Friday, September 12, 2014

10 Things Gleaned from Back to School Night (Elementary School Edition)

  1. Tate hates math.  This I knew.  He loves reading/writing.  This I knew as well.  His favorite color is red.  This I did not know.  
  2. Music is important to his life.  {He recently told me a classmate played Vock music on the violin and it “got him moving.”  “Rock music?  I bet it did.”  “NO, not rock.”  “Oh…Bach?”  “Yes.”  I couldn’t resist -- I asked him if he got up and boogied to Bach.  After rolling and then squinting his eyes at me and my idiocy he told me it got things moving inside of him.  “Oh, it moved you.”  “Yes!”  And then he went upstairs and added Bach to his Spotify playlist.}  
  3. Girls can’t wear tank tops/sleeveless blouses to school unless they cover themselves with a sweater or shawl.  Um.  Shawl?  What is this, 1976?  And, it’s summer in Richmond.  It’s hot as hell outside.  I can understand spaghetti straps, but ALL sleeveless??  Seriously.
  4. Tate likes working alone.  This from a kid who won an award for collaboration.  I’m thinking I don’t know this child as well as I think I do.
  5. When you send your husband to your daughter’s 5th grade class, you worry that he won’t sign you up for the lists you want.  Guess what?  He does.  And also some you don’t.
  6. Meems is excited about this year and a lot has to do with the fact that her teacher is young, pretty and stylish.  And has long hair.  These things score high with that girl.  She always appreciates a well-defined lip and shiny tresses.    
  7. The kids in the classrooms are always split into groups.  Their desks are clustered in to a group of 4 or 5, with the actual desk space touching.  This would drive me crazy.  I don’t want to look at you when you’re thinking and working, namely because I myself stick out my tongue when I’m concentrating and all those things like that that you do distract me.  Not to mention my personal space feels poached.  I can’t imagine how anyone gets anything done.  Everything is very collaborative.  This makes me uncomfortable.  
  8. Maybe Tate is not so much of a mystery after all.  
  9. The PTA is a mighty force.  Think you’re going to make the kids give up recess one day a week to accommodate a computer lab?  Think again, suckas.  
  10. This is Meems' last year of elementary school.  I need to take time to notice and treasure all her "lasts."  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Third Child

They say the third child is the forgotten child.

The third child gets the hand-me-downs.  The third child has less baby pictures.  The third child takes naps in his carseat on top of the dryer while mom gets his older siblings lunch.  The third child wears hand-me-down soccer cleats for football (because they're CLEATS and why do we need a different CLEAT for every dang sport?).  We blinged them out with day-glo shoelaces and a good spit shine.  The third child never had a new football or a new soccer ball or ANY new sports equipment.  Or pajamas.  He does get new underwear.  And socks. 

Tate is my third.  He could care less about the fact that his clothes, toys and sporting goods are hand-me-downs.  Honestly, he'd even be fine with hand-me-down underwear.  He's the only one who actually poses for pictures when I want to take them, I just forget to do it sometimes.  He's very low-key and go-with-the-flow. 

And so is his brother.  The oldest.  Who, it would appear, has taken over as the third child if this week is any indication.  He is settled into middle school and doing his thang and he's easy.  So easy in fact that I feel like my attentions are turned elsewhere, i.e. his siblings, their schedules and homework, etc.  If he's noticed, he hasn't mentioned it.  Honestly, I think he's probably totally fine with less attention from mom lately as he, quite frankly, thinks I am flat nuts.  And I may or may not try to squeeze him too much.  Mama needs hugs. 

This week, I gave him physical forms that I had filled out incorrectly.  When we realized this and that he would need a new physical, I forgot to send the form with him to be filled out.  On my way to pick him up from his physical, I drove right past the middle school (where he was waiting).  As nothing was coming I backed up the street in front of the middle school and pulled in only to sit in the car for 45 minutes waiting for him when he was waiting inside for me to complete his forms. Today, I got lost twice on the way to his brother's football game, making us late for kickoff, and I kept accidentally sitting on his foot.  Then I got lost again on the way to his lacrosse practice, making him late for that.  Except it turns out we were actually early because practice isn't until tomorrow. 


It's a good thing I didn't just drop him off at practice.  He would have been stuck there and I would have had to endure another conversation about why he needs a phone.  And I'd be that much closer to admitting he might be right. 

The truth is, there's always one that seems to get the short end of the stick.  Sometimes it's Tate, sometimes it's Will and sometimes it's Meems.  Sometimes, kids just need you more than they do at other times.  They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease and it's definitely true in a family of multiple children.  It seems, despite my best efforts to the contrary, there's always an odd man out, or at least I feel that way.  Hopefully, they are blissfully unaware, or at the very least, and I'm sure in Will's case, aware but blissful to be left alone. 

