May. 19th, 2010 12:18 pm
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My next-door neighbor, who works from home and is a long-time dog owner and all-around sensible person, is reporting on Facebook that she and her (college-age and tenant) niece just saw a coyote in her back yard.

We live in the CITY, people. Two blocks off a busy 5-lane road. Whoa.
flea: (smilydillo)
Last night we went to Pump It Up, which is a local inflatable stuff birthday party emporium. It was our neighbor S's 5th birthday. The kids both had a great time, and Dillo was quite game, compared to the last time we were at Pump It Up (18 months ago), when he hid his face in my shirt for an hour.

This morning Dillo said to me: "Owen [our neighbor/his nemesis] pushed me down and I didn;t even cry or come to you!"

Such a big boy, such a difference a year has made.

In less fun news, we had a talk in the car with him this morning about the absolute disaster bedtime has become. I can take incessant pee OR bedtime battles, but I am not having both.

(Note old baby icon. Possibly I should make some new icons. Darn that baby was a cutie, though.)
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My elaborate plans for last night (I would be dropped at the bookstore, finish shopping, while mr. flea and the children would go to Target and procure light bulbs and juice boxes) were dashed by the invitation from our neighbors to come roast marshmallows in their chiminea and drink cocoa and peppermint schnapps. How could we say no?

Happily this morning I was WIDE awake at 4:30 am, so finished up most of my wrapping, did dishes, did laundry, made speculaas dough, and fished out Casper's swimsuit for the YMCA.

Today I finish work, leave at 3 and take Dillo to his first ever dentist appointment (THAT should be fun - he is still very shy with strangers), then reassemble with the whole family and get us all H1N1 vaccinated before the clinic closes at 6 (mr. flea missed his work vaccination; he was in the field that day.) Then we need to eat dinner (do I have a plan? nope!). Then maybe we'll do the bookstore-and-Target plan.

watch Prep and Landing another 6 times
maybe leave and spend the night in, like Tennessee?
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Dillo: I want to blast into space and see the big planets like Saturn.
me: Well, when you are a grownup you can be an astronaut and go into space.
Dillo: I want to go now! With you guys!
me: Well, unfortunately we are not astronauts.
Dillo: But we could dress up as them!

And apparently sneak into a spaceship.

In unrelated news, we received an Xmas card addressed to "Famous Chef with My Last Name + Woman We Bought House From." Who are not a couple. From our congressman.
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Last night was a rough one for Casper - she freaked out ostensibly over the fact that her brother disturbed the hideaway she had built in the living room out of pillows and a comforter, but actually over the stress of the first week at YMCA camp, I think.

In practical terms she seems to be doing well - is drinking enough water I think, has enough food. She and Dillo both sported rashes starting Wednesday at bedtime; his was cleared up by Thursday morning and hers has persisted and gotten worse. I thought at first it was prickly heat - she was wearing black leggings on an 80 degree day the day it started - and then we thought about a reaction to the chlorine in the pool, or an allergy to the sunscreen. Neither hypothesis suits all the facts, but we bought a different brand of suncreen today.

But she's having a lot of social anxiety - reported being embarrassed because she can't swim and avoided the swim test (on inquiry, Coach said only 10 of the kids in her age group have passed the test so far, and the only purpose of the test is to make sure they're safe to swim in the outdoor pool, which lacks a shallow end where most 5 year olds could stand.) Today rejected most of her clothes because she worries about what people think of them. I had a long heart to heart with her last night (topics covered: evolution vs creationism, true friends know what's in your heart, etc.) and tried to explain about how change is hard and this is new.

Feeling like crap mom because NEXT week she'll go to a different new camp (our only "enriching" camp, for inventors - her friend S. & A. will be there too, so hopefully not so socially overwhelming.) Then back to YMCA for the rest of the summer.

