Monthly Archives: June 2009

Where I Resist the Urge to Thumb My Nose at Public School Conventions

Awhile back, I mentioned that I was gearing up for a fight with the online charter school that we use because Wyatt is technically 13 days to young to start kindergarten next year. You see, when the federal government pays your bills, an arbitrary date on the calendar becomes the most important factor in determining a child’s ability to learn.

When I spoke to the principal of the online school, he informed me that my only hope would be to have Wyatt tested for early admission into our public school system. But, he told me, that usually meant scoring very high on an IQ test. He told me that only a few kids had done it since they started the school.

I told him that I would set up the testing with the local school.

I called our local elementary school. Folks, it would appear that people question the system so infrequently that even the school principal didn’t know who the heck was supposed to administer the testing. It took a few more calls before I finally spoke to the school psychologist. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: I would like to have my son evaluated for early entrance to kindergarten since he misses the cut-off date by less than two weeks.

Her: Okaaaaaay…We can do that, but he’ll have to be evaluated for readiness.

Me: That’s fine.

Her: That involves an IQ test. (Said slowly–I’m assuming in case my own wasn’t high enough to understand that it might show that my kid is some dolt.) 

Me: That’s fine.

Her: He’d have to score in at least the 95th percentile, which is really high.

Me: OK.

Her: Do you have any reason to believe that he might be able to do that?

I resisted the urge to ask her if she would prefer a portfolio of his professional accomplishments to date, or if it would be better to go straight to the nature side of the discussion and provide her with the academic transcripts of mine and Sean’s families. Instead, I just talked about reading and math and my confidence that he is intelligent enough for kindergarten.

Thursday, I took him to be tested.

The counselor told me the testing would only take 1 1/2 to 2 hours. THREE AND A HALF HOURS LATER, she came out to let me know that they were finished.

I kid you not, the first thing she said to me was, “Whatever you are doing, keep doing it. It is working.”

Of course, I told her (honestly) that he deserved way more of the credit than I did. I mean, as she and I were discussing the things she did with him, he was sitting there lining up little blocks and counting them (Look, mom, I have 53!). That is just the way this kid is. She told me that it would take a few days for her to put together the evaluation. I left there feeling that he had done well.

Yesterday afternoon, I went by the school to pick the evaluation up.

I can now officially say that I’m not just another parent who thinks that little Slack Jawed Johnny is “gifted” because he can get so far in Grand Theft Auto. Wyatt’s verbal IQ was in the 97th percentile. His performance IQ was in the 99th percentile. That means his overall IQ was in the 98th percentile.

Of course, that and 50 cents will get you a can of Coke.

OK, ok, it gets you a little more than that. It will also get you accepted into kindergarten even if you are 13 days too young. Which, from what all these school administrators would have me believe, is a nigh unto impossible feat.

Honestly, yes, I am very impressed with my little guy. Not really surprised—after all I’ve seen the things that can happen when he gets bored and those little wheels start turning (lunch in the ceiling, anyone?). I believe that the term is a “dangerous mind.” But it is nice to have official confirmation of what I basically already knew. He’s a bright kid.

Of course, here’s the thing. I’ve known equally bright people who didn’t graduate from high school or otherwise take full advantage of the gift they had been given. And I’ve known “average” people who have done extraordinary things. A high IQ is a great starting point but, honestly, it’s only worth what you do with it. What really counts is how hard you work.

Now, thanks to that test, the work can officially begin.

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I’m a Celebrity—Screw Your Suffering!

People, I’m feeling a little bitter. Of course, I suppose that’s what I get for putting my faith in a Baldwin brother.

Huh???

OK, if you haven’t heard of or seen I’m a Celebrity—Get Me Out of Here! you probably have no clue what I am talking about. Basically, a bunch of B-list celebrities are currently in a Costa Rican jungle, camping with creepy crawlies and doing weird challenges all in the name of raising money for charity. The concept was fun enough to get me to tune in. The actual show is lame enough for me to tune out.

Except…

In one of the first episodes, each celebrity took a turn talking about the charity they are playing for. Steven Baldwin said he was playing for Love146—an organization devoted to bringing an end to slavery (particularly sexual slavery of children).

