Thursday, August 22, 2013

School: 4 Days In

Well, we had bad night on first day of school with G being grounded from her electronics for the week. I will return them Saturday morning because an unoccupied G is a bad deal for me. Mom reminded me why she never grounded any of us, it is more trouble on the parent than the child.

Then Tuesday morning I casually asked her to change out of her white t-shirt because it was quite see through which brought many protestations and culminated in tears and all kinds of stuff. Seriously, when the Proverbs 22:15 proclaims foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, it was on FULL display Tuesday and not in a fun way.

G told me Tuesday evening, that her grounding would only be until Friday (though I had not told her that bit of info) and that I couldn't spank her while she is grounded. I pointed out that I wouldn't spank her for the grounding offense but anything else that warranted spanking could result in one. But her telling me what I could or could not do and for how long (grounding) showed me how bad the evening would be because she was already in defiant mode.

Tuesday evening turned out to be almost as bad as Monday evening. G informed me that she did not like me (without provocation mind you) to which I calmly replied, "You aren't required to like me." then returned to making dinner. I was truly doing what I could to no respond or react but she was quite mean. I had mentioned that I thought maybe a Bible study with some of her friends would do us all good but she refused to even contemplate attending one. We had opportunity to go to a concert by a Christian artist (we did get tickets) but when I told G about it she defiantly said she didn't want to go. That is she didn't want to go until I started to log onto e-mail and let the person who had the tickets know we didn't want them, then all of a sudden she did want to go.

Yesterday morning was tense because G would rather play, literally took 9 minutes to eat 3 pieces of bacon, than get ready for school. REALLY?! so then I was on the nagging train and kept hurrying her along which frustrates me. I know she slows down when I fuss but for whatever reason I didn't stop myself. We had plenty of time but GAH! the child can be s-o v-e-r-y s-l-o-w that it drives me totally batty!

This morning was much better and I hope tonight will be as well. Bedtime G consistently tries to stay awake. I have given her as little as 4 minutes to fall asleep after I turned the lights out in response to her constant questions or squirming. If she gets still and quiet she does fall asleep fast. I have no idea why she wishes to stay awake. And the questions she comes up with and all the "but mama..." drives me crazy at bedtime.

G asked me why I wasn't putting notes in her lunch box anymore then proceeded to tell me what the previous notes had said. The common theme was "I love you and am very proud of you. Jesus loves you too!" That is what I would end my notes with every day plus have a question about school that she could answer. This morning I wrote her a note and I need to get these notes in more often. I totally forgot to do them. I haven't purchased the little flip notebooks I used either so I suppose a target trip is in order.

Last night she told me something that happened at school with a girl who has known G since pre-school. This girl is the same girl who convinced G that being a boy was good, pink was bad and for G to be this girl's friend G had to do as this girl said, all at the age of 3-4 years old. Anyway, I had managed to keep them out of the same class until this year. Now they have homeroom together. So, this child asked G if G was Korean or just tan like herself. G told her she was tan and ignored her. Yes, I find it terribly funny. This was not pure curiosity because this child has seen G almost weekly for the past 8 years. Knowing this child there had to be something behind the question at this point in their knowing each other. It could be innocent but I am highly skeptical. Plus the child's parents know G as well. Most everybody knows she was adopted from China as well.

And before I get blow back, you must understand I allow G to determine for herself the intent of the question. I encourage her to be kind to the curious, because she herself is curious, but for other questions of nosiness or hurtful intent, she can be as snarky as she likes. I have encouraged her to err on the said of general curiosity until it is very apparent that harm is intended. G is pretty perceptive and very observant so I for now trust her judgement about these things.

Work is starting to get busier which is good. I am still very tired every afternoon but age I suppose has something to do with that. Soon G and I will be on our little mini vacay. We both are getting excited about it. The money could look better on paper but we will be back on target in a month or so. I am not near as stressed as I was at the doctor's office which has shown in the weight gain, heh. Coffee consumption is still down and water intake is up. Large salads at lunch are still high in calories and without caloric output I haven't any hope. G and I are getting back in the swing of push ups and sit ups at bedtime. I have to allow them past the bedtime limit because I need to do them as well as G. Running/walking has been pushed to the future for now.

The weather here has been very nice and just in the last two days has gotten into the 90s. Maybe we will have a not so cold winter again and go into fall at cool temps. I am ready for fall and winter.

Monday, August 19, 2013

1st Day of 4th Grade

Somehow she regressed; she looks younger to me today.  I suppose apprehension will do this to her. Here is the post from the first day of 3rd grade and she seemed just as apprehensive. This picture of her in the orange t-shirt was just this morning.  The pic below is the last day of third grade. 

