Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bad Songs

So the other day I came across this blog post about 10 songs kids love, but shouldn't.

Here's the list (in case you don't want to check out the link).
1. Starships by Nicki Minaj
2. Can You Blow my Whistle by Flo Rida
3. Tik Tok by Ke$ha
4. Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO
5. Wild Ones by Flo Rida
6. Single Runaway by Kanye West
7. Glad You Came by Wanted
8. Somebody That I Used to Know by Goyte
9. Domino by Jesse J
10. Scream by Usher

Here's what I have to say (like you, or anyone else cares, but that's why I have a blog).

1. Why is anyone listening to Nicki Minaj? This is a serious question.

2. Anyone who lets their children list to FLO RIDA needs parenting classes STAT. Are you freaking kidding me? Flo Rida? Of *course* he's on the list twice. Just give him one spot for "all songs" and free up some space, will ya?

3. Yeah, that song is pretty bad. Some of her songs are less bad, but Ke$ha is one naughty young lady and most of her songs are pretty inappropriate for kids.

4. I've heard a rumor there's a "clean" version of this song. I need to find it because (and I only slightly hesitate to admit this), I kinda like LMFAO.

5. See #2 - this second Flo Rida spot could have been taken up with Lady Gaga's "Love Games". I don't want Penelope to sing about taking a ride on a dildo stick, pleaseandthankyou.

6. I haven't heard this song, so I'm assuming she's right about this one. But it's Kanye West, when has he EVER been known to be appropriate for kids?

7. "Glad You Came" should not be on the list. You know what should? "Last Friday Night" by Katy Perry. Have you listened to the lyrics? It glorifies substance abuses, causal sex, and being a f*cking twit.

Don't get me wrong. I let my kids listen to Katy Perry - but not her entire lexicon. Her songs are catchy and it's 1 million times better than that horrible Kidz Bop crap (if you buy Kidz Bop and are my friend then let it be known that you are dead to me. I can be friends with Republicans, the religious, Bears fans, and even the odd Dodgers fan. But not someone who profanes the ears of their children with Kidz Bop).

The point is? I would much, much, much rather my children listen to "Glad You Came", thinking the drink he's handing her is juice or milk than have my kids know the words to Perry's "Last Friday Night."

8. Here's another one that doesn't deserve the list. The blogger calls it stalker-ish. I think she needs to listen to The Police's "Every Breath You Take". Because *that* is what a stalker song sounds like. Not Goyte's break-up anthem.

9. Who is Jesse J and why do her parents let her dress like a hooker? How old is she? 12?

10. Yeah, parents who let their kids listen to this song need some classes. There are Usher songs that are ok, so it's not an Usher thing, just a this-song-thing.

I remember when I was a kid, we used to listen to George Michael's "I Want Your Sex" & Elton John's "The B*tch is Back" - only my parents would change the lyrics as we sang in the car. Neither my brother or I turned out too badly.

I get not wanting to listen to Yo-Gabba-Gabba & The Fresh Beat Band all day (especially The Fresh Beat Band). And I *especially* get not wanting to subject yourself to the drivel of Kidz Bop (see #7). So listen to original works - listen to pop, rock, country, R&B, bluegrass, gospel, even rap. Listen away. Expose your kids to a little bit of everything - just not Flo Rida. Please.

And change the channel. Because they may just be songs. And you may not think it matters - but kids absorb a lot. We communicate social norms, values, and behaviors through song. We've done so since humanity was born. We should all just be a little more aware of what are kids are absorbing...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Let's talk about Pre-K

My own back to school preparations have gotten me thinking about how, sooner rather than later, Sissy & Bubby will be joining me in B2S shopping and planning.

So the other day I went down to the Elementary school district to get some information. You might think a teacher would know about all of this stuff. Enrollment, age requirements, etc. You might think this, but you would be wrong - oh-so-wrong. I know next to nothing about when and where to sign my kids up for school. Well, I do now.


