Those of you who know me know how ridiculous and absurd this is, but this is how I feel right now:
I want to hide myself in a closet and scarf down a bacon double cheeseburger on a giant kaiser bun.
I work very close to a burger king. As in close enough that I could technically be parking in the parking lot for burger kind. Let me tell you there are some days I just want to swing through the drive thru for some onion rings. And I'm not gluten free. But I get where you're coming from.
Yes. I agree.
Dude. You two are amazing. Are there gnomes in the race report?
Well, in my mind: cooking is an excuse to drink beer.
Today I am grateful:
my friend is willing to do the reservations for a meeting I need to attend but don't have time to deal with.
I hired a nanny that is so *right* for Leah.
My friend in Canada is safe. And from the sounds of it, making good choices.
I didn't die of starvation yet (even though it is almost 8pm and I haven't had dinner).
I'm dedicating my boxing to Griffin Patrick, Rainey and Grace, Wendy and all the little ones lost too soon.
Thanks for the commiseration on dhs in the land of the kitchen.
Today I'm wondering what I need to do re:C. Yesterday three girls she'd been friendly with (at least up until a slumber party a couple weeks back at which she fell asleep first and the others wrote in sharpie all over her face - which she tried to laugh off) told her they'd been discussing this for a while now and finally decided that they didn't really think she was the kind of girl they wanted to be friends with anymore. And, because of all of our crazy schedules (she soccer practice, me and dh work and then a meeting about the overcrowded 6th grade) I didn't hear about this until almost 8pm so the poor kid carried it around all day alone. One of the girls called last night and apologized. C said she needed some time to think about that and hung up and then worried that the girl was going "to feel bad" if she didn't get to know right away whether dd was going to forgive her. You all know what I said to that. Anyway, now I'm not sure what to do. I know when she wakes up she'll want to stay home, who wouldn't? But I don't know that that helps anything, other than her anxiety about seeing these kids again. Do I talk to the other mothers? Do I talk to the teacher? The school counselor? Do I just stay out of it and give C support? This is the third time this has happened to her, different kids this time. I just don't know how to reassure her that this isn't how it goes forever because I know that's not always true. And I remember doing this same thing to a girl who used to drive me absolutely nuts as kids because she was so needy and so socially awkward and a burden as a companion (and who as an adult nearly sent me over the edge as an adult by coming to visit shortly after we lost Wendy and doing nothing but talk about her new boyfriend for a solid 10 days). Is C like that girl? In some ways I can see painful similarities. But I don't want to tell dd that her behavior may be driving these breakups or at least I can't think of how I could possibly convey that without crushing her spirit entirely. Maybe passing her a copy of Queen Bees and Wannabes? I read it about 5 years ago so I'm cloudy on the details of how it is presented. I just don't know.
Ugh, Plady. Middle school sucks rocks. I've long held the idea that the secret to peace on earth would be to eliminate the 7th grade.
You need to reread Queen Bees, but not to hand to her. It's a book for you to read, and you might want to describe the different social roles (queen bee, follower, reporter, etc) to discuss with her, but I wouldn't hand it to her. I would certainly report it to the councilor and ask for suggestions. I wouldn't talk to the parents, unless you have a really good read on them and you are confident they will view the situation similarly. As few of us ever learned any healthy social skills during school, I would more or less assume that a parent will view their child notifying C that she's no longer a friend much kinder than simply ignoring her or cutting her out. They wouldn't get your point.
How to move forward?
Talk to the councilor, and see if there's a social environment that is very welcoming to C. Having a welcoming group of kind kids, even if they aren't friends, can help with developing the necessary social skills to eventually function appropriately in wider social world.
