The two faced nature of the end of the school year

standard June 6, 2014 Leave a response

There are five days of school left in the school year. Well, more like 4 days since today’s a half day and is already half gone and the last day is also a half day.

Four precious days of alone time. Four days where I have no one to answer to for a few hours, no one looking over my shoulder as I type, no one asking me a bazillion questions every five minutes, no one arguing right next to me, in the next room, in the yard, anywhere.

Four more days of not having to make lunch for anyone other than myself. (Wait, only three more days of that since the last day is a half day.)

Four more days of not having to be the MC to two little people’s days.

I’m mentally ticking off the minutes until my relative freedom ends. Until I’m not alone, at all, until they go back to school August 20th. (Why yes, that’s already on my calendar, why do you ask?)

I’m a little anxious about the whole “never alone” thing that’s looming ahead. I know from past summers that come July I’ll already feel like a big hen is perching on my head pecking, pecking, pecking away at the thoughts, the words, until all I can hear is noise both inside and outside of my head.

And yet, this morning I woke up, stretched, and smiled as I remembered that there are only four days left until the kids are finally free from school.

Come Friday we can get up when we want, get dressed when we want, eat when and what we want, not pack lunches, not do homework, not worry about finding socks to wear inside our shoes.

Four more school days and we can go sockless all. summer. long.

Four more school days and we can stop worrying about getting to school before the bell rings, about whether we forgot something at home, about girl drama, teacher drama, school drama.

Four more school days and we can heave a big sigh of relief, brush ourselves off, and put another year behind us.

The working/writing side of me is freaking out about the summer. The mom side of me is dancing a gig.

I love lazy summer days. I love letting the girls just play. I love the creativity that emerges after hours of unstructured time. I love hanging out at the pool, going to get ice cream, spending hours at the library or the park. I love the lack of obligations and the way summer days melt into one another until no one really knows exactly what day it might be.

I think it all boils down to the fact that I’m not good at transitions. Never have been. I don’t do change very well. I like stability and continuity. I like knowing what tomorrow will bring, what situations will have to be managed. The start of a new season, with no plans, no established routine, makes me anxious, even knowing that we have done it all before, that we’ve even enjoyed it all before. It’s just a question of transitioning to that new state, to getting into the new flow.

I’m sure that getting through the next week will prove to be a challenge as my brain waffles between anticipation of both bliss and doom, never quite knowing which side to land on.

All I can do to prepare myself is to enjoy the alone time while it lasts and do my best to plan out the next 9 weeks. Even though that goes against the very nature of summer.

The time the guinea pigs came home

standard October 15, 2012 3 responses

I set their not-so-little cage down on the playroom table, fighting off all my misgivings I had about bringing home the beloved classroom pets. Two little guinea pigs, two fluffy pets that the kids adore. And all I could think of was our sweet, loving cat, our resident ruthless killer.

Oreo and Snickerdoodle

So the girls and I had a serious talk. I got down to their level and we discussed how, even though the cat is sweet and cuddly with us, he kills rodents for fun. They looked at me with utter disbelief in their eyes.

I repeated myself and tried to hammer home how important it was that the door to the playroom remain closed during the guinea pig’s stay in our home.

The kids nodded, distracted by their new friends, and I left the room, crossing my fingers.

Turns out the cat never even noticed they were there and by Sunday afternoon I had thoroughly relaxed my “Oh my GAWD! The playroom door is OPEN!” freak-outs.

Which is why, when M hurried to my side and hissed “We have a problem with one of the guinea pigs!”, my heart skipped a beat.

Because oh, my, how on earth would I ever look the Kindergarten teacher in the eye and tell her one of the pets was dead?

M instantly saw where my mind had lept and was quick to reassure me.

“None of them are dead. It’s just that… well Little L colored one of them green.”

First reaction? Denial. Then Little L started sobbing, having apparently just realized that it was not cool to use the guinea pig as a coloring page. And I heaved myself off my cozy resting place on the couch and went to assess the damage.

I’m sure I could have turned it into an amazing parenting moment if I’d been able to catch my breath, but every time I tried to admonish Little L for what she’d done the giggles would start all over again. In fact, M and I pretty much giggled our way through the evening.

