Wednesday, March 26, 2008

In Search of a Good Egg

These days, it’s more difficult to get into Teach for America than Harvard Law, but it’s even harder for an Easter egg to make it into the basket of one John Emmett Becker. There were two criteria that must have been met for an egg to make it into his basket: (1) orangeness of any kind and (2) the (imagined) scent of chocolate wafting from those tiny little crevices between the egg spheres. While other kids scarfed 20 or 30 eggs, he carefully meandered along, picking up each one gingerly, shaking it, and taking a moment to decide if it was indeed worthy enough to be placed into the soccer-ball basket.

Four. That’s how many he chose. One for each year of his life and one to grow on.

Quality prevails over quantity yet no chocolate was found. “For one thing,” says Miss Caleigh Ann, "a whole buncha kids are allergic to it, and for another, we had a bad and vast melting incident last year which involved the school director’s Chevy Blazer.”

Regardless, the basket doubles as a helmet, and he got to spend time with his teachers.

Basket head

JEB & his teachers at the egg hunt

Then we went home and dyed:

Delightful Dying

Mostly orange ones.

Orange Eggs are Serious Business

But despite our love of orange, we are on the Pink Panthers soccer team, which begins practice this Friday night barring rain. Yesterday, The Dad took him to get outfitted. They came home with socks, shin guards, and cleats, all of which he wore to school today with a camouflage Mississippi Highway Patrol shirt and dirty, too-short blue jeans.

In other news ...

Today I picked up a prescription for my SECOND ROUND OF ANTIBIOTICS and tomorrow The Dad will likely take The Goose in for an ear check since he has spent most of the afternoon/evening crying and holding his right ear and begging for medicine. He's like a little bioterrorist -- spreading abominable germs which strike fear in the hearts of all who dare to wipe his nose or kiss his cheeks.

And finally ...

I have to ask for your help. As stated in a previous post, I am currently enrolled (auditing) a creative writing class. My next assignment is a piece of creative nonfiction, and my professor--knowing that I am a blogger--suggested that to save time I put aside my work in progress (incidentally, Macy, it's entitled "21 Please") and submit one of my blog posts. So, I need some input as to which post might be a good choice. I was thinking about one of the birthday posts (see anything written on September 16 of the years 2005, 2006, or 2007) but am open to any/all suggestions. Please cast your vote by posting a comment or emailing me directly:

The assignment is due THIS FRIDAY (3/28), by the way.

As always ... Onward, upward, & sideways ...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Soccer Star

Soccer practices starts March 28th, so we're heavy into pre-season training. He's on the pink team and he was a first-round draft pick. We have not told him about the cleats yet. No need to get him more excited than he already is about this unbelievable opportunity.

In other news, I'm still sick.

But back at the ranch, the worker guys are building Tier One-Phase One of the vegetable garden:

tier 1/phase 1 of the garden

It's going to be a three-tiered affair when it's all said and done.

Too bad I'll probably still be sick and won't be able to enjoy any of it.

This week we purchased "summer is coming" necessities: two lawnmowers (one for each worker guy), a set of patio furniture, and some tools.

Too bad I am too sick to sit in the new lounge chair or dig with the new shovel.

I have had the opportunity to channel my angst creatively, however. As some of you know, I decided it would be a good idea to take a creative writing class this semester (thank goodness they let me switch to audit status), and so while I was laid up, I used the quiet time to complete my most recent assignment: Write a poem, any style, any topic, that is 16 lines or more. Here's what I came up with:

By Kimberly Becker

An awful antibiotic
An amiable answer
An actual amalgamation
Of killers.
In. My. Body.

Anti = against
Bio = life

I willfully swallowed those things!

And while they were in there wrestling with the microbial demons living in my bronchials and sinuses
(“And Attitude” my husband adds),
I was feeling so sorry for myself, for my poor, poor self, sick in bed, neither at work nor at yoga
(“Nor playing with your son” my mother-instinct adds).

Then I picked up a story
about women in Afganistan
having C-sections
with no anesthesia.

I feel better now.
And it’s not the antibiotics.

A couple of people in my class actually wrote villanelles, but I prefer free verse.

And that's The End.


The Sick One

Saturday, March 08, 2008

This is your kid on drugs

Right now we are, unfortunately, experiencing a “This is your kid on (prescription) drugs” stage. JEB’s airway is being reactive again—something normally brought on by trips to visit Grandmas and the like but this time brought on by a cold—and so he is doing a round of prednisolone (in addition to "doing the neb," taking antibiotics, and being recommended for a Singulair regimen.


Besides biting Brian and beating me in the head with a pink bunny rabbit, his most destructive drug-induced action involved violently emptying the contents of his sock drawer and throwing around his bedroom while declaring (in a not-so-inside-appropriate voice) that he was “having a sock fight! Sock Fight!! SOCK FIGHT!!!” Earlier today he was all pitiful and “I just needa rest” and whatnot, and now he’s, well, let’s just say that right now, exactly, he’s parading around the house naked screaming, “I’M NECKID MAN! TICKLE ME DADA! I’M STILL NECKID, MOM. LOOK! I’M NECKID.” Lovely.

