Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Happy New Year everyone! The holiday break is officially over for my family and we are back at work and school today.

It’s back to our routine and no more — crocheting, partying until 2 a.m., sleeping in and watching TV. DH and I have especially been into Parenthood, a sitcom about parents in Berkeley and would stay up until 1 a.m. watching episodes on Netflix. (Totally worth it!) As for our annual New Year’s bash, it was a blast. We had about 40 people and more than half came from all over Latin America: Puerto Rico, Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela. Many of our Latino guests brought their families so we had a multi-generational party, in which abuelitos and kids alike were up late.

DH did a bang-up job decorating our backyard with lights and clearing out the garage — gym — for the kids to watch movies and fall asleep in sleeping bags. The kids were so funny, especially the ones that struggled to stay awake. Ari’s bff Jude has never had any qualms about going to bed before anyone else. By 10 p.m., he was fast asleep in the garage. Ari eventually joined him. One little girl asked me for a pillow and blanket, but insisted that she wasn’t tired. (LOL!) Eli was the last kid to fall asleep after the countdown and would not let me get her pajamas. “I always sleep in my clothes!” she said. Alright then.

Now Markos and the kids want to do it all over again in six months. We’ll see. It was fun though — and now I must work off all the great Puerto Rican food I ate and coquito that I drank!

How did you spend your New Year’s? Are the kids back in school yet?

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

36 thoughts on “Wednesday Morning Open Thread

  1. Sounds awesome, elisa!

    Dh is back at work and I’m bummed. Ds is staying home from school with a slight cold so we are stuck in the house all day. He’s not that sick but he’s wiping his nose a lot so I don’t want him to be disruptive with the constant tissue getting. I was going to send him anyway but my mom, a former teacher, said he’d be a nuisance in class and i think shes right. but I hope we all survive till daddy gets home.

    The kids have been squabbling a lot and I don’t know if its normal. I love that they play together constantly but I wish they’d just want to play separately sometimes! Everything has to be together but they end up fighting over a toy or bossing each other. Still, I’m glad they’re BFFs.

    We opened the last of our gifts at the in laws last night and ds got a toy gun from my SIL. I didn’t want to be rude so I let him play with it there and now of course he loves it. It’s actually buzz lightyear’s “ion blaster,” not an actual gun, so I didn’t feel convicted enough to take it away from him. He also got a plastic pirate sword which I’m ok with. Oh and they BOTH got toy chainsaws from my MIL…so they can have chainsaw battles. My little psychopaths in training.

    I’ve turned over a new leaf and I’m trying to have a grateful attitude in spite of being exhausted (baby’s been getting up multiple times). I’ll get through today and maybe even make bread with ds during Naptime.

    • when my brother’s oldest was little my sister in law was all ‘no guns’ and then one day he chewed his toast into the shape of a gun and ran around shouting bang bang .. she gave up at that point.. by the time the third came around it was a regular star wars/comic book war zone of weapons…

      not one of them is a serial killer… I’d relax a bit …

      • I know. And if he wanted to make a gun out of Legos I can’t really stop him. But 1., the stupid thing blasts really hard and in afraid he’s going to hit the baby and 2., his school has a zero tolerance policy. Like they get punished for saying the word “gun” or making a finger gun. So considering how I feel about guns, it was pretty easy to just put a blanket ban on playing with them or discussing them because he really wasn’t interested at all in weapons.

        But just like I know dd isn’t going to turn into a streetwalker because she wears princess High heels around all day, I’m not really worried he will become a criminal :) I’m just not a fan.

        • I’ve told this story here before, but my moment of truth came on the day I saw the four rampaging boys chasing each other wildly around the yard: three were charging armed with sticks and the fourth had a baseball bat. I ran to the door and yelled, “Hey! No sticks and NO baseball bats! JUST GUNS!”

          • It seems like your guys are more laid back about it. Mine are pretty much beyond the age when they used to do this, but whenever they started fighting with whatever type of weapon, they had fun for a little while but it seemed like inevitably it would end with somebody crying. They didn’t seem to be able to manage the level of aggression it would end up generating. We had light sabers for a little while for example but it just didn’t end up being fun. Maybe part of that is the fact that they are just not anywhere near the same size so it was hard to ever make it a fair fight.

            • For me, I guess, I never quite know how to react when my nephews “kill” me repeatedly with assorted weapons. My son is very sensitive and he’s at an age where he’s somewhat obsessed with death and heaven questions. I just don’t like the whole playing dead thing.

