Week in Review: July 24-July 30

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Busy, chaotic, and tiring.
What are….three words that describe my last week, Alex?

Though the final week of July felt like it could possibly kill Mike and/or me, now that it has ended, it’s comforting to know that our schedule of demands has eased up quite a bit, at least for the time being. As a result, we as parents are taking full advantage of our increase in free time by simply not.going.anywhere. this week, unless we are actively forced. Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta hermit.  It also feels good to have spent a large portion of today in a seated position, I ain’t even gonna lie.

This first post is my blog debut of the Week in Review segment. Here, I plan to discuss the 3 best parts of my previous week, as well as the 3 worst.
Happy reading, y’all!

Highlights

1. I was wrong in assuming that my 2-year-old was done napping. I’ve never been so glad to be wrong in.my.life.  You see, for about 3 fourths of the month of July, getting S2 to nap in the middle of the day had become a struggle of epic proportions, often taking 60, sometimes even 90 minutes until either she fell asleep or the “charge parent” would finally give up trying. Nothing had changed as far as her regular nap routine; we still gave her a bottle of milk, followed by a story of her choosing, the unspoken signal to S2 that yes, its nap time in the crib time, yo. (Sidenote: yes, my 2-year-old still gets 2 bottles of milk per day, sleeps in a crib, and I’ll just say it now: she’s also addicted to her pacifier. I know, I know, it’s time to wean her off of those things, big girl bed, blah blah blah, and while I appreciate any well-meaning advice/judgement, I’ve done this “raising a toddler” thing before causing no lasting harm in the process, so I’m truly all good here.)

In early July, out of nowhere, things suddenly changed. S2 decided that “Sike! N ain’t for ‘Nap,’ it’s for ‘Nope,’ suckas!” After a few days of Mike or myself laying on the floor next to her crib as she either laughed at our futile attempts to get her to sleep or worse, screamed in a manner I thought was only reserved for victims of torture, we collectively decided to stop trying to get her to nap altogether. We came to the reluctant concluison that our spirited youngest just might be one of those outlier kids who stopped napping earlier than any sane parent would ever hope.

Then, Monday morning happened. A tantrum of epic proportions, around 11 am. This particular fit was spurred by my apparently horrific decision to have her play in the ‘other’ family room chock-full of her toys instead of the one she was currently attempting to destroy. As she threw herself on the floor, flailing about like a tiny tornado, the thought crossed my mind that perhaps her immense overreaction could be due to exhaustion? So, with zero expectations of success, I decided to try ye olde nap routine once again. To my complete astonishment, S2 fell into a deep sleep less than 5 minutes after being placed in her crib. Since then, naptime has returned to the smooth process of yestermonth. Thank you, S2, and here’s to at least 2 more years of it, kiddo.  Don’t let us down.

2. My older daughter knocked her Shakespeare camp performance out of the park.  About a year and a half ago, S10 informed me out of the clear blue sky that she was interested in attending Shakespeare camp. After scouring the Web, I eventually found one at a reputable place, and enrolled her for two weeks, even though the camp was an hour away (with no transportation), only 9:00-2:45, and significantly more expensive than I budgeted. However, being that my oldest excels in school, is generally polite and respectful to others, and had been wonderful in her new role as big sister since then-S1 was born (especially considering she had no interest in a sibling, preferring to remain our only child), I figured I’d let her try it out last summer. The plan was the one parent would drive her to camp and the other would pick her up later on, so that one parent wasn’t forced to drive all damn day and S1 wouldn’t have to be in a car for 4 hours.

Well, S10 loved the camp. So much, in fact, that she asked to go again this summer. We obliged, with the disclaimer that between camp and all-star cheerleading (another bank-breaker), she shouldn’t expect many other family adventures this summer. It was a deal.

So last week marked the second week of Shakespeare camp driveapalooza, which by Thursday was starting to drain on us parents. Factor in S2’s toddlerisms, and you have a lovely combo of complete mental and physical exhaustion. However, Mike and I were excited about the fact that the end of each week of camp, the campers invited parents to watch them perform scenes from a Shakespearean play they had worked on that week. Week one was ‘As You Like It,’ and last week, week two, was ‘Romeo and Juliet.’

flickr photo by sammydavisdog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

What S10 didn’t tell me, however, was that not only was she chosen to play the role of Juliet, but her scene was actually the most famous scene of the play. It was the scene with the line “where for art thou, Romeo?” and “what light through yonder window breaks?” And she absolutely nailed it. She chose to perform her Juliet monologue in song, and when her ‘Juliet’ heard ‘Romeo’ outside her window, S10 cleverly improvised a “mic drop,” adding a modern twist on a traditional scene. She was absolutely fantastic. Seeing her perform also served as the reminder I needed that the fact that my 10 year old youtube-watching, dystopian-fiction reading, Queen of peppering her speech with acronyms (DIY, OMG, I hate hate hate all that) has somehow developed a passion for the over-500 year old classic works of Bill Shakespeare. Should that be nurtured? You bet thine ass it should.

