Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
We went through this process with Maggie a few years ago when Chris's grandmother died. Maggie was about the age that Aleita is now at the time. For weeks afterward, we dealt with frequent inquiries about what had happened to Grandma Lillian. Of course Aleita was only about a year and a half old at the time, so she has no memory of the event. Maggie did really well in dealing with Grandma Dot’s passing - - she is old enough to at least understand the concept of getting old and dying. Aleita on the other hand….maybe not so much.
I decided not to have the children attend my grandmother’s visitation at the funeral home because I felt the evening would be too long for them. I also wanted to be able to greet family and friends who came to pay their respects appropriately and not be completely distracted by two bored, restless kids running around and getting loud. Chris and I instead opted to just have them go with us to the funeral the following day. We had done our best to prepare the kids for what was going to happen. Maggie did fairly well - - I think it was a little surreal for her to see Grandma Dot lying there in the casket, but she seemed to take the whole thing in stride.
Aleita on the other hand, was completed flabbergasted to see Grandma Dot lying there in the front of the room for everyone to see. As soon as we got close enough to the casket that she could see her, she looked at me in complete shock and declared, “SHE’S STILL HERE!” We are church-goin’ folk, so Aleita has been schooled about the idea of dying and going to heaven since she was born. When we talked to her about Grandma Dot dying, we told her that she was in heaven. Aleita took one look at her lying there in the casket and decided that we were big liars. We took a few minutes to clarify that Grandma’s soul was indeed in heaven, but that her body stays here on earth.
As we drove to the cemetery from the funeral home, we tried our best to explain what was going to happen next. I apparently used a bad choice of words because I told her that we were going to put Grandma’s body underneath the ground. She said, “but I’m wearing a dress!” It took only a few more questions from her for me to realize that she thought that upon arrival at the cemetery, all the funeral-goers were going to hop out of their cars with shovels and set to work in putting Grandma six feet under. I quickly elucidated that there would be other people who would do the actual digging and be putting the casket in the ground - - we would just say some prayers and tell her goodbye one last time. I think she was slightly disappointed to learn that she wouldn’t actually have more involvement in a process that involved the digging of dirt.
So of course since Grandma's passing, we have had lots of questions concerning death and dying. At first, Aleita's primary concern seemed to be focused on whether or not she would be checking out anytime soon. We assured her that Grandma Dot was old and nothing would be happening to her until she was very, very old. It’s been a little difficult for her to accept that everyone dies eventually - - that it is a natural part of life. She is discontented enough right now with the whole idea of death that she has vowed to live forever. I told her that I hope that works out for her.
Aleita’s daycare teacher told us that last week, Aleita was sitting at her table working on her art project when one of the other kids started talking about going to his grandma’s house after school. She said Aleita looked up briefly from her coloring and declared, “My grandma died and her soul went to heaven, but her body is still here on earth. Somebody buried her under the ground.” Her teacher said that without another word or any fanfare, she went right back to her coloring. She said that the other kid who had been talking about going to grandma’s house just walked away, looking a little confused. Perhaps Aleita will enlighten him one of these days.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
“What happened?” I queried. She told me that during art class, they had been working on a painting project and that she and her friend Emily were seated at the same table. She said that when the teacher was turned around helping someone else, Emily reached over to her and painted on her shirt. After a deep breath on my part, she quickly mentioned that Emily painted on her paint shirt that she was wearing to protect her clothing.
I said, “and then what happened?” to which she replied that she didn’t like Emily painting on her shirt, so she responded in kind by painting on her face. Unfortunately for Maggie, the art teacher had turned around at that point and witnessed her during her exceptional lapse of judgment. Maggie ended up having to serve a time out for her untimely face painting episode.
She wasn’t so much mad about having to serve the time out for the face painting as she was that the other girl, Emily, didn’t get in trouble at all. According to Maggie, Emily lied and said that face painting attack was completely unwarranted.
Hoping that she had at least gleaned something from the incident, I asked her, “Maggie – what did you learn from this? What do you need to do next time?” She thought for a moment and then replied, “I know I should have just told the teacher….but if I do paint someone else’s face, I should make sure she isn’t looking first.” Ah yes, experience truly IS the best teacher.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
The City Museum is heavy on activities for kids to use their large motor skills - - it is very difficult to describe in a manner that will do it justice. The museum has both indoor and outdoor facilities. There is a great deal of climbing and exploring involved. There are ropes to swing on and countless tunnels and mazes that are made to resemble caves and forests and the jurassic era - - everything is done so well though - - it isn't chintzy or cheaply made - - it is artistically designed and created so that it is as beautiful as it is functional. There are also slides everywhere. There is one slide near the main entrance that goes from the third floor down to the main floor. There is a two-story slide that is a conveyer roller like you would find on an assembly line. The most impressive one though, is the seven-story - - - yes, seven-story slide that tornadoes from the top of the building down. Of course, you must walk up seven flights of stairs to get to it, but the kids loved every minute of it. (plus, it helped walk off some of the calories from our lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory.)
