Educating the Educators

Since 2002 and Preschool in Carrollton, I have been fighting for daughter #3 in school situations.

Trying to open teachers and administrators eyes to the fact that not all gifted students are loquacious. Trying to educate them about how to meet the needs of a student that might be slightly different. Pushing teachers to “do their job” and maybe work a bit harder to rethink how they teach instead of teaching every year/class the same ol’ way.

 

Watching her flourish under the great teachers – Kindergarten teacher in Carrollton, 3rd grade teacher at Seville, and 5th grade gifted teacher in Westfield.

 

We have butted heads with some teachers more than others: preschool in Carrollton, 1st grade in Lodi, and most notably 10th grade English in Perry.

 

I know that some of you probably think that we are “enabling” her and not allowing her to succeed or fail on her own. Some of you probably think that we should FORCE her to talk by letting her fail. Believe me, we have tried almost everything.  We tried the force… we tried bribery… we tried bargaining… we did it all.  What works is acceptance and educating the educators.

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Today  again I (we) are faced with another battle.  I am so exhausted by this.   I am no longer tolerant (was I ever really?) of the educators that think they know better than the parents who have lived and worked and learned how best to encourage her to be her best.

 

I am thankful for an “old” friend who suddenly reappeared in my life a couple years ago (via Facebook) who is a professional who deals with this kind of thing and gave us invaluable advice and support at a time when we needed it dearly.

 

Did I say that I’m exhausted?  I am.  This is so draining.  This school year has been remarkably uneventful for her, but now the issue rises again in anticipation of her Senior year of High School.   I really can’t take it any more. Can’t we all just play nice, get her graduated and let her go off to college?

 

Adding this exhausting emotional situation to all the other crap in my life, leaves me beyond exhausted but knowing I have to continue on.  One foot in front of the other.   I need someone to take care of me,  I feel so alone almost all the time.

 

Thankfully, daughter #3 has always been surrounded with WONDERFUL friends who accept her and understand her and include her and work with her. We were worried when we moved away from that group of friends she had been with from Kindergarten through 5th grade. She has found an equally (or maybe even better) group of friends at our current school.  So good, in fact, that she has more of a social life than her 2 older sisters ever had in High School.    She has parties/gatherings almost every weekend with them.

 

I have no doubt that she will succeed in college.  Either she will find her voice (she is getting ever closer) or she will find her words to take responsibility for this disease on herself.

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Late Night Phone Calls

No one likes to get a late night/early morning phone call.  Anything after 9pm and before 9am would fall in that category, IMHO.

 

I have gotten them… don’t like them.  They are usually some sort of crisis or bad news.

 

Last night I got one.  Well, OK… I should say I didn’t get it.

 

Apparently, my phone rang at 2:30am, but I was sleeping and didn’t hear it.  It rang again at 2:49am and I did hear it but didn’t get to it in time.  The phone said “no caller ID info.”

 

Now… what does your mind do?  Race… what is wrong, who is hurt?  I have a child that is out of the state on a trip…. did she get bit by a rattle snake?  fall off a cliff?  get stung by a scorpion?  Drop her phone in a volcano?

 

However, my brain starts to work properly and reason it out…. “no caller ID info”… OK… everyone that is on the trip with her would have caller ID on their phones, the hospital would,  so would the police… the teacher… the other students…

 

BUT… my brain says…. they called back … maybe I should wait 15-20 minues to see if they call again… of course, I cannot fall back to sleep until well after 3am waiting for that call.

 

It is really early in California/Nevada… but I kinda need that child to check in today.     🙂

 

I’m pretty sure she is fine.

Shopping

I don’t like shopping for clothes.  I don’t like shopping for shoes.

I don’t like shopping for food.  Shopping always gives me the blues.

 

Sometimes you have to go shopping.  Your child might need new jeans.

You might need some new hiking boots, tennis shoes, or even green beans.

 

Your child will grow and need new dress pants for band.

The searching and trying on and waiting, I just cannot stand.

 

Take all 4 of them along and they will bicker and tease.

Someone else take them shopping, oh please, pretty please!

 

I love my 4 daughters, I absolutely do.

But after shopping for hours, I’d sell them to you.

 

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I have never liked shopping.  Not even as a teenager.  I prefer to just go in, get what I need and get home.  Yesterday we had to go shopping for several things.

 

Daughter #1 was really just along for the ride and the free lunch.  Oh… and to maybe creep on daughter #3’s “boyfriend.”  She did end up getting 2 dresses from the resale shop and a pair of shorts for work at Kohls.  She also supplied the coupon codes for BOGO free at Cold Stone Creamery.

