31 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 schools... but do we need our town's MAYOR in charge instead of the school board and the superintendent? You know, the people I'm voting for locally anyway? I'd like to vote my mayor in on the basis of his ability to negotiate good contracts on my garbage pickup, patch the potholes on my street and make sure my city's Spring on the Square has a good parade. The parade is pretty important, and we wouldn't want anything like "running the schools" to distract him.

Not to mention my *last* mayor, who turned out to be a bit of a flake after he took office. Goody for him that he wanted to fight icky oil-change places from taking the building in the center of town (you know, a service people need?). He wanted something more upscale to move in. I guess he was hoping for a poodle-grooming place that paints doggie nails or one of those upscale boutiques with a French name and boas in the window. Well, the oil change guys didn't fight him and moved on... bye...

Guess who moved in?

Porn shop. With bondage videos and spank-ware, located directly across from the McDonald's "Playplace" (not going to make crude joke here... eeew). And the porn shop had lots of great expen$ive lawyers to challenge city code. The mayor rolled over and let it happen. Yeah, the new place does have boas in the window, and a French-sounding name, so mission accomplished, I guess. Sorta.

I'm not sure, but I think somehow this applies to schools... hmmm...

30 March 2009

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'. Shh... that's because she *is,* ok?

Come to think of it, have you noticed that it seems illeducated people in the movies seem to have this accent? Well, at least in our Christian radio dramas, all the nice Christian people have a proper twang to them and talk a little slower... but the bad guyz, they talk like they are from the East Coast. I remember how surprised Emperor was that someone worships God AND comes from New Jersey. Now that I'm thinking about it, I could name several very wonderful Christian broadcasts, and the bad guy usually has an East Coast accent...!

But this woman was incredible. Elf and Emperor had had horrible nightmares for several weeks. Awful, awful things. This evangelist had NO clue about it as I had not discussed this with anyone at church. And I'm thinking even if I had, we're the last people the pastor would "prep" the evangelist about. But the boys decided *on their own* to go up for prayer, one of those general "if you have something you need God's help with" sort of things. I think they were the only kids there. She prayed for them first and was very specific about God removing their nightmares and giving them a vision for what He would have them to do. The first part... the nightmares being gone, happened that very night. I think the boys have only had one or two truly bad dreams since that night about a year ago. The second part... the vision for what God wants them to do, either hasn't happened or is a work in progress.

God lives in New Jersey, too. :]

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...)

29 March 2009

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.

28 March 2009

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 about the parenting magazines sometimes when they show a woman's breast. Can I be frank with you here... it's never this teeny little boob with stretch marks and elastic marks, it's always some really round "Barbie on hormones" sized watermelon thing perfectly angled for the camera. And I think banning pics of breastfeeding are silly. BUT I also think some of these pics depicting "good nutrition" in infants are really just soft porn. (Methinks I will get some comments on this LOL!)

In other news...

Spiderman Saves the Day! It's a true story... he really did.


Sit or Squat? If you travel, visit this website to plan the pit stops on your journey. Sponsored by Charmin... because they've "got your back" LOL! Worldwide. Somebody was very, very busy doing research for this.

Free Printable Pecs! Get 'em here.

Emperor's food choices Sorry, but if you don't want the cheddar chicken casserole Dad made, you will have to have a peanut butter sandwich made from the heels over here. Emperor says he's very hungry... but he's not sure he likes eels very much. Awww. He ate 'em anyway.

27 March 2009

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 tax audit if they don't.

I'm telling you, the idea of an entire cadre of these people swarming about my neighbourhood is a bit chilling. I'd rather have ten visits from my local Mormons AND the Jehovah's Witnesses AND the stupid (name) for Mayor campaign visits we've been getting of late, than see this happen.

Who are these people, anyway?

26 March 2009

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 academic tie-in, but I'll log it under "art" anyway.

"Mrs. C," you're probably saying by now, "why are you railing on, of all things, a Crayola craft website? Don't you know that they just want to sell you Crayola stuff and they're not experts on childrearing and school matters?"

Exactly.

You're right. Um, so why do they have an entire "Parents and Teachers as Partners" section on their website? It's not really relevant. Are the Crayola people expecting "testimonials" to pour into their inboxes like, "You changed my life! I would never have thought to TALK to my child if it hadn't been for your website! And that part where you wrote about 'figuring out what the problem might be so I could help?' Brilliant! *sniff*"

And so it is with so many other businesses. WHAT is it that inspires people to ask stupid, irrelevant questions, give stupid, irrelevant advice, or just plain old be obnoxious? It must be benefitting their bottom line somehow, but I haven't figured out how just yet. Somebody help me out.

