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January 2011

In which I need to do Pilates just to go grocery shopping

Today's work out consisted of sticking both kids in one of the car carts at Safeway and maneuvering through the narrow aisles and the poorly laid out produce section and trying desperately to avoid the numerous elderly people who were too deaf to hear us approaching. Which is REALLY deaf since my kids were singing at the top of their lungs nearly the entire time. It was embarrassing. And requires more core fitness than I have. I kept crouching down and hissing at them, threatening bodily harm and all that, but they kept it up. Enough people smile and wave at them and they must find it encouraging, but the people who DON'T smile and wave are looking at ME. Like I should find the OFF button and press it, pronto. 

We also ran into a man who goes to our church. He has two teenage daughters who, as far as I can tell, are pleasingly perfect in every way. He's really nice and complimented my haircut of all things (people my DAD didn't even notice I cut my hair, so this guy gets major props) and then made all sorts of vaguely supportive yet also not comments about my immediate predicament: two children, car cart, singing, mile-long shopping list. I just kept responding with the Empty Laugh and Half Smile and kept the rude gestures to my imagination.

I meant to go shopping yesterday, but we went to open houses instead, and then I sat in traffic trying to get to a volleyball game (in which I was CLEARLY the team liability, despite my new magic shoes.) Oh, and then there was the Battery Acid In The Server Room Incident, which meant I couldn't leave to go shopping. Hence the FORCED bringing of children to the grocery store, and the FORCED using of the car cart. WOE.

Also, can I just say, I hate my Safeway. I LOVED my old Safeway. But my new Safeway is old and cramped and full of college students in pajama pants and cranky employees and the produce section is horrendous. I don't even LIKE most produce and I am disappointed in the selection. But every time I shop at the NICE store, with the three-times-as-large produce section and the million varieties of everything and the yogurt I like and the FREE PLAYROOM, I spend so much more money. And if there is one chunk of my budget I'm good at, it's the grocery chunk. So it kills me to go to the nice grocery store if I know there are pricey items on my list. And besides, the kids are snotty-nosed cough machines these days and I knew they wouldn't be allowed within ten feet of the playroom. SAFEWAY IT HAD TO BE.

I SHOULD have gone yesterday instead of going to open houses. Because, well, disappointment abounds! We went to see a Suburbs House that was almost as beautiful as its listing pictures, but was on a kind of busy-ish street and didn't have a basement or playroom area and I don't know, I just wasn't FEELING it. I have friends up there, the schools are awesome, it's REALLY not that far away, but every time we go to look at a house there it just doesn't FEEL right. It feels like MARS. 

Then we looked at a completely renovated 1915 Craftsman in a fun neighborhood that was laughably out of our price range. It had 1915-style closets (which is to say, closets in name only) and no garage and slanty floors like my rental. And some of the renovations weren't quite my style (I HATE most kitchen remodels, but then again if I were doing my own I'd shoot for white everything with, say, aqua appliances). But it felt more like a house I would like living in. I think. I DON'T KNOW. And the point is moot anyway because seriously, NO WAY we can afford that house. 

I wonder how many readers I've lost due to my incessant house handwringing. SORRY!

Oh, and then this Sunday was the big Yay! Catholic! Schools! Sunday and all the kids wore their uniforms and the church was packed because all the families who never go to church decided to put in an appearance and there was MUCH self-congratulatory Yay! Catholic! Schools! talk and it put me in a Funk. They asked Catholic school students to stand up, then former C.S.S., then parents of, then teachers, then people who've supported a C.S.S. and seriously, by the end Phillip and I were the only people still sitting down. Liz leaned over and whispered, "THIS IS TO SHAME YOU." Bah!


Night night, Molly!

It's Sunday night and my husband is at work. Something about battery acid in the server room? I DON'T KNOW. My job is to stay here and feed the kids their left over dim sum dinner and make sure they don't injure themselves while performing gymnastics on my yoga mat and change them into their pajamas and possibly put them to bed. In fact, I wonder if the battery acid will conveniently remain in the server room until eight o'clock-ish when the kids are supposed to go night night? 

But of course I am not doing any of that. We are waiting around for my Hawaii Friend to get herself on Skype, and I'm also finding plenty of opportunities to practice my "HEY! MOLLY DOESN'T LIKE IT WHEN YOU DO THAT!" lecture. Remember when I was all, "Oh Jackie Jack Jack my wittle SWEETUMS!" Yeah, THAT'S over. 

