Friday, September 09, 2011


When I'm not trying to work or sleep or keep my fool kids from killing each other (it's sweet actually how much they love each other--they hug and kiss and everything, which if you don't think is adorable I have some concern for the cold black granite that is YOUR HEART--but hand-in-hand with this adorable snugglefest is the fact that they fight like puppies crammed into a wicker basket only given one very small squeak toy to share) sometimes I try to update this blog. Clearly I have failed these past two weeks. But that Virgina Apgar thing was still pretty cool, wasn't it?


The big news these past few weeks is that Joe has left the world of academia and has now joined Paces Plastic Surgery, an excellent and highly respected plastic surgery group in Atlanta. It was tough to leave the university setting, but we're all very proud of him and excited for his prospects. To be totally honest, Joe is one of the very best doctors I know, and he cares about people and families more than just about any practitioner I've ever met. His patients are very lucky.  So here's to new beginnings for him, and for us.

Cal has been...well, Cal has been great.  You probably remember that I had some reservations prior to the start of this school year (we just switched schools, after all, so I had some concerns about the, shall we say, elasticity of the curriculum) but we've been pleased and actually delighted at how attentive and responsive his teachers have been, especially given that we'd actually not said anything to them at all.

"Maybe we should tell them to give him some harder math problems," Joe said near the beginning of the year, as we looked at Cal's homework (which was a giant worksheet of, essentially, counting problems).

After I duct taped him to his chair and stuck a sock in his mouth, I hissed at him don't you dare say anything, because it was the first week of the school year and the last thing I wanted to do was position us as the insane pushy Tiger Parents who don't know when to shut up.  I wanted to trust the teacher to make that assessment on her own.  Cal had a long history (particularly in preschool) of being perfectly able to do things well, but being too stubborn to show anyone that he could.  It led to talk of remediation a few years ago, for chrissake.  So I figured, just let it be for now.  Cal would either show what he could do, or he wouldn't.  And the teacher would make an assessment of what he should be doing, or she wouldn't.  But the first two weeks of school was way, way too early to start inserting ourselves and insisting that, HEY, MY KID CAN READ HARRY POTTER AND DO MULTIPLICATION, ARE YOU DOING HARRY POTTER AND MULTIPLICATION IN SCHOOL YET?  There's a fine line between advocacy and just being a pain in the ass.

So we didn't say anything.  Cal has been having fun at his new school.  He loves his teacher.  He is making new friends. These are the big things.  But also, on the other end of things, his teacher has told us that she's going to start pulling him out of their regular math class and that the "Enrichment" teacher is going to design some special extended projects for him to do during that time so that he doesn't get bored.  This really makes me happy, because the worst thing that could happen to Cal would be for him to become disenchanted with school--already he's asked me why, if school is so easy, does he have to go every day.  (Because of THE LAW, son.)

Anyway, I'm really impressed with the school's flexibility, it's certainly beyond what I had expected, and I'm even more glad that they came to that decision outside of me or Joe pushing anything.  Or perhaps it was Cal doing the pushing, as he'll regularly finish up his homework, and then, on the blank page on the back, write himself an entire new worksheet of more difficult math problems, and then finish those too.

I'm proud of my boy, is all.

(ASIDE FROM MEMORY LANE: When I was in fifth grade, I remember the teacher letting me and this other boy, Frances, do our own writing activities during the phonics curriculum, because phonics was, well...pretty ridiculous.  So what Frances and I decided to do was a booklet of political cartoons centered around the 1988 presidential elections, where we lampooned each candidate, as well as the sitting president at the time, Ronald Reagan.  I believe there were a couple of comic strips featuring Mikhail Gorbachev as well, and I remember studying his nevus flammeus very carefully so I could draw it just right.  And that, friends, is what you call a Baby Nerd.)

