Monday, October 29, 2007

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered

In honor of Halloween, I just have to give a nod to the incomparable Elizabeth Montgomery. SIGH.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Possible Insanity

For those of you who are interested to know what's filling my time as of late (because I know you just sit around, waiting for me to ramble on about some mindless crap in my head): I am teaching again. I may be crazy. I may never surface from under a stack of Scarlet Letter copies. I may end up sniffing overhead pens and slowly, rhythmically banging my head into a concrete wall...

or hey, it might not be so bad. My optimism is boundless, is it not?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

We DO NOT spank, shake, bite, pinch, push, pull, slap, etc.

So, I'm filling out forms for after school care for my son when I come across the sheet on "Discipline and Behavior Management Policy."

These are real, people. I had to sign this form. There was a benign, touchy feely section on the things they "DO"--ie, listen to the children, praise, reward, stay consistent, etc. The opposite side was thus:

1. DO NOT spank, shake, bite, pinch, push, pull, slap, or otherwise physically punish the children.

2. DO NOT make fun of, yell at, threaten, make sarcastic remarks about, use profanity, or otherwise verbally abuse the children

3. DO NOT shame or punish the children when bathroom accidents occur.

4. DO NOT deny food or rest as punishment.

5.DO NOT relate discipline to eating, resting, or sleeping.

6.DO NOT leave the children alone, unattended, or without adult supervision.

7.DO NOT place the children in locked rooms, closets, or boxes as punishment.

8.DO NOT allow discipline of children by children.

9.DO NOT criticize, make fun of, or otherwise belittle children's parents, families, or ethnic groups.

Umm. Okay. Doesn't this stuff go without saying? I mean, BOXES?!

However, they are missing my mother's crucial behavioral device: the venerable FLYSWATTER.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Adventures in Children's Books

Lately, going to the library with Miss S. has been an adventure in controlling my temper. She is just so THRILLED to be surrounded by books, she can't contain herself... or her urge to push them off the shelf, grab them out and flip through them, or bounce about on the little book stool as if it were some kind of trampoline. SIGH. She is still learning library etiquette (although she does say "Shhhhh!" in a dramatic stage whisper when we reach the children's room).

So sometimes we get well chosen, age appropriate tomes with lovely illustrations and thoughtful stories. Other times we just get whatever crap we can and get out of there as quickly as possible.
Today was a lesson in survival; we ended up with Laurent De Brunhoff's Babar's Little Girl.

Now, I didn't grow up with Babar the Elephant. As I recall, I checked out one Babar story when I. was a baby and was disturbed that Babar marries his cousin, Celeste. Nice. Incestuous elephants. The perfect bedtime story!

So I wasn't expecting much in the way of charm when I brought this one home. Still, I wasn't expecting creepy, vaguely penile child molester camel characters to appear and "play" with Babar's precious little runaway daughter, Isabelle.
The story, condensed:

The book opens with big ole pregnant Celeste lying in the forest. A baby appears beside her: Isabelle. Everyone loves Isabelle because she is just so charming and active and darling. One day, she comes across a turtle stuck under a very large hippopotamus. She and her siblings ask the hippo to move, and when he refuses, they push him away, saving the grateful turtle. Awww. Isabelle has a big birthday party and gets headphones and roller skates. Yay. She takes off on her skates, finds a kitten, and doesn't come home for dinner, earning her the admonishment to not run off again. Woo. Then, one day, while the family is in the forest, little Isabelle wanders off on her own. She finds an old man in a boat and asks him to give her a ride; he obliges. Then, she marches up to a large house and knocks on the door of two weird old men who look strangely penile and imposing. Boover and Picardee can't wait to "play hide and seek" with Isabelle and she entertains herself in a room that is covered in mirrors. Um, okay? Then she does yoga with the two dudes, after which they decide to teach little innocent Isabelle how to play poker. Yeah. Nothing is more refreshing than a jazz trio and a little tap dancing, so they do that, too. Finally, they watch tv in their basement and there is Babar onscreen, pleading for the safe return of his daughter. Since the two men are having their car fixed, they decide to hang glide Isabelle back to her palace. Yep, hang glide. Both men kiss her goodbye and make excuses and leave quickly before meeting her parents. Isabelle is the envy of her siblings because of her marvelous adventure. The end.

Umm. This book is so wrong on so many levels. I felt creepy just thinking about these pedaphile men wanting to hang out with some strange, lost little girl, and the message of the book is, Look what a fabulous life Isabelle has, running off from home and doing her own thing! How cute she is! How adventurous! (Now, according to Amazon, these creepy men are "old family friends." Hmm. The book is definitely not a stand alone piece, then!)