Previous month:
September 2010
Next month:
November 2010

October 2010

Perpetuum Mobile

Thank you very much for your thoughts on

well

I called it unkindness. It might be teasing. Picking is an option as is needling or maybe taunting. Bullying is also a possibility. It's a loaded word, that one. Like, say, "terrorist" the word bully gets a visceral response and tends to make people think in terms of absolutes. It reminds me of that famous quote about pornography, reversed: I can tell you what bullying is but I might not know it when I see it. 

I thought about this the other week when that poor girl was so traumatized by her treatment on the school bus she was scared to get on it and her father, in his protective rage, stormed the bus and screamed at all the children. He later admitted he regretted his actions but around the country he was applauded: get the bullies; stop the bullies. The idea that these bullies were children mixed up with a lot of other children who all looked the same because they ARE all the same and they were all probably quite terrified seemed to escape a lot of people.

There was a kid in Patrick's preschool that took such pleasure in physically hurting other children - not to mention emotionally terrorizing them - that I am convinced to this day that he is budding sociopath. I got to know Patrick's current classmates pretty well last year so when he brings home stories of... I'm sticking with unkindness... I know the players involved and I know they run the gamut of social sophistication. None of them are nearly as scary as the preschool kid but there are one or two who tend toward the edgier side, one or two who toady, a handful of spirits who will follow whichever way the winds of popularity blow and a few whose gentleness or desire to be liked or both make them fairly ready targets for any spite in search of a recipient. 

My point is that - within reason - most of these kids on any given day or with any permutation of personalities might morph into bullies or bullies' henchmen or victims. The cognitive dissonance (hi Sarah! forgive me! I can evolve!) of having someone be both a dick and a friend on Tuesday seems to bother me (us, to judge by your comments) a lot more than it bothers Patrick and as I struggle to figure out how to help him I also struggle to keep his interests (and his impressions of intention which are always much more generous than mine) at the forefront. He justs wants to play and interact and be friends - minus the sly maliciousness of being called... whatever. This one kid called Patrick "Steven" at first and when that failed to garner any reaction at all he switched to Pat, which also made Patrick shrug. Only with Patricia (and I think those of you who thought that the heavy boy = bad/girl = good differentiation going on in the classroom is largely at fault) did he manage to get a rise out of him but it could be Four-Eyes or CrazySocks or Namby Pamby.  

We went for conferences last week and it was the polar opposite of last year's Worst Conference Ever

(oh you remember - last year the teacher hinted that Patrick has ADHD and Patrick yelled at her about not teaching cursive writing and they fought about reading levels until Patrick, his voice dripping with venom and sarcasm, said, "Wow three weeks ago you said I was reading at an O level and now you say I'm at a T... you must be a really great teacher." And I died.)

I was not sure what to expect with this new woman and Patrick was so nervous that I worried the half had not been told unto me about what he had been doing in class. Setting fires? But it was great. Patrick is doing very well in everything, the end. He reads well. He writes well. He spells well. He maths well. She seemed oblivious to little workmanship details like the fact that he seems unable to prevent himself from suddenly breaking out into small sketches on the page (for example if he is writing about a mountain he will sometimes... draw a mountain. with a tiny climber. and maybe a miniature chalet. and then he goes back to writing.) As she talked about how pleased she was with his work Patrick visibly relaxed and he chatted about stuff he had done. I asked if he wanted to talk about the Patricia thing and he said yes and explained some of the problems he had been having. She said she had no idea and it was right of him to tell her and she wanted to hear about these things in the future and that there have been other similar problems with another boy in the class that she had dealt with when she heard of it and she was absolutely not going to have this sort of thing going on in her classroom and if they are doing this in third grade what on earth will it turn into a few years from now? Patrick, never one to avoid the hypothetical question, said that he feared that they might turn into... whisper... bullies by high school and after that most likely criminals in jail, very sad.

