You have entered Level Three of Parenthood.

December 16, 2013

Many mornings, when I am wrestling my kids into snowpants, and some of them are still in pajamas and the bus will be here in 2 minutes, and one of them is singing so loudly I can’t hear what the other one is crying about, I know for sure that I am doing it wrong.

All this is often so stressful, and for what? Who knows? We love our kids, and hug them, and read to them (too much? are we reading to them too much? are we hugging them too much? loving them too much? yelling at them in that screechy way too much?) and you hope they’ll come back to visit you but maybe they’ll turn into murderers. Or at least turn into people who need a lot of therapy to deal with all that awful hugging from their mother.

And just when I’m about to leave because I know for sure I’m doing it wrong, they throw me a bone and do something so lovely and funny that I see that there is hope.

I should clarify that this whole cycle happens roughly once every ten minutes.

So last night I walked by Eli as he was spinning in the living room, flapping his arms. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Are you dancing?”

“No!” he said. “This is level three!”

Like that made any sense.

But then later, after dinner, Henry started flapping his arms in the living room, and moving slowly back and forth. “Level one!” he shouted, and the other three kids started running past him, trying not to get smacked.

Then Eli started spinning, arms out, while the other three ran past him. “Level two!” Henry got smacked. “I still have two lives left!” he said.

They had made their own living video game. Zuzu got 100 extra lives, because she threw a fit. Ramona ended up winning, because she’s so little that she can run under everyone’s flapping arms. And I know none of these things are directly resume builders, exactly, but it felt like we were doing ok, as parents, or at least as people creators, that they had made up this hilarious game.

And then later Henry was typing something, and when I asked what he was typing, he yelled, “It’s a secret!” and threw his torso over the typewriter. And maybe this is a violation of his privacy, but when he does that, I think, “Ok, I’ll just read it when you go to school.” Also, if it were that big of a secret, he might have hidden it a little better.

rules and things for understanding grownups | World of Julie

Henry’s rules for understanding grownups. Besides the fact that this makes me and Dave sound like old timey folks rocking in rocking chairs on the front porch of the general store, I think we’re doing OK.

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CATEGORIES: Parenting

“mushrooms (any kind will do)”

June 10, 2013

One of my most favorite parts of parenting is finding secret little things like this, which make my heart explode with love.

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CATEGORIES: Henry, writing

April is Poetry Month! Also: ravens.

April 1, 2013

Here’s a confession: I love reading (you knew that already), but I’m on the fence about poetry. Sometimes I…well, I don’t know what it’s talking about. I do love rhyming kid poetry, but I feel like I’m supposed to love esoteric non-rhyming poems about fields of wheat also.

I haven’t told my kids about this. I don’t want them to think it’s not cool to love wheat poems. Like I talked about a few months ago on Nerdy Book Club, sometimes I hand them books I think they’ll like and walk away.

It seems to be working. Last week Henry got a bright look in his eye, grabbed a pen, and churned out this thing:

Henry's poem Ravens in the WoodsThis poem I like. I want to hug it, even though it’s not a particularly huggable poem (also: paper is not very cuddly). This poem is the sum total of feeding your 4th grader a steady diet of books that he enjoys.

And yes, it’s bragging, but I’m super proud that he wrote this.

Happy poetry month, everyone!

CATEGORIES: Henry

So loud you can’t hear it

January 8, 2013

bullet points

I found this list while I was cleaning today. My thoughts (other than: Henry needs to work on his handwriting) are that there is a quiet poeticism going on in my 9-year-old that I only find out about when I find discarded papers under the couch. Secret poetic tidbits.

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CATEGORIES: Henry
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Make City! Destroy City!

November 23, 2012

List makers breed more list makers. Here is Henry’s list for today.

Note: I am now redoing everything, so this can be my daily list too.

Can I even tell you how much I love this?

My 9-year-old's list for the day | World of Julie

CATEGORIES: Henry

Photos: this week

October 17, 2012

The work around here continues to be colored by my knee. Apparently you don’t just have ACL surgery and then hop up the next day to do the hustle. It takes six months before that can happen (and then another six months of intensive dance lessons from Leif Garrett). And so, two weeks (and change) later, I am off crutches, but still in the giant knee brace, which renders me slow (and on stairs, slower).

