Pressure…

Pressure pushing down on me

Pressing down on you no man ask for

Under pressure – that burns a building down

Splits a family in two

Puts people on streets

 

Ah, the sun starts to shine, the snow melts and all we feel is…Pressure?

Last week, Soleil had her first taste of the stupidity known as standardized tests. She had the 3rd grade MCAS (Massachusetts) in reading. In May, she has the math MCAS. She was…freaked out, to put it mildly. No homework for her class. Teachers asking kids to get extra sleep. Parents coming in to help the kids learn relaxation techniques. She was getting so upset that I finally explained that the tests are for the schools to understand how well the teachers are teaching. She was relieved on Thursday night when it was all over.

Luna, my ice skating queen, has decided to quit. Yes, I’ve been saying that I would let her quit if she wanted. And yes, I am reneging on that promise. Why? She has chosen to quit skating because she came in last place on her last competition. Even though her coach has admitted that it was not the right time for her to compete in it. Even though we’ve explained that she needed more work on those steps, she is ready to give up. Unfortunately, we aren’t letting her. That’s the easy way out. She is doing another competition in May. This one is not a full program with music, but instead, it is going through the elements for that level one by one. She doesn’t want to do it. She’s angry. Angry with us, Angry with her coach, Angry with herself. I hate to see her go through this. I really do. But… what lesson are we teaching her if we say it is okay to walk away just because you mess up once? She has 4 medals. 3 1st place medals and 1 4th place. She can do this, but she needs to mature to do it. And she doesn’t want to.

I did have Luna teaching me how to stop on the ice Saturday. I promised to take ice skating lessons one day and here I am, taking ice skating lessons. I’m in the low class with a bunch of kids. When Luna was trying to help me, she said "Mom, you just need confidence!".  I couldn’t help but smile.

Last night, Soleil did her first hockey try-out. She is going for goalie. She’s not the greatest hockey player, but she loves it. I hesitated letting her try-out because, well, she’s not very good at it. However, we decided to let her. Dr. Jay took her last night and she did okay. There were about 30 players in the second session. Probably the same amount in the first session. That means about 75% of the girls trying out won’t make the team. That’s pressure. We went over the odds with Soleil last night. There were 3 goalies in her session. One was the goalie last year and is pretty darn good.

This morning I got an email saying that Soleil should be ready for the 7pm tryouts for tomorrow! Oh, and could Goalies please come to both sessions! I think she’ll be thrilled. I have told her that after seeing her video from last night, she is skating even better than ever. She may not make the team, but she is trying. The difference of 2 years of maturity.

There is another pressure going on with our family, but one I cannot discuss yet. It’s nothing bad. Nothing that should worry people, but it’s a "big thing" that I need to spend some time and mental effort on and Dr. Jay have really been great at supporting me on it.

What’s your spring pressure? 

I see the writing on the wall

I’ve decided that if I stop reading about the bad news in the world, it will stop happening.

I am sick of the natural disasters and then the kooky people who come out of the walls trying to explain how it’s a vast conspiracy of the Neo-cons to take over the world. I am tired of stupid ass dictators killing people. I am tired that we and Europe are left with little choice but to come out and bomb this country which is already in bad shape. I hate that people are too damn stupid to protect those who need protecting. I can’t stand that our state decided to give third graders a state wide test just to fuck with their fragile psyche. I hate more that the classes have to teach to this.

I’m tired of all of this crap. Really. I need to escape.

Fortunately, next week, I am flying down to Orlando, hopping in a car and going to a beach with my favorite beachy friends and we are going to just relax…..

But for now, I am going to just stop reading the news, m’kay?

When quiet reflection is a good thing

I haven’t been blogging for a few weeks and there has been a reason. I’ve needed the reflection time. I’ve needed to step back and look at the world.

Of course, the world hasn’t been too quiet. There have been earthquakes, tsunami, fires, governments attacking their own people, nuclear fears and other fun disasters.

I have watched in horror at the devastation of the wonderful nation of Japan. I have angered at the media frenzy around the nuclear reactors without the coverage of the people who are homeless after the waters have receded. I am furious with the pseudo science out there making claims that are not yet backed up by science. I am angry that our congress will continue to blast on nuclear energy without allowing newer, safer technologies to be built.

