Thursday, September 30, 2010

On not second-guessing yourself

A woman I don't know called me yesterday, because she'd read a piece I'd written in Daily Guideposts about Big Guy's anxiety issues. Her third grader has just been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. We spent quite a while on the phone, talking about our children.

At one point she mentioned that she'd had to take a strong medication during her pregnancy. "I sometimes wonder if that's the reason I have such an anxious little boy," she said.

"You can't go there," I replied, "You're never going to know why this happened (at least in this life). And you can't beat yourself up about it. You need every bit of your energy for dealing with what you have to deal with."

We all make decisions we later regret. We make them based on the information we have at the time, and we make them with forethought, and we make them by weighing the risks that we see. We never have perfect information.

There was a reason my caller took that medicine, and it was a good reason at the time. There was a reason I handled Big Guy's meltdowns the way I did when he was six, and it was a good reason. If I knew then what I know now about anxiety disorders, I would have done some things differently. But I didn't know. There's no way I could have known, short of divine intervention. So I've got to let that one go.

I believe there's guilt you can do something about -- and should. If you did wrong, and have something to apologize for and make amends for, then do it. Take responsibility, take courage, and do the right thing. And figure out what to change in your life so you don't repeat the mistake.

But there's also faux-guilt, which will cripple you if you accept it into your heart, and keep you living in regret when you need to be living your life. It's the creeping sense that something's your fault even though you did the best you could, gathered the information that was available, and thought things through to the best of your ability. If you didn't know, you didn't know. Let it go.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Andrew was out of town last week, so bedtime stories were up to me. I was contemplating an alternative to Calvin & Hobbes when Little Guy asked, "Can I have more Woofaloo stories?"

I'd almost forgotten about Woofaloo. It's a planet I made up one night when I had limited brainpower about a planet inhabited entirely by dogs. In each story we land in a different area, where we meet up with a different breed and have adventures.

When we landed in the part of Woofaloo populated by Bichon Frises, for example, the dogs got so excited they ran around forming shapes (kind of like a marching band): a snowman, a fluffy bunny, and a mirror reflection of the clouds in the sky. We climbed an alp with the dachshunds after drinking faux-beer and eating faux-wiener schnitzel (edibles on Woofaloo are made of carefully crafted dog food and water, so we often pretend to eat while we're there) -- and the dogs kept getting stuck with their stubby hind legs on one rock and their front legs on another.

To me the stories are pretty lame, a hodgepodge of factoids about dogs and foreign cultures mixed up with end-of-day goofiness, but Little Guy and Snuggler love'em. "Do you remember when the Scottish terriers jumped on the bagpipe to make it play?" asks Little Guy on the way to soccer.

"Yeah!" replied Snuggler, "And remember how the whippets disappeared when you looked at them face-first?"

It brings me back to the tales of Milky-Milky and Walky-Walky, the cow and horse from (where else?) Milwaukee who populated Eldest's bedtime stories for months when she was four. And if I really reach into the past, it brings me back to my childhood, when my sister and I gave my dad three or four disparate nouns and he wove them into a made-up story. I have no idea how good my dad's made-up stories were, but I do remember the warmth and sense of specialness that came from having a few ridiculous ideas tossed together into something made just for me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Classic Parenting Mistake

I made a parenting mistake yesterday. Little Guy was at soccer, and I could tell he was upset. He wasn't running after the ball, and was pretty much on the field just getting in the way. He started talking angrily to every kid who paused near him. So I finally pulled him out.

I talked to him about the fact that he had to play the game instead of stand around and be angry. He was upset because the scrimmage was unequally yoked: the coach had put three excellent players on one half, and his group had only one good one. I said, in what I hoped was a emphatic but kind way, "Yes, that's not fair. And you can't do anything about it right now. What you can do is play your hardest."

All I succeeded in doing was make him feel I was yelling at him. Not good.

I hate it when my kid's the only one on the field who doesn't cope well. I hate it when there's not enough time, in the moment, to figure out what to do or say. And I especially hate it when whatever I'm doing clearly backfires, and I'm left feeling like a parental failure. So I've been trying to figure out what I coulda-shoulda done differently yesterday.

