Saturday, December 13, 2008

My most embarrasing moments

I explained to my French class of 7th graders that they were mispronouncing grandfather. Instead of "grand-père" they were saying "grand Pierre." I said "If you say 'grand Pierre' instead of 'grand-père' then you aren't talking about your grandfather, you are talking about your big peter."

During an after school tutorial session, I had several students making up a French test. I wanted to know if all the test takers had finished so I could go to the board and write some verbs and vocabulary and review with the other kids. It was silent in the room as some took tests and others made flashcards or wrote make-up work. I looked up and asked, "Are my testees gone?" (Only one 6th grade girl heard me and she just looked up and in a blasé way said, "Oh, yeah, Madame, that's a good one.")

Santa Claus is not scary - or shouldn't be

I had my first photo with Santa at age 26. The Art Club at the school where I was teaching held a fund raiser during lunch. A hefty black football player dressed up as Santa and they took Polaroids of people sitting on his lap for $5.00. I couldn't wait. I love that picture!!

I asked my mom why she never took me and Sister to have our pictures made with Santa. She said, "Well, you all were never interested." She was right. I remember seeing Santa at the mall when I was a kid and I was too shy to go see Santa. I thought it was cool lots of kids went to see him and maybe even wished I was brave enough to go, too. But, I didn't really want to.

Every year I see some one's Christmas card photo with a crying kid on it - and recently got an e-mail forward with 15 pictures of terrified kids on various Santas' laps. I don't understand why parents make their children go sit on a stranger's lap when they don't want to. I understand making them brush their teeth or making them say please, but going to visit Santa? I really just don't get it.

We took Matt and Drew to the local fire station last weekend for an open house. It was a day of fire safety demonstrations, refreshmants and Santa was there. At first I asked if they wanted to talk to Santa and they said no. We went outside and learned how to use a fire extinguisher and how to stay safe around an oven. We got plastic fire helmets and watched some firefighters go up the ladder and come down on a rope. Then I asked if they wanted to talk to Santa again and they said yes. So we got in line and they waited and they went up and talked to him a minute and posed for the photo and they were fine. Well, Drew had a funny look on his face, like, "Who is this and why am I here?" But no one was scared. If they had balked or cried or looked scared I would not have pushed it. I didn't want them to do it for me - only for them if they wanted to.

I refuse to force my boys to visit Santa if they don't want to. It is not worth it just because I want a cute picture. A picture of them scared and bawling is neither cute nor a nice memory. Christmas is not about selfishness.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mr. Drew's Wild Ride

In the words of one of my comedic heroes, Dave Barry, I am not making this up.

Millie returned home from the playground one day this fall with my 2 boys Matt (4) and Drew (2). Matty was still in the car and she had unbuckled Drew and gotten him out of his seat. They walked up to the garage door to open it. She had forgotten to press the button on the remote in the car, but we have a keypad on the house, so she was going to open the door with that.

She turned to it long enough to enter the 4 number pin and hit enter. She turned around to see Drew holding on with both hands to the garage door handle and rising up, up, up as the door opened. Panicked, she grabbed his waist to pull him off- to no avail. She pulled harder and harder as his head was now as high as hers. She screamed his name - "Let go!" she yelled and yanked on him as hard as she could - imagining him going up into the garage ceiling on to the top of the door.

Before anything bad could happen, either he let go or she pulled him off. Whew! Wish I had had a video camera out for that one.

I tell ya - my boys will give me a heart attack someday.

No wonder it wasn't getting any better

In a follow up to a previous post on medical jargon droppers---- I went back to this dermatologist recently to find out why my finger still looked like it was infected with a flesh eating virus a whole year after I originally went to him to find out how to heal this finger that looked like it was infected with a flesh eating virus. Water hurt it. Air hurt it. I was wearing a vinyl glove to work to keep the chalk off my hand. The kids looked at me like I was crazy. Determined to rid mysel fof a dry-cracked painful knuckle, I wore the gloves to bed every night for a month with the medicine the doctor gave me slathered all over it. I was going to eradicate this stupid "finger cancer" for good.

At the original visit I had 3 areas of "needs improvement": a rash on my eyelid, a dry skin patch inmy pointer that wouldn't heal and something like eczema on my elbows. The doctor gave me 3 ointments to use plus an OTC cream. At home I had no clue what went where. I had to call the office and ask the nurse. There were all sorts of time limits too. Only use Tube X for 14 days on and 7 days off, but Tube Y you can use for 21 says then 14 days off and then the OTC cream you put on before Tube Z but only for a week and then quit using that and just use Tube z. Sounds like an old Bob Newhart comedy sketch.

When I went in this time, he asked me what I was using on it. He said, "Oh, you should use the other stuff on it."

A week later - my finger is fine.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Third Time's a charm

Third year getting an au pair

We finally got it right.

This one is so great. Milly is from South Africa and 19. We were worried about her being young. The first and second were both 21, but it's not age that matters - it's maturity. She is pleasant and helpful. She is good with the boys - takes her job like a teacher and limits their TV time and reads and does activities, crafts, art, puzzles. She is thinking about a career in Occupational Therapy and it just so happens that Matt receives OT at school for a fine motor skill delay. Or disability - or whatever you call it. So she supplements what they do with him at school.

I just realized this is the second post with this title and topic. My mistake, heh, heh, excuse me, heh heh, guess I'll be on my way!!

The others were good - we liked them and it was great. But this one just goes out of her way to make the house neat and clean and to let us know when there was a problem or where she is going. It is a great year so far. Oops - better not say that and jinx myself.

Other people have had nightmarish experiences lately. Host mom number 15 had a German girl come and act like a kid - expecting to be cleaned up after, scratched the car and lied about it. SO she went home. Then the rematch girl was there a week and flew the coop. They found out when she arrived that she doesn't swim and is scared to swim - and they have 4 kids and a pool. Then they heard from a friend of hers that she was a hooker back home. Greaaaaat. Host mom number 3 got laid off from real estate sales and had to call and cancel her new girl coming over.

At $176 a week, she is so worth it, even though it's the biggest expense each month after mortgage. I think it is still cheaper than day care in our area.