Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The End of an Era (and whatnot)

Goodbye playing trucks.

Hello playing ball.

Be it football toss into the toolbox or basketball dunks in the hamper, we have now entered the ball playing stage. Mama deems it a welcome change from playing trucks.

Today we had another snow day (for JEB only). All other city schools were open, but for some reason his school felt that it would endanger everyone’s lives if we tried to drive through the flurries. Nevermind that we drove anyway—only to discover an empty parking lot and locked doors. I have a lot of things to say about that which can all be summed up nicely by the relatively objective statement: They need a better system of notification.

So, at that point, I had 35 minutes to find childcare. I decided that a community college was just as good a place as any to look for a sitter. Twenty minutes prior to my class, I carefully selected my prey: a 40-something bachelor with an office hour during the exact time my Developmental Writing class meets. And so it was.

Then, at 10 a.m., just as my class was ending, the “sitter” dropped John off in my classroom. The Goose ran in and gave me a big hug in front of all my students and announced, “MOM! I POOPED IN THE POTTY AND DONNY WIPED MY BUTT!”

Luckily, my students' vocabulary is limited. They didn’t understand the meaning of potty or poop given the academic context, and I highly suspect that wiped and butt flew past them too. Heck, I taught half the class today with my pants unzipped and they never noticed.

One student stayed after to talk to him. This was their conversation:

STUDENT: "Hi John. I'm Basem. I'm from Egypt."

JOHN: "Well, hi. How old are you?"

STUDENT: "Guess!"

JOHN: "I don't know."

STUDENT: "38. What you think about that? That is old, no?"

JOHN: "Well, that's enough. Hey! Look at that snow!"

Then we went back to the office and I got yelled at by a sociology adjunct. Apparently the sitter allowed some hallway running that was quite disturbing. Don't worry, the secretary defended him until the end, shooed the angry woman out of the office, and then handed John an American flag." Peace prevailed. Next, the dean announced that children are a lawsuit waiting to happen. I can take a hint. We left: I took him to meet Brian at the Gateway Tire Center, where the poor man had been waiting 5 hours for his car. Note to self: Buy stock in Gateway Tire.

The only other thing I have to add is the discovery of the word "whatnot." Currently we like to make lists of things, end the lists with "and whatnot," and then laugh maniacally. For example: "First we're gonna have a snack, then watch a video, then play ball, and whatnot." I love it. There's the informal future form (be + going to), transitional words, and commas in a series. What more could a girl ask for in terms of linguistic analysis? Good, good stuff.

Pictures of the week ... notice that headgear is popular these days:

Storytime with a JD hat

He wears the hat everywhere: Storytime.

Bathtime with a JD hat


Diaper Head Roommates

And these are my diaperhead roommates.



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Questions I Can't Answer (though I do try)

Before I list the recent queries, I have to post these pictures, which all have something irresistibly sneaky about them ...

sneaky devil(2007 -- red shirt)

SNEAKY DEVIL.JPG(2005 -- turquoise shirt)

Never thought I'd miss the baby stage until I look back at pics such as this and think, "I did have a baby!"

It leaves your mind.

So anywho...

In the car today, these are the questions that he posed, mostly prompted (I think) from snippets of NPR that he catches from the background:

JEB: "Mom. What is Africa? Who lives in Africa?"

ME: "Oh. Africa is a big continent. All kinds of people live there."

JEB: "Hey Mom! That man on that song [song = anything heard from the car's sound system] just said a potty word!"

ME: "Oh? What word did you hear?"

JEB: "That man said somebody was pootin'."

ME: "Oh! I think it just sounded like a potty word. I think what you heard is the name 'Vladimir Putin'. It's not a potty word if it's in someone's name."

JEB: "But why is his name a potty word?"

ME: "Because he's Russian. He's from Russia."

JEB: "But Mom, what is Russia? Who lives in Russia?"

ME: "Vladimir Putin."

JEB: "Hey Mom ... what's 'Oh. Bah. Mah'?"

ME: "Do you mean 'Barack Obama'? Did you hear that name?"

