Mid-life hell

When life hands you lemons, trade them for limes and get the tequila:

I am suffering from my mid-life crisis. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. I am tired right now from life in general. I just held my 40th birthday party a few weeks late (due to Passover, Easter, Mother’s Day and the Red Sox because the place we held it shares parking with the Red Sox). It was nice to have so many people come out and visit, but at the same point, I am looking at my life and I am not really sure where things are going. I am not sure I am happy. I really wish I could do science again… I haven’t had any time for science since Soleil was born and I started cutting back work hours. I am looking into a new idea…Contract Astronomy. Perhaps I can go into data reduction contracting. I contacted a group called Eureka Scientific to see if there is a way to set this up. Can I offer my services, maybe 20-30 hours a week, to reduce data for astronomers who have a little money for data reduction, but not enough to hire a post doc to work for them… It’s a thought.

I need a chauffer for my kids: 

Yes, I am racking up the mileage lately. The weather sucks, the activities are flying and I am driving everywhere! Yesterday was a mad dash between ice skating, orthodontist, picking kids up from both schools, etc… I need to start a kiddie chauffer company. My only worries are that the insurance would be through the roof.

Ice sports are damned cold: 

We have another ice skating competetiton coming up in June. Luna is going to be part of a team. I need to make sure we get the form in. I need to ask the teacher on this. Soleil is doing her hockey skills clinic. We are spending way too much time at the rink. It will only get worse. 

MCAS are simply hell for children: 

The Massachusetts standardized hell tests have just finished. These start in 3rd grade and appear to go on for the rest of their school lives. It puts Soleil into a panic. I hope that Luna doesn’t have similar reactions when she gets to this level.


I need some more time to write, but I need to create a poster for a meeting next week. 

Slipping and Sliding

Visitors can be fun:

My parents visited this past week in conjunction with Luna having a skating competition. If you remember, her last competition was a disaster where she simply went out there and skated half heartedly and ended up last and decided to give up skating. This time, her grandparents came to cheer her on. It’s always a bit difficult when family visits. My parents are a bit more authoritative than I am. Both girls got into fights with my mom. Lovely. However, we did get a trip down to the USS Salem and Dad showed us around. He was on the USS Newport News (same class) and was able to show us how the turrets worked. Then he ran into two guys that work on the USS Salem who were on the Newport News the same years he was!

Skate and Skate some more:

Luna’s competition was Sunday. We went over her skills several times. When it was her turn, she went out there and NAILED it. Totally, completely NAILED IT! I am so proud of her. Over and over, all she heard was ‘I don’t care if you get 1st,2nd or 10th. Just do the best you can and pay attention to your moves!" She was ready to quit 2 months ago. Now she is planning to skate in the next competition on June 12 as part of a team. Her rink is called "The Edge" and the 4 girls decided to call themselves "The Sparkling Edge". Awesome. Now I need to get some stretch fabric because we have to make costumes that match!  Sigh…

RBT update:

Not much on this front except I got a little disappointing news today and I just need to suck up and move forward on this. No biggie in terms of the overall RBT, but those one steps back sometimes take more energy than the two steps forward.

Can you hear me now?

Luna had a hearing test yesterday. I really wasn’t happy with it and I want her to see an audiologist and an ENT. When she has a cold or allergies, she has a harder time hearing. When there is background noise, she tunes out or maybe she can’t hear. There’s a few things that I want to have checked before we declare that she is okay. In another week, I am going to want to get her referred.

The Race To Nowhere:

Our town hosted a viewing of the film "The Race To Nowhere". It was a very thought provoking film. For those who are unaware, this documentary covers the stresses that kids undergo in school and life. Starting in younger grades, kids are piled on with homework, standardized tests, pressures to attend the "right" college, high expectations in extracurricular activities. The parents and kids in the film were truly overwhelmed. The film was dedicated to a 13 year old teen who committed suicide, presumably from the pressures of school.

Two factors that were focused on were the over abundance of homework and AP classes. Studies cited in the film point towards a zero correlation between homework and advancement in the lower grades (K-5), yet my daughters both had homework last night. In the middle school years, this is a slight correlation and in high school, the correlation is positive up to 2 hours worth. We all know that homework is much more extensive than that.

Last night, I spent 1 hour with Soleil working on fractions. I have no clue what her teacher is doing, but she was in hysterics about fractions. Eventually, I pulled out money and we did fractions of dollars. I think she understood, but this was after tears and sobs about how stupid she was and how she wanted to just not have to do this.

 AP classes are something that I don’t worry about yet. Too many kids are being told to take AP classes so they can make the right school. Really? The claim is that there are 100 college spots for each kid. But too many people feel they need to apply to Harvard, Yale, etc… That’s disturbing. I really don’t think anyone needs that pressure on them. I’ve told my girls over and over to do their best. Don’t worry about the grades, don’t worry about the numbers, worry about doing your best.

But, when the state mandates a test given to 3rd graders to see what they can do, I feel sick. When Soleil panics and cries about said test for 2-3 weeks, I feel sick. Now the math version is coming up in 2 weeks and I am just beside myself on that.

One person wanted to point out that only stressed out kids were interviewed, but then I wonder, how many kids aren’t stressed? I want my kids to be able to play hockey and figure skate. But is that too much stress? I don’t know.

The one good thing out of the evening is that the upper elementary principal announced that he was going to bring up the possibility of eliminating homework in his school to the staff. I think that’s a great start. Now, if we can only move this forward.