Prop up self-esteem (genuinely): How's C's self-esteem? We've spent a lot of time working on K's. I think having a positive sense of self helps protect against a lot of these things. It's admittedly hard to prop this up when she's getting walked (and drawn ) all over by her peers. What makes her unique? Where are her talents? Cultivate those things and make sure she hears you say with 100% honesty: "I love listening to you sing," "Wow, you worked hard on that piece and I can really hear the improvement." "I'm impressed by your dedication to this skill," etc. We chose soccer and science to be areas to really focus our attention on K to allow her to develop her talents and shine, and we've consistently recognized her talents verbally (but specially) and honored her progress and effort.
Find a positive adult mentor. Having an adult besides mom and dad that genuinely appreciates C for who she is could be a life line for her. Arrange for time alone with an adult that really digs your kid. This can help C view adolescence as temporary, and lend credence to all that self-esteem propping you do.
Middle school happens to be exactly when I am eligible to take a sabbatical. I see this as a happy coincidence.
Agree with what Geo says. She's a smart lady.
I have a big kid who is not a "normal" kid. She's intense. She's persistent. She's incredibly introverted. She has one best friend (our next door neighbor). And a handful of classmate friends (she went to a sleepover last weekend and it was mostly ok).
Yesterday we took her to this pre-nordic skiing camp/club. They mountain biked for 90 minutes. Honestly Erin thought it was AMAZING! But thing is, only one girl was from her elementary school (err, she's a grade older, but went to 5th grade where Erin did). The others were from the next elem. school over (they'll do middle school together). I don't know what I like more: watching Erin just enjoy "getting" it, or watching her interact with kids who also have parents who think non competitive exercise is important.
Today is grandma's second day. So far, so good.
I just sent a letter to the superintendent (via the intervention director) today complaining about DD's treatment so far in middle school, along with my request that they not put a 50 pound 8 year old in the same middle school next year. Then I reread it, and the last sentence is a fragment. Sigh.
GP run tonight with both RPs. It's been more than a week. It is so needed right now.
I would be very careful as to how you handle the pen incident. Certainly report it to the councilor, who needs context, and certainly make it clear to C that this is not ok, and that everyone needs to respect the sanctity of her body, and everyone must respect someone who cannot consent to the pen by nature of being asleep. However, I'd put this in the very same blind spot that the other parents likely have with respect to the "we've discussed it and you're not our friend anymore." This is the sort of thing that will be viewed as "yeah, that's what girls do at a slumber party." I'd be cautious about it backfiring as I'm going to assume that 99% of parents wouldn't see your perspective. On this point as well, I'd have to go back to Queen Bees and review how to handle it.
Definitely making me feel better about the hell I am putting my kids through by denying them regular school right now.
Plady, Geo's caution is an excellent point. It feels like one of those situations where being right is just not enough. A lot of social nuance is involved here, and they are just into an age where "My mom said" could be a recipe for trouble. Is it possible C is setting her friend sights on kids who don't really share interests with her, but are maybe what she perceives as "cool?" It's so hard to know what a given grade level or classroom is like. Regardless, trafficking in power makes me sick to my stomach. And also filled with rage. Self-esteem building like Geo describes is a big deal--and picking the true strengths is a great way to ensure sincerity and not some weird, false, artificiality. My dd got her braces off today and declared her teeth beautiful. My mom was there, scoffing at my beautiful daughter. No, dd's teeth aren't perfect (and I don't aspire to that and encourage her not to); but damn it, she had a crazy underbite and now has a normal bite. So let her feel f!@#ing beautiful, OK? And with Mom, it wasn't about the teeth--it was about dd's audacity to acknowledge she's beautiful. She gets two days between braces and a retainer. Can we let her celebrate?
So, my dd doesn't need nasty little bees to belittle her when my own Mom is available for that. But all that up there to say, it doesn't start or end with school meanies, and we have to build up what is real and what we can, and program some sort of inner voice that can offset the cr@p from outsiders--whether they are grandma or the middle school mean girls. Solidify the tribe at home. Make sure dh is on the same page. Figure out the game plan so you can repeat the same messages for better effect. There are many years ahead.
