Saturday, March 27, 2010

SON: I'm ok.


SON: I'm still ok.
ME: What are you going?
SON: Nothing.


SON: Don't come in here.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Over the past couple of weeks, I picked up one of my periodic past times of climbing the proverbial family tree. I tend to get really wrapped up in it for a few weeks and then reach a wall through which I cannot break and give up for a while until I'm moved to pick it up again and the cycle continues. Every time I get a bit further or have a new piece of information to add.

This time has been no different and I'm preparing to put it all away again, but not before I had one last poke around Ancestry dot com. (Yeah, I just think it's funny that we're not starting to write out "dot com". Hee hee.) I stumbled upon a gimmick feature that allows people to search for "famous relatives" and I was sucked right in.

I thought the most efficient way to search the entire family tree for "famous relative" was to search for the "famous relatives" of my kids. So I clicked on my son and clicked "Find famous relatives". Of course, we come from a stellar line of genetic prowess and a lengthy (and eclectic) list of famous relatives spews forth onto the screen.

The list included:
  • 2 prime ministers
  • 1 first lady
  • 3 presidents (including Nixon, unfortunately!)
  • a Mayflower passenger
  • a financier and banker
  • a physicist
  • the founder of General Motors
  • several inventors
  • "Wild Bill" Hickock
  • John Steinbeck
  • Robert Frost
  • John Glenn
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Samuel Morse (of Morse Code fame)
  • Elizabeth Browning
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • A quite a few more
As you can probably imagine, I'm feeling pretty well-connected at this point. I'm pulling out the old address book and working on adding some new contacts. Then, I thought, hmmmm. I wonder which people belong to which side of the family. 

So, I click on my name and click "Find famous relatives" and guess what? I'm not even related to the British people on the list. What?!?! Maybe I picked the wrong person, I thought to myself. So I clicked again. Again, nothing! None of them. I'm not related to anyone famous. In fact, the screen pointed this fact out with brutal honesty..."You have no famous relatives." Thanks a lot.

I guess this means that my husband married beneath him and my kids are just too good for me. In fact, I guess this means I've just polluted the family gene pool. Great. Just what I needed to hear.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Generally, I think that most kids are ok. Some may take a step or two in the wrong direction at times, but for the most part, they mean well enough. Even mine.

Well, I've finally met the kid who has shifted my paradigm about 179 degrees from where it was. I don't think it will take me long for it to shift that last degree either.

It's a bit ironic since I posted recently about bullying, but my son has recently encountered the playground bully. He's not even in third grade! He's in first grade, like my son. That fancy "blacktop day" plan didn't work very well, did it? Big shock there!

Anyway, this charming little character kicked my son in the stomach while I watched a few weeks ago. My son, of course, completely collapsed in tears and I came to his aid. I took my son over to the other child and asked him why he just kicked my son in the stomach. The bully replied, "'Cause I felt like it." I asked the boy to apologize and he refused.

This wasn't the end of the conversation. I don't really feel like providing all the gory details, but I actually caught myself saying, "Young man, that is not an acceptable way to speak to an adult!" (Yes, I really said EXACTLY those words.)

This kid made me almost lose control of my rational behavior. I couldn't believe the things this little person was saying to me, a (sometimes) grown-up. After channeling my anger into a calm, but pointed discussion with the 7-year old's inattentive, adult babysitter, she ended-up taking him home thinking. We left and, although I was angry, I realized that I probably wouldn't recognize the kid if I saw him again.

As we were leaving, my 3-year old daughter reminded me that this is the same punk child that punched her over the winter one day after the school let out. I'd forgotten, but she is correct. It is the same punk child. Then I just got mad all over again.

I've never had that happen. Usually, when a kid gets caught and is confronted, they just apologize and that's the end of it.I'm not proud to say that I actually had an argument with this kid. I reminded my son what he needed to do if he had another problem with this kid and followed-up on it, but otherwise let it go until today.

I took the kids to my daughter's preschool's "Family Fun Night". The preschool is run out of the church I go to and it's a good place. There's was lots of noise and chaos. All in all, a "good" time. Then the cakewalk began and all the kids dashed to get in line.

The kids and I are standing in line waiting for our turn when I see my son pale suddenly. I thought he was going to be sick. I asked him if he was ok and he pointed to the kid that had just pushed him out his place in line.

When I glanced over, I saw it. It was the delinquent first grader again! We made eye contact and he recognized me right away, but instead of refocusing on something else (an indication that he might have felt chastized as a result of our previous encounters), he made a point of boring a hole in my brain with his eyeballs. A true sociopathic stare. Only once in my entire life have I met someone like that before and that person was a criminal of the worst kind. It was frightening.

What makes such a young boy be so fundamentally flawed? So depressing because the answers to that question can't be good.

Anyway, my goal here is mostly to tell a venting story. I don't really have a point at all. I was completely floored by the encounter and, to be quite honest, more than a little bit frightened by it. At least now I'm armed with the kid's name and a pretty good plan in place should other encounter occur....that should help, right?

Sunday, March 21, 2010
After spending some time recently in the bliss of potty training paradise, I'm now back in Hell. As I thrillingly announced a few months ago, we are were finally done with diapers. Day and night under control. Now, not so much.

In fact, now I'm not even potty training a child, but a child who is acting like a puppy with an attitude problem. I'm sure it is related to the stress of a recent move, but still! Suddenly, I'm running around with a mop and bucket after a child who refuses to keep a diaper on. She even "forgot" that she had to "go potty" while sitting on her dear uncle's lap last night. He was very gracious, but it is definitely one for the family history books. "Remember the time when...."

