The Sonia Show

Writer. Podcaster. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.


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The Magnificent 7

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin is 7 today.

Geez, I can’t believe it’s been 7 years.

I’m so proud of Calvin. He is so smart and funny. He’s got a big heart. I know that he’s going to grow up to be a mighty, mighty good man just like his father. I just hope he doesn’t grow up too fast.

Then

Now

And now it’s time for everybody’s favorite parenting photos …

This is probably David’s favorite photo ever. He titled it “priorities,” and it clearly demonstrates how much I love my stupid phone.

And this is my favorite photo of David and Calvin (and Homer – RIP).

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Another steak out

Yeah, so, a meat eater, a vegan and a 6-year-old autistic boy walk into a steakhouse …

For about a year now, my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin has been obsessed with the ceiling fans at Harris’ Restaurant. The steakhouse is nearby his speech appointment, and we always stop by after his session so he can say hello to the ceiling fans in the bar. And he would always ask me, “Can we eat here?”

“Not today,” I tell him.

“They don’t have burger? Next time?”

“Yes, some other time.”

The truth is it would be an expensive experiment, but to celebrate his first day of first grade we decided to be brave and actually eat there.

He was really excited. Unfortunately, they don’t have a burger (which seems weird for a steakhouse, right?), but they offered a plain chicken breast. Calvin said he didn’t want that and opted for a bowl of rice. Cheap date!

David ordered a Manhattan and massive filet with peppercorn sauce. He was in heaven.


The kitchen made me a plate of vegetables with garlic, balsamic and various other seasonings. Veggies that are prepared well with a big glass of red wine … I was happy.

After dinner, Calvin got some chocolate ice cream.

“It’s not a cone,” he correctly pointed out.

“No, I’m sorry. They don’t have cones.”

“OK.”

Don’t worry. He made it work.

 


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The ugly tooth

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good boys and I were back to school shopping at Target, because TARGET!

While at the register I see Calvin bend down and pick something up off the ground.

“Mommy, look,” he said.

“Ewww, don’t pick up things off the ground,” I said, slapping whatever it was out of his hand.

“My tooth!”

“Wait, what? Was that your tooth?” I replied.

He flashed me a bloody grin.

“GAH! I’m such a crap mom,” I repeated as David and I were on all fours looking for Calvin’s missing tooth. We finally found it, and the surrounding parents gave us “the nod” and a hearty “Congrats” and “Good job.”

I felt so terrible about just knocking his tooth out of his hand without even taking a look at what it was. But, I don’t think there are any hard feelings, because I bought our fan of fans an oscillating fan while we were there.


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The nod squad

Yeah, so, one of the things I love about being a parent (besides the fact that my kid is super amazing and undoubtedly the best person in the entire world) is the bond you have with other like-minded parents.

Obviously, there are parents who are huge assholes. They let their kids kick your seat in the movie theater or raise them to be racist, MAGA hat-wearing little shits. But there are some other cool parents out there, too. I like to think that mighty, mighty good man David and I are cool parents.

We’ve got each other’s back. We’re quick to offer wipes, sunblock and goldfish crackers when needed. We will help you in a public restroom when your kid has an accident.

A few weeks ago, we were at a restaurant sitting outside, and Calvin was pissed. We had been at Ocean Beach before heading to the restaurant, and he wanted to stay at the beach forever. I get it. The beach is fun.

He ran off from the table into a nearby open area and started crying. I walked up to him and hugged him while he cried.

“I want to go back to the beach,” he sobbed.

“We will. First lunch, then beach,” I told him.

He cried and cried, and another mother walked by with her two kids, and one of them was crying, too. Then she gave me the nod.

I have given this nod countless times, too. It’s the nod parents give each other to acknowledge that the struggle is real. We’ve been there. We get it.

Most parents are doing the best they can. So, whether you’re a parent or not, when you see a parent trying to comfort a screaming, tantrum-throwing kid, instead of judging them, give ’em a nod or one of those “I see you” hand gestures. It means a lot.


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Too cool for school

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin finished kindergarten today.

The first day of kindergarten.

The last day of kindergarten.

