Month: August 2006

Beginning of School

Second day of kindergarten, and the teacher has already talked to me about Gleek’s difficulty sitting still and staying with the group. Nothing she has done qualifies as a problem yet. I’m still optimistic that she’ll settle in and be fine. But it only took two days…

Kiki is convinced that none of her school peers like her.

Link is also feeling at a loss for a friend.

And so the school year begins.

The good news is that I think they all have teachers that I can really work with. Hopefully these beginning of school challenges will not become long term problems. Hard to say at this point.

My Day Off

I had a day off yesterday. I got Gleek off to her first day of kindergarten and then my mom held down the fort while I took off for the rest of the day. I had 12 hours with nothing in particular to do. It would be nice if I could blog about a major insight or epiphany as a result of my mini vacation, but I can’t. On the other hand, epiphanies are hardly restful events. Since my goal for the day was to take a break, the lack of insights and epiphanies is probably a good thing.

I spent the morning at a local public garden. It was huge and beautiful. It was kind of like a herbological disneyland. All the plants were carefully planted in well defined flowerbeds. There was beauty, but none of it felt natural. Then I found the secret garden. It was a constructed ruin and the plants inside were allowed to run riot over the structure. It felt enclosed and private and natural. I stayed in that place for two hours. I wrote in my paper journal and drew a picture and just sorted my thoughts. It was so nice to just have time to let my brain wander without interruption.

The afternoon was spent having lunch with Howard and visiting at Dragon’s Keep. After that I called up raisinfish and the two of us went out for ice cream and a movie. I got home in time to put my kids to bed. It was so nice to be able to come home and really focus on each of them. I could listen to them and be glad of them.

The day off was good. Having a whole day to myself is a rare event, and it should be. If my daily life is balanced, then I shouldn’t need days off very often, because I will build refreshing myself into my daily schedule. Apparently I had similar thoughts almost a year ago when I wrote about Filling Up. The goals I wrote back then are good. I’m going to reiterate them here because rewriting them helps put them back at the front of my brain where they might actually get used.

I will read from my scriptures every day. This gives my brain and spirit something meatier to nourish them than the usual light reading I default into.

I will do something every day to make my home more beautiful. It may just be doing the dishes and wiping the counters, but sometimes I’ll try to do longer lasting things like planting flowers or repainting a room.

I will do something active every day. Anything that gets me moving will do.

I will write something every day. It might be a fragment of story, it might be a journal entry, but writing focuses my thoughts and makes me feel like I actually did something measurable.

Each week I will schedule some time for a project that is mine. It might be sewing, it might be a trip to the hardware store, it might be an early morning birdwatching jaunt. The important bit is that I plan ahead for it and it is something that I want to do not something that someone else asked of me.

And now I need to catch up on chores that I ignored yesterday.

Many happy things

Howard came home yesterday. That was the biggest happy thing.

Then he checked his email and we discovered not one, but two, convention invitations for him.

Then he checked the forums and learned that Schlock Mercenary: Under New Management was reviewed positively in the latest issue of Analog.

It all combined to make us feel giddy/happy for the remainder of the evening. It is such a nice change from the last couple of weeks where we were both so stressed we could hardly see straight. Convention vacations are a good thing. The only thing that would have made it better was if I could have gone with Howard to World Con.

Dandelion days

So I’ve continued my reading of journals past. The experience has become less strange because around age 17 I actually started thinking and sounding like the self that I know. That was reassuring because prior to that I chased a new dream every month or two. In six months time I was going to be a debate champ, act in the school play, letter in cross country and track, sing and dance on stage, spend a year as an exchange student, publish a book, be a youth conference speaker, and write letters to every friend I ever made anywhere (I kid not, I had 5 shoe boxes full of letters from other people which I finally got rid of just before leaving for college, and I wrote far more letters than I ever received.) When I reached the journals for age 17 and older, I started being impressed with some of the writing and insights rather than embarrassed at the social gaffes and inexperience.

At one point during my senior year in high school I was given an assignment to create a pictorial representation of myself. It wasn’t meant to be a difficult assignment, but I agonized over it. I didn’t want to limit myself to any single image. Months after the assignment was past due I finally found an image that fit. One of those dandelion puffs with the seeds blowing off into the sky. I really liked what I wrote about why I selected it, so I’m posting it here:

I am like a dandelion blowing in the wind, flying in hundreds of directions, trying to see everything, wanting to travel the world over, but always missing home, flying high and far on ideas and concepts, but accomplishing little. Needing to be needed and wanting to be independent. I’m such a contradictory person, but I’m happy with me. I don’t want to change. I have infinite possibilities, I just hope other people won’t limit me to one thing in their thoughts.

It really fits who I was then. Now I’m a little more settled, but I still have dandelion days when I want to fly free and travel far. I’m going to get a dandelion day this week. On Wednesday my mom promises to manage the kids while I go off and do whatever I want. I intend to pack a bag and go tour Thanksgiving Point Gardens. I’ll sit and write and draw all without interruption. It will be good. I may also go see a movie. It won’t be a day for getting things done. It will be a day for just being me.

