Ella and the Misery of Normal Sleeping Hours

This week’s project has been to get up early, and I must say that it’s got me confused.

First of all, who put all of this extra time in the morning? Is breakfast really supposed to be eaten five hours before noon? What about lunch? Isn’t that supposed to be eaten at three in the afternoon?

And what’s the deal with needing to go to bed before midnight? I mean, who does that? How am I supposed to spend hours in my room, hunched over my laptop, typing if I have to go to bed at ten? This is insanity!

On a much more serious note, it’s been very difficult to get back to a regular sleeping schedule. For the past six months, I’ve been blessed with a very flexible schedule that allows me to become the nocturnal creature that I love. It’s been completely acceptable to stay up until four or five, sleep until noon, and take a cat nap from five to six in the evening.

Unfortunately, the real world does not operate on this marvelous schedule. They clearly don’t love the quiet and darkness of night the way I do. It’s such a pity that its magic doesn’t call to it, alluring and exciting. They don’t love the feel of being the only one awake in the world. They laugh when I tell them that they can’t go to bed because something exciting is going to happen! “Ella, it’s nighttime,” they’ll say, “Nothing happens at three a.m.” But they don’t know the wonder of the dark, and I’d rather not share it, anyway. After midnight until five a.m. is my time.

So join me on another night of climbing into bed absurdly early and dragging myself back out of bed at an hour that I would normally be just falling asleep. It’ll be fun, and I promise not to hog the pillows. Max can attest to my ability to remain stock still while asleep.

This week’s reader-selected post was “How to Shut Up a Bully in French Class.” If you click on the link, you can vote in the poll at the bottom of the post for the topic you’d like to read about next week.

You can also find me collecting lovely images and words on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/. I’d love for you to follow me on my trek into the wilds of tumblr.

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Ella and the Mail

Perhaps it’s because I’m still mostly a kid, but the thrill of getting anything in the mail, and I’m talking anything–magazines and brochures with my name on them are exciting–still hasn’t worn off in the slightest. If I notice a package or hear the mailbox, I come running, usually exclaiming, “MAIL!”

So pulling into the driveway after ten hours at work to discover that I had three packages and three letters was almost as good as suddenly being able to sleep normal hours (More later about how I’ve only slept for ten hours in the past seventy-two hours). Not only do I have all of the new SCBWI mailings, a package from DFTBA (hurray for new tee shirts and the John Green audio book of The Fault in Our Stars), and unexpected late Christmas gifts, but I also discovered that after someone sends you one envelope filled with confetti, you should open any future mailings from them with great amounts of care. Some colleges take their acceptance letters very seriously and like to add even larger elements of surprise, of which I heartily approve.

So please excuse me while I curl up with a ridiculous amount of chocolate, 30 Rock, sparkling cider, and all of my new, shiny things and doze.

You can also find me collecting lovely images and words on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/.

In Which Ella Gets Fingerprinted

It is probably pretty rare for someone to get incredibly excited about going to the police station to get fingerprinted.

And no, I did not get arrested, though I did get in a lot of trouble with a police officer for stepping in wet concrete when I was eleven (it turns out that wet and dry concrete look suspiciously similar and usually you aren’t expecting the apron of your own driveway to not be solid). I’m just getting an official background check so that I can volunteer at my mother’s school, which is also fairly dangerous. I hear that one of her students accidentally sent an eraser flying across the classroom a few days ago and you should never doubt the terror of having twenty-five kids declare mutiny.

Don’t you like how I didn’t go on a rant about how SOPA and PIPA are going to destroy the internet? I had to metaphorically keep both hands clamped over my mouth for the entire post. If you are looking for my political anger, you can find bits of it amongst pretty pictures and quotes on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com.

Saturday will be reader selected post day, and you can vote on the topic below. I’ve reset the poll so that you can only vote four times. One person voted about eighty times in under five minutes when I hadn’t restricted it previously, so now we must have rules.

Feel free to add your own requests in the “other” section, and if I like it, I’ll update the poll and make them additional choices. Have fun clicking your allotted four times. Click, click, click, click!

Ella and Lawn Mullets

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the term “lawn mullet.” No, it’s not a terrible haircut. It’s just another way to say that someone has a very nice front yard but a terrible back.

Now, it’s a funny term for sure. “Mullet” makes me laugh just as much as the word “soul,” but while I can just giggle whenever references their “soul,” this lawn mullet business is a bit more serious.