I’m so crazy proud of him. He has absolutely blossomed this year. He is talking so much and really improving his social and emotional interactions. He’s quite popular at school. When we’re walking around the school with him every kid says “Hi Calvin,” and every teacher or aide stops us to tell us how much they adore him. (#humblebrag)

Since he’s obsessed with fans, he stopped by the office every day and asked the receptionist to turn on her fan. He made such an impression on a fifth-grade teacher that she gave him a fan to bring home.

Fan boy.

I can’t believe that this August he will be a first grader! Gaaaaaahhh!

He’s got big plans this summer. He’s spending a week every month with my parents in Concord. While he’s there, he going to take swim lessons! I wouldn’t be surprised if swimming turned into a thing for him. I foresee a future of swim meets followed by Olympic gold medals and big, fat endorsement deals, which lead to us finally being able to buy a house in San Francisco.

He’s also doing a week of summer camp at the San Francisco Zoo. AND, he’s doing two weeks of summer camp through the city’s Park Department in which children with autism ride public transportation all day. I know, right?!? He’s gonna to freak out.

Actual footage of Calvin when he learns about the public transportation camp.

So anyway, I’m so proud of my mighty, mighty good boy. He is such a funny, sweet and handsome little guy.

 


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Feeling Minnesota

Yeah, so, I had to travel for work a few weeks ago.

I’ve never had to travel for work before, other than some particularly shitty commutes I’ve had in the past. I mean, driving from Concord to Burlingame can certainly feel like traveling for work.

Seven years I’ve been working for this company, and they finally noticed that I’ve never visited their headquarters in Shoreview, Minnesota. Actually, some of the bosses did try to get me to come out twice before, but I was busy evicting a baby from my uterus and kicking breast cancer’s ass, so, ummm, no.

This time last year, I was moved into a new position, a new office with new coworkers and a new boss. And my new boss doesn’t really dig my whole “Oh, I’m just going to hide in my cube” career path. “No more hiding, Sonia,” she says. “You’re going to go to Shoreview and take your bow for your hard work.”

Well, when she puts it like that, how can I say no? Plus, I really like my new team. We’re divided: half in San Francisco, half in Shoreview. I really wanted to meet the Shoreview team in person. I think it’s important that they see what I goober I am in person. You have to see it to believe it.

So, I packed my bags and got up at 4 a.m. for a 6 a.m. flight. That’s right, 4 a.m.! Did you guys know that there is a 4 in the morning? It’s like 4 in the afternoon but in the morning! When the fuck did that start? Ugh. It’s really early.

Shortly, after I arrived in Shoreview, it started snowing. We don’t get snow in the Bay Area, so this was pretty exciting to me. I practically had my face smashed against the window.

Me: “Ohhhh, you guys! LOOK! IT’S SNOWING!”

Co-workers:

It’s April. They were so over it. I thought it was neat, but I could certainly see how the novelty would wear off. Also, driving in snow sucks ass.

So, yeah, it was really awesome to meet my coworkers in person. We had a team dinner at The Lowbrow in Minneapolis, and it was so good. It had vegan options AND an excellent beer list of local brews. It would definitely be my regular spot if I lived out there.

Oh, speaking of vegan options, there wasn’t a ton to be had in Shoreview, Minnesota. BUT, pretty much every restaurant I walked into had gluten-free options. FYI: About 1 percent of Americans have Celiac disease, while 6 percent of Americans say they’re vegan. It’s more likely that a vegan will walk into their restaurant than someone with Celiac disease, but it’s OK. I made it work. I just think it’s funny that they’ve embraced the whole gluten-free thing, but veganism, not so much.

The other thing about the trip that cracked me up: So many of my coworkers said, “Oh, you look just like your photo.” We have photos in our email, Skype, etc. I kept wondering, “Who doesn’t look like their photo?” Maybe I’ll swap my photo out with the worst wedding photo ever taken.

A week before my work trip, I fell and sprained my ankle, but I didn’t know, because I’m practically a genius. I was hobbling around the office, but no one even noticed. I looked like Catherine O’Hara in “Best In Show.”

