Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's been a rough week ...


... but we made it.

Um, Mama's on the kitchen floor
"Dad, Mama's on the kitchen floor."


Thank goodness for antibiotics for Mama.

And Dads and Grandparents.

This week was really fun. Let. Me. Tell. You. Laryngitis (let's be clear: SEVEN DAYS OF KIMMY SILENCE) that almost turned into bronchitis until a Z-Pack got involved. Remember that I teach English as a second language ... audibility is kind of required. (Note to future laryngitis sufferers ... the following remedies--as advertised by that Quack, Dr. Internet--DO NOT WORK: gargling salt water, drinking cider vinegar, maintaining a diet of nothing but menthol throat drops, overdosing on vitamin C, and sipping licorice root "throat coat" tea laced with honey (for 7 days).

ANTIBIOTICS, on the other hand, ARE LOVELY.

So, thank you immensely, Dr. Alexander Fleming (Scottish bacteriologist who studied penicillin); you have saved my most dear personal relationships (in addition to millions of lives).

Thank you also to well-meaning students and colleagues who suggested (on a constant basis) that I try gargling with salt water or sucking on throat drops. I'm not a complete idiot, but thanks for verifying.

new computer

Also, thanks to Aunty Amy for the new computer! It was a lifesaver when Mama was mute, mean, and mad about it all.

it's the neck

And of course, thanks to The Goose (and The Husband) for not moving out.

Birthday party pictures to come ... stay tuned.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hot Wheels


His 3rd birthday present. Brand spanking new from Goodwill. Not a scratch or a dent (yet). The training wheels did not come from Goodwill, so don't get all worried about us not buying him anything new. He was more thrilled about me bringing cupcakes and juice boxes to his school and getting a free orange balloon at Kroger.

But boy can he ride that thing. Rode it all the way to the other end of the park and back today (except up the hill).

Amazing.



3rd birthday present

I, on the other hand, am not very amazing these days. My back is finally better, but now I have laryngitis and am completely inaudible. It's gotten so bad that I've resorted to writing everything instead of whispering. But that's very confusing to certain little guys. He must think that I am also deaf, because he'll just stand there and stare at me laid up in the bed and say, "Mama, MAMA, MAAAAMAAAAA!!!!" until I attempt to answer. Then after I squeak out an answer, he'll say, "Does your throat hurt?"

Yes, it does.

Did it stop me from teaching for four straight hours yesterday?

No, it did not.

I've been rendered mute by noncount nouns.

The house hunt continues. I'm becoming at least a little bit more hopeful, which probably means that we'll end up renting. Que sera, sera.

There isn't much other news, so I'll let y'all go early this time.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

1,576,800 Minutes of The Goose


Dear John,

Happy 3rd Birthday Buddyboo! Blow out your candles and then—since I’m completely self-centered—congratulate me. It’s now the fall of my SENIOR YEAR at the University of Parenthood (UoP), and you are, of course, my best (and only) professor. Although I’m undecided about my major, I’ve ruled out Early Childhood Education given my current test scores as well as self-evaluations of my own strengths and weaknesses as based on my internship/work-study in the field of Raising You.

And speaking of strengths and weaknesses …

I’m still not sure which category you actually fall under. Or even which one is positive in that context.

JOHN'S THREE!

There are many times when you are a weakness for me. I cannot refuse you “appa juice” even at midnight. If you liked coffee I would probably give you that too whenever you asked for it. I feel perfectly comfortable disciplining you but if I see anyone else doing it (like that guy called Your Dad), I have this sudden urge to run to your side, arms open, in case a hug (or an excuse for bad behavior) is in order. I cannot say no to a back scratch session. I cannot say no to a request for $2.50 gourmet popsicles. Especially not the “chockit chip” kind. Indeed, sometimes I must say YES because I can so easily put myself in your shoes (a child’s shoes) and feel how good it is to hear that simple word, “Yes.”

Most of us become parents long before we have stopped being children.

~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966



And then there are times (days) when I feel like all I say is NO. And on those days you often scream yourself hoarse. And I alternately congratulate myself on being strict and consistent and beat myself up for having too-high expectations and wanting immediate gratification. Every time I invoke some disciplinary procedure, I expect to see instantaneous results. I always forget that discipline is about teaching, and since I am a teacher, I should know at least a little bit about how content must be recycled many times before it takes root. Nevertheless, I often feel like the government needs to require mandatory parental testing so that I can be officially assessed on my maternal skills. I have a weakness for quantifiable data.

