Friday, February 29, 2008

Technology Catastrophe

I am writing this post from our desktop computer instead of my laptop. Why? Because I left my laptop on my table to go help seniors fill out FAFSAs, and when I got back a co-worker had spilled tea into my keyboard. So now it DOESN'T type Cs, but it DOES type 4s over and over again. This laptop is only 18 months old. It also has our calendar, our finances, all of our pictures, and, oh yeah, all my MA work on it. Since all of my passwords have "C" in them, I can't get back in to anything.

I have a feeling this is going to be a very expensive fix.

Oh yeah, and the DVD player, which I bought a month ago, stopped working tonight.

It's a bad, bad day for technology.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Too Much Drama

Our school is in a state of chaos. We divided into four small, autonomous schools four years ago. However, we still share a campus, and even some teachers. This has led to many conflicts. It has all come to a head, and with budget cuts, things are falling apart.

Yesterday morning we were talking about separating from the other schools and finding our own location. Yesterday afternoon we were talking about combining all the schools and becoming a comprehensive high school again. Nobody knows WHAT to think anymore.

My plan is to keep on teaching until they tell me to stop. Or move. Or whatever.

Stupid government. "Times are tight; let's cut education!" That's a GREAT plan.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hurricane Caleb

We really wanted to see some of the Democratic debate tonight, so we did what all responsible parents do-we put our child in the bathtub and watched it in the next room. I was listening carefully to make sure there was an adequate amount of talking to toys and splashing, so I knew he was perfectly safe while I watched Obama and Clinton battle it out. I wasn't worried about the splashing because I had tucked the inner curtain into the tub before the bath started. And Caleb DOES play in the tub for about thirty minutes every night, as did Nikki when she was a preschooler. So really, everything was fine. Or so I thought.

Suddenly, there was a loud crash and a cry from Caleb. We rushed to the bathroom, opened the door, and gasped. There was at least an inch of water covering the entire bathroom floor. Scott and I looked at each other, he stripped off his socks, and went wading in to check on Caleb while I fetched our entire stock of beach towels.

So while we feel we can be informed voters, and our bathroom floor is now exceedingly clean, our son has two red welts on his armpit and back and our washing machine is working overtime on some extremely saturated towels.

Yep, we're definitely in the running for Parents of the Year.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cookies, Anyone?

Guess what we had for dessert tonight? Yep, cookies!

Me: (Holding up two different varieties) Caleb, which kind do you want?
Caleb: Um, that one (pointing to Trefoils).
Me: Okay, let me get it for you.
Caleb: (Studying the box.) Look, gross-outs!
Nikki, Scott, Me: Huh?
Caleb: Gross-outs! (pointing at the box)
Scott: OH! Girl Scouts! Yes, those are Girl Scout Cookies.

I need to call and follow up on that referral. It never came last week.

Oh Glorious Day!

Class was canceled tonight and Caleb pooped on the potty at school today.

Yep, it's a banner day at the Page house! :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Joys of Ownership

Our minivan was eight years old in December. It's a Toyota, so it runs quite well. My concern is that one day it's going to be running along on the freeway, and the body is just going to disintegrate as we drive.

About three weeks ago, Nikki was opening the side door and the handle broke off. Just broke off in her hand, and she fell down. Hard.

Scott went in to order a new handle, and found out it will cost about $250 to fix it. It's a plastic handle. But apparently, in the world of Toyota, you can't order a 50¢ plastic handle by itself. No, you have to order the entire part of the door that SURROUNDS the handle. And then you have to pay to have it installed, of course. Scott was so mad that he asked for the name of a manager and left. So we still have no handle.

We've taken to using the other door to get in. Unfortunately, the handle on THAT door hasn't worked properly for about five years. And Scott noticed today that that handle's parts are bending. ??? Anyway, he's pretty sure it's going to break, too.