It probably didn’t help that there was a huge Super Target nearby our hotel, and one night I spent two hours walking around. My ankle really hurt, but SUPER TARGET.

Every night after dinner I went back to my hotel room, put my foot up and watched the second season “The Good Place.” (So good, you guys! You should watch it.) One night I watched a documentary about Jane Goodall called, appropriately, “Jane.”

On the plane, I watched “Pitch Perfect 3” and “Bad Moms Christmas,” which are perfect airplane movies in that they don’t make you laugh or cry and draw attention to yourself. They were not good. “Pitch Perfect 3” actually had explosions, and I think Fat Amy full-on murders some people. I thought this was a movie about an acapella singing group. WTF?

Anyway, I was in Minnesota for five days – FIVE DAYS! That’s the longest I’ve ever been away from my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin.

My mighty, mighty good man David travels for work all the time. I never do. In fact, when I told Calvin that I was going on a trip for work, and I’d be gone, he said, “Not Mommy. Daddy is going to work.”

David said that Calvin asked about me every morning and every night. Of course, when I would FaceTime, he would give me the cold shoulder, but at least the pets were happy to see me.

Actually, when I got home late Friday night, Calvin will still awake, and he insisted I get into bed with him. He really missed me, and I missed him terribly. For about a week after I got back, Calvin was watching me like a hawk, never letting me out of his sight. It was nice to be missed.


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I don’t know how to make small talk with kids

Yeah, so, a few weeks ago I did something I thought I’d never do.

No, I didn’t vote for a Republican.

No, I didn’t donate money to the NRA.

That’s disgusting. Get your mind out of the gutter.

I chaperoned a field trip for my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin’s school. The kindergarten classes were visiting the California Academy of Sciences, and the kindergarteners in Calvin’s special day class were invited to go, too.

Taking on the jellies.

I learned a few things on this field trip.

  • Starfish are not really fish.
  • The Academy of Sciences has penguins!
  • I don’t really know how to talk to kids that are not Calvin.

There were four kids to a group with one or two parents each. The students from the Special Day Class were divided into the groups, and each SDC student had their own dedicated chaperone (their parent or a special aide).

So, Calvin was in a group of three kids from the mainstream kindergarten class, and there was another parent chaperoning the group, too, which is good, because see the third bulletpoint.

Me talking to kids is pretty similar to me talking to adults. I ask them what movies or TV shows they are currently watching, and then I crap all over them. “My Little Pony? Ugh. Really? That shit is so 2015. Grow up!”

Actually, I usually tell them that I like something they’re wearing. “I like your cat ears headband.” “Cool Pokemon shirt. That’s a Pokemon, right? Oh, it’s Minecraft. Is there a difference?” And then I wrap up the stimulating conversation with something like, “I need to go stand over here now and do some serious adulting,” and then go lean against the wall and look at my phone.

I have no problem talking to Calvin. We talk about trains, trucks and buses. We recite lines of dialogue from “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” But other kids want to talk about their thoughts and feelings.

This became really obvious when we sat down to lunch. Our group is sitting at a table, and there is this awkward silence. No small feat considering it’s a table of 5 and 6 year olds, who normally can’t stop talking. Finally, the other parent, this really nice woman whose name I can’t remember because I’m an asshole, said, “Do you know any jokes?” And the kids started falling all over themselves to tell jokes.

It would have never occurred to me to ask that question. Calvin doesn’t tell jokes. He’s funny. He’s got a great sense of humor. But it’s not a “knock knock. Who’s there” humor. It’s more like, “I’m going to try to wear the dog as a hat” sense of humor. It’s “I’m going to refer to Mommy as Daddy” humor.

I would say the closest thing to a Calvin joke is this: He was in a bathtub, and he looked at me, crossed his eyes and said, “I’ve got two mommies.” I laughed really hard, which turned it into a thing. “Two daddies.” “Two Tobys.”

The other thing I noticed during the field trip: Every boy was wearing something superhero or “Star Wars” related. Shirts, jackets, shoes: All Iron Man, Captain America, Darth Vader, Spiderman, etc. Calvin doesn’t watch any of that stuff. He doesn’t even know who those people are. These kids probably don’t know Calvin is autistic. They probably think he’s Amish.