No wait - now we are putting on pajamas. Just as soon as I tell Jack that he's already eaten ice cream tonight so NO he may not have cookies too. Who does he think he is? ME?!

...all right, an hour later I don't remember anything I was going to say. But I do have this:

Mom, her hair looks like that because we took out her ponies. Internet, I KNOW they are called piggies, but we still call them ponies. SORRY.

Friday Reads and Recommends

My dad enjoyed your validation of his One True Love. I have suggested a Guest Post, but I have a feeling he will leave us hanging. Alas.

Here are Things I Am Reading And/Or Recommending:

1. I want to write like Betty Duffy when I grow up and one of her recent posts REALLY hit home for me. It starts out being about the Real Housewives and ends up being about post-weight loss vanity. It sums up, in a much more thoughtful and eloquent way than I ever did, why weight loss felt great for my body, but sometimes not so great for my soul. 

2. I am not above spending ninety-nine cents every week or two in order to score another fifteen minutes of sleep in the mornings. The only games I have on my phone are preschool games, but the kids tend to get bored with them after a while. Enter CookieDoodle, which isn't really a preschool/toddler game, but both kids have figured it out and dudes, this game LASTS. If only I had enough imagination, I could kick my feet up and get rich off my silly apps. 

3. I finished Death In A Strange Country by Donna Leon, author of the less, ah, graphic Italian detective novels I love, and it's still WEIGHING on me. You see, the murder victim is an American soldier from the base closest to the one where I lived (my base was also mentioned, and I hear makes a bigger appearance in another book) and that's totally why I wanted to read it. But it's SO anti-American (Donna Leon is an American living in Venice and, if her novels are evidence, SUPER left-wing... though, as my dad says, if you live in Italy how can you be anything else?) BUT ANYWAY. Commissario Brunetti VISITS the base and has nearly an out of body experience: it's America! In Italy! With Americans! Running around in their shorts and buying pallets of toilet paper and eating Burger King! So part of me was all: but I ate so many breakfasts at that Burger King on sports trip weekends! And it was such a wonderful time! And I loved being an American in Italy! And another part of me is CRINGING and DYING because from Commissario Brunetti's point of view it's all a little gauche if not a feeling of being downright OCCUPIED, and then the ultimate culprit is the American GOVERNMENT and AAAUUUGGGHHH! Crisis of nationality! I sort of want to write to Donna Leon to tell her how much I love her books AND how much I loved my years in Italy, even if it offended Venetian sensibilities, for which I am truly sorry. SIGH. P.S. the paratroopers she casually bats aside as pointless are the ones who dropped into Iraq a few years later, in the dark, with their wives and kids stuck knowing nothing in Italy, and I had a stomachache for days about THAT. OKAY I'M DONE.

4. My new library books are Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, on Amy's recommendation, and Half-Baked, on the recommendation of the world of mommyblogging. I just finished Half-Baked and I think I'm going to need a few days on that one as well. Not because of the infertility/IVF/birth and death at 25 weeks stuff (though: DEAR GOD) but because I identified with a lot of her talk about anxiety. Let me see if I can find the most resonating snippet...

Stillness is the worst possible stratgey for clearing my mind of thoughts, instead driving them all into the open where they run around screaming, and breaking vases... the busier I was, the calmer I became.

That is me, when I'm anxious. Yoga, meditation, prayer... yeah. NO GOOD. I need to plan parties or build a database or go out with friends or clean the whole house. And her many references to her anxious past were often overwhelming for a fellow (not-so, but still sort of) neurotic. She's the type of person who needs to know everything, I'm the person who wants to be blissfully ignorant, but the hypervigilance (my word, not hers) is the same. That something bad can happen at any moment, and you live your life waiting, fretting, getting anxious about being anxious. ANYWAY. Moving on!

5. QFC (Kroger to you?) has introduced Carbmaster Yogurt. Do you know how dearly I wanted a low sugar yogurt when I was doing the low carb thing? Have you any IDEA? And I couldn't find one, anywhere. Light yogurts still have, like, 26 grams of sugar or something. Anyway, I was grocery shopping the other day and right next to my Regular Yogurt was this CARBmaster yogurt and I had to try it. And guess what: I like it better than my Regular Yogurt. !!! It probably has all sorts of horrible chemicals in it, but it has THREE net carbs. This totally made my day.