We got on the Internet, and guess what? EVERYBODY who owns a Sienna has broken handles. The guy at the dealership told Scott that the handle on the back hatch will break next. So we have that to look forward to, since we can't even open that door from the inside.

THEN we loaned the van to a fellow teacher who took students camping last weekend. It came back with the rubber pad on the emergency break ripped off.

The speaker cracked when we loaned it to a teacher who needed to transport students for nursing field experience. The back windows have already broken and been repaired once, and when I closed them today Scott said they sounded loose again. The paint is oxidizing on the roof (probably because we've never waxed the darn thing) and there are more dings on the body than you can shake a stick at.

Oh yeah, and it's filthy. Today we found a layer of sunscreen under the seat when we removed it so I could transport cookies.

I'm beginning to feel like we should just move into a trailer park and call it good.

Our other car will be paid off in October. I guess I know what I'll be asking for for Christmas.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Winding Down

This rainy day seems to be the perfect way to end this very long week. For some reason, four-day weeks seem to go on forever. Perhaps it's because I wear myself out while I'm at home.

Girl Scout Cookies come tomorrow, so we're about to embark on a whole new level of chaos.

That, and I have a project due for EdTech where I have to publish a web-page using NVu (pronounced "in-view"). ??? Apparently, nobody took into consideration that I am a very OLD teacher, and we didn't even have E-mail until I'd been teaching for about five years. Ah well, I'm sure I'll be able to figure SOMETHING out. Right?

Or maybe I'll just clean my house. I KNOW how to do that!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Day 2

I was gone for most of the day: at school late waiting for Nikki, taking her to confirmation, church, home party. But from what I have surmised, things went well.

While I was home today, Caleb and I read many, many books. When I got home the second time, he and Daddy were cuddling on the couch. He went to sleep right away.

Is it possible that TV has been responsible for his poor behavior all along?? What took me so long to figure this out???

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


When we got home today, Caleb wanted to watch TV for 30 minutes before dinner (even though there wasn't a big TV). When it was time to turn it off, he flipped out. So we reinforced our TV ban to include all weekdays. No more TV for the rest of the week. He's going cold turkey.

Tonight, instead of watching TV (and after another fit), Caleb read four stories, took a really long bath in which he drenched most of the bathroom, played with his Zoom-O discs for about thirty minutes (little flying rings that go really high and really far and wind up in the strangest places, or my hair), and is currently throwing his football around the house. We will probably be breaking many household items, but at least his brain will be intact.

Meanwhile, my husband keeps sneaking off to the bedroom to check the primary results. Withdrawals?


Caleb: (walking up in footie-pajamas, focused on the breakfast table) I want to watch Curious George.
Me: Uh...
Caleb: (thinking I'm waiting for manners) Please I have Curious George.
Me: Caleb, look over there.
Caleb: (with shock and horror) Oh no! What happened???
Me: (stating the obvious) The TV is gone.
Caleb: Where did it go the TV??
Me: It went to live with another family. Would you like to listen to a CD?
Scott: (swooping in to save us) And look! I found your Larry the Cucumber pirate!

We stood and smiled convincingly for several tense minutes. Caleb mulled it over, then scooted into his chair and began to eat, pausing every few minutes to ask his sister, "Where did the TV go??"

And so it goes...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Seller's Remorse

We finally did it! We got rid of our big TV!!

We had this huge monstrosity of a television (all 53 inches of it) in our living room. Until we got this thing 18 months ago, we had been a TV-in-the-family-room-only family. Our family room is tucked away downstairs, away from all of the "socializing" areas of our house. Since we got the big TV, Caleb has become a TV addict. Also, since it was in the main area of the house, it was easy to turn on the news or the game, so the TV was on a lot more than we'd normally have it on. I feel like that was one of the things that we did well with Nik, and I didn't want to cause permanent developmental damage to Caleb!

