31 May 2011

How to Play Bug House Chess

The Anpanman twins and their friends are demonstrating how to play Bug House chess. It's a team game. One teammate will play white, and the other black. It's pretty much a regular chess game, except if you take a piece from your opponent, you can give it to your teammate to use during his next turn! Here, we're demonstrating how Anpanman got a black queen from his teammate and has placed it on the board. Now, mind you, you can't place a pawn in the promotion row or anything like that. When the other team is checkmated, you win! More detailed rules here. We're going to play in a friendly Bug House tournament tonight ourselves. Enjoy!

28 May 2011


A very intelligent and well-educated friend shared this on facebook. She's hardly the panic-y vegetarian/organic only type. I thought I would share it with you and see what you think about it... I'm afraid that if she is concerned, that this is very, very bad stuff.

26 May 2011


In the summer, it's tornado season. A friend of mine had no idea about tornado sirens! I thought everyone had those, but maybe not. So I'm posting some pics of our closest one and chatting a little bit about our "season" so far.

When the siren goes off, it means to get into your basement or best cover right now. It could be the result of a county-wide warning, or it could be specific to where you are. Just get into the basement and tune in to your radio from there to see what's up.

 The siren goes off every Wednesday at the same time. Eeeven though it was a Wednesday yesterday, I knew it was a for real siren. It was turned super loud as if to tell everyone that people, this is not a drill. And it went on for I'm thinking an hour and a half or so.

Emperor was already freaked out about Joplin. He understands. He is very, very afraid. I distracted him by making him match my huuuuuge collection of single socks. I mean, why not. I told him I would give him a nickel for every pair he folded together. I'm tremendously bad about matching socks with this size of a family. PLUS, there is the fact that G has until recently only worn one sock at a time, being in a cast/boot and all. (BTW, he is still in a brace. So... not done yet.)

Emperor was very nervous and upset but the job helped a bit. When he was done it was eeeeerie quiet, odd whistly outside and he sat with me. Little tears in his eyes.

"Momma, if I live, you owe me 70 cents," he whispered as he got in my arms. I held him close and even Woodjie and Rose sat and were suddenly still next to me for a minute. They have no clue, but they were still a bit. I don't know what could have caused it because usually they don't stop and crouch like that even when there is shouting and upset in the house. They remained down a good ten minutes. Was it a tornado nearby? I still don't know.

After a long time, it didn't sound eerie or even angry outside any more and the sirens stopped. Emperor had a hard time being coaxed out of the basement. Poor guy.

There is some photographic evidence on a major news channel of a funnel cloud about a half a mile from our house yesterday. One neighbour of mine (who is not given to hysterical fits of exaggeration) reports that the tornado passed OVER our houses. Why she went outdoors to look, I could not in a million years tell you.

If you are interested,  here is a YouTube video of a tornado siren in action. Promise it is louder in real life.

25 May 2011


'“I just wanted a multigrain bagel,” Professor Rosenthal said. “I refused to say ‘without butter or cheese’. When you go to Burger King, you don’t have to list the six things you don’t want. Linguistically, it’s stupid, and I’m a stickler for correct English.”' Article.

Honestly, I could see this sort of thing escalating easily with a number of my own children. It ended up with the cops coming in and ejecting the customer from the place. How about the people in Starbucks just give her a plain ol' bagel, and if she wanted something with it she could ask for it?

The other day we had a horrid fight in the doctor's office. Horrid. We were trying to pass the time and G's idea of a game is to think of a thing and we would get twenty questions to ask ("Is it an airplane?" and so on.) The odds of getting the "thing" are pretty slim, the universe being as vast as it is, but there you go.

Emperor guessed things like "freedom from sin" and "liberation," and G got doggone angry. It's a NOUN, G told him. You have to guess a NOUN.

Emperor said that "freedom" IS a noun, for it is an idea. G then accused me of teaching Emperor "all wrong in this homeschooling" and meanwhile, the lady behind the next curtain (we were getting a cast removed... eventually) started cussing about how much F'in pain she was in. I'm trying to ignore the cussing and the lady's family - I'm guessing the ol' bat was senile - are trying to discuss good language around children.