Happy weekend!

In which I learn entirely more than anyone wanted about Emma Watson's Yule Ball dress

At Parenting tomorrow I'm talking about being a one car family. In short, like many things in our marriage, Phillip and I are not necessarily in a agreement. C'EST LA VIE!

Today was awesome in that my parents showed up around 10, we hung out, and around 1 my dad and I picked up the FPC from the cupcake palace and headed down to Seattle Center for the Harry Potter exhibit. Now, I know I've mentioned this a few times, but I'm not sure I've really made it clear: my dad is the biggest Harry Potter fan I know. Possibly in the United States. Or the world. He will wax rhapsodic over Jim Dale, he will tear apart and discuss the movies like he's writing a thesis, he can quote lines like some people quote scripture. JK Rowling may be the greatest woman who ever lived, next to Margaret Thatcher of course, and he sincerely does not care what you think about that. 

Anyway, it was Super Cool and if it comes to your town and you are the type of person scratching your head over why they had to burn down the Burrow in the sixth movie, you should totally go. (Although you won't learn why they burned down the Burrow. WHO CAN ANSWER THIS QUESTION???) It was packed with props and costumes and pretty much the entire time I was going from costume to costume squeaking, "She's so TINY! He's so SMALL!" I mean, is it some Hollywood Requirement that to be in movies you must be Miniature?

(Although sometimes my sister would say, in a very patient voice, "Maggie, they were TWELVE in that movie." OH.)

Then my parents stayed for dinner which rarely happens since they try to escape before The Traffic and it was just NICE. We ordered take out, the kids ate nothing, Phillip and my dad discussed The Financial Crisis and my mom and I talked about the kids. And then they went home and I found myself thinking it would be so nice to move REALLY far away, like maybe down the street from my parents. SIGH.

Preschool tomorrow - did I tell you I filled out two applications and wrote two nonrefundable registration fee checks and handed them in? It's more about what I HOPE happens that what I can expect to happen, since I have no idea what the rest of this year is going to look like. But I wanted to make sure they had spots, and it was worth the registration fee to me. I may move Molly to a different class, I may end up driving them much farther than I'd like, but I don't really know what else to PLAN on right now. This I can RESERVE, at least. 

And because my folks were here I got in a good run. Which means I can totally go upstairs and eat the oatmeal cookies I wishful thinkingly threw in the freezer. Like that has ever stopped me before. At this point I'm wondering if I should just make peace with the Five Christmas Cookie Pounds and call it good. Bah.

OH. And Molly wanted to wear her Christmas dress today, a red not-too-fancy sweater dress. Fine! I am in favor of wearing our Nice Things! Then I suggested the red headband, because it matched. "NO," stated the girl, in her flat, nasal, two-year-old voice. "WAN PURPLE HEAD. BAND." I made sure to sigh loudly as I surrendered the purple headband, and then we went on to socks. I pulled out white socks, because I thought she might wear her red patent leather mary janes with her Christmas dress and up the Cuteness Factor by a bazillion. But "NO," she barked. "WAN PURPLE SOCKS. GO WITH HEAD. BAND." And I realize you may not laugh out loud like I did, but it was SO Molly and SO going in the baby book.

Three and a half and two and a quarter

Right now, in this stretch of days, my life is particularly charmed. I'm in my early thirties, in a beautiful city, married to a hardworking guy who never has so much school or work to do that he cannot put his kids to bed every night. And those kids - I'm the center of their world, and we all know how fleeting that will be.

It's easy to feel this way because Jack and Molly are so fun right now. Oh, the snotbrat tendencies are always on full display, but yesterday it was practically noon before I had to break up a fight. I sat at the kitchen table in my bathrobe, trolling the internet, making a grocery list, picking at my breakfast when I realized: hey! No one's screamed in at LEAST half an hour. I padded into Jack's room and eavesdropped on a very intense conversation about how Molly was going to be the mommy and Jack was going to be the daddy and this big baby was going to go night night. 

You've asked me how different it is, now that I have two toddlers instead of two babies. I think back to two babies and I can't remember. I remember having one baby and being pregnant with another, which I am still sure is one of the worst situations in which to find yourself. So bad that every second-time mother surely deserves a live-in nanny, or a personal assistant at the very least. 

