Monthly Archives: December 2008

Happy Holidays!

I will preface this by saying that in the religion department we are Roman Catholic and we celebrate Christmas.  That, I’m sure, will have you wondering why my son Snags was standing before a lit menorah on our kitchen table on the first night of Hanukkah, singing his own twisted version of the Bare Naked Ladies version of the song, O Hanukkah O Hanukkah.  Snags’ version went something like this: “O Hanukkah, O Hanukkah, come light the menorah, O Hanukkah, O Hanukkah, we’re not very Jewish…”

We have a menorah because political correctness means that school children around the nation have learned just enough to be curious and somewhat envious about other holiday celebrations that occur at this time of year.  And when you are 7 years old, and enchanted by CANDLES!!!!!, there is nothing so great as a lit menorah, the ultimate candle holder.  A Kinara would be the second best thing, being as it holds 7 candles. But the Advent Wreath, sadly, which only holds four candles, is a major loser in the Holiday Candle Holder Competition as far as my son is concerned.  

And so, on the first night of Hanukkah, Snags begged to light the menorah and then worried if Santa would still bring him presents.  At first I said no, Santa wouldn’t.  Because I thought Snags was asking if Santa was going to bring him Hanukkah gifts.  As Snags rushed to blow out the Menorah, I realized what he was really asking, and I assured him that yes, Virginia, Santa would still bring him presents for Christmas, regardless of his fascination with that ultimate candle holder.

And so with that I’d like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, and a Joyous Kwanza. 

And I believe this song, by Straight No Chaser, does it best: The Twelve Days of Christmas

(If you can’t hear it from the link above, you can go here.)


Filed under Christmas

Editing Marks

Just so you know, Snags signed some of our Christmas cards this year.  If you receive a card where the signatures are printed in pencil, as if we could erase the sentiment, don’t be offended.  Accept the card for what it is, a Christmas wish from all of us to you, signed by Snags for me, because I’ve been otherwise occupied with shopping and wrapping and baking and tending to the paper cut I got on my tongue from licking the envelopes on the Christmas cards.  The cards, by the way, were made in China, and I fear for my life because who knows what they made the envelope glue out of, and I ingested quite a bit of it before I slashed my tongue open and sent the foul tasting and scary glue directly to my bloodstream. Don’t fear the mail though, I threw THAT card away.
Snags’ handwriting is pretty neat these days, even if he did throw a few extra commas into the card signing this year: Love, Snags, Belle, and, Snags’ Dad, …  He didn’t catch the extra commas, and I chose not to point them out.

Snags’ first grade class has been learning about editing and editing marks, and how to edit their own writing.  This I don’t understand.  I don’t think I learned about editing until college.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that when I was in first grade I was still learning my ABC’s.  But with editing marks and their recent drug education curriculum, it appears that first grade is the new freshman year of college.

I have to admit, I have a problem with this.  It’s first grade.  The children write in PENCIL.  They should be able to erase their mistakes and start over.  No?  They should not draw lines through their words and move on.  If they forget a letter in a word, they should just go back and squeeze it in there.  It’s not like they have perfect character spacing in their handwriting anyway.  Who would even know?

But Snags’ first grade teacher has a different philosophy about all of this and she has instilled her ways into the children.  Or at least into Snags.

Make a mistake and instead of correcting it, you edit it.  Use a caret to show where you meant to insert a missing letter.  Cross out letters that don’t belong, or are lowercase when they should be uppercase, or vice versa.

I disagree.  Use your erasers, is what I’m saying.  Because at the beginning of the school year, each child had to bring in two boxes of pencils (presumably they all came with erasers) and four large pink pearl erasers.  School has been in session for only a few months.  There are 22 kids in the class.  With four erasers each, that makes 88 erasers, not counting the ones on the ends of the pencils. Surely they haven’t run out of erasers already?

Because this editing business got Snags into trouble the other day as he was writing a thank you note for a gift he received.  He made some mistakes while writing, and he decided to simply cross them out and carry on.  The result looked as though he was thanking the gift giver, but changed his mind. He wrote THANK YOU, then crossed it out completely, because he meant to write Thank You; he didn’t mean to write in all capital letters.  When I saw the finished Thank You note, with the words THANK YOU crossed out, and no other form of thanks written in its place, I questioned him about all the crossed out words and told him that he’d have to erase them and start over.  He got mad and insisted on using the editing marks because he LEARNED THIS IN SCHOOL. 

But I pervailed.  In this house, we fix our mistakes and make things look nice.  We don’t cross out our mistakes on thank you notes.  It looks like you aren’t thanking them at all, I said.  Snags held his ground and yelled at me because I AM NOT THE TEACHER, and so I sent him to his room where he had to stay until he calmed down and decided to do it my way.

Eventually he came out of his room and rewrote the card (grudgingly) without crossing out any of the sentiment of it.  He then insisted on showing me all of the editing marks he’s learned in school: the cross out, the caret, and the circle around a missing period, so the end result looks like a Target ad.

When parent teacher conferences rolled around I had to ask the teacher to tell Snags that editing marks were only for school, not for writing at home.  She laughed as I told her about the thank you card ordeal, but that’s only because she wasn’t here to see the tears. 

At any rate, I think she had a word with Snags, because we haven’t had problems with editing marks since then.  The problems have moved on to his reading comprehension homework where he insists on using his own “kid version” of spelling when in fact, the correct spelling of a particular word is in the paragraph he just finished reading.  This drives me nuts.  But, I’m told by other parents with older children in the same school, that spelling doesn’t become important until 3rd grade.  That’s like what, college junior year?

May the Lord help us and bless us all with patience and good health and holiday cheerCHEER.  No, I think I mean Cheer!


Filed under Christmas, editing marks, first grade