You see, there are many things I care about. I happen to have over six hundred books, and I make sure to read over seventy-five books a year. I spend hours searching for dresses to buy. I look up every word or thing I don’t know. But unfortunately, I do not care particularly for plants or yard work.

It’s not that I dislike landscaping. I love visiting botanical gardens and I’m a huge fan of flowers when they aren’t making my cats throw up. I just don’t care for the agony of landscaping upkeep or lawnmowers. I am not good with lawnmowers.

If I put a book or a dress some place, it doesn’t require constant attention and upkeep, and it is impossible for me to kill it. Plants also require long periods of times working outdoors, even when it’s incredibly hot and humid. I am a fan of air conditioning and screened windows. Additionally, I do not like the feeling of dirt under my fingernails.

So if I were left to my own devices, I will inevitably end up with a lawn mullet or turning my yard into a rock garden. But hey, Rock gardens are beautiful, right?

In other news, this year I managed to turn the Christmas tree in a brittle mess and a huge fire-hazard in just under a week. I wonder if they hand out awards for things like this.

Ella’s Mother and Technology: Part One

You know how parents say, “I’m going to miss it when [insert name here] stops saying ‘crash-can’ instead of ‘trashcan’ all the time*.”

Well, I’m going to miss it when I move out and don’t get called into the study several times a day to fix the computer for my mother.

I had a wonderful laugh this evening when I taught my mom how to use the floppy-disc icon for save in Microsoft Word instead of clicking through the file menu, and then had to tell her a few minutes later that it wasn’t necessary to print out the entire menu from the Indian restaurant in order to read it.

Safari also “broke” this morning because she had about twenty windows open and was running a gazillion other programs. Momentary panic ensued, and I was blamed for leaving tumblr open.

There was also discussion about how difficult it is to go through all of the copies of The New Yorker just to reread the Adam Gopnik ones. When I pointed out that she could go online and access them via a very quick search, she said that she can’t use computers while lying down and she can’t be sitting up while reading The New Yorker.

Oh, Mum.

She also didn’t know that cellphones had clocks in them or showed you the signal strength. She thought that they were “technical numbers.” Glad we got that one straightened out after six-plus years of cell phone ownership.

It’s little quirks like this that make me really love my mom.

(Also, she mostly doesn’t yell at me when I joke that I never need to put the dishes in the dishwater because every time I leave the room, a magical fairy cleans them up.)

I’m going to miss her so much next year.

*And yes, that kid was me. I was a very “creative” talker for a long time. I used too many big words incorrectly and could never pronounce the simple ones. I still struggle with library and specific.

In other news, my bedroom looks like a bomb of books went off. Looks like tomorrow will be a good day for recataloguing my library. At last count, I had close to three hundred books, but that was over four years ago. I’m a little scared to see how many I have now. I’m also in need of a new bookcase for my bedroom, but I haven’t been able to find the right one. It needs to be white and either modern and minamalistic or cute and antique. This should be a very fun shopping process.

Let’s Go Dancing!

“Let’s go dancing!” I’ll say because I’m happy and want an excuse to wear a pretty dress.

But we won’t actually go dancing because I don’t dance the way you should. I just like to flounce about and spin.

So we’ll do that instead.

I’ll wear my long cream dress with the small pink and purple flowers, and if it’s sunny, I’ll wear my straw hat as well. I’ll be spring and summer and warm and happy weather personified. And you can be it, too.

So go on! Grab your favorite clothes and find a patch of grass and spin in a dizzy circle with me!

I’ll laugh and laugh and laugh and probably fall over once the spinning gets to be too much. And then I’ll lie on the grass and watch the world tip back and forth until my inner ear recalibrates.

Next, we’ll eat popsicles, the good kind, the type made with real frozen fruit and laugh as the melting juice covers our arms and drips down to our elbows. The last little bits will inevitably fall off the stick, hopefully into our mouths and not onto our laps or the ground. But even if they do, it’s no matter. We can always have another, and washing machines were invented for a reason.

We’ll rinse our arms off with the hose and compared dyed tongues. I’ll end up with wet patches on my dress, of course, but that’s no matter! That’s what the sun’s for, right? World’s best dryer.

And did I mention that this adventure is no-shoes-allowed? It is! All the better to feel the cool grass under our feet, the tickle of the blades in between our toes, and the hot, stinging concrete as we dash along the path or street. But step carefully! You don’t want to get a cut, though you have to admit that the slight danger is part of what makes shoelessness alluring.

Want to go to the beach with me? I can show you all of my special places. First, we’ll run towards the water and leap over the clumps of seaweed past the high tide mark.