All my wunderkind could manage to explain between gasping sobs was that she’d “just wanted to see what would happen.” As for her choice of color? Well, duh, that’s the marker that was on the floor. Impulse control is apparently very low in this one. But hey, she colors really well within the lines. And who knows, maybe the young Snickerdoodle wanted to be a punk rocker for Halloween…

You’ll be glad to know that baby wipes are very effective for removing crayola markers from guinea pig fur. Snickerdoodle looked like his usual self when he was returned to his cage in the far corner of the Kindergarten classroom where 21 other innocent 5-year-olds wield markers all day. As long as none of them decide to “just see what happens” when they test out their scissors on him, I think he’ll be just fine.

Summer Fun from GreatSchools

standard June 8, 2012 Leave a response

Tuesday night I sat at the kitchen table while the kids ate dinner and I ripped pages out of books. No, don’t worry, I wasn’t desecrating great works of literature, I was simply preparing summer worksheet packets for the kids.

There won’t be any summer sliding here!

I know my friends at Greatschools.org would approve of the amount of work I’ve organized for the girls. It’s just enough to keep their minds sharp and ready for next year, but not so much that the worksheets will become an endless chore.

School and learning are important, but so are having fun and enjoying the summer months! That’s why GreatSchools is inviting everyone to enter a fun sweepstakes!

Enter here to win one of 3 awesome grand prizes from Kiwi Crate.

And how are these grand prizes guarantors of fun you ask? Easy, they’re each a 3-month subscription to one of my favorite services ever: Kiwi Crate. Once a month for three months (Fancy that! Just enough time to get you through the summer!) your child will receive a box filled with the coolest crafts imaginable!

Hurry over to the Great Schools Facebook page to enter, the sweeps ends on June 14th!

(Please note, I’m being compensated to share this contest with you, but I am a huge fan of GreatSchools and have used them more than I should admit in my many searches for the ideal schools for my kids.)

School Rules – What would you chose?

standard December 2, 2011 7 responses

It’s no secret that I’m struggling this week. There are so many balls in the air that I don’t know which to catch first and frankly, I’m sorely tempted to let them all crash to the floor while I go off to Hawaii for a quick jaunt in the surf. Instead though, I’ll sit here, sipping a Gingerbread Latte, dunking my donut and I’ll rally. It’s what I do best.

Since, beyond arranging for childcare and entertainment for the kids, I can’t actively do anything about the fact that my husband is having surgery next week, I’m noodling the school issue.

Let me ask you a question. Below I’m posting two sets of school rules. You tell me which one makes you want to go learn. Maybe it’ll help everyone understand why I’m struggling so much with what to do with the kids next year.

School 1, where C has been for two years now. As posted in each classroom. 

School 2. One of the school options for Little L’s Kindergarten.

1. Treat others and their property with kindness and respect
2. Take care of school property and treat campus with respect
3. Use playground and school equipment the way it was intended to be used
4. Do not use abusive language, gestures or physical aggression
5. Do not throw sand, stones, dirt, tanbark, pebbles or rocks
6. No personal toys, sports equipment, cards or electronic devices are allowed at school
7. Bicycles, scooters, skateboards and rollerblades must be stored off school grounds or in the bike storage area. No riding in the hallways.
8. No gum allowed on campus
9. Do NOT leave campus unless signed out by a parent/guardian in the office
10. No student, or unauthorized adult shall be in the! classrooms, library or multi-purpose room without supervision or !permission.
11. Report problems at school to an adult. Students who witness problems and fail to report them are just as responsible as those who caused the problem.

~~~~~~~~~~

The end result is going to be the same: respectful kids in a safe environment. It’s just that the first set of rules are… I dunno… more friendly? Easier to want to follow?

If you’re anything like me after the third NO in the second set of rules your eyes glazed over and you started skimming.

If you’re like most people you felt inspired by the first set of rules. They’re rules that apply all life long, which is the premise of the school. They teach the kids lessons that will be valuable their entire lives.

It’s a tough conundrum. Environment #1 is a private school meaning the kids don’t grow their neighborhood community through school. Environment #2 is a public school, so we’d grow our local community, but lose on the school environment we love so much.

What would you do in our case? Which would you pick? (For the sake of argument, assume both schools rank similarly as far as academics go, the distinction lies in the realm of emotional education.)