              • Not too much experience with that yet, but when I get “shot” I tend to say “I don’t think that is funny, so please stop that.” And leave it at that. When it’s kids playing together and having fun I stay out of it in hopes of not making it more of an issue than it really is.

              • I’ve read that rough and tumble play is how boys learn to manage and control aggressive instincts, and I’ve been thinking about this all week. We just finished a week staying at grandma’s house with the cousins. A lovely family, but very very tightly wrapped. The mother and older sister are both highly controlling, so when the 3rd grade boy sees his wilder and freer cousins, whom he idolizes, he tends to go a bit bonkers.

                I spent the entire week listening to my boys vent about how A just can’t turn it off, doesn’t know where to stop, always goes a bit too far, etc. It was driving them crazy. They adore their cousin and it’s not an age thing – lots of friends have brothers younger than this who rampage with them. But my older son kept retreating to our room with a book (novelizations of Halo, a first person shooter video game), and his brother would increasingly join him for legos or quiet ipod games. They said it wasn’t fun to play shooting games. But I know if their friends had been with them at this idyllic house in the woods they would have spent the entire week in an extended battle campaign.

                • I think it’s a personality thing. My DS1 loves playing sports or talking with his friends, but he just never really had fun when he participated in fighting games. Especially with his brother. He played paintball once this summer with some friends and that was OK but it generally isn’t fun to him to engage in a lot of conflict.

                  • Oh, absolutely – temperament still rules. I’m not saying nonfighters need to fight. Just that the boys with this instinctive drive need to use play to work through it, and I suspect my nephew might benefit from some quality time with toy guns.

    • A toy chainsaw! Funny. We had some toy tools but I don’t remember seeing one of those. My kids did like the toy lawn mower that blew bubbles though.

      There’s a Simpsons episode where Bart refuses to go out and mow the lawn as Homer is demanding because he’s too busy playing a video game called “Virtual Mow the Lawn.”

      • I love the Simpsons.

        I know, it’s a really silly toy. It looks realistic but it doesn’t really do much besides light up. Ds has a real toolkit and he actually does help dh with projects around the house, so the plastic pretend tools basically gather dust. My mil was so proud of herself for getting them though, so I have to find room in my living room for two giant chainsaws.

  2. I’m back at work, but the kids don’t start until Monday so they are at their papa’s and I’m leaving early. I get to start my 5 days with them today so that makes me happy. (Although I don’t think I went one day over the last week with out seeing them.

    First holidays spent as a separated family done and done fine. So glad to check that off my list. The X and I spent A LOT of time together doing family things which was fine, but I’m pretty ready to get back to less contact. It is just not the most comfortable thing in the world. We have family therapy tomorrow and I think our therapist will be pleased with how the holiday went for the kids. (she is really our kid’s therapist – but also works with the whole family.) She basically sat my x and I down w/o the kids before Xmas and told us we better make sure our sh#% was together so the kids could have good memories from this holiday. That the first one really sets the tone for future years. And I think we listened.

    Happy New Year to everyone. I think ’13 is going to be a good one!

    • Happy new year! And kudos for making the holidays special for your kids. I babysat for 2 girls whose parents had shared custody and it was so heartwarming to see how beautifully it can work out for everyone’s best interests when the parents are on the same page.

      You’re making a great life for them.

  3. Happy 2013, all! The mansick is passing, but the man is back at work. Felt like we hardly got any “downtime” at all, sigh.

    On the plus side, I convinced Jess to get back on her bike after about six month of refusing to ride because of a spill resulting in scraped knees and elbows. Trip to library+ favorite gelato shop is a potent bribe. She did great; I think all her growing in the last six months has helped her fit the bike better, and she had better control. When we got home, she shouted “That was so totally awesome! Thanks for getting me on the bike, Mum!!!” Which, you know, parenting win.

    I’m having a selfish day today – dropping the kids at the MIL’s and having lunch with an ex-colleague from London who’s in Australia for a trip. He’s a mad fellow, but it’ll be good to see him again for a short amount of time.

    • Also, it’s my little sister’s birthday today (or my today – your tomorrow). My baby’s 30!!!! I can still remember cuddling her at the hospital when she was born.

  4. So if I’m following the news correctly, Mr. Boehner told Mr.Reid to go Cheney himself yesterday. So much for the party of “family values.” More like the party of potty mouths.

  5. I took a vacation day today (I have several from the very end of the year – after my 90 day probationary period ended that it was impossible for me to use up) and it was sooo great! I took my Christmas money to a thrift store and cleaned.up. Three great new pairs of shoes for work, a new purse, a pair of pants and some great new tops. I also got Bacon Baby a new stroller (we left ours in FL) and a giant plush tortoise! Who could resist a giant plush tortoise?

