Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm Back!

Now where was I?

Oh, that email....

Party Mama never did respond.

I didn't think she would.

I ran into her a few times at school and she never acknowledged my or my kid's existence. There was even a time when she and I and our kids both waited outside the locked classroom one afternoon waiting for someone to come retrieve left lunch boxes for us and she didn't even glance in our direction. I didn't even know her name until I received the email.

I may have mentioned it before, but Jacob's first grade class consisted of all the kid's from Mrs. G's kindergarten class and then four kids from Jacob's kindergarten class. All of the kids and mamas from Mrs. G's class had an entire year to form relationships and bonds and the rest of us, well, we expected to fall right in as we did in our own kindergarten class, but it just never happened. There was a leader mama who tried to control everything, who spent every waking moment in that school, whose son never missed a day, who drove Jacob's teacher absolutely crazy, and for whatever reason, the rest of Mrs. G's old class just fell right on in behind her. She decided pretty quickly that the straggler four and their families would not be tolerated, and while she gave a sweet, fake face around administrators, there was no denying that we weren't welcome in a place she considered her turf. It was like Heathers only sadder because, uh, we're adults now.

So Party Mama and Leader Mama are tight and their boys are good friends. Party Mama's son is a little shit, for lack of a better term. He's the same kid who wouldn't say hello to him in the parking lot. The one who wrote "Dere Jacob. You Ar Rood!!!" in that special autograph book that Leader Mama insist they all have on the last day. I threw it away. The one who stood up and turned his back while Jacob was giving his show-and-tell presentation (the teacher tore him a new one). Leader Mama's boy is a pretty decent little kid, surprising since I have no idea where he learned it. He's nice to Jacob and told him he wanted to invite Jacob to his party but he couldn't because his mom wouldn't allow it, you know, because only last year's class could come. But, the fact that Party Boy and Leader Boy are such good friends, I doubt Jacob will be treated as nicely this year, especially since their Mamas don't really value kindness. Yes, some of the kids aren't real friendly to mine, but most of the rudeness comes from the mothers.

This is my biggest issue with Jacob's school. That's the key phrase I guess, My issue. Jacob loves his school and wants to continue going there for as long as we can finance it. Aside from some petty parents, I like the school, too. The classes are small, the teachers are dedicated, and the curriculum is very challenging which is just what Jacob needs right now. Last fall, he was bullied incessantly for about a month before he ever let me in on what was causing his bedtime breakdowns. Somebody's sweet baby decided during afternoon recesses, Jacob needed "punishing" and over the course of this time eventually got the rest of the class to "punish" him as well with promises of their own beatings if they did not comply with his demands. As far as I've been told, there were only three instances of actual assault in the form of a rock to the head and some shoving, but the verbal stingers, the teasing, the shunning from his classmates, that still sticks with him. The best I can guess is that bully-boy wasn't too bright and my kid happens to be pretty bright so he was "punished" for being a weirdo show-off. Whatever. Once I found out what was happening, I met with the teacher the next day to give her a heads up because the dumb ass kid was smart enough to wreak his wrath when the kids were being watched by some obviously blind woman babysitting on the playground. My intention was to arrange to meet with bully-parents and let them know their angel wasn't so being so angelic, I just wanted Mrs. W. to know ahead of time in case they called her wanting to know what was up. I left messages with bully-parents and shot a couple of emails requesting their presence and then three days later received a typed two page letter from them in Jacob's folder letting us know that the teacher had contaced them and that they were extremely sorry their child had caused ours so much harm and that he would be dealt with and to call if it happened again. A week later that kid left the private school. Something about his parents feeling the public school would be a better place for him, but rumor has it Mrs. W. took it to the administration who confronted the family and in a round about way let them now they didn't think that school was the best fit for their kid.

That is why I keep my kid at that school.