 

Daughter #2 needed jeans for her geology fieldtrip to the desert.  She got those.  And then proceeded to complain the rest of the time that she didn’t get any dresses or blah, blah, blah…. she could have looked at them too.  *sigh*  She did get some wool socks (reluctantly) for her trip as well.

 

Daughter #3 didn’t NEED anything.  She was along for the free lunch and promise of ice cream.  She ended up getting a couple dresses from the resale shop and a shirt off clearance at Kohls.  Of course she had to endure the teasing from her sisters on how she is the “favorite” and I always buy her anything she wants….   *eye rolling*

 

Daughter #4 needed brown shorts for under her costume for the choir concert and black dress pants.  She whined the whole time that she didn’t like the polo shirt we had purchased weeks ago for the choir concert.  She found the shorts and another t-shirt at the resale shop.  She found a NEW polo shirt she liked (or could tolerate) at Kohls (it is basically the same color as the other one… WHATEVER).  Dress pants…. UGH… she found some but they were $32.  I was NOT paying $32 for  a pair of black dress pants to be worn 3-4 times before they were too small.  So we did 3 more laps around Kohls and she tried on some other ones but nothing fit.  At that point she was reminded by daughter #3 that she wore her pants last time and why didn’t she do that again.  *face palm*   SERIOUSLY!!  Why did I just spend almost 2 hours in the store looking for pants when we had some at home she could wear????????

 

We were definitely going for ice cream after that!  I needed it.

 

If you think you enjoy shopping.  Please take ALL 4 of my daughters with you sometime.  You will be cured!

 

We did take Grandma along and usually she is able to keep everyone calmer.  However, she wasn’t feeling the best so she had stayed in the car to rest/nap.

 

 

 

 

Reflections from 4 years

g12c000000000000000110788669b514916cdde1e2117c088701662408cIt has now been 4 years since my life was irreparably changed.  Yes, NOT repairable,  incapable of being rectified, remedied, or made good.  I could explain again how one person shouldn’t have had the power to do that… but this is more reflections on where we’ve come in 4 years.

  1.  We are NOT done grieving.  I am NOT done grieving.  I’m not certain I ever will be.  As I have said before, the life I had was  a life I wanted and it was forcibly removed from me and I had no say in the matter.
  2. We are trying to just live life as best we can.  Some days/weeks/months it is more of a struggle than we’d like.  We, unfortunately, now know how Food Stamps work… and unemployment.. .and the atrocities of Medicaid/Obamacare.
  3. I would say that we are still in survival mode.  I wish this wasn’t so, but I’m not certain how to get out of it.  I wish that we were thriving… but when you are always conscious of every penny and you have to think twice before you can buy a t-shirt for your child at a band competition… or swim meet…and you sometimes visit a food bank… that is not thriving.   I love the game/show Survivor.  Honestly, I would rather have done that for 39 days than live this life for the last 4 years…. burnt rice, bug bites, back stabbing and all.
  4. Our family unity is reaching all time lows.  I try… I really do… but it is hard.  I do my best to provide the younger 2 kids the things that the older ones took for granted, but it is harder and harder.  We no longer eat meals together at the table very often which I prided myself in doing.  We have often struggled with this during swim season (with conflicting practice schedules) but we really made an effort regardless.

There are some things that my heart still grieves for… things that “fueled” me… that gave me hope, that filled my soul, that encouraged me, that helped to give me purpose, that bonded our family…  those things I cannot get back in our current state of life.  Honestly, I do not have hope that I will ever do those things again.

  1. leading VBS – encouraging the teachers, teaching the songs, helping with the crafts, organizing it all into one cohesive event, sharing the message with the congregation/parents.
  2. Preparing a Christmas pageant/Program with the children/youth.  I have several fabulous Christmas pageant musicals that I envisioned being able to use over and over again with various congregations.  Fun songs, cute donkeys, wise men that crack jokes, “Haste” the shepherd, “Lo” the angel… helping the children learn some new Christmas songs and some old ones.  Giving them a fresh perspective on the Christmas story.
  3. Putting together a fun Children’s Musical.  Again, I have several of these that I truly planned on using again.  They are such fun.  Hard work for both me and the kids, but with such great messages and it gives the children a chance to be the star and to worship their  way.
  4. Being part of a choir.  When we first had to move on, I asked the choir director where we are attending if we could just show up on Sunday’s during the run through time and sing with them, that we had lots of church choir experience and most likely we had sung the song before, or a close version.  We were not able to attend the midweek practices due to the kids schedules and the distance.  He was going to think about it… yeah… 4 years later his silence speaks volumes!  I feel like that if he had just taken a chance, it would have helped in our healing process.
  5. I miss being part of a community that loves me, wants me, encourages me, needs me, respects me, supports me, loves my kids, and blesses us.

