conuly: (Default)
The one about Riddle, that is. Listening to her scream and flail in excitement is one of the most gratifying things ever. Evangeline reads pretty well, but she isn't up to that sort of level yet.
conuly: (Default)
I had gotten to bed pretty early, but for some reason was still exhausted all day, so I spent some time napping while Ana used her Christmas gift to draw paper dolls.

So she comes in to me with her paper doll family all neatly taped on a piece of paper and asks me what I think. I thought it was great and said just that.

"No, Connie, I want to know what you really think."
"I really think it's great. Go make yourself a salami sandwich."
"Connie, tell me the *truth*."
"It's great. I really like it. Go eat lunch."
"No, no, I want your honest opinion."
"It's. Great. Now, go eat lunch."
"I said honest! Tell the truth!"
"Fine, Ana. I hate it. It's the ugliest thing I've ever seen. Go eat your lunch now."
"Oh, good. I'm going to give it to Michele, and I'm pretty sure she will like the exact opposite of you!"
conuly: (Default)
The first problem had a cut-out segment of a thermometer with the tens marked and the ones done as lines. Ana was supposed to "estimate" the location of ten lettered spots on the thermometer. So she did estimate, but very badly. I'm not sure how she came up with some of the numbers. I looked at it, erased everything, and asked her what the lines meant. "They didn't say I could count!" Well, she can count, but her estimation skills aren't that great. We went over that as well, and I'm not sure which set of answers was really asked for.

Then she was supposed to "use a thermometer" (an actual one, the little diagram didn't have the correct range) to "find the change" in various temperatures. "I can't do that, we don't have a thermometer!" Well, we do, but it's a digital one and useless for this purpose. If I want to find out how warm it is outside, I don't want to squint at some mercury, I just turn on NY1, which has the added bonus of telling me how warm it's going to be. Or I open the window and wave my arm outside, same difference. Given that some of these problems went into negative numbers, which she hasn't been taught yet, the least they could've done was included a number line! Back in first and second grade number lines were included ALL THE TIME and hindered her from actually memorizing simple facts, but now that they're useful again they just assume we all have thermometers hanging around for this purpose?

I said "Ana, just subtract." "I'm supposed to use a thermometer!" "Ana, listen. What's the difference between 56 apples and 24 apples? 32, right? It's the same thing." We managed to get through the ones with negative numbers fairly competently as well, and she immediately grasped that you go down to zero and then add the under zero number. She had learned that much. Argued with me about putting a plus or minus in front of the answers, but I told her that otherwise the answers were meaningless. "My teacher didn't tell us that!" Well, I'm sure she meant to, and you rarely get in trouble for doing more, so hop to it.

Then, the kicker, she had to choose between two answers for approximate temperatures of various things - a lake, an ice cream, hot tea, and something else. Some where in Fahrenheit and others in Celsius. Well, Ana DOES know the boiling and freezing points of water in Celsius, which I pointed out is also called centigrade because centi means a hundred (never too often to make the point that we can work out what words mean by analyzing them). But she didn't know human body temperature, or ANY markers in Fahrenheit. Shouldn't this be down pat before they start guessing and estimating other things? Shouldn't some of the questions be reviewing the facts that let us know what answers are reasonable before they're thrown into the deep end? There is nothing wrong with this sort of work, but shouldn't they have the background solidified FIRST? Why did I have to tell her these things?
conuly: (Default)
Me: NASA? All caps?
Her: Yep!
Me: Well, when a word is in all capital letters like that, each letter stands for a word. We call this sort of abbreviation an -
Ana: Acronym, I know.
Me: Right, and when you look at the word acronym, you can take it apart and work out*.... Wait. Ana, have I told you about this before?
Ana: No, my teacher did.
Me: Your teacher.
Ana: And we're supposed to find out the meaning of NASA before tomorrow.
Me: Aha! You nearly got me there! Hah! No, I will not tell you the meaning of the word! Look it up yourself!
Ana: Darn. (Pages ahead to the N section in the dictionary while I head back to the kitchen)

A little while later I checked in on them again. "Ana, did you find the definition of NASA yet?"

Ana: No.
Me: What do you mean?!
Ana: It wasn't there!

I did not believe that for one second, and took the book up, fully expecting in a few seconds to point to the word and say "Here! Here it is! Right where you left it, and had it been a snake it would've bit you!" but, to my surprise and consternation it really wasn't there. I was so shocked I checked again three times that night. We looked it up online.

* You might believe I talk like this because I enjoy etymology, or because I want the nieces to learn something. While those things are mostly true, my motivation is a little more sensible. I want them to stop asking me things. It hasn't worked yet, but sooner or later it's bound to, and in the meantime for them to learn something is an acceptable consolation prize.
conuly: (Default)
Which means she can start the next one before the second term of school, and if we work over the summer she'll even be a little ahead next year!

To make things better, the last two sections are two she enjoys, time (she actually squealed) and geometry. The LAST section was comparing fractions with different denominators, and she was not so impressed. I'm finding, though, that often she struggles to get through a section, takes a break, and when it comes up in review she whizzes through it. For example, long division was super hard (as it should be), but when we came back to it after the summer break she had it all memorized, even though that didn't seem the case when we finished that section before.

She hasn't even touched on long division in her school curriculum (a teacher who saw her working on it last year commented that it's end of fourth/early fifth grade work, which doesn't sound right to me, but what do I know?), but they're doing stuff I know I didn't learn until middle school, like order of operations or the term variable. I don't mind them using variables - I mean, if they decide to write problems as x + 3 = 6 instead of 3 + 3 = ? or 6 - 3 = ? it probably doesn't do any harm and may do some good - but I wish they wouldn't use the term. They don't seem to have actually explained it, and Ana now tries throwing it around in all sorts of occasions where it doesn't make sense. It's the same as the whole "label the axes" debacle last year. They told her one was x and one was y, and it was the better part of two weeks to convince her that they never, ever, ever want you to label them literally "x" and "y" because that would be stupid.

And sometimes, in her homework at least, the textbook authors seem to have deliberately chosen the most verbose phrasing possible. "Show which numbers, out of the set 8, 9, 10, 11, make the following inequalities true." I'm certain there must have been a simpler way to phrase that. At least it didn't ask her to explain her answer, which is the new vogue. Ana has lost points on tests, math tests, for failing to adequately explain her answer. I'm looking at 2010's state math test now. Five lines provided to say explain how you figured out that Jose's math pattern was "add 2, subtract 5, add 2, subtract 5...." It really is so much silliness, and that's what they expect kids to do. I read an article about how this great school had low scores on the 8th grade tests despite actually working above grade level, and they specifically blamed this fetish for "explaining" as the reason. Some commenters refused to believe it, but I do. It's hard to explain these, especially when you understand them enough to just do the math without counting or drawing pictures! It really penalizes kids who work at a level where they don't have to think it all through, and it's tedious as well.

As for Evangeline, she's doing multi digit subtraction with borrowing, or regrouping as we say today. In school they're doing two digit plus one digit addition with carrying, and they've only just started, but she's pretty much mastered subtraction at home. Funny thing, her mistakes are completely different from Ana's! When Ana started with that level of subtraction, sometimes she'd forget and, if the top digit was smaller than the bottom, subtract the smaller digit from the larger instead of adding a ten. So if she had 78 - 69 she would get 11 as her answer. Eva has yet to do that. However, when SHE gets careless she starts borrowing to digits that don't need it! So if she has 531 - 140 she might absent mindedly take away from the 30, and then get stuck when her answer makes no sense. In math, she's better at catching silly answers than Ana is, though. (Ana is better at catching silly mistakes in reading.)
conuly: (Default)
Other than the occasional Yodel (which admittedly was delicious) or Snoball (which I always regretted), I didn't buy much of that.

Anyway, I take it for granted that sooner or later the same recipes will be flooding the market again, though likely with different names.

So I didn't think there was much to say, until I walked into my supermarket and saw Krimpets for sale. Well, of course, with Hostess out of the way other companies will move in. As a kid, I thought those were made up for Maniac Magee! Should I buy some, or were they overhyped in the book? It's always fun to eat, read, or do something from a book... but is it better in this case to continue to rely on my imagination?
conuly: (Default)
And Eva Ibbotson does rock, right?

She's really very involved in this book. She cried for ten, fifteen minutes when the neighbor in the book died.

Today, I gave them, as I am wont to do, fifteen minutes to play before starting homework. As they played, I read. Suddenly, I was jolted out of my book by the strong and strident cries of LIAR!!! YOU ARE A LIAR!!

This came out of nowhere so I poked my head in to see what her sister had done to provoke this.

The answer was - nothing! Ana was furious at the actions of one of the book characters!
conuly: (Default)
We found a actual, mailed letter, addressed to me but with no return address. I open it up, and there is an unsigned note saying they think this can come in handy. What can come in handy? A gift certificate to the local supermarket, with a receipt from said supermarket so I know that it's been paid for.

That certainly will come in handy! But who sent this?

Most of the people who know we have a little budget shortfall this week do not live on Staten Island, so they couldn't reasonably go to my supermarket to buy a gift certificate. And it's not another one in the chain, the receipt has the address on it.

Those people in my neighborhood mostly don't know, and at any rate few of them know my last name. It doesn't come up that often. A friend suggested it might be payback for the Halloween candy, which certainly did cost more than $25, not that I begrudge it to anybody (if I did, I would not have handed it out!), but then why go to the effort of mailing that instead of walking by and dropping it in? And I'm pretty sure I haven't mentioned it to anybody else I know casually, who at any rate wouldn't know either my address OR last name.

