Archive for Dylan

I swear, we’re not crazy

Posted in Education, Family with tags , , , , , , , on November 2, 2010 by macmystery

I haven’t posted much on this blog since having a health scare in late April that affected my everyday schedule, particularly my schedule at work, for a while. Some things have returned to normal, but others will never be the same.

Most of my posts have been reposts of stories, photos, videos, etc. But basically little that I’ve written myself. This post is a break from that recent trend.

My son, Dylan, began his second year at a charter school this fall. He attended a different school in our district for 4K and 5K, but we made a change before first grade.

Dylan is ahead of his grade level, and my wife and I felt that the charter school offered flexibility that his regular public school couldn’t. Namely, the ability to work ahead to his level, rather than be held back with the class (A product of No Child Left Behind … rather no child gets ahead.).

Aside from a few hiccups here and there, which I’m sure most parents go through, the school has been wonderful and Dylan has thrived academically.

But socially, that hasn’t been the case.

Probably much like I was, Dylan has the misfortune of being far ahead intellectually of where he is socially or emotionally. And this has resulted in behavior issues.

Phone calls home have been common. Detention has been served. He’s made a few trips to the office.

None of the offenses were serious, but they were beginning to add up. No matter how well he was performing academically, we were having troubles behavior-wise.

My wife has long desired to be at home full-time and has long expressed the desire to homeschool our children. I was, and am not, as enthusiastic as her about the notion.

My sense of people that homeschool traditionally has been that they are those with the means (either wealthy or extremely intelligent) or crazy (send your donations in care of David Koresh, the messiah). I didn’t leave much room in between. Honestly, I still don’t.

For all of the drawbacks of public schools, and there are many, especially in the progressive (using sarcasm font here) state of South Carolina, one thing they provide that cannot be replaced by homeschooling, or private schools for that matter, is a trial run at life experience. Definitely, not all of the experience will be good, but there is a value to learning to deal with people unlike you — people who don’t think like you, look like you, believe like you, worship like you, behave like you … or like you. And in real life, that’s what you’re forced to do every day.

That being said, Dylan’s behavior was causing a problem, and in the latest incident (though we can’t really get anyone to tell us what, if anything happened), he was labeled a bully by a woman who works at the school.

Forget the fact that the chances of Dylan being a bully fall right behind Ghandi being a war-monger. The woman who made the accusation is someone who was involved in the founding of the school and will be there for the duration of Dylan’s time. Translation: Dylan will be branded a troublemaker, and that label will stick and he’ll have to deal with it as long as he’s there.

Despite good grades and amazing test scores, Dylan has been miserable at school lately, and Brooke is now at home full-time after leaving her job at a nonprofit. This time, when she brought up homeschooling, I didn’t fight.

I’ll admit, I’m not sure how I feel about it. And I don’t know if we did the right thing. But at least for a while, Dylan will be homeschooled. We’ve taken the plunge, and I’m up to my neck. I’ve no choice but to swim.

Brooke has taken or is in the process of taking all the legal steps, making sure we follow the rules or our state and district.

And Dylan had his first day of school at home Monday, spending time on spelling, vocabulary, reading comprehension, reviewing math skills … as well as his first taste of long division. And he got a tutorial on voting, with Tuesday being election day.

I don’t know if we’re doing the right thing. And I’m sure that I’m not sure what I’m doing. But at the same time, I won’t let him down. If I fail him, it won’t because I didn’t give my all.

I don’t think this is permanent. I foresee Dylan returning to public school at some point. My wife and I both are big supporters of public school (despite this move), and I think it’s important socially, as well. But I don’t know when. (I know I’m not teaching him chemistry!)

I’ve heard my wife tell people that we’ve prayed about this decision. Honestly, that usually means she’s prayed a lot more about it than me, but I’ve spent a lot of time going over the pros and cons again and again in my head.

Maybe some of this is our fault. Dylan’s never been to day care. He’s always been with one of us. He’s always gotten one-on-one attention. At school, he doesn’t.

Dylan’s a really smart, happy kid. But he’s got some growing to do to catch up with the kids his age. And until then, I think public school was going to be trouble for him.

Hopefully, we can work on some things at home that weren’t getting attention at school. And God willing, we’ll do more good than harm.

Because I don’t consider myself one of the crazies. And I hope when I look back on this decision down the line, I don’t see a crazy then, either.

Like it or not, I’m back

Posted in Family, Uncategorized with tags , , on July 2, 2010 by macmystery

After successfully failing to post for the entire months of May and June (Heck, I posted just one day in April), I have returned. See how I made that sound positive.

