Monday, May 30, 2011

Another Fantastic Expedition

I am cheap. You may remember this. I also enjoy reading, and I am too disorganised to make good use of the library. I also accumulate children's books.

So, library sales. There was one in North Van. This was over a bridge. I'm afraid of bridges, because I'm scared I will drive off of the edge. But my desire for books is greater than my anxiety, though both are substantial. I had originally planned to leave the older children, at least, with their father. But he had to work. So off I go, three children in tow. I also have more desire for books than I have good sense.

Before leaving I fed them a nutritious breakfast. I was particularly impressed when Genome inhaled three eggs. He can be a big eater. But I felt very virtuous. I am rarely convinced to cook before noon.

The lead-up to the bridge goes through a very large park, and there is no stopping or pulling over. I was surprised that, although it was Sunday, there was traffic. It would take about half an hour to get over the bridge. Oh, well enough.

Genome is being whiny and kvetchy, which is unlike him. I growled at him, assuming, falsely as it happens, that he had no good reason to kvetch.

Just as we enter the park, Genome throws up. Then he throws up again. Then he throws up again.

Then he was understandably bad-tempered, since he was sitting with vomit all over himself. It was egg-vomit and particularly rank.

He'd also wrecked his favourite shirt-of-the-moment.

When we arrived, I swabbed him down with baby wipes, planted him in the umbreella stroller I always keep in the car for Moments like These, and off we went -- me, a baby on my back, a sensible five-year-old, and my son Shirtless Hillbilly Jack. We could have used a toothless dog.

I was buying a box of books, so I told the children that whatever they threw in there was fine, as long as they let me browse unmolested. When I got home, I discovered that their choices were not as bad as might have been expected.

We stopped at a fortuitously timed swap meet (violating Swap Meet Rule #1: Do Not Bring the Children) to obtain a new shirt. There were no Spiderman shirt. This is because the parents in this neighbourhood are much classier than the ones in the neighbourhoods I usually shop at. Nearly everything was educational.

My daughter is a natural shopper. She quickly located some of the few branded, Disney, no-nutritional-value items. They were in perfect condition, obviously gifts from less-aware relatives. She exited in a Disney Princess gown and he in Spiderman light-up sandals. Perfect condition. Five dollars. By way of the sandals, I bribed him into a generic blue shirt.

A summary:
1. Keep an umbrella stroller in your car.
2. Keep clothes in your car.
3. Best to go to swap meets where sellers are as tacky as oneself

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Stealth Jew Can Homeschool

Kind of?

Those of you who are good with math will realise that Munchkin is now approaching what is intended to be her kindergarten year.

When I was a child, kindergarten and preschool were considered optional. If your mother was absolutely-sick-to-death of you, you went. If she wasn't, you didn't. Optional. Now, all of a sudden, I'm "homeschooling" a three-year-old. No I'm not. I'm just too disorganised to take her to preschool.

Since I'm a firm believer in not teaching formally anything I'm pretty sure the child will learn anyway, we don't do any activities with colours, letters, play dough (heaven forbid), and so on. If at college age Munchkin can't identify "orange," I intend to attack it then.

Ahem. Back to the story.

Munchkin is now approaching kindergarten age, and she won't be attending kindergarten. So since her fifth birthday, we've been doing some formal school work -- Kumon, and reading. Not reading anything amusing or good. Reading via explicit systematic phonics, which is to reading what drilling the multiplication tables is to math. Not the exciting part.

I am proud to relate that she chants her short vowels like a pro.

My daughter is not interested in school. She'll do it, sure. She'll do it because she wants to please me. But she sees no purpose in doing it. It's completely irrelevant to her life.

What mummy wants me to learn: short vowel sounds. The number nine.

What I want to know: Where trolls live.

We are addressing this gap through a marvellous discovery I made not long ago. When I was in school, we used this book to teach Greek Myths:

I loved the D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths. It's accurate, easy to read, and beautifully illustrated. So imagine my pleasure to discover that they had other books, some of which have been recently re-released.

D'Aulaires Book of Trolls.

I am in love. It was worth actually buying a book new.

Best of all, it gives me the opportunity to say "troll cocks with purple and green feathers" and not giggle.

I have a dirty mind.