Monday, September 29, 2014

I'm about to go Mama Bear up in here

Welp. That didn't take long. We are only on week 6 of the school year and already have positively identified the resident bully of the bus stop. Last week this third grader told Noelle and Noah that they couldn't run on the sidewalk playing the 'car chase' unless they signed in first. (Basically, this entails the kids starting at a point on the sidewalk and when a car drives by, racing it to a pre-determined endpoint further down the sidewalk. Lather, rinse, repeat. Yeah, I got nothing.) This being the first such time Noelle has encountered such...such...assholery...she broke down in tears. We talked through it; if they wanted to run, they could run. They didn't need this kid's permission. I asked some questions of her as ultimately she is exceedingly logical for being a sensitive snowflake.

"Does he own the sidewalk?" No, of course not. This sidewalk serves as the boundary to our neighborhood.

"Do you want to run?" Yes. Then by all means do so.

"Does he get to tell you what to do?" No. Only Mommy has that power. Noah then chimed in with "yeah, he's not the boss of me!" That shook Noelle out of her funk. I looked at her very seriously and told her that he can be a butthead if he wants, but if they want to run, then they can run. (I didn't bother lowering my voice; they're just lucky I was sort of watching my language as 'asshat douchenozzle' was there for deployment.) And off they went.

Things appeared to have settled down when Noah came pelting down the sidewalk to me this morning looking very upset. While at the top of the sidewalk, this same kid called him 'stupid'. We've taught the kids that this is a Very Bad Word and we Never, Ever call anyone that. Well now someone used this very bad word on him and his heart was crushed. I picked him up as he sobbed "he's such a meanie! I want to punch him in the face!" While I agreed with his sentiment (and fighting back a laugh), we discussed why that may not be such a good idea.

"I know honey, it was very mean thing to say but you can't punch him in the face."

"He's a meanie."

"Yes he is. That was not a nice thing to say at all and you have every right to be upset." Keep in mind, Noah is in kindergarten and turned 5 a month ago, so navigating the social currents of elementary school hasn't really been covered yet. And this older student saying that to him! I don't care that he looks the size of a second grader! You do not talk like that to my children and expect to walk away under your own power. Okay, not really, but that's what was going on in my head at the time.

"What can you do if he does it again? "

Sniffles. "I don't know..."

"You can tell him (or any kid) that it was not a nice thing to say and ask why he did that. You can tell him he's being a meanie and you don't like it." I know he won't use these phrases yet but it's good to rehearse. "And know that you are one of the smartest, sweetest, most energetic and awesome kids I know and he doesn't know what he's talking about." The bus arrived then so sorry Mrs. Cano; I suspect this will be a difficult day for him.

Afterwards, another parent I know asked what happened and we commiserated over how kids can be such jerkwads to each other.

It's so good to know that when the time comes to want to punch someone in the face, I won't be alone.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Random Thought Round-Up

Lots of little thoughts have been scuttling through my head but none meaty enough to warrant its own post so to preserve precious memory space, I'm uploading them to the blogCloud. This is sure to be very very secure. And also boring.

1. I've already started assembling gift basket stuffs for teachers this holiday season which is nothing short of a miracle as my usual MO is to wait until the week before winter break then employ Kermit arms liberally.

2. Playing dress up is great. Mixing dress up clothes to create the Good Pirate Fairy and Evil Fairy Conductor? Genius.

3.  My company supports The United Way of Central Maryland and every year we have an event known as C-Day (Charity Day). We have the option of making payroll deductions to contribute and each location hosts fundraising efforts. My plant did carnival games and department basket raffles. For the first time ever, I actually won a raffle drawing: a fire pit.

They included beer. Beer! I think I'm in love.
I'm super stoked about this because who doesn't love a fire pit, amirite? Plus flattened marshmallows! It doesn't get any better than that. Then I read the directions. Don't use under a balcony. Okay, makes sense. Don't use within 10 feet of a building or wall. No brainer. Don't use near trees...especially dead ones. Oh. Oh. Therein lies the rub as we live in a townhouse. With a deck. And a postage-stamp sized front yard. And a dead tree. So if anyone wants to let us borrow some space to use our new fire pit, I'd be ever so grateful. I'll even bring the stuff for s'mores. Fine, and the beer too.

4. Last weekend I offered to take Noelle shopping for new clothes as she has few pants that fit. She declined. I offered to take her to Toys R Us so she could start getting ideas for what she might like for her birthday and Christmas. Nope. Schools are closed tomorrow for Rosh Hashanah and I have them both with me; she asked me to take her shopping tomorrow. I'd love to honey but I doubt your brother wants to spend all day in dressing rooms.

5. Chances are good that I've lost what little sanity I had remaining as at last count I have Noelle registered for Dance, Sunday School, Girl Scouts and now....Basketball. Plus I volunteered to be an assistant coach for whatever team she ends up on. And Noah's soccer league added an extra practice each week. Totally optional but getting 12 lessons for $20? C'mon man, you can't beat that. Unfortunately, this means that dinner will now consist of mostly sandwiches and/or cheese slices with sad grapes. Sorry Dylan.

