Monday, June 27, 2011

Picture pages... Maiya's Kindergarten field trip edition

Maiya and her BFF :)

they had only said like 10,000 times do not touch him on his face. good job mom.

rare camel with blue eyes
rare sleeping fat baby.

chillin till the next petting session.

bad mom. bad mom.

My little Ella with the gate in question.
Ella's layers of fashion.

Yes. Its true. I am a bad mom. sigh.

This is the story of how I let my little one's hair catch on fire by a candle:

We were living in Virginia Beach in a little tiny house - something like 960 square feet. Ya know the size of most gamerooms around here.
Sometimes I think of it quite fondly though - it had all tile, and a big yard and a mature tree that we had a little sandbox under. We found snakes in the yard a couple of times (that was fun) and Zeke lazed in the sun. I had a little garden that was so cute but failed miserably - because I did not know about Square foot gardening.

Anywho, one day my good friend from high school was coming to visit our little home and I wanted it to look half way decent, so I spent a couple hours cleaning everything, then I lit a candle on the table, SHUT THE BABY GATE TO THE KITCHEN.

And went to go fold ONE load of clothes on my bed.

Little Ben and Ella were watching Cyberchase.

On the next to last towel to fold I heard shrieks and Ben met me running saying very non chalant "Ella is on fire mommy"

I got there to see flames dancing on the bottom tendrils of her curls on one side of her face. I swooped her up and batting her head ran straight toward the bathroom jumped in the shower and turned it on both of us even though the fire was already out.

I still called 911 sopping wet, even though all was well, I was entering post traumatic blob status at this point.

She had a little tiny burn the size of a pencil eraser on the top of her ear. They still made me sign papers refusing treatment before they left. That made me feel like sh%^&*.

Turns out - this is what went down:

1. I left to go fold clothes.
2. Benjamin and Ella pushed over the ottoman to scale the gate.
3. Benjamin climbed up the computer desk in the kitchen to get the playdough.
4. Ella starts playing with playdough and leans forward dipping the side of her hair RIGHT into the candle.

moral of the story is: don't do laundry.

Just kidding - I rarely have candles burning these days- and when I do - they get blown out if I leave the room.

ps. years after the terrifying incident you will feel like a bad mom all over again in front of all the parents in your kids class.
Ella's class shared their autobiographies at Barnes and Noble in May.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why moms need to be good negotiators or just plain angry.

I waited till the school year was over to visit this controversy.
"Baker's best whistler"
Variety show performers!

so... Since we came to the Great State of Texas school system I have had to adjust to the constant competition.

Now don't get me wrong I try really, really hard to NOT be a helicopter mom. I think kids need a healthy amount of disappointment on a regular basis. In fact I just read this great article about how preventing disappointment and frustration in our children's lives causes depression in their adult lives. "How to land your kid in therapy"

I also once read that to have well adjusted kids, run out of something weekly. They will never take for granted that they can just have their favorite snack, juice, dessert, etc. With seven people and two pets I run out of things all the time.

But anyway back to the competition -- its all over the place at school.

UIL tryouts
UIL alternate (basically you practice with your UIL team the WHOLE time but the day of the competition one kid is only the alternate and they don't get to participate - heartbreaking)
UIL competition
Student Council
Yearbook club (yes there is a yearbook every year from elementary on up)
Soaring Eagle
School Play
Prizes for kids who get commended on TAKS - but nada if you get 'met standard'.
and then...

At the end of this school year they announced the first ever Baker Talent Show. And of course Ella wanted to be in it.

I quickly talked her out of a group performance - too much drama on the playground with other little divas.

I talked her into something simple and short.

Ella is an AMAZING whistler, I have literally googled whistling competitions in the past because there is nothing she can't whistle - nothing. So we picked three songs, she practiced whistling the chorus to each and we got our appointment slot for tryouts.

I thought tryouts were just a technicality - a way to make sure outfits, lyrics and lengths of performances were appropriate. I did not think in any way an open invitation to the school talent show would actually turn down kids.

Ella tried out - the judges said she did GREAT and we waited. Two weeks then the email came out that said those picked for the talent show would get a GOLDEN TICKET (yes like willy wonka), those not chosen would get a "Certificate of participation" yes please roll your eyes - I did.

I started to get the fear that they might actually reject kids, but no I told myself - they won't really do that - this is just to have kids experience auditions. Then the mail came.

I opened the manila envelope before Ella got home, just in case. and




No golden ticket.

