Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Calling All Angels

This week is parent teacher conferences around here. You know, the days that your kids get out early and drive you nuts at home, but their teachers gush about how sweet and funny they are. Each year when that bright green sheet comes home for sign-ups, I always mark the first day, at the first time. I figure it is like a band-aid that has been fermenting on a finger for awhile. You don't really know what's going on under there, but you have to find out, and you might as well do it sooner than later.

Because I stay home, I have always viewed my kids welfare as my profession. Their success was my success, and their failures my failures as a parent. This is a flawed perception I realize, not only is it a wee bit narcissistic, but also because they are who they are and there is only so much you can do as a parent. I mean you can't sit next to them the day they take a test and poke them every time they get an answer wrong. You can't go in with an eraser and write their essays for them. Tempting, but no.

So when the school district called at the beginning of the year and said that they wanted to test Logan for the gifted program, I got a little puff of the ol' peacock feathers. I mean, come on all parents think their kids are smartest, cutest, most perfect things in the world, but I got the call confirming it. SCORE! Then reality set in the week after that when he brought home a math test that he got a D+ on. A re-evaluation of things brought me to the conclusion that perhaps the standards in Arizona were different than that in California, so what looked like gifted, was really just material he had already learned. Don't get me wrong, I still took him to the testing, but gifted is a really big word. It's the 5 year old who plays Chopin at the piano without looking at the music. That's not us. We are struggling with Hot Cross Buns on the recorder.

But alas, parent-teacher conferences brought another glimmer of hope. First was Caitlyn. I was a little nervous for that one. She hasn't really been bringing home any homework that quantifies what is going on in class. All she brings home are pictures of rainbows and butterflies. A happy well adjusted kid yes, but I was a little nervous about what she was learning. Turns out, it's a lot. She has patterns down, her upper and lower case letters and used 8 word sentences on the dibble test. The teacher said she doesn't send home a lot of homework because it is all day kindergarten and the concepts are reinforced multiple times throughout the day. I buy that. She also said she thoroughly enjoys having Caitlyn in class because she is so sweet and willing to learn. She even said that Caitlyn cracks her up with the stories she tells. Especially the one about the bad guys that broke into the principle's office and poured hot sauce all over his chair and then ran out the window really fast. There go those peacock feathers again.

After such a positive first conference, I was feeling pretty confident about Logan's this morning. The first thing she brought out were all of his sample writings and his grades for the quarter. Me being me and all that entails, my eyes went right to his writing scores. My heart started to flutter and my teeth started to clinch in response to what I saw. A C- on his first writing sample. What? No commas, no punctuation anywhere on the paper. What? This is my kid, I mean writing should be at the top, he should have issues in math, not writing right? I tried to process all of this information with his teacher sounding like that of Charlie Brown's in the background. I had to focus...what was she saying? Oh, that was a sample of the end of the year test they take? Oh, this was a free write exercise? Oh, he has all A's and a B+ in writing? Maybe I need to calm down. Oh, look at his bird in his picture, it has two wings and a tail; and the airplane says Southwest Airlines on it, that's hilarious! An A in music? Well then. Oh, he's such a sweet boy in class, and you love when he smiles? It just lights up the room? Yes, yes, I know, sometimes, I just get so sidetracked and forget.

So this year's conferences turned out not to have any pus filled green wounds underneath that fermenting band-aid. Nope turns out everything looks great, all that hard work and taking care of things turned out well. They are happy, well adjusted, beautiful, wonderfully successful average kids. And I couldn't be more proud!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

She's Crafty

(WARNING: the song attached to this post has a bit of the James Fry language at the beginningish, listen to the first minute and a halfish, then mute the next thirty (with Kate monster), but then listen to the rest, it's halarious!)

A few weeks ago I was tagged by a fellow blogger asking me to divulge six quirks that I have. To me this was like asking a dog to moo. I mean "quirky" is that person that lives alone with their 6 cats, or someone who perpetually looks like they dressed in the dark. Uhh, that's not me...right?

I then went to Nathan and told him about this little quandary and told him that I wasn't quirky right? I think milk may have come out of his nose when I asked him that. I was then dumb enough to continue the conversation with my mother, who when asked what my quirks are, told me to pull up a chair. Nice. So one night during the middle of the night, I began to ponder the oddities of my existence. I think this is why I never meditate, I mean talk about a Debbie Downer moment, "hmm let's see, what do I do that could be construed as rather odd." This is why I don't read self-help books. But, in a rare moment of self evaluation, here is what I have come up with:

1. I suppose it would be a quirk in and of its self that I didn't believe I had any quirks. Corky maybe, but not quirky. That was before the above mentioned conversations when both my mother and my husband went on for about 20 minutes each about my quirks. I didn't dare ask my brother. Gluttony is not on my quirky list.

2. There may be on occasion a time or two that I have been known to be a control freak. Nathan says it manifests itself most when we are in an area that we have never been before and I start giving him directions...without a map. Which leads to number 3.

3. I can neither confirm nor deny that I may or may not be an authority on everything I speak of. I mean, if I didn't know what I was talking about, then why talk right?

4. This one is closely linked to number 2. It's not really a control thing, I mean it's mine and I am the only one with the password, but I do have to have everything just so on my blog. It spills over into everything that I do that goes out into the world for judgement, but the blog is especially this way. Probably because I am writing and that is what some believe to be my best talent. All of the blog posts are titles of songs. The songs on the play list are placed there because they fit the blog. The quotes at the top of the page are linked to the posts as well. The top quote is a reminder of what the last post was about, and the second quote is a foreshadowing of the new post.

Oh, good Lord, this is miserable! I would rather give birth in a wheelchair 8 more times than have to ever do an exercise like this again. Blogger tagger, we are so not friends right now!!

5. I am convinced that the Bogey man exists and is going to break into my house at any given hour. A perfect example of this was this week when Nathan was out of town. On the third night I decided to sleep upstairs with the kids because the Bogey man would never harm kids right? Well when I got up in the morning to let the dogs out, the sliding glass door was unlocked but the stick was still in the slider gap. So I called Nathan to let him know that someone had tried to break into the house during the night. He reminded me of the incident a few years ago when I made him rush home because I heard people talking in the backyard and the helicopters were over head with the spotlight. I waited in the get away car in the driveway while he checked everything out. Turns out the big bad robber was Mr. Potato Head. I still think the sliding glass door thing is weird though.

6. This one some of you may find shocking...take your nitro pills now. I may often be perceived as a social person, but really, the thought of hosting social events gives me hives. I refuse to throw parties or invite people over because I am sure that no one will come. It is an unexplained phenomenon in my existence, but if you ever wonder why you are not invited over, it's because you won't show. You wanna come over? Invite yourself, then I know you will be there.

When I was tagged, I was asked to tag six others, but if i do, then it will solidify that fact that you are never coming to my party, so I am tagging no one. Just this once, I will be the glutton.