Some health issues (well, one actually), a lack of computer access and a heavy load at work have conspired to keep me down, but I have prevailed.

I’ve missed a lot the last three months … a lot I’d have liked to comment on.

I saw a Neil Young concert, my third, that was downright nasty it was so good.

I went to camp for three days with my son, Dylan, and thought I was going to die.

I had some sort of episode at work and thought I was going to die.

And among other things, I really would have liked to comment on some people I admired who did die.

Down the road, I may get to some of those things, albeit a little late. But for whatever small number of people who read this and myself, it’s simply progress that I’ve typed these words. Any catching up I do will be icing on the cake.

Later this morning I leave for Washington D.C. and then New York City for my annual baseball trip. Hopefully, I’ll have some things to comment on from there.

Bye, for now.

The next Dick Weber

Posted in Family, Sports with tags , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by macmystery

I took Dylan on a long-promised bowling trip tonight with Grandpa Bill at the Oasis of Loganville, Ga.

He had a blast, bowling three games and even breaking the century mark (102) in the third game.

Of course, he had rails, but he’s 6 and he gets it. After an 80 and a 75 in the first two games, I told him his goal was an 80 in the third game.

He was easily on pace, with a 69 through eight frames, when he hit a strike — with no help from the rails, I might add — in the ninth frame, which brought cheers from the bowlers three lanes down.

Then he opened the 10th with a nine, and I knew if he got a spare, he would break 100. When he picked up the 10 pin, he got high fives from one of the girls from three lanes down.

Of course, after the strike and the awesome spare, he closed with an anti-climactic 3 in his final roll.

(Not that it matters, but I bowled a 117, cursed my shoes, removed the left one and finished with a 203 and a 188 wearing only one shoe.)

Dylan spent $1 on some ski-mobile spy-action video game, which was quite entertaining to watch, especially when he repeatedly ran into gates, trees, walls, buildings, etc. Then I took him to Sonic for an orange slush and popcorn chicken.

A great night.

Dylan and Danny

Posted in Family, Sports with tags , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by macmystery
Two of my favorite people -- Dylan and Danny Ford.

Two of my favorite people -- Dylan and Danny Ford.

I went to the Spartanburg Touchdown Club meeting on Friday at Wild Wing Cafe in downtown Spartanburg to hear former Clemson football coach Danny Ford speak.

Dylan loves Wild Wing, and since he had a big program at school (that his grade wasn’t even allowed to attend) and then early dismissal, I took him along.

He was excited to wear his Clemson jersey and take his clemson football to have Coach Ford autograph it, even though he has no real idea who Coach Ford is. Coach of the 1981 national champions somehow doesn’t mean as much to him as to me.

He got to eat chicken fingers, hang out with the grown-ups (the thrill of missing school played a role, as well) and get his picture made with someone who his daddy liked a lot. And he loved it, especially since Mommy and Ella didn’t get to come along.

The picture doesn’t mean a lot to him, but hopefully one day he’ll understand why it does for me.

Hogwarts, S.C.

Posted in Books, Family, Movies with tags , , , , , , on October 19, 2009 by macmystery
Dylan reluctantly pets the dragon. Hagrid would be proud.

Dylan reluctantly pets the dragon. Hagrid would be proud.

In yet another installment of  Daddy and Dylan Day, Dylan and I went all wizard last Saturday.

The Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville County hosted “The Science of Harry Potter.”

The program, which is an excuse to get kids and parents into the science center, married its exhibits with themes from the Harry Potter series of books by J.K. Rowling.

The program, open from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., was a lot to take in. There was no way we would be able to see everything, and there was a lot.

Among the activities:

  • Hold mice, snakes and a dragon.
  • The chance to meet and hold these Hogwarts creatures … tarantulas, giant toads and a python.
  • Quidditch demos … Well, this is as close as you can come to quidditch without being able to fly. There was a Harry Potter day camp back in the summer where the kids played quidditch, apparently. Some of the pupils were brought back to demonstrate the sport. There were hula-hoops suspended from trees branches for the rings. Soccer balls were used, and a tennis ball was the golden snitch. And did I mention there was no flying? Dylan was not impressed.
  • Old-fashioned broom making
  • The younger kids made bitty brooms from small sticks and yarn.
  • Among several demonstrations at the planetarium, there was a chart showing how all the names of the Black family (as in Sirius) corresponded with astronomy.
  • The kids could take a tour of the forbidden forest and discuss the botany of wands.
  • There were readings from “The Tales of Beetle the Bard.”
  • Wandmaking … using pretzels, chocolate and sprinkles.
  • Learning to write with quills.
  • Herbology … making your own herbal tea bag.
  • Meeting a live barred owl.
  • Photo opportunities with the Sorting Hat.
  • Potions lab … activities such as making slime, smoke, etc.

