Category Archives: Bean

Rebel Girls

Standard

The interesting part, at least for me, in raising both a boy and a girl is ensuring both my children understand their importance. I want to fully elevate my daughter- I want her to know down to her marrow that she is worthy, intelligent and as capable as any man out there. Period. But, I don’t want to do this at the expense of my son because he is just as worthy, intelligent and capable as any person out there. I struggle with the stereotypes of men as bumbling idiots or hostile assholes only out for one thing just as much as I struggle with any stereotypes of women. They aren’t true and falling back on them is harmful to everyone. I will always support female empowerment, but I firmly believe that empowering women doesn’t mean dragging men down (see the infuriating trend in young girls clothing to promote girls while dragging down boys).

My job, as a parent, is to raise my kids to be empathetic, kind, caring individuals who kick ass and take names at whatever they set out to do.

And yet, girls don’t always feel that way. Did you know that by age 6, most girls feel less smart than boys? At 5, when boys and girls are told a story about a super smart, high achieving person and then asked to share if they think the main character is a boy or a girl, boys picked boy and girls picked girl. At 6, girls thought the main character was a boy because only boys could do those super smart things.

~*~*~

My kids read in fits and starts, each preferring different genres. But one series they have both have consistently loved over the years is the Who Was? series– biographies on everyone from George Washington to Walt Disney and Harriet Tubman to Sally Ride. Scorch owns a few of these and even now, when he’s between the latest James Patterson book for tweens, he’ll pick one up.

When I first learned about the book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls from a blog I frequent, I was intrigued. A book filled with 100 stories about women in all walks of life—inventors, doctors, dancers, pilots, protestors, abolitionists, writers, artists—complete with illustrations, sounded perfect for my kids. So I ordered them a copy and the book arrived this week.

You guys, I went from intrigued to in love. First, this book is gorgeous. From cover to cover, it’s visually lovely, with a butter soft cover. The stories are short—only a page long per person. I have read some complaints about that, but for me and the kids, it’s the perfect glimpse into each woman’s life, allowing us the freedom to do more research as we see fit. For example, after reading the article on Amelia Earhart we looked up more about her—how she got into flying, what she ate on her flights, how she disappeared and on and on.

rebelgirl

Every night before bed, the Bean reads about 3 or 4 women to Scorch and me. I truly, truly cannot recommend this book enough. It sits in the living room now and I find each kid thumbing through it at least once a day, stopping to read a story when a name or an illustration catches their eye.  I love that the kids are getting exposed to women who have changed the world in such a captivating way—proving in a subtle way that girls are just as smart and capable of just as much.

If you have  grade school aged child in your life- boy or girl- this book is a must.

 

Life According to Bean

Standard

A few weeks back, the Bean and I dropped Scorch off at his basketball practice then had an hour to kill before we had to go to our PTA meeting. My girl is hot chocolate obsessed, so we went to a local coffee shop to pass the time. We got our drinks and sat in the chairs outside the shop, inside the mall, to chat and enjoy our goodies.

During the 45 minutes we sat there, 5 people we knew came in and out, so we got to catch up with quite a few friends. To me, this is one of the greatest joys of small town living- you literally can’t go anywhere without knowing someone. While I wouldn’t consider myself a full-blown extrovert, when I’m out and about there is nothing I enjoy more than random meetings and quick chitchat. By the time we left, I was tickled at the chat the Bean and I had and all the friends we saw.

“When you get older, I hope you live in a place surrounded by friends and people you love. We are so lucky to know so many great people!”

“Mom, can I tell you something?” she asked. “I really don’t like people. I just want my good friends and family around me and that’s all- all that talking is exhausting.”

introvert

~*~*~*~

Puberty is a big topic around my house. With a 10 year old boy and an 8 year old girl, both of which have friends in various stages of development, it’s hard to avoid. Scorch knows more than the Bean as he’s older, but she knows that she will one day get her period. What she didn’t know is why.