Then I remember two babies and thinking it was a breeze - because the universe has seen fit to give me two shockingly easy babies - until about 8 weeks in, I think, when Jack seemed to figure out he was no longer totally in charge. That's when my discipline angst began in earnest. On and on and on and how long did it take me to figure out he might just be Reacting? 

There was the constant Touching - one baby breastfeeding, the other needing to be rocked to sleep. Holding them both. Carrying them both. Constant physical neediness.

And then what I remember is sleep. Or the lack of it, to be more precise. Molly had her frat boy schedule, which wouldn't have been so terrible except that Jack was waking up at six. And she was sleeping in our room which meant no lights on, ever, until we moved her into the closet. And at seven months we finally tried moving her into Jack's room and everyone knows how THAT went. Naps were impossible until I set up the pack 'n play in our room and separated them. Bedtime was impossible, until we started putting her down in the pack 'n play at night and moving her when both kids were finally asleep. 

Except for isolated scenarios here and there it didn't seem that hard. You have to realize I'm a Positive Thinker to an annoying degree. I had easy babies. I also happen to be the oldest of five children born in five years. You think two under two is bad - my mom had five under five. How dare I feel sorry for me! 

But now... NOW? Did you see the part where I sat around in my bathrobe reading the internet until NOON?

There is fighting (SO MUCH FIGHTING) and silliness and running around all crazypants and two car seats to buckle and picky eating and fighting and refusing to get dressed and jumping off furniture and talking back and potty training and sitting in the corner. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by my discipline failures, my indecision with preschools and playgroups, or often just getting out of the house. The laundry, the dishes, the fatigue, the Rage, the toys in every stinking corner of my house - those things didn't go away. Those things might even be worse. 

But my kids, for right now, are best friends. They are two peas in a barely coherent pod. Molly seems a bit lost without Jack when he's at preschool; Jack mopes around waiting for Molly to wake up from her nap. My presence is required to have a good time. Jack's got fifteen months and three weeks on his sister, and you can tell when it's time to play a computer game or count or tell a story or do a somersault or fix a puzzle. But Molly soaks it all in, imitates his every move. They do it all together.

Maybe it didn't seem difficult to me while I was in it, but even I can tell everything is easier now. They're just not babies anymore. I don't worry about carting food and diapers around. They go up and down stairs by themselves. They PLAY by themselves, in rooms I am not IN. They have conversations with me, they give me hugs, they shriek in play-fright when I appear in Jack's room and run screaming into the living room all "RUN, MOLLY! IT'S MOMMY ROBOT! AAAAUUGGGHHH!"

They can eat dinner with us. They go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. Molly still naps and it's clear Quiet Time is a work in progress, but at least the child who is supposed to be napping isn't being kept awake. Oh, and playgrounds - they can PLAY on playgrounds! Without me trying to split myself in two, the better to catch each one when they inevitably fall off the tall slide. We hardly ever use the stroller anymore. I stuff snacks into my purse instead of a diaper bag. They can play in our backyard all on their own. They can take off their own shoes. 

The schedule consists of waking up, a nap for the little one around one, and bedtime at eight. That's it. That's IT! And if they fall asleep in the car? Oh well! Did I ever dream I'd be able to say THAT? I was so SO rigid about schedules when they were little. A missed nap would ruin my entire day. My world revolved around getting them to sleep at the same time every afternoon - it was my personal holy grail. But little by little I'm realizing the kids are more flexible, that Molly doesn't flip out like Jack if she doesn't get enough sleep, that we CAN cut nap time short to fit in a doctor appointment, that we can stay out a little longer or leave a little later, that sometimes we can eat lunch in the car. Sometimes I'll catch myself saying, "Well, we can't do that because Molly has to go down at one" or trying to work some family event around not falling asleep in the car, and then it dawns on me, repeatedly, that fudging the schedule here and there does not produce the stressful drama it used to. We can swing it. 

Some things are harder (babies don't talk back to you) but so much of it is easier. I feel like me. I worked off the baby weight. I sleep through most nights. My body is mine. They can do more. WE can do more. 

I didn't INTEND to sit around in my bathrobe all day, but I was tired and the kids were happy playing with each other and it was a peaceful, uneventful, completely unproductive, fabulous and wonderful day. I watched Jack play pretend preschool with his stuffed animals during nap time, and Molly "read" stories to me tonight while Phillip took a video with his phone. My bedtime hugs and kisses were huge, they call me "the best Mommy" and who cares about school and work drama and preschool tuition and the housing market and the five pounds of Christmas cookie weight I can't lose? It's a charmed life.


