Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thirty nine, and feeling fine.

This past weekend I reached the ripe old age of thirty nine. In the car on the way home from school, Geekygirl was asking me how old I was, and I told her that I was thirty eight, soon to be thirty nine.

"One day I will be thirty eight. Then I will be a grown up" Geekygirl informed me.
"Then there will be three grown ups in the house and one baby. Me, You and Daddy will be grown ups, and Geekyboy will be a baby"

"Well" I explained "Actually when you are thirty eight your brother will be thirty six, and you will probably both live in your own houses by then"

"Oh" She replied, then the conversation ceased. She piped back up a few moments later. "Mummy, can you stop me?"

"Stop you sweetie?" I enquired, puzzled.

"When I get to thirty eight. Will you stop me, so I stay thirty eight?"

If only!

I found it poignant that she is aware already that birthdays, those most wonderful much anticipated days at three, four, five, six and beyond, may at some point become not such a good thing.

Not that I want to stop time, I'm quite OK with being thirty nine, though it sounds odd, a person much older than I feel. I remember an episode of "Friends", I think the one where Rachel turns 30, where she realizes that if she wants to have kids before she turns thirty five with a man that she marries after dating him for a couple of years, then she needs to meet that guy RIGHT NOW". Birthdays bring on a little introspection in me, and I feel so grateful that I have Geekydaddy and the kids, that I squeezed them in after my extended carefree youth. I feel that I got to have my cake and eat it too, life wise.

Thirty nine rolled around as predicted. I had a long planned (by Geekydaddy) evening out to look forward to. My good friends were all available, Italian restaurant booked, with the intention of hitting my favourite gay piano bar afterwards, I had new pair of shoes that made me feel young and hip to wear, and freshly manicured nails. The babysitter had long been lined up. Then, the day before, I got an email from her telling me that her boyfriend had being diagnosed with H1N1 flu. She was OK, but was potentially incubating it. What to do? Of course, no sensible mother would invite a potential swine flu infected babysitter into their home. But it was my birthday and I was so looking forward to this night. Dejected, I considered my options.

I imagined the headlines "Selfish mother has critically ill kids removed from her custody after knowingly leaving them with sick babysitter", and hit up my parent group contacts. I struck gold, and found a lovely woman who the kids adored on sight, and we had our grown up night out, old and new friends, great conversation, and boat like cocktails swilled down while watching flamboyant young men pounding out Bonnie Tyler ballads while draped across a copper topped piano.

And I even managed to feel well enough the next day to take Geekygirl to ballet. Now that is a sign of maturity!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

the morning routine

In the the fabulous story of "the day the goose got loose" the narrator tells us "When the goose got loose, my dad was annoyed. He said it wasn't a day he enjoyed. His morning routine was completely destroyed, the day the goose got loose"

One of the toughest challenges of the working parent (at least for those of us with a traditional 9-5 type of gig) is the morning routine. Even if you don't have a goose. Unless you are wealthy enough to have a live in nanny, or lucky enough to have your mum come and take care of your kids every day, every morning is a marathon of breakfast making, lunchbox packing, hair brushing, child dressing, show and tell, or check for soccer club, or payment for school photo remembering, and leaving a dried cows ear (or worse) for the dog walker - to give the dog to prevent her chewing on the furniture while we are out).

They say that working mothers of young children (and no doubt fathers too if they do it right) are great multitaskers, I would hypothesize that it is the ability to get everyone out of the house every day that hones these skills. I know that if we have a good morning, I'm flying for the rest of the day. Any couple who can get two kids dressed in clean attractive clothing, each with a healthy lunch, out of the house smiling and cheerful, are ready to tackle anything the day can throw at them.

Of course the alternative, someone who spends a precious half hour persuading a three year old that she can't wear her ballet leotard to school, pours sour milk on everyone's cereal after accidentally opening the fridge door slap bang into the toddler's head thus starting a twenty minute conniption fit, then straps two howling kids into their car seats while the neighbours look on sympathetically, and then realizes half way to the office that she has left her laptop at home (or possibly on the sidewalk next to where the car was parked), and has also forgotten to put on deodorant, is ready to crawl into a nice dark cave before the day has even begun.