Dylan loved it. Even if the ties to Harry Potter weren’t always so strong. Really, the whole point is just to get you into the science center. Once you’re there, there’s almost no choice but to learn. And it was well worth the $9 total it took for us to get in.

When Harry Potter camp comes up next summer, I think we’ll be there.

Daddy & Dylan Day, Part II

Posted in Family, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by macmystery
Dylan and Grandpa Bill at Atlanta's Turner Field on Monday night. It was Dylan's first major league baseball game with daddy, and the Braves won 4-0.

Dylan and Grandpa Bill at Atlanta's Turner Field on Monday night. It was Dylan's first major league baseball game with daddy, and the Braves won 4-0.

Monday night was Dave Ramsey Night at Turner Field. As a result, the seats in the sections at the end of the upper deck, in both right and left field, were all $1.

It seemed like the perfect night to take Dylan to his first Major League Baseball game. The Braves were winning and still in the wild-card hunt. The seats were cheap.

Brooke called my dad, and he said he was interested. So I picked Dylan up early from school on Monday and we drove down to Atlanta. Brooke and Ella stayed with my mom, and Grandpa Bill, Dylan and I headed downtown.

After a quick dinner at Arby’s, we caught the MARTA train at the East Lake station. Dylan had been looking forward to the train ride as much as the game. As it turns out, it was easily his favorite part of the evening.

Our seats were not bad, but that didn’t mean Dylan had any intention of staying in one. It was a two-plus-hour effort to get him to be still. He was in the aisle, on the steps behind us and three rows down at the railing.

At one point, he was leaning at the railing and yelling below, “Hey you, hammer head! Hey hammerhead, up here!” I thought, “Oh my God. He’s yelling at a person.”

Boy, did I feel stupid. When I reached the railing to admonish him, I realized he was yelling at an actual hammer head. Braves sponsor Home Depot holds a race similar to that of the sausages in Milwaukee, only it’s a hammer, a saw, a paint brush and a drill that race around the outfield wall.

Dylan and I missed a Chipper Jones home run while we were in the souvenir shop. That’s where I spent 20 minutes convincing Dylan that we didn’t need a red foam tomahawk for $5 (I must have 10 in a box at home) or an $8 red big foam finger.

(The souvenir shop is also where a I was approached by a hot latin chick about the 2009 Little League World Series T-shirt I was wearing.)

We bought two drinks for $9 and a bag of peanuts for $6.25. Ouch.

We stayed through the seventh inning, and then we left to let Dylan play in the big Cartoon Network playhouse and then take some pictures with some big statues. (The most disturbing of which shos Dylan sitting on Ty Cobb’s lap as he slides into a base.)

Dylan complained about the walk back to the MARTA station as much as he complained about the walk to the stadium. I guess it was to be expected. But for the most part, while a bit hyper, he was good.

Will he ever be a baseball fan? Enough to sit through a game? I don’t know. And that’s fine. If it’s not his cup of tea, I won’t push it on him. But I can hope.

Daddy & Dylan Day

Posted in Family, Movies with tags , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by macmystery
Cloudy With A Chance of Meat Balls

Cloudy With A Chance of Meat Balls

Dylan has complained lately to Brooke that he never gets to spend much time anymore when it’s jist “him and Daddy.”

And he’s right. Since Ella was born and Brooke has been working, almost all the time he’s been with me, he’s had to share me with the little girl.

So, with last Friday being a day off from school for him, he asked Brooke if she could get a babysitter for Ella so he could have me all to himself. She said yes, and made it happen. (Thank you to the un-named babysitter).

I had two movie passes that we get each year at work on our birthdays, so I figured we’d do a movie. Because of scheduling, the best choice was “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs.”

So Dylan and I went to lunch — Chinese buffet, his choice … funny, he wants to go to the Chinese buffet, yet he eats only the French Fries, chicken nuggets (his name for the sweet & sour chicken, minus the sweet & sour) and Jello. Then we took in the movie, in Disney 3D, no less.

Quick movie review: Awesome. Clean. Mr. T rocks. Neil Patrick Harris rocks as Steve the monkey. As far as kids movies go, pretty darn good.

Anyway, this was the first Daddy & Dylan Day. And I’m hopeful for lots more.