Google, my hero

M did in fact discover the answer to the mystery of the dishwasher child lock thanks to friend Google. While it may not know everything, it holds the key to many, many mysteries.

And in case anyone is curious or faces a similar situation themselves (hello Google searchers!), to unlock the child lock on a random, have no idea what model it is, KitchenAid dishwasher you need to hold down the Energy Saver Dry button for five seconds. Who know? Clearly not I.

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Please, I beg

Apparently we have a child lock on our dishwasher. I only realized this when I went to run it tonight and it blinked it’s little red light at me in a scarily evil way. “HA! You only THINK you are going to wash the dishes in me! Silly, silly human.”

For the life of us, we cannot figure out how to UNLOCK the child lock. Apparently it is ALSO an adult lock. If anyone out there has a similar dishwasher, and cares to share your expertise, my dishpan hands will thank you forever.

Parent Teacher Conference

Last week I had my first parent/teacher conference ever. Because C has been with the same kids for the past two+ years, and he is one of three children actually progressing onto kindergarten next year, I went into the conference pretty sure what the teachers were going to say. “Wonderful kid, blah blah, smart, blah blah, no worries, blah blah.” So I walked in, they handed my his report card to look over, and my jaw dropped to the floor.

“Do you have any questions Mrs. J-E?” the head teacher asked politely. I think I stared at her a bit blankly, as she started to speak in that soothing voice people use when they think someone is about to blow a gasket. “There is nothing we don’t think a little time and maturity won’t fix…” she trailed off.

“No, no, just give me a minute.” I replied. “OK. What I am actually very curious about is this check mark right here, the one that says ‘Can’t follow directions.’ Could you elaborate on that one please? Because really, that’s a bit of a shocker. Does he really never follow directions that you give him?” You have to give me points, I was trying to sound nice and calm and, well, parental.

“Oh, no, well, it depends. Let me give you an example. Yesterday we were working on kindergarten readiness skills with C and Z and A. They sat at the table with us while the other kids played, and we had them doing worksheets. And we told them to work on page one. And next time I looked over, C was working on page three.”

“Did he do pages one and two?” I queried, a little unsure whether we were talking about C finishing quickly, or about C not doing his work in order.

“Well, yes, but sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes we tell them to do page one and then he skips to whichever page looks the most interesting. But what we really want is for the children to all finish page one and then move onto page two when we tell them.”

“OK. I’ll have a conversation with him about that.” Which I will, I swear. But I have to say, not so concerned about that as really, this means that he should do brilliantly on the standardized tests.

Then the real bomb dropped. “But our bigger concern is that C is socially immature,” the teacher continued on. My jaw, if possible, scrapped the basement of the building. I blinked.

“He doesn’t know how to play with the other children. He doesn’t have any close friends, and he doesn’t know how to break into others play appropriately.” (I just might have whimpered right here.) “If he wants to play doctor, and the other children don’t, then he won’t compromise and play blocks, he’ll just go play doctor by himself. Or, if the other children are playing blocks and he wants to, he’ll hang back and not join in unless someone specifically asks him.”

“Is he MEAN to the other children?” I asked, a little afraid of the answer, as I’ve seen how he plays with A.

“Oh, no. They all like him. He’s just, well, he just seems to prefer the world of adults.” She paused and looked at her watch. “Well, that’s our time. Feel free to come back if you have additional questions…” and I was quickly ushered out the door.

I of course went into instant parent freak-out mode. My child, my wonderful child is not perfect. How does one react to that without the instant knee-jerk response of “You’re nuts! My child is fabulous! Who really cares if he does page three before page one!” or “So he likes the world of adults! It will serve him well in later years! He will spend his life having to interact with adults!”

And then of course there was the quick morph into “Oh my GOD. My child is socially immature. He will never have friends. This explains why when I ask him who he plays with he shrugs and tells me about the bird he saw out the window. Should I get him into therapy? Do I actually need to schedule playdates?”

I waited to write about this until I had calmed down a bit, because it was one of those things that I really had to take a step back and think about. Of course my child isn’t perfect. No one is perfect (that statement is brought to you by months of therapy). In the grand scheme of things, C’s issues are minor. No one is questioning his ability to perform in kindergarten. The children all like him. He has some issues focusing on his work in an appropriate manner. He needs to learn to give other children a chance to answer the teacher’s questions. All of that is manageable. But it still is hard to hear that your child is not as perfect as you think they are.

Hearing such things about your child is particularly hard, I think, when it resonates with your own experiences. Worrying that YOU caused them to have those issues is painful. Especially when you are still facing those issues yourself, and don’t really have any good ideas on how to help them through it. Finishing your work too quickly? I can help with that. Bring a book and hide it on your lap. Other children don’t want to play doctor right now? Broker a compromise where you play blocks first, then doctor. But other children aren’t inviting you to play with them? You don’t know how to make friends? I don’t know how to help with that, or at least I don’t know that my approach will really work well, given my lack of personal success in the area. And that hurts.

