Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How About a Little Context?

Thanks everyone for your comments, words of encouragement, questions, and even your disagreement regarding my last post. For those of you just judging, thanks for stopping by, move along now.

Because I have no brain space for another topic at this time I thought it might help if I provided a little context for those of you just tuning in. Here's a bulleted list (cause that's the way I roll) of our reasoning. I would have alphabetized or categorized it but, you know, I'm not rigid or anything.

  • She is COLD. By all accounts, including her fellow teachers.
  • Any and all attempts to reach out to her have been utterly and completely rebuffed.
  • She's got a 3 month old and a 3 year old. We all know how hard that can be and as a mother, I sympathize. As the mother of my child, if you can't handle the kids, stay out of the classroom.
  • HRH does nothing in school besides busy work - pages and pages of rudimentary work sheets (Last week's homework was to trace the letters of the alphabet).
  • She's done nothing to break them up into groups based on reading/academic level.
  • HRH is constantly being given timeout for truly minor infractions such as talking in the corridors or touching a friend.
  • One day, she forgot about him during one such time out and he sat at his table for the entire free period while the other kids were playing around him.
  • The day we pulled him out, he reported that someone had crumpled up a tissue and thrown it on the floor. Mrs. Smith told the entire class that unless someone owned up to it, the entire class would not have 'free time.' HRH eventually confessed, not because he did it but because he thought he might have done it.
  • His entire class was made to keep quiet for a day because Mrs. Smith had a headache.
  • HRH's out of school personality has changed dramatically. He's having constant meltdowns over nothing, doesn't want to play with his friends after school, and is fighting constantly (up from most of the time) with his brother.
  • His reading skills have deteriorated since starting kindergarten.
  • Last but not least, he's developed a stutter.

Again, thank you all for your insights. Trust me when I tell you this decision was not made in a vacuum. We did discuss moving him to the other kindergarten class and/or talking to the principal however, she's not going to change her entire style of teaching because I complained, the other kindergarten teacher is brand new, so we didn't even have anecdotal history to go on, and we did not want him to be 'the kid whose parents moved him.' Plus, some of the assignments sent home are coming from both kindergarten teachers, so I'm not convinced the other teacher would be teaching at a higher level.

We were very fortunate in that his preschool just started a kindergarten this year. After speaking to the teacher (who was HRH's last year's teacher, under whom he THRIVED) and the director, we were able to move him into that class (at twice the cost...). We need to start back at square one planning for next year and this option definitely created the least upheaval in his life. On the contrary, the last three months would be the blip.

For the past two mornings, HRH has woken up enthusiastically, gotten dressed and ready eagerly and cooperatively, and went to school with a huge grin on his face.

Life's problems are not so easily solved, nor will we immediately jump to fix every bump. But this was something we felt strongly enough about to make the changes. And we're standing behind them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Think We Made a Bad Call

I've regaled you all before with my misgivings about HRH's kindergarten experience. I think we may have the nail in the coffin on St. Somewhere's. Here is an email (their preferred method of communication) I sent to his teacher two weeks ago. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent:

Dear Mrs. Smith:

If possible, I'd like to arrange a meeting between you and my husband, Andy and me rather than simply the TeacherEase update outlined in Mr. Madden's
Bugle email of 10/3.

Below are the topics I'd like to discuss:

- HRH's transition to kindergarten/St. Somewhere's
- Kindergarteners' daily schedule
- How the individual subjects are taught
- HRH's social development
- HRH's educational plan/goals
- In-class volunteering opportunities (for me)

I apologize if this comes across a little "rigid". I was a Project Manager in my previous life and tend to think in bullet points. Andy and I look forward to meeting with you. Ideally, a half hour prior to school would work best for us however, we will of course make ourselves available whenever works best for all.

Best regards and thank you,

Christine Manic

Here is her response:

Mrs. Manic

I am not offering conferences at this time unless there is an issue. HRH has adjusted nicely to Kindergarten and is doing well. I will contact you when conference times will be available.

Have a wonderful afternoon.
First Name Smith
I spoke at length to his last year's teacher, whom we love and whose opinion we highly value. She was very close to tears when I told her of HRH's "treatment" at the school and truly livid about the letter above. Andy is on board and he and I are making immediate efforts to remove my boy and right what was apparently a very bad call on our part.

How have you and your kids done with transitions?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

Dear Person-who-walked-in-front-of-the-car-in-front-of-the-car-in-front-of-me:
Please look both ways before you cross. That three SUV collision you caused is sure to increase my insurance premiums.

Dear SUV in front of me:
Bumpers don't bump even at low speeds if one leaves her trailer hitch on. Can you say "significant front end damage"?

Dear USAA:
Mea culpa on the Et Tu thing. You guys have been awesome throughout the unfortunate rear-ending incident. (Latin with Latin = clever!)

Dear Enterprise Rent-a-Car:
Nissan Altima? "Premium" vehicle? Really?

Dear Nissan:
The button thing? What's wrong with starting a car with keys?
Ps - One week, 250+ miles, half a tank of gas = Four cylinders rock!

Dear Squirrels tunneling in through the wood near the gutter:
We are not your winter home. Don't make me go all Over the Hedge on your asses.

Dear Family:
Hey look! The dishwasher is right there! Next. to. the. sink!

What a rip off. Thanks for making my son cry.

