The Bad Mommy

I work only to pay for his therapy later.

Location: Novato, California, United States

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Not ENTIRELY Beyond My Areas of Expertise

C and two of his friends had a play/homework date at our house yesterday afternoon. My favorite part of the afternoon was when we were driving to the house.

The kids started out with a fairly sophisticated discussion of astronauts - what it took to be one, what could be studied in space and how, the repairs to the Hubbell (which is how they referred to it - "You know, when they put the 'glasses' on The Hubbell the first time they made repairs?").

I'm thinking I am in SO way over my head with these kids and I'm really admiring their teacher, who deals with 24 of these verbal little brainiacs every day and then I realize they've moved on to a discussion of how you pee and poop in a zero gravity environment and how you attach suction instruments to various parts of your body (insert 9-year-old boy giggles here) and I thought whew, THIS I can manage!

Monday, August 28, 2006

And She Knits Too!

Some friends tell me they've found the perfect girlfriend for C. She's about the same age he is, and in the midst of talking about something else recently she said "You know, I was reading about nanotechnology the other day...."

Sock Update #1

Number Completed: 8 socks
Number Still Needed by 12/25: 16 socks
In Progress: 4 socks - (1) 4" knitted, 2 more inches to the heel flap; (2) almost complete - just need a foot length so that I know where to start the toe decreases; (3) heel turned and ready to pick up gussett stitches; (4) toe decreases started - on the home stretch.
Totally on track to have all socks completed by Christmas. Yes, there will be photos, but not till after Christmas!

The Good, The Bad and The Amazing

C transferred to a new school this year.

On the one hand, we're thrilled. At the new school, he's participating in an accelerated curriculum. He'll be pushed harder and his intellectual muscles will be stretched more. He's transferred with two of his good buddies and they're enjoying each other. As a bonus, we really like the parents of these two buddies. C's teacher and the fifth grade teacher he'll have next year are fabulous and all of us are really looking forward to an exciting couple of years.

On the other hand, we really loved the old school. It has a strong and focused PTA and a truly excellent and committed faculty and staff. Lots of buddies there, both for C and for us. We'll still be in touch with many of them, particularly given our involvement with Cub Scouts, but we'll miss the day-to-day involvement.

Here's only one example of what makes it such an exceptional place and why we'll miss it: On Friday evening, C's teacher from last year called him to see how he was adjusting to his new class in the new school. She didn't talk to us - she called for C and talked to him for a good 15 minutes, asking him about his summer, how he liked the new classroom, what they were learning and how he was. The King of the One Syllable Answers talked at length about summer camps, fingerprinting (something he learned about last week in school) and what was happening at the alma mater. He clearly felt valuable and empowered and his parents were completely charmed and blown away.

Mrs. D: You so totally rock!

Dinner Out

So the Little Hub, C and I went out to Phyllis' Giant Burgers for dinner last night. The burgers really were gigantic, so at the end of the meal, the LH asked C to go get a to go box for us to take the leftovers home in.

C: Dad, do you see that sign over there that says "How to order?"

LH (turning around to look): Yes.

C: Well, it says "How to order." Not "How to Order C Around."

I swear, I have NO idea where he gets it from....

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Bad Mommy Rides Again

So yesterday was the first day of school. We didn't receive a supply list ahead of time so C and I decided we would go to Staples yesterday afternoon, after he had had a chance to size things up and see what he was going to need. We had several conversations about the arrangements for meeting, all culminating in me ASSURING him that I would be there right on time, right outside his classroom, right after class let out at 2:50.

After dropping him at school (he never looked back and I finally had a year when I didn't cry even a little), I headed over to the Jiffy Lube place to get the oil in the van changed. They told me that in addition to an oil change, I needed brake and transmission fluid and that the battery was on its last legs.

I told them to go ahead with all the fluids but that since I had had absolutely no problem, ever, with the battery, I would wait and pick one up at Sears later. One hour and $150+ later, I was on my way.

I dropped some stuff at the dry cleaners. I drove over and had some hot chocolate and hung out at Dr. Insominia's for a bit. I ran home to get the checkbook I had forgotten and then went and got my hair cut. I ran a couple of other errands. I went down to San Rafael and had a salad and hung out with my buds at Marin Fiber Arts and worked on (surprise!) some socks for awhile.

At 2:15, precisely 35 minutes before I needed to pick C up, I hopped in the van to make the 15-20 minute drive to the school.

The battery was completely dead. It was so dead, the van didn't even make any noise when I turned the key to try to start it. Dead, dead, dead. Really and truly dead.

Never mind that I'd made a number of other stops since the morning diagnosis of near-death. The damn thing chose THIS stop and THIS time to die.

So I called the Little Hub (now also known as the Hero of the Day), who makes it to San Rafael in ten minutes flat, hooks the truck battery up to the van battery and has me on my way in another ten minutes. And I forgot to tip him.

I actually pulled into the school parking lot a mere 4 minutes late. However, I couldn't turn the engine off, I didn't see C and since I DID tell him I would meet him outside the door to his classroom, it meant I had to park and walk over to that part of the school.

