Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beatin' the pants off a monkey in checkers.

Two days ago I had been in the house for an entire day with the children and suddenly realized that evacuation was necessary.  I went to Walgreens because I love Walgreens.  They have one of those Shiatsu massager chairs in the pharmacy waiting area.  But as I was walking in, I noticed a bumper sticker, and y'all know how I am about bumper stickers.  This one just said "Ole Miss," and there was a blonde woman and her pre-teenish daughter exiting the minivan.

I went in, sat in the massage chair for awhile, picked out some sunglasses and hair dye, you know, the usual stuff.  And then I went to check out and got behind the Ole Miss mother/daughter duo.  They had an entire buggy full of toys and soft drinks and all manner of other unnecessary crap and at least one coupon to match every item. 

Up to that point in my life (two days ago), I had no idea that Ole Miss people bothered to clip coupons.   I mean, c'mon. These are people who tailgate in a place called The Grove.  They unpack their wine and cheese and display it on tables with flower arrangements whose colors denote the two rival teams.  Picture maroon & white crysanthemums vs. red & blue carnations in a white basket with a large golden egg extending from its abdomen. 

Anyway, back to Walgreens ... so, I notice that they are buying this really cute stuffed animal thingy that has wreaked such havoc on the cash register that a manager has become involved.  The blonde woman is talking to her daughter about how if it weren't such a great deal, she'd just leave.  They are both wearing floral-print mini-dresses and knee-high boots.  Probably on their way to a game.

Intrigued, I ask about the item in question.

"It's a Webkinz pet," she replies.  "It's a fabulous deal."

"What's a Webkinz pet?"  I ask.

"Webkinz are pets that have online lives that kids can participate in.  They have to feed them and provide all their necessities," she tells me.

"Oh!  That sounds fun, but does the child have to be able to read to participate in this online world of pet care?" I ask.  "Do they need lots of parental assistance?"

I can't commit to anything else at this time in my life.

"No," she says, "my five-year-old LOVES his!"

I am all over this.  John-John has been wanting a pet, so this is purr-fect.

Except the only thing left was a brown shaggy dog. 

The reason I know is because I left the checkout line to go get it.


So I bring home this dog thinking that this is going to be a pick-him-up gift for after Chris leaves.  In fact, I hid it in the car so that I could give it to him AFTER Chris's visit.  But of course he found it while he was in there searching for his missing remote control tarantula.

He totally freaked out and instantly named it Russell.

We immediately sat down and logged in and set up a username and password, and we did a video tutorial of the website.  I was really hoping that this was not something that needed my constant attention because I already have something like that called Sam W. B.

And of course to my horror, everything requires reading and I should've known that blonde Ole Miss girl was lying through her bleached-white teeth.

So I sat there for a solid hour trying to figure out what he could do that would not require my assistance.  (Sam W. B. was napping at the time.)  Finally finally we figured out together how to feed the pet and walk the pet, play games, and buy/sell necessary items (like a queen-size, pirate-theme bed).  It's a very in-depth website and even includes an employment office where you can get a job to earn money to pay for your pet's food ... you can also earn money by playing games, but once you earn enough math or language or science points, you can get a job in whatever field you're excelling in.  John's on his way to being an account, btw.

But all the kid wants to do is play checkers. 

Which is interesting since he is named after Pappaw.

He played checkers for an hour this morning while Brian lesson planned and I dealt with Ear-Infection Baby. 

And then came the quote that made my $5 well spent:

"Mom!  You have GOT to come see this! Russell just beat the pants off a monkey in checkers!"

Love me some John-John.

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Birthday Boy

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Sam tackles a cupcake

Well Sam's party didn't turn out exactly like we planned.  Grandaddy ended up in the hospital with pneumonia.  We did a little party in room 203 of Southern Hills Medical Center, but we couldn't light the candle because of the oxygen.  Also, I had forgotten the all-important "Birthday Boy" bib and my video camera wasn't working. 

So tonight we staged a fake party for Sam (just after I went and picked up a new camera).  Here is a video  of him devouring his cupcake. 

