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Where random happens

by John on May 21st, 2015

Just a big ‘ol pile of random today:

  • Yesterday was the last day of preschool for CJ. I am the father of a kindergartner. I’m having issues with this reality.
  • If you’re one of the three & a half regular readers, you’ll know that I take karate with CJ. Often, there are too many of us in class to perform warm-ups all at once, so we team up. Every time we do this, CJ comes straight to me. The other day, he went to one of the friends in his class & asked him. Part of me was happy to see him branching out, but part of me felt like the last kid to be picked on the playground.
  • We had a “family night” at home last night. Between symphony, karate, band practice, theatrical shit1, swimming lessons, work events, family parties . . . well, it’s been quite some time that the four of us were under one roof, with no pressing item on the agenda dictating our schedule. I made prime rib. We played board games, took a bath, watched mindless kid television shows on Netflix, and read books. I have always tried to keep myself busy – but, lately, it’s been a bit overboard. While it’s one thing for me to constantly feel that I’m “catching my breath,” I’ll admit I’m a bit worried about overtaxing my kids: karate, swimming, soccer, ballet, tap . . . well, it seems that there is always something for them to get into. I do hope they play, for the sake of playing, often.
  • Speaking of “playing for the sake of playing,” part of me gets very concerned about my kids’ reliance on electronics — they always want to be watching something on their iPads or the TV, or playing video games. But, when the screens are turned off, they play very nicely & come up with elaborate storylines to their playtime. In other words, while I will continue to worry, I think they’re mostly ok.
  • I’ve given up trying to buy pants in stores – it sucks to have to order stuff without having tried it on, first, but I can’t seem to find my size anywhere.
  • My vegetable garden is planted: tomatoes (roma, grape, and cherry), peppers (jalapeno, banana, & sweet-mini-red), lettuce, cabbage (green & purple), cucumbers, squash (butternut & zucchini), green beans, sugar snap peas, and watermelon. Last year, we used a small wooden fence to keep the dogs out of the vegetables (the vegetable garden is bordered on two sides by a chain-link fence) . . . but, well, Benji wasn’t deterred by that fence at all, so I’ve ripped it out. I’m using a line of marigolds (that I’ll regularly fertilize with coffee grounds) to try to keep pests away.
  • After years of shaving my head, I’m letting my hair grow back in a bit — it’s a bit startling to see just how much gray is coming in, alongside the dark.
  • I’m hosting a “Geekend” at my house in a few weeks — bunch of people coming over, binge-watching the TV series of Firefly and eating Chinese food. I’m very excited.
  • I’m getting SERIOUS itches to start practicing guitar and to start work on my next tattoo. I fucking need more time in my day, every day.
  • Is it wrong that I’m already a little jealous that I’m 99% sure my daughter is going to take home a baseball from the minor league baseball game we’re heading to, this evening, yet I’ve been to HUNDREDS of games throughout the years, and I’ve yet to catch a foul ball?
  • My daughter’s dance recital was just about the cutest thing ever. I can’t contain the excitement that I have in seeing how energized she was by performing in front of a crowd.

1I just wrapped playing Spamalot at a theatre over an hour away . . . that I’ve been out of half the karate classes, making CJ “fend for himself,” might explain part of why he chose someone else to be his partner, as well.
  1. There’s just one parent who takes karate with her kid where we go… I look at her and think it’s awesome… while I go out in the hall and read my book. 😉

    I love when we have a night with nothing to do. We had one yesterday and we definitely enjoyed it (even though there was an optional soccer practice that I totally forgot about- but it was OPTIONAL and mostly just to give the new kids trying out for the team other kids to kick around with, as my boys already had their returning player tryouts).

    I have never seen Firefly. It’s on my to-watch list on Netflix, though.

    • Firefly is well-worth it, especially if you were a fan of Buffy or Angel.

      Every now & then, one of the parents will ask me about taking karate with the kids (not necessarily my own kid, though everyone knows that CJ is mine, in class, the trepidation seems to be all of the other kids). The trick is that, during class, I’m “just another student” (just one that is more than twice the size of the next biggest person in the class who can offer advice about general strength). While I keep an eye out for CJ to ensure that he’s doing things the right way / not getting into trouble / not getting hurt, I don’t necessarily act “the parent” during class. And it works well.

  2. I am terrible about scheduling activities for the kids. We are just not a go go go family. I hated it when all 3 of them were in soccer, meaning we’d have to attend one game after another in Saturdays. We suck at being busy.

    • It’s funny – I only start to get nervous when we’re not “GO GO GO,” because, well, at that point, I’m convinced that I’m doing everything wrong. If I’m just reacting to the schedule, I don’t have time to critique my parenting 🙂

  3. I love that you took a family night…and if your kids CAN play well and with imagination and minimal complaining without electronics, that is a huge win.

    I believe there is much to be learned from electronics (although it isn’t popular always to say that). The trend is to talk about major screen-time limits but I think my son, in particular, has benefited from video games and other technology.

    Of course, he never did play round the clock; but not because I set strict limits. He naturally got tired of it and would seek other forms of activity. It’s possible (in my humble opinion) that all the strict “You can’t have screen time until you’ve….” has a negative effect.

    The see screen time as the positive and “whatever else you’re insisting on” as the negative. Be it reading, homework, exercise. If they have to ENDURE it to get to the reward of technology, what have we taught them?


    What I’m saying is, I think you’re doing it right.
    Keep up the good stuff. Keep soaking it up.

    • At my son’s last “well child” visit, the doctor asked about screen time, and I just kind-of blanked. We don’t limit it, but if it feels like he’s playing an excessive amount of video games, or that either child is watching an excessive amount of TV (Leila grows bored with video games quite quickly), we’ll say “15 more minutes” or something . . . but, as far as how much they watch – well, it really depends on the weather (the better the weather, the more we’re outside) and what might be going on.

      And while they truly love their screen time, they’ll always chose a trip to the park, or the pool, or to a friend’s place, or riding their bikes, or, really, doing most anything “active” in front of anything that requires a screen. So, yeah, while I’m concerned, as any parent likely is, I do think I’m doing *something* right. Probably. Maybe.

      Though, yes, I do believe strict limits cause issues – I STILL remember watching the kids who came from high school lives where everything was monitored/watched during their first semester at college . . . it felt like kids who went from spending every day in prison to nightly Bacchanalian orgies – some truly went off the deep-end with food/drink/drugs/sex. Some managed to get their heads on straight after a little bit, but some never recovered.

  4. Having a kindergartner is the weirdest feeling. And then, suddenly, they’re first graders. I don’t understand how it happens (I mean, I understand time and everything, but still…).

    It’s great you had some family time. This time of year – most times of year – the schedule gets NUTS, and we need that family downtime.

    PS – So jealous of your vegetable garden! But not of your gray hair, because I have my own.

    • If my vegetable garden is half-as-successful as last year, I’ll be beyond giddy.

      I don’t get time, either . . . I swear, one day, I’m going to see my kids, take myself to work, and then get back to realize that they’re graduating college tomorrow.

      I’m VERY hopeful that my schedule will lighten up to the point where I’ll be able to breathe a bit for the next few weeks.

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