Nasty to the core

“Oh no! What day is it,” my 13-year-old set down his fork,  suddenly panic-stricken while eating pancakes.  “It’s Thursday.”   He took a deep breath,  cupped his face in his hands and said,   “That means we have to do Carnegie Math on the computer.”   It is another part of the “Common Core State Standards.”  Forty five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the new curriculum.  The standards are more challenging for K-12 students.  What’s wrong with that?  Every teacher must revamp their style of teaching to match the new standards.  They are given binders with scripted lesson plans.  The lessons are boring.  Many teachers say they have been told to limit free time.  My 6-year-old came home from school several times this year complaining,  “My teacher played a trick on us.  She said we could go on the playground after we did our work, but we didn’t.”  They ran out of time.   There is no time for fun.  A simple project to make applesauce in the Fall is frowned upon.  It is not part of the ‘Common Core.’ Teachers are forced to sneak in arts and crafts during lunchtime.  Field trips aren’t part of  ‘Common Core’ either.   I understand my child is going to school to learn, but do you think Number Bonds motivates a child to learn?  No, it’s playing a silly game to master counting by tens.  It’s the science experiment where you make a tornado out of a plastic soda bottle.  Forcing children to sit through ridiculously long scripted lessons is insane. (What the hell is a number bond anyway? I don’t even know how to do first grade homework.)

‘Common Core’ is an experiment.  There is no proof this way of teaching is any better than what we have done for decades.  We are taking 5-year-old children and demanding they learn what used to be taught in first or second grade.  The stress we are putting on these children is disgusting and will no doubt lead to greater problems.   This is what the ‘Common Core’ expects of kindergartners:

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics  Kindergarten

10 Counting and Cardinality

•Know number names and the count sequence.

•Count to tell the number of objects.

•Compare numbers.

Operations and algebraic thinking

•Understand addition as putting together and adding to, and understand subtraction as taking apart and taking from.

Number and operations in Base ten

•Work with numbers 11–19 to gain foundations for place value.

Measurement and data

•describe and compare measurable attributes.

•Classify objects and count the number of objects in categories

Geometry

•Identify and describe shapes.

•analyze, compare, create, and compose shapes

 

I have heard the argument for making changes, Other countries, like China, are far more advanced than we are.”   They are also lead by barbaric dictators.  China still has a one-child rule.   Women 7, 8, even 9-months pregnant are  injected with a chemical to kill their unborn baby because they cannot afford the fine for having a second child. We are far more advanced.

Administrators will tell you the  ‘Common Core’ is “to ensure that schools prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their careers.”  Ask any teacher and they will say ‘Common Core’ is depriving our children of the chance to just be children.

Minivan Mix

I am a big fan of Bruno Mars.  So, when I heard a radio DJ introduce his new song I cranked the volume.  Pump up the volume, pump up the volume, dance, dance.   Mama knows how to rock out in the minivan.  Then, this happened :

“Here is Bruno Mars’ latest song, Gorilla”

Okay,  the song is about gorillas kids.  That is one of our favorite exhibits at the zoo. (turns up the volume even more)
Ooh I got a body full of liquor
With a cocaine kicker
And I’m feeling like I’m thirty feet tall
So lay it down, lay it down

Mommy, what’s cocaine?  I think he meant Coca Cola honey.  Soda.  He prefers Coke to Pepsi.

You got your legs up in the sky
With the devil in your eyes
Let me hear you say you want it all
Say it now, say it now

Clearly, his friend fell down while riding her scooter.  That is why her legs are in the air.  Those are tears in her eyes, not the devil. 

Look what you’re doing, look what you’ve done
But in this jungle you can’t run
‘Cause what I got for you
I promise it’s a killer,
You’ll be banging on my chest
Bang bang, gorilla

Ooh, yeah
You and me baby making love like gorillas
Ooh, yeah
You and me baby making love like gorillas

Oh my, panic sets in.  Fumbling for the dial.
Yeah, I got a fistful of your hair
But you don’t look like you’re scared
You just smile and tell me, “Daddy, it’s yours.”
‘Cause you know how I like it,
You’s a dirty little lover

He should not be pulling on her hair.  That is not nice.  No, he is not her Daddy.  Bruno, you’re killing me.  This song will not make the minivan mix.

 

 

 

 

My bologna has a first name….

I cook dinner (almost) every night. It’s not because I am a subservient wife.  I have three children who demand to eat three meals a day.  I know, who do they think they are? Some days we grab take-out and my husband is left to fend for himself when he gets home from work.  Then, there are days when I just don’t feel like cooking and they eat sandwiches.  Bottom line, my husband does not expect a hot meal on the table when he gets home at night.  He is grateful when I do cook. (As he should be) When I read a story about a woman in New York who was making her boyfriend sandwiches to earn an engagement ring, I nearly spit out my Twinkie.  (How the hell did we live without those for so long?)

