Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Adios Ethan

Shef is in the midst of moving classes at school, which I think is pretty swell, partly because he’ll get a little break from Ethan, the biting, swearing, fake gun-wielding classmate, who won’t be moving up until February.

The other day when I dropped Shef off in his room, we both thought that Ethan wanted to play hide-and-seek, seeing as he ran giggling behind a bookshelf in the “home area” and crouched down to avoid being seen.

But then, after we made a big show of looking for him unsuccessfully in various other toddler departments, and then finally peeked cheerfully around his home-area bookshelf, we discovered that maybe we’d misunderstood the cues.

Ethan scrunched up his face, yelled, “NOOOOO,” four or five times, and began shooting us with fast-alternating index fingers while chanting "Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow!"

At conferences the previous week, I told Teacher Sheila that whenever Shef gets hurt at school and we ask who did it, he tells us it was Ethan.

“Is that true?” I asked, even though I know from being on the other side of the conferencing table that it’s a real pain when parents bring up crap like that.

“Well,” said Teacher Sheila carefully, “he is one of the most aggressive in the room right now, but he doesn’t do everything.”

I'm not so sure.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Long Weekend, Long Gone

Thanksgiving here was a trip – good food, good company, and a super Shrek screening on Dan’s parents’ new tv-sound system.

Now, there’s school to think about – I’ll be starting new units in both classes, and I’m not quite ready to go on those.

Also, I methodically ignored all of the papers I was supposed to grade this weekend, and now, despite my most fervent wishes, they’ll have to be attended to sometime soon.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Parent-Teacher Conferences

The first of the conferences with the sophs’ parents were pretty fun, except for the one where the mom questioned my qualifications, my assignments, my judgment, my choice of reading material, and my ability to connect with kids, all the while pounding on the table and chanting, “HE. DOES. NOT. GET. B. PLUSSES.”

It's true, I could have lived without that one.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Kid Likes Words

So, the latest targets of Shef’s knowledge-bender are state capitals and various words. His favorites of the capitals are Sacramento, Tallahassee, and Oklahoma City. It’s tough to say which are the favorite words – I suppose any of the ones he recognizes are right up there.

“That says ‘up,’” he said to me as we cruised past the Super America the other day. Sure, it took me a moment to find the “up” in Super, but no flies on the kid.

On Sunday, we had an exciting afternoon planned – emptying all of the toy and book receptacles in the house, and then taking a half-hour reprieve to rip apart the local Barnes and Noble.

“What book do you want to read next?” I asked him, after we’d finished a couple of the old stand-bys.

Bear Once More,” he said definitively.

“Hmmm, we don’t have that one,” I said, “but should we look it up so we can find it at the book store?”

“Sure,” he agreed.

I typed the title into Amazon, but I couldn’t find it. “Are you sure that’s what it’s called?” I asked. “What are the other words in the book?”

“Mom, it’s Bear. Once. More. by Karma Wilson.”

I thought it was pretty nice of him to give me the author, and I found Bear WANTS More in no time flat.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

When I'm Overwhelmed, My Coping Strategy is Simple: Take On More Work

I had a tough week on a few levels, so I was behind at work and on My Stupid Master’s Degree™. Long story short, I failed to meet the Wednesday 4:00pm deadline for submitting my quarter grades for upload by the technology guy. I didn’t think this was such a big deal because I like to enter my grades into the web-based program myself, which I was frantically doing during my prep period on Thursday morning, when I got an email from my assistant principal asking me to please get my act together and enter the grades pronto.

This email triggered my Automatic Guilt Reflex, so later that day when a request for attendance committee members appeared in my inbox, I volunteered immediately. Even more alarming, when one of my cutest sophs asked if I would please, pretty please, chaperone just a little bit of the Sadie Hawkins dance, I found myself agreeing.

I tell you, sometimes I’m really sorry I was raised Catholic.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Fostering Reasonable Expectations

Shef: I want to play soccer, Mama.

Me: Okay, great! You can play soccer.

Shef: No,actually I want to play baseball with the Twins.

Me: Oh, yeah? How about playing t-ball next summer with Drew? That would be fun.

Shef: No. The Twins, Mama.

Me: Ok-ay…

Shef [brightening]: Do you wanna come watch me play with the Twins?

Me: Yes. Absolutely.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

The Peer Group

Ethan is the kid Shef learned the f-word from last spring. Ethan also says “shut up,” and, as a bonus, he’s the class biter. So, you know, we’re thrilled to have him in Shef’s room at school.

Of course, I’m not the mother of a model preschooler, but I did check with Teacher Jeanne last week and verified that Shef has not sunk his teeth into a single compatriot, even though he has bruising puncture wounds on his shoulder and his wrist, all courtesy of Ethan.

I guess mostly I’m relieved that I’m not Ethan’s mom because I was really humiliated for those two weeks when Shef was yelling “fuck” on the playground last spring. If he had continued in this vein, I think we would probably have had to move out of state.

So, today when I came to pick Shef up, he was sitting next to Ethan at snack time. I sighed internally and then decided the right thing to do would be to reach out. Ethan is, after all, supremely cute and only two years-old.

“Hi, Ethan,” I said, smiling.

“Fuck them,” Ethan said enthusiastically, raising his arms in the air.


Wednesday, November 1, 2006

It Was A Play On Words

Proving once and for all that even people who give their kids country club names have a sense of humor??