Thursday, March 22, 2012

So it's like this...

I know this isn't exactly accurate, but this is how my brain works.

So I'm feeling like this:

Did Javert say, "Nip it in the bud"?

Because tomorrow I'm going to get to do something that I've always wanted to do. Well.. not always. Only 23 years.

And I hope it's like this:

And not like this:

Yes, the 10th anniversary Les Mis is way better than the 25th. A Jonas brother? Really?
Yes, I overidentify with the Wicked Witch of the West. But dang, the girl just wants her shoes back. Stealing is wrong, y'all, even if some chick in a bubble tells you it's OK.
And yes, I'm trying to not freak out over the enormity of tomorrow. It's going to be fine.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Great Button Caper

Amazing things are afoot. That cape I made for the boy is actually working. I sew a button on there every time that he has a good day at school... and it's working! The number of think- times he got last week was much lower than weeks past.

I mean, he's still not perfect and he's still way too familiar with the whole time-out process. But if the opportunity to pick a plastic button for me to sew on his cape helps him develop his self-control, I'm all about it... even if it means my kid is the weirdo who wears a cape to school.

In other amazing news, for reasons that defy the very fiber of the universe, the girl continues her year-long streak of no think- times at school. That the boy gets think- times and the girl does not absolutely boggles my mind. It's a stark contrast from what we see at home where the girl elevates snark to an art form. I have no idea where she gets it.

Her buttons are sewn onto her Hello Kitty pillow.

They're both emerging readers. They're both extremely kind and loving. And they both had excellent table manners today at the Olive Garden (don't judge). I'm crazy lucky, but I think they mostly just take after their father. 

"Amazing" is the adjective du jour around here. Other amazing things: I've gotten to make cakes for some seriously lovable people lately, it's almost spring break, and I'm (finally, after wanting it for 23 years) having surgery on Friday. Oh! And my broom stands up by itself.

Too bad it doesn't sweep by itself.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Remember that kid in Charlie Brown Christmas who dances like this?


Differential reinforcement of successive approximations toward a specified response class not already present in the behavioral repertoire.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Poppy seeds, Cheesecake, and Restraint Training.

Do you ever clean the bathtub because you're feeling like a slacker and maybe that fresh bleach scent clinging to your hands will mean you've actually accomplished something? 
Yeah. Me too.

I shouldn't feel like a slacker. I actually accomplished some things today. My first ever cheesecake got done chilling and firming and it actually tastes pretty good. I've baked a HUGE lemon poppy seed cake that's cooling on the counter and I'll throw down some cream cheese icing for it as soon as the monsters are in bed. I finally took the red dress to the dry cleaners. And, hey, I spent the morning getting my restraint training certification renewed.

Restraint training. It's not what you'd think.

Ideally, restraint training would be something like an anger management class. It would actually do what it says; train restraint. A tall, balding therapist in slacks and last season's sweater would teach a group of impetuous gumnuts like me to hold back on those wacky impulses that lead us to do crazy things like eat at Arby's or start a blog. We would leave with shiny certificates of completion, a well-deserved sticker on our lapels, and a rubber band firmly anchored around our wrists so that, when restraint is needed, we can snap that rubber band and use the pain that ensues to redirect our thoughts. 

Alas, that's not what today's restraint training was about. 

I spent the day with my arms wrapped around other teachers (and administrators) as we practiced the systematic handling of students who pose a physical threat to themselves or others. If you've never wrestled an assistant-principal to the ground, you are missing out on an experience. As if remembering the right way to move your feet, position your hands, duck your head, and push your hip isn't enough, you get the additional worry of physically hurting someone in a position of tremendous influence over your career. And then there's that split-second panic as you and the administrator you're currently dragging to the ground hit the floor where you wonder if you've done the right technique or if that old karate training has kicked in and you've accidentally blocked the wrong person's windpipe.

"My bad. I hope this doesn't negatively affect my yearly evaluation."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Remember that time...?"

"Remember that time ____?" is the absolute best way to begin a story. Not only does it pique the listener's interest, but it gives everyone around a feeling of inclusion... even if they don't actually remember that time because they weren't there. Or because I totally made the story up. Either way, it makes people happy. And by people, I mostly mean myself.

Remember that time I made the boy a super-hero cape?

I'm not sure how it came to pass that I told the boy I would make him a cape. I think he used a combination of Jedi mind tricks and gap-toothed persuasion. He had just lost his first tooth, after all. Thus, the whole family tromped to Hobby Lobby so the boy could pick his cape fabric. I spent lots of time poring over the costume sections on the pattern catalogs. After much deliberation and consultation with the five year-old, I found an awesome cape pattern for only... $14.95. Really? $14.95? Even at 40% off, that's spendy. But I wanted to do it right. I tried to convince the boy that the shiny gold rick rack would look awesome on the cape. Despite my best efforts, he was not convinced. To the check out we went, then, rick rackless.

When the time came to actually sew the cape on the Hello Kitty sewing machine, I looked at the spendy pattern and thought about how much trouble it would be to get it open, unfold all the pages, pin and use them, then try to refold them back into that neat little envelope. The very thought made me tired. So I just made up my own design.

It came out OK and, because I didn't use a pattern, I am not obsessing over all the mistakes and deviations from perfection. So, it's better that I didn't use the pattern. Because it's less stressful. Wow, that was thoughtful of me.

In the end, the boy wanted an N on the back made out of green ribbon. It was piece-y looking so I sewed some buttons on there. He wanted more buttons but I was tired of sewing for the day so I told him I would add a button when he has good days at school.

Turning my own laziness into motivation for the kid to behave is what makes parenting an art.

Oh, see the rick rack on the bottom of the cape? Yeah. When he saw it in my sewing box, the boy decided he wanted rick rack after all. Because he's mine.

Maybe I'll be up for opening this by Halloween.

Update! All McCall's sewing patterns will be 99 cents this week at the Hobby Lobby. I really had that coming.


I've been saying for years that I'm going to write a book. And I am. And it's hilarious. I'll let you read it someday.

In the meantime, though, here is a place for me to record the things that happen in my world.