Monday, September 29, 2008

The Teacher And The Student

A few weeks ago, Hannah had a meltdown during school. These meltdowns happen most often when she is asked to do something that is a little bit harder for her (like taking longer than the manditory 30 seconds to figure something out - at least in her brain). She was doing some reading for Science about plants and animals and I asked her to either explain to me what she read or write it down. This caused the conniption. I explained to her that writing stories will be a major focus of her schooling this year because she's weaker at it. Not weak. Weaker. She happens to excel at reading and really doesn't need much focus on reading at this point. A few days later, she managed to write a sentence using dog and ran. The sentence was: The dog ran. Obviously this needs work, but I was at least hopeful that she made an attempt.

Today, two weeks later, she surprised me. It's amazing how quickly they can grow right before your very eyes because that's exactly what she did. As you can see from the picture above, she wrote the sentence using the words Sam, played, water and fish. Her sentence was: Sam played in the water but the fish did not like it.

How's that for a huge improvement? And printed very neatly, as well.

I was so excited that I kept bragging on her all day. I told her how pleased I was with her sentence. She smiled for hours. I asked her if she was ready yet to write me a story, and she said, "Mom, tell you what. If you'll give me three days to write it, I will." I told her, again quite happily, that we had a deal.

I think because she was glowing about her accomplishment today she started thinking about school in general. As in school in a classroom, with lots of kids. She asked me what I thought of her maybe becoming a teacher one day. I told her I thought that would be great. After all, she'd have all summer off (facetiously, of course).

She decided to begin practicing being a school teacher immediately. And, she managed to coerce Seth into being her student. As I was making supper, I listened with great interest and much amusement to the exchange of the schoolmarm to her pupil.

"Student," she says very seriously, (she really did call him student) "we will now colour. "

"Okay teacher," the student congenially replies.

And back and forth the exchanges went, with the teacher addressing the student and the student gamely complying. I was fascinated.

I called them for supper somewhat reluctantly. The teacher asked me if they could continue with school after supper and I wholeheartedly agreed.

"Come on, student. It's time for lunch. After lunch, we'll have some more school, and then we'll have recess," the teacher replies.

"Okay, teacher."

I sat through the exchanges of the student and teacher the entire meal. The teacher very gently corrected the student on his eating habits.

"Student, please do not talk with your mouth full of food," she asks politely. Really, I was impressed.

"Okay, teacher," the student humbly answers. I was doubly impressed. Normally I do not allow Hannah to do my job in correcting and teaching Seth, and normally Seth will not tolerate it. However, I decided not to ruin a good thing and let these exchanges continue.

While Seth was occupied, I whispered to Hannah,

"Why don't you bring out your chalkboard and put some letters on the board and see if Seth will try to print the letters."

Her little face lit up delightedly. And that's what she did. So after lunch, (which was really supper) she called her student into the living room where she had printed the letters A through J in capital and small letters on the chalkboard. She gave him paper and a marker and asked him to try to copy these letters, one by one. I was listening with great interest.

This great little teacher encouraged him, complimented him and managed to get him to do her bidding. Really, she was very patient and very kind. And I was very proud. He printed all the letters she asked him to print. He has been able to print his name for some time and has printed letters upon request, but he has never stayed interested for as long as he was today.

She then told him that she would teach him to read. I was REALLY interested in hearing this. She sat beside him and read from a book, pointed out certain words and asked him to repeat them. I was chuckling quietly in the kitchen. He was doing exactly what she was asking.

This lasted only about five minutes and then he'd had enough. However, he had seriously concentrated on his school for about a half hour total, which is about 25 minutes longer than usual.

I asked Hannah to show me his letters. Unfortunately, they were written with a faint yellow marker on white paper and I couldn't see most of them, or I would have taken a picture. I praised both the teacher and the student for the great work they did. And I realized that Hannah might be one of my greatest assets in teaching Seth. Sometimes it works better coming from someone else.

Hannah asked me tonight if she could teach Seth school again tomorrow. I told her that she could teach Seth any old time she pleased, as long as Seth was willing, and that she would have to stop the minute he was done.

It's been a wonderful day.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I Am So Proud

I am not a Sunday school teacher. Nor do I aspire to be one. I have, however, helped out with the nursery Sunday school class at camp meeting in years' past, many, many times. I always categorized the children in my mind: a) those who listened and were angels (very few); b) those who sat by themselves and did their own thing; c) those who bullied others; d) those who had to be the centre of attention; e) those who talked too much and knew even more; and f) several of the above but excluding "a".

