Monday, September 20, 2010

Paperwork Frustration Part I

We are in a paperwork frenzy at our house. I shredded three garbage bags of old paperwork at the end of the summer, and now my husband has been organizing the never-ending stream of papers that are generated at his work. In the process, we have piles everywhere. This morning as my daughter was leaving for school, I realized that she was missing her permission slip for a field trip next Thursday. I asked my hubby if he had seen several pieces of colored paper folded in half.

His response was unambigous, "No, haven't seen it."

I searched the car, the house, and a large stack of papers on the coffee table. After about 20 minutes, the hubby says, "Hey, I might have put it over there in that bowl."

Hmmmm. The bowl that is supposed to be for the remote contol and the spare key? Hmmmm. Sure enough it was in the bowl, and after all of the drama, the permission slip doesn't need to be turned in until next Monday. When I left my husband, he was sitting on the back deck drinking a cup of coffee and that is the story I'm sticking with.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm really, really proud of my kids, and I'm being redundant part II

When I was growing up, my mom bought me the record 'Free To Be You and Me' starring Marlo Thomas. I must have listened to it hundreds of times. It's message was you can be who you want to be regardless of gender. I was a child when laws were changing- women could own property and get loans without their husband's permission, keep their jobs or stay in school if they were pregnant, or be whatever they wanted to be- doctors, lawyers, engineers, or astronauts. I was seven years old in 1972 when Title IX signed was signed into law. Schools could no longer legally treat boys and girls differently.

Most people think of sports when they think Title IX, but it also had a huge impact in the classroom. Girls could no longer be actively discouraged from taking science and math classes. I took the required home economics and shop classes with boys in junior high, and upper level math classes in high school. There were an equal number of boys and girls in my math class, and we had a terrific teacher who encouraged everyone. But despite my personal experience, I am still on guard for my girls. Math is essential for so many careers, and I want them to have as many options as possible. I was thrilled when my youngest Em tested into a high school algebra class.

She is the only girl from her school, so she walks at the end of the day with 7 other boys to the high school that is a few blocks away. The principal at the HS commented on Emily leading as the 7 boys brought up the rear. So I asked Em why she is always in front and she explained in a disgusted tone of voice that the boys were slow because they verbally spar every day over one of the greatest questions of our generation- which is better Star Wars or Star Trek? She has no time for dorky boys and their obsessions (Yay!). Moreover, she has shown no signs of having time for boys in general (Yay again!). I like the idea of her fearlessly leading the way to math class.

So she had her first test yesterday - math rules- no not "Math Rules!!!!!" but math rules, defining rules like the associative property. Anyway, she came home crowing because she was the only one in her car pool who got the bonus point. 3 of the boys in our neighborhood go to the special math class, including the twins we have carpooled with for 3 years. Their mom does most of the driving. Pinch me, I'm so lucky! Anyway, back to math rules- the directions at the top of the test said to put a star next to your name, which she did. Em- you're a star in my book. I'm glad that you're not intimidated by being the only girl from your school going to math class, and I'm glad that the ideas in 'Free To Be You and Me' are not novel for you, but just how it is. Math Rules!

PS For the record, there are 8 girls out of 24 students in Em's math class.

I am really, really proud of my kids, and I'm being redundant Part I

I am very proud of my children. They are both talented, smart young women. N, the oldest, is passionate about singing. After being forced to go to Opera Camp after her sophomore year, she fell in love with opera. Although she is naturally talented, she also works very hard, practicing at least an hour every day. She had the lead in her school musical her sophomore year, but ended up with a small part her junior year. Yes, I'm bragging, but hang in there because it is relevant to the story. So last week were try-outs for the fall musical. She's a senior, a busy senior with lots of stuff on her plate. But I knew how much this meant to her. Getting a small part would crush her. I gave her all the usual mom-isms like "Just do your best; that's all you can do!" and sent her out the door with a smile and a wave. It is so painful because I have no control over the outcome. I am powerless to protect my baby against 'life.'

"Call me!" I told N before she left for school the next morning. The cast list was scheduled to be posted at noon, and I knew that I would be on edge all day.

"Mom, you know that I'm not allowed to use my cell phone at school."

My response was totally logical, "You don't have to follow the rules today because I need to know what's going on. Just sneak into the bathroom and call me."

I just got 'the look.' If you're a mom you know 'the look'. The look says, "my life is hell because my real mommy that lives in a mansion, with a stable full of horses and a swimming pool in the back yard hasn't shown up to rescue me, so I am stuck with this pathetic excuse for a mom."

So I get a text a work from her best friend M_H_ at noon. It reads, "Hi, this is m_h_. I got the lead and N is the queen!"

I squeal, jump up and down, and text back, "AWESOME!"

When N gets home she is just beaming. She tells me all about M_H_'s part. I ask if she's happy with her part, and she says, "YES!" [sidebar: these are conversations with teenagers, so there are lots of words in caps with exclamation points.] N goes on to observe that she's had her chance to have the lead, but M_H_ has had small parts over the years and really deserves the lead. M_H_ is a talented girl and will do a great job. Natalie's part is an over-the-top character role with lots of monologue and one solo. She is thrilled. I am thrilled.

This part will give her a chance to work on her acting, and because she is not in every scene, she doesn't have to be at practice every day. But the BEST PART in my book is that N is the kind of friend who is truly happy for M_H_. I am more proud of her support for M_H_ than I am of her getting a really plum part in the school musical. It's a mom thing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I read in the news today that Snooki, the reality star from Jersey Shore was fined for being a public nuisance. My first thought was that this was not news; I'm pretty sure the world has known she is a public nuisance for quite some time.