That’s all it took for me. I have watched every episode just to cheer for the Baldwin (for pete’s sake, people, I don’t even watch 30 Rock—Baldwins hold no intrigue for me).

In last night’s episode, Steven Baldwin voluntarily left the show—five days before the finale—because he was tired of the living conditions and missed his family.

Freakin’ loser.

OK, I don’t fault him for hating the bugs and missing his family. I’m sure that where he’s been living is drastically different from the beautiful home he is undoubtedly returning to. And he is now, apparently, claiming that it was due to health concerns (although he said absolutely nothing like that when he was leaving the show).

But those little girls he was supposed to be fighting for? They don’t have the option of leaving the squalor they live in. And their challenges go way beyond the muck and critters that he became overwhelmed by. I wonder how many of them could have, with the show’s prize money, been upgraded to living conditions a little more on par with what he could no longer tolerate and count themselves eternally blessed to escape the hell that is their current existence?

And this from a man that was constantly talking about God using him to save the souls of the likes of Spencer Pratt and Janice Dickenson while he was on the show.

Steven Baldwin had an amazing opportunity to do something life (and soul) saving. And he walked away from it.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too harsh—I wasn’t there. But, as I look at my four little boys and feel my little girl moving inside me, and as I remember the horrible stories I’ve read in books on human trafficking, I’d like to think I’d do better.

I’d like to believe that I wouldn’t have left that jungle unless they took me out on a stretcher.

 

Some Facts About Modern-Day Slavery:

  • It is estimated that 2 children are trafficked for sexual purposes every minute.
  • It is estimated that there are currently over 27 MILLION people living in slavery throughout the world. That is more than twice the number of Africans trafficked during the ENTIRE COURSE of the transatlantic slave trade. Slavery didn’t end in the 1800’s. (Oh, and one of those “off topic” things that Eric Holder has complained the Bush administration focused on under the heading of Civil Rights? Human Trafficking. But, by all means, let’s toss the progress that has been made over the last decade aside so that Mr. Holder can feel good about bringing more affirmative action cases into the courts.)
  • Human trafficking is the second most lucrative crime in the world (behind drug trafficking).
  • It is estimated that 45,000-50,000 people are trafficked into the United States every year. Approximately 15,000 are children.

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Week 34—The Weather Report

At this point, it has basically been a whole month since I have done any kind of pregnancy update. Mostly, this is because I’ve never felt like doing a picture. I actually tried to do one last week, but they all turned out awful. And you aren’t getting one today—after working in the garden in 85 degree weather, I’m just not even going to try.

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be doing an update today if I didn’t feel a little bit like my hand was being forced. But, you know, sometimes other people talk about things you hadn’t planned on discussing, so you feel like you need to explain.

If you are a man and go to church with me, for the love of all things holy, run. NOW.

Friday afternoon, I woke up from my nap to find that I was a little, um, damp. (I warned you.) I monitored the situation for a little while, then decided to call my midwife. You see, when I was pregnant with Wyatt, I went through the exact same thing for a few days. Then my water totally broke. But that was ok since I was past my due date that time. This time, I was much more concerned about the situation. My midwife suggested that I wait and see if anything had changed by the next morning. The problem came and went for the rest of the day.

Saturday afternoon, during my baby shower, my mother asked me if I was still having problems. While I was getting refreshments. I told her that we would talk about it later since, you know, I really didn’t think Miss Manners would sign off on discussing the relative humidity of my unmentionables over cake and punch.

(How the heck would you determine that one? About fifteen percent? Twenty? I’ve never been very good at rating things. Just like those stupid smiley face pain assessment charts that are in every single labor and delivery room.

Wong_pain_scale

Since they have never handed me a mirror when they ask me to rate my pain, you would think they would be a little more qualified to judge—seeing as how they are LOOKING AT MY FACE while they ask. Anyhow…)

So, I thought I had dodged any public discussion of my private parts.

When I woke up Sunday morning, the problem had returned. I decided it was time to go have things checked out. We decided that Sean and the kids would go to church, and I would go to the hospital.

Shortly before they left, Noah came up to me and said, “Mommy, you’re LEAKING?”

No matter how many times I have pointed it out to him, my husband still hasn’t figured out that there are certain things you shouldn’t say to little kids because they will, invariably, repeat them.

