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April 2014

This is the lady that wrote "I am ninety-six and a half!" on our Christmas card

I am collapsed on my couch, still wearing my cheap black funeral dress, only it's spattered with powdered sugar and smeared with pastry cream. I am BEAT. I funeraled all morning and bakeried all afternoon. It was actually a pretty great day, considering, but spend your morning in heels wrangling a two-year-old at a funeral and your afternoon carefully packing ten dozen cookies for shipment and here you are collapsed on your couch, wishing for one of those Chinese foot rub places to come to YOU. 

I know I told Twitter, but I probably didn't tell you - my old neighbor passed away last week. She's the 90-something lady who lived across the street from our townhouse and when we met her and found out she'd been going to our church for the last gazillion years, we started driving her. (Would you want your 90-something grandma taking two buses to church every Sunday?) She was what some people call a Tough Old Bird and I always felt like she took a long time to warm up to us, but today I'm remembering that seeing our babies in their car seats on Sunday morning seemed to be a highlight of her week. We never did as much as we should have - I always meant to take her grocery shopping or visit more than once in a blue moon. She never seemed all that interested in us, nothing more than The Nice Young Couple Across The Street With Those Cute Babies. And when I did visit she talked of nothing but her brilliant granddaughters - that's actually who they've been in my mind the last seven years: the Effing Brilliant Granddaughters. All three are PhDs on intense topics who've lived all over the world and I honestly sort of despised them in my mind. OH YEAH I'd think while my neighbor was bragging about the one at Harvard WELL I SWEPT THE KITCHEN TODAY *AND* CLEANED A TOILET. 

Then today each of those brilliant granddaughters fell all over themselves to thank me for taking care of their beloved grandma, how that grandma apparently talked about US all the time, how they felt we were practically part of their family. Seriously. I had absolutely no intention of going to the reception and NO INTENTION AT ALL of going to cemetery for the burial, but, ah, I did both. I felt so welcomed, you see, and honored and actually like part of their family. So I went to the burial, which was beautiful actually, and I went to the reception, where I got to see a gorgeous wedding portrait and Emma ate cake and the brilliant granddaughters told me funny stories. 

EJ got a crappy nap and I didn't get to exercise, but it was worth it. I think my favorite part was the drive to the cemetery. My old lady got a POLICE ESCORT through the local streets of North Seattle and it was gloriously sunny and I had the Christian radio station on so my ears were full of "he has conquered death" and OH. It was really wonderful. I think she would have QUITE enjoyed knowing she got a police escort. 

Phillip just left to hang out with an old grad school friend. The kids are in bed and I have to sort through all the bakery pictures we took this afternoon and update our BUSINESS WEBSITE for mother's day. I possibly have a long night ahead of me. Especially if last night is anything to go by - Molly, at 4:30am: "I have a hair in my throat and it hurts." You THINK you're going to sleep again when they aren't babies anymore BUT THAT'S A LIE.


Were you missing your daily dose of drivel?

That was maybe the longest break I've taken from blogging... EVER. But half of it wasn't my fault. Typepad being down and all that. And even then, what ticked me off about THAT is that my BUSINESS WEBSITE was down! That was horrible. That and the hourly phone calls from my mother wondering when I was going to fix it. 

You may have noticed there that I linked my BUSINESS WEBSITE - that's because I've received considerable feedback re: how come my BUSINESS WEBSITE is not linked anywhere on my BLOG? And by "considerable" I mean not so much quanity, but quality. The people annoyed about this are vocal indeed. And why HAVEN'T I linked my BUSINESS WEBSITE anywhere nearby?! I think maybe it's because this place is not so first and foremost in my mind anymore AND I am always surprised when people read it! I have spent a lot of time focusing on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and it never really occurred to me that I should link my BUSINESS WEBSITE here. 

Easter was nice! I'll have to get some pictures up eventually, if only to appease Lindsay. And my mother. She's making quite the appearance here this evening, isn't she. We went to church (where my children were absolute perfect angels in a packed and overlong service, WHAT GOOD KIDS) and then headed to my folks' house where we feasted on one hundred different kinds of sugar as Jesus intended. The weather was beautiful, everything was really nice. 

