Tuesday, June 28, 2005

C still continues to blow us away with his math skills (which luckily continue to develop despite our utter neglect). "If you have $10 and bunny crackers cost $3 a box, how many boxes can you buy?" After 15 seconds of thought and moving one hand as if he were stacking 3 blocks (I have no idea how his mind processes this), he came up with the right answer. (It's 3, Marley!)

Reading, however, continues to completely baffle him. He knows all the sounds letters make, and can identify the letter that starts a given word, but then he has some kind of mental block that stops him from going further. He can't identify letter sounds at the end of a word, and only sometimes can he read rhyming words. (For example: "This word is Rat, R-A-T. What letter makes the rr sound? The A-T make the at sound. What word do you think M-A-T might be?" And he'll answer "milk.")

A remains unimpressed with solid foods. She completely rejects them from Sarah, but will eat some from Dan. Maybe we should just give her Cheerios.

Friday, June 24, 2005

random notes

Dan's installed the pool table in the shed, and the shed now has a decidedly 70's-den ambiance. (Which is exacerbated by the records he plays out there.) Paco is a big fan of the new digs- we were all in the yard yesterday and he barked outside the door until we opened it so he could lie on the rug instead of slummin' on the grass like we were.

C's most recent invention idea is something that automatically stirs food while it's being microwaved so it's evenly heated.

While Dan was buying stamps to send out C's birthday invitations, he ran into a classmate's mom, who was doing the same exact thing for her son. Her son and another classmate, whom we could tell from the very first day of preschool are going to be the prom king and queen in high school, are having a joint birthday party the day before C's. Their invitations included a photo of the two of them dressed as pirates and parchment torn to look like an old treasure map; they will be having a pirate-magician and, we assume, delectable pirate-themed food, treasure chest gift bags with real gold coins imprinted with each guest's name, and a real oceangoing sailboat imported to their yard for use as a playset. We printed out a "you're invited!" note on our computer for each guest (didn't even use card stock) and figured we'd come up with something fun to do a couple days in advance. Even as we sat around mocking Supermom after the kids went to bed that night ("sure, she's always nice in public, but that's because she locks her kids in their rooms when she gets home and drinks! Her kids are polite and well-behaved out of fear!"), we realized that we really were just jealous, and we blame our lame-ness on perpetual lack of sleep.

When C started eating solid foods, we carefully prepared single-ingredient organic fruits and vegetables, waiting five days before introducing a new one, and waiting several months before moving on to harder-to-digest grains. Perhaps when he was 8 months old, we might have given him some organic wheat-free Oatios. We started that route with A, and she's had no enthusiasm for banana, applesauce, or sweet potato. Today she was grabbing at stuff on the kitchen counter, including a few spilled Cheerios (the General Mills chemical-laden version of course- Oatios taste like crap; no way will we eat them). And instead of distracting her from the poison, I told Dan, "just let her have one." And she did.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Alas, the school won't give C free tuition, so I turned them down. I'm still keeping my eyes open for work- teaching is not really ideal, since it requires more energy than data analysis or research coordination or pretty much any of my other skills, but it seems to be the only field that hires anyone part-time for more than minimum wage! (Well, on the east coast anyway.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

We are sooo glad that the weather has finally improved; I couldn't take the oppressive heat any longer. If the rest of the summer is like this, I might feel better about living in the Northeast. We hear that the heat did kill off the blackflies in the Adirondacks, so maybe that will be the heat wave's silver lining.

We've been occasionally offering food to A for a few weeks now and she's been unimpressed, but today she took some sweet potato without spitting it out! I don't know if she decided she liked it or if she was too tired to reject it or if trying it over again just wore her down, but we'll give it another shot tomorrow and see if she's really ready for solid food. (She's getting so big!)

I told the school I'd only accept the job if they gave C free tuition, and they haven't gotten back to me yet. It sounded unlikely, but, you never know-

Monday, June 13, 2005

Well, I was offered the job, and now I just need to figure out whether or not I should take it- do I have the energy to deal with other peoples' kids and my own? Would I end up not making any money after paying for benefits, etc.? Do I really want to go back to having to be somewhere every single day? Hmmmm-

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

creepy cap and gown graduation photo Posted by Hello

Monday, June 06, 2005

C was the first child out of all 3 classes that "graduated" his pre-school last week to be called by name and come forward... Some of this had to do with the height order they chose for each class, and that his class went first. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 02, 2005

We got fewer bites at least- Posted by Hello

We spent Memorial Day weekend at Twin Trees in North River, fighting off blackflies and convincing the pipes not to leak. Since we were all sharing one unheated bedroom, we were lucky that C managed to sleep through most of A's cries both nights and only woke up to complain of being cold. (I got into bed with him to warm him up, which wasn’t so bad because I was cold, too. Dan and A got the electric blanket. I theorize that whatever evil force fields they emit are weak enough so they’re safe to use a few times a year.) Poor Dan was up much of both nights with A though, trying to let me get sleep, and since he didn’t want to wake anyone up in the main cabin either his choices were pretty limited. We did determine that dairy products definitely do make her sleep even worse, so I’m back to almonds and beans again.

Last week, I had an interview at Bethlehem Children’s School, a small private school a couple miles away, for a part-time middle school math and science teaching position. They asked me to come back to teach a class. They said not to worry about what the kids are working on; make it an enrichment activity.

So this afternoon I go in, wait for the kids in the classroom, wait for the three people who want to observe me, and try to get started. The board is completely covered, and it has a big note on it that says "DO NOT ERASE." Now, I’m versatile, but I knew I’d be more effective if I could write on the board, so I asked if there was anything else I could use. An observer disappears and comes back to say, "Let’s move to my room instead." (I would have preferred doing without, but what could I say?) So we all file into the kindergarten room, where the kids are thrilled to have a big carpet to sit on instead of desks. I start the lesson (discussing animal population fluctuations) and we all go outside for a Project Wild game that went pretty well and got the point across. (One kid said, "This is the best game I’ve ever played," which was affirming but made me wonder if she got out much.)

When we go back in, half the kids need to go back to their own room to get their water bottles so we have a super-long transition; I write the data that we’re going to graph on the board and hand out graph paper while I wait. This was supposed to be a joint math/science lesson, and I planned to talk about the differences between dependent and independent variables and how independent variables go on the x-axis when you graph as the "math" portion. It turned out that this was decidedly not a good idea, because these kids had never drawn a line graph before or used the terms x and y axes. It took me a while to catch on to this, and it was pretty awkward. Meanwhile, one of the kids- the daughter of one of the administrators- is lying on the floor doing nothing. I ignore her. (I don’t even know the kid’s name, and was at a loss as to how to handle it.)

At any rate, I left thinking it was kind of a disaster. I mean, maybe they realized how awkward it is to work with a group of kids you don’t know who don’t even know what you’re doing there (the week before school’s out, no less); how difficult it is to know what level to aim a lesson at when you’re coming in from nowhere (and I must say that I had drawn a line graph by the end of sixth grade); or how ungraceful a class with so many transitions can become. But all three screw-ups? That takes a lot of overlooking.

But, they’ve e-mailed me asking me back yet again. They have evaded my question about salary/ benefits/ tuition remission for C thusfar, so I’m afraid that after going through all these interviews they’re going to offer me so little money that it won’t be worth it. (Honestly, I’d rather not work so many hours when A's still so little, but part-time jobs are so hard to come by around here that I feel like I need to consider it for our long-term future.) So we’ll see what happens NEXT week….