There may be some doubt as to who are the best people to have charge of children, but there can be no doubt that parents are the worst.

~George Bernard Shaw

interesting expressions


But for as many times as you are a weakness, there are twice as many occasions in which I find my strength in you. For example, one day I asked you if you made anything at your “new school day.” You looked at me and smiled and said, “Yeah! I made … I made … um FRIENDS!!!” And then I realized the big ocean’s worth of difference between my worldview and yours. I always want something concrete … you know, like I was expecting you to tell me about some papier mâché frog, or two painted hand prints with a sappy poem on the top, or something indiscernible made out of pipe cleaners and construction paper, or perhaps some actual POOP in the potty rather than just the word. But as we all know, material things (quantifiable stuff) should not matter in this world. Qualitative stuff, on the other hand, matters immensely, and so I may need you, from time to time, to strengthen my focus on quality, rather than quantity.

Your dinnertime ritual is another “you = strength” example. No matter how stressed out I am as we sit down to a lovely, low-fat, delicious family meal at dinnertime, you can always bring me down to earth by starting out the blessing with, “Thank you for Mama.” It’s like my own personal injection of pure happiness, every night.

The guys (and gals) who fear becoming fathers (and mothers) don't understand that fathering (and mothering) is not something perfect men (or women) do, but something that perfects the man (or woman). The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent.

~Frank Pittman, Man Enough (parenthetical notes added without permission by the blog author)

One final “you = strength” example (not that there aren’t more, it’s just that I’m fast approaching the end of your official birthday, and to me, that’s like a due date for this “paper” I’m writing) is that you inspire me to become involved in many extra-curricular activities here at the UoP. I’m active on all sorts of playground committees. I’m the secretary of the People for the Prompt Removal of Shirt Stains, and I’ve served as Chair of the General Clean-Up Committee now for approximately 156 weeks. Just last month I was elected Most Likely to Eventually Be Declared Unfit/Insane. I’m popular, as you can tell.

Insanity is hereditary - you get it from your kids.

~Sam Levenson

SuperUnderwearMan


But YOU, my dear, YOU are popular beyond belief. You really are a little John-John. I can’t tell you how many people have looked at you or a photo of you (even @ 12 months!) and said that you look like either a senator or a future president (even though that seems a little off having just posted a picture of you as Superunderwearman). And so in light of your obvious political potential, I’ve been planning accordingly and thinking about how you have such a great presidential name: President John Becker. Imagine!

“President Becker is enjoying high approval ratings
this month due to his involvement in programs aimed at the simultaneous eradication of all poverty, pollution, illiteracy, and disease throughout the
world.”


I’d make a great First Mother. I can smile and wave and be on committees and say “thank you” when people compliment my son and get angry and defensive when they criticize him. I think I’d be much better at that than I am at being a “real” mother. It just seems so much easier when compared to those little everyday decisions such as when to punish, how to punish, etc.

In spite of the seven thousand books of expert advice, the right way to discipline a child is still a mystery to most fathers and... mothers. Only your grandmother and Ghengis Khan know how to do it.

~Bill Cosby

now she can find her way back to the lake

And one more important point to make about my potential as a First Mother … there are actually scientific ways to gather information about presidential campaigns and terms – Gallup polls!

Whenever I held my newborn baby in my arms, I used to think that what I said and did to him could have an influence not only on him but on all whom he met, not only for a day or a month or a year, but for all eternity - a very challenging and exciting thought for a mother.

~Rose Kennedy


Wow. I have to say, Bud, I have high aspirations for you, but I am no Rose Kennedy. When you were a newborn baby, I never once thought about “eternity” … I was mostly just worried about getting you from one meal to the next, wishing my boobs were see-through and labeled like a measuring cup, finding time to sleep, and counting poops. But Rose, YOU GO GIRL.

Seriously, John-John, I can truly say that being your mom has been the best education of my life. I’ve learned so much about you, your dad, and myself. The good and the bad. I was never truly faced with my faults until I faced motherhood. And now it’s like I spend every day (off and on) looking through the Hubble telescope at my horrid, magnified maternal blunders.

"Having a child, loving a child deeply in a daily way, forces you to connect with your mortality, forces you to dig into places that you have rarely had to confront before. What I found way down deeply...having a child is a kind of eternity, a capacity for -- and reserves of -- love and sacrifice that blew my mind. But I also found the stuff inside of me that is pretty miserable. I was brought face-to-face with a fun-house mirror of all the grasping, cowardly, manipulative, greedy parts of me, too."