Kind of a bright spot in a couple of unpleasant weeks for me. Be relieved my blog was down during the worst of it - who knows what I might have written here! Spring Break combined with SSRI withdrawal combined with bakery stress combined with GOD MY HOUSE IS A STY stress... I somehow managed to sort that all out without blogging. Can you believe it? I KNOW. I did have to write things out - in purple Sharpie on recycled computer paper - and I did have to neatly arrange those papers in an orderly way - via masking tape on the living room wall - but the end result of that is that I have a housecleaner coming tomorrow morning. I would be quivering from excitement if I weren't anxious about all the stuff I have to get ready to be house of my house for two hours tomorrow morning. 

I have to go grocery shopping and I have to go to my sister's apartment so we can discuss bakery business. There's a lot of bakery business. Which is funny, because we have hardly any orders right now, but there is ALWAYS something to talk about. We got one big thing crossed off the list, though: our application for a food processing permit was mailed Saturday morning. GOLD STARS FOR US. It will supposedly take 4-6 weeks to hear back and then you know what's funny? The permitting process starts all over again June 30. So say by some miracle we are approved before June 30. We will have to do it all over again for the following year's permit! So I'm actually sort of hoping they draw it out just long enough to skip having to renew a week later. And in the meantime we are going to start renting the real kitchen. Tomorrow morning I will call an insurance agent, on the PHONE, and buy $500 worth of liability insurance because apparently those giant mixers are huge PITAs. 

Half of me is all THIS IS TAKING FOREVER I'M TIRED I DON'T WANT TO PLAY ANYMORE. And the other half of me is absolutely floored that we've come THIS far. (And there's another half that is completely totally freaked out by getting into the wholesaling gig, which is the next step, BUT LET'S SAVE THAT FOR ANOTHER POST.)

I should go get on my treadmill. I haven't yet today - church, Phillip went out to run errands, and then I took Molly to a birthday party. A FROZEN birthday party. Those were some serious princesses. I have no problem with princesses, actually, and the girls were pretty cute in their dresses and quoting lines from the movie and all that. But I picked up a VIBE. It's a vibe I haven't noticed with Molly, and not just because she's my kid. Just the way some of those girls talked... not inappropriately, not obnoxiously, not anything BAD. Just sort of... grown up, I guess. Where Molly hasn't said one word about cliquey girls or best friends, I had this feeling that THESE girls knew all about it. They weren't the mean girls, but they knew what was what. The way they interacted with each other, the way they opened presents, the way they rushed off to the birthday girl's bedroom to play when it was all over. Molly didn't know any of them well, but even around the kids she knows well she still seems small and obliviously cheery. I can't really describe it. They were every one of them sweet and adorable and SMALL, but Molly seemed so... young? next to some of them? Young is probably not the right word. I don't know. And I was only there for an hour. And I am an accomplished social scientist with a large and diverse sample size, so just believe everything I say. 

Okay I'm getting on that stupid treadmill now. 


Spring Break meanderingness

Friday night we started driving to Montana to visit friends for a short Spring Break trip. We got there Saturday afternoon, spent a glorious two-and-a-half days never seeing our children because they were always exploring outside, and drove all the way home on Tuesday. We knew we'd have a good time, but we had SUCH a good time. I can be a huge downer about going places other than bright shiny cities (or beaches, obvs) and the drive through Eastern Washington gives me the shakes. Also, our friends live on 40 acres of empty fields (in a spectacular designed-by-them house, BUT STILL) and middle of nowhereish places are not my favorite. That said, when your children are out of your hair and having a blast AND you yourself are enjoying excellent company, a middle of nowhereish location is fantastic. There were hours and hours of Drinking Wine While Having Deep Meaningful Conversations, which is pretty much my favorite thing to do. My kids ran through alfalfa fields, burned sticks in the forest, petted dogs and horses, drove go carts, climbed trees, rode bikes a million times farther than they get to ride them at home. I'm still positive I couldn't live there, but I honestly do have an entirely new and delightful outlook on living in the middle of nowhere. Ish. 

I've been getting pretty lightheaded in the afternoons for about two weeks. Today I finally googled "lightheaded" and "Pr0zac withdrawal", as it's the only reason I can think of. It appears to be a definite possibility, but honestly, ANYTHING related to SSRIs look to be definite possibilities when you ask Dr. Google. The one recommendation I found that seemed reasonable is to start taking fish oil supplements (Omega 3). I can try that. 

