Schools

Off With Her Head!

Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts (Photo credit: Ana Kelston)

 

Please and thank you.  If you aren’t in the US, or in the northeast of it, we’re gearing up for a blizzard.  As of this moment, it’s a snow/sleet/rain mix here in the city, the blizzard conditions will start later this evening.  Gross, but the bonus is that the jackhammers are quiet for today.

I had a meeting at Flower Child’s school this morning.  It went very well, assistive technology has come through, thanks to her fabulous team this year.  We needed this to go well on several levels, it’s been a rough week for her; her good streak ended.  Good news though, right?  I come home and think I still have plenty of time to write before it’s pickup time.  In peace and quiet.  Ahhh. For about a minute.

English: Hammer drill

English: Hammer drill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What’s this, you ask?  Well, it’s the hammer drill being used right above my freakin head in the apartment above mine.  If you listen carefully, you’ll hear my sobs providing the rhythm for the bass of the drill.  The walls in my building are concrete.  No, I’m not confused, I am referring to interior walls, so any holes need to be made with a serious, loud, powerful tool.

This week has been, well, life, I guess.  My father in law passed away, which was expected, and I’m glad his pain is over, but still very sad.  He was an absolutely lovely man who was well known and liked in the community and loved by his family.  For the past few days I’ve been hearing his distinctive whistle in my head.  When Nerd Child was a little guy, and my f-i-l was passing our building, he would stop and whistle up, “Coquito!”  Nerd Child would stop whatever he was doing and run to the window, throwing whatever he had been holding down to the street.  Those child safety bars only prevent an actual child from passing through them, not the paraphernalia that accompanies children.  Good thing the man always wore a hat, or his head would surely have been dented by a lego more than once.  He had a distinctive smile, the kind that let you know where the phrase “ear to ear grin” comes from.  It’s a warm fuzzy to say Flower Child inherited his smile.

I did write this week, though nowhere near the word count I intended.  It is what it is, maybe the coming week will be a bit more steady.

How was your week?

No Words

There are no words for this morning’s tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.  No words, but I want to howl.

Senseless. It made no sense two hours ago, it will make no sense two hours from now, it will make no sense two years from now.

At least 18 children slaughtered, at least 8 more adults who devoted their lives to service for these children, for the community, slaughtered.

There can not be an answer.  I don’t care what the talking heads say tonight, tomorrow, next week.

Maybe if I waited to post, I would have more coherent thoughts. I don’t think so. Only this howl.

My heart is breaking for all of those involved.

Flower field

Flower field (Photo credit: CaptSpaulding)

Picture Day

vintage class photo, 1957

vintage class photo, 1957 (Photo credit: deflam)

Yesterday, detangling Flower Child’s hair.

Mrs Fringe, “Tomorrow is picture day, so let’s make a little extra effort, and you have to pick an outfit that you want to take a picture in.”

Flower Child, “No it isn’t. It’s De-cem-BER. Picture day is October 30th.”

Mrs F, “It was supposed to be October 30th, but there was no school that day because of the hurricane. So picture day was rescheduled for tomorrow, December 3rd.”

FC, “The paper said October 30th. I read it.” *preens*

Mrs F, “October 30th has passed. It was the day before Halloween. We’ve been through all of November, and now it’s December. Picture day is tomorrow. Do you want to wear the dress you wore for Thanksgiving?”

FC, clearly not believing me, “OK.”

This morning, getting ready.

Mrs Fringe, “Remember, it’s picture day. I’m filling out the paper for school, please give the envelope to the teacher.”

FC, “Umm, ohhhh,” rubs her stomach.

Mrs F, “Are you sick?”

FC, “No. Maybe. I don’t think so. It’s October 30th?”

Mrs F, “No, it’s picture day.”

We keep getting ready, Flower Child alternating between fighting nervous smiles, tearing up, and ummming. I sit down on the couch with her, finally figuring out she doesn’t want to wear the dress she’s already wearing.

I’ve already filled out the form and sealed the envelope. She picks a different outfit. Polka dot little too short skirt. Striped too big shirt. Sparkly tights. Mismatched socks. Early bag lady, but she’s smiling. I like to think she’ll smile when they take the picture, but if I was laying money down, I’d have to bet she’ll be giving her very best “smeyes,” a la Tyra Banks.  Going to look fab against the fake flowering tree background.

