Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Pictures!

Don't know what that white car is in the first picture, or how it snuck in there! The pictures go in reverse order, due to my amazing organizational skills.  Yes, time is actually flowing backwards.  You'll see Cinderella's outfit today, followed by the Sandcastle competition at the Neptune Festival this past weekend, then Cinderella's birthday, Fourth of July, Visiting Grandma and Grandpa's, Scooby's birthday and Tarzan's birthday.  Grab yourself a beverage and settle in for awhile.

Some old pictures

I'm trying to get some pictures up...these are from the summer - beach days, Scooby's birthday party in Sewickley, Tarzan's cubscout camping trip.  More to come, soon!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Hugging Incident

So Tarzan and Cinderella are having their after-school snack the other day (we have almost an hour before Scooby gets home from school - it's ridiculously quiet) and Tarzan says, out of the blue, "Your teacher is mean."
Cinderella - "Well, a little."
Me - "Why is she mean?"
Tarzan - "She said, 'You better not do that, or else -' and I didn't hear what else she said."
Me - "Do what?"
Cinderella - "Hug him."
Me - "Wait a minute. She told you not to hug each other?"
Tarzan - "Yeah."
Me - "Did she know you were brother and sister?"
Cinderella - "Yes, she knew."
Me - "What exactly did she say?"
Cinderella - "I don't remember."
Tarzan - "She said, 'You better not do that, or else -' something."
Me - "Huh."

Later: I write an email..."Ms. ______, I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you at the Open House, I was at the middle school with my older son. Perhaps there's a morning I could come in and help out for an hour or so before school sometime. I was concerned to hear about an incident the other day. E. said she got in trouble for hugging her brother in the hallway. T. was kind of upset about it. He's a pretty sensitive kid and was worried that he'd gotten her in trouble. He's also been missing his big brother since he went to middle school, and was probably happy to see E. I'm confused as to why they were not allowed to hug each other hello? Please advise me on this when you get a chance."

The next morning, I get an email in return. (I'm paraphrasing) "E. did not get in trouble for hugging her brother. She lifted him up off the floor and I asked her not to do that in case she dropped him or another child in line ran in to her if they weren't looking. I told her my preference would be a silent wave. I'm sorry if this caused (crap, I can't remember the word she used...friction, maybe?EDIT: It was "ill feelings.") I don't need any help in the mornings at this time. Thank you for letting me know."

I posted something on Facebook and got a huge response of outrage and indignation over the kids not being allowed to hug.

Now, part of me understands somewhat. Cinderella can give rather...exuberant...hugs. I can see how that might be disruptive in the middle of a crowded hallway. On the other hand, why shouldn't siblings who actually care about each other and are happy to see each other be allowed to express that? Isn't it better than the alternative? I don't really want to make a big deal out of it, and I probably won't say anything else to the teacher about it. But I have to say, this has raised some warning flags with me. I don't want a repeat of last year, where I waited too long to intervene it what was not a great classroom situation for Cinderella. I was hoping she'd have a better year. And she seems pretty happy with her classroom and her teacher. I'm just...frustrated that this is even an issue.

People commented on FB that this is why our schools are so bad, this is why I homeschool my kids, etc. Well, homeschooling is not an option. Even if I weren't in school and working, I don't have the temperment to homeschool, and besides, they're smarter than me. I have to work within this imperfect system. And I'm trying to make it a positive lesson for them. I said, "Those are the rules in school. You're not allowed to hug each other. I think it's a dumb rule. But, it's the rule, and you need to follow it. However, please give each other extra hugs right before school and right afterwards to make up for it."

Sometimes there are rules we don't agree with. Even for grownups. And sometimes it's good to have to discipline yourself to follow a rule that you don't agree with.

But really, it's a dumb rule. Talk about legislating affection! There's a difference between high schoolers making out in the halls, and a second and third grade sibling giving each other a hug. Somewhere in the tangled system of burocracy, human reason should play a part and make some distinctions.

