Motherhood/Parenting

Drowning in Drama

sea water blue sun

Years ago, I put a curse on myself. One of my friends, who happens to be famous for drama, announced that she had entered a point in her life where there was no more drama.  I literally laughed in her face and told her, “There is never no drama only different drama.” At that moment, the universe perked its ears up and laughed.  Then the universe proceeded to show me just how right my proclamation was in the worst kind of way – I became a mother.  And, I learned every time I thought I had something, anything, figured out when it came to raising my kids – everything changed.  This phenomenon occurred with the mundane like favorite socks to big things like potty training. This phenomenon still occurs but on a larger scale with high stakes issues like preteen girl interpersonal relationships and high school Algebra.  This high stakes drama has given me grey hair and wrinkles and I have no doubt in my mind it will give me an ulcer before these children are out of school.  Right now I’m up to my eyeballs in school drama which centers around the question of how much accountability and accommodation is too much.

In the last 20 years, there has been a huge push in the public school system for accountability and accommodation.  Accountability on the district and individual school to prove they are providing all children with a solid education.  Accommodations so that all may learn from the most gifted to most challenged. When you say those sentences out loud it makes so much sense. It seems like a given – like the sun rising and setting.  Yet, nothing about accountability and accommodation are easy.

Both of my children have one or more learning differences and social issues that were rarely addressed back in the day – ADHD, anxiety, and dyslexia to be specific.  The schools we’ve attended were always aware of the situation. Accommodation plans were put into place and almost everyone has been on board at least at the lip service level to implementing said accommodation plans. Yet, as time has gone on and I have become more involved in my children’s classrooms and in the field of early childhood development, I’ve noticed something.  More and more children have accommodation plans.  Many times there are children in the classroom whose plan is the complete opposite of many others in the classroom.  So riddle me this, how is a teacher with 20 kids, 10 of which have accommodation plans and half of those contradictory, supposed to teach a class all the things all the children are supposed to learn for the year to reach accountability goals? At what juncture do we all throw up our hands and say we are teaching it one way and one way only and those of you (my kids included) that can’t hang have to do something else?  I can guarantee the super-advanced kids are not getting the stimulation they need to really shine.  I can also guarantee the children who are really struggling are not getting the information doled out in a slow enough manner for those children to process.  I’m convinced this is why homeschooling is on the rise.

Cycling back to the accountability issue is the push for everyone to be college ready.  Many districts are requiring students to have completed the basic courses for entering college. What if a child doesn’t want to or doesn’t have the aptitude to go to a traditional four year college? Can that child take a modified list of classes geared toward trade school or two year college?  Typically, the answer is no.

Having said all that, I can safely say both me and one of my children are drowning.  While I want my child to have the accommodations necessary to succeed I also worry about the future.  The real world does not care about accommodations. The real world fires you from a job when you can’t hack it. It doesn’t matter if the reason you can’t hack it is you process information differently than most people.  Which leaves me asking how many accommodations can be made and what should be made?  Are those accommodations enough for my child to meet the accountability standards (i.e. to pass the class and the standardized tests)?  And, do these accommodations set up my child up for failure when the real world says no accommodations?  It’s questions like these that make homeschooling look more and more attractive every year.

 

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Musing

Milestone

momma and meThis past weekend brought a major milestone in my life. I am now older than my mother was at the time of her death.  It’s a hard concept to imagine. Most of the people reading this still have a living mother. If you’re my age, your mom is between 65 and 75.  My mother was not quite one month into her 45th year when she passed away.  I was 19. Back then, 45 seemed a lifetime away and in some ways it was. It’s funny how time changes perspective.

I laugh and say I can’t remember 19 but I can.  At 19, I thought I was grown.  After all,  I was a legal adult. I was paying my way in the world and I had buried my mother.  The only boxes I needed to mark off next was secure a real grown up career, get married and have kids. But, since I planned to never do the last two, I only had to get out of school and land that career.   It’s funny what can change in 26 years.

My career is over and done with; I now have a j.o.b.  My children are 12 and 14 and I’ve been married since 1997.  I am doing absolutely nothing that I expected to be doing should I be so lucky to reach 45.  In fact, at 19, I thought if I ever made it to 45 every minute after that would be gravy – a gift from the universe. That was kind of a stupid way of looking at it.  Isn’t every minute already a gift from the universe? Why did I think I needed to wait until I hit 45?

