Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New skills I can add to my resume...

I've picked up some new skills that I'm hoping are resume-worthy . . . it may be a long shot. Essentially, the position of art docent [definition: a volunteer worker who acts as a guide in a museum or art gallery, but in this case, a volunteer parent who tries to minimize chaos and maximize damage control during art lessons] for 'Shroom's second grade class somehow unintentionally became filled by me. It is through my position as docent that I've picked up a few teaching tools to add to my tool belt.

This first art project was a tribute to Jackson Pollock's method of abstract art. In layman terms, it is essentially "active" art on which paint gets glopped, splattered, dripped, flung, and everything else you wouldn't ever dare do with a classroom of young--and extremely excitable-- students.

I was taught this method as a docent so that I would be prepared to teach 'Shroom's class. While seated at tables, the adult docents were instructed to fill the white canvas board with three different colors. We then took our boards (and lots of newspapers) to the floor and proceed to "Pollock-ize" the canvas. Bye-bye brushes and hello plastic spoons, forks, and knives.

I was a helper for Lolli's class when her first grade class did their paintings. The docent for her class had the students do their entire painting seated at tables. Even though this minimized the clean up afterward, the results didn't seem as dynamic and variegated as the paintings done on the floor. The paint didn't get a chance to "drop" onto the canvas. The table height was mid-chest level on some of the first graders! Luckily I had the experience of helping out in Lolli's classroom before I had to teach it to 'Shroom's class.

Placing the canvas on the floor definitely added a depth and coolness but it made a huge mess. Was it worth it? I think looking at 'Shroom's painting, it was well worth it.

Can you pick out which painting was painted by whom?

Oh, and on my teaching resume, I'll have to add under the core competencies section:

instructional best-practices--("Okay class. Today we're going to throw paint onto canvas boards. Let's get started!")

experiential learning--("Jose, I think you're waaay done with your painting because the paint is about two inches thick. No, I don't care if you say you're not done. I say you're done."), and

classroom management--("Everyone freeze where you are right now! Some of you have paint on the bottom of your shoes and you're trekking it all over the room. I said STOP! NOW!!")

[P.S. The painters of each of the paintings above are me, Lolli and 'Shroom, in that order]

Friday, October 22, 2010

Red Ribbon Week

Today kicked off Red Ribbon week at the kids' elementary school. Each day of the week (starting next week) will focus on some fun creative way to remind kids to "say no to drugs." One day next week, the entire school will wear red and another day, the students and staff will wear their shirts backwards (so they will be reminded to "turn their back to drugs").

During the weekly flag assembly outside, the kids were introduced to a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officer. He was dressed in civilian clothes and didn't seem to make much of an impact on the kids other than the fact that he was an unfamiliar face. Right on cue as the officer said "when I make a drug bust...." sirens and horns flashed and screamed as an army green Humvee and police cruiser tore onto the school blacktop. The kids (kindergarteners through fifth graders) screamed and squealed in excitement and the pitch rose when a DEA agent, fully decked out in his helmet, goggles, and combat attire, stepped out of the Humvee.

It was fun to see the excitement on the kids' faces at this unexpected visit (yes, even though Red Ribbon week happens every year), hear them stumble over the drug-free school pledge they took, and help them climb into these vehicles for a bit of show and tell.

The kids were entertained as they watched a schoolmate get handcuffed (poor kid was told the keys to unlock the cuffs were back in the local PD office). They were enthralled at everything an officer carried around his belt and kept guessing that every flat rectangular object in his belt was a taser (the magazine clip and voice recorder just weren't as exciting). The taser was eventually unclipped and activated so we could all hear the loud buzz of the electricty surging through the hand-held device. Umm . . . remind me not to get too close to one of those things.

So my question is, why do kids keep saying school is so boring? =)

What was one of your most exciting moments in school?
Nope - this trunk isn't good enough for our Costco shopping trips. Lots of stuff in there!

Monday, October 18, 2010

QOTD: How do you grow seedless grapes?

Today's Question Of The Day comes from six year old Lolli.

I've been known to buy seeded grapes because they're cheaper than seedless grapes. Costco on occasion sells these huge red seeded grapes that can pass for small plums on a vine. While it is a pain to slice each one open and pull out each and every seed in the grape (these grapes average about 4-6 seeds apiece), the grapes are sweet and they're usually much cheaper.