I've discovered my son falls into the "f" category.

I signed my kids up for recreational soccer once a week on Thursday evenings. With the kids being homeschooled, I realize the thing they miss the most about school is physical education, so I decided to start with this. This particular class just concentrates on the basics of soccer for 4-6 year olds and then lets the kids run around kicking the ball, getting exercise.

They were very excited. We walked into the gym and saw several kids kicking balls, so they both just plunged right in and starting kicking. It took no time at all to see that Seth had to kick and talk, kick and talk. He's kind of into talking right now. All day. He rarely comes up for air.

The "coach" is a third year kinesiology student at the U of S and has been volunteering for that particular community association for ten years. He told the kids to put the balls away and to come and sit in the centre of the gym. Seth, being caught up in his kicking, was one of the last ones to return the ball and sit down. The coach then went around asking the kids to raise their hands when he said their name. Some of the kids did. Others were too shy (like Hannah). When the coach said Seth's name, he said, "THAT'S ME" (after he clued in anyway, because initially he was in la la land).

It started with the coach explaining the rules and what to expect during their sessions. Seth felt a need right in the middle of his speech to interrupt. I was too far away to hear what he said, but it was the first time (of a couple) that he had to tell Seth not to talk while he was talking.

The coach started out after his little speech by telling them to stand and follow him, and to repeat what he did. He started out jogging around the gym. Seth followed perfectly.......right to the bag that carried out the balls and took one out, because he..... didn't....... quite..... hear...... correctly, I guess. He was told to put the ball back and follow the teacher.

I was so proud.

They jogged, marched, kicked up their heels, and walked, and most of the time Seth was not behind the coach, but beside. I guess he felt a great need to make sure the coach noticed him. When they kicked up their heels he looked more like he was monkey dancing, but at least he was trying. And I was laughing.

The coach told them to take a quick drink and come back and sit in the circle again. That is when he first went through some of the proper techniques of soccer. He first showed them how to kick the ball properly on the side of their foot. He then gave them a chance to try it out. He then showed them how to kick the ball from the inside of their foot to the other foot, inside their legs. This was hilarious to watch Seth try and do, but again, he was trying and I was laughing. He was also touching the ball constantly when it just would not listen, and thus began the first of many instructions from the coach not to touch the ball at all. Seth never did quite get that.

As the evening progressed, they learned how to stop the ball with their foot (with Seth trying to stop the ball, not succeeding, and picking it up to put it in place only to receive the 79th admonition from the coach), and eventually learning how to stop the ball, switching off feet. Seth got smart. He put the ball against the wall by the stage and held onto the stage while changing his feet. He made sure the coach saw this as well.

He also took some time at intervals to perform some short comedy routines (making funny faces and doing funny dances) to whoever was fortunate enough to witness the act.

I was suspicious at the beginning of the session that when the coach remembered Seth's name right off the bat (I think it was the first name he remembered) that it likely was a bad omen. My suspicions proved correct.

I spent the evening laughing and hiding my face. I got a good idea of what his Sunday school teachers face with him. The class clown, nonstop talking, smart aleck remarks just to be funny, and selective hearing. The rascal even gave the odd rebuke with a major 'tude and dirty look to the kid whom he felt did something not quite right (like he was an angel himself). He got the ability to give major dirty looks from his Auntie Lana, the queen of dirty looks.

I told him tonight after it was over that he needed to stop touching the ball and to kick it only. This was met with, "But I did kick the ball, mom!" I am convinced the kid really hasn't clued in yet that this means he is to NEVER use his hands. NEVER and SOMETIMES mean the same thing to him.

I also got a sneak preview on what it will be like to homeschool him. I'm sure glad Hannah was first. Like the parent who says they would have only had one child if their first child was as difficult as their second, it might have been like that in homeschooling if Seth was first.

I'm looking forward to more chuckles next week, and more learning for Seth. This will be good for him, I'm convinced.

That's my boy. I'm so proud.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Every Once In A While

Yesterday my kids were spoiled. Today I'm paying the price. Let me explain.

One of the young ladies in my church, Carlee, has been asking to have my kids for the day. She just graduated from high school and is currently in between jobs and has a lot of free time on her hands. She planned on having them last week but got sick, so on Sunday asked me again if she could have them.

Of course I thought this was a terrible idea.