More to say, obvs

Should we keep talking about this? Do we have more to say? I DO.

HOLY DAYCARE, people! I mean, I knew daycare was pricey. I'm vaguely aware of what certain friends pay for daycare and I'm WELL aware of what my friends' friends pay for daycare (the highest I ever heard was $3600 a month, I swear I am not making that up). But it really wasn't until yesterday when I started making all the calculations that I could put a dollar value on what we're NOT doing and therefore gasp appropriately. I salute you all. 

I so appreciated the "this is what we get out of Catholic school" comments - those are the things I can't really find out from an Open House, you know? And those reasons are exactly why Catholic school sounds great to me, except I couldn't really articulate or explain them until you did it for me (MEGAN!) So thank you, that was really helpful. 

And the diversity stuff... bleah. I guess that's one thing I COULD find out at an Open House, but right now my preconceptions are: suburban Catholic schools are full of rich, white kids and the city Catholic schools are more diverse. Of course, Seattle is hardly a super diverse city to begin with, but this is actually pretty important to me. I grew up on military bases and moving to Seattle, especially walking around my campus, was a big jolt. I even remember an entire conversation about it with my dad on my dorm room phone during the first couple weeks of school. Anyway, I don't want to make it sound like I have hard core politics about this, because I don't, and it's not the most important factor, but over the years I've realized how lucky I was to grow up around all kinds of different people and it's slightly weird to think about sending my kid to a school where everyone is just like them. Most likely white or Asian (or both), with parents who can afford to send them there, and even most everyone being Catholic - even though THAT'S THE POINT. Again, obviously not a huge factor and the fact that I'm anxious about it probably says more about what I need to do as a parent than making the "right" school decision. But I didn't want to leave it out either. I've totally thought about that aspect, and again: undecided!

We will definitely do "religious stuff" at home, but I'm already well aware that I'm not good at it. We'll learn things at home no matter where they go, but you know how some people want to send their kids to language immersion schools because it just sinks in and becomes part of the every day? I think Catholic immersion would be awesome. 

Yes, the Catholic high schools are way more expensive. And this is all just HEARSAY, but unless your kid is going to the fancypants all girls/all boys prep school, Catholic high schools are just as bad (or worse) than the public city high schools, at least behavior-wise. IT'S JUST WHAT I HEAR.

As for Catholic college, I'm going to try not to influence my kid about where to go to school (well, that's not true, my favorite school will be the one closest to ME) and I'm not even entirely sure I intend to pay for it. Catholic college? Awesome. Hippie school without grades? Fine. The state "party" school? Works for me. Harvard? Excellent. My alma mater? Let me regale you with stories of my college days until you faint from boredom! This ambivalence would be a large chunk of the Tiger Mother post I decided not to write. *Bats eyelashes, smiles innocently.* 

AAAAAANYWAY. I'm wiped. Would you like to know why? I spent all morning rearranging Molly's room to make space for my mom's old doll bed. I eventually got it all to fit, and put all ninety-four baby dolls to sleep (yes, it's that big) and it felt AWESOME. Like an outlet for my Housing Angst or something. Nothing good on the market? Fine! I'll make THIS house amazing! 

But then tonight when I was showing Phillip, Jack got all, "I want you to make MY room new, Mommy!" Wouldn't you know that I've hated his room ever since we set up the bunk beds? So I was totally game, I just had to convince Phillip that he really wanted to help me move bunk beds. There's really only two places to put the bunk beds, and we chose the place that didn't block the window. But it wasn't working out and didn't use the space well, so tonight we went ahead and blocked the window. Which is a bummer, but the space is SO much better now. And Jack got to feel like he had a new room and I got to put a million toys away and organize puzzle pieces and games and throw out bits of old toys and had myself a nice little organization high. But I'm coming down now, and I'm tired and wishing I could rearrange MY bedroom. Why is MY bedroom the dumping ground? The room that looks like LAME?

I think it's time to eat chocolate chips and watch this week's episode of Greek. One day all I'm going to write here is: "Tell me about your sorority experience" and then I'll sit back and wait for juicy comments.



Okay, let's do this. CATHOLIC SCHOOL. I might not send my kids to Catholic school. WHAT WHAT!

