Saturday, September 14, 2013

Back on it

Well, the new school year is fully underway, and all the things that resume in September have resumed. Soccer, band, homework; packing lunches, packing backpacks, packing it in too late and getting up too early. I'm piecing a schedule together though and even regular sleep should resume before long. Unconstrained over the summer, I got into a 1:00 AM - 9:00 AM pattern that Has. To. Stop.

And it shall. Just as soon as I finish this blog post.

One of the activities I've resumed this year, though I arguably have less time for it than ever, is volunteering in the school library. We volunteers check books in and out, reshelve the ones that come back, and help the kiddos find what they're looking for.

This week I was there for a class of kindergarteners. It was their first week in their new school, and their first day in the library. They were awesome. They chose books and lined up. I readied the bar code scanner to check out their books, and we got going. "Hello, it's nice to see you!" I'd say. "Can you tell me your last name please?"

Well, no, actually, several couldn't. But they all told me their middle names in case that would help.

The kids with older siblings at school already are much more confident, as you'd expect. They march right up to the desk. "I'm Emily. You probably know my brother, Scott?" Hee! No, I don't. But I'm glad to know you, Emily.

One boy told me his name was Isaac, and I checked his books out. Then he showed up again with different books and said he was named Caleb. I was so confused, and a bit frustrated, because he insisted his name was Caleb even though he had moments ago told me it was Isaac. You see where this is going, even though I didn't: Identical twins, with identical haircuts, dressed identically. I had to apologize to Caleb when I figured out there really was an Isaac. Neither of them had mentioned a brother! And I thought, um, parents? Identical twins in the same class and you give them identical haircuts and dress them identically in the first week of school? That is some sense of humor at work there. But it worked out. I will figure out a clue, or their teacher will give me a hint, how to distinguish them. Or I'll guess, and be right half the time.

My favorite kid so far is the little girl who strode up to the desk with a pile of dinosaur books in her arms. She plopped them down. "Phew! Hi! I'm Shannon! I'm going to be a paleontologist when I grow up!" A little voice chimed in from the back of the line: "She knows all about dinosaurs already. She's going to be a great paleontologist." Excellent. Some of my favorite people are paleontologists, and it makes me happy to see newly self-declared ones.

So I am reminded that I love volunteering in the library, even though I don't have time for it.

Now if I could only fix my bedtime problem...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What a difference a year+ makes, right?

Actually not so much. Life continues to be really good, thankfully.

The Bean just turned 11. She got a new bicycle, and pre-ordered the next Rick Riordan book. It comes out on October 8; she'll have read it a half dozen times by Halloween.

The Peanut, earlier this month, realized that 1) it is, in fact, August, and 2) September is next. She did a little fist pump/victory dance thing in the kitchen. That is how psyched she is to start fourth grade.

This morning, I asked them to finish up their "Dig Into Reading" logs for the public library so that I could turn them in for them when I went down there later. (The logs are due today, if you want to participate in the ice cream social/puppet show event that marks the end of the summer reading program). The Bean handed me a log with attachments, saying that she only wrote down books that she actually liked or would recommend. She is a reading machine.

The Peanut has been reading a lot, as well. They are both enthusiastic readers. It's the accounting for it that trips the Peanut up, a bit. She doesn't like to have to keep track of these things. Tell her to read a book, and she's happily absorbed for hours. Tell her to write down what she read and for how long, and she can't find a piece of paper, or didn't look at the clock, or doesn't remember the author. You see how it goes. Anyway she sat at the kitchen table, pencil in hand, trying to come up with a list of things read that's respectable enough to turn in to the library.

She wanted to know if the subtitles from the part of that X-Men movie* where the evil guy is in Russia might count as summer reading? "Probably not, but I did read them, Mommy."

Can't argue that.

Evidently our vacation has been more cinematic than literary. We watched all the X-Men movies. And for the record, there are also subtitles in part of Star Wars.**

She also wrote down that every week she reads all the police reports in the local newspaper. Our recent favorite is one in which a man walked into the police station early on a Saturday morning to report that someone had stolen his pants the night before. Said pants were later discovered in the bathroom of the man's house.

It's cool, living in a town where so much of the crime is imaginary. It's also frequently the best part of the newspaper.

So that's been our summer. We've swum at the lake, played with friends, done Camp Invention and archery camp and summer basketball and generally whatever else we felt like doing.

Mr. Sandy has been working flat-out on a very exciting scientific proposal. He surfaces for meals, and to oversee plumbers and such. Someday, our addition will be done. Someday.

Me? I tried stand-up paddle-boarding for the first time, which was really fun. I sprained my ankle playing backyard badminton, which was really not. I've been writing professionally a wee bit, which is excellent. I need a new computer, which is not. All is well, on balance.

Still a few weeks' worth of fun to fit in before school starts. I wonder if there are any subtitles in the Batman movies?

*X-Men: First Class
** It's the part where Greedo the bounty hunter finds Solo in the cantina in Mos Eisley. But you knew that, right?