Friday, October 31, 2008

Rosie knows what she's doing.


RosieBakes
Originally uploaded by nylonthread
Just check out that confident look in her eye. Rosie knows more than you think. There's so much going on in that mysterious noggin of hers, we'll never realize more than a shard, a sliver.

Again, all we've been hearing in the past week from her school has been negative. She was sent to the principal's office twice in one day for several physical incidents (one that drew blood); we are all terribly shocked. Monkeyrotica and I met with her teacher today—our first official meeting—and learned that there is one specific child in her class, a boy, that she just can't resist tormenting.

She needs to work on curbing her impulses. We went over the behavior contract that will target keeping her hands to herself and completing assigned work, and look forward to getting the daily reports on her progress. We asked about the classroom and whether the teachers thought Rosie was a good match for their room; of course they said yes (I thought they might be objective, silly me). They've moved Rosie to a small desk at the back of the room and proclaimed that she loves her new placement, complete with fewer distractions and calmer, less distracting tablemates.

While we were there, Miss M. offered to show us her report for the academic testing that we were planning to review next week in a pre-scheduled meeting. Academically, the baseline for all the students in her classroom at this point in the year is 61. By the end of the year, they expect 165. What was Rosie's score?

155.

She scored 100% on most of her tests including math, reading, word/number/color recognition, and phonics. Despite all the trouble we are having, she is in the top of her Kindergarten class.

OMG, I am spinning. We have a delinquent. We have a genius! Must they come hand in hand?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I got my in-person, absentee vote on


VoteD
Originally uploaded by nylonthread
Yesterday I jogged to the absentee polling site to vote. Make yours count! If you can go early, go!

I only waited for 25 minutes, but I heard that there was a three-hour wait the day before. Many of the folks in the line with me were retired and several had walkers/helpers. This election is getting people motivated!

For more intelligent thoughts on the vote and political issues, try (and I'm just going through my links on hand here):
Hey, Ho, KellyGO!
The Journey
Margaret and Helen
Up From Sloth

(and yes, I have no make-up on, except a bit of lipstick. the close-up is not flattering.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jewelry sale, weekend recap.


SANY1856
Originally uploaded by nylonthread
Well, the jewelry sale was a bit of a bust. I had one sale by the woman who told me about the event (I think she took pity on me) that helped me break even with the cost of the booth. The few that stopped at all and offered any thought to what they were looking for wanted items under $10 that they could give as gifts to the under age-8 set. So, cheap and durable.

Not my forte. More later!

Adding On:
The rest of the weekend was a bit of a blur. We were invited to three parties the evening after the sale, one in D.C., one in Maryland, and one two doors over. Since Monkeyrotica was committed to smoking a pork shoulder in the Kamado for our work party on Sunday, I went to my neighbors' party with the kids and he stayed in. It was fun, an annual pre-Halloween party that we'd been to a few years running. All the kids are getting older, many teenaged, so there were much fewer of them in costume this year (which is A-OK with Rosie). I forgot to photograph my kids' costumes! There will be other opportunities, you'll be seeing my princess and pirate soon enough.

Sunday was the video screening party for my coworkers. The office had just finished a 30-minute training video for U.S. Marine Corps customer. Since we have a 120" screen for our home theater, the video team asked me if I'd host the party. Sure! And since Monkeyrotica had been instructing the DCist.com crowd on how to cook the best bratwurst, I offered brats as the main dish (pulled pork came later). A couple of my coworkers surveyed the abundance on the spread and said, "I'm just going to eat until I'm uncomfortably full." Rock on.

The video was fantastic! I work with some very talented people. The subject was a sad one: evocative training for Marines, preparing them to inform next of kin that their loved one had died (several folks were in tears throughout). Everyone there had participated, from direction, scripting, filming, editing, post-production, scoring, scheduling, scouting, and casting. It was a great gathering and we were all very proud of the final cut after it was screened.

We picked up some pumpkins: here are the kids in the patch, looking squinty on a very sunny day. AH, there's the pirate!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nylonthread, selling her wares (in public!)

My new business card, do you like it? Designing this card is only one of many reasons I've been a little quiet lately.

Heedless of my better judgment, two weeks ago I signed up to be a craft vendor at a local holiday bazaar. I'm now two days and counting till my act must be together. I haven't done anything like this in 12 years (and even then, I shared a booth with a more experienced jeweler who has since made a very successful career of it).

For those of you who are local, here are the details:

October 25th, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
2008 Holiday Craft Bazaar
Good Shepherd Catholic Church
8710 Mount Vernon Highway
Alexandria, VA 22309


I'll have everything that's up on my Etsy site and more! This past weekend, I scoped out another craft event to get some ideas and a few things stuck with me: dramatic colors and interesting displays helped set off the items for sale; many of the vendors didn't have business cards (hence my newly designed card above); and also the vendors who had items that I was interested in did not accept credit cards. I hardly ever carry cash, and I know many people who don't as well, so I will be using Propay.com (recommended by users on a Etsy listserve I belong to) to accept credit and maybe make a few more sales that way.

Wish me luck, and stop by if you're local.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blackbird singing...


NASA SR-71 Blackbird
Originally uploaded by James Gordon
At the Air and Space Museum yesterday, Rosie and Dash had their much anticipated viewing of "Starships." We plenty of space-themed Sci-FI movies on regular rotation at the Strings as well as a Starship-shaped tent in the basement and space-patterned bedding for Dash. Rosie liked the museum well enough, pointing out interesting items as we went through. They really enjoyed the large exhibits that allowed museum-goers to walk through and try out the equipment. All was fine, educational, and interesting. Until we got to the SR-71.

Dash stared. He caressed the glass. He wouldn't budge. He was entranced by the sexy sleekness, the dangerous, dark pointiness of the Blackbird on display, a USAF high-altitude, reconnaissance aircraft 1/16-scale model.

He wanted it. Oh, my GOD, he wanted it. With all of his 3.5-year-old existence.

"Mommy, can I HAVE this?" he asked.
"No, sweetie, it's part of the museum displays," I answered.
"Well, we can just BREAK the glass then, and take it home with us," Dash retorted, with some anxiety.
"I'm sorry sweetheart, we can't break the glass." I said, the voice of reason.
[[sobbing]]
"We can check the gift shop, maybe there's another one over there."
[[sniff, sob]] "O-O-O [[snf]] kay," sobbed Dash, drying his tears.

Thank the lord there was one cast-iron mini SR-71 left in the A&S museum shop. It now belongs to the boy, despite the age-recommendation of 14 and up on the packaging.

Up Your Vitamin D Intake STAT!


Milk
Originally uploaded by pixiepie
Just in from The Washington Post: Kids should be getting a minimum of 400 IU of Vitamin D daily, double the previous recommendation of 200 IU.

The Post article states:

"Kids from newborns to teenagers should take twice as much Vitamin D as previously recommended because it may help prevent serious disease, a leading medical group said yesterday... In the past it had been recommended that kids get 200 units of Vitamin D a day. Now, the doctors are saying, they should take 400 units. Vitamin D can be taken in drops, capsules or tablets.

Most milk that you can buy in the store is fortified with Vitamin D. But most kids don't drink enough of it. You need four cups daily to meet the requirement. Other foods, including cereal, are also packed with Vitamin D, as are the oily fish tuna, mackerel and sardines.

But it's hard to get enough through diet. The best source is sunlight, because the body makes Vitamin D when sunshine hits the skin. The new advice is based on research showing that Vitamin D not only helps keep bones strong but might also play a role in preventing disease."


For more hard-line data, here is a link to the full news article.

They don't mention a detail in this particular article, but I've read in other places that Americans generally don't get enough D because of all the sunscreen we slather on, trying to avoid skin cancer. Sunscreen blocks our skin's absorption of necessary Vitamin D. Oh please, doctors on high, can you tell us how to balance good sun rays vs bad?

According to Nutrition News, to get an adequate exposure to Vitamin D through sunlight:

"Your body makes vitamin D when you are exposed to the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays in sunlight. You probably need from 5 to 30 minutes of exposure to the skin on your face, arms, back or legs (without sunscreen) twice every week. Since exposure to sunlight is a risk for skin cancer, you should use sunscreen after a few minutes in the sun and even in the winter and on hazy, cloudy days."

Got that? A maximum of 30 minutes sunscreen-free a twice a week. Thanks Dr. Jegtvig!

And drink more milk.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Week 6 K-12: Finally, some good news!


Rosie on the carousel
Originally uploaded by nylonthread
I just received a phone call from the Principal of Rosie's Elementary School. Now, the instinctual reflex of getting a principal-call is to flinch, right? You all flinched, didn't you? C'mon, admit it.

