This Makes Me So Glad To Be Old


Before you read this and wonder why I’m doing reading drills with high schoolers, my students all have some intellectual or learning needs, and I teach a reading group for kids with pretty significant issues with written language.

Me: “Okay, break this word down for me.  First me, then together.  Sh-e-ll”

Everyone: “Sh-e-ll  Shhhelll.  Shell.”

Me: “Break it down. First me, then together.  Ch-i-ll.”

Ramon: “Chill!  Like Netflix and chill!  That’s how babies get made, Miss M, and this ain’t science.”



The Most Important Relationship You Can Have Is With Yourself…Unless You Can Be Friends With Oprah…Always Choose Oprah…



First week back, folks…first week back.

(While prepping them to write a friendly letter to themselves, about what three New Year’s Resolutions they’d like to take for 2015.)

Me: “Before you start, I want you to jot down three resolutions that you’re going to include in the body of your letter. Remember, two things you want to change…one thing you want to learn. Would any of you like to share one of your ideas?  I’ll start with one of mine…I’m going to read at least twenty-three books before school ends in May.”

D’Avonte: “Twenty-three books!?”

Me: “One for every week between now and summer.”

D’Avonte: “That’s crazy.”

Me: “Well, what did you put?”

D’Avonte: “Keep bein’ fierce, become famous, and get myself a man.”

Me: “I need you to pick two things you’re going to CHANGE, and one thing you want to learn.  What do you want to learn?”

D’Avonte: “If I tell you what I want to learn, you’re going to write me a referral.”

Me: (sigh) “Then I suggest you think of something that WON’T get you a referral.”

D’Avonte: (rolling eyes) “Fiiiiiine, ‘learn to drive’.”

Me: “Thank you, sweetie.”  (walking away)

D’Avonte: (under her breath) “Like that’s more important than learning to be better in bed.”

Remember When I Got To Teach Reading? Those Were The Days…



So…my friend D’Avonte was wearing a black mini-dress with lace tights and stilettos, because…it was a Tuesday.

Me: “Dee, if you’re going to wear a short skirt, you’ve got to sit lady-like…knees together, sister…knees together.”

D’Avonte: (laughing) “What’d you see!?  What’d you see!?”

Me: “I saw a flash of white, which given your outfit and your skin color seems unusual, so let’s, please, keep it classy.”

D’Avonte: (throwing hands to the sky) “Jesus, help me!”

Me: “We can all use all the help we can get today, apparently.”

D’Avonte: “True.  You know, Miss M…Jesus IS everywhere.”

Me: “Awesome, so he can see what I can…think about that when you’re sitting.”

D’Avonte: (theatrically crossing legs)

Me: “Thank you.”

D’Avonte: (gesturing to crotch) “I don’t need Jesus all up in there.”

Me: (facepalm)


The Happiest Place On Earth…That Also Scares The Living Shit Out Of You For Sport.



Okay, this is actually an old conversation, from last summer, when I took the kids to Disneyland, but someone reminded me of it last night…

(As the “bellhop” character welcomed us to Tower of Terror.)

Bellhop: “Please enter the library…”

Liam: “Library!? They’re going to make us READ!?”

A Literacy Test With A Side of Misdemeanor.



Usually, giving a primary-age literacy test is an exercise in the mundane…but then, there are those times when the universe decides to shine down upon you and bestow a gift. This year…it brought me two…

Is it wrong to profile a 1st grader?

Is it wrong to profile a 1st grader?

And…this gem…

I need to start hanging out with this kid more.

I need to start hanging out with Garth’s wife…she sounds awesome.

So, You Made Your Kid a Co-Dependent, Drug Addict With Literature!



The Giving Tree: Let’s call this book what it really is: A Manual For Codependency.  Seriously.  The tree gives and gives and gives to this kid, turning him into a little ingrate, and then, only at the END, when he’s used the tree up completely, and he has nothing left in his life, does the kid (now an old man, who has no other options) settle for sitting on the tree, and the tree is content with this.  Giving Tree…get thyself to a 12-step meeting.

Goodnight Moon:  And, dear, Lord, I know I’m burning the proverbial Mommy flag on this one, but I must.  As much as my kids loved this book, and as much as I liked reading it (okay, I admit, in part, because it was short), there is a bowl full of mush just laying around collecting botulism…a rodent in a the nursery spreading Hantavirus, and some creepy old women telling people to hush.  (Am I the only person who gets reminded of The Others when they read that page?)  This joint needs a housekeeper and an exorcism, STAT.

Dr. Seuss…all of them: Look, I love them, I do.  But, maybe fewer pages, Dr. Seuss?  Mommy needs to scramble to catch her only minutes of child-free time, before bed, and there’s a glass of wine and a TIVO of Gigalos calling her name. You’re forcing me to palm 5 pages at a time, like I’m Criss Friggin’ Angel, to fake my kids out that we’re done faster.

However, specifically, shall we cover…

Green Eggs and Ham: Yes, yes, we should all try new things, but the level of peer pressure that is given to eat some horrifying foodstuffs, makes your average cocaine dealer look reasonable.  Is it THAT much of a leap to see it as, “Would you snort it on a bass…would you snort it off a hooker’s ass?”  No, it really isn’t.  Furthermore, maaaaybe, in the short term, we shouldn’t be teaching our children that ‘taking a no’, isn’t an option, because, for today…it teaches them to nag and argue the hell out of everything they want…and tomorrow, it has darker implications.  Also…not all that great about respecting other cultures, Sam-I-Am.  Not a guy who’s down with anyone into Judaism or Islam, are you?  Sam-I-Am-A-Xenophobe, is more like it.

Are You My Mother: Seriously, where was this bitch.  The kid was on his own, from day one.  Where is CPS when you need them?  One-day-old and he’s hanging out on heavy machinery with predatory species.

The BFG: Yes, I’m happy that there is ONE big, friendly giant…but can we please revisit that huge part about children being EATEN by all the other giants?  “And all the other children were eaten in their beds, after their parents tucked them in for the night.” (closes book) “Well…good night sweetie…sweet dreams…don’t let the enormous giants bite…ha ha ha…no, seriously, good night.”  This book is the reason why children take Xanax and hate their parents.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie: Okay, I actually really like this one…it teaches kids the truth…that no good deed goes unpunished.