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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The fun with Mars' tooth fairy continues! He wrote back to his fairy and chose what habit he wanted to get rid of. He chose sneakiness so this was his letter.

Dearest Mars,
          It’s been some time since I last collected a tooth at your house. I’m ever so pleased to come tonight to collect this one. You chose wisely the bad habit you are casting off. The tooth will help but it will be an effort for you as well. As the new tooth grows in, may you spend your efforts away from sneakiness as you said. Except Spy League, a little sneaking for Spy League is okay, I think. If the rules did not prevent our interacting directly, I should fly to you immediately and be in your Spy League. It sounds like ever so much fun.
It seems you have grown in your climbing. Why, you shan’t need to fly like I do, when you can climb like that!
          There is a last and sudden heatwave this year that is setting the dart frogs alight on their feet. They jump so high that we know they are about to rest. The heat is a farce. It will not last. The rainy season shall be upon us in no time. The frogs will expend the last of their energies jumping, then lay their eggs in the earth and rest until they hatch. And I will hang my hammock under the toadstools and play my bassolier and read. And before I know it, the rains will clear and there will be frog song for days. Thank you for your letter. I cherish such gifts.

Tobias Hawthorne Gigglefoot VonRassmusson, III

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Birthday party "theme"

At breakfast we were discussing a problem with my son's upcoming birthday party. The plan had been to have the kids sleep in a pop-up camper but there's been a bear in our neighborhood lately attacking the trashcans, so I'm having visions of children needing to go to the bathroom and running into a bear. Or a bear attacking the camper with  me and six eight-year-olds and what on earth am I going to do exactly? So we're thinking we'll have the kids sleep in the house. But of course Mars wants a different option and so brings up how he and all the other eight year olds could just have knives to defend themselves. This is obviously both stupid and inadequate but he needs proof to be dissuaded.

This turned to a conversation about a bear attack Rob knew of where a man decided he was a bear whisperer and he and his girlfriend would "train" bears. He'd supposedly figured out how to read the bear's signals or some such stupidity that made a massive aggressive animal not ready to murder him. You can see where this is going. There was an audio recording. The man recorded himself and his girlfriend being eaten by the bear. I realized the conversation had taken a slightly terrifying turn and was like, "perhaps I should change the subject."

So I started talking about Mars's fortnite themed birthday party. I brought up the pinata.

And Gomez goes, "maybe we could get a bear eating a child pinata!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

7 Park Scavenger Hunt

I have had a major parenting win in the Fun department. Yesterday I was feeling stressed about not wanting to spend money but wanting to take the kids to do something fun. I put unnecessary stress on myself about money and the kids. They don't need fancy expensive outings. We had just as much fun yesterday as we've ever had in a day.

Here's what we did.

We set a goal of how many parks we wanted to go to. Seven. (Admittedly, this was too many and in the middle of the afternoon we ended up coming home to take a break and read and took a short nap so we didn't finish the list until 8 p.m.)

The kids had to do their morning routine list before leaving and they had to be helpful with getting out the door by packing up and fetching items we needed. They were so excited about the seven parks in one day that they gladly worked on filling water bottles and getting things out of the fridge and cupboard for snacks. We mostly got through the morning without incident which is amazing. Mornings can feel like a wackamole task-list where as soon as I walk away to put my clothes on, they fight over who gets to use the sink for toothbrushing or I get them started on eating and go to brush my teeth and they drag toys to the table and forget to eat. But it went smoothly. There was only like one time when one of them punched the other in the face. We got out the door relatively early.

I came up with a scavenger hunt for them to complete and we headed off. Here's the list.

1. Meet kids with first names that start with 3 different letters.

2. Pick out a colored pencil without peeking and find something that color. Draw it.

3. Learn about three plants you notice (I used my phone and told them about it and at the end of the day they had to tell me the names of each plant they learned about and tidbit about it.)

4. Climb a tree (not too high.)

5. Try new monkey bars.

6. Try going backwards on the monkey bars.

7. Hang upside down. This was my favorite and yielded lots of laughs. My older son loves hanging upside down and my younger one decided to drop to his hands and flip over. This led to my older son wanting to try the trick and about 20 minutes of hanging and flipping and laughing.

8. Picnic in three different locations.

9. Go down 5 different slides or 1 slide 5 times.

10. Spot 3 wildflowers.

11. Spot 3 bees. (We did a substitution here because I forgot and a really nice kid we met at one of the parks shared his kite and so we did fly a kite instead.)

12. Go to 7 parks in 1 day!

Finish the list for a PRIZE! (Prize was over snack at bedtime that they each got to pick an ebook off of Amazon to read on the Kindle.)

We're all tired today but it was a very successful and fun last day of summer vacation for us.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Tobias Hawthorne Gigglefoot VonRassmusson, III

Mars lost his first tooth just before turning 8. He put his tooth in an envelop, wrote his fairy a note letting her know his tooth still needed the blood cleaned off and saying "hi." He received a $2 bill a $5 bill and this note.

