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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Session of St. Brigid's

Well, it's been a while since I blogged.

This fall session of school, we are studying Nature Study for science, and working on the Cub Scout Wildlife badge and the Wisconsin Junior Ranger badge.

Other classes include:
Math (addition and subtraction review)
Geography: Maps and Rivers (working on Geography requirements for Cub Scouts)
Grammar and writing (working on Communications requirements for Cub Scouts)
World Literature Greek myths, Irish Myths
Bible Study

We are big on field trips ever since we got the new car. Here are some of the things we have done this year so far:

3 trips to Brookfield zoo (and another one tomorrow)
Thorn Creek Forest Preserve Cleanup
Fair Oaks Farm (dairy farm) tour, including seeing a calf being born
Goodenow Grove Forest Preserve Fall Festival
Pinhook Bog (Indiana Dunes national lake shore)
Fungus Hunt in Goodenow Grove
Dissecting Owl Pellets
Olld-fashioned fall festival at Spring HIll nature center in Schamburg.

In addition, Kiddo belongs to Cub Scouts, 4-H, Modern Woodmen of America, a homeschool club, and a model train club. He is going to go back to hockey as soon as I can afford it.

4-H is studying Ireland for the International Fair. Ted also signed him up for about 11 projects. I hope he plans to help---a LOT!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Comet Lulin!

We got to see Comet Lulin tonight. It was very dim but definitely observable with the naked eye. Mostly it was just a blur between Saturn and Regulus, but still very cool. I have never seen a comet before at all. And I am so proud of myself for finding it, because I have been to a dozen planetarium shows where they show you how to find all the stars and so forth, and I NEVER see anything once I get out on my own.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ivan Carlos

Yesterday a baby died in Chicago. His name was Ivan Carlos and he was only 2 ½ months old. His tiny little life was lived out in a cramped filthy apartment with as many as 18 other people, many of them children. He lived surrounded by dirty clothes, rotting food, and cockroaches.

What must that baby’s life have been? Two and one-half months of filth, likely accompanied by hunger and neglect. Two and one-half months, frightened and alone, maybe hurt and abused. I used to know the kind of people who live crammed into dirty apartments. They are not the kind of people who make loving parents. They scream at hungry infants, rather than comfort or feed them. They sell their food stamps for drug money. They are the kind of people who don’t care about themselves, much less the creature they happened to conceive and by some accident deliver.

I wonder about the pro-life people, and whether they listen to the news. Don’t they hear things like this? How could anybody, anybody, in their right mind imagine that allowing that child to live for 10 weeks in a squalid hell is in some way a good thing? How can they think that forcing women who don’t want children to have children will have a good result? Forcing every woman who happens to get pregnant to bear out the pregnancy will only result in more horror stories like little Ivan Carlos.

Where are the pro-life people when things like this are happening? Once the unwanted babies are born, who takes care of them? If these people were really pro-life, why are they not working toward improving the quality of life for babies everywhere? Why don’t they see to it that the egg-donors of babies like Ivan Carlos have access to decent birth control? Why don’t they take adoption counseling into the inner city, where it can help babies like Ivan Carlos get a new start with loving families? Why oh why don’t they make any effort to help all the thousands of unwanted babies being born every day all over the world?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to help the unwanted babies already living in the world to improve their lot in life? Wouldn’t that be a greater good to the world, or a greater testament to the glory of God, if that’s how you roll? Why should they track down all those women who at least have the sense to know they are not ready for motherhood, and force them to shoulder a burden they don’t want? How on earth does that help anybody?

It sure does not help all the Ivan Carloses in the world.

May he find peace at last.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Proud of my Son

Today we went to homeschool group and then stopped at a forest preserve to take a short hike and visit the nature center. Kiddo wanted to make a craft, so the nature center people kindly told us to help ourselves to the supplies. We had noticed some taxidermied animals in the nature center, and Kiddo asked if they had been shot. I told him I didn't think so; the animals had likely been found dead from natural causes. But he was very adamant and concerned that nobody shoot animals in the forest preserve. So for his craft, he made a diamond-shaped sign with a picture of a gun with the red circle-slash over it, and the words NO SHOOTING written on. He got permission to tape it up in the window of the nature center.

As he was taping up his sign, he told the nature-center lady, "Nobody should shoot at the animals, because they are defenseless." He said it in such a cute, matter-of-fact way.

I love it that he cares so much for animals, and even bugs. This evening he made a temporary cage for a lady bug so that it would not fly up in the ceiling fan and get hurt. What a sweetheart. I have heard it said that the true character of a man shows in the way he treats animals. That says a lot for my son.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My little boy is not so little any more.

Kiddo turned 7 Saturday. We had a wonderful ice-skating party at the local rink, where he takes hockey lessons. All his cousins were there and his coach even dropped in for cake and gave him a hat with the ice-rink logo on it. A wonderful time was had by all.

My mom, in her sneaky way, told his cousins to ask him if he wanted to sleep over that night. Well, hey, it's his birthday, so why not? Only after they left did I realize, the next day was Easter, and I would not be there for the Easter baskets. I missed getting the Easter Bunny picture this year, through my own stupidity and the fact that someone broke my car window and it took it all week to get repaired. And now I missed seeing him get his Easter Bunny basket, too.