G is still going on about how he is getting "seriously pissed off" at Emperor's deliberately not guessing anything close to what he was hoping would make for a good game. Tears are welling up in Emperor's eyes. Awww.

Just tell him it's a CONCRETE NOUN, G, and he will understand. He doesn't understand just "noun." I don't know why, but when you ask him things like "guess a number," you must specify that it is a positive integer. Just trust me on this. He is not meaning to get you angry.

"I'm seriously pissed off," G is telling me. "You know, someday when he goes to *real school* all the kids are going to make fun of him."

I was not about to verbally agree with him then, but yeahh, you think? My schooling the child and teaching him that nouns can also be ideas is just wack. He needs some real school, that boy does.

But fool that I am, I'm trying to negotiate and redirect the conversation. Just guess a concrete noun, tiny Emperor, ok?

*sniff* Ok.


"See, G?" I asked.

"See what?"

He gets it now, I told him. G reiterates how *messed up* I have made my kid. Blehh.

Anyway... sometimes we just need to be tolerant of the language-y idiosyncracies of others. I hope this professor who just plain old wanted a multigrain bagel finds a place that understands. :)

23 May 2011

Disabled Parent Rights.

Hey, parental rights isn't just for homeschoolers. Did you know you could lose your children in Missouri *just* because you're disabled? It's true.

Now there is a new law, going into effect in August, that would change that. The state can no longer take away your children *just* because you are disabled. Umm, but note that nowhere in this blog posting did it say that it could not be a major, major factor in a judge's decision? Thought I'd mention it. According to the post, between 40 and 60 percent of children of disabled parents are removed from their homes in Missouri!

21 May 2011

"Me Happy"

Sometimes I'm surprised at the times Rose tells me this. Often it is when things are quiet and not much is going on. You'd also be surprised at the things that make children UNhappy. Recently there was a very big fight about "My sun!/ No, MY sun!/ No MYYY SUUUN!" going on between Rose and Woodjie. I kept trying to break it up but I swear off and on it lasted an hour. Notice: the sun now belongs to MOM, but she shares it sometimes because she is NICE. :)

20 May 2011

A Post in Which I Whine a Little.

Let's face it. One of the really hard things about having a special needs child is this thought that he will never have a normal life.

Oh, we have great kids. Yeahh, we would never trade them in for the whole world and blah blah blah. Think parents of standard issue children would look at our "giftings" and go, wish I coulda had some of THAT in my life and I would sure trade my kid in? HELLO, the "I wouldn't trade my kid for anything" issue only comes up when we have a problem going on. No one else has to even feel the need to justify that they love their children as they are.

These parents can drop their children off at a friend's house and LEAVE. Oh, nevermind that. Their children HAVE friends who invite them over, how about we start there?

Not trying to grouse here. Just being real with you: it's not fun. "Love my children/ cherish them as they are" does not equal "fun and glad things are the way they are." My kids are missing out on a lot of things.

Woodjie pooped maybe twice in the toilet. He's nearly five. Don't think I'm doing the happy hoedown every time I have to wipe up crap and celebrating how "awe-tism is awe-some." And he's climbing the walls and throwing toys around before I can even bag up his poop, put the laundry in and wash my hands. Ok? And sometime soon the other kids are going to start making his life miserable when he poops in class. Barring a miracle, he'll never go to regular school. Never sit in a waiting-type restaurant. Never have a best friend who personally invites him over. Never play in the school band.

It's not fair! It really isn't. Yes, I'm in the neurodiversity bandwagon club thing, but that doesn't mean I'm all happy about how great my kid has it. I wish he could do all those fun things. So when I read stories like this, I understand where the mom is coming from.

Sure, band auditions cull out those kids who aren't talented/don't bother to practice. Go do something else if you're no good at it.

But I feel sometimes kids like mine get culled out of everything. Even the autism therapy groups often specify Asperger's only. Yeah, thanks for that...

