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Hall0we-lujah, on to Christmas!

2 Nov

It was a long haunting weekend.  Halloween was on a Monday this year and the kids had an extended weekend with a two hour early dismissal on Friday and no school on Monday, so the celebrations began on Friday with a costume party at school.  Phoebe’s costume was an underwhelming last minute choice of Foxy Woxy from Henny Penny (just a crappy fox mask and a clip on tail that we have laying around in a costume bin).

On Saturday, we went to Baker’s 2nd birthday party where I met Isabelle for the first time and got my baby fix.  She’s so sweet and such a good baby.  Jan is one lucky mommy.

Then we rushed home to make it to a friend’s 46th birthday party and Halloween celebration for the kids.  It was awesome, but I left my phone home, so no pics.  Boo!  My costume was the underwhelming Foxy Woxy mask and tail that Phoebe wore to school, but I did attempt to create drama with a badly drawn smoky eye under the mask.  I was too tired to hose my face down when we returned home at 1 AM, so I woke up with some seriously stained white pillows and a face that looked like this

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On Sunday, we had Trunk or Treat at the pool and it was supposed to be followed up by a Skate Night, but once again the Skate Truck didn’t show up, so the kids enjoyed their own personal scooters on the tennis courts while we set up the old school Ghostbusters movie on the big screen.  5 minutes into the movie a storm started brewing, so we had to call the whole thing off.

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And then Monday… Halloween… finally came.  Time to Trick or Treat!  Phoebe’s costume cost all of $5 for a can of yellow spray paint.  Mike drew on the SpongeBob face and I painted it (and then repainted it after an accidental throw of a dog toy ripped a giant scar down the front of SpongeBob’s face.  It had to be surgically taped and touched up with another layer of not-so-well-matched paint).  It was a chilly year for trick or treating, but we survived… save for many houses that left their porch lights on, but were not handing out candy.  What’s up with that?!  Tess was hilarious though in her disappointment with said houses.  “Why don’t they have candy?”  “Why is their light on, though?”  “Why don’t they like Halloween?”  “Who doesn’t have CANDY?”  “Why… Why… Why… won’t they give me candy?”  Then she would stop at the end of their driveways and glance back at the candyless house as though she was memorizing their location and possibly thinking to herself this is the house that I’m going to egg tomorrow.

Jax roamed the neighborhood with his friends again this year and since they just went to each other’s houses, he pilfered all of the candy that Tess had received with peanuts/peanut butter in them from her plastic pumpkin.  Such a good big brother, looking out for the safety of his peanut allergy plagued little sister.  I managed to get one lone blurry picture of the boys before my camera died, but since I can’t find my charger, I can’t upload the photo… so you get none.

Leila went trick or treating across town with a few friends and apparently they decided to go to a haunted house along the way.  According to her text, she “barley screamed”.  I get a kick out of her misspelled texts.

As the long, several different costume-change-filled, Halloween came to a close, I was happy to say so-long to Halloween.  Bring on the Christmas!!!

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Failed it!

31 Oct

So, I know it’s hard to believe with all of those fabulous forehead lines (*note to self: ask dermatologist “how much is botox?”) that I’m not 16, but nope, I’m 38 and taking my driver’s test… again.  [because remember this]

This is me in line, ready… or not… to go.  I passed the written portion with Jaxon, my 16 year old son, with flying colors a couple of weeks ago and spent a few hours prepping for my 2 point turn.  Maryland no longer requires you to do a 3 point turn or parallel parking, so yay, me… this is cake, right?!  Not so much.  2 point turns aren’t that easy, especially when you don’t have giant cars on either side of you to judge your side mirror distances.  I kinda sucked at it when practicing, but finally became more comfortable and decided it was now or never to take the test.  Of course, I was nervous.  I don’t often drive and when I do, I basically concentrate on the important things like stopping at stop lights/signs, using turn signals, checking my mirrors, not hitting cars or pedestrians and defensive driving tactics, so that I’m prepared for all of the idiot drivers making illegal maneuvers around me.  It’s a lot harder than you think (or remember from 22 years ago) to focus on turn signals (in empty parking lots), proper speeds, making sure to look over your shoulder and in all of the mirrors at all times, counting your trailing distance from the car in front of you, reading signs, following every minute traffic law possible, etc.. etc.. etc…  Though these things do come naturally over years of driving, you get into a comfort zone and stop focusing on 30 things at one time… and for good reason to be honest, because who can focus on 30 details at once and not be missing something critical because your focus is literally everywhere all at once?

