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Showing posts from March, 2009

For Allison.

Your School is Run by the Mayor??

Arne Duncan says that more schools need to be run by big-city mayors. His job success depends on it! If we don't get more intertwining between government and schools, he'll have failed as education secretary! Eeek! We need strong leadership in schools... there is too much turnover in schools where the mayor is not in control of every aspect of our lives.

Bet you under Duncan, the trains will run on time, too.

Now, look. I get that the government has a reasonably compelling interest in assuring that its citizenry is educated and all that stuff. It has a reasonably compelling interest, too, in assuring that the popcorn you buy at the market isn't laced with arsenic and asbestos (crunchy! mmm) and that the prescriptions you buy from your local pharmacy are at least tested on the Easter bunny before being released to the general public. My apologies to the Easter bunny.

But really.

We need the MAYOR in charge of the school? I mean, yeah, I'm all for local control of sc…

Mom's Quiet Time.

Shh... it's time for Mom to eat lunch while you guys colour with your markers and watch Woodjie and Rose. "Mom?" I hear a little voice ask. "Woodjie got a marker away from me."

Well, that's ok. Just take it back. Thank youuuu...

"Mom? Woodjie coloured on his feet."

Well, that's ok. I'll just deal with that later.

"Mom? Woodjie also got a um, a little bit on the chair. And... the carpet."

Sigh. Ok, I'll be down in just a minute.

"And his clothes... and his neck and hands."

Okaaaaay...

"And on Rose. Her pants are kinda brown."

Anything else?

"You might want to get down here. Something kinda smells."

New Joisey.

"Jersey is famous for far more than landfills, the Sopranos, overcrowding, and medical waste washing up on our shore." It's also famous for Taylor's Pork Roll! I was reading this post from Ralph about his growing-up days and found that I wasn't hallucinating after all about eating this stuff as a kid in New York. I do remember trying to eat it raw when I was little and my Nana telling me that I could get hookworms from it. I think that's when I began looking more closely at what I was eating and how it was prepared... Or did Nana want all the Taylor's Pork Roll for herself? :]

I don't think I've ever been to New Jersey (though my parents apparently are assuring me I've been to all sorts of exotic places I have forgotten about... maybe New Jersey is one of them). I do know that we had a travelling evangelist come by from there. Right in the middle of her sermon, Emperor made sure to shout that she sounds like she's from New Joisey or sometin…

Emperor's Journal Assignment.

Thought I'd share Emperor's journal assignment. He was asked to write a little about what he wants to be when he grows up:

I would like to be a police man and arest criminals. They make sure that they obey the law. They make sure that the people are safe. Polices have hard jobs. You need polices in unGodly places.

(Awwww...)

We Love Smarties!

... but I've never smoked 'em. We buy them by the mega-packs. It would be a shame if Smarties candies somehow got outlawed because of stuff like this. Then again, I've heard of farm children smoking corn husks 'way back when. I can't imagine any of this is very good for your lungs, though, and soon Smarties will probably be outlawed in school under zero-tolerance policies. Hat tip: The Thinking Mother.

Evil?

My child is more prone to cause worldwide economic collapse than your darker toddler. Yellow-haired, blue-eyed people are just NATURALLY more evil than people of all the other races. Already we see evidence of this in that he wants another horsey-ride at Wal-Mart. He wants more cookie. He takes toys from his sister. He even has temper tantrums. Of course, black children would never do that. They are always NATURALLY good. All you people who think that every child is a little different, but that they all have the "human condition" in common, must be completely nuts. Sigh.

Nudity and Etc.

The human body is a beautiful work of art. Yup. Pope John Paul II said so, and therefore we can do the "sexy" look and inspire lust in millions of young men. And besides, the French version of Vogue "sets the standard" for the fashion industry, and if it has topless women included, it *must* be ok for me to wear a bikini and look like a pole dancer for money.