The kids didn’t have school on Monday, so they pulled out the Care and Keeping of You books I have (girls book / boys book). The Bean flipped to a page in the girls book that had a diagram of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. So I explained what she was seeing – how once a girl hits puberty, once a month her ovaries will release an egg that will travel down one of her tubes and, if she isn’t going to have a baby, come out when her body menstruates.

Shortly there after, the Hubs came home. Without even saying hello, she runs to the top of the stairs and yells down to him: “Once a month, I’m going to lay an egg. Just call me a chicken!

Clearly, I’m killing it at this parenting game!

 

 

 

Thankfulness: The Green Genie & Butt-hole

Standard

We had the kid’s parent-teacher conferences today. I admit that I geek out over these. We’re super lucky that my kid’s teachers are always accessible but I love having a set time twice a year to sit down and talk about how my child is doing. I talk to the kids at length ahead of time to see if they have any thoughts or worries that I should discuss, we review their report cards, talk about what they like and don’t like about class so I go in prepared.

Scorch is one of the lucky ones- school, both academically and socially, comes easy for him. He pulls in stellar grades, gets along with everyone and is generally a delight (his teacher’s words, not mine- although I agree).  His conferences tend to be quick and easy.

It’s not secret here that the Bean tends to be the more spirited of my kids, so you never quite know what you’re walking into. Her report card was amazing and she’s loving 3rd grade, so I wasn’t expecting anything of note. The only question mark on her report card was her writing- her grades weren’t as high as I would have thought they would be. I mean- girlfriend can write.  For example, here’s a gem from a few week back:

thelostgirl

You have to hear her read it to get the full experience- but this makes me laugh each and every time I read it. She wrote Part 2 and it’s even more disturbing/funny/demented.

So, her writing grade didn’t make much sense to me until her teacher pulled out a recent in-class assignment. The class was asked to write about finding a genie in a bottle- what would the genie look like? What wishes would he grant? Would he be successful? Her story- word for word:

“I found a genie in a bottle. He was green. He let me wish to be rich. It worked.”

*snort*

Ah, the joys of raising/teaching a child who, when she’s game, is 100% committed, but when she’s not? Well, you get a green genie who makes you rich.

The Pen is Mightier

Standard

16 years ago, the Hubs (then the Boyfriend) and I were on vacation with my extended family at one of my favorite places on earth. He and I had been living together for 8 months and even though we were young (I had just turned 22), we knew we were going to get married. We had looked at rings a month or so before because he didn’t want to pick one out that I hated. We narrowed it down to 3 choices and I told him that was all I wanted to know- I didn’t want to know which one he picked, I didn’t want to know when he was going to propose -the rest should be a surprise.

And even thought I said that- and I meant it – I was really, really hoping he would propose on this vacation. We lived in DC at the time, but we were on vacation with my family and were going to see his family on our way back home, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The Hubs knew this, so the very first day of vacation he pulled me aside and told me that it wasn’t happening. He couldn’t secure financing or a loan (remember, we were babies fresh out of college) and he wanted to let me know that upfront so I didn’t spend all vacation waiting for him to get down on bent knee.

So we went on to have a great vacation and I didn’t give it any thought. On our very last night, the whole extended gang of us on vacation went out to dinner. While there, unbeknownst to me, the Hubs asked for my Father’s permission while grabbing a drink at the bar and then asked me to go out on the docks to watch the sunset. While out there, he did get down on one knee and he asked me to marry him with the most perfect ring.

EngagementDock

Where we got engaged, 16 years later.

~*~*~*~

That night, after we celebrated by passing a single bottle of champagne around the campfire for 15+ people to share, we talked about the life we were going to build. That life included our own home (check), kids (check), animals (check) and jobs we love (check 85% of the time).