If I'm going to the OB doctor for a checkup, what's up with the "Is your husband beating you?" pamphlets in the restroom? The stupid questions like, "Are you safe at home?" from the staff? Of course I'm not safe at home! Don't you know that that's the number one place people get injured? Duh, you people. Um, now you're making me nervous with that look after I just said that. What are you writing in my chart...?

Soon, I won't even be able to go into my local Wal-Mart without the greeter saying something like, "Welcome to Wal-Mart! Can we assist you in escaping from your tyrannical husband? You'll receive a free can opener... No? Ok, thanks for your time... Oh, hello, little boy! Why aren't you in school? Has your mother stopped verbally abusing you yet? Can I help you call social services? You'd get 10 percent off your purchase today if you sign up now... Thanks for shopping at Wal-Mart!"

One of the more annoying things about having children in public schools is the fact that you get this kind of stuff on a regular basis, especially in the younger grades. (Well, maybe not as obvious.) Did I tell you about the time that the school staff confiscated my child's lunch because it wasn't "healthy" enough? Yes, it's true that the nutrition Gestapo visited. No doubt in an elementary school with 600 kids there have to be a few suffering horrible abuse at one time or another... so what better way to employ staff time than to take away the Quaker Oats Granola Bars (tm) I sent with G? (Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter, and Honey Oats flavours instead of the peanut butter sandwich, because I ran out of bread on a Friday. How dare I do that? The staff is concerned...)

How many times I sat through stupid "Reading Nights" and "Back-to-School/ We're so Excited to Have Such a GREAT Bunch of Students" nights, I couldn't tell you. How often I answered personal questions on the forms that came home because I wasn't thinking of my own privacy (brain "puff," ok? Too many beans.) at the time, I don't think I'll ever know. Hopefully it will not come back to haunt me... Imagine the court scene in another 20 years... Here, Mrs. C has clearly stated that her children are "white," and here, "Caucasian," but here, she calls them "Displaced Edenic Peoples" and here, she has written "Pure Mixed-Breed Aryan Gimme a BREAK NOYB OK??!" on the form. What is with this progression on our forms? Or in answer to our silly question here, Mrs. C wrote about a difficult potty-training incident when G was three and HERE, on this later version of the form with the same question, she wrote "no problems and why are you asking me anyway and what is your problem that you're so interested?" Mrs. C is one confuuuzed fuzzy.

Well, it's been on my mind as I have to start filling out forms for Woodjie's speech therapist. I've been striving for accuracy on the forms without divulging any real information. I've written "parents' age at birth" to be "zero." You know, ask a silly question...

By the way, let's pretend my kid says he HATES homeschool and I'm asking the Crayola education experts for help. Would they say, "Enroll your child in public school. Purchase several Crayola products to ensure a safe and easy transition to this better educational environment. Thanks for writing!"

25 March 2009

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.

Fun in a Box Part II

The Rockin' Box. Demonstrated by Elf and Emperor.

24 March 2009

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) – Christmas Daisy

11.Cartoon name:(favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now) – Cutie Fatpants

12.Hippie name (what you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree) – Raisin-Oatmeal Dogwood

13.Movie star name (first pet, first street) - Cat Rosemere

23 March 2009

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've been railing on Mitchell's folks to get him reading, writing, work-work-working. Afternoons? At Mitchell's house they're pretty hard. His mom and dad want him to do well, so they've instituted a "no game system until your homework is done" rule.

Did I mention Mitchell hates school?

Mitchell's mom and dad are trying to do the right thing, to help him get a good education. I looked at the school's website and it clearly states that if these children don't perform well on these tests, the school will be mandated to give school choice and "supplemental education services."

I'm thinking I'd like some school choice and some "supplemental education services" for my kid if I were in that position. I'm thinking if it were my child, I'd instruct him to fail that state test on purpose and see if anything good comes of it. But Mitchell's mom and dad want him to do well in school, which means doing well on the test. They want him to succeed in everything he tries. I think they also feel intimidated by the college-educated school staff and the teacherese that is employed. And they are embarrassed by some of Mitchell's "bad choices."

When I think of failing schools, I think of the kids like Mitchell who are trapped in them.

Nope, not going to say that more funding would solve things. Or teacher "accountability." These teachers already feel "accountable" enough and are pretty frantic. Or parental "involvement." Poor Mitchell is working as hard as he can and burning out.

I'm not going to pretend to know what the answer is. Your thoughts are appreciated. :]

21 March 2009

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 tools. Admirable, as I sure wouldn't want someone with an "F" in "how to run the powertools" touching all the equipment.

The students are promoted when and if they're ready for the next step. This ensures that the next step is much more likely to be mastered with confidence than it would be had there been significant knowledge "gaps" in the preceding material. Great!