As the story goes, Page Six reporter, Stephanie Smith’s boyfriend made a snide comment that she should’ve made him a sandwich when she woke up. (They don’t have any kids so it was probably after noon. Remember what that feels like? Yeah, me neither.)  “Sandwiches are love,” he says. So, she made him one.

As he finished that last bite, he made an unexpected declaration of how much he loved me and that sandwich: “Honey, you’re 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring!”  I paused.  Was our happily ever after as simple as making him a few sandwiches?”

First of all,  I wouldn’t have made the first sandwich.  In fact, he probably wouldn’t have eaten the rest of the day. Miss Smith got cooking and started a blog documenting each and every sandwich she created.  (I must admit, the sandwiches look delicious)  The article continues:

Ten sandwiches or so in, I did the math. Three sandwiches a week, times four weeks a month, times 12 months a year, meant I wouldn’t be done until I was deep into my 30s. How would I finish 300 sandwiches in time for us to get engaged, married and have babies before I exited my childbearing years?  My mother was the voice of reason. “Relationships are a marathon, not a sprint,” she said. “Take it one sandwich at a time.”

My Mom would have said, “Tell him to make his own damn sandwich.”  You need to throw him out with the week old salami.  Did Beyonce teach us nothing?  If he likes it he should have put a ring on it.  You shouldn’t have to earn a diamond.  A day after this article ran in the paper women wearing Birkenstock’s and carrying portraits of Susan B. Anthony stormed delis across the country in protest.   Miss Smith recanted.  She now claims it was just a joke.  Talk about a poker face.  She just made sandwich #177.    My bologna has a first name…..

 

A Rush

Oh dear God, here I go again.  (grabs tissue)   I read about this story online.  It is something my son would do for his sister. (Then, s*** would hit the fan when this helicopter parent visited the school)  The reporter is a little over the top, though.  He is the male version of Ann Curry.  Whispering doesn’t mean you care more.

 

Under the weather

I have been battling a head cold for three days. I don’t usually get sick. Then again, my 6-year-old son doesn’t usually sneeze on my face. He was mid-sentence, blew snot on my cheek and finished his thought, “and that’s why I think Batman would totally beat Superman in a fight.” Really? Really? You couldn’t pause to grab a tissue. That deep thought couldn’t wait 10 seconds?

A few days later I had the virus that took all three kids out last week. The only difference is nobody is taking care of me. I don’t get a day off. My daughter won’t even ride her tricycle to the store to buy Dayquil. She can be so incredibly selfish. You can’t play the ‘I am only 3′ card forever. My son offered to make me something to eat, but I didn’t want my house to burn to the ground. I can barely sleep in my own house, I wouldn’t catch a wink in a shelter. So, I have been doing everything and laying a guilt trip on my family. “I can barely hold my head up, but sure I will make you a grilled cheese sandwich.” I still had enough strength to laugh at this Louis CK bit. I swear (if he looked like Ryan Gosling) he is my soul mate.

 

Finding the words

There is no handbook on how to help a grieving friend. There are no magic words to take away the pain of losing a child. In fact, you often find yourself struggling, stumbling, babbling when you should just shut up and listen. You want to smother her with love, but keep your distance, give her the space she needs. What do you say on what would have been her daughter’s second birthday? Many people have said her baby girl is,“In a better place.” No, she was in the perfect place. She has a mother and father who absolutely love her. She has an aunt who moved across country to help care for her, grandparents who would have moved mountains for her and a sister who was becoming her best friend. God has a plan and I have to accept that, but this one sucks. Plain and simple.

I want to patch my friend’s heart and tell her it will be okay. I want to list the many, many reasons why I think she is an incredible woman and mother. I want her to know I am in awe of her strength and that I think about her constantly. I tried to write it all down today, but couldn’t find the right words. The only thing I could say was I love you, my friend.

Dance Mom

I will be a dance mom whether my daughter likes it or not. I have waited for this moment for nearly 14 years. My boys wanted nothing to do with dance. I longed to be a dancer. Actually, I wanted to be Sarah Jessica Parker in “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Who doesn’t want to skip through the streets handing out flyers to bikers to ruin a snobby girl’s coming out party, get the hot guy and become a Dance TV regular?

