Dozing polar bear, Indianapolis Zoo

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Isn't it nice we're having weather? Or, bits about the emotional lives of boys and dogs

I woke up this morning and stumbled downstairs to let the dogs out (all THREE of them), whereupon I was greeted by the sight of two inches of snow on the ground. Folks, I am long past the time when I find the sight of delicately falling snowflakes even remotely charming. Goes out like a lamb, my ass. Not this year.

In other news, I've been reading "Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys," and I'm about halfway through. I know I have a habit of beginning to talk about books when I'm only part of the way through them, but I'm an EFNP, so I can't stop myself.

The first requirement for me in a book about the problems of boys, and by extension, men, is that the authors not blame feminism, or the greater freedom of women generally, for those problems. Such simplistic argumentation is a sign of such impoverished thinking that I just won't waste my time. But in Raising Cain, the (male) authors, two psychologists who have spent years counseling boys, offer the closest thing I've read to a woman friendly analysis of the damage our culture does to boys. If you have a boy, teach a boy, know a boy, or used to be a boy, or just care about other people generally, this book is a must-read.

More on this when I've actually finished the book. Let's just say for now that it did nothing to alleviate my panic over the upcoming educational decisions we have to make for The Kid.

And in that vein, we'll be visiting a Montessori kindergarten program in the next few days. Last week was a school for "gifted" (whatever the hell that really means) children, where the kindergarten teacher was frank about the fact that the kindergarten is run like a first grade. Thanks, but no thanks. The Kid is arguably doing first grade level work in math, but is nowhere near ready for first grade reading. (Although he's demonstrated that he can sound out words, he still has not an iota of real interest in doing so.) This was a bummer, because they have a great phys ed program -- kids are allowed plenty of move-around time, to the point that they spend six Fridays every winter teaching the kids to ski. So, bummer. But I'm just not ready to subject the Kid -- already reluctant to go to school -- to a program where he's expected, out of the gate, to be doing work that's a year ahead of him. That's not the only reason, of course, but it's a big one.

In dog-related news, we have never found Alaska's humans. So it looks like we're her new humans. She and Thomas have negotiated a tenuous peace that occasionally breaks down over a rawhide chew or when she tries to steal his pink squeaky octopus, but they're mostly doing okay.
We took them to Montana last weekend, and the abundant space really helped them to get used to each other. On Monday, Mr. T IM'd me and said he wanted to keep her.

Perhaps realizing her newfound security, she promptly ate my silk duvet.


Lewis said...

We actually had snow here yesterday and today up in the West Hills and the Coast Range...up to 5 inches! I swear, it's the damned Al Gore and his secret, underhanded ploy to make us all believe in that global warming crap.

Tony said...

We had a trace of snow here in Columbia County... but they are saying we could get actual accumulation on the Valley Floor tomorrow.

I'm with you... I'm ready for Spring!

Congrats on the new canine family member! We can't wait to meet her. That'll be SIX dogs in one house when we come to Montana!

Casey said...

Perhaps realizing her newfound security, she promptly ate my silk duvet.

She has chosen you, my friend.

Good luck with the school choices. I read "Raising Cain" several years ago and got a lot out of it. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the rest of the book.

Trailhead said...

Casey, you've made the whole homeschooling thing look seriously tempting, and your posts have heavily influenced my thinking on education.

Given my logistical situation, my immediate goal is to find a kindergarten program that's as close to free-range learning as possible in my area (with the hope to revisit the issue after kindergarten). That's probably a Montessori.

T & L: Didn't it snow in the Valley in mid-March a couple of years ago? I distinctly remember the odd sight of flowering cherries covered in snow.

Danger Panda said...

This "Alaska" person--is there a picture?

Trailhead said...

"Person" is perhaps too loose a term, though occasionally she appears to think she's entitled to the perks of it. See post below entitled "Latest houseguest."

Stacey Kannenberg said...

I stumbled across your blog and love your photography! WOW! I was in the same boat when my kids were just getting ready for school. Sadly with all the money we spend in education, no one really put together a book for Kindergarten for kids to get them excited about the Kindergarten concepts. So I created a book for my children when they were 1 and 3 and how it is used in schools and homes across the nation. I would love to send you a copy of Let's Get Ready For Kindergarten! & Let's Get Ready For First Grade! for your child to enjoy. If interested, just email me at with a mailing address and I will drop them in the mail. Keep on keeping on!