Sunday, August 29, 2010

what a week

i think it has taken me an entire week to sit down to write about the first week for a couple of reasons.
1. it was even more emotional than i had anticipated.
2. it made me second-guess my entire parenting style more than once.
3. i want to simultaneously grab my family and run far, far away from this and completely immerse us in it.

and by "this", i mean "mainstream american public school experience".

josh keeps insisting that it isn't the fact that it is public, but i disagree. if we had enough income to choose a progressive school that agreed with our more progressive parenting style, then the philosophy of the school administration would be different, because they wouldn't have to be administrating to accommodate students with unconcerned parents.

so now it is time to encapsulate why these issues are even on my mind...

meet the teacher on friday was rocky, with vincent feeling a bit shy and anxious, and dealing with that by taking off down the hallway of the school with josh in hot pursuit. mrs. crump was not terribly reassuring, but once vincent calmed down he seemed to feel comfortable with her, even taken with her. 
monday, he was fine.
tuesday, after packing all day and leaving home to pick him up in a faded black dickies skirt, flip flops, no makeup and my hair tossed into a bun with a hairband on, because my roots were horrible and i was a sweaty, tired mess. luckily i stopped on my way out the door to at least splash some water on my face and brush my teeth, since the principal, mrs. easter, called me on my way to school to tell me that vincent had a "difficult" afternoon. apparently the kindergarten assistant teacher saw vincent push a boy down three times in a row. that boy, understandably, apparently grabbed vincent's ankle and pulled him down to the ground. when he and the other boys \were taken to the office and asked to say, "i will keep my hands and feet to myself", vincent was the only boy who refused. he was then given "thinking time" which i guess is their version of a time out or whatever, and he seemed to calm down and mrs. crump came to take him back to class. in their version, he started talking about being hurt too, and got upset again, and ran.
ran. out of the office and out the front door towards the street. they blame him for this, i blame them. he told them he was trying to go home, even though we don't actually live in the house up the street yet, he knows he will be living there soon. he told me later that he was trying to see if my car was outside. both answers tell me he felt scared, and as josh said, needed some nurturing that he was not getting there. so he tried to run for it.
when we all (principal, assistant principal, and teacher) sat down after school, the tone of the meeting was really negative. it felt shaming and stressful, and i couldn't help but think as i was sitting there that is was only the second day that my child has spent seven hours with strangers in his whole life, and acting as though he has "behavioral issues", yes, they used those words, was more than a bit premature, presumptuous, and worst of all, dehumanizing to my little boy, who is not prone to aggressive behavior (he is prone to run away when he feels scared, though). the giveaway to me was when mrs. crump was asking vincent if he knew how he had hurt the boy that he pushed down (unnecessary! did she think he didn't know that shoving a boy to the ground was not acceptable?) and vincent said, "i got hurt too!" and she said, "no you didn't"...what?!?! that is where i shut down, friends.
after much emotion and stressing out that night, i went and got my damn hair color done so that i didn't feel like such a slouch. priorities, check.
josh and i discussed it at length, and i got a lot of amazing feedback from my virtual village. we decided to go in the very next morning to talk to the principal again, which was productive. we were able to let her know that we will not be accepting or signing any kind of behavioral plans, which she stated was never the suggestion, although she specifically said that yesterday...i guess we misunderstood each other. we also made it clear that we were not okay with mrs. crump's "no you didn't" response to vincent stating his feelings. she stated that she would "chat" with her about that. not so sure that will happen.
the rest of the week went by without incident. we went to the ice cream social and we went to the curriculum meeting after that. the curriculum is way below vincent's abilities, but they assure us that he will be accommodated. the list of words he should be able to read by the end of the year, well, i think that mrs. mess could read them. but i will be keeping a close eye on that. i have my own personal issues with gifted and talented issues, but that is my next blog post.
it absolutely, to me, is a public school issue. i think if i had enrolled him in a private montessori, or the progressive charter that my friend heather has her son in, or the center for living ethics where my friend kat has her kids, that the powers that be would have handled the playground incident differently. less fault-finding, less authoritarian, less...cookie-cutter.
but, we aren't in any of those places. and vincent is way too into super heroes and that is what they were doing out there, they were playing batman and somehow the boy that vincent was shoving had been assigned the role of the villain. oh, did i mention he is "special needs"? he is, not visually apparently, but he "can get hurt more easily than other boys". vincent of course had no way of knowing that, even though mrs. crump was sort of acting like vincent pulled the boy out of a wheelchair and threw him to the ground.
so we are limiting super hero games and shows to the weekends. we are limiting computer time to 30 minutes a day during the week. we are going to get moved and settled soon and all of this will be less stressful then.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Movie Trailer - 1984 - Suburbia (Theatrical)

first day of school!

