Three Frates Boys Go To An Antique Show

14 Sep

This weekend is one of my favorites in my new town: Book Sale Day! In addition to getting to paw through two church rooms full of books, there are other things going on as well. Kids are fundraising for their various activities, someone sells fabulous veggie chili, people from town mill around with their kids and dogs, and the Historical Society holds an antique show. Ordinarily, I am not an antique show kind of girl, but my Uncles sell antiques and they are always at this show.

When we stopped by the first time to say hello, the kids immediately spotted an old croquet set and Steve and Don were perfectly happy to let them play with it. The went racing around the field smacking the balls, until that got boring and they started using the mallets for hammers and then pogo sticks. The balls became props for other sale items. Apparently, they fit quite nicely on top of candlesticks. The candlesticks then became toys. I’m sure you can see where this is going. Each time the boys stepped up their game, I objected, told them to be careful, cautioned them not to touch or break Steve and Don’s stuff, but oddly my uncles didn’t seem to care. This confirms either one thing I’ve always known, that they love the boys a whole lot, or another thing I’ve always suspected, that “antiques” are simply old junk cleaned up a little, and with a good press agent. It’s probably a bit of both.

Regardless, they have set the boys up to not be allowed at antique shows as I had to tell them regularly (and frequently loudly) that they couldn’t touch other people’s stuff the way they had done with Steve and Don’s. While they might not care if something glass gets knocked over and smashed, that older lady on the other side of the field certainly would.

A New Record

11 Sep

The other day, I got an email from D’s teacher requesting a meeting. This was on the sixth day of school which has got to be some sort of record. If you go back to the beginning of this whole “the Frates boys can’t sit still, talk incessantly, and have a hard time staying on topic/getting work done/etc,” we didn’t hear about it at least until open house. Either the teachers are catching on more quickly, the behavior is getting worse, or the standards for little boy behavior are getting more stringent. I would guess it’s a combination of all three.

The email explained that “D is a kind and polite student,” BUT (the word wasn’t included and I don’t have font big enough), “he has been struggling with attention and needs a great deal of redirection, which he readily accepts. He has been challenged with staying on task, staying seated and completing assignments.” My reply was very simply, “that sounds like D.” This is not the first time I’ve heard these things about any of my kids.

Later, I learned that the school board’s expectations for 4th graders by the end of the year is to be able to sustain 40 minutes of mental attention to a task. I’m not sure D can sustain 40 seconds of mental attention. I’m not sure I can sustain 40 minutes of mental attention. When I heard that, I simultaneously thought to myself, “there’s no way in hell”, and, “it’s a good thing he has a 504.”

So, do I worry about D’s future if he can’t stay in his seat, get his work done, or stay quiet for two consecutive minutes? Or do I listen to his pediatrician who points out that the charismatic, likable people are often the most successful in life? A friend frequently tells D to “use his powers for good,” which is the way I’m leaning. D, like most, has the ability to do great things. Why does that have to be contingent on his ability to sit still and keep quiet as a nine-year-old?

Books, Books, and More Books

6 Sep

We moved about 9 months ago and still have stuff in boxes. Not long ago, Oliver declared anything left in boxes when we have lived here for one year be thrown away or donated, because clearly we can live without it. It is in this spirit that I set about putting my books on shelves today, with merely 88 days until my deadline. 

Things I’ve learned in going through my books.

1. I own more books on grammar that any reasonable adult has a right to.

2. It is perfectly acceptable to choose which copy of The Wind in The Willows you are going to keep based on the smell. Those of you who appreciate the smell of old books understand what I am talking about.

3. Choosing a method of book organization requires more commitment than I’m prepared to make right now.

4. Shakespeare gets its own category, right?

5. There is no such thing as too many books (though there are perhaps too many copies of the same book). There are only not enough bookshelves. 

6. I still need to say N-O-P-Q-R in my head when figuring out alphabetical order. When do we outgrow that? 50?

7. There might not be a room in my house that has NO books. Maybe the boys’ bathroom, but that’s it. I have bookshelves in each of the boys’ bedrooms, the living room, the office, the Lego/dining room, and the kitchen. And yes, we have a room we refer to as the Lego room because we have virtually no dining room furniture and other than the three giant bookshelves, Legos are what is in there.

