Thursday, September 16, 2010

Something even harder

This week was my girls' first week back at school. We only had a very short summer break (being a year-round school and all) but the "new year" was a massive change, for all of us.

Iris is a first grader now. See? She absolutely emanates first grader-ness, don't you think?

Eloise is in her last year of preschool. I admit to taking a picture of her but it's still on my phone somewhere. Apparently returning to preschool doesn't quite rank the same as moving up a grade in elementary when pictures are involved.

A really peculiar thing happened on Iris's first day of school. She didn't cry. Not a bit. Not a wayward scared glance, not anything. I walked away quite confused. After all, I had heavily prepared myself for the waterworks to continue in to her second year of school considering they lasted through the entire almost 12 months of her first year. Of course, after the confusion quickly subsided, I cheered. Then I smacked myself upside the head for expecting the same behavior out of her this school year. I totally and completely underestimated her.

Then a truly bizarre thing happened. There was no crying on the second day of school. Or the third or fourth. I didn't even get a hug good-bye on all of these days. After school Iris reported that her day had been "awesome" and today, at the start of the usual three-day weekend, she was sad that tomorrow wasn't (gasp!) Monday.


And so, because this blog is about me, me, me, I sit and reflect on my feelings about all of this. I came to only one conclusion:

Leaving my child in hysterics at school every morning was actually easier than watching her run off and leave me behind without so much as a hug or a second glance.

I wasn't prepared for the level of emotion it would elicit inside of me. Wasn't this what I spent all last year hoping and praying for? Yes, I suppose it was. But Iris could have let me down a little easier, couldn't she?

This past week has also been peppered with some other charming behavior designed to push me away in only the perfect way a six year old can. In the "I'm independent now so therefor I'm going to say rotten things to you to demonstrate my need for distance (but ohmygod I'm still so little so don't go TOO far)" sort of way.

I don't like it. Not one bit. Turns out, I need my kids to need me. Like really, really need me. Of course, being a mother means that when our children turn and run towards the world with abandon, we can step back and be crazy proud and not stand in their way. So I'll do that. But you can't make me like it.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Car Seat Safety

Just today I realized that I'm going to have to, finally, remove the five point harness from my very tall six year old's car seat and use the seat as a high-backed booster. I'm not happy about this. You would think I would be doing cartwheels, as most people chuck their kid's giant car seats as soon as possible to jump for a lighter/easier model, but not me.

For me, for us, the right choice is to keep my children in the safest seats we can manage for as long as possible. I take the statistic that the number one cause of death for children is auto accidents very seriously. Some may say I'm over-protective, or just a big fat worrier, but I'll take it. I've been chided for my desire to use monstrous car seats for my children when it "isn't necessary". But you know what? I don't really care. As far as I am concerned, they are absolutely, unquestionably necessary.

As parents we all take the precautions with regards to our children's safety that feel right to US, and this is one of mine. I also feel like I have statistics on my side here, but again, the bottom line is, we do what works for our own family.

So why, you ask, do I care so much? If the law states a child can be in a booster seat when they have "outgrown their forward-facing car seat" (at least in the state of WA) then why isn't that good enough? As far as I can tell WA state has laws for how long a child needs to be rear-facing (one year AND 20 lbs) and then another law that says how long they need to be in a booster (until they are either 4'9" or 8 years old) but none that specifically states when you can lose the harness in favor of a booster. Not that I would pay attention to it, since the laws are not nearly strict enough in my not-so humble opinion.

If you can, take a gander at this article that a CPST suggested to me when I asked for a good read on why it's safer to have children in 5 point harnesses as long as possible (vs just a booster). The article states that the benefits of a 5 point harness are that:

* The crash forces are spread over the skeletal body over five points rather than three.

* The crash forces are spread to the strongest parts of the child's body.

* Forward head excursion (the distance the head is thrown forward) are lessened.

* The child is secured in the correct seating position rather than being able to wiggle around, lean forward etc. (Sybil's note: as well as slump over when they sleep!)