I wrote about this maybe a year ago? Am obviously too lazy to look that up. But I remember some "Catholic school is VERY important to us" comments and a few that seemed surprised there were other options, as well as a handful of former varyingly scarred former Catholic school students. So THAT was helpful. 

Tonight I was sitting here looking up all the numbers. If we want both kids in 3x a week preschool next year, we're looking at a price of We Could Just Barely Pull That Off, I Mean, JUST BARELY. We would do it knowing that we would only have two kids in preschool at the same time, so it would be only one year of JUST BARELY. 

Except what if we send Jack to kindergarten at a Catholic school? What are we looking at then? And after a bunch of Googling and calculating, I realized that if we sent both kids to our parish school, which claims to be the least expensive Catholic school in the city, we're looking at $800 a month. Which. Well. Hmm. 

(Note: This would be in-parish tuition. If you are not a parishioner, it's more like $1200 a month for two kids HOLY CATS.)

Yes, there is tuition assistance blah blah blah, but like Phillip said when we were talking about it tonight, if we applied for assistance we would then feel guilty every time we went out to eat or bought fancy new computer equipment (him) or a fabulous pair of boots (me). So. Hmm. 

If I want to send my kids to preschool/pre-K at my parish school, I have to start making my decision NOW. So this time next year, I will be required to make my decision about kindergarten. You see why I want to hurry up and find out where we're going to LIVE. (Note: preschool/pre-K is marginally less expensive than our current preschool, and lasts an hour longer each day, but I don't know if I LIKE that extra hour and I think I've mentioned that we LOVE our current preschool.)

OKAY SO ANYWAY. Here's my deal with Catholic school. I basically know nothing about it. Other than what I learn at my various churchy meetings and quick conversations with school parents, I'm completely in the dark. My mom went to Catholic school, but that was in the Dark Ages (sorry Mom) when nuns were still smacking you around with rulers. My handful of friends who went to Catholic school have different experiences, most of them not so great. And the youth minister at my church swears up and down her kids will go nowhere near a Seattle-area Catholic high school. SO ENDS MY CATHOLIC SCHOOL KNOWLEDGE. 

But when I think about it, I think it would be SO NICE. Especially in K through 8. I feel that I'm sorely lacking in a Catholic Foundation. I don't know so many of the really basic things you're supposed to know, and I have this idea (incorrect perhaps?) that Catholic school would give my kids what I don't have. I LIKE that there is prayer in school, I like that religious holidays are observed and celebrated, I like the uniforms and school Masses. Our school has very small class sizes and lots of music and art. It's for sure a better education than they'd get in some of the neighborhood schools, but we ARE focusing on neighborhoods with better schools (and the suburbs we're particularly interested in are known for their excellent school district). So I don't know that this is about making sure they get a better education so much as preferring a CATHOLIC education. 


And you know, because I've mentioned it nine thousand times, I come from a Proud Family of Public School Teachers. Not that THEY think one is better than the other, they know there are too many factors involved to generalize, I just mention it to show that I'm pretty positive on public schools. 

What if we buy a house with a Just Fine public school two blocks away, but the Catholic school is across town? Or if we stay where we are even, with a great public school, a different parish school five blocks away, and our parish school farther away? Is it bad to say proximity is kind of a big factor with me? It just makes sense somehow, and I'm all about Being Part Of The Neighborhood. What's funny ("funny") is that if we could somehow swing a house near-ish to our parish school, we'll no doubt be spending all our school money on the mortgage. 

I wish I felt strongly one way or the other. Instead, Catholic school just seems really NICE, like a BONUS, but public school would be totally fine too. Phillip is less inclined towards Catholic school, precisely because of the cost, and maybe that makes me a little bit afraid of deciding to insist on Catholic school. 

Maybe it's because neither of us went and we don't exactly have a context for it and we never really thought about paying for it. I know there are ways to make it work. Our priest goes on and on about how they don't turn anyone away and so many people just ASSUME we are sending our kids there. That's what you DO. So maybe I feel a little guilty too. (Well, obviously.)

ANYWAY. A couple of you have emailed/commented with the same sort of dilemma and I honestly don't know what we're going to do. I think on the preschool front we're going to send in the applications and the nonrefundable registration fees and just see what happens. We'll either find a great house and possibly lose our registration fee, or we'll stay and our kids get to go to an awesome preschool. It'll work out either way. But the SCHOOL school issue keeps bugging me, and while I understand I can't really make any decisions yet, I wish I knew what decisions I'd LIKE to make! 