JEB: "Yeah. Barack Obama. What's that?"

ME: He's running for president of our country."

JEB: "But Mom, what's our country?"

ME: "It's America."

JEB: "But Mom, what's America?"

ME: "It's a country made up of states like Wisconsin, Mississippi, Texas, and Tennessee."

JEB: "Oh. Like those places are America?"

ME: "Yeah. Like that."

Exactly like that.

And now for the week in pictures ...

Green shirt Blue chair

It's a bird, it's a plane ...

he's got the binocs

Today he didn't have anything decent to wear today (laundry needs to be done -- notice the passive voice, which allows the writer to carefully edit out the agent of the action), so we resorted to "church" clothes. In my attempts to bribe him to wear them, I nearly caused a meltdown by telling him that he looked so big that he'd probably have to go to the 4s class. Apparently he doesn't like the 4s' teacher, and so this was quite traumatic for a few minutes during the shoe-tying stage.

And now I shall leave you with the PHOTOS OF THE MONTH. These have to be two of my all-time favorite pictures of The Goose, taken just this week by The Dad:

Blower DudeBlowin' is all the rage.

Tennessee Chainsaw MassacreTennessee Chainsaw Massacre

Classic JEB. The sideways National Park Ranger hat. The John Deere shirt. The jeans. The chainsaw that came from Goodwill. Classic.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thumbsucking Basketcase

Today on the way to school it was snowing. If a flake falls @ 4:31 a.m. then all schools are cancelled. But if it waits until 7:31 a.m. then no one knows what to do. People forget that this is the Southeast and it never snows for very long. If everyone will just stay put and forget about it, all would be well. It always either warms up (in which case melting occurs) or stops (in which case drying occurs).

Nevertheless, by 9:31 a.m., John’s school had called to say that they were letting out early, and half of my students didn’t show up. By 11:31 a.m. there was not a single flake standing, but people were holding strong to their home-bound positions.

So, all of that was really just an introduction to a little anecdote about my drive to school/work with John, who was stuck saying, “Look Mom! It’s still snowing. Look Mom! It’s still snowing. Look Mom! It’s still snowing. Look Mom! It’s still snowing. Look Mom! It’s still snowing. Look Mom! It’s still snowing."

I am not blind. I can see the snow. I didn’t say that out loud though.

Finally, when we were almost to school and I was selfishly looking forward to the post drop-off silence, the quote of the day came out:

“We need some snow plows,” he begins.

“Good idea, bud!” I say.

“I think we need about five of them, Mom.”

“Yeah, five would probably do the trick.” (Picture fractions of millimeters of snow.)

Then it came out … so naturally:

“And Mom! I’m gonna SHARE my snowplows with the munchkins! Are you proud of me?”

I sincerely hope that your Wednesday involved snowplows and munchkins.

That’s all.

Except here is a demonstration of how to get pick out and put on a shirt:

First, pick out a shirt

First (above), pick out a shirt.

Second, pull it over

Second, pull it over your head without any help. Scream for awhile about how you do not need help. Notice that you also did not need help when putting on your inside-out Travis the Tractor underwear and two different colored socks.

Third, admire yourself

Third, finish it up with a little admiration, put your pants on backwards, and smile to yourself throughout the day as you run errands with your dad, who--even after several trips to the restroom--never notices anything out of the ordinary.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Los Tres Amigos

John, Marcos, & Hank

Here is The John enjoying a Super Bowl party with his two newest friend additions. They are the twins of my former student, Katya, who is now my newest friend addition. It's too bad that they live WAY out in the suburbs.

Their mother is gorgeous (as you can see), and she is from Nicaragua. Their father is a bald (as you can see) American, and he lives vicariously through the twins with all of their long, beautiful, curly hair. They handle it very well when people refer to Marcos & Hank as girls, despite their dump truck shirts and whatnot.