I told Noah that under no circumstance was he to discuss that with people at church. So, of course, I was not surprised to learn that when Sean went to get Caleb from the nursery, Noah took the opportunity to announce to every adult present that his mommy was leaking.

Sigh.

Of course, it appears that his grandmother may have rivaled him in the discretion department that day, so I guess I can’t give him too much grief about it.

I am considering teaching my husband a lesson, though. You see, he justified sharing that information with the kids by telling me that he thought it would be good to explain to them how the baby is floating in water in my tummy so they would learn more about what was going on with the pregnancy. So I’m thinking I’ll tell them when I lose my mucous plug. And when they ask what that means? I’ll send them to daddy. He’s good at explaining those pregnancy things.

So, yes, I did go to the hospital yesterday morning. And, no, they do not think that I am “leaking.” Which leaves little explanation for the issue. Well, ok, they did give me one possible explanation, but I feel very certain that it isn’t what is happening.

For now, I’ll just shrug my shoulders, watch, and wait. I’m not going to let it slow me down (even more). I spent the day doing housework and the evening hoeing. The garden, that is. As opposed to ho-ing which, based on the looks and comments that I have been getting recently from some rather skanky-looking men, there appears to be a certain subset of the male population that thinks I am currently qualified for.

Gross.

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Filed under A Scary Look into My Mind, Kids, pregnancy, Scary Bits of Life

Updates on Life

Would anyone care to explain to me why, if ear infections are not contagious, HALF of my family is currently dealing with them? Sean has been trying to ignore his away since last week. Eli has been on antibiotics for the one I didn’t know he had for a week now. And when I took Noah and Caleb in to get medicine for their pink eye? Well, what do you know, Caleb is fighting full-blown ear infections in both ears! Holy crap, people! None of my kids has ever had an ear infection before!

We now have a good stash of eye drops and antibiotics going on around here. On the plus side, Eli is probably safe from the pink eye since he has been on antibiotics for a week. I may just start putting the drops in Wyatt’s eyes even though he doesn’t have any symptoms yet. Experience has taught me that it is easier to just prevent it than to keep chasing it from kid to kid.

In other news…

Sean picked up the accident report and cd of the 911 call for me today. Interestingly, the accident report had a cover letter stating that, in accordance with federal law, the social security numbers had been redacted.

Federal law. I’m definitely talking to that cop’s boss.

Anyhow, the accident report is pretty worthless. No surprise there. The cop who filed it was being pretty worthless, too.

But the 911 call…

Folks, my memory did not fail me. My phone picked him up in three different places. I know what he was saying each time, but I’m guessing some of it will need enhanced for other people to understand it.

The first time is, unfortunately, the least clear. Nevertheless, I’m 99% certain they’ll be able to make out him telling me that he’ll lose his license if he gets cited (assuming they really try).

The second time it picks him up, there is absolutely no question what he is saying. He tells me he’ll get my car fixed (he was trying to talk me out of reporting the accident). If that isn’t an admission of responsibility, I really don’t know what is.

The third time, only part of it is really clear. It is kind of muffled as he is asking me to talk to his father, who he has on his cell phone (the dad wanted to try and talk me out of calling the police). I tell him that the cops are already on their way. At that point, you can hear him tell his dad, “She says she can’t talk to you.” His dad showed up right after the cop did strictly so he could monitor what happened. I have no question that his dad told him to lie and say that I ran into him.

I emailed the audio file to the insurance adjuster. I’m hoping it will be enough for them to get the other insurance company to admit to his financial responsibility. Then, I have to figure out how to deal with the police. I have the social security number issue to address with them, but I want more than that. I want them to go after him for filing a false police report. I want to see him held accountable for this nonsense.

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Filed under Daily Life, Idiot Files, Kids

That About Sums it Up

Yesterday, in the hallway at church, I stood talking to a friend who is also pregnant and due the same time I am.

“It’s horrible,” she told me, “but all I feel like doing is laying on the couch.”

“Believe me, I totally understand,” I answered. “I’m having a hard time keeping up with everything. My family’s consumption of Hamburger Helper has gone through the roof.”

She laughed.