18 May 2011

When I Get Bigger/ Become an Adult

(A Guest Post by Not Mercer Mayer)

When I become an adult, I'll be able to do lots of things. I will be able to drive my car whenever I want. (Oh. I will somehow magically get money for this car. And the insurance. And the gas.)

I will have lots of free time on my hands. No one will tell me what to do with my time ever again! Especially when I am a parent. I will make money off my kids (lots of it!) when they make mistakes and have to pay for something they broke or that kind of thing. I will say that it teaches them responsibility, but really, I will have my kids wipe up the kitchen table and do odd jobs because I am too lazy to do them myself.

I will be able to make calls on my very own cell phone, use my very own laptop and take pictures with my very own camera! I will be able to blog about my own experiences and I will be able to say whatever I want with no repercussions. There never are any of those when you are an adult. I think that's in the First Amendment.

I will have a great job and get an apartment. My money troubles will be over!

But right now I have to log off... because Mom and Dad say... I'm not seeing reality yet.

(Thank youuu thank youuu thank youuu. Anyone want to illustrate this book?)

Science is Racist.

Ohhhhkayyy. Black ladies are less attractive than white ladies.

No, this isn't Bob's personal preference. Or Jason's. It's a scientific fact that black ladies aren't as cute as Asian or white ladies. It's evolutionary, even, that they evolved to have bigger butts or something. Go ahead and click on the link. It's BET discussing a new scientific study and being a little snarky. It's ok.

Here's the link they're outraged about and I think rightly so. Psychology Today deleted it from their servers, but I think you should check it out on the cache before it disappears entirely. It's very nice to get all scientific and try to find the differences in the races (and yes, there are some!) to find the cure for cancer or how to prevent heart attacks or whathaveyou. MAYBE it is that black folks or Asians or Irish people all respond differently biologically to a given medicine... I dunno. Let the science lead where it may. We already know sickle cell affects more blacks than whites and guess who gets the most skin cancer. But this "let's check out why black people or short people or whatever are unattractive" is racist, discriminatory, wrong... oh, I don't know what else. Something else. Fill in the blank for me here...

17 May 2011

You Misunderstand.

Maybe you misunderstand on purpose.

When I decide that I want to send my child to school, or attend a certain church, it doesn't mean that I agree with EVERYTHING the pastor or teacher has to say. I might not even agree with EVERY nitpicky point of doctrine in the 20-page church charter. I get that past a certain point, it's time to leave, go find another church or school if you don't like how things are run, that kind of thing.

But, really. Leave church because I homeschool? And it's "cultish" of parents like me to not agree with this whole Sunday School/youth group fad? Cultish? Because I don't subdivide my family by some arbitrary state-imposed grade level during Sunday morning church? *I* am cultish? *I* am following some new theology? Um... apparently.

Let's see. Paul Wilkinson's blog goes off on Christian unity and all that stuff in other posts. Just not this one. I don't get it. And he let stand a comment that basically says that it isn't normal to homeschool and that the commenter can tell who the homeschoolers are because of their poor social skills... they're later unable to hold down jobs... Um. Sounds like autism to me. Ever try to deal with "normal" school when your kid is autistic? I ask you. I have an autistic child in public high school and his job prospects are... NOT GOOD. It isn't just a homeschool thing, dude.

Nevermind the weirdo comments a second. I was reading the post and thinking that the parents he's discussing are really just regular people who don't want other adults they don't know well overinvolved in their child's life. Good grief, it isn't a matter of being scared of our kids talking to a cashier like he was implying. It's a matter of leaving your child *alone* with someone you don't know for hours at a time. Some people have a problem with that. I know I do sometimes!

He also seems to be miffed that homeschool parents claim to be "too tired" to teach biblical truth on Sundays when they're asked. I have a feeling that the reality is that they don't buy into the whole Sunday School idea but don't want to offend the pastor or make waves. It's called a *white lie.* They don't want to be pushed into badmouthing a place and people they otherwise agree with and enjoy attending. And they don't want to feel they need to leave the church over an issue like this. Honestly, this is not the worst heresy that could ever happen, whichever side you're looking at it from... is it really worth leaving over?