After finishing a huge batch of these with my family, I found seedless grapes from one of our local markets for a fairly reasonable price. I splurged and purchases the seedless grapes and enjoyed the luxury of simply washing and eating my grapes.

"Mommy, how come these grapes don't have seeds," Lolli had asked me after noticing her grapes didn't have the 'gaping mouth' as telltale evidence that there was necessary seed extraction.

"Well, some grapes have seeds and some don't," was my brilliant reply. After awhile, I thought that explanation was a bit lame so I added, "just like some mangoes have green skin and others have yellow skin."

She seemed somewhat satisfied with that response or else she was simply enjoying the unadulterated grapes. However, the silence didn't last too long as she asked me a question I simply didn't have the answer to.

"Well, if there is no seed, how do you grow seedless grapes?"

"You know, I don't really know. That's a great question," I told her and as I have said on several occasions in my math classes, "Let me look into that and see if I can find out something for you."

So, thanks to Google, I've skimmed a couple of articles/postings on how seedless grapes are grown (by clippings from existing seedless grape plants). It's a fairly involved process which can be better explained in this ezine article. The long and short of it though, is that I don't think there will be any seedless grapes growing in our backyard.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A week of extremes

From Webster's Dictionary:
adj \ik-ˈsep-shnəl, -shə-nəl\

1: forming an exception : rare
2: better than average : superior
3: deviating from the norm: asa : having above or below average intelligence

I've always felt awe and admiration for parents raising more than two children at a time because there are times where I can barely manage two. I have also realized that my two children--although oftentimes mistaken for twins--probably have a wider span in aptitude than many siblings who are more than five years apart.

In this week alone, Air Boss and I have decided (after 3-days of assessments for Lolli, meeting with eight school administrators, specialists, and teachers, and much flip-flopping) to keep her in her current first grade class. Despite her assessments indicating that she is performing above the current second grade class, all involved school personnel had voiced their concerns and reservations of having her skip a grade.

Towards the latter part of this week, Air Boss and I have also been faced with whether or not to pull 'Shroom out of his classroom for some intensive intervention measures. Although we weren't entirely thrilled with the prospect of 'Shroom spending more than half of each school day in a special education setting (i.e. pulled out of his classroom), we know that he's not keeping up with his second grade peers and is falling further and further behind. Yes, we met with some of the same team who had JUST discussed options for our precocious daughter and now a mere few days later, we're discussing how we can best keep 'Shroom afloat in second grade.

We've decided just this week that Lolli will stay in first grade and 'Shroom will daily receive three hours of special ed in the learning center. Wow - it's hard to believe that they come from the same parents and hence the same gene pool.

Dare I say my children are exceptional . . . ?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Risking lives for a birthday gift

Today I had the brilliant idea of visiting one of the local Tommy's Hamburger shacks to pick up a Tommy Burger T-shirt for my brother-in-law [CB: you can't read this until a week after it has posted]. I have never had a Tommy Burger in the many times I've visited LA (as an East Coaster) nor as a CA resident.

I did my research and found out that these burgers were famous for being a drippy (but tasty) mess of a burger than comes slathered with chili and as many as three beef patties (I can feel my arteries seizing up as I write this). Yelp.com had some humorous reviews but among the hundreds of review out there, the common themes were:

- don't eat here if you're not into grease and a hamburger hangover
- the more sober you are, the less appealing the food is (and along the same vein, Tommy Burgers make great "drunk food")
- many loyal fans can only stomach a Tommy Burger about one every other month
- if you don't like messy food, ask for the chili on the side (I made sure I remembered that!)
- eating the burger is only half the experience; the other half is experiencing the environment one has to endure in order to get a Tommy Burger (read on for further explanation)

After my internet search, it turned out that the closest Tommy Burger shacks were located in Santa Monica and Long Beach. After reading the Yelp reviews, Air Boss and I thought it best not to drag the kids to the questionable area of Santa Monica where Tommy Burger was located and decided instead to mosey on over to the "better part" of Long Beach.

Haha. So. Not. True.

We found the shack in LB no problem. We dined al fresco to the roars of loud motor bikes in the parking lot, to the shuffling of homeless folks, to the incessant pigeon cooings as they waited for crumbs to fall, and to the excitement of an arrest happening about 100 yards away. Luckily the kids were sitting with their backs to the police cruiser and the suspect spread eagle on the hood of the police car. I had called Air Boss' attention to the "situation" just as another police car arrived at the scene (thank goodness for back-up). We saw cop #2 exit his vehicle only to return seconds later to retrieve his billy club.