Truly, it's a conundrum. But I'm certainly grateful for it! I may have splurged on ice cream for the nieces yesterday on the grounds that they'll be with their dad for thanksgiving, but then I found out that this is by no means confirmed. Sheesh. On the plus side, school lunch is free for all students this month because of the storm. The storm isn't behind the budget gap (that's a plumbing problem that, upon close examination, we will in no way be able to attribute to anything other than putting it off too long), but there's no reason we can't take advantage of this.
conuly: (Default)
Which is delicious, and very easy. The nieces took some in to school today, and Ana reported back that her friends decided that it is "better than Three Musketeers", a statement that would be more flattering if I'd made this from scratch instead of from fluff.

I seem to recall making that stuff all the time in high school, but I don't think I've made it since. Well, until yesterday, that is. I'm not sure why I stopped making it.

The girls were very hyper all day, even before the fudge, and after dinner they had a stuffed animal fight with me. That is, they attacked me with stuffed animals, and I used Eva as a human shield. Or I tried to, but then she declared this "the hunger games", a book she most emphatically has not read ("I got it off a book, but all I know is it's about killing"), and I lost it. I got completely pummeled after I collapsed laughing.

After things calmed down I went to retrieve my phone, and they did... something. I'm still not sure what, but they had these unholy grins and giggles going on. I told them that as soon as I found out why they were grinning I would be sure to put them in time out, but they thought this was hilarious and I was the funniest person ever. Their laughter definitely did nothing to reassure me.

We also had a doctors appointment. Now, on the way to the appointment I spent all my time reminding them to stay out of the snow due to lack of boots. And today on the way to the boat I had to remind them frequently not to climb in EVERY fallen tree, nor to slide down EVERY bannister, nor to jump onto and off the benches at the boat. Eva jumped getting off the bus and got me the nose, and it really hurt and we were late because I had to sit down and cry. I sometimes think that they are the most rambunctious children I know. I look around, and other kids are not constantly jumping and running and spinning. They occasionally do other things! But when we get together with other kids those kids invariably adjust to the nieces energy level, not the other way around, so then I think I'm unobservant or the other kids are stifled. I can't figure out which it is.
conuly: (Default)
And batteries, but that was a surprise.

The nieces were amazingly enthused once we got there. They were excited about the gardening gloves (for me, not them, there weren't any kid-sized gloves). They were excited about carrying around the shovel. They were excited about walking down the aisle with the lighting... while carrying around the shovel. (Nothing broke. Whew.)

They were excited about going to the freaking bathroom, and once we'd done that, about picking out a new fridge. They wanted one with an ice maker. I said that's never going to happen. The fridges are by the stoves. They put their hands on all the burners. (Which weren't plugged in. Whew.) The stoves were by the washers and driers. They wanted a new washer. I said ours works fine. They wanted a new drier with a glass door. I said that if they want to see the clothes dry they should hang them up on the line. We went back and passed the batteries. They wanted the 16-pack. We got the 8-pack. It was all very exciting, apparently.

At the checkout line, they were excited to get candy. Pity it only came in king size, so they had to share. Ana wanted Almond Joy. Eva wanted Kit-Kat. I wanted them to pay with their allowance, but they'd spent it all. Well, anything to get us out faster. Ana suddenly screamed that Eva ALWAYS gets her own way. This would've worked to make Evangeline cave, but I paid for the Kit-Kat and wrote out a note: "Today, I let Eva win. 8/8/12" and handed it to Ana. "You lost this time because of the tantrum," I said, "but keep this note and next time you get YOUR way."

Now it was rather late, and nobody had had lunch, but Evangeline wanted to go to the playground. Ana: Do I *have* to??? Me: Are you handing in your note? Are you SURE you're not? Are you REALLY sure?

They stayed an hour at the playground before I dragged them away.

Went home and cooked dinner, chicken and cornbread. I didn't have a measuring cup or baking soda so I had to kinda estimate it all out and substitute some things and it was the BEST CORNBREAD EVER. Moist and delicious and because I had deviated so much from the recipe I'll never, ever, ever be able to repeat it. I normally make good cornbread, but this time I totally outdid myself and I'll never, ever replicate what I did today. *sigh* Did you know cornbread is deliciouser dipped in chicken drippings?
conuly: (Default)
With lentils to stretch the beef. Because, you know, lentils make it healthy. (The fact that it's half veggies makes it healthy.)

The nieces love this meal, especially when I refrain from making the topping with sweet potato. (Parsnips all the way, baby!)

While we ate dinner, we played categories, specifically, "things you do during summer". Read more... )

At this moment, Jenn walked in, asking what was for dinner.

Evangeline: Sri Lankan food!
Me: Fried chicken!
Jenn: Okay. *walks out*
Evangeline: Um... does she really think it's fried chicken?

We never did finish this game.
conuly: (Default)
And she's also learned that by being still and calm, she'll encourage Callie to interact with her. Just today Callie came up to her and head-bumped her before running away! (It was huge, really.)

Ana's new knowledge only helps her a *little*, of course. A few days ago she accidentally locked Callie out in the back hallway. When she opened the door she decided, since Callie is scared of her, to open it in such a way as to not frighten the cat.

She hid behind the door.

Read more... )
conuly: (Default)
Ana: You know, I found out recently that Callie (the calico cat) really likes hunting. Even at night! Every night she's just literally "blargh blargh blargh" (said while frenetically waving her hands in vague clawing motions) all night and jumping on the bed and off the bed and on the bed!
Me: She actually SAYS "blargh blargh blargh"?
Ana: No, that's why I said literally.

Now, I don't usually get all up in the "literally means literal!" debate because, honestly, talk about your lost battle! But I couldn't let this one slide.

Me: Yes, literally. So she actu-
Ana: No! Literally! It means, you know, actually but not really!
Me: No, Ana, it actually means "actually, but totally really".
Ana: It does? Well, whatever, I'm using it that way. She literally does that!
Me: No, sweetie, she figuratively does that. She couldn't do that if she tried, her mouth doesn't work that way.

Later at bedtime, Ana was upset at me because I'd sent Evangeline to bed without dinner. This was because we got a note home about her behavior at school, and when asked Evangeline first lied about it, then continued to lie about it, then started screaming. And I wasn't even upset about the note! So she went right to bed tonight, because we can't have screaming children at the table. I said she could come out when she was ready to behave, and I guess she wasn't. So when Ana went to bed she made a point of telling me how much she'll never forgive me, because, after all, she holds grudges forever. (Newsflash, Ana, we already know this.)

To prove the point, she said she's still mad at this girl in her class in kindergarten, T, because one day in kindergarten T called her fat. And I couldn't help it, I started to laugh. If T called Ana fat, it only proves she had no idea what the word means, because T is quite honestly the chubbiest child I've ever met*, and Ana, well, isn't. Of course, when Ana found out why I found this funny she immediately leapt to the girl's defense, despite not being friends with her over this whole comment. "She's not fat! Well, not anymore. She lost a lot of weight!"

* Not that I normally would care, and even if I would children are constantly getting fat and then thin again, but the irony here was astounding.
conuly: (cucumber)
I'm sure it's a cute video, but I couldn't bring myself to watch - the thought of what could've happened with that illegally snuck out iPad turned my stomach! (And that's not the most shocking misbehavior the nieces have had this week. I won't tell you the rest of it, it makes us all look incompetent.)

In other news, she's up to easy long division with remainders (that is, only with the 2s or 3s times table, and only into double digit numbers) in her "extra math". This is clearly not coming easily to her (although I must say I was astonished at how quickly she picked up multiplication where you have to carry!), but she's getting it. I'm not sure she understands why the procedure works, though, and I kinda want her to. Help?


Feb. 12th, 2012 05:15 pm
conuly: (Default)
Eva is at the dinner table RIGHT NOW working on her homework. She's supposed to be writing three facts from her non-fiction book in a bag. We didn't get one of those this week (seriously!) so she's writing three facts from The Dinosaur Alphabet instead.

Her second fact is "Nobody knows why the dinosaurs became extinct". Several theories are mentioned in the text. Evangeline has come up with her own theory, though...

Eva: I think I know how the dinosaurs became extinct!
Me: Oh?
Eva: Oldness! They got old and they died.
Me: What about their babies? The younger dinosaurs didn't have babies?
Eva: Maybe none of them wanted to get married and have babies!
Me: *giggle* Well, of course, most animals don't get married first.
Eva: Really? Then how...
Me: Sex.
Eva: What?
Me: Sex. That's how you get babies. Humans don't really need to get married either.
Eva: SEX? They have to have SEX for babies? With the penis and the vagina? Ew. Maybe the dinosaurs didn't want to do sex and that's why they had no babies and that's why they died out.
Me: Um... excuse me. *runrunrun*

Also, Ana got 100 on her math test today, telling me proudly that she checked all her answers using the fancy finger method I showed her last night. (Aw!)

One question, though: Why on earth is a simple test on her times-tables-above-5 multiple guess? We didn't have that nonsense when *I* was her age! Just give 'em a 25% chance!
conuly: (childish)
She was first, but I had to sit through the whole thing, all six or so first grade classes. I ought to have left sooner....

Funnily, even though we got that note home saying that Evangeline flat-out refused to stand still during rehearsal and kept putting her hands on her head (when they were supposed to be at her sides) or sitting (when she was supposed to be standing), I actually found her to be fairly still and non-fidgety, especially when compared to the children on either side of her, one of whom kept bouncing from foot to foot and turning around, and the other who kept rubbing his eyes, scratching, and turning around.

This is either because:

1. Evangeline has been replaced by a pod person, or is otherwise sick.
2. She got all her fidgets out in rehearsal but took the performance seriously.
3. I or her mom or her teacher finally managed to threaten her into good behavior.
4. Her teacher has an irrational vendetta against her and made that up.

