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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Polishing our Enunciation

We bimble gently along in the car on our way home to a chorus of ‘I’m gonna tell it to your face,’ the current mantra, quite brain numbing.

My son calls from the back seat,
“What’s it mean?”
“You tell me, you’ve been singing it for seven minutes now.”
“No, the other?”
“The other what dear?”
“Robert Firmly.”
“Do you mean who is Robert Firmly? I don’t think I know anyone by that name. How did you meet him? School?”

I notice a great deal of friction coming from behind me as the car vibrates, and commuter traffic fills every inch of the road in all directions.

“No. I mean what does it mean, Robber Firmly?”
“Robber? Someone’s a thief?”

I ignore the shudders in the car and keep my eye on the police car as it cruises down the hard shoulder with the lights flashing and siren blaring.

“Where did you see this…er…Robber Firmly?” I ask as another wave of shudders rock the car and an ambulance takes the same route as the police car before it.

“I don’t know,” he says.
“O.k. – try me again.” A fire truck comes bowling along to make up the threesome as the doors seem to judder and I notice the rear view mirror quivers.
“Rabbit Firmly.”
“It’s no good. I haven’t got a clue. Try again.”

After a hefty sigh because his patience is wearing thin, as well it might, he gives it one more shot, “Rubbit Firmly,” he articulates with great clarity and just enough volume. I check back over my shoulder, just a quick peek to see him holding a Bakugan ball- a toy - in one hand while the other whizzes back and forth in a blur.

“What are you doing to that ball?”
“I’m rubbin it so the secret code will be revealed.”
“Ah! So you’re rubbing it firmly. Of course.”
“I know rubbin but I don’t know firmly.”
“Well that’s easily explained,” I sigh with relief, “firm is like hard.”

I wonder how it is that he can know ‘reveal,’ whilst ‘firmly,’ remains a mystery, because splinter skills are fascinating? The traffic begins to disperse, we pick up speed, commuters funnel on through and we glide off at the next exit.

He leans forward and grabs my chair, either side, “I’m gonna tell it to your face” he says, to the back of my head, “Good job Mom – you got there in the end.”

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Multiplying factors

I step out into the kitchen– my skills in the gentle art of persuasion begin flag – I need a deep breath before starting the other three double digit multiplication sums. I estimate that if it’s taken us one hour to complete six questions, it will probably take another five and a half life times, squared, to finish the last three.

My daughter peeks out at me from a curtain of hair, ear-buds firmly in place, so she yells in a friendly manner, “Wouldya like me to finish him off for you?”
“I mean…shall I help him with the last ones?”
“Would you dear?”
I can’t disguise the leaking pleading in my voice to my twelve year old.
“Sure. You make supper I’m starvin. And I am so sick of salad.”

What a deal.

What a break.

My savior, and dinner’s salvation.

Time to cook.

I beat about the kitchen but I can’t help but earwig as she takes charge, loudly, as her approach differs markedly from my own – it’s amazingly effective as she tells him how it is.

“Stop shoutin 4 x 7 over an over again! You know it alrighty. You know them all already. Y’just need to shut up and listen to yur brain.”

They sit on the sofa together; she - relaxed with soft open limbs – he - knotted like a pretzel, eyes squeezed shut, teeth bared, laboring to lay an egg, willing the answers to come. It’s agonizing, and that’s just the watching.

I stop watching and annihilate the potatoes.

I listen as her voice takes on a maniacal tone, “Just imagine that each answer is a tiny little chick and if you get the answer wrong…… the chick DIES!”

I drop the potato masher and dash into the family room, aghast, as my son tumbles off the sofa to writhe on the carpet. I open my mouth to speak and notice that he’s chortling, tears of silent laughter. I look to my daughter – “It’s o.k. Mom – it’s his favorite quote from the Simpsons.”

Multiplication 0-12 Flash Cards

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Drug side effects

I park the walking wounded on the sofa and hand her a tablet because the icy-hot has failed to relieve her stiff neck as she lies on the sofa with a mircro-waved heat pad draped around her shoulders.  I return to supper preparations for the starving millions and homework help for the tardy one. 

Her younger brother, the only free agent, is always sympathetic to those with physical impairments, so he pipes up.

 “Why is she?” as he pirouettes in the kitchen, because constant frenetic movement is an aid to speech production.
“Slept in a draught I suspect.”
“It gave her wind?” he asks, as he throws himself onto one counter and then bounces off the next, pin ball style.
“Um… no but it was a bit windy in the cabin so that’s probably why her neck hurts now.”
“Why she has it?” he says, pogoing the entire length of the kitchen, first forwards then backwards.
I try and think of other ways of packaging the essential elements of the message – sleep in draught, neck exposed to the cold, camping cabin chilly - but I’m struggling… “Er… she..the muscle…”
“No.  Why she burps a lot?” he adds in time with his full-body jumping-jacks.
“I don’t think she does much, not by comparison to you two at any rate.”
“But the pill?” he continues, spin to the right, stop, spin to the left, stop.
“The pill is for pain.”
“They don’t make you burp a lot?” he says swinging his head down between his parted legs to speak to me upside down, his hair brushing the floor like an upside down cuckoo from his clock.
“She doesn’t have indigestion she has a pain in the neck.”  The emphasis is purely accidental.
“Oh.”  He stops abruptly, as if I stole his key.  Clearly my tone is too sharp and windy with irritation.
“But it says,” he bleats as he peers at the jar, “Oopsie. Oh no it doesn’t,” he whispers.  “Never mind!” he yells at fifty decibels charging from the room.

But I catch him mid dash, “it doesn’t what?”
“I thought it said ‘I burp often,’” but now I see it doesn’t.”
I turn the label around, run my eye over it again, “Hmm…yes, I can see how you might mis-read Ibuprofen.”

Sunday, May 02, 2010

How are you doing today?

Tricky concepts

A question of balance.....

and a visual clue and a reminder

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