Needless to say, 'Shroom and Lolli were getting a lot of flak from me for not eating fast enough.

Air Boss knew I was just itching to blog about our Tommy Burger experience. He told me to take a photo of our exciting environment as a way of documenting the moment. I thought better of it.

Instead, I'll post an image of the anatomy of a Tommy Burger so you don't have to risk your health (or life) to benefit from our burger experience:

photo: www.originaltommys.com

P.S. Oh yeah. Mission accomplished: we got the T-shirt!

"Well I love that dirty water...

. . . Oh, Boston you're my home"

I have to admit it took a bit of an adjustment for me to get used to seeing so many people donning Red Sox T-shirts and caps on the streets and all around town. When we arrived at Logan and were making our way to retrieve our baggage at the luggage claim area, I saw a man wearing a Red Sox cap and thought, "Oh wow! There's a Sox fan!" and then I passed two other individuals wearing something with the red socks motif within the next five seconds. Ahh yes, I had just entered the capital of Red Sox Nation.

Other than that and getting re-acclimated to the muggies (humid, damp, muggy weather), our transition back to our old stomping grounds was fairly quick and easy. Air Boss worked the first week we were there (he still works for his Boston-based employer) and when I drove him to work one day, I had a hard time remembering street names but I managed to find my way back through the back streets and pot-hole-ridden alleys of Cambridge.

Seafood. Yes - we had our share of eating sea creatures. Air Boss caught the first fish of the day just shortly after 8 AM on a fishing outing with his colleagues. His fish measured a generous 30" and we ate fresh blue fish that night. I betcha my mom and sis still have some frozen in their freezers!

We even managed to drive to Kittery Point, Maine for some good old lobster right out on the lobster deck. We should have gotten our lobster fix at the local Shaw's (grocery store) where lobster was on sale for $4.99/lb. Chauncy Creek Pier's market price was $14.99/lb. Oh well, at least we didn't have to boil it ourselves or melt our own butter.

Happy As A Lobster

The kids along with Boston Cousins 1 and 2 (BC1 and BC2) managed to have fun at Boston's Museum of Science, but for the most part, they were quite content playing at my parents' house, improving their scores on my mom's Wii Fit, and trading their Japanese erasers.

photo: My Sis

I managed to get my back-to-school clothes shopping done for the kids (thank you no-clothing-tax Massachusetts!). Too bad we were in Canada during MA's annual tax-free weekend, although even if we were around, I don't think we would have purchased any big-ticketed item that could be easily transported back to CA and still maintain our 50 lb weight maximum per suitcase. Just as well.

I did make a deliberate trip to LLBean to see if I could get new bungee laces to replace 'Shroom's shredded ones. LLBean, I am disappointed in your 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. Not only did you not replace the laces (the sneakers were purchased last year and worn for less than 2 months), you referred me to a separate on-line vendor who didn't even carry the bungee laces. When I tried to exchange the shoes for a new pair (at the recommendation of one of your sales associates), you would only give me $3 credit that would go towards a new $35 pair

Not a 100% satisfied customer. Not even 25% satisfied. At least Air Boss managed to amuse himself in the store by trying on their signature backpacks.

Other sights visited: our green house, Dunkin Donuts (of course), our old church, the Boston Esplanade, Harvard Sq., the swan boats in the Boston Common, and the Mass Turnpike where you have to pay a toll at practically every mile marker (okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit).

Ahh . . . it was nice to be back after a two year wait. It was wicked awesome. =)

Boston Reunion (my father's side of the family)


It's been several days since we've returned from our East Coast adventures and looking at the numerous photos of our trip makes it seem like we were there months ago. Our first full day after landing in Boston was a family reunion with my dad's extended family. We managed to coordinate the three California families to be in Boston on the same day. My dad's family consists of a sister and three brothers (of which he is one) and their offspring and grandchildren. I think we had about 45 folks spanning three generations.


Here Air Boss managed to get us assembled on the deck so he could take a "corporate marketing" pose. He half hung out of a second floor bedroom window to take this shot. Can you find me? I'm waving my hand. [I have to make a correction as the photo changed: I'm no longer waving my hand. I'm the one smiling.] =)

Despite not remembering any of their second cousins, 'Shroom and Lolli had lots of fun catching up with their first cousins: BC1 and BC2 (that would be 7 year old "Boston Cousin #1" and 4 year old "Boston Cousin #2").

