Posts

Showing posts from June, 2009

Star light, star bright

I am on the back porch with my laptop this nice evening, thinking about the day.

Today I submitted a sample of my writing to an organization. Now I wonder if I chose correctly in my haste.

So today's thought is simple. As I look at the stars, thinking about other mistakes I made today, I wish I had more patience.

Too many thoughts for one blog

BRRSD:
It seems that someone saw the light, and the BOE is revamping the K-4 Language Arts in BRRSD. It's a bit too late for my kids (N will be a 4th grader in the fall, and while it is apparently financially budgeted for this year, I doubt they can implement both a new LAL and math program in the same summer). In another wouldashouldacoulda moment, I realized I missed a very important BOE meeting on Tuesday. The following was e-mailed from the district yesterday. Click to download the following file: K-4 Language Arts Adoption

I have read it, but not digested the information. Will speak with people more knowledgeable than myself and report back if I hear anything newsworthy.

Re: Murphy's Law
It's alive and well in our household. I came home yesterday afternoon to a beeping dishwasher and water all over the floor. Our decision: buy a new one ASAP. Home Depot - nothing we liked. Same at BestBuy. So off to PC Richards... on the way between BestBuy and PC Richards - at that tric…

Too warm to blog, but I just have to say YES!

Glad to hear that the Supreme Court made this call even if they are farther to the right than I like... Listen to what Nina Totenberg said when the case was heard last April, here.

The court found in the girl's favor!!!!

Of course a 13 year old girl's rights were violated when she was strip searched based on a rumor!!!! Duh! Read the actual court decision here.

I remember hearing about this case last year. A 13 year old was strip searched by her middle school administrators when another student falsely claimed she had prescription drugs in her possession. She is now in college. I heard her speak on the news about how haunting the experience was for her and her mother and I haven't forgotten her.

When it comes to this kind of stupid stuff in the world, no one is immune. It's there before the grace of God go I... I can't imagine the fight if it happened to my daughter. Hopefully this case means it won't!

Better than the NY TIMES Dad???

Image
I read this article in Sunday's Style Section.

It made me think. We've been big on cool kids' parties since the first ones. Through the years I found a previously untapped talent for creative birthday eats. Tellytubby toast were made as over-sized chocolate chip cookies. Two years in a row N picked out which Thomas Tank Engines he wanted: Percy, Thomas, Edward... they have all been recreated in the kitchen using small bread pans as molds. He turned three - then four. I've also recreated Digimon, as well a Pokemon, as well as high heeled shoes and a "barbie cake" for my daughter. If I remember correctly, I only "outsourced" 3 parties in almost 12 years (had parties outside of our home). At the 2006 karate party, I made the R2D2, shown above.

C hasn't been left out in the coolness factor. She had one of the first big sleepovers in kindergarten where each guest baked her own mini birthday cake. It only went up from there. Every year has been a new g…

aahhhh!

I felt it today. The weight lifting off my shoulders.

Summer vacation is here. Today I took a deep breath - and exhaled.

The fight you just can't win

Image
...EQUITY

No, I'm not talking about feminism, or racism or any other -ism.

I'm talking about the inevitable - the teary, the whining: "why is she getting to do that?" Or: "Why did he get to bring a friend and I didn't?"

And the unending attempts at parity. All in vain.

C has HS visiting from our former neighborhood far away. A once in a lifetime sort of thing, so she had a few friends over to meet the now-famous HS. As the half-dozen or so girls sat eating ice-cream around our kitchen table, N was in tears. "Where are my friends?" A reasonable question, I thought.

And so movie night was born. Click-evite-click and a few friends are now invited to see what some parents will inevitably think of as inappropriate, but that the boys LOVE. Monty Python and the Holy Grail was this year's hit with 3rd graders in a certain class in a certain Bridgewater school.

Then comes the other question of equity - who gets invited, who doesn't?

I used to be…

NYC

Love being in New York...

I don't love to shop when I don't have any money (today is one such day) but I love being in new York anyway.

I had a great day with my daughter and our friends. The best part of the day wasn't the lunch, the shopping, roaming streets of SoHo. It wasn't even seeing long lost friends (although that was really great!)

It was the car ride home when I got some one-on-one time with my daughter. We talked about whatever she was wanted. I was happy that there were no distractions, no rush, no stress (well, traffic) and it was just us two. 7th heaven.

...
and, I was proud - I drove in and out of the city with no crashes, and no nervous breakdowns. I drove almost without using the GPS.. even choosing my own directions over the map's. This is a big deal for me: I am usually terrified of driving in NYC. One small Broom broom for womankind! One big step for me!!!

Excuse ypos - I am writin this without my glasses.......

Last Day of School & other things on my mind

I can't believe it is the last day. It seems like the first month (and not just because it feels like October outside). We've been lucky and continue to be. I know it sounds strange, but I love being at the school volunteering. In the summers, I miss the administrative assistants at N's school (I don't know them well at C's school), and although I haven't been helping nearly as much as I want, I love being in the elementary school library. I could be a children's librarian, I love books that much. But most of all, I am having déjà vu. When N was finished with kindergarten, I wished I had more children to be in Mrs. Kindergarten Teacher's class (my kids both had this fabulous teacher!). Today I feel that way about Miss Teacher. Through the year my relationship with her has grown quite close, so now I am confident we will stay in touch. T commented on how fast time is flying now: N has only one year left at his wonderful elementary school. I can hardly be…

Tuesday - A good day!

