Facebook Archive - February 2019

Feb 2 - Today’s widow win is setting up Rich’s AppleID so that Ian can text his dad without bothering whoever got Rich’s phone number. That involved knowing all the answers to his secret questions like where his parents met, what model his first car was, and who his best friend in high school was. 

Ian was surprised the other day I couldn’t tell him when Daddy learned how to blow bubbles with gum. “It didn’t come up in the 20 years we knew each other, sorry. So sometime between birth and 27?”

Feb 6 - Ian: “Tell Facebook! This is a big deal!”

Ian found a dime on the floor so he could get two pieces of gum at the local store. He put them both in his mouth at once (like Daddy used to do) and then BOOM! He blew a bubble. A huge one!

So let it be known that Wednesday, 6 February 2019 CE at the age of 9.25 years old, Ian blew his first bubble with gum. I’ll make sure he tells his future spouse.

Feb 8 - Smart Kid Update:
Thank you to everyone for reaching out with your stories and advice. It's been helpful beyond measure. Not only are there close to 200 comments on my previous post (which can be super confusing to navigate, so thanks for hanging in there through all that!) ... but I had many people reach out to me privately with very personal stories they weren't ready to share publicly. 

I hear all of you. It's a wonder we all survived. Good job, everyone! 

The TL;DR of all this is that Ian is deeply unhappy at school. He told me yesterday that he goes to school every day worried that someone is going to fuss at him. And that the things they fuss at him for he can't control or even understand. That's no way to live.

I have a meeting with the principal next Friday. She's gathering information from Ian's teachers. I'm gathering information from Ian. And we will compare notes. And hopefully they can do better by him. 

Regardless of what the elementary school can do, I will do right by him. With all of your help, he is gonna be just fine.

Feb 15 - Smart Kid Update: 

I met with the principal this morning. She is a very reasonable person. She gets it.

Ian will be able to eat lunch with 2 of his friends in the main office. There are already kids eating in there as part of a Lunch Bunch. These are kids who need a little respite from the hectic nature of the larger lunch room. I think he will enjoy that.

He will not have his bathroom needs restricted or discussed in class. He will get a bathroom pass card he can just wave at the teacher and leave. When he comes back no one will give him grief.

The principal will go over with the teachers how to address gifted children. That like any special needs child, there are some behaviors you refocus and direct and others you just plain ignore. She noted that they should already know to do that but may need reminding. This should help Ian not feel so picked on.

Ian will be able to leave 3rd grade and go to a 4th grade class for portions of the day. She has to coordinate the schedules for that as well as decide which 4th grade teacher is best for him. She will investigate what's involved in having Ian skip a grade if he stays at Bayview.

She will talk to the principal of the Academy for Discovery at Lakewood (ADL) school in Norfolk. ADL is an application/lottery based system for 3-8 grades. We just didn't know about it (which bothers me, but water under the bridge). Entry points are only in 3rd and 6th grades so he's technically not eligible anymore, but she's going to talk to the school superintendent about making an exception. 

She still met with me even though her father died this week and she's been out making the arrangements. I told her Ian was very sympathetic to her loss. 

I dropped off the teacher recommendation forms with her for Ian's application to Norfolk Academy. The principal was resistant to it since she wants to find us a solution within Norfolk Public Schools. And they'll still fill them out. 

I have a meeting with the head of admissions at Norfolk Academy on Tuesday morning to go over Ian's application and any questions we both may have. 

We have a game plan and it's a solid one. Ian will get help with lunch, freedom of movement, and boredom at least through the rest of this academic year. And we'll wait and see what is in store for next year.

Feb 16 - He stuck the landing on the exam table. Dxed with ear infection. Sleepover postponed in favor of abx script and soup

Feb 19 - Because Norfolk Academy still splits out 4th grade into girls and boys, there has to be a boy opening for him for next year. There are only 40 slots total. We just have to wait and see if something opens up. 

I'm pretty zen about it, though. Ian has some tools to get through this year, and we have some options for next year to explore. I won't be busting knee caps of any 9-year-old boys at NA to make a space for my kid.

Feb 19 - Ian was super worried this morning if he would be allowed to bring his Kindle to school. "It's technically an electronic device, but I really want to read the book on there!" I told him I would fight anyone who took it from him (possibly physically). 