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Buh bye, 2017

Yeah, so, this year hasn’t been awesome.

We have a sexual predator in the White House, and – with the help of an enabling GOP – he is attacking this country’s most vulnerable citizens, including the sick, elderly, disabled and immigrants. It’s disgusting and depressing as fuck. It fills me with rage.

I have donated money to organizations and candidates who are helping people and fighting for what’s right. I’ve been calling my reps, and occasionally reps in other districts since their votes affect me. I do what I can handle, and it makes me feel a little less helpless.

BUT, I wanted to focus on some good things that happened this year in the MansTracy household.

My mighty, mighty good boy Calvin started kindergarten, and he is flourishing. He’s so happy, and he’s learning so much. His language skills have improved by leaps and bounds.

I got a new job … kinda. The big corporate overload moved me from the Oakland office where I was the lone content person from the past 8 years to the San Francisco office to join the content team. And instead of just working on content for one brand, I will be working on the content with the team on all the brands. I’m really excited and nervous. Writing is in my comfort zone. Thinking big picture is outside my comfort zone. But, I’m down to expand my skillset. Plus, I super love being in the SF office. Not only has it cut my commute in half (and I’m taking BART instead of driving), but I absolutely adore my content coworkers. They are fuckin’ rad as hell.

I got on an airplane all by myself for the first time ever. True story. I met up with my mighty, mighty good man David in Portland after his work trip. We had a great time exploring the city, which is swimming in vegan options for me and beer for both of us. Plus, we got to see our friends Caitlin and Kirk, which made the trip even more awesome.

I got to go to Washington, DC to see my good buddy Katie and her husband Nathan. I finally got to see their house, and we spent some awesome time together walking around the Newseum, going to a Nationals game and sitting on the couch watching YouTube videos, because that’s how we roll.

We went to Santa Cruz again this year for our little family vacation, and we had an amazing time. Calvin has been asking to go back pretty much every day since we got back.

I started baking bread this year. I have always wanted to bake my own bread, but I thought it was too difficult and too time consuming. I found a perfect bread baking book: “Bread Illustrated” from America’s Test Kitchen.

My sister Michelle and my sister from another mister, Amanda, did a spa day at the Sonoma Mission Inn. We got massages and lounged by the pool with drinks. It was heaven.

I went to Bourbon & Branch for David’s birthday, and I discovered that I like gin. That’s a good thing.

 

 

My 15-year-old (!) niece Lorelei came out for the weekend, and we saw “IT” at the Alamo Drafthouse. Lorelei is a Tiny Sonia, so I knew she would love the Alamo Drafthouse. We had so much fun hanging out together. I was scared to see “IT.” I thought it was really fuck me up, but it turns out that I loved being scared about something other than the news.

After our weekend together, I went on a scary movie watching spree. It turns out I love horror movies! Funny enough, I’ve been listening to F This Movie for years, and the host Patrick Bromley is always taking about horror movies. Now I have the courage to actually watch all those movies he’s talking about.

Speaking of podcasts, Dorking Out with Chris & Sonia is still going strong. We recorded a podcast every week, except for one week. Even dorks need a week off once in a while. Super-big, mad props to my co-host Smith for keeping us on schedule, and all the work he does recording the podcast. Oh, and we got this amazing new logo by Jeff Heerman.

I’ll end this post with what everyone wants to see: Dog and cat cuddling action!

Happy New Year, you guys! Let’s hope that 2018 is chrome and shiny.


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Halloween and the cutest UPS driver

Yeah, so, this was the first year that my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin actually got a little excited about Halloween.

I mean, it wasn’t your typical nonstop talk of costumes and candy. BUT, for the first time, he put on a costume, understood it was a costume and actually liked it. In previous years, we dressed up Calvin in shit we wanted him to wear, because he didn’t care. And the “costume” had to practically not be a costume. It just had to a shirt and pants. No crazy hats, no masks, no weird superhero padded suits. So, he was Captain Kirk a few times, and last year he was Batman, because I found some cute Batman footie pajamas at Target.

