Monday, March 28, 2011

Exactly how old am I?

I was at the science museum with Aidan on Saturday morning to see a preview of their dolphin IMAX film. A volunteer was welcoming us prior to the movie; I'm guessing she was 20ish, maybe a little older. She told us that the movie featured music by the popular musical group, Sting. The popular musical group, Sting? Do people really not know who Sting is? What's become of our public educational system?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

See, I told you, Mommy

There's a lot of that going on around our house right now, along with a lot of "See, I was right and you were wrong." It doesn't matter whether he actually has told me, either. It also doesn't matter whether I had said anything contrary to the rightness - if he's right, I must be wrong. Or if something occurs in the matter of course, it must prove something about him right.

Let's say, for example, that we're driving to school. Let's say a school bus gets on the highway, and we've not spoken of school busses for a year. It might provoke a, "See, Mommy - you were wrong, and I was right. I told you we'd see a school bus this morning!" Endearing? Not so much.

Tonight, driving home from Sam's Club, I got this: "Aidan, somebody's not always wrong, and no one's always right." "I am, Mommy - I'm always right, and you're always wrong. I just am. See, Mommy?"

I am a pushover

I bought Rice Krispie Treats at Sam's Club today. On the way home, he asked, "Those rice Christmas trees. Are they full of sugar?" in a hopeful sort of voice. I told him they had lots and also marshmallows (a favorite - puffy sugar). He's never had one, but is convinced he'll love 'em.

Bella, revisted

Feeling a little guilty.

Spoke to Aidan's teachers today, and while Bella has her struggles, she's getting better and is judged through the eyes of former behavior. Oh, and Aidan pushes her buttons to see what will happen, then gets upset when, inevitably, it does. Hmmmm.

Aidan mentioned a day or two ago that Cindy told him to stop bothering her. I asked him why she said that, and he said, with honesty, "I don't know." Another hmmm. Teachers say the kids are working on that too.

No provocation is reason for someone to hit, but he does provoke her. Also, one teacher saw the "punched in the face" incident, and her observations about it were significantly different than Aidan's.

Working on giving Bella the benefit of the doubt. Working on how I can coach Aidan to be a better friend too, or remove himself from the space of a person who's bothering him, and not to bother others.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


There's a child in my son's class named Bella. I truly love children, all children, and she's a challenge for me. Aidan likes her and considers her a friend, and yet. She's got a violent streak like nothing I've seen. I'm not often at school - I'm there every day, but for a few minutes at a time. I've witnesses her shrieking generally, shrieking unkind words, shoving down stairs, pushing, hitting, throwing things at other children. All this, and she's improving. Last year she chucked a chair at Nora's head, making a big egg and drawing blood.

I know that I don't understand what happens for someone else, in someone else's family or mind. I don't know what is going on for this child, other than I'm aware that she spends quite a bit of time at Children's Hospital. For what, I don't know. She appears healthy, but that's not an indicator, I've learned from my weekly volunteering at that same Children's Hospital. Her parents both seem lovely and clearly care for her dearly.

Why does Aidan continue to want to be friends with her, despite the fact that she hurts him several times a week? I don't know. Today he told me (unprovoked; I try not to say negative things about her, and I try to treat her like I treat the other children when I see her) about how she punched him in the face on the playground while he was climbing up the climber outside. He was afraid that she'd push him off and he'd fall to the ground. Late last week, she scratched his arm and drew blood. A couple of weeks ago, I hung out with them in the muscle room for a few minutes. She had her hands around his neck.

Last night, Aidan punched me in the face. That's not like him.

I've expressed concerns to his teachers, and today I started documenting the nearly daily incidents that he tells me about, unprovoked.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

First day at the park - check!

Thursday night was about 65 degrees and breezy - it was gorgeous. I stayed up until 12:30 working, but it was worth every minute in order to spend an evening at the park with my boy.

He's a new boy at the park this year - his climbing is hugely improved, and his fears are many fewer. He was bursting with the enthusiam of springtime, a ball of energy. It's amazing how grown up he seems in comparison to six months ago, the last time we went.

He'll go to kindergarten in a year and a half. Wow.

I did it!

I just realized that I hadn't posted about this; my nervousness must've been greater than I realized. I just taught my first college class, and graduate level, at that. I did it. It's something I've wanted to try for a long time. Today was the final, and grades are complete. I had a healthy respect and nervousness for the process and about providing value to a room full of people with high hopes and expectations.

I did it.

I taught accounting for financial statement analysis purposes, the first course in the Masters of Finance and Economics program. The amount of work that went into preparing it was even more than what I anticipated; countless hours. If I'm invited to return next year, my (huge) investment in preparation will pay off exponentially. One hopes.

I got to know 25 very interesting, quite varied people.