Alright, roll up your clothes, so they don’t get wet. Now, stand here and feel the waves hit your ankles. Cold, isn’t it? See the way that water washes away the sand at your feet, letting you sink down a few more inches until the sand feels as fluid as the water.

But watch your hem there! Don’t let it get to close!

Come on! And move quickly, too–this part isn’t as fun if you walk. Okay, so just follow me, and be careful. If you aren’t, you could get hurt.

So do you see the end of that rock jetty? Now, we can’t go out there, it’s too dangerous, but we can go this far. It’s just a third out, and isn’t it fun to leap from rock to rock? If you go any farther, they get slippery and covered with seaweed and algae, and you could fall and break your leg or stung or pinched by something mean. But here, we’re safe.

Sit down for a moment. Feel the rock underneath you. You can prop your feet up on the one in front of you, if you like. Yes, just like that! That’s my favorite spot.

Let’s just wait a while and watch the ocean, let the sounds of everyone else fade away until it’s just you and the water and the rock. Don’t worry about the people playing with the beach ball or the squeals of the children running in and out of the water. Ignore the yells of the kids playing with the skimboards. I’m going to be quiet, too.

Just sit and be.

Once you’ve sat there long enough to feel almost dopey with relaxation, get up and follow me again! There are plenty more things for us to see this afternoon.

Of course, we could take a long walk down the beach, and I could try to add to my collection of rocks that look like seals (Okay, I only have one, but it’s lovely and needs a friend.).

But there’s a baseball game starting at the high school, and we just can’t miss it. And no, it’s not a high school baseball league. It’s a million times more exciting than that. It’s part of this special, selective summer league for college players to play against the best players their age and get scouted. They live with local families, and they all play in this big tournament. Our town won a few years ago, and I’m think that this year’s our year again.

If you look right behind the screen in back of homeplate, you can see the scouts. They wear plain caps, so no one will know what team they’re from (even though everyone already does. Word gets around quickly, doesn’t it?), and they write things on clipboards. I’m sure their notes are very important. But for right now, pick up your beach chair, and follow me. I know the perfect place for sitting.

Want a hot dog? I’m going to eat two, and I’ve got plenty of ketchup, sauerkraut, and mustard, if you’d like those as well. Go ahead, eat as much as you’d like. There’s soda, water, and juice, but no beer. This is a school field, remember? And don’t mind me while I score the game in this notebook and jump up and down every time something exciting happens. Did you see that catch?!

We’ve won! We’ve won! And yes, I know you’re tired and that the fog is rolling in, making it hard to even see the exit from the parking lot, but don’t you want some ice cream? We can’t count those popsicles as dessert, now can we? They were just frozen juice, after all.

I’m getting Milky Way, and maybe you should, too. But there’s a huge chalkboard up there with all of their homemade flavors. Everything here is good. Just remember that when they say jimmies, they’re talking about what you probably call sprinkles, and frappes are milkshakes and don’t actually have any coffee in them.

Isn’t that delicious? I know that I’ve probably got chocolate on the tip of my nose and the scoop is threatening to fall off the cone, but isn’t this just the best day ever?

We can walk home from here, past the kite shop that might still be open and is the best place to buy toys and the most spectacular kites. If it’s windy tomorrow, I’ll show you mine. It looks like a dragon and has a tail that stretches on for yards.

There’s a trash can to your left, if you need to throw away your napkin. And I really should go to the post office in the morning to check my mailbox, even though I can never open the darn thing on the first try.

And there’s the bar/pub which is showing the wrap up commentary on a MLB game. If you feel like staying up, we could watch the rerun at one a.m. But you’re probably tired. It is late after all.

But before we call it a day, look up. Throw your head all the way back and look at the sky. Can you see the real Milky Way? I’m not talking about my slowly melting cone of ice cream. Look at all of those stars! Makes you feel small, doesn’t it?

Sometimes, when I look up at the night sky, I get scared by just how little I am. In the grand scheme of things, I can be awfully insignificant. But then, I turn my gaze to everything back here on earth, and I’m reminded that it’s all rather relative. I’m not tiny. And you’re not either.

We get to do fantastic, amazing things, and run around barefoot and climb on rocks and stand in the ocean and eat popsicles and ice cream and watch baseball games. And tomorrow will be just as wonderful. I’m thinking about taking a motorboat out of the harbor to go look at the seals and explore that inhabited island a mile or so off the coast.

