Tag Archives: school

Hello, insecurities

As Lane has ventured her way through kindergarten, we’ve had to deal with a handful of social issues that have come up.  None particularly crisis-inducing, but just that stuff that happens with a bunch of kids together in a room.  She got in a fight with her best friend and they weren’t talking for a couple days.  One girl, who she’d never been particularly friendly with but is the only other kid from her class on her bus, made a point to tell her that they were *not* friends and Lane wasn’t sure what to do with it.

And as we muddled through these various little things, I felt all those school-age insecurities get dredged up.  I went through elementary school as, I shall say it, one of the most popular girls.  Until about fourth grade (it seemed in my world) being smart and active and friendly and nice were enough that most girls were friendly to me, and I had a plethora of friends.  Then I hit about seventh grade, and being smart and friendly and nice became the assets that made me a target for the more queen-bee-ish of the friends I’d accumulated.  No time in school was particularly harsh, and I was thankfully wise about judging about who my real friends were.  Getting involved in sports helped a lot, too; I and the other athlete-girl-types mostly were straightforward and avoided the general social pettiness in which the rest of the girl population wallowed/thrived. 

To help better understand the dynamics of the stuff Lane would be faced with, but that I never seemed to understand in school, I read Queen Bees and Wannabes not too long ago, which was incredibly insightful.  I borrowed it from the library but I know it’s a book I’ll want to own a copy of.  Happy to say, while I spent a bit of time as a Target/Torn Bystander type while I was learning to navigate the social circles of junior high, I pretty much evolved into a Floater in the Queen Bee/Wannabe vernacular… comfortable in a number of different groups, confident, keeping myself above the fray, etc.  Turns out I did pretty good for myself after all.  I had always thought of myself as more of the victim, and conflict with other girls — especially those super-cliquey, power-hungry types — would give me a cold sweat just thinking about the possibility. The truth is (which I realized while reading the book) was that I handled them well.  No one ever got a second chance to be entrusted enough to be mean to me.  I think my true test of social endurance and personal fortitude happened in ninth grade.  A true queen bee, this mean, wicked, power-hungry girl who I shall call Samantha found out that a junior football player stud-type (who I shall call George) liked me.  (George didn’t like me in a “wow, you’re amazing and smart and I want to get to know you better!” kind of way, he liked me in a “Wow, you wore leggings the other day and you looked hot and I want to stick my penis in you really bad!” kind of way, so while it was, honestly, a bit of an ego boost to be noticed that way, I was decidedly not responsive to his interest in me.)  However, I didn’t make it widely known that I wasn’t interested, I just sort of shrugged it off.  George, however, did make it pretty widely known that he wanted into my panties.  This was incredibly threatening to Samantha, as George was her well-known target of lust and affection and I assume she had been-there-done-that with him, or had publicly aspired to do so.  Therefore, George’s attention paid in my direction seriously undercut her power accumulation and I was a very serious threat, without doing anything at all.  There were confrontations, and rumors spread, and other lovely things, and I distinctly remember being amused by it and feeling above it.  I shrugged it off, I laughed with my friends about it, and when George (with much fanfare, and for some reason everyone knowing he was going to do it) invited me to be his date to a party, I turned him down privately, though I’m pretty sure Samantha never found out I’d said no until she got to the party and he was there without me – I only told a couple close friends I’d said no, and certainly George didn’t go bragging about it.  It was a fun few days of watching her struggle so strongly to try to tear me down for her own ego.  It was an episode I’d never reflected on an awful lot until I’d read the book, and realized how much more power this girl could have had over me if I’d let her.

But I see the uncertainty and the insecurities I felt rear their ugly head as I am starting to help Lane navigate these new waters.  I’ve also caught myself assuming she might be more apt to be a target/victim than an instigator/manipulator.  I really don’t know why I would make that assumption — can a mom with absolutely no tendencies toward manipulative, power-seeking, queen bee type behavior have a daughter who becomes that stereotypical “mean girl”?  Sure, why not.  I honestly don’t see it in our case, but weirder things have happened… so as I’ve started to give her bits of insight into her own actions and those of others, I’ve started to take into account that she could shape up to be a victim, or a perpetrator… but ideally, neither. 

