Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Sam Books

A. has completed Vol. II of the Sam Books: Sams Crismus. And then he wrote "Sams Numbrs and Ltrs." I mentioned that that one had not been on the original list.

A. replied, "You know how in Star Wars the first one made isn't really the first one but then it goes back? That's like this. Numbers and Letters was the real first one."

He could do worse than emulate George Lucas, and I'm seriously impressed that he understood my explanation about Star Wars Movie Numbering even though he's never actually seen one.

Then he insisted on filming a commercial for his books. If I actually knew what I was doing in Adobe Premiere, I could make that scroll thing go much slower. Sorry. I would also make the price flash. The first 2 minutes or so he's reading the stories to Ben, which was much cuter when they first sat down to do it and before I turned the video camera on because Ben's a big ham and instead of looking adoringly at his older brother's creations, he looks adoringly at the camera. The commercial part starts around 1:57, and if you wanna skip to that, I understand.

Sams Holaween

A. continues his quest for fame and fortune. He wants to be a kid author and sell lots of books. He really likes the series books from the library, so he is currently working on a series of holiday books, featuring a hapless young man named Sam.

I promised him I'd put it on the internet and it would be almost like being published.

Pg. 1: It was omost Holaween and Sam was geting redee.

Pg. 2: Boo Boo Boo. Wuts that sawnd? Its a gost hi up in the sci. Sam ran.

Pg. 3: Hee Hee Hee. Wuts that sawn? It is a wich and Sam ran.

Pg. 4: Sam didint see enee manstrs.

Pg. 5: The monstrs wr at Sams haws.

Oooh! Surprise ending! It'd be better if I scanned in his pictures and added them (he is both author and illustrator), but there's a 3-year-old monopolizing my desktop/scanner and for the sake of world peace, I'm not moving him right now.

Future volumes are already being planned:

2. Sams crismis
3. Sams eestr
4. Sams aprlfoolsday
5. Sams thacsgiving
6. Sams forf uv jli

Last night he was compiling a book of dinosaurs, with drawings and descriptions, so "when you want to know more about a dinosaur, you could look it up in my book and it will tell you all about it."

"You mean just like this book?" I ask, holding up the book from which he is copying the information.

"Oh. Yeah."

So now he's branching off into fiction.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thank You Notes

Thank You notes take forever. Part of this is my fault, since I insist on taking a photo of A. holding a hand-painted sign that says "Thank You" and pasting it to the front of blank cards. Then I have A. dictate a message to each gift-giver, type it up, print it out and paste it to the inside. Then he has to sign each one. This way, he can say as much as he wants to say, which is often a great deal, and doesn't get frustrated trying to write it all out.

He's getting quite good at the format - "Thank you for ____. I like it because __________." etc. Sometimes it's rather incoherent but very 6-year-old:

Thank you for the shirt and hip-hop jeans. I think they will look good on me. Talking about hip-hop sounds like a bunny hopping and talking about bunnies hopping is making me think about Easter because you know the Easter Bunny goes at Easter and that kind of reminds me of a lot of things. Besides, let’s change the subject. Thank you for coming to my party. Now that’s all I have to say about that subject.

Usually I let him say whatever he wants to say, like the above, because WHATEVER, he's 6 and this way it really looks like he came up with the words himself.

Sometimes I do have to operate my veto rights, like the one to the people who accidentally bought a present more appropriate for Ben:

Thank you for the Magnalogs. But it wasn’t Ben’s birthday, it was my birthday. So next year don’t forget that it is my birthday and not Ben’s.

"Let's try that again, " I say. Next version:

Thank you for the Magnalogs. They look like fun. I tried to make a house on the ground so it would look like it would be an ant’s home. If I put it on the kitchen floor without breaking it, it could really be an ant’s home because we always have ants going around on our kitchen floor. Thank you for coming to my party.

"OK, who's next?" I ask. I'll just write this one myself.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just Because

Things that piss me off:

1. The Land Rover owner in my office building who routinely takes up two spaces right in front of the door with his/her one vehicle.

2. The sign at the self-serve fro yo place (that I'm now addicted to) that says, "We no longer accept tips on credit card payments. Please tip us in cash." Did I mention it was self-serve?

3. Finally catching the cold my family has had for the last week, after successfully fighting it off for the last week.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Animal-Friendly Chicken Farm/Hospice

"So, when the farmers are going to kill the cows and pigs, are they expecting it?"

A. has lost his innocence. He understands, now, that chicken and sauce comes from Actual Chickens, bacon comes from Real Pigs and that these animals were once alive and not unlike the pigs and chickens he feeds on visits to the farm. He's not terribly happy about the killing part, but isn't willing to give up chicken and bacon, either.

So now he wants to live on a farm. One that sells meat, but doesn't slaughter animals. "We could have chickens but only sell the meat of the ones who die of old age. Or accidentally."

Me: "Great idea! On the package, we could put "Dead of Natural Causes or Accidents Only."

The ideas just kept coming:

"We could hire a really clumsy farmhand for when we have a lot of orders."

"We could pile a bunch of stuff in the henhouse, and make it really wobbly and stuff. One earthquake, and whoa! Chicken breasts for everyone!"

"We could offer to hospice old, sick chickens (although I'm not sure their meat would be very good)."

I don't know why this idea cracks me up so much. But it does, so I'm writing it down.

Fired Up! Ready to Go!

Today we marched in Small-City-Near-Us' parade. We were part of the Obama '08 group. We asked the boys if they wanted to march in a parade, and naturally, they were all for it. They don't refer to him as "Rock of Bama" anymore, instead, he's now the Irish cousin, "Rock O'Bama."

It was a long wait to start the parade. The boys took a rest under the sign:

Cute 3-year-olds for Change:

Aidan, Ben, their handlers (me and G.) and the other kids in the group got pushed to the front to lead.