This lady said so, anyway. Personally, I don't find myself panting over the Greek statues of discus throwers and whatnot, and I haven't heard of too many men *ahem* pleasuring themselves over the old pics of Aphrodite with the shells. (Not that too many men would tell me about it if they did.) Hey, they're pretty people, and I suppose if you're all... hepped up anyway they might "inspire" you a bit... but these old artworks don't seem to be screaming, "DO ME NOW!" to the viewing audience. Just my take on it.

You know, that's one of the things that bother me abo…

Doctors = God? Not.

Read this post about a baby who was doomed to die at birth because of missing brain parts. You know, the one that is perfectly healthy now? That one. Guess what, guys, these doctors are NOT God. They make mistakes and technology is not perfect. That means that child you thought would die for sure might just make it. That also means that child you thought was perfectly fine could suddenly die right after birth. Do you think the parents of infants who suddenly die or are stillborn go, "Dang! I coulda had an abortion a few months back and prevented all this!" Of course they don't... so, I guess I'm not understanding why, if that's the usual common experience, that doctors would advise abortion in "hopeless" children's cases. Hat tip: Life in a Shoe blog.

Organizing for America? (What is "America?")

"For anyone who questions why the president has authored this plan, these pledges will be the answers. Because the American people demanded it. The pledge canvass will also be the first step in growing our movement and building a nationwide network to support our agenda for change. This is just the beginning for us."

Guy in a brown shirt (no irony there?) tells us that Obama/America/the Fatherland/ whatever needs these "pledges." Because the PLEDGES are the answer to "anyone who questions" the plan. So the questioners should sign the pledge. And give their email addresses and personal information.

And the people are "demanding" Obama's agenda because they signed the pledge. No one would be, say, a little scared when bunches of people from a pseudo-governmental organization showed up at their homes and asked them whether they support the current administration. No one would, say, be a little scared that this might be the year they get a t…

Irrelevant Advice.

A parent writes the Crayola educator expert lamenting the fact that her children HATE school. What a shocking statement! How can the educator save the day with her witty wisdom, her amazing insight into the inner lives of children she's never met, her in-depth analysis of the problem in this link?

Well, don't click it if you're looking for a real answer, but the "educator" relates that the positives of school need to be talked up, but at the same time, parents can help with the underlying problem (which is usually the child's fault, I guess...).

I get the Crayola e-newsletter about once a month and have seen some pretty cute ideas encompassing "how to use Crayola products." I'll bet you that the people at the Crayola company really know their stuff when it comes down to how to make crafts using Crayola things, and I think sometime soon I'm going to want to make robot pencil toppers with Elf and Emperor. Sure, there isn't any sort of ac…

You Thought It Was Over...

... but I had to post about our new marker caddy. It held the utensils in our old dishwasher, and has a new use here at home. Now I think I'm officially done with "dishwasher" related posts for a while.

Fun in a Box Part I

The baby mosh pit. Demonstrated by Woodjie and Rose. Woodjie has figured out how to topple the box, but he is surprised and upset when it happens.

New Dishwasher.

We just got a new dishwasher today. I haven't even tried it out yet, but *had* to have the box for creative projects. Just think of all the great fine motor coordination Woodjie is getting right now. :]
Dianne is doing this meme to find out our secret names:

1.Your rock star name (first pet, current car) - Rudolph Chevy Venture

2.Your gangsta name (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe) – Cookie Sneaker

3.Your Native American name (favorite color, favorite animal) – Burgundy Caterpillar

4.Your soap opera name (middle name, city where you were born) – Elizabeth Cleveland

5.Your Star Wars name (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 of your first name) - Glach (Ok, that sounds like someone vomiting, doesn't it?)

6.Superhero name (2nd favorite color, favorite drink) – Rose Mocha-Coffee

7.NASCAR name (the first names of your grandfathers) – Ross James

8.Dancer name (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy) Pumpkin Candle KitKat

9.TV weather anchor name (your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter) Gilligan Gil... um, what city starts with "Gil"?

10.Spy name (your favorite season/holiday, flower) – Chri…

The T-Shirt Dress.

Woodjie has outgrown this t-shirt decorated with boats. I sewed a little border on the shirt and now it's a dress! Yes, this curly-haired girl is playing the tambourine.