But for now, we can watch the stars and marvel at how clear a night it is and what great a day it was until it’s time to say goodnight and go to bed. It won’t be too long until we can go on another adventure.

You can also find me bopping about on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/.

The Reason Why My Mouth Hurts When I See Whisks

With a whopping 67% of the vote, “The Reason Why My Mouth Hurts When I See Whisks” won this week’s reader-selected topic.

Now, this story would make sense if I were a toddler or even under the age of six. Alas, when the whisk incident went down, I was ten, which makes it a bit embarrassing and even more amusing.

For Christmas 2003, one of our neighbors gave us a beautiful Christmas card and an ornament. It was a very nice, thoughtful gift–the stationary was thick and glossy, depicting Mary holding baby Jesus in her arms, face aglow at the wonder of his birth (though quite frankly every new mother I’ve ever met has looked that much in awe and in love with her baby), and the ornament was a very small whisk, hung on a thin red ribbon, a reference to how much my mother loves cooking.

My mother was thrilled, propping the card up on the windowsill in the dining room and immediately hanging the miniature whisk on the tree. I was almost equally as excited. Sure, the card was lovely, but that wonderfully shiny whisk was just the right size for my American Girl Dolls’ hands, large enough to look a little strange and unwieldily in the way that all whisks do, yet the right size to make eggs or flour light and fluffy.

The moment my mother left the room, I snuck over to the tree and untangled the ribbon from the branch. This whisk was clearly destined to be mine. I selfishly fondled it in my hands for a moment, tracing my fingers over the twisted metal.

And then, I did something unexplainable.

I put the whisk into my mouth and bit down.

I was long past the age of putting things in my mouth to figure out how they worked. I wasn’t even teething.

Perhaps it was the shiny steel or how deliciously devious I felt wedged between the wall and the tree. Maybe I was hungry.

But whatever the reason was, I had abandoned all common sense. Whisks, even miniatures ones that almost fit, do not belong in mouths, and you most certainly should never bit them.

As I released my jaw, I discovered that the whisk was stuck. A tine was jammed between each set of my front two incisors–top and bottom–making me unable to open my mouth. I tugged at the handle, but it was no use. That whisk wasn’t going anywhere.

I may have just made an incredibly stupid decision, but I was not entirely lacking in intelligence. I knew that if I left my hiding place and sought help, everyone would know that I had been trying to nick the ornament, and I would get in trouble. So I tried to dislodge it again. And again. And again. It didn’t budge.

After five minutes of fruitless tugging, I began to cry. Having a whisk stuck in your mouth is painful. My teeth were being shoved apart, and my gums were throbbing. I was suddenly sure that I was going to be stuck with a whisk in my mouth for the rest of my life. The kids at school would call me whisk-head or something else ridiculous, but not ridiculous enough not to make me upset. My life was over, and I was going to have to starve to death behind the Christmas tree. I wondered if the pine scent would hide the smell of my decaying body.

A few more minutes of silent sobbing later, I gathered what was left of my courage and ran into the kitchen, crying and pointing at my mouth. My parents were shocked to see their ten-year-old daughter, who earlier that day had been sitting upside down on the couch reading Fast Food Nation, with a whisk stuck in her mouth and bawling like a banshee.

Thankfully, I was not subject to any questioning while they helped me dislodge each of the metal tines from between my teeth. Even though over eight years have passed, I can still feel that horrible scrape of the metal against my enamel as my mouth was slowly released. It was a horrible, disgusting feeling, not only because I knew that I had most likely caused permanent damage to my front teeth, but also because everyone was going to know just how stupid I was. And I was so determined to be finally be taken seriously and be allowed to sit at the “adult table” at dinner parties*.

When I was finally freed from my tine-y prison**, I ran down the hall to the bathroom to look at my teeth. They remained perfectly straight, still guaranteeing me entry into the no-braces-ever club, but there was a noticeable, albeit slight, space in between my top two teeth and another one, even smaller, between my bottom two incisors. My gums were, surprisingly, not bleeding, but looked red and angry all the same.

The ornament was washed and placed back on the tree within the hour, dangling from a branch, reflecting the white glow from the fairy lights almost too innocently. I glared back, willing it to look at least a little guilty for hurting me, though the entire experience had, admittedly, been my fault.

The next day, when I walked into the kitchen to make myself breakfast–two glasses of orange juice and all of the oatmeal I can consume, please–I noticed one of my mother’s people-sized whisks mixed in with other cooking utensils in crockery next to the stove. I raised my hand to my mouth and winced as I briefly had a flashback of the pain, the panic, and the terrible scrapping. Later that day when I saw the whisk, I winced again, and it repeated every time I looked at the ornament or the unoffending ones in the kitchen.

