Sophiesflower This is the poor cut rose Sophie has been carrying around. She is mad that it won’t grow when she plants it in the dirt. Tonight I told her she needed to sleep so she could grow. “Like a tomato?” she asked. Then she cried, “I don’t want to grow like that!” She’s a funny one.

This morning the girls got up at the crack of crack, also known as 5:40 A!!M!! Yikes. So, I couldn’t keep Sophie up all day, and she napped a bit. Now she’s sitting on my lap, singing songs and yawning. This morning she went out with me to rake and sweep leaves. Willow and Nathan joined us, and we had the yard and driveway pretty decent looking. Then John came out and we washed the cars to make sure that the forcasted rain would come. (It worked!) As we were finishing, a gust of wind blew down a lovely shower of yellow tiny leaves, and the yard had more than it did before we started. We knew it was coming since the trees still have lots of leaves left, but it was pretty funny. Buddhists must like fall. Especially Buddhist gardeners.

All right, I got Sophie to sleep so I can finally rant about the whole public school reward system that I’m learning about now that the boys are in a regular school as opposed to the positive dicipline, parent participation charter school. Basically, I’m horrified that when Lex turns in his homework, is attentive during class, remembers to hand things in on time, does well on tests, is kind (that is a BIG one for me), etc., he earns tickets which can be used to buy junk (plastic toys, candy, pencils — well, pencils are okay, but really, who chooses a pencil?–) at the student store. Of course, they lose tickets for undesirable behavior. So, yes, the class is getting through lots of work, and yes, they are well behaved. At what cost, though?

I don’t think kids should do their work to get stuff. They should do the work because they need to do it. Because if they practice writing, then they will be able to send a letter to someone they love. Because if they practice reading, then they can stay up late reading by flashlight under the covers and you can pretend you don’t notice. Because if they work on their math they can learn all sorts of new games and can someday design their own house or something else amazing. I HATE that the because has been turned into candy and plastic crap. It just kills me. Lexy and I talk about this stuff, but he is a kid and while he does hear my message, he hears those m and m’s a lot louder. I could go on, but I think the point is made. Part of me wishes I could homeschool, but really, I can’t seem to find time to play a board game with the boys lately, much less teach them all the amazing stuff they are learning at school. And their father is as rabidly anti-homeschool as is humanly possible. Maybe more.

I have noticed that the kindergarten teachers don’t seem to subscribe to this method of crowd control, which makes me grateful.

Don’t get me started on the reading reward program. I’ll never shut up. Even Lexy agreed with me that we need to skip that. You read because it is one of the best things you can do with your time, not because you get pizza after so many minutes of it.

There is a story that Alfie Kohn (oh if that’s wrong I apologize, he wrote Punished by Rewards) tells about a man who lives near a school. Every day after school the kids walk by his house and taunt him. They call him awful names and leave old food on his lawn. So, one day the man says to the kids that if they all come tomorrow and call him names, he’ll give them a dollar each. Of course the whole school shows up and he listens to their insults and then pays them. As they’re leaving he says to come the next day and he’ll give them each a quarter. Most of the kids come back, and the scene repeats itself. He offers less and less money and fewer kids return until he’s down to offering a penny. He is never bothered by those kids again.

Reward systems don’t work and if they do, you end up with a grown man who thinks his wife should give him a blow job because he “helped” her by doing the dishes. We need to do what we need to do. Oops, I thought I was going to shut up. Heh.

So, I’ve taught myself to knit and wish I’d done so earlier.


This is a scarf I’ve been working on for two days. It has a tiny button hole about five inches from one end so you can pull the tail through to keep it about you neck. Very cute. It was overcast when I took the photo and the color isn’t represented too well. I can’t wait to try hats and socks. I’m going to go for a sweater after the holidays sometime. It’s great to have a project that can be put down an picked up as needed. I ought to finish my sewing projects, though. Must complete the ornaments to sell the first week of December. People better buy them!

I was going to write about the horror of going to toysbackwardRus to get what I thought they’d have for Lexy’s birthday, but that place doesn’t deserve any more of my time. The fact that a place like that exists and does well is just as abhorrent as can be. Why do people love crap so very much? I realize that I’m a snob; in a society like this I just can’t help it. Popular culture scares me.

4 thoughts on “

  1. nikki

    up until now, i have been a lurker. i found your blog via womanchild and i really enjoy it. idon’t have kids of my own yet, but i have been a nanny for about 10 years. so i get it. boy do i get it. your kids sound great, though.

    anyway, what led me to “come out of the shadows” was the “snob” comment that you made about yourself. i feel the same way. i am only 24 years old, but i find that the lack of quality in america, compared to the “must-have-more-crap” idea that most people have in their heads, sickens me. sorry, i get a little worked up about it. so you are definitely not alone in your feelings. love the blog, nikkisioux

  2. Jen

    Hi Nikki and thanks for the comment! We could start a snob club and never let anyone else join. You know, to keep it authentic. Heh.

  3. elayne

    *snif* I can’t be a snob too?
    Fine. I’ll make my OWN snob club. (c:

    TJ’s school had that reading rewards thing, too. What bothers me most about it is that they set the standards so low. The required reading for TJ to get the pizza thing was, IIRC, 100 pages in a month. No. Way. I told the teacher that I thought he should be required to do at least 150 pages a WEEK. She said, “Don’t you think that’s a little steep?” I said, “Well, he came home yesterday and picked up a book, put it down a few hours later and said, ‘I read my hundred pages, now I don’t have to read any more and I can still get my pizza!’ So no, I don’t think it’s steep at all.” She got my point.

    By the way, though, we never could keep track of the little papers long enough to get the pizzas, heh.

    I keep trying to instill the no-crap mindset into the boy, but it’s pretty firmly entrenched, and to be honest I’m not disciplined enough to stick to it. *sigh* I guess I don’t get to join the club after all.

  4. nikki

    I was thinking about what elayne said about how to instill the “no-crap” mindset into her son. When I was a kid, for my birthday, christmas, any holiday when a kid gets tons of gifts, they didn’t do it the normal way. I got one big thing that I wanted, a stocking of stuff (candy, lip gloss, the usual stuffers) and a new outfit. The really big part of christmas was going shopping for our “angels” every year we would pick a boy and a girl angel from the tree (at walmart? kmart? target? whatever) and pick out all kinds of gifts for them (clothes, toys, stocking, etc.) on our birthdays, we had “no-store-bought-gifts-parties” so the kids could only give us things they made themselves. it may have been a trifle stressful for the parents, but it made us see that christmas was about giving, that giving is sometimes even better than getting loads of crap. (our friends always liked to hear what we got to give our angels) and that you don’t always have to buy things for them to be special. In my case, it worked. I don’t know how it would work for anyone else, though. good luck!


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