Back to School: The Happiest Time of Year

Posted on Sep 13, 2016 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pinterest Stole My Cool

Back to School: The Happiest Time of Year 2

Most of you probably saw the title of this post and thought, “Why is she writing about Back to School now? My kids have been in school for weeks!”

No need to rub it in.

Yes, your kids have probably been in school for a week, or weeks, or since mid-August (I’m looking at you, Floridians), but my kids just started preschool this week. As in, the week after Labor Day. BUT IT’S FINALLY HERE. MY TIME HAS COME.

For weeks I’ve watched (via social media, natch) my friends across the country ship their kids off to school in cute outfits after posing with a cute chalkboard sign while the moms (usually) lament their babies growing up.

Now, the first day of school cute outfits? I can get behind cute outfits. The more my kids will hate them when they’re older, the better.

 

The bigger the bow, the better.

Go big (with the bow) or go home.

 

He's so going to hate me for this, but I don't even care.

He’s so going to hate me for this, but I don’t even care.

 

But once we get to the emotional outpourings surrounding the beginning of school, I start to disconnect. My heart must be made of stone because I was literally counting down the hours until I could drop my kids off at class. I only have love for those weepy parents – I promise you, I have my emotional mother moments, too. But back to school ain’t one of them.

James, my two-year-old, is in “school” six hours a week. Six out of 168. If your child is like mine and spends not only most of his waking hours with you, but also most of his “sleeping” hours, those six hours of school are a godsend. Elisabeth, my five-year-old, is now in school five days a week, or 15 hours. My sweet girl is a lover. When she’s not at school, you can probably find her with her arms wrapped around me and her head buried in my chest. Her 15 hours at school are 15 glorious hours of me NOT BEING TOUCHED.   So unless my children are going to magically turn into teenagers during those few hours spent at preschool, I’m not going to get emotional about it.

 

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Night before school texting.

 

But what I really want to talk about is the ubiquitous chalkboard sign. For those without children or without friends with children, the thing these days is to have your child pose with a sign displaying some sort of variation of their name, age, teacher’s name, what they want to be when they grow up, political party, IQ, languages spoken, etc.

No doubt, these signs are adorable. But I have some questions: When did this become a thing? Where do these signs come from? Are they reusable? Are parents purchasing them from some mass back-to-school sign retailer? Or – God forbid – are they making them themselves?

If you haven’t guessed, I did not do signs. For one thing, I don’t know our teachers’ names, and probably won’t for about another three weeks. And another thing, Elisabeth wants to be a doctor/mommy/candy maker/Olympic swimmer when she grows ups, which wouldn’t fit on a sign anyway. (When I asked James what he wanted to be, he growled at me. Make of that what you will.)

I noticed many variations on the sign. One back to school picture I saw was a simple, “First Day of T-K!” written in chalk on a pre-owned easel. “I could totally do that!” I told myself. Until I remembered I don’t own a chalkboard easel.* If I did, my son would color chalk everywhere but the easel and then smash the easel over his sister’s head. So that’s out. I noticed a few parents who downgraded from the chalkboard signs to old-school paper and marker. Mad respect for bucking the chalkboard trend. Maybe I’ll swing that next year for kindergarten.

My guess is the Back-to-School Chalkboard Sign originated somewhere on Pinterest and exploded. I would be lying if I said I never succumbed to Pinterest’s influence. (See: My son’s disastrous 1st birthday cake smash photo shoot.) But the chalkboard signs seem especially like a lot of work during an already busy back to school season. So I’m going to pass for now. (But seriously, are you all making these yourselves? I have to know.)

Parents, enjoy your signs – and more importantly, your freedom!

 

*Oh my gosh, I just remembered I DO own a mini chalkboard easel. It is broken and all the chalk is missing or has been thrown away. Presumably James snapped all the chalk pieces into bits, rendering them unusable. No nice things for us.

