6 Month Update!

Baby Pencil is now entering my favorite baby phase: 6-9 months. 9 months is my absolute favorite! Staring at her newborn baby pictures makes me really sad, but I am so over that postpartum and recovery stage. I’m now enjoying her little chuckles and blowing raspberries! We just had her 6 month exam and here are her stats:

Weight: 17 lbz 11 oz (70% percentile)
Height: 26 and 3/4″ (90% percentile)
Head: 43 and 1/2″ (70% percentile)


Since Toddler Pencil was a much bigger baby (90% percentile all around for about a year), I was kind of saddened by how much she’s slowing down. Aren’t moms so strange? We worry when our babies are “too big” or “too skinny” even though it really doesn’t make a difference! Her insane cheeks still make me feel like she’s a healthy baby overall.

Besides the usual adorable rolling around and being entertained by dust particles, it’s been harder to keep this one entertained. What does she like the most? Me! That’s me in her face, talking, laughing, reading, singing and playing with her non-stop. So that lasts about maybe 7 minutes before I start getting emotionally tired.

For Toddler Pencil, I was a WAHM so I was able to take him to nice (expensive) music and art classes during the day. We had trips to the mall, the zoo, the aquarium and other places that he has no recollection of. (Wonderful.) But since I’m now a SAHM and taking care of a toddler on top of everything, I barely have enough energy to grocery shop. I’m lucky if I remember to checkout my groceries in the time frame of my 2 hour free delivery window! Thank goodness for Amazon Prime Now.

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A Week in the Life with a School-Aged Kid

It seems like there is a lot of interest in seeing what goes on in the life of a school-aged kid, so I thought I’d share a snapshot of our week. This is a week in the life as a working mom of two, as a full-time telecommuter, with dual drop-offs and pick-ups. Mister Chucks is in his last year of preschool (I’m counting down the days!), and Lil’ Miss Louboutin is in 1st grade. We also have a few rules – no TV on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and no iPads until the weekend.

There were definitely some freedoms we took for granted as parents to pre-school-aged kids, such as not having to worry about spring, summer, and winter breaks because daycare covered them all. I still  remember the time a seasoned mom of teenage kids telling me, “life will only get busier the older they get.” My mantra “it doesn’t get easier, it just gets different” holds true today. The busyness of parenthood doesn’t ever go away – there always seems to be something – it just transforms as the children enter different seasons in their life.


A moment of peace

Daily – Wake the kids up by 7 am, get breakfast ready (usually oatmeal, cereal, or pancakes), pack lunches and snacks, and one of us will do drop off. We have a carpool situation set up with a neighbor where they’ll do pickup and dropoff one week, and we’ll do the other for our 1st graders, but that still leaves us with Mister Chucks. When it’s our week, depending on who has the more flexible/open morning, either Mr. Heels or I will put the kids in the car, pick up our neighbor’s daughter, drop Lil’ Miss Louboutin and her friend off at school (starts at 8:15 am, but we drop them off by 8:05 am), then drive an extra 15 minutes to drop Mister Chucks at his preschool.  By the time we get back home to work, it is 8:30 am.

A week in the life

Our week at a glance (as you can see, it’s a mad dash til bedtime)

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Deciding When to Start Kindergarten

Hi Hive! It’s been a while since I updated you on our lives. A fuller Tiger-Family-Catchup is in the works, but thought I’d first talk about our decision to do the opposite of red-shirting. K is in 1st grade now, and rocking it! His birthday is just after our district’s cutoff (September 1st), and falls within the window where you can request to test in “early” – to start Kindergarten just before turning 5. We chose to test for several reasons – he never had behavior issues at preschool, and would happily sit and work on class projects. The director told us she thought he’d be bored if he had to wait an additional year. He loved books and seemed interested in learning to read, recognized and could write all his letters, could count to 20,  and knew tons of animal facts.


K on his 5th birthday

We signed up for the test in the springtime, and it was scheduled for that summer. We didn’t have any real idea of what the test could consist of – we just knew there were math, reading, and comprehension sections, and that it was conducted in a room separate from the parents. There were no re-tests allowed, so my prevailing concern would be that he would be unwilling to talk to a stranger away from me. When it came time to take the test, he was very unsure about walking off with the teacher, but eventually consented. After they came back the teacher brought both of us into a separate room to discuss the results. She said he initially wouldn’t engage with her but she gave him time, let him color, and then tried again. He ended up passing all three sections with over 95% (the cutoff for early admission is 90%) and her notes on his maturity level indicated she thought he could handle it. The scores and her approval meant we could register him for Kindergarten in the fall! Any kids who test in have a 90 day trial period at the beginning of the school, and if the teacher thinks they should wait another year they can be pulled back out. Thankfully Kindergarten went super smoothly for K and he didn’t have any issues.