This morning was a good one. We tend to take the good for granted, but I am determined to notice our successes, since the fulcrum on which good and bad mornings are balanced is a very sensitive one. You see, one of our great morning routine destroyers is the ritual of putting on socks and shoes. Geekygirl is very particular about her socks. She hates the seams to rub against her feet so wears her socks inside out. This would be fine, if several of her socks did not have those rubberized anti slip letters on the bottom. These cannot be worn inside out, and are not acceptable. Some socks without letters are still unacceptable. I have bought several batches of letter free socks, but have yet to figure out exactly how she decides which socks meet her exacting standards. So she has to try on at least three pairs of socks before selecting one. Now I do my best to keep up with laundry, but matching all the pairs of teeny socks in the house is beyond even my organizational skills, and being asked to find the pair to a single acceptable sock (seam free toes, from Nordstrom, I should have bought the store out of these) when there is a whole drawer full of socks that are to my eye perfectly OK, drives me batty.

This morning Geekygirl decided to wear tights. She never wears tights, I have a drawer full of unworn brand new pairs, but one of her classmates always wears them, and today Geekygirl wanted to be "like Audrey". She pulled on one pair of tights. Tights can be tricky for the uninitiated, but I was firmly told not to help. After she struggled we established that the chosen pair of tights was rather small, so she agreed, without even the hint of a tantrum, to try another pair. These worked out better, though she was fiddling with the wrinkles in them all morning. Still, she looked sweet in the tights and a pink dress, she cheerfully munched two bowls of cereal, played nicely with her brother as we got everything ready to go, and sat down to put her shoes on without even being asked. Then I noticed her pulling at the toes of the tights. Shit, I thought to myself. The toe seams are on the insides. She is about to pull those tights of and try to turn them inside out, which will result in a major breakdown, complete removal of all her clothes, and a twenty minute tantrum where she refuses to wear anything else but her ballet outfit.

I needed a distraction, and quick. "Which kid, with shoes on, wants to give the dog her first cookie? I called. Geekybaby was hot tailing it to the cookie distribution post, his shoes having been applied to his feet earlier, and this spurred Geekygirl's competitive edge. Her brother is rarely allowed to do anything first. She strapped up her shoes (thank goodness for velcro, if kids still had to lace or buckle their own shoes I think I would have thrown in the towel long ago), ran over and got the cookie. "Lets get out of here before she remembers that her tights are uncomfortable" I mouthed to Geekydaddy, and we set off down the stairs, chattering and giggling and the very picture of a happy successful family.

Disaster averted. Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

the glamour of breastfeeding?

There has been a lot of chatter about television recently. None for kids before age two? One hour a day or less for the under fives? We are not a household of television watchers, the kids only watch on weekends and Geekydaddy and I watch maybe 2-3 hrs a week. I watch far less TV here in the US than when I lived back home, mainly because so much of it is rubbish, but also because I don't find I have time to get into new shows, and all my old favourites went off the air. We never joined the TiVo/DVR revolution, and still have a regular old fashioned cathode ray tube TV. We don't even subscribe to cable, we canceled it to pay for our iphones! With so many TV shows now available for free through various outlets over the internet it is possible to pick and choose a few things to indulge in, so we have picked up a couple of shows

One of then is "Dollhouse". By Joss Whedon, of whom I've been a fan since falling in love with the improbably named "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" series. The premise of the show is that a secret organization has enslaved a fleet of attractive men and women, "dolls" and brainwashed them in order to implant new personalities and ship them out on assignments to high paying clients.

The episode we watched last night involved Eliza Dushku, who plays one of the dolls, being implanted with the personality of a new mother, complete with the ability to lactate. I give great credit to the show for showing a woman nursing a baby, and for the storyline itself, which explored the power of the maternal instinct to protect a child, but I had to laugh as I watched lovely Eliza rise, smiling and looking well rested, from her luxurious satin sheets, to pull on a very expensive looking lacy peignoir over a matching negligee, and settle down to nurse her smiling, cooing baby boy.

Geekydaddy and I recalled how glamourous I was back when I was nursing the geekykids. I wore a huge T shirt to bed over the top of a nursing bra which I stuffed with ziploc bags of frozen lima beans to prevent the engorgement that plagued me. These veggies would often have been frozen and rethawed several times, and combined with the cabbage leaves I also padded the bra with, gave off a smell rather like a week old bin.