The Cheshire Cat

The Cheshire Cat (Photo credit: Wild Guru Larry)

 

 

Wake Up!…Your Early Morning Call

Kate Bush - Hounds Of Love

Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love (Photo credit: Piano Piano!)

A little Kate Bush playing on the iPod in an attempt to prod myself along.  Not sure what today’s sin is, but it feels appropriate to have that background voice proclaiming “guilty, guilty, guilty!”

I’m about 5 hours late for my usual blogging time.  On a good day, I have 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours to myself before anyone else wakes up. My most productive time of day since I had children, though I’m not a morning person by nature.

English: Alarm clock Polski: Budzik

English: Alarm clock Polski: Budzik (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s my time to work out, check my (non-Mrs Fringe) Facebook acct, read and answer emails, and now blog.  Hmm, either I’m over-scheduled for that time slot, or there’s something very wrong with my time management skills cause I haven’t been getting half of those things done since Man Child and Nerd Child left, and Flower Child began school.

It used to be two hours of focused time, but Flower Child’s new school is further away than the old one, so we need to leave the house earlier.  For those who don’t live in NY, getting kiddos off to school is different than most of the rest of the country (if you’re an at home mom, different again if you’re getting yourself off to a paying job no matter where you are).  Yes, we NY mamas also get up, get the kids up and fed, make lunch, meds for the med needs kiddo (s), and all that other fun morning trauma, but we have to get ourselves dressed, no waving to the school bus driver in our pj’s. Somewhere in here I also walk the beasts.

A man and his son dancing to the band in Times...

A man and his son dancing to the band in Times Square station (Photo credit: wwward0)

Then walk to the train, down and down the subway steps, catch the train, ride a few stops, up and up the train steps, walk from the train to the school, and then get ourselves home; to be repeated at pick up time. Most days, I’m grateful my days of carrying a stroller up and down those steps are over.  When Flower Child isn’t well and needs assistance, I’m wishing I still had it.

This morning I went grocery shopping after dropping her off (Trader Joe’s is my best friend). Husband even came to pick me up, so a morning that started off behind schedule picked up nicely. Started cooking the Doggie Gumbo for the week, unloading the groceries, and the phone rang. Mother in Law needed Husband to help her get Father in Law to the ER.

Just another morning in Fringe World.  I really need to work on my schedule, but for now, I’m going to put Jig of Life on for the 8th time, and dance around the empty apartment.

“I put this moment…………………here.”

Steel Drowned

Steel Drowned (Photo credit: NeoGaboX)

Tripping Over Boxes

And here we are. Down to the last days of summer, which for me means a turmoil of angst, packing, and insomnia. It’s cool here in NY this morning, and I want to scream, “No! I don’t want it to be cool, a reminder autumn is just around the corner. I want it to be hot and sunny, and lie on the beach pretending I never have to leave!” Last week I was still doing just that, got on the train with Flower Child and spent the day in Brooklyn.

Under the B train

Ever wonder why the sand has that oily film on it?

When my children were young, I practiced attachment parenting, mostly.  I used a midwife, breastfed, made my own baby food, carried them in pouches on my chest and slings on my hip. There are many facets and ideas behind it that might draw someone to attachment parent, and the one I’m thinking about this morning is the idea that children who are raised this way grow to be more independent, more secure. As an older parent now, with older children, do I believe this is Truth?  Maybe; it worked for us, but there are so many factors involved in raising children, so many variables, I don’t believe there is a one size fits all approach.

Man Child is preparing to go back to school.  He’s entering his second year in a small, private liberal arts college, and his head and heart are ready, if his suitcases aren’t. This is our sixth year of helping him pack up and leave for school. He attended a small private, boarding school for high school. Seems like the antithesis of attachment parenting, doesn’t it? Maybe, maybe not. Boarding school was his idea, supported by the staff at his middle school. He earned a full scholarship to attend, and did well there; successful academically, grew as a person, made friends, connected with teachers, and came home frequently for both long breaks and quick weekend visits.  The school wasn’t that far away, so it was an easy drive–if you weren’t trying to get there or back through the hell that is the Lincoln Tunnel on a Friday–or he could and often did take the train.

