Archive | May, 2011

How Many Ways Can My Heart Break?

“Don’t you worry, Momma.  You stay here, and I will protect you.  I’ll snop those bad guys.  They won’t hurt you.  Don’t worry, okay, Momma?”

I smile, because he’s channeling what I want to say to him on a daily basis.

I’ve written a few times about the increasing issues we’ve had with bullying at school. (Mind you, for clarification: I call it ‘school’, but it’s daycare.  He’s only THREE.)  Bryan had spoken to the director, who has since left the position.  We saw nothing improving, so when we learned of an interim director coming in, Bryan took another opportunity to speak to her.

She was appalled.  Which was the response we were looking for. 

During the lengthy discussion, she mentioned that she had already been working to bring anti-bullying curriculums into the Pre-K classes, but didn’t realize the issue was as prevalent in some of the younger classes.  She promised she would work to alleviate that.

We felt better.

Communication between ourselves and the staff started to improve, something we had to believe was spurned by “the talk”.  When Tony had a documented incident of a classmate scratching both of his arms (elbow to wrist, poor boy), they called me as they were documenting it to let me know.  I appreciated it.

Later that week, we had the same child push Tony down and a teacher let me know.  She said he seemed fine, so they didn’t document it.  The same kid? I asked.  New kid, they answered.  Doesn’t speak much English.  Aggressive.

I asked Tony about it later and he said they were playing tag.  Okay, cool.  Kid just got a bit too rough during a game.

Last Tuesday, I went to pick Tony up.  When the kids are outside playing, as I arrive, I like to sit outside and watch them.  I didn’t see Tony at first glance, but didn’t think anything about it.  When I walked onto the playground, I could see from the doorway that Tony was crying.  Sobbing, actually.  I looked at the teacher, who was closer to him than I was, and she shrugged and said, “He’s been really cranky today.”

Okay, sure.  It’s also 85 degrees outside and meh, I’ve been known to be cranky from time to time.

But when Tony came to me, his face was COVERED in dirt.  CAKED.  His face, through his hairline, down to his shirt collar.. covered in the bright red clay we have here in the south.  Baby, why are you so dirty?

“I spit it out, Momma!  I no like to eat dirt!  Dirt makes me sick!  I spit it out!!”  He was sobbing.

Why are you eating dirt, baby?  “I not like to eat dirt!”  I know, sweetheart.  Why were you eating it?

“They made me.”

I whirled around to the teacher, furious.  What has been happening here today? Again, she shrugged.  “He’s seemed kind of tired today.”

That is not a valid reason.

And I picked up my sobbing child, who hung limply over my shoulder, and cleaned him up at the water fountain inside.  My voice was shaking, out of anger and frustration and what I generally call “Momma Bear”.

We got home and Tony was immediately fine.  Ah, the joys of being three.  I, however, was not so fine.  I called Bryan and tried (in vain) to relay to him what had happened without crying. 

“Let me let you go,” he said, without me finishing.  But I’m not done yet, I stammered.  “No, let me let you go.  I’m on my way there.”  This is what I like to call Papa Bear.

We looked at our options.  We could pull him that day.  If we did that, we’d be stuck without child care at least temporarily and neither one of us were in a position to adapt to that in our jobs.  We could run out the week.  There were nothing but waiting lists in our neighborhood.  Waiting lists and almost double the costs.

Instead, we talked.

We talked to the director, who again – APPALLED – as well as the assistant director.  We implored that something be done, some actions be taken.  We gave documented accounts.  We spoke to the administration who has taken over the network our daycare belongs to.  We gave detailed histories of the children in their classes, reminding them how staff has often been shuffled around to command that group of boys. 

I think – I think – we did the right thing.  There are now extra hands in that classroom.  There is a staff workshop scheduled to spot and handle signs of aggressive behavior.  And communication has improved even more so between ourselves and the staff.