Parents of Twins

Shawn & Katya

We enjoyed the Super Bowl at their house. Four doors down from them was a block party where I entered my white bean chili in a cook off and won "Taster's Choice Runner Up." The prize was a black fleece afgan with red embroidery: "Third Annual Cardarella Super Bowl Party." It was really a joint cooking effort that (obviously) turned out well despite the fact that I forgot to bring the recipe to their house (where the cooking was being done), and Baldy up there forgot to soak the beans overnight. So, we left the afgan with them.

I'm not going to be too smug about the win, since I shamelessly went around to guests at the party saying, "Have you tried that white chili? It's phenomenal! Something about those cumin-infused navy beans! Mmmm mmm."

Shortly after my campaigning ended, Katya, the boys, and I left because I had an ugly encounter with the host of the party, who had provided whistles for all the kids (and there were LOTS of them) but had a strict rule about actually blowing the whistles. That's just not good planning.

The next day John came down with The Worst Cold in the History of Mankind, and I'm sure it's from whistle sharing. Coincidentally, he had a doc's appointment yesterday for his worsening SNORING problem, so while they were there, a confirmation was made of viral infection and assurance was given that it's not yet in the ears or chest. We also got confirmation (true to Mama's flashlight-in-the-mouth diagnosis) that his tonsils are gigantic and warrant closer inspection (and possibly removal) by a pediatric ENT. Our appointment is in June.

In other news, we -- so thankfully -- had no damage from the bad weather. In fact, we rode it out in the basement of our across-the-street neighbors, Bob & Betty. We woke up The Goose to take him over there, foolishly thinking that he might stay asleep during the treacherous crossing of the street with heavy winds. I had drugged him up with Tylenol hoping for a peaceful night of sleep (he did had fever), so he actually did snooze a little when we first got there. But shortly thereafter he popped his head up and announced that Betty probably had a sandwich for him.

This was a trick. Because then I said, "Oh, are you hungry? OK, let's go upstairs and see if Betty has a snack." Not knowing that he is fully aware Betty keeps ICE CREAM SANDWICHES in the freezer at all times. Betty also keeps cran-raspberry juice, a TV in every room on different channels, and a yip-yap dog. But no valium. Trust me: with that combination of events, I was looking.

At about 10:30 p.m., we came back home and I completely fell apart. John was crashing from his sugar high, I was exhausted, and there was another line of t-storms on the way. So Brian quieted John, rubbed my back until I fell asleep, and then stayed up half the night watching and waiting, allowing his roommates to sleep peacefully.

And that's why I am married to him. Not sure why he's still in on the deal.

As always, onward, upward, and sideways,

K (frau, mutti)

Sunday, February 03, 2008



The Goose has learned to write his name. (On my yoga mat)

Yesterday I was trying to get him to go to the playground, and he said, "Just a minute Mom, I need to write my name." And he sat down on the floor with a green marker and did just that. He's even attempting cursive already, as you can tell from the connection of the "h" and the "n."

But then again you probably knew that already because you heard me screaming all the way away in your respective other states.

He is also "reading" entire books from memory. Long books about the Backyardigans' spy gadgets and whatnot. And every now and then he'll fixate on a letter and look for it everywhere. It's really amazing to me, since we truly have not pushed it here at home. He must be learning it at school. At home we mostly focus on things like pulling the shoe tongue out before you criss-cross the velcro straps, or getting shirts on the right way, or wearing jackets right-side in. It all usually involves crying and screaming and teeth gnashing, but I usually recover nicely.

In other news ...

We have lost the Home Depot apron (see the orange tie in the next picture ...)

Riding Bikes

However, we have not lost the faded Elmo shirt that must be worn frontwards, backwards, AND inside out before it is deemed officially "too dirty." He seems to have quite a strong opinion about fashion, and unfortunately it is leaning in the way of the paternal side.

And speaking of paternal ...

The Dad cut his hair with a real-live buzzer, and The Mama LOVES it:

Haircut February 08

Later this afternoon we will be attending a chili cook off/Superbowl party where I will attempt to cook white bean & chicken chili while three 3-year olds run rampant in a kitchen that is not my own.

Send valium.