Yesterday my brother informed me that people have been asking when I was going to write another blog post. Now, by people, I'm sure he meant himself and maybe two other relatives. It's not the like the whole world is crying out for more Same Old Shannon.
But nonetheless, I have been absent. And I feel kind of bad about that.
I don't have a good reason for my lack of posts, other than just that I can't seem to fall into a good groove of post frequency now that I'm not shooting for a post every single day.
Or I find myself wanting, or needing, to write a post about a serious topic, something like Depression or Failed Motherhood. But that's in the heat of emotions, and when the strong feelings dissipate, I think about writing the post anyway and I'm just not feeling it.
So maybe I need an easy gateway post to get me back into the swing of things. How about some random updates? Good?
Well, it's the third week of January, and we've been busy with a bevy of activities that I signed us up for in an attempt to combat Winter Madness (term from 30 Rock).
First up each week is a class I signed Nathan up for, which I'm embarrassed to admit is through a place called The Center for Gifted. I feel obnoxious suggesting that my kid is such a genius that he belongs in such a place. I have no idea if the child is gifted. Sometimes he shows some intelligence, but then at other times I have to think back to his in utero ultrasound to remember that he does, in fact, have a brain in his head.
But anyway, the classes at The Center for Gifted sounded sort of cool. For Nathan's age there is Science Spies, which he is totally into, and then he also has to take the partner class, Tales From Around the World. (They go together, surprisingly, because the teachers coordinate to create lessons where the math/science activities tie in to fairy tales. This session they're focusing on different variations of The Gingerbread Man.) The other thing is that the classes for older kids sound super cool, like Lego Robotics and Experiments with Toys, and once you've gotten your teacher recommendation (umm, yeah), you're part of the Center for life and don't have to go through the application process (which I'm making sound way more serious/daunting than it actually was) ever again.
We've had one week with The Center for Gifted, and so far I love it. They're all super positive there, and I thought they did a good job creating fun, challenging lessons.
But also! The Center for Gifted holds its classes at various rented elementary schools, and our closest one is almost 30 minutes away. It would be a waste to drive home in between the drop-off and pick-up, which means that every Sunday afternoon I have two full hours to sit at a nearby Starbucks with my two BFFs, Kindle and Laptop. (Also, side note: The people at The Center for Gifted actually sent an informational email suggesting that you might want to research coffee shops, libraries, and restaurants near the school so you'd have a place to go during the classes. I guess they don't think the parents are gifted enough themselves to have thought of this brilliant suggestion.)
Except! The Center for Gifted runs parent seminars during some of the sessions, and you're "strongly encouraged to attend." I feel kind of guilty not going, but these seminars are really cutting into my Starbucks time. Also, and I feel even guiltier admitting this, but I just can't deal with any more parenting "suggestions" at the moment. I'm really trying to focus on Nathan's behavior, and since that's not what any of the seminars is about, it seems like too much other stuff to stress out about when it comes to my parenting. Also I figure some of the tips will be aimed toward older kids anyway. And, on the one hand, I paid all this money for the classes, and I should take advantage of whatever extra help comes my way as part of the package. But, on the other hand, I paid these people a lot of money, and I can do whatever the hell I want.
So that's Sunday. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Nathan goes to his preschool, which is Not Going Well. I don't want to get into it, but Nathan's been acting up at school, I feel bad about my parenting, I think I'm a failure, this is all my fault, blah blah blah Shame Spiral.
We're going to try to combat the whole thing with a simple daily behavior report from Nathan's teachers, along with the good old parenting classics, Threats and Bribes. But honestly I just feel so troubled about all this, and powerless, and, of course, responsible. I want to be one of those moms who just thinks everything her kid does is awesome, and everything she does is awesome, and can't stop bragging about how much her kid loves school and loves learning and is so smart and all that. And instead I just end up feeling like a daily failure.
Whew, that got dark for a minute.
I'm wondering if part of the problem is that Nathan is too over-involved, because we also have him in story hour at the library and in a little class at this local place called World of Enrichment. Throw in our normal weekly activities like the gym and errands, plus a few special things like playdates, birthday parties, or day trips, and he is probably getting too tired and over-stimulated. But, on the other hand, it's the dead of winter, and we don't need a bunch of boring days stuck at home doing nothing, either. Again I find myself struggling to find the right balance.
As for my own personal activities, I'm working on training for the gym's indoor triathlon. This year I decided to take the training class, which meets every Saturday morning at the unreasonable hour of 7:00 a.m. I was pleased to find out that the other participants in the class weren't triathlon superstars, though, and are just regular people with their own fitness strengths and weaknesses. I'm the only person in the class who is sucky at running and okay at swimming, which I'm going to tell myself is an asset. Because, the thing is, I am probably more familiar with running than these other people are with swimming. After all, nobody ever has to swim to catch a bus.
Oh, and I hate to brag about myself, but since I've spent the better part of this post beating myself up, I think it's okay if I mention that I am the Women's 30-35 swimming record-holder for the gym's indoor triathlon, based on my performance at last year's triathlon.
Anyway, the triathlon training teacher gives us three totally reasonable "homework" workouts you're supposed to do throughout the week, and I'm still meeting with Trainer Jill, so that about sums up my life on the Fitness Front. The workouts make me totally hungry, and I make irresponsible food choices, so I am not doing so well on the Weight Watchers Front.
On the Professional Front, such as it is, I made my first foray into professional acting. I got paid to star as the mom of a depressed teenager for a psychology training video. In the final scene (spoiler alert!) I reveal that I'm also depressed, which was actually harder to pull off than you might think. But it was totally fun being in that video, and it made me look forward to acting again this spring in the community theater production of Jack and the Beanstalk. (I mean, assuming they cast me after the audition. Which they generally do automatically if you're over the age of 15.)
Also this week I am going to get paid to participate in a market research study about kitchen products.
Bill and I spent my hard-earned money on a fancy dinner out last night with our friends, and on the accompanying babysitter. It was so fun to be going out on Saturday night like the cool people do, and to sit through a dinner that lasted more than 30 minutes.
And I'm reading a YA book called Divergent, which is another book about a dystopian futuristic society. But the difference with this one is that it takes place in a run-down version of Chicago, whereupon Navy Pier is boarded up and abandoned. Which is something I wish would happen with Navy Pier in the present day.
That reminds me of somebody who hates Navy Pier a lot, my friend Katie! Remember how Katie and I call each other "G" or "G-Money"? So ... we made up a theme for our mutual birthday celebration next week ... Macaroni and G's! (Hidden side theme: wine.)
So that's what's going on in my life. Kind of a mixed bag, a lot of ups and downs. Also known as January. Also known as Life.