Most of all, I have been working on a quiet reflection of myself. Who am I? What are the things I want from life?Am I happy and if not, why not? I have answers and I am starting to work on solutions to many of the answers I have.

Don’t worry, nothing life altering like divorce or anything like that, but small changes that could help me in the long run be a happier person.

I started to play with my new serger last night in the attempt to learn how to use it. I WANT to use it so badly, but I need to be able to handle curves and such, that I am starting all over again like a novice sewer.

Sigh…

Spring has arrived, although so has snow and sleet for today. But we will move forward.

I will try to break my silence. 

 

Baby steps to independance…

Massachusetts does not set a specific age at which a child can be left home alone. In Massachusetts, such issues are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Sunday was busy. After our spree at the American Girl Store, my kids were thrill to be up early, not having Hebrew School because of Feb. break, and setting up the American Girl School in Soleil’s room. She managed to snag the Doll School kit.   Very happy kid to get that. A friend was coming over in the morning to play and then Luna had her birthday party to attend.

Around 10am, I was moving laundry around because that’s my most favorite thing on EARTH! LAUNDRY (that was the sarcasm font, just in case you missed it). Soleil called down that she was seeing things. I started to worry about letting her watch Ghost Hunters with me on Wednesday night. She described what I know as a visual aura. The precursor to a migraine. I get verbal auras. I can’t speak good no how when I’m getting a migraine. (Okay- it’s more that I stutter and grasp at the correct word. I will substitute poorly such a dictator instead of dictionary.) But I have had visual aura and this worried me. Luna already has a history of migraines.

I asked her to take some water and rest. Resting to my children is like a fish and a bicycle. Useless in their opinion.

In about 30 minutes, she told me she had a headache. I gave her some tylenol right away. Then asked her again to rest. She drank the medicine, thereby pushing her liver to its maximum workload, and cocked her head at me as if to say "Rest? I do not think that word means what you think it means." She ran off to play.

Our playdate friend showed up. They decided to watch pokemon because watching TV with a friend is so much better than anything else. Soleil crumpled in the corner of the couch. After TV, they played a little and then we made lunch. Soleil still complained of a headache, so I passed her advil. At this point, I was CERTAIN she had a full migraine. This girl does not slow down. In the past, tylenol has handled all of her headaches, but I also know from Luna and myself that it does NOTHING to a migraine. She downed the medicine like chocolate milk (perhaps a shot of tequila would be a better comparision) and announced, "I’m going to rest on the couch".  I nearly fell over.

An hour later, she was asleep on my couch, the playmate was cleaning up to go and I had 20 minutes before I was driving Luna to her party.

"Do I have to go with you?", she asked.

I stopped and thought. Let’s see: She’s 8 and a half. In third grade. She has my cell phone number memorized. She knows which neighbors to go to in an emergency. She knows how to dial our phones. Why not? It’s less than a 10 minute ride to the party and it’s a drop off party. That means, maybe 30 minutes at the most if I get stuck talking to parents.

At some point, I do need to build up the trust to let her be home alone.

"Would you rather stay home while I drive Luna up?" I ventured

"YES!" Okay, she sounds like the headache has gone away.

We went over all of the emergency instructions. She passed that with flying colors. We went over when to answer the phone and when not to, when to answer the door (NOT) and approved activities while I was gone. She asked to watch TV in my bed, so I said sure.

I left. Luna was very annoyed that her sister got to stay home. I explained how when she was older, she could start, but for now, Soleil needs practice and we need to learn if we can trust her abilities. Once Luna saw the party, she was off and could not care less about her sister. I talked to the parent in charge and went home. I got a phone call on my ride home, so I didn’t check out if she would answer the phone or not.

When I arrived home, she filled me in that Massachusetts had called the house phone, so she didn’t pick up. I checked on how she was feeling and she was still sluggish, but better. The house did not burn down. No fire trucks, police cars or ambulii were outside of my home.

I get afraid to let them grow, but at the same point, she needs to have independance. Right?