This past weekend really messed with my head. But, it did remind me of one of the many lessons I learned from my mother’s young death.  Life passes so quickly. Our time here is so fleeting. Yet, I find that I still forget that lesson on the regular and I need reminders. This past weekend was a reminder.  Those 26 years have passed in the blink of an eye. They are nothing more than a blur punctuated with major life events. I still have so much I want to do, so much I want to see and experience.  At the top of my list of things I still need to do is to watch my children grow up and hopefully be productive, well-adjusted and relatively happy members of society.  The next item is for me to grow up to be a crazy old lady like the Golden Girls.  I want my adult children to worry about what fresh brand of crazy I’m getting myself into.  And, more than anything, I hope neither of my kids has to navigate life at 19 or younger without me being around to help as needed.  A person can believe they are grown and don’t need their parents at 19 but there have been countless times when, despite her being the meanest woman I’ve ever know, I could have used my mother’s advice.

Photo Credit:  Not sure who took it but this is my mother holding an infant me. She was 25 or 26 depending on what month the photo was taken.  This is my favorite photo of us because she actually looks like she likes me and you can see my Granddaddy’s arm on the right side of the photo.  I wonder if someone had told her she would leave me 19 years later if she would have behaved differently.

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Motherhood/Parenting

First Day

img_0484We are less than a week to go in the count down to the start of a new school year.   We have school supplies bought.  Schedules have been printed.  Orientation has been attended. Open locker days and walk your schedule are both happening this week.  All the forms have been filled out and all the physicals and paperwork have been turned in. My oldest has been at football related camps at his soon to be high school for the last three weeks. Everything is in order or as in order as they can possibly be and still I don’t feel ready and I’m not the only one. My oldest is nervous about being in high school.  My youngest just flat out doesn’t want to go.  They don’t want summer to end.

I mentioned to both of the kids that not everyone gets to have a summer break. I reminded them that I work part time so I am home with them part of the day but that Dad never gets off except for vacation. I told them in a few years when they are out of high school and secondary school and have jobs they will more than likely not have summers off either.  I said something like it’s a rude awakening when you wake up one August and realize you aren’t going back to school, you aren’t shopping for school supplies and it’s just a random Tuesday and you have to be at work in an hour. Do you remember your first year without summer break?  I do. It sucked. It immediately made me want to re-enroll. I also remember thinking I will never again have to go to Walmart and buy school supplies.  I didn’t really account for the fact that I might have kids one day.  The worst of it was the time off and the random fun things in the middle of the week. It’s hard to go to the movies at 2 p.m. on a random Tuesday unless you work part time, are unemployed or on summer break.

On these final days on summer break I’m trying to work more random summer activities into each day.  All this week, as soon as I get off work, we will go to the local amusement park or buy a bunch of clearance water balloons and have a water balloon fight even though it’s so hot you can literally fry an egg on the pavement.  We will do crazy, silly and fun things.  And, I will try very hard not to think about my days of buying school supplies being numbered.

Photo Credit: Yes, this our very own attempt at frying an egg on the sidewalk. Our current temperature is 102. I’ll show you how it turns out net time.

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Opinon

Mom Rant

photography of disneyland You’d have to be living under a rock or completely off social media (both equally unlikely) to have not heard about the crazy curse word laden rant some mom posted on Twitter after having a less than magical time with her 3 year at Walt Disney World in Florida. Just in case you missed it here’s a link.

Now that you are familiar with the situation, let’s chat.  First of all, this is clearly a person of the same ilk and manners as the crazy woman that punched a ride attendant over a Fast Pass (see story here). Second, she sounds like a child herself pitching a fit because she isn’t getting her way.  I love how she states you have no idea what it’s like to stand in line with a cranky toddler.  Does she think she’s the only person who can hear her rugrat screaming?  I’m pretty sure she’s not the Lone Ranger on that front.  And, isn’t every person there having to stand in long ass lines be that person a cranky three year old or 80 year old grandma in her mobility scooter?

