Don't Stand Close to the T.V.!

Thanksgiving decorations in stores can mean only one thing. It is almost time for the kids to go back to school. I wrote this song as a reminder to enjoy these last days of summer vacation with our little ones. After all, the holidays will be here before we know it. Happy Singing! ~Marisa

Don't Stand Close to the T.V.! 
(Sung to the tune “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by the Police)

Mom teacher, the subject
Of shouting out orders all day.
She wants them, so badly
To do just what she says.

Inside her, there's longing...
To turn a brand new page.
But no use, they don't listen
No matter what their age.

Don't stand, don't stand close
Don't stand close to the T.V.
Don't stand, don't stand close
Don't stand close to the T.V.

Her friends are, so jealous
You know what people say
Just think of ALL THAT TIME OFF
You can take a "personal day."

Temptation, frustration
You know how bad it gets.
Use your inside voice!
Make a good choice!
If you want to be teacher’s pet.

Hands to yourself!
Put it back on the shelf!
Here is what she has to say.
Please walk, don't run!
Is your homework done?
Why can't they nicely play?

Don't stand, don't stand close
Don't stand close to the T.V.
Don't stand, don't stand close
Don't stand close to the T.V.

Use your words!
Don't call them nerds!
Oh no, please don't cry!
Just try your best!
And give it a rest!
Wash your hands and don't forget to dry.

Did you read your book by Nabokov?
You need to cover your cough!
Because I said so!
Now go!

Don't stand, don't stand close
Don't stand close to the T.V.
Don't stand, don't stand close
Don't stand close to the T.V.


Adding More PLAY in Your Day

It can be a challenge to get enough PLAY in your day when you feel overwhelmed, overextended, or overworked. Here are some indicators that you may need to play more.

Rocks from Puget Sound in Seattle, WA.

Rocks from Puget Sound in Seattle, WA.

Top Ten Signs You Need More Play

  1. The last pleasurable book you read was Facebook.

  2. It is your parents’ anniversary. You order them a basket of fruits online from Harry & David, but don’t recognize you are in the bereavement section. When it gets delivered to them they receive their apples and oranges in a beautiful basket with a white ribbon that says the word: “Condolences.” Can’t wait to see what they get for the 50th wedding anniversary.

  3. You try to make a phone call and realize you’re operating the remote control to the television.

  4. You do not feel like “family” anymore at the Olive Garden.

  5. You go to pick up your knitting to make your kid’s teacher a pair of socks for her birthday only to find you’re using #2 pencils instead of #2 knitting needles. Good thing the yarn is gray.

  6. Your sweet tooth says “I wanna,” but your wisdom tooth says “no way.”

  7. Your future tripping is so out of hand that your  <fill in the blank>    (fortune teller, therapist, hairdresser, barista, MOPS leader, other) asks if you want a punch card for future discounts. Boy she sure can be snarky!

  8. Your best friend tells you a secret and asks you to keep it on the D.L. You thought she said “deal” and you congratulate her savvy shopping at T.J. Maxx.

  9. You accidentally wear your partner’s underwear and discover while sitting at a light on your way to work that the Fruit of the Looms fit better than yours.

  10. The Snapfish order has arrived in the mail. You complete several scrapbook pages before figuring out that it is not your family in the pictures. You’ve just scrapbooked your neighbor’s family.


What your score means

If you answered YES:

0 times = Wow, you really have things figured out. You are doing a fine job getting enough play in your life, and managing the whole work and life balance. Good for you!

1-2 times = You might be a little stressed out. But overall things are fine.

5 times or more = You might be overwhelmed with the balancing act thing that is life. Go get a massage! Now!

Just like children, we need play in our daily life. All work and no play…well you know. President Lincoln once said, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” Play can help you reach your best. Take time to play more! President’s orders! Oops, I meant doctors’ orders!

The Cancel-er

It was Kevin’s birthday on the day his teacher was out and I stepped in to cover for her. This wasn’t my first time in "Ms. Cayman's" Kindergarten classroom. She requested me whenever she needed a substitute teacher.

Kevin arrived with a giant Tupperware container full of his Mom's homemade cupcakes. During lunch Kevin passed out his cupcakes to each of his classmates. When lunch was over all the kids went out to recess except for the birthday boy. He asked me if he could go to the office and pass out the remaining cupcakes. I said "yes" and off he went.

When he returned to the classroom, his container was empty. He placed it in his cubby and went out to the playground to join the rest of the kids for recess. I ate lunch in the classroom and finished getting everything ready for the afternoon. It was a wonderful class and I felt good about the note I left the teacher that evening when I was done. I locked up the classroom and went to the office to turn in my key and sign out.

The principal invited me into his office. I worried what could be wrong. This was unusual. He asked, “How did your day go?"

“Fine," I said. "I was teaching for Ms. Cayman today. The kids were great. Things went smoothly. Nothing out of the ordinary. Why do you ask?”

“Well because of a situation with Kevin during lunch,” answered the principal.

Oh dear did something bad happen? The principal began...    

Kevin approached the secretary and asked if she would like a cupcake. The answer was yes and he gave her one.

Kevin then asked the secretary, “Can I give a cupcake to the vice principal?” She said yes and Kevin went to give one to the VP.

“Can I give a cupcake to the principal?” asked Kevin. The answer was yes and he gave me a cupcake.