So I did what any reasonable person would do on the first day at a brand new school: I parked the van in a STAFF ONLY parking spot, left it running (praying that I wouldn't get busted) and dashed off to find C, who was only a little bit ticked that I was late and was very understanding when I explained why we'd be going to Sears before we went to Staples.

Note to self: Next time, just believe them when they say it's time for a new part. Also: probably not a bad idea to carry jumper cables of my very own. You know - just as a preventative sort of thing.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

First Day of School

Last night's conversation:

Me: So what was the absolute best thing about summer vacation this year?

C: Cooking camp. No question.

(Thank you again Auntie K!)

Me: So what's the absolute best thing about going back to school in the morning?

C: Doing some actual LEARNING in my classroom.

Me: As opposed to what?

C: Well, I've seen the classroom a couple of times now but we've just looked around. We haven't done any actual learning.


This morning as we're getting ready to leave the house:

You know, Mom, some people think that leadership is a privilege, but I think of it more as a duty.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I Do So Love A Challenge

When my sibs and their families were out to visit earlier this summer, I sat everyone down with the sock yarn stash and asked them each to pick out yarn so that I could make socks for them for Christmas.

Only a dozen pairs and I have all the way to Christmas, right? Just 24 socks. No problem.

So I sat down the other day and evaluated the situation and realized that I needed to complete one sock per week in order to get everybody’s socks done in time. No problem.

C gave me one of his sticker reward charts and I wrote each person’s name in two boxes. Every time I complete a sock, I get to put a sticker in one of the boxes. (See how smart I am? One sticker per SOCK, not per PAIR – makes it look like I’m making progress much, much faster!)

As of today, I’ve got 7 stickers on the chart and there are 3 partially completed socks in my bag. I cast on another sock this morning, just to keep things interesting – I like having various socks in various states of completion so that I can jump around based on how much concentration each sock requires at any given point in the construction. Picking up stitches for the gusset requires concentration and good lighting. Ribbing is good for tv watching. The round and round of stockinette is good during a movie or while reading. And sometimes I just need to switch to something in a different color or a different yarn to keep it interesting.

Stay tuned for updates on the sticker chart. And I need foot lengths for SGH, RJH, PSH and DCH.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Summer Vacation Has Changed Since I Was Kid

What the heck happened to summer? School starts on Thursday. (And may I just say: It is so totally WRONG for school to start before Labor Day. I still haven’t gotten used to that.)

(And I finally looked at the school calendar and figured out why school starts on a Thursday this year: Instead of giving the kids Weds-Fri off during Thanksgiving week, this year we have the ENTIRE week to keep them entertained. But I digress.)

I love summer vacation. I’ve always liked it, but it’s been since C entered “real” school that I’ve learned to love it in the way I did as a kid. The main reason: NO HOMEWORK. It’s entirely possible that I hate homework more than C does. It’s close, but I think I hate it more.

The secondary reason I love summer vacation: Camp. Admittedly, this is a vicarious thrill for me, but I takes ‘em where I can get ‘em.

I don’t have a huge number of memories of camp as a kid. I did a few overnights with the Girl Scouts. I remember learning how to cook Blushing Bunnies (Velveeta melted into a can of tomato soup and poured over soggy white bread). I remember learning camp songs (99 bottles of beer, anyone?). There was Vacation Bible School and I went away to church camp a few times. I was lucky to have a stay-at-home Mom during my younger years, so day camp wasn’t the necessity it is for my little guy.

Day camp opportunities for today’s middle-class kid are a whole new story. I’ve learned that it helps to start planning in about March. Seriously. How ridiculous is that? And yet – it’s what I do.

This summer, we really mixed it up and C was able to spend time at Cub Scout Camp at the Marin Headlands, Science Adventure Camp, Steve & Kate’s Camp, the Marin Humane Society’s Animal Care Camp, Camp Nana, and – his and my personal favorite – Sur La Table’s Kids’ Cooking Camp.

Cooking Camp was courtesy of my BF, C’s Auntie K, who learned of the camp and sponsored C’s enrollment. Special Thanks go to my mom & dad (proprietors of Camp Nana) – C stayed at their house that week and they ferried him back and forth to camp and otherwise kept him entertained during the off hours.

He LOVED it. I got a call every single day after class let out and my child who generally speaks to me in one word sentences on the phone deconstructed each and every class at length. He came home with recipes for everything they made (at least 25 different items) and has been recreating them at home, as well as making up his own recipes for things – including a killer marinara sauce he makes to go with his from-scratch pasta. (SO much better than Blushing Bunnies.) Last week, he made a different dinner every single night. Really. Auntie K, you have our undying love and devotion forever, just for that.

The real measure of how much he loved it: He’s decided that maybe he’ll be a chef instead of an inventor when he grows up. Although, as he notes, “they’re not that different.”

Here's hoping that school will still seem fun and interesting after a great summer. And that we all survive homework re-entry.

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