That doesn't mean I can stop trying.  One of these days, he'll really need me and I'll really be there.  In the meantime, rest assured I will continue to squeeze him to reinforce to him that I haven't forgotten about him and that, yes, I will always be flat nuts.  

Goodbye Summer

Hello school bus. Hello homework.  Hello list of 789 mandatory school supplies.

Hello sports.  Hello alarm clock.  Hello lunchboxes (I really hate you).

Hello school friends.

Hello forms.  T, here are 6 for you, Meems there are 12 for you and Will, I think you have these two.
Hello Will calling from the school letting me know I forgot some forms that he needs right this minute.

Hello Will calling from the school letting me know I need to pick him up on my way home from work.

Hello conversation readdressing his case that he needs his own phone so he won’t have to use the office phone because the office closes before his practice ends.  He may actually have a case this time.

Hello lacrosse and football and cheerleading and cross country practices.  Hello games and meets. Hello drum lessons and cheer clinics.  Meems is working hard on her back walkovers.

Hello “me” time.  I’ve missed you.

Hello fundraisers.  Hello PTA memberships (why do I have to rejoin you every year?).  Hello spirit wear.  Hello school stores.  Hello gym uniform.  Hello locker rental, goggle rental, chromebook rental and yearbook fee.  Hello class party fund.

Goodbye money.

Goodbye evenings.  Goodbye weekends.

Goodbye family dinners eaten at a normal hour with all 5 of us.

Goodbye sleeping in.

Goodbye pool.

Goodbye lazy, hazy summer days.

Goodbye babies.  Time marches on, and so they do as well, off to the 7th, 5th and 3rd grades. Another two months and I’ll have a teenager.

Goodbye my loves.  I'll be here when you get home.  Love you.

Goodbye summer.  Until we meet again…

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer Eleven

See this little thing?  

courtesy of my friend, Rory

She’s 11 today.

I know, it’s hard to believe.  She’s so tiny.

Last year, she gladly spent her birthday evening at her brothers’ swim meet.  We told the boys they’d have to miss the meet so we could celebrate her birthday.  She insisted we go to the meet.  Happy to cheer on her brothers for hours on her special day – that’s just the kind of kid she is.

She is smart.  She is sweet.  She is determined.  She is kind.  

She is sassy.  She is impulsive.  She is dramatic.

She is strong.  She is brave.

She is compassionate.  She has a nurturing heart.  She may not always know what she wants, but she always knows what she doesn’t want.  She keeps us guessing.  She is full of surprises.  
She is not to be underestimated.

She is who she is.  And I couldn’t love her more for it.  

Happy birthday to my Little Meems.  You are a gift to me every day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Got Gum?

Little Meems has always been a fanatic about gum.  From a young age, she was obsessed and was chewing gum way before a child her age should've been.  Luckily, the parenting police never arrested us.  I am sure they were alerted.

We have since learned that gum is helpful for our little girl.  It helps her organize her thoughts.  Some kids need a "fidget" to utilize while completing tasks that are difficult.  You know, the kids who get called out for fidgeting?  Chances are, the fidgeting helps.  I was a fidgeter.  In church, in school, when I was talking, or getting lectured...I remember, all too often, a hand on my knee or a plea to sit still.  In hindsight, I now know that my fidgeting was a way to slow down my brain.  When my body is left to idle, my brain starts going a mile a minute.  Kicking my leg, tapping my eraser to my mouth, talking with my hands...these things reign it all in, make the speed more manageable.

Little Meems is the same.  In her case, gum is key.  She rubs her blanket against her mouth when she's listening intently to a book.  She does cartwheels and handstands when she's studying.  She actually has "homework gum" which she chews while working to organize her thoughts.

Hey, whatever works.

Her teacher is letting the students chew gum for the SOLs.  This, of course, thrills my Little Meems.

I bought her a pack of SOL gum for her last SOL a week or so ago.  It had to be mint.  Apparently, mint stimulates your brain.  A win/win for my gum girl, as it's her favorite.  This morning, I was informed that she needs gum for her mat SOL.


"I don't have any gum.  Wait, didn't I just buy you some?"

"I ate it all."

"How do you go through an entire pack of gum in one SOL?  It was just a couple hours!"

"It was hard.  The writing SOLs are just so hard."

Writing is her downfall.  A  whole pack of, what must it have been like for that little girl who just said "fine!" when I asked her how the test was?  My heart broke a little.  That's a lot of gum.  You do the math.

Which brings us to math.  "I have two pieces of cinnamon gum you can have."

"It has to be mint."

"Well, let me get my magic wand..."

"Maybe my teacher has mint gum."

"Maybe you can trade her two mint for two cinnamon."

"What if it takes more than two?"

I'm off to work, with a stop at Rite Aid on the way in to get a little girl a whole lotta gum.

Mint, of course.