How rivers change their path

by beagooddad on December 10, 2012


The other day, we took the kids to the bookstore to pick up a shiny new book. The girls picked books out with no problem (other than maybe having too many options).

Pookie picked up a bunch but did not really seem to be into the whole process. I started encouraging him toward a few certain books figuring that I could use some of them for the nightly reading that we do for homework. I eventually had settled on a book of Greek myths that had some chapters around 8 pages which works well for the amount of reading we do at night and also some good pictures.

He kind of whatevered the suggestion so I whatevered him back and was ready to proceed to the register with our new Greek mythology book.

Then Pookie saw it.

The hardcover Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh. A big fat hardcover with one of those built in tassel bookmarks.

He used to have a copy that he carried around the house off and on (but non-stop when it was “on”) for a couple years. The spine and cover eventually fell apart and we had to throw it away.

He saw it on the shelf and immediately pulled it down and told me he wanted to buy the book. I hemmed and hawed and eventually told him that it was too expensive ($40!!!) and that we would get something else instead.

He thought about complaining as he put the book on the shelf. The he picked the book back up and I knew I was in trouble when he looked at me and said.

“I will pay with my allowance.”

Pookie frequently says things that just catch me off car with the complexity of thought being actually expressed verbally in just a handful of words. Let’s go over a few of them here:

1) He’s negotiating and offering a counter proposal. I work with people, and we frequently elect people, who can’t compromise this well.

2) He knows that money is a thing that he can use to buy another thing.

3) He knows that he gets money as a weekly allowance.

4) He knew that he happened to have some of that magic allowance money sitting in his bank at home.

5) He knew that Dad would be nearly speechless and have no chance of refusing such a well thought out argument.

That last bit is speculation but combined with the facts above and the fact that he happened to have just over $40 in his allowance bank earned Pookie a brand new copy of Winnie the Pooh.

I was talking to BAGM about this moment a little bit tonight and mentioned that this is just another of a rapidly increasing number of magic verbal moments that we are seeing on a regular basis. From the day many years ago now when I asked him what he was playing and he answered “Ball” which was one of the first times he had ever answered an out of the blue non-need based question to him correlating a want with the ability to purchase that want with his allowance money, we still constantly see change in little bits at a time that are taking him into really great new directions.

(Photo by: Bhanu Tadinada)

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Coach Dad

by beagooddad on October 18, 2012

Geetle is playing basketball again this fall through the rec league which makes it her third season which is the longest she has committed to anything that doesn’t rhyme with Mintendo knee.

She is definitely starting to make some sense of parts of the game. She had a couple steals, a couple rebounds, and even took a couple shots. On one she got clobbered and shot free throws.

There was a play where she got a loose ball and started a fast break and didn’t even flinch when two guys on the other team tried to steal the ball, all three collided and went crashing to the floor. She popped right back up like it was no big deal.

One thing is good sure. They are all a lot quicker but none of them no how to really play defense so there are constant collisions and bodies crashing into the floor. The ref focuses primarily on keeping people out of the hospital.

Oh. And the head coach asked me to be an assistant at the first practice. Then his son broke two fingers before the second practice. Another dad and I are now co-coaching which is very fun and quite a bit like that old Super Bowl commercial with the cowboys herding cats.

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Gifted Program Testing Breakdown

by beagooddad on February 7, 2012

Geetle had one of the funniest powerful and genuine emotions the other day.

We had been procrastinating on telling her about the test she is going to need to take next week for potential placement in the gifted program. We were completely expecting her to be pissed for one or more of a few very real reasons:

1) Gifted program is probably in another school and she will have to make some new friends.
2) Bus ride to potential different school would take longer.

We are not sure if she knows about the program being in another school, though. So the main complaint we expected was:

3) OMG. That is going to mean that my 5 minutes of homework a night is going to stretch into 15 totally miserable minutes of thinking. After school even. When I should be playing!

So the other day we finally told her about the test and she nearly blew up. We tried to play dumb and very calmly ask her what her concerns were. After all, if she has a really valid one, we will at least listen to it and try to work with that concern to make it go as well as possible.

Next Saturday, she has swim class in the morning. Then the test. Then she (and Giggles and Pookie) is going out to spend the night with my parents (or my sis and BIL depending on how you classify it when they all live in the same house). How about we say say they are heading west for the night which is one of her favorite things to do.

She ended up nearly in tears when she finally told us what her real concern was.

And I quote: “It will ruin my whole weekend!”

Yep. My daughter doesn’t want to test for the gifted program that could help ensure a top notch college and a top notch career making the kind of money someone with her aspirations is going to need because the length of the test will ruin her whole weekend.

And just like that, I realized how much like me she really is.

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Freeze. Do not move.

by beagooddad on January 30, 2012

The twins turn nine tomorrow. I’ll deal with that later.

Yesterday, we were visiting BeAGoodMom’s family. Geetle sat in the chair one row back but on the passenger side instead of directly behind me. She spent most of the drive playing her new LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 on her Nintendo DS. After a while she got bored and started leaning. I thought she had fallen asleep.

About 15 minutes from home, I stretched out and put my arm behind BeAGoodMom’s chair for a bit. Before I could safely return it to the steering wheel where it always is for perfect safety, Geetle grabbed my hand…and just held it. No silly games. No wrestling. No words. Normally, the only time I can get that kind of calm affection from her is when we read in her bed before bed.

My arm started to tingle from poor circulation but I probably would have accidentally driven the new Ford Flex off of a cliff before letting go of that hand.

Wonder if she’ll still do that stuff when she is a nine year-old tomorrow.

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Interesting New School Problem

by beagooddad on January 26, 2012

Believe it or not, there is a little school problem brewing and it has nothing to do with Pookie’s education.

Geetle has been invited to take a test in a couple Saturdays that will be used to determine if she will be invited to the district’s gifted program in 4th grade. If she doesn’t take the test (or we decide to not send her for 4th grade), the next opportunity would be during 6th grade for 7th grade placement.

Yes, I understand all of the pros. I was a borderline gifted student despite my greatest attempts to pretend to not be and to avoid any and all expectations the teachers had for me. I hung around the gifted kids and did homework with them once in a while and see what they went on to do with their lives. Some amazing, some sad. To this day, I’m sad about a few opportunities that I turned down or didn’t get a chance to do starting in 1st grade all the way through college.

But there is a real con to consider. No, the con has nothing to do with social stuff. That all balances itself out. Most of the gifted type of people that I knew back in the day have great social lives now. Just like most of the kids that took the regular classes.

The big con is that in our district, the kids get cored into one school (or maybe two) in the district. No more attending our home school. After BeAGoodMom and I had to fight in IEP meetings before Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and finally winning in 3rd grade before Pookie was allowed to come back to our home school and seeing how much more amazing things at school are for him, it is very difficult to imagine sending Geetle away from the home school so quickly.

It isn’t a deal breaker. We will have her take the test and see if she gets accepted before worrying about what we want to do about it. But it does annoy me how much schools try to group kids at such a young age based on their perceived future learning potential. We have such a strange desire to learn so much so quickly so we can get into a decent college. That’s all everyone really seems to think about is getting into those elite colleges and using the degree from there to get jobs that make more money…but I digress.

I also received an email today talking about the Spanish immersion type program they do in our district starting in Kindergarten where you go through school being primarily taught in Spanish. The twins were a year too old when the program started so we never had to think about it. It is definitely something we will have to think about for Giggles when she goes to Kindergarten in a couple years.

Wouldn’t it be kind of funny if a few years from now, Pookie is the only one of our 3 kids getting a “regular” education in a traditional classroom.

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