Tag Archives: Voices

School, Suddenly Silent, Slightly Spooky

For the past year or so, I’ve been able to see what life is like on the other side of the desk. Well, not the desk so much. I mean, I probably spent more time sitting on a floor than I did anywhere else when I was working as a Title 1 Tutor at Awesome Elementary, but I think you dudes get the idea.

Anyway, what I’ve been facing is that my school year didn’t end with the school year.

All the students got to leave on Friday, content that their school year was over and excited that their summer had begun. On Monday, when every other school-related person was sleeping in, I was getting up early. After all, I had to be back at school to help shut it down for the summer.

It was very, very strange, dudes. Let me tell you.

The hallways echoed with the sounds of my footsteps, rather than the sound of hundreds of voices and feet pounding out a constant wave of sound. Everything seemed so big, without the students there to fill the place up.

It is, to paraphrase a title I’ve read around here recently, a bit spooky in there. The teachers are hard at work, taking down posters from their walls, corralling books left behind by students, even cleaning out some desks that students did not. Which, let me tell you, is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. One young girl left behind somewhat finished milk cartons, somewhat finished Capri Sun pouches and half-eaten foods. In her desk. Yikes!

And there I am, wandering through it all.

It’s a lot cooler inside without the students producing all that body heat, making it much easier for the school’s old HVAC system to cope with the suddenly very hot temperatures.

But still, I miss it. I miss the unselfconscious smiles. I miss the surprise-attack hugs. I miss the laughter.

It’s been a heck of a year, dudes. A heck of a year that I spent learning from some wonderful teachers, some astonishing students and, oddly, from myself. It’s something I recommend to everyone if you have the chance. Go into a classroom, volunteer and get to spend some time with younger little dudes and dudettes. I guarantee you will experience something pure and wonderful, no matter the kid or the school.

Teachers do not teach for the money. I’ve always been told that teaching is a calling, rather than a job.

I think, this past year, I’ve come to understand what they’ve been talking about.

By the way, if this post comes out looking all funky-like, please excuse it. For some reason, I’ve not been able to actually write on the blog hosting website. I’m having to send this in via e-mail and, this being my first time with that, I have no idea if it will actually work. Or, if it works, how well it will do so.

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Showing Off At The Expo

This is a report, live from the Baby Shower & Toddler Expo. Well, not live, per se. But live in that I’m sitting at our table in the Expo while I’m typing this.

Don’t you just love technology? Out somewhere far away from electricity and internet communication and yet I’m still able to get across all this great stuff. Okay, fine. For certain very not great values of great, but you get the idea.
Barry and I went down to the Baby Shower & Toddler Expo at the Park Convention Center in Charlotte to tell people about our book, A Dude’s Guide to Babies. And maybe sell a few. We did.

I also discovered that I still have an exceedingly low tolerance for kiddie music. Not music that kids like, but music specifically designed for something to which kids should listen.

You know the kind.

We were serenaded by a kid puppet show at least four times during the Expo. Four times, these giant-headed puppet things came out and, in squeaky high voices pitched in such a way to be deliberately horrifying to adult ears.
And then they sang. Well, they did have a human singer and he was good, actually. Quite good. But the puppet things. Their loud, loud recorded voices. . .

I learned that not only is Hell real, it has a house band.

But enough whining. No, seriously. Enough whining. I’m not kidding.

Barry and I had a great time talking to the dudes who walked past our booth. We met a lot of really interesting folks, both pregnant and not-pregnant.

Not only that, but we managed to meet most of the other exhibitors and found them to be a really nice bunch of people. Lots of cool things on offer, including some astonishingly creative and talented photographers. More about whom later.

I also learned that I still have an amazingly soft spot for little babies. They’re so little and so cute and so soft and. . . Well, suffice to say, I quite enjoyed seeing them toddle by. Even better when their moms and dads stopped by the booth and I got to say hi. Even better, I got to let go of them and watch them wander off with their parents before they started screaming, fussing and needing to be changed. Yeah, grandparents really do seem to have the right idea.
Now the only question we’re left with is, do we go down to Atlanta for the next Expo? Long drive, overnight. Long hours. On the plus side, I’d not have to cook anyone’s meals and be able to control the remote. Maybe, maybe.

If you’re one of the folks Barry and I met down at the Expo, thanks so much for stopping by. It was great meeting all of you. If you’re the one who stayed away. . . We have a very particular set of skills. We will find you. We will k–
You know what? That really doesn’t work if you don’t have Liam Neeson’s voice.

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Shaming Of The Sun

by Richard

My friend Barry, co-founder of this site and co-author of  The Dude’s Guide to Babies, is not liking the start of summer and the end of spring. See, his little dudes are all under the age of 11, which means they’re not so much clued in to the fact that time changes, days lengthen, but bedtimes stay the same.

We’ve already hit daylight savings time and, with it, we’ve begun to see longer days and shorter nights. Barry’s little dudes, still used to winter and the ability to stay up until dark, are not happy about the changes and very vocal about expressing their displeasure. Can you imagine four voices, two boy and two girl, all howling at the same time about the same thing in their little-dude voices, all high and shrill and seeming like they can go on forever and ever? Yeah, not my idea of fun, either.

Still, he’ll get through it. We just have to make sure that, in the interim, he doesn’t go completely, raving, bug nuts crazy. I know managed to stay s-s-s-s-s-s-sannne, but only just barely. And not always successfully.

Right now, I only have one person complaining about the sun still being up for so long and, oddly, it’s not my youngest, Speed Racer. No, the complainer is, perhaps not surprisingly, Zippy the Monkey Boy. He’s recently begun to enjoy the rewards and pitfalls of skateboarding with a couple of friends. All of which means he’s going to be outside rolling down the hills around our house and trudging back up until I come up from behind him, hit the back of his head with a blackjack and then drag him on his face back to the house. Or something similar.

Speed Racer and George of the Jungle are a bit more happy to come back inside and play video games for as long as possible. I mean, even as I type this, I’ve got the sound of bullets whizzing by right in my ear as one of them plays some silly war game on the PS3. How’s that for difficulty concentrating?

Anyway, when dealing with the little dudes, I found it was best to sit them down and talk about how seasons change and our environment changes with them. The first time I got nothing but blank looks. Admittedly, I got the same for the next couple of dozen times, but eventually they glommed onto the facts. They didn’t like them, but they grew to accept them. Or it could be they just said they did to avoid their Dad having to give them any more speeches.

Hey, whatever works.

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