“This is just a drill”

How did your lockdown drill go today, kiddo?’
‘It was OK, but I just don’t like doing them.’

On Saturday, March 24, thousands, if not millions, of students and their supporters marched and took a stand against gun violence. I’ve been contemplating airing my thoughts on this topic for quite some time but have never been able to put everything together in a cohesive manner. So, while this post may be a bit of a jumbled mess, I think it’s still an important matter to address as a parent …

Never did I think growing up that there would be more than just fire drills at school. What has happened to society where it is required for students of all ages to practice lockdown drills as well?

The quote at the top of this post is actually an exchange between Isla and I, about a month ago when her school had their second lockdown drill of the year. I can understand why a 5-year old wouldn’t like doing the drills, and I have to give her teacher so much credit for being able to calm the imaginative minds of 20 kindergarteners during these drills. When I asked Isla what she thought of them, she said, “It makes me feel like there’s a savage animal in the school…” It’s a sad truth when it happens for real.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to explain to children why they need to have these drills to begin with. Once upon a time, fire drills were the only thing we were required to practice two or three times a school year “just in case.” To now have to practice being quiet and pretending your classroom is empty incase there’s a “savage animal” in the school that wants to hurt you … it’s just heartbreaking.

It hurts that society has come to a place where these drills have to happen, and so, so many things need to change before our children can go back to just practicing fire drills. There needs to be more than just finger pointing to stop these tragic events from reoccurring. How many more people need to die before the US government goes, “Okay, enough is enough?” Lives matter more than centuries-old amendments.

I hope that one day my daughter won’t have to do lockdown drills and that she can go back to not liking normal things, like roasted broccoli and cleaning her room. That one day she doesn’t have to worry about savage animals running through the halls at the school. That one day we can go back to just having fire drills.

One day needs to come soon.

Spring Break Goals

While there may still be s buttload of snow kicking around, the first day of spring is technically tomorrow (March 20) and Spring Break starts today!

Our school district decided (thankfully!) to switch back to Spring Break being only one week instead of two; why on earth they thought parents would be okay with two weeks off is beyond me, but that’s neither here nor there for me. I’m lucky enough to not be working while Isla’s off school, but that doesn’t mean I plan on sitting around at home and letting her watch TV and play on the iPad until she’s a vegetable.

I’ve put together a list of things I’d love to be able to accomplish with the girls while we have the week off together:

  1. Go out for breakfast. I’m thinking I’ll be “mean” just one morning and make Isla wake up as if she’s going to school, only to take her and Norah out for breakfast. While dining out with two kids is probably going to be a regrettable life choice for me, it will be a nice treat!
  2. Unplug & Play. Chapters-Indigo is hosting fun, free events all throughout Spring Break, so I may take the girls down to our local store to partake in one of them. I’m thinking the Unplug & Play one featuring Play-Doh will be great for both girls, and then maybe after that’s done I’ll let them pick out a new book to buy.
  3. Play dates. Isla has been BEGGING me to set up playdates with various friends from school and dance, so if I don’t follow through I’ll never hear the end of it.
  4. Dollar Store adventures. Is there anything better than Dollar Store crafts? I think not! There’s tons of options for the girls to choose from and can easily occupy them for an afternoon. And? THEY’RE A DOLLAR. I mean, come on!
  5. Movies. We’ve been watching the same movies on repeat for a while now, so I’m thinking I may treat the girls to a movie they’ve never seen and we’ll cozy up on the couch with some popcorn one afternoon.
  6. Jump 360. This is probably the best place ever to take the girls to burn off energy for a couple of hours. They have a couple chunks of time set aside for just kids 5 and under so I don’t have to worry about them getting hurt by some older kid not paying attention.
  7. CookingFor whatever reason, Isla has taken an interest in making dinner. I let her help a couple weekends ago and she was pretty dang proud of herself, so I thought I’d maybe let her help plan dinner for a couple of her days off.

I have no idea how much of that we’ll actually accomplish, or what else we may get up to during the week, but I’m looking forward to Isla being able to recharge a little bit before getting back to a busy schedule next week.

What are your plans for Spring Break?


Parenting Pro Tips, Edition 2

Need some sage advice? You probably won’t want to look to this post then. Need some tongue-in-cheek humorous Pro Tips? Read on as I got your back, fellow parent!

PPT #1: Snacks are the best silencer
Nothing is more annoying that going grocery shopping with your kids and having them beg and plead for every damn thing they see in the aisles. No, child, you may not have whole wheat Kraft Dinner, (we’re KD purists in this household, yo, and it’s Original or bust, obvs.) and no, you may NOT have Fruit by the Foot. (Although I’m amazed that they still make those!) The best way to get them to not ask for ALL THE SNACKS is to give them a snack to eat while you shop. They’ll be too busy stuffing their faces that they won’t have time between bites to ask you to buy food.

PPT #2: Let them learn from their mistakes
I’m not saying to let them ride their bikes without a helmet to prove what head injuries feel like. I repeat, I am NOT saying that! But say it’s -30° outside and they REFUSE to wear their mittens. Nothing makes a kid more obsessed with mittens than experiencing freezing cold hands. Not too long ago it was super windy and cold and my youngest refused to keep her mittens on for longer than 30 seconds. Not too long after (I’m talking maybe 10-15 minutes, tops) she was sobbing because her hands were cold. I shoved her mittens back on and wrapped them in a blanket to warm them up, and ever since then she’s been OBSESSED with wearing her mittens outside. Success!

PPT #3: Travel at night
I’ve personally have never travelled for longer than 4 hours in a vehicle with my kids, but I’ve heard numerous times from several different families that when covering long distances, travelling at night is the way to do it. It totally makes sense too; it’s their natural “sleep” time, so if they don’t do so great sitting still for long periods of time, hate the carseat, get car sick, etc., why not drive at night when they’re most likely to sleep? Take shifts if you’re driving with someone else, and you should *hopefully* be able to get to where you’re going without having to hear “Are we there yet?” 50,000 times.

PPT #4: Be a veggie ninja
I’m lucky enough to have two kids who will eat pretty much any vegetable I put in front of them, however, there are some foods that I have to be a little more creative with. And by creative I mean deceitful. Cauliflower rice? Nah kid, that’s just “fancy” rice! Those onion bits in your homemade macaroni & cheese? That’s just a special noodle! Those greyish bits in your meatloaf? Those aren’t mushrooms, it’s just the way the ground beef looks. Get what I’m saying?

PPT #5: Mute the madness
Ever notice how children’s toys are the NOISIEST? I find that the cheaper the toy, the more annoying and loud it is, regardless of the volume control. (I swear, “Low” is actually 230dB.) The trick to making those toys quieter while still allowing your kids to properly play with them? Packing tape. If you can take the toy apart without wrecking it, stick a piece of clear packing tape over the speaker holes, and then put it back together. You kid will still be able to hear Mr. Robot to fire up the missiles, but you won’t want to stick those missiles up Mr. Robot’s output hole after he says it for the thousandth time. You can also stick the tape on the outside if you can’t safely open the toy up, but mine have always eventually peeled the tape off. (I now keep packing tape in stock at all times.)

So there you go. You’re basically a pro at parenting now too.