The last, although it would be the most satisfying, seems to be the least likely. I've met the woman. Never seen somebody so unlikely to hold a grudge against anybody. Also, Evangeline *admitted* to this behavior when asked about it, so... yeah. And I'm pretty sure it's not option 5 (I see everything she does with rose colored lenses) because the kids on either side of her REALLY were fidgeting a LOT. Evangeline seemed pretty normal for first grade, no more than her other classmates in the fidget arena.

So I don't know what's up with that.
conuly: (Default)
Today was... frustrating. Jenn has gone back to school, and the ONLY day she can get her class is on Sundays, which means I have the nieces most of the day. They're... not happy about the change.

Yesterday we went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. Michele has her birthday at the same time, so she was there too with her cute kids. (The baby really is VERY cute, and very verbal for a two year old! Her birthday was just in December, and she's using full sentences and everything! At one point her sisters and the nieces and I were crowded around her playing the "Point to a body part" game and after she obliged us for several minutes she finally shook her head and said "I have to eat, you know, guys."

She was ADORABLE. Looks nothing like her sisters, though. (They were equally cute at that age, but they looked nothing like her.)

Near the end of dinner, Ana got sick and ended up taken to the emergency room, where they tentatively diagnosed her as having reflux. Michele drove them down, and Azra was very concerned. "Where's Anne (Ah-nay, Turkish for "mom")?" "She's gone for now. Let's sit down!" "No, Anne sits there. Where's Anne?" "She'll be back! Let's sit down, come here now!" "No, I have to look for my Anne. Anne?"

Anyway, we packed up our remaining food and went home after Michele got back.

Today I overslept in the morning, and decided that since we'd all woken up so late it was better to skip breakfast and just eat lunch early. So I went to heat up the leftover sesame chicken.

Evangeline: There's not enough broccoli in that!
Me: You're right, there's only four pieces. That's all right, we have a whole head of broccoli in the fridge, I'll just cook some of that to go with it.
Ana: No, don't do that!
Me: Why not? Don't you want broccoli?
Ana: Yes, but I only want four pieces!
Me: Right, and there's four pieces left. That's why I'm making some more.
Ana: But I only want four pieces!
Me: Yes, and?
Ana: And don't cook any more!
Me: There are ONLY four pieces.
Ana: Right.
Me: And you WANT four pieces. What, exactly, does Eva get?
Me: Well, if you want more, you can have more. I have a whole BUNCH of broccoli in here.

Apparently, if Ana gets four pieces (by her own choice!) and Eva gets four pieces but had some yesterday while Ana was at the hospital, this is massively unfair. Once this was revealed, Evangeline started hollering that she didn't even EAT any broccoli, baby Azra ate it all. I just noted that we pretty much finished dinner when Ana left, Ana - alone out of all of us! - was permitted to eat her dessert first (lychee nuts), and that Ana had finished her dinner before she left to go to the ER.

ANA is massively unfair. Once this was revealed, she got the lecture of her life on the subject of fairness and why it absolutely does not mean that she gets to dictate who does and does not get to eat broccoli when there is a very abundance of the stuff right now. Once we'd exhausted the subject of fairness we got to move onto the concept of sisterhood and the difference between reasonable and utterly reprehensible behavior.

Ana was really just in a pissy mood because her mom wasn't there and she'd been sick, but god damn if her attitude didn't completely infuriate me. We all calmed down after eating, though, and later the nieces teamed up in an attempt to stuff a sash in my mouth, climb on my back, and make me be a horse.

(It's really a very strange family at times.)
conuly: (Default)
Apparently she's been stealing the fun-tac to fidget with (we'd noticed the fun-tac, but she'd managed to imply her teacher let her have it!), and she filled the inside of her desk with glue (!!!), and she put her hands on her head during play rehearsal instead of keeping them by her side.

At the last one, I can only imagine the teacher is just getting frustrated, because seriously? I don't think that deserves a note home, or even PART of a note home. Certainly not when compared to the glue...!

The teacher said she's "still having trouble with reading", and I'm not going to bore you with my opinion on that again.

I also still don't get how she can spell words mostly fine when I dictate them to her at home, but then fail on the test. She's supposed to "write the words without looking" once a week, but the truth is that I never let her look at the words. It's probably different with other children, but if Eva's copying, she's not thinking. (And what's really funny, I'm starting to realize, is she's more likely after the test to misspell her predictable "word study words" than her unpredictable "sight words"... maybe because she's more familiar with words like "know" than like "peg"? Her misspellings there are more likely to be transposed letters than skipped ones.)

But what really, really bugs me is her math test. See, the very day after this note we got a math test home. She has a perfect score. In her "open response" portion (where they're supposed to explain their thinking, the bane of Ana's existence) I actually think she did that better than her older sister does!

On one she was supposed to pick which student had measured the page correctly with buttons, and she picked the ones where the buttons went in a straight line, touching, across the page. "I think Rodrigo put the buttons on crele (correctly) becus his buttns are steratocrus (I think this is supposed to be "straight across") and do not have the spasis."

Ana probably would have said "I picked him because his go in a line. And that's the right answer. So I wrote it down." (But you know, Ana can be awfully passive-aggressive, especially when there are explicit or implied rules about how many words or sentences to write.)

So why is it we get note after note about how Evangeline "can't read" (no comment, no comment, no damn comment) but none of them mentions, even in passing, how her math is doing? When I was an underachieving kid, nobody ever held a parent-teacher conference or dragged me into guidance without first starting with "Connie is a very bright student" and spending a few more sentences talking about the particular strengths they thought I had. And THEN they talked about how I didn't do my homework or my classwork or whatnot.

The end result of this is that I cringe a little when people start extolling my virtues, anticipating the worst, but that's beside the point. Isn't it a little basic to start off with a softening compliment before you get to "what needs work"? (Even on Supernanny, the conversations with the parents all seem to start that way!)

Anyway, in other news, yesterday I told the nieces the story of how Ana, on her 4th birthday, slid down a very very tall firepole at the playground. (I can touch the platform if I stand on my tiptoes.) And I told, in dramatic tones, how when I saw Ana up there I wanted to scream and yell, but I was scared that if I did she'd just FALL, so I kept my mouth shut and, afterwards, pretended I hadn't seen her. And I reminded them that I rarely say things like "Don't do that, it's dangerous" because I want them to listen when it's dangerous, but at that age so many people still followed their kids around on the playground and it really irked me because the kids played less safely when their parents did that.

Ana: And anyway, if you follow your kids around and say "No, no, no, that's not safe", when do your kids get to have an adventure?
Eva: Yeah! And when do they learn anything? Like my classmate, his parents treat him like a baby! And they come to EVERY event at school and even tell him how to spell words!

(Maybe this is why the other kids spell better than Eva does! "Sound it out for your own self" has been the rule here since Ana was in kindergarten, followed closely by "This word is wrong. Go look it up" now that she's older! Seriously, Evangeline sounded like she was revealing that they spoon-feed him purees or wipe his butt for him, not that they help him with his homework!)
conuly: (Default)
And while MOSTLY PMS just makes me bitchy, like everybody else, for a day or two in the middle I'm awesome and understanding and compassionate. It's great!

I hit that stage yesterday, and just in time. Evangeline had been throwing a (mostly) silent tantrum on the bus all the way home from the Y, furious that I wouldn't allow her to take up two whole seats. When we got off the bus she immediately started to scream. Not words, just "Aah! Aah! Aah! Aah!" like a busted car alarm. She didn't want to hold my hand or walk with me, so I had to hold her arm with two hands.

Now, in the bitchy part of PMS, I would respond to this with snapping and yelling. And then I'd feel bad, and worse, it wouldn't even work. It'd just make her scream more.

In the normal part of the month, I'd proceed while attempting to ignore her. After all, she wasn't hurting anybody, and we weren't lingering around long enough to disturb anybody's peace.

But this is my brief time to really shine. As I'm dragging her up the hill, the thought enters my head that she is one very unhappy child. She probably wanted to stop carrying on, but she couldn't do it without letting me win!

So I stopped dead. "Eva? Do you want me to carry you?"



She threw that out for all the world like she was going to do ME a favor! Ha! So I picked her up and she immediately stopped screaming, tucked her arms in like she was tired in the wrap, and started sobbing. Poor baby. And then she calmed down and we went home.

Ana, to give her credit, was amazingly understanding as well. *huggles* It was Ana's seat that Evangeline kept trying to shove her way into, but she didn't get upset about it. She's really a good kid. (They both are scrupulously fair when it comes to injustice regarding their sister. I don't know where we went right.)

Oh, also, the two of them climbed on top of their mom's closet yesterday, on the part of it that juts into their room. It's actually a great little nook, though the climbing up part wasn't very safe. I won't describe how they did it (Jenn didn't want the memories of the feat preserved), but let's just say that next time? They have to use a real ladder. And, um, not go up there in their new leggings. Filthy, filthy, covered in dirt. Had we been there we probably could've enforced both of those, but nobody thought they'd do this! (Well, that really is always the way.)
conuly: (cucumber)
When I was a kid, if I got a bad report card, I went ahead and destroyed it beyond recognition! Ripped it up and buried it in the compost, tossed it down the toilet, whatever!

I certainly did NOT leave it on the stairs of the train for any passing do-gooder to pick up and carefully return to my school :)

Listen, if you can't be bothered to throw your failing report card out (and it was pretty bad), guess what? I certainly can be bothered to go 20 minutes out of my way to bring back! I'm under no illusions that it'll actually make it home to her Parents or Guardians this time (unless the school smartens up and calls them first), but maybe she'll dispose of it properly.

conuly: (brain)
A book report. She was supposed to read a book on any holiday (December holidays implied, but not explicitly stated) and then write about what she learned about the holiday.

