Sunday, November 25, 2007

Satan's secret garden

Years ago, when Lego was in the 4th grade, we decided to read The Secret Garden together. Lego was only starting to like reading. A late bloomer, he didn't much care for independent reading, but he enjoyed being read to. We spent many pleasant hours with Mary and Dickon and Colin. He took the A.R. test at school and passed with flying colors.

With Sport entering the 4th grade, I decided it would be a good idea to repeat the project. Instead of hours of enjoyment, the book became a hellish nightmare. Sport, unlike Lego, could not sit still for more than five minutes without an attack of the wiggles. He twitched and spasmed as I struggled to read prose written in the early 1900s. We were more than halfway through by the end of the summer, and I refused to give it up. All I could focus on was the 7 A.R. points he would get after we were done.

I began to dread picking that book up. If we could get through a couple of pages each night, I felt like we'd accomplished something. Sport was supposed to be reading a several paragraphs out loud to practice his skills. Some of the writing was torturous to get through:

"Oh! Mary!" he cried out with a half sob. "Shall I see it? Shall I get into it? Shall I live to get into it?" and he clutched her hands and dragged her toward him. "Of course you'll see it!" snapped Mary indignantly. "Of course you'll live to get into it! Don't be silly!" And she was so un-hysterical and natural and childish that she brought him to his senses and he began to laugh at himself and a few minutes afterward she was sitting on her stool again telling him what she imagined the secret garden to be like but what it really was, and Colin's aches and tiredness were forgotten and he was listening enraptured.

Sport prefers action-adventure stories and he really didn't have the patience to read a book like this. He would probably have been happier if there'd been some kind of demon lurking in the garden rather than slumbering bulbs and perennials. I must confess by the end of the novel I was right sick of the entire plot and each and every character. I wanted to smother Colin and ship Mary back to India. Really, I only could bear Dickon because he was so great with animals.

We finished the thing Sunday night and thank God I don't have any more kids with whom I might be deluded enough to try reading it again. Sport did a victory dance when we got done. I'll do one when he takes that damn A.R. test and passes.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Psychic abilities

Another Sunday, another volunteer opportunity with the Kindergarten and 1st grade Sunday school classroom. All fourteen bright and shiny faces watched eagerly as their teacher passed out the craft materials. As her helper, I stood by to assist in the project.

"Today, we will be making ears of corn to celebrate Thanksgiving."

First came the pipe cleaners, then an open tub of beads. Hundreds of beads. Thousands of beads. Tiny little beads.

Immediately, I flashed forward into the future. I saw myself on my hands and knees, picking beads off the floor. I knew without a doubt that in minutes, that tub of beads was going to be dumped over.

I worked with a group over at my table. Our beads were distributed from a plastic baggie that I kept firmly gripped in my hands. One of my boys wanted all silver beads for his corn decoration. When he had exhausted our supply of beads, he went over to the other table to search for more silver.

Of course, the tub went flying. Beads spread all over the floor and to every corner of the room.

Sighing, I went in search of a broom. Another psychic might have used it to fly away from her duties. Instead, I cleaned up the floor.

"I admire your patience," said the Youth Director. He'd mistaken my calm acceptance for patience.

The next time that box of beads comes out, I swear I'm running out the door.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

By popular demand

Here's the photo of the doggie bed:

Happy now?