IGIVUP

IGIVUP.

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IGIVUP

IGIVUP

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Character or Caillou?

Character or Caillou?

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happy_meal.jpg

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The Business of Raising Emperors

In my last entry, I mentioned that I would introduce the guys in my life.  There’s the husband, Matt, and most recently added are Jackson (three years old), and Dyer (nineteen months old).  The four of us live alongside 150 pounds of dog (Otis, an eleven-year-old yellow lab, whom Jackson refers to as “Brown Dog”, as he is not quite as yellow as his sister, and Olive, a six-year-old yellow lab, who I’m pretty convinced is actually filled with marshmallow) in approximately 1000 square feet.  Despite all of that, my children seem to have it under pretty good authority that they are, in fact, royalty.  Jackson, the more verbal of my two sons, has begun to ask a lot of “why” questions.  The other day being the perfect example:  I heard a scream from behind me in the bathroom.  Dyer had slipped in the tub, fallen on the plastic letter “I” and gotten a large, bleeding gouge above his eye (those vowels can be nasty).  In an attempt to stop the bleeding, I  tied one of the sweaty socks I had worn during my most recent workout around his head and inadvertently, around his eyes.  As Dyer stumbled through the bathroom, wet and naked, smashing into each wall like a rat in a maze, Jackson proceeded to ask me to get his motorboat for him.  I really cannot get the motorboat right now.   Concerned look, furled brow, Why?  Annoyance building Because I’m dealing with Dyer right now.  With a look of semiunderstanding, OK.  How about now?  Now?  How about now?  I had to leave the room and walk into my padded cell before screaming, HOW ABOUT NEVERRRRRRR????????!!!!!!!  Dyer, possessing less verbal skills than his brother seemed to have reached a very definite level of understanding the other day.  If he was going to get the service he required, he was going to have to strategize.  His search came up with one word, MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!  A word, that when shouted at the top of his lungs with a slight squeal at the end makes me hate the sound of my own name.  Luckily, others can now take part in the same feeling as this has become his call of the wild.  Any adult with the capabilities to provide him with something…anything, is now referred to in the same manner.  But the good news is, as of now, it’s only eleven hours and twenty-three minutes until bedtime.

Time to share!!!  Last night, I FLEW through all 235 pages of Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine.  Winner of the Young Critics Club Star of Approval, this book is a must-read for young adult and adult readers.  A lawyer for 15 years, Erskine became a writer for young adults when she realized that there were many children and adolescents who needed to be represented in literature.  She wrote Mockingbird in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings.  The main character of the story is Caitlyn, a ten-year-old girl, who has just lost her teenage brother, Devon, one of the several victims of a brutal shooting in their town’s public middle school.  Often relying on the “What Am I Feeling” chart at school to read her classmates’ emotions, Caitlyn is way out of her league when trying to help herself and her grieving father to find peace.  With the help of her school counselor and her dictionary’s definition of “closure”, Caitlyn literally teaches herself empathy as well as the ability to make friends with her classmates.  This book broke my heart about a million times, but only because it was impossible not to fall in love with Caitlyn.

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Respite from the Ridiculous

That is what I am calling this blog.  For now anyway.  The title comes from the fact that ever since I had children, a husband, two dogs, and a house for all of us in which to live, I have also done a great deal of work outside the home.  This summer has presented me with the first opportunity to spend some time at home, and once one has that opportunity, it is amazing the things that can present themselves as bothersome.  I used to worry about things like test scores, parent reports (which I was responsible for writing, not reading), and the budding literacy skills of very small people.  I busied myself with reading curricula and intervention techniques.  I used phrases such as “cognitive development” and “enhancement of critical thinking” on a regular basis.  I still do all of those thing, but now that my two children (whom you will meet later) and I are home with our two very large dogs (introductions also to come) in our very small house, I have found a myriad of other things over which to obsess…number one, the desire to never end a written sentence with a preposition, thus avoiding the very ugly dangling participle.  If I sit and logically analyze the things that now concern me on a daily basis, I am amazed by how immaterial they really are (especially when I say them outloud…at the top of my voice…accompanied by an accusation and laced with expletives).  Therefore, when we step on a Lego, with bare feet, at 3:30am, it is extremely important to take a Respite from the Ridiculous.

and P.S….because this blog is all about sharing (my three-year-old’s preschool buzz word for “Here, let me help myself to YOUR stuff”), here is my first, of what I hope will be many literary “shares”:  How Rocket Learned To Read written and illustrated by Tad Hills (he wrote the Gossie Series) is a great one about a little dog whose teacher (a little yellow bird) teaches him that words are built “one letter at a time”.  Great illustrations and a great read-aloud!

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