It deserves to be mentioned that it can be less safe for a child to be in a seat with a 5 point harness if it doesn't fit correctly. For instance, if the top straps are set lower than the child's shoulders then it could cause spinal compression in an accident (info credited to my CPST friend).

Both of my girls are in Graco Nautilus seats (my girls' seats are bright pink and covered in flowers). They were purchased fairly close together, so we had to throw down a big chunk of money for them all at once. Before these seats they were both in Britax Marathon's from birth. Iris's expired around the same time she outgrew it and Eloise's we were able to sell for a little money that went towards her new seat. I have extremely tall children who have/will outgrow the height of the seat far before the weight, which happens to be why Iris needed another five point harness seat after the Marathon.

I would love to rattle on a few more paragraphs about the importance of installing car seats correctly and buckling children in properly, but I'll save that for another time.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Oh Labor Day.

I'm tard. Not tired, but tard. What a fun long weekend. I think we need one of these every single weekend, don't you agree?

As a family we relaxed played, cleaned, ate, shopped, wrote and today we all attended Bumbershoot. It was officially my ninth year being a part of the music festival. NINTH?!?! How is that possible? I went to my first one in 2002, briefly. I forget who we even saw, I went with my new-ish boyfriend. You may know him, he's my my husband now. We got hitched.

Every Bumbershoot is a little different. Some have been spectacular, some of have been spectacularly awful. All, it would seem, are memorable, except for that first one!

Today we showed up in time to catch Bobby Bare Jr's set at 12:30 then rushed on over to see Trampled by Turtles right afterwards. It was during the TBT set that I discovered OMG PRESS GETS FREE STARBUCKS THIS YEAR!!!! I forgot to mention that we go every year as "press". I use that term loosely. I was the "photographer" and the only shots I took were with my phone. BUT Matt's webzine does actually report on Bumbershoot every year, so we get press passes.

Bobby Bare Jr.

That's my friend Erik in the green hat.

After the FREE LATTES! we bought some tickets for the girls to ride some rides in the Fun Forest. The rides are all made for pretty little kids, with Eloise being just barely big enough to ride on most them without an adult. She begged, and begged, and begged to go on the roller coaster. It was a kiddie coaster, but still, it got some speed. A step up from those cars that just drive slowly in a circle. Iris said she wouldn't go on it, that she wanted to go on rides that she felt "safe" on. Wise child. I decided to let Eloise go on the roller coaster alone. Like, completely alone. She wanted to. She walked right up and handed the man her tickets and sat right down in the first car. The look on her face it came around the track after the first spin was absolutely priceless, something half-way between terrified and elated. Matt, myself and our friend who was with us were all laughing hysterically, like couldn't breathe laughing. I was sure Eloise was going to start crying, her face broke in to a huge grin and she was absolutely on cloud nine. That crazy kid.

Obviously not the roller coaster.

After the rides we got to see The Thermals play for a private KEXP show that was broadcast live on the air. It was nice to sit down and rock out from the comfort of a padded bench. The girls listened and bobbed their heads the whole time. It was so cute. Their daddy is really raising them to be music lovers and I LOVE that.

After The Thermals it was off to the kids area in the Center House. The girls played with cool playdoh, did some kids yoga and painted in the style of some of the masters, most notably Jackson Pollock. We had to drag them out of there at that point because it was close to 6:00 and Matt and I were hungry and had run out of steam.

Look at that pose!

Splatter painting = awesome.

This year was by far our best Bumbershoot with kids in tow. We never rode rides before or got to do special kids projects. The kids never sat through three whole sets before, either. Of course, the FREE STARBUCKS didn't hurt too much to help us all through the rainy afternoon!

*All pictures taken with my phone. I did mention I was there on a photographer's pass, right?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Seriously slacking here.

Sorry ya'll! I am so excited about my new blog that I'm really slacking over here. Have a gander, won't you? Tonight I posted about a couple of contests I recently learned about, one of which is a writing contest for children!