Friday, February 15, 2013

Ah, the irony

I volunteered at Brownie's school today. It was some winter carnival, open call for warm adult bodies for crowd control. As a result, there were about 15 of us moms wandering up to the school entrance, then waiting to be led to our area.

The ENTIRE time, one mom who had five obvious name brands at my count was talking on her phone loudly. The general idea was that she was slamming a family member who did not behave according to her very high standards at a dinner outing.

She mentioned FOUR times in about 10 minutes, "God! He's so SELF-INVOLVED!"

Irony. At its finest.

Friday, February 8, 2013

I have issues

One issue is that I am a klutz.  I mean, I can walk and chew gum at the same time--most days--but let's just say I'm not known for my "graceful as a gazelle" countenance. I once had a co-worker and friend comment she LOVED when I came to work, because I immediately straightened up all the bulky things we worked with behind our desk.  I finally clued her in that it was because if things were left all humble jumble, I was SURE to bump, walk into, or trip over it.

My other issue is on my best of days I'm a sub-par house cleaner.  I used to be fairly good at this task, and then the children came.  Now that I'm flying in 17 different directions, I simply cannot bear to spend time completing a task  that will be undone by the heathens I live with by the end of the day.  I don't have that kind of time to follow them around and wipe, disinfect, pick up after them.

Often, however, I feel a domestic spurt coming on (read, avoiding grading desperately, often after reading the first paper that depresses me).  When I go domestic, yo, I GO! So I WENT.  I had chicken soup bubbling away on the stove, I'd chopped up and cleaned all the fruits and veggies from the store and put them in their little air tight boxes, stacked up neatly in the fridge, filled the dishwasher, and I'd decided to clean my kitchen sink.  I'm a devotee of the Soft Scrub with bleach product, so a scrubbing I went.

Somehow, while leaning over to really get a good scrub on, I scrubbed vigorously, and a sloppy gush of Soft Scrub runoff splashed back at me, missed my glasses and landed IN. MY. EYE. So I've got Soft Scrub all over my hands past my wrists, in my eye, and I can't use my hands to put water in it to flush.  What did I do?  I screamed for my husband, who was thankfully home.  However, trying to explain what happened quickly, run for the bathroom, and get his hands with water actually TO my eye was another comedy of errors. And it wasn't easy to do while keening like a panicked howler monkey.

Eye is stinging, but fine.

Tell me other people have these issues.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I'm not sure if Jealousy is the right word for this

I struggle with even letting this little "secret" out, because I don't want others to feel bad about crowing over their kids' accomplishments.  They should.  Being proud of our kids is great, and all kids should feel great if they get good grades and feel that sense of accomplishment.  Even better if it extends to their parents.

But, Lord help me, I wish there were something that would delete every one of those comments in my life without my ever seeing them.

I don't begrudge people who can say "so PROUD of Muffin! Muffin has ROCKED it this quarter with straight As."  I really don't.  I, too, applaud Muffin's effort and know exactly why Muffin's mom or dad is bursting at the seams.  In the same moment, I despair I'll ever get to publicly acknowledge pride for that particular kind of action for my kids. 

I'm proud all over the place of the people my kids are.  They care about people they know and their community, even those they don't know.  They're good to others and don't consider the "cool" factor of people before declaring them best friends.  They don't see race as a reason for friendship.  People's race is simply a descriptor as in "I wear glasses, and she has brown skin." They're both comfortable in their own skins, stand up for what they believe in, aren't afraid to use their voices, and as people with global sensibilities, I think they are wise beyond their years.

But (you knew it was coming).

And it's the ultimate knife in the gut for an educator like me, my son doesn't care at. all. about homework.  Or sitting in class.  Or information that he doesn't find interesting.  This has always been a minor problem, teachers commenting occasionally that he's not "engaged" in the class (buzzword for he's not focusing rapt attention on them), yet he'll get As on tests.  It's obviously sopping in there somewhere, so it meant Bs instead of As. Now that he's in junior high, they're making a big show of how they need to be responsible for himself (which I GET, but tossing him to the wolves isn't working) and knowing what has to be handed in when. They also tend to nickle and dime the kids with a ton of little homework and classwork turned into homework assignments, a process I've never liked. Problem is, turning in busy work doesn't concern him, even when he's actually done it.  This has caused his grades to plummet.  We've taken all fun away, and it's still not improving.

Of course, as a parent and teacher, I worry that this will be a lifelong attitude, and he can't exhibit this behavior in the future, because it will only continue to get worse. As an outsider, I also tend to view this situation and think "so ALL the other 11 year old boys are handing in their work scrupulously?" Because a number of them routinely end up at my house during the evenings and weekends, so I observe them fairly closely, and I find that hard to believe.  Sigh. We're trying organization techniques and mandatory study labs, whose real advantages are the teachers KNOW when he has homework and he's allowed to go to his locker if he forgets something.

My daughter? She's a different issue entirely.  She tries hard, loves school, enjoys the material and her teachers, but it takes her a much longer time to internalize the information.  As a consequence, she goes through a few tests and class activities where the grades aren't great before she hits sustained understanding, and it affects her grades.  I worry she'll never be an A student, not because I demand As from her, but because I don't want her to tune out from school and start to dislike it, because she doesn't have that report card validation. It doesn't help matters that the district just switched to a new math program that is stinking HARD! Even my son saw some of her work recently and pronounced they hadn't covered that until 5th grade (she's in 3rd).  The teacher even said much of the class had severe difficulties in the beginning of the year.  For her, I just want her to stay motivated to be a good student, because she could go off the rails easily if she's not dedicated.

What is it they say about the children of police officers?  They're always the kids getting into trouble?  Does something similar  hold true for the children of educators?  They're the ones who reject traditional education?

Parenting, it's not for the faint of heart.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is the day my mom would have been 69 years old. 

I really try to celebrate the birth days of my loved ones who have passed, because it makes for a cheerier me, and I find I'm more apt to share good memories when I do that.  But I have to say I'm angry.  I'm angry because she's been gone for almost 12 years.  Not only was I robbed of a mom when I was new to marriage, having kids, all the times when mom is the go-to person for advice, but my kids were robbed of a really special relationship with their grandmother, like I had with mine.  And my mom was robbed too of maybe being able to just coast.  She'd scrabbled a lot through life, and it would have been nice to see her sit back and enjoy it.

This year is made harder by the fact I just found out someone I knew from high school passed away.  While she wasn't a best buddy, she was someone I always remember as having a smile on her face, and I can't think of anything bad she ever said about anyone.  Her family shouldn't be planning her funeral today.

I guess I'm a little angrier this year, but I'm just seeing a lot of really bad people--both on a big scale and a small one--filled with nastiness and hate, and it's a daily fight to keep that negativity out.  I can't help but think a whole karma cleaning is in order, but when things like that happen, it seems the good ones go first.  I don't know.  I'm just sick to death of the seeming injustice of good people going young and bad ones sticking around.

In any event, happy bday, Mom!  I'm thinking of you today, and I love and miss you.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cheap wins!

I've officially thrown off all vestiges of vanity in favor of my gnawing frugality. These vitamins pictured? $2.35! That's right, $7 less than average vitamins. I'm still 5+ years from crossing into 50, yet I didn't hesitate for even a moment before putting it into my cart.

I've got friends--closer to 50 than I am might I add--who would speed out of the aisle for fear the vitamins would spontaneously leap into their carts.

I bought two.