I had a tatty flannel robe that I would throw on to nurse, covered with milk stains and baby spit up. And to top it off I'd put on a pair of thick woolly socks, as my feet tended to get cold as I sat with the babies. I was not a glamourous sight! Though it is wonderful to see a show promote breast feeding, some of the audience may be in for a rude awakening when they or their partner actually try the real, non Hollywood version!

The show made me realize that even though my last baby stopped nursing quite some time ago, I still have not reverted to my pre pregnancy nightwear. I used to be quite fond of romantic looking frivolous garments. My birthday is coming up, so maybe I'll send Geekydaddy off shopping!

What about you? Have you maintained your nightwear standards though pregnancy, nursing and child rearing?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lost and Found

The geekyfamily consists of four human members, (Mum, Dad, Geekygirl and Geekyboy), one canine (Geekydog, the chow/retreiver mix) and two felines (Silvergeek and Orangegeek, regular moggies, one marmalade and white, one silver tabby and white.) Brothers, the cats have been with the family longer than I have. Geekydaddy, upon buying his first house (the one we now live in), decided he had lived without animal companions for long enough, so went down to the SPCA and brought home two kitten brothers in need of a home.

As an aside, just in case you are wondering, yes, I was lucky enough to marry a man who already owned a house in San Francisco. In fact I went house hunting with him on some of our early dates, something that seemed very strange for a girlfriend of only a few weeks, but which turned out rather well, since I had input into the choice of what would ultimately be my home too!

But the cats were the first step in Geekydaddys settling down process. Soon followed by the eviction of his long time room mate (sorry Steve), to be replaced by a live in girlfriend (me), a wife (also me), the dog, and then the kids. I think we are done expanding the family for a while, until the children start requesting iguanas, hamsters and stick insects, anyway.

Last week though, we were worried that the family may have lost a member. Silvergeek has always been an independent cat, but since a traumatic vet visit, he had not returned home for a week. A roamer, this cat owns a four block radius of our neighbourhood, often coming home with the scars to prove his streetworthiness. He lives mainly outside, but always comes home at 5.30 for his soft food. He personifies "cat" with his independence and aloof nature, his love of cuddles but only on his terms (pet him a microsecond too long and he bites your hand), and the tendency to take a bit out of your toes while you are sleeping (I'm convinced he is checking to see if we are finally dead enough to eat) He often sleeps on Geekygirl's bed, which sounds cute, but actually he has a tendency to stretch his languorous twelve pounds across the length of her small toddler bed, pushing her onto the edge and causing nighttime visits because "the cat is in my whole bed, Mummy".

Still, Geekygirl, when in one of her adorable moods, loves to chant out "I love the whole family; I love Mummy, I love Daddy, I love my brother, I love geekydog, I love Orange geek and I love Silvergeek". Always in that order (though of course using their actual names).

Last Monday we had a huge storm. Silvergeek always comes home when it rains, but he didn't appear. Geekydaddy loves this cat dearly, he has a special place in his heart, and he was starting to get quite depressed, as was I, assuming that he had met an untimely end. I spent that evening making "lost cat" fliers, and also posted emails to the neighbourhood groups I am part of. That night when geekygirl recited her "I love the whole family" chant, my heart sunk. How would we break it to her that the cat was gone? We didn't even know ourselves what had happened, how could we help her understand. Would she think us so careless that we might one day let her or her brother wander off and get lost forever?

Fortunately we have a wonderful childrens book "Six dinner Sid" about a black cat who is "owned" by six different families, each ignorant of the other. I read the story that night and broke it to her that we hadn't seen Silvergeek for a while, and that maybe he had found another family to live with, like Sid. I was rather hoping myself that this might be the case, and planned on telling myself that story if it turned out we never saw him again.

But on Tuesday evening we got a call from a neighbour on the email list. The wanderer had been sighted, just a block from our house, sheltering in some bushes! She enticed him into her car, and brought him home! We were so thrilled. He wolfed down his food, and we lavished him with love and petting.

When I informed Geekgirl the next day that Silvergeek was not lost after all, she was delighted. "Where was he?" she asked. I told he was playing in the bushes near one of our playgrounds, and she said to me "No he wasn't. He went to Trader Joe's to get groceries"!