Dearest Mars the Magic,
I am your toothfairy, Tobias. I live under the Toadstool Forest in the hem of a gooseberry in faraway Gnufflefoxen off the tip of Hintermusselheim. I’m known for my ability to add twinkle to stars and freckles to noses. I play the psenobassolier which is a tiny horn made by poison dart frogs. When I play the frogs leap a whole extra 10 feet in the air and land on their own gigglefeet which is how they survive such lengthy falls.
I’ve waited precisely the right amount of time to introduce myself which I’m quite proud of especially due to the fact that waiting is such a difficult affair. Well worth the wait for your maturity as evidenced by your first lost tooth, I’m so very excited to collect it and leave you this extra special gift. It won’t always be so much money but since the initial tooth marks the passage of a unique milestone, you get extra.
You are now ready to grow up a little extra. Here’s the skinny on the toothfairy business. With the loss of each tooth, you have an opportunity to cast off one mistake or bad habit of your youth. I collect it inside the tooth and in grows the new habit with the new adult tooth. But you must set the intention to rid yourself of something and only certain things can be lost, like teeth. Your parents can guide you some in your choice of what to cast aside.
I’ve watched you a long time now and know how you’ve grown to be so strong and courageous over time. I’m glad to be your fairy and watch you grow bigger.

Do keep landing on your gigglefeet (though you shan’t jump 10 extra feet,) and I’ll be back soon for the next tooth.

Tobias Hawthorne Gigglefoot VonRassmusson, III

He then spent twenty minutes this morning looking at photos of fairies on nanny cams. This is a blast!

Monday, March 5, 2018

6 Reasons to Bring Your Kids to Political Events

I'm preparing myself to take my kids to a political caucus tomorrow night. My main purpose in going is to support Jared Polis's bid to gain the nomination for Colorado's governor. Ugh, this sounds so dry for kids, I can barely type it.

I usually don't take my kids anywhere they can't just be kids and I personally have a really tough time getting overstimulated and really cranky in crowds. Loud, lots of people? Oh man...we don't do those either. But I'm going to buck up and take them to this.

Why? It can't be that I look forward to screaming at them to go to the car after the caucus when they're wired on whatever other people handed them and overtired when it's past their bedtimes. Nope. It's because it's important.

6 Reasons to Bring Your Kids to Political Events

1. It spurs great substantive conversation. 

I took my kids to protest the Muslim ban with a friend who is a lawyer. An immigration lawyer. They learned a lot that day about the people who care for their friends from other countries. They learned about people in their lives who are immigrants.

On the way to the Women's March, we had conversations about the wage gap and the lack of women in leadership. We talked about Black Lives Matter and the police violence problem in black communities they're familiar with like St. Louis.

They want to jump to how bad our president is, but I want them to understand our world in greater complexity. I want them to ask why black people get shot. And their response to these issues sometimes reminds me of what's right. Like when my son lead the crowds in Show me what democracy looks like chants at the Women's march and when my five year old said "what do you mean, the president thinks you can touch people's privates?" Their reaction was so simple and pure. It deepened my convictions.

2. They see me care deeply about something and DO something about it.

My kids know that I care about their education. I ask about what they're learning and support activities that teach things. I teach them math and piano. They see me do something about their education. But they're not the whole world.

They need to see that I care about other things too and that I DO something about the things that matter to me like gun control and police violence.

3. They see other people care and argue and participate in the process.

Ideas don't happen in a vacuum and they aren't just happening in our household. Sure we talk about all kinds of stuff at home, but so do other families. So do elderly people. So do 18-year-olds. And ocassionally, we get together in a building and have discussions with strangers about these things. Sometimes one of these strangers teaches me something new. Sometimes another person changes my mind. It's a valuable process and they get to see it and interact with it in person/

4. They, CHILDREN, are seen.

It's important that we not just stand at rallies and conventions with the idea of "the world our children will inherit" but to see them in the flesh before us. It's important as we talk about gun violence to see that there are children listening. We can communicate with our actions how important they are. We need to see them when we talk about the environment to be reminded of the repercussions of our actions and how those impacts last and WHO they last for.

5. They can be heard.

Most of my friends are other parents. They're used to talking with their own kids and hearing from kids about what matters to them and what they think and what they're learning and doing. But for other adults who no longer have kids in their home or never did, they need reminding and they often like to hear and think about things from a kids' perspective. This is a lovely chance for my kids to speak up about what matters to them.

6. They become Active Citizens.

They will learn to use their ears and their processes to form opinions and platforms. They will learn that other people care about what matters and have hope and take action. They will have the idea planted that you take information forth and VOTE and ACT as they become adults. I'm raising citizens and they'll actively participate.
And isn't that my job as a mom? I think so.

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Ministry of Butts

My kids love Harry Potter. And I mean, love. They've gotten to a familial level of love. I knew it when I heard Gomez say he would take seriously "The Ministry of Butts and Defense Against the Dark Farts."

Because when you reach the potty talk level of familiarity, that's when you've gotten all the way to my kids' core.