Monday, May 25, 2009

It's almost time!

Happy Memorial Day!

My husband and I are spending the three day weekend working like crazy to get things done around the house.  We had two plumbing projects, and also I'm trying to make sure everything possible is done in the house to keep me from overdoing things this week.

Tomorrow I am having surgery on my wrist.  Since I won't be able to write, start my car, and other things necessary for work, I am taking the whole week off.  I will be in an immobilizing brace for a week, then it should be two more weeks for complete healing..  I'm afraid I won't be able to text or use a computer mouse either, so if I'm absent from Skirt and Twitter for a while, that is why.

I'm already trying to figure out how I will fill my time.  I plan on visiting the library in the morning to stock up on books. My surgery isn't until 2, don't have to be at the hospital until 1, so I will have time thank goodness.  I forgot to go Saturday morning.  My mother is coming over to take me to the hospital tomorrow and will spend the night here and take Emma to her doctor's appointment Wednesday morning.  It is her last visit for her broken arm.  She is no longer BrokenBaby!  This visit will clear her for regular activity.

I hope this surgery is worth it.  I had so much pain in the beginning, but it's not a constant now.  Like right now, it doesn't hurt THAT bad. Last night I even did pilates and yoga with no pain (in my hand anyway) but when I made the bed, pulling the blanket straight sent shooting pain down my arm.  Then I remember trying to take notes in class this spring - I just couldn't do it.  I will be so disappointed if I still have the same pain after the healing time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Write like a child

First, I have to open with a Mom brag.  I already posted this on Facebook, but so what?  I'm a mom, this is what we do!  Last week we found out that Emma is having a poem published in a national collection.  I can't even finish a story, yet my eleven year old is getting published.  But she did it!  She wrote the poem for school, all on her own, with no help from anyone.  And it was chosen to go in this book that will come out in the fall.  

I was thinking about all this earlier, how she is only in fifth grade and doesn't even really put any effort into writing.  If she wants to do it, she does, but she never stresses over it.  And this happens for her! I am thrilled with it, probably more than she is, but a nagging little voice in the far corner of my mind says "Look at that, your child is a better writer than you.  You haven't had anything published since the high school newspaper."  Then I realized why she is so good (aside from intelligence, wit, and pure talent).

It has never occured to her that someone might not like what she has written.

She's never faced criticism, or rejection, or even been unsure about what she has written (or unsure about anything, really, now that I think about it.  She's quite opinionated).  So it has never occured to her to hold back and not put herself out there.  

I want to be as brave as she is!  I write and hide it.  The only password-protected files on my computer are stories I've written.  I am too afraid to hear "This is no good" that I don't even put it out there to be read.

I think I want to write like a child again.

P.S.  She's also been placed in Advanced Math for next school year and selected for a Leadership Team in her school!  Ok I'm done now =)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday adventure

This morning started as almost every weekday morning does - arguing with the alarm clock, not wanting to wake up.  Chris got up first, as usual, and after several reminders I was just about to drag myself out of bed when he went across the hall to wake up Emma.  This is what I heard:

"Oh you're up already!  Good!"
"I've been up since 2"
"You're burning up! Take your temperature."

Yep, she was sick.  Her temperature was 99.9.  Ibuprofen and back to bed for her, phone call to work for me.  One problem, though - I had an appointment at 10:30 for some kind of nerve test on my right hand. And we have used all the five parent notes for excused absences she gets for the school year.  Ok that's two problems.

Problem one was not so hard to solve; she spent a couple hours with Daddy at his office. I dropped her off with a book, and went on for my test.  After a bit of waiting (quite a bit) I was taken back for the test.  First my hand and arm were poked a few times with something that gave off an electric shock.  It didn't hurt, but made my fingers and hand move around involuntarily.  Kind of neat, really.  Then the doctor put little needles in various places around my hand and arm, all the way up to my neck.  Sometimes those hurt, but not as much as I anticipated.  Then it was over.