The Land of Squabble

I am living in the Land of Squabble this morning. We have squealing and yelling and shoving and hitting every 5 minutes or so. In fact I’ve already had to leave off writing this entry to play mediator/policeman/judge. I am all three branches of government this morning as I lay down laws, pass judgments, and hand out punishments. None of us are very happy with the others today.

I think that most of the squabbling is post-first-week-of-school decompression. I was up late last night talking through social/friendship issues with Kiki. I was up late the night before talking over anxieties with Link. Gleek is chomping at the bit for Kindergarten to start next week. She is so frantic for things to do, that she is deliberately tormenting her siblings. I suspect that she is also anxious about school. Patches has extremely mixed feelings about potty training.

What they really need is for me to be a psychologist/therapist and help them work it all through. Unfortunately my children have emotional avoidance and displacement down pat. What they all need is quiet individual time with Mom or Dad. Unfortunately there is no quiet in The Land of Squabble.

As for me, I’d be happy if I could take a shower without having blood drawn during my absence.

bits and pieces

Some nights coherent thought flees and all I’m left with are bits and pieces.

Howard’s still at World Con. He’s having a good time. I’m glad. I wish I could be there with him.

We’ve all survived the first week of school. I’m not comfortable with the schedule yet, but I’m beginning to adapt. So far no major mishaps have interfered with the kids settling into school too. I’ve begun developing good working partnerships with each of their teachers.

I’ve been rereading my teenage journals. It is very strange. I’ve changed so much since then that it’s like reading someone else’s life. And yet it was mine. It has definitely given me a greater appreciation for the challenges that are inherent in being a teenager. I would certainly chafe at many of the restrictions I lived under back then. I had to ask permission to make long distance phone calls. And a distance of 30 miles seemed an insurmountable obstacle.

There was much crankiness here at the house this afternoon. None of us have been getting enough sleep. Tomorrow we can all sleep in and hopefully we’ll have a better day. Perhaps tomorrow I won’t have to chase Gleek through a video store because she refuses to relinquish a desired candy. Also perhaps I can return the pokemon dvd box that came with the wrong disk inside it. The kids were all very disapointed.

Life in review

I’ve been a journal writer for most of my life. My journal keeping was particularly abundant during my teen years. It tapered off a lot when I got married and began having kids. But I’ve kept the journals I wrote in. I figured that some day it would be useful to me to go back and re-read them. I had in mind that re-reading my teenage journals might be a big help when I had teenage children. Kiki isn’t a teenager yet, but last week I dragged out the earliest of my journals to see if any of it was applicable to a crisis that she was suffering. It was.

But then there were all those other journals. I kept reading, and reading, and reading. It has been an odd experience. Some of the things in my journal I had completely forgotten, so it was like reading someone else’s story. Other things I remembered clearly and the journal just pulled me back into the memory. Some things have made me laugh out loud, like a list of goals written when I was twelve. Number 6 on that list was “establish personality” as if I completely failed to have one prior to that goal. I am astonished at how busy I was and how social. My journals are full of people I talked to, dances I attended, activities I was involved in, guys I was interested in, all of it mixed up together into one big social whirl. I guess I was much more extroverted during my teen years.

It is also fascinating to watch myself as I develop an identity. I struggled a lot with the emotional/physical desire to be with someone and the intellectual/spiritual desire to be strong on my own. Most of my friends were struggling with simillar issues which sometimes made us perfect confidants and other times we made each other feel worse. There was a strong drive to be doing something. I really wanted to be needed, valued. The practice in modern society of putting teens in limbo where they aren’t children, but aren’t yet adults creates a whole set of problems. And yet teens really aren’t adults. I look at these journals and I was so short sighted and short memoried. I’d make the same realizations and complaints over and over again.

It is odd what got put in and what got left out. I’d ramble on and on about some things and then drop a brief mention of a familial conflict without giving any context whatsoever. I was definitely not writing for posterity, just to sort my own thoughts. Kind of like this entry I guess.

I’m up to age 17 journals. I’m going to finish reading through them all.

Wishes come true

Thanks to everyone who has offered to send postcards to Kiki. If even half of the email respondants send postcards, Kiki will be thrilled.

I’m also getting what I wished for. Next week my Mom is coming into town and she’s giving me a whole day for myself. Now I just have to decide what to do with it.

Postcards for Kiki

Kiki’s class is trying to collect postcards from all over the world. Kiki gets points for every postcard she brings in. If any of you who live outside the US would like to help Kiki feel like the coolest kid in her class, please email me (sandratayler at and I’ll give you an address to which you can send postcards.

And school begins

School began today. I bustled to get everyone out the door. Kiki and Link were off to school. Howard ran down to The Keep for awhile. Gleek and Patches ran next door to play with friends. I was left in an oasis of silence. I had the whole house to myself for two hours. It was heavenly. I didn’t do anything productive with it today, but I will be using that time wisely in days to come.

This week is an adjustment week. I’m getting all of us used to waking up earlier. We’re all adapting to getting kids out the door in the morning. And Howard is gone to world con. Kindergarten starts next Wednesday, so after that we can truly establish a “normal” for this school year. Already things are feeling much calmer because I’m actually getting some quiet time during the day.

So far so good with school. Both Link and Kiki had fun and are happy to be going back tomorrow. I hope that holds up.