Friday, September 29, 2006

Wiggly News

Since I know you're all sitting on pins and needles.

Paul wrote: "The last two times The Wiggles have been up at Dreamworld, Greg has not been with the guys and this is why he has not been able to sign one of the shirts. Its simply a practical challenge! He'll get there one day in the future and perhaps we'll get him to sign a shirt to send up. I saw Greg today with the guys and he is still getting tests and asistance but he is still not yet "match fit" as the football coaches say.. We'll keep you all in the loop but as yet we dont know how soon it will be before he is treading the boards again."

I'm tired.

I'm tired. That's it. I really don't have anything else to say. I've been grumpy and tired all week, and I'm tired of being tired.

Oh, and I got to clean up diarrhea off the floor this morning. Fun! Apparently the kids are NOT done with the stomach bug they've had, or this is a new one. Or something.

Friday, September 22, 2006

More Wiggly Worries

Again, feel free to skip this post. What is this pic of? A display at Dream World in Australia, that has three signed Wiggles skivvies. This was posted on the WMB by an Australian member who just took this pick. She said that it looked as though a fourth signed skivvy had been there, there were dust markings as though the stand had been removed. I'm sure you can imagine the speculation. Still no new update on Greg.

More Homeschool Math!

Interesting dialogue today:

Pauly: What's two plus two?
Me: I don't know, why don't you tell me?
Pauly (without counting fingers): It's 4! What's two plus two plus two?
Me: Can you figure it out?
Pauly (again, with no pause and without counting): It's six! What's three plus three?
Me: What do you think it is?
Pauly turns around and looks at the clock to attempt to figure it out that way. P: 7?
Me: No, count again.
Pauly counts it out on his fingers: It's six! Three plus three and two plus two plus two are both six!

I thought it was very interesting that he got 2+2+2 without even thinking about it, but had to count out 3+3.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

More on the Pope and Islam

I just read a very interesting article commenting on the Pope's speech, that took a tack I hadn't actually considered before. It insisted that the Pope and the Vatican, in general, are not idiots, and that he very likely knew exactly what he was doing in the speech. That is, the speech was meant to be offensive, and was meant to take a stand against Islamic violence and extremism. It was meant to challenge Islamic leaders to examine themselves and determine whether they are going to choose to be rational or not.

ETA: found it here.

In this vein, this is an interesting blog entry about a statement supporting the Pope, when his speech is view in the light of a challenge to Islam to be rational.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pauly's School

I still hadn't planned on doing much schoolwork with Pauly, but I went ahead and put the first Bob Books on hold at the library. We picked them up today, and he caught right on! The first book used words only containing the letters m, a, t and s. It went something like "Mat." under a picture of the character "Mat." Then "Sam." under a picture of Sam. Then: Mat sat. Sam sat. etc. It also included one "sight word" "on." I think that "on" is only considered a "sight word" because they had not officially introduced the sounds of 'o' and 'n' yet. Pauly, apparently, already knew this word and did not have to sound it out.

After reading book one, Pauly read book two. It added the sounds of 'b' and 'd'. With the Bob Books, you are supposed to introduce the sounds as you go through the books, but Pauly already knows most of the letter sounds from Starfall. It was slow going through both books, but he was definitely catching on. After that, we did spelling using the letters used in the first two books. I cut out squares of poster board, about 1 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch, and wrote one letter on each square. Then I put all those in front of Pauly. I said a word, and he sounded it out and formed it with the letter tiles. He did really well with this, and I'm very glad that I got the idea and tried it out.

Anyway, that's what we did for school today!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

For Talking Like a Pirate day. . .

You are The Cabin Boy/Galley Wench

You, me lad, are an activist! You will not only change the world, you will make a dyed-in-the-wool Pirate dream of you in a sheep costume. You are the embodiment of the love that dare not hoist its sail! Ahoy thar! You could make a two-patch Pirate turn his head - but then he would lose sleep over it and what good would that do anyone? An innovator, you are WAY ahead of your time - and everyone else's. You are sensitive and artsy-fartsy. You say things like, "artsy-fartsy" but there is always a slight giggle in your voice when you say it - like Paul Lynde on Hollywood Squares delivering a staggering punch line. Speaking of "punching" the only "punching" you would do is punching up that outfit with some accessories - say, a little bandana and some glass beads. You're not the Pirate we want in a fight, but we want you there for the crying game that follows! You go, girl.