If so, he didn't bring anything home for us!

The geekyfamily are happy to be complete again.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

the four seasons

Geekygirl is learning at school about Fall (Autumn, to you non Americans), and all of the other seasons too. This is a preschool standard, but the curriculum materials seem to be tailored for a region other than the west coast of the USA. The children have been out scouring the preschool play yard for the scant fallen leaves from the few deciduous trees that we do have here in California, to make that classic artwork, beloved of preschool teachers "the fall leaf collage".

Autumn has always been one of my favourite seasons back in the UK, despite the cold and damp, I loved kicking through piles of leaves, looking for conkers, and seeing my breath on crisp frosty mornings. I love fall here too, since we often get some of our warmest days, and also have some of our best street festivals. A sure sign that fall is on the way in SF is encountering buses filled with men in drag, women in latex and people of all sexes (male, female and everything in between) in leather, tattoos and piercings.

Geekygirl has been learning about the more meteorological signs of season change. Well at least those that one gets on the North Eastern side of the USA. While we were walking to the playground last weekend she started to talk about what she has been learning. "Mummy, it's Fall" she informed me. "Fall is called fall because the leaves turn brown and fall off the trees" She walked along, taking in our surroundings, decidedly green and leafy. Then she turned to me "But, Mummy these trees still have green leaves on them".

"Well yes", I replied. "You see in California, most of the trees actually stay green even though its fall".

"What comes next after Fall?" she asked. "Winter" I said. "So then it will snow and get really cold?" she asked, correctly recollecting the locationally innappropriate information she had been given.

"Well," I paused, feeling rather irritated with the preschool teachers for setting false seasonal expectations, since it never gets cold enough to snow in SF, and if it did we would need ski lifts installed to get up and down our hills. "It will snow in Tahoe in the winter, yes", I said, we can at least drive to winter in three hours, so actually get a good deal of snow time. I could have added "A sure sign of winter here in San Francisco is the ski racks appearing on the roofs of all the Subaru's and Prius's, and the proliferation of folk hobbling around in casts due to snow sport injuries, since the weather itself gives few clues as to the season.", but I decided not to confuse her any more.

"And after winter it's Spring? And the flowers will come out?" She continued demonstrating to me how well she is listening at school. Then she looked around, taking in the brilliant wall of purple bouganvilla we were passing, and the little front yards filled with lavender bushes and yellow roses. "But I can see flowers right now!", she exclaimed, quite correctly. "Well, here in California we get flowers all year round, I replied, but Spring is a season when we will get lots and lots of lovely flowers". I could have added that the only sure sign of spring in our house is the tumbling balls of 'hair dog' that threaten to take over the place. Spring being dog shedding season.

"And after Spring it will be Summer, so I can wear my 'Summer short sleeves"! she concluded. The kid loves to wear spaghetti strap tops, and just about the only season sure not to be warm enough for them is summer, with its foggy gloom. Not that you would know it from the selection of clothes available in the stores. Many a July I have been shopping for a nice turtleneck sweater to keep out the chilly fog that blanketed the medical center where I used to work, only to find the stores full of strappy dresses and shorts, not a warm item in sight, despite the frigid temperatures. After 12 years I have learned to purchase my summer sweaters on those balmy 80 degree October days when the stores are full of winter woollies. I guess the folks at "the GAP" had the traditional interpretation of seasons drummed into them at preschool.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

making friends

Geekydaddy and I are both social animals. In fact there was a time when we could have been described as party animals. We like to be surrounded by people, and have both always been part of a strong, close knit group of friends. In fact I thought long and hard before introducing Geekydaddy to my circle when we first were dating. Bringing a date into "the gang" meant that he was being seriously considered as a potential mate.

Since kids we have struggled to find time to hang out with our friends. Babysitting being expensive, and our time with the kids rather limited, we are not free to go out to meet our single or child free friends in bars and nightspots, and we never got into the habit of going out seperately on "boys nights" or "girls nights", outings are always with the whole gang. Throughout our lives we have always been open to forming new friendships, and indeed we did find some lovely new friends through Geekygirl. But recently we have been feeling a bit antisocial. Too tired to make new friends, too wrapped up in keeping up with the people we already know and care about. Then a mother from Geekboys daycare suggested we get together, and I found myself excited about potentially making a new mum friend.

