BATS

Oliver took it upon himself to teach Hazel how to read today.  He asked me how he had learned, and I told him that we had started with simple letter combinations, like AT, and then built on them, by adding “B” for bat, and “C” for cat, etc.

So, Oliver walked over to his chalkboard and wrote “AT” on it.  His conversation with Hazel proceeded like this:

Oliver:  Hazel, A-T says at.

Hazel:  At.

Oliver:  Good!  Now you can read at!!

(Oliver writes a B in front of at.)

Oliver:  Hazel, what sound does B make?

Hazel:  Buh.

Oliver:  That is correct.  [Note:  He really said that!]  Now, if you put ‘buh’ with ‘at’, what does it say?

Hazel:  Buh-at.

Oliver:  That is incorrect.  It says bat.

Hazel: Bat.

Oliver:  Good!  You can read bat now.

(Oliver writes an S after bat.)

Oliver:  Hazel, what sound does S say?

Hazel:  Ssss.

Oliver:  Right.  Now, if you add S to bat, it says bats.

Hazel:  Bats.

Oliver:  Correct!  You can read bats now.

(Oliver writes a QU after BATS.)

Oliver:  Hazel, what does QU say?

Hazel:  I don’t know.  (walks away.  Oliver grabs her arm and drags her back.)

Oliver:  QU says “kwuh”.

Hazel:  Kwuh.

Oliver:  Good!  Now, what does it say at the end of bats?

Hazel:  Kwuh.

Oliver:  Batsqu.

Oliver then writes a – and underneath it writes the word LINE.  The chalkboard now looks like this:

BATSQU-
LINE

Oliver:  Hazel, L-I-N-E says line.

Hazel:  Line.

Oliver:  Now it says batsquline.

Hazel:  Batsquline.

Oliver (looking at me):  Mommy, Hazel can read now.  I just taught her.

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How Katy Got Her Phone Back

If you haven’t read my post about it already, I was robbed on Monday.  The kids (hereafter referred to as the douchebags or the dbs) who stole from me were apprehended by the police and taken into custody.  More on that another time (when I stop being angry, perhaps).  My phone was not recovered by the police.

A few people had tried calling me and had let me know that someone had answered my phone when it rang.  The police had also tried to answer the phone, and it was answered by a young-sounding girl who quickly hung up.

On Monday evening, I noticed that a couple of my email messages had been marked as read that I hadn’t read yet.  First it made me a little sick to my stomach to realize that someone was reading my emails… but then I had an idea.  If the person who had my phone was a teenage girl who the dbs handed it to while they were running, she might just be scared and not know if she had committed a crime or could be in trouble.  She might also just think that she just got a new phone and hooray!  So I did the only thing that I thought might connect to her.

I emailed myself.

To Whoever Stole My Phone:

Please give it back to me.  I will be much less likely to press charges if I don’t have to pay $200 for a new phone.

Thanks,
The girl who was robbed today

A little while later, I saw that the message was marked as read.  I realized that perhaps I hadn’t done enough.  And, if you know me, being proactive and feeling like I’m doing something and not just helpless is important.

So I emailed myself again:

To Whoever Has My Phone:

You did not steal the phone from me–the people who did have been taken into custody.  Please just give it to the police–or to anyone–so that I can have it back.  There are a lot of photos of my children that I don’t have saved anywhere else.  Please do the right thing.  There were so many witnesses to this crime that the guys will get in trouble regardless.  If you give the phone back, I will NOT press charges against you.

There might even be a reward if you do.

Thanks,
The girl whose phone was stolen today

When I saw that that had been read, I wrote one last email:

To Whoever Has My Phone:

I can tell that you’re checking my email.  The police can tell too.

You could take the phone to the Art of Pizza (on Nelson and Ashland) and tell the guys in there that you found it and that they can call the home number and return it to its owner.  Or take it to the Jewel on Ashland and Wellington and bring it to their customer service department.

You do not need to get into trouble for a crime that you did not commit.  I did not deserve to have my phone stolen from me, and you may not deserve to go to jail for stumbling on stolen merchandise.  If you are found to be in possession of it, you are committing a crime and will go to jail.  If you return it, you will NOT get into any trouble.

Please do the right thing.
The girl whose phone was stolen today.

I never heard anything back, but all the messages were read.  When that last one was read, I changed my email password so she couldn’t access anything else.

Tuesday morning I woke up and suspended my cell phone service.  And then I got online and checked my wireless account.  The girl had answered a number of calls from my friends and family, and had placed a few calls as well.  In addition, she had texted some people–I specifically noticed that she had texted a person who had texted back, and she had responded to that number again.  I, in a fit of perverse interest in hearing the voices of people who were close to something that was mine, called some of the numbers.  I only got voicemails, but I was hoping to narrow it down to an age range somehow.