What's Yer Inner Pirate?
brought to you by The Official Talk Like A Pirate Web Site. Arrrrr!

I cut over 18 inches off my hair

And it is still below shoulder length!

I'm donating the hair to Locks of Love. I'm glad to be rid of it!

Wiggly Cover-Up

Well yes, I suppose this IS a post about the Wiggles, so now you all can stop reading. A few days ago a member on the WMB posted this article about Greg Wiggle. According to whomever they spoke to at The Wiggles' office, Greg is just fine and is only suffering from exhaustion. Specifically, "We want to assure everyone that Greg is quite all right and it's nothing that a good period of rest and recuperation can't fix." I just don't buy it. That's what they've been saying from the beginning, but that is not what the The Wiggles themselves have said.

Greg himself has said "
Tests in the US hospital DID reveal something, however, I am not going to confirm anything until further testing is done, and when I am ready to. Hopefully, there was an error, and further tests will disprove what was shown."

Earlier last week, a WMB member spoke to Anthony at one of the shows, and he said that they still don't know what is wrong with Greg. The Wiggles themselves are certainly not saying "Oh, it is just exhaustion" although perhaps we can still hope that it is. Surprisingly, though, many members of the WMB reacted to the article above with relief. Oh, now we know that it's nothing! I can't understand this reaction. The "oh, it's exhaustion" has been what has been reported in the media from the get-go, yet we know that it is not entirely true. Another article stating the same old thing doesn't tell us anything, we still likely know a bit more than that reporter. Which means we're still waiting for the Wiggles themselves to give us the real scoop.

The Pope and Islam

I don't have much to say on this, most has already been said. Here's the text of the speech, here's a comment by a cardinal, and here's a good commentary by an American priest.

Some commentaries have said that perhaps the Pope somehow didn't realize that the quoted statement of Emperor Manuel II Paleologus seemed offensive. I don't think that's the case at all, according to the text of the whole document that is why he used it: "he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded" and "after having expressed himself so forcefully. . ." The Pope realized that this statement was incredibly harsh, which is why it stood out to him in his reading, and why he used it to launch these reflections. I think that what the Pope did not realize is that this statement, a quotation from a medieval dialogue, would be broadcast in the media as though it were his statement, instead of being read and presented in its context.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Not a preschooler?

Today I was saying to the kids that I had three babies, when Pauly protested.

P: But Roger and I aren't baby babies.
Me: No, you're my babies that have grown up. Now Roger is a toddler and you are a preschooler.
P: No I'm not. I'm a homeschooler.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

That's too bad. . .

We refilled Pauly's allergy medicine today, and Bob read him part of the insert:

Bob: Alcoholic beverages can increase the drowsiness caused by this medication.
Pauly: Oh, man!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Gregroni and Gloria

Yesterday while I was making macaroni and cheese for lunch, Roger looked at the box and said "Gregroni!" (Greg Wiggle wears a yellow skivvy, and mac and cheese is yellow) Then he told me, "I want Murrayroni and cheese!" I'm not sure if he meant red pasta or red sauce. Later on during lunch I said something about macaroni, and he corrected me: "No! Gregroni!"

A few weeks ago I thought he didn't actually know his color names, since he refers to colors by their corresponding Wiggle. This can be a bit disconcerting when he asks for a Murray flavored popsicle. I had been correcting him like this, "Yes, red is Murray's color" etc. I was talking with a Parents as Teacher parent educator, and she suggested that I use this form instead: "Yes, that is red. Murray wears red" so that we end the statement with what we want him to remember. The first time I corrected him like this he had referred to some clothes that Rosemarie (or RoseMurray as he calls her) was wearing as "Greg." I said, "Yes, they're yellow. Greg wears yellow." and he responded, "Murray wears red. Jeff wears purple. Anthony wears blue." I guess he just prefers Wiggly terminology.

