Thanks for noticing!

Now I’m “That Mom.” The mom of the kid you don’t want in your classroom because her mom is That Mom.

Kiddo#2 told us that in the hallway outside her classroom, there’s a sign that says “We Are Thankful For.” I asked what they were thankful for, and she told me they hadn’t put anything on the bulletin board yet.

I said, “I bet in a week or so, you’ll have to do a project about something you’re thankful for.”

It’s a public school, if you’re wondering, so the kids can’t be thankful to God. But at the same time, they’re not really expected to be thankful to anyone else, either. They’re just supposed to be thankful in isolation. It makes no sense: Thankful is supposed to have an object; glad doesn’t. Grief needs an object; depression by definiton doesn’t. They’ve turned a directed emotion into nondirected, but that’s another blog entry.

I said to Kiddo#2, “Most of the kids are going to say that they’re thankful for their families, or for their pets, or something like that. You should choose something weird.”

She said, “Like what?”

I said, “You could be thankful for salt shakers.”

My Patient Husband said, “Traffic lights.”

I said, “Indoor plumbing and central heating.”

We came up with a lovely list of things to be thankful for that would be unique on that board of “We Thank Something For The Following Good Things:”

  • The internal combustion engine
  • Literacy
  • The number ten
  • The transistor
  • The planet Jupiter
  • Velcro
  • Mitochondria

You get the point. All good things, and yet all under-appreciated in the grand scheme of things as judged by grammar-school bulletin boards.

I have no idea what she’ll actually pick for her thankfulness. But if she takes my advice, the teacher herself will have something to be thankful for at the end of the school year. At least, she will until she looks up one September to find Kiddo#3 in her class.

More subversion tomorrow.


  1. Ivy

    If it was my kid she’d end up saying something like, “I’m thankful to President Jackson for forcibly removing thousands of innocent people from their homes so the rest of us could take over the place.” See? The teacher should be thankful she gets to deal with your child, not mine. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    K2 is a darling. I imagine the teacher goes to bed every night dreaming of having nothing but little K2s dutifully, sweetly, absorbing what she has to teach. Why, if all the students were like K2, she’d go to work every day with a smile on her face and a heart full of joy at the great future that is the upcoming generation.

    I’m going to see if I can beat Jason to the punch and suggest thankful to Gutenberg for the printing press.

    As an aside, when K2 has her second daughter, will you refer to her as K2D2?

  2. Cheryl

    ROFL! You are the wind beneath my wings!

  3. Amy Deardon

    This is great! I’m imagining you wrote this to be funny, but actually your point is quite profound.

  4. cricketB

    Oh, dear, another definition. I use “thankful” without “to” all the time. “Glad” is more happy and energetic. “Grateful” implies the give expects it. “Thankful” is more relaxed. I guess the “to” is assumed.

    Just asked the family:
    Dtr(8): MythBusters (it’s bedtime TV time)
    Son(11): Pokemon, D&D and MythBusters
    Husband (don’t make me check the calendar): Zero
    Me (does anyone else feel like an idiot when the doctor asks?) : Calculus

  5. capt_cardor

    I’m thankful for the Chinese who invented movable type, the printing press, pasta and just about everything else.


  6. Jason Block

    Ivy DID beat me to it, the smart alec that she is ๐Ÿ™‚ Gutenberg it HAS to be. The movable press and movable type is what allows her to read books at any place at any time.

    1. philangelus

      I’ve tried to convince her that movable type and the printing press are the best candidates for her thankfulness board. She agrees in theory — but I’m still betting she’ll be thankful for her cats or something like that.

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  8. arianne

    Has anyone told you today how very wonderful you are? I love the warped way your mind works, the way you look at things, and the fact that you are sharing with the next generation. You rock.

    1. philangelus

      No, the “how very wonderful” I am slips everyone’s mind about 364 days of the year, for the obvious reason. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I’m glad you’re enjoying the weblog. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Lane in PA

    More power to subversive moms!

    I love your sense of humor.

    BTW, I am really thankful for refrigeration. Just thought I’d pass that along.

    1. philangelus

      Ooh, refrigeration! Without which we wouldn’t also be able to be thankful for Slurpees. I’m right there with you.

  10. Patient Husband

    I’m thankful I married a wonderful woman who has such a great sense of humor.

    And, as I mentioned during the conversation, I’m also thankful for the fast Fourier Transform. But not in the same way. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. philangelus

      Because you could always get another wife, but the FFT is irreplaceable? ;-D

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