Monday, March 28, 2011

The Journey Begins

Way back in 1997 when I first heard of this new book called Harry Potter, I decided I would wait to read them for the first time with my own child. Through 14 years of students begging, movies being made, and tremendous personal torment I have managed to remain entirely uninformed about everything Potter. Tonight I begin them with my son.

I feel I must explain. A great many people are passionate about literature; I am one of "those" people. I reread books till they fall apart, much to the amusement of my husband. I once reread Atlas Shrugged continuously for 18 months (which is about eleven cover to cover reads). Indeed both of my sons are named for my favorite characters of important books in my life. However, my deepest literary passion lies with children's literature. I'm pretty sure it all comes of discovering The Phantom Tollbooth at an impressionable age (if Dave would have let me, I'd have named both kids Milo). Watching kids discover a book that really captivated them was, by fat, the greatest part of teaching. The magic of children's books lies in the way in which a new mind embraces the dreams of another mind; this intellectual embrace is what writers achieve more powerfully than the rest of us.

Which is why I refused to have anything to do with Harry Potter for the past 14 years. I have read and reread every great children's book; I knew, after reading the first page, that Harry Potter was going to be one of the greats, possibly the greatest written in my lifetime.

There is something about discovering a new book. The freshness, the delight of how crisp the words are in your mind that made me NEED to wait and share that special imaginative rapture with her or him.

When Jake was born (after the initial shock of having a son wore off) I remember looking at him with his balled up little fists and telling him "I'm glad your here. We have a lot reading to do."

My apologies to Atticus and any future children. I'm second born so I get that you get a raw deal on a great many things; this, alas, will be no different.

I am beyond excited. Tonight is the night. After a hot bath and snuggled into soft clean jammies, my son and I are going to embark into the world of Harry Potter and Hogwarts. I will blog our own path into this world. I know this will have been worth the wait.

And so, we begin.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jake's bday video

So every year I "interview" the boys on their birthdays. This one is cute!

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Jake's bday cake

A quick picture from Jake's bday. The rest are on my camera so it'll have to wait.

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- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Educational Quandry

So Dave and I have been talking this over for some time. I know everyone will have an opinion, and I am eager to hear them. Ok, not really, but on this one more opinions will be better.
I am a teacher. I love teaching. Since the day I left the classroom to raise my kids I have missed it. I keep up with old students on Facebook, endlessly nagging them to be good kids. I don't mean to brag, but my classroom was awesome. The kids had lots of fun and loved the learning thrust upon them. It was certainly a loud room, but a loving one.

Then there is my kid's classroom. It quiet. Really quiet. The stereo is on all the time at volume two; the kids know they cannot make more noise than allows them to hear the stereo. When I ask the boy what he does all day he says "I just make sure I don't get in trouble." He's bored to death, but his goodie two shoes nature (where the hell did this come from??) seems to be keeping him out of mischief, but I know that can only last so long.

Before everyone jumps on the "what a terrible school/ teacher he must have" I have to state that his school and teacher are actually pretty awesome. His teacher is deeply caring and makes a lot of attempts to individualize the program and create fun learning centers for the kids. As far as public school teachers go, I believe she is in the top 10%. I believe the challenge is systemic. There are so many kids from so many different backgrounds with so many different skills and abilities makes for a near impossible learning environment. I think there is serious value for kids learning to be a part of the larger group, knowing how to walk in a line quietly and work with others who are different. But the value in these skills are not above the other things I want for my kids to be learning in school. I know that they will learn to read, do math, all that jazz, regardless of the school dynamics. What I do not see kids in schools learning is to love learning.

I am incredibly lucky. My kid loves learning about everything. He is excited about it all. This morning he grilled me on the American role in enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya. I don't want to see his interest in his world diminished because ninety percent of his time is spent waiting. Waiting for his turn, waiting for an answer, waiting in line. I am beginning to feel like his educational experiences are like a very long day at Disneyland; you wait three hours for a thirty second experience. It's a long haul for a little mind, day in and day out.

So here I sit with a teacher's dilemma. How do I educate my kids? Public school? Private school? Home school? Each has it's own advantages and disadvantages. I am not sure which direction to turn. I only know that the current model of watch, wait, and see is not going to make it much longer.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The official diagnosis?

So, after eight LONG weeks, Atticus has finally been diagnosed. He had cooties. Yup! Fifteen million blood and tissue tests and the best that medical science came up with was cooties.
Imagine how thrilled I was with his Dr this morning when she called to tell me the last of the labs had come in. She thinks it's just one of those things that runs (hahaha) it's course and then is gone. He has officially gotten the all clear to not come back in for further tests, which is good since I am beginning to think they may be trying to reinstitute the art of bleeding illness out of him.

In truth, I am pretty sure that Atticus is fine at this point. For the most part his system seems to have recalibrated and he is just about as right as rain. There are no words for how relieved Dave and I are; this was just such a drain. The only thing that could have been worse would have been if something was really wrong (note to self- I do not EVER want to hear the word cancer in the same sentence as one of my kids again!). But as my grandmother is fond of saying "Be thankful for the wins you get." And not having a sick kid is a serious win.

So here I sit, grumbling about work but not really caring, grateful for a healthy family.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Jake announced last month that he was going to try out for our local t-ball team. Little League in Cville is kinda a big thing. Jake had a blast at try outs today. No word yet on which team he will be on. I am guessing from what he wore that you can tell which one he is hoping to make (God help us if he ends up on the kiddie Red Sox team- I may have to root against him)