She said that the conference was the most she had ever heard him talk (I thought, are you KIDDING? he's QUIET at school?) and she told me the only thing about Patrick that we might want to know is that when he is reading or drawing or working on class stuff he has a tendency to become so focussed that he is almost impossible to distract and transition to the next thing. I said, oh well, eight year olds... and she said no, Patrick's intense concentration was something else altogether (in an amusing unwitting salute to last year she said, "No one could ever think he's ADHD... could be something in the ADD line") I asked if it was a problem and she said no, since she manages it in the classroom and she wasn't even sure it would ever be a problem but she thought she should say something.

These two things - the fact that he doesn't talk much in class and he falls into hyperfocussed work trances - startled me since neither of them show up at home at all. It reminded me of all of the teachers here who have ever counseled me on the vast oceans of difference between home and school and what we see and what they see and what we hear and what the reality is and I vowed for the millionth time to stop leaping to conclusions about classroom politics.

In person Patrick's teacher seemed to really know and care about him and I felt guilty for all of my dire assumptions about her gender biases. Then I thought that maybe it's just that she happens to like my muffin of maleness (possibly because he said stuff at the conference like "I want to be friends with everybody but especially those kids that maybe the other kids tend not to notice, like the new boys" at which point the judges gave him top marks and he moved onto the evening wear competition) and then I felt guilty all over again. Are boys who bounce less worthy of teacherly approbation than ones who need to be checked with mirrors to make sure they are still breathing?

All of which is to say that I am still pondering the situation and I really appreciated your thoughts and in the meantime Patrick has offered a playdate at our house to anyone who stops calling him Patricia. He has a different way of handling things than I do.

We had a weekend guest who informed us that Edward's ability to successfully dribble a ball up and down the length of the driveway is nothing short of astonishing. Steve and I looked blankly at each other and I realized the baby of the family always has their talents neglected. Can I play the cello? No. And why? Because I was the youngest, that's why.

  IMG_1581

Caroline was very suprised to see what happens after you murder a pumpkin.

IMG_1530

Caroline and Edward are looking like twins I think. And of a size, too. He is only four pounds heavier than she is although it feels like forty when you pick them up. He is so solid with a massive chest and she is mostly bones and hair but technically he's not that much bigger than she is anymore and she continues to have larger feet, which I find funny.

IMG_1537

Patrick drew faces for cutting the jack o' laterns. Then he drew on Edward.

IMG_1533 IMG_1560

Yesterday was Edward's last day at speech. I hope, if nothing else, the change in routine will stop Caroline from saying, coldly, "Oh... just go to therapy!" every time Edward annoys her or she decides she feels like being an only child for a while. It's an awful thing to say, isn't it? Imagine having a dispute with a coworker over using other people's coffee mugs or excess personal days or who gets the copy of Goodnight Moon and just as you are warming to your theme and contemplating the jesuitical advantage of hitting them over the head with a Duplo they look at you with weary condescension and tell you to just go get some therapy.

Biiiiiitch-y.

IMG_1558

When Edward is trying to convey that he is serious - seriously annoyed - he lifts one eyebrow, scowls with the rest of his face and uses a growly voice that I guess is a pretty good interpretation of what I sound like when I. have. had. it. plus helium. 

Yesterday morning Edward said, "But I'm not very hungry, Mommy" and I interpreted, "Are you very hungry, Edward?"

He said, "Yes."

I said, no problem, Daddy is making oat cakes (oatmeal pancakes) right now.

Edward said, "How 'bout oatmeal?"

I said, "Better! Oatmeal pancakes!"

Edward twisted his face. His eyebrow shot up. His voice dropped an octave and he growled, "NO! No pancakes. OATMEAL!"

I said, "Edward we're having oat cakes and..."

Edward barked, "UN'CCEPTABLE."

Steve, from the stove, asked, "Did he just say 'unacceptable'?"

I said, yeah, he did.

And we beamed at him and told him how clever he is because, really, his ability to express himself has gotten so much better. Edward glared at us.

