I’m going to skip right over the self-flagellation about not writing for ages, and just move on to an update. I know I’ve often come across a long-defunct blog and wondered how its writer was doing now, or wished for more information about someone whose blog I had followed for years. So here’s at least a brief update.
I started a new job in January 2017. I’m now working as a school social worker at a middle school in our district. It has been great to be back to working with kids. And I’m really loving having summers off! Roo has been a teacher for years, and there were lots of summer days when I grumpily went off to work while she got to stay home. To be fair, there were also days when I felt like I was getting the better end of the deal as I went off to hang out in air conditioned spaces and have adult conversations and left her home with our kid(s)!
So now all four of us are home all summer. Compared to so many folks I know, it feels ridiculously decadent, especially since Tad is often in various day camps. At the moment it also feels exhausting! I love my children dearly, but the are both incredibly active, busy people. And neither is in a particularly easy stage at the moment. Roo and I have also taken on a lot of projects around the house, including some major decluttering and a big plumbing project. I’m glad to get them done, but they do not make for a relaxing summer. In addition to the big things, it has been helpful to have time for the smaller errands and chores that often get continuously put off–getting a tire for Sprout’s balance bike, getting all four of us to the dentist, etc. And we have made time for some lovely adventures–library story hours and visits to the nature center and lazy mornings doing puzzles on the playroom floor and evenings at the neighborhood pool.
Roo is getting ready to start her 13th year working at her school. She recently decided to become vegan. We’ve been together now for more than 16 years, which makes me feel very old, but also very lucky so have such an amazing partner and co-parent. I can’t imagine dealing with dripping faucets and temper tantrums with anyone else.
Tadpole is 8 1/2 and will be going into third grade. We continue to be happy with his school, and he had a fabulous teacher last year. She clearly embraced the school’s “project-based learning” approach, in which students do a variety of multi-disciplinary projects about subjects that interest them (in addition to more traditional language arts, math, science and social studies lessons.) In June Tad’s class was in charge of creating a performance for the whole school. Groups of students performed retellings of the Little Red Riding Hood story set in countries they had researched–complete with intricately-detailed costumes made entirely from markers and construction paper. Tad has learned a lot and continues to enthusiastically explore all sorts of subjects–sharks and the Civil War and baseball history and spy planes and more. He has become a voracious reader, and it is hard to get to the library often enough to keep him supplied with new books (even when we check out a dozen at a time.)
He can be charming–making silly faces to cheer up crying babies, discussing his opinions about history or world affairs with any adult who will listen, and offering his sister piggyback rides. He can also be challenging and oppositional, but fortunately reserves most of that for his moms.
It is fascinating to watch Tad developing in to someone who is both very like his parents and also very much his own person. He is curious and creative in ways that feel very familiar. And he is also very active and impulsive, which can be challenging for Roo’s and my slower-paced and calmer temperaments. He loves being on the stage (like many in Roo’s family), and enthusiastically participated in a theater group last fall. He has also recently become obsessed with baseball, which is not a sport that Roo or I have any experience with or interest in. This spring/summer he played on a Little League team in our neighborhood. While I usually find baseball incredibly boring to watch, I loved attending Tad’s games. He focused so intently on every direction from his coach, and learned so much about strategy and technique. Every evening after school, he insisted that Roo or I help him to practice hitting, catching or pitching, and it was satisfying to see his hard work pay off as his skills improved.
Sprout is 3 1/2. She has strong opinions about most things. When she has decided what she wants to wear, convincing her to choose something else can involve 20 minutes of negotiation, even when the chosen item is covered in filth or completely seasonally inappropriate (no, you may not wear fleece pajamas to school when it is 95 degrees out). Her favorite outfit is a yellow firefighter shirt with a white lacy bubble skirt.
The one area in which she is more flexible is food. She is an adventurous eater and loves foods with strong flavors like hummus, pickles and stuffed grape leaves. She loves to play pretend games. In her favorite one, she is a baby kitty, Tad is her “big brover kitty” and Roo and I are “Mommy kitty and Momma kitty.”
During the school year she goes to preschool four days a week and spends Mondays with Roo’s mom. Her preschool is the same one that Tadpole attended, and we continue to be happy with it. The staff are warm and friendly, kids have lots of opportunities for play, and they spend a lot of time outside. An added plus this time around is there there are at least five other two-mom families with kids at the school, including a little boy in Sprout’s class. I think it is great for Sprout to see other families that look like hers, and we have enjoyed connecting with other queer parents.
Sprout seems to enjoy preschool when she is there, but would always prefer to be with us. Almost every morning she would ask, “is today a stay-home day?” (i.e. weekend). She is delighted to have so many “stay-home days” over the summer. And I am happy to have these days too, even when I am completely exhausted by them.