Friday, May 19, 2006

Miss Hanagan may have had a point...

Yesterday was one of those days. You know those days, right? The cute little stories your kids tell are just annoying, the little one is whiny because of her cold, the older one is bitchy because, well, she doesn't have reason she just is. And she brought home an equally bitchy friend who teases the little girls and doesn't even thank you for dinner. of those days.

It's been raining here is New England for like 100 days straight. I'm sure that's contributing to my general sense of malaise. That, and the fact that the baby won't nap this week. I miss nap time. I really do. I never realized it before, but that hour and a half a day was the best thing that ever happened to me. There was quiet, there was peace, there were Will & Grace reruns on Lifetime. Those were the days...

We did manage to get outside and play yesterday. The kids played in rain water that had collected in various buckets and pools around the yard. They made mud pies and squished mud in between their toes and flung mud at each other. It was all well and good until baby girl found a straw and drank the muddy, scummy, rain water from the pool. She is so gross. She really is. She would have emptied the thing, smacked her lips and said "Ahhhh" if I had let her. I made both of them strip on the patio and marched them into a warm shower to hose down.

After little ones were in bed, I headed outside to get some air. Jasmine and her friend were out there playing with a soccer ball. I sat on the stairs and they came over to join me. Jasmine's friend is going into high school next year and I asked her what she wanted to do when she got out of school.

"I don't know, teacher maybe?" She didn't sound convinced.

Jasmine piped up "Isn't there a test you can take? It tells you what you should be when you grow up. I saw it in a movie."

"There's no magic test, Jazz. You have to find something you're passionate about, some you love." I tell her. They both looked discouraged. They were clearly hoping to fill in a few circles with a #2 pencil and have someone tell them what job they had. They are both such girls. They pretend to be grown up, but they're not.

I sat for a few more minutes and listened as Jasmine talked about this circle of girls that wear thongs to school.

"Their parents don't know they wear them." She said. "I think they pass the same one around the circle so they can each have a turn with it. "

"Jasmine, it's not ok to share underwear. Actually, it's kinda disgusting." I never thought I'd have to say that out loud.

We sat for a few more minutes then I sent the friend on her way home and Jasmine to bed. I was never so grateful to see the end of a day come. Not that anything particulary bad happened, I was just done. It reminds me of Miss Hanagan's song from Annie - Little girls, little girls, everyday I eat, sleep, and breathe them.....Some women are dripping with diamonds. Some women are dripping with pearls. Lucky me! Lucky me! Look at what I'm dripping with - Little girls!

I'll meet you at the bar, Miss Hanagan.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

My child is perfect, damn it!

The end of the school year is drawing to a close and my five year old will be entering kindergarten in the fall. I can't believe that she's ready for all day school. Right now, she's in preschool five days a week, two and a half hours each day.

In an effort to communicate with her future kindergarten teacher, the preschool teacher has filled out an evaluation form on Lila. I saw it in the backpack on the way home from school yesterday and practically ran home so I could read it. I pulled it out of the bag and instantly got nervous. I hate these things. If they don't say "Your child is the brightest, most special, beautiful child we have ever bared witness to!" then I get mad.

So I read the report. Can cut with scissors? Yes. Can listen to teacher/stories? Yes. Shows age appropriate self control? Yes. It was mostly fine, she can hit all the right milestones with ease. None the less, I was bugged by several responses the teacher had to some questions. Such as - Can follow a series of three directions? Usually only one or two at a time. Hello??! She's five! My twelve year old can't follow three directions without a written decree from the governor of our fair state! Lila can certainly follow more directions than most of the kids in her class, half of whom need a chew toy and personal tutor to get through the day!

Ok, I may have been harsh in that last statement. Knee jerk reaction, is all. She has great classmates.

Dress independently? Yes, but attention wanders. We often have to remind her to keep moving to finish the task. She's five! This is not military school, the kids don't all move in straight, silent lines to the cubbies and methodically put on their coats. They goof, they laugh. I've been in your classroom at the end of the day, I know how it works. Don't try and fool me, bitch!

Again, harsh. I apologize, she's a lovely teacher. I actually requested her this year.