Finally it dawned on me this morning -- duh! -- that I made the classic mistake of focusing on Little Guy's behavior instead of his feelings. My problem was that he wasn't doing what he was supposed to, and behaving poorly. His problem was that he felt inadequate. And I dealt with my problem instead of his. I zoomed past his feelings, and went straight for the fact that he was giving up.

What probably would have worked is a conversation like this:

Me: You look like you're pretty upset.
Him: Yeah, the other team has all the good players except one!
Me: That must feel bad.
Him: Yeah, they have all the good guys.
Me: I bet you would like to be a good soccer player.
Him: Yeah.
Me: I see those good guys running around like crazy, going after that ball.
Him: Yeah, they're fast. I want to play defense.
Me: Defense doesn't have to run around as much.
Him: Yeah.
Me: It's not a full game, so everyone's playing offense and defense. It's scary to have to be as fast as those really good guys.
Him: Yeah.
Me: Do you think you're ready to go give it another try now?
Him: Maybe.

On the plus side, on the way home yesterday I asked Little Guy if he wanted to be a good soccer player, and he said yes. We talked about what that takes, and how much practice is involved, and the importance of not giving up. So we have a plan now, a plan to make progress, and that is good. And next time -- because surely there will be a next time -- maybe I'll do better, too.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Monday, a few days late

On Monday Big Guy was moved to his residential facility. It was a day that even in retrospect feels practically wordless. Whatever was said was overpowered by the undercurrent of emotion. I will remember Monday as the day I cried harder and more than any other day in my life.

And so we begin the slow process of finding a new definition of normal. There is moderate relief: we are no longer waiting for things to happen. Logistics are ridiculously easier. I have decided I'm not going to feel guilty about the fact that there's less laundry, or that I can get up a little later, and that I no longer have to wonder if that emotional boulder perched on the cliff is going to come tumbling down on my head tonight. Those bright spots can exist separate from the grief, in the way you can have a light on in one part of the house and stumble about in another.

I think about Big Guy a hundred times a day. Despite all the anguish and trauma, I'm thankful -- daily -- that he is my son. I pray for him, I desperately want him well enough to come back home. But it's also my job to be thankful for what I have today.

Today I am thankful for the respite, for more time with my other children, for emotional space for healing, and for peace and quiet.These are gifts that have been given to me in the midst of a difficult time, and I am not going to refuse them by insisting on feeling bad about everything.

Minor Miracle, appreciated

Today was a busy day, the first day of classes at our homeschool co-op. We scooted home in the early afternoon so Snuggler could change clothes before heading out soccer practice. Dancer headed to ballet. Shin guards, a book for the bus, food, water bottles, bus passes, and we were out the door.

It's a long bus ride to soccer, but in a town where activities routinely cost $500 a semester, this league costs $60 for the season -- uniform included. So we shlep 45 minutes on a bus, and walk ten minutes from there: Wednesdays for practice, Saturdays for Little Guy's game, Sunday afternoons for Snuggler's game.

Tonight, just as we arrive at the field, Snuggler says she's thirsty. "You have a water bottle," I replied. Except she didn't. She'd left her Kleen Kanteen, with insulated sleeve, on the bus. Gulp. Or rather, no gulp of water -- just a deep sigh from me. Snuggler loses a lot of things. Expensive things. It gets me down sometimes.

I vaguely made a mental note to file a hopeless lost-item claim with the transportation authority, and glumly went to the nearby library to read books with Little Guy.

We left as it was getting dark, walked a long way to a new bus stop, waited 20 minutes for a bus, gave up and took a different bus, got on a train, and had to walk nearly half a mile to get home. Six blocks from home the skies opened up, with thunder and lightning and torrential rain. I didn't have an umbrella, and my laptop was in my tote bag. We huddled under an awning for a bank for a while, until Snuggler said, "Why don't you go into the grocery store and get some plastic bags to cover your laptop?" Good idea. I did that.

I'd forgotten my cell phone at home, so I had no idea what time it was, or if Dancer had arrived before us or was waiting out the storm at a different train stop. So we made a dash for it, Snuggler and Little Guy shrieking with delight at the freedom of running in the rain. Arrived, soaked and needing to figure out what to have for the other half of supper (the first half having been eaten before soccer).