It's probably been observed to the point of stereotype that after a bringing into the world a particularly bookish, adult-oriented child, your second child is bound to be the human equivalent of a monster-truck rally, and that is most definitely the case at our house.  Mack is like...well, he's like a Mogwai.  Starts off real cute, ultimately destructive, and should not be fed after midnight.  (If it turns out he starts multiplying in number after he gets wet, however, we're in big trouble.)

The weather has finally started getting cooler here, and after four straight months of 90+ degree weather, I could not be more ready.  It's been a long summer, but autumn smells like beginnings.


  1. Anonymous10:50 AM

    It's great to see that everything is unfolding well. Problems get solved, one way or another, and then we put one foot in front of the other.

    Hurrah for crunchy leaves and warm jackets around the corner!

  2. Anonymous11:07 AM

    No doubt Mack will live up to your image of him.

    Congratulations on Joe's new job.

  3. Anonymous11:17 AM

    I worked for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons from 1998 to 2006 and Drs. Hester and Nahai are two of its most distinguished members. I now work for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons but I still miss those Plastic guys! Best to Joe in his new endeavor. He's with a great practice.

  4. Your updates were missed but I'm glad things are going well with the kiddies and with Joe's new step-up. Congrats to him!!

  5. as a car seat technician that picture makes me cringe, i'm not sure if he is rear or forward facing. It looks like RF'ing still so kudos to that! but the chest clip should be at armpit level. It is not a belly clip :)

  6. When are we gonna see Joe in the airplane magazines as one of The Best Plastic Surgeons in America?


  7. Anonymous7:33 PM

    Will Joe be doing that kind of eyelid surgery so popular in Asia? You guys must make A LOT of money, but kudos to you for keeping Cal in public school.

  8. Anonymous8:06 PM

    Where's Cooper?

  9. Glad your public school is so proactive when it comes to keeping Cal engaged. I worry about my son becoming bored too. He's only in K, and many of the things he has to do in class are things he already learned on his own or in preschool. He has impressed them with his reading ability and was invited to read to the school on their morning news show.

    Congrats to Joe and his new endeavor!

    Oh, and yeah, our second child is like Mack. He gets into everything and will destroy it if he doesn't get his way!

  10. ER doc9:40 PM

    i was also way ahead of the curve throughout my public school education - and my experiences were very, very varied. i was frequently bored, and some teachers dealt with it better than others. i, however, was the opposite of Cal - i was ready to tell anyone who would listen about what i knew and what i was reading. good luck to you, i know my mom had to fight some battles to get what i needed at certain points in my education. i think i turned out ok, see my posting name...

  11. Anonymous2:17 AM

    My son went from a teacher saying he had "ADHD" one year and pushing us to get him on medication to a teacher ordering a special math curriculum just for him another year because he was so far ahead. Thankfully your son's teacher saw what he needed! I think being bored in school because it's too easy is misdiagnosed many times.

  12. Congratulations to Joe!

    It's amazing isn't it to have two children who are so different. My two boys are diametrically opposite: one is majoring in Engineering, the other is going to major in Music.

  13. As a first grade teacher, I am SO HAPPY that you made Joe wait and take a step back from talking to the teacher. :) :) :)
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  14. Anonymous5:58 PM

    just out of curiosity, do you personally ever plan to work part-time sometime down the road?

  15. As a public school teacher the line "There's a fine line between advocacy and just being a pain in the ass." made me SO happy. I love your wait and see approach and I am thrilled that Cal's teacher is advocating for Cal.

    I know that for too many years I was too caught up with my struggling students and didn't do enough for my advanced students.

    Also, congrats on Joe's new job!

  16. Andie1:04 PM

    If you truly have a Mogwai child your life will never be dull. You will have afternoon conferences with teachers, support groups and maybe a biweekly trip the a therapist and yes the occasional trip to the ED - best of luck!

  17. Anonymous12:55 AM

    Now can you swim in your ocean of gold doubloons, like Scrooge McDuck? I believe you may have mentioned that a while back...

  18. Believe it or not, swimming in a ocean of gold dubloons is not something I have aspired to (nor achieved). Having identical triplet nephews, however...