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Things I Hate: “Final Score” License Plate Frames

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
By Glinda

It’s totally irrational, I freely admit it.

But it annoys me to no end to see a family dynamic that is fairly uncontrollable (unless possibly adopting a particular sex) played out as competition.

The one up in the picture I can sort of live with, but I saw one today that caused me a fair amount of rage.

Instead of a simple boys vs. girls, it had “Boys 2, Princess 1.”

Ugh.

Let’s not show any favoritism here or anything.  Nothing like letting everyone in the Southern California region know that you think your daughter is a cute, adorable princess and your boys are just, well, boys.  Whatever.

Now if it had said “Princes 2, Princess 1” I would have been totally fine with it.

Perhaps I have a certain sensitivity when it comes to girl favoritism when it comes to my in-laws, who definitely fawn over the granddaughters much more than the grandsons.  And of course, they have almost twice as many grandsons.

Fine, fine.  It’s totally a personal problem.  I’ll just go away and sulk in a corner by myself.


The Time I Fought the School District. And Won.

Thursday, May 24th, 2012
By Glinda

I’ve been meaning to tell this story for a while, but I’ve been so buried under stuff that my mind has been unable thus far to tell the tale in a fairly truncated manner.

Because man, the whole thing was just stupid.   And get ready with some coffee and scones, because this is one loooong story.

In my state, some 2nd graders are tested for the gifted program. In some schools, every single child is tested, in others, only ones that have been recommended by teachers.  In my particular district, a test called the Naglieri is used.  The Naglieri is often used in many school districts with a large population of students that speak a second language or are economically disadvantaged, or both.  Essentially, it doesn’t have any words and uses pictures instead.

So the Munchkin was recommended to take the test, but upon doing some research and speaking with my sister, who is a GATE teacher, I found out that some students with verbal giftedness can do badly on the Naglieri.  Because duh, no words.  I asked that very question of the district GATE coordinator at a parent information meeting, and she did indeed admit that some verbally gifted students could be overlooked with that specific test.

Cut to my son receiving a HORRIBLE score on that test. I mean, according to the Naglieri, he wasn’t even performing up to grade level standards.  Which of course was not true.

I wrote a nice and polite email to the GATE coordinator stating that I didn’t think my son’s performance was reflective of his abilities, as we all could tell from his grades that he was obviously performing at or above grade level.

She replies that fine, if I would like, she could have a broader-scale IQ test administered, called the WISC-IV.  This is a two hour test conducted by a trained school psychologist that spans a larger set of skills than the Naglieri, which is mostly focused on logic.

So the Munchkin takes the test, and when he gets in the car afterwards, he tells me his brain is “on fire.”

Which I sort of took to be a good sign.

His test scores come back, and there are four subsets of results dealing with specific areas of skill.  His verbal is fantastic, definitely in the highly gifted range.  He has some good scores in two other subsets, but only in the moderately gifted range.  Then comes a low-ish score in the last subset.

I’m told that oh, too bad.  That low-ish score means my son isn’t good enough to qualify for the GATE program.  OKTHXBAI.

Wait, what?

(more…)


Things I Hate: A Certain Children’s Movie “Classic”

Thursday, December 15th, 2011
By Glinda

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

As much as I love Dick Van Dyke, I just cannot bring myself to like this movie.

For some strange reason, I’d never seen it as a kid, and thus my first viewing was that of a cynical 40 year old, which may have something to do with it. My husband was stunned that I’d never watched it and insisted on telling me what a great movie it was.   Look, he said, it has a three and half star rating!  That’s one half off of a four star, so there was no way it could be bad.

Don’t believe the hype.

There are so many plot holes the mind simply boggles. And know it is an unfair comparison, but Sally Ann Howes?  The poor man’s Julie Andrews.  I told my husband there was a reason Julie is a household name and good old whatshername isn’t.  Listening to her caterwaul around her country estate in her fake hair for what seems like eternity about how she loves this guy she just barely met makes me want to throw the remote at the television.  A billion times.

The name Truly Scrumptious and all of the horrible songs about it that pepper the entire movie are JUST WRONG.  There should not be a famous movie with a character named Truly Scrumptious in it.  Hmmph.

The irony is my daughter adores all of the musical numbers in this thing, and I have had to endure them an untold amount of times.

Is there a classic children’s movie that you know you are supposed to like, but don’t?


Mission Impossible: Buying Kid’s Stuff on Craigslist

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011
By Glinda

I just wanted a swing set.

OK, so they don’t make that particular model anymore,, but people are always trying to get rid of the big plastic stuff like slides, sandboxes, and swing sets.

And sure enough, I found quite the few listings in my area.

Little did I know I was to embark upon an odyssey that would leave me enraged, frustrated, and disappointed in all mankind.

The first lady we contacted said sure, we could buy it, and for fifty bucks off the original price.  Score!

We wanted to pick it up the next day, but she said she would not be home and we would have to pick it up next weekend.  Fine.  We told her we could come on Friday morning, we all agreed, and promised to call on Wednesday night to get her address.

Wednesday arrives, we call, and she breezily informs us that she has already sold it.  After speaking to us, she had re-listed at the price she was willing to sell to us for, and someone else responded.

Uh, what?

Well, people, she said, are flaky.  The people offered to come right away, yadda yadda yadda.

Hey lady, you know those flaky people you were talking about? Consider yourself one of them.

Then we had the man who was “firm” on his price, which was over by about a hundred and fifty compared to everyone else.  Stay firm, man, stay firm.  You’ll be firm for a very long time.  If this was involving Viagra, you’d be golden.  However, since it’s a swing set, you will wind up being very sad.