What it did not include was the nitty gritty details. Like what happens when your kids find both the boy and girl version of “The Care and Keeping of You” books on puberty and then proceed to swap books and read them out loud to each other while crying with laughter. When the poor Bean read “penis” as “pen is”* I truly thought Scorch was going to hurt himself he was laughing so hard. And when we got to erections and periods? Forget it. Game over.

The crazy thing is the exactly the life we pictured and I’m so damn happy to be living it.

*I looked EVERYWHERE for the SNL “The Pen is Mightier” Jeopardy skit with Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery and I could not find it. Let me know if you do!

 

Eight.

Standard

Dear Bean-

You turned 8. Your brother turned 10 in May and you turned 8 and my head is whirling from all that. But I’m really not that sad because 8 is actually one of my favorite ages. I love just about everything about 8 and I’m so excited to go through this age with you. But first, 7.

Bean_Oct2008.jpg

7 was SUCH a great year for you. You blossomed at school this year. First grade was rough, but second grade?? You simply shined. Probably more than you should have given the amount of times we heard you were a bit too chatty in class, but I’d so much rather that Bean show up in school every day than the nervous, shy, anxious child we saw in first grade. While confidence at home has never been your problem, we all loved seeing you let that same confidence shine through at school and socially.  And this summer? Forget it- you’re killing it. You’ve gone to two camps already this summer without Scorch- something that would have been unheard of last year.

You, my funny girl, are 85% delight, 15% she-devil and 100% perfect. You can be sweet, loving, funny and a cuddle bug when you want to (which, thankfully is most of the time). You are the perfect mother’s helper and it’s a blast watching little kids flock to you. You adore playing school and your trusty white board is your all time favorite toy/tool/companion. Shopping for gifts for you is crazy hard simply because you want so little. You’re into experiences and going places and really don’t care much for things. You believe in quality over quantity when it comes to your friends and definitely inherited your father’s introverted side. Our house is one of your favorite places on earth- preferable with the cat on your lap and Netflix blazing.

Bean_Aug2013

You have always known what you want, when you want it and have the biggest sense of self of anyone I know. While you’re definitely more courageous and brave this year, you simply won’t be pushed past your limits- big or small. Out of all your personality traits, this is the one I hope you fiercely hold on to. It’s maddening (MADDENING) to fight with you 10 minutes before we have to go to Church when you want to wear your leopard leggings with a tye-dye t-shirt but child, this ability to know what you want and have a single-mindedness about it will allow you to move mountains as you get older.

Here are my birthday wishes for you:
1) I wish you self-confidence. I hope as you continue to grow, you see how amazing you are and hold on to that feeling no matter what is raging on around you.
2) I wish you the joy of good friends. You are surrounded by some of the kindest, sweetest kids. I know that “girl drama” is supposed to come in to play soon- but resist it. Be a friend to those that deserve it, be kind to all- but don’t get sucked into drama and fights. You and your friends are better than that.
3) I wish you continued love of learning. Keep rocking that white board. Keep teaching your baby dolls what you learned at school. (But please Lord- read a whole chapter book. Your jumping from book to book is making me crazy.)
4) I wish you a sense of discovery. You haven’t found anything you’re really passionate about and that’s fine- you’re only 8 for goodness sake. But keep trying things. Sports, clubs, instruments- I don’t care what it is, but expand your horizons.
5) I wish the knowledge that you’re loved. Hormones are going to start sooner or later, which means things may go a little haywire with your emotions. Know that we will always be your safe place to land.
6) I wish you courage. Baby girl, this world is a nutty place and you’ll hear about a lot of bad things as you get older. Have the courage to know that the good way outweighs the bad. Have the courage to speak up when you see something you don’t like. Have the courage to be true to yourself.

Beanie_Hair

My fierce, funny, feisty, perfect child- I wish you nothing by good things during this year. And when bad things do happen- because they will- we’ll be here to get through it together.

