Saturday, 18 May 2013
"Mommy, can you come fix the download part?"
"My LeapPad isn't downloading."
"I don't understand."
"I just bought some games, and they aren't downloading."
"I bought four games, and none of them are working."
"Stretchy Monkey 2 (because I already have Stretchy Monkey 1), Dinosaur Invasion, Dinosaur Invasion 2, Sugar Bugs 1 and Sugar Bugs 2."
"Theo, that's five games!"
"Oh. Sorry. Five, not four."
"Theo, did you just spend eighty dollars on LeapPad games?!"
"Yeah, I needed more games. But they're not downloading. Can you come fix that?"
"Well, I just clicked on the button that said, 'Add to cart,' and then the one that said, 'Complete this tralacket."
"Okay, Theo, it looks like you didn't buy any games."
"Theo, that's very good news for you, because if you had, you'd be in big trouble."
"But . . . but . . ."
"Theo. If you ever try to buy games without permission again, I'm throwing your LeapPad in the garbage."
"Yes ma'am. But . . . but . . ." [crying]
"NO BUTS. You just tried to steal our money. When you use someone's money without permission for yourself, it's called STEALING."
("Uh, Mom, technically it's embezzling."
"Isaac, go find your brain. You left it somewhere again.")
"But, Mommy [bawling] . . . that's our money. It's not just yours. It's the family's!"
Why did I ever teach these people how to speak?
Monday, 13 May 2013
Thursday, 09 May 2013
It's been weird living in an area of the country where babywearing hasn't really taken off. I mean, I'm not a hardcore babywearer or anything--I use strollers and grocery carts and car seat carriers and all sorts of means of separating my poor babies from myself.
But I do use a sling in the early months and a backpack later.
I can count on one hand the number of women I've seen using either in the two years I've been here.
The sling (which, you'll remember, I made myself for Theo) always prompted stares and questions and rather intense conversations with perfect strangers, whenever I wore it around here. I switched to the backpack as absolutely soon as I could.
The backpack still prompts stares (more oh-isn't-that-neat than what-on-earth-IS-that-thing than the sling prompted) and occasional comments (usually of the oh-he-looks-like-he's-having-fun rather than the what-on-earth-IS-that-thing variety). But they're fewer and less invasive, so I can put up with them a lot easier.
I guess I paid all the stares forward, as it were, this past week at the grocery store.
Evidently Monday morning is the grocery-shopping-time of choice for moms of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. And all of the infants and toddlers--I mean, ALL of them--were nestled into these . . . things. My husband calls them cart condoms. They're these fabric doohickeys that apparently protect baby from germs and boredom and, like, having to sit in an uncomfortable grocery cart.
I just . . . I couldn't . . . I mean all of the moms were using them. Except me.
And I guess I had my old-lady-who-never-had-such-things-when-her-kids-were-little face on. Even though all the moms were my age, more or less, and all the kids were within a year of my two youngers.
I may have even sniffed at the fourteenth one I saw, although it was entirely inadvertent.
My mom-friends have since tried to convince me that they're not entirely ridiculous. You know, babies mouthing the handle of the carts, or putting their hands where other people's hands have been. Okay. Fine. I mean, my kids never tried to lick the grocery cart, but I guess it is normal baby behavior.
But it is weird living in an area of the country where cart condoms are all the rage and baby slings are nowhere to be seen.
Wednesday, 08 May 2013
Okay, for the first time in, like, three or four moves, I will only be working part time in the five weeks leading up to our move.
I am not naturally organized. (Stop laughing, Mom.) I can, however, fake it for five weeks.
So, I want your top five tips for an organized move.
Friday, 03 May 2013
It's the end of the semester, and along with the mad rush of finals grading comes the mad rush of emails begging for grades.
Someone once upon a time told my students "It couldn't hurt to ask."
Well, guess what, Skippy. Yes it can.
See, this ain't my first rodeo. And all the students that have come before you have tried the same nonsense and have clued me in to how it works.
Also, I have children. Boys. I'm not an idiot.
See, there was this girl who told me she needed an A from me, because otherwise she wouldn't get to student-teach (:sob:) and then she would have to spend an extra semester in school to bring her grade up (:sob:) and she just couldn't afford that so she would have to drop out of school (:wail:).
I declined to raise her grade and suggested she speak with a financial aid counselor to figure out how she could afford to stay in school, because (:sympathetic look:) school is expensive, but it usually turns out to be a good investment.
Guess who I saw the very next semester? Regularly entering a classroom just down the hall from mine?
I always wondered whether she'd persuaded some other teacher to boost her grade or whether she was just a lying liar who lied. I never wondered whether she actually followed my advice--that would be, like, crazy.
I had another kid beg me not to get him thrown out of school by reporting his plagiarism.
He didn't get thrown out. He was not remotely in danger of being thrown out. I don't think he was a lying liar who lied; I think he was just afraid that if one professor caught him in his habitual pattern of cheating, some other professors might catch on. (To my knowledge, no one ever did.)
I'm not cynical or jaded or bitter. I don't think all students are lying liars who lie.
I've had some students in very messy, very difficult, very painful situations who--get this--get their work done anyway. Some of them never even tell me about their difficulties. I find out from other students.
I've had some students who take responsibility for their academic integrity violations with a maturity that stuns me . . . and then go on to be some of the strongest, most engaged students in the class.
I even had a student who dropped my class rather than take the grade hit that a minor integrity violation entailed, but as I was signing his drop form, he said, "Will you be teaching next semester? I can't let this tank my GPA, but I really want to take your class."
(Maybe he was just a lying liar who was lying, too. Maybe he just wanted to know so that he could *avoid* me. But he seemed genuinely disappointed when I said not.)
So it's not cynicism or burnout or apathy or even stubbornheaded bitchiness that makes me hold the line against all these beggars and and pleaders and importuners. It's a matter of respect for all those students who comport themselves with a little more dignity. And an expression of hope--that encountering someone who genuinely wants the best for them, and is willing to tell them no to help them get it, will help them achieve adulthood before it's too late.