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Battle of the Bad Guys: Hans vs. Gaston

Posted on Apr 3, 2016 in My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute

Battle of the Bad Guys: Hans vs. Gaston 0

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you know that Elisabeth was home sick a few weeks ago. During her quarantine we watched Frozen approximately 1,359 times. Eventually I convinced her to try a new film – one of my childhood favorites – Beauty and the Beast. A few hours after the viewing Elisabeth announced, “I think Hans is badder than Gaston.” “No way!” I immediately replied. “Gaston is way badder.” Then I paused. Was Gaston truly “badder” than Hans? With Gaston’s violent attack on the heartbroken Beast still fresh on my mind, he had seemed the obvious answer. Perhaps too obvious. I had to probe further. “Why do you think Hans is badder than Gaston?” I asked Elisabeth, opening up a deeply philosophical discussion on the nature of evil with my four-year-old. “BECAUSE THE DUNGEONS!” Ah, yes. The dungeons. That explained everything. Yet, the question still nagged me. Who is the viler of villains? Why did I automatically assume Gaston was worse? Clearly, I needed to dig into this. At the beginning of Beauty and the Beast, Gaston is established as the antagonist. He’s a narcissistic brute; anyone who brags about his chest hair is a total bro, amiright? The arrogant clown assumes he will easily woo the bookwormish but beautiful Belle, whom he only wants because she’s the prettiest girl in town. He doesn’t even respect her! What a D-bag. So we get it. Gaston is a sleazy scumbag. Sleazy, but not evil. Giphy / GIPHY – via Iframely Meanwhile Hans enters Frozen as the clumsily charming Prince of the Southern Isles. Anna falls for him right away. He’s handsome, kind, funny… What’s not to like? (Also, she hasn’t had any other human contact besides the castle staff for most of her life, so it kind of makes sense she would fall for the first guy she meets.) That he proposed within hours of meeting Anna is kind of a red flag, but Hans just gets her, you know? Giphy / GIPHY – via Iframely Back to Gaston. Rejected by Belle, he plots to blackmail her...

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My Plea to End Valentine’s Day Parties

Posted on Feb 15, 2016 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool

My Plea to End Valentine’s Day Parties 2

Hi Friends, Hope you all are enjoying your long weekend. Have you recovered from Valentine’s Day yet? Or how about your kid’s Valentine’s Day party last Friday? Do you have a hoarder, who makes his Valentines treats last until Easter? Or is your child the type to dump her bag of cards and gorge on the candy the moment she gets home? (We were actually out-of-town on Friday, so Elisabeth won’t receive her Valentines until Wednesday. It’s just TORTURE for her to wait.) I’ve gotta be straight with you – I am not a fan of these Valentine’s Day school parties. At least not at the preschool level. Have you made Valentines with a stubborn four-year-old girl? No? Lucky you. I remember sorting through Elisabeth’s V-day haul after her class party last year in a state of shock –what were these elaborate creations her fellow three-year-olds had gifted? How much time did they take to construct? Why did they all include candy and gifts? Was that a requirement? I was briefly overcome with shame and embarrassment at the boring, unadorned Valentines I had sent to school with Elisabeth. I must have looked like I didn’t even care! Oh wait, I didn’t even care. I know some parents who truly love the special time bonding with their children while fashioning festive cards with tasty treats. And that is great for them. But really, there is not enough heart-shaped chocolate candy in the world to make me want to craft homemade Valentine’s Day cards with Elisabeth. (Or anyone.) Even though I didn’t want to put much effort into cards this year, I also didn’t want Elisabeth to have the lamest cards in class again. So I trekked off to Target in search of stress-free (but fun), pre-made Valentines. I walked in and went straight to the stationary section. And found nothing. Surely Target wasn’t sold out of class packs of Valentines a week before the holiday? Surely I hadn’t procrastinated enough that even Target couldn’t provide for my holiday needs? I desperately scanned the stationary section for anything, ANYTHING, I could...

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#SickDay

Posted on Feb 3, 2016 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool

#SickDay 1

You’ve probably heard by now, but the Washington, D.C. area got hit by a blizzard over a week ago. It was kind of a big deal. Schools shut down for over a week. Or for parents, an eternity. And then, this past Monday, the clouds parted, a chorus of angels sang down from the heavens, and schools reopened! Hallelujah! After a week mostly spent stuck at home with both kids pretending to have fun playing in the snow and baking and watching Frozen 15 times, I dropped Elisabeth off that Monday full of excitement and joy. But when I picked her up a few hours later, she appeared a bit… peaked.  No. Nope. Not happening. She’s not sick. Yes. Yup. Happening. She was sick. Full on fever, and later that night, puking. And James – who has had The Cough (you know, that nagging cough that kids get in October and doesn’t go away until March) – was particularly mucous-y and gross. So I called it: Tuesday was a sick day. Baton down the hatches, we were staying home. I get it. Kids get sick. It happens. It’s just that the timing of this sick day was a particular affront. Both kids sick days after a week of school closures. There is no justice in this world. #sickday — Diana Loveless (@DianaLoveless1) February 2, 2016 Really? REALLY? Elisabeth gets a fever and upset stomach THE FIRST DAY BACK TO SCHOOL IN OVER A WEEK. Could they not have gotten sick when we were snowed in? I love my kids. But being stuck inside with my 20-month-old boy and four-year-old girl ALL DAY because it would be morally wrong to expose their snotty, feverish, germ-y selves to the outside world is… trying. Sort of like being stuck inside all day with the Tasmanian Devil and Regina George. I started the day off as any good parent would – letting Elisabeth zone out in front of the TV. Unfortunately after that, severe sleep deprivation clouded my judgment and I took out the craft supplies in an effort to “do” something with...