It's hard enough sending your baby off for seven hours a day let alone know you're sending him to a place where he feels helpless and alone. My kid is weird. I hate to say that, but to many other kids, he is. As his school years progress, I am sure there will be many more bullies. I know I need to teach him how to deal with such bullies, but he's only seven. He loves school. I don't want some bad experiences with rotten kids clouding his enthusiasm for learning and socializing. Public schools are just not able to deal with bullies in the same way private schools can. I know this because I dealt with a few as a teacher and the harshest punishment any of them received was finishing their daily work in the principal's office. In her empty office. And then bullying the same kids on the bus on the way home. I just don't think he would be as safe at our neighborhood school as he feels now.

I thought maybe the reason the other parents hate us was because of the bully incident, but that wouldn't really explain why they are just as rude to the other four's parents or why they started the year excluding us in August and the incident went down in December. It could be any number of reasons and, honestly, it's just not worth my thinking about it that much.

I have made some pretty solid relationships with most of the kindergarten Mamas. There are ten of us left and we try to get together, do things, chit-chat, complain about how horrible it is that we've been separated, and I am thankful for those connections. These women, and husbands and kids, know my kid, know his quirks, and love him just the same.

So, no, Jacob won't be switching schools this year.

Especially now that we're 9/10 of a mile away from it.

Like my dad always said, "You can't make people like you and you can't be friends with everyone."

At least it's not as bad as preschool!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Life Gets in the Way....

At least with my blogging these days.

I made a last minute decision to bring the kids up to the lake and have been here about a week. Jacob was still so sad about Anna moving and we really didn't have anything that important to do at home, so I thought I'd play nice Mama and let him spend some quality time with her before her family moves away.

The internet isn't great at the lake and, to be quite honest, I haven't really had the desire to connect the past few days. We spend the early mornings enjoying the day riding bicycles and making chalk masterpieces before the hundred-ten degree heat chases us inside and the kids play Webkinz and pretend school while I veg out in the dark catching marathons of Deadliest Catch and The Next Food Network Star (Lisa, you were robbed, girl!) After suppers I do not cook, we head back outside and watch the kids play and have snow-cones and ice cream bars until well after ten every night. There are only three families in this little neighborhood so we don't bother anyone with our noise and I feel safer letting them run free knowing their chances of meeting a car or a crazy person are pretty low. In fact, coming here reminds me of my own youth, our own old neighborhood, so I'm always glad to let my kids experience it a little bit. Anna finally taught Jacob how to ride his big bike. I am thrilled for him, but it's bittersweet watching him roll away down the street, side by side with "his girl". Today it's a bike and a friend, tomorrow's it's a car and a girlfriend. That has made me slow down and savor this time with them. I know next week, once Anna leaves and we pack it up and head back to the city, things will change and we'll be back to the grind, but for now we will enjoy this and make good memories.

And good memories are all we'll make because in addition to leaving my computer at home, I also left my camera. And my video camera. So just imagine some cool pictures of happy kids with chocolate faces riding bikes and having fun.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What is Wrong With People?

I just got an email from the mother of one of Jacob's classmates, I shall paste it here for you:

"Hey everybody, I have talked to some of you but would like to know just how many are coming to the party Saturday. Can you just shoot me and e-mail and let me know how many you will bring. Thanks so much. I need to know how much pizza and stuff to get.


Hmmm. I don't recall receiving an invitation to any party on Saturday. Nope. Definitely no invitation.

Gee lady, if you're not going to invite everyone on the class list to the party, you might want to be sure to delete them from your mass email list as well before you send out such a letter.

So, yeah, that kinda pissed me off and I immediately shot this back without thinking about it too much:

"I don't believe we received an invitation to the party, but I just wanted to let you know that we wouldn't be there. I know how frustrating it is when people don't RSVP. I hope you all have a wonderful time without us."

Gee. I just can't WAIT for school to start again.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fifteen Months

Dear Elizabeth,

How is it you are fifteen months already?

Wasn't it just yesterday you were this lumpy, new baby?

And didn't you used to have black hair?

I meant to write this when you turned one, but there was that birthday party and then your dad's birthday, and then they crammed all that stuff into the last week of school, oh, and you know, we moved. That was time consuming. And the unpacking. Ay. The unpacking. So, I'm three months late. You are the third child. I think it's something you'll need to get used to.

