Wednesday, March 31, 2010

And so she was ... and mighty tasty, too!

Ben's favorite movies are Mary Poppins, Yellow Submarine, and Free to Be.  Lately, Free to Be has topped the charts.  I grew up listening to the album, but never saw the made-for-TV movie until Ben's Aunt Kathy got him a DVD of it in January.  At first the 1974 ambiance is a little thick, but after a few viewings it develops a quirky, retro charm.  Ben's favorite song is probably "It's All Right to Cry," as performed by Rosey Grier; he can sing not only the words, but the instrumental portions as well.

We watched much of it tonight, the second time in a 24 hour period.  This is more movie-viewing than he usually gets, but he's sick, and we're real softies when he's sick.

Last night we hosted a seder for a couple of other families.  I was so excited -- we spent much of the weekend planning and shopping.  Our local grocery store ran out of matzah, so Neil made some Monday evening.  (Yes, after sundown.  We're not too finicky about the details.)  Brisket, vegetarian gefilte "fish", and all the usual suspects were on the table.  About half an hour after our guests arrived, Ben had a meltdown, and was completely inconsolable for the rest of the evening.  We'd never seen this before, at least not since he was a really young and somewhat volatile baby.  It was contagious, and the other kids at the table got progressively crankier as the evening wore on.  Ben's friend Etta asked the Four Questions, we did a few quick plagues, and after that it was pretty much a race to get food into the kids and distract them before all hell broke loose.  Not exactly the sedate celebration of cultural and family tradition that we'd hoped for.  (And yes, a quarter cup of bleach will take even a monster Manischewitz stain out of a white tablecloth.)

We were starting to suspect what the problem was, and when we finally took Ben's temperature after everyone left, it was over 102.  And over 103 this morning.  Poor kid was just miserable.  Of course, he picked the perfect time to get sick -- right during Advising Week, the busiest week of the semester.  (This is the second year in a row that he's done this.)  So Neil and I shuffled everything around today and managed to take turns staying at home with him today.  His temperature was still topping 100 tonight, so I have a feeling that I'll be cancelling classes tomorrow.  My students will be delighted.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mixed Media

We introduced Ben to finger paints last fall.  It went fairly well.  He always enjoyed it once we got going, but he absolutely hated the make-shift smock that I insisted he wear (an old tee shirt of mine, and highly problematic for the purpose).  So recently I got him the absolute best smock of all time at A Better Bib.  And for an extra five bucks I got his name embroidered on the back.  I love this smock.  And if he had rejected this one, it would have seriously bummed me out.  I introduced it very carefully -- just left it casually draped across the coffee table ("Oh, what's this?  Hmm -- has your name on it.  Check it out -- it's got elephants!"), and I avoided the word "smock" like the plague.  It worked.  Here's Ben at work, and one of the finished products -- it's a mixed media work, finger paint applied with paintbrush and crayon tip.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One thing I can tell you

This morning, as Ben and I were headed upstairs after breakfast, I said to him, "One thing we're going to do is clip your fingernails."  He immediately launched into, "One thing I can tell you is you got to be free.  Come together (boom boom boom) right now (boom boom boom) over me."  This was followed by various sound effects intended to evoke Paul McCartney's famous bass line.  The boy loves his Beatles.

The other day Ben woke up Way Too Early from his nap, but as he was talking happily to himself I let him be and eavesdropped via the baby monitor.  "But whatever the reason, our hearts or our shoes, we stood there on Christmas Eve hating Fiona and Emily."  In case this sounds familiar, he was once again reciting a passage from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, this time translating it into the first person plural, and citing as the object of our loathing the teenage sisters Fiona and Emily who have found youtube fame with their excellent covers of Beatles songs.  (Yes, more Beatles.)  As a matter of fact, Ben loves Fiona and Emily.  He's always demanding that we tell him a Fiona and Emily story.  Typical story lines revolve around Fiona and Emily hosting a picnic (attended by Winnie the Pooh and friends, Sid the Science Kid, Bob Dylan, and -- naturally -- the Beatles themselves) or going to the moon in a rocket, accompanied by the same variegated crowd.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Aaaaarrhh, Maties!

We celebrated Pi Day yesterday -- a little early, but the real Pi Day (March 14) falls during our Spring Break next week.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this concept, the first few digits of pi are 3.14, hence the celebration on March 14.  Depending on your Math Geek Quotient, you might even celebrate Pi Minute at 1:59 in the afternoon (3.14159...).  (If you celebrate it at 1:59 in the morning, then you are probably studying for a math exam later that day.  Which no doubt many of my students were doing -- I gave two midterms yesterday.)

Anyway, Ben loves Pi Day.  Here he is wearing his Super Pi tee shirt (thanks, Grammy!).  I'm dressed like a pirate, because ... well, it was a pirate-themed event this year.  Long story.  Pi-rate -- get it?  I wasn't really intending to cast such a flirtatious glance -- a moment before I had been looking at Ben, and then I started to turn my head right as the picture was taken ... you know how it happens.