Look, my kid is no saint.  He’s also three.  I realize that there’s a good chance that he’s not blameless in that situation I walked in to on Tuesday.  But I know my kid, and here’s what bothers me the most: 1) my child was upset – visibly upset, sobbing, and shaken, 2) children (willingly or otherwise) were eating dirt, and 3) a teacher stood not four feet away from this happening and did not a thing.

(Also, my kid HATES getting his hands dirty.  HATES it.  I cannot imagine he would willingly put his hands in dirt for any reason.)

I (again) have brought up enrolling Tony in a karate class.  I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but damnit, I need him to feel strong enough to say no.  I need him to feel like he COULD kick-ass, but be smart enough not to.  Because he IS smart enough.  It’s just the strength we lack.

“I’ll snop those bad guys, Momma.  Don’t you worry.”

Oh, my baby.  I worry so much more than you know.

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To the Love of My Life

Anyone who knew me well pre-Bryan would say that I was a confirmed bachelorette.  I loved kids, but wanted none; I respected the institution of marriage as long as it didn’t involve me; I thought monogamy was awesome .. for everyone else.  Didn’t really want to be tied down.  And, quite frankly, I was a bit of an enigma here in the south.

Enter Bryan.  Well, enter Bryan, like, the fifth time.  We met eachother several times before I actually REMEMBER meeting him, because I am THAT awesome (read: I SUCK), but when we finally connected, everything fell into place.

I’ve often glanced at him over the last five years of marriage and wondered how I got so lucky.  And how it all seemed so easy.  And then I hated myself for probably jinxing it, and instead started dividing the house up in my head, in preparation for the inevitable divorce.  But in reality, when you’re married to your best friend, and there’s oodles of mutual respect there – it CAN be that easy.

(It is not that easy all the time.  But 99% of the time? Lemonade.)

Today, my baby daddy and favorite husband is celebrating a birthday.  Since he had rehearsal all day, we decided to surprise him the best we knew how: a double cookie cake, balloons (BUZZ LIGHTYEAR and I swear I had nothing to do with that Bryan, it was all THAT BLONDE MIDGET’S FAULT), and the cutest delivery boy in the history of boys.  Or deliveries.

When I explained the plot to Tony last night before bed, I thought it best that we practice our song a little bit.

 

Then, of course, when we broke into rehearsal, he stuck out his lower lip and cried into my pants leg.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRYAN!! WE MEAN WELL!

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Two Quick Recommendations

Not quite a full Some Stuff I’ve Bought Lately, but some things that I’ve been enjoying and as we enter the long weekend, I’d like you to enjoy as well.

Man, oh man.  When Zoot told me that Divergent was a great read, she had my attention.  When she described it as the following: “You may find it a little .. gorier than The Hunger Games..”? SHE HAD MY COMPLETE ATTENTION.  It was a GREAT read, and I while I didn’t think it could happen, I have found a heroine that I love even more than Katniss from the aforementioned Games.  Tris, the heroine in this novel, is everything a kick-ass hero should be; the fact that she’s a girl is rarely mentioned and not even a factor. AS IT SHOULD BE.  Tris is a Queen Bee, is what I’m saying. (Also, the male counterpart – Four, as he’s nicknamed – kind of made me sympathize with all of those cougars who became rabid Edward fans.  I .. I kinda saw how that could happen.)

(TEAM FOUR 4-EVA!)

I don’t know why I’ve been staunchly against Netflix, but I have ever since we canceled the subscription some four or five years ago.  Back when Bryan and I FIRST moved in together, we couldn’t afford cable, so we did Netflix instead. (Oddly enough, we never missed cable.) But when our lives got busier, the discs just sat there, and I got more and more irked by the $15 we paid monthly to not watch anything.  Fast forward several years and several price decreases later, and I’ve decided to do a month’s free trial.  Since we have a PS3, we can do Netflix Instant (a HUGE hit with the kids), and I love going to the mailbox to see what’s in there. Considering it’s half the price that we paid years ago for three CDs a month or whatever the stupid limit was back then, this is a worthy investment.

I hope everyone has a lovely Memorial Day weekend!

