Monday, August 30, 2010

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Two and a half years ago, I wrote about the angst and anxiety associated with deciding where to send HRH for kindergarten.  We made our decision and felt good about it.  Let's go buy some uniforms, it's off to Catholic school we go!

Two years ago, I met several mothers at Little League who warned me repeatedly about the Kindergarten teacher to whom HRH had been assigned.  We chose to take these cautions with a grain of salt and form our own opinions. 

A little less than two years ago, I wrote in excruciating detail about moving HRH out of St Somewhere's following a harrowing several months where every warning I'd received and then some came back to bite me in the ass.

First grade was ideal!

Last month, we received Gremlin's teacher assignment.  We got my first choice!

School starts nine days from now.  There are four second grade teachers.  According to the Mommy Telegraph, two are good.  One is new.  And one is She-who-must-not-be-named. Yesterday, we returned to our annual pilgrimage to Storyland to receive our class assignment: Mrs. Anyone-But-Her.  Here we go again.


I read back through my old posts on the topic and find a common theme; Kindergarten is such a watershed year.  It's important to have the right teacher. This is his first year in a new school, it's so important to start off on the right foot.  And now?  Second grade is so early on.  He loves school.  What if this teacher is as bad as everyone says?

I get it.  He won't always have the best teacher.  I didn't.  I survived. I'm not going to spoon feed him through college but isn't part of my job to make sure he does get what's best for him? 

This time, I am listening to the warnings.  I'm asking specific questions; what do you mean she's "not a good teacher?"  Can you be a bit more specific? Did your child have her or was it just someone you'd talked to?   I talked to good friend of mine who happens to teach.  I've got emails out to other teacher-friends.  I also emailed HRH's 1st grade teacher asking if she thought this assignment was "a good fit" - and yes, I included my cell and home numbers so she can call me below the radar. 

I've gotten Andy's agreement if not his blessing.  I'm in my Discovery Phase today and tomorrow.  Then it's decision time.  And all this is assuming that I'll get my own way and the principal will honor my request for a change.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Waterful Wednesday

Summer is a time for weeknight picnics on the boat.
(no, ours is the little one)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nice Girls Get Restraining Orders, Too

This post has been a long time coming. It is for my dear friend, J. Who is not na├»ve and certainly not a fool.  We do not think like them because we are not like them. And we do not want to be like them.

Eleven years ago last month. It was a Sunday night. I had been at Andy’s house but decided to sleep at home that night rather than having to run home early the next morning to shower and dress for work. My apartment was four, adorable rooms on the first floor of a two-family, that I had painstakingly decorated myself. My sanctuary. It was in a college area and within easy walking-distance of nearly everything. An elderly woman was my landlady and my next door neighbors were my sister’s in-laws.

That night, I entered my apartment and - just like in every cheesy detective novel - the house simply “felt funny”. I walked through the living room to the double doors of my bedroom and peered inside, seeing nothing. I retraced my steps and walked through the kitchen, to my bedroom’s other door, flipping on lights as I went. Again, I saw nothing. I stood in front of my closet door and reached for the knob. As I did so, the door opened. In front of me stood my old boyfriend.

His name is S and we had spent several angry, hurtful years together a long time ago. It had ended with me moving out of the apartment we had shared for less than a year, back in with my mother, and within a few months, into my sanctuary. He had been to this apartment before. During the “we can still be friends” foolishness as I tried to take the high road. Eventually, after many fights and threats, and even a call to my father to have him removed, we fizzled out.

So five years later, I stood face to face with him again. He was six years older than me, making him 36 at the time. He looked ages older.; The mileage was taking its toll. I didn’t scream. I simply gasped and backed up through the door and into the kitchen with my hand to my heart. I grabbed the wall phone. He only said, “please don’t”. And for a second, I didn’t. My old, co-dependent self was telling me if he simply went away, it would be enough. I didn’t want to create a scene, or make things bad for him. Then I said “no.” Maybe it was out loud. Maybe it was only to myself. But I dialed 911.