~Anne Lamott

Yeah.

So back to happy thoughts … Again, happy birthday Silly Goose. Today we woke you up early from your nap, dragged you to the car and then to the movie theater, forced you to sit through half of “Ratatouille” by bribing you with a strawberry milkshake, and then, when your behavior worsened, threatened you with “leaving.” You heard the word “leaving,” perked up, and said, “I’ve got an idea! Let’s go to a paygound!”

You do have some good ideas doodle bug. And I hope I get to watch you figure out how to implement them all.

Big hugs and nose kisses,

Mama

Zero:

birth day

One:

first b-d

Two:

2nd b-d

Three!

Three!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sum. Thin. Else.


the hills are alive
Originally uploaded by Kimmy Crack Corn

He said that to me.

"Mama, you're sum. thin. else."

Um, kettle? You're BLACK!

Indeed.

I am down in the back again. No reason. Just went out on me in the middle of a lesson about the differences between "another" and "an other."

So we watched a lot of videos this afternoon after I got home. Of course I own the collector's edition DVD of the Sound of Music ... the one with interviews with the kids, behind-the-scenes footage, and several different language options. I know the dialogue in this movie so well that I can listen to it in Swahili and still understand.

So anyway, we watched it today and I thought he'd be completely bored. But he is my son! First of all, he was fascinated with the nuns, whom I explained as "Ladies who live and work at the church."

Next, there was the scene with the whistle. Whistle. 'Nuf said.

Just after that, Maria finds a frog in her pocket, throws it, and screams. Twelve times.

Then, there's the gazebo dancing scene with Liesel and Frederich ("Sixteen Going on Seventeen"). We watched the kiss several times.

Another high point was the canoeing event where Maria and the children all fall into the water (while wearing curtains) just as they are about to be introduced to The Baronness Schrader. Ten times they fell.

But that marionette show with The Goatherd Crew. Twenty-two times. And just for future reference, you can make an entire low-fat delicious stir-fry dinner in the time it takes to watch "High on a Hill Stood a Lonely Goatherd ... yodel-lay-dee, yodel-lay-dee, yodel-lay-hee hoo." By the 22nd time you can have dinner cooked and frozen for the next week.

After that we had to get out of the house and go look for apples and throw rocks in the lake. Our excitement could not be contained by these walls.

And speaking of walls ...

Walls are, apparently, very expensive and hard-to-come-by here in the Music City. Not that I'm complaining. It's just, well, it's ridiculous that it costs so much. Just plain ridiculous. I better not get started, but I do have to ask one question: Who are these people who are buying two bedroom, one bath houses with no yards for a quarter of a million dollars? Who are they? I need answers to make me feel better about this whole thing. Or maybe I just need an apartment complex with a nice big pool and fitness center in the meantime. Yes, that might work.

Tomorrow is another "new school day." It's been a bit of a rough, weepy week. He's fine when I pick him up and reports all sorts of things that he's made (like, friends named Sam and suitcases of construction paper and pipe cleaners). And there's lots of, "Today is an old school day. Maybe anunna day we will go to my new school day." It just breaks your heart.

So I better go get in bed so that I can prepare for another day of heartbreak (tomorrow).

His birthday is Sunday. We've had him almost three years. That's impossible, but everyone assures me it's true. So of course, in the tradition of all good moms, I will post my birthday letter (which used to be a monthly thing and has now been reduced by approximately 92% (eleven twelvths).

Love to all,
MoTG

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Our Attempts at a Self-Made Family Photo


more attempts
Originally uploaded by Kimmy Crack Corn
per request of the new school day.

Click the photo to see more. It's quite comical, actually.

Happy WEEK!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Real Estate Ranting & Relative Clauses

It is 10:29 p.m. and I have yet to be successful at even one photo upload to Flickr. My current elevated level of anger cannot possibly be healthy. Especially when combined with my ire about the phrase, “buyer’s market” as applied to the current real estate situation. At present we are facing the following options:

1. A box
2. A dump
3. A bad neighborhood
4. A bad school district
5. A 45-minute commute

If one more person tells me, “This is a great time to buy!” then I really might spit right in his/her face. What in the world does that mean when you cannot even get a decent 3/2 house for less than a quarter of a million (in a good neighborhood zoned for a good school district)? Does that mean “great time to buy” for members of the Tennessee Titans football team? Or for Shania Twain’s backup singers? Because it certainly doesn’t apply to Completely Normal Everyday Working (sorta) People like us. I will never understand life. We shoulda just moved across the globe to an easy life where we were all set to live in a studio apartment in a GINORMOUS metropolis in which we would’ve had ZERO language skills and only one income.