Well, apparently it is critical to keep your hands gripped to the steering wheel with your palms facing away from you.  Seconds after the test started the instructor told me to stop and said “watch the position of your hands”.  I assumed that she was trying to tell me that I wasn’t keeping my hands at “10 and 2” and simply replied “ok” and resumed motion focusing on braking, signaling, mirror checking and her instructions on what to do next.  The 2 pt turn was straight out of the gate, as I started backing into the spot I immediately got flustered because those darn flags are just not visible in the mirrors until your turn is in place.  I noticed the instructor nodding in disapproval from the corner of my eye as I was backing up, so I doubted my position and decided to pull forward and reposition myself.  She nodded again.  Clearly, I was screwing up, so I sighed and thought “screw it, just back in”.  I had overcompensated when I pulled forward and readjusted.  Apparently, I was actually good to go on my first attempt and should’ve ignored her nodding.  Though close, I was still inside the cones and just continued on my way backing in.  She asked me to pull out of the space and pullover.  Focusing on blinkers and mirrors and cones and looking over my shoulder all the while, I pulled out knowing that her tone meant I failed even though I cleared the cones.  After I pulled to the side she said, “remember when the test started I asked you to watch the position of your hands?  As you turn your steering wheel, you turn your hands and grip the steering wheel with your palms facing you.  You can’t do that.  I had to give you a point every time you did that and you did it 6 times during the 2 pt turn, so you failed.”  She continued to say that it happens all of the time with drivers with expired licenses.  Us, more experienced drivers, get into a habit of gripping the steering wheel wrong or using palms to turn or letting our grip go of the wheel, so that the steering wheel slides through our hands (palming) as we turn.  Though, I never lost my grip of the wheel and didn’t palm it, I was turning my hand and gripping the steering wheel subconsciously from the wrong side.  She said she even does it all of the time and when she drives she thinks to herself “I would fail my own test”.

So, that was that.  38 years old and Failed it!  Though, I didn’t wreck the car or hit a pedestrian or run a red light… this failure sucked almost more… I mean, that’s a really obscure fucking technicality.  The instructor wished me luck next time and told me to go ahead and schedule a retake tomorrow, but as I drove home Mike and I noticed that this “moving my hand” thing is a pretty bad habit that is going to take a lot more practice to shake.  Poop.  I’m not going to lie, I did cry afterwards because what’s more embarrassing than failing a test that you easily passed 22 years ago… that your 16 year old son is getting ready to take?!  But that’s just it.  I have to take a deep breath and show my son that it happens.  Whatever.  Try, try, again.  I think I’ll try again after a bit more practice this time, though.  And who knows… since I technically didn’t get to drive the course at all, maybe there are a couple of more habits that could fail me that I don’t even know about?  Stay tuned for “Failed it: Part 2“.  In the meantime, watch out for a dangerous white minivan roaming the streets with a seriously old female student driver who dares to turn her grip when she turns risking the lives of anyone who is in and around her vehicle.

There are really good days, too.

22 Mar

So we missed Jaxon’s Bowie High Swim Team Banquet tonight.  To be honest, somehow I wasn’t even aware that they were having a banquet.  Bummer!  Anyway, much to our surprise we were visited by a responsible parent of another swim team member after the banquet.  He stopped by to drop off Jax’s varsity letter and a plaque that reads:

Bowie High School

Swimming Team

Freshman of the Year

2015-2016

Jaxon Trader

Shut up!  How freakin’ awesome is that?!  I’m not going to lie, I got a little choked up.  I hope he’s as proud of himself as I am.  He smiles and blows off his accomplishments, but I hope that he’s just being humble.  I hope deep down inside he gets how big of a deal Freshman of the Year really is and is just masking it under a goofy grin.  I hope that he continues to grow as a swimmer and begins to really enjoy the sport.  Most of all I hope that he stands a little taller and speaks a little louder knowing that he’s capable of so much more than he ever thought.

Don’t just dream bigger Jax, dream broader.

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I love you and am so proud of you.

 

Weekend Update

3 Nov

Sandy came and went.  The power merely flickered, once I think.  The mailman survived… and so did the mail.  Damn it!  Our roof leaked in a couple of spots, but nothing that required a bucket.  However, that didn’t stop my husband from hopping on top of the roof a couple of hours before the eye of Sandy made landfall.  No… he had to check it out… and… found nothing.  I over prepared, as I sent my husband on several shopping excursions during the days prior to the storm for massive amounts of groceries, mostly perishable (because why would an oncoming hurricane suddenly help me make an intelligent decision) and then baked a huge vegetarian lasagna the morning of Sandy for me to nibble on during our week without power that never happened.  Half of it is now awaiting the trash can.