When you see your loved ones today, give them a hug.

Rules be damned.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Well, the kids started school on Tuesday, and so far so good! I promise to post pictures as soon as I find a working card reader. Scooby catches the bus at 7:15 and gets home around 4:15. It's a LONG day. But so far, he hasn't complained about any of it...the waking up at 6:15, the longer walk to the bus stop, any of it. I am very aware that it's only just begun, and I'm sure there will be more complaining as the weather gets colder and he starts carrying his violin back and forth every day. On the plus side, they actually have music stands at school and he won't have to carry that. On the minus side, he needs two new music books, a better chin rest, and a metronome is highly recommended. Anyone have an extra metronome laying around? So far his favorite subject is Latin - he thinks discovering the etomology of words is cool. Tarzan misses Scooby on the bus, and there have been a few moments of tears and some organizational frustration, but he's learning to cope with it much better. However, the binder I bought is not up to snuff, and he needs a new zippered one instead. I tried passing down Scooby's from last year, but it's falling apart too much, so I guess he'll get a new one. He'll have to wait until Monday, though. Cinderella likes her teacher, and has a couple of friends in her class from last year, although none of the ones that came to the sleepover. She's enjoying wearing all her new outfits. This morning she wore the sparkly black one from Grandma with the sparkly pink scarf and matching ponytails. She spent some time before the bus dancing in front of the mirror and singing, "You! Yeah, You! You are a rock star!" and then she informed me her rockstar name is Madame Medusa.
I've been super busy myself. I'm working at my Theatre Administration GA job 13 hours per week, mostly from 10 - 1. It's kept me busy up until right now, when I have to wait for a professor to get out of class and approve something before I can send it along. Hence, the blogging. At least I look like I'm still working! I have lots of reading to catch up on, but if I do that, it's a little more obvious that I'm doing school work instead of work work. Rehearsals started for Our Town on Monday, and I have to work on stamina! I never leave the stage, and I rarely sit down. By the end of the rehearsal, my back is killing me. I'm trying to apply the "spine" work we've been doing in Vocal Production class and release extra tension so I'm not so stiff, but I'm not succeeding so far. I really like the director they've brought in for the show, and I think I'm going to learn a lot from her. She's doing the rest of the characters in the show as they're written (1901 - 1915 period) but I am a modern character (and I'm female) dressed in sort of Eddie Bauer with a feminine twist. Let's other classes. Playwriting is very time intensive and I'm pretty behind right now on all the required reading/discussion board participation. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up some on Saturday. Broadsword is...heavy. But actually a lot easier than Rapier and Dagger, particularly because most of the footwork is the same, and many of the attacks and parries are very similar. Screen Acting is kind of lame so far. We're working with one-liners and short scenes from 90210 and Babylon 5, because those are shows that the professor worked on and cast. He knows what he's talking about, and I'm learning a lot, but the material is dreadful. Today we are Telepaths being destroyed by Aliens. The line is "Help! Somebody please help me!" I preferred the dialogue in Macbeth.
So I'm busy. My day looks like this: 6:15 - wake up, get Scooby ready for school, walk him to the bus stop. 7:30 - get Tarzan and Cinderella ready for school, walk them to the bus stop. 8:15 - 9:00 - Run 9:45 - go to work. 10 - 1, work in my chilly cubicle. 1:00 to either 3:00 or 5:00 - class. either 3:00 or 5:00 until 6:30 - kid homework, reconnect, and dinner time. 7:00 - 11:00pm - rehearsal for Our Town. 11:00 - 1:00, homework. Except sometimes I fall asleep before 1:00.
Good thing I love what I'm doing.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Happy Labor Day Weekend

Our exciting plans? NOTHING! I have nowhere to be today, tomorrow, or most of Monday. I do start rehearsals for Our Town on Monday night, and we took Granny to the airport at 4:30 this morning, but apart from that, the weekend is free, free, free!
In case anybody's interested, here's some of what I do for my job at school. The two most recent articles are mine.