Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Easy as Fish on a Stick

The ongoing saga of homework with the Elder Monkey has been getting much better lately. I never said I knew what I was doing in this whole parenting thing, but it sure took a while to figure out the right after school groove.

At first, you see, I was the opposite of pushover with all this. I was determined that homework was to be done right away and he will sit there, young man, even if it took us all afternoon. It was totally bogus. Homework, in the first grade anyway, is designed to take fifteen minutes, tops. Factor in all the whining, time-outs and meltdowns, it would turn into a few hours. I hated doing it as much as he did.

And so I was bamboozled, of course, since being the perfect child, never having this problem in my youth. Ahem. "Not again." "This is boring." "I can already do this so why do I have to?!" Gee, that sounds vaguely familiar. Maybe he's got more of the aforementioned perfect child in him than I thought.

So it seems, parents have homework as much as kids do. For me it's figuring out that you can have discipline and not turn into a dictator. The whole balance thing with being the dad and trying to fashion some respect but also making sure they don't COMPLETELY hate you. It's probably inevitable but I still gotta try, right?

Generally, the actual process of doing of the homework has gotten far easier. And so it seems with mine, a yogurt, a pretzel and an hour of free time first instead of a kitchen table SWAT team lock down right after school works much better. Once we get going, reading is fine form, his handwriting is a zillion times better, and math has always been a slice o' pie.

It still takes a bit of prodding though, when 4 o' clock rolls around, especially if things are making explodey sounds. Which is why today, when I saw that he was to write poetry, I drew a complete blank as to explain how one actually writes poetry without breaking into a lengthy dissertation on how things don't always have to rhyme to be a poem. There are times I forget he's doing the homework and not me. And then I remember he should of course get away with rhyming as much as possible while he still can.

So here's what he came up with. With perhaps the tiniest bit of help from Dad and Grandma but, you know, sometimes collaboration is mutually beneficial for all parties involved.

Ahem ahem ahem:

A polar bear lived in an ice cave.
people say he was very brave.
He hunts for seals.
He eats them as a meal.
And on holidays he eats fish sticks.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sketch o' the Day ~ The Hibernator

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | Finish

Just as he had with it's brothers and sisters, Bartholomew's steady hum would thrive as as many season's as it took until the doll's stitches and stuffing would begin one of it's own.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

By the Book

I must admit I am extremely ill-read. I can't actually remember the last book I read. I find this to be sad and irritating.

To ammend this and score some Dad Karma, I've started this week to read to monkeys at bedtime. I could give a million reasons why I haven't done this before, but it's all really a bunch o' coddleswap. So Friday night, I decided to forego all excuses, picked up the tome that is the collected Chronicles of Prydain and began reading The Book of Three in the best epic storyteller voice I could muster.

As is the case with most things new, there was protest. That is until I read the first sentence aloud: "Taran wanted to make a sword..."

Eyes widened and mouth shut so fast I am sure there was some kind of fwap, zhwip or kaching heard off in the distance. As the Elder Monkey too wishes to make swords (doing so frequently with sundry household items), if one could learn the craft from hearing about such an endeavor surely it must be worthwhile.

And so he listened intently as Dad began to slaughter all kinds of Welsh-like names. Words with lots of double "ll" and "wy", sounds that make one sound slightly drunk and tongue tied. Go ahead and say Fflewddur Fflam several times in a row without spitting all over yourself.

Soon the intent of making a sword had gone by the wayside and given way to learning greater things such as the silliness of why anyone would listen to an oracular piggy, "meditating" is best done by closing one's eyes and lying flat on the back at least twice a day (and then snoring), and that really you don't go into deep, dark woods without expecting to be run over by a freaky guy wearing a skull and antlers.

And then there is Gurgi. Described as half man, half animal, Elder Monkey keeps changing his mind about what he is. First a baboon. Then an armadillo. Currently a speedy three-toed sloth. Every time yearnings for crunchings and munchings abound, a kind of weak-kneed giggle takes over. The one where you lose all muscle control and can't sit in your chair upright. Almost as if someone had also smacked him, along with Gurgi, in his poor tender head.

The Younger Monkey could have cared less really about listening, and much like Gurgi howled and squirmed in his usual ritual, until my drone surprisingly lulled him into sleep. I think, yes, we will be reading at bedtime from now on.

Superduper Lover

Was there any ever doubt?
via Articulatory Loop

Oh, and at first I didn't see that you had to set it to "Super Male" and came up with this lovely creature: