Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guess What?

Those words, "guess what" were the majority of a conversation I had with my son yesterday. Well I don't know if my contributions of "Mmmmm", "Is that right?", and "Uh huh" qualify in making it a conversation.

"Mom, guess what? On Sponge Bob, guess what? Spongebob let Squidward watch Gary while he was away and guess what? Squidward didn't feed Gary and guess what.... Gary dried up and guess what.... Spongebob came back and guess what.... Squidward thought he had killed Gary and guess what.... Gary WASN'T dead and guess what.... they gave him some food and guess what.... he woke up and guess what he said.... he said "meow" and guess what.... Squidward was so relieve and guess what.... they used the snail plasm (?) and guess what.... they turned Patrick into a snail....

and guess what....

This conversation lasted another 5 minutes and 115 "guess whats".

and guess what....

I tuned out on "guess what" number 13.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I don't have attention deficit... ooo, do I smell waffles?

It's not pretty inside this head. My thought train jumps tracks, derails and ignores signals. When I was pregnant with Abby I put the peanut butter on the ironing board and the starch in the refrigerator. Do you know what's weird about that? The peanut butter goes in the pantry.

Each morning I make a list of the things I need to accomplish that day. Things I do everyday go on the list. Things I do once a week go on the list. I will forget to do them if they are not neatly printed out. I've learned to work around my inability to focus for long. In college I underlined the words in the textbooks as I read so I wouldn't get distracted.... almost like tying my brain to the page via my pen. I also learned to recopy my notes immediately after class so my shorthand would still be fresh. Otherwise those abbreviations could have stood for a variety of words and I would have been completely confused.

Ironically, as cluttered and scattered as it sometimes, okay, most of the time, is inside my head, I like to have my physical space neatly ordered. I actually like when everything is in its place. A roomful of clutter and mess overwhelms me. Where to start? What should I do first? Pick up the toys or put away the shoes? Stack the books or the pillows? Put the socks away or take the glasses to the sink? For some reason it takes me further off track into a land of jittery grumpiness. A room with a bare floor, books put away neatly on the shelves, counters bare of junk calms me.

Luckily I married an organized person. Our budget is in the spreadsheet, our bills are neatly filed and he doesn't mind taking care of the mess and the clutter while I stick to the big chores like vacuuming and bathroom cleaning. And now my mind has wandered away again... is it waffles or pancakes I smell?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gabby Abby Goes to Bed

Abby was not sleepy at bedtime last night. This fact is not mere observation on my part. The girl told me so herself. This information was one of only many, many things I heard last night as we were attempting to drift off into dream land at 9 p.m.

I read the requisite book, gave and received the good night kiss, and turned out the light. Silence.

"Mommy. You were s'possed to read a me a stack of books, not just one. You know like you always do."


"It's noisy in here. I can't sleep when it's noisy in here."


"It's really, really noisy in here. I'm going to turn off the fan." Crawls out of bed, turns off the fan and climbs back under the covers.

"There. That's better."


"You were 'posed to read me a stack of books Mommy. Like you always do."


"I'm not sleepy."




9:10 p.m.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Week Ahead

I'm not going to use the word busy, M, to describe my week ahead. But I will say that I will have many things going on at once and I have every hope of staying on top of them. J.T. and Abby return to school after a week off for Fall holidays. Which means school lunches, homework, drop-offs, pick-ups, arguments about which hair bow to wear commence tomorrow. Tuesday is an out of town conference for me and extra arrangements on getting children where they need to be when they need to be there. The in-laws will be pitching in on that front. It's so nice that they live next door... makes it so much more convenient for all of us. Thursday and Friday I finally have my long-delayed audit (ACK! EEK!) which I hope to pass with flying colors. I have never been audited before and am crossing my fingers that I am not making any inadvertent stupid mistakes.

Yesterday we received the sad news of the passing of our blogger friend S, from TeamSAK. I have to tell you that the week ahead doesn't seem challenging anymore in light of this loss. Rob and I went to bed last night with heavy hearts. I know you join me in sending condolences and prayers to her family and friends. It is astounding to me how close I feel to all of my blogging friends, even though I have never seen you face to face. You make me laugh, cry, think, give, strive to climb outside my box and take on things I might otherwise not have done. The things you share, the lives you are leading have become very important to me. Thank you all. Thank you dear S, for your posts, and your comments on my blog and on Rob's. We will miss you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Of Carnivals and Candy

Rob has the full scoop at cellblock327. I have the photographic proof of a good time had by all.

No, he didn't get sick. But neither of us wanted to ride it again!

This sign gave us a good giggle. It was featured at one of those side shows "World's Smallest Horse". The funniest bit was that it was wrong on not one, but TWO signs.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Clawing My Way Back

The "Ugh" seems to be on the way out. I am medicated, rested and feeling much better. Turns out I had strep AND an ear infection, which was only mildly uncomfortable until Tuesday night, when a cold front moved through and the low pressure created massive amounts of pain in my right ear. Amputation of the offending appendage seemed the best solution to me, as I don't tolerate even the mildest of pains very well. Rob, however, has no desire to be a single parent and would not honor my repeated requests for mercy.

