Thoughts from the first month…

We have been in school for about four weeks now, which seems crazy but is true. Here are some things we are learning from this school year:

  • Gabby can’t remember her lunch situation. At all. I can get it completely ready on the counter and all she needs to do is put it in her lunch bag and she just. Cannot. Do it.
  • I remember that Cam’s beloved third grade teacher, Brandy W, used to line up the kids and give them all high fives at the end of the day. I actually think that would be useful encouragement at any age.
  • Conversation I had two weeks ago at 5:45am:
    • CAM: Mom, do we have any bouncy balls? I need one for a science experiment.
    • JULIE: When?
    • CAM: Oh, not until I have to leave for the bus.
  • Slightly (slightly) better conversation I had last night at about 9:00pm:
    • CAM: Mom, I need a clean glass jar to build an ecosystem in Biology.
    • JULIE: When?
    • CAM: Oh, not until tomorrow morning.
  • Based on the names of my current students, I’m thinking the name Alex really came into play for both genders about 20 years ago.
  • Addie J is a world champion sleeper and always has been; this year she has to get up much earlier than before, and I was a bit worried how that would go. Turns out, as long as you give her enough hours of sleep, she will happily get up at any hour. God she is just sweetness and light in a 9-year-old package.

    Not the reaction I was expecting.

    A friend of ours was hospitalized overnight with appendicitis. His wife posted a photo of him, doing a slightly doped-up thumbs-up for the camera. It’s cute and kind of funny, and I thought Addie– who LOOOOOOOVES Mr. O– would like to see it.

    Sometimes I’m an idiot. I forget how frequently Addie J rode around with Dad and me, on our way to his radiation treatments and doctor visits. I forget how often she saw someone she loved, smiling at her from a hospital bed. I forget that, because of her beloved papa, she has associated hospitals with loss.

    Addie burst into tears at the sight of the photo and I spent ten minutes comforting her and explaining what he has and that he will be okay. She went straight to the art table to make a get-well card, and then she went upstairs to tell Gabby (“Mom, I told Gabby there was bad news but I didn’t tell her what it was”), and finally she began to calm down when I reheated last night’s chicken wings and mac and cheese for her breakfast. (I know. I don’t want to hear it.) I thought she was all calmed down, but then as she left for school, she said quietly, “Mom, what does he have again?” And leaned against me, listening intently to my explanation of appendectomies and what a common and simple procedure it is.

    My poor sweet girl. I wish she had no memories to scare her like that.

      Never forget.


        Please God, let them all be this easy.

        [Name of child in question withheld, to preserve anonymity.]

        KID: Mom, I kind of like XXXX.

        JULIE: Oh yeah?

        KID: But only, like, a little bit, and I don’t actually think XXXX likes me.

        JULIE: Well, then XXXX must be a fool. And to be honest, I’m not super thrilled about you getting tangled up with a fool. I’m just saying.

        KID: Yeah, that’s true. Okay thanks Mom!! [flounces off]

          Clever, hilarious Gabby (again! She’s really on fire lately)

          Over Labor Day weekend, my mother-in-law married her love of many years, in a lovely and personal ceremony followed by a day of family time. Now, you should know that Dave came to me with a few little speech habits from his hometown, about which I love to tease him to this day. Case in point: he used to occasionally omit the “to be” from a phrase which begins with the word “needs:” “The lawn needs mowed before we leave,” he might say, or “Laundry needs done.” So on the wedding day, while we were all together and celebrating a beautiful day, I heard Dave’s brother Sam say that something on his car “needs replaced.”

          “Wait a minute,” I said. “Do you mean it needs to be replaced?”

          Sam looked at me. “The ‘to be’ is assumed,” he said.

          “No way,” I replied. “You can say, ‘It needs to be replaced,’ or even ‘it needs replacement,’ but you can’t just say, ‘it needs replaced.’ You can’t just leave out the ‘to be.’ It isn’t just assumed.” (You know how improper usage gets my back up.) Sam is an awesome brother-in-law, so please realize this entire conversation was light-hearted. Sam is also used to my constantly stumping for proper grammar, and he enjoys poking the angry bear that is my sensibilities: “It’s totally fine,” he said. I was not having it: “It’s not remotely fine. You have to say to be.” Sam was all, “I don’t have to say to be. If everyone realizes that I mean to be, then I don’t have to say to be.” I was like, “Sam. You have got to say TO BE.”

          Gabby suddenly cut in with the joke of the century: “Uncle Sam,”  she said haughtily, “my mom is a theatre professor. So, obviously, she knows a lot about to be or not to be.”

          Brought down the house. She is one of the funniest kids I know.

            Well, that’s the end of my productivity today.

            I have all kinds of stuff to do this morning AND I have to teach a class at noon AND THEN I have more to do this afternoon. But it’s all gone by the wayside, because one of my Facebook friends alerted me to the magical world of Googling your first name plus the word “meme.” I’ve already done about 17,000 people I know. Here are a few of my personal favorites with my own name. I saved them so that I can pull them out at opportune times and make Dave laugh.

            (Side note: there’s a huge spider in a huge web in our front yard. Yesterday Dave and I had the following text conversation:

            DAVE: FYI, the spider is out and backlit by the sun.