I also googled "weight gain" and "Pr0zac"... because. I want to say that I'm still struggling with this, but I also struggle with whether I should write about it. Part of it is a legitimate thing I need to do and work on and figure out and come to terms with. Part of it is me looking at pictures of the summer I turned 30 and hating myself because I don't look like those pictures anymore - even though I have one more child, a wildly different schedule, way less time for myself, and a new business. (A BAKING BUSINESS.) While I suspect the meds have made it near-impossible for me to LOSE weight (I'm not sure if they made me gain) and I do think it's important that I find a way to shed some weight in the near future, I also need to find a way to let go of that almost-30 body. Most of all I need to reframe the narrative in my head that tells me I failed and disappointed myself and others. 

I rearranged my living room. It's kind of wild how something like rearranging one's living room can make the entire world brighter and happier. I am typing this from my "office" - a tiny console table I stole from the entry way and placed in the corner of the living room, on which I placed my laptop, a lamp, and my box of bakery files. I crammed the printer into the bookshelf next to me. It's not comfortable, but it's cute, and it will work until we kick EJ out of her room and create The Prettiest Office In The Universe [Even Though I'll Have To Share It With A Boy].

The bakery is going well! Sort of! We are almost finished with our new application, which is fantastic, and let's not think about the "4 to 6 weeks" it will take to even get looked at. Deep breath. I have also received heaps of marketing advice from Twitter, most notably Ginger from Ramble Ramble and ONCE AGAIN I am in awe of Thumbprints' supporters online. I am still completely freaked out that no one is ever going to order anything from us, but now I have things to DO while no one is ordering from us. Things to TRY! It appears I'm going to have to be way more present on Facebook than I am currently (boo), but on behalf of the bakery (yay). I apologize in advance to any locals who are innundated with FB posts from Thumbprints. And the rest of you - hardly any of you have tried our treats, maybe you think we're overpriced and our website sux and we're doing everything wrong, but even YOU, I thank you for keeping that to yourselves. Everyone has been SO GREAT. I LOVE YOU.

OH! I wanted to tell you that our Montana friends have a DOG. Okay, they actually have way more dogs than one family should own, but their INSIDE dog is a Maltese/Yorkie mix and I love her. And she's a needy, anxious, just-got-her-hair-cut-so-she's-not-even-that-cute dog. But I LOVED having this little warm body next to me on the couch or in my lap. I don't like cats. I have a thing about cat claws and I get super nervous and tense when a cat climbs into my lap wondering when it's going to dig in. It's terrible, because Phillip only likes cats and I only like dogs and no one would help me take care of a dog and what would we do when we go somewhere etc. etc., but MAN I really want a little doggie. At the very least I will demand my own little doggie when EJ goes off to college. Will Phillip deny his sobbing baby-less wife THEN? I THINK NOT.

 

 

 


Grouchity McGroucherface

I do not know what is up with me today. I started my day by thinking about how even "good" politicians had to lie and cheat and cooperate with madmen to do good in the world and it just got worse from there. I don't know what's wrong with me, either. Who does that?! I am morose and gloomy and BLAH today. In an attempt to snap out of it I bought six giant glass apothecary jars from Marshall's this morning. And some dishes. Because.

Jars

I don't care that it's sideways. IT'S THAT KIND OF DAY.

(Buying useless glass items did not help, by the way.)

Why did I buy six giant apothecary jars? Oh because Katie and I have this silly idea that we might get hired to do dessert tables maybe and Pinterest is sort of into apothecary jars and how cute would they be filled with pink macarons? Except no one is going to order anything from us and everything is terrible. 

I honestly don't know what's wrong with me. I should be dancing like a fool after finding out yesterday that I'd gone about the permit process all wrong and the permit I ACTUALLY need is $55 instead of $603. Shouldn't I be elated? Except I mostly feel foolish and stupid and exhausted. I spent a lot of energy going down that road and OOPS, SORRY, I now need to swivel my brain towards THIS road instead. I am just tired. It is an incredibly dumb idea to start a food business, folks. Truly. I don't advise it. 

If I had more energy I would insert here a giant defense of myself and why I expected to pay $603 and how I didn't just pull it out of thin air I actually DID do some research into my next steps but GOD. No one wants to read that and it's not like making giant excuses for yourself really excuses the Dumb. 

Holly wrote a post about how she is trying to be okay with not being Proficient at everything. I am the same way. Does it make sense? No! I know it doesn't make sense. BUT IT IS HOW I WORK ANYWAY SO THERE. 

