Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Do You Think Offspring Will Notice?

Apparently, Lotus has long been nurturing a deep-seated desire to attend fifth grade. As proof positive, I offer you this picture of her wedged into Offspring's backpack. Do you think that Offspring will notice the extra 12 pounds in the morning?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mrs. Washington's Secret Life

Today in class, we celebrated President Washington's birthday by making several projects and reading books about our illustrious founding father.

One of the books we read was all about George Washington's teeth. The book detailed the struggle George endured his entire life with what must have been some kind of oral disease. (And in verse, no less!) He lost teeth at an alarming rate, some due to decay, and some pulled by dentists of the time because of pain. We read about how the dentist gave George some sort of medication to numb the area while he pulled the teeth from George's jaw. The children did their customary "eeewwwww!" when we revealed that George had rotting teeth falling out of his mouth, but that aspect of the story really stuck with them.

After the story was finished, we had our usual question-and-answer session to determine whether they'd gleaned information from the story or not -- our typical litmus test for comprehension. At first, the children were asked to contribute what they remembered from the story. We got: "He had bad teeth." "His teeth had fall out." "He had some new teeth made." Finally, we said "Okay, we know all about the teeth. What ELSE did you remember from the story?" We got answers of the variety: "He was the first president." "The soldiers didn't have no shoes." (the soldiers at Valley Forge, who went the winter without adequate supplies.) "George wanted to be a soldier like his brother." "He helped win the war."

We got around to asking what the name of George's home had been, and other questions about his home life. We asked whether anyone remembered Mrs. Washington's name, and one little girl's hand went up almost immediately. When called upon, she promptly replied: "Anesthesia."

After I stopped guffawing, I said, no -- her name was *Martha.* "Anesthesia" was what the dentist gave George to stop the hurting when they pulled his teeth out. I was impressed that she remembered the word "anesthesia", but I feel sure that it won't make Martha Custis Washington's nickname roster any time soon.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Not A Case of the Mad Parenting Skillz

Most of you who read Phantom Scribbler (and if you don't, stop by -- I promise you she's worth it!) know that Phantom has two adorable, cherubic kids who provide her with almost daily nuggets of bloggy goodness. She is convinced, however, that her charges are somehow growing up as great little humans without much effort from her. We beg to differ. Phantom has a whole category of posts detailing where she brandishes her inadequacy schtick with abandon. The category title? "My Mad Parenting Skillz". I think if Phantom really wants to work on the (not so) coveted "Worst Parent(s) of the Year" Award, she really needs to take lessons from a family that recently spent the day at Islands of Adventure in Florida.

Juggling Freak reads a forum (called "Stupid Guest Tricks") where employees of theme parks vent about the complete and utter jerks they have the misfortune to deal with every day. No, Juggling Freak is *not* an employee at a theme park, but our devotion to Disney World is rather slavish and sad. At any rate, JF came across a thread where a cast member at IOA vented about some morons who recently put their childrens' lives at a significant danger. And, being the blabbermouth that I am, I have to pass it along to you.

It seems that the employee was working a rapids river raft ride, and a family of approximately 12 wanted to board. The employee pointed out that there were two small children with the party who did not meet the height requirements. The parents (or adults with them) tried to bribe, argue, and cajole the employee into letting the small children on the ride. The employee informed the parents that the children were indeed too small, and could not ride -- the park could not guarantee the safety of the kids if they rode. The parents had the option of sitting with the little ones in another area. One of the adults went off, highly peeved, to sit with the kids. The employee loaded the remaining party members on the boat, watching them place all of their backpacks and a HUGE blue duffle bag in the bag compartment to make sure they got everything stowed safely. He then turned around to load the next party. He heard running feet, and turned around to see the adult and the too-small children running for the boat in an attempt to ride anyway.

The employee pushes the emergency stop button, bringing the ride to a halt. He escorts the adult and kids away from the ride again. After another explanation of the rules, and much pouting from the morons, he starts the ride once again, and sets the boat in motion. As the boat begins to pull away from the dock, he hears a baby crying. He looks over at the boat, and sees the mother, without shirt and completely bare-breasted, pull a BABY out of the duffle bag and begin to nurse it! The employee pushes the emergency stop yet *again* to bring the boat to a halt. The employee attempts to tell the woman that she can't have the baby on the boat, and she begins cursing and screaming at him that she can nurse her baby anywhere she wants!

