3/30/10

What they don't tell you in "Teacher" School...



I spent a few minutes after school today slumped in my rocking chair beside the whiteboard. I was exhausted, as are most teachers the end of the FULL MOON day. (You cannot tell me that children don’t morph on days when there is a full moon. Teachers KNOW.)

I started thinking about what “real” people do during the day, and the things that THEY say while on the job.

Things like, “Nurse, scalpel!”

And, “Trade the stock! Trade now!”

Or even, “Your honor, I object!”


You know what I said today? You want to know ALL THE THINGS I said at work today? Here’s what my fried brain remembers:


“Jack, please get the play dough off your head, please."


“James, we do NOT talk about C-4 or any other kind of explosives in reading groups: or any other time during our day in kindergarten. Got it?”


“No, Jack, do not make Batman masks out of the play dough."


“Helen! HELEN!!! Do NOT eat the chicken legs in the play kitchen. They are FILTHY!”


“Rachel, were you sniffing the markers again? Yes, you were! Then why is your nose purple, red, brown and green?”


“Jack, no more play dough for you! For at least a week!” (Mrs. Jackson, did he put that in his pants? Really?)


“David – do NOT crawl under the table and eat those brownie crumbs! Stop it! There is no ten second rule when the floor is FILTHY.”


“People, I am begging you, please, please, PLEASE do NOT put your fingers in your noses. We have five billion boxes of tissues in this room that NO ONE USES. Well, except me."



And my family wonders why I'm a TAD tired when I get home.




3/29/10

No thanks, I'm not thirsty anymore...


This particular story came from my friend who teaches kindergarten in Virginia.

She took her class to another school for a field trip to see their "pen pals." After the gathering, she had the class use the bathroom before they went home. Most of the children also took advantage of the water fountain outside the restrooms before boarding the bus to go across town.

Miss Jones: "Johnny, did you want to get a drink here at the fountain before we get on the bus?"


Johnny, "Naw.....I got a drink from that one in there!" And with that, he pointed to the boys bathroom.


Yeah.


Where the urinals were located.





He'll probably be their next senator.





3/28/10

I got your ball, right here.


Dear Golden Boy,

Well, thanks to your antics Friday night, I’m gonna have to email at least 1476 people and let them know that I was MISTAKEN when I might have said a gazillion times that boys are easier than girls.

Yeah. When you FIRST gave me the silent treatment (a little slice of heaven, I must say) and then started whining like one of your sisters, and climaxed the whole angry event with a ranting and raving befitting an experienced teenage girl, I almost laughed out LOUD. If I hadn’t been so shocked and exhausted I might have just done that.


Let’s make a few things clear right now.


ONE: Promises are meant to be broken, and most likely WILL BE. Get used to it.


TWO: When you convince me to somehow nod in your direction when I am having a heated “discussion” with your older sister about her TATTOO, that does NOT A PROMISE MAKE. A nod is NOT a promise. Unless I actually utter the words I PROMISE, it is not one.


THREE: You do NOT need another official NBA basketball. There are SIX (six, people) laying around that mud pit you call a basketball court. Now, they may not ALL belong to us, but they all seem to bounce well enough to keep the neighbors, your father, your mother and your dogs constantly annoyed.


Oh, and FOUR: When your father walks in on our “discussion”, don’t pull the “I don’t know WHAT she’s talking about” card. He’s been down this road with me before- and the third time’s the charm. (And that “worst parents in the whole wide world comment? It had us laughing for hours. OMG I am still chuckling about THAT one.)



Sweet Jesus it was almost enough to get me drinking again.



3/27/10

If this doesn't make you smile, then I give up.





After lunch yesterday, Jack ran into the room shouting, "The jammitor's on crotches!"




He held me in my dream last night...



My father was a quiet and gentle man, with a sharp mind and a very quick wit. He served our country faithfully in the Navy for 28 years, during which time he attended law school and retired with the rank of Captain – an officer of the Navy JAG unit.