What a great way to start out our trip!

L to R: BC2, 'Shroom, Lolli, BC1 (and yes, they are participating in a relay race with a pool noodle!)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Glass Castle

Since I'm requiring 'Shroom and Lolli to write weekly book reports this summer, I thought I would hold myself to that same requirement. I'm a bit behind -- not in reading but in writing the reports.

The latest book I've read is called The Glass Castle and is a memoir and an incredible heart-wrenching but triumphant story of a girl's journey from destitute poverty to incredible success as a journalist for MSNBC.com and a New York Times bestselling author. Jeannette Wells begins her memoir when she is three year old cooking dinner for herself on a gas stove top - a typical task for this youngster in her rather dysfunctional family.

Jeannette is the second oldest of four children born to Rex and Rose Mary Wells. Both her parents are bright individuals with Rex being a well-read scholar in physics and her mom an artist with a teaching degree. Rex and Rose Mary are parents who would never grace the cover page of "Parenting" magazine or "Family Circle" and if anything, in this day and age, would have lost all parental rights for child neglect. Rex is an alcoholic who can't hold a job and Rose Mary is a childish immature woman who can't be bothered with the responsibilities of raising kids.

Clothing was meager, food was scarce, and "home" was a shack with no electricity or running water. In an excerpt from Jeannette's book, she writes about a time when the kids were surviving by eating trash out of the school cafeteria. Dad was off getting drunk and Mom was too busy painting to be concerned about her kids.

"One day while Brian [Jeannette's brother] and I were out scrounging around on the edge of our property, he picked up a piece of rotting lumber, and there among the pill bugs and night crawlers was a diamond ring. The stone was big. . . . We figured we could sell it and buy food . . . We brought the ring home and showed it to Mom. She held it up to the light, then said we needed to have it appraised. The next day she took the Trailways bus to Bluefield. When she returned, she told us it was in fact a genuine two-carat diamond . . . She was keeping it, she explained, to replace the wedding ring her mother had given her, the one Dad had pawned shortly after they got married.

"But Mom," I said, "that ring could get us a lot of food."

"That's true," Mom said, "but it could also improve my self-esteem. And at times like these, self-esteem is even more vital than food."

Is that just whacked?!?! What is amazing is that Jeannette tells this story without bitterness nor anger. Her narration is factual and somewhat removed. While she does express emotion in her recount, she and her siblings exhibit a type of understanding and maturity that most adults don't even have.

Jeannette's story is both a horrific story of four children who have to face incredible obstacles in order to survive. Their "beds" were pieces of cardboard on rope stretched taut over a 2x4 frame; their toilet was a yellow bucket in the kitchen which would be emptied outside once it got full; food was whatever they could scrounge up in the school trash cans and on rare occasions, a can of beans and a stick of butter.

Had this story ended in the poverty-stricken mining town of Welch, West Virginia, I would have been extremely depressed afterwards. However, Jeannette's story takes us all the way to her adult years - as an accomplished and recognized journalist living on Park Avenue in New York City. Despite the odds against her, Jeannette, along with her older sister and younger brother, are all able to be high-functioning adults capable of showing responsibility and maturity. Something that was not modeled for them at all.

What an amazing story. A must read--especially if you think you've had a pretty tough life.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Donuts and Tortillas

Every Sunday morning on our way to church, we drive by a strip mall--a small shopping plaza of some sort--with a mom-and-pop donut shop on the corner. What caught my eye the first time driving by was the crowd gathered around the shop at 8:45 on a Sunday morning. Taking a more deliberate look, I noticed on that first drive-by that they were all men--perhaps all Mexican--who were most likely looking for contractors pulling in for their morning coffee on their way to a job site.

Since that first drive to church, I would unconciously think to myself, "well, that's one donut shop I'll never visit" In the same vein, I would avoid driving to the nearest Home Depot and instead drive an extra four miles out of my way to shop at another Home Depot. You see, in order to get to the local HD, I'd have to drive through a gauntlet of day laborers - typically men of Mexican descent looking for work or anything that will enable them to earn cash. The one time I had visited this local HD, I was approached by two different men in two different parts of the parking lot. I tried to state politely (but firmly) that I was not interested in hiring them. The second man, however, was annoyingly persistent and insistent and I knew the loaded flat bed by my car was a dead giveaway that I was going to start some time-consuming home improvement project. I didn't feel fearful but I did feel nervous, anxious, and a bit peeved.