I have a distant cousin who I have friended on Facebook. Her life is very complicated - nasty divorce in the works, estranged from her father and sister, uncertain living conditions. As much as I like being back in touch with her, sometimes I feel as though she only writes negative things. Where is the joy?

Then I began to wonder if I am not just as negative, despite my better circumstances.

So today I am happy to report I had a good day. I was lucky enough to attend my son's end of year party for his 3rd grade class. While I wished the year wouldn't end, I am happy that it ended nicely: a few outdoor games, then inside for make your own sundae. I couldn't resist - when they offered them to parents also, I had to take a nice scoop of vanilla, but instead of marshmallows, I covered the ice cream with blueberries and called it "healthy".

I came home, picked up one kid and her friend, then the other kid and his friend. Drove to TKD and took a long walk with my husban…

Back to the same question

Caught another article in the New York Times (the online version, I'm not sure when it was in print) looking at the question of how to best place students. Integrate all the kids regardless of ability, or segregate the kids by academic niches?

You can read the article here.

I have grappled with this question for several years. Our district has a highly elite AI program starting in 2nd grade but otherwise very little segregation in K-4. For grades 2-4 AI students are segregated into a single classroom at Adamsville school. Fifth and sixth grade AI students attend insulated classes but within either Hillside or Eisenhower schools, depending on where they live.

Once children get into 5th and 6th grades there are various classes offered - children are put into either e, regular or remedial math classes - with the vast majority fitting in the regular bracket. The same holds true for language arts classes. Social studies, science, Spanish and other academic classes have only one level - s…

Quickie blog

This morning I got to hear those fleeting words, rarely uttered aloud: you were right.

My day has been made. Unfortunately, "You Were Right" led to a change in plans and now, when I normally blog and drink coffee, I have to head out.

I thought I would share with you (but I don't know why you'd want to be tortured by this too) something I heard on the train back from NYC yesterday. It has been haunting me - both acts, but mostly the first one - all evening, all night and all morning.

A segment of This American Life from April 2009 called Didn't Ask to Be Born. When Ira Glass says it's not appropriate for children, he forgot to mention that it is physically painful for Moms' ears too.

The first act is my worst fear. Could C ever hate me as much as these girls hate their Mom?

I have to listen to something nice all day long today just to get the mental images of these family tragedies out of my head.

Heard this on the clock radio this morning and it had my feet …

Juxtaposition

I'm writing this long hand (well, now I'm transposing it) from my personal hell on earth, Chuck-E-Cheese. I haven't been here in years. Is my memory fading or was it tolerable when there are this few kids? Usually I think of C-E-C as punishment for having kids, but today I'm sitting near the window overlooking scenic (ha) Applebee's parking lot and knitting. It seems like an ok use of my time.

N has new friend who is allergic to dogs, so I was scrambling to find an alternative to playing at our house. The boys came up with this. Not as cheap as my idea (ice cream) but the boys are enjoying skeet ball. Best of all, I can knit to my heart's content.

This morning I was in the opposite of this room. Yes it was noisy - and sometimes smelly - but a completely different experience. It was as if I were two separate people in two countries. I spent a wonderful morning roaming the Upper West Side with my friend JL and her husband D. We talked, walked and searched for just…

Swim team decision

Image
It's summer. You wouldn't know it looking out the window, but considering there is about a week left of school, I'd say it's here.

As I mentioned before, we joined a pool club. It has a swim team that apparently is "just right" (not too competitive, not too lax). Although he loves to be in the water, N isn't the strongest swimmer - I'm really tempted to get him lessons, which he really doesn't want, so the swim team would be a great venue to strengthen his skills. Moreover, most of his buddies at the pool take part in the team, and he might be left out if he doesn't join.

There are two problems: he doesn't want to do it and he'll be away for about half of the competitions, and probably for the end-of-season party (i.e. the Carrot).

All spring I have been planning to "force" him to join the team. It would be good for him both physically and socially.

Today I decided that since it's his summer vacation, he should have a say in …

Hard work pays off

C got the letter yesterday - she made the e-math program. She didn't quite make e-language arts, but she is thrilled about getting into math. As she reads and writes for her own pleasure, I'm not too stressed about it.

Maybe it's a Pyrrhic victory: lately I have heard that since BRRSD BOE has voted to change the regular math program, but not the e-curriculum, it would be better to stay in the regular program. But, we'll take our chances for now. After working so hard to get accepted, it would be silly not to take this opportunity.

Apparently e-math also comes with piles of homework. C says she's ready. She may have to sacrifice some of the time she spends at extra curricular activities. She's dropping the violin, and starting cheer leading. I would hardly say she's gaining much free time. The fall will be a challenge.

