Animals hardly have wrinkles because they don’t smile.

I hope they invent an immortality pill while [mommy and daddy] are still alive.

Sometimes when I’m in the car I think about how the earth came into existence.

Dozed and Confused

February 18, 2014

I am convinced they are pumping metered doses of vapoized general anesthetics into the room air at the cognitive behavioral therapist’s office. What else could it be? I take my seat in the waiting room and within seconds I’m like a Serengeti rhino rendered motionless from the blowdart in my neck. Mouth agape, drool flowing copiously, I am the poster child for slovenly, old man sleeping on subway you hustle past to avoid my puffs of air, snorts, throat clearing each time my head bobs and I wake for a split second to feign I am really not sleeping, just resting my eyes. I am confident these are the moments of which my children are least proud. At least if I die tomorrow, I will take comfort knowing that I fulfilled my parental duty to embarrass them during their upbringing.

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On second thought, maybe I’m just getting old. Damn it!

Overheard…

January 29, 2014

“Would you rather have invisibility or flying super powers?” my boy asked on the way to school.

“Flying,” I replied.

Further from him:

“Invisibility would be awesome because you could steal cool things, but I think flying would be better because then you could fly to Hawaii and not have to buy plane tickets.”

Overheard…

September 17, 2013

“Don’t you feel the warmth of the sun?” I asked my boy during our walk to school this morning.

His reply: “Nope. My Protective Outer Layer of Awesomeness (PLOA) is blocking it.”

Overheard…

April 5, 2013

B: “If I eat enough hamburgers, I’ll be a true American.”

E: “You’re already American. Well, actually, you’re kinda British.”

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Here, in our quaint, historically well-preserved, gas lamp-lit borough, it ‘aint perfect.

Sometimes bad stuff happens which spawns books and movies. Our taxes are too high. The wind gusts through town, trees fall on houses, and two years in a row Halloween has been cancelled by mayoral decree.

In a preemptive move to eliminate the risk of enormous tree limbs piercing the kids’ bedroom windows in a future microburst, we took down a few ominous looking, poorly pruned, top-heavy, sappy, needle-dropping projectiles. Was it a tough decision for us to cut down a clump of mature white pines? Absolutely. Do we sleep better at night knowing our son is safe from being crushed in his sleep during the next superstorm? You betcha.

Granted, now our neighbors don’t speak to us. But I digress.

Our public school system from pre-K all the way through AP honors courses at the high school remains a target of those seeking perfection. I mentioned here that many in our town are up in arms about the “flawed” methodology currently in place to educate their gifted and talented children.

“Our kids are bored, unchallenged, they don’t like school, they feel singled out having to complete extra work outside the classroom, the G&T program’s idea of special projects is handing the kids worksheets to complete in the hallway,” they complain.

As well-intentioned as parents’ criticism and calls for change might be, the fact of the matter is our children are managed day in and day out by honest, hard-working, poorly paid professionals who, whether or not parents choose to acknowledge it, profoundly impact our future lacrosse-playing rocket scientists.

Case in point. Over the summer, and at the beginning of this school year, all my son wanted to do was play video games. Skylanders, Madden NFL, Wii Sports. He’d come home, finish his homework, then run down to the basement to wile away a few hours before dinner as he converted his brain to mush.

I am happy to report those days are over. Or, at least, they’ve been waylaid by books.

Yes. Books!

Thanks to an inspiring third-grade teacher, and a few well-recommended Percy Jackson novels, a whole new world has opened up to the kid. I can barely get a word out of him at breakfast these days with his nose permanently inserted between the pages of the next Alex Ryder novel. He’s now explaining the back story of Arachne and Athena to me whilst taking in Spiderman on Broadway a few weeks ago.

Exhibit A: Day 1. The boy’s writing sample from Mr. White’s third-grade class.

Baseline Vitals

Exhibit B: Six months later. The boy’s writing sample from Mr. White’s third-grade class.

Vital Signs Trending Improvement

Regarding our imperfect school system, it’s quite easy to pick out the flaws, regurgitate the perceived problems, reiterate the complaints of the masses. Instead of complaining, we must pinpoint and build upon successes, acknowledge growth and advancement, and relay how our children’s lives have been transformed by inspired teaching.

Mr. White,

Thanks to you, we now have a son who loves to read and write.

Thanks to you, we now have a son who points out every simile and metaphor when we have our nightly reading tuck-ins.

Thanks to you, we now have a son who reads with a dictionary by his side, and strives to log 300 minutes per day in his reading journal.

Mr. White, thank you for placing the tools in front of our son, for encouraging him to build a foundation, and for nurturing his curiosity.

P.S. If that ‘aint perfection, I’m not sure what is.

Overheard…

March 18, 2013

While reading Unstoppable by Tim Green, a tale of grit, determination, love, illness, loss, hope, and football, I leaned over to my eight-year old concerned that the nine-to-ten-year old reading level and subject matter might be a little too advanced for him…

“Is this getting too heavy for you bud?” I asked.

His reply: “You’re the one crying. And you’re 40-something!”

Unstoppable, Tim Green

Intereses Parecidos

March 2, 2013

Like father, like son.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Chip off the ‘ol block.

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