13 May 2011

The Happy Elf

I don't get it. Elf LOVES school. The school people are nice to him. Here he is in his "1st Class of Oak Tree Elementary ALUMNI" shirt that was distributed at school. Elf's name is printed on the back under Mr. McC's class column with the other students. Aww! Why couldn't we have had this wonderful experience when Elf was in school before? Ah, well, I have been *very blessed* to have him home all this time... though I must say, I was scared to death and upset about the very idea of this "school" thing for a while there. So was Elf. But now he has a friend he is meeting at recess to discuss existential questions such as, "What if there were no recess?" Might as well. Poor kid is not allowed on the equipment for a good while; the orthopaedist has dealt with G and his shenannigans and doesn't want to take a chance on Elf being silly and injuring himself. That means he stays home from the BIG FUN fieldtrip on Monday. A full day of PE/climbing and jumping activities. Fittingly, we will stay home and make cookies. And eat them.

BABY Robins!

There are at least three in the nest, but this one in front is the pushiest. I don't know how this little thing could STAND for a second and get a raw worm from its mom. It has eyes shut, I think, and is fluffy. Aside from the beak, it doesn't really look like a robin at all.

Homeschooling :)

Just a little smile for you this morning. Homeschooling gives parents a lot of flexibility and helps them to tailor the curriculum to meet the individual needs of a child. There's just no way that most high schools would let a child graduate at the age of ten, don't you think? Doesn't matter how gifted she is. This homeschooler is, at 16, now a college graduate. You read that correctly.

Often we get into these happy-happy homeschool posts and ignore the flip side of this, which is that children with profound special needs can ALSO be homeschooled. Maybe they learn to use the potty before graduation and that's really important to Mom and Dad, who spend several hours working on this one skill every week.

Sigh. Ok. Not gonna borrow my troubles.

Emperor is zooming along in his algebra, and I guess I ought log it some special way since it is a high school level course. BUT that being said, likely he will go to public school at some point and they'll take one look at this jumpy little guy who talks constantly, writes illegibly and doesn't know how to hold a conversation (really) and send him to kindergarten. Blehhh.

Not directly related to the topic, but Elf *loves* school. Apparently Mr. McC is telling the children that they need to have a dream and a backup plan. They've been learning a bit about vaccines and how they were developed. You know how his dream has been to be a baker? he asked me. Well, now he figures if that doesn't work out he can be a vaccine doctor.

Have a happy day! I'll be posting a *baby robin* in a minute... aren't you excited?

10 May 2011

Guest Post!!

(And now, a guest post by justGeorge. You can find justGeorge's blog here. I warned you that I might be publishing some guest posts...)

The sun rose up slowly over Semi-happy-people Land. The sunrise created a beautiful rainbow sky, glorifying gay pride in the most obvious way (apparently the Sun God was Greek). The birds were singing without being autotuned, and thus unable to compete in the music industry. The citizens of Semi-happy-people Land were waking up, and they weren't happy about it.

One of the most angry of these semi-happy people was a man by the name of Crazy Bob. Crazy Bob was always angry about something. If the air had too much oxygen in it, he would get angry at that. If there were too many fish in the ocean, he would get angry over that too.

So pretty much he was always angry.

This day was no exception. Today Crazy Bob was angry about being angry. So he decided to take his anger on pedestrians as he drove to work.

Listening to the soft thumping sounds beneath his tires eventually got on his nerves, so he turned on the tunes. Unfortunately, the station was playing rap music, and Crazy Bob did not like rap (It's mostly because the people that rap talk too fast, and he can't understand them.). So Crazy Bob turned off his radio and decided to walk to work instead.

Later that day, Crazy Bob showed up to his job as a construction worker. The foreman noticed he was late, but decided to confront Crazy Bob about it later.