In the spirit of the thing, I put a book on Diwali, which I know little about other than that it exists on hold at the library. The library promptly lost it.

So we had to scramble to get a Christmas book for her to read. She decided to read Jingle Bells, Homework Smells.

Well. She did this all at the VERY last minute. We literally finished her second draft (she has to bring in a "sloppy copy" and her finished work) on the train to school. Funnily enough, "don't put off your homework" is the supposed moral of the story... but we'll get to that.

She didn't even want to do it right. Her "three sentences" barely counted, and I had her redo them entirely for her second draft. "The main character is Gilbert. He doesn't do his work. He hands in his book report late." She utterly refused at first to write "I learned not to put off doing my homework" or anything of the sort because, of course, she didn't learn that and to write it would be lying. In vain did we all point out that her teacher would neither know nor care! Lying. Is. Wrong.

On the train I managed to get her to write a little more, retelling the story. As I pointed out, her teacher doesn't care if she learned anything, she just wants to make sure Evangeline understands what she read. So, assured that she wouldn't have to lie, Evangeline managed a full paragraph about this book. And then we came to the moral. She suggested (correctly, I think) that the real moral of the story is "If you make a snowman instead of doing your book report, and bring in your report a day late, you'll still get full credit. So why rush?" But she as quickly rejected this as not being appropriate for school. (I wish she hadn't!) Instead, she wrote down, very carefully, that Gilbert learned not to put off his work, because he might not be able to get it done at the last minute. (She, of course, learned nothing of the sort, as seen by the fact that she was doing her own report at the last minute. And heaven forbid we lie!)

On the subject of homework, Ana says she's not allowed to take notes in math because her teacher assumes they're WRITING notes and takes it away. How she's supposed to study or do her homework when she can't refer to classwork, I don't understand. Yesterday she got very upset because her homework asked her to identify the "mode" and the "range" from a set of data, and she couldn't remember the definitions - and of course, she couldn't find them in her notebook either.

I'm not entirely sure she's correct about this, but I told her to talk to her teacher and if the teacher still refuses we'll write a note in. This is ridiculous. (Of course, throwing a tantrum within 3 seconds of reading a difficult math problem instead of thinking about it and/or asking for help is also ridiculous, but I can't solve that with a note to the teacher, can I?)
conuly: (Default)
And first they whined about how to split the cookies evenly, but then they thought about it and worked out that 14/2 = 7 cookies each. So Evangeline carefully counted out her seven cookies, and Ana decided to have hers later.

A few minutes down the line, when Ana took the sleeve of cookies, Evangeline said, apparently totally seriously:

"Those are your cookies, but be careful, that's my crumb!"

On top of the stack of cookies there was one cookie crumb.

Ana: Your crumb?!?
Evangeline: Yes. That's my crumb.
Ana: YOUR CRUMB?!?!?!?
Evangeline: My crumb.
Ana: Your... CRUMB????
Evangeline: MY CRUMB!
My mom: What's all this about? Ana, you're supposed to share evenly!
Ana: Yeah, but she says that's her crumb!
Evangeline: It is!
My mom: Your crumb?
Evangeline: That's what Ana said!
conuly: Dr. Horrible quote: All the birds are singing, you're gonna die : ) (birds are singing)
Boy, is this ever a production! First I had to get the carriers (and a ride) from Michele. Luckily she was willing to do so, her youngest was sick this weekend. Then I had to borrow a second friend because she's on food stamps, saving me $115 per kitten. (They're "her" kittens today, though sadly she's not interested in them in real life.) Given that she's excessively pregnant, this was a huge favor of hers.

Then I get there and the van's not there. It showed up right as we were about to give up and leave. And we stand out in the cold and the woman goes "Oh, if it's three cats the third one has to be full price." But, happily, another person there only had ONE cat, so she signed the form for him.

So, in total, it took four people to manage getting these three cats fixed, and I still have the girls to do. They're going Friday, I can *walk* down. *thinks* Well, picking them up isn't so bad, but dropping them off might be a problem. I should ask Jenn or my mom to do that, otherwise I'll have to go some other day.

Oh, and their mom. She's last because she's still nursing. Logically, you'd think she's most urgent, but it's not the right time of year for kittens, so I'm not overly worried.
conuly: (Default)
Parent teacher night was, like, a month ago, but it took me this long to post about it! (Jenn did it, being their mom, so really, I should make her post. Whatever.)

Evangeline's teacher said she gets distracted easily in class, and of course she needs to work on her reading. As it happens, Evangeline's been working on her reading, and now can pretty much retell any story she likes with aplomb, although she still has a little trouble using pronouns without first using the noun that tells us who the pronoun is. Also, she hates and loathes having to retell stories. For any reason. Her retellings are peppered with "Can I just skip ahead?" I'm not entirely sure this is the goal, and I'd still love to see how it all goes in class, which is kinda where it counts.

Ana's teacher said she basically could ace the 3rd grade reading test right now, and she's doing fine in math although she needs some help on word problems. We've been working on problems, and I've identified the problems:

1. She's been taught to look for words that indicate what sort of problem it is. However, either she's been taught badly or she didn't understand, because this trips her up when, say, she sees the word "more" and assumes addition but actually the question is "how much more is the doll than the book?" I'm working on retraining her to look for the sense of the question first instead of going for shortcuts. This is something that's so obvious to me, I'm not sure how to help her out.

2. In multi-step problems, even when she identifies all the steps in advance (because she's expected to explain her thinking afterwards, I'm having her do so before even starting the problem) she often gets confused or bored halfway through and either leaves the problem unfinished or melds all the steps into one.

3. When she's done with a problem, she doesn't check her work. At all. She doesn't even do a glance back to see if her answer makes sense. Cookies that cost $100? Children who are 10 inches tall? It says A is the tallest, but when I did the math I got an answer that made him the shortest? Whatever, I did the math, right? Wrong.

In the extra math we're doing at home (which, ha, comes with its own book of word problems to work from!) she has trouble doing mental math. We get her old math textbook every year in June, and I don't think they emphasize or even teach mental math at all, so this isn't a surprise. But it's something we're working on.

However, there are plusses. Remember how Evangeline was working through her book much faster than Ana was working through hers? Well, now they're about even. Why? Not because Evangeline slowed down, but because we hit the section on money in Ana's book about two weeks after they covered money in her class. Which means I've just gone ahead and skipped most of the section, only doing the word problems and mental math parts of it :) And now Ana's class is doing time to the minute, but this book is doing time to the five minutes, so we'll skip most of that as well. Woo-hoo! (Also, Ana finally seems to have her basic addition facts memorized. She hasn't mentioned it, but it goes much faster now that she's not counting.)

Comparing Evangeline's school math to her afterschool math, in school they're doing single-digit addition... and Evangeline is working on double digit subtraction at home. But I don't mind this at all, it's good for her to get more review and grounding in this.

In other news, I want to get them doing some history at home soon to inoculate them against the history that's taught in schools. (I went to these schools. Truly, the history classes are teh suck.) I've found a few online curricula that seem to focus largely on primary documents, but they're all American history, nothing for world history at all. Seriously, do I have to make this all up myself? I'm too lazy for that.
conuly: (Default)
The girls had chipped in $12, and I agreed to make up any difference. (That really annoyed Ana, who had donated the bulk of that $12 and was hoping to get some change back!)

Anyway, we bought the present and headed home, where I left the present on Jenn's bed figuring we couldn't lose it that way. Ana found it there today and was VERY CONCERNED.

"Why would you do that? Leaving it on her bed? What were you THINKING, Connie?"
"That it's not that big a deal? It's wrapped!"
"What if Mommy saw it there, and got so tempted she couldn't help herself, and she opened it early?"
"You do realize your mother's a grown-up, right?"
"That's not the point. I'm going to put this away."

And she did, right on the same spot we always hide presents, the top shelf of the pantry.

But getting back to our story, on the way home Ana spotted an ad for Gatorade, and it really baffled her.

Ana: I just don't get it.
Me: Get what? Let's cross the street here.
Ana: The sign. How can a drink give anything to a family and the mailman?
Me: The what now? Guys, let's not hold hands, it's a little -
Ana: THE SIGN! It doesn't make any sense!
Me: - crowded on the sidewalk. Ana, I have no idea what you're talking about.
Ana: There's a SIGN. And it has a mom, and a dad, and two kids, and a mailman. And Gatorade!
Me: Gatorade?
Ana: Yes!
Me: That doesn't make any sense.
Ana: No! And I don't get it. The Dad is mad, but it doesn't say why, and the mailman is smiling -
Me: Wait, what? Oh. Oh, no -
Ana: and the mom is just looking embarrassed, and I don't get it.
Me: Well, now I *do* get it, thanks Ana.
Ana: You do?
Me: Yeah, but... I'm not sure I'm going to explain it to you. It's a little inappropriate.
Ana: Well, at least I have one clue. The sign says "Gatorade gives you energy".
Me: Yeah....

I didn't explain it to her at all. NO IDEA where to start!

Other things I didn't point out: The fact that the advent calendars we picked up with the birthday present change feature 17 children, every last one of whom is white. I knew we should've gone with penguins! I'm considering a firmly worded email to the company, but I'm not sure how to word it. Can't we try for a little proportion, people? (And I feel so silly, because it's just an advent calendar, but it's not unimportant, is it? Because it's not just this one thing or that one thing, it's every one of them piled up together in a big load of... I don't know.)
conuly: (cucumber)
1. I don't actually like Jerusalem Artichokes. Blech.

2. Jerusalem Artichokes cause gastrointestinal distress in some people. Like me. Add that to sinus congestion (read: massive dizziness), two sick children, and the hiccups (seriously?) and it was a bit of a letdown for Thanksgiving. AND THEN ANA ATE ALL THE LAST OF THE ICE CREAM!

