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Wednesday
Sep282011

The Bus Driver Probably Got To See This Before I Did

I am jealous of a bus driver.

Every day, Alexis spends 45 minutes riding a bus to and then again from school. Thanks to an amazing series of coincidences, she's the only kid on that bus. Meaning, she has a school bus to herself. Twice a day. For 45 minutes each time.

Of course, since she's a kindergartener, she hasn't quite reached that emo level of kidness that would dictate that she hide in the back of the bus and pretend the driver isn't there. Instead, she sits in the front row and chats with the bus driver the entire time.

(For the record, we hit the bus driver lottery and have the most perfect for us bus driver possible. Just sayin'.)

Right up until this month, *I* was the driver that Alexis spent her to and from school time chatting with.

It took a while to teach the kid that the words "How was school today?" cannot be met with "Fine." An explanation is required, she has to discuss something she liked and something she didn't like, and she generally is under an obligation to actually explain some things that she learned that day. We had that routine down. Every day the conversation would start slow, but then Alexis would spend the rest of the drive telling me all sorts of fantastic things. I knew which kids were constantly getting in trouble. I knew which teachers didn't know how to put their cell phones away. I even knew which kids ate what for lunch.

I have Alexis trained.

And now she is trained to tell the bus driver about her day. By the time she gets home, she's done reliving her day and ready to tackle new topics for the night. She hasn't run out of words by any means (if you're ever finding yourself short on words, I bet it's because she STOLE THEM ALL). She has just run out of words about school.

I manage to find out what she is learning, but it's like pulling teeth.

Except for this little ditty. She was EXTREMELY willing to tell me all about the kindergarten cheer she learned.

Obviously, our tuition money is doing magical things.

Tuesday
Sep272011

Elephant and Piggie Need to Bring My Baby Back

We sat curled up together in the only rocking chair Alexis has ever known. It was carefully selected for her long before we knew she was a "her," long before we knew she would love books, long before we knew anything about the person she is. It's the chair we've sat in nearly every evening of her life. It's where adventures have taken place and where books have come to life. Once upon a time, I was the one with all of the words. I would read to her for hours on end. Lately, however, the tables have turned. It's her job to read to me these days.

She carefully maneuvered her way across the page, occasionally pausing for help when she didn't recognize a word. She has gotten pretty good at sounding things out, but she gets frustrated easily. It's better to help her quickly than to let her struggle and get upset.

"Two birds are making a nest on my head?" she slowly read. I smiled at her inflection. The kid is either a natural-born actress or a drama queen. She exaggerates everything when she reads.

"Why would two birds make a nest on my head?" she continued. My mind began to wander. That particular Elephant and Piggie book is one that I have memorized many times over. I don't really have to pay attention to know what's coming next.

"There . . . " I was jarred to attention. I didn't hear the rest of the sentence because I was stuck on "there."

"THERE."

Not "der."

"THere."

Alexis has so few words left that she pronounces like a preschooler. The "th" sound was pretty much the last one she had to fully conquer. And there it was. She had conquered it. I listened carefully as she finished the book. Every time, EVERY SINGLE TIME, she pronounced the "th" correctly.

A little bit more of the baby is gone.

Here's to hoping she hangs on to "icksgusting" a bit longer. 

And maybe the cheap plastic bead necklaces and that little lip sucking thing she does when she's tired. They both sort of make me crazy, but they're some of the last signs of "baby" she has.

Monday
Sep262011

Well, That Was Fun While It Lasted

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not real bright first thing in the morning. Every last creature in this house takes advantage of this fact.

Just ask the cats.

Ever tried herding cats? Ever tried herding cats when you're sleep-deprived and groggy and haven't even thought about coffee yet? It's delightful. And by "delightful" I mean "C'mon over some morning and I'll teach you some new curse words." Every morning I try to herd the cats down to the basement so that I can leave for work without them destroying the entire house. Max is the angel, so he just goes on command, but Powder and Ali translate "go downstairs" to "let's play Ring Around the Rosie." I run around in circles all around the house, clapping my hands and pleading with them to just go through the basement door. Pleeeeeeeease.

It was after a particularily harrowing game of Ring Around the Rosie that I found myself standing out by the pond, staring at the water. Something was off. Something wasn't right. Something was . . . missing.

If I had two working brain cells at 6:30 am, I would have known what the problem was immediately. Instead, it took me about five minutes.

There was a fish missing.

The BIG fish was missing.

I was still operating in a time zone often referred to as Dumb O'Clock, so the fact that a 40-pound fish was missing sent me into a weird sort of thought process. "Did he jump out of the pond?" I thought. The fish was seven years old and had never been a jumper before. We've had jumpers. They don't last a year, let alone seven years.

"Did something get him?" Yeah. I'm sure it's feasible that some random guy got hungry and decided to go fishing in our pond. Maybe the Koi was cooking on a grill at that very moment? It couldn't have been an animal because the pond is surprisingly well reinforced against such kinds of attacks. (One of these days I'm going to find a dead raccoon floating in that pond because in might be possible to get in, but grabbing something and getting out? Not. A. Chance.)

Still wading through my fog of not-awakedness, I started walking all around the pond. "It's not like fish can grow legs and just walk away," I thought.

I had that part right. Arnie had not walked away. On a whim, I opened the filter box. There he was. A large round peg that had someone managed to cram its way into a small square hole.

Just to paint the picture for you, the filter box for our pond is fairly large--maybe two feet across? It's the black thing at the bottom of the photo. It holds a huge pump which returns the water up to the top of the waterfall, two big filters that keep crud from getting into the pump, and a tall skinny plastic basket. The basket sits at the front and is designed to keep living things from going all the way into the filter box and ending up in the pump. Frogs in particular like to challenge the system and commit suicide, but the fish that live in the pond are all too big to get past the basket. Heck, most of the fish are too big to get through the itty bitty opening into the filter box.

Arnie was too big to get into the filter box. As in, I stood there staring at a dead fish trying to figure out how he could have possibly gotten in there. I'm not all that good at geometry that early in the day, but even now I still don't get it. It's like he somehow managed unhinge his jaw, fold himself in half, and then shrunk himself a few inches, but then went back to normal size once he was on the other side of the opening.

Once I was certain the fish was dead, it occurred to me that I needed to figure out how to get him out of the filter box. Except, I couldn't. He was . . . REALLY stuck. Picture Chris Farley in the little coat. THAT was how crammed into that basket the fish was.

I did what anyone in my position would do. I thought to myself, "This is why I'm married," got into the car, and drove away. Leaving problems for the husband, FTW!

Of course, when I got home later this afternoon, I wondered if I had actually seen what I thought I had seen. Mr. Husband wasn't home yet, so I wandered back to the pond. Yup, the fish was still missing. And, yup, he was still in the filter box. That whole thing where fish don't suddenly grow legs and walk away was terribly inconvenient right about then.

The husband eventually returned home and took care of the . . . uh . . . "problem." He has assured me that the fish inadvertently committed suicide. He somehow got his giant self into that filter box and couldn't figure out how to get out. There was evidence of thrashing and such, which SUCKS. If we had known, we could have intervened. Maybe we could have slathered him in Vaseline or installed one of those beepy things that goes off when a truck backs up or had air traffic control direct him. Something. Anything.

And now I'm REALLY pissed we went and picked him up from the pond store.