Each year Chelle buys a big five-pound bag of candy. Each year we get between 2 and 4 trick-or-treaters. Each year I complain. Each year she says, “Just in case.” Luckily, this is also how she approaches buying wine so I have plenty of opportunities to pair the remaining 4.8 pounds of candy with the perfect red.
Both girls wore off-the-rack costumes heavy on the glitter. Feels like we passed into a new phase this year. They both embraced the vampires and skeletons motif over princesses or ruffles. There were still sparkles but also fake blood. Sort of had me missing Minnie Mouse.
They did their own makeup, too. I’m pretty sure this was the part of Halloween they enjoyed most even though it appeared as if they both took heavy hits of lithium before applying, but the end result certainly fit their ghoulish look and we avoided tears. Wins all around.
Can I share the happiest fifteen minutes of my week? Believe it or not, it involves the trombone. Like many new kids starting out on an instrument and dreaming of being Katy Perry or T. Swift, the reality of learning an instrument quickly sets in. Practice, say for the piano or trombone, for instance, can quickly become a grind, for parent and child alike.
To her credit, Ce’s enthusiasm for the trombone remains high after almost a month and this week I feel like we might have crossed some magical rubicon. Typically, Ce will practice by racing through each song, good or bad, three times and calling it a day. It drives me crazy. I’ve been preaching for the last year about deliberate practice. Don’t just play the song, work on the song. Go over a sticky measure a few times. Or practice her scales. You can imagine how that went over. About as well as suggesting doing flash cards for “fun.” Fun!
However, this week, out of the blue, she used the piano to help find some notes for the trombone. And then she went over that string of notes over and over. Deliberately. It felt like the heavens had cracked open. I’m honestly not sure if she knew how to practice before. It was like a veil was lifted from her eyes. She was excited. I was excited. At least until she went back to Hot Cross Buns…
Cecilia and Ally have spent many weekend mornings cheering me, or Michelle, on at various finishing lines. They have gone to the Boston Marathon almost every year they’ve been alive. They have been unofficial timers and participants at Thursday track workouts. They are quite used to me referring to Desi, Shalane, and Meb as if they are my personal friends. They are still young enough to think that most other parents get up and run in the dark.
So they really didn’t bat an eye as I’ve been enthusiastically talking about my “friend” Eluid Kipchoge after he destroyed the marathon world record two weeks ago. I was reminded in this article just why he remains a good role model for the girls and how many running lessons translate to good parenting lessons, too:
Overcome challenges – do not let that tricky math problem get the best of you
Keep calm and carry on – no one plays a new piano song right the first time, frustration isn’t going to help anyone
Planning is key – flash cards, piano, reading: a well-documented routine keeps everyone (i.e., Dad) happy
Be humble – even if you do get on the podium, Dad is still making dinner and walking the dog
Maybe one day the girls will grow up to write a musical about runners!
We start Saturday where we always start…..
Sometimes you see yourself in your kids in the oddest ways. September brings school, soccer, hurricane season and, of course, the first school-borne viruses and colds. We woke up (early) Thursday morning to that dreaded barking seal cough echoing down the hallway. Even with the immunity armor of five years of day care, Ally still picked up a bug in her first few weeks of kindergarten. I suppose I should be relived it wasn’t measles or scarlet fever.
There’s a clear dichotomy in our family in how we respond to illnesses. Michelle flat out refuses to acknowledge she is sick. She has to collapse at 2 a.m. in the bathroom or be admitted to the ER before she might consider taking an aspirin. Being sick just doesn’t fit into her plans. Cecilia is much the same. Even if you witness her sneezing, she will adamantly refuse to admit she actually did. She’s only missed 3 days of school total so far.
I, on the other hand, treat any sniffle or throat tickle like a pending doomsday scenario. I start guzzling herbal tea and green smoothies by the quart as if I can drown the germs in hippie goodness and save myself. I’ll wrap myself in warm baths and comfy sweatpants. I’ll seriously consider going to bed by 4:30 if it will help me get better faster.
Allison takes after her Dad. She believes any dose of medicine is all the passkey to endless hours on the couch binging on Netflix, Saltines and popsicles. Who am I to disagree?
I just finished my first season as a pee-wee soccer coach. This was my second stint as a coach. I also coached Cecilia’s basketball team last winter and I learned some similar lessons about both myself and the kids.
I think I’m going to really enjoy coaching, but my personality is probably better suited to older kids. At this younger age or with kids just starting an activity, having fun and enjoying the physical exercise is way more important than any strategy or technique.
This Saturday we were going over to a friends’ house for dinner and we were bringing dessert. With a frightfully light agenda (nothing after morning soccer and art), I thought baking some cookies would be a good (time consuming) activity for the girls.
It’s not hard to spot the personality differences between Michelle and I, but if you need a telling example watch us in the kitchen with the kids. Michelle is the more intuitive cook. She gets the general shape of the recipe and then goes about making it in her way. I have more the baker mindset. I like precision, measuring and following directions.
The end result is usually very tasty no matter who is at the controls, but the process and the state of the kitchen before, during and after are a different story. Throw some child-sized helpers into the mix and it’s a multiplier effect. I need to physically leave the room when the all the girls are in the kitchen. For her part, Michelle can’t understand why it takes me so long to bake a dozen cookies.
We spent the last 10 days bouncing between and exploring New York, Chicago and Boston and our biggest takeaway was a new respect and obsession with Detroit. Detroit pizza. We tried to go into Chicago with an open mind, but none of us were big fans of the deep dish. The Detroit slices we found at a food hall, those crispy, cheesy, close cousins to our beloved Sicilian? Those were amazing.
As a pizza nerd, I was in heaven. As an Amazon prime customer, I had a pan waiting when we returned from the airport. And Saturday night I had people over to test the new recipe.
But before the pizza, we had to survive soccer….