So this was our view for all of the parade:

I was never in band, so it was a new curiosity when parents, dressed in black and white like the band members, would jump in among the flag bearers whenever the marching stopped. The parents had baggies full of ice and fruit chunks, and some had spray bottles. They hand-fed the flag holders pieces of ice and fruit and sprayed water in their mouths. I opened my mouth, but no one sprayed water in it.

We'll have to remember that trick for the next parade.

Friday, September 19, 2008

How I Know My Son Will Support Us In Our Old Age

Overheard this morning:

A: OK, Ben. You get 4 "Where's the babys" for half a dollar. Go get half a dollar out of your piggy bank and I'll do 4 "Where's the babys."*

Ben: OK! (runs to his piggy bank and shakes all the loose change out of it).

Me: A., you're not making Ben give you money to play with him, are you?

A (shrugging): Well, I want money. He wants to play "Where's the Baby?"

(to Ben): See how much money you have left? You're still rich!

Apparently he's training to be a mortgage broker.

*Ben likes to pretend to be a baby, crawls into the sleeping bag, and A. calls out "where's the baby?", peeks into the sleeping bag and says, "There he is!" Maybe we didn't play enough with Ben as a baby, I don't know.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Back2Skool Nite

Back to School night for the first grade was last night, and 1.5 hours is a really long time to sit in those tiny little chairs.


1. When I found A's desk, his "journal writing" for the day was on the top for display. It was one sentence answering the question, "What is your favorite living thing?"

A wrote: "My favorite living thing is [teacher's name]."

I was one of the first parents to arrive, saw it, laughed out loud and said cheerfully to the teacher, "Hey! Look at that! He's already kissing up!" (I almost said, "sucking up," but caught myself in time).

She looked at me blankly and replied, "I thought it was rather sweet."

Me: "Yes, yes, of course it's sweet." Sorry for being so cynical. I'm sure there's no ulterior motive [barf]. Actually, I was kind of proud of him. As a former Teacher's Pet myself, I know it's important to jockey for position right at the start.

2. Because I need to be hit over the head with a brick, at the end of the night I asked her if I could volunteer to drive for field trips even though I could only fit two kids in the back of my sedan (they really prefer those who can take three).

Her: "OK, so that would be A. and one other child."

Me (with dramatic wave of my hand): "Naw. I don't want A., let someone else deal with him."

Her: "Oh, OK."


More bad news: On Halloween, the first - third grades don't get to wear their costumes. Oh, no. They get to pick an historical figure from a list, take home a biography of that person (i.e. to be read with the parents), and bring THAT costume to school for the big historical parade, which the teacher assures us is "just wonderful."

I'm going to lobby for Julius Cesar since we already have the toga. But watch him pick Louis XIV or something stupid like that.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Top Design, Here We Come

These are Ben's paintings today. I didn't direct him, I just brought out the paints and let him have at it so I could install my new printer in relative peace.

I realize I'm probably biased, but I do believe the boy has an eye for color.

Friday, September 05, 2008

What Tomorrow Brought

When Ben was a baby, I used to jokingly refer to him as "Bipolar Baby," because his mood swings were so quick and extreme.

This morning, things were looking hopeful on the preschool front.

"I go to preschool today?"

"Yes, you do."

"I go to preschool with Lisa? I like Lisa. She's fun."

"Yes, Lisa will be there. You'll probably sing more songs and play a lot."

"Yeah. I like preschool!"

[5 second pause]

"No, I don't like preschool. I'm not going to preschool today. I only go to preschool for 2 times. I'm done with preschool."

"OK, well, you can tell Lisa that when you get there." If there's nothing else good about preschool, at least Mama can step out of the struggle and lay it right on the teacher where it belongs.

"No! I'm not going to tell Lisa that! I'm not going!" His voice got shriller and louder.

Then he got distracted by A.'s dinosaur world set up on the kitchen table and I didn't hear another word about it.

Maybe we should just start the lithium now.

Oh, BTW, tomorrow is A's 6th birthday. For those who remember the dinosaur extravaganza of 2007, I'm making it easy on myself and Pump It Up is doing everything this time.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Kinda Resistant, Kinda Not

Yesterday: Ben announces loudly as he gets out of the car in the preschool parking lot: "I'm just going to check this out." In other words, "I am in no way committed to staying here." When he was welcomed into the room, he put his lunch box on the shelf and didn't look back.

Today: Ben screams the entire way in the car to preschool, "Go home! Go home!" That doesn't work, so he switches tactics. "I'm too young! I'm too young for preschool! Mama, tell the teacher I'm too young!"

"No, because I think you're just right for preschool. If you want to tell her that, go ahead."

So as soon as the teacher opened the door, he begins yelling, "Lisa! I'm too young! I'm tooooo yooooung!" Other kids were sobbing, but he was trying to argue his case and maybe find a loophole.

Lisa smiled, asked for a hug, which was perfect because Ben has never turned down a hug, so he complied, went to put his lunchbox on the shelf and didn't look back.

Wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Guess Who?

Guess who's going to be a dragon for Halloween?

Guess who doesn't want to take the costume off ("No! Never!") until November 1st even though it's 95 degrees outside?

Guess who is the cutest first grader in the Montessori classroom?

That backpack, by the way, has been around for about 4 years. It finally fits him.

Benjamin and I had our "meet-and-greet" with his new preschool teacher today. All the way up to the classroom, he was teary, saying, "I hope the teacher says to me I'm not going to go to preschool."and, "You tell the teacher that I'm staying with you." Sorry, bud.

Then we got there, he grabbed her hand, let her show him around, did a few puzzles, played in the yard and eventually had to be forcibly removed. He starts tomorrow. I think he'll be fine.

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