"Oat cakes un'cceptable," he repeated and I said oh listen to you, you sweet little lump of sugarbutter, using those great big words... and I gave him the oatmeal.

This morning we ran into Patrick's preschool teacher at the fabric store while we were buying buttons (for Steve's suspenders - don't ask) and face paint (for cheetah whiskers) and looking for textiles that can convey "I am an Event Horizon" in the time it takes to open a front door. Patrick has narrowed down his Halloween costume ideas and they all subscribe to the theory that time and space can be visualized like a foldable plane - speaking of still more things about which I am skeptical.

Steve, by the way, was appalled that I have shamed the family by publicly admitting in that last post just how many things fall under the generous umbrella of my dubiety: magic, what F1 radio communications really mean during a Grand Prix, whether onions can actually be caramelized by a home cook, democracy, every single idea ever presented about the origins of life, et cetera.     

So anyway at Joann we ran into Patrick's preschool teacher for the first time in years

(Steve: "Mrs M------! We've been looking everywhere for you!"

I think he's hilarious; I really do.)

in front of remnants and she told Caroline and Edward they'd be coming to her preschool when they were bigger. Edward instantly said "That's un'cceptable."

Then he looked at me like, hey, did you hear that? Aren't I cute? Where's my oatmeal?

We seem to have created a monster. Two monsters, actually, because Caroline leaned over from her shopping cart and told the preschool teacher, "Edward goes to therapy."

But he doesn't. Not anymore. He had his last session and duly received his certificate of participation in the field of excellence.

I was going to ask during our last debrief about the fact that he still sounds garbled to me but she forestalled the question by saying that he often becomes incomprehensible because he attempts to form complicated adult sentences and he talks very very fast (Patrick and I are also speedy communicators; Caroline and Steve prefer to be understood.) She says that when she loses what he is saying she restructures his sentence into a three to four word phrase that is more age-appropriate and slowly models it for him. 

I said, "Simple. Slow. Got it."

Then I said, "OK, Edward, shall we say thank you and goodbye and then attempt to find the car and go home for some lunch?"

Our therapist looked at me like, good LORD lady, and said, very brightly, "Let's go!"

This is why I did not receive a certificate in the field of excellence. It is also why my helpful talk with Patrick this morning about the (grrr) ongoing Patricia thing (Patrick called it the "Patrissue" and said if the playdates don't work he wants me to email the teacher; she did give a talk about bullying and name calling on Monday) started with the Romans, moved onto Ireland and the absence of snakes, touched on how much Steve and I had wanted to have children, introduced the miscarriages, breezed hastily over the raised question of how humans are conceived with the solemn promise to get back to it some time when I was not driving, talked about how excited I was to finally have a baby boy and why the name Patrick was important to me, discussed root words and the fact that Patricia and Patrick/Padraig and Patricus and patrician and patrimony borrow nuance from each other and ultimately finished with both of us laughing over the idea that perhaps the best way to handle these friends is with gentle amusement, as if their inability to stick the hard K and their subsequent resort to a shushing sound is more to be pitied than censured. 

I got to the end of my speech and smiled at Patrick, thinking I really was doing a bang-up job with this whole parenting thing.

Patrick said, "That was the longest conversation I have ever been sucked into in my life. There were Romans! There were Irish! There were those babies dropping dead all over the place! And just when I thought you would keep talking forever... here we are again back at Patricia."

"You know, Mommy," Patrick said, seriously, "You really need to work on wrapping it up."

PS Patrick and I listened to The Graveyard Book (it was so so so good) and just started Artemis Fowl on CD. I just finished To Say Nothing of the Dog (I read it while on bedrest and loved it and loved it all over again recorded) and I desperately need a new book on tape suggestion. Listening to a book makes all the boring stuff (laundry, dishes, moving piles of clutter) so much more bearable I think. Any suggestion for good recordings? Something light'ish that will not suddenly break into raunch while I am cleaning the kitchen?