All my love,
Mom

Making Room

Standard

And just like that, it’s over…Christmas 2015, you were perfect. This year I was on my game- I shopped early with intention and it paid off. The kids were happy, the Hubs was happy and I was happy. We got to spend 4 days straight with family and friends – holding babies, eating so much good food and catching up.

Christmas2015

And now we have a week off at home and that’s just like a little slice of heaven. If, in heaven, you had to clean every room in your house every day to make room for all the new stuff you intentionally bought. This was the living room the day after Christmas:

Christmas2015 Aftermath

It basically makes me want to cry. Living in a smaller home has some great advantages, but finding room for stuff is not one of them. So Monday we completely tore Scorch’s room apart- two garbage bags later, there is now room for all his baseball cards. Because baseball cards and books made up a good 75% of that boy’s Christmas haul.

As for the Bean? Her room is up next. I may need some liquor before I tackle that one. Anyone remember a few years ago when we found a can of purple frosting her in room 4 months after it was used for her birthday cake? Mind you, it’s only been 4 months since we last hauled out her room but the possibilities are just endless when I think about what we could find in there. Say a pray we all come out alive.

Hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday!

 

 

 

Nailed It!

Standard

Scorch has nails like a pregnant woman- they grow long very quickly.  Which means I cut them often (side note: at what age do kids start to cut their own nails?).  While I was cutting them, Scorch was joking that he wanted to keep all the clippings and save them so he could pass them along to his son.

I told him that if he saved all his clipping I could promise him that he would never, ever get married and sire that son.

He thought about that for a minute and then yelled for the Bean. “If you weren’t related to me and we were dating and you found out that I had all my nail clippings from the time I was 9, would you immediately dump me?”

She paused for a second and shot back, “Nope, I’d find you interesting as long as you don’t mind that I kept all the hair that fell out of my head since I was 7.”

You guys, if my kids end up as childless unmarried hoarders, we’ll be able to trace it back to this conversation.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game…

Standard

Spring is fast becoming one of my favorite times of the year. Scorch’s obsession with America’s Past Time means I’ve become a baseball mom and the Hubs, a baseball dad. We didn’t mean for this to happen, we didn’t want it to happen- we wanted to be lacrosse parents. But Scorch, bless him, had other ideas and the Bean followed right along. Our weeks for the past two months have consisted of games, practices, creating line ups and hours spent throwing against the throw back. We all sport t-shirt tans and the smell of baseballs and cleats fill my car. Our lives are now lived at the fields – it’s our home away from home and the center of our social lives.

Bean is playing in the Rookie league with 5-8 year olds. She is still pitched to by coaches and kids get an undetermined amount of balls tossed to them before they strike out. She’s one of two girls on her team and she makes my heart hitch every time I see her in the catcher’s equipment with her ponytail hanging out the back of her hat. Her cleats are a hot pink blur when she runs around the bases, looking proud enough to burst when she finally gets a hit.

Scorch is playing in the next league up and the game has gone from something cute the kids to to something serious the kids love. Everyone plays and everyone is nurtured, but kids aren’t playing in the dirt anymore or picking flowers in the outfield. Scorch wants to be a pitcher or a catcher or a first baseman and I hold my breath during the big moments because all of a sudden wins and losses are something the kids care out. He wears neon green cleats and he sets them just so as he stretches his body as far as it will go trying to make the out at 1st. You’d think his team just won the World Series anytime something big happens because these kids are so exuberant and happy to be playing.

We work on sportsmanship and try to ensure our kids are as good winners as they are losers. It’s a delight and a blessing when you see your kids mimicking the good behavior you’ve tried so hard to teach them- when they cheer on their teammates, congratulate the other team for a good play and make sure the kid who got beaned with the ball is OK.

I’m so proud of my boy for playing after the heartache of last season and I’m so proud of my girl for playing with the boys. As crazy as our schedule is, I’m going to miss this season when it’s over.