I'm sorry, I just can't help writing all this out ALL THE TIME

So hey, thanks for all your comments on Sending Molly To School ASAP So I Can Have Some Peace And Quiet In My House. I am not alone! Then we were at the library this morning and there was an article about this precise topic in the local free mommy magazine so that was validating as well. What wasn't was getting the registration forms and tuition rates for preschool next year: OUCH. Perhaps Molly would like a ballet class instead? Run out of a friend's basement? Ballet slippers and tutus and recital costumes optional?

School is this huge deal in my brain lately and it has everything to do with buying a house. IF we buy a house. There's nothing we want on the market right now and we don't have to move. I think if we OWNED this house there would be a million things driving me crazy, but because it's temporary-ish and the godawful kitchen floor is ultimately the landlord's problem not mine, I don't even notice half of it. I love WHERE it is and it just works for us right now. We really want a place of our own, a place as permanent as you can reasonably expect to be, but there's nothing forcing us to do that NOW. So we wait. 

Which means I don't know where my kids are going to school and yes, it's a LITTLE early, but not THAT early. I have about a year before I have to decide on kindergarten, and the preschool wants us to reserve next year's spots NOW. We totally lucked out with this school and of course I want Jack to go there again next year, but if we move to the other side of town I'm not sure I love it enough to trek back three times a week. But who knows if we'll move? Or when? Dilemmas! And the elementary school issue is enough to drive me (or at least everyone I talk to about it) crazypants. Some of the public schools are excellent! Some are rotten! It all depends on where you live! But then we could always send them to a Catholic school, most of which have great reputations and we are, obvs, Catholic and this would make all kinds of sense. Except, again, I'm not trekking halfway across town to stick my kid in our current parish school if there is a closer one (which means switching parishes, which we wouldn't necessarily do if our kids were attending public school.)

I'm sort of cramming all of this important-ish stuff into a half-assed Thursday night post, but I JUST DON'T KNOW. It seems like we should at least prioritize a few things, ie: We want to live in a neighborhood within walking or short driving distance of a Good School. That seems refreshingly normal, right? But that may (MAY) severely limit our options for city dwelling. So then, is our priority: Finding A House We Can Afford In SEATTLE. Because then we have to think hard about good/bad schools and public/private. Or maybe the priority should be: Doing What Most Of America Deems Best For Children and buying a nice biggish house with a yard, a half hour away, in a fabulous school district. We could totally pull that off. If we wanted. Which we are not sure about. 

Our future real estate agent is going to hate us. 

Right now I feel like our "plan" is to Luck Out. It's early on in this game. Prices have dropped. Maybe there's a big enough house in our price range and near enough to our church so that our kids could reasonably go to the parish school. This is my ideal, but it seems pretty pie in the sky considering our church is in a crazy expensive area. Or maybe we'll find a house in our current neighborhood, which has an excellent public school, and is totally close enough to keep attending our church (though not so close that I'd be up for driving kids to school every morning, not when there's a Catholic school about five blocks away. LAZY. Well maybe. I DON'T KNOW. SEE?!)

And for all of you wondering, we think Catholic school sounds NICE and would be GREAT, but we aren't so sold on it that we wouldn't consider a good public school option. Feel free to convince me, though that should probably be a whole separate entry in this Catalog Of Neuroses. Actually, I would LIKE to be convinced. Yeah, okay, I'll write about that later. AHEM. No seriously. Save those comments!

So anyway, Phillip is working late tonight and I have three loads of laundry to work on, so perhaps I should focus on ACTUAL priorities instead of rhetorical ones. 

Three paragraphs to tell you I have nothing to say. TYPICAL.

Due to 1) a meeting in which I was subjected to spreadsheets and income statements and ENTIRELY too many numbers that went 2) ENTIRELY too long and also 3) the post I had to pull out of the air for Parenting because I was too cloudy-brained to write it earlier, there is nothing here for you today. I am sorry. Perhaps if you sent chocolate I would be in better form. 

