Thursday, January 26, 2012

Parenting FAIL

I pride myself in knowing my kids.  I think I have a pretty good idea of what is going on with them at all times. While they may argue that I don't know them at all, I am in tune with what makes them tick. 

I remember when they made most of their growth and development milestones.  I know when they had their last set of shots, what their social security numbers are, and the passwords to their email and facebook accounts.  Sometimes I can complete their sentences before they do.

Last night, there was a meeting for all parents who have students involved in the spring musical.  My son is getting involved in drama productions for the first time, and I was really excited to be at that meeting.  The teacher who runs the drama club asked for some simple information on each, email, interests and abilities.  The one that stumped me? What is your child's cell phone number?  Oopsie...Evidently Speed Dial 4 is not the right answer.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

You Are What You (Don't) Eat

S: "It's supposed to be SCIENCE class...we supposed to be learning about plants and animals, not no computers and stuff."
Me: "Science covers a lot of fields, S, not just biology."
E: "BIOLOGIES?  I ain't takin no BIOLOGIES!  Ain't no way I'm digestin no frogs!  That just be NASTY!"
Me: "sigh."
T: "See, E, Mrs. Fenwick all frustrated cuz you didn't say it right."
Me: "Thanks, T, can you tell him how to say it properly?"
T: "Yeah.  It's di-gest-ING. You gotta announce it!"
Me: "Double sigh."

In Thankfulness for My Girlfriends...

I'm watching my daughter form important friendships. She's 12, and she has a "bestie". They remind me so much of Tracy and me at that age. I want to tell her to cherish her girlfriends...that there will be times in her life when those girls (or women) will be all that get her through, aside from Jesus. When I think back to all the joys and sorrows in my life, it's my girlfriends who are always there. I'm so grateful God placed these amazing women in my life. 
I've been blessed to have had the same best friend since 1975. There have been periods of time when we have fallen apart, but we have always returned to this true friendship...and have managed to pick up as if no time had been lost at all. My other "girls" have been my friends since junior high...most of them since the very first day in Miss Hoffeditz's class. A few women have come into my life as adults...and forming true and lasting friendships as adults is rare for women. We rarely have the time or energy to form new relationships, but the ones we are able to grow are such blessings. 
Through the years, my girls have been with me for every imaginable moment. I can remember excitedly chatting about the first boy I liked, and sobbing about the first boy who broke my heart. Funny thing is, I can remember the story but not the boy...but I'll never forget which friend held my hand through it all. I know who I called when I had my first kiss, my first date, my first "scare", and who went to the pink building with me for the first time... 
I'll never forget being thrilled to have all my 7th grade classes with my best friend, relieved that I wouldn't be alone in my first year of public school. But I also remember meeting the rest of my posse that year, and knowing we'd always be there for each other. We went to our first dances as a pack...there's safety in numbers. We also went to the bathroom as a herd for many, many years. 
I know who held my hair up out of the vomit after I drank too much, who lied to my parents to keep me out of trouble, and who held me accountable when I really screwed up. I also know who I went to the limit for, who I would have protected at any cost.
Life changed dramatically after college...There were good and bad marriages, planned and unplanned babies, achievements and disappointments. (And that was just me!) But through it all, there were women on whom I could rely. My girls were there at my first wedding...most of them were ready to sneak me out the back door to keep me from making that mistake, but they all stood there and supported me as I walked down the aisle. The first people to see my newborn child were my girls. When my marriage crashed down around me, my girls picked me up off the floor, cleaned up the broken glass, and sat with me until the tears wouldn't come anymore. They encouraged me, had slumber parties with me, drank with me and sobered me up. They cared for my children when I couldn't cope, cursed out my ex-husband with me, talked me out of committing any number of felonies, and reminded me of all the beauty in my life. At times when some of us drifted apart, others filled the voids, and I was never without true friendship. God has richly blessed me!
I was the first to turn 40, and that's OK with me. I've had the same friends for over 30 years, and I can't wait to see what the next 30 will bring. Thanks girls!

Friday, January 20, 2012


Me: "S", why are you wearing house slippers at school?
S: Cuz I'm crampin.
Me: What do house slippers have to do with cramping?
S: Don't you know anything? Shoes mess up your flow!


The VALUE of Education

My school has 16 students between the ages of 12 and 21.  They are all from the same town, a small community in the St. Louis Metro East that has fewer than 4,000 residents and covers an area about 3 miles by 4 miles. The topography of the town is flat, and there are no bodies of water that have to be crossed to get from one side of town to the other.  Outside temperatures can be cold-ish in the winter and hott-ish in the spring and fall, but generally stay between 20-85.  School busses run for all kids who live more than a mile from school, and for our students, transportation is provided regardless of residence location.

Education in our town is free for all and compulsory up to age 17.  Our school is air-conditioned, heated, has running water, and has some of the most up-to-date technology of any schools in the county.  Every classroom  has a SmartBoard, 1-1 net books, and desk top computers.  Some classrooms are equipped with iPads, class responders, wireless slates. 

Both breakfast and lunch are served to students in our school.  Breakfasts can be light, but always include milk and juice.  Lunches have at least 3 items plus milk.

To say the least, it's a pretty comfortable place to go to school.  Yet students consistently skip school.  Today, 3 out of 16 students didn't come.  They aren't sick...they don't have one stopped them from coming.  They just chose not to be here.  Skipping school is not a big deal.

Out of the 13 who were left, only 6 chose to complete their assigned work to the best of their abilities.  2 chose not to work at all; instead they sat and chatted until they were dismissed from class.  1 slept, and 3 completed about half the work due to sideline conversations and off-task behavior.

This always makes me sad, but after seeing the photo ( below of children in Indonesia crossing a broken foot bridge to get to school, I got angry.  Some children in the world literally risk their lives to get an education.  Each day they brave dangerous conditions just to sit in a poorly equipped classroom and LEARN something.  Why don't we have that drive to better ourselves here?  Why do some students throw away this golden opportunity?  Why isn't education VALUED the same here as it is in other places?
I know some of the answers to these questions.  Nothing that is given for free is valued for very long.  Nothing that is made too easy comes with much of a sense of satisfaction.  Nothing that doesn't have to be earned in some respect gets a whole lot of attention because it isn't going to be taken away.  The fact that schools are free isn't the root of the problem, but it does seem to me that we value what we pay for more than what we don't.

I'm not suggesting that schools become pay institutions.  What I am suggesting is that students who do not want to be in school, who don't value education, who come to school and take up space while disrupting the learning of their peers, who aren't invested in any given a different option.  Create vocational programs, work programs...something else.  Make education in schools the privelege of those who want to be there and who take advantage of what is offered. 

Photo Credit: Beawiharta/Reuters

Butt Writing

So I was behind this girl in line at WalMart today. She was cute. Way cute. She had one of those great bodies that make the rest of us regular women just want to curl up and die. She was wearing a pair of sweatpants that had writing on the butt..."juicy" I think they said. Those pants crack me up. I see them all the time..."juicy", "hot", "cheer", "pimp", short little words that fit nicely on a compact, cute little butt. I got to thinking about it...what would I write on the back of MY pants if I was so inclined?

I don't think I want "juicy"...ew. "Hot" doesn't really describe me very well any more. "Cheer" And "pimp", well that's just not my style. I think I need something a little more substantive. Something positive, still, but with a little more bang for the buck. And of course, we have a little more room to work with here...I know.

Hehe. Just a random thought that ran through my mind at the WalMart today. If anyone wants to order a pair of pants, let me know...I think there's a real untapped market out there...