I am also feeling super fat and jowly and large-nosed and old and lumpy dismally unattractive and no amount of makeup can fix THAT. 

We are driving to Montana this weekend. Spring break is next week and I got the great idea to drive to Kalispell to visit friends. HA HA HA. I totally want to see them and I don't think I'm even minding the drive (which I usually hate because UGH EASTERN WASHINGTON). But all the packing? And getting ready? That's MY job and only my job and I need an assistant who will do all of it for me. 

Actually, my parents were here most of the day yesterday and my mother did all of my laundry and swept my deck and cleaned up the dishes and hey, I could get used to that. 

ANYWAY. I think I have grouched enough here. See you later.


The MTHFR Mutation and Me

I've been doing nothing but working on the Thumbprints website today and my eyes are starting to cross, so I'm going to take a break. (And do more typing on the laptop!) Besides, my hippie doctor just called to give me the results on my blood test last week and I have Things I Want To Share. 

Here is a very very tiny very brief history of how I've dealt with anxiety in my life (okay, maybe not that brief):

  • Fall 2001: Experience anxiety for the first time. Freak the you know what out. Wonder whether I should choose institutionalization, substance absuse, or exorcism. (All three of these were Actual Real Things I Considered, I Shit You Not.)
  • Spring 2002: Finally, on the advice of many many friends, haul myself to therapy. Therapist uses the word "anxiety". Is the very first time I've heard of it. OHHHHH. 
  • Summer 2002: All better!
  • Winter 2003: Nope! 
  • Winter 2004: Still nope!
  • 2005-2010: Therapy, books, deep breaths, prayer, exercise, more books, an almost unbearbly close examination of character flaws, near complete revamping of how I talk to myself in my head
  • Fall 2010: Things get bad. I finally ask a doctor for anti-depressants, because after the total insanity that was pregnant-with-Molly-me I promised Phillip that I would never put us through that again. 
  • 2010-2011: DRUGS ARE AMAZING! WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?!
  • Fall 2011: Take myself off drugs because 1) I'm nursing Emma and 2) I think I'm invincible
  • Spring 2012: Put myself back on drugs because 1) nursing Emma was a HUGE FAIL and 2) I am not invincible
  • Summer 2012: Summer 2013: WHY ISN'T THIS WORKING? 
  • Summer 2013: I tell all medical professionals everywhere to screw themselves, because I am pleasant and not at all overdramatic, and go see a naturopath. She is lovely. She puts me on a diet of supplements and acupuncture. My verdict is: silly, but at least more pleasant than what I was doing before.
  • Fall 2013: My naturopath says, "So! There's some newer research about the MTHFR mutation and depression and anxiety! I think you should get tested!" I test positive. She puts me on a new diet of giant methylfolate supplements and iron pills. Tells me to come back in January. 
  • April 2014: I finally go back. I feel... great. 

I stopped taking my lowish Pr0zac dose about three-ish weeks ago. I planned to taper, but I was too lazy to call for new prescription and I couldn't halve the capsules AND I happen to be very good friends with a pharmacist who told me Pr0zac has such a long half life it practically self-tapers. (And so far so good. No horror stories, please.) 

I want to address the fact that I was still on my anti-depressant while trying to deal with the MTHFR thing - maybe THAT'S why I've been feeling great. Except I don't think so, because I never felt 100% on the Pr0zac and I would often have "episodes" here and there, and getting more frequent. When my doctor put me on the methylfolate I was keeping a journal to track my anxious times and how they correlated with life events and hormones and other stuff I never remember. But I think the last time I wrote in that journal was early January. I feel much better than I did last fall, and I started to feel better in the WINTER (while I was starting a BUSINESS). It's not like I'm only starting to feel better now, when the days are longer and the sun is out more often. This has been the case for a while. 

I do feel generally better and I generally feel that it is generally attributable to maybe addressing the MTHFR issue. I've only noticed one concrete change, between last fall and now, but it's a big one: when I DO feel anxious, it doesn't last long. I actually had one day where I went from Fine to WACKED OUT ANXIOUS to Totally Fine in less than 24 hours. That is... well, let's just say that my anxious episode in 2003 lasted well over a year. 

