Tag Archives: The Loud One

A Letter to the Graduate

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It’s been an exciting few weeks in this house, particularly for The Loud One.

As most of you know, she “graduated” from Kindergarten. And although there was no official ceremony, no miniature cap and gown, no teeny tiny diploma, and no faculty member telling them “You Are Not Special,” there was a fun little gathering in the classroom with snacks as well as an interesting assignment from the teacher.

All the kids and parents were asked to write a letter to the child’s future self, to be read when she graduates from high school. God-willing. (I’m sorry, but have you SEEN “Teen Mom??” Only two of them have high school diplomas. The others have mug shots.). The letter was supposed to talk about the things she learned this year and the kind of person she is and her hopes and dreams. She really nailed it with her own letter to herself… it said something along the lines of,

“You rok. You had a grat yeer in kindrgrden. You love puppes soooo much. You can’t hav one tho.”

THAT pretty much sums it up.

As for my letter, it was fairly generic… “Wow, you’ve had such a great year! You’re awesome! I love you! I seriously hope we have a chance to read this letter because that would mean you ARE ACTUALLY GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL!”

We sealed them up and labeled them as instructed, “To be opened June 2024.”

Then I gave it more thought. And – shocker – I realized that I had a bit more to say. I won’t add the addendum to the envelope because it’s already sealed and that would be cheating. But I will post it here and hopefully she’ll read it someday when she’s not mad at me for talking too much and I’m not embarrassing her by the way I breathe. In and out, in and out. Over and over again. GAWD.

Dear Loud One,

OK. I know that you’re going to change every year. I’m not a total idiot, despite what you’ve believed for the past six years. BUT I have to imagine that some of the biggest changes are happening right now, in these early days. It has been incredible to watch you grow this past year… probably even a bit sweeter because we had some rough times back in the olden days, when you were like three-and-a-half. Ugh, you don’t remember, but you were fairly nightmarish.

Moving on.

Academically, you learned so many things this year…

    • Basic addition and subtraction (your math knowledge just about equals mine now)
    • Introductory Spanish (I mean, how many people can sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” to their baby brother, in Espanol??)
    • Most importantly, how to read (still in progress, but you’ve come a long way from here).

But it’s your emotional growth that’s so incredible. (Wow, that sounds so therapistee.) Some examples…

    • You’re still not thrilled with fitted clothing, but instead of melting on the floor into a Puddle’o’Whine, you can articulate your discomfort and work it out.
    • You still struggle with holding the pen the right way, but instead of throwing writing implements across the room when frustrated, you realize that it’s something to work on. Progress!
    • When, for the first time, you told me that someone was mean to you, it’s so cliché, but I wanted to kick the shit out of that boy. Or at least let Happy Dude bite him. But you had a much better solution. You said, “I probably won’t invite him to my birthday party.” (Nevermind that this was in February and your birthday is in August. I respect that advanced planning.)
    • And lastly, you are not afraid to show your goofy sense of humor. More and more often, I see you doing and saying things just to get the laugh. I have NO idea where you get this!

Finally, let’s talk about my hopes and dreams for you. There’s really only one.

Stay true to yourself.

This is one of those annoying clichés that grown-ups throw around that’s impossible to understand until you’re the annoying grown-up throwing it around.

Here’s what I mean: for the first few months of school, you would often tell me that you played by yourself at recess and everyday, I would worry. “Does she have any friends? Why is she playing alone? Is she too shy to talk to the other kids?”

As time went by, I realized that this was completely 100% MY problem. You were totally happy to play your own games, in your own world, a world which was probably populated by puppies and dragons and frogs and lizards and dolphins. You were not concerned with what the other kids were playing or more importantly, with what they thought about you.

That? That lack of concern? HOLD. ONTO. THAT. As hard as you can. Call it indifference, call it confidence… call it whatever the hell you want. But just hold onto it so tightly that it becomes a part of you that cannot be lost.

It’s hard. It is SO hard to not care. Last week, you asked if you could get a haircut. Like all of it. You have wanted this “boy haircut” for over a year. But when the time came to do it, you hesitated for a moment because you wondered, “What if the other kids laugh because I look like a boy?” I held my breath for a second, but then you answered your own question, “I don’t care. I’ll just think it’s funny. It WILL be funny if I look like a boy!” And you did it. And the whole freaking salon walked over to check out the almost-six-year-old badass who was cutting off all of her hair.