Dear Microsoft Word 2007:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Now it's broke.

Dear DirectTV:
Your commercial with the poor, dead, little Carol-Ann from Poltergeist is just creepy.

Dear Craig T. Nelson:
You should be ashamed of yourself.

Dear Starbucks:
Smooches. I remain your bitch.



Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blacklisted by Jordan's Furniture

With no less than the fate of the free world and the ALCS hanging in the balance, I've been a very absentee blogger of late. To extend my lazy streak but keep you coming make up for it, I'm regifting (Indian giving?) a post I gave to Merlot Mom back in August, during her trip to Japan. I promise to return to our regularly scheduled programming possibly as soon as tomorrow.

Scene: 7:30 am. Approximately 12 hours after Manic Mommy and Daddy have emptied the living room of the following:

• One oversized, incredibly heavy, and entirely abused living room couch
• Its little sister, the soon-to-be-former love seat, same condition
• Under-couch detritus
• Embarrassingly large pile of under-couch detritus
• 3x3 square coffee table; gouged, scraped, stickered, and colored
• Matching end table with the drawer handled removed. In surprisingly good shape, given the fate of the its compatriots

Jordan’s Furniture Delivery Guy arrives at front door to be greeted by Manic Mommy, looking like a million bucks in grey t-shirt and pink pajama bottoms, hair back in a headband. She did put a bra on.

MM (huge smile – she’s getting new furniture!): Hi!

JFDG: Hi. My name is -

HRH (fresh on the scene, addressing JFDG): Do these look like clothes? They’re really ‘jamas.

JFDG: Oh, very nice. They’re SpongeBob. (back to MM) Hi, my name is Ariel and –

HRH: I also have a pair of baseball ‘jamas. And they look like clothes, too.

JFDG (cheerily): Oh, you like baseball? Who’s your favorite tea-

HRH (points to furniture care kit box in JFDG’s hand): What’s that? (runs off before answer)

JFDG comes in. He and MM discuss placement of furniture.

RC (enters living room wearing pajama t-shirt and underwear): I have a ‘mote control car. My Nana bought it for me for doing poops in the potty. Do you want to touch it?

HRH (not to be outdone): He has two remote control cars now. One from Nana and a monster truck one that Mommy bought when he wore big boy underwear for a whole day!

JFDG: Blank stare.

Leaves to get furniture.

JFDG II (having clearly been warned, remains silent, eyes averted) enters and begins removing French door from hinges.

RC: My Daddy has a hammer. And it’s loud too. Bang! BaNG! BANG!

JFDGs begin carrying in furniture/dodging little boys.

MM (attempting normal service-person-type conversation): Gee, it’s really muggy already. I thought it was supposed to rain all day today.

With each piece…

HRH: Once we had thunder and lightning and that tree over there…

…they are subjected…

MM: Guys, please stay out of the men’s way. Get that remote control car off the new table!

…to more…

RC: I have Diego underwear (sits on floor and spreads legs, knees bent). Want to see?

…of the same…

JDFG: Anyquestions?Canyousignhere?Thanksbye!

Manic Mommy gazes lovingly at pristine, matching, un-destroyed new living room…and barely hears him. Yeah, whatever, dude.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cat People vs. Dog People

Scene: The livingroom, moments ago.
Manic Mommy and Andy sitting on the couch.
The Cat purring while being petted by MM.
The Dog asleep on the chair across the room.
Cat jumps to floor and exits to dining room. Sounds of wretching follow.

Andy: Your cat is the most disgusting creature.

Dog awakens to the smell of fresh cat vomit and runs toward dining room and a late night snack.

MM: Oh, I beg to differ.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Do You Recognize This Face?

Dear Boys:

Do you know who this is?

It's Mommy. No, really. It is Mommy.

This weekend, while you were making gingerbread men and reading "Gingerbread Friends" with Gram, Daddy and I found our smiles.

We went to a special place in the sky called The Mount Washington Hotel. Just Mom and Dad. No, just Christine and Andy.

We didn't bring the 20-minute conference calls that morph into 2 1/2 hours, or the possibly-totaled Trailblazer, or even the kindergarten transition anxiety (Mommy's, not yours, HRH). We even left the wifi, the Vice Presidential debate, and the $700 billion bail out package at home. We knew it would all be here when we got home -- and it was.

Rather, we slept, and read, and ate, and drank, and talked, and lived.

Mom and Dad LOVE being your parents. There is nothing more important to us than doing that well. But we have been neglecting Andy and Christine lately. And it's shown. In the way we behave toward each other and the two of you. And certainly in the way we treat ourselves. This weekend, while we were here, we remembered to be kind to ourselves. And we remembered our smiles.

I hope we'll be seeing them a lot more.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

DaVinci Has His Last Supper, I Have This

Nearly two years ago, we were hosting Christmas at our house. As we were piling the food onto the table and guests and family members settling themselves in, I opened a couple of bottles of wine and began pouring. As I did so, I called out "Who wants Merlot?".

From the living room, the 1 1/2 year old voice of RC answered enthusiastically "I do!".

It's gone on to become a standing family joke, with someone or other yelling out the question and the rest of us replying, Marco Polo-style.

Today, HRH brought this home from school:

DaVinci can have his Last Supper, I'm going to frame this work of art to be immortalized in our dining room.

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