Category: family

The Last Talent Show

When Denisa and I first moved to Maine, we enrolled Tomas in preschool up at the high school. They do a class for high school students where they get to observe preschoolers, which sounds more clinical than it is. In practice, it’s a chance for preschoolers to go to the high school twice a week and have fun playing and learning. At the end of the year, there’s always a presentation or talent show of some sort. When Tomas was going, they had all the kids sing Old MacDonald, and each kid could choose what animal they wanted to be. (Tomas went with “frog” both years.)

Today, I went to my sixth production of that end of the year celebration, this time the last time for MC. Definitely mixed emotions, as I thought back over all the other visits we’d done there. This time through was a talent show, with all the kids dancing, jumping, or singing in one form or another. MC turned out to be quite the ham, dancing her little heart out without a care in the world what anyone else might think of her. She knew she was awesome, so why worry about anything else?

That said, pretty much all the kids on the stage didn’t seem bothered by performing for an audience at all. I wonder at what age we learn to be self conscious. Probably somewhere in middle school, would be my guess . . .

Anyway. It was a nice moment, and I was happy I could duck away from work long enough to be there for it. Each of my kids has approached that talent show differently. Tomas threw himself into his role, really taking on the “frog” mentality. DC was much more reserved and careful with what she was doing. Precise. MC was just a bundle of energy from start to finish. She’s definitely very fun loving. I don’t think Denisa and I did anything too different with each child. They just grow that way.

Fun times.

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Tomas is Fourteen

It’s official. Tomas is fourteen years old today. He’s also a regular reader of this blog, so I have to be much more careful what I say and how I say it. (Always remember who your audience is, especially when it might include your son’s peers.)

It’s always interesting to see how his changes have morphed over the years. These days he’s all about Rubik’s Cube. He’s got multiple models of the classic three by three, he has a two by two, a four by four, a pyramid, and some even more complicated models. He’ll happily sit there timing himself to see how good he’s getting. I believe right now he can regularly solve a normal model in under 30 seconds.

When he’s not practicing his cube skillz, he’s playing Fortnite, a game that’s basically Hunger Games. You and 99 other people are placed on an island. You have to hunt for weapons and then go around taking out the competition one by one. Last person standing wins. That’s a big favorite of his.

He hasn’t been doing as many videos these days, as Minecraft has begun to gather virtual dust. But that happens. School has taken up more and more of his time, as has chores around the house.

But he remains his bright, inquisitive self. Always up to learn something new just for the sake of knowing it. Here’s hoping he has a good birthday. Up on the agenda for the evening is homemade pizza, followed by a black and white checkered cake. Something tells me a Rubiks cube or two might lie in his future after that . . .

Happy birthday, Tomas!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Happy Birthday to MC!

I don’t think it’s possible for someone to be more excited than a girl turning 5 on her birthday. MC has been looking forward to this day for months. With each family birthday, she’d proudly announce that hers was one step closer. And here we are at last.

One of the reasons time seems to go by so quickly, I think, is that it gets chopped up into small little pieces. When you’re younger, there are fewer pieces. You’ve got major holidays and your birthday. That’s about the extent of what you really care about. As you get older, additional noteworthy days get tacked on. The start of school. Vacation days. The end of school. Anniversaries. Birthdays of your children. Bit by bit, the year gets carved ever smaller, until it always seems like some important milestone is just around the corner.

So MC’s right at peak “special day” experience. Old enough to really know what to expect, but young enough that a single day can just be the epitome of awesome.

What is she doing on her birthday? Well, the kids all have the week off, so she’s hanging out at home. Denisa and I are both working, so Tomas is holding down the fort. Hopefully they’re just having non-stop fun at home. My guess would be she’s watching Netflix and playing games on her Kindle Fire. Her favorite shows right now include Little Einsteins, My Little Pony, and (when forced to by her parents, because we’d like her to get something quasi-educational in) Sesame Street. She’ll play pretty much any game she can, with a varying degree of ability.

She’s a lot of fun to have in the family, fond of doing goofy things just for fun. She likes to play games with the family and watch movies with everyone. She still loves taking naps (for the most part), and I’m very envious of her ability to get so much sleep in. She’s also *extremely* particular about her routine. MC wants everything done just the right way. She prefers Denisa put her to bed, but in a pinch I’m allowed to do it. When I do, it’s always the same. She wants her blankets on in a certain order, her stuffed animals arranged just so, and then a story. The story always must start the same way:

“Once upon a time, there lived a little bear, who lived in a _______” She fills in the blank, and then I have to come up with some sort of a story around that location. It’s ranged from everything to a cave to a pillow to a cloud to the inside of Mr. Snuffleuppagus’s snout to the inside of an eyeball (last night). Some stories are better than others.

