And They’re Sixteen

May 30, 2020 at 10:42 pm (AJ, PJ) (, , , )

It’s a pattern I have. Coming up to each birthday, I resist the urge to dig in my heels. Willa is supposed to stay a baby. She can’t be one year old yet. I don’t want to have a teenage daughter, therefor Greta must not turn 13. Even though, number or not, she already acts like one. Once we reach the actual birthdate, though, I’m happy and proud to have a one year old, or whatever they newly are.

Coming up to 16, I’ve been acutely aware of that I’m about to lose my grasp on Auden and Parker. If my influence on their thinking is hanging off a cliff by its fingertips, turning 16 is going to loosen one hand. Leaving the house will loosen the second hand, and at that point we’ll just hope we’ve provided a big enough parachute.

How did it happen that there’s about two years left in their childhood? I’m bewildered. AND I’M RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

Practical and global worries run through my head. They still chew with their mouths full! They’re often jerky when communicating about rides. They’re not even half as empathetic as I want them to be. Do they understand why respecting women and recognizing white male privilege is important to me? Do they know how to manage a debit card? Do they know how to find Their People as young adults? Will they ever realize on their own that there’s more to life than endless hours of TikTok videos on the couch?

Here’s the part where I make a list and prove to myself, and you, that they’ll be okay.

If you tell Auden to cook up some chicken, rice, and broccoli for dinner, he is perfectly capable of executing this without any further direction, and might even not complain about it.

Parker has done 95% of our dishes for years. Puts in his headphones and dances while he does it. And chases away anyone that tried to video him.

Either of them can navigate us up a tangled mass of Forest Service Roads to a private campspot that they picked out.

It went from sunny to pouring, and Auden came downstairs and asked what we need to bring inside so it doesn’t get wet.

Parker replaced the starter on our old F-350, and the alternator on our minivan, pretty much alone. He solved the electrical issue on the truck that Mark couldn’t solve in years of trying, and has taken that truck from non-functional to oh-so-close-to-functional.


And when I spent several hours washing the truck with him, Parker gave me a hug and expressed his thanks.


They decided at the end of eighth grade they were going to be football players. They accepted the challenge of learning the game, putting in a gazillion hours of hard work, balanced it with schoolwork, and have made a great group of friends. They made it look so fun that Greta played last year, and they helped coach.


If I ask Auden to rub my shoulders when I have a headache, he will.

I will freely admit they are already more conscientious drivers than I am. And they’ll only get better. They’re also better than me at keeping tracking of their own stuff, and getting places on time.

Auden judges me all the time, but he delivers his feedback quite gently.

Auden laughs at Heather’s stupid football question

They still cuddle.


Give either one of them an axe and they can fall and split a tree. I find this quite impressive, as I sure can’t. Though I’d like to go on record that at their age if anyone had taught me this skill I could’ve too.

They show up for family. When their sisters have a game or a concert, both of them usually choose to come. They play with their little cousins and want to hang out with their grandparents. Parker didn’t even complain when he unpreparedly got roped into wiping his cousin Desmond’s butt.


Auden can bbq like a boss. And I don’t mean just stand beside a bbq and hold some tongs. I mean he can find something in the freezer, defrost it, season it, light the bbq, cook it up, make a carb side, put out a veggie, and call us to eat.

Parker is full of random projects and goals. He made this cool planter and decided to sleep outside every night this May.


 I think I’ve done it. Convinced myself. The Kids Are Alright. Really much more than alright. When I sit down and think about it I’m pretty freakin’ proud of them. It’s fun to be with them. And I’ve still got time. I’m going to hang on for dear life. Living in quarantine helps with that for sure.

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May- Heather’s Brain Download

May 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm (AJ, Family, MJ, PJ, Twins, WJ) (, )

May is always crazy busy in the JaRuud household.  Three birthdays and Mother’s Day, all with requisite multiple celebrations, meals, present purchasing and opening, card making, and general merriment.  Add this year our life shift to me working again, and it’s a wonder I’ve made it through with a smile on my face.