Of course, I forgot my camera back at the hotel, so enjoy these lovely stock photos I dug up on Google images instead:
Thursday, October 23, 2008
One of the toys featured is called the “Fabulous Fairyland Playset – The Fairy Garden.” In the write up, the reviewer highlights one of its features by saying, “Our testers found that putting together the myriad of pieces of was much fun as playing with the three fairies.” Sorry, but any toy that is described as having a “myriad of pieces” is probably not something that is going to be welcomed into the Hale household with open arms. I find that things that have a “myriad of pieces” end up being scattered from one end of my house to the other, and then parts are subsequently lost, rendering the toy useless. I have tried to keep the toys orgazined - - I have bought brightly colored toy storage and rubbermaid bins galore, as well as worked with the girls repeatedly in an effort to keep the toys in a somewhat semi-organized fashion. Alas, my best efforts to keep Barbies in one container, Little People in a separate container, Legos in another container, etc. are usually thwarted by two little girls who find that pieces and parts from all their toys can be mixed and matched for some new use with whatever they are playing with at the moment. Who am I to stifle their creativity?
And yet - The Fairy Garden will not be under the Christmas tree from Santa this Christmas.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Aleita and Maggie couldn’t be more different when it comes to running errands. Aleita is always quick to ask if she can accompany whoever is going into the store. Maggie, on the other hand, almost always automatically asks if she can stay in the car. If she is told that everyone will be going in the store, she usually rolls her eyes and sighs as though she were just told she had to have a root canal, rather than that we need to run into Kroger’s for ten minutes to get milk and bread.
No, Maggie is none-too-sad about staying behind on most errands that we run. She is happy to sit in the car while go in to pick up the mail at the post office or drop off books at the library. Maggie would rather remain in the car if she happens to be with us when we pick up Aleita at school. Maggie’s ultimate hell is Wal-Mart. It is her least favorite place on earth. I can’t say that I disagree with her – but it is a necessary evil. I simply can’t afford to buy laundry soap, paper towels, lotion and the like at the grocery store. She never hesitates to express her dissatisfaction at being made to accompany us to Wal-Mart. If I pull a list out of my purse with more than 20 items, she throws her head back in defeat and continually asks, “how much longer?” the entire time we are there.
Aleita, conversely, wants to be right where we are all the time. I think she is afraid she may miss something. When I get out of the car at the post office to get the mail on the way home, she always asks if she can go in, even though everyday I tell her “no.” (It takes longer to get her in and out of her seat that it does to actually go in and get the mail.) Errands with Aleita take quite a bit longer because she wants to converse with almost everyone she meets, whether she knows them or not.
One of the places Aleita especially likes to go is the bank because she has figured out that the bank gives out candy. We have told her repeatedly not to ASK for it, but to say ‘thank you’ if it is given. Most of the time, she can hardly contain herself. This past Friday, we went through the drive up at the bank in our little town of Blue Mound and before we got to the window, she said, “I want candy, but I’m not going to ask for it.”
Chris said to her, “We are on our way to eat lunch, so even if you get candy, you aren’t going to get to eat it right now.’ She bounced and squirmed in her seat while she waited for the transaction to be complete. The banks in Decatur sometimes give candy and sometimes do not, but the Blue Mound Bank almost always does - - plus the teller waiting on us that day was my cousin, Teresa. The anticipation of what kind of candy she would get was almost too much for her.
As Teresa slid the money back out the drive-through window and told us to have a good day, it became clear to Aleita that there was no candy as part of this transaction. As Chris pulled away from the bank, his window wasn’t half rolled up yet and Aleita yelled, “THAT’S OK THAT YOU FORGOT TO GIVE ME CANDY!!”
Well, at least she didn’t ask for it, right?
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I am posting some pictures of the kids I took this afternoon. We visited Grandma and Papa at the farm and they had a chance to ride in the combine and in the grain trucks.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
"Yes," I answered, "I have to get ready to go."
"Someone needs to stay down here with me," she pouted.
I assured her that I was certain she would be fine sitting at the table by herself while she finished her oatmeal. I started to walk out of the room and she lamented, "there will be no one here to keep me company except for my coughs!"
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
“Did you remember to bring home your spelling words?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“What grade did you get on today’s science test? (for which we have been studying for two weeks) I asked.
“A” she answered.
“Did you bring home papers with bad grades on them?” I questioned.
“Nope” she answered, still wearing her down-in-the-dumps expression.
“Then why do you look so sad?” I asked.
She reluctantly reached into her bag and pulled out an envelope. She said, “I have a note for you. I got sent to the principal’s office today. But before you read it, can I tell you what happened?”