            JULIE: ………Euphemism?

            One of my favorite things in the world is to make Dave laugh. Okay. Back to the memes:)



            This just speaks to my soul, y'all.

            This just speaks to my soul, y’all.

            Super hilarious because this is also me. I was that jackass who took the maximum amount of credits every semester.

            Super hilarious because this is also me. I was that jackass who took the maximum amount of credits every semester.

            I don't think this person looks like a Julie at all. Just saying.

            I don’t think this person looks like a Julie at all. Just saying. This is a Karen or a Jenna or an Anna or a Nicole. Not a Julie.

            OMG this is so true. I am a sucker for memes.

            OMG this is so true. I am a sucker for memes.

            Okay, and also in honor of Kim Davis being jailed because she keeps trying to use a religious excuse for not doing her government job (shouldn’t that little phrase be enough to put a stop to this blatant and unlawful discrimination?), I made this meme just for her. Enjoy!

              Gabby’s no fool.

              GABBY: Mom, someone brought $600 cash to school and lost it all.

              JULIE: What? How?

              GABBY: I don’t know.

              JULIE: Why did they bring $600 cash to school? Why did they even have $600 cash?

              GABBY: I don’t know. What would you do if I brought $600 cash to school and lost it all?

              JULIE: Put you in a foster home.

              GABBY: That’s what I thought.


                Gabby is fun, Part 1,204,243.

                Yesterday Gabby and I went shopping for shoes she can keep in her gym locker (she wound up with a pair of grey-and-yellow Nikes that are actually boys’ shoes– because Gabby likes Pink Shoes For Girls just about as much as I like Pink Pens For Ladybosses (please read the reviews for those pens. You’ll be cracking up all day).

                She also asked if we could look at clothes; tiny Gabz is just getting to where she can fit in Juniors size XS, but she also has trouble in the Juniors department. See, Gabby has no interest in pastels, florals, jewelry, or anything that might remotely restrict her freedom of movement. Or anything too tight. Or anything too short, unless it’s for dance class (in which case it still needs to be non-girly). So she’s not the easiest kid to dress. She and I split up to see if we could find anything; Gabby instructed me that, if I found something for her to look at, I should yell “Sweatpants.” No idea why I couldn’t just yell “Gabby,” but this is where we are. So I was walking through racks and racks of things she would never, ever wear, when suddenly I found it– a t-shirt with this quote from the movie The Sandlot:

                I yelled, “Sweatpants!! Sweatpants!!!!”  And Gabby came over…. she saw the shirt and started giggling uncontrollably. Which made me start giggling uncontrollably. And this is what makes Gabby so fun: she can make the most mundane task into the silliest and most entertaining half hour I’ve had all week. So Gabby came downstairs this morning in her new shirt and told me that, if she doesn’t like anything one of her teachers has to say, she’s just going to “mentally send them the message. My face will be like, ‘Okay, no problem, Mrs. K.’ But my mind is going to be yelling ‘You’re killing me, Smalls!!!!!!‘ ”

                She’s just funny shit. All day, every day.


                  Dave, smiling gingerly.

                  Dave, smiling gingerly.

                  Gingerly was one of Addie J’s spelling words last week. When we were going over them, I asked her to tell me what they meant as well as how to spell them; when she got to “gingerly” she said, “To do something like the way Dad would do it. Gingerly. Because he’s a ginger.”

                  I forgot to tell you that last week. I also may or may not have allowed her to keep believing in that definition. Childhood goes by so fast, y’all.

                    Not here for the drama.

                    I know this expression. This is "It's 10:30pm and we're still at the party and I think I'm having fun but Mom won't let me  have another cookie so I'm melting down!!!!!!!!"  (I've seen it before, obviously.)

                    I know this expression. This is “It’s 10:30pm and we’re still at the party and I think I’m having fun but Mom took away my second piece of cake so I’m melting down!!!!!!!!”
                    (I’ve seen it before, obviously.)

                    Seriously. For some reason it’s been Full Drama Season on social media lately. Generally speaking, I think we all should do a periodic spot-check of what we post, make sure we haven’t devolved into any annoying patterns. For example, do you use Facebook as a virtual Complaints Box? –Then everyone hates your statuses, I’m just letting you know. (Exception: my friend Micky, whose complaint posts are hilarious and involve things like flip-flops and out-of-tune harps. Micky, keep on keeping on. You make my day.)

                    I’m not even talking about my own friends, though. It seems to me that there’s a lot of late-summer manufactured drama rolling around, right? Even the Biebs, my favorite misbehaving middle schooler, bawled all over the VMAs stage last night. Maybe he was just up past his bedtime, and he was overtired and overstimulated by all the noise and flashing lights. Either way I find that I’m just not here for it. I’m not even trying to tell you I’m better than that, because Lord knows I am capable of histrionics; I just maybe have too much constructive stuff happening right now to deal with anyone else’s destructive stuff. So, Nicky Minaj can feud with Taylor Swift and football players can break each other’s jaws and Trump can spew hatred in every direction but his own; I’m just not here for it. Not today, anyway.

                    Check back tomorrow; maybe I’ll have freed up some time.

                      Page 20 of 207« First...10...1819202122...304050...Last »