So here’s a protip which I shared with my mom and sister yesterday: When your toddler wants to help in the kitchen and you tell her to put some spices in what will soon be a meatloaf, 3 seconds is TOO LONG to turn your back. Yes, that is the ENTIRE container of Italian spice in the mix. She was very proud. “IT *EMPTY*, MAMA!” Yes. Yes it is.
Lucy recites Five Little Monkeys
The best part is the admonitory finger shaking, don’t you think?
You should watch this. Like, right now. It’s a matter of national security.
What that is, is an Arcade Fire song produced by the guy from LCD Soundsystem (James Murphy), with backing vocals by David Bowie, in a video by Anton Corbijn. If they’d gotten Tilda Swinton in there somehow, the only thing left of me right now would be a little scorch mark in our office chair. I cannot even conceive of a flail which properly encompasses the awesome that this is. The damn thing’s 7 and a half minutes long and I’ve already listened to it 5 times. Good lord. We need to find a sitter for whenever it is they go on tour.
Also, inappropriate note: Win Butler is one of those dudes who is totally not attractive and then he does his bossy-intense band leader thing and HELLO SALTY GOODNESS*.
Perhaps also inappropriate, given that I just wrote that about her husband: Regine Chassagne’s voice gets more awesome with every album. In the beginning, she was trying way to hard to sound like Bjork, and not even Bjork can pull that off all the time. Her voice was the weakest part of the early stuff, even as I loved her songs and the way she’s credited with taking his straight-up songcraft and making it Arcade Fire-y. Now, though, she owns her sound and I love the way their voices mix.
*Will Cordelia’s comment at the first sight of Angel ever NOT be the best away ever to describe Surprise!Handsome!Dude? I doubt it. Buffy’s been over 10 years, you guys. How is that POSSIBLE?
I’m changing my bets vis-a-vis Eliza’s future career. I had all the good money on animal-something-or-other but I’m going to go with engineer.
Every time the kid sees or experiences a cool thing, she comes home and builds her own: Ziplines, climbing walls, roller coasters.
She and one of her best friends went to Six Flags with their dads yesterday (I sat it out because I find “amusement park” a deeply ironic name), and true to her pattern, she has spent the day drawing and constructing roller coasters. It’s a good thing she’s good at math!
This is a subject I haven’t visited in forever but which I want to note: I am so glad we picked the school we did for Eliza.
We fretted a lot about finding the right place, wanting to support our town but wanting also to make sure her educational future wasn’t balanced on the back of a political point, because schools have a bad reputation here. Our town is poor, and a lot of the families bounce between here and Puerto Rico, making their kids’ schooling inconsistent — not because the kids or families are lacking, but simply because they are shifting between systems. Add to this that a lot of the families haven’t had anyone go to college, and the perception is that whether through ignorance or lack of desire, they aren’t fostering that aspiration in their kids either.
The charter where Eliza goes is free and admission is by a lottery—which presents its own problems, but we know that whatever the income level, the families who send their kids there have expended effort in researching the best option for their kids and are invested in their academic success.
Occasionally things seem kind of loose-y goose-y in terms of the bigger organization, but to a woman, Eliza’s classroom teachers have been stellar. The classes are big, but they are ON IT in a way that makes me honestly question the pro-small-class hysteria. I think a teacher who has his/her act together is a damn sight more important, no matter how many kids there are. These women know the kids, they know what they need, and the system they follow seems to allow for the latitude to let kids stretch within the class unit.
Eliza’s kindergarten teacher first spotted how far ahead she was in reading, and though they didn’t even have an accelerated reading program for kindie, she essentially created one for Eliza. They advised us, from the beginning, against skipping her a grade, and pledged to keep her challenged at the grade she’s at by pulling her out for one-on-one or small-group sessions. They’ve kept that promise — she’s now almost two full grades advanced in language-related subjects and she’s about a half-year ahead in math, with plans to brings her a full grade ahead by the end of the year.
The intensive work has an unanticipated bonus. She loves being in crowds and at parties and hanging out with groups of friends, but she NEEDS her solo downtime with her books and toys in order to process those interactions and not get overwhelmed by them, and being constantly surrounded by masses of people in class, lunch, etc., would sometimes just overload her. The upshot of these solo sessions is that by taking her out of the classroom and putting her in a quiet space for several periods a week, her sensory overload moments seem to have backed way down.
Which brings me to another note about Eliza, which is that I find myself writing a little less about her than I used to. At first, I fretted about balancing the scales between the girls, but I realize that it’s a natural side-effect of her getting older. I feel like as she gets closer to tween-dom, stories about her have more power to affect her. It’s not right to write about any conflicts we might have, or to tell cute stories about her that she would view as embarrassing. She’s not totally going to disappear by any means — she knows I blog, and I remind her occasionally that she can tell me if she doesn’t want me to write about her anymore. Still, I err on the side of caution.
I’m thankful that I don’t have a big-name blog, where our foibles are dissected by hundreds, because I wouldn’t want that. I shudder to think what the masses would make of the above bragging, which I’ve hesitated to post, but it has started to seem weirdly like lying by omission, and also like I’m somehow ashamed of her, so I felt like I’d note it for posterity and hope that you understand the spirit in which it’s written.
Anyway, I’ve thought about going to a password-protected blog, but then I think about how I stumbled upon you all by finding interesting comments and clicking through to your blogs, and I don’t want to close off the possibility of making another reader-friend.