In the course of our heart to heart she proposed that we put the bunkbeds together and she and Dillo could sleep and keep their dressers in the big bedroom, and the little bedroom would be "my playroom." I said we'd think about it (this was actually my original plan, except for the "my" part, and we'd put the futon in there and have a guest room). Then she told me about visiting our neighbor Duckie's house last week before our trip, when they went over to ask Duckie to watch our cat. (Duckie is 11 or 12, and that is not her real name.) According to Casper, Duckie's room is a "bedroom of luxury." The walls are pink and her bed is painted pink and she has a dresser with a big mirror over it and makeup! I asked mr. flea about the Bedroom of Luxury visit after Casper fell asleep, and he said that when she saw it, Casper said to Duckie's father, "I wish YOU were my dad!" Hee.

Anyway, if anyone is getting a Bedroom of Luxury in this house, I am first in line, dammit.


Apr. 24th, 2009 10:10 am
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My coworker is fretting that she is not being "crafty enough" in preparing for her son's upcoming first birthday. This weekend Casper is invited to our neighbor's birthday party, which will include a bouncy house and a spider-man theme (birthday girl is a serious tomboy), and next weekend she is invited to a Princess birthday party ("wear your own princess dress and we'll provide the crown and wand".)

It got me thinking, why don't the adults who are expending so much energy and creativity on their children's birthday parties throw some adult parties occasionally? What wouldn't I give to have an excuse to dress as a princess, eat cake, and come home with a goody bag?

(Possibly these parties exist and I am just not invited to them. Possibly *I* need to throw such a party.)

Side etiquette note: the princess birthday party is held jointly for two girls. Casper knows one and has been on playdates with her, but I don't think she knows the other at all well (goes to the same school, but not in her class or in afterschool). Do we have to bring presents for both? (Yes, I know you never HAVE to bring presents.)

Amusing Casper note:
me: Tells Casper she has been invited to Hannah's birthday party.
Casper: She's turning SIX?
me: No, she's turning five.
Casper: Oh, she is four now? No wonder she is so greedy!
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This morning I walked Casper to kindergarten (after a nightmarish night of child-tending and general awakeness, and hauling her little sack-hound ass out of bed at 7am for the first time in, well, possibly ever) and met some neighbors, and the dad of the family turns out to be the long-time manager/lawyer/advisor of REM. So of course I had to come home and look him up, and of course I have been terribly earwormed with "Radio Free Europe" ever since.

mr. flea is getting a little paranoid about the extreme friendliness/nosiness/gossipy nature of the neighborhood. It is a little funny to meet the manager of REM and find that he and his wife already know about you (your name, ages of your kids)! But they do live across the street from the twins' grandmother, so actually I knew about their 5 year old daughter, too.

The drop-off went okay. Casper was fine, found the classroom herself, and seemed normal - cautious at a new experience, but generally self-assured. I signed her up for after-school, which runs 2:30 to 6 and is only SIX DOLLARS A DAY. Her teacher seems to be the last-minute hire, and is newly minted and newly married. I got this from another mother in the class, who was having a restrained freakout in the hallway (out of the view of teacher and class) about the fact that Between The Lions was on in the class at drop-off, and Demon Television, and "the kids are ready to learn, and she hasn't got her head in the game," and "crayons and paper, all she needed was crayons and paper." None of the other classrooms in our cluster had the TV on, and most of them did have crayons and paper out, and our teacher did seem a little more concerned with paperwork and forms than with the kids, but that seems more like first day new teacher jitters than anything to freak out about. I'ma wait and see how things develop. I agree it would be nice to have a more experienced teacher, but let's not judge this one on the first 5 minutes of the year, eh? (Also, her outfit was better today - capris and a cotton blouse and sneaker flats.) And, incidentally, Between The Lions is a formal part of the curriculum, and it was off at about 5 minutes after we got there, when kids were still coming in.
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We just got home from the open house at Casper's new school. It's a little sad to see assigned seats at tables instead of Montessori work stations. I also wasn't much impressed by her teacher, but on very little grounds - basically, I didn't like her outfit. So we'll see.

