Posts Tagged ‘Kids’

Is this just me?

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

 
So I have this little thing I do, and I’ve often wondered if it’s just me, but before I get to it, I’d better give the background.
 
(FYI: If you’re a speech therapist, please read this and tell me if you have any insight into this odd problem.)
 
Back when my son was little, I read him this book over and over—as usually happens with children. Thomas and the Big Big Bridge. One time I was reading the story to him, I realized there’s this line where I transposed one word. I didn’t skip it, but I moved it to another place in the sentence.
 
The next time I’m reading, I noticed I did the same thing again. And it happens again and again. Almost every time I read that sentence, I automatically moved that word.
 
Since I was reading aloud a lot, I noticed I did this in other books too. It’s like I move a word to another spot, where obviously it sounds/flows better. While I’m reading, I’m completely conscious of the fact I move words, but I’m not moving them on purpose. It just comes out of my mouth that way. (This might happen once per book on average.)
 

Image courtesy of Master isolated / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


What is wrong with my brain? Is this why I hated reading aloud in high school? Do I have some weird dyslexic-type thing where people do this? Am I the only one?
 
Now I know I’m not really dyslexic cause I’ve always been a good reader/writer, and I loved English classes and generally did well in school.
 
And now that I’ve become a writer and have found I love critiquing, I’m starting to wonder if my brain is so smart and advanced that it’s automatically editing the text before it passes them along to my mouth. I mean, that makes perfect sense, right?
 
No, but seriously, it’s the weirdest thing, and I have no clue why it happens? Do you ever do this?
 

Abbreviate this

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

(FYI: Come back Tuesday for a new feature… The Big Reveal)

Learning to read is hard. Or so I assume because I did it so long ago and can’t remember. But my kids are there now. One thing they don’t fully understand yet is abbreviations. I guess I shouldn’t expect much, they’re young.

A conversation held with my daughter.
Miranda: I know how to spell U-N-D
Me: Oh yeah, how?
Miranda: I don’t know. (With a confused look on her face.)

We had this conversation in the kitchen as she’s standing in front of Lincoln’s art project, a collage of
C-3PO. On it are a few Star Wars words but also the name of C-3PO, or as he attempted to write it: See-Three-Pee-O.

Abbreviations must be hard for kids when they’re first learning to read. They learn to sound out a word to spell it, and that obviously doesn’t work. A beginning reader might try spell it youndee. With Miranda, she knew UND refers to the school, but I’m sure she doesn’t know that it stands for the University of North Dakota shortened down.

So it got me thinking about how the abbreviations we use change over time. Lately I’ve been learning all the ones that writers use, but here are a few of the important ones from my life.

Life in the 80s
SCUBA: Thank you Alex P. Keaton. I will always remember what this means. Self contained underwater breathing apparatus, just in case you didn’t know.
AU: Although I have since memorized many elements from the periodic table, gold was one of the first thanks to Natalie and Tootie. (A U, give me back my gold). How I loved that show.
USSR: I remember being proud of knowing the difference between the USSR and Russia, which we discussed in 9th grade Global Ed with Mr. K. (So I was a little nerdy back then, who cares)
BFF & JK: Best friends forever and just kidding—the precursor to the :) . I was a ridiculously avid note writer in jr. high and high school—not sure how I got good grade, since apparently I was writing notes all the time. Being the pack rat I am, I still have the notes I got from my friends during those years. They’re HILARIOUS and reading them brings back many things I’d forgotten.

College Life
KAΘ: Kappa Alpha Theta, the women’s fraternity I belonged to.
ASCE: American Society of Civil Engineers. The student organizations I belonged to which brought us fun things such as the steel bridge competition and the concrete canoe contest. Did you know concrete floats? It does if you mix it right.
Diff EQ: This was one of the most dreaded math classes we engineering students took. (And trust me, there were plenty) Differential Equations. I still shudder at the thought.
FE: The Fundamentals of Engineering exam is a national test we took at the end of college. If you want to become a licensed professional engineer, this is the first step. This was one long test and it covered not only my discipline of engineering, but all those others I didn’t learn much about other than the random introductory class all engineering students took.