Christmas in March

We have started clearing out the random stuff left at the old house in anticipation of the closing. In the back corner of the attic garage this morning I found a box of toys that has been packed up for almost a year. I also found the missing Scrabble game that M and I have been wondering about every Friday or Saturday night for a year as well, although clearly we never made it off the couch to actually LOOK for it.

When I brought the box into the playroom and opened it up, you would have thought I was the conquering hero. The TV went off and the kids descended upon the toys like they had never seen a toy before. M and I just sat there and shook our heads. “Who knew a bunch of broken matchbox cars and puzzles would be so exciting?” we muttered.

Clearly, there is actually something to this whole toy rotation thing…

Who knew a flood could be so productive?

I arrived home from C’s weekly gab session with the lifeguard swim class to discover a flood in our basement. Yes, water is NOT our friend here at Chez J-E. Anywhoo, it appeared that the washer, which is virtually brand new in the grand scheme of home appliances over here, decided it didn’t want to spin anymore. I mopped up the mess, and then noticed that not only had the washing machine not spun, but the sink into which the washer empties was clogged up.

“Great,” I thought. “Now I need BOTH an appliance repair person AND a plumber. Plus, the only pair of jeans I own that don’t have a hole in them are IN the damn washer.” But then I remembered that there was a filter on the water pump that can get clogged, so I started to take the filter out, only to release yet another flood of water. At this point, I finally had the common sense to UNPLUG the pump before I got electrocuted. Go me!

Miraculously, once the filter was out the water quickly drained from the sink. I then decided to run the spin cycle on the washer again so I could describe to the appliance repair person exactly what happened. And to my surprise and joy, the spin cycle worked! Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I decided to just transfer the laundry into the dryer and forget about a second load of laundry. Plus, the dryer hasn’t been working all that well and it has been taking hours for the clothes to dry.

And then, the third miracle of the day shone forth. As I was about to turn the dryer on, I noticed that the heat setting was on low instead of high. I vaguely remembered being proud of myself a few weeks ago when I remembered to turn the heat to low instead of shrinking whatever that delicate item needing to be dried might have been. Clearly, however, I didn’t remember to turn the setting back to high when it was done.

So now that my sink is drained and my washer AND dryer are working, I am staring hopefully at the oven, hoping that lightning does indeed strike twice and I am shown why no matter what temperature I set it at, it defaults to 350 or so…because I’m greedy like that.

To the moon, and beyond

Today, eleven little space explores invaded our house to create some super duper astronaut bags,

search for moonrocks in a space capsule,


and of course, eat some birthday cake. In the process, they danced in Saturn’s rings,


mashed pretzels into the rug, peed on the upstairs carpet, and slide gleefully across the living room floor into the corner of the wooden bench. Fortunately, no boo-boo pack was required.

All and all, a wonderful time was had by all under the age of seven, especially by the birthday boy.

May C remember this birthday party for years to come, because my nerves are shot and it may be the last party he gets…

Maggie and the Beast

My kids are currently obsessed with Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. All day long they play Maggie. A is generally the Beast, and crawls around with “goulashes” (otherwise known as rain boots) on her hands and feet. C is generally Maggie, as she comes up with the “big ideas.” I am relegated to Hamilton, “because he cleans, Mom.” I have offered to be the Beast on many occasion, as what could be more fun than crawling around the floor with goulashes on your hands, but have always been told that no, I MUST be Hamilton. Only A or C get to be the Beast.

When M got home tonight, A begged him to play Maggie with her. When he asked who he should be, she thought for a moment, and then exclaimed “Why the Beast of course!” I was somewhat offended. Is M that much more fun than I that HE can play the Beast but I can only play neurotic Hamilton?

Snow? There is no snow.

I wish. It is snowing as I type. Sigh. Apparently burying my head in the sand like an ostrich didn’t work so well. I think we can at least get out and get through our morning, it sounds like the worst of the snow isn’t going to get here until the afternoon….

Overheard at the playground

As A is scaling a climbing structure labeled for 5 to 9 year olds…

7 ish- year old boy: “How old ARE you?”

A (staring him down): “I’m not going to tell you. I don’t KNOW you.”

And she scooted right past him and headed down the highest, most twisty slide on the playground.

7ish-year old boy: “Are you sure she should be here?”

Chichimama (with a shrug): “You saw her climb, what do you think?”

7ish-year old boy: “I’ve just never seen a baby who could climb…”

Visual DNA

As seen at Steph’s and Suzanne’s…..