Sunday, August 19, 2012

To the not yet named teacher of my daughter

Dear Teacher X
We hope this letter finds you well. Our emotions are running pretty high these days as we prepare to send our eldest off to first grade.  For us and for her, it is the first time she'll be away from us for a whole day. Every day. She had one week of camp this summer where she was gone from 9-3. We all did well. But it is new for us. So please be patient.

We wanted to begin a dialogue with you early in the year. About everything. Us. You. The partnership we hope to have with you. The community. The strike.

We have no idea of what you think of our little community. We don't know if you live here now or grew up here or if neither case applies. In truth, we don't know what we think of our little community. On great days, we see it as an amazing place to raise our children. We have some great neighbors and it is incredibly safe. We have achieved the American dream that so few others have. On other days, we wish for more tolerance. And a stronger commitment to school.

You most likely are facing budget shortfalls and inadequate resources. And I can't fathom why we don't have the resources for you. That must be ridiculously frustrating and infuriating. And then to have the strike hanging over you like a cloud? September most likely is rolling toward you like a MAC truck.

But here is the thing, can we work together to make this happen? To really make it happen? To encourage growth- social and academic? To create a community of learners in the classroom? Who really strive for knowledge and see the world as a place of mystery?  That is what we have tried for 6 years to create. A sense of wonder in all of life's ways. Ants are to be explored. Caterpillars too. Friends need to be made. Books and stories and creative art and music? All of that helps us to emote, to express ourselves, to feel connected to each other and to powerful ideas.

You most likely know this. And we realize we are preaching to the choir. But we worry that others in our community won't demand this vision for the class. We aren't interested in worksheets. Or videos. Or efforts that are only half way there. First graders, if asked to fully participate, will. We believe that kids need to be exposed to many ideas and many different ways of learning. So some kids will learn through video. And that makes sense. But we hope that there is a chance to engage the imagination. To use those muscles too.

Again, we are just emotional. Growing up is hard for us parents. We looked through her pre-school book today as she was trying to convince her younger brother about how much fun pre-school would be. And I got a huge lump in my throat. Our 'pre school' days are behind us. 6 years come and gone. And it is big time now. I know I will laugh at this emotion the day before 12 th grade. But for us? Right now? It is huge.

Last year we had a rough year. People in our community won't support you. They may even boo you. And throw rocks at you. Like they did last year. But we argue that even if they don't know it or believe it, they support you too. We all do. The people throwing rocks may not see it yet but we all need you, our teachers. Our community does and our nation does. We are working to put that grade behind us. To give you a chance. To give the school another chance. We hope you will get to know our daughter. To give our daughter a chance to meet and exceed your expectations. We hope it is a year where as a community of parents, teachers and other advocates, we can put all of the political stuff, the budget stuff and all of the lawn signs away. And focus on the future. Our kids!
We hope to be partners with you this year.

All the best on the start of an amazing year

We know you know this, but our daughter? She is our world. Please take good care of her from 9-3 pm and we'll love her to pieces when she gets home.


M and S

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Over heard

Since I  haven't blogged much, I have missed out on many cute sayings.

Last night, Wyeth had yet another fit about the number of books he wanted read to him at night. (Age 3 has kicked my butt, people!)  I told him no. And he got very upset.

When I calmed down a bit I told him, "Mommy has to be able to say no to you and you have to be ok with that. I want to say yes sometimes but I  have to be able to say 'no' too."

He sniffed. And sighed.

"I know, Mom. Ok. It is just that? I like 'yes' a whole lot better!"

Mom to Wyeth, "Buddy, in this house we do not flick cheese on the floor when it sticks to our fingers. Please don't do that. Use a napkin."

Wyeth: I don't want to.

Me: "Well, that is the rule in this house. No food throwing."

Weyth: Fine! I will just move to another house where I can throw food on the floor. I don't like living here in this house.

Seren to Wyeth, "That like can't happen until you are like 10 or 13 or something. You can't just move into another house!"

Wyeth: Well I want to. I want to throw cheese on the floor.


Nightly Bike Rides

Every since Seren learned to ride two wheels, our team LOVES to bike. We bike everywhere! At the park! In Cape Cod! All of the time. It is great. And I get to do some wind sprint training as I work to run behind my fast riding kids!