Incredibility

I am almost done with my month's trial of Paxil and unless something radically different happens in the next four days I will be asking my doctor what else I can try. Not only I am just as anxious as I ever was; I am becoming one of those creatures that sleeps 23 hours a day - a marmot, maybe. Steve was gone again for most of last week and I could barely stay awake long enough to outlast Edward at night. Edward for heavens' sake. Steve called one night and I was irascible - as you are when some ass wakes you in the dark hours - and he said, "You know it's 8:45, don't you?" I hung up on him.

I admit the chronic insomniac part of me is sort of enjoying all the extra sleep but this is no way to live outside of a burrow. Caroline has taken to prying open my eyelids with her little pincers and bellowing WAKE UP! at me every time I pause to rest on the floor. I now understand how this stuff works as an anti-depressant: one is just too tired to care. So, moving to a different shelf on the medicine cabinet, I hope, and I scheduled an appointment with a new Someone for early November.

I'm feeling optimistic. Sleepy but optimistic. 

After Caroline and Edward were born we decided to increase Steve's life insurance (and mine but if one can measure the value of a life - and the good people at Cincinnati Indemnity Casualty Specialty Underwriters Life Insurance Companies are willing to take a stab at it - I apparently don't matter.) This led to a series of life insurance testing mishaps that culminated (as you may recall) with Steve getting an EKG in our living room at the exact moment the delivery guys dropped and shattered our new kitchen countertops. In addition to notes on the resultant arrythmia the insurer received blood work for Steve that said he had everything from high cholesterol to imminent diabetes to terminal dandruff. They came back with a quote that made us gasp. We questioned the veracity of the bloodwork but our insurance guy said to go ahead and accept the quote as is and then we could get the rates brought down after we had gotten the medical stuff sorted out. 

That was two years ago and we finally got around to shopping for new life insurance last month.

This time Steve was determined to look as healthy on paper as he does in a swimsuit so he decided to go vegan for the two weeks leading up to his insurance physical. No dairy, no meat, no eggs, lots of fiber, lots of this bright green smoothie he found in a 2pk at Sam's Club that looked like it was made from kelp, and he smeared something called Benecol onto toast every night after I googled "lower cholesterol in two weeks."

At one point toward the end he moaned, "I want a dooooouuuughnut."

I said, "I know it's hard but it'll all be worth it when you're dead."

He failed to find this cheering and I went back to eating my doughnut.

Yesterday we got both his test results and a new insurance quote. The reason I am mentioning all of this is in case you ever need to get life insurance and you are wondering if you can affect your test results with only two weeks worth of dietary changes. With my reliable sample of one I can say, resoundingly: YES. Steve's blood pressure was the lowest it had ever been, his cholesterol is under 180 and his glucose had dropped, like, 30 points. His test results read like those of a Japanese schoolgirl and he was offered a Best Rate by a new insurance company and we're going to save almost $1500 a year. Ta DA! Of course Steve immediately blew two grand on doughnuts but it was a moral victory nonetheless.

When I picked up Caroline and Edward on Thursday the teacher remarked upon how different they were. At the time Edward was out cold on his nap mat in the middle of the floor and Caroline was doing pirouettes on a chair.

She said, "Edward needs his nap but Caroline... she just won't sleep. The only time she cries is when I try to get her to lie down so we usually just roll up her mat and then she talks to me. She's a chatty one. She just talks and talks - whether there is anyone there to listen or not."

We suspect Caroline is the only extrovert in the family. She likes people, will talk to anyone and can tell long stories about the kids in preschool, by name. The other day I asked Patrick about a girl who is sitting at his table and who was not in his class last year.

"She's nice," he said.

"What's her name?"

He narrowed his eyes thoughtfully, "I... don't... know."

The preschool sent home evaluations for Caroline and Edward on Thursday and I was highly amused by how carefully Patrick studied them when he got home:

"Ah... an Always for 'participates in group activities' good, good, that's important... hmmm, both of them only Sometimes 'help put things away' we'll need to work on that..."