A little while later, I got a phone call on my home phone.  When I answered, a woman asked who had called her from this number.  I explained the situation to her, and said that I had gotten her number from my cell phone records which showed that she had been texting with the person who currently has my phone.  She looked through the records and said that someone had texted her asking about a person she knew, she had responded asking who was texting her, and the girl with my phone texted her back with her name.

I asked the woman if she’d tell me the name so that I could get my phone back.  She told me that she’d get it back for me.  She said she’d get it from the girl after school, and that she’d call me at 4 so we could arrange to meet for me to pick it up. I asked if she was sure, and said that we could involve the police if she wanted.  She didn’t want.

So, after school I waited by the phone.  Finally it rang, and the woman told me that she was waiting for the girl to bring the phone to her house and she’d call me later when she had it.  Two hours later, still no call.

But then she called Kullervo at his office and on his cell, and they arranged a pickup.  So, when Kullervo got home from work, he changed his clothes and drove out to the neighborhood where these people lived, and they handed him my phone.  (Yes, he took measures to be safe.)  They also gave some bullcocky story about not knowing it was stolen and blah blah blah.  I didn’t care–I just wanted my phone back (and at the time, I thought that the people who stole it from me were going to be punished).

So, aside from a day with no phone (which is much more fun if it’s done voluntarily, by the way), and the fact that they deleted all 682 of the pictures that I had on my phone (and all of the texts that they sent as well), I have my phone back.  They kept my headset, which is annoying, but much less expensive than an iPhone.  My phone is turned back on, and the fact that I have it back makes the injustice of the juvenile justice system sting less.

I Got Robbed

Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the ‘ref-made-a-bad-call’ sort of way, but in the ‘someone snatched my phone out of my hands and ran away’ sort of way.

I was walking to Oliver’s school to pick him up today, and I was talking on the phone to my mom.  The walk home from school (when I’ve dropped Oliver off) and to school (when I’m picking him up) is the best time I have to call people, because Hazel is usually napping or having quiet time in the stroller, and I can talk relatively uninterrupted.

We crossed the street at a traffic light and passed by a busstop.  A bunch of kids often wait out there for the bus after school, and I have never thought anything of it.  I usually have my guard up around them, because it’s a lot of kids, and the school that they go to is where the bad kids get sent when they get expelled from their regular school.  Usually the owner of the bar on the corner is outside watching over things.

Today I walked by, and was holding on to my phone for that reason.  I kept walking, and got far enough away that I wasn’t paying close attention anymore.  All of a sudden, two guys ran up on either side of me, snatched my phone out of my hands, yanked the earbuds out of my ears, and turned around and ran.

I was shocked, obviously.  I didn’t know what to do, so I did the only thing I could do with a young kid in tow–I started screaming.  I hollered that I was robbed, that they stole my phone, that someone should call the police, and I just screamed and screamed.  I saw people sort of coming out of the woodwork, but it seemed like everyone was moving in slow motion, except the perpetrators.

Someone said that they got onto the bus that was coming by, and four men–of all different races, it was like a Willie Nelson outlaw country music video, I felt–stood in front of the bus and wouldn’t let it go.  One of them got on the bus and brought one of the guys who had run up to me out.

He was just a kid–only 16, I found out later–and began the bad-kid story of ‘it wasn’t me, I had no idea what was happening, deny deny deny-but these men wouldn’t let him go anywhere.  He claimed to not know the other kid’s name, but what he was saying didn’t make any sense.

The police arrived and handcuffed the kid.  I talked to them for a few minutes, but I had to go pick up Oliver.  They took my information down and told me that they’d wait for me.  I ran to pick up Oliver (and I think the running did well to calm my frazzled nerves), and when we left the classroom the police had met us there.  Hazel was clutching her puppy and said, when we arrived at the school, “Puppy didn’t like the running and the screaming.  Puppy didn’t like it.”  It broke my heart that she had to be there and experience that.

The police gave us a ride to the station, and on the way they heard that they had found the other kid.  They drove me over to where they had caught him and asked me to ID him.  I was nervous–I didn’t think I’d recognize him; it all happened so fast.  But they brought him out of the car, and I did recognize him.    They brought him to the station.

The cops were incredibly nice, and asked Oliver and Hazel for their names.  Oliver said his name was Oliver, and Hazel said her name was “Funny Bunny”.  The cops thought she was absolutely adorable (they were right).

We waited in the station for about two and a half hours.  The kids’ parents were brought in.  Each of them appeared to have a young sibling between Oliver and Hazel’s ages.  When one of the mothers realized that I was the reason they were there, she approached me and said that she was so sorry.  I told her that it wasn’t her fault.  But I didn’t know what to say besides that.

