The one in which my inner Republican comes out

At the library today, I had the misfortune of listening to a woman rant about how the school system is not providing adequate services for her child. The services she wanted provided? Apparently her daughter doesn’t like to go to school. And according to some interpretation of some archaic law, that qualifies her daughter for special education services, or so she claims.

I firmly believe that special education services should be provided by the school districts. I also firmly believe that they should be provided on a sliding scale basis. And based on my conversation today, I also firmly believe that children who don’t want to go to school but are otherwise excelling should not qualify for special education services.

When C was diagnosed with apraxia, we were immediately told to contact the local school department to ensure that we got the “free services” we were entitled to. He was three. We made a conscious decision to seek private therapy based on the fact that we could afford it and we didn’t want to force the local community to pay for a service that we could provide for our child ourselves. We felt that the money that would have been spent on C would be better spent on a child whose family did not have the resources available to seek a private alternative.

Should services be provided to those who need them? Absolutely. I have worked in some of the most impoverished school districts in this country, and spent a large portion of my working career trying to ensure that those families that needed it had access to the services they required, and that they realized that they were entitled to those services. But does a family who vacations in the south of France several times a year require state-funded services because their child doesn’t like school? No. Should families who can afford to do so be required to contribute something towards the services provided to their children? In most cases, yes.

And since I am on the topic, I am also frequently floored by the number of wealthy, well educated people I run into whose child clearly needs some sort of support, be it academic or emotional, who shrug and say “Well, they didn’t qualify for the services provided by the district so oh well.” It is your child. You can provide the needed services. Why would you choose not to provide them just because they are not provided for free? You pay for gymnastics classes, swimming lessons, art classes. If your child needs extra help with reading, make sure they get the help they need, even if means you have to pay for it out of pocket. Just because your child doesn’t qualify for services doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t benefit from them. Raising your children is your responsibility, not that of the school system.

Sniff Sniff

Anyone who knows me knows I have a lousy sense of smell. Probably the worst sense of smell ever. M and C can be cringing from some foul smell and I will be happily prattling on about the lovely scenery. But for the last two days I have been hysterically searching my house for the source of the burning smell, which clearly doesn’t exist as hello! it has been two days and my house is still intact. The kids look at me blankly when I ask them if they smell burnt toast, and the cats have been less than thrilled by my midnight sniffing forays through the house.

Clearly, I am losing my mind.

For those of you who love tea

My favorite herbal tea of all time is now available online. Order it. You will love it. I promise. And order a few of their other teas while you are at it, I have yet to have one I haven’t loved.  And try to get over the price, clearly I don’t drink this every day but when I feel the need to treat myself, this is totally top of my list.  Even above my glass of wine…which should tell you just how much I love this tea.

M will be thrilled that I will no longer require that he shlep many, many blocks out of his way to procure me tea…

Third time’s the charm?

Right after I got off the phone with my sister this afternoon, having whined about how I had no plans to keep the children entertained for the remainder of the day, C decided to climb one of the support poles in the basement. You know where this is going, don’t you?

Ah yes indeed, a trip to our thankfully local and even better yet, friendly, emergency room. With both kids in tow. On a Sunday afternoon. Whoever guesses closest to how long we were there wins a very special prize to be determined once I have my dinner and a glass of wine…Anywhoo, yes indeed, C ripped open his chin for the third time in as many years. This time it took six stitches to get it closed.

It was rather clear that the doctor who stitched him up was not used to working with children. When she came into the room and asked C what had happened, he shrugged in that “I don’t know you so I’m not going to tell you anything” type of way and then mumbled “I don’t remember.” She then tried to fly out of the room and order a CAT scan before I convinced her that really, I was fairly confident that he hadn’t bumped his head, just his chin, and he was only being uncooperative.

Then she kept trying to dance around the the whole needle thing by saying things like “I’m going to give you a little pinch of medicine” to which C replied “You mean a shot. To numb my chin.” She blinked hard and then moved on to “Then I’m just going to do something that is a little like taping a ripped picture together,” to which C responded “You mean you are going to stitch up my chin.” She looked at me, and then him, and said “He’s rather smart.” Umm, I think he is just rather clear, having done this before, exactly what was going on.

But, par for the course, C was a trooper and did not move a muscle while she was stitching him up. And was, of course, rewarded by a rather extravagant gift of a matchbox plane, two chocolate chip cookies and a rather large cup of juice. Leading him to believe that the emergency room was not such a bad place to be after all, especially since he got to watch an awful lot of TV.

So much for life lessons.

The Homework Grind

Every week, C is assigned a standard set of homework. On Mondays he has to turn in nine printed words assigned by the teacher. On Tuesdays he is to practice the song of the week. On Wednesdays he needs to cut out three pictures that begin with the letter of the week. On Thursdays he has a one page worksheet of the “color by number/letter” variety. On Fridays he needs to return his reading book for the week with an illustration and one sentence detailing what he liked best about the book.

I hate the homework. The homework does nothing to further his education, and it contributes in a large part to my stress levels. Do you want to know why? Well, at the moment, C has been working on writing his nine words for THREE HOURS, and he still has six words to go. He has been perfectly cheerful and happy to sit down and do his homework today, but OMG. How long can I be trapped here answering questions like “Do you think I should write the word ‘brown’ in brown? Or should I do it in pen instead of pencil?” Or “The word growl makes me think of a dog. A doesn’t like dogs. I like dogs. Do you like dogs?” My favorite yet is “How long have I been sitting here? Three hours? Oh! That’s not so bad.” And we go through this every. single. night.

