Monday, October 18, 2010

School of Hard Knocks

I have to admit when we moved from Michigan I gave very little thought to the children's school.  I knew that my friend had chosen an area known to have an excellent education system.  I knew we were moving from one that was marginal.  I was happy that they would be getting a better education.  I was sadly unprepared for the fallout.  And things aren't as I had hoped or expected.

Ava stared preschool less than a 1/4 mile from our home.  Yeah, for convenience.  Boo, for paying double what I did in Michigan.  The preschool is not associated with a school district.  Apparently thats not how it works here. In a 3 hour period she has snack AND lunch.  She paints.  She colors.  She sings songs.  No letters.  No writing.  No journal.  Its like a pricey day care.  The teacher is condescending and her daughter who also attends  is one of the "mean girls".  Ava is not making friends (which was not a problem last year) and spends all of her "free time" in the pretend area.  I would love to switch her to a Montessori school but the cheapest I can find is $400...and that is with a scholarship :(

Cade has been lucky.  He did two years in preschool and  then young fives.  He was more than well prepared for 1st grade.  He is in the highest math/reading group and aces his spelling tests.  He has a teacher who is very interactive and does lots of cool projects with them.  He is making friends slowly...but as usual has all of the girls chasing him around the playground.

Peyton is having the opposite experience.  His teacher MS. K (not MRS. "I am NOT married to my father"). Is an older teacher (mid 50's) who is extremely attractive (no doubt in part to an excellent face lift).  Peyton's first complaint was that they got "demerits" for having to go to the bathroom during class.  Then the homework started coming home.  Hours of homework that it was obvious Peyton did not get.  Open house night I stood waiting patiently to schedule an appointment with her for nearly 30 minutes while she bitched to another parent about how much she missed the Arizona weather and hated Washington.  When I finally got a chance to speak with her she say's in front of Peyton "I'm so glad you came.  Peyton isn't doing well at all".  Nice. I refrained from slapping her and politely requested and scheduled a meeting for the next week.

On the morning of our meeting she spent the first 15 minutes complaining once again about the Washington weather, the lack of school budget and how she really didn't have time to spend on kids in her class who require extra attention.  She also bitched that they were rolling out a new reading program and she just didn't know how she was going to manage it.  While reading over some of Peyton's math word problems she stated " I don't even care if the kids can pronounce the names.  I mean this is America.  Why don't they use names like Amy or Cindy".  Mind you she has 2 non English speaking children in her, several who English is a second language and many whose parents speak no English at all.

She then went on to tell me how thankful she was that she didn't have children.  That she loved being able to get up at 4 am.  Enjoy her tea and paper.  Take a long hot shower.  Slather herself in lotion and "put her face on".  By now totally disgusted and at the END of my patience I asked for the third time...but loudly "HOW CAN I HELP MY SON????".  To which she replied "Peyton is a pretty boy.  And everyone loves pretty boys.  He will get by fine".  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?????  Luckily for her the school counselor came in at the moment to let her know that the missing mom of a fellow classmate had been found...dead.  I left feeling frustrated and overwhelmed and deeply sad for Peyton's classmate.
I called the school later that week and requested to speak to the school counselor.  I tried to be cautious in my description of our meeting...but requested that Peyton be evaluated for assessment of his needs.  While she was very polite and helpful I have yet to hear back from her.

*** Note NO pics here.  High School boys are too cool for first day pics***

The high school for Amonte and Eli has not been any more impressive.  It took me # days to get them registered.  I had to go to the school twice and left numerous messages with the registrar before I finally told them to just got to school and see what would happen.  2 unanswered emails and phone calls to Eli's band teacher.  3 unanswered emails and phone calls to the year book manager to find out what format Amonte's senior picture needs to be submitted in.  The pic is taken.  Due next week and I have no clue if its right.
The school counselor did manage to call and let me know that Eli was failing Algebra and suggested him dropping a class and taking an extensive Algebra assistance class.  I agreed.  But during their meeting she suddenly recalled that she had a school board meeting and had to rush out.  No resolution.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Singing in the Rain

You'll notice there are NO pictures in this post.  Peyton dreamed of going to the skate/bike park.  He borrowed what was in essence a girls bike with no hesitation what so ever.  In the drizzling rain and cold we walked 2 miles to the park.  We talked about everything.  The most open conversation we have ever had. He let me pull him close. Nearly tall enough for me to rest my chin on his sweaty boy head.

When we reached the park there were several older kids and Peyton was obviously uncomfortable.  He quietly begged me to put the camera away and to not "embarrass" him. I agreed , but it hurt inside acknowledging that we were already reaching the age where mom hugs were shameful.

He spent nearly a half hour hanging out around the edge of the bowl...watching...hesitating.  Taking it all in. He finally warmed up and begin to ride the hills. Do the jumps.  Even impressing some of the big boys.  I was so proud of his mad skills.  And even more appreciative that he did it without concern of his "uncool bike”.

Peyton who has always been a follower, stepped out of his comfort zone and shined brightly in the grey day.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rock Ferry

Today was time for Ava’s mommy date. We had the perfect day planned.  Beach. Play ground.  Lunch and watching the ferries come in. Only ava had a different version of ferries.  Faeries with wings and wands.  Not boats with bellowing horns.  After her initial disappointment (which included falling in to a sobbing mess in the gravel) we had an enjoyable time. Hunting for perfect shells. Walking on huge chunks of drift wood. Tossing wishing stones and praying for our dreams to come true.  Finding lone flowers in barren sand.
Gold fish and juice boxes.  Discarded PB&J.  Melting cheese sticks.  Sharing disgust and fascination of a lone Santa Clause of a man in daisy duke cut offs entering the icy water without hesitation.  Ava had the most fun chasing me with rotting bug infested seaweed down the beach while I shreaked like a wild woman.  I wished this day, our closeness, her happiness to end would never end.  And I hope it stays etched in her memory as it has in mind.

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