However, the actual dinner prep went well. Jennifer complained that it's hardly "special" when I routinely cook two or three sides per dinner, but the advantage of that is that I have it all down to an art by now, and am not panicking as I try to time everything correctly. (Plus, it means we get to have lots of vegetables at every meal. Veggies make it healthy!)

I also learned that Jenn liked my twice baked sweet potatoes much more than I did, but it wasn't very high quality blue cheese. (I should've warned her before her second one, though, that they're something like 500 calories each. Not that counting calories is what we all do, but you should know before you chow down on 1000 of them in one sitting, right?)
conuly: (Default)
I *did* get there in time for reading... but they weren't doing individual reading today, they were doing a shared story and then writing a text-to-self connection based on things they'd discussed during circle time.

I like how they managed that. Because it's definitely not feasible to always give EVERY child a chance to participate, at various times they asked the students to talk over their ideas with their neighbors instead. A little noisier, but everybody got to say their ideas aloud and think it through that way.

Midway through the story, there was an announcement. The gist of it was "Look, the fire marshal told us you can't have more than 20% of the wall covered with papers. If they can't go on the bulletin board, make sure 80% of the wall is uncovered. Yes, even the windows and doors". That's easy enough, right?

It took at least three minutes. That's not counting the 45 seconds of "This is an announcement", which aside from being pointless, ran something like "Students, teachers. Oh, and parents, please pay attention to the following announcement. Please stop all instruction so you can pay attention to this important announcement. I'm sorry for the interruption, and I'll be brief, but you must listen to this announcement. I know this is disruptive, and I apologize". She apologized again at the end. There would've been less to apologize for if she'd shut up faster! And to all this I say, if you make so many announcements that your staff and students habitually ignore them, stop making so many announcements!

And then the meat of the announcement was repeated at least three times. The first repetition makes sense, because the first time the secretary made her little statement it sounded an awful lot like "The fire marshal is here to inspect, and god knows we don't want to get dinged with a citation, so move that paper off your walls before they show up to your classroom". Honest, but it doesn't really have that caring "safety first" (said no less than four times during this interruption!) attitude that people like to hear in regards to their children. So she rephrased, emphasizing that of COURSE they care about SAFETY. And then she said it again. AND AGAIN.

And you know what? I don't know about the fire safety aspect, but from an aspie aspect, I think they're right. The walls were covered in bright, competing posters. That includes the blackboard, which they don't use (when they need to write something down they do it on a big pad, which strikes me as wasteful of both money and space) so it's just another wall. There's a big colorful poster of the days of the week, and another of the months of the year. There's a big colorful calendar that they do every day. There's a big chart showing the daily schedule - and I don't care if you DO take Italian at 10:03, it looks more cluttered to write that! They aren't going to class on their own, just put 10:00 and be done with it. There's an attendance chart and a chore chart and a behavior chart. There's two lists of rules. There's an alphabet strip above the board - and right below it a poster by the same company with the same letters and same pictures illustrating them. There are three posters illustrating character definitions. There's a poster at the top which I think is there to cover peeling paint about how great the class is. There are THREE posters about the March of Dimes walk they did on Halloween. There's a poster with their birthmonths and one listing who lost a tooth when. There's a tiny space carved out for the example of what they're writing today - but it's so hidden that the kids have to LOOK for it every time they need to check the spelling of "connection" or "turkey". There's a map of the US, too high up to be useful. There's a model clock for learning time. There are two dangly "fall" decorations, and I don't know what-all else.

Oh, and in the last bit of space left, there's the kids' work. That's positively restful compared to the rest of it, which is all bright colors going every which way. It was exhausting looking at the front of the room! Much of that stuff is useful, I'm sure - but is it really all useful ALL DAY LONG? I wanted to go through and clear the walls and paint them a nice, calming color. Seriously, sometimes less really is more.

So when Evangeline was trying to write her piece, her teacher prompted her to "keep writing" - but it was clear to me, having had my eye on her specifically this whole time, that Evangeline hadn't STOPPED writing. It was just taking her a long time to find the part she was copying the spelling off of, and the rest of it must be amply distracting.

Anyway, at this point we got to see how all the other grown-ups act. The room was suddenly abuzz with parents trying to help their kid do work (despite us all having been exhorted NOT to do this in the form home). And what a bunch of buttinskies they are! Their kid can't put pencil to paper, some of them, without their mom already spelling the next word. Which made me look like a terrible aunt, but honestly, it's Evangeline's job to be a first grader, not mine.

It didn't look like Eva wrote less than all the other students, or particularly worse, but I don't know. I didn't look over all shoulders.

I did say something to Evangeline. She'd complained to me that her seatmate is "always complaining" when Evangeline lets her shoulder or pencil get onto her desk "even just a little". At the time, I'd told her that Evangeline should stay in her own desk, which annoyed her. Shouldn't I be on her side all the time???? Today I saw the situation... and said it more firmly when I left at snacktime*. No wonder the kid gets mad, Evangeline lets her pencil case go halfway across her neighbor's workspace!

*I don't care what you think, Goldfish crackers do not constitute a healthy snack. Am I the only person left who hears "healthy snack" and assumes the correct answer is "fresh fruit"?
conuly: (creepy)
And when I went to put them on, I noticed the laces were untied. The nieces had been downstairs for a while, so as we left I said "Listen, girls, don't untie my shoes."

Them: We didn't!
Me: Look, it's not a big deal, I'm not mad, just don't do it again!
Them: We didn't!!!
Me: This is silly. *I* didn't do it, nobody else is home, and anyway neither your mom nor Nanen would've done so. One of you must have done it.
Them: Maybe it was the cats!
Me: Maybe that's ridiculous.

Anyway, what had been a minor matter turned into this whole big "thing", and all over them lying (stupidly!) about untying my laces!

Friday I dropped them off with their dad. Saturday I went to put on my shoes. The laces were untied. And looking closely... oh... I could see they were clawed all over.

I called my sister. "Jenn? When you were down here last night, did you, uh, untie my shoe?"

In my defense, how could I possibly have seen that coming? It was ridiculous! (I've since apologized to the nieces.)
conuly: (creepy)
Your input is all appreciated, but why don't I cut down on the nattering spam? )

This is more reading comprehension )

Ana is working through multi-part word problems with, if not exactly ease, at least aplomb. Which is more important, for her - she tends to trip up on things that are easy for her because she panics and starts to overthink.

Also, she confided to me today that she's not really doing any assigned reading in class because the teacher doesn't have any books on her level. So she just picks what she wants from whatever bin. I'll admit it, I was proud. Not that it's any of my doing.

Edit: And about the "neck/nack" and "shed/shad" spelling errors, it'd be convenient to blame the teacher for having a funny way of saying those words, except that she made that same error with me over the whole of last week. That's not the issue.
conuly: (Default)
Which I expected, as noted.

And on the train we read the third chapter of Frog and Toad Are Friends ("This book is not on her reading level!"), which Evangeline has never read before: The Lost Button. She stopped a few times mid-story to guess what would happen next.

And I asked Eva after the fact what happened...

Me: So, Evangeline, what happened in this story?
Eva: He lost a button and -
Me: Wait, wait. What happened first?
Eva: They went for a walk, Frog and Toad, and he lost a button. And he-
Me: Who he?
Eva: Toad, Toad lost the button. And he and Frog went looking for it, but they couldn't find it. And they couldn't find it, and then when Toad went home he found it.
Me: Why did Frog look for the button too?
Eva: Because he and Toad are best friends.
Me: Okay. And then?
Eva: And then Toad took all the buttons they found that weren't his, and put them on his jacket and gave them to Frog.
Me: Why? (This isn't stated in the story.)
Eva: I think he just thought maybe Frog was upset at looking for the button, so he wanted to make him happy.

This is pretty close to the synopsis I would've given. This is, as near as I can tell, what Evangeline's teacher thinks she can't do. Are first grade teachers looking for something different?

Evangeline also, I will note, is very careful when reading dialog to try to read it with the appropriate emotion. She'll actually go and re-read something if she started out "sad" and thinks it should have been "happy", or if she was "shouting" and the text says the character "wailed". I don't think I'm just doting when I say that *I* think this puts her ahead of many young readers, and, for that matter, many not-so-young readers who ought to know better.

I mean, here's the thing. I am starting to think, as I've said, that Evangeline may not be reading as well as it seems, that she relies on guesswork more than she ought. However - is she also just working incredibly sub-optimally in class? Because I can't figure this out at all!

Her spelling test didn't come back yet either. I'm quite annoyed.


Nov. 4th, 2011 12:11 pm
conuly: (Default)
This was a light homework week because of Halloween, so Evangeline really did have all her work done on the train. Her dad's been picking Ana up and doing homework with them both after school because he's going off to basic training school, so when I saw him after school yesterday I told him three things:

1. Eva has finished all her work.
2. However, I'd like her to rewrite her spelling words twice.
3. And if she reads another chapter of Frog and Toad, have her tell you the story.

For 3 he apparently misunderstood that this was her assigned reading (I wish) and had her write her retelling in her homework book. I would not have even seen it if I hadn't decided to have Evangeline go over her words one more time on the train this morning.

The teacher as good as told me that she thought maybe the only reason Evangeline didn't seem to have trouble retelling stories at home was because she was familiar with them, even though I know for a fact that's not the case. (I wouldn't've even had any conversation with her if she'd just sent Eva down the hall to get the notebook herself. It's all of 50 feet!) It's for precisely this reason that I don't give her books she's familiar with to read. But this will all get sorted out or it won't on parent teacher night.

