Ben started school this week. So far, so good! He hasn't had much homework, but did collapse into frustrated tears one day. I plan to put a new time-out strategy into effect—the moment either of us starts getting too frustrated, we call a two-minute break. We've had a bad habit of feeding one another's tension.
The third-grade homerooms are roughly sorted out by reading level—so the kids Ben knows from his reading group last year make up half of his class this year. The best part of this? It's not that Ben is delighted to have many of his pals in his class. It's that the moms have a ready-made back-up system. Your kid claims he has no homework today? We can check out that claim. Your kid was home sick? Another mom can fax over the homework assignments. Your kid's explanation of a particular assignment makes no sense? Find out what message the other kids picked up.
Ben didn't do much reading over the summer. (I know: bad parents! bad!) He's a very good reader, but seldom evinces an interest in reading for pleasure other than leafing through books with lots of photos of cars and information about their horsepower. I think he's beginning to come around, though! V. exciting. This morning, he asked if he could play a video game if he did his reading first. (This is in sharp contrast to the usual "Can I play my video game?" "You need to read first." "[outraged objection to parents' cruelty].") He started a new chapter book, this one about a kid who finds that anything edible he touches turns to chocolate. He laughed while he was reading it, and volunteered information about the story after his 20 minutes (the teacher's prescribed amount) were up.
I have a cold or something. Runny nose, sore throat, backache, general propensity to whine. Ben's nose is beginning to run, too.
Speaking of running, I bought tickets for Mr. Tangerine and me to watch the Chicago Marathon from the reserved bleachers and "Ovation Pavilion" tent. We've never managed to reach the finish line early enough to see the elite runners finish, and navigating the area on foot is often a clusterfuck of having to walk a half mile past your target and then double back.
I just signed Ben up for a fall class—acrobatic and aerial dance, affiliated with my cousins' dance troupe, Ameba. I think it'll mainly be tumbling and trapeze work. I would have signed him up for a park district sports or art class (despite his lack of interest) if only the class times hadn't bumped into homework time. With the homework struggles we had last year, a 3:30 class frightens me. But 5:15 acro/aerial? Perfect! Homework's done and he's had play time already. Ben's already met the teacher, a dancer who went to the same college I did.
My medical editing client hasn't had much work for me this year. So I'm taking on a new client—in the realm of crosswords! Crossword work generally pays less than medical editing, but it should be fun to get paid for doing crosswords and checking for outdated clues.
I signed up for Twitter and added it to the blog sidebar. I don't know why. It remains to be seen whether I will remember to write those 140-character Twitter updates. Wait, I do know why I signed up for it. I read somewhere that it's a fun writing tool, to craft concise statements. I don't generally do concise. This could be good for me.
Politics! I need to DVR The Daily Show for the next two months. Mostly I've been catching the occasional clip online, but damn, politics is a lot funnier when Jon Stewart's team is talking about it. They've done a good job of calling out the hypocrisy of the various GOP mouthpieces, including Karl Rove—isn't it interesting that Bristol Palin's pregnancy is a private family matter and it's nobody else's business what choice she makes, whereas the Republican Party would prefer to deprive every woman of having a choice in the matter of a pregnancy> Then there's Bill O'Reilly, speaking warmly in defense of the Palins' privacy mere months after he railed against Jamie Lynn Spears' parents as "pinheads" to blame for her pregnancy? Feh.