You started walking at thirteen months and it took you a month to master it. Where the boys took their steps and were running by the end of the day, you took your sweet time trying to decide if it was worth it. I think maybe you were waiting for your shoes because you must have your shoes on all. day. long. I see you admiring yourself in them in the mirror and tapping them on the hard floor with such joy on your face. Shoes. Who knew?

You've been signing for about six months now, but for the past few weeks you've been talking, too. The words you say are: Mama, Daddy, Am (Adam), Bub-bub (Jacob), kee (kitty), shoes, poo (pool), ba (bath), pees (please), mine, yes, and this. This is your catch phrase. You point at things and ask "this?" to ask about things you want to know about and you say "this!" if you see something you must have. It is very cute even in the grocery store when you're screaming at the cookies at the top of your lungs disturbing the old bitty ladies who are trying to shop in peace. I know you are saying other words, I just haven't figured them out yet.

The cell phone is the one way I can quell your screaming in public places.

You are a teeny peanut of a girl. You're still wearing six month clothes and size two diapers and your shoes are size three. I bought lots of pretty twelve and eighteen month dresses on super-duper clearance last summer that I would love to see you wear some day. You'd look mighty silly wearing a tropical sun dress in the middle of winter, girl, but if that's the way it has to be, so be it. At least your little self can still fit easily into the sling because that's your favorite way to travel. I love to carry you in the sling and I know I'll be sad when you get too big for it.

Fridge DJ is your favorite toy. Now that you can't play with it on the refrigerator (dern stainless!) you carry it around with you. You have figured out how to find your favorite tune and when you do, you stop and dance to it. The boys never did figure out how to dance. Maybe it's a girl thing? You are also very fond of underwear. This worries me just a bit.

You are more of a monkey than both the boys combined. I must watch you with an eagle eye or else who knows where you might end up. You climb out of strollers, high chairs, grocery carts, and once, the car seat. I still don't know how you maneuvered that one. Your wily peanutiness serves you well young padawan, but please stop doing it in public places because the authorities may start calling if the old ladies have anything to say about it.

And please baby, baby, please stop doing that. It isn't funny.

My dear girl. Sixteen months ago I had convinced myself that you were a boy and I was happy. My three sons. I was ready. I didn't need a girl. I cried when the doctor said you were a girl. Mostly because I was hormonally thrilled, but partly because I was scared to death. What would I do with a girl? Well, I'm still trying to figure that out, but sweet Goose, honestly, what would I have done without you girl?

Don't grow up too fast.

Lub, Mama

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Version of Writer's Block

Enjoy this because it took me forever to finish it!

My creation
Originally uploaded by andriawvu

You can do it too all you need to do is:

Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
Using only the first page, pick an image.
Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker).
My Answers:

What is your first name? Andria

What is your favorite food? Fried Dumplings

What college did you go to? West Virginia University

What is your favorite color? green

Who is your celebrity crush? The guy who plays Jim on "The Office"

Favorite drink? Pepsi

Dream vacation? Bar Harbor, Maine

Favorite dessert? creme brulee

What you want to be when you grow up? a photographer would be nice

What do you love most in life? my kids

One Word to describe you. Mom

Your flickr name. andriawvu

Thanks for the idea, Sherry!

Photos by:

1. Octagon in circle view - Castel del Monte (Andria - Puglia - Italy), 2. Golden goodness, 3. P1010572.JPG, 4. Green apple, 5. Heheh Jim from the Office, 6. Pepsi logo 1970's, 7. The Bar Harbor Inn, 8. Crème Brulée, 9. LEGO Photographers, 10. Christmas Eve, 11. Antique Plaque-Mother, 12. WVU Stadium

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Shoes. Mine.

I do not like shoes.

There. I've said it.

If I could go everywhere without shoes, I would. And yes, I realize you're all making West Virginia jokes in your mind right now, but I was born in Texas and I've always felt this way.

I know that I am in the minority as there are many of you out there for whom shoes are a type of therapy, or at least I've heard of this in the many synapses of S*x and the City. I just don't get that. Not that there's anything wrong with it.

I currently possess only six pairs of shoes. Four pairs of sandals, a pair of acceptable wintery loafers, and a pair of tennis shoes that have been in my possession for nine years and still look brand spanking new because, well, I really, really hate socks.