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Where are we today?

Unfortunately, a job that I loved ended in June.  I am currently working at a job, I’m not completely happy with.  I feel like I was forced to take this job because I needed  to have a job.

I am doing my best to take care of home and family.  I feel like I fail at that a lot.  I hope that my younger kids understand that I tried the best I could.  That even though their life is significantly different from the life they (and their older sisters) were used to, I have tried.

I am still leading Girl Scout Troops.  I enjoy that and it is a nice outlet for me to encourage those girls as I have encouraged over 100 girls over the years.

I am knitting/crocheting more these days – for multiple reasons – to fill the time, to distract my mind, to bless others.

The girls are all doing well.  They are excelling in school.  They are making wise decisions and being responsible young adults.

Wayne has finally found another job (he was unemployed AGAIN this year for 6 months).

I know that most of you (99%+) of you don’t fully comprehend what we have gone through… are going through… but I do appreciate your kind words, cards, and prayers.    It has been a tough 4 years.   I’m not sure I see a light at the end of this tunnel, but my night vision is getting better and I am making my way through it as best I can.

Disappointment as the Norm?

Lately it seems that disappointment is the norm in my life.

I am disappointed with my place of former employment… I’m disappointed with people in my family… I’m disappointed with myself… I’m disappointed with friends… I’m disappointed with how people respond/react to me and my family…

Why?  I suppose that it could be my own perspective.  I suppose some would tell me that I need to have a cheery/rosy outlook and it really is all in how I perceive things.  In some ways, that could be true.

But could it also be true that society has gotten to the place where it is all about “me.”  We no longer seem to care what others think and/or feel.   We do what we want, say what we want, not caring how it will impact others or how it will change someone’s world.

Yes, we have gotten to that point.  Society, in general is very egocentric.  It is all about what you can do for me.  What I can get out of you.  How I can get the most out of doing the least.  Which is very sad.

Maybe I am naive, but that is not how I believe or behave (or try to behave).    I try to help others.  I try to put others first.  What can I do for YOU?  I don’t mind hard work.   I know that this sometimes leads to me being taken advantage of… and thus disappointed.  I think of myself AFTER others…. which in many cases results in.. disappointment.

What can I do about it?  What can I do to stop being constantly disappointed in others?

1.  I could become hardened and egocentric and look out only for myself.

2.  I could not care about other people and their feelings.  I could become calloused to others.

3.  I could lower my standards and not expect much from people so therefore they can’t disappoint me.

4.  I could continue to be disappointed, holding on to my principles that helping others is the better way to go — ooops, that won’t stop the disappointment.

I guess I am going to choose to continue to be disappointed.  Of course, there are times when I look out for myself and gird myself to withstand the disappointment.   However, I guess I just need to somehow accept that I WILL be disappointed by others – ALL THE TIME.  I will be taken advantage of, I will be overlooked, I will be dismissed, I will be looked down upon.   If only, all of that didn’t hurt so much.

I’m not really sure of the point of this blog post today.  I was hit with another major disappointment this weekend, on top of a big one last week, not to mention all of them in the last 5 years.  I am getting weary.  I will pull myself up by my bootstraps (what exactly are bootstraps?) and trundle on.  What else can I do?  If I get angry, no one listens or believes me or seems to care, so that is almost worthless.  Besides, I don’t do confrontation.

disappointmentThere are some shining lights in my world right now.  Some of the people at my (now defunct) work have been fabulous!  Some of the people in my life – mostly those involved with Girl Scouts – have been fabulous.  I wish I could say the same for people in organized religion.

I realize that not everyone disappoints me.  However, when it is people/places/organizations that disappoint me that are very, very dear to me, it hurts deeply.  I suppose, that I hold them to a higher standard and I really shouldn’t.   However, when you want the best from everyone and know that they could do better….

The argument could be made… that the fault is mine.  I bring the disappointment on myself by having too high of expectations and standards.  I don’t feel like that should be a bad thing.  This world is so far removed from good behavior, manners, common courtesy, common sense, graciousness… it is very sad that I might be questioning lowering my own standards to come in line with the world.

Just a melancholy, raining Sunday morning…. headed out to clean in the garage now.  Maybe the physical activity will help.

Assured Clear Distance

Assured Clear Distance – you know… that space you leave between your car and the car in front of you so you have enough space/road to bring your car to a safe stop if you must do so quickly.

If you rear-end someone, you are usually sited for not having an assured clear distance.