Oh- wait. It’s never over thanks to summer league and then Fall ball. Never mind…

Baseball

You’re The Worst

Standard

The other day, I shared a link on Facebook to an article called “The Curse of the Second-Born Child.” It uses a heck of lot more curse words than I would have, but it essentially says that your second-born child is an absolutely amazing, crazily loved asshole sent to earth to break you.

Truth.

The love I have for the Bean is boundless. This child is a bright spot in my life- she’s funny and smart and clever and quick and gorgeous. She’s also been working my very last nerve for a good month now. If something can be a battle, it is. I realize I have a hand in all this too and that I need to disengage but man, it’s so easy to get sucked into to battle of wills with her.

Monday the Bean’s homework was to write out the contractions for “it is,” “you are,” “I am,” we are” and “he will” and use them in a sentence. Her schools gives out homework passes for various reasons and she has a bunch she can use so she chose to use hers on this particular assignment so she could play all evening instead. That was fine until she came home yesterday with classroom work involving contractions that she bombed. She didn’t have any homework last night, so I told her that we were going to do Monday’s homework as review to make sure she understood the concept.

She was furious at me for this injustice. There was wailing, gnashing of teeth, yelling and tears. There were dropped pencils that she “couldn’t” find and pencil tips that were broken on “accident.” In total she probably spent under 5 minutes writing the sentences and 40 minutes fighting with me about having to do this. Any time I tried to help Beaner, I was snapped at but any time she asked for help and I didn’t jump immediately she reigned hell fire down.

Fun times, man.

I kept my cool. I didn’t engage, didn’t yell and told her firmly what behavior was and wasn’t acceptable until the 5 freaking sentences were written. Beaner would let me see what she was writing, but I knew it was going to be good and she did not disappoint:

IMG_20150512_205309

I’m thinking that my mom is mean. It’s so mean that she making me do amaroke (I assume that’s “homework” and she was just too full of righteous fury to sound it out). We’re not going to the playground. He’ll got to the store. You’re the worst.

You guys, I may frame that sucker.

Really, Mom? Can You Not?

Standard

It may come a surprise to no one, but I like myself. I’m comfortable in my own skin 95% of the time and don’t really care a lot about what people think. Scratch that. I do care- but sometimes I get so lost inside my own head or in the moment that I forget to care. That results in me dancing on the sidewalk as I’m walking the kids into school. Or singing under my breath to the songs in the grocery store (not loudly, not obnoxiously- you’d have been right next to me to even notice). Or holding impromptu dance parties in the car or the kitchen. I’m both a horrible dancer and singer, but sometimes the feeling over takes me and my feet are moving. I also like to greet everyone I know with a smile and a hello, using their name which is awesome 99% of the time unless I call someone by the wrong name. Which I’ve done. Multiple times.

Scorch is my son through and through. He doesn’t care and will more often than not join me dancing and talking to random people everywhere we go.

The Bean, however, is her father’s child. More private, more subdued and more prone to being completely embarrassed by me (or the Hubs or Scorch- we’ve all sinned against her). The Hubs and I are lucky enough to take both kids to school together most mornings. The kids start their day in an L-shaped hallway, with the door to their morning assembly being off the longer part of the “L”.  Guess where she makes us say goodbye to her now? Yup- the short part of the “L”. Kisses must be short and quick and no long hugs are allowed because someone may see us. That stings more then I thought it would.

You guys, do you know how hard it is for me not to walk down the halls of Bean’s school singing and dancing to “Shake It Off?” now? So. Hard. If it was me and Scorch, I would and we’d both laugh until our sides hurt and go on with our day. But not the Bean, she’d want to melt into a puddle and be so mad at me so I resist the urge to boogie.

I try to be respectful and kind and considerate. I’m trying to find that middle road where I can still be me while still taking the Bean’s feelings into consideration. There will be times I will unintentionally embarrass my kids and there will be times I very much intentionally embarrass them. Right now I’ll save my dances for the car or our house and mind my manners in public in the hopes my daughter still lets me hold her hand and hug her when I want to.