Monday, August 28, 2006

You know you're in the south when....

You have three events on your schedule and they all require you to bring a covered dish. Ha! Since the start of school life has become crazed. This past week, Jacelyn had Daisies on Tuesday, I had church on Wednesday (RCIA, catholic classes, basically), then I went to a Mary Kay party on Thursday (and hung out with no less than three middle school band directors), and a friend's birthday party on Friday. This week is a little slower: Daisies on Tuesday, church Wednesday, fish fry and drunkenness Thursday. Stress factor this week: food. I have to supply the snacks for the troop and their families for the big ceremony Tuesday night, snacks for the group at church Wednesday, and something for the fish fry Thursday. I know only what I will make for Wednesday: cookies. Other than that, I'm at a loss. Thankfully, I'm off on Tuesdays, so that will allow me to drop Jacelyn off at school, rush back to the house and cut the grass, then do some cleaning, then I can run to the store and get what I need for the Daisy ceremony (I'm thinking fruit tray and cookies - something for everybody!) and to make the cookies. Then I can pick up Jacelyn from school, finish my cleaning, rush off to the ceremony/meeting, and at some point try to figure out how I will join up with Jen to pick up Teresa. Urg.

The following week is a little better - no girl scouts the first week of the month, but there is church on Wednesday, and then my first PTA meeting on Thursday. At some point during the PTA meeting I will find out about my room parent assignments, so that will shut down some of my Tuesdays.

I'm busy! I feel like I never stop. Get up at the butt-crack of dawn, get myself ready, get up Jacelyn, get her ready, drop her off at school, off to work. Work the morning, then pick up Jacelyn and drop her off at Michelle's and head back to work (usually eating in the car). Or, if someone else if picking her up, I take a calming little breather at lunch time, which is nice. Then off work and to home. Coerce Jacelyn into eating dinner, eat some dinner myself, clean the kitchen. By that time it's eight o'clock and time for Jacelyn's bath and bedtime. Stories, kisses, then it's out with the trash, refill the drinks in the fridge, clean, wash clothes, run any errands, make lunch for the next day, lay out clothes and backpacks, and then fall into bed for twenty minutes of reading before falling asleep. Sigh. And that's on a night that we don't have an activity of some sort. It's nothing every other mother in the world doesn't do, and most other mothers do it with multiple children, so I actually have it pretty good, I know, but I just have to get used to it. And I will.

I miss lazy days! But, Jacelyn is growing up, so I guess I have to, too. Oh well. Got to do that sometime! But right now, number one on my priority list is coffee. It's 8:30, and I've been up since 5:15 and have not had coffee yet. That's probably why this particular blog entry is less than good-natured. I'll try to do better with some caffeine in my system. I'm out!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Topless Blogging

It was pouring out this morning. I emerged from the shower this morning and heard the rain and just sighed. It's good for us, and we needed it, but yikes. I got dressed, and opened the front door. Puddles, everywhere, and pouring rain. I decided to grab my purse and work bag and load them in the car, saving Jacelyn for last. So I did, getting soaked in the process. Thankfully, after grabbing Jacelyn, the rain had subsided to a sprinkle, so she was mostly unscathed. We started heading towards Michelle's house, and the bottom fell out. Pouring rain, driving rain, so hard you couldn't see ten feet in front of you.

Once at Michelle's, I parked and idled for a few minutes, hoping for a brief respite so I could get Jacelyn into the house without getting soaked, as I already was. No such luck, so I curled her up, stuck her underneath my cleavage, bent over her, and made a run for it. She actually stayed mostly dry. I, however, was soaked, especially my back. Jacelyn safely delivered, I turned onto 98, where, despite pouring rain, low visibility and the right lane being almost entirely flooded, people were still going about 70MPH. 98 wasn't too bad, but Navy Boulevard? Yikes. The right lane was entirely flooded, and in some places the entire road was under a few inches of water. It was like a slalom, trying to correctly decipher which lane to be in at any particular moment to avoid the enormous puddles. There was about 50 feet of road around W street that was deeply flooded, and I had a couple of panicky moments trying to cross.