I remembered there was homemade pea soup in the fridge -- ahh! I discovered Dancer had left ballet before the rain started, and had an umbrella with her. And then I got this amazing email:

Eric and Frederick picked up a water bottle on the [bus route] and saw [your last name] on it. Orange bottle in gray holder. I'll drop it off with your doorman sometime this week. Does that work for you?
A friend from down the street's husband and son had been on the SAME bus route, on the SAME bus, on the SAME day and sat in the SAME seat... and found Snuggler's water bottle.

A different friend recently defined a miracle as being given just what you need, when you need it.

Wow, I needed that!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When you can't make things better for your child

Snuggler has been struggling with her emotions lately. The loss (to college) of her beloved big sister, the pending loss (to a residential psych placement) of her I-adore-and-hate-him big brother, and the temporary loss (to a business trip) of her dad has her suddenly bursting into wrenching sobs, several times a day.

I try to remember that empathy is the key, though it's hard to stop applying emotional bandaids when you're a mom. When a child is hurting, whether it's from a bully or a broken friendship or a jerk of a teacher, I want to make things better. And sometimes I can't.

I can hold my sad child and say things like "Oh, that's a hard feeling to have!" and "Sometimes when I'm sad I feel like I have a big hole inside. Do you sometimes feel like that?"

I can stroke her curly hair and say, "Go ahead and cry. This is worth crying about."

I can reassure her, "This is a hard time, a very hard time. But we can work through it," and "I know this feels like an endless sadness, but deep down you have strength you don't know about yet, and it will help you get through."

I can teach her how to pray and explain what our faith teaches about suffering. But I can't fix the pain. No matter how much I want to, I can't make the hurt go away.

And I'm finally grasping that that's okay. My job as Snuggler's mother isn't to make her world perfect, but to teach her how to live in an imperfect world. I reduce the pain where I can, but my real role is to teach her healthy coping skills for dealing with the pains of life.

There's not always an answer or solution to pain. As an adult I know that there are times when muddling through -- doing the best you can when you don't know what you're doing -- counts as success. I wish I didn't have to see my daughter struggle, but it's better that she should struggle where I can guide her and help her than that she doesn't learn how to do this before I send her out into the world. Because I can pretty much guarantee that at some point in her life she will struggle.

We eventually get through just about everything, more or less. The way we go about it, the kind of person we want to be, and what we do with the experience is what makes the difference between more and less. That's where my role as a mom comes in.

Well, that and making blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Which helps, just a little.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Moving on Monday

We learned today that Big Guy will be moved to his residential setting on Monday. Lots of mixed emotions around here: grief, hope, resignation, fear, relief, and then hope again. Those of you who pray, please include us in your prayers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our Rules of Homeschooling

Posted here from my Facebook page, because at the start of the year it's useful to review what we do (and what we don't):
  1. We all respect one another, and communicate with words rather than behavior.
  2. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean you don't have to do it.
  3. You are not allowed to be bored until you have spent at least 10 hours doing it... and then you may DISCUSS your reasons for why you find it boring and TACTFULLY SUGGEST alternative solutions to learning the material.
  4. There is no such thing as TOO HARD. Work can be too hard *if you don't have help* or too hard *to do easily*. Otherwise, it's just hard, and that means you need to work at it.
  5. You may ask Mom for help any time she is not working with someone else or talking on the phone. 
  6. It is normal not to understand or remember things you used to understand or remember. This will happen even when you are an adult.
  7. ‎If you find something TOO HARD or you find you need to complain about it, that is a sign that you need MORE PRACTICE.
  8. Those who cooperate during the day will get 'cooperation candy'. Including Mom.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day One of homeschooling 2011-11

The fall of Rome

They did a pretty good job making that signum, eh? Funny that Little Guy already know what a Vandal was...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Of interest to avid readers

This article has some fascinating observations on how e-book technology could change the way we read, and our ability to process more difficult content. Interesting.


We are starting school tomorrow. The kids are eager, happy to begin. That will last until they encounter something they don't want to do. There is always a week or two of bumpiness at the start of the year until we re-establish that disliking a topic does not exempt you from learning it.

For me, the hardest thing about homeschooling is keeping the warmth of momness while enforcing the structure of teacherness. You can't take discipline issues personally when you're a teacher. And that's hard when you're dealing with your own kids. They kinda (yeah, just kinda) know where your buttons are. And you definitely react to your own kids' misbehavior differently than you'd react to someone else's kids'.