She had been so excited everyday getting home - HAS THE MAIL COME YET? I knew she would ask as soon as she stepped in the door.

Before that happened I was on the phone with the Principal. Explaining how unacceptable it is to reject elementary age kids from a talent show. And I was quite shocked to be obviously responded to as if I was a helicopter mom. I got a nice "I am sorry for you to feel this way but this is an opportunity for you as a parent to teach your child appropriate avenues to deal with disappointment.

blink, blink.

excooooooose me?

I have resolved myself to kids bring rejected from all sorts of stuff at school. Not everyone can be on student council, Not everyone is a good speller, good at math, the best storyteller in UIL, etc.. But you can't open up the stage, invite kids to bring their best talent then say "OH sorry you are not good enough for our talent show - your talent is unworthy. This has crossed a line.

I thought about the possibility of a kindergartner getting a certificate of participation instead of a golden ticket and my heart sunk.

Then to have to still attend the talent show with your class - cruel.

So when the conversation got no where with the principal I called the Superintendent.

He agreed with me.

A meeting was scheduled with the principal.

Kyle phoned into the meeting. I kept my cool - even when the principal got short with me. I argued my case.

Specifically what do you tell your crying daughter when she says "I don't know what I did wrong" and you have nothing to say.

That meeting ended in a stalemate.

so I came home and wrote this letter:

I feel like I need to sum up how the meeting left us feeling. Overall I felt unheard and painted to be irrational. To start the meeting by saying that you can’t find other parents feeling the same way was insulting. Most parents are intimidated. And for you to be the one to approach them is not going to get honest feedback. It’s a cultural given that most people don’t want to rock the boat.

What we wanted from the meeting, which neither of us felt was accomplished, was for you to say as a principal you think it’s acceptable for kids in Elementary school to be told.

“You don’t have a talent in TALENT”

I have worked hard to help my children through the competitive system that Texas likes to force on young kids. My older son faced rejection numerous times in his first two years here: Student Council, UIL, UIL again, Art contests, not having his joke read in the morning announcements, etc.. By third grade he vowed he’d never try out for anything again. And much to my dismay he never has. It’s sad to have to weigh the chances of rejection for your child so frequently and try to build them up for naught.

Ella has a stronger determination to be involved at all costs. I am the one who has to weigh the risks involved. I never assumed in a million years that an elementary level talent show would be anything but a variety of acts and ‘auditions’ were only a technicality to assure appropriate acts. If I knew her heart needed to be ready for impersonal and outright rejection, I would have never supported it.

Its one thing to say “you may not be suited for/ have a talent for… spelling, swimming, art, basketball, etc...” But to say a panel of teachers watched your talent and deemed it unworthy is unacceptable.

She had several peers say “that’s not a talent Ella” and I assured her it most definitely was. But when she read her letter saying she would not be in the talent show every unkind thing that was said to her was validated.

I remain shocked that you think the benefit of having some children perform outweighs the heartache caused to other children.

And no matter how well Ella appeared yesterday she still cried quite a bit yesterday here at home. Even with me being as positive as I could be. I shudder to think of kids with less support feeling such pain.

And I haven’t heard her whistle since the letter came. I consider this damage unforgivable. But that seems a moot point since no apologies were really made.

Since you only intend to list the benefits of rejecting children’s talents – I have thought more about what I think needs to be done.

I think every child that was rejected should receive a real letter assuring them that they are talented above measure and there was not enough TIME for all acts. It should be signed by all the judges. If they are ok rejecting kids they should be able to apologize for it. The fact that you got anyone on board with this makes me ill.

Your saying repeatedly in the meeting yesterday that some kids just “SHINED” was so rude. Every elementary kids “SHINES” when they are pursuit of something. To deem some kids’ talents as real talents is crushing and demeaning to the others.

Not to mention saying that to the mother of a rejected student, was like trying to remind me over and over that my child’s performance didn’t amount to much in comparison.

And then to ask near the end of the meeting if we felt like outside judges would help?? Were you listening at all? WE DON’T THINK ITS APPROPRIATE TO BE JUDGED

As far as next year:

I don’t see the need for a talent show at all. But if it’s something that will be done anyway: It should be a variety show where every kid who has the nerve to perform gets that chance. They feel rejection of the world soon enough – especially if they are in Prosper ISD – why rush that experience even more?

Or it can be something on a larger scale with all elementary schools and then rejection wouldn’t feel so personal coming from your own school, own teachers and you have to go sit and watch the kids who were “better” than you. We could choose to audition and choose to attend or not.