I know that the age cutoff for Kindergarten in this district is Nov 5th, so Penelope will start a year later than I had hoped - she'll be in Kinder in 2 years.

The question that remains is if/when she'll start Pre-K... last year B & I thought we might not want to put her in Pre-K, but since we're planning on putting both kids into a Spanish Immersion school, we figured it would be a good idea to put her in a Spanish Pre-K. The same school that offers a K-6 dual immersion program also offers Spanish language pre-school. So next year we'll be enrolling her in a part-time Pre-K Spanish language program.

Enrollment opens February, and then we decide if we want to put her in M-F or T/Th or MWF. Lots of options... Our decision will partly hinge on finances - daily pre-school is more expensive than the part-time and we'll still need her in part-time daycare, so we'll see. But I am excited that she'll be in a Spanish language program.

Then the year she start Kinder, Bubby will start at the Spanish pre-K. They'll both attend dual immersion K-6, you actually have to make a 7 year commitment to the program in order to be accepted. Provided I get tenure after this year, we feel like we can make that commitment - I think dual language education is so essential. The kids can take additional languages in high school but we're going to do everything we can to make sure they're fluent in Spanish.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This or That - part II

I have always wanted a big family. Not Duggar family big, but larger than 2 kids. When I was a kid, I used to dream about buying a huge house and adopting children with AIDS and then showering them with love until they passed - when I was growing up AIDS was still a death sentence. Aannnnnddd I was also a smidge naive.

I no longer harbor a desire to foster a huge house of children - maybe when I retire :) But there is still a part of me that very much wants to adopt.

I think it's no secret that I didn't really enjoy pregnancy. Even though I had very easy pregnancies, they weren't exactly the most enjoyable 80 weeks of my life. Don't get me wrong, parts of pregnancy are pleasant. But nausea, back pain, kicks in the ribs, kicks in the bladder, and feeling like a beached whale aren't my favorite pregnancy memories.

I've also just gotten my body (mostly) back. No child is nursing, I've lost the bulk of my baby weight, and my hips have *sort* of returned to where they used to be. I will never have the same skin elasticity in some places like I used to, and my hips may never return to pre-baby width, getting back to pre-pregnancy weight was difficult. Do I want to do that again? I mean, the kids are worth it, but I did just get a new wardrobe of size 8 dresses...

Even though pregnancy and all its associated "body modifications" aren't really that enjoyable, delivery is. Yes, this makes me odd. But I loved labor. It was difficult. It was painful. It was amazing. And there's a part of me that would love to experience that again.

It would also be nice to actually plan a pregnancy. Neither Penelope nor Griffin were planned (PSA: birth control is not 100% effective). We've never experienced all various stages of planning. The anticipation, excitement... although I imagine that the adoption process would be full of these emotions - and more :)

The thought of never adopting makes my heart heavy. And the thought of never giving birth again makes me sad as well. And again, we don't have to make this decision today. We don't even have to make this decision this year. But I think about this a lot and it's nice to get this all out.

I do have another post planned but may not have time this week. Next week I start work in earnest and the week after I get my students. Not much time left of this summer vacation. I am looking forward to being back in the classroom, but cheese-and-crackers I have a lot of work to do in the meantime!

Monday, July 23, 2012

This or That?

This post is a long-time coming. In fact, I started talking about it these posts and then left the topic for, what, almost a year?

Well, it's time to revisit the adoption topic and add a bit of a twist. It's been (mostly) decided that we want child #3, the question that remains is - how?

When I say mostly it's because Bryan still has a few reservations about adding another to the brood. One more child means a bigger car (can't fit 3 car seats into the RAV4), a bigger house (can't adopt while we live in this house, and 3 kids sharing one room is a bit much), and the other financial concerns. His concerns are valid, and someone has to be thinking about practicality (not that I'm impractical, but I do think about this topic with a little more emotion than reason).