Luckily she  has at least a couple more years before the girl-cattiness starts showing up in significant amounts.  I hope I can guide her to realize being above the fray is way better than trying to win at it, and the best friends she’ll find are the ones who feel the same.

My sprouts

I haven’t written much about the kids lately, what with the utter and total domination a few other men had in my blogging life lately.

Lane started pre-K. It is safe to say that she likes it.  In fact, I think it’s entirely safe to say that she loves it immensely and seems to be a great fit for her.  She took a little time warming up to her teachers (she has two, a main teacher and an assistant — 2 teachers for twelve kids — how’s that for an awesome student:teacher ratio!?), which wasn’t surprising because she will rarely if ever speak to someone new, but this week she started talking to them directly and telling me about them.  She warmed up to all the kids right away, and already seems to have forged some friendships, at least from her point of view.  (I tend to look at these early ‘friendships’ with skepticism, until I have proof the friendship is requited.  When Lane was in day care, another girl must have thought Lane was her best friend and constantly talked to her mom about Lane, and her mom would see me and gabber on about what great friends our daughters were… but Lane never, ever talked about her daughter as a close friend.  Eek… it was awkward.)  Anyway, she looks forward to going, she seems disappointed when the weekend arrives, she freaks out if she thinks we’re going to be late, and she doesn’t show an ounce of separation anxiety when I drop her off every day.  But on the same token, she’s excited to see me when I pick her up and tells me all about stuff she did that day.  It just feels so great and healthy and normal and she just seems so well-adjusted to it all, after only a couple of weeks.

And Jake — he just continues in his complete and total awesomeness.  He’s always happy.  Always.  We went to the playground today, and I had a conversation with another mom that I must have a couple times a day when we’re out and about…

Other person:  He’s so cute!  He’s so happy!

Me:  Thank you!

Other person:  Is he always this happy?

Me:  Yep, he really is.

Other person:  Wow!

Man, it grows tiring having to tell strangers how awesome my kid is.  Eh, no, not really.  I love it.  😀

His communication is growing by leaps and bounds, too.  We’ve lost track of how many words he knows, it’s definitely in the hundreds now.  And he’s packaging them in three word sentences.  We had a stellar family dinner tonight watching Mulan and eating delivered pizza, and after Jake finished the slice of pizza I gave him, he carried his plate over to me, pointed at it, and said, “Want pizza!”

Then there’s his exuberance, his pure joie de vivre, which is just so abounding.  Everything is so fun and exciting for him, it helps to inject a little more enthusiasm for everyone.  My in-laws and Frank’s aunt and uncle are all in the Czech Republic for the month, so we’ve been unburdening their vegetable gardens of any additional vegetative output.  My in-laws’ garden hasn’t been very productive of late; I think my father-in-law sort of let it go a couple weeks before they left on vacation, and it never was doing great before then, either.  But Frank’s uncle’s garden is amazing.  It’s the size of my living room at least, and the dozen tomato plants and half-dozen pepper plants in it are all at least seven feet tall.  I ended up with so many tomatoes after my first haul I had to make a big batch of homemade salsa to use them all (which might I say turned out delicious).  Anyway, the whole point of me telling about all this is because the couple times we’ve gone to pick veggies, the second I put Jake down after taking him out of the car, he makes a beeline toward their garden yelling “APPLE!  APPLE!  APPLE!”  (He thinks that anything remotely resembling an apple is an apple… and apparently anything remotely tasting like an apple, too, since it was up until a week ago that bananas were also apples.  Now they are “nanas”.)

Ahh, they are cute ones.

Progress

Things are getting done around our new abode, which is encouraging.

Our living room is all painted — three walls are the same warm beige (“oat cake” says Behr) as our bedroom with one accent wall of Ladybug Red.  And Frank likes it.  Yay!  I’m fairly confident in my color choices and I like to go out on a limb sometimes.  Nothing that a can of primer can’t fix, right?  I figured he’d be wishy-washy on the red at best, and he’s actually digging it.  Cool!  Our next color challenge is to pick a color for our dining room.  I was, and still am somewhat, leaning toward a muted, darkish orange color for the dining room… but just now I started playing with some warm browns and ooooooohh.  I’ve never painted a room a dark brown before.  I’ve done navy blue in a half-bath, but never a whole room of something so dark.  It might be fun.

