Monday, August 23, 2010

High School Daze

It's the third day of high school for the girls, and I am already dazed and confused. Tonight, for example, I put some brown rice into the rice cooker, to mix with salmon and spinach, for a nutritious meal. No junk food on the first Monday of school! I watched the news, did some chores and was ready to put the spinach in the steamer (handily located on top of the rice cooker). Except I hadn't pushed the button down to "cook" -- it's been sitting on "warm" for the past hour. My youngest just came in and said "So we have to wait another hour on dinner?" before demanding a snack. I have said before that children are relentless. At least they show some mercy; teenagers take no prisoners. Can you guest who the smart ass is?

My kids have gone to a private school since pre-school. Not a fancy $10,000 a year private school -- more a home school where their grandmother and aunt were among their teachers. My children were loved unconditionally at the school. One of my friends (whose daughter also attended the school) told me about the time her daughter's cell phone had been accidentally left on, so she could hear Aunt Renée spend 30 minutes trying to make one of my kids understand a basic math concept - not once did she even raise her voice or sound out of sorts. My girlfriend and I agreed that we would have at one point screamed "what don't you GET?"

Another of their teachers added REALLY silly questions to multiple-choice tests, the kind that had us howling as the girls would read them to me on the way home. He sent a lovely note home last year soon after school started, saying one of my kids had made a C- on a science test. He didn't see a big problem but just wanted to let us know so we could all keep an eye on her. He wore shorts year round, although during ice storms he put on a sweater.

I made my husband call the principal, who had also been their teacher at one point, to tell them we were switching schools - I knew I'd break down. I had developed a twitch in my right eye because of the stress. I couldn't believe I was taking them out of a warm, loving environment and letting them swim with the sharks.
And Grandma -- she had them write in their journals every day -- and she wrote back to them! One of my daughters -- the smart-ass one, just read over my shoulder and said "she never wrote back in our journals. That was our Readers Notebook."  I made my husband call and tell her the news too. We still haven't talked in depth; we are both way too emotional.

It was a wrenching decision to take them out of the school, where, in addition to getting a good education, they were loved and cherished. Two of their cousins are there. My husband is still having trouble with the decision, to say the least. Let's say the mama wolf in our family drinks beer and has hairy toes. After they had been accepted to Parkview, I tried to convince them to stay at their school another year, so they would be ready for a school of more than 1,000 vs. 20-something. Although they weren't happy I'd enrolled them in the science school (vs. the arts), they were also adamant: they were ready to be small fish in a big pond. At dinner one night, my oldest said "it's a parent's job to help children develop roots, and then let them spread their wings and fly." I got all blubbery.

Here are the main differences as I see them today:
  • They are riding a bus.  The first day of school, I took the obligatory picture of them by their bus stop. It wasn't a very good picture -- I didn't get in close enough and they were both displaying their fakest smiles, which look even worse with braces. I made sure I got in the name of the street at which they were standing -- won't this be a good memory!  It didn't dawn on me until my friend and niece both commented on how cute the picture was -- taking a closer look, I realized that I was advertising where they'd be in the mornings and afternoons when I wasn't around. The last time I couldn't find one of my pooches, I was sure someone had captured her for use in medical experiments. Seriously-- I was weeping at the thought of her being shaved and connected to electrodes, and wept harder when we found her. So you can imagine the direction my thoughts were taking.
  •  Absences from school must be documented -- school officials do not trust me. They both had an appointment at the orthodontist today (and yes, I'll remind them of what this cost for the rest of their lives).  Unlike at their old school, they needed a written excuse. I e-mailed the teachers whose classes they'd missed (someone correct me if that should be who's -- I get so confused). One of them told me that in the future, I should schedule appointments around his class. Yeah, maybe their orthodontist will make an exception for my exceptional children and see them after hours - other children can miss school, but mine are destined for greatness and can't miss a minute!  When I checked them in, the women in the attendance office pointed and laughed at us (maybe not literally) because we did not have their student IDs memorized. My kids are a number now?
  • I can check online to see what homework they have!!!! And what their grades are -- school officials don't trust me, and I sure don't trust my kids.
  • When a family member or friend from out of state visits, I can't call school and say "can we play hooky today?"
  • When we have all had our fill of routine, I can't call school and say "can we play hooky today?"
Still, so far so good. In fact, so far - excellent.

1 comment:

  1. My daughter has her ID's her name and she's known it for years! Another lovely blog. xx