Ring. Ring. Ring.
“Hello?” I answered.
“Hey, your nephew needs to tell you something.”
“OK?” I could hear my sister passing the phone and telling Brady that Aunt Jennie is on the phone.
“I saw… I saw Dominoes!” Brady shouted into the phone.
“You saw Dominoes?” I asked to clarify.
So, he saw Dominoes – the pizza place. Yep, that simple. But he was excited and wanted to tell me. The little things…
I sat at the table in Starbucks, sipping my coffee and reading. I able to push the nerves aside because of the story. I was immersed, occasionally drifting into the real world to check the time. I was early.
The battle began to unfold in the book and in my mind. Time. Five minutes late.
Paint and spells flew. Time. Ten minutes late. He’s not coming, but I can’t leave in the middle of this battle!
Clay balls flying. Enemies locked in place. “Hi! Jennifer?”
That’s how it happened. That’s how a book is the reason I met my fiance. He was late, something I despise, but I didn’t want to stop reading. If not reading that book, I would have left at the five minutes late mark and maybe never met the man of my dreams.
P.S. He was late because he got lost, so I have forgiven it. And we are both incredibly grateful that I was lost in the world of Artimé that day.
“I’ll push you!” Brady says, jumping off his own swing to go behind Troy.
“OK?” Troy responds, doubtful of how this is going to work.
He “pushes” and Troy starts to move, in large part because Troy is making it happen with his feet. The swing and the much larger child start gaining some momentum. Unfortunately, Brady’s timing is a little off…and…Whack! Brady goes flying backward into the wood chips.
We all laughed and Brady picked himself up out of the chips. No big deal for this kid. But it did change his focus a bit…
“I’ll throw this at you,” Brady says with a mischievous smile, gathering dirt and wood chips in this hands…
“D, R, and I are going to see Ready Player One when it comes out over Spring Break,” he told me when he got home from school. “Apparently R listened to it earlier this year.” Troy had read it in the fall and then loaned it to D to read.
Two things ran through my mind:
1. When did you get this old that you can go see a movie with friends?
2. You are so lucky to have friends at 12 years old who have read the same book as you before the movie comes out!
The chilly breeze was turning our faces pink and the dog was barking, sniffing, and leaving his mark. As often happens this time of year, our conversation turned to standardized testing.
My son is in sixth grade now, refused in third, took it in fourth and fifth. (He is refusing it this year.) Our conversation included my rants about Pearson and his questioning why everyone doesn’t just refuse it.
Why can’t adults think like kids?! Highlight from my son’s mouth:
“No one really thought [PARCC] through. I mean they didn’t even think about what the name says spelled backwards.”
Warning: This slice is going to make very little sense. I was there and it barely makes sense to me…
I sat on the couch typing my slice last night, while my fiance and son were at the living room table. My son loves to draw, write and tell stories. For as long as he has been able to hold a pencil, he has been drawing pictures and making up stories to go with them. Last night he recruited my fiance to participate, so they sat at the table, taking turns telling stories while drawing the pictures. These are the lines I was able to catch and write down. They are bits and pieces of several different stories. Good Luck!
Just like any circle, it starts with a square…
No, I am a determined whale.
You need a pineapple.
Under the sea?
This is my story.
You are angry because you lost
You are a bouncing baby boy!
You are the most beautiful baby
with beautiful complexion.
You realize you’re an apple
on a tree.
It was all a dream…
or was it?
I pulled the bag of pancakes out of my purse. “Don’t need to bring those in with me.” (Why are the pancakes in my purse to begin with? That’s a whole different story so you’ll just have to keep wondering about that one.)
“Well, you could throw them at people.”
“The New Day [from WWE] throw pancakes at people during their entrance,” he says matter of factly.
“Really?” I looked at him suspiciously. “Are you messing with me?” He doesn’t lie often, but when he does it’s impossible to know…
“No,” he said with a laugh. “Ask Brady, if you don’t believe me.”
I eyed him suspiciously, still unsure if he was telling me the truth. Later I did end up asking Brady (his three year old cousin) and this was confirmed. There is a group/team of wrestlers that throw pancakes at people during their entrance. You can see a video here.
So this got me thinking, what if teachers had entrance routines before each school day? To get the kids excited for the day’s learning. What would your song be? What would be your thing? Would you throw pancakes? 🥞
“These hiccups hurt!” I complained.
“Should I text you?” my fiance asked from the couch.
“Huh?……Oh…..” I realized what he was asking…He was offering to scare the hiccups out of me.
By texting you ask? Well…yes. I am easily startled. The school bell goes off. I jump. A chair screeches across the floor. I jump. My phones receives a text message. I jump.
Turns out I didn’t need help. They went away pretty soon after, but I guess that might work next time?
I love strong, stubborn kids – and my class is full of them this year! However, it can be exhausting trying to change the way they do something…example: periods.
“The ideas are great. It’s a slice of life. But, you don’t have any punctuation.”
“Aghh…fine.” She skips away to add punctuation and then comes back in minutes.
I reread the slice and there were periods now, but they seemed to be randomly placed throughout the piece. “Achoo, (her nickname…) it seems like you just put periods in random places…”
“Because that’s what I did!”
“Hmmm..Well, that’s not how punctuation works. ”
“But people reading it need a breath. They’ll get tired.”
“You are very right about that, but not in random places. The periods need to be at the end of sentences, so your story makes sense. You can’t just put them wherever.”
“Ms. Bless, that’s just who I am. You can’t change that.”
I honestly don’t remember the continuation of this specific conversation, in large part because I just couldn’t move past, “that’s just who I am.” And also, because before and after this, Achoo and I have had many conversations about punctuation. I know she can find the right places for them, once I can get her to accept that it does matter WHERE you put them…