Tag Archives: back to school

Monday, Monday

12 Sep

I had this grand idea to get organized.  The pool season has ended and so it’s time to stop neglecting the house/kids/myself.  As I do with most of my grand ideas, I looked to Pinterest (aka “Carol’s brain” because how did I ever do anything or have an idea on my own without Pinterest).  And with any great idea that can only be completed with the help of Pinterest, I had to spend hours searching and pinning and then clicking on pins and filtering through pins.  I finally decided to do this…


Yep, 147 pages!  Not to be confused with 148 pages which would totally be overboard.

…and then there were all of these checklists that had to be printed out and organized.  (because you have to organize your organization binder to help you organize)


…and then I had to fill in checklists, make menus and plan a whole week of cleaning.

The more lists I completed the more overwhelmed I felt.  *This is already backfiring.  Why do I feel less organized.  What’s that?  What’s happening?  What’s going on?

So I worked and typed and penciled-in this and that in my binder all weekend.  And finally, at 3 AM this morning, I had the week ready to go.  I looked over my Monday morning checklist and thought to myself “Ok, it seems like a lot.  I’m overwhelmed, but wait… some of this I can really knock out in the hour that I have in between dropping Phoebe off at her bus stop and dropping Leila off at her bus stop.  Tess will be asleep.  This may work!  I’ve got this!”

…But then Tess woke up at 4 AM crying and I couldn’t get her back to sleep until after 5 AM and feeling exhausted I started reasoning with reality.  “I have to get up at 6:30 AM to get Jax off to school.  Let’s be real.  I’ll be too tired and want to take a nap after all of the kids are gone.  I’m going to have to add “nap” to my to-do list.  Is that contradictory?  Can you add “nap” to a to-do list that is supposed to keep you organized and timely?  Screw it!  Adding “nap” to my to-do list will be the first thing I “to-do”.”  Zzzzzz…

As predicted, I was exhausted to the point of delirium, but I got Jax up and ready, then I got Phoebe up and ready, and then I opened my binder and set to cross things off quickly, so I could get to “nap”.  I did a load of laundry, took care of the dog, woke Leila up and got her in the shower, realized that most of the things I actually do weren’t even on my to-do list, but thought things were going well… until Leila walked up to me in the hallway mid-“laundry” check-off.  Soaking wet with tears in her eyes she stammered, “Mom, I just remembered, I was supposed to do a project this weekend.”  

“A project?!  Not a worksheet or a chapter to read, but a whole PROJECT?!”

“Yes!  I need to make a poster about something for health class.”  Still dripping under her towel, she shuffled through her binder and handed me a sheet with her project requirements. 7 research bulletin points, to be exact.

“Crap!  Ok, get dressed.  Seriously, Leila?!  You have to be at the bus stop in 20 minutes.  It’ll be fine.  Dry your eyes.  Mommy to the rescue!  Let me see what I can knock out.”  I quickly turned to the computer and tapped away at the keyboard, scrambled for a gnarly piece of leftover posterboard, a glue stick and my paper cutter.  Frantically, I searched, copy and pasted, printed, cut and glued and all the while it was killing me that I couldn’t rephrase most of it and that it wasn’t pretty.  It dawned on me that most people with OCD are probably unorganized because if it’s not perfect then it’s not good enough, so why even try?  I had completed 5 bulletin points before she had to leave for the bus stop.  She walked out of the door without a project and both of us were deflated, but I trudged on and when it was completed I jumped in the van with what is quite possibly the worst looking poster on “Stuttering” the teacher will ever be handed.  I zipped to the bus stop just as the bus was coming down the street to pick her up.  *Yay!  I got to be her hero!  She gave me a giant hug, as I told her to study the poster on the bus and really learn her topic.

I left the bus stop smiling, but even more exhausted.  I came home to stare blankly at the mess the haphazard project had left behind in its wake and then look over even more blankly at my “to-do list” with its one… lone… check.  Nope, “do Leila’s weekend project for her” wasn’t on there.  Just then… *crunch* *crunch* “Shit!  What’s the dog into?”  Fabulous, “cleaning up shards of gnawed on colored pencils” isn’t on my to-do list either.  F U, Monday!



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.


8 Aug

We interrupt the previously scheduled “Barbie, Ken and the Debutantes” event for a much-needed venting!

Sorry, everyone!  I’m a tad frustrated and I’m neurotic when it comes to my kids and/or change.

I dread this time of year! Jaxon has always been an extremely shy kid.  So shy, that if you don’t know him well enough he comes off rude.  I’m constantly having to remind him to say “Hi!  How are you?” or “Thanks for having me!” or even just to answer simple questions guests ask him.  It’s not that he isn’t thankful or happy to see people.  He just plain freezes when spoken to by most other people.  So needless to say, back-to-school time gets my nerves in a bunch because I’m freaking out that maybe he won’t make any friends or classmates will be mean to him or the teacher won’t make sure to get him involved in class discussions.