I am usually pretty laid back about school. My overall approach is what I call If-Then Unschooling. If you do two hours of things that I want you to do, then you can have the rest of the day to yourself.

What I want from them:
  • competency in math
  • basic grammar, and the ability to write decent sentences and coherent paragraphs
  • broad knowledge of history (world as well as U.S.), art, and to some extent music
  • the ability to follow directions, stay on task, and be resourceful in seeking answers to their questions
  • integration of what we believe with what we say and do

This boils down to 5-6 assignments a day, more for the older ones, less for the youngers. Because I need to work furiously on the book in Sept and Oct I'm trying to be far, far, far more organized about school this year. I know that if I don't have things in order, and assignments already figured out, it's just not going to happen on the fly.

Here is what our day more-or-less will look like:
  • Because we are people of faith, we start with prayer, reading a bit from the Bible, and a hymn. We generally choose a hymn that we don't know, and add a verse each week. That way the kids have a repertoire of songs to which they know the words.
  • We then split up. One child does a lesson on the computer (either math or French). One child does some work independently (grammar, handwriting, or reading). One child gets Mommy-time (spelling, one-on-one instruction in note-taking, lit discussion for Dancer)
  • We rotate.
  • We have a read-aloud, usually something related to our theme for the year. This puts everyone back on the same page, and gives the kids common ground for plays and games.
  • We have some sort of activity: a craft or science project
  • Everyone finishes whatever they need to finish on their school list.

Dancer is self-running: I give her a list of assignments, and she gets them done. Snuggler is pretty good if she's had her ADHD meds, impossible if she hasn't. Little Guy needs more structure (but less time) than the others. Hopefully we'll head up to the library once a week, and go on a field trip twice a month.

When the kids are done with school -- usually before noon -- they are free to do whatever they like. They can read, write, play, or do more science experiments; I don't care, as long as I'm not involved. Late afternoon will find us heading out to after-school activities: play rehearsal, yoga, soccer, ballet four times a week for Dancer. The advantage of having down-time in the early afternoon is that the kids aren't already worn out by the time we head to enrichment/social activities. And while they are occupied, I can work.

Friday, September 10, 2010


On Tuesday we went to visit a place that has accepted Big Guy. It has one huge advantage: he would be able to continue at his current school if he goes to live there. There are other advantages, too, namely that it's close enough that we could monitor his mental health, and visit frequently. I won't go into the disadvantages.

Yesterday I met with Big Guy's therapeutic team, and they agreed that this is probably our best option. No one thinks it's a fabulous option, but it's better than the worst one, and better than the next-worse one, and hey -- it does have some advantages. In the world we've been inhabiting for the last three months, that sounds pretty good.

I have been holding this information in my heart, pondering it, savoring it, trying it on for size. After months of being at sea, it is hard to find my land legs again. Part of me feels free, exhilarated by being out from under the rock of not-knowing what to do, or what it's even possible to do. Part of me is terrified, grieving for my son, hoping desperately that this will help him.

We're not sure of the exact timing yet, but it looks like Big Guy will move to the new place within the next ten days. He did not entirely dislike the facility. Yet the reality that he will not be living at home is hard for him. He was so fragile this afternoon that for a while I wondered if he'd be spending the interim in the hospital.

And so we move on.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

People who've made a difference in my life

Rosa N. 

Many years ago, when we first moved to our neighborhood, one of its charming features was that one of the elevator operators in the train station decorated his elevator. At Christmas there were lights, at Halloween there were ghosts. There were homemade posters of snapshots of various people riding the elevator. And the man who did all this was a jazz connoisseur who played CDs on his boom box -- not at an obnoxious noise level -- during the minute-long ride up or down. 

It was a real neighborhoody thing.

Then the transportation authority got wind of it, and told their employee that he had to take everything down. The lights were a fire hazard, they said. The photos and music were an invasion of privacy. It wasn't standard. It wasn't right.

The neighborhood was dismayed. In fact, the neighborhood was angry. Someone name Rosa organized a protest, and one of Eldest's and Big Guys earliest memories is of marching around near the train station with signs, chanting slogans asking for the pictures and music to be reinstated.