Oh God, if I could just bottle that … MOXIE … I would save it all up and re-distribute it back out to you as you entered the pre-teen and teenage years where peer pressure and social norms and snotty bitches and assholey jerks (sorry, couldn’t think of a better descriptor there) try to SQUASH your spirit.

I promise to always remind you that YOU are fantastic and YOU are good enough. I know there will be days where you’ll roll your eyes at me and tell your BFF, “Oh puh-lease, my mom is like SO SUPER annoying!” but if a teeny tiny part of you believes me, than I am SOOO super NOT caring if I’m annoying.

So, I sort of lied when I said that I only had one dream for you. Because really, I have many. I want your life to be full of true friendships and solid relationships. I want you to be confident and pursue your ambitions with an unwavering belief that you will succeed. And I want those ambitions to be moral and beneficial to our world, somehow. I want you to want to make the world a better place for the people you love. And maybe even for people you don’t know.

But ultimately, I think staying true to yourself will lead to all of that. Because you are fantastic And you are good enough.

So that is what I hope for you.

Love infinity,

Mom

PS. Oh, and I hope you’re better at math than I am. Because it’s embarrassing when I have to text your Dad or uncle for help on some pretty basic stuff.

PPS. I hope you like Margaritas someday because it would be fun to drink them together. You know, when we’re friends. 

Dragon Parties & Pets

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The Loud One takes her birthday very seriously. She was born on August 22nd and she’s usually working on the plans for next year’s celebration by the 28th. Of that same month. August.

She’s starts by thinking about the party’s theme. For her 4th birthday, she considered an Animal Party, a “Backyardigans” Party, a Hide & Seek Party and eventually, she decided on a Pirate Party. It was totally manageable… except for the Epic Cake Fail.

This is the cake I made the night before. Snapped the picture, then took the “decorations” off the top so nothing would fall over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what the cake looked like the next morning. One hour before the party. I didn’t realize that the cake itself, would fall over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For her 5th birthday, she pretty much had decided on a Puppy Party from the very beginning. Easy! A couple of cardboard doghouses and we called it a day. And I rocked that cake. (And by “rocked,” I mean, “made something that I tried to copy off the Internet and it vaguely resembled a puppy.”)

Woof!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, this year, she turns six and over the past eight-ish months, I’ve heard all of the following ideas:

  • “Maybe we can do another Puppy Party with real puppies this time… and everyone can bring one home!” (Oh sure! The other parents will LOVE that! SO much better than the bubbles and pencils and candy and stickers!)
  • “I really want a Dinosaur Hunting Party! We can hide dinosaurs all over the backyard!”
  • “I’m going to have a Husky Party for my birthday. And my present will be a Husky.”

The latest conversation went like this:

LO: I really want to have a Dragon Party. With a real fire-breathing dragon statue. I can be Toothless and everyone else can try to capture me and try to train me. (For those of you uninformed, Toothless is the dragon from the movie, “How to Train Your Dragon”)

Me: Hmmm. I’m not sure that would be very fun for your friends.

LO: YES IT WILL! They can wear dragon costumes, too if they want.

Me: <pause> Have you considered an off-site party… like say, at Pump It Up?

LO: Can we bring animals there?

Me: No.

LO: Than how will I have a Dragon Party?

Duh.

Over the course of the year, she also works on her present wish list. (These lists often mysteriously disappear during the time between September and June, but she remains undeterred and just begins a new one.)

Her current list includes six things from the American Girl catalog that are all animal related (she tells me, “Did you know that the American Girls all have puppies? They’re so lucky.” And I’m all, “Are you kidding? Addy’s a SLAVE and Molly’s living through World War II! The only lucky one is Julie, because she’s growing up in the 70s and gets to wear funky clothes!”); a new basket for her bike; stuffed animals; and a pet hamster.

Now you should know, as she’s made these lists for the past year, the American Girl stuff comes and goes and she often forgets about the bike basket. But EVERY SINGLE BIRTHDAY LIST ever has included some sort of living creature. A hamster. A turtle. A guinea pig. It doesn’t really matter… her desperate desire for an animal companion has remained steadfast.

Wait, if it’s not already clear, her absolute FIRST choice would be a puppy. But she knows that’s not happening because of, um, you know, Daddy’s allergies.