Halloween, on the other hand, was the best it’s been in years!  Let’s see… there were my 4,

Tess fell asleep promptly after taking this photo and stayed asleep for our entire trip around the neighborhood.

Jax (in his black morphsuit. yes, he IS in the photo), Phoebe (the princess bumblebee), and Leila in her cupcake (polite as she tried to be (since, I made her costume), Leila had to strip off her cupcake and be a “cherry head” for the last half of her trick or treating adventure because her costume got so heavy.

Tyson and Deon from next door, Brandon and Lucy from down the street, Leila’s friends from school (Samantha and Kelly) and a few of their neighbors, and then Tyson had a couple of his friends from school join in on the fun, too!  All-in-all I think it was a group of 15 kids, 8 parents, and 1 dog walking chasing each other door to door this year and it was AWESOME!!!  Lots of mysteries were solved along the way including… what’s that??? marijuana??? Yes, that is indeed a drug house., Huh, I guess there isn’t a dead person in that house after all.(oddly disappointing), and our missing new friend is alive and well at the end of the street dressed as a witch… YAY!

Jaxon came home 30 minutes after getting to school and promptly vomiting outside of the gym.  He then laid in the bathroom floor shivering with a fever of 102.  Poor guy!  My hands are tortured from all of the washing and sanitizer, but I’m praying that no one else will catch it.  Advil has barely dented his high fever for the past 2 days.

In an effort to get crap lovely things that you should buy moving out of my “sewing corner”, I put several onesies for sale on Etsy. I don’t imagine that they will sell, but they are on there, so that is progress.  Maybe I will make each onesie a pair of matching boots so they will sell and I can be done with them.  (onesies turned out to be much more of a project than they are worth.  fortunately, I only bought like, 20 of them to complete.)  They are all newborn size (which is the problem with selling them.  You pretty much have to be shopping for an up and coming baby shower to consider purchasing them.)  So if you happen to be reading this and know someone who is knocked up, you should buy one of my super awesome onesies.  I’ll give you a 50% off coupon code if you comment on this post!

Oh yeah, Tess started crawling this week!  Can you believe it?!  Everything this year has been such a blur!  I hate blinking any more.  Yep, so she’s crawling, which is why I’m deep cleaning the house.  Not the greatest time of year to do, as a yard sale mid-hurricane/odd-noreaster-type-storm/blizzard is out of the question.  If you are interested feel free to stop by my house and point at random things that you’d like to have and I can guarantee you’d probably end up going home with it.

Dear God, It’s me, Carol.

20 Oct

I didn’t get my period today, but it’s been 249 days, since my last blog entry confession, so I thought I’d tell you that I’ve probably sinned, like, every five minutes and I guess, I’m sorry.  If you don’t accept half-*ss apologies anymore, maybe a maxed-out major credit card.  Come on, admit it, the economy is bad everywhere.  I’m sure that your clouds could use fluffing and the arches need some polish.

My computers have been fried, re-fried, and unrepairable repeatedly, making blog entries next to impossible.  I have barely even popped on Facebook in months.  In fact, I have oodles of photos that have been lost forever.  Even my most recent ones are stuck on my camera’s memory card because the stupid SD driver isn’t recognizing any cards.  Oh, wait I have one I can scan in, maybe….

It’s a bit pixellated, but I love it!  This was taken at Matt’s gorgeous wedding in the Outer Banks last month.  While we waited for the professional shots on the beach to be underway, the wind picked up.  Jax walked up behind me and wrapped his arms around me to warm me up.  I’ve raised quite a gentleman, I must say.

Beyond the wedding, let’s see… I have decided to forgo volunteering for any other major school functions.  It turns out that people really are sucky.  They like to watch people writhe in desperation only to wait to step in and help at the last-minute, you know, in some sort of heroine type performance.  In fact, as I watched Bridesmaids the other night, I couldn’t help, but notice that I have been “the original best friend” in too many instances in my life.  No matter what I do, I will always be upstaged and outperformed.  That… and I have been known to cause someone to sh*t their pants, too.  Yep, it was me who threw the birthday bash from hell, where 90% of the guests left with a violent stomach virus.  It’s true, I hand out the best party favors.  Kids were pooping their pants and throwing up on their parents before they even finished the car ride home.