“Yeah, that and macaroni and cheese, and cheese sandwiches, and pre-cooked rotisserie chickens from the store,” she said. “Sometimes, I just call my husband and ask him what he’s going to do for dinner because I’ve got nothing.”

As we wound up our conversation, one of the men in our ward came up to me and asked when he could come home teach my family (our church sets things up so you get visited every month by other members so we are all watching out for each other). We settled on a time, then started talking about life (I have known him since we were both in elementary school).

After awhile, he mentioned that he needed to go take care of something.

“I don’t know about you,” he sighed, “but I just can’t accomplish anything in church while I have my kids. I spend the whole time dealing with them because they’re being little hellions.”

I smiled and nodded knowingly.

“Sean and I have conversations about it all the time. I can’t tell you how many Sundays we come home, look at each other, and say ‘What exactly did we get out of being there today?’ Most of the meeting is just spent doing damage control. Of course, our answer is that we are doing what we are supposed to, whether we are getting as much from it as we would like to or not, and we are setting a good example for our kids. Someday, they’ll sit still. I hope.”

And that is why friends are important. Just two short conversations, but I spent the rest of my day knowing that there are other people who understand. I’m not alone. The other people living it get it.

***********************

I kept all of my kids home from church yesterday after Noah woke up with crusty eyes. By last night, Caleb’s one eye was turning red.

This morning, Caleb was into full-blown pink-eye when he woke up. Noah walked upstairs with his eyes firmly closed. When I instructed him to open them so he didn’t run into anything, he informed me that he couldn’t. They were glued shut. It took a few minutes of laying down with a washcloth on his eyes before he could finally force them open.

And, just for fun, Eli still has thick yellow/green snot coming out of his nose, despite the fact that he has been on antibiotics for a week now.

Despite the fact that I called first thing, the pediatrician only had three appointments available for the rest of the day. I couldn’t get the kids in until 2:40.

It’s not even lunchtime yet, and I think my day is already pretty much summed up.

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Filed under Daily Life, Kids, Parenting, pregnancy

Treats and Tweets

Yesterday, I earned superhero status with my kids.

Now that I am involved in the Cub Scouts, I am learning all of these cool things to do with little boys. Because, goodness knows, I’m no good at coming up with this stuff on my own. Anyhow, after having a successful activity with my Wolf Den on Wednesday, I used my leftovers to make my kids think that I am the coolest mommy ever.

First, we tied knots.

I know! Who would have thought that tying knots would be so stinkin’ cool? Apparently, little boys do. Seriously, they have been grabbing my ropes and tying knot after knot (especially Wyatt—that boy has OCD tendancies) ever since then.

The best part, though? We made campfires. In the house. And then we ate them.

Really, it is a cute way to teach a kid about building fires. The plate was their clearing. Mini marshmallows were rocks to make a fire ring. The tinder was shredded coconut, and broken pretzel pieces were the kindling. We used skinny pretzel stick for the logs. And the flames? Candy corn, of course! The kids appreciated this educational activity so much that they insisted that we show it to daddy when he came home. 🙂

tinder

campfire treat

I can’t remember the last time I got so many hugs and heard the phrase, “I really enjoyed our activity” so many times in the same day. Tonight, we are making flying saucer treats in a fire. We’ll see if Supermommy flies again.

Of course, tonight will be Daddy’s turn to be the coolest parent ever. Yesterday, out of the blue, he decided that he wanted to take the kids camping and fishing. After a bit of thought, we decided that it might be best to do the camping in our backyard (we really do have a good yard for it).

After checking the weather, Sean and the kids went out while I was making dinner yesterday and set up the tent. As they were finishing, it started to thunder. After they came in, it started to pour. I think that it rained off and on all night long. My kids were down in the tent this morning with towels trying to dry it out (despite the fact that it had a rain cover on it).  As I told Sean, he’s going to have to suck it up if that tent is still wet. He has kids who have been dancing around the house, gleefully proclaiming, “We’re going camping!” all day long. There is no getting out of this one.

Of course, being almost 7 1/2 months pregnant will make it impossible for me to spend the night trying to sleep on the ground. Poor me. (I would dance around the room and jump up and down if it didn’t require energy and agility that I no longer posses.)

I guess, to fill the void of my quiet evening, I’ll sit in the house and mock him via Twitter.