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Leaning on Our Youth to Make Change

In February of this year, 17 students lost their lives in a school shooting in Florida. This is something I am having a really hard time with lately, all the violence and ignorance that is being spread. I live in a sleepy and extremely safe town, but in the past few months we have had a number of racially and ethnically motivated incidences. I work on a large campus and last week we were on lock down due to threats to the safety of campus. I feel scared at work sometimes and I have played out how I would escape if I needed to. I worry that because of where I work, I am risking my life.

My kids are still too young to really understand what is happening in the world around them, and, even though I would like to educate them, I am also really aware of wanting to preserve their innocence. But the reality of the situation at hand is that there are horrible things happening all around us. I want to have them be prepared so that if they end up in a scary situation, they have some coping strategies. In towns all across the US, high school students will be walking out of class this week to stand in solidarity with Parkland High School in Florida. Mr. Cereal and I discussed how we would feel about our kids participating in these kinds of protests, and we both came to the conclusion that we would support our children standing up for the things they feel strongly about.

In high school I was focused on sports and making grades and little else. We were isolated in a bubble where the real world rarely trickled in and we felt safe. I remember when Columbine happened, and when Thurston High School happened, it was jarring because it was so close to us. But even with this, I never felt unsafe in my school.

Students today do not feel safe. This is beyond heartbreaking. It makes me angry that kids are dying, teachers are being asked to sacrifice their lives, and people in power are unable to listen to students and really hear what they are asking for. I can honestly say that I was not even aware of my own privilege as a child/young adult, and this really bothers me. I was able to ignore the scary stuff because it wasn’t happening to me. If and when LeLe comes to me as a young adult and wants to participate in events that express her moral code, I will support her completely. But I also want to have regular conversations with her and Little Bug to help them see that they have a responsibility as citizens of this world to be good, to make change, and to stand up when things are wrong.

We are on the edge of something here. The hopeful part of me is wishing that all of this movement by young people can help to make significant change. I don’t have the right answers, but I can do my minuscule part by trying to help my children to be good people who stand up for others. It scares me that in a year, LeLe will be going to kindergarten, and I can’t protect her there. The fact that she will be learning active shooter preparation makes me sick to my stomach. Something is wrong in our society that we see kids dying at schools and we are unable to make change to prevent this from happening again. I am tired of seeing memorials for 15-year-old kids. We have to do something to change this and to help our kids be the reason behind this change.

My Go-To Mom Phrases

Apparently, I have a few parenting phrases I use often because BeBe echoes the words back to me before I can finish saying them. I truly sound like a mom of a big kid. But, I stand by my phrases because they work! So, ha! Here are my mom phrases or “momisms” as we call them around here.

“Asked and Answered” When BeBe was in preschool she asked “why” questions all day long because she was curious. Now when she asks the same why question repeatedly, it’s because she’s not happy with the answer. Like when she asks why can’t we eat ice cream for dinner? BeBe would pepper me with questions like this until I lost my patience. We both disliked those exchanges. Finally, we talked about how once she understands the reason we made a decision, she should not keep asking why. If she wants to raise a new point, that’s ok, otherwise it’s rude. If she falls back into peppering me with why questions like why I can’t wear a sundress in January, and I’ve already given a response. I just say, “asked and answered,” and she understands she needs to stop asking, or really explain her point if she thinks we don’t understand.

“Three Things!” Here’s a typical scenario when I have to pull out this mom phrase. I’m in the middle of a project and BeBe insists she can’t find something, like shin guards for soccer. In her mind it is something she needs right then, which means I have to stop what I’m doing to find it. Predictably, the item is exactly where I said it would be, but she didn’t look carefully. It makes me crazy! Now when BeBe asks for something, she first has to tell me three things she moved to find it. She usually finds the item when she does move three things searching for it. She has also learned that if I find the shin guards in the exact spot I told her they would be, just underneath soccer socks, I’m not helping her look next time. Also, if we are late to soccer practice, she has to tell the coach why. The phrase is definitely working.