I almost always leave a nice assured clear distance between me and the car in front of me.  Remember in driver’s training we were taught to count a certain number of seconds (I think it was 3?) from when the car in front of you passed a stationary object to when you did and that would be a safe distance.  Do they still teach that??

Since I now drive 30+ miles daily to work on the interstate, I have a new definition of assured clear distance.

Assured Clear Distance is the space I leave between my van and the vehicle in front of me that everyone else thinks is a space left open for them to pull into …because going around me gets them there sooooo much faster, especially when I am going the exact same speed as the car, that I was a safe distance from, in front of me.  Which then means I must slow down a bit to re-establish my assured clear distance with the new vehicle in front of me.

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I can hardly wait till winter when I’ll get to drive the interstate with these crazies in the snow!  Oh the joy that will bring!

Berated at Big Lots

You know how some days you can handle anything and then others… well… today was one of those.

I took Lydia to drivers ed class and stopped at Big Lots on the way home.  I mainly went there to check on cat litter and if they had soft kitten food (they didn’t).  I also figured that I could wander the aisles and find some cheap snacks and such to have on hand now that school is done for the summer.

I had a full cart.  Only one register was open and I waited in line for probaby 10 minutes.  When I got to the register, I took some of the items and placed them on the counter.  The cashier says to me:  “Do you mind if the person behind you goes first, they only have on item.”

I sighed and said, “I suppose.”  I then picked up my items that were on the counter, put them back in the cart and backed up.  I had not looked back to see who it was behind me.

It was a white male with attitude.  He then began his tirade – talking to the cashier but really talking to me.

This is what is wrong with this world.  Miss (meaning me – but I’m pretty sure I’m a Mrs.)  you are so rude.  I don’t really want this anymore.  I will just go.  

He then placed his jug of laundry detergent down on a shelf near the register and started to stomp to the door.  All this time I am just standing there with my full cart.  I didn’t move, I didn’t say anything.  He gets halfway to the door and says.

NO!  I do want to get it.

He comes back and picks it up and proceeds to the register.  I still haven’t moved.  The tirade then becomes even better.

I hope that next time you are in line, no one lets you go in front of them.  I hope that no one ever helps you.  If you are on the side of the road with a flat tire or out of gas.  I hope that no one stops and no one comes to help you.  

At this point, I think he suddenly thinks that maybe I’m so poor that I can’t afford a car or something.  I am dressed for work, so I don’t feel like I look like someone destitute.  I have a cart full of groceries.  Yes, I supposed I could be paying with food stamps.  Yes, this Big Lots is in a poor section of town and is probably frequented by “those” people regularly.  I so rarely go to Big Lots, even though I know that you can get decent deals there.  It was just on the way home from the Driver’s Ed class, that is why I stopped there.  Anyways… he now says…

I hope if you need bus fare no one will give you any.

He continued on and on and on while he was checking out with his one item of laundry detergent.

As he left the building, I said to the cashier.  “And that is why I rarely shop here.”

I realize he is a jack-a** and I shouldn’t let it bother me, but it did.  It still brings tears to my eyes now writing about it 4 hours later.    A couple things come to mind though.

1.  The cashier shouldn’t have asked me let someone go in front of me.  If I had seen a person with one item and volunteered, that is different.

2.  I had already stood in line for quite a while and I shouldn’t have to give up my spot, even to a person with one item.  UM… maybe more than one register could have been open???

3.  What happened to “ladies first?”  As a gentleman, shouldn’t he have said to the cashier, “No, that is fine, I’m not in a hurry.”   Apparently he was in a hurry, to be rude and unkind and berate a stranger he knows nothing about.

I didn’t say anything to him.  I just stood there, where I backed away from the register.  I really feel like I didn’t have a choice.  I could have told her no, but then he probably would have been even more irate and who knows, maybe violent.

Goodness.  I never complain when I am standing in a line.  Virtually NEVER.  If I have 2 items or 30 items,  I just wait my turn.  I do get highly irritated by the people who can’t seem to count to 20 for the “20 items or less” lines.  But I don’t say anything.

I don’t do confrontation well at all.  I am not able to formulate appropriate responses/come backs.

I hope that by berating me, it helped him feel more like a man.  I must assume that he was having a bad day.  Maybe his wife/girlfriend/mother/daughter had yelled at him to go get laundry detergent.    I seem to recall my mother telling me something like:  putting others down, doesn’t bring you up.   Though, I don’t know how berating a woman really classifies him as a man.   

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Just an FYI, I would NEVER buy laundry detergent at Big Lots, I love my Tide too much!!!