When I was young, he would tell us stories of being on a ship in the water at the beaches of Normandy. If my memory serves me correctly, he was on a ship that carried the wounded to safety.

He often told the story about being stationed in Korea during the Conflict, and standing next to a Jeep that had been shot. (The shot landed where you might typically find a gas tank.) He called THAT one of his lucky days.

His crowning moment, however, came during his high school football career when his team, the Geneva Bulldogs played their archrivals from Ashtabula. He was the center for the team, and the big play of the game was the center sneak, where he pretended to hike the ball-tucked it under his shirt and sauntered slowly across the goal line. He smiled and laughed every single time he told that story, and so did I.

He died of a massive heart attack when I was 19 years old. The doctors and nurses, who just happened to be dining at the country club at the same time as my parents, could not revive him. He was 58 years old.

There are many lessons that my father taught me before we lost him, but the most important ones were about empathy. I believe that he felt the true measure of a man was in the way he treated others. He showed me, by example, that you treat people with compassion, kindness, and a gentle hand.

After all, it’s that hand that you will hold as you both cross through those holy gates. You know those gates- they’re the ones you enter before you are truly judged, by the one person that really matters.






(I know, I know -it's a repost. I am just missing him today.)

3/26/10

Won't you take me to....Bunnytown?

Some people go to meetings; some people arrange million dollars deals; some people construct million dollar buildings; some people cook amazing meals; some people cut hair; some people fight fires; and some people manage others.

This is what I do at work. And it always makes me smile.












Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off help them make houses..

3/25/10

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's just common sense flying out the window...


Our darling Sassy turned 18 the other day, and we celebrated like every other family - with a nice meal at a local hotspot, a cake with candles, sang the big birthday song and enjoyed the night. We showered her not with Barbies, toys, or makeup, but with gas cards, Starbucks cards and cold hard cash.

Then last night's conversation went something like this:

"So, now that you're 18, how does it feel?" I asked.

"Great! Jane and I went and bought a lottery ticket, and I won five dollars! Then, I set my alarm that night for midnight, and we went driving around town after MIDNIGHT just because I could. And tonight I'm getting the tattoo." Big smile.



"You KNOW, you COULD do things that NORMAL 18 year-olds do, like, oh, I don't know, perhaps register to VOTE?"




"EWWWWWWWW! Mom, you are disgusting."



3/23/10

Whose idea was the bunny????


The top 5 reasons why I had a headache last night.

1. During afternoon centers Jack didn’t make it to the bathroom in time and peed all over himself, the floor and part of the wall. Then, after we ran to get the change of clothes, extra socks and undies from the nurse, another child went in and slipped on the “water” on the floor, and HE needed to change.

2. Sally and John were calling each other bitches at lunchtime. After intense questioning, it was determined that only John was calling people bitches. Sally only says “shit”. Her mom lets her.

3. David had a SEVERE meltdown during free play, laid on the floor kicking and screaming, and said he hated school, his teacher (HUH?), his whole class, and his cousin Larry. After PLENTY of crying and sobbing, I finally got the bottom of the story. David wanted the horned dinosaur instead of the long neck that Zack was willing to part with. David, in the meantime, had been in three time-outs since he walked in the room this morning. Things were clearly not going his way.

4. The class bunny (who roams the room freely) managed to get on top of my teacher desk and promptly chewed the special new crayons I had purchased for an activity on Friday and sh** all over Alan’s behavior chart. David had brilliantly kept the teacher pre-occupied.

5. The teacher tried unsuccessfully to locate a recipe for RABBIT STEW on the computer because she THREW IN THE TOWEL and took them ALL outside for recess at 2:00. However, after getting 25 children zipped, one girl buttoned, locating Laurie's missing glove, and forcing several repeat offenders into the bathroom, we only managed 14 minutes outside.


I might have lost the battle today, but the war rages on. Oh, and as David walked out of school today, these were his words.



“This was a great day, wasn’t it Mrs. Smythe?”



Whose room WAS he in today?