We went camping this weekend near Blewett Pass.  I went late and left early, leaving truly 90% of the camping work to Mark.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable sticking him with that all the time, but it was really nice to arrive to camp with a tent set up and leave this morning (to go to work) with only my clothing bag and no kids. 

People keep giving me sad looks when I tell them I have to work on Sundays.  (So far anyway) I feel no such dissapointment.  Case in point: on weekdays I get up at 5:45, spend over two hours getting myself and four kids ready to leave, and drive an hour to drop off kids at three different places.  Today, I was able to rise a full hour later, 100 miles away from work, and still arrive at the exact same time.  And then I just work four hours.

I tried to get Willa to sleep for a nap and bedtime yesterday in a tent.  Her apparent reaction:  “Mama, what the hell- what is this place?  Where’s my bed?  Why is it cold?  Why is it light out?  You think I’m going to sleep here?  Uh unh, no way, no how.”  I’d nurse her and nurse her but she’d startle awake when I tried to stop no matter how asleep she’d seemed.  I wasn’t successful until I put her in her familiar carseat.  My theory- with my others, especially the boys, I always nursed them to sleep and we traveled with them all over carnation.  They never cared as long as they had me.  Willa hasn’t nursed to sleep in quite some time.  She hasn’t seemed to need it, and sadly, I’m just always needed elsewhere.  She nurses and then I leave her awake, and if she’s sleepy, she’s asleep in minutes.  But this means, she’s less attached to me and more attached to her own bed.  It makes me a little sad.  I’m going to tell myself it’s just who she is and try to lay off the mama guilt that I can’t do as much for my fourth child as my firsts.

I’m just happy to nurse her at all.  Last weekend, from Friday through Tuesday, she went on a nursing strike.  SOOOOO not fun.  I felt like I was a first time mama with a newborn again, which no confidence we would ever get the breastfeeding down.  No sleep from trying to nurse, getting bitten, and then pumping at all hours of the night.  Without the help that often comes with having a new baby.  No, instead, I was trying to juggle a family birthday party and full time work and houseguests and… and… and.  Yes, I’m fully aware all of this may have actually caused said nursing strike.  It turns out I had all the right instincts about what to try, and she finally came around just after I took her to the doctor and determined she was medically fine, no ear infection or other problem readily apparent.  Same logic applies as that this weekend we put up tarps to (successfully) avoid it raining.

What I wanted, during the nursing strike, was somebody to understand my plight.  Mark was helpful and fed Willa bottles when I was frustrated, but he didn’t seem to get how awful it was making me feel to keep offering such a sensitive (physically and emotionally) part of me and getting rejected.  He kept saying “Poor Willa” and I wanted somebody to say “Poor Heather!”  Actually my mom did and I’m grateful for that, but I was a wreck; I seemed to need it hourly.  I have treasured the “extended” nursing the other three and I have shared, and I was NOT going to give up easily.  My naturopath actually told me “at ten months, maybe she’s done with the boob.”  Numerous books and google searches will tell you, a baby will almost never self-wean before 18 to 24 months.  I honestly wonder if I should be thinking about switching doctors… is that crazy of me?  It was just such a blatantly false piece of information, and I’m glad I didn’t trust it.

Friday before camping was the boys’ “friend” party.  For the first time, we forked over the cash to have it outside our house.  It was a fun, but I’m not sure if it was truly worth the money.  It doesn’t feel like we created the memories that we have past years at home.  Though the boys came home happy, neither has mentioned a word about it since.  Yes, we had more kids than we would’ve at home, but other than that… I think maybe next time if I want to spend money on a party I’ll use it for a house cleaner beforehand.  Or afterward!  But check out the giant squid cake we made!  (I have many more birthday pictures but I can’t find the cord to download them.  Grrrr.)
Squid cake

Yes, our cake “plate” is a Rubbermaid bin lid.  And yes, I’m well aware it is a major phallic symbol. 