Side note: I told her that having two little brothers is just like having a dog… they’re both constantly getting into her stuff, they poop where they shouldn’t, they like to go for walks and we’re constantly yelling at them, “STOP! Drop it! Sit! Don’t eat that!”

She didn’t buy it.

Here’s the thing… KJ and I aren’t really dog people. You know how dog-lovers say that they’re suspicious of people who don’t love dogs? Yeah, well, that’s us. We’re those shady characters that don’t daydream about adding a four-legged child to our family.

In fact, I’m suspicious of THOSE people who say they’re suspicious of people who don’t love dogs. Just because I don’t want my house to be covered in hair and my yard to be covered in poop doesn’t make me a serial killer. I mean, I’m not making plans to drop kick a small cock-a-poodle or anything; I’ve just never wanted one in my own house.

For those of you asking, “Didn’t you have pets growing up?” the answer is this: my family had a dog (Brady) and a cat (Twinkie) before I was born. Weeks after my birth, the dog died and the cat ran away. They clearly feared my domination.

When I was about seven, I got a parakeet and named it Pretzel. For weeks I tried to teach that bird to say “hello” by recording myself saying “hello hello hello” over and over again on my cassette player and then rewinding and playing. Rewinding and playing. Rewinding and playing. That stupid bird never said one damn word. And then it died. (This just occurred to me… is it possible I bored it to death? Well, whatever.)

DESPITE our sketchy animal history, I think it’s time we give in to our first-born. The Loud One’s passion cannot be denied any longer. (Not that it could ever be denied, given its volume…)

But we need help. We need some advice on the best starter pet for a six-year-old.

I have a few requirements:

  • It can’t require living things as food. I’m not storing mice in my freezer or accidentally dropping a bag of live crickets on her bedroom floor.
  • It can’t constantly smell. I understand that poor pet/cage hygiene may result in an undesirable odor, but it would be great if the animal didn’t naturally smell like poop or feet.
  • It can’t be too noisy.
  • But it can’t be too boring. (She would like to be able to hold it, so yeah, fish are out. Plus, we’ve already had fish. They were boring. And then they died. Are you sensing a theme here?)
  • She should be able to handle the basic maintenance (i.e. feeding it) herself.
  • It preferably bathes itself (and cleans its own cage/tank/home if we’re really being honest).
  • And it would be great if we could just leave it alone for a week at a time when we travel. I’d hate to bother any of you about pet-sitting. (Am I shooting to high here? FINE.)

So, I will await your suggestions. Comment here. Email me. Whatever. Just don’t mention this to her should you cross paths. And DO NOT buy us a puppy.

Thanks.

OH, and while you’re helping me out, if anyone knows how to build a real fire-breathing dragon statue, consider yourself hired.

NOPE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOPE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AW. Maybe.

There’s a Literary Genius in the House… and It Ain’t Me

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I’ve been working on two different posts lately… one about how I tell my kids it’s my #1 job to keep them safe but how in reality, things are sometimes completely and frighteningly out of my control and another about how sometimes I feel totally inadequate in all areas of parenting and life. (You know, just some light reading for Spring Break.) As you can imagine, both will be hysterical and uplifting and won’t cause you to have panic attacks at all!!

While I continue to sort out those comedic masterpieces, I thought I’d share some of the Loud One’s recent academic exploits.

Side note: my kids are really funny. And not in the “they have fantastic senses of humor” way, but mostly in the “kids are funny because they say things that are wrong or crazy and then we laugh at them” kind of way.

Like when The Nibbit was mad in the bathtub a few weeks ago and yelled, “The Loud One keeps kicking me in the pirates!” See? Funny.

So anyway, the Loud One and I are working on “Sight Words” at home. Words that, at this point of the Kindergarten year, she should be able to recognize, spell and use in a sentence. For the most part, she’s doing great. (According to her teacher at our recent conference, she’s reading at an 11th grade level and given her math and science skills, she should probably skip straight through to 4th grade. But we’re not crazy like that, so we’ll just keep her where she is and continue with our daily three-hour vocabulary drills.)

Anyway, some of these sight words include: if, and, an, but, can, am, if, not… etc. (I added “Fruit Loops” and “milk” to her list so that I don’t have to get out of bed in the morning. And “beer,” too as a tiny, little gift to her father.)