All this is to say that since reading the book "The Tortilla Curtain" (TC Boyle), my perspective on migrant workers has widened a bit. The "tortilla curtain" is a reference to the thin border that exists between California and Mexico - a boundary that many Mexicans cross over in the hopes of living a richer better live.

The fictional book is the story of how two very different worlds collide and how the lives of two couples--one from each "world"--change dramatically. Delaney, a writer and magazine columnist, lives in an exclusive community populated with multi-million dollar homes. On his drive home one day, he accidentally hits a man dartng across the winding road. Candido, an illegal Mexican immigrant, is obviously hurt. For different motivating factors, neither Delaney nor Candido report the accident. More out of guilt than anything, Delaney offers Candido $20 which is later referred to as "blood money."

What I found most riviting about the book was the daily struggle of Candido and his young wife (17 year old America) to survive in lower hills of Topanga Canyon (Delaney and his family life at the top of Topanga Canyon which is just north of Malibu). Finding work is impossible for Candido as he can barely walk and fades in and out of consciousness the first few days after the accident. With no food and no money, pregnant America is compelled to find work. Each day, she waits at the labor exchange among the other men to see if work is available for her. She fears for her safety but her fear of starvation outweighs her fear of abuse.

While this is not a new novel (1995) nor does it carry new themes (illegal immigration, American dream, cultural and socio-economic differences), it has provided a wider backdrop on the struggles of immigrants as they try to live the American dream.
Somehow the drive to church today was a little bit different for me.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Vacay in the desert

Today marks the 7th day of summer vacation (11th if you're counting weekend days) and we've spent 5 of them (7 if you're counting weekend days) in Palm Springs where the weather is a sun scorching 110 degrees.

I had planned the vacation to start right after school ended so we could all "decompress" from this past semester of student teaching. Yes, even though I was the only one teaching, it was a tough semester for everyone in my household. Air Boss juggled full-time work (not to mention some pretty stressful project deadlines and meetings) and full-time parenting. The kids had to make some adjustments too (dirty socks to school one day because I didn't have time to do laundry, late dinners or Mackey D's for dinner, no parent or family representative for "Someone Special Day" at school.... a story for another time as poor 'Shroom was eating all by himself).

I wanted this vacation upfront - at the beginning of summer - so we could spend some time as a family, even if we were in the middle of a desert in the summer. As you can see, we did a bit of swimming (or splashing around in the pool). We could go swimming several times a day if we wanted to as our swim suits/trunks would dry in the sun in less than a half hour.

Yay for summers!

Reality settled in our first or second day back. We went out to eat at a local restaurant and as we were leaving the restaurant, I heard say "Hey! That's Mrs. Y__!" I turned around in response and it was one of my math students. I chatted with this former student for a bit and then got in my car.

It's not like I'm trying to block out my student teaching experience but I've had a couple of nightmares since leaving the school. One of the nightmares was while we were on vacation in Palm Springs. I woke up in the middle of the night after having dreamed that it was the fall and the school called me and asked me why I wasn't in class with the students. Found out in my dream that I hadn't passed my PACT (Performance Assessment for California Teachers) and had to do my student teaching all over again. Another dream/nightmare was that I was stuck in one of my observation classrooms (which was done at another local high school) and trying to teach while students were throwing books at me.

I think this dream was triggered after seeing one of my observation students in the grocery store the other day. And this student was a student who had a very unpleasant attitude in the classroom.

Anyway, no need to further ruminate on these unpleasant scenarios. Summer is here and let's focus on that!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Let summer begin!

The much anticipated last day of school has arrived and now summer has officially begun. I can't believe I have survived 20 weeks of student teaching, roughly 300 periods of instruction, six incidents of cheating (with formal reports), numerous hours of after-school and lunch-time tutoring sessions, and five months of working weekdays and weekends for FREE.

Yesterday after my Algebra 1 class took their final exam and they were progressively getting louder and louder as the clock ticked away the final minutes of their last freshman (in a few cases, sophomore) math class of the year, I reflected on how the last day of school is seems so different as a single subject teacher (in a high school) than as a lower elementary school teacher. Both 'Shroom and Lolli have been getting excited for this last day and the ramp up to this day was preceeded with parties, special school events, concerts, work-free days, etc.

When that bell rang, my Algebra 1 students BOLTED out the door and my "have a great summer!' was lost in the chaos and noise of the students fleeing the building as if it were on fire.

