Monday, March 31, 2008

Our library, home of coke products and fritos

and an occassional new book.

I have been chastised for my lax parenting by our local library. It was only a matter of time what with my laissez faire style and uninvolved demeanor. I do believe less is more when it comes to interacting with my kids, as evidenced by my homeschooling and formerly AP choices.

Right before Easter we hit the library to gets some books and pay for the book which we lost (which I don't believe we lost but that is another story.) I took Brenna and headed to the cashier's desk while the boy (7 and 10!) headed to the children's room to browse.

These boys are not rotten tomatoes. They do not scream and shout and act like hoods while at the library.

They save that for me at home.

When I had finished my business with the cashier I headed down to the children's room and was accosted by a library lady with an ax to grind and she proceeded to grind it on me, informing me children under 14 can't be alone in the children's room and my children were what they called "UNATTENDED."

I was annoyed. No. actually I was PISSED OFF. mightily so.

she presented me with a written copy of the policy which I didnt read.

But I should have!

Bc according to the website:

Unattended Children
Please do not leave children unattended even in the Youth Services Department. Children up to age seven (7) must have a responsible caregiver, age sixteen (16) or older on the premises. If the child is five (5) or under, the caregiver is asked to remain with the child.

Bite me, library lady. I have a call in to the library and am awaiting some sort of clarification on the policy. I will not be chastised by some peon (probably staff, not even a real librarian) in the children's dungeon (I hate our library!) for perfectly reasonable parenting.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Excellent News!

According to Dr Sarah Benson I have won 1 millions Euros!


So much better than winning 1 million dollars in this day of the weak buck.

I wonder what I have to do to claim it... Probably just email my SSN to good old Dr Sarah.

You wouldnt think you would need any sort of PhD to notify people of winning the lotto. Fraudulent lotto or otherwise.

Very odd.

Friday, March 21, 2008

If You Want Sympathetic Glances and Kindly Tolerant Smiles

Simply take your three children to Mass for the Foot Washing and etc (its a long one!) by yourself.

Leave the husband at home!

Make sure the smallest child has not napped!

I had never been to the Triduum masses before this year. I'm a cradle catholic but we were not devout I suppose. I mean, we did Holy Days of Obligation (Mom took me out of school even) but we never went to the extras. The extras tend to be the coolest parts.

Different churches handle foot washing differently. Ours has 5 stations set up around the church. Lines form. Father washes the feet of the first person at each station. After that, your feet are washed and you wash the feet of your neighbors in line.

Brenna's feet were SO FILTHY from all the outside time earlier (crocs) that she and I stayed in the pew- washing is optional, not required.

My son and his RCIA classmates washed each other's feet. There was horseplay in the line but the actual foot washing was fairly reverant.

Undoubtedly not reverant and GIRM-y enough for some, but that is another post entirely.

(GIRM is the officially prescribed order of the mass and how things should be done.)

Towels were brought to dry feet and then washed and donated to St Vincent de Paul.

guess who forgot to bring a towel?!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

There is life out there!

I just met the people who live in the house behind us.

I had no idea they had 3 kids back there! And the house next to them? 2 little girls the same age as my Brenna!

Why have I never seen these kids before?

I guess they don't play outside very much.

There is water back there because ourneighborhood is on a resevoir. The houses behind us have no fences. Its probably not a good idea to let your kids play outside alone when you live on a canal.

But we have had some beautiful days and I had literally no idea there were kids within miles of us! How sad for those kids.

Glad we have a fence.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Is that what makes my daughter run and hide when ever I question her about her (ill advised) activities?

Neither boy has ever done anything like this. When the oldest did something wrong he made a clear logical decision to do it and when confronted he always had a "reason" for his action. It might not have been good enough for me, mind. But in his eyes something made whatever crime worthwhile and good.

The second child is a middle and who knows what he ever did or does. Poor child. He is too busy martyring himself ( "you dont caaaaare about meeeee") to do wrong.

Tonight's major faux pas- darling Brenna has applied Daddy's deodorant to her person. I am not even upset. She isnt even in trouble. But she is ashamed. She is refusing to discuss it at all. She ran away from me when I asked her about it. She ran away screaming "STOP CHASING ME!" even tho I was headed upstairs to make sure she had not spilled anything smelly and not following her circular path around the downstairs.

Its interesting to me that I have produced two such very different beings in 10 years.

oh right. 3.

I forgot about that one kid in the middle.

(I adore the one in the middle in all reality.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I dont have anything in particular to say

Dh left town this week for Seattle. He called to let me know Westin upgraded him to a sweet room with a bird's eye view of the Space Needle.