I dropped them off after the morning bus run. I went shopping with my sister Laura (whose birthday is today, by the way). How delightful it was to shop without them trying, at least once, to hide in the clothes; without my son attempting to dislocate my shoulder because I'm holding on to his hand (so he doesn't hide in the clothes again) and he's wanting to break free. Oh bliss.

Then, after an impromptu phone call, I managed to arrange lunch with my other sister Lana and our friend Claudia. The three of us treated Laura to an early birthday lunch (a tradition we sisters began a couple of years ago on our birthdays). Since I was kidless, I decided it would be much nicer to have it a day early. Again, it was a wonderful time, laughing and talking without interruption. Of my son.

Because Carlee was so generous, she encouraged me to take my time picking them up, so I finished my afternoon bus run without them. Then I went to pick them up.

I have never left Seth with anyone other than my family for this long before (6 1/2 hours). I thought maybe he might miss me a little bit. I was wrong. When I came in the door, he ran away from me into the living room. Carlee picked him up to bring him to me and I had to coax him to come (which he eventually did). This is NOT my son. I usually can't escape very long from him at all, so this was very different. I thanked Carlee profusely, the kids gave her a hug and thanked her, and we left.

And I heard all about their glorious day.

"Mom, we made home made Play Doh," Hannah said.

"And mom, we played with Lily (the cat). And I catched Lily," Seth replies.

"Did you help Carlee make cookies?" I asked, because Carlee told me they were going to make cookies and she sent some home with me.

"No, I was too busy playing with the kitchen set Carlee......." begins Hannah.

"And I pulled Lily's tail. And she scratched me," Seth interrupts.

In the course of the day, they made Play Doh, tormented Lily, ate chocolate chip cookies, played with new-to-them toys, tormented Lily, played seek and find, coloured, walked to meet Bo (Carlee's little sister) at the school, tormented Lily....... Carlee had to rescue the poor cat a few times and give her a break from the kids. They even stuffed Lily into the oven (of the play kitchen set - of course).

They had a day of complete liberation from the usual tasks and duties at home. Hannah did NOT have to do school. They did NOT have to have a quiet time. Seth did NOT have to ride the bus (which he is not too fond of at this time). In between bus runs, with my duties and Hannah's school, they are lucky if I do one of these activities with them.

The kids were somewhat out of sorts the rest of the day. In the evening I was wrestling with Seth and told him that "he was my favourite boy", which is something I say often.

"Yeah, mom, and Carlee's my favourite boy, too!" he replies.

They seem to like Carlee right now. For some strange reason.

Today Seth has been no better. He simply does not like the bus and his behaviour on the bus is not great. The problem is that he pesters his sister because he gets bored. He takes a book along but quickly tires of it. I make them sit together because of the head lice issue (of which there were three more cases on my bus recently) and that makes it more difficult. He's either pulling her hair, pulling her ear, and even hit her on the head with his book. I am truly running out of ideas on how to stop this. We do plan to try to get them MP3 players so they can listen to Odyssey or Jungle Jam, but until we can find a good deal, I suspect it won't get much better.

It's nice for them to have a day like they had yesterday every once in a while. It's nice for me to have a break like I did yesterday every once in a while. I really appreciate the time Carlee took and all that she did to give the kids a great day.

However, I can sure see why that much indulgence isn't good for a child very often. It can sure turn them into little monsters when they get back to real life.

Hopefully the monsters will have vacated the premises tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Day In The Life Of A Homeschooler

After twenty minutes of school today, my daughter came out of her room and announced that she was "done school for the day". I chuckled (I couldn't help it) and told her that I didn't think so.

"Aw, mom. Why do I have to do any more school today?" she whined.

"Because you aren't done," was my practical reply. "If I could, Hannah, I would put you in a classroom for a day. It would be a wake-up call for you to see how long the class has to do one subject. How would you like that?" I asked.

"I wouldn't," was her reply.

I asked her to bring me her math. To my pleasant surprise (and really, I shouldn't be surprised by now), she had already completed two lessons, including one test, which she got 100 percent on.

I had planned to get her to work on her spelling and penmanship, but I let it go. This is where I have had to change quite a bit. Hannah and I are very different in this way. I am very text book in my learning and she is not, therefore, I am combining both styles into her curriculum this year. Having her do some text book learning is my security blanket that shows me where she is and ensures me that I am not missing anything. However, I allow her some space for her own creative way of learning - which is sometimes very eccentric - because that's when the sparkle is in her eye. Because of this, she is becoming a self-learner, which is essential if I want her to be able to continue homeschooling through high school (which I do).