And the next one? Just sold, of course.

Finally we had the one who only replied to me once, didn’t reply for days after I offered to come and pick up the item ASAP, and then wrote me that someone had offered her more money.

This all in the course of a week.

I told my husband that if I wind up being screwed by ten people in a row, I’m buying a new one, dammit.

 

 

 


Things I Hate: Ponyo

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
By Glinda

Given my admiration for Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s talents, I find it rather odd to be writing this post.  I have loved many of his previous films, and was looking forward to seeing Ponyo.  I didn’t see it at the theater because I had a newborn at the time it came out, but I patiently waited for it on cable.

Finally it popped up and I eagerly scheduled it to tape on the DVR.  Even though I had taped it so that the Munchkin and I could watch it together, for some reason he had little interest in it, and I decided to keep watching it without him.

Unfortunately, I should have followed his lead.

Visually, the movie was completely stunning.  I was in awe of Miyazaki’s depiction of the ocean and its denizens, real and fantasy alike.

But then came a little something called the plot.

You see, it is basically a love story about two five year olds.

Sure, you can couch it in whatever other terms you like, but that’s basically what it boils down to.  If these two aforementioned kindergarteners can prove that they love each other completely, well then the Earth won’t be destroyed.

So the destiny of the planet hinges on two people who normally can barely decide what they want for dinner, much less choose a lifemate.

Thanks.

I have to admit that the whole thing creeped me out in a BIG way.  Did I mention it’s a love story featuring two five year olds? I suppose you could argue that I’m making it more about love than friendship, but that is the way I took it. Hearing their tiny, immature voices professing their undying love for one another is something I wish to never hear again. Ditto Noah Cyrus’ voice, which I found to be completely grating.   

I’ll stick with Howl’s Moving Castle, thank you very much.


Things I Hate: Toys that Pretend to Teach My Child Another Language

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
By Glinda


Do I think it is a good idea for my children to learn another language? Emphatically, yes. I, along with almost every other parent I know, do not wish to see my child crushed in whatever future global competitive job market that is coming.  An acquaintance of mine has a child that is tri-lingual, speaking English, Arabic, and Spanish.  This, of course, makes me  feel anxiety that my kids are going to be left in the multi-cultural dust.

And that is why toy manufacturers have jumped on the bilingual bandwagon with toys like this, this and of course, this.

Of course you can buy them just for simple exposure to another language (and by extension, another culture), but if you are truly looking to teach your child another language, don’t fool yourself that these will do the trick. 

You might be better off getting some flashcards, but I would recommend a) having someone fluent in the language speak to your child on a regular basis or failing that, b) classes.  If your child is a bit older, something like this will probably do the trick, as second language courses in public elementary/middle schools have already gone the way of the dodo due to budget cuts, if they were ever there to begin with.

Let’s face it, your child is not going to become fluent in Spanish just because she presses a few buttons once or twice a day that sing “rojo” and “verde.” Trust me on this one.


Things I Hate: Bad Children’s Books

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
By Glinda

Forget your teen journal, where you scribbled away late at night before bedtime.

Some of the worst writing ever is to be found in children’s books.

I’m not exactly sure how these verses ever got past an editor, but it seems that even the most tortured of rhymes and the most illogical of scenarios are allowable if the only people reading them are kids.

Except, they aren’t, because the adults usually have to read the books aloud first, all in the name of promoting literature.

Take, for example, a book that belonged to the Munchkin, and has survived to be experienced by his sister. I abhor reading this book, but because it has such excellent touch-and-feel elements, I grit my teeth and try to make the best of a bad situation.

Here are some of my least favorite sections:

When Violet’s in her jammies and she’s ready for her bed.
She curls under a warm, soft quilt, a pillow for her head.

I ask you, how in the world can it be a pillow for her head if she is under the freaking thing?  It bugs me every time.

Come into Violet’s living room and touch her big round chair!
The curtains, blown in the summer’s wind, are smooth like Violet’s hair.

The author really had to stretch to make that one fit the meter. Awkward.

Or how about this one from another book, which is also visually very fascinating, so I had to keep it. But oy, the wording!

“Cluck, cluck, cluck,” says mother hen, “save some food for me.”
“Of course I will,” says Freddie, “If you lay an egg for my tea.”

Oh great, so extortion is now what they’re teaching kids these days, eh? Nice to know.

This book is an always-popular lift-the-flap, but the person who wrote it (the same author as the first mind-numbing book above) must have sat there for weeks trying to reconcile this next verse, and she doesn’t even really succeed.

The desert sand is dry and white.
But elephants? Nowhere in sight!
A cactus shades a brown lizard,
An armadillo, coyotes, little birds.

I cringe every time I have to mangle the word “lizard” to make it even close.

Listen, I know not everyone can be a Theodore Geisel, but can the publishing world be a bit more discriminating?  Please?

Think of the children!


Things I Hate: Justin Bieber Dolls

Thursday, September 30th, 2010
By Glinda

 

He looks a whole lot beefier in doll form, doesn’t he?

Teen idols are NOT supposed to have doll versions of themselves just in time for the holidays.

They just aren’t.

If you are at an age where you are still playing with Barbies, then I’m not sure you should know exactly who Justin Bieber is or desire a plastic facsimile of him.

Because we all know the “experiments” done with dolls, and nothing good ever comes of those.

And if you are at an age when you are no longer playing with Barbies, then you owning the plastic version of the object of your affection is all sorts of wrong in more ways than I can count.

Although I do have to say they seem to have gotten the blank stare just right.

When Biebers attack!









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