At least C feels vindicated. Her work has catapulted her toward her goal. We're all very proud of her.

Mazel Tov

When I was 13 I knew two Jewish kids. Only two. Although I went to school with both of them since kindergarten, neither of them invited me to their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. I felt like the only child on the planet (or at least my hometown) that wasn't invited. Recently I attended my HS reunion where pictures of the Bat Mitzvah were posted online, and found out that indeed most of the my grade school was invited to DR's Bat Mitzvah except me. Why would that still bother me after 25 years?

Saturday we were invited to an awesome Bar Mitzvah. I loved it - and so did the kids. Even my husband wore a yarmulke in temple and attended the entire party. N managed not to fidget too much during the nearly 2 hours service.

At least my kids can say they have attended one. The Bar Mitzvah boy has a sister who will be a Bat in about 18 months. I'm already looking forward to my next opportunity to take part in a HORA! Let's hope C & E are still friends - they've been inseparable since…

Dog eat dog house

Image
I love our new dog. We got him in January and he has brought us lots of joy.

And some pain.

Yesterday was one of the painful days. He got to my knitting and chewed through a small wedding present I had been working on and off for a few days. I was planning on making a few of these dish clothes (picture above). You can download the pattern for free here. Unsalvageable. He even chewed through my bamboo (read: expensive) knitting needles. So today I bought new needles and new yarn. It was only $14 for new needles and yarn, but it was the principle of the matter.

I got very little sympathy from T who reminded me that it isn't the dog's fault. It's mine. I carelessly left the knitting where the dog could easily get it. The dog loves yarn. He's a mutt - and I think he may be part cat.

It is always easier to blame someone else. The kids being late for a practice, when actually *I* started dinner late. The house being a mess, when actually I set a very bad example. The kids going…

Difficult day

Last night N had a mini-trauma. It was hard to watch my son in a (figurative) train-wreck before my eyes.

He didn't want to go to school today, fearing the fall-out from yesterday. I can't say I blamed him. If it had been me, I would have wanted to crawl under the covers for a few days myself. I even thought "if I call him in sick, can I still take him to a movie"?

Wiser minds prevailed, and off N went to school this morning. I checked on him after the PTO meeting. He was FINE. Gotta love Miss Teacher. Most teachers would have told this hovering parent to take a hike! She understood my position completely.

At the end of the day N got off the bus and could report that the worst fears were not realized. Kids certainly can be cruel, but at least today they weren't.

He says he doesn't want to go tomorrow.

This time I can say, "I think it'll be fine," and this time I'm not lying. He learned a valuable lesson: face your fears. Things are often worse i…

Definitely NOT a G-rated movie...

This weekend I took my friend's advice and watched Little Children. My friend had my attention when she said it had some of the best scenes she'd seen in a film (interpret that as you will...) but she said that I would relate to it as a suburban mom.

I have been thinking about the film for several days.

I just thought about it again now, when I saw a group picture of Moms from my son's grade. The photo was taken at a party that I wasn't invited to, although I know all of the people in the picture. This particular group of Moms often make me feel alienated and I feel like the judge me. Some of them I would call "competitive parents". Who can be the most overprotective? As I saw the snapshot, I remembered a scene from Little Children. Watch starting from about minute 2:05 through about 5:30.

That is how I feel sometimes. As if I sit on a bench several feet away from them, being judged as a bad mom for something as innocuous as forgetting snack. In fact, snack is…

Tragedy in the news

An Air France flight has disappeared and it is assumed everyone has died in an ocean crash. How tragic! Grief beyond belief. Think of all the families that are ruined by this news.

The other tragedy is the shooting of Dr. George Tiller. How does a person justify shooting someone while they are praying at church? (Not that killing him on the street, in his office or home would have been right, but the hypocrisy of shooting someone during Sunday services is biting). I wonder if this will flare up the debate again as discussed in this NPR report.

How do either of these things relate to a Soccer Mom's mandate of raising great kids? Regarding the Air France flight: if my kids hear about it, how do I keep them from being afraid to fly when we travel so often?

The other issue - abortion - I wonder how adolescents develop any political opinions. I hope that my children have a healthy balance of agreeing with my beliefs and questioning them in order to learn to make up their own minds. That …

Summer's almost here

Image
N's teacher wrote today "13 days left" on her Facebook status today. That means summer is here. I spent the morning enjoying the perfect weather for a lovely walk. My friend and I talked about the summer. Planning summer getaways is one of my favorite past times, even if it doesn't always work out as planned. I really enjoy this on June 1st with the entire summer right before my eyes. It should be an easy drive (preferably less than 5 hours). This evening I spent time with another friend discussing summer camps.

The New York Times Travel Section had an article "One Summer, 14 weekend getaways"

Here's my weekend getaway wish list for summer 2009...

Weekend 1 -June 20th - NYC. We have friends who will be in the city that weekend from Europe. Count on all the things foreigners want to see, plus shopping, plus my kids' fav, Mars 2112 for at least one meal. We'll also do Chinatown, Times Square and other typical tourist destinations. Oh, NYC

Weekend 2 - …