She has read 10 Boxcar Children books (on average 90-100 pages each) in 10 days, as well as six new Robert Munsch books, and six other new books (including an Amelia Bedelia grade one reader and two Bill Peet books - he's wonderful!) in that same time period. She devours books. Yes, we have to work on her penmanship, spelling and creative writing in particular, but she is so far ahead in her reading (including comprehension) and math that I cut her some slack today.

Instead, she sat at the kitchen table and asked me to do a puzzle with her. This was not an ordinary puzzle. It was an upside down puzzle (an example of her eccentricity). Yes, my daughter is quite bored with regular puzzles, so she turns the pieces upside down, mixes them up, and puts them together. I am a little ashamed to admit that she is much better at this than I am.

This is the kind of girl I have to teach.

I'm a little afraid that within a couple of years, she'll be giving me lessons.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Best Anniversary Ever

Yesterday, September 11, was our ninth wedding anniversary. It was also the anniversary of one of the worst events in the history of America, seven years ago. The way I see it, we picked the date first, and I really don't appreciate sharing the day.

In the last little while, Dave and I have had to make some tough decisions about our spending habits. Consequently, we are on a very strict budget. This is not being said to provoke sympathy, it is simply a fact. Yes, it's tough raising a family these days on one income - we've come to realize that. Truthfully, it's been hard to change our habits of spending learned in our "single" years, and then when the kids came along it became much harder. However, tough as it is, we are devoted to raising our children ourselves as opposed to farming them out, so we have had to make some decisions on our spending. I have also started to drive a school bus, which I can take the kids with me on, to help out a bit. We are trying our best to learn to live within our means. In this day and age, society has preached that we should be entitled to things, and unfortunately, we have fallen into that trap. But we aren't entitled. We're called to be good stewards, and so that is what we are endeavoring to be.

Because of this strict budget, we each have a monthly allotment to spend. My allotment is for everything: food, clothing, gifts - you name it. Everything. Needless to say, it's been difficult to adjust. Dave's allotment is for gas for his truck and a little left over for whatever he chooses. Consequently, being our anniversary, I assumed we'd just get each other a card. We were planning on going out to dinner because Dave had a gift certicate given to him for Christmas last year and saved it. I was content with this.

So, while I'm on my afternoon bus run with the kids, Dave sneaks home. I arrive home (with him gone) to find these beautiful flowers pictured, three BIG chocolate bars (like I NEED them) and a card. Already being very impressed and surprised with the flowers, I opened the card to find $80.00 in cash with a note that said, "Buy yourself something nice to wear. Love Dave."

Completely flabbergasted, I called him and the first thing I said (after thanking him for the wonderful flowers) was, "where did you get this money?" He told me that he saved up from his monthly allotment to give to me. In other words, he spent very little, if any, money on himself.

What can I say to be given a gift like that? That is the sweetest, most unselfish thing he has ever done (and he's generally pretty generous) and I will never forget it.

I told him, teary-eyed, that I didn't have anything extra for him, and he said, "Of course you don't. I didn't expect that you would." He does, fortunately, realize that I have much more to juggle and use my money for, but nevertheless, I did feel bad.

So, starting out on cloud nine - truly - we went to John's Prime Rib for dinner. This is one of the classiest restaurants in the city and quite frankly, out of my league. I have never had caviar and escargot and wouldn't even know what it looked like. I really feel like a total hick in establishments like this. My family was considered lower class and at times like this, it's obvious. However, beggars can't be choosers, and the most important thing was that I was with my husband having a nice, quiet dinner without the kids.

My last wish was granted after dinner when we had time for a walk downtown along the river. It was a beautiful evening, one of the nicest in a long time. And that really was all I wanted. It's something we haven't done alone for a long, long time and we really needed it.

This, my ninth anniversary, was really the nicest anniversary I've ever had.

Tonight we took the kids on a picnic to one of our favourite parks in the city. Yesterday, we treasured our time alone with each other, celebrating nine years of marriage. Tonight, we spent our evening celebrating with the two most precious treasures that God has given us.

Two wonderful days of magic.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tales From A School Bus - Chapter One

My initiation began two weeks ago and needless to say, it's been interesting.

I initially thought I'd be driving a busette (or minibus) full of special needs kids. That was changed when it was finally clued in that it might not be such a good idea for me to drive special needs kids, specifically autistic kids, when I was bringing my own children with me. As much as I had some concerns about certain behaviour upsetting my kids, they also had some concerns about my children's behaviour affecting these kids.