We had talked in passing about getting rid of it many times, but tonight I suggested listing it on Craig's List. Scott said to go for it. There was an identical TV listed, so I used the same price. When I checked my E-mail at 9:00, we already had a bite. By 10:00, the TV was gone, the living room was back to livable, and we had a nice little wad of cash. All good news, yes?

Except there is a little boy who is going to be VERY upset when he gets up in the morning and he can't watch Curious George over breakfast.

I did the right thing, I did the right thing, I did the right thing...

How long does it take to detox a TV-addicted preschooler's brain?

Sunday, February 17, 2008


So I failed to potty train my son this weekend. BUT, here are some things I DID do:
  • painted my old bedroom for my parents (nine hours of work yesterday)
  • cleaned out my garage to make a sizable path so that it is now navigable AND organized (three trips to Salvation Army and one to the used book store later). Just in time for Girl Scout Cookies.
  • cleaned out the van and the trunk of my car
  • cooked a real dinner for my family (which Scott and Caleb didn't eat-that's why I don't usually bother)
  • finished Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (great read!)
  • read the literature for the beginning of my next Am Lit unit
  • bathed the dog and cleaned the bathroom (one necessitates the other)
  • five loads of laundry (and counting)
  • cured the hamster's eye infection
  • found a new home for Caleb's high chair and took it to them
  • watched three movies, two with the kiddos
  • walked three miles
  • went to church
  • returned items to two stores
  • went grocery shopping
  • took one nap
So overall, the weekend has been pretty productive. And I still have another day off! :)

Friday, February 15, 2008


The rest of the morning went like the first part of the morning in ten to fifteen minute cycles. Several people have suggested, and I agree, that Caleb just isn't ready.

Spring Break is in a month. Maybe we'll try again then.

Or maybe he'll do what Nikki did. She decided she wanted to wear undies, so I sent her to school on Monday in training pants and by Friday she was done. No accidents.

Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?!

Potty Boot Camp Update 1

Well, the first hour went well. Caleb went from 7:00 to 8:00 with no accidents, and then used the toilet at 8:00.

At 8:30, it all went downhill. He pooped and peed in his undies, so we talked about how all of that belongs in the toilet. He agreed and peed in the toilet. Even so, fifteen minutes later he was wet again. We changed undies and peed on the toilet again. Fifteen minutes later, wet again. More talking, more peeing on the toilet, new undies. Fifteen minutes later, wet again.

It's now 9:45 and we've repeated this cycle several times. Is it normal for a child to pee twelve times in an hour??

On a brighter note, I found Caleb's developmental referral from four years ago and called them. Unfortunately, I was told to leave a message. Here we go again. At least this time I'm playing phone tag with the place we need to talk to!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sabotaged by Furry Creatures

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I bought Valentine's gifts for my children on Sunday and put them away in a safe place until today. At least, that's what I thought. How could my own closet NOT be a safe hiding place for gifts?? Well, perhaps people who do not share their homes with four-legged creatures find secure hidey holes in their closets. I, on the other hand, do not.

I bought Nikki some individually wrapped Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares that were inside a foil-coated bag. I put the bag, along with Caleb's toy, in the closet between the bottom of my hanging clothes and the top of a shelf. If you're having trouble envisioning this, just trust me that they were impossible to see. However, they were apparently NOT impossible to smell.

Our cat and our little dog conspired to undermine my surprise. The cat jumped up into the closet, shoved the gifts out from under my clothes, and pushed them onto the ground. The dog then ripped open the bag, the individual plastic wrappers, and consumed about four squares of dark chocolate.

When we found Nikki's chocolate bag and the empty wrappers late last night, we had so many questions:

How did they find the chocolate to begin with? Does the cat regularly roam through my clean clothes? Gross!

How did they manage to communicate this plan to each other? And when did they become partners in crime? When we're home they hardly acknowledge each other's existence.

Why wasn't the dog sick? Chocolate is supposed to be toxic to dogs, and one would think that a fifteen-pound dog would be particularly susceptible to its effects. However, Gloria has eaten milk, dark, and semi-sweet chocolate several times with no ill effects.