So Crazy Bob started working on the plumbing for the new house that was being put up. Unfortunately for him, someone had turned on the whole plumbing system without him knowing it. So now, if anyone were to flush the toilet in the house, it would of course shoot through the system of tubes and spray the unlucky victim who was close to the nearest open tube.

Well, I'm sure all of you non-idiots know how this is going to turn out.

So Crazy Bob was busy connecting pipes when one of the other pipes happened to be pointing toward him. Suddenly the pipe started shaking. It was almost as if something large and disgusting was shooting out.

All of a sudden from the pipe out popped........ Super Mario! (what else were you expecting?)

Mario shouted something in a foreign language (a mixture of italian and japanese, I think) and jumped on Crazy Bob's head. Then he ran back down the pipe.

Crazy Bob was enraged, mostly because he was a racist and hated italian people that were taking his american jobs. So, in an attempt to keep his job security ran after him. Just as Super Mario went down the tube, Crazy Bob got there. Crazy Bob was only a few seconds away from catching him.

Crazy Bob peered down the pipe. It was empty. It was almost as if Super Mario had used the pipe to instantly teleport himself to another land.

But while Crazy Bob was gawking at the supernatual phenomenons that are common in video games, a large quantitiy of sewage traveled throught the pipe and sprayed Crazy Bob in the face.

This made Bob go bananas. He grabbed a hammer from his trusty tool chest and started brandishing it like a lunatic. He jumped on top of a stack of cardboard boxes. With fire in his eyes and a large hammer in his hands, he shouted, "STOP!"

The workplace came to a halt, and all eyes were on the maniac who had placed himself dangerously high on cardboard boxes.

Crazy Bob, eventually convinced that he had the attention of his co-workers continued shouting, "Hammer time!"

Then he jumped down from several feet in the air, prepared to start attacking people. Thankfully, Crazy Bob did not survive the jump. He died as soon as he hit the ground. (Normally this jump wouldn't have even hurt an infant, but Crazy Joe was just a weakling.)

So everyone gathered together, held hands and sang silly songs (with Larry).

So Semi-happy-people Land was renamed Happy-people Land. And everyone lived happily ever after, until the next day.


Make sure to give me lots of attention for posting this. I like attention.

How We Work at Home

Woodjie has a little drawer full of coloured plastic animals, flash cards, his Game Boy, and a Boggle timer. As you can see, his worksheet is a laminated picture of him with five velcro buttons. There are real buttons with sticky velcro on them we use as tokens. When the board is full, Woodjie gets to play with his Game Boy until the timer runs out.


I have flash cards from school that I laminated (smiley face = "happy," or we have "heart" and other common words). I show some of these to him and after I feel he's done enough to earn a token, I give him a button. There really are no rules as to how many he must answer correctly. Sometimes I give out buttons when I see he was frustrated but did a good job on a card. Other times he's zooooming through his cards and perhaps I give him a button when he finally pauses for breath!


The girl is usually nearby doing her own activity (today it was stringing plastic beads). Woodjie is very proud of his work and is showing his sister his game on the Game Boy in the last picture.

09 May 2011

Crazy Comment Monday!

"As a practitioner of the healing arts, I believe that a child's Autism can be erased ... without a pill ... IF the child supports living without it. If the child no longer wants his/her Autism, it really can be shifted out... How can these children tell us that they want to keep or give up their Autism? We check in with their energy field, and that tell us everything."

"I recently started working with differently-abled children using energy work and other interesting modalities, and have seen promising results: After a few days after a session with a severely Autistic 9 year old boy, he connected with his Mom for the first time - a heart connection. She cried with joy."

-- excerpt from a comment following a blog post on whether parents should give a hypothetical cure pill to their autistic children.

I read stuff like this and think you know, she's checking in with the "energy" of that poor family's wallet. Ommm, I think I'll pass on this. Oh! And what do you think of this idea from Restored Hope Remedial Services?