OOH! THIS REMINDS ME! When I dragged the kids out to the grocery store after naps to buy drinks for the meeting - WHICH WE DID NOT DRINK, BTW - they happened to see those Reese's Eggs. For Easter. In January. But I am defeated in the face of two small children demanding Reese's Eggs for an after dinner treat, so I bought them. One for Jack, one for Molly, and one for Daddy since everything has to be fair in our house. Not one for me because I would be out. Except Jack, gallant boy that he is, said, "NO, Mommy, you need one TOO." So OBVS I had to buy one for ME. I am now thinking that the embarrassingly fast consumption of a Reese's Egg is just the thing to make this night a little better. It certainly won't be kind words from my husband, as he is currently on the phone, at 10:29 PM, with WORK PEOPLE OMG.

Ugh, I'm tired. What was I going to do. Oh yes! Link to my dealie at Parenting because I actually like this one! It's about whether or not we intend to hold Molly back a year - because she's born the day after the cut off date and all. I know it's early to think about it, but have you met me? Ahem. Anyway, I'm seriously interested in opinions about this (I know I've asked for them before, but I forget) and perhaps this is also just a primer for the post I have brewing about Catholic school vs. public school or whether there should really be a vs. at all and good grief it all depends on if/when we find a new house ANYWAY... Aren't I supposed to be on medication for this nonsense? GOOD NIGHT.

I am blogging instead of stress eating. Be proud of me.

This Chinese parenting thing is taking me too long to write. I keep forgetting things and then it turns into 5000 words and then I cut it and then I realize I forgot something else and oh, Phillip should probably read it before I send it out into the internet - all that to say you'll have to wait a bit longer for my extremely important and brilliant thoughts on that

Some good stuff happened today. Jack let me read about 10 books to him during quiet time, which probably sounds like misery to most of us, but Jack RARELY lets us read to him unless it's bedtime, and he RARELY sits sweetly with me during quiet time, so it was kind of a treat. Molly and I randomly met up with friends during the preschool hours and it was super fun to see Molly interact with another two-year-old without her bossy brother around. There was pigeon chasing and hand holding and two moms hoping our girls become BFFs. I made a yummy dinner AND stayed under my calorie allowance. 

But there was some unfortunate stuff too. I sliced open my finger while making the yummy dinner and the Dora band aid is making it annoying to type. I lost an earring. Then Phillip's workplace turned upside down again (this would be the four trillionth time in one year, not that I'm counting) and while we are FINE and have actually benefitted from much of the upside down-ness, Phillip is Bummed which means *I* am Bummed and GAH. Stress. 

So I'm washing up the dinner dishes and listening to Phillip talk to a Higher Up on the phone and the old You Are So Lame For Being A Stay At Home Mom began to resurface. I mean, my poor husband. If I spend just a few minutes thinking about what it would be like to be the SOLE FINANCIAL SUPPORT for a family of four, I get a stomach ache and reach for a restorative trashy television show. But my husband does it every day AND goes to school! Why am I not helping out on the money end? What do I DO all day? Does he not realize that I am TOTALLY GETTING AWAY WITH THIS?

I tried to remember the time that he thanked me for staying home. He realized how hard it is to figure out business travel logistics when both parents work, let alone go to school or work late nights. He can do all this because I'm taking care of everything else. He can pursue this CAREER because I make it POSSIBLE! He acknowledged this! Oh, I felt so wonderful.

But THEN I remembered that I was the one who wanted these small people and I was certainly pushy about it and YES he adores our kids and is the best dad ever, but still. This was the life I wanted and I got my way. At his expense. And I felt guilty all over again.

We've had this conversation so many times, but doesn't really resolve itself in my brain. Even tonight, when Phillip assured me that he WANTS to do the career thing and is happy that I'm home, happy that I'm happy, that he feels driven to do his best BECAUSE of our family, I still feel like I'm not holding up my end. For someone who is so NOT career oriented and profit driven, I sure put a lot of value on a paycheck.

The truth is that if I did go back to work? It'd be a wash. We might even have to pay more than what I earn to put the kids in daycare, so it doesn't make any sense whatsoever. But then I only feel bad that I never figured out a career before I had kids, that I have nothing to return to, that I have no idea what I'll do when they're in school. 

Obvs the solution is to GET OVER THYSELF and do my job. Because I know what I do is important. I feed everyone. I keep them clean. I keep them organized. I do all the remembering. I DO GOOD WORK, DAMMIT!

And this stressful thing will pass and I'll go back to not folding the laundry and eating too many cookies during nap time.