My THEORY, for now, based on my own personal experience and no one else's, is that I happen to be Inclined Towards Anxiety. Biologically, genetically, emotionally, my personality - it is not a huge surprise to me that I am an Anxious Sort. I didn't start taking medicine until I felt I'd exhausted my own capabilities for managing it myself. Do I recommend this for other people? NO. THIS IS STUPID. But I am stubborn and determined and it made sense to me at the time and there WERE benefits. Because I did it that way, I really do feel confident that I did pretty much everything I could possibly do to take care of this - and it didn't work. It HELPED - it helped immensely - but I was still anxious. And that's the place I found myself in last fall, where I needed an extra something and Pr0zac was clearly not it. 

The last part of my theory is that the MTHFR mutation is my missing piece. It's the thing I couldn't control. It's the part I couldn't change or self-talk-out-of or scrub away. The jury is still out - you guys, I am SO not saying that THIS IS THE THING - but it DOES make sense to me. The way I would get anxious out of thin air. For no reason. This could be the reason. 

So there's a couple things I want to say about that. The first is that I haven't done as much reading on MTHFR as I'd like. The most I knew about it was through blog posts on infertility and miscarriage - it's strongly linked to miscarriage. And about the same time I found out I tested positive I was also diving headfirst into starting an online bakery, and that takes up most of my free time these days. I did read a handful of articles and many blog posts written by mothers of struggling children, wondering if an MTHFR mutation had to do with their issues. MTHFR has been linked to everything from miscarriage to autism to pulmonary embolisms to fibromyalgia. I don't know what is a reputable source of information and what isn't. DO NOT USE MY BLOG FOR RESEARCH! I KNOW NOTHING!

The other thing I want to say is: until I went to a naturopath, possible biological reasons for or causes of anxiety were never discussed with me in a medical setting. (Oh wait, that's not true. They all wanted to test my thyroid and my thyroid always tests fine. I will give them the thyroid test.) My general experience with sharing my anxiety struggles with medical professionals was genuine sympathy followed by "well, this drug seems to work well for my other patients". I have now read articles about simple blood tests that could help a doctor decide WHICH SSRI or other anxiety-battling drug to put you on, rather than just going on what worked for the last person. But no one brought up trying to figure that out either. Doctors wanted to give me a prescription and make sure I was "seeing somebody" (you know, for that other stuff, like a therapist), but as far as choosing what to give me, in retrospect it honestly does seem to me that they just plucked one off the shelf. 

But that's what they tell you, anyway. "Oh, they're all a little different, and you just have to experiment and see which ones work for you." And since all those SSRIs say they can take 4-6 weeks (or longer) to show any effect (and who knows how long to taper off) you're just sentenced to a year or more of "experimentation". I no longer want to see a doctor who prescribes brain meds that way. 

Which will be difficult, since I went to see an Actual Brain Doctor and, although I believe he was incredibly well-intentioned and knowledgeable, he was the worst of the bunch. Beyond grilling me on every conceivable symptom (and disagreeing with me about when and how I experience those symptoms), I was not included in my own care. My own "evidence" was the least crucial in the pile of evidence he used to choose my drugs. 

So I am writing this because... well, because I write terribly personal things on my blog that probably embarrass my parents. (SORRY.) And because when I was lost in very dark anxious places, other people writing about their dark anxious places on the internet was often a rope I could grab to swing myself to another place. And also because I am trying something different and I want to say that it's POSSIBLE to try something different and it's POSSIBLE to find a healthcare provider who takes your evidence into account. No, I do not at ALL believe that we should all be taking giant methylfolate horse pills or seeing naturopaths or anything like that. I DO NOT THINK THAT. Pr0zac is a wonderful thing! Psychiatrists do good work! Doctors want to help! This is just a small story of trying something different, someone coming up with an alternate theory, and results that are 'so far so good'. I hope that is positive or helpful for someone. 


Extracurriculars: yes/no?

Molly has ballet on Thursday nights. I've signed both big kids up for swim lessons at the community pool starting in two weeks. We tried out a martial arts lesson last night and now Jack wants to do that too, except I didn't know it's 2 days a week and costs three times as much as the gym membership I looked into today. Because I looked into a gym membership today, did you know that? What am I, crazy? 

I struggle with wanting to kick the kids out of the house as soon as they get home from school and not see their faces again until dinnertime, like the Olden Days people write about, where you didn't manage and schedule and craft and play and blah blah blah. And then wanting to sign them up for absolutely everything, because there are so many NEAT THINGS they can do and why wouldn't I want them to have every opportunity?! Ballet! Piano! Tae kwon do! Swimming! Camps! MUSICAL THEATER!!!