"Careful testing is performed to identify the root causes (rather than just the symptoms) of learning difficulties. Diagnoses are made based on information provided by these tests. Finally, corrective programs and therapies are applied, all supported either by clinical results or by neuroscience research, the scientific study of brain function. The result is genuine correction of learning disabilities." (emphasis mine)

I'm thinking wackyyyyyy... until I read about some of the therapies. The ones I recognize are the same stuff the public school is using, not some "genuine CORRECTION of learning disabilities." Good grief. I don't know what most of the listed therapies entail, so some of it might be snake oil and fancy neurosciency mumbo jumbo as well.

08 May 2011

The Retirement Party

"Guess who's retiring, Elf?" I asked.

"DAD?" Elf said in amazement. No, not Dad. It was his first grade teacher, Mrs. Old. Mrs. Old probably is an excellent teacher of complaint little girls, but of autistic elves? Not so much.

Elf was OVERJOYED to hear that Mrs. Old would be retiring. "Can we make a cake to celebrate??" he asked. He said this was a great day for *all* the little children. I don't think a politician could make a more declarative statement. His pudgy little face just beamed.

Actually, Elf, Merriwether and William Elementary is having a BIG PARTY and the public is invited to celebrate Mrs. Old's retirement on Tuesday night.

"If they knew she was that bad a teacher that they had to have a party because she is leaving, they should have gotten rid of her a long time ago," he told me sternly. Well, that's sort of one of those things people do... they have parties when someone retires. (Come to think of it, why do we do that?)

"Can we go to the party?" he asked. "We can say that we are very *happy* she is going away. And we can eat cake."

That doesn't sound very nice, Elf. Nevermind that it's chess club night. You're supposed to say nice things about the person retiring at these parties. OK? OK, ok, ok, he said. Here are some ideas he's come up with for the card he wants to make:

* Happy Retirement.

(And Mom, just saying that isn't bad. Hoping she has a happy time. I will draw happy children on the front of the card and it will look nice.) And on the inside of the card it should say, "Hope your retirement is so happy that you realize this is something you should have done long ago."

Another idea for a card:

*Don't worry about things getting worse when you leave!

What, none of these work? How about a "congratulations" card to the first graders at Merriwether and William Elementary? No?

Well, I had *hoped* that hearing of her retirement would be a mildly interesting tidbit and perhaps bring a smile to his face. Not jubilant Munchkin dancing and requests for Mrs. Old's address and a stamp. I think Mrs. Old is going to enjoy her retirement. I know this because she was counting down the years and days since G was her student many years ago...

The Internet STAR.

Well. Not long ago, he was just a friend of my older children, discussing graphically how he'd like to torture and kill small animals. My children were somehow not all that available to play with him after that. We just get so busy! I know, I should have just out and told his mom the real reason but there you go.

But now this child has grown up and become an internet STAR with actual fans and admirers. Really. He even has his own YouTube channel and gets PAID when he posts dumb crap. This kid posts whatever he wants. And he has THOUSANDS of people following... some crazy number like 265,000 views. He's there to answer YOUR questions. You know, questions like, "Can you fold your **** when you get a boner?" The answer is no, in case you were wondering.

Just as a side note, yep, I do feel a twinge of jealousy that the ****-folding guy has more viewers than my homeschool blog ever could. I do try to make my blog interesting but apparently it is not interesting *enough.* Really what SHOULD be happening is that this fellow should have about six people watching and the comments below his videos should read something like, "How puerile," or, "The boy needs a haircut."

But why am I writing about this star?

Recently I've been tryyying to reason with some local kids to PLEASE not post stupid crap online... it only leads to trouble... and then I see that dudes like this make it look like it's all glamourous to be disgusting.

Siiigh. I know at least one child of someone I know has made unfortunate youtube upload choices. Like most parents, I did occasional checks on the computer history - the things my child was watching? - and - whoaa. Stuff that's way out of line. STUFF THAT HE MADE.

Anyway, I know that those of you who have smaller children and are reading this are thinking, "NO WAY I would let my children post disgusting things! And they would never look up anything I didn't pre-approve except a few tutorials about how to pray properly. *I* am teaching my children to walk in the ways of the LORD and we read the Bible together and attend Sunday school and blah blah blah..."