Hmm… let’s see what else… Leila turned 6; Jax turned 11; I turned… I don’t even know without doing the math, honestly; hospital visits and stays; camping trips; extremely hot days by the pool or avoiding the pool; softball tournaments; golf tournaments; the unveiling of evil and the end of a relationship as I knew it; sleepovers; a crapload of sewing for little people (mainly Phoebe, my little test subject); a major shocker that I still can’t come to terms with; the birth of this cutie

I love him even though I haven’t met him, yet.  Horrible, horrible me, but the wedding and the illnesses and the trip to Vegas… they are all over, so I’m hunting down a babysitter, so that we can finally meet.  So happy for you, Jan!  Congratulations!

Oh, so much more, but I think I’ll just pick things up from this moment on.

Amen

trick or treat

5 Nov

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Leila was a blushing bride, Jaxon was “Super Jaxon, the Lightening Thief”, and Phoebe was the “Hear No Evil” Monkey!

I made Leila’s gown and veil and it looked much better when she wore it around the house the night before.  It was so cold that I had to load layers of underclothes on her, including a bulky pair of high-waisted sweat pants.  Each of the 200+ flowers were hand sewn on, along with varying sizes of crystals centered in the flowers.  I also made Jaxon’s cape and painted over the appliquéd lightening bolt with glow-in-the-dark paint.  It looked super cool!  I didn’t make Phoebe’s costume, nor did I tell her to cover her ears.  She came up with that clever idea all on her own.

His lightening bolt spear was painted with the glow-in-the-dark paint, as well.

“Trick or Treat!”

Phoebe?  Where did you go?  Do you want candy?

What-choo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?  Someone’s going to give me candy???  I don’t know???  But, I’m excitedly suspicious!

CAAAANNNDYYYYYYY!!!  Mommy, look CANDYYYY!!!!

She then proceeded to run from house to house, as fast as her little monkey legs could take her, following behind big brother and sister.  Sometimes, when I forced her, she’d say “Tee ‘o teet!”, but mostly she’d just grabbed as much candy as bowl holders would allow and run off to the next house.  Also, apparently she doesn’t care for the “Baby Ruth” bars because every time she got one she’d keep it in her hand until she got to the next house and as she grabbed for one of their Kit Kat bars she’d quickly slip the Baby Ruth in their bowl.  Kinda like some sort of underhanded Halloween trade.  The big hit of the night for her was the house that handed out a big box of raisins, which she immediately told me to open.  And when I said that I would do it when we were done trick or treating, she outright had a meltdown.  Halloween was immediately put on hold as the screaming monkey show commenced.  I wanted to wait for her to calm down and for her to say, “Please!”, but in classic bad-parenting form I just ripped the box of raisins open and handed them to her.  Anything you want, just CHILL!!! Holy-moley!

2 other disruptions of the Halloween celebration spectacular:

1)  I missed the annual television showing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”  I hate that!!!  I actually bought the VHS tape of the movie, 8 years ago, to ensure that I’d never miss it…  EVER!!!  I didn’t count on my husband’s electronic upgrade on the entire house.  Is there a VHS to Blu-ray converter in existence?

2)  I had to post this on Facebook:

“Which house was it that tried to pass off 40% less fat Reese’s Cups as candy??? They deserve to be toilet papered! I didn’t know that it was “reduced fat” until I bit into it and spit it back out. Terrible, just terrible. Guess I got a trick instead of a treat!”

Dear Parents of Boys Ages 8-10 years,

12 Oct

Where do I begin?  Over the past couple of years I’ve noticed a change in my once eager to please and obedient little angel.  He’s turned into some sort of mutant child that verges on disrespectful and ungrateful.  I can see the good child, the child that I remember raising, within his dazed eyes.  I keep beckoning the good child within to come out, but only get a “Huh??” with a distracted glance from the direction of the TV.  Jaxon’s grades are poor in one of his classes because he keeps forgetting to either turn in or bring his homework home.  Day in and day out for almost 2 months, I’ve asked, begged, screamed and yelled, “Why didn’t you turn this in today?  How could you forget about it when you worked so hard on it last night!”  and “Where is the textbook that you need to complete this homework?  Why didn’t you just shove it in your book-bag when you wrote down your homework assignment?”  “Why, why, wwhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyy?????” I’ve tried rewarding him when he turns it in and punishing him when he forgets.  I’ve tried encouragement and dozens of different tactics to help remind him to turn his work in and bring it home.  I went as far as to make up the “Fantastic 4:  look in your folder; turn your work in; check your agenda/assignment book; bring your homework home”, which I’ve pasted to all of his folders as an additional reminder.  As I’ve mentioned, one of his teachers had given him very poor grades during last weeks grade report.  When I spoke with her about it she said that Jaxon has several zeros for assignments that he never turned in and she doesn’t accept late assignments or give any partial credit for make-up work.  She never asks her students to turn in their work either, so they either remember to slip it to her on their own recognizance or they get a zero.  And when you only have 2-10 graded assignments, so far this year, a zero goes a long way.  Poor grades because he is having trouble understanding his work is one thing, but when he spends 3 hours perfecting a paper and then gets a zero simply because he forgot to turn it in is unfathomable to me.  When he gets a zero because he forgot to bring the correlating textbook to the assignment home is baffling.  Is this really so difficult???  I don’t get it… I’m at odds with my frustration with the 10 year old mind.  Since my big discussion with him about the importance of turning work in and bringing work home, Jaxon has gotten 2 more zeros.  I’ve been reduced to picking him up from school today and searching his desk and book-bag before he leaves school.