Wittenberg University.

Here D and I are in 1992 around graduation time. Yes, I really dyed my hair that awful bright red colour. But that's only because I found that blonde looked hideous on me. We're outside Myers Hall in the center of campus. My dad took this picture as he made the trip out to meet the guy I was going to marry. I *had* been dating a black fellow before D, and got so mad at my parents' reaction to that fact that I um, neglected to tell them when I began dating someone else. And the fellows have rather similar names. So, my parents had made their peace with the fact that their child would have all the difficulties associated with an interracial marriage, and were ready to meet my fiancee. Well, he's tall and handsome, but not very dark, is he? Look who came to dinner. :]

Hating School.

Mitchell hates school.

He's in a Title I school (code for lots of poor people at a school, mostly). He's already been retained a grade because he's not ready to sit still and pay attention. He gets his stars taken on a regular basis, so he doesn't usually earn his good behaviour prizes (you know, happy meal toys, pencil toppers, that kind of thing).

He hates reading. Hates it.

The teacher is sure to tell the parents that he must read for half an hour each night. And study his 20 spelling words. And his math worksheet usually takes him an hour. He's tired when he comes home. He doesn't wanna study.

He hates school. He hates math. He's eight, and he hates learning. Learning sucks.

His mom and dad, for various reasons, are unable to homeschool him. No way they can afford private school, and no way the child would do well in private school even if they could.

The school is under big pressure to get those kids to perform well on tests coming up soon. They…

Educate for a Change?

No matter who is compiling your statistics, or which particular study you want to run with, far too many children are disconnected from their schoolwork and/or discouraged in their academic studies.

"Students don't just suddenly fail; they don't just suddenly drop out," opines the Educate for a Change website. "Their cumulative records show patterns of failure and under-achievement through years of enrollment.The last three decades have been filled with innovative interventions for low achieving students, but ultimately, only two options have persisted through years of debate: Retention & Social Promotion."

The website promotes the idea that instead of throwing more money at the problem of poor student performance, teachers continue to teach material to their students until an A is achieved before moving to the next thing. The example given was a shop class in which students had to perfect a drafting project and learn the shop rules before touching the to…

Green Eyes.

Rose has pretty greeny-gray eyes. Woodjie's eyes are blue. I'm sure all these children are mine, even though *my* eyes are brown. Hm. She is trying to give hugs and kisses to me, but I am trying to take her picture. See how her little mouth is trying to pucker up? Aww.

The New Way I Wear My Shirt.

I'm overjoyed that you can't do much about this. You can straighten it up for me, and I'll flip my head right back out of it. It's what allll the kewl two-year-olds are doing with their clothing. That, and putting CheeriosTM into our diapers so that our sister can't eat them, but Mom won't blog about that.

In the News.

A school principal puts a knife to a student's arm and kids around that he'll remove his tattoo for him. The mom's pretty upset, knowing that if her son had done that to the PRINCIPAL, he'd be in jail right now. Yup.

I don't think you can see all the ins and outs from one brief story, but considering the boy waited a full month to chat about the incident, and that to a school counselor who then took that information and reported it, I don't think he's in any imminent danger. I do understand the poor mom freaking out, but I don't know that I would necessarily keep the child home from school for that. IMO it fuels the rumour mill and/or makes your kid look like a scaredy cat wuss. Well, I'm not the mom, but if she's planning to send her son back to school, keeping him out now will make things difficult. He *had* spent a month after the incident in school well enough, apparently. (But like I said, I'm not the mom. Maybe I'd have done…

About The World.

Gleanings from the lessons my homeschoolers are currently learning...

God Is A Turtle.

God is also omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. They'd like to know why I taught them that God is a turtle during this same lesson. Yes, "God is a turtle" means that God lives forever. Remember that on your test, boys.

The Devil Made Me Eat It.

