Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Report from Hoople: Day 7 (Wherein Normalcy Returns)

Quick bullet-y post because there's no overall narrative to the day:
  • Yesterday Archer came home with his first homework ever. My boy has crossed the threshold from play-school to work-school, and he's excited about it. I glanced over the papers on the way home from school and saw that they apparently had a long lead time ... they represented homework for the whole week. Long after the kids and their grandma were in bed, I emptied his backpack and took a closer look at that homework. There was a sheaf of math worksheets with an accompanying note that said they were due on Friday. Check. There was a book in a plastic bag with a reading record to be filled out and signed, a worksheet to be completed, and a note that said ... it was due back the next day. Oops. Before I could go to sleep I had to work out in my head a way for Archer to read the book and answer the sheet's questions the next morning (solution: let him out of his room 20 minutes early, since he's always awake and playing at that time anyway). Archer sat at the dining room table and read the book (Level 21 of some reading curriculum -- it was relatively elaborate) out loud, with great verve. Then he answered the worksheet questions ("What was the problem? How was it solved?") in his best printing. Since there were still 10 minutes left before Cady Gray got up for breakfast, I gave him his math sheets and he plowed through most of them. I got a glimpse of Archer in school mode -- and it was a beautiful thing. The work-school transition is not going to be a melancholy event for him. Work gives him the opportunity to achieve -- and Archer loves to achieve.
  • Cady Gray stayed home all day with Grandma Libby, and the toileting went well ... on the way back to normal. They started out with 30-minute intervals, and then when she wasn't producing anything, abandoned the timer altogether. She stayed dry all morning, but had an accident right after lunch while watching a video. A couple of more incidents after I came home -- not full-fledged accidents, just leaks -- were probably related to the disruption of her routine. Her first time-out, after dinner, falls into the same category, and in her slightly fragile state, she also cried at bedtime -- not because she was protesting the situation, but because I wasn't available to come tuck her in on time, due to a longer-than-usual Archer book. In truth, her behavior was a lot more like we'd see on a regular two-person day. I'd take a few more days of careful sweetness, but I'll settle for my usual very good girl.
  • Archer's new obsession is Grandma Libby's sewing machine. "Mom, you remember: If you want the stitches to be bigger, press the 3.0 button. If you want the stitches to be smaller, press the 2.0 button. The 2.5 button makes the stitches just the perfect size."
  • We had our first session of speech therapy for this new semester this afternoon. For the third semester in a row, Archer's in a pragmatics group with another client, a 3rd-grader named Abby. Today he played a getting-to-know-you game where he had to answer questions about himself, and as usual, he had some trouble summoning up enough ego to answer accurately. For instance, he claimed that his favorite cartoon character was Spongebob Squarepants, when he has never seen this popular fellow on the teevee. Such answers are derived solely from what he's heard other kids say in response to similar questions. These confabulations aren't attempts to fit in or boast -- they have no identity content whatsoever. Their function is to get the question answered, when Archer is stumped for how to answer out of his own knowledge base.
  • I had the pleasure today of getting an e-mail from the author of a book I recently raved about in the A.V. Club. He apologized for contacting me to thank me, and I understand that it might seem a little gauche to do so, especially in the academic world to which we both belong, but I get so much pleasure out of knowing that my little efforts to spread the word about terrific and valuable work have been appreciated by the authors. He also noted that at least one of my students wrote about the book in their class blog -- I assigned them the chapter on Noah's Ark for one of their first class sessions. I wrote back with my thanks for his thanks, and dropped the hint that my students would be totally freaked out if the author of one of the course readings commented on one of their blogs. Freaked out in a good way -- what better reminder that these blogs are real-world writing, not just an assignment for that miniscule and oddball professorial audience? More on the student blogs soon, faithful readers -- I'll be calling upon you, as well, to show the students what it means to have a vast and unknown audience.
  • In related news, the vanity Google Alert I have set up sent me a new hit today -- this blog. Good to know that I'm providing the web with news about myself, even if this information took 69 posts for the Google spiders to absorb.


the secret knitter said...

I know you may be a little tired of writing in mom mode, but your everday life stories been really heartwarming to read. Maybe not CG's urinary issues so much, but I can deal with it. :)

katie j. said...

I cannot for the life of me figure out a way to send a message, and I'm tired of looking, so I'll leave a comment instead.

Hello Donna Bowman! I don't know if you remember me or not, but my name was Katie Butler (it's Katie Jewart now).

I've enjoyed reading your blog so far, and am linking you so I can catch up in my spare time. Though the blog is more personal in nature, reading it is a little tiny bit like being in an Honors class again.

That's enough from me.
All Best, Katie

Jenn said...

That book looks interesting. I may have to see if our library has it.

Glad things are calming down a bit--you'll have to show us your cool 2nd place Dishrag Tag prize when you get it!

Doc Thelma said...

The ease of communicating with authors of all types of publications (books, journal artcles, whatever) is one of the huge advantages of the internet. I still get a buzz every time I connect with someone.