3/22/10

From Zero to 18 in seconds....

My darling Sassy,

You're 18 years old today.


I am proud of the young woman you are, and I am hopeful and excited about the woman that we can glimpse in the distance.

We laugh, we cry, we scream, we fight, and we don't always see eye to eye.

I've held your hand when your heart was broken; when your knee was ripped open from one side to the other; when you had that CAT scan after the little concussion incident after the hockey game; as you've mustered your courage; and when we've lost our loved ones.

We've laughed over hot sauce; talking rules; tips for anorexics; and "Where's your boyfriend at?".

As Father Time has marched us along, I've loved you with every fiber of my being. When all is said and done, I know that you love me.

I.


Know.


You.


Do.




Now, about that tiny little matter of "body art" you're contemplating......


3/20/10

It's the little things...

Want to make your teacher cry? Write THIS in your kindergarten journal.





All.


By.


Yourself.




My little babies are growing up.


3/19/10

Lost on ABC?? Phhhhhhht. I got your lost right here.



Dear Golden Boy,

Yeah. About last night. You know when I screamed at the top of my lungs when I discovered you and the neighbor boys flying down the bike path behind our house, racing each other WITHOUT ANY HELMETS ON???

You came up to me incredibly furious and angry, and told me that I was the worst mother in the world, remember? You yelled at me, and fought with me and argued that I should let you guys race down the bike path at a MILLION miles an hour with NO HELMETS ON.

I guess you don’t remember when I had to carry Bitchy to the ER when she fell off her bike while riding past our house using NO HANDS. And, when your cousin had his ball-sac ripped open last summer when he crashed his bike and the handle bars ripped it wide open- did we forget to talk about that??? Holy crap.

Oh, and when your other cousin’s best friend had to be LIFEFLIGHTED to the hospital because he crashed while riding WITHOUT a HELMET three summers ago and barely survived??? Yeah, I guess I forgot to tell you about that, too.


When you told me I was the worst mother in the world and that you hated me?


It didn’t bother me a bit.


(Another excerpt from the Lost Files. Hey ABC, I'll be waiting for your call. And the photo? It doesn't match the post but I don't care. It made me smile.)


3/18/10

The Pick Me Up...

I went to school yesterday, and found this card in my mailbox.







It was just what the doctor ordered.





(Blogroll and the cover girl winners will be finished tonight. Maybe.)

3/16/10

This parenting gig is TOUGH.


Tightwad and I have been spending quite a bit of time of late examining our lives.



After a lot of yelling, crying, fighting, listening, talking, thinking, hurting and healing, we have come to several very important conclusions.


One, anything that you value in your life is worth fighting for. And nothing, NOTHING is ever easy. Anyone who says that is a liar.

Two, before you start accusing one person of things, you might want to examine yourself, and your own behaviors. (Glass houses and stones, people; glass houses and stones...)

And three, you and your spouse are just as important as the children that surprisingly arrive during this 20-year, tempestuous union. (None were planned, people. NONE. ALL are loved, and we rejoice in them- but that doesn 't mean they were planned.)

We have also committed ourselves to the decision that we will strive to be better companions, better spouses, and better parents. (Crap, I might have to start behaving myself.)


To that end, I want to share a little story from last night.


The Golden Boy (11) and I were cuddling in his bed discussing the day. It's a ritual that he insists we continue, and one that keeps me connected to what's happening in his world. (I like to call it confession time, but that's another post altogether.)

He was facing the side of the room with t.v., and I was looking at the ceiling as he talked.

"Mom, why is dad being so nice to me?" He whispered.

"What? What do you mean?"

"Why is he being so nice? He took me to that OSU basketball game last weekend when you were gone, and he's been cuddling with me at night. Why? Is something wrong?"

"No. I think he just wants to be a better father. "

There was some silence, and then I saw him wiping his eye.

"Are you crying?"

"Yes."

"Why? Are you okay????"



"Don't worry, mom. It's, it's a happy cry......"