But, the real excitement of this post: baby names! All with social security rankings in 2003, the year most of these kids were born:
Garrison 677
Kendrick 477
Marques 853
Joshua 3
Aiden 73
Zariah not in top 1000
Isamar not in top 1000
Jimayah not in top 1000
Jackson 52
Adrian 68
Savannah 41
Benito 986
Dynasty not in top 1000
Kimberley not in top 1000
David 14

Other exciting names from the K list posted:
Dequavious (I am sesning a theme here...)
Lil Rodrick (this name will be great if he's a precocious hip-hop dancer, but what about when he's 55?)
Justice Brodey

Not an Emily or a Jacob on the entire 60-kid list.

Also, the father of one of the kids in our class is the Recycling Coordinator for UGA, and I got to be like, I know what that is! smonster/luluminion, wouldn't it be funny if you guys knew him?
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mr. flea and the children - Casper on her bike - left 45 minutes ago to visit neighbors and set up a playdate for tomorrow. I feel like I ought to go find them, but I also feel like I should seize the moment and take a nap. mr. flea has been doing dissertation revisions which have taken much longer than I expected, and I've been unpacking and keeping the (very tired but non-napping) children from killing each other. The revisions were submitted today so I hope he can start carrying his weight now.

Across the way we have ER doctor (we live 3 blocks from the hospital), children Hannah and Owen. We met them when we closed and they dropped off goodies today while we were out.
Next door (met only by email so far; they are on vacation), Habitat for Humanity honcho, children Spencer and Ruby.
Other next door, director of foundation for coral reefs (Mother heard "floral wreaths," hee), not sure if the house is 2 apartments? Someone who isn't the person we met is gardening there now, could be a gardener or another household member.
Three houses down, Assistant Principal at Neighborhood school, children Allison and Henry. That's where mr. flea is now - Allison is also a rising K. They came by the first night with cookies and asked if we've received our printed neighborhood directory yet (!! even Trinity Park didn't go that far!)

I am painfully aware that I ought to be being social and making friends as much for my kids' sake as my own, but I am just not up to it right now. Luckily mr. flea is better at small talk.

We visited the (public) library this morning, and it's big and newish (1992) and well-budgeted, clearly. They're open 9-9 every week day, 9-6 Sat, and 2-6 Sun, for example. Thursday morning there is a children's program called "Pirate School"!
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This came over the neighborhood list-serv:

Thought I'd pass this along with permission of the sender. Amusing and a good group to sign onto to boot. Read the email from bottom to top...not literally, but you know what I mean!

Sgt. G

It's true...they all live at 219 S. would be strange...except for one reason...thats the address of the Durham County Jail.


From: A Lert Citizen
Subject: An offender moved near you
Cc: ****
Date: Tuesday, July 8, 2008, 6:34 PM

Dear Sgt G,

This notice [from a watchdog group] came to my husband, and we are both very concerned. The announcement shows that X, Y and Z, all convicted of either indecent liberties with minors or kidnapping a minor, all live at 219 S. Mangum. It appears very strange indeed that the three of these men, all of whom offended against children, are living together. Is there any judicial control of released criminals forbidding them to consort with other similar criminals? I worry that they might be inciting each other to reminisces of their past life. Do you know of this situation? Thanks for any information you can give us.

Thanks as always for all you do for our neighborhood. It is greatly appreciated.

Warmest best wishes ****A Lert Citizen****

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mr. flea reported seeing rabbits in the yard TWICE yesterday, so it was with great fear that I ventured out to check the garden. But maybe they were just reconnaissance rabbits, since everything looks uneaten (except the lettuces, but that is clearly the work of slugs). Where are Wallace and Gromit when I need them?

In bad news, a neighbor is dying - a very fit, outdoorsy man of perhaps 60, who fell and fractured his skull in what was either a freak domestic accident or possibly caused by a stroke. Wife and Son A were in Paris (she's a French professor) and Son B was also away (sons are college-age). We are told to expect a funeral at the end of the week, though as of last night he was technically alive. I suppose this and the landlady's cancer are balanced by the 5 healthy babies under 3 years old, plus 3 more expected this summer, on our one block, but I'm not feeling very Circle of Life about it, just sad.


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July 2016



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