But he knows how much I want a larger family and he's willing to compromise - I wanted 4.

We're not in a place to either get pregnant or adopt at this very moment... that will probably happen next year. But I can't stop thinking about it. And I need a place to record my thoughts, which is why I have a blog - n'est-ce pas?

So, here's what I have rambling around in my brain.

Age Differences

If we were to have another baby, the very earliest that I could give birth would be when Griffin is 4 and Penelope is almost 5.5. The gap in age isn't huge, but nonetheless, I do have a few reservations about such a gap...

My brother and I are 5 years apart and we only really became close when we were both adults. Not to say that we didn't have a good relationship as children, because we (mostly) did. We didn't fight excessively and we generally got along - but we were always at very two different stages in our social/emotional development. When I moved away, my brother was just about to start high school - and while I would see him on holidays, birthdays, or summers, I didn't spend a lot of time with him during his high school years. We reconnected after that - he was my Man of Honor in my wedding - and we're close now (not weekly phone call close, but still close). I love my brother, and I know he loves me. But I do wish that we had been closer during that time period when everyone really needs a big brother/big sister - even if they do have awesome parents.

So the thought of having a child that many years removed from P&G makes me pause. I know that there's a lot more to sibling bonding than age difference. Even children born close together - or even twins - aren't guaranteed to be close all their lives. Relationships have natural ebbs and flows. Regardless, I can't force any of my children to have close relationships - and even if we have a child much younger than the first two, Bryan and I can still help foster a close relationships between the kids.

Even with that said, adoption means that we might be able to find a child whose closer in age to P&G - one that is a year or two younger than Griffin. Because even though age difference doesn't dictate sibling relationship, it certainly can't hurt.

Another age related benefit of adoption is that we don't have to go through that horrific newborn period again. I love my children, but newborns aren't a whole lot of fun. Night wakings, constant eating and pooping, and later - teething. Ugh.

Granted, newborns have positives. The newborn smell, for one. Snuggling is another plus.

But toddlers snuggle too.


Having another child puts us on a rather predictable timeline. Unless we struggle with fertility, we have a fair amount of control about when our family expands.

Adoption is a bit more nebulous. After the classes/home studies are completed we try and find a match and then go through a process - visits, overnights, check ins, the move in - and then the date when the adoption is final. Each stage could potentially be road blocked and so things are a little less certain (although it's not like pregnancy and childbirth are without roadblocks). If we find a child and something falls through - then the disappointment or grief that might come with that is something we have to process as a family.

And yet - pregnancy and birth is not without risk. There's no guarantee that we won't have to deal with disappointment and grief if we decide to try for another baby.

There's more - a lot more - that's been rolling around in my head. But it's late and I'm (finally) tired. More to come, I assure you.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


This has been a pretty crazy month... we've been out of town every weekend and have spent more hours in the car than I can count (but I'm gonna try!).

The first weekend of July was spent at my Great-Uncle Merv's cabin in Butte Meadows (14 hours in the car with kids total). It was a quasi-family reunion and it was the kids' first camping experience. They *loved* it. I loved it too, I have a lot of wonderful memories of family gatherings at that cabin. The kids played in the freezing-cold creek, roasted marshmellows, slept in a tent, and got really, really dirty.

I posted a ton of pics on Facebook, but here are a few more.

Poe and Cousin Terra

Bubby & Grandpa playing dinosaurs

The kids with cousin Tyson and cousin Christy (whose expecting a new cousin on P's birthday!) walking to the creek

Bubby and Granny in the FREEZING COLD creek

Squishy was not so enamored of the cold as Bubs...

Which is why she asked cousin Terra to cart her around the creek

After the cabin, we stayed home for a week and then took off to Sac to drop the kids off at my parents house for a week (3 more car hours, new total is 17). Bryan and I headed to San Francisco to see a Giants game with B's cousins (don't have pics of that).

And then we were kid free for a week! A whole week!