I did not inherit this trait from my mother because she just had to part with twenty good pairs all because there weren't room for them in her teensy new closet and I wouldn't take them.

I have subconsciously, though, tried to pass this on to my children I guess because shopping for kid's shoes is very low on my list of good ways to spend an afternoon.

But my mother came over for the day yesterday and insisted we buy poor Elizabeth a pair of shoes because, alas, she has never had any.

Nope, she's never had a pair of shoes in her whole life. Fourteen months old and still toddling around on her bare feet. I didn't see a problem with it. I mean, she wasn't even walking two months ago, why did she need shoes? The old ladies at the supermarket never ceased to remind me that she shouldn't be out in the oh, so cold Texas winter of 50 degrees without shoes. Never mind that she was snug as a warm bug in the sling, but dang, there was a teeny toe poking out, frostbite was imminent! Someone call the authorities stat! When I meet my friend for our weekly library date, she always says, "Elizabeth, did you lose your shoes?" and I know she really means, "Geez, buy the poor kid a pair of shoes, already". My mom let me know that if I did not go pronto to the mall and buy that baby some shoes she would be just like me and hate shoes forever and I'd get called by her teachers because she's stripping her shoes off in class and won't I come do something about it like the identical hell she apparently went through during my elementary school years.

So yesterday my mom bought Elizabeth her first pair of shoes.

I don't think my mother needs to worry about her hating shoes like her mama. She adores her new shoes. I had to rock her to sleep with the shoes on and then sneak them gingerly off her feet to put her to bed. She wanted them on her feet first thing this morning while wearing nothing but a diaper saying, "shoes. mine."

Her first phrase: "shoes. mine."

I blame my mother.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Random Thoughts From a Frazzled Mind

My husband has been on a business trip all week. It was unexpected. He left for work on Monday and then flew up north that afternoon sending me a short text letting me know of his departure. Nice. Turns out his colleague returned yesterday, but the husband, he'll be staying through the weekend to "monitor" the situation. And by "monitoring" he means taking a detour to his old hometown for a little family reunion. I haven't been away from my kids even to use the freaking bathroom since November when I spent three hours at a college night with somebody else's kids. Must be nice to have a little free time. Pshaw.

That's all I have to say about that.

I've been in extensive talks with our realtor about a potential offer on our old house. Apparently the wanna-buyers have financing but they're having "a little trouble" coming up with a down payment and will "definitely need help" covering their closing costs. Basically, the wannas wanna us to pay them to buy our house. Seriously. If we choose to "help out" and accept their offer, we'd pay 5,000 bucks at closing while the wannas pay $75! WTF??? And they don't even want to pay us the full asking price. BWHAHAHAHAHAHA! Crazy f*ckers. And I do believe that warrants use of the f-word today. They are using a government lender, too. No wonder we're in a housing crisis, America. Good rule of thumb when going into real estate: If you can't pay more than $75 bucks for a down payment, you probably aren't going to be able to make your mortgage payments either. AARRGGHH!

The new house doesn't have locks on the bathroom doors. Isn't that something? In fact, my master bathroom doesn't even have real door knobs, just two push doors that Elizabeth delights in throwing open at every opportunity. If I miss her, this is where I will usually find her.

And yes, there are TWO toilet paper rolls there. I really do love that. I do take delight in the little things. Of course, I am still the only one to fill them.

You must see Dan in Real Life. You won't be disappointed.

And....that's all I got. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tyson's Next Big Star


When I pointed to the pantry and signed "please", did you just throw out a handful of Cheerios? No, you carefully cut up my favorite bananas and blueberries.

Let me stand up and give you the thanks you deserve.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Love Stinks

My oldest son doesn't have many friends. Sad, but true. He tries, but his immaturity issues make it hard for him to form age-appropriate relationships. The ADD makes it hard for him to focus on social cues so he doesn't quite understand sarcasm and humor and the fact that when the kids run from him they aren't doing it to play chase.

This, so far though, is more of a problem for me than it is for him. Aside from the time he was bullied incessantly for four weeks last November, he doesn't really care. To him EVERYONE is his friend regardless of how sneaky cruel they are to him because, honestly, he doesn't get that they're being cruel to him.