“Mom’s off the clock,” Ok, I stole this phrase from a close relative who’s a mom and I love it. Eight o’clock is bedtime in our house. (Although, we are probably going to push that back later for BeBe soon). Once I’m done helping the kids with homework, baths, books, or whatever they need for the evening, I’m off the clock. If I know one or both of the kids is truly not tired, fine. They can read to themselves or each other, get their own cup of water, play quietly with toys, or play Legos while my husband and I relax in the other room. But they know momma is not doing anything for them unless they are sick or hurt to the point of needing an ER visit, because “Mom’s off the clock!”

Starting Our Oral Immunotherapy Journey

I received this in my inbox the other day:

Hi Mrs. High Heels! Welcome to the Southern California Food Allergy Institute (SCFAI). It is our pleasure to inform you that you have reached the top of the waitlist. We are excited for you to join the Tolerance Induction Program at SCFAI – the largest and safest food allergy treatment center of its kind.

We have been on the waitlist for Oral Immunotherapy with one of the most innovative, renowned doctors in the field since April 7th, 2017, so it’s been nearly a year of waiting to see him. They have been working hard to build more efficiencies and whittle down the waitlist because the demand is so high, and have made it their goal to see 350 new patients each year. We were #778 when we signed up, so it sounds like they’re right on target.

In order to get started, I needed to schedule an initial orientation (via teleconference) to set expectations and answer any questions I might have. They also sent me a thorough and informative guide regarding the process as we entered treatment. They were clear, detailed, and upfront … already leaving a stellar first impression and instilling confidence in me as a parent putting my daughter’s life in their hands.

I N T A K E   P R O C E S S

The intake process is conducted over 2 visits. A patient’s first appointment typically lasts between 2-3 hours. During that visit, their physician and healthcare team will record the patient’s medical history, review prior medical records, conduct a full examination, and answer questions. Parents should anticipate that their children will undergo laboratory diagnostic testing, skin prick testing, lung function testing, and patch testing, at a minimum. Based on the results of these tests, the medical team will design a specific treatment plan for the child to overcome their food allergic disease.

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Back to Work

In October of this last year, I changed positions at my job. It was a huge change, but it has been amazing so far. My new position means that I am working directly with students, which is a dream come true for me, but it also means that I am working longer hours, I no longer am able to work from home on a regular basis, and I have to travel significantly more. But I am seriously the happiest I have been professionally speaking that I have ever been.

For me, the timing felt right. The kids are getting more self-sufficient and Mr. Cereal’s job is also transitioning, so he has been able to fill in the gaps that I have left. One of the things that I’ve found the most difficult is balancing the time I have with the kids, and the time I am spending on my job. I wrote early on here at Hellobee that I had chosen to stay in a job that was not fulfilling at all, but it meant that I was able to spend more time with my kids. And that worked for a long time, but with the completion of my master’s degree, I was itching to move up and start using my skills.

Within a month of changing positions, I had to travel to Chicago for work. Normally, this is probably not that big of a deal for most parents, but for me, this was the first time I had ever left Little Bug, and only the second time I had left LeLe. To make it even more complicated, I was still breastfeeding Little Bug and I knew that if I went to Chicago for a few days, I would probably lose my supply. When it came right down to it, the build-up of leaving was so much worse than actually leaving. The kids did just fine, I had fun and got to sleep alone in a bed for the first time in 4 years. It was a win-win.

I can’t help but feel guilty some of the time. Both for being away from the kids, but also because Mr. Cereal has had to take on a lot more and for some reason, this makes me feel badly. On the other hand, I feel incredibly powerful in my job. I am making positive and lasting changes in the lives of college students, I am expanding my network exponentially, meeting so many new and interesting people, and I am being asked to talk about the program I am working for at conferences and workshops. I really do think that even though this is taking some of my leisure time, I am modeling to my children that a career that makes you happy and fulfilled can be a really amazing thing.

I worry that I am missing things, but there is a really nice element of the kids actually missing me, which almost never was displayed before. I love talking to them on the phone when I am gone and having them tell me about their days, I love being able to tell them about the places I am traveling to, and I love that I am showing them how to work hard and be successful.

Have you experienced a similar change in your career? Please share your experiences. 

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