Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ketchup the Siamese fighting fish

The kids want a dog, they ended up with a betta fish (Siamese fighting fish) today.

They've asked for a dog forever, and I keep saying no as there is no way I can take care of all of them and a dog too. We don't even have a fully-fenced yard. The neighbor has beagle mix puppies he's trying to give away and I had to be just downright mean about it the other day. NO!

We all went to Wal-Mart this morning to get tires for my daughters $2 yard sale bike, and my husband walks straight back to the fish and announces that we are getting a betta fish. (If you know him you know that he has thoroughly researched this in his own way and has been thinking about it for a while.)

We got two red fish, one for our kids and one for our nieces, plus bowls, food, and water de-chlorinator. We took our nieces' fish right to their house, and he was promptly named Prince Ruby Fin. Our girls named their fish Ketchup. He has a bit of purple on his side but Prince Ruby Fin is solid red.

Ketchup loves his bowl and his live philodendron, too. His water has to be from 78-82 degrees, which is what our house usually is during the spring/summer but I just read that water gets cooler than room temperature. These fish are native to Thailand and prefer warmer water. Now I'm wondering how to keep his water warm.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Character of the Month

My fourth-grade daughter was honored as the "Character of the Month" from her class at school today. She got to eat lunch on the stage with a guest (well, two guests, her baby brother and me) and a friend from her class.

The character word for the month is "contemplation," and her teacher said it was very fitting for her since she's so thoughtful in her schoolwork. (That's just about it, otherwise she doesn't think about anything first!)

I just figured out something with the Character of the Month honor, they let the new kids be Character of the Month first.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I'm impressed

We had a houseful of kids last night (ours plus our two nieces) so I employed my no-nonsense bedtime routine. I was preparing to employ my no-nonsense morning routine but my 10-year-old niece and nine-year-old daughter informed me that they were setting their alarm and they were going to get up early to work on some projects. Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't. At any rate I have to get up earlier because I have double the kids to get out the door, and two of them leave the house at 7 a.m. on the bus. That's early!

At some point around the time my alarm went off this morning I saw a glimpse of my niece's face and heard her say, "We're already up." Okay great, so I snoozed for 10 more minutes. Then I realized I had one more niece to wake, the one who has to have her blood sugar checked before she leaves for school. The bed was empty, though, all the beds were empty.

All four of the girls were downstairs, dressed in matching uniforms -- red tops and navy skirts -- doing crafts! They'd eaten! They'd brushed their teeth! Blood sugar had been checked! They had shoes on! WOW!

"Who are you children and what did you do with MY kids?" I teased. They just smiled and explained that they were making cards and other crafty gifts for their teachers and some other teachers. My older niece's teacher from last year is getting a card with a stuffed long-armed monkey wrapped around it!

Since it was 6:40 a.m. and the only thing I had to do in the next 45-50 minutes was comb two heads of hair, I laid back down with the baby for a few minutes.

These children will probably never return to my house but it was nice while it lasted!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Two weeks, seriously?

My fourth-grade daughter hopped in the car after school today and promptly announced that she and her entire class have two weeks of detention for talking in the cafeteria today, starting tomorrow.

Two weeks, seriously? Come ON. That's a bit excessive for talking, I thought, but I have been in the cafeteria quite a bit and they do talk QUITE a bit. But this year they have changed cafeteria monitoring styles, using one quite effective male to keep everyone in line instead of three or four nearly useless women who have to spend the entire lunch period making threats. I'm not sure why the ladies were overseeing lunch today but evidently they weren't able to control the kids, who talked so much that they landed in detention for TWO WEEKS. My daughter did point out, though, that her class stopped talking once they reached the three DAYS in detention mark; the cafeteria lady must have heard Mrs. So-and-So's class talking.

Now, I'm one to be honest with my children. If I think two weeks of detention (or any punishment) is a bit much (or not enough) for a particular crime, I say so. They already know it anyway. BUT, we are working very hard to teach them to be respectful and obedient, so I always encourage them to accept what is handed to them and be mature about it, and learn from it. I wasn't upset about the two-week punishment since it was obviously out of line, so I just noted that it was a bit excessive for talking and moved on to the positive points, of which there are many!

When you are in detention, you must miss your recess (which is right before your lunch) and go sit in the cafeteria and read or do school work. (This is a bit traumatic for a child like my daughter who very rarely gets in trouble and on the rare occasion that she does, it's usually the result of a misunderstanding.) My daughter has gotten a bit behind in some of her work because of going to her advanced/gifted and talented class, so I said, "Oh! What a GREAT opportunity for you to catch up on all your reading or even get ahead! Think of all the reading you can do every day for two weeks!"

She agreed and thought that detention wouldn't be so bad, especially since it wasn't even her fault, it was the entire class who got in trouble. We have talked many times about how innocent people have to take punishment along with the entire group they are with. They should be mature about it, taking their punishment and letting it build their character. So that's another positive aspect of the situation.

I explained how sometimes bad situations turn out to be very positive (lots of reading, strong character building for the young people in detention) and even a blessing sometimes.

After this lovely discussion my first-grade daughter piped up and said HER whole class has detention tomorrow for talking in the cafeteria. (*sigh* why can the cafeteria ladies not keep order??) Oh well, reading time!