The employee has to call for the park manager, as the ride has shut down entirely, and the woman is screaming for blood. Now, the employee knows that Florida law states that a woman can breastfeed virtually everywhere -- that wasn't the issue here -- and the woman is threatening a lawsuit because he's "violated" her rights. Needless to say, managers got involved, as well as Orlando police and Child Protective Services. Apparently, the family had checked up on the breastfeeding laws, but not the child endangerment ones. *Who knew* that it wasn't cool to smuggle an infant onto a dangerous ride in a piece of luggage?!?!? The family was also ejected from the park and banned from Universal parks for life.

I think any of us who complain when we've had more challenging days as parents aren't doing so terribly after all.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I'm No Longer Sick, But I Sure Am Tired

There's no time for lazing in a sick bed when it's Girl Scout Cookie time. People ain't kidding around about this -- I've had people stopping me in the street, wanting to buy cookies!

So, we had our cookie pickup at the warehouse on Saturday morning, and then I had my troop distribution later that same day. One cookie booth sale yesterday afternoon saw us selling 146 boxes, and one booth sale today garnered us another 87 boxes in sales. I've been schlepping cookies all weekend, and I'm tired. My feet hurt, and I need another day off to recuperate from my long weekend.

In yet another instance where I've determined that CCW and I share the same brain, I discovered that I woefully underordered. Demands for certain types of cookies fluctuates from year to year, and I never know whether what sold like gangbusters last year will sell as well this year. There are some constants -- we always know to orders lots of Thin Mints and lots of Trefoils (shortbread.) Those always sell. Some of the others are a little more problematical. Last year, I sold virtually no Do-Si-Dos (peanut butter/oatmeal sandwich) and this year, I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for them. So, I have my reorder in, and was going around town this morning trying to beg, borrow, or buy a case of Thin Mints.

Some of you may remember that last year, I got rather lobsterfied at a cookie booth -- who knew you could fry so in the overcast February sun?!?! -- and I'm pleased to inform you that I did turn pink-cheeked, but not to the extent as last year, and at least it's on both sides of my face this year.

I'm taking the lazy way out and going to pick up subs for my family for dinner, and I'm calling it a night!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sick and Tired

Offspring shared her illness with me. Normally, I encourage sharing, but this is not one of the instances where I find myself pleased that she's done so. I got sent home from school yesterday. Apprarently, I looked ghastly enough that they just sent me home without me having to even see the school nurse -- my temp was 102 when I got home. I slept from about 2pm until 6:30pm, when my loving husband woke me up for dinner. He'd done the dishes *and* cooked, letting me sleep all the while. Today was supposed to be a work day for staff, but I was told to stay home today as well, and found that when I woke up this morning, I felt entirely too awful to face actually getting dressed and puttering aound in the classroom all day. So, I called in, and went back to bed.

It's slightly ironic that I had previously posted about Offspring being sick, and that I liked the laziness of her sick days, and here I am - at home in bed on a sick day of my own, hacking my lungs out and not enjoying it in the slightest.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Kindergarten Architecture?

I spent the day today in a workshop in an effort round off the 100 hours of continuing education credits that I have to have every five years. It was all about the history and architecture of my city. What does that have to do with teaching kindergarten, you ask? So did I. But, in an effort to finish the required amount of hours, I will often take workshops that aren't strictly within my subject material. They are always very informative, and very enjoyable. And I do get little nuggets that I can use for kindergarten. I don't think I'll have them drawing up city plans any time soon, but it was a nice day for a walking tour of some of our more picturesque spots.

Living where I do, we have no dearth of colonial mansions and "grande old Southern Ladies" (as some of the homes are more euphemistically called) to gawk at and of which to take touristy pictures. So often, though, when I drive around the city, I tend to forget about the historical significance of those buildings and parks, squares and monuments; and grit my teeth over the tourists who linger too long in the middle of the street while they gaze in rapt attention at one of our finer historical treasures. And even more too often, I find myself unaware of whatever Monument X is commemorating or why Park Z is of historical significance. This class helped bring a lot more of that into focus. We got to see a lot of neat buildings and structures along the way.