Worklife
PE: This is the professional engineers exam, and is a requirement if you want to become licensed, which I had to do. One long, tough test taken in your discipline. I’m registered in three states by the way.
CAD: Computer aided design. For years I got to draw at work. Okay, there was a little more to it, but that’s basically what CAD is.
RCP, PVC, CMP: Reinforced concrete pipe, polyvinyl chloride (plastic) pipe, and corrugated metal pipe. The pipes underground that transport water and other unmentionables in and around the city.

Life with young kids
SAHM: stay at home mom—a lot of my friends
DTP: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (one of many shots the kids cried over when receiving) and yes, buy now I know what DPT stands for. Back when Lincoln got his first shot, I probably didn’t.
bpA: Bisphenol A { (CH3)2C(C6H4OH)2} Okay, I copied that out of Wikipedia; I didn’t know that. This is the dangerous compound used to make many of the plastics that my kids probably ate and drank out of. I’m not scared of it, but I’m glad they’re not using it like they used to.
SIDS: scary stuff, not much to say.

Life with Semi-Older kids
Pollys: Polly Pockets are the toys that live in our vacuum cleaner because they’re so darn small. Some moms throw out the shoes right away because a complete pair never lasts longs. I keep them. They can wear mis-matched shoes.
WWE: Wrestling. It’s not just for boys, girls like it too.
NCLB: No Children Left Behind. I won’t get into politics here, so we’ll leave it at that.
PS2: The video games my son loves to play: Playstation 2. Luckily we got it cheap and used from the neighbors.

Writing Life
SCBWI: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Pretty self-explanatory.
MS: Manuscript, your story. (It’s not a book until it’s published.)
MC: Main character. One of the people who takes over your brain when you’re writing.
SS: Simultaneous submission. Submitting your work to different agents at the same time.
MS: Multiple submissions. Submitting multiple works to one agent. (Took me a while to figure out what these two meant). This is a no-no with literary agents. One ms at a time.

I’m not sure what the next stage will be. Most likely learning all the chatting codes. But luckily cell phone usage for my kids is a few years off.

Dedicated to who

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

School conferences were this week (which went well by the way.) That means the PTA Scholastic book fair. Of course, they let the kids look ahead of time and send home the list with the exactl location of the book(s) they want. (And it’s always books). Lincoln had two he picked and I told him we’d get one.

Lincoln likes books, but he prefers to be read to than reading himself. So when he said he wanted a chapter book, I agreed to buy him two books—one was a chapter book, one was not.

The next day he brought the book to me and said, “I don’t want this book because it belongs to somebody else.”

Huh? It’s a brand new book.

“Yeah, it’s some girl’s book.”

I asked why he said that, thinking a girl had written her name in the book. He opened it up to the page that said, “For Jessica.”

I had to laugh. Then I showed him a few of my books and explained what the dedication was. He understood and readily accepted the book back.

It got me thinking about the book dedications. I often wonder who those people are and why that author chose them. I’ve known for a while who I’ll dedicate my first book to but after that, I don’t have it figured out.

Do other writers agonize over whom to choose? Especially with the first book. And what happens when you get to book number thirty? Is it hard then to figure it out then?

This is a great question to ask other writers. In a few weeks, I’m starting something new, tentatively called The Big Reveal. I have a group of writers from all levels: aspiring to to pre-published to published. Every week I will ask them a question about writing because it’s fun to learn about how other writers work and think. 

So watch for that.

My other fun news is this. I’m participating in two contests. This past week is my first time participating in my first Secret Agent Contest on The Authoress’ blog Miss Snark’s First Victim. You post your first page (250 words) and others can comment. Then a mystery agent reviews the entries  and decides from whom to request sample pages. He/she also gives a comment on each entry. My entry is #25.

The other contest I’m excited about is the Cupid’s Literary Connection contest. It started a few weeks ago and I made it to the second round with the agents, which starts tomorrow.

It’s too much for me to explain how it works, so click on the link above to find out. Last week was the time for others to comment on the query and first page. But this week is only for the agents. My entry is #40.

Wish me luck.