Millennials are often maligned as being the harbingers of the apocalypse or something along those lines.  I for one am generally not a fan of the group as I see them as being raised to believe their hype and somewhat entitled. Yes, I blame their parents. But, the running around Disney without a child in tow was not invented by Millennials. People have been going there for Honeymoons since the park opened. I have friends who did that in the mid 1990s.  My first trip was in the late 1990s before kids and I’m a solid Gen X.  Now that I am in my 40s and have more disposable income, my girlfriends and I are contemplating girls trips or even solo trips. Like the Millennial scum this Mother rants about, we want to enjoy the rides and food without a kid(s) dictating what we eat and what we ride next.  Walt Disney himself said Disneyland (and subsequently Disney World) was for all people both young and young at heart.  Age has no bearing on the happiness Disney parks can bring.

I wish I could meet this potty mouthed Debbie Downer in person.  I would love to smack her upside the head with my Mickey ears whilst eating a Dole Whip and singing It’s A Small World.  Maybe instill a little good old fashioned shame and sense into her for acting as entitled as the group she so maligns. Silly woman, Disney is for everyone.

 

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Random

Have I Got a Job for You

I saw a funny meme the other day. It said something to the effect of I wish I could get a job doing what I really love – eating tacos and drinking margaritas. I chuckled but immediately started thinking about the things I love and I’m good at. If I could make a living doing what I was truly good at and truly enjoyed what would that job look like? Well, let’s inventory my skills. I can mow yards, clean house, do laundry and run errands better than almost anyone I know. I’m a pretty good home cook but I’m no chef. Speaking of food, I really love to eat.  I drink well with others too.  I’m good at walking for fitness – I mean I can walk 1,000 billion miles. I can tell you the title and/or the artist of almost any song you can think of within 5 to 10 seconds of the song starting.  I mean it; I would slay at Name that Tune. I adore movies, tv and pop culture.  I pretty much speak in movie and song quotes. In fact, I would go so far as to say I’m a wealth of useless knowledge. I adore trivia. So, where does that leave me in the job department? Nowhere, that’s where.  So guess what I do? I’m a preschool teacher of sorts.

I don’t have a teaching certificate; I kind of fell into this job. I’m still trying to get into a library position but until that opens up this is fun but damn if I don’t have some stories from those kids.  Incidentally, I love the littles.  They’re fun, cute and for the most part easy to keep in line, unlike older kids.  A long, level death stare usually does the trick.  But, the job isn’t without its downside. God bless them they really are like tiny wild animals right down to peeing on the floor because they haven’t quite go aiming perfected.  One of the worst of their wild animal tendencies is inappropriate touching. You’ve never lived until you’ve had a five year old smack your ass cause they just wanted to see what would happen when they did it.  You’ve also never lived until a 4 year old licked your yoga pant clad ass.  That story went a little something like this.

My teaching partner and I tag-team teach.  My partner usually does games while I do crafts but on this day I was cleaning up a mess while she had our crew around our big table doing a craft. Everything was rocking along fine until this one little girl we swear is a psychopath because she never smiles or blinks, rises from the table, walks behind my partner and licks my partner’s ass like it was an ice cream cone. Then the little dead eye child proceeded to laugh maniacally as she walked to her cubby to retrieve a water bottle.  God bless my partner; she didn’t flinch or miss a beat. She kept on instructing how to glue that part and color the other part but she was shook. You could see it all over her face.  Now we watch where we stand when that little girl is around.

As I sip my Friday reward (wine), I wonder what next week will bring and if there is such a thing as a dream job.  A job that will use my talents like not blinking at having to clean up pee from 5 year olds that can’t yet aim and who knows what the first tubular steel roller coast was.  For those who are interested, it’s was the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland in California.

P.S. Y’all this week was a reach. I was totally uninspired and it was workity work this week.  Hopefully, this little story made you laugh and I will be more inspired next week.

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Rants

Crypt Keeper

img_0436-1Y’all remember last week how I said I shoulda known better about those self-help podcasts and books? Yeah, well I shoulda known better with the FaceApp.  If you don’t know what the FaceApp is it’s the thing everyone on your Facebook and Instagram feed is using to make themselves look old.  So, like everyone else on my Facebook feed, I had to try it out.

