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To Mormons, With Love
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Wednesday
Jun042008

You can call me Ray. Or you can call me Jay...

My good friend T doesn't like the boys' contrived nicknames - "too dog like" he says.  He agrees with Chris that I shouldn't use their real names.  Once again, for the three of you reading this blog, I'll be changing their names.  I think I'll ask them today what they'd like their blog names to be.  Chris and I thought of a couple of descriptive nicknames, but the over-analytical mother in me doesn't want a boy to think because we refer to one as, say, "Professor", that they each don't have a scientific mind at times.  I know, over thinking...

Coincidentally, boys just came downstairs to say good morning.  I asked them what they'd like their Internet names to be.  Ironically, oldest boys says, "Mr. Science", and middle boy says, "Mr. Artist". 

I said, "What about Professor?" - oldest boy jumped on it. 

Then I said, "What about Picasso?" 

"No way," says middle boy.  "I don't even like Picasso, plus he was crazy.  He cut off his ear and sended it to someone.  You can call me Van Gogh."

The youngest Ross boy doesn't get it. Oldest boy just asked if he could be called Einstein.

Right now, I'm thinking Frasier, Niles and Kramer...

Tuesday
Jun032008

"I am smart. S-M-R-T." - Homer Simpson

Today's the last day of school for the two older boys—leaving 4th and 2nd grades—moving on to 5th and 3rd. Like my Mamaw says [that's Hoosier for grandmother], "Honey, the days are long, but the year's are short."  The boys are ready for summer break, but I don't think nearly as ready as I am.

I remember asking Mom for help with homework.  Her response was always, "Look it up."  When my brother Joe asked for help, she'd say, "Ask your sister."  This isn't meant to be a dig on Mom—one time she stayed up late with me drawing cells, or mitochondria, or something like that for a 10th grade biology project that I'd procrastinated doing until the last minute.  I had two or three dozen amoeba-looking things to draw.  I don't know what they were, but it was important and Mom saved me.  [My education didn't stick. I can't name all the planets and I don't really know where I am on a map—too many square states. I'm terrible at geography.] 

Homework exhausts me.  I don't do their work for them [like some Mom's—you know who you are] but school is structured in such a way now, that parental involvement is mandatory.  We have to sign forms indicating they've done stuff every day—not just when they're falling behind and receive a naughty note.  They have to read out loud to us. We have to double-check folders.  Projects require multiple trips to a store [not necessarily expensive, just inconvenient]. 

I choose to pack the boys' lunches which is one of my least favorite chores, and they have snack time every day that requires me to pack more stuff.  When I was a kid, we used to get little cartons of milk delivered to the classroom in a cold, cold milk crate and a few lucky kids were allowed chocolate.  That stopped in the second grade. I could go on. I love doing things with the kids, supporting them, reading to and with them, but it's possible an over-correction is occurring.

So, Toddler Child and I are all purdy, ready to go pick up older "brudders" and get them to their respective end of year parties [something else I didn't have as a kid until Sr. year in high school].  What happened to the days of Mom's sitting on the front porch with a gin and tonic, visiting, while kids played in the yard with a water hose, everyone celebrating the last day of school?  [I don't even like gin, and that scene definitely wouldn't play out in my current neighborhood, but you know what I mean.]

Maybe we're over-edumacating everyone.

Monday
Jun022008

Virginia is for Lovers

When I was pregnant with Toddler Child, Oldest Boy and Middle Boy were 7 and 5 years old.  They'd never really asked too many questions about the difference between boys and girls - they simply had friends.  As the baby was developing and my stomach was growing, questions began.  They were easy questions and didn't require much detail.  Chris and I purchased an age appropriate book that had illustrations of boys and girls, men and women, and only went so far as to explain that when a Mom and Dad love each other, sometimes they get a baby!  All of the drawings looked like Cabbage Patch Kids - even the adults.  This was a VERY macro level book, clearly with an old fashioned, conventional bent.  But it satisfied both boys.  It used all the proper words for anatomy and answered the question "How does the baby get out?" with "Through the birth canal."  Like that's crystal clear.  But it worked.  Chris and I were relieved.

I've talked with so many friends, a few doctors and a couple psychologists about when and how to educate kids on "the birds and the bees".  Seems to me, eventually everyone figures it out one way or the other.

It was a couple weeks from the baby's due date, Oldest Boy and Middle Boy were eating lunch at the kitchen table, I was standing a few feet away washing dishes in the sink.  Oldest Boy says nonchalantly, "Mama.  I know why you don't have a penis." 

"Why?" I said.

"So when that baby comes out, he can come right out your VIRGINIA."