For their birthday, their class made them “birthday books”, with well wishes and what-I-like-about-you’s from each classmate.  Two of Auden’s gave me pause- “What I like about you is that your brother is Parker.”  “You are lucky to have Parker as your twin.”  While I agree with the latter, it makes me worry a little about their twinship and being in the same class.  (In their current program they have to be in the same class.)  It’s wonderful to have somebody to do the things you don’t know how to do, but it can’t last forever.  Right now Auden reads for Parker and Parker makes friends for Auden.  It’s been fascinating to watch… my own personal twin study.  (I know it’s not really a study with an n of one- just anecdotal.)

How glad am I that I have another day to savor before we all go back to school and work?  Very!


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Six year old fun

November 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm (AJ, PJ)

No time to blog so I will just share a quick thought.  I’ve used up my computer time creating our Happy New Year’s card in time to redeem my coupon code, complete with some really bad poetry.  I don’t know about you, but those sites’ endless coupons keep getting me.  Even though I know another coupon will come along, I end up getting the idea that I must order something, that I might not even want, NOW, on a deadline.  Their marketing is working.  And I’m mad at myself because I’ve just ordered something that does exactly what another preschool mom brought up the other day- point out how cute girls are (something they can’t change and haven’t worked for), and when talking to boys, talk about what they can do.  She’s totally right that society and lots of parents do this.  Of course I want my daughters to know they have value for what they’re doing and not how cute they are.  And now I’ll be propagating it.  Ugh.  I’m going to have to sleep on it.

But the one quick thing I actually wanted to write about was what a wonderful age first grade is.  If you’re not there yet, I think it’s a safe bet you can look forward to it.  As opposed to some of the teen years.  How many other years with your kids will you have in want to 1) do a research project about an animal, and then 2) imagine they are that animal the rest of the weekend?  Auden and Parker came home Friday with an animal project, Auden a Harris’s hawk and Parker a badger.  It’s not due until after Thanksgiving but they were so excited that I was convinced to hold up dinner for over an hour to help them read the literature and write out sentences.  After that, they went straight into character and practiced living in the desert.  Otherwise known as the living room.  I’m realizing that the age Parker and Auden will want to pretend no longer is fast approaching.  For now, though, it’s going strong.  I love it.  Even if it does mean I’ve been attacked by a raptor more than once this weekend.

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Chips off the ol’ LEGO block

November 10, 2010 at 6:00 am (AJ, PJ) (, )

I’ve been spending time going through old photographs.  A little Christmas project I’m doing.  It’s half fun and half a pain-in-the-butt.

Today I found this picture of me, proud of my LEGO creation.
big smile

See the resemblance?


PJ requested this

Auden and two recent LEGO ships

I have so many more I could include here.

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November 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm (AJ, Family, Knitting) (, , , )

Some people are afraid of spiders. Not this family, as you will see. Spiders have redeeming qualities- they eat all kinds of pesky bugs. But this isn’t a why-you-should-love-spiders post. If you hate them, just move on. This is a how-fun-it-is-when-the-whole-family-get-into-something post.

Here in Washington, the spiders seemed especially prevalent this summer, and I wasn’t the only one to notice. I took out my camera one day, and took this picture.
Spider in the front yard

My spider-lover Auden loved it (it’s now framed and on his wall) and I loved it. As animals go, spiders are easy to photograph- they don’t move quickly. So I took more.
Adjusting her web

gutter spider

I have not yet captured a photo of Sally yet, but she’s been helping me wash the dishes for at least a month now.  She strung up her web right across the window above the sink.  We enjoy observing her activities throughout the day.  I’ve seen her re-build her web at least twice, seen her strike out and capture a bug that was unfortunate enough to fly her way.