I can't imagine why. I mean, a flying insect of any sort sends my son into convulsions - could that be a concern?

So, it was decided to give me a brand new, uncharted route. To two inner city schools. 72 passenger bus (at least the size of a yacht). Because they thought this would be much nicer for my children, I guess. And for a new, unseasoned, clueless driver. It's not that I was against driving for these two schools, but my primary concern was whether this was the right route to take my own kids on.

Two weeks and much excitement later, I feel like an old pro. From four troublemaking teenage boys getting on (and off - I was told by one student that these were bad boys); one little girl sneaking past me up the stairs to get back on the bus (while I was chatting with her mother at the bottom of the stairs) playing with buttons at the front of the bus and trying to shut me out (I had to write her up a warning and talk to the principal about it); smoking out the emergency brakes because I drove for several city blocks without taking them OFF (hey, it was my second day, and I was NERVOUS), causing the mobile mechanics to have to come to my location to reset the dumb things; having kids come on who had no idea where they were to get off and trying to figure out where they were to go; trying to teach kids who have never been taught school bus safety and feeling like two weeks later I'm just beginning; feeling great that I didn't have to radio in for two days in a row!

Yesterday I had several new students get on at my second school, causing some confusion. Usually there is a teacher riding home with me to help with the chaos, but for some reason, not yesterday. In a "normal" bus run, stops and stop times are established, as well as the kids who will be riding. Not so with this run - yet. Word is still getting around that a bus is running in the neighbourhood and because of this I do not have kids' names, addresses, and the stop times on the way home have varied significantly.

Most of my kids get off in the first three stops. I then usually have two girls left (my very favourite kids of all, two wonderful girls) for the last stop. Yesterday at the second last stop, I had these two girls and two even younger boys (around grade two). I asked them where they were to get off the bus and they told me their street but didn't know their house number. I told them I didn't go down that street. I asked these girls if they knew where these boys lived and they didn't. I decided to carry on with the run and if these boys didn't know where to get off I would just return them to the school.

Before I could leave that stop, one of the boys was leaning over the seat of the other little boy. I told him he had to sit down. He ignored me. I repeated myself. He ignored me again. I then said, very sternly, "I won't be moving this bus until you sit down and sit back in your seat. It is not safe for you to be leaning over that seat."

The boy promptly sat back. As I started forward, he hollered, "HOW DID YOU KNOW I WASN'T SITTING?" I had to hold back a chuckle, because he didn't say it belligerently, but out of genuine curiosity. He seemed amazed at my astuteness.

As I passed by a certain area, the boys told me that they lived one block over and wanted to get off. I was very troubled. I do not like letting kids off who don't know their house number, but they were insistent. This is one of the problems with having no kids names or contacts at this point. I let them off.

As I was riding, I asked the two girls if they knew who they were. They told me their names and then said, "they live with a caretaker".

"A caretaker? Do you mean they live in a foster home?" I asked, and they said yes.

Needless to say, I had to drive the last segment of that run, with these two girls on board, with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. This was the boy who I spoke so sternly to. Yes, I needed to reinforce bus safety, but I really, really wished I would have said it in a different tone. These are two cute blonde haired, blue-eyed boys who for some reason don't have parents to love them.

And I know how kind I'm going to be from now on.

I get home, park my bus, and do my routine check to make sure there are no sleeping children or backpacks left on the bus. Lo and behold, there is a backpack. So I zip it open, looking for information on who it belongs to, thinking I'd at least notify them. I pull out a piece of paper with a name, also looking for a phone number. This paper read:

This is to notify the parents of ________that after a routine check,
head lice were found on your child.....................

I dropped the bag like I had been scalded (silly, I know). I couldn't help but be thankful that my kids had not rode the bus with me (they both had colds and were with grandma) and that this was the child's first time on the bus.

I'm quite sure that my children's seating arrangement tomorrow is going to be rearranged.

I don't know about you, but the fact that this girl left her backpack on the bus, ultimately alerting me to the possibility of head lice being transmittable to me or my kids, I think is a kindness from the Lord.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

On The Fence With Sarah Palin

I doubt there are many Canadians who have not heard of her. She's been the talk of the media for the last several days. She stormed into the American Presidential race, completely throwing the left-wingers off guard and into a bit of a tizzy.

She is Sarah Palin, and just last week she was named John McCain's Vice Presidential running mate for the Republican Party.