She wanted me to walk in with her. I initially thought I would just let her go alone but decided better of it. We have had two mornings of very close meltdowns probably only because of stress and slight fear.

This weekend we rented from Amazon Meet the Robinsons. I have never asked G if she wanted to watch this movie but sometime this summer she had seen it on Disney at my parent's home and it is one of her top 10 movies now. We had a 3 day rental so we were able to watch it twice. I had never seen it though I knew the basic plot from adoption classes. That and Tarzan were discussed at length with prospective and newly adoptive parents. Claim was the movies could open up doors of discussion with your child. It didn't for G though.

As far as message? the movie was great even for adults. The whole keep moving forward and even a small nod to celebrate failures (because we all fail) was great. The contrast with Goob's life and the Robinson clan was great. I know I personally am more of a Goob not so much in wanting to destroy someone else's future but in staying too much in the failures of my own past, not letting it go. Great movie, maybe Santa will bring a DVD for G this Christmas.

The tooth fairy brought G a book series The Truth Chronicles that we started last night. On top of the books she will read from school, this is a series I will read to her. We will need to pick back up on the Chronicles of Narnia this year as well. She has been asked (or we as parents were asked by the reading teacher) to read at least 20 minutes a day on top of the class novel they will read.

Saturday, we ended up taking my mom to a Sports Authority to get some things for her water aerobics which she loves. While there we picked up another pair of tennis shoes for G. When I was a little girl I had a pair of leather Nikes that I wore every day which caused my feet to stink to high heaven. I determined that G would never have that. If I couldn't get two of the same pair of shoes (different colors) then I would get her two pair of tennis shoes no matter for her to switch every day so they will have time to dry between. There is nothing more mortifying than having stinky feet. So we found her 2nd pair of tennis shoes for the school year and two light weight jackets that she will probably be able to wear until December or January even. It doesn't really get THAT cold here until Jan or Feb. And thankfully everything was on sale. G actually bought one of the jackets herself (she mowed the grass Sat afternoon in return). I thought it was a great deal too.

I culled through some books yesterday instead of taking a nap. I found my Grandmother's Memories book that actually my dog chewed on. I was angry at that dog all over again but I read through it anyway. My mother's mother was fiercely independent. She mellowed in her older age with regard to the roles of males and females. She had a rebellious heart just like G has. She did not think it fair that boys and girls were treated differently (in her day it was even more different). I was reading in the Old Testament where the price for redemption of baby boys and baby girls was different and G was just beside herself. "See," she said, "Boys are more valuable than girls." So my grandmother was a lot like G is now.

So after reading this part of my grandmother's memory I looked at G and said, "You may be from a whole different country with no blood connection, but you are my grandmother made over!" She just looked at me a bit confused and then smiled. I even had a tearful moment reading some of her thoughts about me and what she believed my grandfather would have thought about me. He died 9 1/2 months before I was born. She put 8 months in the book but he died in Dec and I was born in Sept the next year. G respectfully sat quietly while I had my tearful moment. Just thinking about it makes me choke up still. She made a book for all 15 of her grandchildren. Obviously some of the pages were just copied from book to book. She did try though and personalize the pages with regard to each grandchild.

Anyway, I finally decided to release a whole bunch of books. And to let you know what books mean to me, I have hundreds of books in ebook format now not to mention about 300 physical books at my house (it maybe more I haven't actually counted). Getting rid of books or throwing away books is anathema to me (as is writing in them or gluing one together for decoration purposes or cutting pages out of the middle for hiding places or bending pages). And yes I have held onto books because I didn't feel right in giving them away because maybe they were not in line with scripture though before reading the books I didn't know just how out of line they were. I was not willing to allow someone to accidentally get a hold of a book that might be heretical or harm some one's faith. So yes, I have/had a lot of books and it could be labeled an obsession with books, I suppose. But now that I am determined to get rid of stuff, I am making much more of an effort to acknowledge that if I haven't read it already, then I probably won't. Plus ebooks, SQUEE!

We are now one step closer to fixing all the cracks in the wall and then to kilz the dining room. This project may have been too big for me to tackle. I may have to have an open house next year not in Dec. The year is already crushing my time commitments and plans. This year will continually speed up too. I am sure I will blink and half G's 4th grade will be over. She of course believes time is going way too slowly. Funny how we spend most of childhood wishing it away only to become adults (as we wished) wishing time would slow down.

Yesterday at church we did the blessing of the backpacks and a prayer over all the children and school worker's for a good and blessed year. And G has the majority of her 4th grade Sunday school class in her class at school too plus the kids from the Baptist church she attends on Wed night(my parents go to that one). I think she is covered in people who know her or at least to whom she belongs.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Last Day of Summer Break

Monday is the start of school for G. I am not sure she is ready. She wants to start school and stay on summer break at the same time. Isn't that what we all wanted (except for our parents) to both go to school and stay on summer break?