Tonight we hosted geekyboys first 'playdate/dinner' with this friend from daycare. Now that our house is overrun with toys and their housewrecking owners, and the animals get groomed far less often than they ought to, so the floors tumble with hairballs, I am a little anxious about having new people over to the house. The new couch helps a little with my "do other people think we live in squalor?" fear, but still I was inspecting the tablemats for dog hair, picking up toys in a futile attempt to keep order as the children, delighted by "new toys" unearthed by my "display the more educational toys and hid the ones that came with the happy meals so as not to give the guests the wrong impression" rummage through the toy bins, thwarted my attempts to bring order to our home, and I was still swiffing under the table when the doorbell rang.

It turned out to be a lovely evening, I hope the first of many. I was surprised by how excited our little boy was to have a familiar friend come and visit, he was quite excited, running in circles and calling his name. The boys parents were easygoing and fun to talk to, drank wine (not a requirement for friendship, but something we have in common with most of our friends). They were quite happy for their son to join the activity that has become a post meal habit of our children at dinner parties, couch bouncing, and most importantly, were completely unphased and indeed amused, when our overly rambunctious dog and our son contributed a party trick designed to test out any new friendship.

After running laps of the lawn with various stolen items in her mouth, Geekydog must have eaten a bellyful of grass. I was watching our guest on the slide, when I turned to see Geekyboy dancing in his socks in a damp puddley spot on the patio. "Where did that water come from", i thought, realizing as that thought formed that what he was actually dancing so gleefully in was a puddle of grassy dog vomit.

Here's hoping that they still want to know us after this evening, because we really liked them!

How easy have you found it to make new friends since becoming parents?

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Thanks so much for all the supportive comments and ideas.

We were back on an upswing in Geekygirls behavior when the seminar rolled around, The urgency for guidance had faded, and our babysitter was unavailable, but we asked our neighbor to sit in exchange for future favors, and decided to go anyway. I'm glad we did. First, the very fact that the small room was packed to the gills with parents at their wits end helped us to feel better about our own troubles. Then the lecture got underway, and as other parents chimed in with comments, queries, tearful pleas and terrifying tales we began to realize that many parents were in a far worse place than we were. Not that I take pleasure from others distress (though there were some quite amusing horror stories; entertaining to listeners at least), but it was nice to have our own situation put in perspective.

What we learned was that some kids are "oppositional learners". This means that when presented with almost anything you tell them they will automatically treat it with skepticism. They are not content with simply being told what to do, how something works, or how they should behave. If offered two choices they will negotiate for a third. They will poke and probe until they come to their own understanding. They test every theory they are confronted with until they are sure it is watertight. Then they accept, and move onto testing the next thing. We were reassured that there is nothing wrong with this, it is simply the nature of some children, indeed some people.

Hmm, sounds rather like a how good scientist behaves! Geekygirl is a study an contrariness. Tell her, as Geekdaddy did when asked the other day, that Minnie is the girl mouse and Mickey is the boy one, she will argue until she is blue that it is the other way around (despite the evidence of the pink spotty bow and high heels, and I'm pretty sure this is not just due to her San Francisco upbringing).

We learned that kids who trend toward this temperament need consistency and boundaries even more than other kids, since they are naturally inclined to push and push and push until the boundaries fall or they are sure that they will hold. And if the boundaries do fall, they find more places to push, and then get unhappier and more wild in the process, since their world is unable to give them the security that they really need. We also learned that kids need to be different from their parents, that it is part of forming their own identity, so we need to give the lots of opportunity to make their own choices, and sometimes to challenge us and win.

I brought up our problem of Geekygirl screaming through time out, and was given the revelatory idea that she maybe could scream all she wanted. That by giving her permission to scream it would take the power of it away. That some preschoolers just need to scream sometimes. They talked about how easy it is to get dragged into escalation of consequences. Time out is given, then on the way to time out the parent gets kicked (or called poo poo head), so the consequence is escalated until the parent and child are caught in a battle of wills and eventually the kid ends up being grounded for life at the age of four. There were a lot of nodding heads in the room as they described this, and they gave the excellent advice to just deal with the consequence of the first transgression. That what was important was holding the original line, "If you call me a poo poo head, then you get a time out". That way when your little opposer pokes away at the boundaries, she finds the rules holding firm. It was interesting that though they gave examples of consequences, such various forms of time out; in the bedroom, a corner, a chair,, taking toys away, not earning a reward or sticker, the emphasis was on picking a set of rules and consequences for your family and being consistent about it, rather than worrying about the details.