As I was typing this, Roger was singing,

For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit,

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dinner Math

Last night Pauly was setting the table. I asked him how many plates he needed, and he told me "four" and I got them out for him. I told him "I already have a glass. How many glasses do we need." "Three!" he said. Then he went on:

P: Is one plus three, four?
Me: Yes
P: But two plus two is four!
Me: Yes, one plus three AND two plus two are both four.
P: So what is two plus three, then?
Me: You tell me.
P(after counting it out): It's five! And three plus three is six!

Now, if he could only hold a crayon correctly.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Today we were all watching a movie at my parents' house. I was sitting on the couch holding Rosemarie, and Roger was messing around on the couch next to me. In just a split second, he climbed up on the couch behind me and jumped on to Rosemarie's head!! The poor baby screamed like she was being murdered! It seemed like she screamed a very long time, but I think it was only five minutes or so. I was seriously thinking that we might have to take her to the emergency room, since I couldn't get her to calm down in the usual ways (nursing, pacifier, holding) and she sounded like she was in pain. I'm not sure what to do about Roger. He's not being especially disobedient, he's just a whirlwind. Lately these destructive forces have been attracted to his baby sister like a tornado to a mobile home park. As this episode demonstrates, it's escalating. I can't even get dressed in the morning unless one or the other of them is shut away in a bedroom. And breaking that DVD this morning did not earn Roger extra points with me.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Now I'm Jumpy

I just got a creepy phone call. Phone rang about 20 minutes ago (just after 9pm) and when I answered the phone, some guy said, "Baby, I can't wait to get you alone." Um, OK. Didn't sound like Bob, but it did sound like something Bob would say. So I said, "What? Who is this? Is this Bob?" The caller responded, "Yeah, this is Bob. (pause) Yeah. (pause) Yeah (pause). Yeah, this is Bob. (pause) Yeah." I don't think he was sure whether he was Bob or not.

At this point, I was sure it wasn't Bob, and was some other creep. So I hung up. The guy didn't sound too coherent, I figure he was not entirely sober and got the wrong number. I called Bob at game night anyway, and double-checked the lock on the door.

But I jumped anyway when my dad called about 5 minutes later. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I guess they don't quite get it

This morning, after pretending to pass out communion, Roger declared "I'm Jesus!" Pauly got into the pretend play and said "He's going to die in a minute." Then Pauly pretended to shoot Roger, and said "I'm Mary, and I killed him because he wouldn't listen to what I said."

Um, OK.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Mass at St. Michael's

This morning we attended mass at St. Michael's. Bob was very, very happy about it, and I was a bit less so. I do appreciate the little things that are done at St. Michael's, like the use of the patens, that make the parish seem more traditional. I also appreciate the bigger things, like not changing words in the mass and kneeling. That was quite a change from what is done at St. Mary's, where we don't currently kneel at all. At St. Michael's they don't just kneel at the required and customary time, but everyone also kneels after mass and remains kneeling until the altar servers come back in to extinguish the candles. And they have, gasp, statues!

I missed our parish, though. Not the building, not the pastor, but the people. St. Mary's people really feel like family. The people at St. Michael's are very nice, and we had people come up and introduce themselves to us, but they're not my family, at least not yet. I don't think we're ready to say that we're changing our membership to St. Michael's, likely we'll end up involved in both parishes at least for a while. Bob has obligations with the Knights, with regard to cooking parish breakfasts, etc.

One of the things that makes me think that St. Michael's would be a better fit is the school situation. Most active parishioners at St. Mary's have their children in the parish school. It is not a bad school, it is actually quite a good school, but it is an institutional school. Choosing homeschooling, as we are planning on doing, over the parish school would definitely put us somewhat "on the outside" and I have a feeling that some would view it as a rejection of the parish school.

St. Michael's doesn't have a parish school, although some parishioners will send their children to St. Mary's. It does have a strong homeschooling population, and I already know some of the homeschooling moms (they're all lots older than me!). Most of the families use more traditional curriculums like Seton, while I see us using something that relies less on workbooks, either classical or Charlotte Mason-ish.