Well, we’ve been working on reading and writing these words and recently had the following exchange:

Me: Now, let’s practice the word “am” by using it a sentence.
LO: <blank stare>
Me: OK, I’ll give you some examples and then you’ll take a turn. “I am going…”
LO: <interrupts> … to the grocery store.”
Me: Great! How about “I am…
LO: “… hungry for some ice cream. But not mint. Just chocolate. With sprinkles. Can we have some? Pleeeease??”
Me: Hmm. We’ll see. But GREAT sentence. OK, last one. “I am feeling…
LO: … nervous about going into a cave. Because of the bats.”
Me: <Blank stare>

She’s taken this talent for description a step further and has now become obsessed with writing her own “chapter books.” I’ve given her a whole bunch of small notebooks and she is rapidly filling them with short stories, primarily about Huskies, but there is one about turtles as well. She’s usually in such a frenzy to get her thoughts on paper that some of her spelling and grammar suffers. But these stories are awesome. There have interesting characters, suspense and exciting plot twists!

Here’s a sample:

A Husky Sikness   

Wons thar wos a husky. He had siknis. He was onle a baby. The husky had tarubl siknis.  He coft and coft and coft. Sutly he medid a hors. He sed “BO.” Husky sed “You skerd me! You skerd my hikups awa!” He shawtd “Hra Hra.” The End.

 Translation: Once there was a Husky. He had sickness. He was only a baby. The Husky had terrible sickness. He coughed and coughed and coughed. Suddenly, he meeted [met] a horse. He said, “Boo.” Husky said, “You scared me! You scared my hiccups away!” He shouted “Hooray Hooray.” The End.

 GET IT? He didn’t have a tarubl siknis after all! It was just the hiccups!! Genius, am I right?

And one more:

Huske Folod The Ramboe

(Now, I’m pretty sure nobody’s messing with Sylvester Stallone in her story, so I’m going to guess she meant “Husky Followed the Rainbow.”)

Husky went on a bot. He soring to sink. He got biting by a sork. He was a hape sork, iksep he wos hongre. It hrt. Help! The End.

Translation: Husky went on a boat. He started(?) to sink. He got bitten by a shark. He was a happy shark, except he was hungry. It hurt. Help! The End.

I am pretty sure that the Husky’s quest for the pot of gold didn’t end well in this one but that’s what I love about it!! A surprise ending! The title sucks you in and then the story takes you in a whole other direction! Fantastic!

That’s it. In addition to over-sharing the boring minutiae of my life, my new goal for this blog is to find her a publisher. People, she’s got that special something.

 

Meet My First Born

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Tomorrow is the two-month anniversary of this blog. (You probably don’t know this, but two months is the “Alcohol Anniversary” so I plan on celebrating accordingly.) One thing I’ve heard over and over again is that I need to come up with better nicknames for my kids than using just their initials.

Well, it seems unfair to throw out some nicknames without telling you a little bit more about them. Now, I know what you’re thinking, six readers. You’re thinking, “They are my niece and nephews. I already know them. You don’t need to tell me anymore.”

But I want to. Because I’ve spent most of the past two months sort of, um, complaining about my kids on this blog and there IS a flip side. Approximately once a month, one of them doesn’t drive me crazy. So before I christen them with their new blog names, I want you to know them. Really know them.  I want you to feel my pain joy.

So, with this post, I’m going to start with my daughter, formerly known as C. She’s five-and-a-half…

Side note: She just celebrated this landmark half birthday over winter break last month. We were on vacation and she spotted half of a leftover cake from dinner the night before. She immediately said, “Oooh! Half a cake! I bet that’s for my half birthday!” (Shit. It wasn’t. But she was very happy to see a platter of halved Entenmanns’s chocolate doughnuts come her way after dinner. I mean, who wouldn’t be?)

… and she is kick-ass awesome. She’s funny, inquisitive and enthusiastic – as one preschool teacher told me, “She just has a zest for life that we don’t see very often.” I repeat that quote a lot because the teacher said it in such a positive way and sometimes I forget that her type of “zest for life” is a positive thing… mostly because it’s often such a LOUD zest.

She is a kind soul; she is always looking out for her friends, cousins, peers and most importantly, her brothers. I can’t imagine a better big sister. To be corny for one short sentence, it is her kindness that makes me the most proud. (And befuddled… how did we get such a nice kid?)