Cold weather preparations

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One is losing teeth ...

...and the other is just now getting some.
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As if we needed another boy around here ...

But I'll take Chris anyday.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday to The Great Sambino!

November 23.

Dear Sam,

I promise to write you a proper letter soon. Until then, here's what I'm thinking ... better said by Barbara Kingsolver than me:

A mother’s body remembers her babies — the folds of soft flesh, the softly furred scalp against her nose. Each child has its own entreaties to body and soul.

It’s the last one, though, that overtakes you.

A first child is your own best foot forward, and how you do cheer those little feet as they strike out. You examine every turn of flesh for precocity, and crow it to the world.

But the last one: the baby who trails his scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after — oh, that’s love by a different name. He is the babe you hold in your arms for an hour after he’s gone to sleep. If you put him down in the crib, he might wake up changed and fly away. So instead you rock by the window, drinking the light from his skin, breathing his exhaled dreams. Your heart bays to the double crescent moons of closed lashes on his cheeks.

He is the one you can’t put down.

Oh sweet Sam. It's no wonder, none of us can put you down. Don't fly away too soon.

Happy birthday!

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two Important Things

1. John. Got an email today from Ms. Lash. She says John has, for the 2nd time, gotten in trouble in the cafeteria. This time, for kissing a girl who, good for her, socked him one. Ms. Lash wrote that they had had a productive discussion of personal space after the incident. I read the email before I went to pick him up, so on the way home, I asked him if anything good or bad had happened at school. Here's what he said: "Yeah! Something good happened. Campbell went on a BIG ship across a HUGE ocean and brought me back this bobble-head turtle." He went on to report that they had made pilgrim and Indian costumes but he had chosen pilgrim because the pilgrims had guns and guns are WAY better than bows and arrows.

2. Sam. Hannah reported this week that Sam had a lovely time at a local independent book seller (which is going out of business!). They went for storytime, and, as Hannah says, Sam was "blessed" because the story was about Kitty Kats. And Lord knows Sam loves him some "Tih-Tats." Last week he saw one in our backyard (it belongs to a neighbor) and said "tih-tats" for 20 solid minutes while feverishly pointing toward the window. Hannah reported that while all the other kids tuned out the Kitty Cat Story, Sam sat for the entire thing, quietly whispering, "Tih Tat," and pointing. All animals are "Tih Tats" to Sam B. All vehicles are "brrrrrnnnnn."

I am sad that all of the above was reported to me.

The End.
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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Prayer Friends & Santa Claus Lists

Today was a special day for John, as he was introduced to his "Prayer Friend" at church. John was skeptical about the whole idea, but he definitely wanted to have one. I tried to explain (with limited knowledge of my own) about how they would each pray for each other and just generally be good friends both in and out of church. I told him that his prayer friend's name was David and that "Miss Heather" (the children's minister) and I had chosen him especially for John because they are both active and outdoorsy.

His first reaction was to confirm that the prayer friend was a boy named David, and not a girl.


Then he asked if the prayer friend was older or younger than him. My response of "older" was clearly the right answer.

He forgot to ask how *much* older, and we'll revisit that detail later.

So, as we're getting ready for church, I ask him if he wants to put the contents of his "giving jar" in a baggie to bring along for an offering. He was enthusiastically in favor of this, carefully counting it out and bagging it. After he put it in his pocket, I checked to ensure that he was ready, and told him to play outside while I finished up.

My goal was to leave at 9:00 a.m. in order to make it there for the special service, which started at 9:30 a.m.

At 9:15 a.m., after searching the entire house and backyard, I found him at the top of a crepe myrtle tree outside my bedroom window.

Fortunately, when we finally made it to church, we discovered that they had temporarily postponed the little ceremony due to widespread prayer friend tardiness.

While we waited, I went and got a cup of coffee and then saw someone and started talking, so I missed the actual introduction of the prayer friends; however, it was obvious to all that John & David were a good match.

John immediately asked him how old he was and commented that 43 was older than he had expected, older than most of his other friends, but it would probably be OK.

Phew.  That was a relief.  I was worried that age might be an obstacle. 