Unsurprisingly, I got less done than I wanted, but more that I would have if the kids had been home. They had a fun time hanging out with Granny & Grandpa - including a trip to the State Fair, the zoo, and G&G's special water park in their backyard.

We picked them up on Friday and drove out to Reno (2.5 car hours with kids, new total is 19.5) and spent a short weekend with Bryan's family. We went to the Discovery Museum, went shopping, and the kids practiced "fishing" in the backyard with their new fishing poles. Sissy's getting pretty good at casting. I have a few pics on the iPad, but am too lazy to plug it in an upload them.

The way back added 6.5 kid car hours - total thus far is 26 hours.

Next weekend is a day-trip to Livermore (1.5 hours each way) and then we're home-bound for a few weeks until we leave at the end of August to travel to Colorado for a wedding.

Exhausted would describe us all... in fact, Bryan fell asleep putting the kids to bed tonight. I think I'll go join him. Goodnight blog-o-verse!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Park Fun

Our weekend of adventure continued today with a trip to Dennis the Menace Park in Monterey. We love this park, there's a ton of stuff for the kids to do - various equipment, tunnels, maze, rock wall, swings, etc - and it's a half block from the ocean.

The park is even more fun now that the kids are a little older, because they can have conversations like this one with other kids at the park...

Boy: Hi, would you like to be the Mickey on my pirate ship?
Penelope: Yeah! (giggle)
Boy: (yells into one of those cone things)
P: (giggle) Mommy, he's cute
B: Come on, let's go!
(they run around for a bit)
P: Mommy, this is my friend. What's his name?
Me: I dunno, why don't you ask him?
P: Hi friend, what's your name?
B: Finnegan. F-I-N-N-E-G-A-N.
P: My name is PenELooooPEA
Finnegan: Come on, let's climb up. You ring the bell when I yell, ok?
P: Ok!
(a bit later - they've been playing for about a half an hour)
F: (twisting his shirt) You should come and visit me Penelope. You can come out to North Carolina. For like, three days. If your mommy says it's ok.
P: Ok! Mommy, can I?
M: Uh, we'll talk about it.
(even later, they've played on every piece of playground equipment - Poe is towing Griffin around and Finnegan is towing his younger sister around... they're swinging)
F's Mom: Time to go Finnegan...
F: Ok, bye Penelope. I'll miss you!
P: Ok, bye!

Popular Posts

Penelope's Growth

6 years: 50 inches, 47 lbs
5 years: 48 inches, 42 lbs
4 years: 43.5 inches, 41.0 lbs
28 months: 39 inches, 33.1 lbs
26 months: 38.5 inches, 32.1 lbs
21 months: 37 inches, 31.8 lbs
18 months: 35 inches, 30 lbs
15 months: 34.25 inches, 28.8 lbs
12 months: 32 inches, 27.1 lbs
9 months: 30.5 inches, 25.1 lbs
6 months: 29 inches, 21.2 lbs
4 months: 28.5 inches, 17.13 lbs
2 months: 24.75 inches, 12.12 lbs
At birth: 20.75 inches, 7.15 lbs

Griffin's Growth

5 years - 3 feet 11.25 inches (47.25 inches), 51 lbs
3 years - 3 feet 5.25 inches, 40lbs
18 months - 34.5 inches, 27.13lbs
12 months - 32 inches, 26.5lbs*
10 months - 31.75 inches, 23.4 lbs
7 months - 29.25 inches, 21.4 lbs
5 months - 28.5 inches, 17.9 lbs*
4 months - 28 inches, 15.5 lbs
3 months - 27 inches, 13.10 lbs
2 months - 25.125 inches, ?? lbs
1 month - 24 inches, 10.13 lbs
At birth - 22.5 inches, 9.1 lbs
*with diaper

Izzy's Growth

2 months: 23.25 inches, 10.8 lbs
At Birth: 22 inches, 8.11 lbs