I also learned that he hides his drawings from teachers because he'll get in trouble if he draws anything that has zombies, monsters, or weapons. "It's a good thing they put me allll the way in the back of the room by myself or else I never could have made that Tofu Ninja drawing."

Feb 19 - I was gonna take him tomorrow, but we went to Build-a-Bear tonight and got an Eevee with a voice thingie and Pokémon pjs.

Feb 21 - Ian pulled out his phone to start a game while we waited for the dental hygienist. As soon as he started, she opened the door and called his name. 

Me (apparently channeling Rich): “Like lighting a cigarette when you’re waiting for formation.”

I can’t wait for Ian to use that example at school. 😊

Feb 21 - Ian had lunch with the principal today. Like they sat together and chatted in her office. He told her he was a big history nerd and that he loves “Oversimplified History” videos. She wrote it down and will check it out. 

He also got to visit the fourth grade for a bit today. He was excited about the worksheet he completed there all by himself on simplifying fractions (21/28 is 3/4).

He also insisted we bring Eevee with us to the dentist. He told her all about the Korean War in the car. I agreed to hold her while he went back for his checkup. 

I don’t go back with him and he covers any issues he has. He brought up his teeth grinding with the dentist on his own. We’re going to hold off on a guard since he still has so many moving teeth. Ian nodded approvingly. 

I asked him what they do in his social studies now. Like which time period. 
“We just sorta cover money.”
“Like economics?”
“No. Like counting money.”
“Oh.”

I can picture my kid stuffing his lunch in his face with his legs crossed all intently and telling the principal about the Cold War. He needs that time and so does she.

Feb 23 - Ian is having a friend for a sleepover. He came downstairs holding his Civil War musket in tears. The friend had accidentally sat on it and broke it. 

It can be fixed easily with some wood glue and the vise, but both boys were very distraught. Ian was crying because he got the musket from Princess and that makes it precious. The friend was crying because he felt awful for breaking it (and possibly afraid of being in trouble for an honest accident).

I’ve consoled all the children in the house. I’ve promised a trip to Home Depot tomorrow for fresh wood glue. I’ve texted Princess to request a lunch date for us all.

Feb 27 - (At the breakfast table this AM)

Ian: “If you could have any super power, what would you want?”
Me: “I’d like to be able to teleport.”
Ian: “So if I make you late, you could just ‘Bam!’ and be at work?”
Me: “Well, yes. And. I could have lunch with my friends in Hong Kong or the Philippines more easily.”
Ian: “But what if the teleportation failed and you were stuck in space forever??”
Me: “You said superpower, not device. If it’s a superpower, it’s part of me, not a machine I designed that could fail. I just won’t teleport if I have the flu.”
Ian: “But you have diabetes!”
Me: “I doubt my endocrine system is the thing keeping me from teleporting.”

Facebook Archive - January 2019

Jan 4 - We got to Wintergreen ski resort (the last five miles in very dense fog), checked in, brought all our stuff up three flights of stairs (it took three trips), parked the car, unloaded the cooler, marveled at the snow, took our pills, and crawled into bed. 

In the darkness, Ian rolled over and put his hand on my arm, “You don’t have anyone to share an anniversary with anymore.” 

I just started laughing at the ridiculous timing of his comment. 😂😳😒Thanks, kiddo.

Jan 5 - Our ski day started out less than ideal because I felt anxious about having to be THE ADULT for everything and guide my kid through it all when I haven’t been on skis in over 20 years. That’s one of those things not in the handbook. There is no other adult to share any emotional load. When your own kid is worried about everything new, you don’t have the luxury of worrying yourself. 

My Hot Young Widows Club helped me get going as well as a Xanax I scrounged out of the depths of my purse. We had our lesson from 11-12:15 and kept skiing until 1pm. We took a break for lunch where I promptly fell asleep on the couch. 

Ian was dragging me back out the door at 3pm and we made it back to the room right before 7pm. It was exactly *right* before Ian had a meltdown from exhaustion and *right* before my blood sugar went low. We totally stuck the landing. 

We’re in our underwear on the couch again eating random things for dinner (fried rice, a shrimp ring from Costco, leftover Christmas cheese, the other half of Ian’s burger, a honey crisp apple, LOTS of Gatorade and water). 