Later on that afternoon as I drove home, I thought "wow - I don't even feel sentimental about these kids." No lump in the throat, no sadness in the heart, no thoughts of "oh, they weren't so bad after all" (quite the opposite), no hugs, not even a good-bye from one single student. I don't think there was a single connection I made or experienced in that class short of one boy earlier in the semester.

Well, I didn't pick teaching for the lovey dovey feelings or for the anticipated appreciation from students. Just the same, it seemed like a rather disappointing end to a rather difficult semester with this class.

In the meantime, I'm losing no sleep over this. Summer has begun! Yay!

[Up until this day, I've always thought students were more excited about summer vacation than parents and teachers. Today I've realized how wrong I was in that assumption]

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The end is in sight

Originally uploaded by radioflyer007

On this Sunday night, I'm prepping my last lesson for this school year. I can't believe I've survived 19 weeks of student teaching. Barely.

It's quite ironic that my worst day of teaching this semester was just this past Friday, thanks to my freshman Algebra 1 class. I won't go into the details of that nightmare class from hell. What I will say is that I had a substitute in the room the other week (master teacher was out for the day so sub was there for the other classes), and after my 4th period class was dismissed to lunch, the sub had told me "Wow, that is one disrespectful class." No kidding.

Anyway, I was planning on baking cookies for my students for the last day of classes before final exams. Well, as you can see from the cookie cooling racks, there's not enough cookies for 90 students. It's because I've changed my mind and find my students rather undeserving of cookies (and for many of them, any letter grade higher than a D). The cookies Lolli and 'Shroom and sniffing are for my 6th period class - my best class (okay, a couple of cookies are reserved for 'Shroom and Lolli - that would just be mean if I gave them all away without saving any for them).

I'll spend part of the summer reflecting on these past 20 weeks and see what thoughts and ambitions I have in this field of education. But for now, I guess I could sum it up by borrowing a few of Manny Ramirez's words (as the Red Sox left fielder):

"They're tired of me. I'm tired of them. They don't deserve me."

[P.S. I've re-entered the blogosphere! Effective immediately, the blogging code of silence has now been lifted!]

Friday, February 5, 2010

...barely made it to the weekend...

It's just before 5 PM on Friday and I have to say that I feel like I've barely survived my week. My first week of student teaching. I am so glad the weekend is here and that I get an extra day (thank you President Lincoln) to prep for next week's classes.

I think my "highlight" and "lowlight" of the week pretty much encapsulates the week:

"hi" - staying after school to tutor one of my 9th grade Algebra I students in how to add positive and negative integers; that fact that she even SHOWED up for after school help was such a great feeling; a slight down to this was that I was late for my evening class which started at 4 PM

"low" - receiving a card from Lolli on my nightstand (because I wasn't around to receive it personally); getting the card wasn't a low but the "I miss you Mommy" and "I love you" messages only emphasized how much I've missed my family this week.

I survived and if survival is the goal, then I've had a successful week. If great teaching and instruction (ok, even "good") was the goal, I'm afraid I've fallen quite short of that.

Needless to say, I did manage to lose half of the 5 lbs I want to lose on a water and Altoids diet.

I am so tired....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Last ditch effort

Last ditch effort

Poor 'Shroom decided to wiggle too little, too late. Here he is sitting in the dentist chair trying to see if he can get the tooth out himself. I don't know if that's a look of desperation on his face or a look of trepidation....or both.


...unfortunately that didn't work...


....so we resorted to the professional teeth-puller-outers.

I don't understand 'Shroom sometimes. Last month when he had is bi-annual cleaning, he squirmed around in the chair a lot, had to be coaxed to open his mouth several times and was clearly uncomfortable and afraid. Today, he took the shot (two actually - one for each tooth) without any tears, fussing or squirming.

He was a trooper. For someone who was afraid to wiggle his loose teeth because of the anticipation of pain, he did amazingly well in the dentist's chair.

I told Air Boss that had I been there (I wimped out and was relieved Air Boss was more willing to go), I would not have been able to watch, let alone take pictures.

Well, two teeth down....18 more to go....

The new look

Well - here he is. Sans baby front teeth. You can see the divots in his gums where the teeth used to be and how the new teeth were pushing out the old ones.

