Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On school and parties and time.

It's Wednesday.  Mid week.  Hump Day. 

Today was harder than ever to drop Zoey off at school.  Day 4.  I hugged her at the door and didn't go in.  She looked back three times before walking around the corner... away.  Away into a classroom full of other kids.  Normal kids, I'm sure.  Kids and a surely sweet teacher.  Also to the boy who sits right next to her and has been put on "yellow" every single day.  All three days prior of school.  He talks and makes noises all through class.  Zoey told John that he pulled on her braid in line.  He's just a typical kid.  A typical boy - raised by douche bags, I'm sure.  It's not the kid's fault that he is a jerk...  nope, it's the parents fault.  And the "system" too.  What ornery little boy needs to be kept quiet and sit still for SEVEN hours a day, five days a week?!? 

As we were walking to school this morning, before we had gotten very far past our driveway, Zoey said she didn't want to go to school.  This is the second morning of that statement....  sure, I expect to hear that from teens, but my sweet little five year old that likes her teacher?!  She likes to play on the playground and liked to see the music teacher play the keyboard. 

But she said to me...  why does it take so long?  Why can't we work and do this and work and do that and then come home?  Not work, work, work, WORK?!

I really didn't know what to say.  She shouldn't have to WORK WORK WORK all day at five years old.  She should have to WORK some and play some and run around a lot!  In a SEVEN hour day, she gets two 15 minute recesses and one 30 minute lunch.  One hour to not have to be "on" in school.  And even in that time, a kid still has to think about where things are, how things work, who everybody is around her....  whether or not she's going to get in trouble for some other kid's actions!  This is ridiculous!!

AND to top it all off....  I see on instagram.  (Yes, I finally went back online to look at pictures.) I see pictures of her little friends from preschool having a grand ole time at a birthday party LAST NIGHT!!  These are kids that surely would have invited Zoey... and they did.  via FACEBOOK!  WHAT?!  I'm not on facebook anymore.  I haven't looked at that blasted crap for THREE months!  But I ran to pull it up this morning.  There is was... a photo of a printed invitation.  Posted on my wall five days ago.  Within those past five days, I have seen one of the moms hosting walking her kid to school two times!  No word - barely a hello.  (Which was understandable at the time because we were all emotional or running late or whatever...  but still not even a mention?!)  I learned after Zoey's birthday that no one RSVPs anymore.  So, me not responding to the "invitation" isn't unheard of... Which is totally awful, in my opinion.  TELL people what's going on!  RESPOND, people!  Why no follow up call or text if you really don't want to have to talk to me?  What happened to real invitations?  Is it the expense?  I get that.  Why spend money on cards?  Spend that on the party.  I get it, but seriously...  Five days notice online - when for Zoey's birthday the same Moms told me they "don't do facebook that much" when asked why I hadn't heard from them (and yes, I DID send real paper snail mail invitations too!) 

Now in the grand scheme of things... WHO CARES!?!  Well, I DO!  I care that my kid will hear and see all of her friends talking about a party she didn't "get" to go to.  A party for girls that she LOVES.  Girls that she walks hand-in-hand with from school. 

I cried.  I cried more thinking about that than her words this morning about school.  Although I suppose it all goes together in my mind.  ...

Only getting to see my little girl for four hours a day (plus one in the morning).  Five hours total of her awake.  a. day.  and when she comes home from school - she's happy to see me, yes, but exhausted.  And then we have to work in dinner, homework, a bath, and try to find some time to play.  She MISSES playing.  really.

John had a plan to have a pony pizza party last night.  We ordered pizza and sat on the floor while playing with her my little ponies.  She needed it.  We all did.  Just time to do what she used to do for hours everyday. 

When we looked into homeschooling in the spring, the major thing that jumped out to me was the fact a homeschooled child only needs six hours of actual educational time per week....  SIX hours!  That's less than ONE day of public school.... You know why?  Because if a child is being taught at home there are less distractions.  Less time teaching to the lowest common denominator!  Less time "training" kids how to "fit in." 

"Socialization"  my ASS!  My beautiful girl is well spoken.  She interacts well with other kids!  She knows how to play.  Why do I need to throw her to the wolves of public education in order for me to be a "good" mom or for her to be a "normal" kid?!  This is BULLSHIT!

But, truthfully, I'm scared.  Scared that I can't do it.  That I will screw her up.  Scared that I won't have time for myself and therefore be on edge or mean with her.  But at what expense?  At WHO's expense?

There has got to be a better way.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Zoey's second catch of the day.

I missed the first fish of the evening.  I did "catch" the second one.  Enjoy!

Dinner at Singing Frog Farm

Over the weekend we visited some very good friends of ours...  they live on a beautiful farm.  Singing Frog Farm.  They do actually farm the land.  In a big way...  organic and non-GMO veggies and herbs and corn galore!  and FLOWERS... oh, the flowers.  You could say Caroline is a florist, but that would be like calling Julia Child a cook or VanGogh a painter...  all true, but not give you the feeling or style. 

Dinner was fantastic!  We ate and talked and laughed as family.  Seating arraignments around the table changed over and over again at the whims of children.  I ate my body weight in tomatoes.  (As any good WV girl would!)

We were having such a good time, I didn't even think to pull out my phone/camera to document the gorgeous scene.  That is until after dinner... as Caroline and I were cleaning up, (as best I could with a bum back - on the road to fast recovery now, thanks to more friends... chiropractic friends!), the husbands and kids had retreated to the beauty of the pond.  Joe came running inside... in all of his first grade grown-upness... "Zoey caught a FISH!"