Anyway, thems my thoughts this morning.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Greg Wiggle

I'm a complete and total dork, and I'm a bit ashamed of posting this but it's very upsetting to me. And I'm a bit ashamed that I'm so upset. Greg Wiggle passed out before a show a couple weeks ago, then again the next day. Media reports at the time said that the doctors found nothing wrong, but that he was going home to rest. Well, it looks like it's quite a bit more serious than we'd all hoped:

"I am still undergoing tests here in Australia, and the passing out episodes have continued (however, I now know when it is about to happen, so I can get myself sitting down before hand).

Tests in the US hospital DID reveal something, however, I am not going to confirm anything until further testing is done, and when I am ready to. Hopefully, there was an error, and further tests will disprove what was shown. The result of that test weighed very heavily on my decision to come home from the tour and seek further medical advice and treatment where I can be at home."

So it sounds serious. And of course I'm thinking the worst, like a brain tumor or something. And I'm very very upset by this. Isn't that silly? I feel like I know Greg, and of course I don't. The Wiggles feel like part of the family, and of course they're not.

Anyway, Greg wrote that he was appreciative of any prayers and good wishes, so keep him in your thoughts.

Artistic Prodigy?

I recently read about a "child prodigy" who is becoming increasingly famous, Marla Olmstead. Her paintings are selling for $15K+, one video clip on her website states that one painting sold for $24K. She has made a big splash, and has had several art shows including one overseas in Germany. And she's not even in kindergarten yet. You can see her website and view some of her "work" here.

I'll admit that I may not be the best person to write about this, as I know relatively little about art, and don't have a particularly high opinion of modern abstract art. According to the book in which I first read about Marla, Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child by Alissa Quart, "Marla's aesthetic style is clearly superior to that of the average four-year-old--critics have noted its abstraction, consistency, color sense, formal balance and maturity." Her paintings still look like finger paintings to my uneducated eye. Yes, they may be better than average finger paintings, they have distinct line and colors, rather than being a mottled gray-brown from mixing all colors together into a mess like many children would. I wonder how much of that has to do with the fact that she is using far superior materials to what most children would use to paint. The fact that the paintings cover the entire canvas and appear "finished" is significant as well. There were a couple paintings on her site that I wouldn't mind having on my wall, Dory is one.

Or maybe the artistic quality of her work has something to do with the fact that it isn't all her independent work, as can be seen here in the second clip on this page (scroll down) from 60 minutes. And here's a link to the transcript of the show. First the canvas was primed by her father, which explains the lack of white space left in her paintings. Then she was coached by her father to keep painting, even when she said she was done, and he offered suggestions on where she ought to paint. The child developmental specialist 60 Minutes interviewed noted that this finished painting looked much less polished than the other work, the creation of which has not been captured on film. The parents' explanation for this does actually make some sense. If they felt pressured to capture Marla's performance, then they would likely pressure her. It would significantly change their behavior.

So why do I care about this? I just find it fascinating that anyone could pay so much money for a piece of artwork done by a four or five year old, and it seems to me that her "success" is due to her young age and some major pushing of her work by her parents and agent.

Or maybe I'm just jealous because my four-year-old isn't earning me thousands of dollars. I'll better figure out what he's good at.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Things have been going well

Things are going well lately. That's all. Not too exciting to write about, but it was kind of exciting to think about today. I haven't turned into psycho-banshee-mommy much at all recently, I can't recall the last time. I'm feeling better and more in control of everything, and the kids seem to be somewhat happier. And even when they do burst into tears (because they're sensitive guys) it doesn't bother me.

I think one thing that has helped a lot is Roger's increased ability to engage in imaginative play. He can play with Pauly, and they keep playing together for longer periods of time. More importantly, I think I've had a better attitude. I've borrowed a couple positive discipline books from the library, and I really notice the change in myself after I read them, even if I don't agree with all their suggestions. And the kids behave better when I have a better attitude.

Although I'd still like to know how to get them to pick up their room.