Um, until you start to think about what that would "look like" for those students who truly will struggle and really will be five or six years behind their peers during the teen years. Shunt those kids off into "special schools," where they learn that they're so "special" no one wants to be around them because they're "retarded?" (Yes, children *do* tease each other with these words still. Sorry.) The saying "riding the short bus" isn't one that lends dignity to the kids to whom it applies.

But I know that realistically, nonverbal children like Woodjie just aren't going to fit into the mainstream classroom. They just aren't. You could sit around forever waiting for that kiddo to make an A in reading, but doggone it if you can't understand speech, it's kinda hard for the teacher to show you how to read, isn't it?

I know that at least in our district's preschool, there are many children of very different abilities all grouped in together. That changes pretty quickly in kindergarten. Kindergarten!

Yep, you get the kids who are behind in reading (!??) and the "gifted" kids start to get sorted out right about then. Your kid's five years old and already knows whether he's "stupid" or "smart."

That would never go away under any system, but in retrospect I can't tell you how glad I am for Emperor that he was born ten days after the Missouri school attendance cutoffs. He would be in first grade now if he were in public schools. I was disappointed that he would not be able to attend kindergarten when he turned five. Another year of "special needs preschool" for him.

Then we brought him home after his first week of kindergarten. *Suddenly,* he is able to read. He is able to write. He is now doing the same math the public school's fourth-graders are doing. But he was a special-ed kid in preschool. You know, one of the slow kids? You never know.

I take that encouragement with Woodjie. Maybe he'll never really talk. Maybe he will. You never know. You give the children the best you can, when you can, and see what happens.

Generally speaking, though, I like that idea of having all the students learn at their own individual pace. I'm not sure how that would work with children in mathematics. Educators in our area get around this by using a "spiral" curriculum. But I'm not sure what to make of the Educate for a Change website. It points out the "weakness" of homeschooling as not allowing for proper socialization... and in another article, it decries the rampant bullying in public schools.

Sigh...

20 March 2009

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.

19 March 2009

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 the exact same thing she did... never say never!!)

Reading the comment section, though, makes me wonder why the issue about whether the child has tattoos or not is even relevant. Story: the possibility of a principal acting inappropriately is under investigation. End of story. Here, school rules dictate tattoos are to be covered up and hair must be a "natural" colour. The dress code appears really strict on paper, I guess so that when they get around to asking the most flamboyant cleavage-flasher to cover up, no one could say it wasn't all written down.

And more...

The story of Planned Parenthood covering up teen sex abuse. Young women will go into clinics posing as minors under the age of consent. They'll discuss abortion and tell the workers there that their lovers are like, 27 years old. The law requires them to contact social services right away and report this.

But I don't know if I would... I really don't. If I were presented with a young, scared, pregnant teen who is already sleeping with a much older man... Is the kid lying to protect her teenage boyfriend who is really 15 as well or what? Do her parents know what is going on, and shouldn't they get to press charges and/or have a shot at helping their daughter? I could see myself calling the mom and dad easily. But not the state.

Law would dictate that I rat on the kid to the state... but... I don't know if I could. Yes, there are lots of sick old men out there taking advantage of young girls who want to be worldly. But... giving the girl an abortion behind her parents' back, loading her up with birth control pills, and letting the state get round to asking questions and then probably doing nothing about this anyway... I don't know that I could do that. Maybe I would if I thought it would be handled well... Then again, I wouldn't take the job if it had rules like that... Well... I don't know that I could work in an abortion clinic anyway, so it's probably a moot point.

One preschool Patrick attended when he was two and I thought he needed "socialization" had some interesting rules. The director in the "handbook" informed parents that YES, she's a designated reporter but she is obligated under Biblical command to approach you first to clear up misunderstandings. I like that. I'm sure that if she saw a parent committing an assault against a child she wouldn't bother with the chat... just those grey areas like, "How did that bruise get there?" or "Joey said he wasn't allowed to eat dinner last night" usually have some reasonable explanation.

Well, there's a point at which you have a reasonable suspicion an innocent child is being hurt and forget about whether the Mom and Dad like what you did by calling. But there's a grey area, too. If nothing else, I think it would help a potential abuser to know that there are people looking out for the child. Maybe it would stay his hand... I don't know.

Last, and totally unrelated, I wanted to chat with you about "Tiberius," the captivating scent of the shirtless Captain James T. Kirk, hitting the market soon. The perfect Father's Day gift, I suppose, unless you really don't like your dad all that much, in which case the new Star Trek scent of "Red Shirt" would do nicely.

18 March 2009

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 this trip. You wouldn't want people to think that homeschoolers didn't have good common sense or couldn't read or anything like that, now, would you? Ok, then.)

