Monday, December 8, 2014

The chronology of fulfillment

For as long as they have been able to speak, if a kid asked ever what time is it? I always gave the same answer, having nothing to do with the time.

This is, in truth, not even that good of a song, nor one I particularly love. But it is a song that was out exactly the time in my own collision of coming of age and noticing song lyrics and it is permanently embedded in my brain. So the answer is always 4:30, whether it is or it isn't.

I have only a small arsenal of being purposely annoying to my littles, but this is a core tool in it. And it makes them motivated to learn to tell time.

I'm not such a musically oriented person, but some songs do that to you, don't they?

But then the day came, as it had to, since it was clearly destiny. The Day. The one we'd all trained for since the moment, practically, when they each were born.

May I present: First Grade Homework.

Also known as: Validation.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

The inherent split personality of being almost five

We're stopped a traffic light. It's dark outside, we've been in the car awhile, and his sisters aren't with us. This is the Dreaded Scenario: he has to entertain himself.

He has his pant legs pulled up over his knees. Boredom prompts creativity and appendages become toys. He pulls his sock as high at it goes. It's not an interesting sock. Navy, knit, undoubtedly, due to its gender-neutral tone, multi-handed-down. It has that no-color fuzz at its surface of a thousand washes, a thousand kid yanks, a thousand moments of parents patiently or not corralling toes within its stitches. Its color goes deeper as he pulls the fibers from each other, exposing parts rarely seen by light or air. He watches the gradient come and go and he pulls and releases.

Almost five is an age ripe for wonder. He pulls yet further and sees through the latticework tiny quadrants of his own skin. Look, Mama! My leg says 'hi' here and here and here and here and here and here and here! He rubs the stretched sock (poor sock) and the texture of its ribs so ribbed now to their utmost. For at least a moment, he's found something that captivates him completely.

Feel my leg, Mama! Feel this! I reach back absentmindedly just before the light turns green. We're almost home and I'd like to be there. I rub the sock, thinking this is its last glory, and the leg within, thinking I care for it more than any pair of socks, and this is a sacrifice worth a peaceful ride home in this awful traffic. "I feel, sweet boy. Feels like you! Feels like love." I make the left turn.

Almost five favors scatology over sincerity at every opportunity. No! It feels like BUTT! Ha ha ha! I said BUTT!

And that's my boy. Pin It

Sunday, November 30, 2014


We went away for Thanksgiving and (I fell completely off the blogging bandwagon) and came back this afternoon and I headed out to Target for some provisions, like you do. Then:

A stray chunk of concrete was sitting in my path as I pulled through an intersection I've crossed a thousand times. And I've always wondered: are they a problem, those rogue chunks? And I've always wondered: where do they come from? And I still don't know the answer to the latter, but the former is a yes. They are the original purveyors of road rage and they rise up and take bites. And you thought road rage was a human trait. The road, it rages. At us.

We've spent much of the past two months juggling cars as my geriatric station wagon has been complaining of its aching bones, most recently by declaring seatbelt mutiny. The back seat's middle belt walked off the job and wouldn't engage, meaning I couldn't put three kids in the car. Getting it fixed was a dedicate-a-day proposition, as it involved pulling out the back seat bench. It was a calendaring feat that we avoided for as long as possible, mostly by trading cars whenever one of us needed to be able to drive all three kids. My old lady wagon spent a lot of time in airport parking lots lately, as the lovely husband took to driving her on his way out of town, and I spent a lot of time helming his minivan. I have no love of his minivan, but as winter comes I do not argue its tushie warmers.

The only way to catch our flight on Tuesday without stranding a car anywhere involved me driving the lovely husband's minivan to work crazy early while he drove my wagon to drive kids to school and to the garage where finally she got her seat belts back in working order. She got home just for us to abandon her to six days in Boston without her, and now we're back, And in my first three miles behind her wheel again, she did let me know just how she feels.

But the joke's on her because for that little stunt and an undriveable wheel, she got herself towed straight back to the garage. And we're sharing a minivan again tomorrow, and I shall glory in its tushie warmers and remind myself that like with petulant toddlers, we should not take too personally the tantrums of the old and infirmed. Cranky car.

And what does one do while waiting for a tow truck? Try to catch up on blogging, of course. Did you miss me?

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Third grade project work

We've had a fourth kid all weekend (luckily I think she's fantastic). She should have just moved in. She was here almost all day yesterday and we're rounding 8pm and she's still here today. The giggles, they have been a rolling sound machine. The project has covered the whole dining room table and spread to the floor and there are toothpicks and tissue paper everywhere.

I have seen this project in the school halls for four years now, and never knew just what was involved:

-the whole cardboard collection from the recycling bin
-a million hours
-a zillion laugh breaths
-all the toothpicks
-all the glue
-all the brown paint
-all the two different rolls of duct tape
-the demise of one pair of scissors

I should be grateful it didn't lend itself to glitter.

The thing is due December 2nd but there's extra credit to be had for bringing it in early. It was fun to see E work with one of her peers, but based on the state of the dining room, I'll be glad for this project to leave the house tomorrow.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Preschool Thanksgiving lunch

For today's lunchtime adventure I went downstairs to eat with G and his class. The school brought in a whole catered meal but G wouldn't try any of it, not even the corn, because it was off the cob and he let us all know emphatically that he does not like his corn in pieces. It's all supposed to be on one holding piece for biting. That's not good corn. That's yucky broken corn.

So he ate his regular chicken nuggets and no corn and was plenty thankful. The class said a benediction over the food together:

We love bread.
We love butter.
But most of all...
We love each other!

So I was thankful for their secular adorableness as much as for spending lunch with my boy and for my double serving of yucky broken corn.

And then he declared real Thanksgiving over, now that we'd eaten together, and next week doesn't have to happen. So happy Thanksgiving, and if you have any trepidation about next week's festivities, I have in proclaimed that you do not have to partake.

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