I am not exactly light on my feet. What I lack in grace I make up for in humor. You have to drag me off the dance floor at weddings and parties. Thanks to YouTube, it will come back to haunt me someday. Growing up, my girlfriends would have dance competitions at sleepovers. My friend Ginger and I were a dream team. Think You Got Served, but with leg warmers and blue eye shadow.

My daughter is registered to take a tap class. I was giddy on Saturday morning as she got dressed in her leotard and tap shoes. Then, she said something that made my mouth drop, “I don’t want to dance.” What? Blasphemy! My husband suggested we stay home. “No!” He doesn’t get it. I convinced her to go anyway. “You could just watch the other girls.” I was hoping she would change her mind once she got there.

She clung to my thigh for the first five minutes. “Come on honey, it’s so much fun.” She thought about it, “I’m embarrassed.” Nobody was watching. In fact, all of the other mothers were in the lobby. “Do you want me to leave?” She thought about it for a second. “Yes.” Then, she stood up and took her position. I picked my heart up off the floor and walked out the door.

She won’t have a choice at the recital. I will snap pictures and record video to embarrass her with later in life. Speaking of dancing, check out this video of a woman rocking out at a bus stop. I ‘less than 3′ her!

 

 

 

Make it work

I am a model bitches! Well, I was for an hour. I didn’t get the full experience. I opted for french fries instead of cotton balls for lunch. My friend Kevin is a talented photographer. I needed a new head shot and he wanted pictures for his portfolio. Apparently, all that he is missing is the ‘middle-aged Mom with a kangaroo pouch’ shot. He sent me a text message a few days before our scheduled shoot.

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I nearly spit out my milkshake reading it. High fashion? Does the clearance rack at Target count? What about the white, oversized, v-neck t-shirt I wear around the house? Now, I was nervous. I just wanted a new Twitter avatar. I do not have Rachel Zoe on speed dial.

Seeing all the lights and equipment set up in his studio was intimidating….at first. Then, my inner Giselle Bun-whatever the hell her last name is kicked in. I was 13 again making model faces in the mirror, Tim Gunn whispering, “Sofia” in my ear. (Wait, wrong show. I mean, “Make it work.”)

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It was empowering. I never felt beautiful growing up. I was a wallflower at school dances. I didn’t have a lot of boyfriends. (Trust me, the girls who did blossomed way too soon.) When I finally got the courage to call a boy he made me feel worthless. Last check his hot body deflated (side effect of quitting steroids), never became a professional hockey player (shocker) and is a crackhead. (Allegedly) I don’t care if my kids are popular. I just want them to be confident, to realize they are perfect just the way they are.

I am sure a few of my Facebook “friends” are texting one another Who does she think she is? The only thing she can model is Spanx. Valid point.

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When I left today my 6-year-old said, “Why does he want to take your picture?” He doesn’t think I am a troll, but just a regular old Mom. (Emphasis on old) After I showed him a picture he said, “Wow. You look like one of those famous people in a magazine.” I felt beautiful.

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We’ll be back after a word from our sponsor

I have a few funny stories to share with you, but I didn’t have time to write them down today.  I went to Target alone which meant I spent an hour walking around the store in a trance saying “Oh, I want that” over and over.  Meanwhile,  there is a heaping pile of laundry in my room.  The kitchen renovation I started weeks ago is unfinished.  I did get a bottle of clearance shampoo and free body wash (coupons, coupons, coupons).  Someday I am going to quit procrastinating and write more than just blog posts.  There is a novel trapped in my head.  I just need to accept the possibility that I could fail miserably and it will be set free.  Until then, I found an incredible commercial to share with you.  I need to get stock in Kleenex.

 

Cassette Tape is 50!

The cassette tape is 50? It seems like yesterday it was 17 and playing in my pink cassette player. My children will never know the joy of trying to find a particular song on a cassette. Play, Fast Forward, Play, Fast Forward, Play, Rewind, Play, Fast Forward, Close Enough, Play. They don’t know what an alarm clock is either. I recently found one when while cleaning out a closet. My 6-year-old asked, “What on earth is that?” I explained how it’s like the App on my phone. “You set the time and it makes a loud buzzing noise.” You can also wake to music on the radio. It never worked for me. I would just end up dancing in my dream with Kirk Cameron to a Stevie B song.

The cassette tape was a step up from the 8 track tape. A piece of scotch tape could change Janet Jackson’s “Control” into American Top 40, radio commercials and all. The Long Distance Dedication was replaced by email and Zoloft.

If you owned a tape player you needed pencils. How else could you wind the tape up when it got stuck in the machine? Cd’s blew our minds. Mp3’s were like magic. Still, there will never be anything like a cassette tape. Let’s face it, you just can’t profess your love with an ITunes playlist.

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