But it wasn't too long until... Elf wanders up the aisles and reads the packages of waffles as "waffle-EEEeeeez." I'm in shock that this child who reads so well at home can't seem to do it in the store. Poor Elf, don't you know that says, "Waffles?" Whereupon Elf proudly unzips his jacket Superman-style to reveal the "homeschooler" logo on his T-shirt while doing this and loudly giggling, "Lookit me, I'm a homeschooler! Does this reading 'waffle-EEEz' count toward my homeschool hours?"

"Um, the lesson that Mom doesn't buy stuff for children who don't speak properly? Yeah, it counts... I think under 'economics'..."

"Sorry," Elf says quickly. Zip goes the sweatjacket. "So should I get a box of the 'homestyle original waffles,' or the 'buttermilk' type?"

Dork. Just put 'em both in the cart and keep moving. Thanks for reading them properly this time.

The bricklayers.

We're reading in the book of Exodus about the making of bricks with straw and without. On our way into Office Depot, we saw some workers and I told Elf and Emperor that they were laying bricks.

"Like a chicken," Emperor says. "Bwuuuck-bok- bwaaaack!"

Elfie thought this was hilarious and they were both clucking and flapping their 'wings.' I got very exasperated with them. I can't say anything to them, at all, without them going on some totally unrelated tangent. Finally I had to explain that bricklaying was a noble profession, and one ought not make fun of others for laying bricks because there's nothing wrong with that.

"Unless you're laying them like a chicken," Elf says. "Bwuuuck-bok- bwaaack!"

Ohhhh... "laying" brick and "laying" eggs. Gotcha. Bwuuuck, that was bad of me not to catch before the big "respecting others" lecture. Which brings me to mention ...

The Curriculum I Feel Like Pitching.

Easy, easy stuff in a workbook that I *thought* would be fun. "The boy has ants in his pants. What does this saying mean?" is a sample question. But I'm getting answers like, his mom wasn't looking and he put bugs in his underwear...

It wouldn't be so bad if the children weren't so SERIOUS about it.

17 March 2009

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 Africa? People are so isolated in their apartments here. They think maybe they’ll snap out of it.”

Yeah, that, or they'll be injured or killed. Survival of the fittest and all that (shudder). Mayyybe there are genetic or environmental causes of autism, and certainly with parents' permission these can be investigated. But wow. After reading this article, I would wonder if the equation "Somali = likely autistic" will be implanted in the readers' minds just as "Haitian = likely has AIDS" used to be in the 1980's. Remember those bad old days? Me, too.

Ok, even worse than that? The idea that anti-vaccine people who stand to make money through their own "treatments" for autism are swooping in like vultures for the kill:

"... He warned them not to trust the state health department and suggested they slow down their children’s shots and get exemptions to school vaccination requirements. He also offered to pay for some to attend an antivaccine conference. The appeal has had an effect. Many parents, including Ayub’s, now say that their children’s autism began after seizures that started after they got shots."

“People in the Somali community have gravitated to that theory, and many are resisting immunization,” Dr. McLellan said."

Oh, greaaaat. Now, I'm not pro-vaccine all the time, but I'm all for not scaring people into doing what you want for some money. Don't scare people into getting shots for their kids, and don't scare them into NOT getting shots for their kids so they can buy your stupid product, either. Each parent should have all the information he needs to make an informed decision. To my mind, if I were living in a large unvaccinated population and the mumps started going around, that might make me seriously consider the mumps vaccine that my children do not currently have. To alienate a large population that is experiencing a medical crisis from the state that is at least TRYING to help through various programs is, I think, a travesty.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you might say "the state? Helping?" and really rail on me. But listen. Here are newly-immigrated people without a great deal of connections or conventional education about immunities, lead testing, city living, etc. etc. etc. And here are some granola-toting hippies trying to sever the ties that they might have gotten from conventional medical sources.

Not that we found conventional medical sources to be all that helpful. And not that I don't like granola sometimes, too.

But

Aargh. I guess it bothers me that everyone in the article doesn't seem to be diligent about letting the parents decide. That there's such a ... oh... paternalistic? kind of feeling running through it. Maybe that's it.

Ok. Signing off this post now, because I want to hear what you think and see what ideas I get bounced back. :]

16 March 2009

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.

15 March 2009

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 CLOSET on a regular basis, he functions just fine, thankyouverymuch. Please let's not fool ourselves that these doctors don't get bonuses from drug companies and/or insurance companies and that it could never bias them in determining "proper care" even a teensy little bit.)

Still, for Willie, overtreatment would not be so harmful. Poor guy. There are five remaining children in this family. I don't wish evil on the family or hope that they are all taken away, but I do think that they need some serious help.