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Little Opie’s Growing Up

Today is a big day in our household: Jack is graduating 5th grade.

My mind cannot really wrap around this.  There will be a middle schooler in our house now.   No, no, cannot be.  He is still four.

Sit down for this revelation: Jack likes to be silly.  His dad is more than willing to participate.

Jack favors his dad when it comes to several things: fearlessness and ear-to-ear grins are some of them.

Jack is the first to say he’s a sports kid.  Doesn’t like theatrical stuff.  But sometimes he humors us.

Jack is one of the most naturally photogenic kids I’ve ever met.  He can even make those oversized bug-eyed glasses look good. (I think it’s the freckles.)

School hasn’t always been easy for Jack, but man, when he aces it, he aces it big time.

One of Jack’s most amazing feats is being a big brother.  He’s been a natural from the start.

There was never any sibling jealousy, and my Lord, Tony worships the ground Jack walks on.

Jack is patient and kind with Tony.  Jack is patient and kind with everyone, really.

I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t fallen head over heels for this kid.  It’s just so damn hard not to love him.  Those eyes!  That smile!  Those cheeks!  FRECKLES!

But most of all, Jack has a heart the size of Texas.  Not literally, like the Grinch, but figuratively.  His humor is developing nicely, and he often makes us laugh out loud with his surprise wit.  I am so loving the person he’s turning out to be. 

Jack of the Future, know this: Opie went on to do great things.

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Will We? Won’t We?

I AM SO TORN ON THIS.  And some of you are going to shoot me, but I feel very much like I need to have a plan in place SOON, because time is a-tickin’.  I’m not getting any younger, and neither is Bryan.

So.. will we have another kid?  Or won’t we?

Another kid in our house means a LOT of change.  Aside from the obvious change of dynamic, it would involve a bigger house.  A bigger car.  More/bigger/new.  Babies are expensive anyway.  Add in needing all of THOSE things and the cost would be.. I don’t know.  Maybe insurmountable?  Maybe? 

ARGH WITH THE MAYBES.

But I don’t know.  We could make it work.  Tony and Fetus could share a room, conceivably, until we found a bigger place. 

But OH!  With the lack of sleeping!  And the lack of my body being my own!  I mean, hell, I sat at dinner the other night and realized that I have had a total of two meals (Mother’s Day and some random day that Tony was not sitting beside me) in the past six months or so that did NOT involve a child being ALL UP IN MY SPACE as I ate.  I love my child, but damn if I wouldn’t mind eating a meal while it was still warm.  And going backwards?

But .. siblings, you know?  I think it would do a world of good for Tony to be a big brother to some lucky bebe, and he desperately needs a playmate (outside of school) that he can interact with.  Also, as I get older, I realize how lucky I am to have a sibling that I’m close to.  And while Jack and Tony are close, there’s a massive age difference there and ..

But.  BUT BUT BUT.

Selfishly, I look at another pregnancy as a reason to slow down.  They won’t make a pregnant woman work this hard, I told Bryan the other night.  He cocked an eyebrow and confirmed it: “Sarah, they don’t see you as a woman.”  Which was probably the nicest compliment anyone could’ve ever given me.  But still.  Would they at least think twice about asking for sixteen hour days if a woman was developing a fetus?

Also, I love maternity clothes.  True fact.  They’re comfy, you can’t help but look cute in them, and any time you look semi-pulled together while pregnant, you get a gold star because men just assume that your ability to function as a pregnant lady is nil.

But more than anything – I think the color draining in Bryan’s face was the answer.  Jack flat out admitted that he thinks the family is fine as it is while I was bemoaning the lack of reasons for me to buy itty bitty shoes.  But wouldn’t you like a sister? I asked.  “Let’s look at history,” he said, waving his arms.  Yes, we are clearly a fan of the XY chromosome set.

No final decisions yet.  But I think it’s clear which way we’re leaning.

When you’ve got a house THIS full of love and laughter, you’re okay with calling it enough.

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