He talked to my mom later on the phone and reported that Caroline is doing very well in preschool with mostly Always'es and only two Sometimes'es; and Edward is doing okay with six Sometimes. Edward, however, knew all his numbers and colors and shapes while Caroline only knew her colors (she does?) and numbers but couldn't pick a diamond out of a line-up. I told him they're both fine and as far as I am concerned I'm just happy they haven't b-i-t-t-e-n anyone, so settle down and he said yes, of course. Later I saw them sitting side-by-side on the floor with Patrick and a shape puzzle in front of them as he barked, "Pentagon! FIVE SIDES! Pentagon!" and they dutifully repeated "pen-a-non" after him.

They eventually attcked him and who can blame them?

IMG_1684

Actually the geometry drill had nothing to do with it; this is pretty much how they play. Like puppies.

IMG_1790

Which looks kinda violent until you see

IMG_1791

that Edward finds being throttled (with love!) terribly funny.

The weather has been so lovely that we've been spending a lot of time in the yard. You know maybe the Paxil is working a little bit because even though I still don't really like taking them outside without Steve for backup it did finally dawn on me that Caroline is unlikely to be eaten by a bear no matter how many times she slips into the woods during the seconds that my back is turned. And it helps that Edward tends to stay put so when I do have to go plunging into the underbrush after his pixie-led sister he can generally be relied upon to stay where he has parked himself. Literally.

Exhibits A through B 

IMG_1873

IMG_1743

I asked, "Do you see a ghost behind me?" and took a picture of whatever face they made in response to this question.

Caroline was amused

IMG_1808

I think Edward actually saw a ghost, which I found utterly unnerving and that will teach me to be cutesy.

IMG_1862 

Speaking of ghosts Caroline and Edward have been watching Dinosaur Train

(I envision the development meeting going this way -

Leadership: We need something to appeal to boys aged two to five!

Marketing: What do our focus groups tell us about this demographic?

Research: They like trains. And dinosaurs.

Creative: How about a show where dinosaurs ride a train?

Finance: Fine, whatever, just get it on backpacks by Christmas.)

... oh right.

So Caroline and Edward have been watching Dinosaur Train lately, which led to my telling Steve I am not sure I totally believe the whole dinosaur thing. I mean the way they are imagined seems so improbable. The tiny heads, giant tails, feathers, spikes that have no purpose, stubby arms, huge teeth... as they are sketched none of them seem like they would have survived for more than five seconds.

Steve sputtered and said there is no not believing in dinosaurs, they just are; or were, as the case may be. Fossils! he said. Evidence! Evolutionary record!

I said, yeah, about that, I'm not sure I totally believe the whole evo... .

Steve told me if I said one. more. word. he would divorce me.

So this is just between us but you can put me down as a skeptic when it comes to ankylosaurus (I mean REALLY? that tail?) Call me an apaleoist if you like, but on the subject of ghosts I am more open-minded. As, I assume, is Edward.

Patrick was completely out of sorts when he came home from school last week. So I asked if he was upset about something and he said no and then I asked if he had gotten into trouble at school and he said no and then I asked if someone had been unkind and he said no and then I tried sympathetic silence and then I got exasperated with him and said good grief snap out of it and I finally just gave up him and eventually he was in better spirits by Sunday night. This morning over breakfast he suddenly blurted out that some of the boys in his class started calling him Patricia last week and he really hates it. Then he blinked back tears and looked at me like I would know what to do.

I said... actually I am more interested in what you would have said because I wound up talking about trying to ignore it and eight year olds and testing boundaries and control dynamics until Patrick put his head in his hands and asked wearily if we could bring it up at his teacher conference on Wednesday because he really just wants them to stop calling him Patricia.                 

I'm thinking about enrolling him in karate. Not - I hasten to clarify - because I want Patrick to be able to clean anybody's clock or break boards with his head but because I remember how glowing some of you were about martial arts and self-confidence. Sooner or later everybody deals with unkindness and I think it is important to feel like you can deal with it rather than internalize it.