    I also put together two toy bins, sorted my jewelry and my dock drawer, and pulled out stuff from my closet that I won’t wear this winter.

    Also, birdies. Happy, happy birdies.

    It makes up for the craziness we are dealing with with M, who seems to have developed a hatred/fear of her crib. We are sleep training (again) and I suspect cry-it-out is in our near future. I’m less leery of it with a 20-month old than I was when she was teeny, at any rate. DH and I just need to communicate and come up with an actual plan…

    • Have you considered moving her to a toddler bed? When my son was 20 months we set up the toddler bed next to the crib and explained that big boys who can stay in their beds all by themselves get to choose where to sleep. Cribs are for babies who are not ready to stay in bed by themselves, so if he got up out of the toddler bed that meant he was not ready yet. This made perfect sense to him. He decided at first to nap in the big boy bed but spend nights in the crib, and fully switched to the toddler bed by 22 months. He was never a good sleeper (still isn’t) but he slept much better in the toddler bed.

      • I have a gree with this… every time liza started fighting where she slept moving her to a bigger space was always the right answer… the night we went from bassinette to crib she added an hour to her sleep …from crib to bed she added an hour.. .now she’s in a full size bed fit for a queen of course :-)

  6. I need the S.O.D. today – who had it last?

    I am currently working two jobs (one full time, one 3-5 hours a week), left my house at 7:30 this morning for my one hour commute (which ends soon, yay!). DH called me at 5:20 (still at the office) to ask me if I had anything planned for dinner.



    Then….he has an hour, now, to figure out a solution…..and I come home to find him playing the guitar in the living room. DS is at Youth Group, where he’s happily eating pizza, but no plans have been made for us for dinner.

    thank goodness I have some cooked veg that I could eat for dinner.

    • forgot to mention that DH has been out of work for a month. I am sympathetic and trying to be supportive, but still, dammit, if you’re home at least boil some pasta!

      • Please tell me you didn’t feed him, that you cooked for you and let him fend for himself? This happens to DH and I a lot and I just cannot deal with the idea that I have to prepare on meal for the kids at 5 and another for him at 8, unless there were specific plans made in advance. It’s my job to help keep them alive, but he’s a grown-ass man and can feed his own damn self.

        • I pulled leftovers out of the frig and warmed up what I wanted. He ate something that I made over the weekend, that I know he didn’t like, and we ate in silence.

          • Bummer. I hate that feeling. We made this plan for menus this week, but we ended up bailing on it today because I just couldn’t make myself cook.

            • Boo. That is not very considerate. Just an idea, but dh has been doing all the cooking since dd was born. He loves emealz. He downloads the menus, and they have very specific shopping lists and recipes. We’ve been enjoying the meals. You can pick your grocery store. Just a thought…you had mentioned he likes baking so maybe if he had a menu plan spelled out he would take over meals while he’s off work?

          • Blergh! Sorry you had to deal with that.

            I had a similar experience this week. We tend to plan meals for the week, and I grocery shop on Friday. Because we got back Sunday evening, this week is different and DH offered to shop on Monday. I started making the list, but he preferred to make it himself (fair enough) and did not get ingredients for 1,5 of the meals. He then blamed me when I pouinted out there was a lot missing, because ‘we were making the list together’. Uhm, no. Oh well, he does that, with a change of routine, so in that sense I’ll be happy to get back to normal from Monday.

            Anyway, I hope you DH makes it up today. When do you start your new job? Yay for the cut down in commute!

    • The underlying problem is that I have had the primary responsibility for cooking and shopping. I enjoy cooking, and I don’t always cook from a recipe or shop from a “list”, so I’ve been resistant to sharing this. DH can’t shop while I’m at work, because I have the car, and he doesn’t cook very often, so he has a limited repertoire.

      If I want him to cook, I need to find a recipe for him to follow. Buy the ingredients to the letter. And give him double time to cook. Which, by yesterday’s experience, is definitely what I should do.

      What annoyed me is his total abdication – if he were running late at the office, at the very least I’d cook pasta and bottled sauce or order out. He is not capable of thinking in that way.

      • Oh, I hear you on that one. Once you start your new job, will you still need the car to commute? Perhaps if at some point you discuss last night, you can suggest that he looks up some recipes that he likes and can do himself (yay, internet!) and that he shops for them on the weekend? Or on foot/by bicycle, if at all possible?

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