8. I am mildly jealous of my friend Amy right now. She is a librarian. 

9. I have just added about thirty things to my “need to read” or “need to reread” lists.



More Things I Never Thought I’d Say

4 Sep

1. I can’t make a rule about which windows your brothers are allowed to look out.

2. Before you light that on fire, what safety precautions do you think you should take?

3. I don’t think we need any more ways to say penis.

4. You can bring them to bed with you, but you don’t need to sleep with your new sneakers on.

5. I don’t really want your rabbit in my bed.

6. It’s never okay to grab someone’s earring because you are mad at them.

7. If I see your butt one more time, you are losing your iPad for a week. 

8. Your energy level is way too high right now. Go outside and run around the house three times.

9. They are slim-waisted Skinny jeans. They are skinny enough. 

10. Are those the same underwear you were wearing yesterday?

One of Those Days

26 Aug

Today was one of those days. If you are a parent (well, I guess if you are a human), you know what I mean. 

It was one of those days when you start rethinking your personal policy against spanking, or when you actually “pull the car over.” A day when you have to tell your children (none of whom have required diapers in more than three years), that it is never acceptable to wipe poop on the wall. It was one of those days when you add vodka to your Starbucks iced tea-lemonade, or force your children to run a mile to burn off excess energy, only to discover there are people on this planet who hate running more than you do, and those people are your children. A day when you run into an old friend and inadvertently remind them why they decided not to have children, or when you ponder, with that friend, just what your child’s logo should be when you sell him on ebay. When you wish that quaaludes came in the Mac and Cheese at Panera while simultaneously wondering what ever made you think that going out for lunch on a day like this was a good idea. 

But, as always, tomorrow is a new day. The kids are all in bed and I am working a 24-hour shift, and that sounds really good.


“Harry Potter is Awesome!”

5 Aug

Oliver and the boys and I started reading the Harry Potter books together several months ago and we just finished the 7th book last night. It makes me happier than it should that my kids love this series as much as I do. Cool things we’ve discovered during our reading (and listening):

1. There is no prouder moment than hearing my children’s indignation at something they did “wrong” in the movie version.

2. Half of The Prisoner of Azkaban and all of The Goblet of Fire will last you the drive from NH to New Orleans and back. It will also make that drive far more enjoyable.

3. As much as I love reading the books out loud to my kids, it is disappointing to me (and probably to them) that my voice is not nearly as cool as Jim Dale’s.

4. It is worth a substantial part our taxes that our library has been able to loan us all of the audio CDs of the Harry Potter books.

5. Nothing was funnier to my kids than what is revealed in the epilogue of The Deathly Hallows.

6. My generation’s “you don’t know how good you’ve got it,” might just be not having to wait two years after the end of one book for the next to come out. On the other hand, they won’t understand the anticipation of waiting until midnight to pick up your reserved copy of the The Deathly Hallows and the joy of locking yourself in a room until you’ve finished all 759 pages.

7. We have had to establish rules around what spells you can and cannot perform on each other. For instance: Avada Kedavra and Accio Penis, NO. Patrificus Totalus or Expelliarmus, YES.

8. My kids call each other Muggle as an insult and frequently quote their favorite funny lines.

9. My 9-year-old yelled out, in the middle of one of the movies, “H-P i-s A-W-E-S-O-M-E!” And yes, he spelled it all out.

10. Someone just asked me when we could start rereading the whole series. I need one of those giant smiley face emoticons.


31 Jul

For the past four days, my house has been a total zoo (more than usual) as I have had two extra kids living here. It has been great to have my nieces and for my boys to have their cousins to play with, but it has been like one giant day of teaching Kindergarteners who are desperately in need of naps.

Things heard most frequently heard:

10. “Be Quiet,” screamed by Macy at Elyse, frequently at a time when both should be sleeping.

9. “I don’t want to watch a girl show.” OR “Those are boy pants! Ugh, look at the stripe!”

8. “He/she is being mean to me.”

7. “I need something to eat.”

6. “When can we go to the beach?”

5. “It’s my turn!”

4. “It’s not fair!”

3. “What can we do?”

2. “Underwear party!”

1. “Get out of my room and leave my stuff alone!” Owen yelling at the other four.


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