Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our Part-Time Kid

This Friday night will be the first in five weeks that Clare is at home with us. I suppose the writing was on the wall the second day of school, when she came home sporting one half of a "best friends" necklace that she had received that day - the second of such necklaces she now owns. When the subject came up, she modestly told of an experience last year, when two girls were literally pulling on her arms arguing, "My Clare!" "No, my Clare!" I may be a bit biased, but I can't say I blame them. I love that our sweet, thoughtful girl is in high demand. Even more, I love how frequently I hear from her friends' moms, glowing about how wonderful Clare is. It's no wonder Danny has been brought to tears by Clare's frequent absences.

The following conversation between Tim and Clare also made me laugh:
(Thursday night) Clare, chatting with Tim who had just come home from work: Good night, Daddy!
Tim: Okay, good night sweetie. When will I see you again?
Clare: Um...Saturday?
 Tim, laughing: Okay, well, nice seeing you - thanks for stopping by.

 I can't imagine what her high school years will be like - we'll probably have to refer to photographs of her to jog our memory. On the other hand, we're happy to share the love.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

That Plank In My Eye

I have recently lamented that I wish I could be parenting during the era of my own childhood. Yes, we had TV, but it was still pretty limited. Some people had video games, but not everyone, and the same with computers. Managing electronics was simply not on the radar, or at least it seems to me. I played with my friends, I played with my dolls, I played outside.

I can't decide if it's a function of being male, or just his personality, but managing screen time with Danny has become a big issue, much more so than with Clare. He loves them, to the extent that he is easily addicted. Which is why we continue to deny him a Wii or similar. It's hard enough to control his time spent on iPods, iPads, the computer, and watching TV.

After consulting friends, I recently changed our policy from zero screens Monday-Thursday, which resulted in a gluttony on the weekends, to 30 minutes every day. I think it's going well, especially since Danny has soccer and football to keep him busy. It did occur to me, though, what a hypocrite I am: No way could I limit myself to 30 minutes, or at least I really don't wanna. But the example I am setting struck me the other day, when I emerged from a quick shower to find the above photo. I'm thinking I maybe I should re-examine my own electronics policy. Nah.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Eating My Words

I find myself fighting several battles as a parent, but two in particular stand out: managing time spent on electronics, and the amount of activities in our schedule. I will probably post separately on the electronics thing, when I am not too depressed to delve into the topic. I believe I have a better handle on the activities, as I have decreed a two-per-child limit . I also swore up and down that I would not let Danny play two sports at once. I mean, that's crazy. Right? You know, just like expanding from a two-child family is nuts. In other words, Danny is playing two sports this fall - and it's great.

He was bound and determined to try flag football this fall. Tim and I really wanted him to stick with soccer, since he was finally making some strides in that area. Danny said he'd play soccer again in the spring. Lo and behold, I stumbled across a flag football league that both practices and plays its games exclusively on Sunday afternoons. No double-booking with soccer games, no practices every night during the week. Just a way to keep him active while Laura naps on Sundays while maintaining his soccer momentum.

So this past weekend found us on the soccer field on Saturday, the football field on Sunday, and Danny very happy on both. He has moved up to the U8 league in soccer this year, and it's a brand-new ballgame: referees, throw-ins, corner kicks, and goalies. Danny was itching to play goalie, too, so he went in early on despite zero experience. Unfortunately, he let a goal slip past. But I am happy to report that later in the game, when he was returned to the position, he made two great saves. With some scoring by other players, the Flames were en fuego for their season opener!

Meanwhile, this was his first-ever experience with flag football. An early text from Tim indicated that this would be a good team for Danny, as the coach immediately started calling him Danny Boy. He received his reversible jersey (it's hard to exaggerate how cool he thinks this is) and hit the field with a lot of enthusiasm if not skill. Turns out sometimes it's not so terrible to eat your words (we do like Laura most of the time, too).

Friday, September 7, 2012

20 Months

With a summer spent on the road, I skipped posting about the more official milestone of 18 months. Since I find Laura more interesting every day, 20 months seems just as worthwhile to mark.

In so many ways she is still a baby, but of course every day taking strides toward bigger and better things. She tries out new words daily, though many of them sound frustratingly similar ("datu" seems to equal "cracker," "apple" and "diaper," depending on the situation). She loves singing and dancing, rough-housing with Danny, and the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear. She still enjoys riding in the stroller and is remarkably patient about the amount of time she spends in the car. She likes running any and all errands, which makes me think that cabin fever must be a genetic disorder inherited directly from her mom.

She has started to test me in the food department, but finally I feel prepared to handle the challenge. Not a fan of what's in front of you? No problem: go ahead and get down, the meal is over. With soccer and swim practices in full gear, I find us eating dinner with her a few times, which is forcing both of us to expand her mealtime repertoire. I know this to be a very good thing, but also know that the short-term can be a tad painful. On the flip side, she seems to really enjoy sitting with us, especially now that we have retired the high chair and she's literally at the table with us.

Her social network is also growing, between Monday mornings spent with James and Misty and occasional playdates with Jane and Star. When I think back to a year ago, it's pretty incredible how much bigger her world is. This probably explains her continued need to hit the sack early and often. And what an angel she is, when she does. (And yes, she still uses her shirt/dress as her lovey.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ready for Some Football

So we might not have quite the same pomp and circumstance that we used to with the first ND game of the season (blame quality of the team, too many kids, or the flag's permanent residence on Danny's wall), but rest assured we still mark the occasion. GO IRISH!