday traditions smashed in. I already can't wait until next year!


  1. I have a question for you about the lack of electronics. Does Landon use them in school? I have a 14 year old, 12 year old, & 10 year old who use both iPads & their own personal iPhones in school on a regular basis. In fact, my 10 year old's teacher has a classroom app where the kids do their homework. My 7 year old is in 1st grade and they use the classroom iPads at least once a day for math and once for reading. Each child has a profile in whatever app they use and it pulls up books for them based on their personal reading level. Even my 4 year old uses an iPad in her Pre-K class. Is it different where you live? We don't have iPads at home (we do have Kindle Fire's & iPhones though) and we're constantly bombarded by our kids begging for iPads because they use them in school so much.

    1. He doesn't, at least not much. They get computer lab time once a week in his after-school program and he loves that, and I think he's great that he's getting familiarity with a computer, mouse, and keyboard that isn't mine and that I don't have to worry about him accessing the internet on, but they don't have computers or iPads in the classroom and there are definitely no personal phones. Is that coming? Was learning the non-tablet-way so bad? Especially in elementary school? It makes me sad for some reason.

      But no, apparently our school is making it easy for us to be child-luddites!

  2. We really limit the kids' technology as well. They get TV but I refuse to buy them any video games or let them use our phones/computers. For those occasions when they get gifts, I only buy them traditional/timeless toys like train sets, Legos, games, sports equipment, and puzzles. You are so lucky your kids don't fight. My two older boys fight CONSTANTLY. And it has nothing to do with technology (at least in our family). They are always playing games together but fighting constantly during those games. Also, they rarely will sit still and play something- it always has to be a running/fighting/wrestling/chasing/object destroying game. UGH!!!!!!!!