I’ll work in reverse chronological order.

We spent most of the day with our fun friend Rachel (now FIVE), whose parents are selling their home and needed her to be somewhere else for a few hours. My life is always so much easier when Rachel is around … she happily makes up scenarios to act out with The Goose—usually involving stuffed animals and accidents and bandaids—and just generally entertains him beautifully. Her parents think that I am such “an angel” for watching her and actually offer to pay me! Little do they know that it is all a selfish act to get my kid outta my hair. I still have to re-tie shoes and solve “who’s gonna hold the bag of goldfish first” problems, but for the most part, life is so delightfully EASY when she is here that I am seriously considering offering them money for playdates.

However, no matter how much fun you're having, Mama needs to get outta the house. Brian had plans for a basketball game, so I took Rachel & John to a kids' music concert. It was all a ploy to get us to join a preschool music program (and still they charged us $5/person), but still it was fun.

Sort of.

I told them that we would go to the concert and then get ice cream. Lesson learned: Do not ever mention ice cream FIRST.

The concert began with a word for parents: “Do not worry if your child is not participating. Every child participates in his/her own way at his/her own time. It’s better not to push them or have expectations of any kind. Parents, on the other hand, are expected to participate wholeheartedly even if it involves doing the twist and simultaneously quacking like a duck."

And I’m rolling my eyes and thinking, “Yeah yeah yeah. Who needs to be told this crap? Who’s kid wouldn’t wanna dance and sing along with a band?!?”

We sat through the first 30 minutes with John sucking his thumb and glaring at everyone while Rachel sat in my lap and repeatedly whispered, “This isn’t fun. Let’s go get ice cream.” I am not surprised that Rachel wasn’t comfortable in this atmosphere. She is a little bit shy to begin with, and this concert involved the “teachers/lead singers” getting in kid’s faces and encouraging various dance moves, shaking percussion instruments (though not the right ones—we only wanted drums and tambourines, respectively, and NOT shaky eggs or wrist-band bells), and whatnot. John was coughing so hard that no one attempted to get in his face, but we were on the front row, so Rachel was fair game.

On the other hand, the fact that John wasn’t having fun just blew my mind. I mean, this is a kid who is not shy, who is used to people in his face dancing and waving instruments around (guess who?!?!), and who loves all kinds of music … Barney, Laurie Berkner, The Sound of Music, Kool & the Gang, The Police, The Dixie Chicks, 1997 discoteca mix CDs that I brought home from Spain, etc. So he’s sitting there in front of a full band—bass guitar, acoustic guitar, all types of wind instruments, a grand piano, and a full set of drums—and he’s acting like he’s at a funeral. Finally, I became so frustrated with their lack of enthusiasm that I threatened not to take them to get ice cream unless they started having lots of fun.

Talk about lighting a fire underneath some preschool booty. Those kids stood up, clapped, did the twist, roared like lions, stuck all their body parts in (and out), cried like the babies on the bus, and participated in a seemingly neverending version of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” in sign language. I have never seen such effort.

They got ice cream (and so did Mama).

In other news …

It snowed pretty good last night and we woke up to a beautiful spread of white dust everywhere, perfect for sliding around on kindergarten nap mats which you stole out of the neighbor’s yard thinking that they were gone when really they were watching the whole time. Even though you had watched them using the mats earlier, you never suspected that they watched you come over into their yard, take them without asking, and then use them to barrel down snow-covered, hills into drainage ditches. Um, snow-covered hills in THEIR front yard.

John went down once. Then he declared it too cold, said that he needed to rest, and went inside. He has never liked the cold or snow very much. So Brian, Rachel, Susan, and I enjoyed some sliding while he stayed inside setting up the vet clinic in preparation for Rachel’s return. Here he is declaring it a lost cause.

He's going inside ... it's too cold

Here R & S are, enjoying the last (we hope) of winter weather:

just before falling in the ditch
The snow was actually the reason why Macy & G’Diddy left early yesterday even though I tried to convince them to stay here and wait it out. Someday I will be that person who gets stranded in an airport for three days after the worst snow storm in history, but until then I am happy to boast that no threat of winter weather has ever kept me from doing anything for two reasons:

1. It’s never as bad as they say.
2. It melts, people. What is the big deal?

Hat Swap


M & G came to drop off the Walter Anderson print that Macy painted for us (above) and unsuccessfully tried to steal. They also brought a gently used Schwinn bike that Mister Master still hasn’t discovered behind the dryer, some awesome soup, and several items of Mississippi Highway Patrol paraphernalia. All appreciated.

Prior to the Paces arrival here, I was sleeping away my spring break and alternately spending money on new organizational implements for our home and co-pays for various doctors for all of my ailments. Even though the election official asked me if I was old enough to vote, I swear I’m really 80. Don’t even get me started.

And that, my friends, is the beginning, middle, end, and rest of the story.

O, U, & S,