“Can I give a cupcake to the nurse?" asked Kevin. When the answer was yes, he delivered a cupcake to the school nurse two doors down from the secretary’s desk. He had one cupcake left.

“Can I give the last cupcake to the cancel-er?”asked Kevin.

“The school counselor is out on the playground. He has recess duty. He will be back in the office later,” responded the secretary.

“No. Can I give a cupcake to the cancel-er?” requested Kevin.

“Kevin, honey, the counselor has recess duty,” she explained.

He clarified, “No, you don’t understand. Not the counselor. I want to give a cupcake to the cancel-er. You know...the one who cancels school when it snows outside. I want to give my last cupcake to the snow cancel-er.”

Say Fig

School photographers have a tough job. Can you imagine how hard it is to get distractible children to sit still so pictures can be taken? “Say Cheese,” just doesn’t cut it anymore (if it ever did). How odd that we Americans choose to use a dairy product to get people to smile. The double e sound is supposed to help the corners of the mouth turn up. Wouldn’t ski or free also work? “Say free!” Not sure it has the same ring as cheese.

Why does the person in the picture need to “say” anything? It is not like we can hear them when we look at the picture. A more practical suggestion might be to tell the person who is having their picture taken: “do whatever you want to capture the look you are going for.” Maybe that is too long. Ready-set-SMILE! Other countries seem to participate in similar shenanigans when taking pictures. In Latin America, the word whiskey is used like our say cheese. In Korea it is kimchiIn Sweden it is omelet. I wonder what would happen if the word fig was used?

Fig grown near Puget Sound.

Fig grown near Puget Sound.

School photographers work hard for a smile. A smile is a universal expression of happiness. In the animal kingdom, “smiling” or showing teeth may indicate emotions other than happiness. Like a dog growling if you touch her bowl of food. The show of teeth is an unhappy warning to get away! But for us humans, a smile is an indication of pleasant feelings. Parents want to think their child is happy in school. The school picture proves it for years to come.

What do the school photographers do when a child is unresponsive to “Say Cheese?” There was a television show called Candid Camera and their tag line was “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.” The hidden camera was set up to capture people’s reactions to practical jokes. Following this model, maybe school photographers could say or do something unexpected to get students’ attention and garner a smile. Jocose photographers were surely needed in the days before modern cameras.

People in black and white photographs rarely smiled. Why? Were they unhappy? Was it because of rotting teeth? I think there was a seriousness back then when sitting for a photo. Cameras were expensive and rare. It was an important event like a wedding that landed you in front of a camera.

The lack of smiles may have been due to the amount of time it took for a photo to be taken. Having to wait a long time for the camera may have made people annoyed and grumpy. The wait time may have resulted in a population of non-smilers in old photographs. But today we have quick point and shoot cameras that are faster. My “good” camera broke. I had to use my back up camera which took forrrrrrrrever to take a picture. By the time it finally captured the shot I was after, my human subjects were out of position, bored, or mad at me for making them wait. The result was the absence of a smile in most of the pictures I took with the back-up camera. Apparently, people don’t like to wait for their picture to be taken.

If those excuses were true for people in the past, why do models on the catwalk avoid smiling? Today, professional photographers use state-of-the-art technology to snap quick images. Are models miserable? Notorious non-smilers are supermodels, Victoria Beckham, Madonna, and Karl Lagerfeld. Some people say it is due to social superiority. Dr. Timothy Ketelaar and researchers at New Mexico State University (2012) found that smiling is related to lower social status in both models and football players. Another hypothesis for non-smiling might be so they don’t distract from the clothes or game. Whoever heard of such a thing! Maybe models and football players will get fined or fired if they smile?

New parents are on the look-out for their baby’s first smile. Parents might wonder if it is a “real” smile or just the baby passing gas. By about two months old, babies will begin to develop their social smile.

Their development occurs by mimicking the people in their environment. When they are born their eyesight is limited and can only see about 6-12 inches from their face. Caregivers hold babies close. Babies love to study the human face. Studies have shown that babies prefer the human face more than just about anything. They learn quickly to copy the facial expressions of those around them. The next time you hold a brand new baby try sticking your tongue out at them and watch what they do. The facial expressions of those around them has a big impact on babies. Post-partum depression and maternal mental illness can have a profound effect on a newborn.

“Your day will go the way the corners of your mouth go!” According to the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (I’m not making this up), the average adult laughs fewer than 20 times a day, whereas children laugh more than 300 times each day. Laughter can burn calories, is good for relationships, and can be contagious (just listen to Car Talk on NPR if you don’t believe me). So what happens to our funny-bone from child-hood to adult-hood? I wish I knew. Scientists have long known that attractive people are perceived as more intelligent and competent. What makes someone instantly more attractive could be a genuine smile where the mouth is upturned and the eyes twinkle. My resolution (or goal) for this new year is to smile and laugh more. It couldn’t hurt.


Literature cited:

Ketelaar, T., Koenig, B. L., Gambacorta, D., Dolgov, I., Hor, D., Zarzosa, J., Luna-Nevarez, C., Klungle, M. &  Wells, L. (2012). Smiles as signals of lower status in football players and fashion models: Evidence that smiles are associated with lower dominance and lower prestige. Evolutionary Psychology, 10(3), 371-397.