Air Boss has refrained from posting the more gory photos on flickr. He mentioned that for the 45 degree angle tooth, the dentist used what looked like a flat head screwdriver to pop the tooth out. For the other tooth, the pliers were needed. There was no way that tooth was going to come out without tools. Air Boss and I, after looking at the second baby tooth, are wondering if part of that tooth may still be in his gums. The tooth is jagged - not a clean break and not how a loose tooth would naturally fall out.

Anyway, 'Shroom is sleeping right now. His pillow is resting on top of two baby teeth to see what the Tooth Fairy will bring.

I don't know what the Tooth Fairy will bring either but I don't think it will be LEGO's...

What's that sticking out of your mouth 'Shroom?

Christmas stegosaurus
Originally uploaded by radioflyer007
Betcha you can't close your mouth and have one--just one--tooth sticking out like this. It takes talent. And a 45 degree angled tooth.

This photo was taken on Christmas day with 'Shroom's favorite Christmas gift: a remote-controlled stegosaurus.

$50 for a tooth from the Tooth Fairy?!?!

'Shroom has yet to lose his first tooth. And he's the ripe old age of 7. For the past month now, both his front eye teeth are loose and the new adult teeth have already emerged. He has two rows of teeth with one of his old baby teeth jutting out of his mouth at a 45 degree angle. A bit disturbing to see.

During the Christmas holiday, Air Boss has tied countless things to his protruding tooth in the hopes that he (or 'Shroom) would be able to yank it out. We didn't have the heart to tie the string, thread, floss (we've tried it all) to a doorknob. Didn't want to make the loss of the first tooth that traumatic and emotionally life damaging.

Well, scrap that idea. Today Air Boss will be taking him to the dentist to get both his front teeth extracted. Yes - baby teeth extraction. I'm so cheap that I've offered 'Shroom $50 if he pulls out his own loose tooth. Just one. Not even both. When he didn't even balk at the proposition, I offered him the incentive in LEGO's (he probably doesn't know how much $50 is). Before you think I'm jumping on the bandwagon by offering cold hard cash for useless baby teeth (and I'm not the sentimental type and I'm even less for keeping up with the Joneses), $50 worth of LEGO's would be a win-win situation.

Since baby teeth extractions are NOT covered by our dental plan, it would be cheaper for me to pay 'Shroom in LEGO's than pay the dental fees for pulling out these teeth.

"Why don't YOU do it?" you're probably wondering.

I'm his mom.

I have to face this kid every day. Need I say more? (I'll also add that I'm a wuss when it comes to pain...and yes, I think it will be painful for 'Shroom, too!)

Maybe we'll have pictures tonight of a big gap in 'Shroom's mouth if all goes well at the dentist office today . . .

$50 for a tooth - that's not so bad . . . right?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The calm before the storm

This is my first post of the new year - of the new decade. Perhaps it may be my last - at least for awhile. In a few short weeks, I'll be student teaching at a local high school and to say that I'm freaking out about it would be an understatement--a grossly understated statement.

I thought I would be proactive and resourceful by reading up on "student teaching advice" on the internet. While many of the websites and advice offered are quite helpful and insightful (and some even lame and "duh - that's just common sense!"), reading about "the top ten mistakes of student teachers" and "how to minimize the truckloads of paperwork on your desk" and "how to get to school on time after completing 27 tasks" and "how to enjoy student teaching despite the stress and craziness of it all" may not be mitigating the stress level. In fact, I think my stress level has gone UP as a result of trying to prepare myself.

Anyway, I thought I would share my fears of this upcoming semester with you all (not listed in any particular order):
1) I'll forget all my math (and worse yet, I'll teach incorrect math)
2) I'll walk into the classroom on Day One and be laughed right out of there by the students
3) my master teachers will secretly talk behind my back and say how horrible I am
4) I'll look schlumpy and not professional at all
5) the students will have no respect for me and be on their worst behavior
6) I'll have to duck flying desks, books, and other projectiles thrown my way
7) I won't even make it to the President's Day holiday (um, that's like two weeks after I start teaching)
8) I'll need to go to the bathroom more often than I have time to go
9) the principal will stop by on my worst day of teaching and observe me
10) my kids and husband will forget who I am
11) I won't have any boundaries (or bad priorities) and bring trunkloads of work home each day
12) I'll fail and have to do student teaching all over again

Well as many of you are making your New Year's resolutions (or have already given up on them), I think my lofty goal of staying alive and maintaining balance is all that I can hope for at the moment.

Hopefully, I'll be able to post some updates of this adventure before June 2010!