3/15/10

Volunteer in the Classroom? Whew- look at the time...

As Joe Cocker and the Beatles like to say, I DO get by with a little help from my friends...This guest post is from my good friend, Ann from Ann's Rants. (Thank you, my friend...) And she surely made me laugh...


This is what happens when a rookie parent volunteers in kindergarten. It isn't pretty.


I have no idea whose turn it is.


I have no idea what to do either.


When your teacher was giving instructions I was frantically gesturing to my own child to stop digging in his nose, get a tissue, and follow up with hand sanitizer. It was a three-pronged interpretive mime that required all of my energy, and attracted none of his.


Count on your fingers. Actually yes, when you count that way 10-3 does look like eight. Use my hands. Do my nails always look like this? Go get a number chart.


Of course I can help you with your barrette. Can it go next to one of the other 72 barettes on your head? I didn’t think so.


I am smiling as I give you this high five, but note the fear in my eyes as your hand comes to greet mine from deep, deep inside your pants.


Buddy? Yes, you buddy. No, not him buddy. OF COURSE I KNOW YOUR NAMES, don’t be silly, you Silly.


I can help you more easily if you open your eyes.


Sure you can go to the bathroom, but where are you now?


Sweetheart? Your bottom is all the way out of your pants. Oh, it always is. Got it.


Yes I would love to hear your rendition of Billy Jean. Now would you like to hear my rendition of Billy Jean? I mean, lets focus on counting by fives.



(Ann will be sleeping for the next FIVE days as she recovers from her volunteering experience!!!)



3/13/10

It's a Cover Girl giveaway, and a billion dollar prize.


I haven't been myself lately, for reasons I'm not quite ready to share. I know this is quite unlike me - this blog is basically a diary of my life. I like to write daily, and usually it's something that has happened to me, my darling children (and I use that term loosely) or the children I so lovingly tend to each day.


I'm not feeling witty.

I'm not feeling funny.

And I can't for the LIFE of me remember any funny stories from my childhood. As someone in my class said recently, "Mrs. Smythe, is your brain working today?"


While I've been wallowing in something that feels unfamiliar to me, I was emailed by the LOVELY women from Cover girl. Remember when I stalked them relentlessly at Blissdom only to find them NEXT DOOR to me in that gargantuan city disguised as a hotel? REMEMBER?

Well, they have proven that they have impeccable timing, and have offered up a fun giveaway for my readers. It's a lovely distraction from this tenuous time.

They are giving away FOUR Smokey Eye kits from Cover Girl! These are guaranteed to make you feel better, even if you are SO depressed that those little blue pills your ob/gyn gave you for your hormonal imbalances aren't working. And even if you are trying to separate two teenage girls bent on world wide destruction, at least you'll look GOOD. Visit here, and tell me which one you would like.


What do you need to do? NO fancy schmancy (sorry suzy) running to and fro.


Just make me smile.


Restricted to a bazillion comments per person. I'll keep this contest open until Monday, and will have Bitchy and Sassy pick the winners in some incredibly witty manner.



(Well, if you DO twitter, and you DO pass the word, I MIGHT throw in a free dog or two. They do NOT pee on the floor when you get home from work on Friday afternoons.)
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3/12/10

No thanks, I've already eaten...


My darling Janie couldn’t WAIT to talk to me this morning. She ran into the room shouting my name. (Which is basically what ALL the 25 kids do each morning! It’s music to my ears. Mushally. )


“Mrs. Smythe, this morning my sister choked on a xylophone!


“Huh?”


"This morning my sister choked on a xylophone!" (Now typically I speak kindergartenese, but today I was STUMPED and required MORE."


"Tell me exactly what happened, step by step!"


“I SAID that my sister chocked on a xylophone this morning! You know, those little white things that come in boxes that people pack STUFF in? XYLOPHONES!”



Me: “Oh, yeah. I ALWAYS pack stuff in xylophones! And I’m constantly tempted to put one in my mouth.”