I, however, do, and I secretly harbor a grudge against their parents for teaching them such rude behavior and then hope the kids flunk out of the first grade so I never have to see their sneaky, nasty faces again.

I know they are only seven, but they are screwing. with. MY. BABY. Don't judge me.

Anyway, as I was writing, Jacob has two close friends. One lives in Baton Rouge and the other lives across the street from my parents at the lake. Her name is Anna.

See Anna:

Jacob has been friends with Anna for a while. She used to come out and play with him when she was a wee tot and he was a teeny baby. As the months and years have passed, so have the children grown until now Anna is ten and Jacob is seven and now they play games and ride bikes and eat popscicles and chase lizards from the crack of dawn until well after dark every weekend we are at the lake. At least there, he has a friend.

Well, at least until the end of July.

Anna and her family are moving. Three hours north of Lake-town. Who knows when, or if, we'll see Anna again.

This, naturally, upset Jacob. We expected that.

What we didn't expect was the three hour sobfest on the drive home.

"Oh, I miss Anna!"

"I love Anna!"

"What will I do without Anna!"

"I don't want to live without Anna!"

"How can I marry Anna if she moves away and meets someone else?"

What? Huh?

It was so sad. At first. I comforted him and talked to him and explained the changes of the world (Turn, Turn, Turn, Kum-ba-yah yada, yada, yada), but it continued on and on and on until I could no longer hear the name Anna without wanting to throw something. I finally had to threaten death to the Webkinz and Gameboy and toss in an early bedtime to shut him up. Even then he continued to quietly moan until he fell asleep.

Oy. He is seven. SEVEN. His world has ended and he's SEVEN. He's moping around like a fifteen year old who's just been dumped. If it's this bad now, what will it be like then? How is going to handle it? How am I going to handle it? Can I just whisk him away and live in a cave until he's thirty?

I think I need to take stock in the Tums company now. I foresee a lifelong stomach ache on my hands.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

So It Begins....

My husband and I have lived together eleven years in August (and yes, been married nine, figure that one out). Over the course of those years I have learned a lot about him. I know he likes to curl up under every blanket imaginable for the first hour he's asleep and then throw it all on top of me and sleep with nothing the rest of the night. I know not to cook with anything white (mayo, sour cream, etc) and just the thought of gravy makes him gag. He drinks out of six glasses an evening and leaves them throughout the house for me to find the next morning. He subscribes to magazines he's never read. He has selective hearing.

I can live with all of that.

He does, however, have this strange tendency to require his closet neat, clean, and in perfect order.

How dare he?

This particular quirk was livable in our old house because we had separate closets. Oh, how I miss my very. own. closet. Everything was mine. I could put it where I wanted it and if I wanted to hang pictures on the closet walls I could (and I did).

This house does not have separate closets.

Here is our closet:

Our one closet.

And yes, it was almost a deal breaker.

Before we made an offer, we walked through and mapped the closet out, who went where and didn't go where. We shook on it and then placed our imaginary tape down the middle for no one to cross. Ever.

On my side of the closet is a handy-dandy little nook.

The husband easily agreed to steer clear of the nook where I currently house all my children's sentimental keepsakes in huge rubber tubs. I like the nook. A good place to stash the crap I don't want to look at on a daily basis. Also, did I mention that it's all mine? Because it's ALL. MINE.

Imagine my surprise, though, when I walked into the closet last night and found an unfamiliar rubber tub. Upon further inspection I determined that said tub did not belong to me so therefore it was infringing upon the rule of THE NOOK IS MINE. So I scoured the nook of the offending box and placed it on it's rightful side of the closet.

This morning it returned. Not to MY NOOK, but in the middle of the closet.

Oh no, he di'nt.

He did not just put that tub right where I'd trip over it this morning, did he?


And you know what else? There was a hamper all nestled in my green shirts too.

I don't use a hamper.

You know I moved it all back to their rightful places.

I wonder where they'll be tomorrow.

Game on, Dude. Don't mess with a chick and her closet.