Auden’s love of spiders is going on its third year.  Though he claims he will grow up to be an arachnologist, I don’t hold any illusions that he’ll stick with it.  Kids are fickle.  I’m just thankful he doesn’t still aspire to a garbage-truck driving career.  His mama has been known to indulge his spider fascination.  Exhibits a through e:
Tarantula Cake Auden made a spider You can see my issue here 8 red button eyes Auden turns 6

A- Tarantula cake for 5th birthday
B- LEGO spider
C- My first sewing project on my new sewing machine- a spider/insect bathrobe. He wears that thing all the time.
D- He asked if I’d knit him a spider
E- Tarantula cake for 6th birthday- I hope he keeps asking for this cake. MUCH easier than the saber-tooth tiger that Parker asked for.

As I’ve mentioned before, we also keep Harry the Tarantula as a pet.  She is a little bigger than the spiders I love, I have to admit.  Mark and the boys take care of her.

And finally, Auden hopes to inspire Willa to love spiders also. Somehow I don’t see her choosing this spider that Auden posed her with as her lovey.
All babies sleep with plastic spiders,

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Push and Pull

November 6, 2010 at 10:11 pm (AJ, Family, MJ, Parenthood, PJ) (, )

One might have predicted this.

Back in my partying days, I had a friend who smoked (and drank) way too much.  His girlfriend, also my friend, took the tactic of forbidding it.  It’s the Camels or me, an ultimatum.  My approach was different.  Forbidding them just seemed so… well, harsh.  (Or perhaps I knew that since I wasn’t having sex with him, threatening to withhold it wasn’t going to get me anywhere.)  I would try to coddle him along with less smoking, hiding his cigarettes so that his next one would be delayed.  But if he really looked pissed, like he needed one, I’d give in.  Trying to explain it one day, I told my friend, “I don’t do Tough Love.”  That oft-repeated quote, it explains a lot about my parenting style.

I don’t mean I’m permissive.  Though my husband might disagree.  I make them clean their room and do their chores and homework.  I get my fair share of “you’re so mean”s.  (Recently I found a piece of paper that Auden wrote on: “I hat my mom”.  Good writing for him, but I won’t pretend it didn’t make me sad.  When I asked him about it, he didn’t even remember writing it and claimed it was Parker.  I know it wasn’t, as Parker still only writes lower-case a’s if forced.)

I mean that I don’t see the point in being forceful and demanding when trying to get the children to do something.  Recently it’s come up with reading. The boys are just on the cusp of reading.  They can sound out words if they’re short and use short vowels.  I find it incredibly exciting, because I remember the way the world opened when I learned to read.  Mark tries to get the boys to sound out parts of their bedtime reading.  My feeling is bedtime reading is for relaxation, and learning to love reading at bedtime.  Not for frustration.  I don’t want to push them so hard they start to hate books.  I’d rather “pull” them along by encouraging sounding out at other times, and by reading books at bedtime that demonstrate how great books are.  Books that capture their interests, and that I enjoy also: If You Find a Rock, Henry and Ribsy, Y is for Yowl. Thursday night the boys and their dad had a giant blow-up over bedtime reading. He made them read “baby books”, with short words, and practice reading.  They’ve all gotten over it, but I still think it was a set back in reading and parental relations.  His way might get them reading faster, or it might not. Not if they learn that reading is a hateful chore.

Reading came up again last night. I found Junior Pictionary for $2.99 at Goodwill (score!) and we played it, the boys and Mark and I, after Greta went to bed. Loads of fun, it was.  I enjoyed both seeing how they guess and watching what they’d draw.  It was the most fun I’ve had in quite a while.  No, really, it was.

It took them a while to get the concept of drawing objects around the object you are having somebody guess.  Auden’s “tooth” looked like a plain ol’ rectangle, for instance, until I suggested he draw a few more and the mouth around it.  It didn’t take long though- Auden drew our specific fridge complete with crap cartoons from the Economist and magnets from places my MIL has visited and artwork from 2008 and notices for museums events last summer stuck on the doors (OK, not quite that detailed) and an arrow to the ice machine for “ice”.