So not much else happening this week. I have several friends and or Sunday school class members very sick, in the hospital or hospice (one dear woman). It makes me very sad in one way to see people I love hurting, but I know they know the Great Physician and the Comforter He sent. Death and the grave was conquered at the cross but suffering will remian until Christ's return. He never promised no suffering, no illness but that He would be right there with us through all of our struggles. This is a relationship of which He speaks.

Knowing or believing there is a God is one thing but that God allows you to know Him directly and wants to be in relationship with us, well, that is a totally radical thing all together. He took religion and turned it on its head via the cross to make a relationship with us. He gave us religion to learn how to walk in relationship with Him.

With Egypt in colossal melt down, our nation throwing the liberty given by divine authority away with each move toward governmental slavery and personal friends suffering, without God all is vanity of vanities.

Work is still going well. We will be getting busy in the next few months with the health plan and looking at other options. G and I are still going on two mini vacays soon. It seems today that no body is here or that it should be a holiday because of the quiet stillness at work. It has been that way all day. I moved around the set of cubicles to a solitary cube (I was between two at the end of a hall) and I LOVE BEING A HERMIT. I really was moving away from one of the accountants because besides being a bit strange he was also listening and commenting on my calls.

The last hour and 10 mins will drag by today though because everyone is ready to go. It is Friday after all. Our big weekend plans of painting hit a financial snag due to an unknown bill (legit) I received. So instead we will continue to clean, organize and move furniture so that we can paint as soon as I get some extra money budgeted. I also need to go through all the books I have and decide what to keep or get rid of, I am sure I can cull a few. I also plan to make more blueberry syrup; I have been out for 3 weeks but haven't had time to make any.

Oh and I am carrying around G's tooth that took us to the dentist 2 weeks ago because she pulled it yesterday. And, no, she doesn't have room in her mouth for all of her permanent teeth to come in. And she left that tooth at my parents where she pulled it so that the toothfairy did not come visit. So tonight we shall be visited. With what I don't know. I think a whole series of Christian books for young readers. When do I get to admit the toothfairy is just me?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Meet the Teacher Night

Last night was meet the teacher night for the 4th grade. YEAH! I can't believe it; time won't stop. She is in class with most of the Baptist church kids she sees on Wednesday after school and in GAs. She is also in class with most of the Methodist boys from her Sunday school class. Her teacher goes to my parents church and knows the majority of the 28 kids in her class. There are three classes clustered together and it appears that in these three classes are the top 10-20% (academically) of students in the 3rd grade. There are over 300 kids in 3rd grade. The GT (gifted and talented) students are in one of the three classes clustered together. G's teacher is the social studies/science teacher for the cluster. so hopefully it will be a school within a school. Yes, I am a snob with regard to my child and her education. If I could afford private, I would have her in private. If I thought she was more self motivated I would have her doing home school work.

I am hoping this will be a good year for G. There are still things we struggle with that in this cultural environment I wish to have more control over who is interacting with her and what messages they are sending. I need the adults in G's life to reaffirm our beliefs not impart a mixed up culture's idea of good/evil and right/wrong. I want tolerance to be taught from a Christian perspective not a western everything is fine unless you cross a phony PC line perspecitve.

Our district has been forced over the last 8 years to accept districts that were forced by the state to close due to extremely low test grades and low parental involvement. These are the kids from the rural areas of our district, mostly on government assistance, low exposure to other cultures or other socioeconomic levels, low expectations from everyone around them. Some of these kids could have a future if the parents cared enough to get involved. At one time I worked with some of these kids and honestly the parents were the problems but the kids were the ones labelled. Some of the kids were medicated due to hyperactivity or in other words, just getting on the mother's nerves so that she could not entertain the numerous men coming in and out of her life. Mostly it was boys who were medicated. Oh and this wasn't necessarily based in one racial group because it crossed racial boundaries. It made me sad for the boys because they learned that no one expected anything good from them.

I personally think that in school boys are not treated as boys but more as non-girls, meaning the expectation of a boy's behavior is defined by how the majority of girls act: quiet, compliant, easily taught in a broad general sense. I personally think public schools, as currently structured, put too much emphasis on controlling behaviors perceived to be abnormal rather than teaching basics in an environment that is geared as much to the activity level of boys as girls and that we lose the ability to understand boys on their own terms, as they were created to be. I think this is as much a disservice to girls as it is to boys. Our culture, through movies, commercials and TV, has really dumbed men/boys down and created a false narrative that boys are just neanderthals waiting to beat a woman on the head rather than truly come up to the Biblical standard of provider and protector.