So I’m still sleeping in the library off of our living room (note: this is an actual room; I’m not sleeping in the Little Free Library). Which makes it really hard to put the books back on the shelf, so the library floor is now taken up entirely by a mattress and huge drifts of books.

ACL surgery = many more messes (and ironic book placement) | World of Julie

We put the bathtub (tiny tiny bathtub) in our upstairs bathroom-to-be (tiny tiny bathroom-to-be). Progress!

Henry in our new tiny bathtub | World of Julie

Zuzu likes to take the camera and take 48 photos of toys she wants from a catalog, 22 photos of her feet, and 14 super-close photos of her own face. Dave swears she looks exactly like me in this one:

Zuzu, self portrait

And here’s one where she doesn’t look so serious:

Zuzu, self portrait

And with this post I further cement my role as The Blogger Who Isn’t Afraid to Show Her Messy House or Her Crusty Children.

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CATEGORIES: clutter, housekeeping, Julie

Children’s Book of the Week: The Scary Places Map Book

August 15, 2012

I feel like I need a new category for reviews: Books that Are Keeping Henry Unbelievably Occupied, But I Don’t Really Know What They Are. In that category I’d put The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat and Do Not Open and Fantasy: An Artist’s Realm. And now this book: The Scary Places Map Book: Seven Terrifying Tours by B.G. Hennessy, illustrated Erwin Madrid.

So, Henry will be 9 in a few days, loves the Goosebumps books (like any good almost-9-year-old) and is kind of obsessed with geography. In many ways, it seems like this book was made just for him. You have to find your way through magical map worlds to find secret (magical?) objects.

You know what? I can’t even tell you any more because he just stole the book back from me. I can tell you that, yesterday in the library, I handed Henry this book, and he didn’t lift his head out of it for 45 minutes. And then, on the walk home, he made Eli play an elaborate game where they pretended to be in the book. And they have, at this point, probably spent (honestly) 8 hours reading it since we got it yesterday.

I’m sorry I can’t tell you more. I can’t wrench it out of his hands. If you have a kid who likes maps, magical places, scary things, finding hidden things in pictures, and bookish adventures, your kid will like this book.

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Henry and Eli make a video

August 13, 2012

So, what do you get when you add two Star-Wars-obsessed kids, Legos, and a video camera? This. (Also: I feel the need to mention that they haven’t actually seen any of the Star Wars movies. So this is their version of Star Wars via, you know, book learnin’.)

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CATEGORIES: Eli, Henry

Henry’s Flute Recital

May 7, 2012

So it was just about a year ago that I said, “Henry, I really want you to decide on an instrument you like so you can start taking lessons” and he said, “Oh, I already know what I want to play! The harp!” At which point I tried really hard not to burst out laughing, and also tried hard to erase the mental image of Henry trapped under a harp, since he weighs as much as a sparrow.

But luckily he had a second choice: the flute. And even better, we found an awesome teacher, Carl Dimow. Last night was Henry’s first recital. He was very first on the program, and it was so fun to sit back and watch all the other people Carl teaches and get Henry inspired for all the different kinds of flute music he can play.

“Are you nervous, Henry?” I asked a few minutes before it started. “No!” he said with surprise. “I’m so excited!”

Here it is:

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CATEGORIES: Henry

Clean Your Room!

February 10, 2012

Here’s a passive aggressive little comic that Henry dashed out one day. In the first panel, Henry and Eli are in their room (bunk beds on one side, Zuzu’s mattress-on-the-floor on the other), saying “See, it’s clean!”

Then my hand is reaching for the doorknob, saying, “Let me check” while a kid voice says, “No, don’t!”

And then apparently the room wasn’t actually clean (yes, boys, I do check the closets), because the third panel says, “Back to work…” with the sort of shattered-glass background to signify great pain and suffering.

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CATEGORIES: Henry
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