Random Thoughts: The Changing Plans Edition

1. My girls’ school district abruptly changed the first day of school on Monday, making it a week later than originally planned. Since my nanny returned to her teaching job in West Virginia ON WEDNESDAY, this left us in a bit of a lurch.

With some scrambling, some help (thanks to @mattieflap and my in-laws), and TWO work-from-home days, I’ve gotten everything covered. Whew.

F and K goofing
Don’t worry, we’re covered.

2. We were supposed to go up to Erie the weekend of the 22nd, but we decided to hold off on that. It’s a bummer because we haven’t been to Erie all summer. Friends of our specifically reached out to invite us up, which was nice. And we were planning the trip, but I don’t want to travel the weekend before the girls start in their new schools. We’re looking at dates in September instead.

3. Apparently Target started a firestorm by deciding to take the word “boy” or “girl” off aisle signs in toy and household departments. It started a big social media and online brouhaha, and I just went clicking around yesterday to see what the story was. And the story is pretty much that: Instead of saying “girl building sets” or “boy bedsheets” the aisle signage will simply say “building sets” or “bedsheets”.

I think nothing of this. Seems pretty straightforward to me. Not all girls like pink, and not all boys like Star Wars.

Then I made the mistake of reading the comments, and people done lost their damn minds.

Some very angry people are not going to shop at Target anymore. Honestly, reading through comments, it seemed like people thought Target was single-handedly going to end the use of the words “boy” and “girl”.

Some people are very confused about the difference between sex and gender.

And, honestly, the subtext I got from many of these angry people was, “I like my gender stereotypes JUST THE WAY THEY ARE, TARGET. How dare you challenge my comfort level? Boys play with cars and girls play with dolls; boys are blue and girls are pink AND THAT’S IT DO YOU HEAR ME?”

I wanted to tell everyone to go do some deep breathing. It was crazy.

I’ve talked about the pink toy thing a little bit here, and I have many thoughts on gendered marketing — just ask me sometime! Short version: Do not like.

I’m glad Target is not going to sell girl bathroom sets or boy Legos. They will just sell household goods and toys, and I don’t think it’s a problem. And if you can’t figure out what to buy your niece because it doesn’t say “girl” at the end of the aisle, just get her a gift card. What she decides to buy herself might just surprise you.

What do you think of the Target move? Think other stores will follow their example? Where will all those angry people shop?

Back to School: The Bedtime Routine Edition

On Sunday, I announced at the dinner table that the New Bedtime Order was being implemented, starting that night.

M should be in bed by 8 p.m.

The girls should be in bed by 8:30 p.m. at the absolute latest. The hall light will not be left on; the bathroom light will be. If I come upstairs to find them playing with any toys or stuffed animals, I am taking them away for a week. After 9 p.m. they are not to come downstairs (“Unless,” Dan added, “you are bleeding, on fire, or have a broken bone”).

I also decided that we would be taking 15 to 30 minutes before bedtime to unwind and make bedtime calm and relaxing. The thundering around, and up and down the stairs was going to end.

In an attempt to help my girls relax and get ready to actually *sleep* — not just go to bed — I decided last night that we would try some yoga.

Kate was all over this decision.

Flora was adamantly against this decision.

Dan thought it was a good idea, and tried to persuade Flora to try it.

Flora found this incredibly upsetting.

While Flora cried on the couch, Kate and I did yoga for about 10 minutes.

Kate is good at yoga.

Ten minutes later, I sent Kate and Dan upstairs, and sat down to talk to my very distraught daughter.

She doesn’t like yoga. She doesn’t want to do yoga. She’s upset that Dan thinks yoga is a good idea, because that means he likes Kate better (8-year-old logic). Why couldn’t she pick the thing for us to do that would be relaxing?

“Well,” I said, “what do you think we can do that would be relaxing?”

“What about a board game?”

I considered this. “I’m not sure a board game right before bedtime is a good idea,” I said. “What if we get excited about winning or upset about losing? That doesn’t sound relaxing. I think a board game after dinner on Friday or Saturday is a good idea, though!”

Flora thought some more. “Reading?”

“I find reading relaxing,” I said. “I would like us to all read together. Maybe we can pick a good chapter book to start reading. I’ll read out loud to you and Kate.”


“I would like to keep doing yoga,” I said. “So how about one night, we’ll read together, and the other night we’ll do yoga. If you don’t want to do yoga, then maybe you can just sit and watch, or take deep breaths, or read a book on your own.”


So, we’ll see how this goes.


Dan doesn’t think reading is relaxing. He doesn’t understand my attachment to it, and he doesn’t understand Flora’s attachment to it. And I don’t know how to explain it to him.

What we find relaxing is subjective, I suppose. Reading totally unplugs me from the day. I need that at the end of the night. I think I’m going to find doing yoga with Kate relaxing, too. I do need my hip to start cooperating though, but that’s a different story.

I will have to keep an eye on how much Flora reads once she’s in bed. She likes to read until she falls asleep. I haven’t discouraged that.

We were very lax about bedtime this summer. I tried to institute the “no downstairs after 9 p.m.” to no avail. But this routine is something I have to stick with. My girls are learning bad habits; they are certainly teaching M bad habits. It’s all got to be nipped in the bud.