DSC00562.JPG

DSC00562.JPG (Photo credit: Kramchang)

Originally, I was vehemently opposed to the idea of boarding school.  Not my kid, uh-uh-no-way. First of all, I like my kid, why would I support him leaving the house 4 years earlier than I “had” to? Second, boarding school, what the heck is that? Is that the new politically correct term for jeuvie?  He’s a good kid and a good person, spent hours each week serving food to the homeless beginning when he was 12 because it hurt him to see people hungry on the street. We were (and are) a close family, wouldn’t boarding school destroy that bond? Then there was the cousin of not-my-kid, you know, my-kid-would-never. I don’t believe in my-kid-would-never, some kids might be more or less likely, but every kid, given the right/wrong circumstances– can make mistakes, show poor judgement, or be caught up in something before they know they’re caught.

But. He campaigned, and eventually, I promised to keep an open mind.

View of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Ashevill...

View of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Asheville School Campus (View 1) (Photo credit: AdmissionsQuest)

Which meant listening to the teachers and staff at his middle school, when they talked about supporting opportunities, the safety of boarding schools as opposed to riding the subways each day, the endowments available for scholarship monies, the beauty, the support of teachers and staff who actually live with the kids, and on and on. So we went to look, he interviewed and filled out pages of applications, we both wrote upteen essays. Husband and I were bowled over by the opportunities available, the breadth of courses, the safety, the indescribable beauty and history of the campuses, the people who had attended these schools and the kids who were attending. These were not cold, impersonal places to dump your kid while you jet set around Europe (or some such idea I had from Harold Robbins novels). *This picture is not a school he attended, nor one that we visited, but the beauty is representative of many campuses we’ve seen. *

I was excited for him, I was proud of him–it was his efforts, his hard work, his maturity, and his humanity that opened the way for this opportunity, affording him a choice of schools offering full scholarships when the decisions came in.  Leaving him at school that first day was among the most difficult days I have ever faced as a parent. I cried all the way home.  Husband (who had been even more opposed than I when we first heard the term boarding school) held my hand and reminded me of all the reasons we were doing this, the way I had talked about wishing I had had this type of opportunity, and of course, how soon we would go visit him. I thought it would get easier. Experienced parents told me it would get easier. Wrong. I have cried every year, and every year it got harder, because I knew and know exactly how much I would miss him.

And now, it’s Nerd Child’s turn.  He is leaving in a couple of weeks to attend Hogwarts. Not the same boarding school Man Child attended, but the one that is perfect for him. If my heart broke from having to smile and pack up for one child, it’s absolutely melting doing it for two. Any morning now I’m going to wipe my eyes and find my aorta in the Kleenex.  Nerd Child, how can I let him go? This is the toddler who would wail if I went anywhere without him, trying to stick his little fingers in the crack under the front door so he could reach me.  He isn’t wailing now, he isn’t even visibly nervous. He’s psyched and he’s ready to embrace every opportunity that he can earn, learn from every experience he can have. Like Man Child, he earned this opportunity, was blessed with several acceptances and excellent offers, and he’s headed off with a full scholarship and strong values to help him navigate the pitfalls of high school–cause after all, it’s still high school.

During these anxiety ridden days of preparation I ask myself why I’m doing this.  I have friends who wonder why I’m doing this, even as they’ve seen the positives through Man Child. Believe me, life is easier with the two of them home, they make me laugh, they help with Flower Child, they help with the heavy lifting of life in the city. Because I believe it’s my job as a parent.  To help them see what’s out there, what they can strive for, and how to find and make use of opportunities, so their adult lives will (hopefully) be easier than mine and Husband’s. My kids don’t have a lot of stuff, they know all about living on a tight budget, and they don’t arrive in their dorms with fabulous matching everything and the latest in clothing trends. They arrive with strength, faith, and hope.  I expect them to do the “right” thing because it’s the right thing, even though it’s often the more difficult choice. The least I can do is the same.

Hogwarts

Hogwarts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*Editing for clarity: Boarding school isn’t right for every kid, nor is it right for every family. For us, it seems to have been the best choice for both boys, I don’t assume the same is true for all.