There were no teaching materials other than a text. I'm used to teaching for a review course, and from prepared materials. This was all new. It's also a completely different ballgame to teach history majors pretty complex accounting issues than to teach them as review to accounting grads. Their beginning level ran from never having had algebra before to one CPA. They hung in there, most of them, and really learned a lot. My initial concern was that my course would be much too easy, and that we'd finish the material a few weeks early with me scrambling to fill the last couple of classes. Instead, we did not finish the material we'd intended, but I believe the students have a good foundation for their next class, as well as for reading and analyzing financial statements, which was our goal. I'm proud of them.

I'm also proud of myself.

"What does 'flippin' mean, Mommy?"

That about covers it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

change in plans already!

He'd rather be a superhero than a dentist. Did you know that college is where you choose what you want to be? You can choose what you want - a doctor, a dentist, a superhero - and then they give you sticker so they know what you chose. When you're done, you're a superhero!

Plus, he knows a lot about superheroes. He doesn't really know a lot about girl superheroes, though. Like Wonder Woman is a girl superhero. (Maybe he could learn about them when he's at college?) No, he doesn't really like the girl superheroes as much. Did you know that boys really like the boy superheroes, and girls really like the girl superheroes. He'll just be a boy superhero.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Had a very interesting conversation with Aidan in the car this morning.

We started by talking about a harmonica he got for his birthday; he's pretty excited about playing it. That got him thinking that I should dance the hula while he played (I haven't danced the hula before - it must be what the harmonica sound reminded him of). Then he asked if I had a hula dress, and when I told him I didn't - we'd have to make one or pretend - he said that I could just wear the "marriage dress" he'd seen in the pictures with Daddy. My wedding dress? Yes, that one. Could he have a wedding dress someday? Sure, if he gets married and wants to wear a wedding dress, that would be fine. I asked him if he knew who he wanted to marry when I grew up? He'd marry himself. Did I know that a person could marry himself? No, I did not know that. Then he said he'd marry Addison (a friend at school) because he'd like to marry Addison, and when you get married, that's when babies come out. And you get to move away. I asked him if he wanted to move away from Mommy and Daddy, and he said that's what you have to do when you get married. I asked, like how Mommy and Daddy don't live with Grammy and Poppie? Yes, like that. But they would like to live someplace with sunshine and seashells. On a beach in Hawaii. (Don't know where that came from, unless he's retained where we got married or because he saw Lilo and Stitch recently, which might also explain the hula, actually).

So, let it be known: Aidan's future is determined. He figured out last week that he wanted to be a dentist (because our dental hygienist let him assist with my cleaning after his), so apparently he'll be a dentist married to Addison (and wearing a dress during the ceremony) living on the beach in Hawaii, and babies will have "come out."

It was all I could do not to crack up, but I so wanted to hear what was coming next that I held it together.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

it will come

I get pretty giddy as the sun comes out and it gets even a little bit warmer. My tulips are popping out of the ground, and my forsythia's budding, letting me know that spring will, in fact, come. Soon it will be my favorite week or two, when our street is up one side and down the other will all sorts of blooming trees and bushes, the air fragrant with one thing or another with each few steps. Just typing that brings a smile. Aidan and I will stroll, and we'll stop to smell everything. I think we'll have a scavenger hunt. Yum.

the rights and privileges associated therewith

Aidan is very anxious to exercise what he believes should be the rights and privileges associated with turning four. It seems that every day he's proclaiming at least one more of them that he's thought of.

Again the other day, he told me "When you're four, you make the rules and growups have to listen." Nope. Still no. The other night, the rule thing didn't get him anywhere, so he told me he was making up a law. Oh really? Yes, he told me, it was a law that he would go downstairs and watch one of his shows (TV) before bedtime. Of course, I put him to bed with flagrant disregard for his law, and he was completely incensed. Felt apart. Total meltdown. I don't believe his outrage came from going to bed; he really doesn't mind that. He just kept telling me, through the tears, "You broke my law! You broke my law!" It took a lot not to laugh, for several reasons.

First, I completely remember the outrage and indignance that he's feeling. I have distinct memory of being in those shoes, even yelling at my dad at a similar age that just because he was the dad and I was the daughter didn't mean he would always be right and I'd be wrong. What if he was wrong and just didn't know it? Had he ever thought about that? I know in my heart why he's so upset, infuriated; I understand how unfair his situation is and will be, so there's a laugh of recognition (and now understanding) brewing in the whole situation.

Second, it's pretty funny that a four-year-old (today!!) would be so insistent that he makes the rules and laws. I must, however, be proud of his self confidence. When he's sure he's right, he's sure he's right.

Third, I love the problem solver in him. If he doesn't get his way at first, he'll try two or seventeen other approaches, fully believing that the current one will work.

Fourth, he doesn't "do" the letter l. So, "You broke my law," comes out, "You broke my waw."