That is my public school rant for now. It isn't an optimal situation for my ideals, but until I am rich or G is more self motivated I am stuck with her in the public school. I must remember to tell her teacher to put high goals on G and if she misses the goal to not bring it down, but to encourage her anyway. Failure is okay because it is through error and mistakes we learn. G mostly will hit or surpass a goal if it is set high enough. If it is set too low, she won't hit it at all (we saw that play out in 3rd grade when the teacher decided to ignore me). That is part of that perfectionist's tendency that she has. If she thinks her teacher thinks she can't succeed, then she won't even try.

It really is amazing how well we were matched. I tend to have the same tendencies except that sometimes I would succeed out of pure spite. I suppose it could be projection on my part, but I saw this very early in her. She is also very introverted. She is much more introverted than I am but I have been where she is now. Age brought me closer to the center of the continuum (but age is also sending me back to the hermit end of it, heh). I will say that she is perfectly content in a group of her choosing even if she is not necessarily participating in the same activities of the group. As long as she defines the interaction on her terms she is perfectly happy to observe. I watched this play out Saturday at the pool of a friend when 5 girls were there. Oh how happy G was and how much she did not want to leave even though looking from the outside she looked like she was playing alone. The girls were not so much leaving her out as she was putting herself out of the activity, just happy to belong not necessarily participate in each event.

This is the transition year. The kids will switch classes this year getting ready for jr and sr high. She won't have the same teacher other than for home room, social studies and science in the same day. Math and reading/writing are with different teachers as are the auxillary classes which change daily. There are two days of pe, no recess. She is bummed about the no recess thing. They will have "walking" or accelerated reading instead of recess. Sorry but the whole walking thing is just stupid. She has an early lunch too, so she may be very hungry by the time school is out. Anyway, her class I think is going to be a positive for her and I pray she excels.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Weekend in Review

We borrowed the Star Wars trilogy from a friend and finished it this weekend. You know, it was a whole lot cooler when it first came out and I was not even a teenager yet. Now, it is just very muppetish and silly. Please don't be offended Star Wars fans, my daughter is now a fan and wants the boxed set for Christmas. Of course she is 9. I have heard that the clone wars pre-qual is better but I haven't a desire to see it.

We purchased 10 different sample paint colors to try out on the house. In the big box store with the very bright white lights both G and I loved the colors we picked. When we got home and put them on the wall, only 1 color made the cut but since we sampled on the wall we now have to paint. So I think we will start with the color we like which is the dining room color and work from there. So I guess the dining room will be the first room to be painted.

Sunday, we mowed the yard after I had a good long nap. After going to church in the morning, I love my Sunday afternoon naps. Hate that I am getting old and now the naps offset my bedtime. That is okay, I still take them. G actually mowed the yard after I outlined it. I give her a margin to work in. She did really well this time and we only ran out of gas once which is usually how it works for me; for G not so much.

Saturday we dressed all 70s style to celebrate a birthday for a friend. G said it would have been easier to have a 2000s theme birthday because we are in the 2000s and she has clothes for that, heh. Some styles are coming back and tie-dye is always popular. Her long hair worn down worked too. We dressed early 70s for that matter.

This week is rainy and full of mosquitos. G has at least 20 bites on one leg, 7 on one arm and countless others over the rest of her. I warned her to use the bug spray when she goes out at my parents. Their garage on a rainy day is perfect for mosquitos to converge.

School starts back in 2 more weeks. I think most of the supplies she had last year will be re-used. I just don't see the point in purchasing all new when G takes such good care of her stuff. That is truly something innate to her. She just isn't destructive. I was. None of my stuff could be re-used after the year. And of course it wasn't intentionally destructive just carelessly destructive. So glad G is opposite me in that respect. Of course it could be a bit of OCD in her too.

So that is the whole weekend in a nutshell.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

RIP Simon ?-2013

Monday evening, my dad took Simon for me and now he is buried with the other 3 animals.  Of course we are sad but we know he is better off.  Now we are planning all the changes to the house.  Re-painting, re-organizing, re-purposing and re-furnishing.

This is a video of Simon helping me to wake up G one morning for school.  Simon would go to the bathroom when I said go potty.  He wouldn't go use it because that wasn't his room, but he would go with G and stay with her until she came to the kitchen.  He loved to talk to us when we woke up in the morning and when we came home.  He just knew we were talking to him when we were on the phone or skyping with family.  People I would have phone conversations with could hear him and would comment on how loud and expressive he was.

So Simon, we will miss your conversations, but I could not continue to watch you waste away and hurt so badly.  You were the best cat I have ever owned.