There was press coverage, but it didn't make any difference. The transportation authority said no, and since the powers that be are appointed rather than elected there, there wasn't much pressure that could be brought to bear. We were sad.

Fast forward a couple of years, and I met Rosa again through a community group in which I'm active. I liked her commitment to making the neighborhood a better place; I daresay I probably imbibed a drop or two of zeal for community-building from her, though I had infusions from many other people.

Rosa's an artist, so her serve-the-public activities tend to be different from mine (I focus more on family events). We ran into each only occasionally until I somehow got Shanghaied into being on the steering committee of a local parks group of which she is a member. I found that I enjoyed working with Rosa; she's a peacemaker, yet has a spirit of determination that gets things done.

And then last year something happened that simply flattened me in awe. A series of posters showed up in our train elevators, posters of paintings by local artists. It turned out that for the past seven years Rosa has continued to meet with the muckety-mucks at the transportation authority, working to get some sort of community representation back in the elevators.

Seven years. I had to completely recalibrate my definition of perseverance.

Seven years of negotiations. Seven years of meetings with bureaucrats. I asked Rosa how on earth she did it. "I learned to smile a lot," she said, mildly.


So local artists get paid for allowing their work to be shown on the posters. Commuters get visual variety. The elevators look nicer. And one woman -- Rosa -- did what a hundred of us with only a week's worth of commitment could not: she got the transportation authority to change their rules. She did it with smiles, determination, and a lot of perseverance.

Little Guy quote of the day

"I need something toxic."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Math check

Yesterday the Hearthsong catalog arrived, and Little Guy snatched it up right away. He likes to peruse catalogs and make up wish lists. Last night at bedtime he was busy writing, and because he was quiet we forgot he was up. After a long time he came out to where I was working on the computer, to show me what he'd done.

He had three pages, illustrated, with the names of the items his heart desired, copied carefully. At the top of page one was the cost: $77.11.

Then there was a page of five or six calculations, though the addition problems were different from the ones used to add up the cost. At the bottom right of the page was a funny box with the label, "If crect, culr in. If not, do not."

And on the back of that page was the note:

'Math check.
Sens I can't pay you back I will pay in math, my favrit clas."

I was impressed, He did not whine or beg or demand, and he thought up his own way to earn money. This morning I told him that for every extra five math pages he does (over and above his daily 3-page assignment) he will earn one math dollar. I figure that if he can do 386 pages of math (77.11 x 5), then I can fork over the money to buy a remote control alien spaceship, and a couple other things. He got to work right away.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Missing my girl

This going off to college thing sneaks up on you. Busy, busy getting ready, all the excitement of something new, a trip, a city to explore, and so on. Back home, and life seems pretty normal for a while, until one day you realize you keep expecting her to walk in the door and chatter with you, and there's silence where her laughter ought to be, and that funny lump inside you isn't indigestion but a longing for someone you've loved every minute of her life.

And on that day you cry a bit -- not in misery, just in longing -- and you spend a while cradling memories of your child as a newborn, as a toddler, as a kindergardener and fourth grader and lanky tween and 9th grader. You think of belly laughs and silliness, of first words and first heartbreaks. Your heart is rich and thankful, brimming with gratitude for this tremendous gift of a life which has made your world bigger.

And you miss her.

Monday, September 6, 2010

It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to.  ~W.C. Fields

Man, am I going to use this  quote with my kids!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Certain things are conducive to sanity: cool weather after a hot summer, and warm weather after a cold winter. I've long thought there ought to be a special name for the day in April when you can finally take the kids to the playground, and they run for five hours and don't complain and don't want to come home for supper. It's the day when you chat with other moms who have suddenly emerged from the gray nowhere of winter, and you think This mothering thing isn't impossible, after all! That's a good day.

There is a similar day in the almost-fall, when the temperature whispers "Take a long walk!" and the breezes blow and you wear a jacket again. And yet it's not bad to stay at home, either, because for once it's comfortable in the house, and the mountain of things to do feels a little more do-able, and so you do some things and check them off your list. That's a good day, too.

There are many good days in life. On the days that aren't great, there are still good things to focus on, and appreciate, and be thankful for. But you have to build the reflective time into your day, or it won't happen.

