23 March 2014

There is probably no hope for you to be normal if your mom used to be a History teacher.

I have finally admitted this week that it is one of the deep desires of my heart for my children to grow up to be nerds.  There is an important distinction between nerdiness and intelligence.  I'm aiming for nerdiness.  I don't want my kids to be so smart that school is boring and feels pointless to them.  I don't want them to have unnaturally high IQs that cause social convention to completely elude them.  It would be nice if they were just slightly smarter than average.  Just smart enough to get a scholarship.  That would be the perfect amount of intelligence.

Wherever my kids fall on the IQ scale, I do hope that they will enjoy some intellectual pursuits.  I want them to enjoy learning new things.  I want them to be curious about how things work and then figure it out.  I hope that they grow up to enjoy libraries and museums.  I hope they will read frequently.  I want them to have a decent knowledge of the classics and be able to understand an allusion to Greek mythology.  If they would occasionally make their own references that would be even better.  At the very least I hope that they will learn to differentiate among elusion, allusion, and illusion.

I want them to watch the news and know where Crimea is.  Or if they don't know, I want them to care enough to find out.  I hope that they never vote in a presidential election only to be surprised to find out that the popular vote does not determine the next executive of our country.  I hope that they have musical proclivities and know the difference between tonic and dominant tones.  I would love it if they could appreciate the artistry of a well executed key change.

My desire to turn my kids into nerds hit a high point this week.  I enjoy reading to my kids.  They have favorite stories that they sometimes request, but I noticed that often they don't care what I'm reading to them.  They just like to have some time to sit in my lap and hear my voice.  If there are pictures involved they will sit quietly for a very long time.  This observation reminded me of a book that I used when I was teaching high school.  I used to check it out of the library every year when it was time to teach the American Revolution.  I decided that I must own this book and start frequently reading it to my children.  Because, if they don't care what I'm reading to them, it might as well be the Declaration of Independence.  

The book is out of print, but I tracked down a copy.  It is the actual text of the Declaration of Independence, and each phrase is illustrated.  My book arrived in the mail a few days ago, and I am unreasonably excited about it.  The day it arrived I saw my three year old pull it off the shelf and start flipping though the pages.  My inner History teacher is overjoyed.

16 March 2014


We were out of town this week, so I had a break from my usual Sunday assignment of teaching the 9 year old Sunday school class.  Instead, I spent all of church with adults.  It was extremely boring.  One benefit of being with the children is that there is a lot more music involved.  Another is that kids are awesome and entertaining.  Teaching on Sundays reminds me of a lot of the things I enjoyed about my full time teaching days.  This year we are studying the Old Testament, and the kids have plenty of random and unexpected things to say that make me smile.

Lesson about the creation:
"I don't know why Heavenly Father had to rest on the seventh day.  Jesus did all the work."

Lesson on Adam and Eve:
While I was trying to explain what it means to be created in the image of God
"Does that mean that He has freckles like me?"

Lesson on Noah:
"Wait, was this before the Empire State Building was built?"
"It says that Noah was 600 years old when the flood started, but that can't be true.  It's not possible to live that long.  He must have eaten only broccoli and eggs."

09 March 2014

The Snake Story

During the summer after my first year of college I worked in the Emergency Room.  If I were trying to have a controversial, socially relevant, or In any way serious blog this would be a post about how it is possible to get a degree without student loans.  Instead my goal is to have a largely frivolous blog.  For the purposes of this post the point of bringing up the job is that strange things happen in the Emergency Room.

My job was not medically related at all.  I was the annoying person who insisted on seeing insurance information and identification.  It was also my job to ask parents to sign a mountain of paperwork before their child's broken arm could be set.  However, the ER staff was aware that I was also completing my EMT training, and they were very supportive.  I was occasionally invited back from the registration desk to see what was going on.  If there was anything particularly interesting happening I usually got to be a part of it.  The doctors and nurses were always happy to answer any of my questions.  I learned a lot.  Unfortunately, the most exciting stuff always seemed to happen on my day off.

The best Emergency Room story I have is one that I did not participate in at all.  A member of my EMT class was part of the crew that brought the woman in, and she was treated at the hospital where I worked.  I heard multiple times about all the excitement that I missed.  I am fully aware that it is entirely possible that most of the story is exaggerated or fabricated, but it is such a great story that I have decided to retell it here.

A woman (whose name I never knew.  Confidentiality laws and all that...) had a very large pet snake.  When she opened the cage to feed it, the snake grabbed both the food being offered and the woman's hand.  I dislike snakes and know very little about them.  I do know two things: a snake's teeth are angled toward the back of the mouth, and snakes apparently have no gag reflex.  These two things meant that this woman's hand was very stuck inside her pet.  The more she tried to pull her hand out, the further the teeth dug into her.  She used her free hand to call 911.

Somewhere between the end of the emergency call, but before the ambulance arrived, she thought that it would be a good idea to put her free hand into the snake's cage to try to pull her first hand out.  By the time paramedics arrived both hands were stuck inside the snake.  The first responder to arrive looked at her, swore, and said "I don't do snakes."  Then he walked out.  Fortunately for the woman, he was part of a larger group; some of whom were willing to deal with snakes.

I have no idea what exactly they did.  I do know that she was very concerned that they might hurt the snake that was eating her.  I also know that by the time she arrived in the emergency room her hands were no longer inside a snake.

02 March 2014

Good Morning

I have reached the point in pregnancy where reasonable sleep patterns are unattainable.  At 2 in the morning when the house is dark and quiet and the circadian rhythm of a normal human being would dictate sleep, I instead find myself experiencing insomnia induced by heartburn, leg cramps, contractions, and general pregnancy discomfort.  At 2 in the afternoon when my kids want to run, shout, play, and generally be toddlers, I can barely keep my eyes open.  I find that I get my best sleep starting around 6:00 in the morning.  My kids like to wake up around 7:30.  I usually hear them wake up, and then roll over and go back to sleep until they come find me and ask for breakfast.

Surprisingly, my kids are extremely well behaved during their unsupervised morning play time.  They play for over an hour without causing any mayhem.  Their favorite morning toys are books, puzzles, and cars.  They never climb on anything, color on anything, or get into anything that they shouldn't.  Then they eat breakfast and chaos ensues.  Breakfast ruins my children.  I've considered skipping the meal altogether, but I think starving your children counts as neglect, or abuse, or at least cause for severe judgement from other moms.

When the kids are tired of being well behaved and self sufficient, they come wake me up and ask for breakfast.  The first thing my little boy says to me is always funny.  Here are a few of my favorites:

"The monsters are trying to get into the scare program."

"I need to make my tummy feel better with M&Ms"

"Remember when I got in the big huge football bathtub?"

"My sister is not in her bed and I need to draw you a beautiful picture."

"Can you read the cupcake to me?"

Sundays are less fun because we have church early and I usually have to wake my kids up.  They aren't as entertaining when they are groggy.  This morning the little redhead didn't say anything to me until we were in the car and almost at church.  Then he said, "Mama, I just told Daddy for you to stop waking me up."

I agree with him.  Things are much more fun when he is the one that wakes me up.