Gaye, you too. Many years ahead. Take your time and enjoy meeting interesting people and seeing who is out there in the world.
kerc, meant to say thanks for the compliment on my hair. LOL. I am growing out the very short cut and dying a little death every time I get it trimmed but not cut, with a short, messy bob as the goal, maybe chin length.
Race report: I hope Reb can put it together. I would but who are we kidding? There was a unicorn, though, so that was cool, and most of you have seen the ridiculous leaping picture. There was also a lot of dancing and some prancercising. But I'll let Reb do the telling. She winds the yarn better than I do.
Real, Plady and others are right about your passion and knowledge regarding education.
I did not run today. I walked as far as the rental office to pick up the backpack I ordered. Four days of hauling a one-shoulder tote made me realize I needed a backpack. So I got an awesome backpack (Timbuk2 custom Swig). I also packed and inventoried one suitcase. I think the kids will finish their units tomorrow, and once they are done, I can pack the books, since I don't want to start new units until we are settled back in. So I am really close to done. Then we will just live out of the carry-ons. Which means laundry once at my parents' before we go (parents are expected to be up north most of the weekend). And if I could slip away without goodbyes I think I would. There will be too many tears from my sisters this year, I am afraid.
And I can hardly look at a screen without worrying about our dear sister to the north. Hugs northward, sweet Dingo, and all the power we can muster.
Aaaaannnnnd I'm back!
It's been a couple years I think since my last post in this thread. Hope I can join back up?
I started running 4 years ago and loved it. DS was 8 months old then. I've since had DD3 and stopped running when I was 7 weeks pg with her. Took it up again this summer and often DH and I are getting out together. Hoping to get out with my older girls sometimes for runs and/or bike rides, hikes, and family walks, we shall see. DD3 is now 17 months old-- so big! I am still working on losing the last 15 or so lbs of pregnancy weight from my pregnancy with her. We had another pause the past couple months when we uprooted and moved cities this summer so a few months after taking running up again, was benched but started again this week and I'm determined to stick to it for as long as possible. Yay!
Have only done 1 official race to date; it was a 5k back 2 (or was it 3?) years ago. But would love to participate in races down the road. DH and I joke (sorta) about doing a marathon someday.
So far 2 runs in this week and it's going!
Jo - Goodbyes are always difficult, too long, too short, too charged with things unsaid.
Than you all for the input. I set dd up with a mentor date this afternoon. A good adult friend who loves her and who has been always available had her over for tea and crafts this afternoon. I don't know exactly what they discussed but dd seemed lighter when I picked her up at the end. Dh has talked to one mom and found her sympathetic to dd. He is much more comfortable in any sort of confrontational situation (natural born lawyer?). I am in charge of talking to teachers - I started with an email since I'm also aware that they have 35 and 36 kids at a time to monitor. I expect some feedback though so I'll go from there. The counselor at the school is new this year. A man who seems nice and approachable from my perspective but notsomuch to dd. Out of respect for her wishes I haven't contacted him yet. I think dd is reassured that we've gone to bat for her. I agree about the whole sharpied face thing. Had dd been less seemingly amused by it initially I think I would have had some traction to throw down some mama fury but she didn't admit, even to me, that it upset her for many days after the fact. And even then I think she felt some foreshadowing of the friendship coming apart and didn't want to rock the boat.
And, in the background of all of this is the XL class size. The kids are so squashed into the rooms that it's no wonder unrest is fomenting and dh is on fire to oust the superintendent who we've been unhappy with for years. He's rounding up pitchforks and torches for tomorrow night's school board meeting. Happily I have a rehearsal, I seriously cannot stomach the confrontations. I'm not the activist I thought I'd be as a high schooler.
Thank you all also for the sweet thoughts coming our way today through the Griffin Patrick Run. It's 8 years today, right? I'm incredibly blessed to have found this group. I love each and every one of you.