We finished our last run and were riding the lift back.
Ian: “On a scale of 1-10, how did I do?”
Me: “Um ... I’d say a 14.”

I only fell once. Ian fell maybe five times but one of those was on purpose because he picked up too much speed. I am so stinking proud of him. 

I had to get three people to help me get out of my boot. This is fine as I’ve never met a stranger. It was funny to have the two young men I first approached desperately want to rescue me with the “strong fingers” I proclaimed them to have. The rental guy explained I unbuckled in the wrong order and he fixed it with his deft tiny little fingers (and experience).

We’re sweaty, muddy, and exhausted. And we had a great day. We even had a rainbow!

Jan 7 - Ian (heading towards me from the couch): “Hey mom, I wanna show you this. It’s really funny!”

Me: “Are you about to bring your iPad 4” from my head to show me a Vine video of someone screaming something I can’t understand?”

Ian: *turns around and goes back to the couch*

Jan 7 - Ian wants me to wear the Chris Pronger 2010 winter classic jersey to the game tomorrow. It was one of 11 Flyers jerseys I had to choose from that were Rich’s. I also counted 40 other jerseys in the jersey closet. (We have a jersey closet.)

Jan 8 - Me: “Can you not start any shit? With old men? Please?” 

It was a great game and an exciting ending.

Jan 9 - I do things to help mitigate anxiety in our tiny household. I printed up this crib sheet for Ian to hold that listed all our stops between Tysons Corner and Metro Center so he could follow along. It helped a lot. And his not pestering me about stops, it helped me too.

Jan 14 - We were talking about how long Ian’s heated mattress pad stays on for.
Me: “I dunno. I think eight hours?”
Ian (shaking his head as he walked off to brush his teeth): “I don’t know what kind of person only gets eight hours of sleep.”

Jan 16 - My new Vans are men’s size 8.5. Ian’s new Vans are men’s size 8.

Jan 19 - My kid is definitely more of a warrior character class versus a scout, but we finished a 5K “cookie run” with Laura to support the Girl Scouts this morning. There were cookies at all the way stations! And the medal is adorable.

Jan 23 - Ian is eating peanut shells and this is basically proof he is Rich Stryker’s son. 🤢 (Rich ate the shells of his peanuts in the Army so he didn’t have to police them.)

Jan 24 - Ian just asked if he could get “trench hand” from being in the tub for too long with pruny fingers.

Jan 25 - When my kid tells me he’s SO HUNGRY, I make sure he picks something I also like so I don’t mind finishing the 75% he can’t when he’s SO FULL.

Jan 29 - I had Rich’s t-shirts turned into lap blankets for me and Ian. The price and turnaround time from Project RePat was amazing.

Jan 30 - I know some parents restrict kids’ internet access because of sexual predators or violence. I just want to keep my 9yo off WebMD.

Facebook Archive - December 2018

Dec 4 - Ian just lobbied that children should take their mother’s last name because she’s the one taking all the risks and enduring all the effort to bring them into the world. ❤️

Dec 9 - Ian’s #lunchboxnote from the other day came back torn and that’s not usual. I asked him and he said, “I was trying to find the answer and wondered if maybe the card got stuck together so I ripped it trying to open it.” The whole lunch table agreed this was the best plan. 

Dec 11 - Ian and I had a discussion last night about emotional labor. While he is 9 and I am the parent, one day he will need to handle a lot more stuff. It would be great if he could do more than just his own stuff, but contribute to his household versus expecting his partner to manage it all and provide directions, reminders, and deadlines.

Ironically, while we were talking this through, my phone went off with the quarterly reminder to replace the batteries in the dogs' collars (our dog door has a proximity lock). It was a great example of the weight of things to remember and manage. 

No one notices when or if the dog collar batteries get replaced, but there would be a crisis if the dogs got locked outside in bad weather because of a dead battery. 

If you'd like to share your version of the batteries you've quiet replaced without recognition, we're here for you with cheers of gratitude and love.

Dec 14 - You guys!! Ian got a letter back from Santa! It even smells like peppermint!

Dec 17 - Ian: “... my emotions let me have sympathy for people, and I mean a lot of sympathy ...”

Dec 21 - When I left to go country line dancing last night, Ian asked when he could come home from my folks’ in the morning. 
“I have to work at home so I’ll be up.”
“So like 7?”
“Sure.”