Well, I would never wish that sort of trouble in your household, but we did all that and more until very recently. Children will - they WILL - grow up and choose what they will. Sometimes those choices are doggone dopey.

And if you have smaller children, you (thankfully for you) do not need (yet) to realize that our children grow to be more savvy - and start to leave the house more often! - as they age. It's not something I'm happy about, but it's just a given fact that my children (and yours, now or someday) could easily set up a gmail account on a friend's computer. From there, they could have access to youtube, facebook, and about everything else you can imagine. All it takes is an hour away from parents and a willing friend.

I'm not going to go into detail. I am simply stating that it's far easier to set these things up without parental contact/awareness than one might think. I check my computer history, and um, some other stuff. But there are ways around that. I'm sure most teens know what they are.

I guess I wonder whyyyy certain teens can't wait until they are adults and can have real "freedom of speech." And I suppose this star's internet videos are interesting to the teen set, but I'm having trouble understanding why they beat out classics like the video results you'd get from searches like "bad renters" or "hornet nest."

Really. Search that stuff on youtube and you will be watching in horror for hours. :)

06 May 2011


Junk drawer post. I have some DS chargers, bulletin board tacks, old McDonald's Monopoly papers, and a few elastic bands in this somewhere...

Ok. First, do you want to hear a nice story about a nice family? They're nice people. They wanted to buy a house in a nice neighbourhood. They kept getting outbid by other families, so they did something different this time. THIS time, they stapled a picture of their beautiful family and a note about how much they will enjoy the house and sent it along with their offer on the place. Not only were they able to buy the place from the seller, but the seller rejected an offer of $10,000 more than this family was offering!

Nice, huh?

But maybe not all of us are nice people. I know I'm not. I'm fat and old and I don't photograph well. I have teen boys and sorry, when I'm shopping for houses and see evidence of teen boys I think loud music and dangerous driving and go somewhere else. My letter would be about yeah, we like your house because it has this one room in which I can corral my autistic child and we can get rid of the metal cage we currently use. That would go over reallly well.

Or suppose the family that bid the $10,000 more than the one that sent the picture weren't weird like me. Say they were perfectly regular people, but they were (egads) black people. Does your opinion change? Is it still ok for realtors to allow people to market themselves as buyers, knowing certain sorts of customers won't get the best deals?

I don't like this story. I know it's supposed to be a feel-good story about a nice family, but I don't feel it's a nice trend. I think if we're going to play this game we ought to at least allow listings that say "young families only" or "no Mexicans." Can we just be honest about it? I guess I will be ok with it if we are just honest about this being the pretty/ outgoing/ nice people with connections or the right ethnicity getting what they want. Nobody should be forced to sell to a given bunch of folks if they don't want to... well... and I'd like to think most people try to set that stuff aside when it's business because it's simply in their best interest to do so.

Next up: time to sign up for Pizza Hut book-it program if you homeschool! Yeah. You like free pizza.

Third... the math dance. We need choreographers to teach us that Gina has four letters. G-I-N-A. I was going to scoff at this outright but I suppose there are some children who learn kinetically and need to sort of move to get those math concepts. I don't know that graduate students and teachers need to do this for a whole day workshop or if they do, how much time they spend with real live little children. I do remember one thing we did when Emperor was tiny was get a long number line out and let him hop back and forth for addition and subtraction. When it was time to learn about adding a negative number, he did get a little bit stuck. But I think past a certain point, you can't learn 3x -2y = 75 with a dance. (If you can, please post to youtube because that really would be interesting.)

And finally, I found this little article in my browsing. I think you can certainly tell someone the chair has a 200 pound weight limit and that there's an extra charge BEFORE someone sits in it. You'd think, though, that smart business people would know there are quite a large number (ha ha) of people over 200 pounds out there. You could get a more durable chair or whatever or maybe even charge every customer a dollar more from now on. Not as a separate charge... just raise your fees to accomodate expenses such as the chair. I'm sure buffets charge a husky teen football player the same amount they charge for my three-year-old to dine and guess which one eats more...