I feel the need to add that I recently, in answer to prayers I’m assuming, discovered that I’m not alone in my wanting to throttle the 10-year-old brain into functioning.  Maybe, if I shake it really hard, it might start working again? While attending the last PTO meeting, the president held up a set of pamphlets that she had recently received.  Each one talked about a different year of age and what a child of that age may be going through, experiencing, thinking.  She praised them and said that she was glad to have read about “the fourth grader” because sometimes she thinks her “son has fallen down and bumped his head and forgotten to tell” her.  Oh, Thank God!!!!  You, too???  You mean I am not alone??? Because we have so much in common, the PTO president is now my new best friend, only she doesn’t know it yet because that was the first time she’s ever even seen me and I don’t want her to know exactly how desperate and psycho I am because we are destined to be besties.  We are going to go out for coffee twice a week to talk and laugh about our absent-minded 10 year olds and share reviews on local therapists and maybe a recipe or two.

One of Jaxon’s friends from his old school came over this past weekend.  I haven’t gotten to talk to his mother since mid-summer and was curious as to how her son was doing this school year.  Upon asking her, she spewed that she was having all of the same issues with her son that I was having with Jaxon.  We consoled each other and laughed and sighed in relief that our sons weren’t “special”, but rather they were average and this was a “normal” phase they were going through.  Oh, Joy! If any of this sounds so silly to you then you have no idea how frustrating it is to deal with this 10-year-old forgetful-bordering-on-blank-mind.  I loathe repeating myself, so having to do it for 7 weeks in a row now is eating away at my insides.  I know, I know, “It won’t happen to [your] child!” God bless you, that you still believe that and hold onto that blind-faith for as long as you can as no warning can prepare you for what is about to be.  It’s like childbirth.  You know it’s going to hurt, but until that first third-stage contraction hits, you are clueless.  And when it does, no matter how much you prepared yourself for it, you can’t help but yell out “Mother-f*cker!”.

the foreboding of the stick person car decal

23 Sep

Being without a computer has been so easy and fun! I’ve mastered my texting skills. My thumbs have never felt stronger. I get to make lots of typos and sound idiotic. I’ve designed a fistful of clothes that I can’t sell because I can’t print out my tags. My connection to the outside world has ceased. I thought to myself the other day that I felt like I was in a photo like the one in Back to the Future. You know where the family members were slowly fading away and if Marty didn’t save the day then they would soon cease to exist. A couple days after I had this thought I noticed this:

Crap! See photos below because WordPress for BlackBerry is the f*cking cutting edge of technology!!!

Did you look,yet? Isn’t it a bit creepy???

People on facebook are forgetting that I exist, which is fine because I have 1 whole friend who talks to me outside of facebook. I know, it’s crazy, right? But don’t be jealous. Non-facebook friends are hard to come by. Maybe one day everyone will have one and we can all go out for drinks at this cool bar I know called VampireMafiawarFarmYoville Anonymous. Don’t let the long name deter you… It’s fun! So I’ve been forgotten about because I can’t type LOL or click ‘like’ under everyone’s minute by minute daily synopsis, it’s totally fine with me. *sniffle* What? You’re crazy! *sniff sniff* I’m not crying! It’s fine that I’m fading! I’m too busy drowning in Bad Girls Club marathons anyway. It’s all good. I’ll just go “incognegro”, to quote Brandi in the last episode. It is totally not pathetic that I just quoted a stripper who is on the verge of having a psychotic breakdown and may murder her bisexual roommate if the stripper’s infatuation with her goes on unrequited. That is the opposite of pathetic. Life is great and interesting when you are computerless. Especially, when your son has a book report to do during your scheduled vacation weekend and the local libraries have been furloughed and are closed during non-school hours because that totally is the perfect time for a library to be closed, right? (Thank you Shelley for allowing Jaxon and I to fight for hours in front of your computer so that we could get it done…. PS he scored 100% on it!). The #1 most awesome thing about being computerless is that my repeated bad luck with computers gets to be someone elses giant headache! I mean nothing makes you feel good about yourself like taking a dump in a friend’s coffee. Especially, when their mug is already overflowing! (Sorry Chris and Karen! Hopefully our computer will be out and STAY out of your hair soon!!!)

just in case my dry humor today was unnoticed, I feel the need to note that everything not in parentheses was written in sarcasm!

