We are about to jump headlong into another school year. I'm optimistic about my workload and Mr. Pants liking Kindergarten and the logistics being a little better this semester. Shmoogie is fully potty trained, for one. I won't be taking Algorithms, for two. And DiDi will be here one day a week!!!!
Another minor update to Cross It Off! for a bug fix released last night.
I have a cold.
I finally have my hands on a real copy of The Better Angels of Our Nature, from the university bookstore! (Still a chain, but I guess with a slighty different selection than standard?) And I'm closing in on 3/5ths of the way through the audio. It's getting less gruesome and a little more uplifting, but I expect another nose-dive before the final ascent.
Mr. Pants cried when I left him this morning. Second to last day of summer day care and he cried.
At his request, we're reading the not-like-the-others Little House book: Farmer Boy. Based on Laura's husband's memories of his own childhood, our familiar characters never appear and the vignettes are darker. It is quite difficult to explain to a modern five-year-old why a gang of "big boys" would have been able to come to school every winter only to pile on the lone teacher, beating him near to death (actually, the last one before this story starts did die, we're told) and closing the school for the rest of the year. I've looked ahead to the conclusion — this new teacher, who was a childhood friend of the dead one, hides an ox whip in his desk and severely lashes the "big boys" when they start to attack him. Order restored, vengance exacted, all is well.
I wonder if I should be reading this to my child at all! But I can't very well stop now, when he's quite engaged and concerned about the outcome, and I hope that a little thoughtful discussion and context-providing will make the net result positive, as I feel it did for the problematic Native American interactions with the settlers in Little House on the Prairie... which is something else I've been meaning to blog about. (I also wonder what the truth is in the ox whip story— pioneergirl.com has a pdf of a short story published in 1906 that sounds very similar, so does Farmer Boy harbor a bit of plagiarism or did both fictional accounts draw from the same actual event?)
Interesting that in the chunk of Better Angels that I listened to this morning, it was mentioned that the anniversary release of original Sesame Street episodes had a label saying they were "not appropriate for children" because they depicted unsafe use of playground equipment (that was not considered unsafe at the time) and Monsterpiece Theater shows Cookie Monster smoking a pipe (tobacco!) and then eating it (choking hazard!).
At least Sesame Street never included any ox whip-weilding school teachers. Or teacher-killing students.