He took off, I think through the dining room window. The police told me to go to a neighbor’s. I had my cell phone and called Andy as I ran next door. My sister’s mother-in-law answered her door immediately. “S was in my closet!” I yelled simultaneously into my cell and to her. She pulled me inside and locked the door. Andy’s previously-sleepy hello turned instantly awake and he told me to stay where I was, he was leaving right away.

The police were there in moments. Andy’s car came bombing down the wrong way of my one-way street what seemed like seconds later. Of course they didn’t find him. I sat with the officer and answered his questions and told my story. It was the first time Andy had heard much of it. My brother, having been notified via my sister, who had received a call from her mother-in-law, also showed up. He conducted his own search and I think it made him feel better to do so. When I talked to my mother, she used words I didn’t even know were in her vocabulary.

Everyone wanted me to sleep at their houses that night. I didn’t want to. This was my home and I wasn’t going anywhere. Of course, Andy stayed the night with me. We didn’t fall asleep for a long, long time. As I was dozing off, I remembered that feeling from when we were young. Of not wanting your arm or leg to hang off of the edge.  Because the monsters under the bed might get you.

The next day, I went to my district court and filed my very first restraining order.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Let Me Hear Your War Cry!

What?  This stuff doesn't happen at your house??


Last week, I am awakened from blissful slumber in the middle of the night by the sound of my husband doing his best Braveheart immitation.  (I actually likened it to that scene in Return of the King when Aragorn says, "For Frodo,"  then runs headlong into a phalanx of Orcs at the Black Gate.  But I digresss....)

I go from sound asleep to still asleep but on my feet, running, and yelling "What? What?!" while following my husband, in full battle cry exiting our bedroom.  Here is his sequence of events:

0.0 microseconds - Andy awakens to the sound of HRH screaming. 

0.1 - Mind immediately processes "HRH is having a nightmare."

0.2  - Localizing sound...HRH is sleeping in Gremlin's room...sound not coming from Gremlin's room!

0.3 - Clearly, HRH is being dragged from the house by a kidnapper and is screaming in terror!

0.325 - Every microliter of adreneline empties into bloodstream.

0.4 - Eject from bed, issuing war cry to alert kidnapper to his approach with intent of kidnapper dropping HRH.

0.5 - Formulate plan while running down hall: Will bodily throw kidnapper down flight of stairs then land on top of him and proceed to pummel him until dead.


1.0 - Arrive at top of stairs where HRH is standing at the safety gate, alone, still asleep, and screaming.

1.5 - Processing...Child is not being kidnapped.  Child is sleepwalking, came up against the safety gate and could not compute.

2.0 - Hugging child. Adrenaline still flowing like oil into the Gulf.

2.5 - Second, totally confused child emerges from bedroom to find out what all the screaming is about.

3.0 - Still piecing it all together, Mommy ushers everyone toward our bedroom to calm everyone down, try to return to sleep mode.


3.5 - Best guess is Daddy will be prepared to sleep by Thursday.

Friday, August 6, 2010

WWSD - Dipshit Friday

I'm sharing a similar thought with Sarah, in her Trenches of Mommyhood, "If a blogger blogs but every other blogger is at BlogHer, will anyone read it?" 

So, as I sit in my kitchen *not* at a bar in NYC, I thought I'd live vicariously by linking to two of my favorite bloggers, one of whom (Sarah) is also *not* at BlogHer but with whom I have shared a drink, and one who is, Jean, Queen of Stimelyand, rodent aficionado, and friend with whom I had dinner at BlogHer '09. One of Jean's newest, funniest, and (IMHO) most brilliant ideas is Dipshit Friday, in which we lay it all out there and share one of life's blunders.  Shall we begin?