I took a few pictures. Here are two of my favorites:

The first is a gazebo. It's not of all that significant a historical marker on the tour as it is a personal memory. I got married in this gazebo in 1992. It is a very beautiful little spot of green space in the downtown area. At that time, there was no fee to use the gazebo or little park, which had become a favored spot for weddings, but you did have to seek permission from the city so there wouldn't be two weddings occurring on the same day at the same time.

The second is of a wrought-iron gate that is located across the drive to the side entrance of one of the restored mansions in the historic area. I also took a closeup shot, which is (unfortunately) slightly blurry. I thought it was gorgeous, though it must have cost a pretty penny. Of course, if you have the cabbage to live in a mansion, a wrought-iron gate for your drive isn't exactly going to break the bank.

At any rate, I may have spent more enjoyable days in the name of education, but I sure would be hard-pressed to name them.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sick Day

Offspring is at home today, laid low with a sore throat, fever, and assorted aches. I am here merely as a provider of medicine and a pourer of copious amounts of Gatorade. I have lolled in bed all day, while she watches cartoons, and putters around on the laptop beside me. We've snuggled under all of our blankets, and dozed the day away. I am now called into play for the ritual dispensing of chicken soup.

While I'm sorry she's ill, I do enjoy the laziness of sick days.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Here's Hoping...

In the comments of the last post, jo(e) asked if there was any chance that I would post the middle-of-the-night, forgotten poem. I am living up to the "reluctant" part of my title because the last time I shared one of my poems, it stopped conversation quicker than a runaway train slamming into a brick wall. Now, I never claimed to be a poet, much less a good one. (That poetry award and scholarship in college notwithstanding - I could've been the only applicant.)

After some hemming and hawing, I've decided to post it because my cup not exactly runneth over with a multitude of other ideas for a post today. So here it is. Don't say I didn't warn you if you hate it. Here's hoping you don't.

Forgotten Poem

I lie with closed eyes
watching the lights glitter and ping
like sonar
my brain forgot to switch off
I feel the blood throb in my temples
as I wait for sleep
to entrap me and pull me down into
itself with warm, hypnotic arms
I teeter on the edge of a half-remembered dream
all the while, longing

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the "Ugly"

Not very much to report from Casa KLee these days. We've settled into a "let's just get through the week without going on a tri-state killing spree" kind of mentality around here.

*I'm very proud to announce that Offspring won a second place ribbon in her school's Social Science Fair earlier this week. We're all very proud of her, and I hope she goes on to win many more awards.

*I woke up screaming last night from the worst kind of leg cramp that I've ever experienced. NOT something I wish to repeat. Ever. I was literally screaming in pain, tears flowing down my face. I ended up walking with a limp most of today. Have no idea whatsoever of what could've precipitated it. It was akin to what I imagine the sensation of being racked might have felt like.

*I wrote a poem recently. I say "recently" because I'm not sure WHEN exactly I happened to write it. I apparently woke up in the middle of the night not long ago and scrawled it on a paper plate, and then placed it on my trashcan lid beside the bed. Also, I am getting way more eccentric as I age. Leg pain, and now mysterious snippets of poetry littering my bedside.

*My daughter jokingly referred to me as "ugly" earlier this evening. I know she was only playing, but it was amazing how wounded I actually feel. Why? It's not like I haven't often been told how unattractive I am, and how I often casually say that about myself. I guess it's just that you get such unconditional love from your child in the younger years that it cuts to the quick when they realize that you aren't perfect. I know she didn't mean to hurt me -- she was actually only teasing me, but it was like a sword thrust to my heart. My baby is well and truly gone, and we are on the cusp of teenager-dom. I suppose I had better get used to it, as it's most likely *not* the last time I'll hear that one.

*Why is it that I *love* the rain at night when it's lulling me to sleep, but I curse it roundly when it does the same to my students in class? Nevermind the fact that when the classical music is playing, the lights are off, and the rain is softly shusshing outside, that I feel like a nap along with the children. Especially this week. Argh.