Pogo-sticking in December-how unusual

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

In early December, when I was critiquing somebody’s manuscript, I had a question for her about the weather in the story. Although she never gave a specific location, it wasn’t anywhere close to here—I knew that because of the weather.

I asked her if the weather in her story could happen, high spring temperatures in a place that gets (albeit rarely) snow. I qualified that I didn’t know because up here we have 6 months of winter and I’ve never lived anywhere else.

And if we’re really lucky and snow comes in October, you could say seven.

Of course, until just this weekend, it hasn’t felt like winter because we’ve had no snow. I cannot remember one Christmas with no snow and this one was weird.

Coulee ice

Some of the unusual things.

Seeing motorcycles driving down the street.

No sledding. (Usually no sledding is because of minus 10 degrees with 30 mph winds)

Skating on the coulee without having to shovel snow.

Also, being able to see in the frozen ice. (Usually it’s cloudy)

Going for long walks without worry about falling on your butt.

Pogo sticking in the driveway. (No slippery ice)

When I suggested to my mom that Lincoln might like a pogo stick, I figured he could use it in the garage since it’s not really pogo stick season around here. But he’s gotten to use it outside many times already.

Warmer temperatures are nice, but the kids miss the snow. At least we have some now and I’m sure much more is on the way–we’ve still got four months of winter left after all.

Happy New Year to everybody.

Nerve-Wracking

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

On Saturday, I got to watch Lincoln be a (fully dressed) goalie for the first time. In the locker room (where they stuff several teams into a tiny space), one of the coaches from another team asked if I was ready. I assume he meant ready to watch my son as a goalie. Which is probably nerve-wracking for parents of goalies.

But really, this is a first year mite, the pressure is not all that high. They score like ten-twenty goals per game.

What was nerve-wracking was that right after I got his leg pads on, I realized he didn’t have his breezers. And it was almost time to go. Luckily another coach (each team has like 4 coaches) was just sitting there and he helped me get the leg pads off and on a second time, assuring me that he too had once forgotten to put the breezers on his son.

If this does not sound like a big deal, you have never put goalie leg pads on in a rush. On Tuesday, Lincoln’s coach showed me what to do so this was my first time assembling the goalie gear on my own.

Many parents say they don’t want their kids to be goalies because of the cost of all the gear. Or the pressure on the goalie. I think it’s cause putting on the pads is the biggest pain in the butt.

This is what you have to do to make sure you keep the leg pads on.

One strap runs through the skate and you have to buckle it.
One set of laces (yes, shoe laces) wraps around the blade and you have to tie it.
Two Velcro straps stretch across the leg.
Two straps with buckles are pulled tight on the lower leg.
Two straps with plastic buckles go across the thigh.

Multiply all this by two, because a goalie has two legs. From the front, goalie pads look all cool. From the back, they’re a nightmare.

Then you have the chest protection, which also runs all the way down their arms. The neck piece. His helmet. Skates (put on before the leg pads). And breezers (put on before skates.) Two gigantic, odd-shaped gloves and a stick. No wonder they walk funny.

Although Lincoln enjoyed being a goalie, I don’t think he has any long range plans for continuing on. (YEA!!!) He still prefers left wing. I do too because then I can watch him score goals.

What does this have to do with writing? Not much. Although I can say that someday it’d be interesting to write a story revolving around hockey. Maybe a girl middle grade story. Or a girl who plays on a boys team because there is no girls teams. The ideas are already swimming in my head, but unfortunately I don’t have the time to work on it now. I’ll just have to write them down in my little notebook and one day I might get to it.

Oh really

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

I generally won’t post funny things my kids say, I like to save that for Facebook. But I’m going to give Miranda a post since it relates to books.

As we were at the bmx park watching Lincoln ride his bike on the track, 4 year old Miranda says to me, “I know a lot about motorcycles. I have a whole collection of books in my room.”

This is a bit of a surprise to me. As the only book I can think of was Fish and Flips, which by the way is from my stash of beloved Sweet Pickles books. (Fish does daring tricks on her motorcycle.)

But a collection. Really?

As a good mom, I smiled and nodded.