It seems that as she was riding on the bus on the way to school, a boy from her class named Connor started grabbing kids’ papers and throwing them out the open bus window. She told me that he is always calling everybody names and doing mean stuff to people. She said one of her friends started crying because he threw her homework out the window, so Maggie told him to stop, but he didn’t listen. He then proceeded to call her “Miss Afro-puffs” and threw another paper out the window. Apparently at this point, the bus driver told her to sit down, but she had had enough. She got out of her seat and went across the aisle to his, grabbed HIS papers and threw some out of the bus window.
I then took a look at the form she had brought home from school. It pretty much reiterated everything she had told me, but also enlightened me to the fact that if she gets in trouble again on the bus, she will have a 1-day bus suspension. I told her to go up to her room for a little bit and that I would talk to Daddy about it and decide what was to be done. Chris was just getting home, and I explained the situation to him. After I was done, we both looked at each other and started laughing. It shouldn’t have been funny, except it was.
Isn’t this very thing what I try to teach my students in Sunday School each week? I tell them that when someone is being picked on, they have three choices: 1) join in 2) do nothing 3) stand up for someone else. How was I supposed to punish Maggie for doing exactly what I have been promoting?
In the end, we talked to Maggie and explained that we were not upset with her, but that there were better ways to get her point across than to do what she did. She promised to think before she acted next time - - I could tell that just being sent to the principal’s office was enough to shake her up that she didn’t want to visit there again. Her “big” punishment was no dessert that night.
Hey – I bet it’s more than Connor got.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Aleita and the other kids had been playing out in the side yard, a little ways away from where most of the adults were gathered. Some of the kids were kicking a ball back and forth. Some were tossing a football around. Some were taking turns on the tire swings. Aleita and Maggie and a few others had been playing up in the treehouse. However, as Aleita went to come down the ladder, she lost her footing and fell about 12 feet from the top of the treehouse. As came hobbling up the driveway, along with Maggie helping her along, Chris and I rushed out to meet them. Her body was racked with heaving sobs and her face a mess of tears and snot. Chris picked her up and carried her back to the picnic tables where we could sit down and assess the damage.
I was completely assuming we were going to have to leave the wiener roast and take her to the E.R. to set a broken bone - - most likely a wrist where she had caught herself as she landed. However, after calming her down a bit and running her through a gamut of tests, such as having her wiggle fingers and bend her wrists and elbows and knees, we discovered that the damage actually was all surface level. After falling 12 feet from a treehouse, her collateral damage consisted of two scraped fingers, a tiny scrape on her wrist, and a few grazed places on her torso. I was catching my breath and saying a silent prayer to God that she was ok, and Aleita was more concerned as to whether or not she could have a band-aid for her owies. Her comment about the whole ordeal was, “I didn’t like that very much.” After washing her hands and applying a few bandages, she quickly returned to running and playing with the other kids (though we did request she stay OUT of the treehouse for the remainder of the evening.How is it that kids are so incredibly resilient? If it were me, I think I would still be lying underneath the treehouse, flat on my back, waiting for someone to come along and scrape me up. Aleita was simply thrilled to be going to school with Batman band-aids on her fingers, armed with a cool story to tell about falling out of a treehouse.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
In public restrooms, I craftily work to figure out how to open the door without actually having to touch the handle after I have washed my hands. I can’t actually bring myself to open the door with paper towel in hand, lest I look like a total and complete germaphobe-freak-weirdo to everyone as I leave the restroom. I like the doors that push out so that you can just bump your hip into them without actually having to lay your hands on the door to make it open. For those doors that push in, it is always a good thing when someone comes in the restroom and pushes open the door just as you are getting ready to leave, thus ensuring no hand contact will have to occur with your clean hands and the dirty restroom door. It also skeeves me out when people use the restroom and then don’t wash their hands. I have been known to give people the ol’ stink eye as they exit the toilet stall, then proceed to head right out of the restroom without a thought to washing their hands. BLAH! I can’t imagine going out and picking up my cheeseburger and fries after just having been in a public restroom without washing my hands.
I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in my car. Anytime I have been shopping at Wal-Mart or Kroger or Cub’s or any other public establishment (especially when I have been pushing a shopping cart), I immediately come out to the car and use the hand sanitizer. My kids even know that as soon as we get back to the car, I am going to give them each a squirt of sanitizer - - I always try to get Aleita first - - she is the thumb sucker, and as soon as she gets into her booster seat in the car and gets comfortable, the thumb goes in the mouth. I just try to prevent a few thousand germs from doing the same.
I have heard experts say that because of all the anti-bacterial products and hand sanitizers we have now, we are actually doing ourselves a disservice because our bodies never get the chance to develop an immunity to certain germs and bacteria, so when we are exposed, we get very sick instead of our bodies being able to fight it. Even with this knowledge, I still continue with my germaphobe ways.
Any fellow germaphobes out there? Raise your hands! (Just please make sure they’re clean first!)