Thursday, February 20, 2014

Kindergarten blues

Remember how I occasionally lament hard choices that we continue to face (probably not since, really, who keeps up with my muddle?)?  It's never ending, even when one choice has been decided.  Even though that option hit the skids a few weeks ago, we're no nearer to really decided permanence than we ever have been.  It's coming up on about 3 years of where-should-we-be-what-should-we-be-doing, and here we are.  Still here.  Still right where I feel more and more led to believe is not where we should be soon. 

And here's another complicating twist that I don't think I've yet mentioned.  We have a kid on the cusp of kindergarten next school year.  In fact, I just had my very first parent-teacher conference as the parent.  It involved tiny chairs, a kidney-bean shaped table, and musings over cutting exercises and how my kid doesn't draw arms out of the sides of a head when she represents people.  I took that to be a good thing, though (and seriously, who's with me here?) I keep stopping myself from using phrases like "Good job!  You stayed in the lines!"  I guess cutting along the lines is different than actually coloring within them, but still, I feel a bit confuddled about how/what to praise at times between my by-the-book upbringing and modern-day parenting perspective engorged on many, many different perspectives and writings.  Regardless, the first thing our pre-school teacher said as she pulled a veritable portfolio of my kid's childhood memorabilia toward her was "Yeah, she's definitely ready for kindergarten."  I mean, we know that already and haven't been stressing about it any more than we are concerned about her ability to draw/color/cut/run like a cheetah.  These things will just work themselves out, and I could pretty much care less if she's at the top of her class in her cutting skills so long as she's drawing on the walls/coloring her sister's face/cutting her carpet/running with the cheetahs.  (By the way, I'm including this last one--running like a cheetah--not to be funny, per say, but because she uses this phrase all of the time.  She's wearing her "running like a cheetah" pants--navy leggings with big aqua circles on them.  They must make her feel fast.)  Each parent stresses about different things, I'm sure, and I know that she's capable of normal kid things.  Neither her dad nor I genius artists; why would we stress about whether or not she is?  That doesn't make sense to me.  Lest I lead you to believe that I'm super relaxed about parenting...oh, not so. 

I watch my kids very carefully about their word abilities: what words do they know? how well do they read? can they spell? can they recognize words when they see them written down?  To me/us, the ability to master language is the foundation for all education, for all learning throughout their lives.  And knowing my kid who is quickly approaching what will likely be her first experience with "traditional" schooling, I feel completely inept.  I have spent more time worrying/figuring/worrying some more/burying my head like an ostrich about all of this than I ever, ever spent in regards to my own education.  This smacks of folly, I know. 

1.  We don't know where we will be in 6 months.  I don't really want to start throwing around non-refundable enrollment fees that will go to waste.
2.  We are 100% in favor of half-day kindergarten.  But no one offers that option anymore. 

What's the best choice here?  There isn't one.  There is absolutely, without a doubt, no right choice right now when enrollments is starting to open.  I'm feeling the kindergarten blues big time right now.  If only I had some magic-cape-that-makes-all-hard-decisions-for-me equivalent of navy blue with big aqua circles leggings.  Better yet, if only I  had an invisibility cloak so I could truly hide from life for a little bit...maybe until the girls are each in college.  Darn darn darn...I just opened up a whole 'nother anxiety-inducing topic to worry about some more.  But that's another post for another day.  I need a paper bag to go hyperventilate into right now.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Today's the day

Ignoring those niggling thoughts of everything I should be doing now instead, I will blog today, dang it. 

I will blog...
because I've gotten stuck in the snow twice in the past month.  And both times on my street, which is really a court and about as long as Peyton Manning can throw...and I live at the front of it. 

because I get too wrapped up in myself and the minutia of washing diapers and unloading the dishwasher.

because I read The Saint of Lost Things by Christopher Castellani as I told you I would, and it rocked.  Now, I'm listening to The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh as I drive to class at night, and it is beautiful.  I wish that I was reading it rather than listening to it so that I might savor the words a little longer and re-trace passages as I go rather than fumble with the seek button in the car. 

because I spent my scant free time on Friday, the day when everyone either didn't sleep at all or woke up early, wading my way through technology issues for a class that I teach that has an online component for which I am not prepared to answer questions regarding.  That's frustrating. 

because I randomly think of things that are humorous when I am getting out of the shower in the morning, with no way to write anything down.  And then I forget them.  Such is my memory of late.  It used to be that I could give detailed explanations of individual needs and abilities for 100+ students at any given time before coming home and leading the frantic dinner/bath/bedtime dance.  But in this gray area time when I'm weirdly both working from home and not, I feel as if I'm apologizing for my forgetfulness and inability to answer seemingly basic questions more often than I am answering anything confidently, as if I know what I'm doing.  I'm starting to come to terms with this, that I'm not the same anymore, and I need to figure out where I'm at mentally at some point.  It's been a long haul to get to this point.

because my youngest is a cuddler, and knowing that she's the last fuzzy head that's going to burrow into my neck, it makes me happy that she is this way.  She's also building quite the repertoire of songs that she will gladly sing upon request (she appreciates applause at the end) or for no reason in the middle of the Nicene Creed come Sunday morning ("Baa baa baa baa baa baa, SHEEP.  Yes, sir, yes, sir, baa, baa, SHEEP.")  Ya gotta see it sometime.

because...why not?  Today seems like a day that needs some new words in it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The mouse (eating cupcakes) in the house

Here's the story of the mouse (eating cupcakes) in the house.  What a louse, that mouse.

It sure was a shame, and it was even kind of lame for that louse of mouse in the house.  It started simply enough, but then it got tough when the house decided to enter the house.  A simple birthday surprise that I'll now have to reprise because that mouse decided to enter the house unannounced.  We dropped off a treat, and you know it was sweet, because when else can you beat getting the pass to eat all the ice cream and cake that you can take? 

We dropped off a bag that didn't have a tag, and it held a chocolate treat that was snuggled in sparkly paper, nice and neat.  While on the phone, she opened the bag that didn't have a tag, but she knew it was from us and there was no artifice.  We heard her exclaim in delight what was soon in her sight.  But that shout turned to shock as she began to loudly talk, "There's a mouse in the house, get it Dave!"

So the mouse came in the house in the bag with no tag.  But it was soon escorted out with nothing short of a shout.  It was priceless to hear her tone as she was still on the phone.  And now I need to re-treat an equivalent sweet treat.  But perhaps we will bring it inside rather than try to hide that innocuous bag with no tag that the mouse turned into his own little house.