14 March 2009

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 mean). It's doctrinally akin to the "88 Reasons Jesus is Coming Back in 1988" flier foolish Christians fell for. (Hopefully they have finally paid off the all stupid credit card debt they ran up thinking they'd be gone... with interest! Morons.)

Tell you what. When Obama stands in the temple and reveals the abomination of desolation, I will stand corrected and apologize for being so mean to ya. Meanwhile, good gravy, can we say we've had a lot worse out there governing in this world of ours? (NO, I don't mean Bush. Bush wore a white cowboy hat, so you know he was one of the good guys, ok? :P )

SURE, I don't like Obama. I don't like his politics or his worldview and I highly, highly doubt he's a Christian. It doesn't follow that I think he's a Muslim out to convert all the children in public schools to Islam AND gay tolerance at the same time (eyeroll). Or that he's the Anti-Christ. It doesn't follow that he must be intentionally anti-Christian or anti-anything. I just think he's following the agenda he always figured he'd follow since before he even got elected. Minus all those campaign promises he never intended to keep.

But whatever. Do I have to stick to nothing but cute kitten posts to avoid conflict in this world???? Because I'm getting frustrated with it.

13 March 2009

I Sing the Mighty Power of God

Elf and Emperor would like you to hear them singing. Woodjie and Rose would like you to hear them playing tambourines in the background.

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. D says no, it would be just like water off a duck's back... Jesus would care less. I'm not so sure. This sort of thing gets me very bent out of shape.)

Ok, so it's really cold outside. But I have made clear to G and to Q that future visits need to be cleared with me *in advance.* I reiterate this to him again and he says well, maybe he can find a friend to stay with for a couple hours before church. He's hungry, and he's not sure he'll get any dinner at all, but he'll go... Okaaaay. Go see if your friends are home and if they're not, I'll feed you *this once* without prior notice. I don't want you to be out in the cold for hours at a time. So he goes.

You know he's going to be back, don't you? D says. No, I don't know that. He has another friend he thinks is 'always' home, so hopefully he'll take a hint and go there.

"This kid doesn't take hints or he wouldn't be back here without an invitation. You know that's true."

Yeah, I know. And yeah, he was back. I doubt he even went to this mythical friend's house because he wasn't gone long. Dinner that night was peanut butter sandwiches. Oh, he tells me, but I'm not much of a peanut butter person. I resist the urge to ask him if he wanted pork chops or filet mignon or something instead. I resist the urge to tell him I'm not much of an "ungrateful children showing up hungry at my door 45 minutes before church" person. I was good, you guys, but no way I was fixing anything decent just to have him make faces about it or throw it away. So... he behaved himself reasonably well, and I behaved myself reasonably well.

That should have been the end of the story, right??

I THOUGHT that all the children involved (mine and Mr. Q) had a basic understanding of "this lady wants prior notice, and sometimes she'll actually say no." Well, I THOUGHT that. Guess who showed up at my door on Wednesday? What really, really steamed me about it? G was the one bringing him over. It seems Q had met him walking home from school (he's doing track!) and G "happened" to see Q and they just came by to see if it was ok for Q to come over...

Nope, it isn't. I'm not going to tell him my reasoning is that he won't freeze to death outside, or I would see this child every day the thermometer dips below 30 degrees. I told G and Q sorry, I need more notice than that and sent Q on his way.

The story that came out later from G was that Q was hanging out in the street and saw G coming by. The street near Q's house is one of two main streets leading away from their school. Almost any child walking home from said school would have to pass by Q. I would have felt sorry for the poor hungry waif begging for meals from passersby at this point had I not heard the rest of the story.

They walked by Q's house and talked with Q's dad. And Q's dad sent them over without calling me. Yes, he did. I don't know this guy, but I am honestly surprised at G's lack of consideration for my plans. Um, so ... they never bothered calling me from his house to see if it was ok with me if Q came by for dinner? Oh, G tells me, his mom was sleeping. So... what is up with this dad? His wife's sleeping is more important than simple courtesy of a phone call before sending your kid by for a meal? Is it impossible for her to sleep while you make a phone call? Does she sleep by the only phone in a one-bedroom apartment? NO. I know that's not possible because I've seen the outside of the house. PER CAPITA, bet you they earn more money than me and have more per-person square footage in their house. I'm NOT feeling sorry for them.

I'm pretty mad, actually. Just as well I sent Q on his way. His dad needs to feed his own kid.

Turns out, though, Q just went to church and missed dinner. He hung out there and waited for service to start. I went over the rules with G again so that there would be no misunderstandings. This child needs to be able to eat meals in his own home. Incidentally, in all this time, never once was G or Patrick invited over. I guess the parents were too busy sleeping or going to Wal-Mart. Ok, mean of me but that just burns me up.