The boys were instructed to please not grab all the Angel Food Cake boxes to assure their salvation in front of the nice people looking for coffee nearby. Yes, they were purposely acting silly. I think next time the rules need an extra going-over before we try getting out of the house.It would be so much easier if I hadn't brought all the little kids with me, but you see... that was the point. Trying to learn to get out as a group. Today was week one of "the rest of my life," as I have pledged to taking everyone out weekly, weather and wellness permitting.

(Aside: Boys, you need to be nice and behave yourselves well on the rest of t…

Maple Woods Nature Preserve in Gladstone, MO

D thinks this first picture of Woodjie sticking out his tongue, flapping his arms and laughing upon our arrival is extremely frightening. Are you scared? (I think he's cute but maybe I'm biased.) As we started out, someone needed to learn the hard way that the trails are uneven and we probably shouldn't run on them. The next pic is of Dad and Girlie on the trail. Of course, little S gave me a great big smile after I put the camera away. Do you see how hot and tired Elf and Emperor are? Elf would like you to admire the next picture of his victorious climb up the rock, as well as the following picture which is of course entirely unposed. Then, it's time to strap the children into the van and go home! Woodjie fell asleep on the drive back.

Autism in Somalian Communities

I'm concerned whenever I see articles from a seemingly reputable source making references to autistic people as being "lost in their own worlds" and the like. I'm also concerned that here's the inference that the Somali people are experiencing an epidemic of autism in their children when they move to the US. The implication is, of course, that autism is caused BY SOMETHING and that if we just threw these children off to the African lions, somehow they'd get all better in their homeland because, like, the medical care is soooo much better there, right?

Sigh. Just read the quote from this article (or better yet, read the whole article) and tell me what you think:

“They say, ‘There’s more sunshine, there’s less pollution, the food is fresher because the animal was killed that morning,’ ” Ms. Abdull said. “They say: ‘My kid won’t talk? Throw him in the middle of 20 other kids, and he’ll talk. They’ll tease him till he has to.’ You know the way kids run around in…

A Prisoner's Special Dinner

When you are naughty in the Old West, you get the traditional bread and water dinner. Mom served this up to Elf, complete with the "Wild West" plastic dinnerware. Elf has given me permission to post this on my blog. He would like you to feel very sorry for him, because he got into trouble tonight and will be missing my reading "The Wizard of Oz."

Unfortunately "Mrs. C"

Yes, Mrs. C is not my real name. Obviously. But I saw others on the blogs playing this game and I thought surely I would get more "normal" answers than the ones I saw! To play, you type in "unfortunately yourname" and hit search. See what you get. I typed "unfortunately Mrs.C's realname" and found out that unfortunately...

My go-go boots are patented (Drat! You can't "steal this look!").

Don't go into that garage or think about scratching my paint! I am now a major motion picture TM!

I am not saving a place in hell for gays and being inclusive (??!). Yeah.

I was not the pig "Babe" in the sequel, "Babe, Pig in the City." (Because I live in the suburbs. :])

I also don't "mesh well with the Stepford Moms."

Now you know.

Me and My Little Brother

This pic was taken at my grandparents' house in Chappaqua, NY, around 1978. They had a bit over an acre of land and a little stream. In the spring, forget-me-nots would grow near the banks and tiny fishes and bugs would swim about. They had pear and apple trees as well, but I remember no edible fruit from these, ever. One of the best things about the place was that the backyard had trees that were suitable for climbing. We moved a LOT when I was a child. This is the closest I ever came to having a settled family home. My parents and aunts and uncles were known in the town as well, which was a good thing/ bad thing later on when my parents moved to the area and I was expected to go to school there. Thankfully, I was the oldest of the bunch. My poor younger cousins got the, "Ohhhh, I know your cousin" treatment when they went on to middle and high school. Ha-ha. :]

Willie's Story

Willie had a treatable form of Hodgkin's lymphoma. Never once did his mom or dad bring him to the doctor for his painful neck lump. Willie's aunt begged his mom to bring him for a checkup. She refused and cut contact with the aunt. Social services got involved, but somehow the child wasn't seen by a physician until it was too late.

Willie died.

Stories like this, where undeserving parents spend more on their dog's flea treatments than their childrens' medical care, really burn me. This boy was precious. He deserved a chance.