6. My pants were getting hella tight so when school started back up, Operation Move Yo Ass went into effect. So for 5 weeks now I've been working out 30 minutes on the elliptical every morning and briskly walking the business park for around 20 minutes on my lunch break. And yet, have seen precisely zero movement on the scale. Granted, I never recorded a starting number because: chicken but still, I should have seen some progress by now. I mean, I've even cut back severely on the booze and junk. My afternoon snack is rabbit food and hummus for chrissakes. If this keeps up then I'll no choice but to start running and I hate running. Hate. It. Stupid perimenopausal body shit.

7. It would be incredibly helpful if people actually gave me all the information I need to make decisions when they first contact me. I mean, I'm going to request it anyway so you might as well cut down on the churn and just give it to me upfront. It's not like this is your first rodeo after all.

8. Speaking of work things that annoy me, why in the world would you make people go outside to smoke yet have the smoking pad right in front of the employee entrance thus ensuring that every single employee must run the gauntlet of cigarette smoke whether they want to smell like an ash tray or not? These things honestly perplex me. Though I guess on the stinky scale, cigarette smoke isn't even in the top 10 of Smells From The Plant That Destroy Your Will To Live.

That's all I got. Now to find a workaround to be able to listen to We're Alive since IT blocked it as being 'suspicious'. A girl's gotta have her zombie fix after all. Though it's suspicious that they think zombies are suspicious. Hmmm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Line Across, Up and Around

Noah is doing pretty well with transitioning to kindergarten. He's enthusiastic about the sight words, loves going to the 'special' classes (his favorite is a tie between P.E. and library. Art can just DIAF.) and buying lunch in the cafeteria is off the hook. Not to mention riding the bus. Shit just got real. But the one area he struggles in is forming letters. He recognizes them just fine; it's the fine motor skills that are lagging a bit but that's to be expected because 1) he just turned 5 and B) he's a boy. Each day the kids get worksheets with a particular letter showing upper and lower case and the pencil movements needed to complete it. Friday's was 'E'. Uppercase E? No sweat. That's just four lines and boom! Done. Lowercase? Lawd have mercy.

The worksheet came home on Friday with a note that it has to be completed and returned so this morning after breakfast (I mean, really, when else would you do it?) he colored in the rest of the elephant and then for good measure, I suggested doing some more lowercase 'e's, just for practice as the original ones closely resembled inverted infinity symbols.

"But I can't doooo itttttt."

"Yes you can. We'll do them together."

So he gripped the pencil and I put my hand over his, realizing too late that I was using my right hand but we're committed now. Onward Ferb! I talked him through the motions as we made them with me doing the primary guiding.

"Okay, line straight across now up and around. Good, let's do it again. Line across and up and around."

By the third time, I loosened my grip on his hand leaving him to do that majority of the work, still repeating the litany but now with him joining in. "...line across, up and around..." until we were out of room. Would this obstacle stop him? No sirree, he drew more lines and we pressed on.

"...line across, up and around..."

Until the sixth one where I let go completely and simply chanted with him.

"line across, up and around..."

The first one by himself ended up looking like a Greek theta and he looked discouraged.

"No buddy, you're doing great. Just pick up the pencil a bit earlier. Try one more time."

"...line across, up and around..."

"Mommy! I did it! Look at my 'e'! I can write a little 'e'!"

"You did it Boo Boo! It's fantastic! Way to go!"

No sunrise in the world could have lit up his face any better than the pride shining in his eyes. Sometimes all it takes is a little confidence and someone willing to help you find your way.

Oh, and chocolate milk never hurts either.

Epilogue: After an amazing beginning to the day, Noah then proceeded to have an absolute epic meltdown at school which sent him from 'Green' to 'Red' back up to 'Yellow' followed by a rapid descent to 'Red' over a coveted library book and a slight recovery to 'Yellow' to finish out the day. Good grief, that emotional roller coaster makes me exhausted just by writing that. Five is hella fun y'all.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Uncivil Discourse and the Power of Names

Earlier today I got into my first quasi-political twitter fight. It started when I retweeted this:

Which then prompted this exchange that I wasn't expecting.

At first I was saddened that the first thing out of someone's mouth, well, fingers, was hateful name-calling, that attack was the go-to response. You really never *know* people on twitter, even though you consider them friends as we all present only the sides of ourselves we wish everyone to see. I try to make sure that I follow folks that share my political philosophies as well as those that disagree with me. Knowing and understanding all sides is important to me and helps me be a better consumer of news as everybody spins. There is no unadulterated truth, not anymore. And yes, when idiots of any party open their mouths, all who cleave to the same party are painted with the same brush. I get that. But these people are in positions of power and as such have the opportunity to do great harm to those who need the most help.

A friend's niece was molested repeatedly over the spring and summer. So really, the child should have 'just relaxed and enjoyed it' Mr. Clayton? Or perhaps she should 'make the best of a bad situation' Mr. Santorum? That's some extremely helpful advice right there. Because God forbid anyone deny the rapist's '...pursuit of sexual freedom...' as no one, you know, died or anything, right Mr. Lockman?

So no, people who excuse, lessen, or otherwise attempt to mitigate the horror of sexual attacks on anyone with inane and dangerous statements like the ones above have no business being anywhere near positions of power. In truth, they don't deserve to belong to the human race at all but that's a different discussion altogether. And if believing that makes me a 'libtard' than so be it. I embrace that title with pride.