She’s unpredictable. She’s always surprising us with her choices and decisions and reactions. For Halloween, she opted to dress as “Toothless” (as in, the Night Fury dragon from “How to Train Your Dragon” … but you already knew that). Given the opportunity to choose any souvenir at the Disney on Ice show – they had Princesses and Lion King stuff out the wazoo – she picked a Woody doll. (Poor Woody was promptly dismembered by one of the boys and C surprised us by saying, “That’s OK. He’s still pretty cool without a head.”)

She’s also spirited, excited and inquisitive which yes, are sometimes code words for defiant, hyperactive and “doesn’t shut up.” But in both good ways and bad, she is passionate. Here are just a few things she’s passionate about:

  • Nature. She likes bugs and worms and frogs. A lot. Her favorite activity in Florida is catching lizards. Lizards who then, sleep next to her bed in a cage that’s not locked nearly tight enough for my standards. And despite the kindness I described above, she’s also fairly intrigued by dead things (bugs, worms, frogs, etc.) I’m hoping this doesn’t indicate a propensity for serial killing, but in case she’s reading this someday… we’ll love you no matter what, honey!
  • Animals. All animals, but she especially loves puppies. She especially, especially loves Huskies. She enjoys pretending to be a Husky. (Did this just get weird?) She likes to play Pet Store, where she is the dog and anybody else is the Store Employee or Future Owner of Her. A real puppy is nowhere in her future so she has started rallying HARD for a hamster. (She says “hamster,” I hear “rat.” Am I alone here?)

    She wants one of these, too. I told her it would eat her hamster.

  • Dresses. Loose, flowing dresses. Not because she’s girly and not because she’s a hippie. Simply because she doesn’t like restrictive clothing. (Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the understatement of the year!) She is passionate in her hatred for pants, jeans, shorts, skirts, shirts with long sleeves, shirts with short sleeves, shirts with three-quarter sleeves, sweaters, socks, shoes, boots, underwear, coats, hats, gloves, scarves and headbands.
  • Not being alone. Ever. Specifically, at night. She does not like sleeping alone. (This fact does not warm her father’s heart.) Sometimes we let her sleep in her brother’s top bunk as a treat. (This is a treat for her. Not for us. Because then Wrestle Baby commences at 5:00am.)

Of course, when this passion manifests itself in a negative way we get a World Class XTreme Meltdown, but those episodes have greatly decreased in frequency this past year. In fact, the changes we’ve seen in her since last summer give us so much hope that MAYBE, at this time next year, we won’t want to sell our three-year-old son to the highest bidder. (I kid! He’s awesome too! Please factor that in when submitting your offer!)

But positive or negative, her passion always manifests with VOLUME. This girl is the loudest kid I know. And before you ask, yes, I’ve had her hearing checked. Her hearing’s fine; she simply struggles with not screaming at all times. This volume control (or lack of) has been a problem since … birth. Wait, did I say “problem?” I meant QUALITY.

A few examples of things she screams about:

  • “YES! WE GET TO HAVE FRUIT LOOPS FOR BREAKFAST!!” (Every day.)
  • “YOU WASHED MY FAVORITE DRESS? YOU’RE THE BEST. MOMMY. EVER!!!”
  • “IT’S TUESDAY TODAY? FOR REAL LIFE? I LOVE TUESDAYS!!”
  • “G JUST SMILED AT ME! AND THEN DROOLED ON ME! AND THEN SMILED AGAIN! CAN I GO CHANGE MY DRESS BECAUSE IT’S WET NOW?!”
  • “I’M GOING TO BE A BABY HUSKY FOR HALLOWEEN!” (December)
  • “I’M GOING TO BE A BABY PENGUIN FOR HALLOWEEN (January)
  • “I’M GOING TO BE A BABY TIGER FOR HALLOWEEN!” (February)
  • “I’M GOING TO BE BABY HUSKY FOR HALLOWEEN!” (Last week)
  • “CAN WE HAVE ICE CREAM TODAY? YES?? THIS IS MY FAVORITE DAY IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD!!”

That’s my girl.

And so, it is with this quality in mind – her PASSION!! and yes, lack of volume control – that I christen her with the blog name:

The Loud One.

Poor Woody.

PS. Coming soon, introductions to the boys.