The combination of these four things was nearly insurmountable. However, I was able to suppress it until I leaned down to kiss his forehead, at which time he couldn't see my silly grin, and then recomposed myself to say good night. Another day to come, more injustice in the universe.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

this morning's gem

"Jesus is like a basilisk person."

Torn about explaining or not, but because I probably won't remember for more than an hour, I will (despite the fact that I think it's more effective on its own). We were in the car, and minds will wander. He's been watching educational TV about animals and is fascinated by the basilisk, a lizard that's able to skim/run across water. Then his mind was wandering about God and Jesus, and how you can't see them, but you can talk to them anytime you want to. Then, out popped the gem.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I celebrate Sloan

Tomorrow is Sloan's birthday, "March forth." He would be 43, and it seems incredibly unfair to me that he won't be. It also seems incredibly unfair that he suffered so and so long, physically, before he passed. He is beautiful and thoughtful and kind and funny and talented and generous and selfless and brave. He has celebrated my brother endlessly; sadly, he found it hard to celebrate himself. He always felt a little unworthy, which seems unfathomable to me.

I'd like to kick a few people who contributed to his notion, for example, his "original" family. He was removed from them, a bad situation, and placed in foster care for many years, which turned out to be some worse situations. One year, his birth grandparents actually sent him a bakery-made birthday cake, from what I understand, his first birthday cake. I think he was 10. He was so thrilled - they remembered him, they made an effort! He took a bite and choked - they'd had the baker overdose it with pepper to make it inedible because somehow a beautiful ten-year-old not only wasn't worthy of a cake but was worthy of that? Unthinkable.

I am proud that Sloan knows that I celebrate and have celebrated him. He knows how special he is to my brother, too - right up until he was no longer conscious and able to talk, Brett was in constant contact despite their distance (Sloan lived in NC). I'm grateful that Sloan found, finally, a family who did love and celebrate him. My heart's broken for his dad, who lost his wife in May and his son in August - also unthinkable.

I can't find reason in it. I can only take the lesson to let those I love know that I love them and not to waste time on things that aren't important. and be grateful.

Sloan, I'm celebrating you, and I hope that you know it. I hope you know that you're missed and so very loved. I hope you are no longer feeling pain, and that you're at peace. We all love you.


My friend Jeri had a son the other day, and so now Annelise has a brother. We went to visit, and Aidan had a fabulous time with AE, basically ignoring the baby. No problem.

While we were leaving, he asked me, "Mommy, who can be my brother?" There is no forthcoming brother, but I don't want Aidan to feel left out. He's got Audrey, his little cousin, but she's a girl. I mentioned Conner, my husband's best friend's son, who's 5 months younger than Aidan and lives about an hour away, and who he's called his brother for years (as many years as he's been able to talk, that is - admittedly not many). He perked up and said, "Yes! Conner is my brother."

Then he did what he's been doing lately - expounding upon a principle he's just worked out in his head. "Sometimes, Mommy, even if you're almost the same age or the same size, or if you live close or far away, it doesn't matter. Someone can still be your brother. Even if they're far away, they can still be your brother. Sometimes."

That's right, Baby - sometimes.


"Sometimes, Mommy, when you're almost four, you make the rules and grown-ups have to listen."


I put it in all caps because he says it like that - deliberately, and with the gruffness of a 65-year-old smoker. He's digging classic rock right now (which isn't what I learned to be classic rock, but is now mysteriously stuff that I grew up listening to - a thoughtstream for another day), most especially Seger's "Old Time Rock n Roll" and Billy Idol's "White Wedding." Apparently, those were the first two songs that came on when Daddy put the classic rock station the other day, and they're now the bar against which all other rock is measured.

Anywhoo, he somehow learned about air guitar. He gets a really pained look on his face and scrunches his hands into claw-like forms, then plays, sometimes sitting, sometimes laying on the floor. There's a little of everything. He's got a new move in which he puts one hand behind his head and points with the other. I asked him what it was the other day, and he says it means, "That's the truth!" Others have asked the same, and he's pretty consistent in his story, so clearly he's got the soul of a Baptist preacher in addition to the sensitivity of an artist.

Sometimes it's not a full dance and air guitar; sometimes it's just a scrunched up face and head nodding. He's also started yelling, "Bomp, bomp, bomp," like imitating the guitar or bass line. He doesn't seem really to get that that's what that means, though, so he kind of yells it out at random times.

He also has informed me that, while he does like ROCK N ROLL!, he doesn't really like when girls sing it. Pat Benetar was singing on the station I use to try and find his classic rock, and he was not pleased about it.
"I'm better than that, Mommy."
"Better than that?"
"Yes. I'm really, really good at singing rock and roll. She's not. I'm better."
He also gets frustrated when boys sing who sound (to him) like girls. "I don't like that either, Mommy." Fair enough; point taken.

I've got to go now; I've purchased his two faves from iTunes and am about to entice him into entertaining me for as long as my stomach can take the laughter. I'm wondering, does this count as burning calories?