These unfortunate whisk flinching and flashback moments have not decreased over the years, and every time I think or see a whisk, my mouth briefly hurts with phantom pain. Christmastime and seeing that ornament again only makes it worse. This year, I succeeded in jamming it back into its box before anyone had a chance to hang it on the tree, which has made the holiday season considerably more enjoyable.

So there you have it: another example of why you should never be greedy and nick ornaments off of a tree.

An alternate take-away from this post is that Ella is sometimes very foolish.

Or we could all have a laugh about ornaments and the silly, silly things we did as children.

Do you have any funny Christmas stories? Feel free to tell them in the comments!

*Ten-year-old Ella, one day you are going to be eighteen and still be forced to sit at the folding table in the sunroom. However, you will be allowed to stay up as late as you want and talk with adults starting when you’re about fourteen. So stop complaining and go eat the pint of blueberries you hid under your bed again.

**Hahahaha. Puns, I can make them, you guys! Puns! (I should start writing these posts sometime before ten p.m. when I start to get giggly.)

I’m putting up another poll for next week’s reader-selected post down below. A lot of people want me to talk about food, so I’ve added that as an option as well. Hopefully, I’ll get my post about going to see John and Hank Green up before the end of the weekend. And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

Mugs Are For Hot Beverages And Glasses Are For Dweebs Who Can’t See

This is Cecelia, covering for a super sleepy Ella tonight. I was going to talk about those scary hours (minutes? seconds?) in between sleep and consciousness where you’re not sure if you’re awake or dreaming. And you just had this outlandish/terrifying/heartbreaking dream that your commonroom was a brothel or that Sylvia Plath is and has always been the Dean of Yale College and your roommate got in a fight with you over it and you’re really anxious just because you’re pretty sure what you just experienced was too absurd to be a reality but sometimes life is absurd so maybe not! Ah well. Enjoy this picture of my cat followed by a poem by Charles Bukowski.

 

The Aliens

you may not believe it
but there are people
who go through life with
very little
friction or
distress.
they dress well, eat
well, sleep well.
they are contented with
their family
life.
they have moments of
grief
but all in all
they are undisturbed
and often feel
very good.
and when they die
it is an easy
death, usually in their
sleep.

Everything I Know About Being a Girl, I Learned at Summer Camp

With a majority of 53.85%, tonight’s post is going to be all about my experiences at summer camp.

I have a tendency to make naive assumptions, and when something doesn’t fit into my existing understanding of the world, I change it so that it does. And if something doesn’t fall into one of my categories of interest, it usually just falls by the wayside. This is why I know the top songs used to torture people and don’t understand a lot of slang. Thankfully, I’ve been growing out of these habits as I get older.

So when I went to off to summer camp, I lived very firmly in my own world. I wore black velour stretchy bell bottoms constantly and could often be caught in black leather loafers and soccer shorts. I worshipped Harry Potter and only used the internet to check my email and look at Mugglenet. I’m sure I was aware on some level that not everyone lived in as innocent a world as mine, but it certainly did not show.

The camp I was going to was all about female empowerment, the Montessori method, and being green. There was a working farm and large garden, days where we didn’t use any fossil fuel, and everything was incredibly rustic. The cabins didn’t have electricity or screens in the windows, and they weren’t weatherproofed. We had to walk to separate buildings to go to the bathroom, and the showers were lukewarm at best. On paper, it seemed wonderful–I could spend all of my time reading on tree stumps and weaving rugs.

And in the way that things go, camp turned out very differently than expected. Sure, it was wonderful in many ways–I loved writing postcards home, going for nine-mile hikes up mountains, and the evening activities–but I was not expecting the other girls.

The view from my cabin

My cabin.

My first year bunk. I slept on the bottom. And yes, I did bring a dictionary and seven books with me.

It quickly became evident just how different I was. Despite the fact that none of us actually needed to, I was the only one who did not wear a bra. And for this I was mocked mercilessly. When one girl asked me where she could plug in her hair straightener, I gave her a blank look and asked her what a hair straightener was before trying to kindly inform her that no, we weren’t allowed to have any access to electrical outlets in the few buildings that had wiring. The next few weeks continued in this fashion.

Apparently, despite the fact that all the women in shaving cream and razor ads all looked like they were in their twenties, twelve-year-old girls were also expected to shave their legs and it was ridiculously easy to cut yourself while doing it.

