Monday, December 12, 2011

Impressive is in the Eye of the Beholder

Today we were working on our January quilt.  Yes, I know it’s still December, but when the kids come back from winter break it will be January, and I have to have the correct quilt in the window each month…and on the very first day of the month…no matter what! No joke…the second those little kiddos leave on Friday, the December quilt will go down and the January quilt will go up.  OCD…works for me!

Our monthly quilts involve two 8in x 8in pieces. One is an actual quilt square (Checkerboard and Whirligig are the ones we use most often)…it’s just construction paper, people, don’t be too impressed.  Anyway, one piece is always the “quilt” piece and the other piece is always a “theme” piece (i.e., apples for September, jack-o-lanterns for October, etc.).  The “theme” piece for our January quilt is a snowflake. 

Now snowflakes can be a little tricky, especially for First Graders…heck, sometimes they’re tricky for me.  You have to fold the paper just so, then you have to cut through all those folds, then you have to glue the snowflake onto a piece of paper…without gluing the entire contents of your desk onto it as well!  As tough as they are, though, the kids just love making them.

So the kids are folding and cutting and gluing, and I’m walking around marveling at their masterpieces.  And, really, they are doing a great job…much better than I had anticipated.  And, of course, I don’t hesitate to tell them so.  “Wow!  You guys are doing a great job.  You are all impressing me!”  I said in my sticky-sweet, gag-me-with-a-fork, First-Grade teacher voice. 

At that moment I happened to be standing near a student in my class who, well, let’s just say his fine motor skills are, well, um, well, let’s just say he’s “fine motor skill challenged” which means his snowflake doesn’t really resemble a snowflake at all; rather, it looks more like a piece of paper that lost a battle with a garbage disposal. 

I finish telling the class how much they are impressing me and he holds up his, well, his piece of paper that really wants to be a snowflake, but clearly isn’t, and he guffaws (yes, six-year olds guffaw) and he says, “Yeah, well, I bet I’m not impressing you” guffaw, guffaw, guffaw.  Well, yes and no, kid. 

Certainly his snowflake wasn’t impressive…but the fact that it didn’t even come close to resembling a snowflake…well, hey, that was kind of impressive, wouldn’t you say?  However, the most impressive thing of all was his attitude.  He didn’t cry, he didn’t say, “I can’t do it,”  and most importantly, he didn’t give up.  He simply walked his snowflake tragedy to the recycle box, dumped it, picked up a new piece of paper, and started over.  Now that's impressive, my friends...very, very impressive!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What’s the Artist’s Name?

When Justin Bieber first hit the scene…how long’s it been now?  Like two years?  Well, anyway, when he first hit the scene my daughter was quite smitten.  I, however, was not.  Not to be mean or anything because he is, after all, someone’s child, but I really couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.  In all fairness, I guess it wasn’t him, per se (though I did think he looked like a girl and sounded like one, too); rather, it was more that I’m simply not a fan of the whole let’s throw millions of dollars at these young kids, follow their every move, and then get really excited and hound them even more when they crash and burn…do the names Britney or Lindsey sound familiar?

I teased her about The Bieb, all in good fun, of course, until one day the crush had run its course and she simply didn’t like him anymore…thank goodness.  So we were Bieber-free for about a year…and then one day one of her very best girlfriends decides to go and become his biggest fan.  Like.  Ever.  Seriously, she is over the moon for him.  She subscribes to his Twitter account, Facebook, and, of course, is a member of his fan club.  She has pictures of him on her phone that look like she actually hangs out with him.  Oh, look, there’s Justin and Selena at the mall.  Oh, and there they are at Starbucks.  It’s sheer madness!  The worst part is that she’s taking my daughter right along with her.  Argh…after all my de-Biebing efforts, we’re right back where we started…my daughter swooning over Justin, and me teasing her about it every chance I get. 

A couple of months ago they heard Justin was going to be in Las Vegas on New Year’s Day, and my daughter’s friend instantly began planning how they could attend the concert, which ended up being quite easy since she has relatives who live in Vegas and her parents said they’d get her the tickets for her Christmas present.  So the friend was set, but now they had to finagle my daughter going to the concert, too. 

Now there is no way in you-know-where that I am going to attend a Justin Bieber concert. Judge me all you want, but I’m just not that mom. I will buy the tickets, no problem, but I draw the line at actually sitting through a concert.  As luck would have it, the friends’ parents were both happy to attend.  They have two other daughters and they were planning on making it a fun family event and were gracious enough to include my daughter.

I thankfully dodged the Bieber bullet and really only had to brace myself for how much the concert tickets would cost me, which really wasn’t all that big of a concern.  I mean, just because I don’t want to waste my time seeing the Bieb doesn’t mean I don’t want my daughter to go and have a great time.  I’m not that mom, either. 

So we’re all set.  My daughter is going to go with her friend’s family and now all we have to do is secure the tickets.  Not an easy feat, but still, we’re pretty confident that if both families are on “ticket alert” that we can come up with some tickets.  So I go on the Bieb’s website and sign up to be alerted when the tickets come on sale; and the other family does the same.  The fact that I then started anxiously awaiting word on Justin Bieber tickets…well, I really have no words to describe just how wrong that is…on every level.

Next comes the waiting part.  We’re waiting and waiting and waiting, and we’re starting to get a little nervous.  I mean, we’re nearing the middle of December and still no word on when the tickets will go on sale.  My friend’s family is really starting to panic because this is the big gift for all her girls, and, well, if we don’t get tickets, then they’ll be scrambling for the big presents at the last minute. No fun there.

They finally decide to call the hotel where the Biebs is scheduled to perform to see what’s up and they’re told…you ready for this?  They were told the concert had been canceled.  More specifically, that the concert was never 100% going to happen and now it’s, like, 0% not going to happen.  My daughter was at a friend’s house when she found this out and she instantly texted me.  Though I was grateful that my hard-earned money wouldn’t be going to the Biebs, I was sincerely sad for both my daughter and her friend; they were so looking forward to this concert. 

Now those of you who know me know that I’m one of those slightly OCD people who has to hear (and see) things for herself.  Like, if I go into a store and ask for a specific item and the salesperson says the store doesn’t have the item (or is out of the item), I’m the person who will go and look for it anyway, just to be sure.  And guess what?  About 90% of the time I end up finding it!

It’s not that I didn’t believe the other parents; it’s just that I needed to hear it for myself.  So I called the hotel.  And here’s where it gets funny….

A very nice lady takes my call and I explain to her that I am calling to check on the New Year’s Day tickets for Justin Bieber. I hear her clacking away on her computer and she says, “Hmm…January 1st…I don’t see anything on that day.  What’s the artist’s name again?”

I repeat, “Justin Bieber.”

“Beaver?”  she says.

“No,” I say, “Bieber.  B-i-e-b-e-r.”

“Oh,” she says, “and what’s the artist’s first name?”


I instantly fall in love with this woman. She doesn’t know who Justin Bieber is and all of a sudden I want to ask her to marry me.  (But then I realize that’s not such a big compliment…I mean, I’m a pretty big shopper, I’m not all that great of a cook, and the skills I do have, well, you know, they won’t really work on her.) So I ditch the idea of the whole ask a strange lady to marry me thing and decide to simply be content that there are still people on this planet for whom Bieber fever might actually be a legitimate illness.