Monday, April 15, 2002

April 15-19, 2002

APRIL 15, 2002

Thanks to all who thought of us on Sunday morning. My son's First Communion went -- okay. I had dreamed that he would magically find the self discipline to sit quietly through Mass and stand up at the altar with his peers, respectful and straight of spine, filled with spiritual peace and calmness. That didn't happen. But I had feared that he would appear possessed, jumping and shouting and twitching in his seat, such a bundle of disrespect and wilfull uncontrol that we'd have to drag him out of the sanctuary before his big moment came. And that didn't happen either (though there were a few minutes at the start of Mass that I'd like to try again). He was pretty much as he always is at church, unable to sit normally but able to make it through if he's lying down across a lap or two and allowing himself to be sleepy. That pretty much precluded the standing-at-the-altar part of the morning, but that was okay. He did his thing at communion time just fine, and that's what was important all along.

It's good, I guess, every now and then, to have these little check-ups as to where we're at. There was a time, certainly, where he would not even be able to do as well as he did. And there will be a time, I feel certain, when he will do better. As it was, the lady sitting in front of us told me afterward that she thought my son had done particularly well, and another mother mentioned that she'd had to correct her sixth-grader during the Mass more than I'd had to correct my guy. There may have been a few raised eyebrows amongst congregants who don't know him, wondering why we were letting that communion kid roll around in the pew in his nice suit. But people who knew him saw a difference, and were proud of him, and that's good, too. Maybe, really, better than admiration of behavioral perfection.

+ + +

APRIL 16, 2002

So I'm in a bit of a funk this morning because one of my favorite shows, "Once and Again," had its final episode last night, complete with crying and hugging cast members at the end. It's ridiculous to care about a TV show, I know, and hard to get too upset about this cancellation because television is a business first and foremost, and "O&A" is definitely not a show that appeals to everyone. I'd like to think that the little niche of fans to whom I belong could be valuable to a network; hey, I buy stuff. But apparently we're not as valuable as the people who watch "The Bachelor," or the communicating-with-the-dead show that's taking over the time slot. Those are niches that I'm really, really glad not to be part of, so I'll take my grief standing up.

Still ... it's been nice to have a little respite on Monday nights (or Friday nights, or Wednesday nights, or wherever ABC chose to bury the show that week). I think I'm getting late-onset ADD, because there are so few shows anymore that hold my attention. This one did, and now there's one fewer. Maybe this means I'll have more time to read the all those important books about learning disabilities and neurological problems that keep stacking up on me. Maybe it means I'll finally write those notes I've been meaning to, to teachers and child study team folks and special-ed dept. weasels. Maybe it means I'll get a jump on these columns, and not be writing them feverishly in the mornings while the kids eat their breakfasts. Or maybe it means I'll flop on the bed, flip through the channels, find nothing, and fall asleep in my clothes. Aw, you know, it's not the end of the world. Not even close. But I still feel sad.

+ + +

APRIL 17, 2002

Today is my daughter's birthday. She's 12. Which means this is the last birthday I can really celebrate, because after this she will be a teenager, and -- whoo boy. Not ready for that. Not with a girl who's already taller than me (in the 90th percentile for height at her check-up this week; I'm probably in about the 5th percentile for 42-year-olds). I need a few more years of pre-teen, and I'm not going to get it.

She's a sweet, healthy, happy girl, though, and maybe she'll be a sweet, healthy, happy teen. It could happen. There have been a few, right? At any rate, I'll enjoy these 12s, and take comfort in the fact that she'd still rather have a Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen CD than a rap CD, a Clifford video than a PG-13 movie. And I'll try to forget that the pediatrician said I might want to have her start shaving her armpits. She may be big, well-developed and hairy, but she's still just a little girl. Just ignore those pimples, okay?

+ + +

APRIL 18, 2002

Capital One wants to give my son a platinum credit card.

He gets letters every week or two, urging him to call in immediately to claim his large and convenient line of credit. I'm sure the Capital One folks don't know they're offering that line to a developmentally delayed 9-year-old with fetal alcohol effect. I'd tell them, but the mailings offer no phone number or address to get off the list, only an automated call-in line to sign up. And so the come-ons keep on coming.

Now, I know how he got on this mailing list: We have a bank account in his name, and his grandmother set up a college fund for him, and computers don't know from 9-year-olds -- it's just another name in the bank's database. But here's the interesting thing: My daughter has, in her own name, all of those same accounts. Her name is right there next to his on all the same the databases. And yet -- she never receives credit offers. No junk mail for her. And while I'm not the sort that's quick to jump up with charges of sexism, I have to wonder -- why would that be? There is no list that he is on that she is not, and yet only the male name is worthy of a Capital One card. It's enough to make you go hmmm.

+ + +

APRIL 19, 2002

My kids' school called no snow days this year, but we did get a heat day this past Wednesday. It was my honor and privilege as a class mom to track people down at their places of business and let them know that, surprise! school was ending at 1 p.m. and they needed to prepare to receive their little hot and sweaty darlings home. While I can certainly sympathize with how difficult it is to learn in an un-air-conditioned classroom on a 90-degree day; and even more with how hard it is to teach; somehow calling school on account of heat seems like an awfully wimpy thing to do. Plus, it's hard to be a parent in an un-air-conditioned house or apartment on a 90-degree day, too, especially when you've had to ditch out of work to do it.

When I was a kid, of course, we went to school when it was 100 degrees and did science experiments involving frying eggs on the sidewalk and never thought a thing of it. Didn't even break a sweat while walking to and from school, uphill both ways. Why, we used to wear our warmest new fall clothes on the first day of school even if it was sweltering out, just because they were our new school clothes, darn it, and school was where we were going. These days, these kids, they wear their summer shorts from May to October. Their mothers drive them to the school entrance in air-conditioned vehicles. They tote water bottles to class and stay inside for recess if it's a little warm (or cold, or wet). Weaklings, the lot of them. And their school board, too.

No comments: