Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Has Not Sprung


(This is the quilt I'm making for the director of Our Fine Lower School. It kind of looks like spring, even if our weather doesn't.)

We are all getting a little impatient for spring around here. Usually by now we're basking in its warm, fragrant goodness, even if only for a couple hours in the afternoon. Instead, everyone is still bundled up in winter coats--except Will, of course, who wears shorts and a hoodie sweatshirt all year round.

Lots of stuff going on. Will had his first real Little League baseball game on Saturday. He pitched two innings and generally rocked the house. After a long and dismal basketball season with the Worst Coach Ever, I have to say that Saturday's 15-2 win for the Rangers proved quite a balm. Usually I'm not one for blow-outs, having spent too much time on the blown-out side (also, they're sort of boring), but just this once I was glad for such an overwhelming victory. Will needed it.

On Sunday, I learned an important lesson about reasoning with fourteen-year-old boys: Don't. Jack is tall, and he's a pretty bright kid, and I keep forgetting that despite the fact he can at times be quite logical, especially when planning World of Warcraft raiding parties, in general, the logical/reasonable/rational part of his brain is underdeveloped. I found myself in a middle of an argument with him about why spending fourteen hours in a row on the computer was unhealthy, and then suddenly, I stopped. It was just so much easier to say "no." I like saying "no." It's the most fun I have as a parent.

Today I went in for my annual skin check, and my dermatologist took off a suspicious-looking mole. No, not a mole--a freckle. The funny thing to me is, the moles and freckles I find suspicious-looking bother my dermatologist not one bit. It's the innocent freckles she goes after. "Let's just shave this off," she said to me, pointing at the cutest little freckle on my leg you ever saw. "Could we call it something other than 'shaving'?" I asked her. "How about 'biopsying''?" she replied. "How about 'benign removal of a cute little freckle'?" I countered, and she agreed that would be fine.

In the last month, I've had a teeth cleaning, a skin check and a mammogram. It's Lent after all. I'm not supposed to be having fun. Now all I have left is the annual visit to my lady parts doctor in May, and if I'm really up for a good time, a physical with my family doctor. Can't wait until I turn fifty next year, when I can add colonoscopy to my list of annual good times.

Right now I'm having a hard time imagining that it will ever be spring. There's a point in every winter you worry that maybe this year God has taken spring off the docket. The good news is, Target sells Easter candy whether it's spring or not. The bad news is, I'll eat it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring Break

I made place mats for Valentine's Day and am finally showing you!

Spring Break at Our Fine School comes absurdly early. In fact, it's not even spring yet.That means that every year we have a week of cold, rainy weather to frolic in. There are mud puddles galore and great opportunities to give your winter gear one last workout.

The wealthier families at Our Fine School--of which there are many and of which we are not one--avoid the icky early March weather of central North Carolina by flying to Europe to enjoy the icky weather there. A friend of mine has taken her daughter to London, where according to her Facebook updates, it's snowing.

We, of course, are staycationing. I'm under a deadline for a book, so my staycation involves writing in my jammies, which I don't usually get to do. Whee! Jack's staycation is all about sleeping in and then living on his computer. Will has a circuit: computer, outside to play basketball, upstairs to his room, computer, outside to play baseball, upstairs to his room, and so on. On Sunday, he took up origami. He really did. Last night he worked on a Paint-by-Numbers painting. Today, he took approximately forty-five minutes to complete a wildly expensive Lego kit that I bought for his staycation present. It was supposed to keep him entertained for the rest of the week.

The Man is spending his staycation going to work. You should see his tan.

This is my mosaic quilt. I've completed twenty-five blocks and have seventy-five more to go. It should be done sometime around Will's college graduation.

This week, I've been working on accepting my family for what it is, which is not one of those families that has interesting, educational vacations where many important lessons are learned. When we go on vacation, we all tend to do what we do at home, which is putter, work on projects, mess around on the computer, laze about, read and snack. I was starting to feel okay about this until I read an article about this doctor who's doing groundbreaking work in the field of food allergies. She has five children and prints out charts for their daily piano practice--they have to check off a box every day to show that they've done their time.

My children do not take piano lessons. If they had asked to take piano lessons, I would have signed them up immediately. I have asked both of them if they wanted to take piano lessons, and neither of them do. I could have forced them to, I guess, but I'm against forcing children to do anything besides homework (which mine actually do without force or even prodding), teeth-brushing, chores and saying "please" and "thank you."

Let me tell you a story about Jack. A few weeks we had a conference with his middle school adviser, just the usual semi-annual deal. As always, Jack had to fill out a form before the conference in which he attested to how he felt he was doing in his coursework (he felt good about it), what his favorite class was (Language Arts, per usual), and also how he felt he was doing socially this semester. His response to the last one? "I fail to see how this is relevant or anybody's business."

That's my boy. I have no fears that he'll ever succumb to peer pressure. He's a rock. This, by the way, has its good points and its bad points. My point is, just try to make this kid take piano lessons. I mean, really. Give it a go.

And Will? I asked Will if he wanted to do a poster for the Water Conservation Poster Competition. Will's pretty artsy-craftsy and likes to draw, so I thought this might be a good Spring Break project. His reply? "I don't want to do it, because if I won, then I'd have to go on stage for the award, and I really don't want to do that."

The funny thing is, I totally get that.

My children are idiosyncratic, stubborn and fairly set in their own ways. I've decided that as long as they do their homework without prodding, their chores without complaint (they really don't complain; on the other hand, they do take their time), get good grades and don't get in trouble at school, I'm not going to worry too much about them. I'm going to resist signing them up for things they don't want to do (other than school). I hope to take them to Europe one day, but not in March.