He expected the cringe, so started off the call with, "This is Mr. M., principal at Rosie's school, and don't worry, this is a call with a good message." Thank goodness! I have been wanting to hear something warm 'n' fuzzy so badly I wrote an email to her teacher earlier this week that pleaded for it; here's an excerpt:
"...Can you let me know if there are any positives to Rosie's kindergarten experience as yet? All I have heard so far is negatives (slow, unfocused, distracted, not-listening, twiddling-with-accessories) and that is getting us all pretty down. What is she doing well? How is she excelling during her day? I do need something to help pump her up, or she's just going to stop wanting to go to school altogether."
The very good news is not only that Miss M. is back from the hospital full time, but she let Mr. M. know (his quote was that she "fairly danced into his office to say") this afternoon that Rosie has really turned a corner this week and has been getting all of her work done during the school day! She's behaving well and is no longer under a threat to be on a "behavior contract" (yes, that was a threat at the beginning of this week). She asked that the principal call us—monkeyrotica got a call, too—directly and give us her good feedback.

We'll be following up on his suggestion that we give her a treat this weekend and let her know how proud we are, especially since she has shown in class that she's terribly proud of herself!

(green is my happy color)

I know, I know, this is such a small step, but Kindergarten has turned out to be uncharted territory for the Strings. We thought she was doing great—better than all the others in her Pre-K class, really—and were floored when Rosie didn't adapt well to public school. Just when I'm starting to feel like an old hand at this parenting stuff, I get whacked down by unforeseen events.

I know we're not out of the woods (you like all the hackneyed clich├ęs I'm throwing in here? it's been a long week), and it's possible that we may see some relapses. At the moment, I'm sighing a big relieved breath and looking forward to a calm 3-day weekend that doesn't involve thrusting Crayolas into our daughter's face.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Mr. Happy


Mr. Happy
Originally uploaded by nylonthread
I've got waaay too much going on, plenty to blog about but no time to compose the posts for my thoughts.

I leave you all with a photo of Dash and a few of his favorite things: grapes, milk, and no pants.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I <3 Parent Hacks


burying the evidence
Originally uploaded by monkeyrotica
Monkeyrotica snapped this pic yesterday afternoon while I was still teleworking in our basement office. He let the kids blow off some steam while running and shrieking in the backyard after school. I'm sure they needed it! All the pressure we've been putting on Rosie for school as well as our switched-up schedules has to be released somehow. Otherwise, the stress shows up in unexpected ways: Rosie's been waking up weepy, asking where daddy is (he left for work 90 minutes ago, sorry), and Dash has been much, much more clingy at drop-off this week.

All last month, his drop-offs had been wonderful! I'd bring him in, wash his hands, set him up at a table, kiss, hug, bye! No fuss. But for the past few days, he wants me to stay and play or take him with me. Then he starts throwing a fit as I'm trying to slink away to work.

A tip I picked up at Parent Hacks gave me an idea. Yesterday, I got out a pen, and drew him a happy face on his hand. I told him that the happy face wanted him to be happy and that he could think of mommy whenever he looked at it.

When he started acting up today, his teacher came in close and asked, "Why don't you try that happy face again? He showed it to everyone yesterday and couldn't stop talking about it!" SCORE! Parent Hacks. They do come up with excellent tips. If you haven't been, go check out Asha Dornfest's site.

Maybe Mr. Monkey needs to draw her a little picture or write Rosie a note in the morning before he heads out the door? Just to let her know that he was thinking of her...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

So incredibly universal...


WE THE ROBOTS
Originally uploaded by nylonthread
...This topic is the subject of today's WE THE ROBOTS cartoon by Chris Harding. Go check it out.

Thanks to The Bughouse for sharing this link on your feed reader!

Some perspective, far-away and close-in


Rosie Paints
Originally uploaded by nylonthread
Amidst all this discussion on the Kindergarten work with Rosie (which if you haven't noticed, has thrown me for a loop?), my mom came over with some (very) old papers the other day. What might they be? My very own elementary-school evaluations from 2nd through 5th grade.

To paraphrase, every single one had sentiments such as:

"Nylonthread is a joy to have in my room! She needs to concentrate on finishing her assignments more thoroughly." Mrs. Sobol
Or, "Nylonthread has a real gift in art and drawing. If she can learn to do her work on time that will help in her next grade." Mrs. Williams

I'm cutting her some slack, of course.

Pictured: Rosie in her patented "too close to the paper" pose. Looks to me like she is completely engrossed in her activity. I don't see any warning signs of dangerously deviant behavior here, do you?
 
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