Frank and his dad tackled a bunch of clearing out the overgrown landscaping this weekend, and I conquered more of it this afternoon.  Then I dug a two-foot hole and set up our new roadside mailbox at the behest of the postal service (with a bit of help from my father in-law — but I did dig the whole hole myself with a post hole digger).

Frank and I just finished changing out all the switches and outlets in the living room to shiny new stuff and adding dimmers and all that fun stuff.  I gotta say, nothing makes me feel more like I’m a cool, confident adult than installing a dimmer switch, and I say that without a hint of sarcasm.  Just gotta shampoo the rug in there, and put in our furniture.  The cable company is coming next Tuesday to install cable for us, and our own internet service (right now my only internet is off of the in-laws’ router, for which we can only get a signal against the outside wall of our dining room, which is why I’m sitting here on a cushion from our couch instead of the dozen or so infinitely more comfortable spots in our house.)

The last couple days have felt quite productive.  Tomorrow, I’m spending a day with just Lane, while Jake gets to hang out with his grandparents for the day.  I figure since she’s starting pre-K next week, we should do some sort of send-off, to kind of celebrate her last days before she becomes SCHOOL AGED.  Ack!  So, she and I are going to drive down to Sesame Place for some kickin’ mom-and-daughter time.

Free ride

We got some great news yesterday: Lane got a spot in our county’s Universal Pre-K program!  This means she gets to go to preschool starting in September for 5 days a week, 2.5 hours a day, at no cost to us.  Given the very tight budget we are going to have to be on once we own this house, ‘no cost to us’ is an incredibly wonderful thing.

The best part of the news is that she was placed at our first choice school.  The school is run by a local agency that specializes in services for the disabled; the preschool is an offshoot of their programs.  Lane’s class specifically is a blended class: half the children in each class are ‘typical’ kids (like Lane) and half are kids with some early-intervention type needs – speech therapy, sensory issues, some minor motor development issues.  I fully expect that when I visit and volunteer in the class, I won’t be able to tell the typical kids from the others.  There are other classes at the school for kids with greater needs: classes for kids with autism, classes for kids with physical disabilities, and some programs for older kids with needs, too.

As such, it’s a school with an incredible wealth of benefits.  All the teachers have master’s degrees in early childhood education (and the assistants all have at least associate’s degrees, most have bachelor’s degrees).  And granted, an advanced degree does not always equal a great teacher, but in my mind it reduces the likelihood a great deal of having a teacher who completely sucks.  The school has a full-time staff of professionals: a nurse, a psychologist, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist.  And while Lane isn’t entering school with any sort of impending need, these professionals are there for us as well.  As a couple examples, the speech therapist will spend time with all the kids in Lane’s class and provide any assistance as the need arises.  The occupational therapist comes in and helps all the kids with lessons in motor skills, such as tying shoes and holding a pencil correctly.  If Lane has any behavior issues, I can meet with the psychologist and get advice.

I have to give a proper shout-out and thanks to my friend Good Fountain, whose daughter goes to a blended preschool.  Her insight not only opened my mind to the possibility, but actually made it a desirable type of preschool for me to seek out.  Without hearing about her experience with Chee, I’m not sure I could manage to be so open-minded.  Thanks, love!

My heart aches a little at sending her to school five days a week, but at the same time she’s a kid that’s slow-to-warm-up, so the continual exposure to the same classroom and the same kids will be good for her.   I’m sure we’ll struggle with drop-offs for awhile… Lane is a mama’s girl, through-and-through, and when she went to day care it often took her 10-15 minutes to ‘warm up’ to being there so that I could leave without tears.  The teachers there thought I was a bit wacky for spending 15 minutes in the classroom every morning (the other parents were mostly dump-and-go, which worked for them… but the days I left her crying always ended up being bad days at work for me emotionally, so those 15 minutes were as much for her as for me). And as far as five days a week… there’s no reason why she can’t play hooky once in a while.   😉  I’m sure we’ll have to meet attendance standards of some sort, but chances are we’ll *just* meet them.

Anyway, I’m excited.  I really feel like it’s an environment where she’ll thrive, and I’m excited to get some one-on-one time on a consistent basis with Jake, too.  (I get more one-on-one time with Lane right now, because Jake is so easy-going!  He’s much ‘easier’ – for lack of a better word – to leave with my in-laws or Frank for a couple hours.)