Sunday, September 12, 2021

Zogre the Ogre vs. Constance Contraire

We recently finished watching Disney's The Benedict Society as a family. I read the book to the kids last November, so they were familiar with the story and were quite excited that it had been made into a television series. 

Our family is 85% certain that the character Zoë is most like is Constance Contraire. 

If you do the math, that's 6 out of 7 of us. 

Zoë is the remaining 15%.

She doesn't particularly like being compared to Constance, but the kids all want her to dress up as Constance Contraire for Halloween because "it would be perfect!" I don't know what she'll end up being for Halloween but I'm 99% positive it won't be Constance Contraire!

The thing is, though, that the character Zoë is most like is Constance Contraire.

Take this evening, for example.

Andrew asked if I would give him a haircut. I said I would, but you know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie, right?

So I started with Alexander, moved on to Benjamin, hacked my way through Miriam's mane (she took off 12 inches and I thinned her remaining hair (so brave of me) so she feels much lighter), and then got around to cutting Andrew's hair. And all the while I was cutting hair, Zoë was "doing" the dishes (because it's her week for dishes). Mostly she was being distracted, but a little bit she was doing the dishes (that's usually how she does the dishes, which reminds me that I should pop down to the kitchen to finish up for her (but, on the other hand, if I wait long enough...maybe Andrew will do it)).

In spite of Alexander wanting a haircut (because the clippers are like "a tickle machine"), he was a little upset that he would no longer be able to support hair styles. He's been a little obsessed with putting clips and things in his hair lately—all sorts of things.

This morning he dressed in orange pants and a red shirt (burning hot colours) and then found a handful of red hair bows to clip in his hair and declared, "I'm a human lava lake!" 

He and Zoë spent several minutes trying to pin a candle to his head so he could have real fire on his head, as a human lava lake should! It was a battery-operated candle. But still; it was hilarious. 

Anyway, I've taken our self-isolation period (which has been lengthy) to practice giving my boys haircuts other than a straight buzz and...I think I'm getting to be a halfway decent hairdresser! In other words: I'm able to preserve a bit of length on the top. So there's still plenty of real estate for lava lake hair styles.

Benjamin, however, said, "It's okay if you can't have hair styles anymore because all your hair styles are weird!" which made Alexander feel rather pouty. 

He did eventually get over it, though he'll probably bring up that stinging remark in the future because he has trouble letting things go. Anyway, he sat and watched Benjamin get his hair cut, and then I sent the two of them off to take their Saturday evening baths while I cut Miriam's hair, which took forever

She has so much hair! She put it into pigtails to mark her desired length and I just chopped those off (to donate). Rachel grabbed one of Miriam's pigtails to compare to her full ponytail and was aghast that half of Miriam's hair was thicker than all of Rachel's own hair. This child seriously has so much hair

But she has a lot less now. It's about to her chin. 

She turned to Zoë as I was finishing up and said, "So, what do you think?"

"It's so..." Zoë began. "So..."

"So...what?" Miriam urged. 

"So...I...don't really want to say because it will be like the time Benjamin said Alexander's hair styles looked weird and...I don't want to say anything mean or hurtful, so..."

It was a quintessential Constance Contraire moment. 

Zoë, who came into this world grumpy (she was the angriest baby I've ever met, thus the nickname Zogre), has mellowed out in her ripe old age (of six). She's sweet, and thoughtful, and giggly, and funny, and so, so, so honest about her feelings. Even when she's trying her best to be tactful she somehow manages to say exactly what's on her mind. 

And, really, that's okay. Honesty is good. 

We'll keep working on the tact (for you, society; we'll work on it for you).


Yesterday I had Benjamin and Zoë take a unit exam for our science curriculum. I explained how the test worked (some fill-in-the-blank questions and things like that) and left the kids to it. I don't love testing, but really knowing how to take a test is a good thing (we take so few tests in our homeschool that I'm sure public schooled kids are way ahead of her in this regard). 

Anyway, in spite of explaining how the test worked, Zoë somehow decided to tackle the fill-in-the-blank section without any of the questions. Like, there were letters and blanks on one page and a list of definitions on the other page and she was supposed to read the definitions, think of the term, and then fill in the missing letters for the vocabulary words. But she didn't want to use the clues!

So she drew a very angry picture (she's very good at angry pictures) of herself trying to do the test, with a bunch of crying faces surrounding the page, and "I CAN'T DO IT!" spelled out with so much force that she almost tore through the paper. 

Finally she came upstairs, heaved herself into the chair in the corner of my room and grumbled those same words: "I can't do it!"

So I said, "Well, where's the list of definitions?"

"I don't want to cheat."

"It's not cheating," I said. "You're supposed to read the definition, think of the word, and then fill in the blanks."

"Oh!" she said. "Well, that's a lot easier!"

When she "turned in" her test, I was happy to see that she'd erased the apostrophe-T of "can't" and had changed all the crying faces to happy faces, as well as having herself daydream about riding unicorns and eating ice cream. A beautiful change for this little contrarian.

Imagine taking a test like:

1) _ _ _ T O _
2) N E _ _ _ _ C _
3) _ A _ _ 

...without any context at all.

It does seem like an impossible task...which is why tests also come with questions. 

And it's not cheating to read the questions, as Zoë should know from having read (and then watched) The Mysterious Benedict Society!


Update on the dish situation: I can hear things clinking around in the kitchen so I think Andrew beat me to the dishes. Shucks.

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