12 March 2009

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 she have to wipe flooded floors and wash urine-soaked towels, pick bits of YOUR toilet paper off the sides of her washer... Just... Iw.

Can we not learn this one simple rule?

D has been bugging me to call a plumber. The longer I wait, though, the more "new" the fix will be when we finally get it, and consequently the longer the fix will last. Maybe I would have had to fix this problem twice already and here I've gone and saved lots of money and aggravation for everyone. Just remember *the rule,* ok? Only four of you children use the toilet, and you're boys. Obeying this shouldn't be so hard.

But nooooo. So, lo and behold, of course Patrick has to disobey *the rule.* His consequence is that he is forced to (bleh) deal with the toilet right before dinner with me in the background yelling about the mess on the floor and why don't you ever listen and IW IW IW IW yuuuuuuck and other helpful Momisms. And get another towel because I'm not happy about the floor yet. And can't you just go poo downstairs in your own room instead? SURE, that room has no wall and everyone can see you, and SURE there we can say it's not so warm downstairs... but quit being so picky. We have running water. Don't you make me look up the missionary blogs or you'll be sorry, mister.

Right out of the blue, Patrick tells me that he's glad he's not homeschooled because at LEAST at public school, the toilets work and they'll flush about anything you could think of...

(Whoo, he just went there...) "You know something?" I told him. "I'm paying for those toilets. AND I'm paying for the toilets here..."

"You are NOT paying for the toilets here," he counters. "I mean, what's the point of HAVING a toilet here if you can't USE it?"

"Fine," I tell him. "I've been telling you not to USE it all this time. Problem solved, ok?? You can now pretend this toilet is NOT here and go use a different one, thanks." Then I went in to start getting my things together for a shower and Patrick got all crazy that *I* was using the forbidden bathroom. You know, the one with the only shower. Oh, my, did we get into a fight.

I'm not sure if it started when he used the toilet or dissed my homeschool, but it was ooooon.

D has mandated that I call a stupid plumber already. I don't want to, though. I think if everyone would just obey *the rule,* we could save a lot of money and I would get this bathroom to myself. You know, the only one with a working lock? Did I mention that?

Next Time, Ask for "Heaven-P!!"

Because calling on the powers of Hell for assistance is just wrong. Thank you, Emperor, for amending the English language so that it contains no words of possible offense. :p

11 March 2009

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 schools. But her mom had her doing "first grade," so she got in with the big kids.

Ok, it bothered me. But I understood that G was a bit behind. At the time he was not diagnosed as autistic, but it was a bit hard to send him off with the diaper babies while Little Miss Perfect (from a better family than mine, sorry) gets to go in with the big kids.

Then an invitation came for Patrick to attend a birthday party of a younger child. G was not invited despite being closer in age to this child. The child? The pastor's son.

I had had enough. It was starting to bother me that there was this uneven treatment of my boys. I told them Patrick "couldn't make it" to the party. Then I put G into that first grade class the following Sunday morning and left him. I was hoping that maybe, people would give G a fair chance. That we could be accepted as a genuine part of the church. ALL of us.

But sure enough, that week I got a phone call about how this was not appropriate as G is not a first grader.

THANKS a lot for your grace, buddies. See ya. Guess we're not a part of "Team Jesus" any more because we don't play by your rules.

Do you think anyone should ever change churches? Do you think it has to be a theological reason, or you're in sin? Do you think you can "shop for" a church that fits your family? Sure, Christians in China don't have the option of looking for the place with the prettiest floral arrangement up front or the place that sings the nicest hymns. But does that mean we have to hunker down, stay put and be unhappy? I'm just asking.

10 March 2009

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.

08 March 2009

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*

I'm not sure I'd ever send my daughter to a state school far away or even send her to public school given some of the problems we've experienced with our boys. I do want to protect my daughter. For me, though, I can't imagine limiting her social circle *quite* so much. For me, we're traipsing into "stifling" when we expect our daughters just just sit at home, look demure and wait for Prince Charming to somehow discover that she lives at 123 Any Street and come courting. And deal with her dad. And her five brothers. And the private investigation firm we'll be hiring.

One blog I read suggested that before marriage, the young man must agree to a total computer history search. That would be one special guy, to agree to that. But I have a secret confession to make to all 9,000 of you who read this blog. Once I was looking up information on "Clubhouse Jr." magazine and typed in brilliant search words like "clubhouse magazine for boys." Oh, there are other clubhouses besides the magazine. More "fun" than just the comics. Some "boys" are a little older than others. And the pictures. Well, don't type that search if you don't want to see the pictures *I* did, ok? So, I'm not even sure I would pass the computer history test, and I'm old and crotchety and wasn't looking for what I found. Nevermind when I amended my search, hoping to find "samples" of the magazine online. Yowie.