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(I have a great COVER GIRL giveaway tomorrow. Stay tuned.)


3/11/10

They could always work in the W.W.F


Dear Bitchy and Sassy,

The events of this afternoon have restored my faith in the "power that makes all things right”.


I’ve been feeling a little out of sorts lately, off kilter if you will, with how things have been going. You two have been having coffee (sweet jesus I NEVER thought I’d see the day), shopping, going out to eat, whispering in your rooms on the weekend, and basically (dare I SAY it?) LIKING each other.


I’m a bit verklempt.


We’ve spent the last 15 years separating the two of you for fear of bodily harm. This span of quietness has been incredibly unnerving.


Then, as I pulled into the driveway today after school, I heard a sound that was music to my ears. “What is that? Could it be? Are they…” and I RAN to the house.


I burst into the living room to an incredible litany of words that frankly I haven’t heard for months! I think I managed to hear “pants”, “bitch”, “stealing” and several other words that I would love to utter here, but since one of us in the family needs a job, I refrain from repeating them.


Ahh. It was like sweet, sweet music to my ears. Perhaps, just perhaps, there IS something right with the world. (Sigh, my girls AREN’T completely grown up yet.)


Now, you two %$#@*-es clean up the broken glass and dirt from my broken planter, and then we’ll celebrate this event with a batch of brownies. (I mean celery.)


Life is good, indeed.


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3/10/10

Never say, "Look over THERE!"


My very best friend in elementary school was a girl named Beth Fearnow. She lived two doors down from us on Lemon Road in McLean, Virginia. Her father and mine were in JAG together at the Pentagon, and our mothers used to love to host outrageous cocktail parties every Friday night. (Yep, we were Navy brats.) Beth and I were one year apart, and we were the best of friends – for many good reasons. She had tons of great Barbie clothes, loved to play in the creek in the back yard and didn’t mind getting filthy dirty, was not afraid of bugs, would participate in the torturing of my little brother and his friends, and most importantly, had two older, GORGEOUS brothers whom the neighborhood girls adored.

In kindergarten your best friend looks a little different than it does now. In kindergarten your best friend will tattle on you if you steal the lego-man, if you cut in line, if you take an extra handful of cheese-doodles, and if you color in your neighbor’s journal. Your best friend will wrestle you to the carpet even though he knows you’ll get in trouble. They will race you down the hall, walk you to the nurse or help you give birth to your baby doll in the kitchen free-play area. (Breathe, Janie, breathe! Now, push!) They love your red sparkly Dorothy slippers that you wear every day, and don’t care if the variety of skirts, dresses, leggings or tights doesn’t match the shoes.

We try so very hard in kindergarten to teach the children about being a good friend. We role play what being a good friend looks like; we read stories like Chester’s Way or Chrysanthemum that describe what friendship is all about; we practice every day words that you can use to show people you are a good friend. We decided to take a different approach last week, and asked them what they WOULDN’T do to their best friend. Here’s their list of things you would never, ever do to your best friend.

You never blame things on them if you really did it.

When you are having a sleepover, you never have a pillow fight with them.

You never kick them in their privates.

You never tell them to “look at that” and then punch them in the face.

You don’t take toys out of their hands.

When they are crying you don’t call them crybaby.

You never have a backpack fight with them.

You never pick up a rock and throw it in your best friend’s face.

You never break your friend’s heart.

So, in the beginning, we all know what not to do with our friends. Those things are glaringly obvious, even to a five year old. As we get older our friends become even more important to us. In the teen years, they become the center of our universe - they help us choose what to wear, where to eat, who to date, what club to join and what parties to attend. Unfortunately, the harder a parent tries to steer their children to who they think are the proper friends, it’s really the luck of the draw. We just pray that our children will use their hearts to determine whom they will trust with their friendship. (A lot of praying is involved, I’ll tell you that.)

