Hitting the whole preteen thing pretty hard!

So my eldest child has decided that he is a teenager.  In reality he is 11 going on 12.  Thankfully he is still in elementary school for 1 more year!!!  But that doesn’t change the fact that we are entering a new phase of his life.  A phase I am not all that comfortable with. 

I had years of experience with kids before actually having one of my own.  However, I do not have a lot of experience with teenagers.  I subbed one day in a high school, and swore NEVER again.  They were rude and to be honest, they made me cry.  Seriously, they did, and I am not that much of a weinie.  They really were THAT awful!!!

Anyway I digress, so eldest child is asking to do things that I am not so comfortable with.  An example of this would be,  “Mom, do you care if I go with (insert girl’s name here) to the amusement park tomorrow?  Her mom will be in the park, but somewhere else.  We will have a cell phone.”  I said no.

Or this one, “Mom do you care if I go to the mall with (same girl and other friend).  Her mom will be a the mall, but we will be shopping at other stores.”  Um, yes.  I said no to this too.

Then there was this one, “Mom can I go to (insert local heavy metal radio station’s horrible music fest here) with (nope you are wrong!  Different girl and girl’s whole family?)”  He didn’t even wait for my answer.  He walked away as I was laughing.

Maybe that other mom gives more supervision than I think, but I’m not taking that chance.  I wonder if I will still think of him as my baby when he is 30?  I’m pretty sure by that time I will let him go to the mall alone.  🙂

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The end of the school year is upon us

I realized today that it is almost the end of the school year.  I only have these children under my care for another 7 days.  That is not enough time!  Em is just learning her plus and minus 1’s (we have seriously worked on this ALL year!)  I finally have Beth working instead of melting.  Brian has learned enough of the English language that, “What does that mean?” is not said every other minute.  Jenny and Haden are reading long chapter books and COMPREHENDING them!  I have so much I want to teach them.  So much that they need to know!

We also divide them up and created new class lists for the 3rd grade teachers.  It is so hard!!!  What if they don’t listen to me about what they need.  What if the kids don’t respond to who I think they will.  What if I put two kids together that shouldn’t be in the same state?  My biggest concern is that they won’t love them as much as I do.  Of course, it is foolish of me to worry about this.  Both third grade teachers are very nice, and love their children as much as I love mine.  But they were mine first!  🙂

Seven days left.  Scratch one off for field day, another for 2nd grade day at the park, another for Camp Day, and another for packing up.  I really only have 3 good working days.  It’s not enough time.

Don’t have a weighted vest? Here’s an idea!

Many of us that have PDD, autistic, or ADHD kids either at home or school know the value of a weighted vest.  However, we don’t all have one.  Our OT at school gave me this great idea that has been invaluable this year!  Take a backpack and fill it with 10% of the child’s body weight.  I used composition notebooks.  Then when that child is in obvious need of some “heavy” work put the backpack on for 5 or 10 minutes.  It has really helped my child in my classroom.  She comes in flapping and bouncing unable to sit.  I put the backpack on her and send her with an envelope down to our counselor to deliver an “important message.”  By the time she comes back she is ready to sit down for a little while and read, write, whatever. 

It’s a great quick fix.

Mother’s Day-Not at all what I planned

I stayed up late last night trying to put the finishing touches to the gifts I made for all of the “mothers” in my family (my mom, mil, my sister–she babysits my boys, and my niece–it is her first Mother’s Day as a mom.)  I made all the gifts this year.  Some I am very proud of and some not so much. 

I got up very early.  My oldest was in a play at church, and in part of it they pull up all their moms.  As I walk into church my sister calls.  She says that our mama is sick and a little delirious.  She was going to check on her, but we were probably taking her to the hospital.  (My mama gets these raging infections in one of her arms.  It is due to the lymphadema that occurred from having a mastectomy.)  I explained that I needed to be at church, but call me if they were going to the hospital. 