The pushing them to read came up again, though.  I’d have them look at the word to draw and see if they knew it.  But if they couldn’t sound it out pretty quickly, I read it to them.  I didn’t want to hear any whining about not wanting to try, spoiling the fun.  Mark, however, did his thing, spending a while each time working with either kid on “banana” or “vacuum” or whatever it was.  They did balk a little bit and I was starting to get a little annoyed (without saying so).  But after a few turns they just expected it.  This night the pushing was effective, looking back on it, because they were so excited to play the game.  It worked because of the fun, not spoiling it.

[Sidenote story: Auden misheard/read “sand” as “send” and tried to draw that.  How would you draw “send”?  I think a lot of people born before, say 1990, would draw somebody sending a letter.  Auden made a valiant attempt to depict sending an email, but I never got to send.]

Are you a pusher or a puller with your children (if you have them)?  We probably have to accept that we can change some, but our natural tendencies are going to come out in this aspect of parenting.  Our kids are lucky enough to have both.

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Halloween Anecdotes

November 2, 2010 at 4:49 am (AJ, Family, GOJ, PJ, Running, WJ)

Halloween magically went off without a hitch this year.  No fights about eating too much candy, no costume disasters.  The worst thing that happened was Greta tripping while trick-or-treating, trying to keep up with her brothers and friends, who were running from house to house.  Hopefully the magic of Halloween will spill over into the magic of Thanksgiving and the magic of Christmas, rather than meaning we’ve used up our one good holiday of the year and Christmas will suck.

I almost thought I ruined it.  Meaning to fill them up on nutritious food prior to the candy, we prepared noodles, chicken, and sweet potato fries for dinner.  The noodles and chicken, at least, are one of the very few sure-fire eats for Greta and Auden.  Halloween night, though, Greta refused all of it.  Plain noodles, are you kidding me?  What’s objectionable about that?  I generally don’t believe in food ultimatums, but I made one.  “If you don’t eat a bite of sweet potato, you can’t eat any candy tonight.”   

It was time to leave, and she wasn’t going to budge.

I couldn’t figure out how in the hell I was going to stay true to my word and not have a tantruming 3-year-old on my hands.  Before I could think of an exit strategy, we were on our way.  Keeping her from eating candy while hurrying from house to house was easy.  Time passed quickly; two hours later we arrived at home.  I reminded her that she could have candy tomorrow after she’d had better nutrition.  And her reply?  OK Mom.  What?  Seriously?  Hallelujah!  She went easily to bed, with me in disbelief putting her down.

How cute is this girl?

The Friday before I brought the girls to the Halloween party at Auden and Parker’s school.  They didn’t even load them up with cookies and candy.
Lots of fun Happy Halloween!

That night, the high school cross country team held a Pumpkin Run.  Nothing like candy to motivate kids to run.  Parker was just sure he was going to win a trophy.  I was doubtful.  Thankfully he was happy with a ribbon and three pieces of candy.
Nothing like candy to entice kids to run

I have recently become aware that I have failed in teaching my children how to pose for photographs.

This morning, November 1st, Parker says to me, “Let’s light the jack-o-lanterns again tonight. Then, tomorrow, let’s put up the Christmas tree. I just love celebrating the Holidays!”

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A Camping Alphabet Post

September 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm (AJ, Family, GOJ, MJ, PJ, School, WJ)

I’m the volunteer “librarian” in Auden and Parker’s class.  Last week’s theme was alphabet books, which inspired this post on this weekend’s camping trip with Auden and Parker’s school.

A is for Auden, my favorite babysitter for Willa.  He’ll willingly sit next to her while I do things like go to the restroom or fetch water.

B is for Bailey’s, what I’m drinking in my coffee this morning to recover.

C is for coffee.  Which I needed Saturday morning and did not ever get.