3. I set up this blog, and pretty much on my own.  Ok, I had a little help from my software engineer friend via Facebook messenger, but for the most part, I taught myself how to use the elusive-to-me-anyway WordPress and Bluehost. Normally, I consider myself pretty technologically proficient, and even at work I am often the faculty member called upon to troubleshoot a fellow teacher’s computer issues. But being a Microsoft Excel guru, or the sultan of “turn it off then on again” is positively old school compared to what I am seeing those damn Millennials creating in the blogosphere, making me feel like a Baby Boomer programming a VCR. Until last week, the only plug-in I had ever used before was made by Glade, for Pete’s sake. However, with persistence (and a little help from my awesome friend Bill), my blog, while not the fanciest thing in cyberspace, is at least currently up and running. A pretty impressive feat for someone who grew up with 30 Apple 2Cs in my elementary school computer lab, which were, at the time, the pinnacle of “cutting edge technology.”

Apple_IIc_with_monitor
Apple IIc with monitor” by Bilby is licensed under CC BY 3.0               128 KB memory? Damn, whachoo gonna do wit all dat RAM?

So in other news, I’m old. Anyway, moving on to….

Lowlights
1.  Last week was the last week in July. The arrival of August signals many things. The presence of the county fair, weeks chock-full of medical appointments to ensure myself and the kids are polished and healthy for the upcoming school year (as a stay at home dad, Mike gets checked after summer at his leisure), the anticipation and excitement over when S10’s teacher assignment will arrive in the mail, back to school shopping, and, sadly, the realization that my summer break is now half over.

woman-studying-cartoon
Yaaaaay.

Yes, that is depressing. And before I start to hear how ‘most people work year round,’ I must interject by saying that during the school year, if I am awake, I am usually working. I work constantly for 40 straight weeks. Do ‘most’ people do that? The sheer amount of paperwork that I deal with as a teacher is ludicrous, and every year it seems to get worse. During the school year, every single minute that I don’t work pushes my paperwork to-do pile farther into the weekend, yet even if I DO constantly work, paperwork still somehow encroaches upon my weekends anyway. Now, I’m certainly not miserable. I like my job! I feel like what I do for a living is extremely important and makes a difference in the world. Helping kids grow, both academically and socially, gives me immense pride. Heck if I didn’t love teaching, I certainly wouldn’t be heading into my 13th year of doing it with my sanity intact! Point being, summer is the only time during the entire year that I can act like a ‘regular’ person. I can have interests and a life outside of work, just like everybody else. And that is why I am sad that my summer break is half over, just so you understand.

2. S10 made the senior squad at her cheer gym. Now, that doesn’t mean exactly what it sounds like. We switched cheer gyms this year for various reasons, and overall, I have been very pleased with the gym she currently attends. So, I’m not at all upset that she made the senior squad. In fact, I’m proud of her for coming such a long way with her tumbling and stunting skills in such a short while. What is upsetting is that with her placement comes the inevitable bills for choreography fees and monthly tuition payments. And this isn’t small change. All-star cheer is crazy expensive, so of course S10 asked to do it 4 years ago, and continues to love it with every passing year. However, paying out significant sums of money in the month of August as a teacher is borderline painful. In the beginning of July, after my summer check is deposited, I often feel like this, looking at my bank account:

IMG_1770

But by August, when I look at my account, I feel like this:

IMG_8885

Which is where I’m currently at.
So it’s not the sport itself, but the financial commitment. If you ever wanted to know what it felt like to drain money directly from your pocket, enroll a loved one in all-star cheer. Trust me on this.

3. Too much driving. During the last 2 weeks, I feel like I could have driven to the California coast from NY and added less miles on my car than I did in chauffeuring both kids around. Our schedule was just absolutely insane!

Random thought: I wish you could collect car miles like people do airplane miles. And then trade them in for either free gas, or a credit toward a new car. If that ever happened, I’d end up owning either the gas station or the car dealership at the rate I’ve been racking up miles lately.

Free play at home: necessary for parents as well as kids
Free play at home: necessary for parents as well as kids!

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

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