Sunday, April 29, 2007

And You Lift Me Up in a Wave of Love

On Thursday night, some colleagues and I sojourned to Cragun’s, an up-north resort, to participate in a conference featuring English-related teaching techniques. It was a pretty good time, and we thought the talks went well, but the food wasn’t terrific. It was especially un-terrific for Rach, and what with the puking, she missed the story-teller on Friday evening.

When I got home on Saturday morning, I went straight into a whirlwind weekend including a trip to the Children’s Theater, a couple of visits to the hospital to see my grandfather, a birthday party for Dan’s sister, and errands at Target today, during which Shef rode in high-style on one of their super kid-carrying carts, standing on one foot on a platform designed for sitting, making exclamations like: “I love standing on one foot!” and “My penis shakes while we’re driving!”

I don’t think anyone could blame me for being tired.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's a Big Enough Umbrella

This is something I definitely shouldn’t proclaim out loud.

Instead, I’m going to whisper it really really quietly:

Shef has slept in his own bed all night, every night for the last three nights.

I don’t know why he's doing this, and I don’t dare expect it to last. But still. I do appreciate his willingness, however fleeting, to accommodate my recent spring-induced rash of exhaustion. When I collapsed at 8:30 last night, the kid was dozing as well; and when I woke just once at 12:15 to rub his back, he was snoring again before I made it back from the bathroom.

Friday, April 20, 2007

See You're The Kind of Person Who Believes In Makin' Out Once

Yesterday, we did a practice for the vile standardized test the sophs will be taking next week. The passage was a biography of Jocelyn Elders.

It was an innocuous chronological piece with zero pizzaz. Elders was born in 1933 on a cotton farm, got a scholarship to college, was the only African-American person in her medical school class, and later was named Surgeon General by Bill Clinton. She overcame many obstacles in her life.

Isn’t that great and admirable?

I let the kids answer all the multiple choice questions – compelling questions like “What does the word segregated mean in paragraph three?” – before I told them the reasons I remembered Elders from her short, 1993 stint as Surgeon General: her supposed support of masturbation education, and her penchant for saying things that made pro-lifers’ salivary glands spring to life with blood thirst. Things like, “We must end our love affair with the fetus.” Someone so attached to blasphemy was a big topic of conversation at my Catholic high school.

“Don’t you think you would have been more interested in this article if it included that stuff?” I asked them.

“Oh, for sure,” they said, nodding. “Absolutely.”

Monday, April 16, 2007

Listen Up Everybody If You Wanna Take a Chance

It started with NASCAR, really; which actually started with the Cars movie. Shef used to ask me to pause the race scenes so we could look at the numbers of the animated competitors. And then? Before I knew it, he had memorized the numbers and names of twenty-something NASCAR drivers. The 8 car is Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the 48 is Jimmie Johnson, 24 is Jeff Gordon.

“There’s 9! That’s Kasey Kahne!” he’ll exclaim as we drive by a gas station.

“Oh-kay!” I’ll respond, trying to muster up some kind of supportive enthusiasm.

It's gotten so the kid will only wear shirts with numbers on them. Sometimes I try to convince him that the size printed on the tag counts as a number, but that only works about ten percent of the time. He calls Dan and me by our numbers – 33 for him, 29 for me. He reads numbers off of digital clocks, radio tuners, billboards, buildings, and telephones. On Easter Sunday, I kept him busy in church by quizzing him on the numbers of the hymns.

I don’t know when this obsession will go the way of Tide and dolphins, but for now we’ve invested in four or five jersey-type t-shirts emblazoned with numbers to fend off morning melt-downs.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

They Spin Around And They Cross The Floor

So, something happened to the sophs over spring break. Some of them have gone crazy, some have become sneaky, and most have lost the little sense of decorum they once had. I nearly hit the roof when one of my usual suspects called me “sweetie” yesterday. As in, I said, “Please take out your notebooks,” and he said, “Whatever you say, sweetie.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

We're Living In a Powder Keg and Giving Off Sparks

This has been a roller coaster week so far: sophs cheating, texting, and hijacking my speakers. My Stupid Master's Degree on the rocks and then off again. Shef standing on the coffee table belting out Smash Mouth one minute, and lying on the floor of Bread and Chocolate screaming for another cookie the next.

Luckily, one of the kids told me we have 43 days of school left, and I'm on the verge of being finished with grad school forever; so life could be worse.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

You Live For the Fight When It's All That You've Got

I was feeling extra maternal as I tucked Shef, super sleepy and cuddly, into bed last night. "Oh, Shef, you’re just a great kid," I said.

"No, I'm not," he said earnestly, "I’m bad."

"You’re not bad," I said, arm around his neck.

"Yes, I am," he insisted. "I’m bad."

"Well, I think you’re a good kid."

Then, with a smirk: "You’re not my friend."

Lucky for me, my friend Molly provided me with a completely slick response to this statement: "You’re right Shef; I’m your mom."

Shef, unrelenting: "You’re not my friend."

Me, unfazed and proud of it: "Well, good night, Shef. I love you very much."

Shef, full of mirth: "I don’t love you."

Me, determined: "I love you though." And then I made a hasty retreat, to a chorus of "I don’t love you," repeated over and over as I walked down the stairs.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Let Me Bust the Funky Lyrics, U Can't Touch This

I’m not gonna lie: the skiing is pretty awesome. More awesome is that Shef has been spending time at ski school. Ski school is staffed by young, energetic professionals. Parents are not allowed in the magic, kid-sized door.

Shef’s double-black-diamond grandfather takes care of drop-off to hedge against meltdowns, and then we carve it up the best way we know how.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Before This River Becomes An Ocean

A couple of weeks ago, I sat with Jessie in a coffee shop, and on my thesis-writing breaks, I read blog entries from her thesis-writing era. It turns out, thesis-writing made her hilarious. It doesn’t make me hilarious, but it does increase my blogging productivity.

I could expound on Shef’s recent spate of naughtiness, but instead I’ll just say I’m on the top of page 58. That includes references.