As an adult, our best friend is someone you call when you have a free moment, someone you share a silly laugh with, someone you cry with, someone you drag to garage sales, or the Goodwill, and someone you vent with. The older I get, the more I value these friends who are so very, very important for my sanity. Your friend listens without judging you, gives you valuable advice without making you feel that what you have been doing all along is just plain stupid, and is there with a comforting cup of coffee and a shoulder to cry on when the bad stuff happens. (And unfortunately, it does happen.)

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen.


I couldn’t have said it better myself.



(Raise your hand if you KNEW this was a re-post.)



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3/9/10

Which driving test did YOU take?


Dear person of European descent that I saw on the very fast HIGHWAY today:


Call me crazy, but in our country, we pull over to the SIDE OF THE ROAD when reading a real ROAD MAP. We do NOT travel 40 miles an hour in the FAST LANE.


Just a heads-up.



Thank you,


The woman who almost plowed into you and lost her life.


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3/8/10

Wait, did you say MILES???



When taking a walk along the bay with your nephew, you might want to get a more clear picture about how far away those bluffs are.

Me: "You said they were right around the corner? How far away are they?"


"Don't worry Aunt V., it's only another mile or so."


"Mile? MILE???"


"It's only a couple miles or so to the bluffs. You will LOVE IT!"


Sweet Jesus, my knees are STILL swollen. (Guess what? When you get there, you also have to walk BACK.)









(He was right. I DID love it, even if my knees did not. Now pass the Icy Hot.)



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3/7/10

What's In A Name???

My family has sent me to my sister's for a little R&R. (You know how much fun THAT can be! Remember The Funny Farm??)Frankly, I'm afraid they might be boxing up my stuff and selling it on ebay, but it's a chance I'm willing to take. While I'm enjoying some "sister" time, my good friend Suzy is filling in. There's nothing like having good friends. Enjoy...

By the 5th grade I knew I was not popular. Because when we were studying pioneer days, I had to choose a name from that era for a play we were doing and couldn't think of one. Excuse me but how would I know the names they used in pioneer days if I wasn't there?

"Suzy, what name have you chosen?"
(LEAVE ME ALONE LADY)
"Didn't you do your homework?"
(I DON’T HAVE A NAME SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?)
"Class, does anyone have a name for Suzy?
(MRS. ROWLAND I HOPE YOU CAN'T PAY YOUR MORTGAGE EVEN THOUGH I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS BUT DAD SAID IT WAS BAD)
"I have a name."
(OH GREAT, THE MEANEST GIRL IN SCHOOL HAS A NAME FOR ME)
"Let's hear it."
"Chastity."

The entire class burst out laughing. I laughed too even though I had no idea why. Maybe Chastity meant 'has buck teeth' or 'stupid permanent didn’t work.' Then yes, it was funny.

I went home and looked Chastity up in the dictionary:

The state of abstaining from sexual intercourse outside of marriage; avoidance of sexual sins; the quality of being chaste; moral purity.

I WAS IN THE FIFTH GRADE.

So I did the class play and answered to the name Chastity and knew that if I had been a popular girl I would have gotten the name Faith or Hope or Charity because all the popular girls got those names.

When Cher named her firstborn Chastity I felt vindicated. Although I recently Googled the name and found this:

Chastity is the first soundtrack album by American singer-actress Cher, released on June 1969 by Atco. It was released to promote and accompany the 1969 motion picture, Chastity. The album was a commercial failure.

I can't win.


3/5/10

Brothers are.....a nuisance.


I still have a scar below my knee where my sister K. pushed me off of her bed when we were young. Do you have scars like that? The sibling relationship is a curious mix of love and hate. When we are young, it is a terrible itch that we are constantly scratching – often drawing blood.


I remember Bitchy's reaction when we brought Sassy home from the hospital. It only took her a week to decide that she was quite an inconvenience and would bite Sassy on the foot if we ever left them unattended (which we learned early on NEVER to do). I remember one time in particular when they were three and five I heard them laughing and laughing in the dining room. I decided to sneak a peek to see what was so humorous, and to my horror I saw that Bitchy had colored her Sassy from head to toe with blue magic marker. It was not a washable marker, and she looked like a Smurf for at least a week.