I wouldn't want the pendulum to swing way the other way, where doctors and social workers get to decide every aspect of a child's care. You know the doctors would examine and medicate every little thing.

(Can you believe they wanted to give Emperor ADHD medication? As if he needed it. Can you believe they wanted to give my Elf some Paxil so he could cope better in school? Um, guess what? Now that he isn't being LOCKED IN A C…

WOW!!!!

Well, I had another post up for a bit. Sorta. I am not sure what to think about it. I am not sure whether my anonymous commenter was being silly or really thinks that Obama is the antichrist. Either way, I don't really want to be contributing to the silliness.

Look. I have every right to post a political cartoon or picture and too bad for you if you don't like it. But I also don't enjoy stirring up controversies for the sheer sake of getting everybody mad and giving myself stress about my own blog. If the comments aren't fun anymore, and I feel like I'm getting more problems than enjoyment from a certain post, I get to hit the delete button.

But just to clarify.

Political cartoons are ok. Political jokes are ok. Maybe a little snarky disrespect in good fun is ok. But the outright hatred, Obama as Anti-Christ thing is a bit icky. Eeeeeven if I post about the UN and how I don't like it, it doesn't follow that I think Obama is The One (Anti-Christ, I m…

The Adventures of Q

All of you Star Trek fans will appreciate why I call G's friend "Q." No, he's not god-like, but he sure pops in at odd times suddenly. You'll remember our last adventure with Q and the making of the face at dinner. You knew that wasn't all there would be to the story, didn't you? Yep.

About a month ago, it was dreadfully cold out. Q shows up at our door with no hat and a sweatshirt instead of his jacket, because his dad is at Wal-Mart and told him to come over before church (??!). Nice of him to call and ask before sending his son by. You know that means dinner at our house, because it's 5:20 now and church starts at 6:30. (Do they not feed their child, or do they assume people who live near churches somehow like feeding their picky eater kid? Sigh. D has told me I took the making faces at the table thing way too seriously, and he's probably right. I told him Jesus would be mighty, mighty upset at that sort of thing. Maybe some smiting or something…

The Toilet and the Homeschool.

You can use the toilet if you want. The toilet flushes just fine as long as you don't use too much toilet paper and as long as you don't poop in the toilet. If you want to poop, you must use the upstairs toilet EVERYONE uses constantly or the downstairs toilet that is in the basement with no walls or doors. So there are plenty of choices for you to make.

But not this one. This toilet, you may not use. This is the one with the only working lock and I am using it. Go away.

There are consequences for disobedience. The toilet will back up and leave icky water and sometimes solid pieces of your poo on Mom's floor. Then if MOM has to reach her hand in and unplug YOUR POO from the toilet, she is gonna yell at you something fierce and complain about how now everything smells like YOUR POO because really, despite scrubbing, scrubbing and more scrubbing... iw. Her hand should not have to physically smash up YOUR poo and push it down the drain on a regular basis, nor should sh…

Team Jesus

I don't think I have the shoelaces anymore, but my husband thought they embodied some strange theological concept when I brought them home from church one week. All the children got a pair during Sunday School because they were all part of "Team Jesus!"

I feel like "Team Jesus" really failed us. Patrick could read and write circles around the other children in the class, but we were second-class citizens because we didn't homeschool. They treated G something terrible. And for a while, I let them because I thought being Christlike meant you took crap from those who should know better. Just being honest with you.

See, they divided the classes by grades. Children under first grade got to go in with the toddlers and learn to sing "Jesus loves me" and stuff like that. Bigger children were sat down and taught before their activity time. Well, there was a homeschooler not three weeks older than G who would have been in preschool had she been sent to public…

Warning...

