My baby bean, my punkin, started kindergarten today.
That is the weirdest thing to write, and even stranger to conceptualize. I mean, I know that she’s nearly 6, but when she was a baby, that age seemed impossibly far away, and yet it has happened faster than I ever thought possible. I have a lot of anxiety associated with proper school, mostly because I remember so much of my experience in it — it wasn’t horrible, but as a be-speckled tall, skinny girl wearing braces, I had more than my share of ridicule, and I was sensitive to start with. Katie is like me only in that she’s sensitive and smart, so she may skate entirely around that experience… or she could be the instigator of it. I guess we’ll need to wait and see.
Today’s first day was mostly orientation. They had the incoming classes broken up by last name; the first went to the classrooms, then we met them all together in the multi-use building, then we, the second shift, retired to those same classrooms to get our version of the orientation. Katie’s new teachers seemed really great, and from their brief conversations with us all told Brandon that they’d probably put her in some sort of leadership role in the class to help her focus. It sounds like she already has a good handle on most of the academic things she’ll learn during the year, like counting to 100 and writing her name, which is good because it will give her the ability to focus her energies on developing the skills she’ll need inside the classroom (focus, etc).
Then, the van for her aftercare showed up. I helped her walk to the van (she really didn’t need it), then Brandon and I drove down to meet them there. SHE WAVED US AWAY. WE WERE SHOOED.
So I guess that’s that, then! The heartbreak!
Tomorrow is the real first day. Eep!
Brandon turns 40 this month. My hubby! Forty!
I remember when my parents turned 40 (5 years apart). In our old neighborhood, there was a kit that would go from person to person each year, and as they turned 40 they would add to it. It had all the requisite “middle age” stuff — adult diapers, vitamins, a cane, and as a kid I was a bit confused as to why my parents, who seemed pretty young to me, would need any of that stuff. I remember that for my dad’s 40th birthday, my mom threw him a huge surprise party luau. So, this age has been pretty iconic in my mind from the get-go… it’s nearly impossible to consider the fact that we’re approaching it. But, my acceptance doesn’t change it, I guess! :D
In the tradition of my mother, I was considering, and actually began to plan, throwing a surprise luau in our yard — it’s big enough and I doubt anyone would complain :) But, when Brandon got wind of my plans (I am terrible at secrets), he told me that if he had his druthers, he would much rather throw himself a party and spend the entire time cooking. This is awesome and yet problematic… awesome because it means that I don’t have to spend money on catering, but problematic because all of the money I would save on catering, Brandon would spend on assorted party stuff that he considered important. Oh, that, and the fact that he is a miserable, horrible person to be around in advance of any big event he is throwing because he turns into a stressjob. And, as predicted, all of these things came to pass! :)
I rented a huge bounce house for the kids, and then I splurged on a margarita machine (also rented). Brandon took the week in advance of the party to start cleaning the house, the yard, and buying supplies… enough alcohol to make sure we get through the next 3-5 years (this is probably an overstatement of how long it will take us to decide to drink this stuff, because of the children), a pop-up tent that works to cover the outdoor kitchen when it’s super sunny, a new table and some chairs, a bunch of new chair pads, etc., etc. He also took an opportunity to ride the fancy new custom Trek Domane that I “bought” him (he calls it his midlife crisis bike, and I just signed the check for it). He also got a ton of food and then even bought himself a cake (I don’t even know how to explain the fact that I overlooked that. I am seriously a bad person). I handled inviting the people:
So the day of the actual party, I took the kids to gymnastics and swimming (which I moved an hour earlier) while B dropped the pups off for a day of doggy daycare and an overnight (to help them avoid the stress of being locked up in the house while people were coming and going) and finished setting things up. When we returned, the bouncy house and margarita machine were already delivered, so I got to follow through on the punishment I had to unfortunately dole out earlier in the day (each kid had to wait 5 minutes before going in: Max because he was fake crying, and Katie because she was sass-talking to her mama). Then, the kids went crazy while we finished cleaning and putting things out.