Thirty minutes later my brother calls me and asks me to go to my mom’s.  So I leave church.  Sadly I only got to do the play once with my son.  In 2nd service he was motherless. 

At my mama’s I begin gathering her things, and trying to get her dressed.  She won’t let me get her dressed though because she is afraid that I will hurt my back.  So we wait another 45 minutes for my sister. 

I’ll push through the painful details.  So at 1:30 in the afternoon she gets a room.  That was pretty quick really.  They have her hooked up to an IV.  Her fever begins going down, and she begins making more sense.  The infection specialist believes it is a strep infection in her tissue from a cut in her arm.  This has happened before actually many times, but usually she catches it before it goes this far. 

All of my brothers and sisters (5 of us) and various other family members spent the day in the hospital.  I finally left around 6 and had to go to rehearsal.  I didn’t really get to spend much time with my boys, but they understand why.

I’m glad my mama is going to be OK.

What was I thinking? What was I nuts?

Have you ever wished that you had kept your big mouth shut?  Yep, we all have.  Me too.  As if this time of year isn’t busy enough with retirement parties, end of school, and graduations.  I agreed to play Jack’s mother in the play Jack and the Beanstalk. 

I haven’t been on stage in 20 years.  EEK!!!  Not only do I have a ton of lines to memorize, but I have to sing.  I am more than a little nervous.  To add to the stress, we have just started rehearsals and we open in 2 weeks. OH! and did I mention that everyone else that is in this is a PROFESSIONAL actor!  No stress though, right????  To quote Christine Lavin, “What was I thinking?  What was I nuts?”

I let you know how it goes.

He really loves the swing!

As spring has finally decided to stick around we started getting the yard ready.  We cleaned up from our lovely dog, Lilo, and put the cushions back on our swing.  My youngest has sat in it every day since.  He has declared, “It’s the most relaxing thing ever, Mom,” at least 4 or 5 times a day. 

Today was not an exception.  He came home from school, and made himself comfortable.  He even said he didn’t mind being grounded from video games, because he had a good book.  🙂  His book of choice?  A collection of Family Circus comics. 

What I’m listening to right now

I love seeing what other people are listening to on their ipod, radio, computer, whatever…  So what are you listening to right now? 

Here’s my list:

Ben Folds Five–not new, but loving the song  “Best imitation of Myself” right now

Superchick–We Live

The View-Same Jeans  (this is an AWESOME song!)

The New Pornographers–Mass Romantic (wish they had a different name for their band, but great song!)

Fort Pastor-March Out  (they remind me a bit of the Bare Naked Ladies)

Ginny Owens–Simply Love You (It’s like she crawled in my brain, and wrote it for me.)

Brandi Carlile-The Story

B-52’s–Rock Lobster (my kids are loving this right now.)

Relient K–Give Until there is Nothing Else (really anything by these guys, but their 12 Days of Christmas is the best Christmas Song Ever!)

Darden Smith-Frankie and Sue (Old song, but just got it from itunes)

Don’t be afraid to email the teacher

I am in an odd position of being both the parent and a teacher.  I recognize now that being a parent has made me a better teacher.  Howeverbeing the parent of an ADHD child and a child with PDD has opened my eyes and my heart in the classroom. 

Today I was faced with a difficult decision.  I truly felt the assignment that my oldest child was given was out of line.  Let me explain a little, in his classroom you get your card punched if you have a behavior issue.  Well last month he had a week of total disorganization.  We had a med change and it obviously wasn’t working.  He lost all of his punches in the first week of the month.  (Now I could write pages about why I hate this behavior system, and suggest a much better one–not today.)  So he didn’t go to the card party.  Instead the kids that didn’t go were given 12 worksheet pages to do, including 2 essays.  He didn’t finish it in the hour at school and worked on it for 5 hours this weekend.  That is not a fair punishment.  He didn’t even complete all of the worksheets after all that time. 

