Saturday, February 21, 2009

Should I be alarmed?

I was cleaning Liv's room yesterday and found a beheaded little man in her play kitchen sink.

You don't think she's been reading Gloria Steinem late at night or anything do you?

I suspect the dog may have helped with the more gruesome aspects of the physical beheading. But as for how the bodily remains got into the sink, well that remains a mystery.

One fact that cannot be shrugged off God that little beheaded man in the sink looks remarkably like her father.

Maybe ol' shifty eye on the left had a part in this debauchery.

That will teach the old guy to go away on a business trip in Florida while the henchwomen have to stay and play in the snow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wherein I learned about partial algorithms

Ava is currently in a challenge 1st grade math class. I'm not exactly sure if "challenge" is the new more politically correct term for gifted and talented or perhaps there are some more stringent parameters around the term gifted and talented; and all these kids sectioned off into this class might just be causing too much skefuffle in their regular classrooms. More about Ava's skefuffle in a few minutes. Regardless, it's called 2nd grade math or challenge math. Just the thought of that makes me rather squirmy since when she recently started spouting off about partial algorithms, I had to wikipedia the word algorithm. Sad, but true.

You see, I have a confession. I, shall we say, never quite hit my stride in the math department during my illustrious academic career. I managed to obtain a bachelor of arts from a well respected albeit state supported institution of higher learning while never once setting foot in a calculus class. I copped out with a statistics class for psych majors, of which I was not, and managed to get that to count towards my meager quantitative and formal reasoning requirement. While attending college, quantitative and formal reasoning was more about; if class lets out at 5 pm then proceed quickly to pizza and beer establishment of choice before 5:15pm. I was quickly able to discern that if .10 shots were being tossed out at Peter's Pub I would be able to afford ten $.10 shots for a dollar...and that my friends is all the math I need.

This week Ava explained the finer points of addition partial algorithms to me. Which, honestly sounded like a bunch of hogwash. Instead of just plain old adding each column of a multi-digited number and then carrying the one where necessary, the teacher has these kids rounding each number up to the nearest ten. Then they add those rounded numbers and write them down. Then they subtract the number from the rounded number and write that down. Whalaa! You have your answer. Ok, you do get the correct number but what the hell? Why not just add the stupid numbers up and save yourself the drama of the extra steps? If this is showing my admitted math incompetence, I apologize. At this rate with all that extra work for each and every addition problem the kid is going to be burnt by 3rd grade. And, let's be honest this is a little distressing because at this rate her math work load will have me completely perplexed and befuddled by third grade and the muffin man, who did just fine in the math department in school thank you very much will have to take over helping with math homework. Of course, at that time I will be at the other end of the table drawing circles with Liv. I'm still good at laundry by the way.

Back to Ava and her skefuffling at school. (I made up that word.) I wouldn't exactly call it misbehaving or incredibly heinous choices she is making at school...but um...let's just say I've gotten a few emails from the teacher. Mostly they are about Ava's socializing and fluttering about the room while she is supposed to be working, or immediately after they have finished an activity. This is not going to land her in Sing Sing any time soon, but I'm sure there have been days when the teacher wanted to tar and feather the little kid for her boisterous and precocious attitude. The wishing for a good old fashioned tar and feather thing? It is something I am not completely unfamiliar with. It has at times been a tiny bit difficult to wrangle her into submission, I mean, foster her emotional needs while making sure no one loses an eye.

Perhaps she's a tiny bit bored when things get a little slow, it is a class of 24 kids with one teacher after all. Perhaps she's adapting to the confines of traditional learning. Perhaps she's merely 7 years old and emotionally, is after all 7 years old. This is what 7 year olds do, it is their job to test authority and establishment.

In the mean time I am bracing myself for an eventual lesson in calculus. The very one I never got in high school or university. Oh that will be sweet if it ends up coming from my 10 year old.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sweet Shoppe

My town has had an old fashioned candy shoppe for 5 months now and I didn't know it. How could this happen? This is probably sign number 16 showing me I need to expand my two mile radius off the cul-de-sac and get out there in the world a bit more. Preschool pick up does not a life make. I'm losing my mojo, there was a time when I could sniff out a lemon head at under 5 miles. This mommy gig dulls your senses and makes you weak.