Every year, Andy's family plans a week together on Cape Cod.   Nearly every year, we have rented the same house. It's a lovely cottage with plenty of private space for us, the boys, and my mom, who enjoys her own little suite on the first floor away from the chaos that is my immediate family.  One of its best features is a gorgeous deck right off of our 2nd floor bedroom, with a fantastic view of the beach from the side and the river and salt marshes in the back. The Cape tradition started when everyone was in town for Andy's and my wedding, 10 years ago and subsequently, our anniversary frequently falls during our vacation week. 

A few years back, my mom kept the kids so Andy and I could enjoy a nice anniversary dinner, which we did along with a bottle of wine.  Upon returning to the house, we decided to share a romantic drink on the deck, in the moonlight.  Things progressed nicely and maybe a half hour later, Andy and I reentered our bedroom through the open door to (ahem) continue celebrating our anniversary only to find....every surface of the room covered with flying bugs of every description!

For the next hour, we two dipshits jumped across the bed, swinging beach towels, ducking dive-bombing mosquitoes, itching like mad, and spraying anything aerosol at the disgusting (and quite resilient) creatures.  Let's just say that the mood died long before the last of the bugs did and I left Andy to fight the good fight, choosing to sleep on the family room couch.

I was awakened the next morning by my rather confused but smiling mother who admitted that, judging by the racket coming from the ceiling of her bedroom, it definitely sounded as if we had very much enjoyed our anniversary...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Alone Again (Un)Naturally

Take Two 

Some long-time readers may remember last year's camp debacle in which Gremlin was moved from the camp group containing about 20 of his closest friends and classmates to a group of strangers, due to a clerical error.  This resulted in tears (for both Gremlin and Manic Mommy) and an abrupt end to a week of pre-paid day camp for Grem.

Being a masochist optimist and figuring the PTSD would surely have lessened by now, I signed both Gremlin and HRH up for a week of camp.  I planned ahead this time to ensure they would (a) be together and (b) be with friends. A few weeks ago, Andy and I began introducing the topic.  The boys would be together!  Annabelle, Jack, Sophia, and Abigail would be with them!  It would be different; it would be fun!  I can't understate Gremlin's enthusiasm strongly (weakly?) enough but he didn't say no.

So.  Today was the day!  We arrive at the Boys and Girls Club. Gremlin nearly needs to be physically removed from the vehicle, but is eventually coerced to exit of his own accord. With Gremlin clutching my hand but still moving under his own power, we arrive at the basketball court meeting area where the kids are divided into groups by age.  HRH joins his group with barely a goodbye. As promised, Grem is with Jack and Sophia! 

I introduce Gremlin and myself to the 12 year old counselor and explain Gremlin's reticence due to last year's fiasco.  She is mildly interested but is thrown off course by a very enthusiastic camper eager to tell her all about his trip to Water Country yesterday; "Everyone there was fat!" He's right of course, fat people are drawn water parks much as flies are to roadkill.  "And there were lots of Mexicans!" Awesome, let's check to make sure the altar boy from the Westboro Baptist Church isn't in our group.  He is not!  Amen!

As the milling becomes more focused, Gremlin realizes I'll be departing soon.  I seize upon a happy, playing Jack (a seasoned camper, our next door neighbor, and Gremlin's closest buddy) and ask him how much fun he has at camp.  Response?  "I hate camp!  Camp is stupid!  Annabelle's friend hit me!"  Totally awesome.  I block Gremlin's ears as Jack's mom quickly pulls him away. 

My knight in shining armor arrives in the form of a 13-ish year old junior counselor who came along asking to be Gremlin's buddy, asked to sit next to him in circle, and knows everything about Star Wars.

Gremlin's two armed death grip around my thigh loosens.  I repeat that I love him and I'll be back. That I wouldn't sign him up if I didn't think he'd have fun.  That all I want is for him to try.  And that if he does try...I'll buy him the Lego X-Wing Fighter...and...I...left...



** Full Disclosure; after I (physically) separated from Gremlin, I spoke to one adult counselor then found the director of the program to go into Gremlin's situation in exquisite detail, going so far as to describe his and his big brother's bathing suits for easy identification.  Then I hid behind a door and watched for a while. I gotta be me.
 

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