Any thoughts - in general - on elementary school and being picked on and the best way to handle things?

PS I completely forgot to tell you! Patrick went to a birthday party two weeks ago and when I went to pick him up I talked to many of the parents of other boys in his class. Apparently there was a day a while ago in which the kids returned from music class and the boys were told to put their heads on their desks while the girls were asked to identify which boys had misbehaved. The father of one of the boys heard this, emailed the teacher about it, got confirmation, linked this to the other anti-boy messages we had been receiving and went ballistic. There has not been any more punishment by sex (hmmm, that sounded completely AWFUL) since then. 

PPS My hopes that my co-volunteer for the Halloween Party would be a Martha Stewart type were dashed when I met her and she laughed and told me she had just about fallen over when she got the party planning email. She said she had volunteered to be room parent because she didn't mind sending emails and I told her I had volunteered because I wanted to file things and we mututally agreed we are screwed. So thank you for all the Halloween tips - we need them.


Buccellation

Steve was gone for a few days (business - alleluia) and the children and I muddled along as best we could without him. I don't think I have ever taken for granted - exactly - his contributions to the household routine but I certainly had a new appreciation for him as I got the twins into the car for the zillionth time in order to trundle back/forth to school/therapy/school. Meanwhile Caroline chose this period to have a growth spurt and she kept asking for something to eat or looked accusingly at me as I hurried her through breakfast in order to get Patrick to school on time. Edward (who is always peckish anyway) clarified their position: "I'm hungry, Mommy. I'm hungry in the car!"

As a complete aside I think the notion of being marked "tardy" is anachronistic. The days in which a young scholar might be tempted to pass some of the morning hours at the ol' Fishing Hole are far behind us. What kid has enough control over their morning that they are personally responsible for being prompt or otherwise? Granted, just once Patrick might remember before I am in the car with the engine running that he needs to wear shoes and wonder where those shoes might be; but for the most part if Patrick is late for school it's because I was busy dragging Caroline out from under the bed not because he stopped en route to whittle himself a slingshot.  

Anyway to keep up with the ravenous beasts I started packing dry goods into my purse which I would lob at the twins over my shoulder as best I could while keeping my eyes on the road. It was a little like Pin the Tail on the Donkey meets feeding time at the seal tank and the back of my car now looks as if Graham Cracker Mountain was hit by a meteor. I hope you realize that it is only my affection for you that is keeping me here when I should be shop-vac'ing.

Hey! Speaking of Pinning Tails. Very important. I had signed up on the first day of school to act as Room Parent for Patrick's class but then I didn't hear anything about it again. I was sort of hoping that my role - like Flower Painter in Ordinary - might be more or less honorary (unless it involved filing - I love filing) but an email from the teacher yesterday addressed to me and my fellow volunteer leads me to understand that the intended function is closer to a Mistress of Revels.

The teacher would like us to organize an in-class Halloween party for the 29th to last approximately an hour and a half and which will possibly include a viewing of Charlie Brown among other activities TBD.

So my question for you is: aw damn it.

I'm really not good at this sort of thing. I asked Julie (who is) and she suggested stations like Identify the Gross Whatsit by touch alone (what do you use to hide the peeled grapes that allows for hands to go in? sincere question) and Bobbing for Apples. I nixed the bobbing on the grounds of utter wetness and added Decorate Your Own Halloween Mask but that's all I have. Suggestions - any suggestions; all suggestions - appreciated.  

What else?

Edward is being released from speech therapy in a week or two. I was surprised because I thought he would keep at it until he was, um, a nationally celebrated sports broadcaster?  but I guess our goal was just getting him to a range of age-appropriateness. It's hard not to compare him to Caroline

[In the car, Monday, after purchasing five gallons of raspberries at Sam's Club -

Caroline: Shall we have strawberries? Let's have strawberries!

Edward: I don't have any stawbewwies but we have razbewwies, ok Tararine?

Caroline, waspishly: It's KAH-roline.]

who speaks very clearly and tends to still speak for him.