Physical coordination: Yes on all markers - with an astericked note: Moves slowly with a purpose. So?! She's a thinker, a planner. She likes to be safe and choose wisely. What the hell is a matter with that? Huh?! You wanna take this outside?

Her teacher closed the evaluation with this note:

Lila is a very caring and happy girl. She is also very reserved and sometimes needs to comforted from the adults. She usually speaks very softly but at times can be very silly and animated. She has been a big help with the younger children who don't communicate well. She has a mothering instinct that reaches out to these children. She is very cooperative and helps out in the classroom. Lila's preacademic skills are good, although there are times when I'm not sure she has understood a direction. We will miss Lila very much, but I look forward to seeing her on our way to the playground next year.

Hard to argue with that. That's who she is. She is a quiet, shy girl that takes some time to warm up. But once she does, her infectious laughter will make even the most disgruntled old misers giggle along with her. She has an amazing ability to feel compassion for people. She takes great care of her baby sister and calls her "Dear" and "Sweetheart". She is cautious and afraid of getting hurt, but has become quite adventurous over this year. And yes, I'll admit that I call her Pokey Little Puppy when it comes time to put her shoes and coat on. I know all the things in the evaluation are true of Lila, that's why I'm going to sign it and hand it back in. But I may add one note of my own:

Careful, her momma is a lion and will bite if provoked.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Educating Lila

My niece is in Kindergarten and she is learning to read and write. She can sound out simple words and even write a few of her own. It's very cool when they start to do that.

So the other day my niece and Lila were playing "homework" in the play room. It was very serious stuff. They were both quite upset when Violet would take a crayon and scrub on their homework papers. It was keeping them quiet, so I would redirect Violet as best as I could so they could play.

The next morning Lila came over to me with some papers in her hand. "Mama, do you want to see the homework we were working on yesterday? Wendy can write real words."

"Sure Li, let's have a look." I put down my magazine and she handed me the papers one at a time.

"This is mine." It was the word cat written a few times. There were some backwards C's and a few cat drawings on the page.

"Very nice Lila!" I handed the paper back to her.

"This one is Wendy's! She wrote real words!" Her joy was barely containable. I took the page from her and had a look. It did, in fact, contain real words. The entire page was covered with the words "POOP" and "PEE".

"Hmm...did she tell you what these words were?" I was thinking maybe she and Wendy had no idea. I once wrote the word F-U-C-K-Y-O-U in 3 foot chalk letters down the sidewalk. I had no idea what it meant, I had just seen it on a wall and remembered it. Not too surprisingly, my dad saw it too and the rest of that day is a blur.

"She said it was 'Poop' and 'Pee' !!" Lila erupted in a fit of giggles. This was clearly the funniest thing ever.

"Yup, babe. That's what it says alright." She took the paper back and walked away still giggling.

Older cousins can be so cool. They know just enough more than us to keep it interesting. The same can be said for older sisters, too. It was mine that wrote that nasty little epitaph on the wall that I ended up copying on the sidewalk. Immitation is the sincerest form of flattery, you know.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Birthday Weekend Extravaganza!

Saturday was my husband and my daughter's birthday. Violet turned two, Darryl turned 34. We had a party for them, and everyone else through March and April whose birthdays slide by us. Not unnoticed, mind you, just unrecognized. I think we celebrated close to ten birthdays. The weather was lovely and sunny and my mom made mass quantities of food that pretty much all got eaten. As the day wound down, we played cards at the picnic table and sat around my husband's new fire pit (a birthday present from me and his girls). The kids all played together and had fun. There were a few fights, mostly between Violet and her little friend over a car. His birthday was also in April - three weeks before Violet's.

They eventually moved on to other modes of transportation where they kissed and made up.

All in all, it was a good day. Violet got some great presents, as did Darryl, and Jasmine who's birthday was in the beginning of April. We survived another April - the birthday month from hell. Just what was it about July that had the panties flying off, anyway? You'd think the sweltering heat and humidity would cause wives to threaten their husbands with sticks if they got too close. It must be the air conditioning.

As my friend always says: "God bless Willis Carrier"