the day started out well, vincent emerged from his bedroom at nonna's house and announced, "dada woke me up in the dark of night"...yes, he said "the dark of night". he is named for vincent price, you know. he flopped down in the chair and got his team oomi zoomi on for a bit while he sort of ate breakfast. he got dressed and allowed himself to be thoroughly groomed, sans the nail trim he needed. what? i don't want people thinking he isn't properly tended to! 
i snapped this picture outside of my parent's house and we were off. 
he did really well, getting shy and hiding behind josh when the principal said hi to him outside...BTW, she said, "hi vincent!" VINCENT, she remembered his name from friday night...color me impressed. he rallied, though, and when we got to the door of his class, he saw mrs. crump and cruised right in, not even saying goodbye to me or my mom. josh got a hug in, but my big boy left his mama in tatters, crying in the hallway. 
good for him. 
i proceeded to the library where all of my own school and peer-group issues promptly flared up, namely the "oh shit, all the blond girls are staring at me, sitting together, while i sit over here by myself" issues. they passed, and a nice PTA mom named renea, who is the webmaster of the PTA site, came and sat with us. the librarian was also cool (of course) and i promptly managed to get volunteered/volunteer for an hour or so a week in the library. i am very cool with that. as i stated on my FB page, i need to be "that mom who volunteers in the library" or "that PTA mom that is on the teacher appreciation committee" rather than just, "that mom with the tattoos". for vincent's sake. 
here is his t-shirt that he picked and wrote his name on when we went to meet-the-teacher night on friday. 

so, we headed home, and mom and josh headed off to work, and i took advantage of my temporary unemployment to spend about 4 hours, i am not kidding, calling to get the utilities changed over, the water delivery, the movers booked, you know, all that stuff. it is all done. well, except the water bill, which i need to do in person (how quaint!) at richardson city hall. 

so, there is an ice cream social (PTA sponsored) Thursday night, we will be there. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010


yesterday we attended meet-the-teacher and met mrs. crump, vincent's kindergarten teacher as of monday. how edward gorey-esque is that name? wow. she is older, and eyed my tattooed arms fairly obviously. however, the two PTA moms that i was chatting with as i sat at the PTA table and joined up, (yes, you read that right, i am officially a PTA mom) said that they had both had her for their kids and really liked her, so i will chill out and be open-minded about it, and her.
mrs. crump
vincent had a little melt-down when he first got into his room, including running away down the hallway at full speed (thankfully josh was there to give chase) and a little bit of rolling around on the floor refusing to speak to mrs. crump. he did settle down and write his name on the little construction paper t-shirt for the hallway display outside the room. she also overheard him reading and talked to josh about the reading evaluation that they do, and assured him that their curriculum includes an advanced section, to make sure he is learning at the level that will keep him engaged. i hope so.
so monday is the big day, my baby, my one and only, will start spending from 8 am until 3 pm, five days a week, in the care of a woman other than myself. away from me. i am so emotional about this, i was up having a crying fit at about 2 am last night, worrying about what will happen if he gets hungry when it isn't time to eat. worried that mrs. crump won't get to see the funny, smart, kind, curious little boy that he is because when he is anxious he can be willful, defiant and silent. he growls when he is frustrated, which i think is adorable. will she think it is?
so there is a "boo hoo breakfast" on monday for parents dropping their kids off for the first time...guess who will be there?
i know a thousand million other people have gone through this. i know that. as my friend rand said to me, "you and (my wife), the first mothers on earth..."
well, it is the first time for me. and the last, which no doubt fuels the intensity of my feelings about "firsts" and "lasts".
so, i am cooking, which is what i do when i am nervous.  for my mama, whose gut seems to be messed up and causing her pain. so, i made her kitcharee to eat for a few days, and i also made up a batch of these, which i have never made before, but they really smell good, and they have a good rise, so i am assuming they aren't the texture of hockey pucks. if they aren't bad, i will make them again for josh and me, even though there are 683 ingredients in them.
now, vincent has just answered the phone and come out to inform me that he needs to pack a suitcase to stay over at his nonna and papa's tonight, and i have grated carrots and a huge bowl, among other things, to clean up in the kitchen. so i better go.


inspired by my friend sylvia, i decided that my personal blog is, well, too personal to link regularly to my facebook page, and my facebook friends might deserve a rest from my every thought. maybe not, but my mother-in-law did post that she "liked" a FB group called "not everything you think about needs to end up as a status update" or something to that effect recently...although in a "describe me in one word" email we shared a few years ago she did (accurately) choose the word "talkative" for, i can take a hint! (hi nancy! i love you!)
at any rate, i have decided to create that ultimate testament to grown-up life, the family blog. since i have recently turned my life upside down by leaving my job of three years so that i could be mom to a kindergarten student (yep, that is me!), and we are about to move, and our family and friends are scattered by geography and lifestyle all over the place, i figured this was a good way to keep my virtual village checked in, should they choose to be, with our lives. in our house. in the middle of our street.

Our House - Madness (HQ Audio)

Father wears his Sunday best
Mother's tired she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sister's sighing in her sleep
Brother's got a date to keep
He can't hang around
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...
Our house it has a crowd
There's always something happening
And it's usually quite loud
Our mum she's so house-proud
Nothing ever slows her down
And a mess is not allowed
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...
Something tells you that you've got to get away from it
Father gets up late for work
Mother has to iron his shirt
Then she sends the kids to school
Sees them off with a small kiss
She's the one they're going to miss
In lots of ways
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...
I remember way back then when everything was true and when
We would have such a very good time such a fine time
Such a happy time
And I remember how we'd play simply waste the day away
Then we'd say nothing would come between us two dreamers
Father wears his Sunday best
Mother's tired she needs a rest
The kids are playing up downstairs
Sister's sighing in her sleep
Brother's got a date to keep
He can't hang around
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our ...
Our house, was our castle and our keep
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, that was where we used to sleep
Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our street