This year, my mighty, mighty good man David came up with the brilliant idea of really trying to pick something that Calvin would like. Calvin is not into comic book movies or Pokemon, or any lot of the other costumes that kids want to wear. He likes Curious George, Daniel Tiger and the “Toy Story” movies, but he doesn’t want to dress up as those characters. Believe me, we tried.

Here’s what Calvin loves: trains, buses, cars, trucks and ceiling fans. Finally, David settled on getting Calvin a UPS delivery man costume. Calvin knows who that is, and he likes them. I knew he would never carry a package around with him, so I ordered him a little UPS truck to carry around.

On Halloween, I walked him to the school bus. I had the costume and truck in his backpack for the school’s Halloween parade. While we were waiting for the bus, I decided to give it a shot. I took the UPS truck out of his backpack.

“It’s a mail truck! Can I have it?” he asked.

“Of course. AND, I have something else you might like,” I told him. I took the UPS shirt out of his bag and asked him if I could put it on him. “It’s a mail truck driver shirt.”

He put it on, and he started jumping around excitedly.

“I’m a mail truck driver! I’m a mail truck driver!”

He even wore the hat, you guys!

He wore the costume all day. He walked in the school’s Halloween parade. He trick or treated that night.

We trick or treat on Chenery in Glen Park. It’s just a few blocks from our house, and the entire street goes all out. Tons of decorations, eager people on their porches with tons of candy (and wine for the adult trick or treaters like me).

Every adult loved Calvin’s costume, because all adults love to see the UPS delivery person. And, he’s such a polite trick or treater. At every house he said says, “Trick or treat,” and takes one piece of candy. He smells it before he puts in his bucket, because he wants the chocolate. (Sadly, that means no Smarties for me. Dammit!)

“Thank you very much,” he says. Most of the time, because he is so polite, people give him extra candy. Maybe that’s part of his master plan.

Then, after a few blocks of trick or treating, he decided he had enough candy.

“Let’s go look at the fans,” he said. “I’m all done.”

So, we walked over to the businesses on Diamond and checked out a few ceiling fans. Some people offered him candy, assuming he was still trick or treating.

“No, thank you,” he replied. They would look at us so confused. They looked like this.

What kid turns down candy? Our kid. It’s one of the many things that’s so fuckin’ awesome about him.

A few other random Halloween things …

We went to our friend Roger’s birthday party/Halloween party, and we dressed up as the carpet from “The Shining.” It’s probably the scariest costume I’ve ever worn.

But on Halloween proper, I decided to wear this cute Halloween dress I bought on Think Geek for about $25. It’s got black cats and pumpkins on it. I decided to wear a wig, and it turned into a Sonia S. Pumpkins costume.

The UPS driver and Sonia S. Pumpkins. Any questions?

Close up of the wig, glasses and dress (dress from Think Geek).


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The Sixth Sense

Yeah, so, today is my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin’s 6th birthday. He’s 6 years old, you guys!

Let’s all celebrate by re-reading the story about how I evicted him from my uterus.

#priorities by David

People assume that when you have a kid that you’ve always wanted a kid. The truth is I wasn’t one of those people. I wasn’t really interested in having children until I met my mighty, mighty good man David. He said he wanted kids, and I said, “Yeah. You’d be a great dad. Let’s do this.” That answer surprises people, but really, what the fuck else was I doing that was so important? “Meh. I’ve got a DVR full of ‘Law & Order’ reruns to watch, so good luck with that whole kid thing, David.”

I’m so glad I said, “Let’s do this.” It’s the smartest thing I ever said along with “OH MY GOD, YES!” when David asked me to marry him.

Calvin is THE BEST. He is so smart and funny. He is autistic, which means he has challenges, but doesn’t every kid? He is working really hard, and he is so patient and always tries to understand and be understood. He’s got the kindest heart. One of the aides in his classroom said to me, “Calvin is not only a good kid, he’s a good person. You’re raising him right,” which brought a tear to my eye.

Oh, and he’s got a smile that will knock you on your ass. I mean, COME ON!

I couldn’t be more proud of him. Happy, happy birthday to my mighty, mighty good boy!