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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Knitting or how my daughter never wore the sweater

We had Elcie's conference this afternoon. All is well. I straightened out a couple of bothersome things that Elcie had reported. They were partly true and partly Elcie's love of drama. Her report card came in the mail yesterday - 2 A's
1 A-, 1 B, and 1 C + I think. The C was one of her reading grades - she had done the reading but hadn't passed her quota of minitests. One more time I explained to a teacher that I can't operate in a vacuum. If there are books she is supposed to bring home and read, they should let me know. The last thing the teacher said to me at the beginning of school was she didn't care what Elcie read as long as she read something. Now it turns out there are these special condensed versions of classics for her to read and pass tests on. Jane Eyre? Condensed? If they say so. As long as they don't try to force her to read Silas Marner. That had to be the most boring one book I have ever read. It almost put me off reading for life. I think every school in the state used it as the seventh grade "classic".

Anyhow - knitting.

I've always known how to knit and purl, cast on and off, and could even manage a cable stitch. My knitting was always much too tight but I kept trying. I made scarves - lots of scarves - in wild colors. Also a potholder or two. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I decided to make her a baby sweater - pale aqua and cable stitch. I didn't know how to use 4 needles so I made the pieces separately to sew together. I finished two pieces of it - cable stitch worked out perfectly and then realized I had made two left sides. I ripped it out, started over and made a right side to go with the other left. The back worked fine. It's hard to mess up the back. I made both sleeves, complete with ribbed cuffs. Then I sewed the ribbing to the shoulder. At that time, I took a good look at my creation. As I said, my knitting was too tight. That sweater might have fit a doll, but never a baby, even a newborn. Plus that pretty pale aqua had become grungy from handling and redoing. I put it in a drawer to look at every time I thought about picking up a pair of knitting needles. I broke my vow once or twice just to show someone how to get started but other than that, never again.

Les Miserables - I do have the Symphonic - the nice, albeit confused clerk found it for me. He finally led me back to the "musicals'' and there it was - one copy. Actually he found the right section for me - I spotted the cd immediately and said something like "Eureka" which confused him even more. If I have to replace it again, it'll be through Amazon; I didn't have a computer back then. He was nice enough to check all the versions and told me there were a couple less expensive. Yes, but I want the Symphonic, thank you. It's complete or very nearly so.

It's my third copy. My grandson borrowed it twice and lost it both times. Each time, one of my sons replaced it as a birthday present for me. I'd say my grandson owes me his firstborn child but I already have his firstborn child (and his secondborn and his thirdborn). We'll have to figure out something else. Now I have it copied to Music Match and have an extra copy on cd. If someone wants to borrow it, they can borrow the cheap copy; not my $60 3 cd set. We get too soon old and too late smart.

My cold seems to have retreated, temporarily at least. We'll see what I sound like in the morning but at least I can breathe at the moment, I haven't sneezed since this afternoon and my nose has slowed to an occasional drip. God that's gross when I write it down.

Rebecca stalled on homework tonight - partly my fault; I let the time get away and she had told me she had only one page. Sure. She had one page - both sides plus 27 problems in her math book; most of them multiplication of the above-mentioned numbers and many others like them. We started a little before 8 with a 9 o'clock bedtime and once I saw what she had, I put my pencil down and said no way. She had completed 13 problems on her own earlier in the afternoon but we would have been there until midnight and she wouldn't have learned a thing. She was making wild guesses at the answers and it wouldn't help for me to keep saying " Rebecca, 7 x 6 is 42. 7 x 8 is 56". She'd forget before the next time she saw them. She'll have to sit out her recess tomorrow.

I will start looking at her homework the minute she comes in the door so I'll know what we're dealing with. I'd like to spend more time drilling the times tables into her hard little head but I can't do that and homework too. That would be cruel and unusual punishment for us both. But she can't multiply those 7 digit numbers without knowing the tables. It has to be automatic. She's learning some bad habits in school that I have to correct. There's no reason for their existence and they'll slow her down and confuse her in the long run.

Please dear Lord, help me stop obsessing over homework.


Gawdessness said...

Thinking about the times table thing - will email you a thought I have about that.
Loved the knitting story. You sound like you have a lot more prowess at it then I do.
I let it go for weeks or months at a time that helps me feel like doing it again rather than just never.
Also I love having something to do with my hands when I am sitting chatting or waiting. Maybe I have Adhd or something like it.

L. said...

This is my absolute favorite part of that post:

"I'd say my grandson owes me his firstborn child but I already have his firstborn child (and his secondborn and his thirdborn). We'll have to figure out something else."

I knit a scarf once just to see if I could do it, and never touched the stuff since.

Angel said...

That really sounds like excessive homework (not the memorizing the multiplication tables--I agree with you there).