My Favorite Things

For the first time, the Parent Imperfect is abusing the language while on a plane. He is returning from Washington to Boston after his second trip to the nation’s capital this week. He has decided to try the airline that offers in-flight wireless service as a way of trying to get people to go through the considerable inconvenience of flying in and out of Baltimore-Washington International Airport. He’s forgetting for a moment that this is a re-branding of the airline involved in the famous plane crash in the Everglades in 1997.

After travelling for almost 20 days in November, the PI is now bouncing back and forth to DC on a strategic planning mission. There has got to be a way to live that involves a little less flying and staying in hotels. Dear Liz is, of course, the one most affected by the travel schedule, as she must try to do her job while seeing alone to the needs of two very busy children.

Other than the PI’s absence, the biggest development in the family is Vincent’s special friendship with one of his fellow seventh graders. For some reason, V prefers texting on his “clunky” phone over any alternative means of communication with his friend…even, apparently, speaking to her. He won’t call from home for fear that that a family member will be listening in on the call. He wants a secure line.

The texting mania is one more distraction from the demands of the nation’s oldest public school. The relationship means one more reason to not study at the library after school, to not bring home the items necessary for the evening’s assignments and to not focus on anything at home besides the incoming text. This is a great challenge for his mother, who has assumed the role of sole homework helper. When the PI hasn’t been traveling, he’s been failing to provide the combination of firmness, consistency, love and patience necessary to help Mr. V. along this road. Since Liz is now at the end of several ropes, the PI will try once more in the coming days.

Vincent shows regular flashes of brilliance that suggest that he could make this transition if he really wanted to, but he needs to somehow make that decision, himself. No combination of bribery, encouragement, intimidation and positive reinforcement seem to be able to bring him to that point.

Connie chugs along, perhaps neglected because she has fewer obvious problems in school. This coming weekend she will do her first formal audition for a part in a play to be put on by a local community theater. No one in her family has ever done such a thing, which is probably why she is so determined to do it. By Saturday, those closest to her will have heard quite enough about her “favorite things.”

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