D is for downpour, of the long-lasting kind.

E is for eagle, an animal our family is constantly on the lookout for.  It’s actually pretty amazing how often we can spy a bald eagle around here.  Me, I forget to look up, but the generally boys have less to pull their eyes downward.  Exactly the way it’s supposed to be.

F is for fort, that the boys and friends had ever so much fun making.  Bonus for mom is the exhaustion that carrying huge driftwood logs all day entails.

G is for Greta, a girl of her own mind.  You know how you see moms walking away from their children, saying, “OK, I’m going now,” and the kid eventually runs to catch up?  This does not work with Miss G.  I can get out-of-sight a hundred feet away, peek to look back, and Greta is still squatting to look at rocks, completely unconcerned for her safety.

H is for Heather has a Headache.  When the sun appeared at noon, we were beachcombing with no sunglasses or hats.  Within an hour, I had a headache from squinting.  Within another hour, I had a really bad headache and was dragging four children back to the campsite so I could puke in the bushes in peace.  I certainly have experience with the combo of camping and throwing up, but it’s supposed to also involve whiskey and a rocking good night beforehand.

I is for insane, my mental state when I agreed Mark should go down to the Husky-Nebraska game from the camping spot.  Had I calculated between tail-gating, driving, traffic, and the game itself I’d be left alone for EIGHT hours with four kids of widely varying interests and walking speeds, I would not have said “Oh sure, honey, you’ve wanted to go to a game forever.”  Or more realistically, as he really has wanted to go forever, we would not have gone camping.

J is for just barely, the way I held it together.

K is for Krispy Treats, our contribution to Saturday night’s potluck.  (Parker’s contribution- I couldn’t think of K.)

L is for living room, where we had our cosy fire on Saturday night.

M is for Mark, who was a sight for sore eyes when he returned from the game.  How grateful I was at that moment that I am not a single mom.  Sometimes I love my husband because he’s my Man, sometimes I love him because he’s Help. Picture “Oh, Help” as asked for by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

N is for new friends.  All the craziness was worth watching my boys develop friendships with kids they will know for years to come.  And I met some very nice parents, also, although I had to get past my anxiety that they were all wondering what in the world I was doing there with four children by myself and beholden to their help.

O is for Oreo.  What is a mother to do to contain her four children while she vomits?  Give them Oreos in the tent!  Crumbs be damned!

P is for Parker.  Parker, who loves life to its fullest, then crumples and still needs his Mama’s fullest attention.

Q is for quit, which is what we did Saturday evening.  I have never made the decision to come home a day early from camping, but in this case- best decision EVER.

R is for Ranger Dave.  A very nice guy invited to give an instructional beach walk.  What happened instead, however, was a sit-quietly-at-a-picnic-table-listen-to-me-ramble.  My children were not amused.  School on a Saturday?  Too much to ask.

S is for Survivor Games, which Parker played with fifty other kids from his school.

T is for tent.  Thank goodness for rain flies.

U is for Urine.  Middle-of-the-night urine in sleeping bags, daytime urine puddling in shoes.  Urine, urine, urine.  Greta did not once use the actual campground bathrooms the entire time we were there, if that’s any indication of the clothing changes we had.  Though I’ve considered her potty trained since last January, I finally put her in a pull-up around the time I started throwing up.

V is for van.  A mini van is to be celebrated when packing up camp in the dark rain can be done by throwing it all in the back without rolling a camp pad or stuffing a bag.

W is for Willa, my sweet sweet easy baby.  Oh my goodness how I love this little (big!) bundle of fleece in my lap!

X is for the pedestrian X-Ray, which we did not need to examine the fish spines we found on the beach.

Y is for yurt, which we were not staying in, unlike many of the families.  But now we know how to spell it!

Z is for the zealous love that I feel for this camping family of mine.