Thank goodness for Ava and her extreme social calendar filled with activities galore. Her most recent Brownie outing, was none other than the Sweet Shoppe here in town. Well, you know who was crashing that party right? Oh yeah, the Liv'ster and I showed up with dollars in our pockets and proclaimed we would simply peruse the shop while Ava and her Brownie Buddies learned their lesson about the power of pennies.

Here's Liv, two fisting the candy coated blueberry gummy heart and the smartie's large lollipop. Notice the sugar induced trance starting here in this photo. She's off in another world. I must have taken 16 photos of her as we sat down with our two rather large bags of candy. She absolutely couldn't bring herself to smile, she was taking the experience that seriously.

It was ok, I was smiling big enough for the both of us, that place is so grand.

Here is Livi barfing blue onto her lollipop after I let her eat 37 pieces of penny candy in less than 6 minutes.

But seriously, she still wasn't smiling. It's all in a days work. The kid didn't crack a smile and relax until her blood sugar levels were just shy of causing diabetic coma.

A little while later, the Brownie troop released 10 little 1st graders each with $4.00 to spend in the shoppe. Mayhem insued and Ava rose out of the chaos wearing big red wax candy lips among other purchases.

Ironically enough I've seen a few Hollywood stars appear on the red carpet with similar collogen implants. I'm sure Ava paid a bit less for the big lips. (I couldn't help myself from asking her if she'd like to borrow my Styla lip pumping sting lip gloss when I saw this. Sailed right over her head, the kid's still doing time in JV with Bonne Bell's Watermelon chapstick.) Ava's dear friend C opted for tropical fruit Razzles instead, smart girl.

Here they are all hopped up on sugar with the shakes. These are the faces of our town's dentist's next Mercedes Benz.

Are you looking for a winter time blues buster? Gather your pocket full of change and head on out to the nearest candy store. It will be good for your soul, bad for your teeth but good for your soul.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sledding Down The Mini Mountain

Since we don't usually get a ton of snow around here on a regular basis my girlfriend and I decided to take the kids to a small hill located a few miles away. When I say small hill I do mean small hill. We live at the tip of the beginning of the thousands of miles of flat lands where folks use the land to grow feed corn and soy beans. Anything resembling a bit of a hill is quite frankly an anomaly for my kids.

So, imagine Ava's complete glee when she saw that I had packed her sled and had driven her to a mini mountain with free reign to slide down as many times as she'd like...with the caveat that we would go in when her woosie of a mother got too cold to take it any more. Which, is usually in the range of about 45 minutes. Here they are, Ava and her friend E. The calendar says they are three weeks apart in age...but we suspect they may have been separated at birth. Kidding. Snow bunnies, I tell you. They hopped on their snow gliders and handled the mini mountain like pros, even when an oversized inflatable raft with no less than 5 teenagers came flying at them while trekking back up to the top again.

Of course little Liv wanted in on the action. I panic'd and had visions of those same teenages slamming into her little 30 pound body. This is the face I got as I explained the finer points of a possible trip to the emergency room visit resulting from 170 pound teenagers hitting 30 pound three year olds at 20 miles an hour. She didn't seem to appreciate my mother bear attutude and promptly told me to kiss off.

I relented and in the interest of compromise and hopped on the sled sitting behind her so she could put her pedal to the metal and feel the need for speed.

Here's a tip if you try this at home. Don't wear boot leg jeans while quickly sliding down a hill...your ankles will get very wet and very chilly very quickly. Must check to see if pink snow pants are made in my size. Hey, if the stay puff marshmellow look can work for cute little Liv, I'm sure it could work for me as well.

This is what we looked like at that all too important 45 minute mark. Me, grinning through the 15 degree wind and Liv telling me "I go home now. I coooold." We toughed it out for another few minutes so Ava and E could take 2 more runs down the mini mountain. Then of course I really felt awful when Liv spiked a 104 degree fever later that night. Ummm, perhaps she was being quite serious about the "I go home, I cooold," comment. Don't forget to vote for me...mother of the year. It's now Monday and Livi and I have been inside these four walls slurping Motrin and Delsym ever since.

Ava, with the immune system of an elephant could have stayed out all night and begged to go back for more. Ahh yes, I told her I'm happy to bring you back the next time it snows 12 inches, my little winter white stuff bunny...which will hopefully be around 2012.