We also learned that kids in the preschool years really struggle to control their emotions, and that doing so is part of the developmental process of these years. And that by controlling our own emotions too tightly we fail to give them the cues they need to manage their feelings. Telling your kid to "use your words to tell me you are angry" doesn't help a kid who rarely sees a parent get angry. "What does she know, she has no idea how I feel" they might think. So getting angry is good, stomp, shout a bit, show your feelings so your kids learn how to do it too, we were taught. And do this before you throw a complete wobbly. WE often try to stay calm as parents, succumbing in the end to rage. It is better to acknowledge ones feelings as they occur, apparently! It sounds awfully unBritish, but it made a lot of sense to me.

We talked a lot about empathy. Reflecting back our children's feelings both during and after the event. That as parents for many of us the instinct is to think "thank goodness that's over" after a particularly horrendous tantrum, and never go near it again, when instead talking about it later helps kids to learn from an experience, and think about the feelings that overwhelmed them in a calmer, reflective way; "Wow, you were really angry when I told you you had to wear either the pink dress or the blue shirt and pants for school photo day. And Mummy was really mad because you hit her and called her a poo poo head while she was wrestling the adorable dress over your wailing head".

We came away from the class feeling much happier, a realization that our little girl will likely be quite a challenging kid to parent at times, and that there is nothing wrong with her being that way. We felt we had a strategy to implement, simply reinforcing more of what we do already. We also felt very much more on the same page, I was so glad that geekydaddy came with me, rather than just us trying to implement selective stuff I communicate to him from the books that I read we were able to discuss together what we had learned and feel as if we are both engaged in it. I was also secretly quite proud that he was one of only three men in the room of about 30 women.

I decided for starters that I am tired of being called poo poo head, and that from now onwards, that would be a "time outable" offence.
With my newly critcal eyes, I noticed in so many small ways how successfully Geekygirl has been controlling her world:

At dinner I asked, giving choices as I always do "do you want orange juice, chocolate milk, plain milk or water with your dinner?" Geekygirl replies "I want apple juice please". Normally, without a thought, I would have given her the apple juice, grateful for the 'please' (Clearly, based on the other choices, I'm not opposed to sugary drinks!). But I had begun to realize that almost every time I offered her a choice, she negotiated something else. I had let it slide, because my emphasis was on giving her choices. Something, I realized, that had lead to her almost never spontaneously being confronted with the word "no". "Oh, apple juice isn't one of the choices I offered, I said, and repeated the offerings. "Poo poo head" she countered. I have a kid who calls me 'poo poo head' when I offer her chocolate milk?! I thought. This most definitely wasn't about what she, chocolate milk lover extraordinaire, actually wanted to drink. It was all about getting her own way.

Time out was performed, (this being about the fifth time out of the day, the screaming was well out of her system), Geekygirl returned to the table, drank her chocolate milk and calm was resumed for at least the fifteen minutes it took to eat our salmon and pasta. I didn't rescind the offer of chocolate milk, though I felt like it. I just stuck to the rule. This post is long already, so I won't bore you with the rest of the evening's time outs. Just to say the "don't call mum and dad poo poo head rule" was tested very thoroughly, and was found to be unbreakable.

Geekygirl is trying to come up with new insults to hurl when she feels angry. I'm encouraging her to think of them, so far she has a satisfying "angry noise", and the petulant "I DON"T love you". When the issue is around a food item, no more cookies, no chocolate milk for breakfast, things in that vein, she has come up with the unintentionally poignant "OK then, I won't grow. Do you want me to stay small forever?!"

In case you think this was an awful day, I thought I'd finish the post with this lovely picture that Geekygirl and I made today (I cut out the clothing items from foam, she stuck them on and drew the picture). It was actually a nice day, on balance, just about a week long, in emotional terms. I think any art therapist would agree that this is the work of a happy child. Though if you look at her "writing", you can distinctly make out the word "Poos" on the top of the drawing! Chance? I sure hope so!