Overall, the party was SUPER fun. We have an outdoor speaker that has a microphone, so a few of the kids spent some time singing to Frozen — most notably Riley, who has a karaoke machine at home and was VERY into her performance. Our friend Alex is an accomplished mixologist so he did a lot of the drinks that helped Brandon get pretty happy as the night went on. We ate ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, and assorted other goodies, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves; the kids either did bouncing, slip-n-slide, some sprinklers, water table, or hung out in the hot tub. (Some spent some time inside, but at one point I forced them all outside telling them that this was not a kid party so it wasn’t fair to make an adult stay inside with them when the adults wanted to be outside and together.) Lots of our favorite friends were there, including my family, some of Brandon’s coworkers, my friend Casey, Ava, Nina (Martha) and Carlos, Valerie and Blaise, Tharanga and Rajith, and our old neighbor Susanne. And, of course, Caroline brought Ruby, which brought everyone no end of joy because having an adorable little puppy around is always a nice thing. (Max in particular could not get enough of her and spent most of the time before she arrived asking about her, and then most of the time after she arrived either petting her asking me if I could help him hold her, or talking about her.)
Brandon, I think, had a good time. He was super cheery at the end and … possibly had a rough night and a rough recovery day the next, but we spent most of it hanging out inside and watching TV with two kids who got a good amount of sleep but were still marginally wiped out. And, he said he had fun, so that’s good, too! :D
Oh, and in 8 hours, the margarita machine never froze. So.
To Brandon, my sweet husband:
Today I love you completely, as I did yesterday and as I will tomorrow. I will be there for you when you need me most. I will hold you in my heart just as I hold you in my arms. I will share in your dreams, delight in your joys, and comfort you in your sorrows. I will be your confidant, your counsel, your friend, and your lover. When you are not within my sight, you will be within my thoughts. At this moment you are all that I know and all that I see. You are my life; you are my dreams; you are my joy; you are my love; you are my everything. As we grow old together and our love matures, may we hold on to the passion and affection for each other we feel today.
6:20-7:20: our house.
Alison: showers, puts on makeup/clothes, makes Katie’s lunch, makes two teatime snacks, wakes kids, feeds both kids breakfast, dresses both kids.
Brandon: showers, shaves, dresses self.
Clearly, I am the superior spouse, and I want to blog as much so that everyone is aware. Thank you, and good day.
Max and Katie had their dentist visit today.
Good: Max did 3/4 of the x-rays and actually giggled his fool head off during the polishing because it tickled so much! Katie was also a superstar and did all four bite wings. And, her first 6y molar is already popping through!
Bad: Katie has three cavities :( This is because her tooth contacts are fairly tight and her terrible parents don’t floss.
So. I’m a mom who had better get on the game NOW, because she already has a good number of permanent teeth! Gah! (Happily, all the cavities are in baby teeths.)
I’ve been a software engineer in the professional world for 19 years. I’ve had my share of experiences with other software engineers and managers, shared in both this blog and it’s former incarnation, which have clearly been based in abject sexism, but it has happily always felt like it has been the exception, never the rule.
Recently, my husband sent me this article, though, and I was suddenly filled with RAGE. It suddenly occurred to me on a very basic level just how rampant and deeply-held some of the behaviors we experience are, and how much I’ve normalized them as part of my long-term experience. I’ve changed in real, measurable ways, in terms of how I react to certain situations based on some of this; some of those ways I’m fine with (I’m very one-of-the-boys in terms of what I consider acceptable conversational topics, but that generally fits with my personality and is something that I think attracted my husband to me, besides my HUGE BRAIN OF AWESOME), but others honestly bother me (any time someone tries to help me in a way that I believe reflects on their opinion of my skill or how I can do my job will cause a knee-jerk “I CAN DO THIS, ASSHOLE” reaction; I have terrible impostor syndrome).
Anyway. That article, and my rage as a result, led to a really awful interaction with a guy I used to work… click to enjoy (for certain values of “enjoy”). But, in the midst of all of that, I suddenly had a stark realization about Shanley Kane, who always seemed to me as an extremist who didn’t accurately represent my experience and who, in fact, sometimes made it harder for me to do my job: she is that blind rage, and she is feeling it all the time in order to afford me the places where I can relax and exist and do my job in this environment without constantly seething about things that are so deeply-rooted that it will take generations to undo. What I saw as the things that make her dangerous to me personally (“guys will have reactions to me because they will think that I’m off-the-handle in the same way because we are both female engineers”) are actually important (“guys should check their reactions as being part of a deep-seated need for reflection and change” — because if people group us together because we are both female engineers, THAT IS THE PROBLEM RIGHT THERE). She is choosing to have this rage (as much as anyone can choose how they feel) because the only thing that will possibly have any affect here — if anything can have an affect — is constant pressure on people to see how their behavior is responsible at all levels for the current state that we’re in.
So… that was a weird paradigm shift for me — not about Shanley in specific, but in admitting to myself that my experiences count for something and I am not the only one having them. I’m not a special snowflake in this way, and knowing that … well, knowing that sucks, because I hate thinking about other people having the same ones.