Molly is taking ballet because I happened to find a great dance studio near our house with totally affordable and easy-to-schedule lessons. And because she wanted to. And I thought it would be cute. I signed them up for swim lessons (we started last spring at the Y, but these community pool lessons are SO much cheaper) because that seems like a safety issue. And I don't know how to swim. And I have an enduring fear of water, so much so that I am not really looking forward to an expenses-paid Phillip's-side-of-the-family vacation cruise this summer. And I don't want them to be like me. 

I REALLY want them to take piano (and so does my FIL, sheesh), but I haven't set that up because it's another night, another expense, with the added bonus of having to make them practice. Sometimes I feel like *I* could teach them, but SNORT we all know where that's going. Phillip found a piano lesson iPad app and is kind of sort of teaching the big kids. (I took yeeeeeeeears of piano lessons. Phillip took a few. But he can play better than me AND knows everything about chords and time signatures and keys and WHATEVER, PHILLIP. HOW NICE FOR YOU.)

I would love love love to get them involved in music - piano lessons, choirs, theater stuff with music. I would love for them to play soccer and do gymnastics and have dance recitals. I've been looking at summer camp opportunities through the community center system and yes, we'll do all of those, thank you. Oh, and I would also like to join a gym. 

I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS. I am just now starting to understand the effect starting a small business has had on my free time. Or, I should say, the time that I divide between chores and household shopping and paying bills and driving around and Managing The Household. I was DISAPPOINTED to remember that this week is watching week at ballet which means I can't edit bakery pictures in the waiting room like I'd planned. When am I going to edit those pictures? WHEN AM I GOING TO WORK ON THE BLATHERING WEBSITE?!

(Right now, you are saying. Stop blogging and do it now.) 

So the blog has taken a hit, yes, but I can still do that in a few stolen minutes here and there and it's good for me and helps me figure things out. But I almost never see friends anymore, not during the day. I used to schedule my whole week around playdates and lunches and story times and all that toddler nonsense, but now I take the big kids to school and after that EJ is my Errand Running Companion and/or Dora Watcher While I Do Stuff On My Computer That Isn't Just Reading Go Fug Yourself. On good days I put her down for a nap and hop on the treadmill for the length of a TV show and that is WORKING. Where/why do I think heading to a gym every morning (and putting EJ in the childcare center, which I'm almost positive she would resist) will be easier/better? And what do I do for the kids and what is just silly? 

Jack LOOOOVED the martial arts class last night and has asked me no less than one frillion times if I've signed him up yet. And I'm mad at the class for having us do that before they gave us any information about how to sign up (THEY'RE NOT STUPID). But even if I didn't mind forking over the money every month, that's two nights a week! That's... a lot! 

As I sat in that gym last night watching small children learn to kickbox (it was awesome, I have to agree with Jack), I realized that if we joined, we would basically be committing to a Small Children Learning to Kickbox community. That is what they do. Right? Or my friends whose kids play soccer in the fall - that is just what they do in the fall. Right now the Cheungs don't have a Thing that we Do. And quite honestly, I like it that way. For someone so reliable and committed and devoted I am totally stingy with my time and who owns it. I need to own my time, not a soccer team or a ballet class. 

I don't THINK I'm depriving my kids, but it can feel that way. There's just so much awesome stuff out there and it seems like most families are doing something. On the other hand there's no way I'm going to do ALL of it. It's impossible! And how are they going to learn about disappointment and the unfairness of life?!

I also have this little problem where any time I go to find out about something that costs money, it takes negative effort on the part of the salesperson to get me to buy it. Martial arts lessons? Gym membership? Church kitchen? New car? New HOUSE? SIGN ME UP. 

Poor poor Phillip.

AAAAANYWAY. I'm not sure what to do with all this stuff. WHAT A FIRST WORLD PROBLEM. I want to get Jack involved with something, because his sister has ballet, but I don't think we can do THIS. And I want to get back in shape and develop a habit of fitness, but joining a gym won't magically make that happen. And I want to do piano, but let's face it, that's probably just signing myself up for years of another thing to fight about with the kids. Me = not exactly Tiger Mom. 