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Making friends

September 14, 2010 at 11:29 am (AJ, Parenthood, PJ)

Grade school marks a big change in making friends.  In preschool, my kids were friends with my friends’ kids.  In grade school, they make friends who have parents I don’t know.  Who may or may not have similar parenting philosophies.  I may not even know the child himself.  I don’t know how I feel about that. 

On the one hand I generally think diversity is good- if my kids are exposed to different ways of dealing with conflict or serving a snack at a friend’s house, they can learn new ways to do things.  And see what doesn’t work if they end up watching a friend get yelled at.  But, does it really work that way?  At six, are they discriminating enough to take the good and throw out the bad?  I’m not so sure about that.

In any given room of kids, Parker will find the silliest and most exuberant kids (besides himself, that is) and go talk to them.  It doesn’t really matter to Parker if that child was planning on gaining a new friend that day.  He has absolutely no social awkwardness.  According to him, if he wants you to be your friend you will be.  Never mind that this is the complete opposite of the way I think.  I’ve known people I really would’ve liked to be friends with but have no idea how to approach.  I could take a lesson from Parker- the approach doesn’t always matter- you just do it.  At any rate, Parker’s chosen friends in kindergarten were not, shall we say, the teacher’s pet type.  More like they were the kids that the teacher goes home saying, “I’d have such a great class this year if I didn’t have to deal with ____.”

I was surprised last year in kindergarten that some of those frustrating kids actually do have great parents.  See how judgmental parents can be- including myself?

Auden seems to have fallen a little closer to his mother’s tree in the making friends department.  As best I can gather, the friends he made last year chose him.  One was a domineering young lady who told him one day she was his girlfriend.  This was in February.  He spent more time making her Valentine than the rest of the class combined.  A week after Febrary 14th I found all the Valentines he’d made, hidden in his room.  Upon delicate questioning, I extricated the story- he’d been embarrassed to give his “girlfriend” the Valentine, so he left them all in his backpack.  A few weeks later when told him she was no longer his girlfriend, he faked sick because he no longer had anybody to play with at recess.  Broke his mama’s heart, the whole situation.

I didn’t actually start out this post to talk about my children’s possible friend hiccups, though.  Or the lack of control I have over the choosing of said friends.  All I can do there is trust they’re smart and they’ll learn from their experiences.  I meant to discuss my potential hiccups with their friends and parents of their friends.  I have to say, dealing with calling one of their friend’s parents for a playdate fills me with dread.  Will they think it’s weird for me to invite their child to my house without knowing me first?  Should I invite them to meet us at the park first?  Will they want to spend their time standing at a park making small talk with me?  I’m not even at school to know the relationship between the kids.  Does their kid even like my kid?  Do I want this kid to like my kid?

I can’t be the only one that doesn’t know “the rules” here.  At what age do you switch to letting the kids talk on the phone to arrange a get-together?  I have to say my kids are still blissfully ignorant of the ins and outs of phone conversation, and that’s mostly fine with me.  I don’t need them begging for a cell phone yet.  I know they know our phone number, but I don’t know that they would actually know how to dial and call us if they needed to.  They also don’t have a full grasp of calendaring and what days they might be free.  For now I know I need to take care of the details. 

At some age that I don’t want to even think about, I suppose one lets their children visit homes of friends they haven’t met, let alone the parents.  But what age is this?  Ten, twelve, twenty-three?  No idea.  Obviously it can be whatever we’re comfortable with, at least until our kids are legal adults.  But I also worry if I’m too comfortable with letting my kids go, I’ll be judged not protective enough.  Am I overthinking this?

