Saturday, September 29, 2007

Football: The Great Consolator

It must be a relic from so many years of school and then teaching, but to me the months of the year have a rhythm similar to that of the days of the week.

June is Friday. It's still technically work time, but the end is so near you can just taste it. It can crawl by, but it's really quite bearable. The promised land of July is right around the corner.

July is Saturday--whoopee! Got no responsibilities and lots of long sunny days to fritter away. The only reason any other month exists is to be a foil for the brilliance and joy of July.

August is Sunday. This is good and bad. It's still a free day, and like June, it marks an ending. Unlike June, the end is not something I am looking forward to. I wake up each say knowing it's a day off, but also knowing that it's just one day closer to putting away the flip flops. It's kind of hard to enjoy fully.

September is SOOOO Monday. Shortening days. Fading tan. Waking up early. Back to the books. Ugh. I don't know how I survive it every year. Though I do have a theory.

I think it's because of football.

I grew up in a football-friendly household. I won't say my parents were quite fanatical, but they were enthusiastic for sure. Sunday afternoons meant going over to our friend's house for junk food, soda and witnessing some very loud and embarrassing parental carrying on. When our Patriots ever made it to the playoffs or, heaven help us, the Superbowl, it just meant more friends, more junk food (and unfortunately more embarrassing parents). Those were good times.

So when August rolls around and that end-of-summer letdown is kicking in all I have to do is stumble across a preseason game on TV and for a moment I am strangely soothed. I don't even know which channel it's on, or what the name of the announcer is. In fact, I honestly don't know or even care much about the game itself. I just know I like it.

Then before I know it, Sunday and Monday and even September are some of my favorite times. Heck, football carries me right through Christmas!

Now what to do about February...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Toot toot!

I gotta toot my girl's horn a little here. She is a member of her school's Roots & Shoots program. She was one of a half dozen students chosen to represent her school and her country at last Friday's celebration of International Day of Peace at the United Nations in New York City. How cool is that??

Thursday, September 20, 2007

They're all my babies

When I started teaching I was only 25 years old. I couldn't (still can't) wrap my head around my own mortality, much less that of anyone younger than I. My middle school students were the utter, if awkward, embodiment of of aliveness. I had just had my first child for goodness sake! My world was saturated with life.
Which is why recent tragedies involving some of my former students just stun me. This past January one of my brightest and most beautiful students, now 23 and a new mother, was on her way home from picking up her infant daughter from Grandma's house when she skidded out on black ice and was killed. Killed! Her beautiful baby girl now lives with her grandmother. You don't even have to know her to feel the pain in your own gut.
Imagine if you did know her...
The picture you see here is of Caleb Potter. He was so out of place in his little 8th grade body. He gushed vitality so intensely it left stains. This past July 4th he flirted with disaster, and this time she called his bluff. Two months later he's still hospitalized in Boston with traumatic brain injuries (Read his ongoing story at He's 25 years old.
I can't think of anything to say that isn't trite. Hm. Perhaps all those tired cliches are what they are because they really meant something to so many people over so much time. Hm.
Kiss your kids. Count your blessings. Live every day like it's your last.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

There was a time when this would have bothered me.

Some people say that breast-fed babies' poop smells vaguely like fresh-baked bread. It's one of the many perks that comes with nursing your baby, along with the daily 500-calorie draw and the natural (though somewhat unpredictable) birth control.

It was this benign odor that I detected this morning as I opened my bed covers to retrieve my beautiful Ellen. It was our day for carpool so we were on kind of a tight schedule. There she was, gurgling and smiling at me like she does every morning, happy to greet the new day. However, unlike other mornings, today from the waist down she was laying in a sticky, yellow puddle. Did I forget to put her diaper on last night?? It was everywhere--beyond the standard-issue up-the-back mess that is part of new parent initiation. This was in-between-the-toes messy. It was even behind her knees.

Another time I would have panicked. Holy sh*t Batman! Get the HazMat suit, and call for back up! But today I just strategized. Okay, how can I remove her clothes and diaper and minimize further contamination? I think I need paper towels. And a squirt bottle. Going over the head with the onesie seems a little risky. I think we'd better take it down over the bum with this one. I don't know, Ellie, we might lose these jammies.

And so I calmly extricated her from the scene of the crime, cleaned her up and stripped the bed. I'm proud to say that I achieved this with nary a schmear of poo on my person. Now we had to get ready to head downstairs to resume our morning routine, albeit a now few minutes behind schedule. In the hopes that maybe the other girls had already woken themselves, I gave a warning shout from upstairs, "Time to get up!" And I got a response--yes, they're up already! But my hopes were quickly dashed.
"MUMMYYYYY!! Sarah got into the trash last night and dragged it under our beds!!"
Serenity now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Will I Be on TV???

Last weekend my dad and brother surprised Caroline and Margaret with tickets (very NICE tickets) to Fenway Park. Margaret, almost a veteran having already attended one Sox game, was quite excited.

But Caroline was beside herself. Straight from her id she blurted, "Will I be on TV??"

Well, if you want to get on TV, you gotta make yourself into something to look at (and it doesn't hurt if you're seated right behind a cameraman.) So the girls banged out these signs you see them holding. Their plan was to whip them out during the traditional Fenway singalong, "Sweet Caroline". My mother and I watched every second of that game. The middle of the 8th inning came, and with it we can only assume Neil Diamond and his famous song. But for the folks watching at home all we saw was a pile of commercials. Oh well.

And then the phone rang.



"I WAS ON THE JUMBO TRON!!" The ecstasy in her voice fairly melted the phone.

"No way!!"

"WAY! Okay, I gotta go!"

By the way, the Sox won that game.

First Bath

First Bath

Big Girl!

Big Girl!

Naptime with Caroline

Naptime with Caroline

I'm a Big Sister!

I'm a Big Sister!