OK, so anyway. I am thinking of discouraging certain kids from going to college, but my reasoning isn't sheltering so much as "for this kid, it's a waste of money and time, so let's do something else."

Politics and religion

Wow, I also had no idea that you weren't allowed to vote your religious conviction before I read the blogs. Apparently there's some sort of "separation of church and state" and we Christians need to get with the program. ESPECIALLY if we're for government allowing personal freedoms in other areas, we need to vote that gays, lesbians, gender-neutral and whatevers can all marry. It doesn't matter that that's directly contrary to what we believe. We're hypocrites if we don't, by the way... (??!)

We're also not showing love to other people when we want our society to discourage activities we TRULY BELIEVE will send them on a path straight to Hell. We're just like Fred Phelps and his Westboro friends (pics usually included on blogs with happy "we're glad you're burning in Hell" sign goodness) because both they and we profess to be Christians. Hm. So if I said all atheists were just like Lenin, that would be accurate? All Germans are just like Hitler? Okaaaay...

You know, I saw this same reasoning with pictures on at least FIVE blogs. Same reasoning, and almost same wording. I don't get it, because as much as I kid around, I really don't think everyone's drinking the Kool-Aid.

FYI, we're also worse than Islamics when we vote our religious convictions. See, if you're a Muslim, that's part of your ethnic heritage and everyone needs to respect that. If you're a Christian, though, you made a PERSONAL DECISION to be intolerant. We need to have more "diversity training" in schools -- and require YOUR children to attend said schools -- so that future generations will understand the Truth. Oh, and liberals get to define Truth because you conservatives are soooo wack that your opinion doesn't even count.

On the Bible

It's the inerrant Word of God, yo. You can agree or disagree with that supposition, but every thought and opinion I have, I feel I need to go back and match it up with that "checklist," guide for living and all-purpose text for living that is the Bible.

So.

If we disagree on science because you see evidence for "millions of years" this and that, and I look backwards through the begets and reason that the earth really can't be that old, we're never going to agree. The end. Now, I don't mind your telling me your reasoning. Can you listen while I tell you mine?

Our very definitions of "science," I think, are going to be different.

More on the Bible

I hope I don't pick and choose scripture, but some of the emphases on odd scriptures by people who don't even follow the faith are a bit maddening.

I can eat shellfish and bugs any time I want, thanks. I just... don't.

And yes, God allowed for slavery, divorce and all kinds of bad stuff. Did you read the part in the New Testament where Jesus talks about allowing divorce because of the hardness of men's hearts? Do you not imagine that He allowed slavery for the same reason? Oh, and look again at that passage. It's more like "indentured servitude" than the cotton-picking kind that usually springs to mind. NOT that that is preferrable to kindness. NOT. But I have read through some of the ways that wars and the like were conducted and wondered if this were God's way of sparing some lives and integrating the people into a new culture. You go ahead and give me your opinion on this one, because mine is not firmly set. :]

There are a lot of messed-up appearing passages to the modern reader, though, I grant you. Offering your kid as a sacrifice? Um, yeah... that's a test I would not pass. Sorry. Telling people outside your door that they can mess with your daughters before they touch your guest? Icky. I do NOT get it. I'm pretty sure there are tons of cultural things and whatnot written in there that don't go with today's culture.

My understanding is that the culture changes, but God does not. So, the behaviour of a respectable person who shows kindness and love might "look" different in one era than another. But that understanding is subject to change without notice as I learn more about the world. :p

One thing that doesn't make sense, though... Are you ready for this?

Even more on the Bible

Why are Christians today not at the forefront of animal rights legislation? The book of Acts talks about avoiding sexual immorality AND stuff that's killed all wrong. (Acts 15:20). So why are we all hepped up about gay sex and divorce but not demanding "strangle-free" stickers on our chicken leg packets? I'm just wondering. It is really bothering Elf especially and I'd like an answer to this question.

It seems a shame that animal rights groups seem to be populated by people who are totally against the eating of meat, etc. It seems to me that kindness to animals is all through the scripture. Even God tells Noah in Genesis 9:4 that he will ask each animal an accounting of its blood. From the beginning of time, God seems to be looking for humane treatment of animals.

Your opinion?

06 March 2009

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 about "the place where Dracula lives." Can we get the Dracula book now? Well, how about next week? And have you looked online to see if Dracula is available?

Woodjie Says...

Eeee... oooo! ah ah ahhh!!

Two... eeee! ah ah ahhh!!

Eeeeee! ah ah ahhhh!

