Friday, April 18, 2008

nothing earth shattering going on here

I've been talking to my parents every day this week, so I haven't had anything to write about. Really, the only reason I do this is to give them a slice of our every-day life and share the crazy thoughts that resonate inside my head and showcase the cute things their grandchildren do.

I'm a little annoyed with the earth right now. Really, earth - did you have to give us our one and only midwest earthquake when my disaster dad is laid up at home, attached to an IV? Normally, when a big earthquake hits, he's there within days. Luckily, there wasn't any damage with this one, so perhaps no one would be inviting disaster experts, anyway. But still.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Every minute of my day is filled with Baseball

Son D. is 5.

Did you know that when boys turn 5, all they want to do is play baseball? Doesn't matter what kind - T Ball, Whiffle Ball, Soft Ball. As long as there is a bat and a ball, we're set.

The fact that it is still 40 degrees in Wisconsin? doesn't matter
The fact that we still have a clump of snow in our yard? doesn't matter
The fact that none of us here have any baseball skills? nope, no biggie

He makes me wear my Red Sox hat as we play games. He wears the Mallards hat his grandfather bought him. Inevitably the Mallards beat the Red Sox. (the Mallards being our local minor league team, of course.) But occasionally we switch hats, and the Red Sox win.

It occurs to me that he is growing up thinking of the Red Sox as a WINNING TEAM. He thinks they are always in the World Series. His only experience of Bill Buckner will be watching the standing ovation for the opening pitch yesterday.

That's just wrong. Where will he learn character? How will he grow spiritually without the feeling the despair of watching his favorite team lose year after year after year (but coming *so* close)

Perhaps we'll have to start cheering for the Cubs now that we live in the Midwest?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Peter hears a Who

A brilliant piece from everyone's favorite NPR game show host and father to two daughters.

We haven't seen the movie yet, but loved his commentary all the same. Go read it. It's that good.

Our current female tv/movie/book role models?

Kim Possible - I could do without the midriff
Hannah Montana - nice songs, but the show makes me crazy
Hermione - good character, but did she really have to marry Ron at the end???
Lucy/Susan - (Narnia) - great characters, but Peter is always in charge, no?

The other books we've read this month have all been about boys - Phantom Tollbooth, Cricket in Times Square. I think it's time to get out "A Wrinkle in Time" again!

As much as I complain about the lack of "literary" value (and excess of product placement) in the American Girl series - at least they have strong female main characters. Son D. reads them as eagerly as his sister. When the kids were sick, we curled up in front of the TV and watched the movie about Samantha on the Hallmark channel. In spite of myself, I enjoyed it.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

April 4

I spent the afternoon yesterday in my daughter's class, reading to them about Ruby Bridges.

Ruby was one of the first black children integrated into white schools. To get to school, she had to walk through angry crowds of white adults shouting obscenities at her. She got death threats. All of the teachers refused to teach her, except for one. All of the parents withdrew their kids from her class. She sat alone in her class, with her teacher. She had to be escorted to school by armed guardsmen. She was 6. This was 1960.

I had to pause a few times in my reading. It's awfully hard to read words like, "the angry white parents shouted death threats at Ruby and withdrew their kids from school so they wouldn't be near her" to a room full of black kids. I wanted to apologize. I kept saying, "This was a really ugly time in American History." I think I said that 6 times as I read the book.

The teacher led a discussion about how we would have managed, had we been Ruby. My favorite response was the student who said she'd just put on her iPod so she couldn't hear the death threats as she walked by. Now, that's resourcefulness!

As I left, it occurred to me that reactions to things like Wright's speech are framed in our knowledge of history and life experiences. I daresay that the most of the kids in our neighborhood who attend the lily-white private schools haven't ever heard of Ruby Bridges. That happened half a century ago. Ancient history.

But I suspect that most of the congregation of Wright's church is intimately familiar with Ruby and her story. This happened in 1960 - that's not that long ago. It's painfully etched in their memory.

All I know is that while I was reading that book to those kids, I wasn't particularly proud of this particular part of our country's history. Does that make me unpatriotic?

Ruby Bridges is a strong leader today. But ironically, her foundation was waylaid by Katrina.