So now it looks like she's got a sorta very polite, schooly "fuck you" right in the homework notebook! "You think the kid can't do it? HERE'S THE PROOF!"

Either we'll get a snippy letter home today, or we won't but the teacher will have really wanted to write a snippy letter home today. And I actually can't even blame her! I'd do the same thing. (And guaranteed it's just going to seem like she's familiar with the book and/or she had lots and lots of help writing that out. Whatever.)

I really, really want Evangeline to pass that spelling test, though. She should be taking it right about now, so fingers crossed!
conuly: (Default)
Now, Evangeline developed a sore throat and off-and-on headache Wednesday afternoon. Thursday she stayed home, Friday she went in but the fever and headache came back in the afternoon. She went to the nurse, who determined it was far too late in the day to be worth sending her home (unbeknownst to her, due to the train schedule I show up 30 minutes early every day). After she went up with her dad, at some point she got a rash, which lasted the whole of the weekend and right up until today.

So she went to the doctor. It was either doctor first and miss school, or school first and miss trick-or-treating, and though we probably should've chosen the latter we felt no compunction about choosing the former. She still sobbed wildly. She wanted that parade and party.

Of course, by the time we saw the doctor it was the end of the school day anyway. What a waste of a day, only to find out that...

It's strep. Yeah, Eva probably (the rapid stress test is more rapid than accurate) has strep. A mild case that likely isn't contagious at this point, but I spent this evening picking up medicine anyway.

Strep with a rash, of course, is the same disease as scarlet fever, though for some reason that's not fully understood (and it's not JUST antibiotics) it became much less serious after the midpoint of the last century. I wish I'd just known that. I wish any of us had known that, the reaction among all the adults (excepting my mother, who had scarlet fever as a child, and Michele, whose kids get strep three times a year and in fact have it right now - I called her to warn her it's being passed around again, but it was too late) was "Really? I thought that mostly touched the throat!"

But no.

Also, I have to go back to the supermarket tomorrow to finish my shopping. Got there after the fish counter closed, darn it.
conuly: (Default)
If it's true, we already know it by looking at the results. And if it's not, it's just insulting by implying that we (and the kid) are just damn lazy.

Evangeline took a spelling test today. And she failed miserably. Which is funny because she got all those words right yesterday when I tested her on them! I'm putting under the cut the text of the email I sent Jenn about it.

Read more... )

It probably didn't help that she developed a headache this afternoon (she says "right after the test"), but a headache should not have produced this amount of difference between what she did yesterday and what she did today. A difference in how the words were presented might make that difference, I think.

It also doesn't help that it apparently never occurred to her to go back and check your answers after writing them down. I asked, and she said she didn't re-read that first section after writing any of it.

Ana also had a spelling test today, but I don't know how she did yet. I know that on one of her homework assignments she wrote "friendlly" and nobody corrected it, which wouldn't be such a big deal except that friendly is one of her spelling words. And because nobody corrected her she tried arguing with me when I pointed it out to her, naturally. Her teacher checked it and didn't correct it! But as I pointed out, if friend has no l, and -ly has one l, zero plus one still only equals one.
conuly: (Default)
I finally found the second one and felt really silly - we'd stuck it under the air conditioner to catch the drips a few months ago! It stopped dripping, but we never retrieved the pan.

So I made a chocolate cake, as always. Do you know how hard it is to make a cake without a beater? We used to have a really good manual beater, but that got lost years ago, and I couldn't find both parts of the electric one.

Making the cake batter wasn't so hard, but frosting with a spoon? Eesh. The trick is to add your liquid right at the start. I don't usually even put milk or anything in my frosting, but I did it this time.

Anyway, it was delicious. Everything I make is delicious, and don't forget it!

I shouldn't be typing, really, my left point finger hurts from, probably, typing too much. But I had to update sooner or later :)

(Also, Evangeline is six now. Yay! She still takes naps, though.)
conuly: (cucumber)
I just want to say that the nieces raved about this gumbo and said it is "Connie's best gumbo ever".


Of course, they also rave when I make green beans, and that doesn't require a roux. So what do they know?

Today Evangeline said, as we walked towards her school "Sometimes I wonder how we all got made."

Me: How what all got what?
Evangeline: How everything got made. You know, the trees and people and, and, and planets and stars?
Me: Oh! Well, that's an excellent question. People have been asking that question for ages and ages. Too bad we still aren't entirely clear on it.
Eva: Well, Grandma thinks God just made everything.
Me: That's one answer, but I don't think it's a good one, because then you just have to ask-

I swear, I didn't plant that statement. See, she's not even six, and even SHE can see the serious flaw in the argument there!

Anyway, we talked a bit about various peoples' creation myths, and I gave her a very brief synopsis of the Big Bang. VERY brief, as I find talk about the origin of everything to be boring and pointless* and so don't know that much on the subject.

*Extremely pointless. As far as I'm concerned, we're here, so obviously we exist, and if we didn't we wouldn't care, so why worry about it? I'm more concerned with my missing pint of ice cream. Anyway, the odds of getting a definitive answer (about the universe AND about my ice cream) within our lifetimes are impossibly slim, and unlike curing cancer or fixing poverty answering the question wouldn't help anybody in the here and now, so "impossibly slim" is as good a reason as any not to care. But I'm all for other people researching and thinking on the subject. Whatever makes you happy.


Oct. 10th, 2011 10:34 pm
conuly: (can't)
The Goblin War came out today. Now, if you don't ask, they often don't stock Hilari Bell. So I dutifully went and ordered the book to be delivered to the bookstore so Jenn could pick it up. Mail delivery is too haphazard around here. (We're on the longest route in the city, so we constantly have new carriers.)


So now I have to wait, and they also didn't have Happy Pig Day in stock, which is just the icing on the cake.

Also, the kittens are litter training. Which in effect means they're making little messes all around the house. A while back one of you complained that cats seemingly potty train faster than children, and I pointed out that when children potty train, they stay trained, something which isn't always true of cats. Also, when children are very little, they're typically in diapers. When cats are very little, their moms have to lick their butts and clean it up with their tongues, which, if you ask me, means that humans win hands down.

But here's another way in which having a human toddler is preferable. When your little human child is potty training, you probably only have one of them, and multiple adults. When it's kittens, it's the other way around. Sure, Mama Cat helps - but there's one of her and five of them!

Honestly, it's even worse than the fact that they aren't fully clear on the whole "wow, my claws retract" concept yet.
conuly: Dr. Horrible quote: All the birds are singing, you're gonna die : ) (birds are singing)
Two notes, really, but I'll combine them.

1. Please do NOT rush the wrong way down our little one-way street to beat the light. Kids play there! Bad enough that you're doing it at all, but go slowly like a civilized individual.

1a. And when somebody stops you and points out that you're going the wrong way, the appropriate response is "Oh, sorry" not "Don't worry, I know". We're not telling you for your benefit, you ass.

2. Those pretty lines on the street are the crosswalk. You don't get anywhere faster just because you're two feet ahead of where you were. The crosswalk is for pedestrians. YOU wait on the other side of it.

2a. (Also, a word of advice, if there's a little line painted just below the crosswalk? Wait there. Otherwise, when the bus turns, you'll find yourself frantically trying to backtrack. Use your head, stupid!)

3. If you're hanging out in the crosswalk waiting until you can turn, please recall that you must look BOTH ways before going anywhere.

And if you disregard both points 2 and 3, you may end up hitting somebody. Don't worry, I'm not hurt. But I've checked it over and the only thing I did wrong was assuming that this idiot lady wasn't dumb enough to try turning when there wasn't even a break in traffic for her to turn into. If it hadn't been me, she'd've plowed right into somebody else's car, and it would've served her right.

But maybe she at least would've gotten out of her car and, you know, checked if people were okay had she done that....

(I should've gotten the license, but I was too busy cursing loudly and resoundingly. Also, I swear to god, the next loser I see speeding down the one-way, I'm throwing eggs.)
conuly: Picture taken on the SI Ferry - "the soul of a journey is liberty" (boat)
Mama cat has now moved them into my mother's closet. Which is enormous, really, as closets go.

It occurs to me that frequent moves by mama cats may not just be evolutionarily justified as evading predators. Given that fleas typically live on bedding and only a few are on the cat at any given time, might moving kittens frequently also help keep down parasites?

At any rate, the cats are now easily visible. And boy, it's adorable! Now when you look at them, they're sometimes doing things other than sleeping and eating. Mostly this means they're "quiet alert", resting with their eyes open, but you can also occasionally catch them toddling around or trying out this whole "play" concept with each other.

And they have already their own little personalities! Out of the calicos we've got "more screamingly-est girl" and "less screamingly-est girl", as Ana has dubbed them. The first one, upon seeing me today (and I was several feet away!) immediately started spitting and hitting in a way that, I assure you, would've been simply terrifying if not for the fact that these sounds were coming from an adorable little fluffball with no teeth. The other one, by contrast, reacted to me outright touching her by yawning and rolling onto her back. Not that she likes humans yet, she just isn't terrified. One of the orange ones toddled over and sniffed my hand intently, another one ("the quiet one", who is both quiet and docile) turned and watched closely. And the last found its mom, of course. Any time is milk time!

It's going to be hard to give them away. (I mean that literally. I've been trying to line up homes for them since before they were born, and no luck yet! If I have to bring a box around to a school right before Christmas, so help me, I'm gonna be annoyed. (And I won't do it, either. That's good timing for parents, bad timing for pets. No, my plan is, if push comes to shove, to sneak them into a friend's home. She has three cats, two dogs, several fish, three children (one of whom a toddler!), a husband, a mother, and possibly some rodents all crammed into a two bedroom apartment with a galley kitchen. She'll never even notice five new kittens!)
conuly: (Default)
And before you give me your sympathy, you should know that I mean I literally do not have enough spoons. Those things? You eat with them?