So Monday night after a Monday at work, we took our bikes out, as usual. And we found our neighborhood friend, Ella. Ella is such a sweetie. She lives on our street and is in second grade. On other days, she has showed us her hideouts in the creek, where to catch the best frogs and where to play. She is like a travel guide to our small suburban neighborhood.  When the kids saw her, they invited her to go on a bikeride with us. After checking with her mom, we all were off.

We went down our usual way and she suggested that we make a quick stop at the local dollar store. This was a bit of a schlept for Mr. Wyeth but we made it. I reminded my kids about 6 times that I didn't have a cent on me. (I thought I was going around the block- not shopping).  So we parked our bikes outside and we explored. Immediately I didn't like what I was seeing. Lots of whooping and chatting and yelling excitedly. I mean, it wasn't Macys' or Ann Taylor, but it was still too loud.

I gave my warnings.  And they responded. So that was good. But then the inevitable happened: Wyeth's eyes spotted the car. THE matchbox car that he just HAD to have. I mean, absolutely HAD to have. I reminded him gently, "We have no money, buddy". But I WANT IT. Right. But we have no money. I showed him my empty pockets. His solution, "We get it now and pay them later." No, we can't do that. And it started to escalate. Quickly. As it always does.  So, I had to leave with a crying, screaming toddler under my left arm.

Let's go team!

So now I have two little girls on bikes in a shopping mall strip, one screaming Wyeth under my arm and I'm towing the tiny ass little bike with my other arm. During this, Seren falls off her bike into the street. She is crying because she hurt herself and her bike bell flew into about 17 pieces. I'm yelling at her because I'm stressed out and because of the fact that she is laying in the street. All while Wyeth is still kicking and screaming.

I get them all safely across the street to the grassy sidewalk and regroup. Wyeth finally calms down. Seren is alright. I fix the bell. I breathe through my nose. Trying to calm my nerves.

Ella, with her brown eyes looks up and says, "I guess this wasn't such a good idea, was it?"

We  continue on our ride towards our block. Then Seren stumbles upon a purple object. It was a bright purple USED tampon applicator.

YUCK! "Put that down! Seren! Put it down! That is nasty!"

What? But what is it? (while holding it)

"It is gross. Just put it down, will ya? It is trash!"

But what is used for?

"It is a tampon applicator, ok. Just put it down."

At this point, Ella chimes in, "What's a tampon?"

I'm clearly NOT having this conversation with the neighborhood girl. So I told her we'd all discuss it later. Seren, still interested in it is looking at me. I wispered, "Can you just drop that, it was put in someone else's body, ok?"


The whole experience required a glass of wine.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Big Stuff: Sam Edition

Sam continues to do well. He is keeping himself very busy.

The Running
After being diagnosed with adult onset asthma and a whole host of other odd medical problems, running was not something that Sam sought out to do. But he is doing it now! And he is doing a great job! I can't wait to see him after the 10 miler in just two weeks! I'll be so proud. Well, I already am, but you know what I mean.

The Teaching
He finished up teaching two courses in late June. It was a rough 8 weeks. Me working like a dog under pressure. And him teaching two classes. It was rough!! We welcomed this term which meant he taught one class. But after the first week the school came to him and asked him to teach two classes. So we are at it again. But he continues to love it! So that is great! And the debt is going down. Seriously? that it the BEST feeling. The absolute best.

The Romantic
Sam and I celebrated 10 years of marriage last week. What a milestone! What an accomplishment! He and I were very excited about the milestone! He bought me roses and also picked out a card that made me cry. He also admitted it made him cry. It was awesome. What a ride! What a decade! California, Madison, Masters Degrees, Seren, new jobs, home ownership Wyeth....So lucky to have a man next to me in life's journeys. And he still makes me laugh every day? That is the sign of a good marriage in my opinion!

Big Stuff: Wyeth Edition

Wyeth is a total trip. I don't know what to think of his personality. We had a rough couple of days in Cape Cod. He was  crabby, needy and a bit rude in social situations. But I think he was running a low grade fever for the first 4 days; being sick will bring out the best in ya.