A good part of my anxiety goes back to my own troubles with making friends.  Parker begs me, over and over, until we call people who I’m pretty sure don’t want to get together with us.  I HATE feeling like I’m trying too hard to make friends- my uncool middle school self.  So I waffle and deflect his requests and explain I’m waiting for them to reciprocate the last playdate months ago and generally make excuses.  Like my former neighbors, for example.  Parker idolized their kid, who’s eighteen months older than him.  This kid thought Parker was okay when he used to live across the street and was convenient, but now that they live miles away, I don’t think he cares.  When they’ve come back to check on the house (they rented it out), the kid hasn’t barely responded to Parker’s excited greetings yelled across the street.  Parker has yet to notice that fact, though, and keeps asking when he’s going to come over.  Parker came home from the second day of school and wanted me to call the friend he’d made that day.  Um, no honey, I’m not psyched up to do that yet.  And just how would we find the phone number of one of the thousand Jacob’s at XYZ Elementary?

If you’re into labels, it’s probably obvious here.  Parker is an extrovert, his mama and dad, and his twin are introverts.  He gets misunderstood sometimes here at the JaRuud household.  One definition is that an extrovert get “recharged” in life by spending time with people, and an introvert recharges by spending time alone.  He’ll have to put up with us, and drag us kicking and screaming into having a social life.  It’s good for us.

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“Due” Date

July 9, 2010 at 10:30 pm (AJ, Family, GOJ, MJ, PJ, WJ) (, )

I’m not sure these types of posts read well, but I feel the urge to write and it can only help my waiting-and-waiting-for-a-baby mental state.

Pretty much all from yesterday, ten things that bring me great joy right now:

– Having a husband who listens- at least some of the time, and more so when I’m 40 weeks pregnant…

– My sister Laura, who’s been helping me with my children from Day 1.  She moved in with us for the summer when we had newborn twins.  Yesterday she, my kids, and I hiked down to Lake Washington.  She took a crying Parker back up the trail after we were halfway down for a Band-Aid.  Without her, the trip would’ve ended there.  I wasn’t physically going to make it back up and start again, and Parker wasn’t going to brush off his injuries.  [Reminder to self: Pack Band-Aids for all walks, no matter how short.  2/3 of my children needed them.]  Auntie Lala carried Greta in the water, which I couldn’t have managed with my pregnant sense of balance, the rocky ground, and the boat wakes.  And, she chased Greta down in the grocery store parking lot during our post-hike popsicle run.

– Auden and Parker, who made the steep climb up from the lake in the 90 degree heat without a hint of whine.

– Living in the Pacific Northwest.  The heat of the last couple days reminds me to be grateful we don’t live somewhere this hot all the time.  I’ll try not to complain about our ten days of heat for the year, despite the coinciding of this year’s with my due date.

– No PNW list of yesterday’s joys could be complete without (if you have one)- our window A/C.  Even if it seems a little tacky in the front window.

– Finally having the energy and gumption to make a decent meal.  The memory of last night’s chicken fajitas still makes me happy.

– Greta, who after all the day’s activities, went to sleep early SO easily in Parker’s bed.  She asks every day all day to sleep with one of her brothers.  Nevermind she’s fickle about which one and that they use it as a bargaining chip with her: “Greta, I’ll let you sleep with me if you give me that XYZ.”  There’s not anything more precious to a Mama than her children sleeping together.
37/365 Sleeping quarters in the cabin
Sailing in the San Juans, July 2008

– Having my cell phone battery die yesterday and recognizing how much better I felt.  Various well-meaning family members keep texting, emailing, and calling me every day to see how I’m doing.  Fine, thanks!  Mostly woman who already have babies; don’t they remember?  With my previous pregnancies I was careful to fudge my due date a little and tell all a later date than true 40 weeks.  This time I didn’t think I needed that since I’ve never been overdue.  And I’m still not!  But as I’ve gotten close, I’m getting the constant barrage this time.  Yes, yes, I’m hormonal, and I know they are just excited.  I’ve still decided to turn off my phone for peace of mind during part of every day.  (Which I know will just freak them out that I’m in labor.  Ha ha ha.)  There goes the phone now… seriously.

– My LightWedge, without which, I couldn’t survive the insomnia.

– Water- in the form of Lake Washington, wading pools, and clean ice cubes that no one has to think twice about consuming safely.

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