I made a point of setting my alarm for 7am so I’d be awake. I got a text at 7:01am. 

I can put on pants and shoes, walk to the end of our street, and untangle a shoelace from the gears of a bike in under five minutes. 

Technically, sunrise wasn’t until 7:14am so we did all that pre dawn. I’m gonna clean the grease off my fingers and make coffee.

Dec 22 - I had the intention of lighting a bonfire on Solstice night, but instead took Ian roller skating and then fell asleep in his bed. Maybe we can celebrate the second longest night of the year.

Dec 22 - Today has not gone as planned. Ian threw up three times this morning before Phenergan did its magic and he passed out. By 2pm, my mom came over so I could grocery shop for Christmas. I spent a zillion dollars and am still not sure what we’re gonna eat for dinner tomorrow. But we’ll eat like gods on Tuesday. My mom wrapped the presents Ian bought for me yesterday while I was gone and she may be the best present wrapper on Earth. She’s coming back with bigger bows in a few days! 😍 We had pastrami sandwiches from the French bakery on Granby street and split half a rum ball that is strong enough to make you shiver. I doubt I’ll have a bonfire tonight because Ian won’t want me to light stuff on fire without him. Plenty more dark nights to fill with light ahead.

Dec 25 - This Christmas gets a most improved over the last two years. Ian loved all his presents and was genuinely surprised. He was even more excited to watch me open my gifts from him. He wanted there to be gifts for everyone and we adults have sorta set that practice aside. Maybe we’ll revisit something like a Secret Santa in the future. 

Dinner was good but some dishes didn’t come out as tasty as I wanted them too. Good thing we have twelve days to work on this stuff. I’m making fresh corn pudding and patticakes tomorrow. 

I’m physically tired and a little emotionally weary too. I miss Healthy Rich. That guy was great. He would have really enjoyed today. 

Ian got a Flyers jersey from Uncle Lee and Granddad that fits perfectly. And he was gobsmacked that his big present from me is center ice tickets to a Flyers vs Capitals game in two weeks. I’ll have to get a Gritty t-shirt. 

Ian got me two things I specifically asked for (a spring form pan and a butter dish), but he also got me two things all on his own. A journal that says “life is not measured by its length, but by its depth” and my very own “sick blanket.” He missed a day of school last month and when I went to get him cold meds I picked him up a super plush blanket and called it his “sick blanket.” He wanted me to have one too.

He’s not perfect. He tried to cut open a hand warmer packet with scissors at 9:50pm and covered my kitchen floor in whatever toxic charcoal alien shit is in them while I was actively trying to finish cleaning up so we could go to bed. But he’s pretty damn great.

Dec 26 (from our neighbor Rachel) - Seems strange to post on FB when I can look through my window into your but your Christmas post reminded me to tell you how much I love your kid. He stopped by to play with Joey at the perfect time yesterday. There was a little sunlight left and Joey was exhausted but bored. Ian is so kind and polite. He told us all about his presents then listened to Joey talk about his. I gave him a Christmas card and he was genuinely grateful. I watched him and Joey through the window for a bit. Ian was patiently showing him some skateboard tricks the grass. U could tell he was being cautious of joeys safety. He’s so sweet and able to have a good time with Joey despite the age difference. Joey adores him! Merry Christmas!

Dec 28 - We visited Granddad and Uncle Lee in Richmond this afternoon. Lee gave Ian a bag of Rich’s Hextall cards, showing him how Rich taped one to each of his goalie sticks as part of his ritual. I had forgotten all about that and Granddad didn’t know about it at all. It takes all of us to remember each of the parts of the elephant.

Dec 30 - We’ve decided to try out “bark & bulbs” after work on Thursday. I suggested we only take Dante because Mollie gets tired, but Ian was adamant. 

“It’s just like if I were 60 and [his cousin] Harrison were 40 and there was a Minecraft convention and you only wanted to take Harrison even though we’d both like it just because I’m older and would get tired!”

So we’ll be taking both dogs. Feel free to join us if you wanna mosey with us old folks. 😂

Dec 31 - “Ooh, stuff is getting intense!” Ian is writing a comic while the dog seeks comfort from the fireworks. I’m yawning. Happy new year, everyone!