So, in keeping with my positive theme here, I think I’ll post some recent Goosequotes:
  • "I didn’t tee-tee in the bathtub on purpose. It was a ask-a-dent.”
  • “Let’s listen to ‘Rock Sand!’” (he means the song by The Police that is listed as “Roxanne” on the album cover)
  • “It’s the one that’s round.”
Now that last one may not seem interesting to you, but au contraire! (my new officemate is French … he teaches gee-ah-gwa-FEE … better known as geography). Anyway, that third quote, my dear readers, is quite a linguistic accomplishment. It is a Restrictive Relative Clause!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s my beacon of light in a dark, dark world.

I just heard a strange buzz. I’m sure it’s another waspinthehouse. We found a nest in the laundry room and even though I watched Brian annihilate every single one of them with my friend Foaming Wasp & Hornet Spray, I’m positive that they’re not all gone. Positive, as in the opposite of negative.

And to think, there are brown recluse spiders crawling all over this house and I’m worried about the stupid wasps. Our garden is officially dead because every time I go out there to water it, I end up nearly getting committed because of my behavior. Bell peppers: dead. Sunflowers: scorched. Tomatoes: eaten by insects, scorched, and dead. It just gets worse. Don’t even ask about the turnip greens. They’ve been gone since late June. Incinerated by the sun baking that wasp poison onto their leaves. It’s about like me in high school, lying out in the sun on a sheet of aluminum foil on top of my (black) trampoline while slathered in a mixture of baby oil and iodine. Healthy!

So, in Goosenews, there is the following:

The Discovery of The Wizard of Oz.
Watching "The Wizard of Oz"

He is especially interested in the metaphysical differences between the Good Witch of the North and the Wicked Witch of the West, a.k.a., “that green-face girl.” Usually his viewings go something like this:

Him: “I don’t wanna see that green-face girl. I like that other one.”

Me: “You mean, Glenda the Good Witch?”

Him: “Yeah. And why’s she good?”

Me: “Because she’s not bad.”

Him: “And why’s she not bad?”

Me: “Because she doesn’t do yucky things.”

Him: “And why does she not do yucky things?”


I think you get the picture.

Additionally, there’s been an infatuation with the wearing of polar fleece dinosaur mittens (“work gloves”) while carrying around discarded blocks of wood (“chips”).
DINO WORK GLOVES

Today he wore them to Office Max along with his new green sunglasses, which came in the party-treat bag from Lawson’s 3rd birthday party, and an American flag Polo shirt.

Oh yes, there’s another topic: The recent birthday party of our friend Ernie’s grandson, Lawson. They had a blow-up jumpy thing (not rented … Lawson’s daddy got it for $20 at a garage sale down the street) and a real, live fire truck with firemen who actually got the hose out and sprayed the yard. But did he see even a minute of jumping or water spraying? No, indeed not. He spent the entire time riding and/or guarding a preschool-sized four-wheeler and shoving birthday candles into his face. Yes, you read that right. Candles. It started with licking the icing, but it didn’t stop until several bites of wax were ingested.

In case y’all don’t recognize the genre of this writing, it’s called 20th century stream-of-consciousness. You know, like Faulkner. Like Quentin Compson ranting and raving about his crazy family in The Sound and the Fury.

TIME IS ON MY SIDE

One last obsession to point out is the Refusal to Remove the Large Stopped Watch, permanently dead at 10:21. He'll even tell you that it's 10:21 if you ask.

Finally, he started his new Big Boy School yesterday with rave reviews. Didn't even look twice when I left. We were the first to arrive (imagine that! no one else was there at 7:01 a.m.) and the first thing out of his mouth was, "Where are the new friends?" Luckily, a few other insane people send their kids to this school for the extended early care hours (7-9 a.m.).

I need to stop.

Wish us luck this weekend as we waste more time looking at dumpy boxes in scary areas of town where government officials are expected to any-day-now come in and take over the school on account of their NCLB test scores.

G'night.