At bedtime, I ask Little Guy to say his I'm sorry's and Thank you's. My six year old is not naturally given to introspection -- most kids that age aren't, yet -- and it's my job to plant the seeds of attentiveness to his day, to his actions, to his heart. Doing it as part of an end-of-day routine makes it (mostly) possible that eventually he will develop a habit of reflection. I hope. Because it's a lot easier to find contentment in life if you pay equal attention to thankfulness and regret.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Several people have written privately to ask how we knew when we needed outside help for Big Guy, and how we knew we needed meds. We've been through the wringer for seven years now, so I've accumulated two or three cents' worth of thoughts on the topic. Here's what I know:

If you're thinking you child might just be going through a really bad stage, write down a list of the troublesome behaviors, and then set yourself a date four months later to review where you are. You need a benchmark against which to gauge progress. If things mellow, great. If they don't, or if they have gotten worse, get help. Stages pass; problems fester.

If the size of your child's reactions don't make sense given the size of the triggers, you're probably dealing with something bigger than you can resolve on your own. When you look for help, there are two things to know:

1. If takes a lot of lead time to get in for a psych evaluation. You want to start earlier than you think you need to; if things improve during the two months while you're waiting, you can cancel the appointment.

2. It often takes more than one try to find the right therapist and child psychiatrist. If you find someone and it isn't working, try someone else. And then try someone else. Don't assume that because one therapist is useless to you, everyone else is clueless. (On our first try we got someone who suggested using a star chart, when we were restraining Big Guy for two hours each night as he raged. Uh... no.)

Another reason to schedule an evaluation sooner rather than later is that some meds take a long time to kick in. Trust me, if you're dealing with depression or severe anxiety and you wait until you're in major crisis to start meds, you're going to be a really unhappy parent. You may have to wait 4-6 weeks for the full effect of the meds to kick in (that's after the two months you've waited to see the pdoc) -- and the meds dosages are rarely right the first time around. You have to ramp up to the right level, in stages. And sometimes one medication doesn't work, and you have to taper off that one while you're starting another. It is not a science. It's an extended study in experimentation.

I think a lot of people get their knickers in knots thinking about meds, because they forget that they are trying meds. If they help your child, great. If they don't, you can change your mind. It's a reversible decision. The main point of meds is to make it possible for your child to succeed in ways he or she can't, currently.

I'm not a medical professional, and can't diagnose more than any other mom. But if you are worried about your child and want to talk, you can email me at LotsaLaundry1 AT gmail DOT com.

School, sorta

A big box of homeschooling supplies arrived yesterday. This morning Snuggler is pestering me about when we can start school. Last night she and Little Guy got out the geoboards and copied various designs onto them with rubber bands; this morning Dancer is doing some math online. Little Guy has looked through his phonics book and just announced, irritated, "Mom, there are only eight booklets to make in this whole thing!"

Me, I don't wanna. I figured out enough about what we're going to do (the Middle Ages) that I could order supplies, but I haven't read through anything yet. My brain is fixated on editing the book, and on transporting various kids to their various therapies, and getting Big Guy placed in a residential school, and helping kids deal with Eldest's departure, and a few other minor details. Somehow the idea of having to fixate on school, too, kind of makes my brain rip.

But hey, this is life, and part of life is doing what you've gotta do. The older I get, the more I realize that the I can't take this! that periodically screams through my head is just that: a voice screaming through my head. It has little to nothing to do with reality. We can take -- and do -- a lot more than we think. Most of our I can't do this feelings are simply a well-disguised I don't like this protest.

The truth is that when we think we have to do something -- have to as in we really have no other choice -- we somehow ante up the energy or determination or resignation to get it done. We dig deep, because the alternative is... ugh.

So tonight I'm going to look at what we have, rustle up Beowulf for Dancer to start, read over the Met Museum's teacher guide to Medieval art. I'm sure once I carve out a section of my cluttered brain and label it "School", good things will fill up the space in no time.

Don't ask what will happen to the other things currently occupying that area of my brain. If I'm lucky, it will be the gray matter that retained the lyrics to the Gilligan's Island theme song, and the last name of the boy in third grade who maneuvered the bucket of chalkboard-washing water so that I stepped in it. If not, well, life will be interesting!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010