Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hiding in plain sight

We were driving home from Grammie's last year when the girls started talking about their Christmas list. Interestingly, their requests sounded just like the presents we had hidden. Daddy said they knew what they were getting. We agreed to play along to see how long they would last before telling us.

After Christmas they confessed that they had found our hiding spot. I told them they were both very good actresses as they seemed surprised on Christmas morning.

This year we're not hiding anything. All their Christmas presents are being delivered to the front door. One box sat in the family room for days. They never paid attention to it. They are so conditioned to think that we're hiding their presents that they don't even pay attention to boxes as they bring them into the house.

We've decided to annoy them a bit this Christmas. Today Daddy wrapped a box for each girl and put it under the tree. We didn't put names on the boxes. If you shake a box, you can tell that there is more than one thing inside. We'll continue to randomly put packages under the tree until Christmas morning. If nothing else, it entertains us. The girls will pretend they don't care, but we know they will be trying to figure out what is in the boxes when we're not around.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Notes in church

The brunette twin leaned over and said, "What are you doing? If we can't talk in church, then you can't write notes in church."

I smiled. She was right that we were always telling the girls not to talk in church. They get bored and start chatting. Every time we told them to be quiet, they started giggling.

They were not amused that I was writing notes on the church bulletin. For some reason I started writing notes a while ago. There was something about being relaxed in church that brought all kinds of reminders to the forefront. Rather than try to remember them after the service ended, I just started writing down notes to clear my mind.

In theory the brunette twin was right. I should not have been making notes in church. The reality was that those notes were the best way to clear my head. I do not know if I will stop writing notes, but I do know that I need to be more discrete from now on.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Teen paperwork

No one told us that having teenagers would involve so much paperwork. The past few weeks seemed like we were in a paperwork trap. There were papers for the band trip, the high school placement test, summer camps, basketball permission slips and more.

Most of the time Daddy and I sat next to each other with the papers in front of us. We went line by line making sure we had the correct information for the correct girl. You would think the information would be nearly the same, but often we had different details.

We worked through each paperwork pile as a team, knowing that we were simply practicing for the paperwork to come as they transition to high school and then college.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fill in the dots

The girls took their high school entrance exams today. The four hour PSAT test was one factor the school will use to decide placement options. The things that worried the girls the most wasn't the test itself. It was the answer sheet. Unlike all the other standardized tests they have taken over the years, the PSAT was done on a scantron form.

They had friends over last night to "study," although one might say that they were just hanging out and talking. At one point I handed them some copies and pencils. They stared at the paper, not understanding why I handed them a paper with a bunch of circles.

I explained that when they took the test they would be expected to fill in the dots to record their answers. They stared at me like I was crazy. I asked if they had ever used an answer sheet with the dots before. They said no.

When I was in school, all my standardized tests had scantron forms. I was an expert at filling in the dots correctly. We talked about how there were two things they needed to think about every time they answered a question. The first was to get the correct answer. The second was to fill in the dot completely.

The whole table sat with pencils in hand to practice filling in the dots. There were specific examples they had to follow so they would receive credit for their answers. The thing that annoyed the girls was that getting the right answer didn't matter if the dots were not filled in correctly.

They were still talking about filling in the dots after the test. The plus side of the scantron sheet was that they were focused on getting it right so it was a distraction from whether or not they came up with the correct answer. In fact, after the test, the girls tried to compare answers, but could hardly remember their responses. It turned out that the dots made it easy to move on from the test to other concerns, like their eventual class placements after they received their test scores. We won't have that information until January, so there is plenty of time to stress about something else they cannot control.