I am hoping that as night falls earlier, and we get into a relaxation routine, and bedtime becomes a time for quiet and peace, it will be easier for my children to go to sleep.

I’m hoping by October, the relaxing is ingrained enough that we won’t need constant reminding.

Again, we’ll see.

Are you making any major changes to routines as we head into the school year?

Memory Lane: Back to School

The thing I liked best about going back to school was back-to-school shopping.

As we went to Catholic school and wore uniforms, this was much less about clothes than about BTS supplies. New folders, new notebooks, new pens and pencils. That’s the stuff I liked. Although I was not above going out of my way for a unique pair of shoes, cordavan (or oxblood) if I could find them. One year I recall finding brown shoes with a buckle. I loved those shoes. I still am not much of a clothes horse, but give me some time in a shoe department, and I will find something unique. Something that is “me”.

It’s still fun now, shopping with the girls. Again, we don’t do a lot in the clothes department. Between hand me downs and grandmothers, my children do not want for clothing. I do like picking up special outfits every now and again, but we don’t blow the budget on clothes. (Not for me, either. I miss the days of uniforms!) Now it is a little more stressful because it’s our money.

I don’t think the supplies have changed much though. Kate didn’t need much because her preschool is also a daycare center (her daycare center as of tomorrow) and is well-stocked with crayons, scissors, and the like. She needed an art T-shirt and an icing container to hold her supplies. Throughout the year I’m sure she’ll need certain supplies, and she has a snack day or two coming up. We also bought her a new lunch bag.

Flora needed the usual: crayons, folders, a pencil case, a backpack. And something different: headphones for computer class! She and I made a special trip to Target a few weeks back. I let her look and browse (a little) and, yes, choose what she wanted. Then she had a lot of fun labeling everything with her name and packing  up her backpack for her first day.

God bless my girls; they seem to love school and love learning. I remember loving school, too, loving learning new things. I probably wasn’t so good with the social aspect of things, but I didn’t want for friends, and I never felt the lack of not being a “popular” girl. I hope that my girls are a lucky as I was, and love to learn and explore as much as I did.

And if they have life-long friends, too, so much the better. I certainly got lucky there, too.

Random Thoughts: The BTS Edition

Sunday: Flora lost her top front right tooth. Thank goodness because it’s been loose forever, and she’s been whinging about it. She figured it was worth $5 or $10, but the Tooth Fairy appraised it at $1. I blame the economy.

Monday morning, I took Flora to her new school at 7 a.m. to pick up a school jumper. I thought there was a uniform exchange going on, but as I was the only parent in evidence, maybe I got my dates or times wrong. News flash: IT WON’T BE THE LAST TIME! Two teachers let me in, showed me the rack of gently used uniforms, and I picked up a jumper and a white polo shirt. So, she’s got something to wear the first day.

Everything else I ordered from Kohl’s.

Tuesday: She lost another tooth at daycare, this one on the bottom left. I didn’t even know that one was so loose!

That evening was Flora’s “Meet and Greet” at school. I had to take all the kids, but it all worked out… until the last five minutes. Also: it was hard hauling around a 20-pound infant with a diaper bag and a purse. That may have been poor planning. Then I let the girls play on the playground while I packed The Boy and His Gear into the car. When I called to them, Flora came, but Kate did not. Hence the count downs, the explanation of consequences (no night time show, no night time treat), and then the dragging to the car kicking and screaming. An hour-long tantrum ensued.

Good times.

Wednesday. Oh wait, Wednesday I don’t have anything going on! Except the usual. So: dinner, clean up, bath, bed. I’m going to stay up filling out school-related paperwork, for both Flora and Kate.

Thursday: Flora’s first day of school. For future reference, the first day of school and my period are not allowed to happen in the same week ever again. #hormones #emotional

On Monday morning, she looked so *small* walking though the hallways of her new school. Maybe with other kids her age around her, she won’t look so tiny.

The heart cramps. Or something. There is this weird feeling that happens — to me, to parents in general? — when we watch our kids growing away from us. I can’t speak to every parent, obviously, but while we are essentially raising our children to do exactly that — grow away from us — it … pulls. tugs. hurts in an undefinable way.

I’ve said similar things here (and elsewhere) before: I am glad they are growing up, becoming more independent, etc., etc. I am not one to lament the maturing of my children. But it does cause an interesting, indefinable sensation that is not altogether pleasant around my heart. Some combination of pride in them, ache for their small selves that used to be, and hope/fear for the future, theirs and mine (as a mother).

And, yeah, I get a little teary-eyed, too.

So, there’s that.

Thursday night: Kate’s orientation at her preschool, which is at her once-and-future daycare, but still a requirement. We were specifically asked to leave our other children at home, so: a babysitter. Argh. I hire a babysitter too often lately it seems to me.

Friday: Off to the Podcamp Pittsburgh panel meet-up! (A few more details here. I’ve really no idea what I’m doing, but learning is fun! A little BTS flavor in my own grown-up life, I suppose.)

And then the weekend will bring more cleaning, cooking, and shopping than can possibly fit into two days, but which will get done in two days because that’s all we got. And what doesn’t fit won’t get done, and we’ll start all over in a different way on Monday. Yippee!