So this morning I presented my daughter with a ripped back of chocolate. Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetheart.

I am a shoo-in for the Mother of the Year award in 2008. :P

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Missing the Point

I was a lazy parent tonight and let Caleb watch "Jonah and the Big Whale" (of Veggie Tales fame) before he went to bed. Since I had never seen it before and I was too tired to grade essays, I watched it with him. At one point, a choir of glowing asparagus appear before Jonah in the belly of the whale, belting out "God is a God of second chances!"

Caleb: What's that?
Me: They're angels.
Caleb: Angels?
Me: Yes, angels.
Caleb: They're not supposed to be angels. Go away angels! This is a pirate ship! Arrgggh!

Saturday morning cartoons, Sunday morning values? Perhaps not.

The Spoiler

Nikki was never a surprise spoiler. We could leave her gifts in plain view in the garage and she would NEVER spot them. One year, Santa left her dollhouse sitting in the garage for two months before Christmas, partially covered in a towel, and she was none the wiser. Caleb is a whole different story.

I have a bad habit of shopping late at night while Scott is putting the kids to bed. Actually, it's the ONLY time I have to shop, and I postpone it as long as possible, but at some point we need things like deodorant and body wash, so eventually I have to make the grueling, one-mile trek to Target right before it closes. By the time I get home I am worn out, so I just take the bags and put them in the garage, or in the house, and think, "Oh, I will put this stuff away tomorrow." Except often, tomorrow comes and goes, and the bags are still sitting where I left them, which is precisely what happened this week. I got back around 9:00 on Sunday night, went to bed, went to work yesterday morning, and then had class until 9:00 last night. Shockingly, the bags were still sitting there when I got home. This system had cluttered my house, but otherwise worked well, until Caleb turned three. Caleb digs through bags, a fact which sometimes slips my mind after the blissful years of not worrying about Nikki finding surprises.

Since Thursday is Valentine's Day, and I only go to Target once a month, I figured I'd better get the kids something. I thought I was smart and put the gifts away, but the pack of Ratatouille viewmaster reels was left in a bag. And guess who dug through and found them. It was in a bag of body wash and baggies. What on earth was he looking for??

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Referral Frustration

Caleb has what the doctor describes as a "dysfluency" in his speech. What this actually means is that we can't understand about half of what he says.

In December, I filled out the paperwork to get a referral to have him assessed. Since it is now February and I still hadn't heard anything, I called the pediatrician's office on Tuesday to find out what had happened. Several hours later, I got a cryptic message from a member of the staff telling me to call back, which was so helpful since I have to wait about ten minutes to get to a live person every time I call anyone in the healthcare industry.

When I called back, they took a message (after I had waited ten minutes on hold).

Wednesday, the same staff member called me again and told me to "get a C-3." I asked him what that meant, and he couldn't tell me. He said he would call back.

When he called back, he said I just needed to call this (760) number and they could help me. I told him I lived in San Diego and asked if there was a closer facility (we drive a long way to see our pediatrician, but the children's hospital is pretty close). He said no, just call this number and get a C-3. ???

I called said number and, after a five minute wait, the girl on the phone said that THEY were C-3. It stands for Children's something (two other words that start with "C"). She told me that it would take several months for me to get an appointment and started taking my information. When she got to my address, she said, "Let me refer you to a closer facility." GREAT!

At that point, my prep period was over, so on Thursday I called the new number. After a ten minute wait during which the message informed me I was calling the family clinic in Logan Heights (!), a woman with a heavy accent answered the line. She asked me for my information and then asked if I wouldn't prefer to go to a clinic in El Cajon. Um, no. Worse than Logan! I asked if there was something closer to the College Area and she referred me to a family clinic that isn't even located on an actual street, but BETWEEN 53rd and 54th streets. I've been to this clinic with students and it's DISGUSTING. I'm pretty sure we would all catch a communicable disease just by walking within fifteen feet of this place. I heard a few months ago that they had closed it down.

