Friday, October 24, 2008

Kinder Speak, Rhyme-Style

Warning: Drinking and rhyming can be dangerous to your keyboard.

A little background first: Twenty-some years ago, as a young mother, I had enrolled my son in Joy School. Joy School was a wonderful, parent-run, cooperative preschool. Each of us took turns teaching a weekly unit about a particular "joy" in life, hence the name. We were provided with suggested lessons and pre-recorded songs, some of which I still sing. I loved every second of it as did my sons and we made enduring friendships with the other children and mothers.

I was teaching one unit that suggested we record the children as they told a story. What a great gift for any parent, right? Immortalizing those toddler voices and pronunciations, capturing a precious moment in time, it's a brilliant idea.

One very bright little guy decided to tell a rhyming story. And the word he chose to rhyme was bucket. Yes, he chose to rhyme bucket and fucket. I tried to coax him gently to think of other words that rhymed with bucket. I grew desperate and suggested maybe he could tell a story about a dog or cat. This child was having none of it. He single-mindedly rhymed bucket and fucket frequently and with perfect diction throughout a fairly long story as my mind frantically tried to figure out how to deflect him from his chosen vocabulary. Eventually, it was apparent that I stood as much chance of deflecting the Santa Ana winds so I gave up the fight and made his recording.

Have I mentioned yet that at the time I lived in Orange County, that California bastion of Republican conservatism where I was one of ten registered Democrats? Or that the other mothers in my group were all Mormon and I used to joke that I was the token heathen? Fortunately, motherhood produces a stronger bond than politics or religion and we all not only co-existed but really liked each other. I warned his mom about the recorded subject matter as I handed it to her and I can still hear her hoot of amused laughter. To this day, the infamous Bucket Tape has been a favorite highlight of our Joy School years.

Fast forward to today. Friday is our Show-and-Tell day. Usually the children bring something to share that starts with the Letter of the Week: a snake for S week, a rabbit for R week, a mermaid for M week. Today the children had to share two things that rhymed. Several children brought a cat and a hat. One brought a dime and a lime, another little girl wore a skirt and a shirt, a little boy rhymed his toy car and a canning jar. The kindergartners were enthusiastic about inventing other rhymes to add: they added fat and bat, time and rhyme, dirt and pert, etc.

We also read a book about The Big Fat Hen. You know--nine, ten, a big fat hen. They took turns contributing words, both silly and real, to each rhyme. My favorite was the little girl that rhymed three, four, shut the door, with whore.

It took over twenty years to produce a rhyme as memorable as bucket. Pity we didn't record it for her parents to cherish.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Making Nice

I'm still around. But it's hard to post when I'm abiding by the principle that if I can't say anything nice, I won't say anything at all. Which isn't a bad idea for political candidates to follow as well.


  • I'm grateful that political candidates are willing to donate their time and energy.
  • I believe (mostly) that they have good intentions. Really, I do.
  • I'm grateful that I live in a country where it's my duty to have an opinion. Better make that Opinion with a capital O, because, dude, I'm opinionated.
  • I firmly believe that we (Americans, Canadians, world citizens) have more in common than not.
  • I believe that people are basically good and kind.
  • I know all of us will be happy when the ballots are cast and the winners are announced and we can all go back to a more balanced existence.
  • Isn't it nice when the last debate is behind us?
  • I've never enjoyed roller coaster rides and the stock market isn't helping--although if Disneyland offered free lifetime rides on Big Thunder Mountain RR, I'd be first in line.
  • I love autumn. Even when the first frost comes early and wipes out zukes and tomatoes that are finally producing.

    Okay, enough positivity for now.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Creek Runs Through It

My brain is no longer on auto explode if I don't lift a shovel, trowel, stone, pebble, or finger continuously during each hour of daylight that I'm not at work.

It's not perfect. It's not done. But it's finished for this year and I can take pleasure in listening to my mini babbling brook, watching for the flash of a gold fin, or laughing at a big golden puppy sitting in the pond.

I can rest easy.

On the slate for next Spring: pebbles and river rock inside the pond...plants around the perimeter...cattails and lotus underwater pond light...a sitting area...luring frogs to our yard...a life that does not revolve around pond engineering and construction.