The preschool sent home a note saying that they will be doing a Halloween parade so feel free to costume et cetera. I asked Caroline what she would like to be and she said, promptly, "A bumble bee!" I said, oh, ok, bumble bee, check. Then I said, "Edward, would you like to wear a costume for Halloween?"

Caroline said quickly, "He's going to be a witch."

I said, "Caroline do you want to be a witch?"

And she said, "No. I. Want. To. Be. A. BUMBLE BEE. He's the witch."

I said, "Edward can be anything he likes. Edward, what would you like?"

And Edward, always helpful, said, "A witcth!"

I took them to Target later in hopes there was something I could just buy (Patrick, outraged, later: BUY? We do not BUY costumes in this house!) and held up every piece of acetate toddler buffoonery they offered. Butterfly princess? Fairy princess? Woodland fairy princess? Hey! Matching his and her GARDEN GNOMES anyone?

No. They said no. No wings, no hats, no beards, no tutus, no dinosaurs. I saw a turtle thing that Edward hesitated over for a minute and then I realized it was designed for a dog and Edward ultimately rejected it anyway. Finally Caroline saw a pair of cheetah ears and a matching tail and that was it for her. So long bumble bee; hello jungle cat.

Caroline said, "I'll be a cheetah and Edward can be a friend who comes to the zoo and then I'll scratch him."

Edward looked worried. Again.

This picture of Caroline amuses me. It also amuses me that when Patrick was their age I used to pick up the play room every night and I maintained category bins. Ah. Yes.

IMG_1657

Oh speaking of Caroline, they were not able to recreate the eye crossing at the opthamologist and the doctor suggested that what we are seeing in photographs is an (ha ha) optical illusion caused by the wide bridge of her nose and the corner of the inner eye giving the impression that the iris and pupil were closer. However the right eye did not react normally and the doctor was not entirely sure why. So no glasses or patches for now but she wants to (ha ha) keep a close eye on her and we're to come back in six months. 

For reference pediatric opthamology appointments last about twelve dog years and they really really suck so in case you have one in your future I recommend: lots of food, lots of books, a laptop, some crayons and a steamer trunk full of toys. Consider yourself warned. 

Patrick brought home a letter yesterday, which started "Dear Parents, Your child has expressed an interest in running for service team representative... ."

I asked Patrick, "You want to be on the service team?"

And he said, "What's the service team?"

So I read him the letter and he repeated his question and I said I did not have the slightest idea but it sounded a bit like what we used to call student council and it would involve representing his class at school meetings.

At which point he said, "Our teacher asked and about ten kids including me raised their hands which cuts it down to a one in ten chance but a lot of those were girls so I might be able to get most of the boy vote so let's say I'm up to 1 in 3. My speech is going to be 'I think I would be an excellent class representative because I am great at expressing myself and I will work hard to make sure everyone - boys and girls - has a voice in our class and the school." Also I have some ideas, such as a student "recess mother" who would make sure people are playing nicely while watching out for the smaller kids and I hear that kickball has gotten a little dangerous so we want to look into that too. But I'm not just about safety, I'm also about fun... ."

And I blinked at him because for someone who claimed not to know what I was talking about he sure seemed to have a stump speech prepared. I wished him luck in his campaign. He thanked me. 

IMG_1670

Edward likes football (unlike Patrick who loathes it and Caroline who sobs on Sundays, "Noooooo! No football! Watch a little something else! Noooooooo! NOT FOOTBALL!") and he will happily sit on Steve's lap for extended periods of time shouting "Tack'l him! Tack'l him!" at the referees and the mascots and the cheerleaders.

His Nerf football is his new constant companion and for some reason he fancies himself as the punter, carefully arranging the ball at his toes before booting it and running after it. About half the time he runs smack into a wall, which I think indicates an actual vocation for the sport. Go Bear.

And that's what's going on with us. No new Someone scheduled yet, Paxil still making me sort of sleepy. Don't forget the Halloween party ideas, I need them.