I know that politics and religion are the two "unmentionables" to some people. I happen to love both topics and, in case it hasn't yet been obvious, am very opinionated about both.

I have never liked Hillary Clinton. In fact, dislike is really not a strong enough word to express my feelings about her. She is left-wing. I am right-wing. She is a feminist. I am totally against the feminist movement. Although I very much appreciate the women who fought for the right for women to vote, there is very little else the feminist movement has accomplished. Taking women out of the home (to prove their ability to compete with men in the work force) and thus putting their children in day care to further their career are not what I consider accomplishments. They are what I consider a breaking down of the family unit. I do not consider the role of a woman any less than a man as the nurturer of the children and as the glue that holds the family unit together. In fact, I consider it in some ways even more important. I am satisfied that God made men and women different and for different purposes. They are not meant to compete. Hillary Clinton stands for everything I truly detest.

I am pretty mediocre about John McCain. He is neither the worst presidential nominee, nor the the best, in my opinion. His age is thought to be a factor not in his favor, as well as his views on the war in Iraq. However, if any man can have a strong opinion about the war, or the troops, it is John McCain. As a previous prisoner-of-war for five years (one who refused to leave the other P.O.W.'s when given the chance), he has earned that right.

Now for Obama. I could probably devote an entire post about him. I started out cautiously optimistic about him, even though he was a left-wing Democrat. However, in the last several months, after much reading and researching, I have come to be very afraid of him and I am scared to death that he'll win this election. I really believe he is a wolf in sheep's clothing and that the devil himself would vote for him if he could - even over Hillary. It's what I see about Hillary that I strongly dislike, but it's what I don't see about Obama that scares me spitless. America (and thus Canada, whether we like it or not) will be in very serious trouble if Obama gets in. At no other time in my memory, in any election in the last 20 years, either American or Canadian, have I been so unsettled about a candidate and the outcome of an election.

And so Sarah Palin enters the race. Wonderful Sarah Palin, who at this point balances out the polls and evens the playing field. A woman who has upstaged Hillary and Obama (and maybe even Oprah.....gasp!) in recent days. A very strong prolifer who recently had a son born with Down Syndrome and calls herself "blessed to be chosen by God to be the mother of this child". A fundamentalist Christian who has made some very tough decisions as Governor of Alaska. A very strong counterpart to John McCain and a brilliant choice by his advisers.

So why am I on the fence?

After the initial hype and excitement surrounding her nomination, there was something niggling in the back of my mind that I couldn't escape. As a strong promoter of core family values, a mother of five children - one who is unmarried and pregnant, but who is doing the right thing by carrying her baby to term - and one baby with special needs, how can she be Vice President of the United States and still give her family the time it needs? As one writer put it, you can't hold this high of an office without being married to America. How in the world is she going to be able to care for her two middle daughters and her special needs son? All the money her position will bring can obviously care for his medical bills, but it can never, never replace her as mommy.

And so it comes to this: How can I detest Hillary - the promoter of women's choice, careers and daycare - and not apply this same principle to Sarah Palin?

For the sake of America and this election, Sarah Palin is a brilliant choice. For the sake of her children and family, it's not.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Informer

If we study history, I believe every family has one of these. Bill Cosby did for sure. In our family, it's the youngest female. She can't help herself, really, poor girl. It comes from a mutant gene that, unfortunately, chose her to embody. Perhaps the gene was afraid if it waited it wouldn't get another chance. Perhaps this gene likes the female gender better (I think statistically it's probably true). In our family, this gene was handed down by none other than

This mother felt it necessary as a child to inform her parents about all the sins her siblings committed, particularly her older and younger sister. In one particular instance, she informed mom and dad that her sisters decided to try something that was strictly forbidden (like smoking - remember ladies?). For some reason, she was conscience-stricken (unlike her siblings) and felt the need to inform. Needless to say, she was not very popular with her sisters for quite a while. And this popularity waffled back and forth throughout the years, depending on how much the informant informed.

Now the informant has surfaced again. She feels the need to let mom and dad know at all times when her brother is.....behaving questionably. She even feels it necessary to inform her parents when they are erring.

Her latest informing skills have stretched even farther. While this mother drives the school bus, she tries her very best to keep the children in line, by informing.

"Mom, Sydney is not sitting straight like she should."

"Mom, Sydney put her arms over my seat."

"Mom, Seth is talking too much."

It is definitely true that we reap what we sow. And while this mother has not been an informer for many, many years, that mutant gene has found it's way back.

And so the informing continues.