It should surprise no one that we have given up on the song of the week practice. And that I pre-locate the letter of the week pictures in magazines and oh so casually dog ear the pages to make them easy to find. But still? I calculated that so far this week, I have spent seven hours (and counting!) listening to my son NOT doing his homework. I am going to go insane.

Overheard in the kitchen

Chichimama: “My blog post for the day was going to be ‘My Day by the Numbers,’ you know, ’56 put your socks on,’ ‘Three TIME OUT!’s’ but then I decided that it would be way too whiny and I am trying to get away from the whine.”

M: “Yeah, your blog tends towards the whine.”

Chichimama: “I whine, therefore I am.”

M: ‘Hey, I know!   You could force yourself to do a happy post once a week!  Find the good in life!”

Chichimama: “Uh huh.  Yeah.”

It takes two

This story will surprise no one who knows my daughter.  For as long as A has been a semi-conscious individual, she has been absolutely convinced that I am somehow very wrong, and she is actually the same age as C.  I spent the first few months (months, not weeks) of kindergarten pulling her out of the line kicking and screaming “But I AM five, I AM!”  She has convinced random strangers that she is five, almost six and just on the small side.  She almost weaseled her way into the kindergarten story hour a few weeks ago before C blew the whistle on her and she was sent sobbing back to me “But I AM five, I AM!”

Today at dinner, she concocted a plan.  “My birthday is NOT in May anymore, it is in MARCH.”

C looked at her and said “March?  March what?”

“March 18th.”

“But that would make us TWINS A, and we are NOT TWINS.”

A grinned.  C looked at her a bit puzzled.  Then his brain started chugging away as well.  “Well, if we were TWINS, we would have to share a birthday party.  It would be half Space and half Princess.  MAYBE we would get TWICE the number of presents!”

A grinned some more.  C shrugged.  “OK, we can be twins.  But I DRAW THE LINE at sharing a room.”

A clapped delightedly and announced “Tomorrow I will tell Mrs. S that I am now your twin and in kindergarten.  What was the homework tonight?”

OWWWW

How many times a day do you thinking I scream “Be careful of your fingers!  You are going to close your hand in the door one of these days?”  Many many times.  Guess who closed her hand in the car door this afternoon?  Me.  Owwwww.  One fingernail is already black.

And I had just gotten a manicure.  Seriously.  Ten minutes before the door incident.  There goes fifteen bucks down the tube…

New Bread

I have yet to bake a loaf of bread this year and February is almost over.  Sad, I know.  But in my defense, baking bread requires a significant about of time hanging out at home, and with one kid going to school for two hours in the morning, another for two hours in the afternoon, plus the standard after school grocery trips, gymnastics classes and swim lessons, the amount of time I spend at home is pretty limited.

To try and rectify the situation, the fantabulous Nana gave me this book for my birthday.  Now I am a rather huge devote of the recipe on the back of the King Arthur Flour package for whole wheat bread, and the New York Times No-Knead recipe for “fancy” occasions.   And we all know I am not a fan of change.  But the idea that I could mix up enough dough for three to six loaves of bread, keep it in the fridge and pull it out and make a loaf was pretty appealing, so I am currently trying a batch.  So far it looks pretty good.  I’m going to bake a loaf later today so I’ll update with a taste report later.  But has anyone else tried this?  If so, any tips?

Random Bullets of Catch Up

  • Don’t be too impressed by my attempts at trying to make cupcakes and frosting from scratch. It was only because I thought I had frosting and cake mix in the house, but apparently I had used it up the last time I frantically realized that I had to provide a special treat the next day and I was too lazy to drag the kids out to the store. In hindsight, I should have just dragged them. And I have since replenished my supply of cake mix and frosting.
  • I know I haven’t been around much. I’ve been having frequent panic attacks, and have been trying to crawl back into my bed for the foreseeable future. But then I realized that February is always when I seem to teeter on the brink of letting the anxiety take over, which made me feel so much better. Perhaps next year I should just pull the kids out of school for the month and head to someplace warm…it seems like everyone else in town has done that.
  • On a totally different note, my children seem to have outgrown everything in the closets, and of course all the stores are all showing spring and summer stuff. All the more reason to contemplate spending next February someplace warm I say. But really? I need to remember next year to buy their winter wardrobes in two sizes as this is getting old.
  • I finished my knit-a-long bag, and so did lots of other folks. Go check them out!
  • Now I am working on this, in hopes of finishing it before we head to London in March. I’m somewhat doubtful, as I can’t quite commit to sitting down for the amount of time it will take me to pick up 210 stitches for the skirt. But perhaps tonight if I don’t end up playing Scrabbulous all night.
  • Did I mention M was out of town visiting Ye Old Alma Mater? Yeah, February is MY preferred time to visit the snow belt. I happily waved him off to “enjoy” the snow and the cold. Apparently his plans for last night involved having a beer and heading to bed early so he could wake up for the big game tomorrow. At noon. He is an old, old man.
  • The kids and I are spending the weekend catching C up on Disney animated movies. He came home from school the other day complaining that he had no idea what the other kids were talking about half the time because the only movies he has ever seen are Curious George and the Bee Movie. So we borrowed Cinderella, Peter Pan, The Sword and the Stone, and Shrek from the library and have all intentions of curling up and watching them all this weekend. Because what else can you do in the middle of February on a long weekend with no spousal support when everyone in town has flown off to more exotic locations?
  • So if you need me this weekend, I will be here, in Disney Movie Hell. And if I make any progress on those 210 stitches, I’ll post some pictures.