In school sharing we often hear about these tumultuous relationships at home.

Jack: My brother is sometimes mean when we play! He thinks he owns the basement and sometimes kicks me out. Then I stomp upstairs and turn off the lights and lock him down there.

John: My brother always takes my toys – he pulls them out of my hand. I say “no thank you” and he STILL does it!

Hye-lei: My sister shouts at me to get out of the car faster!

Brian: I would take Hye’s sister!

Hye: No, Brian, she shouts a lot.

My own brother was born in the south of France 44 years ago this August. My family was living in Nice, on the French Riviera, in a lovely old stone villa that was surrounded by a stone fence that was filled with snails. We were a short walk from the Mediterranean Sea, although I was far too young to appreciate it (I was three when we moved there.). My father was a JAG officer with the Sixth Fleet, and we were lucky enough to spend several amazing years there. My mother was NOT pleased about the chameleons that would infest the villa, but the fact that we lived near the actor David Niven balanced that out nicely.


When my little brother was born, the nurse in attendance announced to my mother (who spoke not a WORD of French) “C'est un garçon ! Un grand garçon!” Which I’m pretty sure means “big boy!” For years to follow my older sister and I would relentlessly tease “garcon” by insisting that the French “gendarmerie” were going to come for him when he was 21 to take him back to France. We LOVED to make him cry. That is, until he got so big that he would hold us down and make us cry; then it wasn’t quite as fun anymore. A few years ago, my sister and I discovered other ways in which he had retaliated against our taunting. At my grandmother’s funeral, my brother’s boyhood friends told me that he would sell “peeks” into the bathroom keyholes of our old house whenever my sister and I took our baths at night. He always got more money for her. (She was very, um, uh, blessed.)

As we grow older the sibling relationship becomes something quite different. In my own family we have clung to each other through the sudden losses of both our mother and our father. We’ve rejoiced in our own marriages, the births of our children and their own misfortunes and successes. We laugh and rejoice when we see glimpses of our parents in the faces and talents of our children. We beamed with our sister at high school graduations, and tearfully held her through the funeral of her youngest son. We rejoice in the small moments of success and happiness, and treasure these bonds that have kept us moving forward through this adventure called life.

And now, 44 years after the birth of our little garcon, I can honestly say I love him like a brother. Which, of course if you ask him, is very, very convenient. (And for those of you out there who paid him for peeks- we will track you down…)


It's a repost.




Sue me.




3/2/10

The must-have “Filling out the FAFSA form online” survival kit.



This is a little heads-up to all parents who have ANY hopes that their children MIGHT be going away to college some day. (Guess what, that day DOES come. I'm getting the party hats ready as we speak.)


Here are the things you will need; pay close attention.

1. The BIG book of passwords. This will hold the password to your child’s PIN, your PIN, your husband’s PIN, your grandmother’s PIN and your dog’s PIN. You will need them all and then some before you are done.


2. At least four pair of reading glasses. You will need back-ups, as you will surely fling them across the room as you try to read the fine print about signing your life away. (Oh hell, just sign the damn thing. But don't forget your PIN. THAT's how you SIGN. And good luck collecting that money some day. Yeah, just give me a call. )

3. The stack of W-2’s; make sure you have yours, your spouse’s, your child’s your grandmother’s and your dog’s. And a calculator. Or two.


4. This is the folder of ALL your investments. (Or lack thereof.) You might have to list them. (I guess some people actually HAVE investments. huh.)

5. Vodka. You will need this at about page five zillion.

6. Vodka. See above.

7. Keys to the poor house; it’s your home for the next four to EIGHT years – depending on how many children you have that can actually get IN to college.

8. Aleve.


Oh, and don’t forget to save up for the senior year. THAT list of vital purchases is coming shortly; after I recover from this most recent “things I do for my children” episode.


And that phone that's ringing? Just ignore it.


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