I shoulda known better. I’m not a joiner. I’m not a lemming.  I don’t jump off the cliff with the rest of the idiots. Yet there I was looking like the crypt keeper.  That damn app gave me jowls. I looked like a hound dog. And, the lines, seriously it looked like my face was the beginnings of the Grand Canyon or that I was a 3 pack a day smoker that never kicked the habit. How many years is this damn thing adding? 20? 30? 40?  Y’all it was SOO bad.  If I had been PMSing I would have seriously cried my eyes out.  As it is I can’t stop thinking about how bad I looked. I mean I feel like I’ve been taking pretty good care of my skin.  I wear sunscreen and moisturizer. I wear hats and sunglasses.  That filter made me want to start researching plastic surgeons and get a little preemptive strike work done.  I now know why 20 year olds are out there getting Botox and Restylane. The idea of looking that bad in a few years is awful.  I mean I fully expect to get old but I was hoping to be a cute old lady, not one that can only go out at night and then only wearing a ski mask.

Incidentally, I noticed the FaceApp also has a button that takes a few years off so I tried that one out too. And, to be honest, it didn’t do very much and what it did do doesn’t really look like I did 10 or 15 years ago. That fact right there gives me hope. I mean maybe it’s just a load of shit and I won’t really look like the crypt keeper in 25 years.  But, I will tell you one thing. The picture above was done with a Snapchat filter and this is the closest I will ever show anyone of what I looked like on that damn FaceApp. Furthermore, even though this Snapchat filter makes me look like Roz from Monster’s Inc., I still look better than I did with the old person filter on FaceApp.

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Rants

Can’t Help Me

hear no evilY’all, I should have known better. I could quite literally stop right there and end this post and this blog.  I should have known better needs to be etched on my tombstone because that pretty much just sums me up. But, I digress.  Y’all know I just love a good podcast or audiobook.  I typically lean towards true crime or politics for podcasts and just straight fiction for books.  I rarely do autobiographical, nonfiction or self-help.  In fact, I hate self-help.  To me, and this is just me personally, those books either tell me to do something I’m already doing or they make a suggestion that is nearly next to impossible, which is infuriating and makes me want to throw the book across the room.  But, I kept hearing about two different self-help goddesses that literally every woman I know is reading.  They are both bloggers and have their own podcasts.  I’ve read short articles by both women and they were pretty funny so when one of their books became available at my library I snapped it up thinking this time my foray into self-help would be different.  I should have known better.

Y’all, I couldn’t even make it past the introduction.  The author kept droning on and on about having a purpose and a path. And, to add insult to injury, one of my favorite podcasts, which happens to be run by an aging rock and roll star, basically said the exact same thing about two weeks prior to me attempting to read this book. And, that rock n roll star is usually never preachy.  Now, some of you are probably thinking, “Girl, that’s a sign. Get your head in the game.”  Nah, I’m not buying it.  Maybe, I should have a purpose and a plan but you know what – for one of the first times in my life I don’t really have a plan or a purpose. I am totally tripping through life just doing the best I can.  And, maybe that is my plan.

Just to make sure I hadn’t completely lost my marbles, I checked my bucket list. Yes, I have one.  It’s stored on the very computer where I’m typing this blog.  I was able to check off a few things like take my kids to D.C and go to Disneyland.  I took off a few things like go on a massive family reunion cruise and take a pole dancing class.  What the hell I was thinking with those two?  You know what, it’s still a solid list and I’m slowly ticking those items off.  So, maybe, that is my path and direction.  If that is truly the case then my path is travel, travel and more travel – which I gotta say is one of my absolute favorite things to do.  I don’t really care about a career anymore. I have a job and it’s good enough. Would I like a different one; a dream job perhaps? Sure, I would but if that never happens I’m not going to cry about it.  I do think wistfully about the fact that had I had more information when I was younger I probably would have had a different career and thus been on a different path but that path is not conducive to having a family.  So, yeah,  I don’t really have any long term goals except don’t die young and see the world and a Disney park every chance I get. It seems really basic but it’s what I really want so maybe that is my path.  And, I didn’t need a damn book or podcast to tell me that.  They simply can’t help me unless they are gonna send me some money.

P.S. One of my bucket list items is to be a published author/blogger.  I guess I made that one happen. I appreciate every subscriber and reader.

Photo Credit: Lifted off the internet. Hear no evil emoji. It’s everywhere.  I’m using it under fair use.  No copyright infringement intended. I’m broke and do this for free.

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