Thursday, December 23, 2010


My son has a treasured stuffed animal dolphin named . . . Dolphin. He has slept with Dolphin for about a year now, but just recently Dolphin has begun to play a larger role in his, and our, lives.

What started as a comfort object while Joey slept has now become a permanent part of my day-to-day activities. Much like my daughter's treasured lovey (a yellow blanket that I'll save for another post), Dolphin now goes everywhere Joey goes.

Last week, I took Joey to the doctor because he had developed a nasty cough. Initially, he refused to let the doctor touch him until she had examined Dolphin, who, coincidentally, had also developed a cough. Joey finally allowed her to examine him when she explained that he needed to show Dolphin what to do, but as soon as the doctor was finished, she was forced to listen to Dolphin's heart.

Dolphin came to church with us on Saturday. He boldly swam down the aisle to the pew (with my son making "swim, swim, swim" sound effects) and splashed onto the seat (with Joey loudly saying, "SPLASH!") as he hit the wood. Later, during the priests' homily, Dolphin showcased his repertoire of tricks. I like to think Dolphin swam into the hearts of all the parishioners that evening.

Perhaps the most challenging part of getting to know Dolphin is learning his language. It is made up mostly of high-pitched mumblings and non-sensical phrases, coupled with grand gestures from his shiny blue fin. I asked my son to translate, but he logically explained that Dolphin doesn't like it when Joey speaks for him, and that he prefers to speak to us directly. Yesterday, it took me twenty minutes of interpretation to determine that Dolphin wanted a pretend cup of hot chocolate. Over the course of our interaction, Dolphin's tone became that of desperation tinged with annoyance.

I love that my son is finally using his imagination, however, so usually give in when he asks if Dolphin can do things like set the table or give me a kiss.

I had to scold Dolphin, however, when he spanked my bottom as I was emerging from the shower. That's just inappropriate.

Beth - 1 (I laid down the LAW)

Dolphin - 2 (The spank earned him extra points)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Losing my mind

This afternoon, I was convinced I was losing my mind.

The students were presenting their research projects to the class, which consisted of an online Glogster poster as their final product. I've seen about forty of them in the past two days, which is bad for two reasons.

1. I should have seen close to seventy by now, indicating that approximately 40% of the students didn't bother to complete their project.
2. After a while, one project begins to melt into the other and by the end of the second day, my mind is screaming for some other form of entertainment.

Late in the afternoon, about fifteen minutes before the end of the day, two students got up to present their Glogster research project to the class. In front of me, I saw a blue background of a snowy, starry night. There were no pictures or text from what I could see.

The students stood in front of us, and one began to read from the screen.

Let me take this moment to remind you that I could see nothing but a blue, snowy, starry night background.

He wasn't using note cards, or notes of any kind, and my mind struggled to figure out how he was magically producing the scholarly words that fell from his mouth. This is it, I thought. I'm losing it. I've actually gone so insane that I can no longer see what others see. I blinked. I rubbed my eyes. I panicked.

And as I stared at the screen in confusion, wondering how in the world I was going to grade this project that everyone but me could see, my co-teacher leaned over and whispered in my ear.

"What the hell is he reading?" she asked, staring at the beautiful, blank background devoid of words.

Had I been in my right mind, I might have shrugged, or happily understood that I was not as crazy as I thought. Instead, I burst into laughter.

Rude? Yes.
Inappropriate? Of course.

But I couldn't help it. Here were two students reading from a magic screen that had words only students could see. As I gasped for breath, I managed to ask the perplexed student what he was reading, which is when I discovered that there were words on the project, but due to the coloring and lighting in the room, we simply couldn't see them.

Beth - 0
Students - 1 (They made their teacher insane!)

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Teaching fourteen-year-olds how to successfully complete a research project is the equivalent of asking a two year old to eat all of the broccoli on his plate.

Actually, I don't like broccoli either so I'm beginning to understand how my students feel.

Regardless, as the end of the three week research project unit comes to an end, I find I'm reflecting on the successes and failures of the past couples of weeks.

Success: 99% of the students seemed to understand how to find reliable sources.

Failure: One student discovered how to manipulate Wikipedia so that he made his name appear as the superintendent of our school system.

Success: I helped them develop their own works cited page.

Failure: I actually had two students ask me what a works cited page was after we'd finished the lesson. I left the room for a moment to collect myself before returning to re-explain what I'd taught them just moments before.

Success: I paired two students together who are usually shy and often choose to work alone.

Failure: I saw them making out in the hallway Friday afternoon.

Overall, I find the research unit exhausting, which is why, perhaps, I chose to do it right before Winter Break. This way I can gather my strength and face the remaining six months of teaching during Christmas vacation.

Then again, I'll be alone with my four-year-old and seven-year-old children every day for seven days during said break.

Suddenly, research doesn't seem so bad.

Beth - 0 (my successes and failures even out)
Life - 1

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Lately, I've felt dissatisfied, and today I discovered the reason why.

I want to be famous.

I don't need to be a movie star who makes millions of dollars, or a pop-star who shakes it Latin-fusion style on MTV while lip-syncing to songs she couldn't sing worth a damn in real life. But a little bit of notoriety would be nice.

Alright, I'm going to put myself out there and say it. I want to have talent like the girl whose blog I posted earlier today.

I want to be able to sing well enough so that people say, "Hey! She's pretty good. She should sing alone at church."

Maybe I become the "perfect" mom at my daughter's school. "Look at Beth," they would all say. "She really has it together. Did you see how she baked two dozen cookies and still managed to make it to the field trip today? And, she was strutting around in red high heels through the mud without tripping once."

Or maybe, just maybe, I actually write a good novel and a publisher picks it up on the first day. Also, I get a movie deal and they turn my book into a musical, in which I star because my singing makes them faint due to its awesomeness.

I'm not the only one to feel this way. My husband has a reoccurring dream in which he is at Redskins training camp, and an errant ball flies his way. He catches said ball, then throws it back to the coach, who is subsequently so impressed by my husband's throwing arm that he immediately offers him a multi-million dollar contract.

It's not too much to ask. Is it?

Famous dream - 0
Beth - 0
Inability for Beth to reach said dream - 1

I Shouldn't Say This

But someone has a blog that is much funnier than mine. You should check it out. It has brought me hours of enjoyment, to the point where I'm sitting alone and laughing all by myself.

I think the posts about her simple dog are the funniest.


Beth - 0
Blog funnier than mine - 1