I'm here in Indiana with a bird's eye view of the computer, 3 kids with dirty hair and a laundry pile as tall as me.

We have a heavy duty church schedule over the next few days and I'm looking forward to annoying our priest this week (but more about that later!) so in my absence you should go read this blog which I found thanks to the evile mommy site and Super Nanny.

That particular post made me laugh so hard I nearly pee'ed. I didnt catch the family on Super Nanny. I could write a whole post about how I dont care for Super Nanny but instead let me link you to someone who wrote something better than anything I ever could. And he has credentials too.
Select the one entitled "Atrocious Advice from Super Nanny"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sixty Two Degrees

Its not new to me that my moods are tied to the weather. This winter has been a real beaut, with few sunny days and an excess of cold windy ones. Cabin fever has long since set in and I cant tell you how many days we avoid going out or even getting dressed in real clothing.

If I could figure out where to live to maximize my sun exposure and minimize housing expenditures I'd head there tomorrow.

Today's math is going to be multiplication squares, aka magic squares. These are probably sort of like Suduku, which I hate. I hate it because I'm terrible at it. But magic squares are simple and do-able even for me, the math dunce. No, I dont talk like that in front of the kids. And actually I'm not all that duncy having pulled out an A in finite math a couple yrs ago when I went back to college part time (but still didnt finish.)

We are heading into magic squares armed with new information gleaned from a book by the Human Calculator, Scott Flansburg- Math Magic For Your Kids. Here's the dirt:
when multiplying by 4 you say "double double" and that is what you do

300x4= 300 doubled, or 600. and 600 doubles to 1200.

300x8= 300 double double double- so 300, 600, 1200, 2400.

division is as easy- by 4? halve it. and halve it again. by 8? halve halve halve.

There is a neat trick with 6 too but it eludes me this morning.

Also, in other news, today I eschew the apostrophe.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Today's agenda

Heading outside again for the better part of the day (must devise some manly job for kids to do.)

Heavy duty fraction studies using hershey chocolate bars.

"Finishing our work" shouldnt be a problem today.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

St Anthony 101

In case you didnt understand the google reference.

SisterMaryMartha gives the best explanations.

We never said the casual (probably irreverant) prayer. I'd never heard it before. But invoking St Anthony when you cant find something is absolutely in your best interest, both while googling and in real life.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What's on tap for math this week

So far I have:

4 way count down
I hate Mathmatics!
The Phanton Tollbooth (very appropriate since the main character shares an attitude problem with my ds.) From amazon:

""It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time," Milo laments. "[T]here's nothing for me to do, nowhere I'd care to go, and hardly anything worth seeing." This bored, bored young protagonist who can't see the point to anything is knocked out of his glum humdrum by the sudden and curious appearance of a tollbooth in his bedroom. Since Milo has absolutely nothing better to do, he dusts off his toy car, pays the toll, and drives through. What ensues is a journey of mythic proportions, during which Milo encounters countless odd characters who are anything but dull."

We are also playing multiplication war and Vroot and Vroom (singapore maths 3 and 4 cd rom game.)

I figured out that from 4th - 6th grade we arent covering anything we have not already touched upon. We have plenty of time to master it and we have enough time to do so without a workbook for a bit.

Special thanks to the friend who linked me to Living Math!

I'm going to glean (read: STEAL) ideas from that site and see what works.

Catholicism du Jour

Do you suppose the patron Saint of google is St Anthony?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sing with me

Im dreaming of a new math curriculum
nothing like the one Im using now
With more real life math skills
and less need for chill pills

something somehing
daydreams in the snowwwwww.

One problem with having been a very successful school kid is that I get sort of wrapped up in typical school methods. I have utterly embraced some of the concepts of Charlotte Mason and my kids thrive on being read to and discussing what they hear. But math has always been a "here's your workbook, get down to it" subject.

I want it to stay like that frankly, bc otherwise my voice will give out and I'll never do the dishes. You would think they could do something school like without me sitting on the couch with them like we do history and lit.

But given the trouble we've been having lately with someone's defeatist attitude I'm torn between my two personalities- one says sit down, shut up and do it!

the other says ehhhh let it go awhile.

The practical approach would be to find a way to make math meaningful and encourage the mental approach in real life. IE unschool the math a while. Strew the multiplication opportunities and allow him to gravitate towards them and do it in a real life way.

oh help.

unschooling. done well, the scariest and most teacher intensive homeschooling style of them all.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Its all about the cat

So we got this cat in Nov and the whole family really enjoys him. Calum is particularly obsessed tho. Practically everytime we see a cat which is black or white or some combination of the two he exclaims, "Hey, that cat looks like Garrison."

He's also taken it further by announcing any black and white animal looks like Garrison. Gigantic furry dog? if its in any part black or white, it looks like Garrison! Skunk? Oh it looks EXACTLY like Garrison!

So last night Al's white with black stripe karate belt was lying around and dh goes, "Hey, that belt looks like Garrison!" and of course I cracked up bc its all we hear. hey! that looks like Garrison!

Later that evening Al opened our fridge and announced it has "that new fridge smell" to which Calum, holding the cat, replied "Hey, Garrison has that new cat smell."

I ask if anyone wants a cheese sandwich and Cal replies, "I'll have a cat sandwich."

I say go put the trash out and Cal says, "I'll go put the cat out!"

I say go wash your hands! Calum replies, "I'll go wash the cat!"

Who knew this one 10 pound furball would provide the 7 yo such endless enjoyment?

Please pray that the poor tolerant cat will survive all Cal's affections and attentions for many years.

Monday, March 03, 2008

How did we get here from there?

Its never been smooth sailing since this kid first pinged onto the radar. In the 18th or 19th week of my pregnancy I began experiencing lovely regular and measurable contractions which sent me to the hospital several times. The upshot of that was that i spent about 8 or 9 weeks in the hospital on mag sulfate and brethine (terbutaline) constantly. New iv every 3 days to prevent infection. My hands looked like pin cushions.

He arrived around 38 weeks and ever after I have felt both cheated and annoyed by the apparently fraudulent preterm labor.

When he was 3 weeks old we moved far away from everyone we knew to Cincinnati and dh started his PhD program.

As an infant he seemed fine to me. No one else could really hold him or satisfy him but that seemed right. He liked me best. Who could blame him? He nursed around the clock. Why not? He was inconsolable if left to cry. You shouldnt let them cry anyway!

As a toddler he was quick and caught on to all sorts of things. He was flinging insults by age three, telling the child advocate who did his Denver assessment (a developmental screeening tool through Parents as Teachers) that she bored him. he started prek at 3, right after his brother was born. His preschool teachers told me he was the angriest kid they had ever seen- the sibling issues rolled in upon the birth of his brother. The next year's teacher seemed to not noticeanything amiss and he thrived with her. At 6 he went to kindergarten at a local public montessori in Cincinnati where the fun truly began. At our first conference his teacher assured me he was one of the smartest little kids she'd ever seen and then told me he had ADD, ODD, SID and had possibly been molested (he peed in the trashcan in the boy's bathroom on a dare- an obvious sign of sexual abuse???)

In first grade he was identified as behind academically (montessori doesnt transition smoothly to standard curriculum). he was given title one 1:1 reading services and caught up in about 5 months. Behavior wise he was apparently behind. Things like chewing on strings from his clothing or his sleeves or neck of shirts were constantly causing him to "pull cards." Stubborness was another issue in the classroom. His teacher seemed to feel he was of average (and possibly below) intelligence. I asked for testing and accomodations for his dx'ed motor issues and told them he was a very smart kid. The principle looked me in the eye and said, "We have had the focus (gifted) testing. We'll see just how smart he is."

And that was the end of our school career.

In the past while he has been difficult- typically he is mouthy and argumentative- he has never been as defiant and angry as he has in the past year. Whether hormones have reared up and cursed us or whether its just all the moves (3 in 4 years now) and instability I do not know.

Perhaps its just shitty parenting. I can see my husband and I making some mistakes as we deal with this poor first (experimental) child.

I just pray we make it through the next few years because if this is rough I can not imagine what it will be like with a 16 year old.

This is the day

This is the day
That the Lord has made
That the Lord has made
Let us rejoice
Let us rejoice
and be glad in it
and be glad in it.

I have that little ditty stuck in my head. From out of nowhere comes this 2nd grade Sunday school earworm to invade my brain. It could be worse.

This is the day my son goes to see a psychologist. How on earth did people make it through childhood without therapy? How on earth did parents make it through parenthood without therapy?

It makes me really nervous. Let's face it. You never know what these kids will say.

I did find out that the neuropsychiatrist who does the assessments for things like syndromes and mood disorders and etc is an in network provider, so the insurance navigation should go better there, one hopes.

I'm in the hole to this psychologist 600$ after today. For that kind of money you could probably get a new kid and start all over again (messing him up from scratch.)

Psychologist visit- $175
full neuro-psychiatric evaluation- $180
the possibility of life without a screaming, frustrated, inflexible, tantruming 10 yo- priceless