15 November 2007

Dear Nasa,

Yet another gem of a post just dropped in my lap by Avery today after school. Apparently a few months ago they were given an assignment to write a letter to NASA telling about a new planet they'd discovered. Today they brought home the mounted, finished product, and it's fantastic! This is how it reads:

Dear nasa,
I discovered a new planet new planet! it is called nebeula. their air is stinky. most of it looks like the beach. it looked fun. there where kids too. the space ships looked realy fun. it was butiful. the people were real nise. the people did tricks in the sky like sky diving. it look like an over loaded fair.

Your friend Avery

It just doesn't get a whole lot better than that. Write this down . . Avery has friends at NASA, so if you ever need a moonrock for a gift or want to vacation on Mars, give her a call on her iPhone and let her know, she'll hook you up.

14 November 2007

Dumb Things Other Parents Do, Part I

Most of the crap I see people do is not worthy of the time it takes to write it down. Sometimes though, they're just so wrong on so many levels I can't help myself. I decided to start a series of stories on the topic. This is, after all, supposed to be a "guide". Consider the tales retold here the "do not" picture in your handbook of parenthood.

Last night as the girls and I were leaving the mall I spotted a large white Ford Expedition parked 2 spots past The DaddyBus. Initially it only stood out because it was parked in a spot marked "Compact Cars Only". Before you start calling me names, understand that if the story ended there it would not have been something I ever spoke or wrote about. I don't equate these spots with those reserved for disabled people, mothers with infants, etc. It makes you a little bit of a jerk to park your Expedition there, but if you park it in the mothers spot and you don't have an infant in the car you're a piece of scum. Clear? Ok, so as I loaded the 25-pound box of modeling clay we bought for Avery's class project into the trunk (you can look forward to that story, I'm sure it will be a good one) the big Expedition thundered to life and started to inch backwards out of the spot. I say inch because every 3 or 4 seconds the 3-ton behemoth would lurch to a stop, its driver clearly struggling to maneuver out of the cramped parking spot. And then it hit me.

There was a 15-year-old girl driving this thing!

I stood and watched for what seemed like ten minutes as the girl's mom sat in the passenger seat on her cell phone, completely oblivious to the peril her daughter was subjecting everyone within a quarter mile to. The vehicle continued its lurching retreat out of the parking spot until it nearly ran over a curb behind it. The girl put the truck into drive and started to heave the steering wheel to the right, the power steering pump wailing and squealing, straining to turn the beast. As she inched toward the end of the row of parking spots, I watched her clumsily reach with her right hand over to turn on the turn signal. At this point she was at least 8 feet into the middle of the intersection, waiting most impatiently for the pedestrians and crossing traffic to clear her intended path. That path eventually led her halfway into the loading dock of the Bass Pro Shop before she got the truck into the proper lane and straightened out. It was amazing that no innocent passersby or trees were killed in the making of this story.

What was this mom thinking? How good can her insurance possibly be? And how can she sleep at night knowing that she's allowing another teenager to get behind the wheel with no sense of responsibility or right vs. wrong? A) Why did she allow the kid to park in that spot in the first place (or had mom driven to the mall and pulled that sweet move). B) How could she not be scared for the truck given the teen's obvious lack of experience? C) What could she possibly be talking about on the phone that was more important?

I know my oldest kid is only 7, and for me to say that I'll be more on top of things when she's a teenager than this mom was is purely speculative. But at least I've seen the do not picture now, and it'll haunt me until long after my kids have learned to drive.

11 November 2007

L . . I . . L . . Y!

I've been working with Lil on spelling her name for quite a while now. A few weeks ago she recited her ABC's completely unassisted, so I thought the name was the next logical step. I soon realized two major flaws in my plan, however. First, the letter "L" is one of two that she still can't pronounce correctly ("R" is the other). And while I suspect this is normal, it hurts her because it's 50% of her name. The second flaw is that when asked to identify the letters, one of her most common mistakes is confusing "I" and "Y". Geez, so much for giving her an easy-to-spell 4-letter name, eh? Well we kept practicing and practicing, at the end foregoing the mid-word split ("L I" . . "L Y") because I thought it might be confusing her, and we went for the whole thing. Well this morning she's got it, consistently knocking it out of the park, and she's sooo proud of herself! She likes to point to the big painted letters on her wall when she does it, grinning from ear to ear and clapping wildly for herself when she gets it right. "I spell (pronounced speoww) my name!", she yells. Now that she's got that mastered, our next conquest will be counting to ten in Spanish. Right now she can do "uno, dos, tres" unprompted, but we still have to walk her through 4-10. Nueve, for 9, still needs a little bit of individual attention, though. Her current pronunciation resembles the chorus to her new favorite song . . "A bay bay".