Okay! Time to buck up! Ballet in an hour! Homework! Figure out dinner! Put everyone to bed on my own because Phillip works late on Thursdays! I CAN DOOOOO IIIIIT.


Oh yeah, I used to write about my kids

ALL RIGHT. Things are looking up. There was a sudden influx of capital to Thumbprints Baking Co., for which the owners are terribly grateful and over the moon. We have picked a kitchen. We have insurance. The next step is formalizing the agreement and the step after that is (OH GOD) going through the county health department food business application process. I am guessing I will need to restock the liquor cabinet. 

But I want to exercise my mommyblogger chops tonight and write down a few things I've noticed about my kids. Before I forget. So you can leave now, it's okay, I totally won't be offended. 

So there's this huge amazing CRAZY thing I've been more and more aware of lately and that is the fact that my two biggest kids seem to be best friends. This is wild to me. It's not that they never fight (they always fight) but they also really really like each other. They don't really want to do anything without the other. We keep asking them if they're ready to stop sharing a room (when are a brother and sister too old to share a room?) and neither of them are interested. Well, they're very interested, just not right NOW. Even when I make a point of reminding them that Molly would share with Emma and we'd move the girls into the room next to Jack's so he wouldn't be alone downstairs. No no, they don't want to do that yet. 

And they play with the same things and play the same way. They would both choose to do an art project over almost anything else (except perform Let It Go in princess dresses for their parents and all their parents' friends.) They make up plays. They build elaborate forts in the living room and pretend that Emma is their kid or their pet or just some random baby they get to boss around. They squabble constantly and accidentally hurt each other all the time, but I'm not sure either of them has ever been purposefully vicious to the other. 

My brother and I are the same number of months apart as Jack and Molly. I suppose it's possible we liked each other when we were very small? But my main memories of my brother are of him barging into my room (which was 1) not allowed and 2) totally unnecessary, no I am still not over this and have refused to "just ignore him" for 34 years), messing up my stuff, and being mean to me. Always! My whole life! Not that I was a total peach to him - I remember my dad telling me, many many times, "Some day he'll be bigger than you, Mag! Watch out!" So yes, I shall grudgingly admit that I possibly beat up on him too. I sort of remember playing outside with him, making mud soup and charging through the patch of forest across the street from our house and riding bikes. My mom is probably reading this and thinking, "You did TOO have fun together!" Maybe it wasn't until we were a little older that he became my main reason for wanting to hurry up and go to college already. (Like 5th grade older.)

But I don't see that with Jack and Molly. Really. I suppose it's possible and I'm sure one day they won't want to do the same things all the time and play with the same kids and feel bad that having a "boys only" birthday party means Molly can't come. (Jack is turning 7 next month. Omg.) But still. They really really like each other, they look out for each other, they give each other heads up when their mom is on the warpath. I'm starting to wonder if they're going to be the kind of brother and sister who are buddies growing up. Who don't have to turn 30 and live in separate houses before they finally tolerate each other. (You may think I'm being snotty about my brother, but I bet you anything he would agree. Also, he called the other day to talk about the bakery and wanted to give me some feedback and he had to say, "Look, I'm not being a jackass like usual, I'm really trying to help." SEE? EVEN HE SAYS SO.)

And you know what, I'm writing this on April 1, which is basically my brother's personal holiday, the day on which he switched out my morning cereal for dog food, shortsheeted my bed, and set my alarm clock to go off in the middle of the night. HOW APT.

So yeah, my heart IS warmed over by the affection my two oldest show each other. (Ask me again when they're teenagers.)

Emma, however, worships the very ground on which her brother and sister tread. All day long I am reminded that something is Molly's, something is Jack's favorite, something is what Molly wants, something is what Jack did. Everything - EVERYTHING - relates to her two favorite people, some way or another. She will play any game they want to play. The big thing right now is "putting Emma to bed" - in the middle of the day, for whatever reason, and she gaily goes along with it, climbing into her bed with her stuffed cow and her pacifier and staying there however long they require. She's the baby and she has her manipulative moments, her fickle devotions, her sudden wails of distress. But for the most part she's all about being where they are, doing whatever they are doing. Including homework. Emma does lots and lots of homework. 

I just think they are the neatest. I could have never dreamed them up. My creative, sensitive, sweet little boy. My absentminded, giggly, kind little girl. My utterly charming, delighted by everything two-year-old. They are just perfect.