Yeah. I don't have enough of those. (You may now proceed to sympathize.)

I don't know what it is, it's worse than socks, I have no idea where they all go! Perhaps there is a mystical island somewhere where oppressed spoons congregate and plot death on all humans? All I know is, every morning is a frantic search just so we can eat our oatmeal. And by "we" I mean "Ana and Eva". They object if I give them oatmeal with a fork.

So on Friday, after I made the (blueberry) oatmeal I: washed some spoons, used one to stir the oatmeal, put the other one... somewhere, wandered aimlessly up, woke up my sister, made her wake the nieces, went downstairs, and changed my clothes.

And then I looked and looked and looked and LOOKED for that second spoon. In the sink? No. On the windowsill by the sink? No. Counter, table, in a bowl? No, no, and no. Could NOT find it. Had to dig up another spoon and wash it (where did I put that dishwashing soap?) so Ana could eat her breakfast. That or make them timeshare a single spoon.

The nieces are in different schools this year, and I'm sure I'll be glad to explain it to you when I can do so pithily enough. Took Evangeline on the long trip to first grade. Came home, changed back into my PJs (because jeans aren't so comfortable to lounge around in). What fell out of the pocket of my pajamas?


I'm sure it made sense at the time...?
conuly: (can't)
Well, she's my mom.

Interestingly, during the same talk it came up about a few months earlier when my high school had found out that I DO NOT say the Pledge of Allegiance. And they called my mom, and then basically told me that she's not backing me up, and we came up with this lame-ass compromise where I was just late to third period every day.

Apparently what actually happened is my mother told them they were stupid, said she had no interest in fixing a problem caused by THEIR ignorance of MY rights, and said they should deal with it. Which they did... by lying to me about what my mother said.

I had thought this was remarkably inconsistent with my family, but it never occurred to me that the dean would just lie to my face. (Then again, after I had the guy for health the next term it should've. I seriously disliked him. Fortunately, the feeling was mutual and I ended up doing independent study. Nice when things work out, right?) OMFG! I should've sued!

Man, I am NEVER compromising my principles again just because my mother doesn't back me up, especially when she actually does. (No, I don't know why I didn't discuss it with her later that day. Maybe because it didn't occur to me there was anything to discuss? Who knew I was lied to? OMG!)

I'm seriously tempted to write the school a note about this. That was SO not right.

Coincidentally, here is an article about a group wanting to ban the Pledge of Allegiance from their local schools. Contrary to what people say, this would NOT prevent small children who wish to say the Pledge from saying it. Really, there's nothing stopping you from making your children say whatever silly things you like at home.

But going through the comments, here's the thing that I just don't get. Every time any issue regarding free speech comes up that can even tangentially be connected to atheism, hordes of people come out of the woodwork to go "Well, what about money? LOL, do you not use money because of in god we trust? LOL!!!!"

Aside from the fact that they think they're clever when they're really not, I don't understand why "in God we trust" is okay with Christians! Isn't there some kind of commandment about taking the Lord's name in vain? Doesn't it sort of cheapen your religion to have cheesy signs up in stores saying "In God's name we trust, all others pay cash"? Isn't it wrong to (to borrow some religious phrasing here) yoke God and mammon together? Isn't there something about moneylenders and camels and needs which I am SURE can somehow be applied to putting God's name (more or less) on cash???

It just doesn't make sense. Forget about whether or not it offends atheists, am I missing something? Why doesn't this offend Christians? I just. Don't. Get it.
conuly: (cucumber)
So there's going to be a bunch of articles about school!

Ana was talking to me about her teachers and school, and boy did she ever have a lot to say! She doesn't like that her teachers always claim that when THEY were kids THEY always acted right and never were disrespectful or misbehaved in any way. This is clearly a lie. (And it clearly is, and a stupid one, no argument here.) She doesn't like that some kids get pulled out of class for special reasons and she never does. (After talking with her, I managed to get it across that they're not being pulled out of class because the teachers like them more, but because they probably need special help. It seems one of them won't do any of his work...?) She doesn't like that her kindergarten teacher was so awesome that she managed to set an impossibly high standard - seriously, she went on and on and ON about exactly why her kindergarten teacher was such a good teacher, using many specific details. I eventually told her she should write it all down and tell the woman next time she sees her, because it'd be helpful. (It'd be more helpful for the others, I guess, but how could that go over well? Forget it.)

And we talked about other things. Apparently, she thinks that the most popular girl in her grade is beautiful. Everybody thinks that. Except she's not very nice. (According to Ana, anyway.) And several other named people are pretty too. Which led to two discussions:

1. In five years, this girl A will think she's fat and want to be slender like Ana (Ana giggled, because the girl in question IS big compared to her - but then, who isn't?), that girl B will think she's too skinny and want to look more like A, a third girl C will just think she's ugly and want a face more like B's face, and D will want C's hair. And it's all a pointless waste of time.

2. There's pretty on the outside and there's pretty on the inside, and people can get over not having the first but very rarely get over not having the second. Ana apparently managed to completely and pointlessly antagonize That Popular Girl in her grade last year, and it didn't make her happy in the end (well, really, I could've told her that saying to the girl's face that she's mean was a bad idea, even if it IS true), but as I pointed out, there's probably lots of other kids who wish they could be brave and kind like Ana is. That doesn't mean they're going to be nice or are going to be her friend, but you have to take what you can get.

So we'll see what happens this year. Ana isn't convinced she doesn't want to transfer schools, but truthfully, I don't see her social problems (the extent of which she only was willing to talk about in June) as changing just because she changes schools. That's assuming that she has as many problems as she thinks. I pick her up, I see kids randomly hugging her as they say goodbye, and while it's possible they're all really being manipulative, they're not hugging everybody and calling out to them.

Anyway! Articles!

Growth scores give schools No Child Left Behind alternative

Basically they're saying that if you're evaluating teachers, evaluate by how much they taught, not whether they were magically able to pull 33 kids up to grade level from being 3 years behind. If they do a year's worth of work, that's a year's worth of teaching. I think that's fair.

PS 70 in Queens has the city's worst bedbug problem. I really only linked this for the first sentence:

This is one grade a Queens elementary school wished it hadn't scored highest in the city.

What an unusual way to form a sentence, don't you think?

And this piece on independent learning in a school
conuly: (Default)
to everything I want to post. (I win!)

Now, I picked up the nieces on Tuesday from their dad, and then immediately headed to the nearest B&N to pick up Amulet, which I'd put on hold.

The girls did not want to go to the bookstore. Ana most emphatically wanted to go HOME. "No, we have to go to the bookstore, I have to pick something up."

She grumped and whined and was generally a major crankipants all the way up. I could've just TOLD her I was getting a book from a series she loves, but I prefer surprise. And as we left the train I went "Just so you know, this is MY book. It's for me."

Ana: I know. *scowl* I hate books.
Me: Uh-huh. And you're never gonna guess what it is!
Evangeline: Oh, it's Amulet!

Now, you have to understand that I hadn't mentioned that book AT ALL the whole past week.

Me: *jawdrop*
Me: Uh... it doesn't have to... I mean it's... you... How do you even DO that?
Evangeline: Well, every time you say we can't guess what it is, it's a book for us.
Me: But how did you know it's Amulet?
Evangeline: *shrugs*

And then Ana got her grubby little paws on the book, and on Smile, and we weren't able to leave the store for H O U R S. I had to bribe them out with promises of Washington Market Playground, and Ana STILL would have preferred to stay in the bookstore!

I may or may not have picked up a new book for me, at shocking expense. (Must renew that membership posthaste. With the amount of money this family spends on books yearly, it more than pays for itself.)
conuly: (can't)
(Yes, Asian. They have a page in the menu for Thai, one for Chinese, one for Japanese....)

And I'd teased Ana when she was a little cranky at the table, I said "Well, you know, if you don't want to be here you can just go home. You know the way, right?" And after that we'd talked about how even if it weren't very late at night it wouldn't happen, if for no other reason than she'd have to cross a fairly dangerous intersection to get home. (I mean, really dangerous, there are a few crashes there every year, and the corner store has had to do major repairs at least twice - this AFTER you consider they have poles up at the corner for this reason!)

Evangeline and I left early because she was a very, very sleepy child*, and we talked about it a little as we walked home. Crossing that street, I said "It's true, you have to be very careful here, because the cars are crazy."

Eva: The... the cars are -
Me: *sigh* The drivers, sweetie, I meant the drivers IN the cars.
Eva: Oh. That makes sense. *giggles* I thought you meant the CARS were crazy.
Me: I know. That's why I explained it. Also, this is going up on my journal, okay?
Eva: *yawn* All right.

Very, very literal child. She's afflicted already with the family curse as well. She was browsing through Rapunzel's Revenge on Friday, and Ana passed her Calamity Jack as well. (THESE ARE GREAT BOOKS THAT YOUR KIDS SHOULD ABSOLUTELY HAVE.) "You know, Connie, I found a mistake on the cover."

Me: A what now?
Eva: A mistake. On the cover.
Me: Where?
Eva: See, they did her hair wrong. It's the wrong color.
Me: It's red.
Eva: But it's the WRONG red. See? It's not the same red as it is on THIS cover.

And she's right! The red on the cover of Calamity Jack isn't the same as in Rapunzel's Revenge! This should be nipped in the bud. Last thing this family needs is another editor/proofreader. Do you know, my mother criticizes mistakes in graffiti?

Me: Huh. But maybe it's because of the lighting.
Eva: Maybe. Or it could be because they're in the sun!