This may seem trivial but it is not – I have an entirely different view of the school. That you did consider that this would upset some and forged ahead with the plans has given me a sense of cruelty I have never had before of this school and since I still have two more children to attend there I am crushed.

Janie Oyakawa

Later that day I got this email:

Dear Parents:
Your child is invited to showcase their talent, which was performed at their audition recently, at the Baker Variety Show on Wednesday, May 25 @ 1:30 pm for grades Kindergarten - 3rd.
There will not be a dress rehearsal or practice sessions for the variety show. Your child will need to come to school ready to perform during this time with costumes and props needed.
If you choose for your child NOT to perform at this time, please send me an email letting me know by this Friday, May 20.
If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact me at your convenience.
And remember....practice, practice, practice!!!
Enjoy your day.

So Ella performed in the first Baker Variety show a few days before the first ever Baker Talent Show.
I'll be on high alert next year to see how this issue is handled.
I am glad that in the end my concerns were heard and changes were made. I thought the Variety show was awesome. Not a single performer was unprepared, the crowd seemed to love it and the performers were all grins at the final bow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Maiya is SIX !!!!!!!!!!!!

you on your first birthday.

Dear Maiya,
My tiniest baby.
this is right from the email Dad sent to everyone:
Born June 21, 2005 at 3:25pm
7 pounds 8 ounces
20 inches long
I had gestational cholestasis at the end with you.
The major risk was stillbirth.
I still remember you being laid on my chest healthy.
I chanted over and over again:
"I was so worried"
"I am glad you are ok"

Daddy, Grandma and Aunt Beth were at your birth. Aunt Beth had never seen a baby be born. She was very excited. And a little shocked that I breastfed you RIGHT after you were born. She thought I'd give you a day to adjust first LOL.

You are our little summer solstice baby.

I love your spunk

I love that you are so much like your Aunt Meg its scary/funny.

You hate cleaning.
You LOVE art.
Anything is art to you: stickers, water, soap, ripped up paper, food.
You are good at making friends.

I loved how on field day you held your best friend Aprils hand the entire time.

You are so sweet and we are so blessed to have you in our family.

Blog Book coupon

Remember my blog book?

Maybe I'll be able to order the rest of mine now :)

coupon goes till July 6th

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thank you...

So I was kind of into the Osbournes way back when their reality show was on, Total crap I know, but strangely entertaining crap at times. Anyway, there was this time when they had their whatever anniversary it was and they spent way too much money to make a spectacle of their strange marriage and by the end of the night Ozzy was face down in the bathroom too drunk to barely remember that he was even married.

But... before that end, he and Sharon exchanged a toast - and I remember Sharon in her amazingly cool british accent saying "thank you Ozzy for my babies" and she choked up and then started crying. I was totally bawling watching a crappy reality TV show.

I hear her voice sometimes when I think of my cute family and the wonderful man that is the Father of this here crazy gang.

Thank you Kyle for my babies.

Thank you for being such a good Dad, a steadfast provider, a keeper of Covenants, my best friend, and a wonderful loving husband. I couldn't do it without you, but even if I could I'd never, ever want to. I love you.






Saturday, June 11, 2011

It was hot... but fun.



we went here:
It was beautiful and the woods reminded me of Virginia and the Pine trees in Ponchatoula LA - Pine trees will always remind me of my Maw-maw's house - her driveway was a bed of pine needles.
we stayed in a screened shelter - can't beat the price. But that is about all you can't beat. Everything else is a little lacking - but it works!
Making breakfast:

Hickory guarding the site - really he wasn't - he was complete chicken s** the whole time, especially when the raccoons came around at night
The very best part of being there:
the water was so clear - you could see straight to the bottom even eight feet deep.

Junk food is ok when you are camping right - offset by walking a 1/4 mile everytime you need to go to the bathroom and swimming all day right?
my man chilling in the "kitchen"
Meg and her fiance Justin - who bravely came camping with us!
Camping can be EXHAUSTING for mom and dad.
Justin our cuddly bodyguard!
I think you outgrew that Maiya
Hickory's apartment complete with fan when we'd head to the lake

He could drag her through the woods but luckily didn't
one of our favorite camp dinners: faJeetas
Our night time guests:
Early morning fishing (with scaredy cat Hickory):

Maiya was good at catching roly-polys

and feeding them breakfast:

Banana Boats - our fav camping dessert.
Hickory dug up a cool spot:
peace out!