When he was about 2 or 3 years old, I used to take him to the park everyday.  I would observe his interactions with the other kids, but try not to interject.  (As best I could.  Allowing a child to adapt to their social environment is a hard thing for a mommy to do without wanting to interfere.  It takes a lot of self-control.)  I would watch him walk up to the slide and get ready to walk up the steps to take his turn, but every time another child would run up and get behind him in line he would step to the side and let them go instead.  I thought he was just being overly polite.  “Jaxon, it’s ok!  It’s your turn.  You can go.” No matter how much encouragement I gave him (See!  I told you it was hard not to interject!), he still would step to the side and let all of the other kids go before he would take a turn.  If he wanted to get onto a swing, he would wait and wait and wait.  Any other child would say, “Can I have a turn now?” Not Jaxon, though.  He would wait forever for kids to get off the swing on their own recognizance.  I really hated it when an *sshole-type kid was on the swing.  You know what type of kid I’m talking about… the kid that knows another child is waiting to play with something, so they hold onto it a little tighter and play with it much longer than they really want to, just to see if they can upset the child waiting.

Jaxon is passive at school.  If a child at recess asks him if he wants to play basketball he says, “No, thanks!” Not because he doesn’t want to play basketball, but because he thinks that all of the other kids play basketball better than he does, so he doesn’t want to embarrass himself.  When told to write a creative story in school, he seems to daydream and not want anything to do with the story.  Last year he got scolded for not writing one and the teacher embarrassed him by calling me at home during class.  He asked me why he hadn’t completed his fairytale assignment and I said, “I didn’t even know that he was supposed to be doing one.” His teacher furiously responded that Jaxon was supposed to bring it home and do it over the weekend.  I felt so stupid as a mommy and angry at the teacher for making an 8-year-old responsible to tell his mother that he couldn’t have fun during our already scheduled weekend events because he had a story to write.  What 8-year-old would do that? But, I was also angry at Jaxon for seeming to not care about his grades.  However I felt about the teacher’s irresponsibility to heed me warning, Jaxon should have mentioned this fairytale to me at some point.  When Jaxon came home from school that day, I asked him why he had not done his creative writing assignment or even told me that he needed to get one done.  He looked at me with sadden frustration and said, “I didn’t know what to write.”  “The teacher said that he went over fairytales with you all week and read to you a handful of examples,” I replied.  “Why didn’t you write about a magic spell or a princess being held captive by a dragon?” “That’s what Mr. ***** said to me when I couldn’t think of anything,” said Jax.  “So why didn’t you?” I asked. “Because that’s what everyone else was writing about and it was boring.  I wanted my story to be different and special.” That’s when my heart sank.  How can you be mad at that? It’s not that he was twiddling his thumbs and avoiding the assignment altogether.  It was that he wanted his story to be perfect and he wasn’t going to write anything on his paper until it was perfect.  It was at that moment that I saw a lot of myself in him.  I could relate to this frustration that if something seems like it can’t be done absolutely perfect then I don’t even want to do it.  Did I teach him this trait? Double-mommy guilt!  Fabulous! So his peers at school have a hard time getting to know him and his teachers misunderstand him.  Sending him to school is a very, very difficult thing for me to do and it doesn’t get easier over time.  Especially because this year he was accepted into the talented and gifted school.  He went to one school for kindergarten, but the schools were rezoned, so he had to adjust to a new environment and make all new friends in first grade.  And now, again, he is being sent to yet another new school.  Albeit a much, much better school.  I really cannot rave enough about the TAG elementary school!!!  This school absolutely loves each and every single one of their students and encourages them to be the best they can be and when they need a helping hand to get over a stump they are there to aid them along the way.  They treat the parents with as much respect and my heart heaves a warm sigh of relief every time I call them with a concern.

Enter Back-to-School panic cause #2: The first week of June we filed a transfer request for Leila to be admitted to the TAG school, as well.  I called the Board of Education in July asking when we would know whether Leila would be attending the TAG school or her zoned elementary school.  I was told, in so many rude words, that I would be notified in August.  So, it’s August and no notification.  I called the TAG school and they were appalled by the fact that the Board had not gotten back to me yet.  They said, “we’d love to have Leila!  Call the Board again and demand an answer.” And then the lovely lady on the phone gave me several examples of what I can say if they avoided giving me an answer.  But I never got a chance to use her examples.  For 3 days, I sat on the phone as if I were trying to get through to a hotline.  The nagging sound of a busy signal is all that I got hour after hour, day after day.  Finally, I got through to some poor lady in another office and I begged her to help me get an answer concerning Leila’s transfer.  (Keep in mind, orientations are this week!)  She seemed to pity me and put me on hold while she walked to the transfer office.  When she got back on the line, she said that parents were lined around the building waiting to speak with the student transfer department.  She pushed passed them and asked someone to look up Leila’s records.  Apparently, the office is claiming that they did not even receive Leila’s application until July 17th and they told her that they may have an answer for me in two weeks.  What is that…. the first day of school???  Such bullsh*t!

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