So today I decided to email the teacher.  My purpose was simple.  I wanted to give her feedback that I hoped she would use for self-reflection.  I did not email her trying to get my son out of his assignment.  (I told him that although I thought the assignment was unfair, he was expected to do it.  He will employers that ask him to do something that he considers to be unfair, but he will still be expected to do it.)  She responded in the way that I expected her to, but I am hoping that I planted some seeds in her brain.

So here are my suggestions for when you need to talk to the teacher:

1.  Make an appt.  Never show up during school hours unless it is an appt. 

2.  If you can’t speak about the situation without becoming emotional, consider writing an email.  However, be prepared that you may not like there response or be satisfied with it.  (In my situation I was trying to open her eyes a little bit, not change the outcome.)

3.  Stay calm.  It isn’t helpful if you are too emotional to listen.  If you are confronting the teacher because of something your child says, please remember that your child has probably only told you part of the story. 

4.  Do not assign blame.  Avoid using the “you” statements.  Refrain from saying anything personal about the teacher.

5.  Remember that most teachers truly love your child, but don’t be afraid to advocate for your child when needed.  (My son didn’t need to learn the lesson, “If you complain loudly you get out of work.”  That is why I asked for a longer length of time for him to finish it.  My goal was that next time she will consider that when making the worksheet packets.)

6.  Support the teacher in front of the child.  This is huge!  If you model disrespect for the teacher, than why should the child do any different?

7.  If you can’t resolve the issue, first decide if it is truly worth following up on and then go up the food chain.  Meet with the principal or if your school has on the parent advocate.

Hopefully that is helpful to someone.  My son did finish his assignment today at school during recess, but it doesn’t change the fact that the work was excessive. 

*On a side note, I can’t wait until his teacher has kids someday.  I remember the days when. like her, I thought I knew everything about children! 

 

 

I smell like a cookie

I made this incredible sugar scrub today.  I actually read about it on angry chickens blog.  She took some shortcuts and so did I on the recipe.  I used canola oil instead of the jojoba oil (about $21 cheaper and in my cupboard.)  I also used coconut extract like she did.  It felt pretty amazing going on and now my skin feels so soft!  Definitely worth the 5 minutes it took to make!  I am going to make some for my mom for mother’s day, but I think I will splurge and get a different kind of oil and use lavendar essential oil.  She likes flowery smelly things.  Me not so much.

http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2008/04/index.html

It’s all about the food, and usually it comes on a stick!

Since the moment I met my sweet husband I knew that he does not go to the fair (or anything similar) for any reason except the food.  He has been known to use the map to plan his entire day’s activities around where the food stands are located.  So my children are following in his footsteps!

We went to Tulip Time last night.  We did watch the dutch dancing, the glockenspiel, and even the night time parade (which by the way is very cool with all the lights on the floats–however, I was freezing my tushy off!)  But our primary purpose of the evening was definitely to eat as many different things as we could.  Ok, youngest child just wanted to eat cheese pizza, but he still knew his mission was food.  🙂

So on the way home the kids made a list of everything that we all ate:  pizza, corn dog, dutch ribbons (great curly potato chip things), some kind of a sausage we can’t pronounce, Pella bologna on a stick, dutch letters, cotton candy, dippin dots, and poffertjes.  Our favorite thing of the evening was definitely the poffertjes! 

Even youngest-I-only-eat-pizza-and-chocolate-son loved the poffertjes.  (Ok he eats a few more things than just pizza and chocolate, but he is incredibly picky!)  I am now thinking of buying a poffertjes pan to make this delicious tiny pancake like things at home.  We ate three platefuls of them last night. 

This site http://www.fantes.com/aebleskiver.html has both the pan and the recipe for these delectable little gems!  Unfortunately, we have a flat top electric stove so I would have to buy the $50 pan.  Hmmm…maybe a present for grandma?  Then we can invite ourselves to dinner! 

On a separate note it has been so freaking cold here for so long that most of the tulip haven’t bloomed yet!  I honestly don’t remember that ever happening.  We did find a few.