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How to Headbutt (According to a Toddler)

Posted on Jan 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

How to Headbutt (According to a Toddler) 0

James here. It’s been awhile since I’ve made an appearance on this blog, but I’ve been working on my headbutts lately and I think I’ve really perfected my technique. I’m here now because I want to share my skills with you. It just doesn’t feel right to keep this knowledge from my other toddler friends looking to fight the man. Or the mom. You know when your mom is all up in your face, trying to snuggle and smother you with kisses and you’re just like, “WOMAN, I NEED MY SPACE!” but you can’t quite talk yet? (I like my snuggles when I like my snuggles, okay?. Usually around 2:30 AM. Get over it.) Or maybe you’re happily coloring on the walls, expressing yourself, and your mom tries to take away your Sharpies. Or, like, you’re scaling up bookshelves and your mom decides she needs to remove you. I know you have so many things you want to say to her that you just can’t. Well, the headbutt is the perfect form of nonverbal communication to get your point across.  And there are so many ways to do it! These are my top three favorite. I hope you find them useful. 1) The Head-to-Head Headbutt: This is the classic headbutt. Simple, but powerful. Say your mom is all up in your grill – and you are NOT having that – this is the fastest way to get her to back off. First, as she nuzzles up in your face flash her your cutest smile. That way she won’t know what’s coming. You want the element of surprise here. Then quickly – speed is key – arch your neck back and WA-BAM! Connect your forehead to hers in one swift movement. The best part of this headbutt is that it will totally stun her, but won’t hurt you a bit. I can’t explain why. Just God’s gift to toddlers, I suppose. 2) The Backwards-Butt: This one is a little more tricky, because you’re usually attacking from a defensive position. Like if your mom tries to get you out of the bath...

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A Look Back at 2015

Posted on Jan 1, 2016 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, It's the Navy Life, My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute, Travel Traumas

A Look Back at 2015 1

Hello, Friends. This blog has not seen much action this year.  Mainly, because of this rascal: I’d love to write more, and hopefully will in the upcoming months. In the meantime, this post is my attempt to recap everything I would have blogged about this past year had I had the mental capacity to do so. Here it is, 2015 in one blog post: January: The stressful end of 2014 – unending remodel, constantly sick kids, overworked husband, extreme lack of sleep, etc. – continued on into January, but things slowly turned up. The remodel wrapped up, we sort-of sleep-trained James (though it didn’t quite take), we began to settle into a routine. Now that James is a walking, running, climbing little boy, it’s hard to imagine that just a year ago he was still a baby, but it’s true, and this month saw him teething and cruising (or, the beginning of the end for me.) February: Snow, snow, snow. School closures, school closures, school closures. I don’t know if Elisabeth saw the inside of her classroom that month. Instead, she watched a lot of Frozen. I’m a good parent.  I also had an unfortunate incident in a Trader Joe’s parking lot involving my Toyota Highlander, a pole, and a personal injury lawyer’s BMW. Can we talk for a second about how it’s like a requirement that every Trader Joe’s has the worst parking lot in the city? Seriously. Every. Single. One. Anyway, moral of the story is don’t go to a Trader Joe’s on a holiday the day before a massive snowstorm.     Oh, we did have an exceptionally beautifully warm and sunny day in the early month that happened to coincide with our wildly successful housewarming party. Win! March: March was a good month. Mainly because I stopped nursing James. If you read my blog last year, you may remember I basically ate birdseed for the majority of his infancy due to his allergic colitis. Well, that sucked, and he and I were both hungry all the time. So I began eating cheese again and he...

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