And then, I get to read all about the parenting prowess of other kindly friends. Perfect. Apparently, I am not all that afterall. But I guess that is not really a big surprise. Sad that it takes a feral child to clear that up. WWTD? (What would Tarzan do?)
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
One of my favorite things to do these days is to listen to my budding three-year old lyricist working on her portfolio. While she's not quite the next Hal David, she does come up with some interesting stuff. Here's a sample of her next big hit.

Don't get splinters
In your eyes
Because it will hurt
A lot
And it's spring
Beautiful spring
The grass is green
The flowers are sweeeeeeeet
And you'll have to
Go to the doctor
The buterflies are everywhere
They fly on my head
The grass is green
The flowers are sweeeeeeet
And the doctor is not
Monday, March 15, 2010
For the first time since 2004, I’m living in a place that observes a biannual time change and I am not happy about it. Not having to bother with the time change was such a luxury. It did mean that summer days were not quite as long, but with two small children, bedtime in daylight is not an event to savor anyway. (Even though I personally like long summer evenings.)

The part I’m dreading the most is Monday morning. Sleep is in short supply already at my house in my bedroom and when my body thinks it is 6:46 am and the clock says it is 7:46 am, it makes for a very bad Monday.

See, they try to trick you by changing the clocks on a Saturday night. Probably under the sage advice that a one-hour time change only requires a one-day grace period. (Same for jet lag…one day per house of jet lag.) But we all know we don’t have to really make the change until Monday morning so it is completely pointless.

This time around, my kids magically knew to wake-up an hour early. No time change lag for them which is not surprising since they don’t seem to get jet lag either. Then today (Monday), they slept late as if to taunt me. Turns out I was right. It made for a very bad Monday.
In honor of my favorite bloggess, I wanted to bid a fond farewell to the one that got me started (Stories From Korea), by hooking you up with three of my favorite SFK posts.
In the future, check out Anna's new blog, The Woman with a Dead Cat in Her Purse. I'm sure it will shake the blogging world to its cat loving core.
Monday, March 8, 2010
I can't remember the last time I actually attempted to offer up useful information, but let's give it a try. This one is about one of my favorite parenting topics....laundry.

Years ago, I read a tip in on of those "you would be organized if only you..." books. I liked it and immediately implemented it. It works great.

However, while I was overseas, I lost both my mind and my ability to get a grip on my laundry pile by temporarily forgetting to use this tip. I'm back on the wagon again and am soooooo glad I am.

After all the ramp up, it is actually really easy.

Step 1:

Buy three (optional 4) hampers for each person in the household who can manage to follow through. Small children's clothes can just be added to the adult hampers.

Step 2:

Label each hamper with the following labels in Sharpie:

1. White, Off-Whites, Pastels, Light Greys, Khaki
2. Darks, Navy, Green, Brown, Denim
3. Reds, Purples, Oranges, and Bright Yellows
4. (OPTIONAL) Bedding and towels

Now my husband, always asks about those colors in the "grey" area of the color spectrum. That is why you can't just label them white, dark, and brights. You have to specify each grey area or it will not work.

Step 3:

Then, all you have to do is explain to everyone who is going to use the system that they take off their clothes and place them in the correct hamper according to the color.

Step 4:

From here, how you do the laundry is optional, but I like to attack a color a day. So I can announce to everyone, "bring down your darks hamper and I will wash it today." Makes sorting easy going in to the washer and out of the dryer. And you will finally find you have enough hampers to handle all the clothes.

Hope this is helpful!
Saturday, March 6, 2010
At first I thought I blew this one. Not a big surprise really when you consider my overall skill or lack thereof; then, upon reflection, I think I was just able to start an early lesson in feminist history. In the words of Monk, here's what happened...

I was rushing to get ready the other day when Emma came up to me and said, "When I grow-up, I'm going to be a fairy."

In a very atypical response, I said, "That would be fun, but you have to be born a fairy to be a fairy."

Emma burst into tears. I wanted to kick myself. Why would I disagree when I usually play along? Who knows?

Nice work, Mommy.

Then, as I always do when I devastate my children's dreams, I started thinking (read: "justifying") about my actions and I realized that it is important to know that everyone is different. Some people can fly around with disproportionately small wings, others can, well, not.

We can't all be fairies. Like it or not, there is a glass ceiling and it is never too soon to learn about how it works. At least half of the population will not break through this ceiling to become a real live fairy. And, if they do manage to break through, they will probably lose a lot of blood, get shoddy medical care, and die before their time. So really, I'm just saving my daughter from a fate worse than death and giving her a lesson in what it means to be a woman in this day and age. Go, me!
Friday, March 5, 2010
This morning on the way to school Jack, who is in first grade, announced that it was "black top day" today. Like a fool, I asked what that meant and he explained that black top day was when the first graders had to play on the playground black top so that the third graders could play on the playground equipment (slides, swings, etc.)

A little confused, I felt relief, at first. I was glad that someone had created a procedure to minimize bullying during recess. Then, upon reflection, I was just confused. Wait a second, I thought. We're talking about first and third graders here. What the....

When did elementary school become so risky and hard to manage that a few playground monitors can't keep up with the bad guys on the playground? What happened to hoping for the best and training them for the worst? (e.g Tell a teacher if someone does something you don't like.)

I don't want my child to be bullied or to bully someone else, but how are they ever going to learn to handle bullying if they don't have exposure to it while the bullying is on a first/third grade level. I don't want Jack's first encounter with a mean kids to be on the bus as the child pummels him to a pulp. I want him to get used to setting boundaries now!

Not only that, but isn't this also the time when children should be required to be together so that they can start taking care of each other? If we segregate them, aren't we giving the third graders more power? Aren't we just telling them, hey, look at how much we fear what you can do?

Come on, people! Let's be reasonable. Isn't there a better way to teach kids about life while also keeping them safe?

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