Can I get off of this ride, PLEASE?

25 Aug

I know that the ride that I’m on is just the un-“Merry Mixer” and not a gigantic roller coaster, but I’ve been on it with the county public school system for four years now and I’m beyond nauseous.

Leila’s first day of school… take 2!


She got on the bus with Jaxon at 6:55 AM and sat in the front seat.  Jaxon walked to the back of the bus.  You know, where the cool kids sit.  As I was telling the bus driver that Leila was a new student, I could hear Leila call for Jaxon to sit with her, in the background.  Jaxon got up from his seat and with a *huff*, plopped down next to Leila  and then complained that he didn’t want to sit there.  As the bus pulled off, I couldn’t help but pray that they wouldn’t cause the bus driver to go insane by squabbling the whole way to school.

Mike drove Phoebe and I to the school, so that he could watch Phoebe while I escorted them off the bus and to class.

Leila ran up to me and said, “That bus ride was really long!” She was adjusting from her 15 min. bus ride to [old school] to her now 1 hour bus ride to [TAG school].  The bus monitors greeted me and thought that it was so cute that I was taking pictures of the kids getting off of the bus.  Once inside, we noticed that a large number of students were in the cafeteria.  “Hmm… Are we supposed to wait in there?” we wondered.  “No, there are a lot of students walking to class.

Leila, go ahead and show Jaxon where your classroom is so that he knows where to find you in the afternoon when he walks you to the bus.”  “Ok!” I was behind them as they walked down the hallway hand-in-hand.  It was so cute!  I had to get a picture!  As I started to snap a picture,  I heard an “Excuse me!”  “Yes?”  “You are not allowed in the hallway.  Have you checked in with the office?”  “Oh… well…. umm… It’s her first day and she’s not really sure where to go and….”  “I’ll make sure she gets to class.  I’m the Assistant Principal and you know you can’t take pictures at our school without the consent of everyone that is in the picture.”  *her tone was frustrated and accusatory.  as though, I were trying to be defiant to school rules*  “Actually, we well… she was at another school yesterday and things are so confusing.  I just wanted to make sure that she knew where to go…”  “Parents aren’t allowed in the school during the first week.  Like I said, I’ll take her…” Jaxon and Leila were walking back towards me and said that no one was in the kindergarten classroom.  I looked down the hallway and the kindergarten teacher was walking her class from around the back stairwell of the school.  “Where are they coming from?  Were you supposed to meet someplace first?” I wondered aloud.  The Vice Principal glances back at me as she takes Leila’s hand and I see her walk her off to her teacher.  “I’ll make sure she knows where to go!” And with that she was out of sight… gone amongst a crowd of students.  “But I didn’t even get to hug her goodbye,” I mumbled.  I head back down the hallway towards the front door with Jaxon because the stairwell to his class was along the way and then I lost him due to someone else shuffling kids this way and that.  “I didn’t get to say goodbye to him, either!” As I passed the office near the exit door, Ms. Judy noticed me and came out of the office to ask how we were this morning.  I couldn’t hold the tears back.  I couldn’t even talk.  She hugged me and promised that Leila would be ok.  “But it’s not that!”, I wanted to say.  I wanted to say that I was so tired of the confusion and the shuffling and being treated as though I was doing everything wrong when I was never told what to do in the first place.  I was tired!!!  Unable to speak and looking foolish,  I just mumbled a “Thank you!” and an “I know.” (How did this go wrong, again???  Seriously!  I’m sure that these board of ed. and school posts seem very dramatic and silly to readers, but what I type isn’t even the half I what we’ve been through.  It’s not a novel… it’s a blog and a lot of the issues get condensed out.)  By this time, the Assistant Principal was back from taking Leila to class and she saw that I was surrounded by huggers and that I was a mess.  She then too, put her arm around me and promised that Leila would be ok.  But again that’s not really what I was upset about.  The whole picture was just too much to swallow at this point.  I just wanted to say “goodbye!” at this point.  I got to say goodbye and take pictures yesterday at Northview and today all the other kids in the kindergarten class knew where to go in the morning because they had orientations and… and…  But still too choked up, I didn’t say anything.  I just said “Thank you” and left.  I passed other parents on the way out and was embarrassed by my flushed and tear stained face.  I wanted to ask them why it was that they got to go inside the school, but I was asked to leave.  Everything seemed to not make any sense.