Ted reminded me that it's not that big a deal, after all, it's not Christmas. Of course he's right, but still . . . . Kiddo is growing up so fast. Who knows if next year he will even believe in the Easter Bunny? Or Santa Claus, for that matter. It's only a matter of time. I felt as if I had something stolen from me.

Of course, it's not just this one incident that has got me all bent out of shape. A year ago, I would have been fine with this arrangement, because I would have felt that there were plenty more Bunny-enriched Easter mornings left for future years. Kiddo has matured so much in the past year of so. He is much less a little boy, and much more a young man. He thinks differently now, and he questions everything, and it is only a matter of time until he works out that the world is not quite as magical as we have let him believe.

Only a matter of time.

Sometimes I feel like I have started this long, slow countdown clock, ticking away the moments until the magic ends. Only, I don't know where the stopping point is. Unlike a kitchen timer, which will tell you the exact number of minutes or even seconds until your casserole is done, this timer never reveals its end point. I only know that, every time I make it though a major event like Christmas or Easter or a Lost Tooth, and it seems like Santa or the Bunny or the Tooth Fairies have survived, I breathe a sigh of relief and figure I still have time until the next event. Whenever I field a question like, "How exactly do reindeer fly?" I notice that the clock is ticking, and am reminded that it will one day run out.

That's one more reason to home school. It helps me maximize the childhood time, this magic time.

PS: My friend Heather at My Supernatural Life has a little girl who shares a birthday with my boy. Heather wrote the most lovely post in honor of her daughter Riley turning 5. Be sure to check her out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Jessica Junior

We got the box of new Jessicas the other day. Ted took one with him this morning, and then brought it home, telling Kiddo that the Mexican Restaurant had called and said they had found her.

Oh, the joy! I wish we had videotaped it. First he cradled her in his hands, and said, "Jessica???" as if he really couldn't believe it. Then his whole face lit up as he clutched her to his chest. He danced around the house with her. He made up little songs for her. He was unbelievably ecstatic. He held her in his hands while we were reading, and of course he took her (and her dog) off to bed with him.

The new Jessica is cleaner and a brighter green than the last one, which he attributes alternately to someone at the restaurant cleaning her up, and her having a good bath at her home on the Forbidden Planet (like in the movie.) The new one also has a few beans in the stuffing, which he says are there because she ate them at the Mexican restaurant.

Thank God for the resilience of young imaginations!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A day in the life

Here is a bunch of unrelated news:
Ted has been having secret meetings with the children's librarian. She thinks her daughter has a duplicate Jessica at home. If all else fails, she will help us order a sack of 50 of them from the wholesaler.

Kiddo is dealing with the loss very quietly. When it became apparent that we were not going to find her, Ted had the presence of mind to say, "Wow. She must have found a space ship and flew away." And I picked up on it right away, saying, "Yeah, but I wish she could have said goodbye first." Kiddo cried a little bit for her, but he comforts himself by imagining her fabulous life on the Forbidden Planet. I suggested he get re-acquainted with some of his other furry "friends," so now he has half a dozen other stuffed critters he is dragging all around the house. We have talked a little about grief and loss, but nothing too heavy duty. I hope to God we can find a new Jessica soon.

Kiddo had his first hockey lesson at the local ice arena. No more saturday trips to Orland Park! Yea! The new coach is very nice and suggested we put kiddo in the Saturday morning class, so he can have more one-on-one instruction.

My brother-whatever Mike called today to tell me my mom had called HIM to say she was having some kind of fluid-retention issue in her leg, and had been to the doctor. I called her to ask what was happening and why she had called Mike but not me, and she refused to answer. She is still pissed at me for something from last November of December. I don't know specifically why she has her knickers in a twist, but that was about the time I started laying down boundaries.

Kiddo wants to spend Saturday night at her house. He is ASKING to go. That just happens to be my birthday. Ted and I will discuss it later.

We have been discussing what we want to do about managing Kiddo's relationship with my mom. This is so hard because it is impossible for me to be objective where she is concerned. Ted's big issue was with the bathing and her puerile interest in seeing Kiddo in the buff. I think we have that under control. Mom really does not like that I have forbidden her to bathe my son, but I think she also understands that if she wants to see him, she will have to play by my rules.

My huge issue with my mom is that I don't want my kid to come home with his self esteem torn to shreds, with no greater sense of himself than as an object for other people to use. But I had an epiphany the other day--MY kid won't ever feel like that, because I am raising him. Every single day, I treat my child like the loved and adored kid he is--and I also make the effort to discipline him, to teach him right from wrong, to correct him when he messes up, and so forth. A few hours with a slightly batty old lady isn't going to change that. Not ever.

Many of my friends have told me that he should spend absolutely no time alone with her, but for some reason that just does not ring true with me. (Those same friends also tell me to trust my gut, which I am). The thing is, Kiddo is very open and honest. I have talked to him a few times about the odd ways his grandmother acts and why she sometimes says the things she does. He seems comfortable with "That's just Grandma." I think he gets, as far as he is able, that Grandma and I have very different opinions. I have taught him that he should respect other people's right to have their own opinion, without actually accepting that opinion himself.

I think I'll go ponder that while I drift off to sleep.