David made conversation with John about kindergarten, hiking, and sports.

John chatted him up, as he is wont to do.  And then, he offered the baggie of money. 

To David.

It was $1.07 -- mostly pennies.

David was gracious and suggested they place it in the offering plate during the worship service.

John then asked if we could sit with David.

I wasn't planning on staying for the worship service, but I couldn't let down his enthusiasm.

During the service, John practiced writing David's and his own name on the church bulletin. He asked (out loud, during the "Remembrance of Saints" part where they quietly say all the names of the church members who have passed away during the last year) about whether or not David was coming home with us for a play date. Then he looked over and noticed that the audio technician (we were sitting in the balcony) had prosthetic legs, and proceeded to speculate aloud about how he might have lost his real legs and wonder if he has them at home or if there is a leg fairy who picks them up and brings money.

After we got back home, the excitement had not faded.

I walked into my bedroom to find John, kneeling beside the bed, hands folded in prayer. I waited. Then he popped his head up and said, "I just said my first prayer for David!"

"Oh?" I responded. "Do you want to share it with me?"

"Sure! I asked God to send David some money to buy all the stuff he wants in Jesus name amen."

Then, he stood up, walked into the kitchen and announced his Santa Claus list:
  • a microscope so he can look at germs
  • an indivisibility cloak
  • 2 race car tracks connected together
  • a cap gun (a long 22) and some bullets
  • an electric guitar
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Almost a biped.

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

He's much more interested in the menu than the actual food.

Wish I was.
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I get these all day.

Photos from Hannah, our sitter. She sends them to my phone or to my email.  Her son, Elijah just turned one. He's Sam's best friend.
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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

He looks like a tatted-up troublemaker, but ...

his teacher gave him rave reviews on his first report card and at the conference. She said his only problem was that he talks too much, which is weird because he definitely didn't get that from me. She also confirmed that he has gotten his duck below water 2-3 times, which he had actually confessed to prior to the conference. He even overdid it, telling me that it may have been 10-12 times for various negative behaviors.

Tonight, after dinner, John announced that he had a hypothesis about the contents of Sam's diaper. His hypothesis was confirmed prior to bathtime, and now I see why he got high marks in the science subsection of the report card, which was entitled "Uses age appropriate vocabulary to comunicate understanding of simple data and content."

He knows all upper and lower case letters and numbers up to 100.

Most of his highest marks were concentrated into the reading subcategory of the 7-page tomish report card, and I was especially proud of his "knowledge of concepts of print, including title, author, and illustrator." I was really expecting to see a note about his curiosity with the Caldecott Medal, but I guess even Miss Lash is guilty of oversights. Can you imagine completing a painfully detailed 7-page evaluation for 19 children?

Side note about Miss Lash: She's planning to hula-hoop a half-marathon in April, and for Christmas she wants some knitting resources to feed her habit of creating scarves during long Vermont ice storms. I continue to be captivated by this woman, as is John. I mean,
here I was thinking my 4th grade teacher Miss Liddell was the coolest ever person just because she went on a honeymoon to Alaska. 13.1 miles of hula hooping is way better than a slide show about moose.
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Monday, November 01, 2010

Things I want to remember about today:

John, today you said something that really exemplifies your personality.  In the car, on the way home from school: "Mom! You know how there's like an octagon and hexagon and stuff?"

Me: "Yeah?"

John: "Well I've got one that's even better and funnier. And it's gonna crack you up."

Me: "Yeah? What is it?"

John: "STINK-a-gon!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! And there could be FART-a-gon and POOP-a-gon and BUTT-a-gon too!!! HAHA AHHAHAHAHAH!!!

Sam, you did something Sammish tonight, in the chair, nursing before bed:

Sam:  "Dat" (Rubs my face.)

Me: "Awwww. Sweet boy." kiss kiss

Sam: "Mamamamama"  (Rubs my face again.)

Me: "Awwww. Such a sweet boy. I could just eat you up!"

Sam: Giggles.  Rubs my face and casually reaches up and rips the earring out of my ear. Not. Gingerly.

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