The fish
Wyeth  has been toilet trained for a few months but has yet to really conquer the toilet. Pee? No problem. Poop? We have issues. He withholds. He freaks out. He cries. It is really a mess. (Literally). But he managed to have success in July and for that success and for being successful in learning to pee in a toilet, we purchased Molly.

Meet Molly:

The day we purchased Molly, Wyeth and Seren were SOO excited. After work, after dinner, we drove over and picked Molly out. And they both helped arrange her little bowl and new home. When we got her all settled, I heard Seren say to the fish, "We are Seren. You say it like this. SER_ IN. And this is Wyeth. Like this- WY_IF. We are your brother and sister. And this is a safe house. Everyone here will love you. We will treat you well. You will be safe her. We have a cat named Jordan who we will protect you from. If he jumps up, we will say 'NO JORDAN!'

It went on and on. Introductions to a fish. It was also so sweet! Wyeth was just so excited for everyone to meet our little fish. It is a male fish named Molly. So you know, there is that.

The Preschool
We agonized over where to place Wyeth this fall. Sam and I are very good about agonizing over decisions that really don't need to be made. We loved where Seren went. But it was just so expensive! But we searched and searched. And really? We love where we started. So he will be in Robin's class- just like Seren was. We are so happy. Wyeth on the other hand is adament about NOT going. No way. Not going to happen. Seren, to her credit, is trying really hard. Tonight at dinner she said, "But Wyeth! All you get to do is play! And paint! And sing songs! And when you learn them, I know the songs too and we can sing them togther. It is just like so much fun!" 

We'll see what we can do. His little friend, the brother of our preschool buddy, will be in the same class which will be awesome! It is going to be great.

So Wyeth, the man of many moods, the fish lover and the boy who refused to go to preschool. Love it!

Big Stuff: Mom Edition

So in July I hoped to go around and in four quick posts, highlight what everyone was doing. Alas, it is now August.

But since its my blog, lets focus on me. :) Blogs are self focused like that.

The Promotion
Last spring I had a rough review at work. And the past 12 months have been incredibly difficult for me. Leading up to my review, I felt very very anxious. My stomach was a total mess. I was a total mess. I put in long hours. I couldn't really think. I kept planning worse case scenarios. In late June, I was finally promoted at my office. I can't express the relief I felt. True relief. Like a gift. I had put myself under so much pressure! I was filled with self doubt. But to get the positive feedback and the final word that I was promoted? AWESOME!!!  I even danced when my supervisor told me! I embarrassed myself with that one but whew, whew, whew.

The Running
In November, I ran my first 5k in about 5 years. Pathetic really. But add two kids, a house and full paying job? And yeah, the time to run was on the way back burner. I trained hard for it and it went really really well. And now it is summer already! I didn't run a 5k in between but in two weeks, I'll be running an 8k in Michigan. I am not so sure I'm ready for that one. Between the wine and the tortilla chips, I have been trying hard to really avoid the running! :)  But it is a family event! And for that, I'm super excited! Sam is running 10 miles, I'm running 5, Seren is running the one mile and Wyeth is entered into the 'Teddy Bear' trot!

Too much fun!

The restful spirit
I can't say I'm completely rested after vacation but I feel so much better. The past 6 months (see above r.e. promotion) have been very hard. I have more responsibility at work which feels great but I have been working long hours and working at night when I got home. I needed last week's vacation soo badly. More than I have needed a vacation in a long time. And vacation, we did! I sat. I slept. I ran. I napped. I read. And then I just played. It was just over a week but just amazing.  And while it is early in the post- vacation process, I feel much better. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time. And it seems to be working. I slept better this week. I read my book. I went out with friends one night. Just much more even keeled as opposed to a total panic every day from the moment my eyes open til I passed out at 10:30. I know that in 5 years I won't remember what it was like to live these days. Waking at 6:30, out the door my 7:15, in the office until 5 or 5:30. Dinner, play, bath, bed. Work from 8:30-10:30 pm. WHO NEEDS IT!?

So that is my update. Happier at work. More rested and ready for a great run! (or nearly ready!)