03 May 2011

Looking Forward to Summer!

The only big bad thing about summer break is going to be the fact that preschool is not in session. The children LOVE their preschool.

I'm not sure what to expect for the teens. One of my teens is going to summer school part-time and the other wants a job. Whatever... but sounds like a lot of driving for poor old haggard MOM. In terms of friends hanging out at the house, that hasn't happened for a bit, mostly because tennis practice lasts until 6 p.m. or so and weekends are spent shopping or going to tournaments or (at least for me last weekend) getting sick, grouching at everyone and guzzling the Ny-Quil.

I was looking over some of my old posts and fondly remembering our buddy Q. Q actually seems to have grown up nicely and has his own lawn-mowing business. Funny how those things turn out.

Carnival of Homeschooling!

Are you considering homeschooling next school year? Perhaps you are just looking for some new and interesting posts. Head over to Home School Dad's place and check out this week's blog carnival! He did a great job putting it together and reviewing his favourite films at the same time. :)

Osama in the Mosh Pit

"The hottest band out of Saudi Arabia, featuring wahabi and hip-hop influences, Bin Laden and the Jihadis features extensive vamping and sitar solos, in addition to the occasional suicide vest crowd surf." (comment after article)

There are questions popping up on twitter about Bin Laden and his band, why is he famous, that kind of thing. And yahoo is reporting that 2/3 of people searching for "who is Osama Bin Laden?" are teens. I don't know how they know they're teens, but if true, a large number of children were kept ignorant of current events when they were five or six years old.

And I mean entirely ignorant. I don't know that I agree with the commenters that we should entirely "blame" the previous generation. But I should imagine by the late teen years that children will be surfing the web and picking up the news as they go along.

During the elementary school years, I know that often parents are very overprotective about letting their children hear about the news. I know that at my sons' school at the time, they kept the children entirely ignorant of what was happening on September 11th. Patrick had an inkling, but they never stopped school or chatted about anything. In fact, once the school was on lockdown because a child nearby was shot and killed... and no explanation was given to the students.

I don't know that I agree with that. But thankfully I am not in charge of 592 students who might freak out during the day and I think I can let the school decide that and fill in the blanks on my own later. As a parent of an individual child, I'd want my kid informed about why the building is locked up and recess is called off. Sometimes I am not sure what to think about anything.

02 May 2011

New Radical Sport: Snowplow Parenting!

You heard it here first, folks: parents are no longer content to hover like helicopters. Now they bulldoze into anything and anybody who gets in their way.

In an article that qualifies as Crazy Comment Monday material, Ole Jorgenson not-so-deftly psychoanalyzes all of us "GenX" parents and says well, it's all Nixon's fault. Or all our latchkey parents' fault and also due to the housing bubble. Well... ok... he wasn't so deft at the psychoanalysis. But I'm feeling that I *should* feel traumatized by all this stuff after reading about what a hard 'nuff life I have...

"Gen Xers orchestrate every move of their preschoolers, from perfect play dates and obsessively healthy diets, to instructional flashcards and hypoallergenic socks," he muses. Then the kids get older and parents are still super-bossy. Not only that, but unless we can get these parents to sit down, shut up and listen to what educators are saying, we can never have meaningful educational reform.


Let me just psychoanalyze my own generation for a sec. It's a new paradigm with proactive synergy and stuff. Here goes: we figured out our kids are OURS. That educators are not the experts in everything and further, they don't always have the interests of our kids at heart. We make mistakes. We can be rude. But we love our children.

And by the way, shut up about the hypoallergenic socks. So happens my kid is allergic to wool. With compassionate people like you in education administration, it's no wonder you have parental riots on your hands.

Woodjie's Roller Dance Routine!

Only a few people were selected to perform their routines at a recent club fundraiser.  I went to upload this video and was pretty shocked...