To solve problem 2, I had to take Emma to the doctor.  She was able to be worked in at 3:15.  She had been coughing a bit this week, and had a sore throat off and on since Sunday.  Turns out she has strep throat!  I guess it's a good thing she had to go so her absence would be excused (lots of tests for end of school, she has to be able to make them up!) because I didn't think she was sick enough to go to the doctor.  Oops.

So now we're at home, waiting for Chris to get home so I can go to the store and pick up my troop's cookie incentives from the area cookie manager.  Thank goodness it's the weekend.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mother's Day storegasm

The commercials are out in full force.  Mother’s Day is this weekend and everywhere there are ads for stuff –  diamonds, perfume, flowers, iPods, cameras, clothes, anything at all you can think of to buy for your mother.  The ads are louder, brighter, flashier, catchier (is that a word even?) and coming more and more frequently in such a frenzy until the climax on Saturday – buy now before it’s too late or Mom will think you don’t love her any more!  If you care enough you will spend four times the price of your gift for overnight shipping so she can show all her friends how much you love her!!

It doesn’t help at all – I don’t think my mother would want any of the things advertised.  I know I don’t.  (Well, ok, I would like a really good camera, and a new copy of Rent on DVD and the new James Patterson book... but those can be bought anytime and are not “special.”)  Our culture is so materialistic, we feel pressure to quantify our love with monetary spending. 

But who asks moms what they REALLY want for Mothers’ Day?

Here’s what I want:  sleep.  All three meals cooked and cleaned up (and chosen!) by someone other than me.  The house tidied up.  A day without tv, video games, or computers – just us and time together.  The park, board games, whatever.  Just together time without electronic distractions. No pressure, no guilt, no being bashed over the head with ads saying my family doesn’t love me unless they buy me more stuff.  I don’t WANT more stuff!

But, who ever asks moms what they want for their day?   

Monday, May 4, 2009

Education fascination

Today on my way to work I was behind a Head Start school bus for a few minutes.  The driver stopped at one house, and the little boy that came out with his mother was literally dragging her behind him across the yard, running as much as possible while still attached to his mom’s hand, so eager to get on that bus and go to “school.” 

Young children almost without fail have such an excitement for school and for learning itself.  Then, by the time they are a few years in, so many of them profess to hate school.  Why is that?  Is it peer pressure – kids are not “supposed” to like school?  I know from experience that kids who actually LIKE being at school are ridiculed for that feeling.  Is it the teachers, making learning boring and tedious instead of interesting?  Is it other kids being mean, bullies, cliques, lunchroom rules? 

My daughter was thrilled to be starting kindergarten when she was five.  In our school system, the kids come to school and register, meet their teachers, bring the purchased school supplies, see their classroom, and have a small test (repeated at the end of the year to measure progress) two weeks before school actually starts for them.  When she found out there was another two week wait for “real” school to start, Emma actually cried.  She loved her homework and was proud to show it to me every week. 

Now, in fifth grade and middle school, I can’t keep up with which teacher matches which subject, what she has first, second, third period, even exactly how many classes in the day she actually has.  I know she has the early lunch, but not what exact time.  I see her homework after it’s been turned in and graded, things she could have done much better on if she had only brought it to us and asked for help instead of saying “I didn’t understand” a week later in her Friday folder.  Luckily she is still a good student overall, but she did have two Cs on her report card this year that she could easily have avoided if she had only been more open with us.
Some of the fault lies with us, her parents.  By the time we pick her up after work and get home it is a rush to make dinner, feed the animals, and make sure she gets showered and ready for bed on time.  She does her homework at the babysitter’s house, and over the years we’ve come to rely on her to make sure Emma has everything done. But, she is not Emma’s parent, we are.

But where did the EXCITEMENT go?  I know she loves learning; just yesterday she was performing virtual brain surgery and analyzing an accident scene on a website her science teacher introduced to the class.  But put any of that in the school setting, and she loses interest.

How do we get all of our kids excited about education again?  These are our future congressmen, senators, presidents, teachers, scientists, doctors, nurses.  If they don’t care about learning now, what will happen when they are in charge?