Inside my dishwasher. It was left open by the repairman at my request in case it started leaking again. We've ordered a new one, but meanwhile, little hands need to stay far away. Elf and Emperor walked into the kitchen on separate occasions. SOMEHOW, they both did the exact same thing, at first, anyway. They saw the washer open, bellyflopped, and read all the WARNINGS on the workings. Elf was satisfied that he didn't want to mess with any of the stuff and exited the kitchen. Emperor wanted to know why all the wires were different colours. He reasons that the washerman put different colours to mean different things. And what does it mean? His little fingers even went out there for a second. Yes, he thought about it. He just wanted to know. He also wants to know why stars twinkle and has five questions for every answer you give him. He needs to stay out of the kitchen.

Teaching About Gambling.

Darren teaches kids about gambling in a California public school. "As my Algebra II students have been learning about probability, permutations, and combinations recently, games of chance are very relevant to the subject matter," he writes. "Many of the problems in our textbook have dealt with probabilities of drawing certain cards from a deck, so I've extended that to other probabilities..." Good for him! He's teaching them why the "house" usually wins without teaching the kids how to gamble or encouraging the practice. You'll want to pop by and read the whole article, complete with YOUR odds of winning at various games.

Woodjie Dyes Eggs!

Woodjie is having a great time dying Easter eggs. Yes, it's a little early, but I had time this afternoon and we might as well. You can see Elf stim a little bit in the background. Actually he does this a lot and you can tell other kids think he's strange when they first meet him. Woodjie and G have similar stims with arms flapping. :]

No, I'm Not Linking.

Partly because I don't want to disparge other blogs and partly because I want to discuss issues on their own merits. I'm just gonna discuss issues here. You go ahead and comment without referring to the blog you think is in question, because these are issues I have seen on more than one blog and I am NOT picking on your friend. See? That's why I'm not linking.

But here we go.

Women going to college

I never knew that women should never go to college until I read blogs. Apparently they must stay home and learn to crochet and be submissive to their future husbands. I guess that's great if you're hanging out with a bunch of other families with the same mindset... your kid actually has a chance of snagging a decent husband and not ending up as an old maid and rotting goods at the age of 25.

OK, that was mean. But wow. If you make her wait to get married when she's old like that, she'll have trouble having at least 14 kids by the time she's 40. *wink…

Pinata!

We made a pinata out of a handled paper bag and staples. The bag was filled with candy and stuffed with paper. We had a lot of fun! Would you like to play a pinata game online, too?

Dracula!

Every conversation with Elf for several months has been peppered with references to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And can he read it now? How about next week? NO, he doesn't want the kids' version. He's not a kid any more. Elf will turn up his nose at the entire children's section of the library now. He will deign to look in the "juvenile" section, but only because he likes the pictures in the books. He wants grown-up books. Now that he has read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and marvelled a bit at the poor theology it contains, he'd like to read Dracula next. NO, he doesn't want a children's book about it. NO, he doesn't want an "abridged" version. Can I get it for him at the library now? How about now? Mom, let's talk about something. About a book. Dracula. Mom, let's talk about something. Oh, no, it isn't a book. It's about a person. Dracula. What? Talk about "places" instead? Okay... let's talk…

Tea Party Talk.

I don't get it. People are going to have a party on Tax Day, drink tea, maybe get their pic in the paper, and then go home? I looked at the website and despite the claims of a real "revolution," nobody's getting the muskets out.

Maybe I misinterpret. I'd like to be a little more clear about what this is that everyone's referring to and why it's important. Snooping 'round on this website seems to indicate to me that the organization wants to do away with all military and police officers:

"... But seriously, the number of individuals currently working for the government is staggering. Police officers, paramedics, secretaries, waste management, military service, elected official staff… heck it would take me well over a day to post a list of every government job that exists. In fact, it would take me WEEKS!"

"Our argument is that many of these individuals should not be be employed by the taxpayer. Our argument is that many of their jobs sh…

Plastic Bead Art

We had some of these plastic beads kicking around for years, but not very many, and mostly in grey and green. D found a nice batch of them in many colours at the thift store for just under $2. It took me a long time to organize them all by colour so that one can easily do projects, but I think it was time well-spent. The boys have made several little projects, and after I iron the beads, they stick together nicely. Perfect muddy/snowy day thing to do in the kitchen.

Itch, Itch.