*My mother.... It had been a long, rough day for her. We went out to eat lunch, and Ana threw a little hissy fit that we didn't go where SHE wanted to go (McDonald's) we went out to Wendy's, to which I say "suck it up". And so SHE wasn't going to eat, and SHE was going to make us all miserable. (SHE was hungry, and after I insisted upon three bites she proceeded to finish the rest and then demand more. I told her she could have fruit.) Meanwhile, my mother had problems with her teeth and couldn't eat anything.

Dinner was wildly late, and the nieces were hungry and tired. Still, they behaved VERY well under the circumstances. However, Evangeline did fidget, and at one point my mother snapped at her for spilling something. "She should know better than to act like that!" And before she could start in on this, I interrupted her (because Evangeline didn't do anything wrong other than be a klutz, and because I would never have made the choices my mother made which led to us eating dinner so late!) with a relatively calming "It's late. She's tired, and she's hungry." "Don't make excuses for her!"

Not five minutes later my mother turns and goes to Ana, about something different "I'm in a bad mood because I haven't eaten".

Well, no duh, but Evangeline never got an apology for being attacked for what really was her Nanen's bad mood! The hypocrisy of this irked me no end, but I didn't bring it up. I was Being Tactful.
conuly: (Default)
I'm moderately concerned, but not altogether worried. My mother entered panic mode, but if you check out the map you'll see we're not really in any danger zone. (There are more specific maps, but they require you to type in your address.) We're on the North Shore of Staten Island (Staten Island is the island at the south of the map - yes, it's bigger than Manhattan, a lot of people don't realize this!), and if you take a look at the North Shore you'll see it barely has any red or orange or yellow at all. This is because this part of the island is all hilly, very hilly.

Now, if it gets more than a moderate drizzle we'll largely be trapped on our street, because the streets surrounding us are all going downhill for several blocks, and they become like rivers in any sort of real rain (so the only way off if you don't want to wade is to go uphill on a short little side street, and then walk north three blocks or so to another little side street that won't be very flooded. Less than ideal, but it'll do) but our block doesn't have that problem. There's houses and dirt and plants to sop up most of the run-off from "Mud Lane", as it used to be called.

All the same, I did finagle a spare cat carrier out of a friend of mine. I had intended to buy one, but the line in Petco was enormous (although it wasn't the longest line I saw, it was longest proportionate to the number of cashiers and the *size* of the store!) and my choices were either a $50 plastic carrier or an $9 cardboard one. I've used the cardboard ones before, they're well-constructed... but I think you can see the problem with this if we have to evacuate in a hurricane. (Especially if she kittens during the storm. God, I hope she doesn't. I don't think the girls would forgive her if they missed the blessed event, not that I'd let them watch. I'm always terrible at estimating when cats will give birth.)

And I did go to the supermarket, because we were out of toilet paper and NOBODY is going out in a hurricane to buy more.

Now, our local supermarket, EVERY TIME there's a weather incident or a holiday, people pack that store. And EVERY TIME you end up with a really long express line (lane 1) and lane 10 wraps around the store... and then lanes 2 through 9 will only have six or seven people in them each. Which is still far too many, but there's no call for the people to keep joining up in lane 10 when it's stupid! Two, three aisles down (not counting the bread aisle) are impassible due to the line! (Not that I complain until I'm safely out of the store. If the sillies are all occupied in their super long line, the remaining lines are shorter than they'd be otherwise, and that's all right with me!)

I will say this for the store itself, though, they managed something right. They weren't running out or low on water, or on anything else except bread... and they're always out of bread on a Friday. And they had a guy out front organizing the people waiting for car service and making sure there was never more than one shopper claiming a cart at a time. And they're opening half an hour early tomorrow, so I'll probably head out again to do some of my REAL shopping (everything but the meat, basically) and buy some candles. They weren't out of candles, I just couldn't get to that aisle and I gave up.

I've isolated the cat on my floor. She prefers the basement, but that's floody in the best of circumstances, and she's so big now I don't want to risk it.
conuly: (brain)
Today she sent me an email with a picture in it and the message "why didn't you tell me these are sooooo cute?" This is all she said.

The picture was of a water bear, and it was certainly one of the most adorable pictures of a water bear I've ever seen. (Wikipedia says they're also called moss piglets. OMG THAT IS EVEN CUTER!)

But I digress. While you probably do encounter these every day, you equally probably don't realize it. So I replied to her with the note "Oh, is that a water bear?"

"How do you even know the stuff you do????

1. Does my mother even know me? I mean, I thought after 28 years she'd have some idea of who her daughter is, but....

2. More importantly - I didn't start this conversation, she did! And her very first words were asking why I never told her how cute water bears are! So... I don't... it's not... aaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhh!

In other cute animal news, I found a caterpillar gnawing on my rue today. I didn't realize that when you try to pry them off your rue plant they flash horns at you! I brought it in to Ana to show her, and explained that the caterpillar is trying to scare us away. "That's not scary!" "Well, it would be if we were a lot smaller, like if we were a praying mantis trying to eat it or something." Since we're not, though, it was just cute. But we only tormented the poor thing once or twice (for science!) and then put it back outside. Even if it is cute and educational, it's not fair to the caterpillar dear.
conuly: (confess)
I was sitting on my porch and I felt it. Some people quoted in the NYTimes and elsewhere state that their first thought was "bomb". (Various news articles all played up how close this earthquake is to you-know-when. Sigh.) My first thought was "subway train", which is absurd because there isn't any on Staten Island. (The SIRT doesn't count, being a train that's not sub anything, and anyway being not particularly near my house. I can just hear it at night, but that's because everything else is quiet.)

House creaked a little, but no more than it does in a good wind, and we get THOSE all the time! So I wasn't particularly worried once I figured out what was going on. Perplexed, but not worried.

In other news, there has been some not-at-all drama in the cat situation. She ambled out of our house the other day, and the boys down the block (the ones who aren't supervised at all that I can see) went "Oh, that's where she went! Nugget, come here Nugget!"

"Nugget" completely ignored them and went back in the house. The boys didn't speak to me about it at all at that time or since, so I'm taking their claim that this is their cat very casually. The way I see it, when your cat up and moves into another person's house for three weeks, and you don't so much as put a sign up, and she doesn't seem to want much to do with you... your claim is a bit weak. Which is what I told the nieces. I just want to continue to avoid any issue until both cat and kittens (any day now) are fixed. Kittens are adorable, yes (I've already laid down the law and told the nieces that ANYbody going NEAR those kittens until their eyes are open will be persona non grata around here for quite. some. time.) but there are plenty of them already in this world, really.
conuly: (food)
(And also fried eggplant, green beans, and two rather wilted fennel bulbs I had in the fridge. They came out all right, considering.)

I was already going to make them, because we got a metric ton of purple peppers at the CSA Thursday, and when this C&H appeared on my friends page I knew what I had to do.

Yes, I told the nieces they were monkey brains. (They, like anybody, will often prefer to eat new foods if the food has an appealing or fanciful name. Given their ages, "gross-out" is appealing.)

Here's the thing. When I put the peppers in the oven, they were purple. When I flipped them over to fill with the stuffing, they were still purple. When I pulled them out again - they had lost all purple coloring! The dark ones were green and the light ones were white!

What happened, and how can I prevent this in the future?

(The girls liked them all right, although neither child was happy at the fact that this was another way to use up squash. The eggplant was oversalted, I'm sorry to say, and there wasn't much fennel. Green beans are always a hit, though, and we had apricots with honey for dessert, so nobody starved. That's all right.)
conuly: (change history?)
Anything to stay air conditioned, I say.

Ana was very happy to get to see Angelina Ballerina. In order to make that show "educational" they slip in live action clips of real people doing real things, and the episode we watched had three children who are attending youth programs at Julliard. And the first one talks about how he plays the flute, and this and that, and as he's talking on and on I interject "And he practices three hours a day...." into all of this. Naturally, I'm ignored.

Then the two who play the marimba come on, and sure enough, one of them says those exact words, "I practice about three hours a day."

Cue Ana turning to stare at me, jaw fully dropped.
conuly: Fuzzy picture of the Verrazano Bridge. Quote in Cursive Hebrew (bridge)
Tomorrow is this thing on Bessie Coleman.

To remind everybody, back when I went on a biographies kick (which I'm still sorta on! Picture book biographies, send them my way) I discovered Bessie Coleman, who was the first American of any race or gender to get an international pilot's license, and she did it before Earhart, too!

I'm a great admirer of the woman, so yes, we're gonna be there. Oh, yes, we are.

It occurred to me just now to check and make sure they're still doing that, y'know, because of the heat.

They ARE still having this outdoor reading at 3pm, in the full heat of day... but they are NOT holding the evening campfire, because of the "extreme weather conditions". No argument here, but wouldn't you expect them to cancel the even that's in the sunlight rather than the one that's after the temperatures have theoretically dropped?
conuly: (childish)
There isn't a strong enough profanity to account for how damn hot it is. Triple digits.

I didn't cook dinner. I ordered pizza. The nieces made a BIG FUSS and now we're trying out dairy to see if they're outgrowing that intolerance, so we tried cheese pizza. (They've been eating ice cream, too. That's what prompted this, they were tired of raspberry sorbet.) Fingers crossed.

As we were eating dinner, Evangeline started talking about her upcoming birthday. You know, the one in the middle of October. THAT birthday! She already has her guest list written, and today she was explaining to us why she picked the guests she did. "I would've invited Themie, but she's best friends with Stephanie, and Stephanie sat at my table so I really like her, but if Themie comes they'll just play together so I can't invite her, I don't think."


Is it just me, or is this a nice amount of social awareness for a five year old? (No, really, is it just me? This is one of those things I don't know.)


conuly: (Default)

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