At about 11:30 AM, I received a phone call from the school.  It was the school nurse calling to tell me that Leila had fallen off of the playground equipment.  Of course she did!  Why would Leila do anything else? She said that she had a red mark on her face, but she wasn’t bleeding or bruised and she had checked to make sure that all of her teeth were intact.  She then said that Leila was in good spirits and wanted to go back to class, but she could put her on the phone so that I could talk to her first.  “Yes, please!” I knew she was ok, but I was dying to talk to her.  Leila didn’t say much, she just giggled a lot and then she said “Bye, Mommy!” and hung up the phone.  She was fine!  She was doing ok!  I was starting to feel better.  An hour later the school called again.  Oh crap, did she fall again.  Leila is so accident prone!  “Mrs. Trader?  This is the Assistant Principal.  I knew you wanted to make sure that Leila was going to have a great day at school this morning, so I’ve pulled her out of class so that you could talk to her a bit.”  “Hi, Mommy!”  “Hi, Leila!  I just talked to you.  Whatcha doin’ now?  Are you having a good day?”  *giggling* “Yes.”  *giggling* “Well, ok.  I’m glad!  You have fun and make lots of friends and I’ll see you when you get off of the bus, ok?”  “Ok” *giggling* “I love you!” “I love you too, Mommy!  Bye!”  *hands the phone back to the Assistant Principal* “Mrs. Trader, I just wanted to say that you have the most polite and loving little girl.  She is really such a joy!”  “I know!  She’s the best!  I’m sorry that I was so upset this morning, but I did really just want to say “goodbye” to her.”  “You don’t have to explain anything to me.  I’m a mother and a grandmother.  I understand.  But she’s doing great and I’m going to walk her back to class.” It was as though I was talking to a different woman.  She was so friendly and pleasant and not accusatory now.  Phew!!! I hope we can continue the current relationship.

Jaxon’s 4th day of school and Leila’s 3rd:

I’ve promised them that this is the last day that they have to ride the bus to school.  Today, they were on the bus for 1 hr. and 15 mins.!  Poor things.  I will drive them from now on.  I also didn’t take any pictures today, but I still met them at the front door of the school.  The principal told me that I was “most certainly allowed to walk them to class and that I shouldn’t have been told otherwise!” Again, what is up with the miscommunication?!  So very tired of it!!!  Jaxon’s grade was told to wait in the cafeteria until the bell rang and then I started to walk Leila down the hallway.  The Assistant Principal was near the kindergarten door.  As soon as I saw her, I stopped Leila right there in the middle of the hallway and gave her a big kiss, told her that I loved her and to have a great day.  She giggled again (apparently she finds me amusing) and then skipped happily towards the Assistant Principal who waved to me with a big grin on her face.  Leila skipped up to her and they walked hand and hand to the kindergarten room as if they were best friends.  And today… in this way… it made me smile.

Feeling Mad Hatter-like

23 Aug

Carol vs. The Board of Education continues:

(This is Episode III.  Episode I can be found here and Episode II here.)

I was told on Friday that the lady handling Leila’s transfer request was not in the office and to call back on Monday, the first day of school.  So, I sent Leila off to her zoned school, [old school] Elementary, today and Jaxon started his first day at [TAG school] Elementary.

He was thrilled that I let him take his favorite matchbox car with him to school!  It was probably the highlight of his day!

Since both schools start at the same time, I was forced to trust that Jaxon would make it to school safely on his own (via bus) and followed Leila’s bus to school.

As you can see, Phoebe was pretty ticked that Leila was leaving.

Her little face peaked happily from the front seat window as it pulled off.  As she waved excitedly at me, I broke out into tears for two reasons.  1)  My little girl was growing up.  2)  I realized that because of the mess that the Board of Ed. had made I missed seeing my little man wave from his bus window too.

Leila was so happy to see me at the school when she got off of the bus.

She immediately ran up to me and hugged me and then handed me her book-bag because “It’s too heavy!” I asked her to prove to me that she knew where she was supposed to go and that I would follow her.  I’m glad that I was there, though.  [old school] has 900 students this year!  (And they’re complaining about me trying to transfer her out of this insanely overcrowded school… Hmph!!!) There were 4 long lines of people waiting to get into the school and Leila kept getting distracted.