How would you like to go into business as a "hair-whisperer," touting new and wonderful louse-killing products straight from your van? Apparently it's the most "recession-proof" business that you could imagine.

Moms are getting sick and tired of having their children all scrubbed up, de-lousified, combed and recombed, vacuuming the bugs, washing the sheets and pillows and other icky jobs, only to find their children re-infested with bugs for the fourth time. They'd rather outsource this joy, especially as the stigma of lousiness (you know, being louse-y, lousy, or whatever you want to call it) is going away.

I've just summarized the entire article, but go ahead and peek to see the extremes people go to to stay bug-free. I think the lady who invited the de-louser to her child's SLEEPOVER party to check everyone's hair is a bit nuts. Could you imagine being one of little Bobby's friends and hanging out in front of the Wii after the tradition…

Throwing Rocks at Dogs.

If I were in charge of *all* household purchases, my children would not be snorting and guffawing their way through "Looney Tunes" episodes. Have you seen these lately? I can admit to laughing my way through an occasional episode, but every now and then I just can't watch as that poor coyote gets sent over the cliff again, or hit by a truck again, or Elmer Fudd gets shot again.

Can you just imagine how PETA would react to these cartoons if they were to come out today? Let's pretend the coyote is endangered, too, just for the fun of it.

It's different to hear about cruelty to a real animal. And yet I read stories like this and can understand the disdain for dogs in other nations. Could you imagine large numbers of wild animals roaming the streets where you live? Animals that truly could be a threat to human life?

I've also heard horrible things about dog-killings in China. I haven't made up my mind whether the story I just read puts that into perspecti…

I Need a Friend!!

Here is G after a particularly horrible time, cuddled with a "friend" that I hand-delivered. G was not allowed out of bed for a bit (he was sent there to calm down and do that thinking about what you did thing), and Woodjie's presence calmed him a bit. I gave the blanket to him when he was about three years old... otherwise Mickey Mouse would be way too young for anything I make for him. I sewed his NAME in big letters and put some old jeans pants pockets he wore as a little toddler onto it as well. He still is very attached to it as it's something that is just his, made special for him. Woodjie's visit ended after he started messing with all the CDs and pencils on the headboard.

Patrick at NHD Contest

Patrick went to Truman Library in Independence for the National History Day competition. He presented his DVD about Bobby Fischer. That guy had some... language. But Patrick enjoys chess very much and wanted to find out more about him. He wishes, after doing so, that he had chosen someone else to spend so much time researching about. He also didn't figure out how to bleep out words in the interview snippets he included from Fischer, which is a bit of a problem. I'm sure D is glad it's over as it snowed AND he got lost on the way out to the competition. D returned with several photographs like this, many of which are blurry and/or cheesy.

Thinking Outside the Box.

Joe wrote a post by that title, and doesn't it just fit? We need to quit putting kids into boxes quite so literally. If you're at all interested in the history of the time-out room (aka locked closet in my lingo or "safe" room in teacherese), you should click over and take a look. A short excerpt:

"For too many years, in too many places, children who have occasional outbursts in schools have been seen as disruptions, nuisances, drains on resources, undisciplined, bad, and generally problems to be controlled. And the tools that have been most often resorted to to remedy the situation have been the ones seen to be most expedient-the use of restraints and seclusion rooms."

Social Skills Training for Autistic Children

I've been thinking of ways to do this, but I'm lost. My younger children don't go to public school because the staff isn't able to handle the children in a way that I feel recognizes their humanity. That being said, there really IS some socialization that my children are missing out on here at home.

YES, I know that all the homeschool readers here just howled. YES, I know that all y'all homeschoolers are great and join band, and co-op classes, and that your kids play softball and soccer and visit their cousins twice a week and that your kids have friends over after their schoolwork is done every day... yes, I know that.

But let's talk about MY family for a moment. Elf runs away when he is overwhelmed. Woodjie runs because he's two. S has a horrible high-pitched scream. She's probably neurotypical, but she's smart. Too smart. She has figured out that when she does this in quiet places, people come to pay attention to her.

Then there's Emperor. We lo…