I thanked the woman for her time and called the pediatrician's office where, after a ten minute wait, I was asked to leave a message for "Daisy." YES! A name!

Daisy called me back yesterday (Friday), but alas I was in the middle of a lesson and couldn't answer the phone. She left a message saying she was leaving the office, but she would call me back on Monday.

Why, oh why can't doctor's offices use E-mail??

So maybe by the time Caleb is five (and he won't be four until May) we'll get an appointment.

The campaign begins...

I am washing all of Caleb's cloth diapers and taking half of them to my cousin, who has a one-year-old. I'm only keeping the boring, plain covers because they are the only ones that protect at night (and because they're the only ones that fit anymore).

Caleb has been telling us when he has poop and has been sitting on the potty at school several times a day. Next weekend is a four-day weekend, during which Nikki has school the first day. It's the perfect opportunity for potty boot camp.

This is it. It's going to happen. I hope.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

While I nodded, nearly napping...

Sorry. We've been doing Poe in American Lit. and I have The Raven permanently stuck in my brain, so that quoting Poe always seems appropriate. I really do understand that it's probably not.

It was a banner night at the Page house and both kids were in bed by 7:30 tonight, so I thought I finally had my chance to read The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, which my honors students will be discussing tomorrow, so it's kind of important that I be up on this literature.

Anyway, to be truthful, I actually WAS napping on the couch while trying to read this book (which actually IS engaging, but I'm very tired after a week of being sick), when I was awakened at 10:15.

(Hamster cage opening and closing)
Caleb: Sandy, come here. Come here, Sandy.

I ran downstairs to find every closet door open, the garage door open, Caleb peering into the hamster cage, the hamster hiding under his wheel, the hamster's water bottle on the table and the wire that holds it missing.

Me: What are you doing???
Caleb: I'm playing with Sandy.
Me: It is 10:15! You are supposed to be asleep in your bed.
Caleb: No, I wake up. I want breakfast!!
Me: (speechless)
Caleb: (lying down on the bottom stair) I go night night. I wake up. I want pancakes.
Me: (incredulous) It's not morning! It's late at night, and you need to go to bed.
Caleb: I go night night right here (still on bottom step).
Me: No, it's time to go to bed.

At this point, there were several rounds of me taking his hand to try to lead him to bed, and him plopping his bottom down on the ground on the way to his room (which was, oh, three feet away?).


A stair-sleeping, night-wandering three-year-old.

Meanwhile, my husband, who gave up caffeine for Lent, is snoring in our bedroom with the TV on. Thank goodness I was on the couch. He may have fed the hamster to the cat before we found him!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Nowhere to Hide

On Thursday, I went to take attendance (we do that online now) and one of my students' status (often Illness, or Excused) popped up as "Juvenile Hall."

This isn't the first time this has happened. After all, I do teach in the inner city. Sometimes my students get into trouble. Many of them are already on probation by the time they reach us. It's not that unusual.

But seeing that pop up on D's attendance was like being punched in the stomach. D has a good heart, and he's come a long way in the three years he's been with us. He's a star on our football team and a nice boy. I later heard that D's mom was on campus, crying. She's a good mom who has worked hard to keep her son from becoming a statistic.

Thursday night, I dreamed that Scott and I were hiding D. We hid him in our home, and people with guns came and found us. We ran to the woods (which were right by our house??) and people came with guns and found us. We were driving to some other location, and people with guns were in the car next to us, pointing their guns at us. I woke up at 2:00 am and turned on the TV to distract my brain. It took another hour for me to go back to sleep.

I'm not Sigmund Freud, but I think that's pretty easy to interpret. We think we can save our kids. We think that school can be a safe place for them, and for many it is. But then they go home, and they have to live around people who are constantly pressuring them to make bad choices. Their parents must feel the same way.

For many of our kids, particularly our boys, there is just nowhere to hide.