Yes, I broke down a few days ago and signed up for Twitter. (So if you are wondering who TheMotherGrimm is that is now following you—hi! If I’m not following you, it’s just because Twitter didn’t find you in my Gmail account.) I didn’t do it because of any great desire to do so. I did it because my husband and his family are. That’s right, my husband, who has never “gotten” why I blog. Who doesn’t understand why I read the blogs of people I have never actually met. My husband who can’t find my blog on his own, and only reads it if I pull up a post on my computer and drag him over to it. This is the man who was constantly telling me useful bits of information he was receiving via text message—tidbits like the fact that Neal Boortz found a snake in the bathroom while he was on vacation at the Grand Canyon. You know, things you just CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT KNOWING.

So, see? I had to sign up for Twitter. Otherwise, he’d know more about Gene Simmons’ day than mine.

Of course, the jury is still out on my opinion of Twitter. Honestly, I don’t speak Attention Deficit Disorder. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not the kind of person who completes a thought in 140 characters or less. It’s like trying to reduce my life into haiku.

I’ve also learned to be prepared if you set things up so the bipolar relative’s tweets to come to your cell phone. Because you may end up with multiple text messages extolling the virtues of ginger. Both the spice and the red-headed island castaway. Although, now that I think about it, he never got to the red-headed Spice Girl, which would have been the next logical step. That may be because he’s ADD, too (and, therefore, loves the Twitter format). He’d probably moved on before he got that far.

So, yeah, life is pretty good. Tonight, I’m going to try not to think about the nonsense from the past few days and just enjoy the peace and quiet. Maybe I’ll even write a haiku about the joys of sleeping mosquito-free.

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Why Do the Criminals Get All of the Rights?

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In case you are wondering, that is what happens when you bang your head against the keyboard.

So, when I wrote about the Lying Jerk Face (heretofore known as LJF) who backed into me yesterday, there are a few things that I left out. I did it on purpose, because I wanted to confirm what I suspected before I said it here.

Soooooo…

You know how I said he tried to talk me out of calling the police? I mean REALLY, REALLY tried? And then got mad when I did it anyhow?

Did you know that, if you have enough personal information about a person, you can pull up their driving record on the Bureau of Motor Vehicles website? Ah, see, you learned something today. Or, at least, I learned something. Actually, I learned A LOT of something.

For instance…

  • LJF has two separate DUI’s and a drug conviction.
  • He refused to take a breathalyzer on the scene of both DUI’s.
  • His license has been revoked five times (three concurrent for one offense, two concurrent for another offense) and is currently driving under a three year restriction.
  • He has settled an injury case out of court.
  • He was picked up by the cops twice in the same day (once for reckless driving, once for one of the DUI’s) in two different counties.
  • He currently has 14 points on his license. (Fourteen! People, that takes effort! Especially when your license has been revoked for half of the reporting period!)

And that is just the standard three-year driving record report. Who knows what this idiot did before then?

Could someone please tell me why the heck this guy is still on the road??? Or why the cop on the scene of our accident didn’t press him a bit harder instead of just acting like I was wasting his time by wanting him to take a police report?

Or, better yet…

You know how I said that you can get this information if you have enough personal information about someone? When the cop came, he had us each fill out two forms. One was our statements about what happened in the accident. The other asked for our name, address, phone number, birthday, driver’s license number, social security number, and insurance company. After we filled those out, the cop gave me his, and GAVE HIM MINE!

That’s right. LJF, who is a CONVICTED CRIMINAL, has ALL of my personal information! The only thing he didn’t get was my insurance policy number! And that was the only bit of information that he actually needed!

People, I’m going to order a complete criminal background check on him. Because I only know what shows up related to his driving record. And, given what a gem THAT shows him to be, I would really like to know what else this guy who now possesses my Social Security number and HOME ADDRESS has done. You know, in case I want to get a concealed carry permit.

And, if he does have a record outside of his stellar driving performance? I will raise hell with the police department. This should not be legal. They had to know who they were handing my personal  information over to when they did it. And that? That is just wrong.

ETA: And now they are talking on the news about how they are going to start reading Miranda Rights to terrorists. See? We have to protect the rights of those criminals. People who pine for the days of the Warren court need their heads examined.

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