We entertained ourselves by practicing math, learning finger spelling, having Hazel read all of the letters we could see, telling knock knock jokes, and making up silly names for planets.  The kids behaved amazingly well even though we were there for so long and we had nothing to entertain ourselves with (not even my trusty phone!).

Finally, the cops installed two car seats into an unmarked car and drove us home.  They said they’d come back later to give me the police report number, etc., but they haven’t come yet.  I assume that something more important came up, and they have Kullervo’s number.

I kept it together for the rest of the night, but was so grateful when Kullervo came home from work early (early for a lawyer, at least).  We put the kids to bed, and then it was okay to fall apart.

I am just so glad that it wasn’t any worse than it was; that neither Hazel nor I was hurt.  I am incredibly impressed with Chicago’s police force-they caught both of the robbers and brought them in.  I am also so glad it happened when Oliver wasn’t with me–I am not sure what his reaction would have been, but he is incredibly sensitive to things like this.  Hazel is too (I think she’s had a couple of bad dreams tonight), but she’s still young enough that it isn’t as scary for her.

Tomorrow I’m going to call the pediatrician and find out if there is anything I need to watch for in Hazel (and Oliver) in case this is bothering them more than it appears.  Hazel was not interested in eating tonight, and I want to make sure that she is taken care of.

Literally

You know what’s a minor pet peeve of mine?  When people mispronounce the word literal.  Instead of saying literal (three syllables) they say litrel.  Or when they say something is literal when it isn’t.  “It was lit-relly, like, bigger than the planet.”

Anyway, are Adam and Eve literal?  Lots of people think that they are, and it’s a really fun idea.  So while thinking about them, I like to come up with ways that Adam and Eve could really be real people, 6000 years ago, when we have fossils of people much earlier than that.

So, there’s the standard ‘we don’t know what the measurements of time were that were used–a day could mean an era of some sort.  Especially since this was all written later, if someone was sort of having a vision of all that happened and then tasked with writing it down, well, God would sort of have to speed up the process.  So a vision with a time-stop thing that sort of showed the creation could make it seem like, okay, this was a day.  (Do you know what I’m talking about?  They do it in the movies all the time but I don’t know the technical name for it.  Let’s just say that if you were in the Twilight movie universe, you’d be spinning around a chair showing the seasons going by.)  Then the next thing happened.  And that was, like, another day.  If Adam and Eve were real people, that probably makes the most sense.

But!  What if God isn’t talking about the very first man at all?  What if there were totally men and women hanging out, living lives, herding, hunting, gathering, farming, whatever, but Adam and Eve were the first of God’s people?  So, evolution happened the way that we think, but the Bible has this record of the Israelites, who were some of the descendants of Adam and Eve.  But what if there is some other -ible, the Gible or Zible perhaps, about Ronald and Sue, the first people of another set of people.  Why haven’t we heard of these people, you ask?  Well, there’s the flood, after all.  I bet a lot of paperwork was lost in the flood.  Also, have you heard about all those fires that California keeps having?  Stuff that’s written down is notorious for just, like, disappearing when there is a wildfire.  (And obviously all this stuff is written on pieces of paper, right?  I mean, my NIV is, so I extrapolate that to all documents by every culture ever in history.)

*Note that in all of this, I haven’t said that I actually think that Adam and Eve were real people.

So, now, what if Adam and Eve were not real people, but are in fact myths, stories of the beginning of time that aren’t supposed to be literally interpreted, but mined for the wealth of information that they give.  I suppose it is also possible to very narrowly interpret the story, possibly putting too much emphasis on ideas that could then skew your entire perception of the Bible.

If Adam and Eve were not real people, there are some questions.  What about all of those random descendants who are named but (as far as I know) never really returned to or seen again?  Why bother with the cameos of these children who didn’t turn out to be the ancestors of Abraham?  Perhaps they had (have?) more meaning to the Jews at the time that it was written.

Also, when did the people start being real people and not just myths?  It’s possible that there is some blurring here–maybe Abraham was real, but more has been attributed to him than actually happened, or stories about a few people were combined into one.  You see this a lot in the Greek myths–depending on which stories you read, you get different versions of which god did what, etc.

*Note that in all of this, I haven’t said that I actually think that Adam and Eve were mythological people.

So, is it time for my opinion?  I warn you–it’s going to sound wishy washy.

I don’t know if Adam and Eve were literal people or not.  And I don’t really think that it matters.  Whether they were literal people or not doesn’t change the lessons that we have to learn from them.  It doesn’t make or break my faith.

In any case, I think it is a beautiful story about the origins of mankind (civilized mankind?) with so much to learn about man and God and what our relationship should and could be with God.  And for what God thinks about people and how He treats us.

Wishy washy?  Maybe.  Post-modern?  Probably.