That first year was a crash course in both what society wanted girls to be and how to live independently. Putting on sunblock without being asked and making sure I showed up to swim lessons on time was easy, learning how to put on eyeliner was not. I was also expected to go to dances and socials and would get in trouble when I walked back to the cabin to finish a book on the history of France’s castles.

I learned that I dressed “all wrong,” and that “one chip leads to two chips and two chips leads to the whole bag, which will make you fat, Ella.” I got dragged along while they flirted with boys and persuaded to go skinny dipping in the pond at night and streak across the archery field after dark. (All three were done with minimal enthusiasm, and in the case of skinny dipping and streaking, involved the wearing of clothing.) It was terrifying and not at all enjoyable. The giggling didn’t interest me, and so I spent as much time as I could with my friend from home or two girls who liked reading as much as I did.

But the moment I got home, I expressed a desire for “cooler” clothes. My mom bought me designer jeans, and I wore those stupid tee shirts with Snoopy on them that all the other girls wore. Without an older sister or a mom who cared about anything remotely girly, I was adrift. All I knew was that I dressed, acted, and looked all wrong. So I resolved to change.

Me at twelve:

Me at thirteen:

Of course, I still looked awkward, but what thirteen-year-old doesn’t? And weirdly, I couldn’t bring myself to dislike the girls who had mocked me at camp the previous summer. There was definitely enjoyment to be had from actually caring about clothing and your appearance. Eighteen-year-old me can certainly testify to that statement. I love clothing. It’s like wearing art. You get to make a statement and convey an image just through what you have on, and don’t even get me started on how much I love a good coat (I have over five and the collection keeps threatening to grow even bigger.).

So when I returned the next summer, it was with a great deal more confidence. The girls who loved books were still there, and I ended up bonding with the “girliest” girl. I learned how to French braid hair, how to properly pluck my eyebrows, and how to put makeup on other people. And weirdly, I managed to feel like I wasn’t betraying myself or turning into the anti-intellectual, petty girls I hated. I got to be Hermione Granger on Harry Potter Day when the final Harry Potter book came out and still paint my toenails bright red.

I had fun at the dances, but when I had enough of sugar-coated pop and milling about with other equally awkward adolescents, I walked off to find a book. I poured over a copy of Vogue that someone snuck into the cabin, but abandoned the conversation about boyfriends.

It was reassuring to find my place in the definition of femininity. As much as the first year of camp often terrorized me, it pushed me out of my naive self-created shelter and into the world of societal expectations. I would not be able to forever escape the pressure, and while I was learning to cope with it, I was surrounded by adults who were encouraging me to try new things and be independent. I created my own balance and limits. I’m ultimately glad I went to summer camp and learned all of this.

Now, I say yes to the expectation to look fashionable, as long as you don’t expect me to wear anything provocative, cake on makeup, or look glamorous anytime before nine in the morning. And I say no to ever dumbing myself down or changing my behavior to get someone to like me.

I’m keeping the two polls about my content open for exactly another week and am going to continue doing a requested post every week. The third and last poll has my suggested topics, but you can always leave another request in the comments.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

Guinea Pigs Are Soft As a Baby’s Butt and Other Test Responses From Seven-Year-Olds

One of the best parts of having a mother for a teacher is getting to hear about the silly things that her students do. I’m a particular fan of their writing. Here’s an excerpt from one student on their recent test on banking.

Something I would want to borrow money for is to buy a guinea pig because they are solf as a baby butt. Another reason why I would buy a guinea pig is because they look adorable. The lost reason is because they are healthy. What would you do if you could borrow money?

Soft as a baby’s butt? Too funny!

Also, she only made about two grammatical errors and two spelling mistakes, which is pretty darn amazing for a seven-year-old!

And did I mention that my mom teaches at a charter school in the inner city? Nearly every kid is on free or reduced lunch, and they don’t have access to the same materials I did growing up. Many don’t have computers or more than a few books in the house. Considering where the kids started the year, seeing them being able to write like this is phenomenal!

Still. Soft as a baby’s butt? I. Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

Also, one of her students recently wrote a story called “My Dirty Shirt” about the day he got mud on his church shirt. Unfortunately, he forgot the “r” in “shirt.” That mistake has been the best one so far.

I love children so much.

I’m keeping the voting open for about a week longer on the first two polls below. I’d really like to know what people did and didn’t like about my daily posting in 2011, and what they’d like to see in 2012. Finally, you can vote at the bottom for what you’d like to see in tomorrow’s post.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.