So Abby and I are better and Rob is down. And now I have a mental image of the "Piper down! We have a piper down!" scene from "So, I married an axe murderer." Funny movie that.

Weeks like these make me ponder what true love really is. Is it the romance of those first few years when all of your spare time is spent together? Or seeing someone in tatty pajamas, unwashed hair, and broken glasses and still be able to say loving things with a straight face? Is romance sweet notes, flowers on your anniversary, chocolates on Valentine's day? Or is it ignoring the crankiness of the sick partner as you fetch them throat lozenges, cool drinks and pain pills. Oh sweet, lovely pain pills! I could write them an ode. Holding hands while watching a picturesque sunset? Or is it being single parent to the wild things and supplying their requests for food, fun and attention all by yourself. Even taking care of the bathing and the toothbrushing with no assistance?

Perhaps a little of the flowery parts and a lot of the other, less glamorous ones. Here's to Super Rob, who did all of those things and many more this week while I was down. He was brilliant. Can I say he's never looked more handsome than he did while holding the Advil and a nice tall glass of ice water?

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Abby came down with strep throat last week. Now I have it. Pure misery.

I don't do sick well. Laying in bed during the day is not my idea of fun... especially when you feel too bad to read. My head hurts, my back hurts, I feel slightly queasy and my throat feels like it is scraped raw. Which is why I am up at 5 a.m., not the norm for my Sunday morning, trying to distract myself from the pain and yuck that goes along with being sick.

Abby is much tougher than I am. Other than a few hours of laying around and being a little less perky than usual, you wouldn't know that she'd just been through a severe case of strep throat. I, on the other hand, am a whining, sniffling, shoot me now, wimp.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dusting Off the Soap Box

My sweet boy has had a rough week... of "Alexander and the No Good, Horrible, Terrible, Very Bad Day" proportions. He was overlooked for an activity during Physical Education, skipped two problems on his vocabulary test resulting in a "C" and completely misunderstood the directions for an assignment today and made a 0. He's devastated. Sobbing, heaving, crying until your throat hurts devastated.

Part of me understands that there are great lessons to be learned from this kind of day, this kind of week in life. But a large part of my heart wants to make it all easy and right for my child. I don't WANT him to have to suffer, to have anything horrible happen in his life even though I know none of us will escape the sad, the hard, the difficulties that come with living. Most of me knows that the most lasting, the most valuable things he can gain will come from facing adversity. But it is so hard to navigate through these rough days.

We are very frustrated with the state of our public education system (thank you Dubya). He comes home each week with a stack of worksheets, does 30-45 minutes of homework every night and spends too much time studying "test preparation" in school. We certainly don't believe that teachers bear the blame for this sad state of learning in our country. Rather, most of the blame can be laid on the shoulders of politicians who think that if a child achieves a certain score on a multiple choice test, we can determine their level of intelligence. Engaging, higher level learning activities like experiments, model-making, and creative writing are being sacrificed to be sure that students can regurgitate memorized facts on tests. They are not being taught about strategies, thinking or being creative. Instead they spend weeks learning how to bubble in circles on a multiple choice test. Learning how to eliminate least likely answers... what a waste of valuable learning time!

Our son, who is bright, articulate, mechanical and gentle is being stressed out in the second grade because he daydreams, because his hand-writing is horrible, because he gets a little nervous about asking questions. It is truly ridiculous that the obsession with achieving a certain score is leading a generation right into mediocrity and believing that there is only one way of doing things. Not MY child, though. I'm no lemming and I won't be diving over the cliff with the rest of those interested in maintaining the status quo.

Yes I want my beautiful son to set a high standard for himself. Yes I want him to understand that effort, hard work, and perseverance are important. But I'm not willing to let him lose his identity, his talents, his personality in a quest to fit inside a box that some idiot measured wrong. We've worked hard to improve his handwriting, to get him on grade level in reading (which he LOVES now, by the way), to encourage his strengths and bridge his weaknesses.

Rob and I have spent the last 30 minutes telling him that today was just a day. Tomorrow is a new one. We've figured out how to learn something from the disaster of his first 0. Now I have to buy that tomorrow is a new day, because right now my throat is clogged with tears, my eyes are wet and I really just want to turn off the alarm, let him sleep in and have a cuddle day. But we won't do that. We'll cuddle before school and after breakfast. He'll put his shirt on backwards and I'll have to stay after him to find his other sock. Rob will remind him to brush his teeth three times before he finally does it. There will be a mad scramble to get the book bag, the lunch box and a cup of water before he heads out. Tomorrow is a new day. It will be a better day. It has to be. Because today was terrible, horrible, no good and very, very bad.

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