Yes, I have let him learn from an undead vampire who lives in a castle and displays obsessive behaviours with numbers.

05 March 2009

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 shouldn’t even exist. And this argument is made in a time where if these jobs didn’t exist… these people would be out of a job all together."

I'm sure there is just tons and tons of waste and inefficiency in government. I'm also sure that they have way better health insurance than me. I'm not following how drinking tea is going to fix that, or what the proposed "solution" would be. Hopefully it isn't proposed that each of us make our own roads and personally charter each truck that arrives at our local Wal-Mart. I'd starve.

Someone out there know more about this?

04 March 2009

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 traditional pizza fest when this party event is announced? Poor ol' Bobby is going to have to hire a psychologist in later life to get over this trauma (note: another "recession-proof" business).

On his first day of kindergarten, Patrick brought home a note from the school nurse stating that head lice was found in his classroom. Turned out, it was the little girl with long hair who sat RIGHT NEXT to him.

Aw, come on. That's just nasty. Sending your kid to school with head lice on the first day of kindergarten? This family was very *interesting,* to say the least. Patrick's hair was very short and apparently lice don't like short hair.

Itch, itch.

"It is still hard to let go of the thought that [lice] is about being dirty," the article tells us. "But really, dirty hair doesn't get lice. Clean hair does."

THINK of all the money you would save just by letting your hair get dirty. The lice would go away and you wouldn't have to spend the $250 per kid average fee for this service. Which does not include washing pillowcases, vacuuming and the like.

My children and I have never gotten lice. I'm almost afraid to type that because it could happen to anyone and guess what might happen to us next week...? But I can't imagine that I would be driven nuts enough to pay $250 PER KID to get the lice gone. The whole family would cost about $2,000 and I'd still have to vacuum, sweep and do the washing?

That's a lot of money.

03 March 2009

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 perspective, as I don't remember hearing about dog attacks and rabies. Or maybe I'm just kinda biased against the Chinese government because of all that killing of infants and stuff they do... my bad.

02 March 2009

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.

01 March 2009

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 love Emperor, but he will sometimes run up and HUG people and smell them. He will then tell them whether they smell like cigarette smoke or bananas or whatever pops into his mind while he is rubbing his nose all over them. Actually he's gotten a fair bit better about this and actually had the audacity to be EMBARRASSED that I mentioned this was a problem lately. So, I guess we're making progress.

But I avoid going out if I can. The more I avoid going out, the more obvious these behaviours become as my children age. Terrible cycle. But I'm just one person and don't know what else to do.

I try doing the "going over the rules" thing when we're in the van. Inevitably, I will leave out something important like "don't pick your wedgie in public" or "no rolling on the floor." Especially fun was the time Emperor informed EVERYONE in a crowded room that there were naked people over there in that pool. He knows this because he saw someone's LEG! And it didn't have pants on! It was just skin! Come lookit over here!!!! (A little four-year-old goes over to peek, and I get to "redirect" the conversation.)

I know that most people don't deal with this sort of strangeness on a daily basis, but I also know that I'm not alone. Maddy recently posted on one of her autistic sons' joining in some friendly punching on the playground and how things can get out of control quickly:

"There is the chance that he will join in and either punch his brother, or worse still, punch one of the little boys. It’s just the kind of thing that we hear about in the media:- ‘autistic child caught in unprovoked and mindless attack on innocent toddler.’ There’s never a back story. Sometimes the back story comes later, but it’s the headline that sticks in the mind of the public. It’s not dislodged, erased or superceded. As a result the public is left with a random collection of negative assumptions to apply to the autistic population, a general shorthand. Each additional headline loads another brick in the wall of segregation, isolation and mis-information."

Yes, it does. But I also know that every now and then, people are ready to learn something new. Every now and then, someone discovers that one of my children (pick one LOL) is autistic and displays surprise. I think that despite the fact that there are several characteristics that autistic people generally share, there are a great number of idiosyncracies that each one expresses.

One of the missionaries who came to speak at our church today demonstrated three axes. One is a ceremonial axe carried by the local leaders to look "cool." And it really was a gorgeous piece of workmanship. Another, a big hefty chunk of an axe, was for chopping firewood. Still another tiny axe wasn't a kid's axe as I thought... it was an axe for chipping at wood when one is carving statues and the like. All three are axes, but they serve different purposes.

I can't help but think that we do as well. We are all of us made in the image of God, but have different callings upon our lives. Right now, one of my biggest struggles is to try to integrate Elf and his brothers into the "real world," which doesn't always make accomodations. More on this some other time, but I pause to hear your thoughts.

Star Trek Roller Skating!

Woodjie LOVES the audience.  I made these little outfits for the children and they danced to the Star Trek: Next Generation theme...