Once in the school, Leila went straight for her classroom and hugged her teacher good morning.  She sat down and began building with a set of Legos that had been placed on her table.  I leaned over her and gave her a kiss, told her that I loved her and that I would be there when she got off of the bus.  As I walked to the door to leave, I heard the little girl sitting across the table say to Leila “We’re going to be best friends!”

My heart heaved with warmth and then I cried.  She’s going to have a great first day… it’s ok!

As soon as I returned home, I called the Board of Ed.  I asked for [lady handling case] and was told that she wasn’t in the office, yet.  I declined to leave a message and said that I would call back.  I then called [TAG school] and told them that I didn’t get to see Jaxon off to school and asked them if they would please check to make sure that he arrived safely.  Ms. Judy told me that he was there and everything was fine and then she asked how things were going with Leila’s transfer request.  An hour later, I called the Board of Ed. again.  This time I was told that [lady handling case] was off today and that I should try to call back tomorrow.  “Actually… who am I speaking with?”  “Mr. Simmons”  “Well, Mr. Simmons, I spoke with you on Friday and you told me that [lady] was off then and would be back on Monday and well… today is Monday and she’s not there.”  “Oh, yes, I remember you.  I don’t know what to tell you.  I understand your imposition, but she’s not here and I don’t know when she’ll be back.  *huffs in frustration*  Hold on…”  *Mr. Simmons gets back on the line*  “I’ve just looked on her desk and I don’t see Leila’s file.  I don’t know what she’s done with it or if she’s even sent it off to another office.”  “So, now your office has misplaced her file and the only person who knows where it is is on vacation indefinitely?!!!”  “Mrs. Trader, you have every right to be upset…”  “Upset doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel!”  “Alright, I understand… Do you have a copy of your transfer request?”  “Yes… well… [TAG school] does and I can go there and get it.”  “Let me see what I can do today.  Go to [TAG school] and have them fax me a copy of the transfer request.  And I’ll take on her case and get it worked out today.”  *in disbelief*  “Ok.  I’ll do it right now!”

Ms. Judy at [TAG school] takes time out of her busy day (keep in mind, this is the1st day of school.  the most hectic day of the school year!) and locates and faxes all of the documentation.  The principal even leaves her lunchroom monitoring duty to come meet me, shake my hand, and tell me that she is going straight to her office to send a personal email to the transfer request office stating that she would really love to have Leila at her school and that they are ready and waiting for her new student approval.  Can you believe that? I think that I just stood there… eyes wide open… crickets chirping… dumb-founded that somebody in the school system actually seem to care about my children.

At about 1:00 PM, I received a call from Mr. Simmons.  “So where should I send the letter?”  “What letter?”  “I told you that I would get it taken care of today.  Everything’s a done deal!”  “What do you mean?   Leila’s been accepted?”  “Yes, I promised you that I’d get it done!”  “Oh my goodness!  *again, in disbelief* Thank you so much!  Fax everything to [TAG school] and mail me the originals!” By the time that I arrived to [old school] to sign “withdraw” forms, Leila’s class was lining up for the dismissal buses.  “Hey, Leila!  Guess what?!  You get to go to Jaxon’s school tomorrow!  Yay!” Leila immediately burst into tears.  With a voice choking in sadness she said, “But I made friends and I like it here.  I want to stay at this school with Ms. Rogers!” Her teacher put her hands on her chest and muffled and “Awe!” I could tell that she was holding back her own emotions.  Apparently, everyone had really bonded during the first day in Ms. Rogers’ class.  I hugged Leila and kissed her and promised her that she would make great friends at her new school, too.  But all that was running through my mind was “I hate the Board of Ed. !!!  Look at what they have done!  This is insane!”

Two hours later we were finished meeting her new teacher at [TAG school] and all the paperwork was complete.  Leila looked dreadfully tired and seemed to want nothing to do with school.  The excitement and happiness had left her face.  Academically, I know it’s the right move for her to be at [TAG school], but that little sad face makes me wonder if I’m truly doing the right thing.

To summarize:

1st I was like, “Gerrr!!!”

Then I was like, “Yay!!!”

Now I’m like, “Wauh-wauh-wauhhhh!”

I feel like my eyes are all googley, spinning around in my head and like I’m speaking gibberish with a very strong lisp.  I’m very much Mad Hatter-like today.  I hope things resume some sense of normalcy soon.  AND I hope my kids will be very happy at their new school.  I love you, Jax and Leila!!!

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