Holy Cow!  WHAT?!?

Sure enough, my little wonder had caught her first fish!  A blue gill, I think they called it.  It was pretty cool to say the least.

I don't think I've ever been fishing.  I remember casting at Maple Lake.  No hooks.  No bait.  No idea what I was doing. 

So I began to take camera pictures.  As I have said many times before - I'm not a photographer nor do I claim to be one...  But I am happy to catch life's little moments. 

As we stood there and talked and took pictures, Zoey caught ANOTHER fish!  Two fish in less than 10 minutes.  Aaaaand, Caroline brought out fresh peaches and cream to enjoy by the lake!

Brian with Zoey's second fish.


I have been blessed to have great friends in my life.  As I grow up, I am ever more grateful.  Truly grateful. 

Evan is full of spunk!
Joe is a pro fisherman.
He gave his life vest to Zoey for the night.
What a HAM!  :)
Swinging under the giant tree.

The blondies after dessert!

Friday, August 23, 2013



*Special thanks to Grandma Joyce for the headband.  Nicole and Sylvia for the HK lunchbox.


9:43 a.m.  :44
Time is going.  The day is here.  Today is Zoey's first day of Kindergarten.
To say I have mixed emotions is the lamest thing ever.  And totally an understatement.  "Mixed" "Bittersweet" "Conflicted" none capture this twisting in my heart.  This scattering in my brain.  This pit in my stomach.  And, now, piercing pain in my lower back... (however that could simply be my bad desk chair.) ;)
I know I'm not the first or last mother to have an only child that I send off to school.  Right or wrong, I'm not the first or last to have stayed at home and "helicopter" parented for 5 years.  And I know I'm not the first to have considered homeschooling.  But I am me.  This is my blog and my feelings. 
I am the first and only me...with the first and only Zoey, a tall child with bright blonde hair and beaming blue eyes.  A child with an impeccable memory.  An empathic being with razor sharp wit.  Zoey is a little girl with an old soul.  She is outgoing and shy all wrapped into one.  She's a five year old with comedic timing and a temper. 
Now she's off to school.  A rite of passage in this community.  Smiles all around as we walked to school this morning.
Walked.  Down the hill and around the corner.  All of ten minutes at most.  She assured me that as she got older, and as her legs got longer, she will walk faster.  I'm sure she heard me mention that to someone over the summer as we did a trial run of our soon-to-be ritual morning.  I said it only as a cute aside to another adult... How her little legs only go so fast. Precious to me.  I fear she thought that she just didn't have it - wasn't right in some way.  Wasn't big enough or fast enough.  I certainly hope not. 
These days she's constantly standing on chairs and things asking how long til she will be "this tall" or "that tall."  We try to guess...  "I think you'll be 8 when you are this tall."  "You might be 14 when you are this tall."  All the while reassuring her (and myself) that the height she is now is perfect.  That she is already TALL.  That she is growing everyday and to enjoy being "this tall" right now.
The flowers on our way to school. 
"Look Zoey, purple flowers just for you!"
My sweet tall girl walked confidently to school today.  We passed by a lot of people stopping to say Hi and good luck.  Most thought today was her second day...  they did a staggered start for the Kindergarten classes and she is the second half of the alphabet.  I don't know whether it took the pressure off or not?!  She didn't really know the difference, but I got a buffer from the massive onslaught of kids returning to school.  That and being off of Facebook recently has kept me away from others retellings...  good or bad?!  I don't know.
John and I met with her teacher briefly on Tuesday night.  She seems like a very nice lady.  Been teaching for 10 years or so.  Has kids of her own at the school. 
The side entrance to school.
Her coat hook and her cubby off to the left behind her.
The school itself is old and hot and muggy.  John went to the same school 30 years ago.  The lady Zoey will have next year will be the same one John had for first grade (her last year before retirement).  I think everyone is doing the best with what they have, but I can't help think there has to be a better way.  This thought, alongside the idea of having time for myself while she is at school, is what makes my stomach knot up.  Why can I not be able to achieve both: 1. a quality education in an environment where students are comfortable and taught valuable lessons in more than reading and basic math and the ever thrown around "socialization" 2. a time/schedule where I can pursue avenues to keep my mind and heart thriving...?! 
I suppose that is what keeps parents moving forward...  actively seeking the best for all involved. 
I know Zoey will love school.  I know she will learn.  I know John and I will encourage her and supplement her education/life long learning.  I know that she will develop into her own little person - in a good way.  I know I will find a path of my own that includes all aspects of the massive spinning thoughts in my head.  I know this...  simply because I have to.  That and I have faith. 
"Faith," said my friend Christine, "that you've given her the best start you could have and that she'll flourish with the skills and love that have been her foundation."

The familiar nervous, but ok, look on her sweet little face. 

 Back at home:
We told Zoey that she couldn't take Bunny to Kindergarten.  We have told her this from the beginning.  She understands, but wanted to make sure Bunny was well set at home.  At HIS school.... So yesterday we made Bunny a school in her room.
She added the toys in the window sill just before we left the house....
 When she woke up I heard her explaining to her animals that they couldn't go with her to school.  "Because toys aren't allowed at school."  But she reassured them they would be fine and had jobs to do here.  Cat in the Hat is the teacher today. 
The light in the middle is to help tell spooky ghost stories at school.
The Pink hippo in the back is to help talk about animals.
There is also a chalkboard and a playground. 
*As always, Bunny is dressed in his day clothes and shoes.  (Aunt Tracy, the orange sweater is only for pajamas these days.)  ;)