MC’s request for dinner is home made mac and cheese, and I made her a chocolate cake last night that Denisa’s going to decorate with fruit when she gets home today. It should be quite the time.

Now that we’re five years in with her as part of our family, it’s hard to remember a time when she wasn’t. Happy birthday, MC!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Happy Birthday DC!

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Hard to believe it, but DC turned ten years old over the weekend. We took some time to look back at the pictures from back then. We’d been in our new home in Maine for just half a year. It was our first winter, and we had no snowblower and no experience to draw on for how to run a house in a Maine winter. It was our old wood stove, we had much less insulation, we were getting pounded by tons of snow.

And into all of that, we had our second child come into the mix.

Frankly, I’m surprised we weathered it all as well as we did. We still love snow and still love winter in Maine, and if that first year didn’t do in our love for those things, I don’t know what could.

DC had a small friend party on Saturday, and then we celebrated her birthday yesterday as a family. Denisa and I got her various crafty things. (On her wishlist this year? A nice pencil sharpener, and pencil erasers. She inherited her mother’s penchant for asking for reasonable gifts.) MC got her a gift too: she gave her a cold. Actually, MC, DC, and Tomas were all in bed sick yesterday, so it wasn’t quite the huge celebration she might have hoped for.

She got to pick her birthday dinner and dessert. After being temped by mac and cheese and chocolate cake, she ended up going with . . . spinach soup. I am not making this up. Spinach. Soup. And sourdough biscuits. It was without a doubt the most un-kidlike dinner choice I’ve eaten. That said, I love spinach, and Denisa made a delicious soup. Tomas was less than enthused about the choice, however. For dessert, she asked for lemon poppy seed cake with strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

DC remains a wonderful daughter. She’s by far the most responsible girl I know. She takes her duties on the chore chart very seriously, and loves knowing what the rules are and how following them can help her. She’s become a much stronger reader this last year and is now working on finishing book 5 in the Percy Jackson series. She’s also an avid video gamer who beat Zelda Breath of the Wild not too long ago and is now working her way through Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2. She’s always up for a board game or a craft project, and she loves playing her cello. Her room stays surprisingly neat.

Really, she’s just a great all around daughter, and I’m so happy she’s in our family. Happy birthday, DC!

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Division of Labor

Denisa and her brother are off on a trip to New York City today through Sunday, and I realized as she was preparing for the trip that I need to do a better job of involving her in the process of trip planning. Typically it’s something I bear the brunt of, figuring out the schedules and the logistics. How will we get there? What will we do when we arrive? How do we get where we’re staying? How much does it cost? How do you pay? What’s the public transportation like?

These are all things I’m fairly familiar with at this point, and even then I stress about them a fair deal when it’s time for us to actually go. (It took a while this past time when we were in Chicago, for example, to figure out how to buy the transit passes I wanted from the airport machines.) For Denisa, however, it’s mostly new.

This isn’t to say Denisa isn’t an active participant in our travel plans. But there’s a big difference between going over the plans as a proposal once they’ve all been created, and actually creating the plans in the first place.

That said, Denisa and I definitely have divided some tasks between us naturally over the course of our marriage. I’m over trip planning, ticket purchasing and the like. She takes care of groceries and laundry. I’m tech support and random handyman. She’s in charge of runs to the dump. It’s not like we sat down and took turns picking tasks. It’s just sort of grown that way organically. I wonder if it would be different if we took time to do it the other way. How have other people done their division of labor in their marriage?

In any case, she and Miloš are staying at an Airbnb. They’ll be heading over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art tomorrow to check out their medieval collection, then walking around Central Park and Times Square. Taking the bus there and back from Portland. She’s skeptical that she’ll have fun, but I’m pretty confident she’ll have a blast. Being in a big city can feel quite liberating when you’re there on your own without kids. So many things to do and places to see. Yes, it’s a real pain to get there sometimes, but I’m almost always happy to be wherever I am, once I end up there.

Though I don’t blame Denisa for being skeptical about the Airbnb. You never know what you’re going to get until you get there . . .

What will I be doing at home with the kids? Movies, video games, board games, and more*!

*”more” in this case means I have to do writing and a bunch of chores, and I’m going to enlist the kids to help with that. If we get the chores done, we might be able to do all the rest. But there are a lot of chores . . . Wish us luck!

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