I finally arrived at work, where you could see sunshine peeking through to the south, and the rain had subsided to a drizzle. I rolled my window down and took a couple of deep breaths. I really felt slightly traumatized, it was horrible. I finally decide to gather my stuff up and head inside, and how does the weather respond? With one last burst of downpour, soaking me again. I had been sloshing around in the seat already, and now I was officially soaking wet.

I got inside and stood there for a moment, taking stock. My hair is soaked, my underpants are soaked. My pants are wet, but they're a cheap polyester, so they'll dry quickly. My 100% cotton shirt? Soaking wet, especially the back. And now stretched out to three times its' regular size. And inside, with AC, I was freezing. I went into the bathroom and peeled the shirt off, and I have decided to leave it off until the last possible moment. So I am blogging topless. I do have a bra on, but am still attired in a most innappropriate manner. Luckily no one shows up until late on Saturday mornings, and we have chimes on all the doors, so that gives me a couple of minutes to run off to the ladies room and get dressed.

I'm cold, and I've been sneezing, and just generally feeling sorry for myself. So I'm going to go get a cup of coffee and sniffle and have a pity party for one. Woe as me. I'm out, to warm up and eventually put all my clothes back on. Sigh. I'm glad this is Saturday.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ants in my Car

Yes, there are ants in my car. Now, before you think and/or say anything, I'm aware of the fact that my car has always been a horrid mess. The irony here is that the ant activity has occurred SINCE I CLEANED IT AND HAVE BEEN KEEPING IT CLEAN. Maybe it's some sort of clutter-based karma, I don't know. I first discovered the ants living happily in the side skirt of the car, on the passenger side, where, of course, Jacelyn sits in her car seat. They didn't foray into the car itself, they just lived happily in the undercarriage, occasionally emerging onto the door panel, running busily back and forth. I was chagrined. I thought I had managed to rid myself of them when unbeknownst to me, Jacelyn dropped a animal cracker and empty juice box onto the floorboard. Tuesday evening when we went to the car to leave for our Daisy meeting the ants were teeming into the passenger seat floorboard in droves. Droves! I was horrified, removed the cookie and juice box, scraped most of the ants out, put Jacelyn in the front seat with a prayer and went on our way (the meeting is only a few blocks away).

At the meeting I told the other moms about the ants, probably insuring that I will never, ever drive for a field trip, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. When I got home I sprayed ant poison where they were living. That seemed to be that.

Fast forward to last night: Michelle and I went to a Mary Kay party (food was good, the skin care products were good, the foundation the woman gave me was YELLOW. She asked me how the mascara she coerced me into putting on felt and I actually said, "I can feel it on my eyes and want to claw it off", and a couple of the other guests agreed with me, it was a wonderful moment of female bonding). Our host gave us a bag of wonderful homemade mint-chocolate chip cookies to take home with us. I threw all my stuff in the backseat for the drive home, and when we got home forgot the cookies. I'm sure you can guess what happened next....more ants! That I discovered this morning, when I was putting our stuff in the car. Thankfully we were running a little early, so after a removing the cookies I sprayed the smallest dose of ant poison I could get away with and then left all the doors open and ran the vent as high as it could go on the fresh air setting to try and air out the car.

As late as humanly possible I put Jacelyn in her seat. She complained of a headache on the way to school and I knew, just knew, that I had poisoned her with the ant spray. She was fine once we got to school. I guess I'm going to have to detail the interior of the car with a fine tooth comb to fully rid myself of the little bastards. Sigh. If I would just cut the grass I might not have this problem. I think, because I have to park in the grass and the grass gets tall really quickly this time of year, they are climbing up via that damned bahia grass and settling in the car. So I guess my weekend holds yard work. Damn. Oh, and just so you know, neither Jacelyn or I have received a single bite from our little traveling companions. They seem content to leave us be, but I can't take the chance.

Teresa will be here soon! Hooray!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Four Things (Thanks, TX Jen!)

Here we go:

Four jobs I wish I had the capabilities of:

1. Massage/Reflexology therapist: because I could help people to feel better. And it would be cool.
2. Yoga instructor: I love yoga. It's like taking a nap, only you're awake. You feel like you could float away after a good yoga session. Yoga is good, and makes people feel good.
3. Acupuncturist: see above. Hating drugs the way I do (the prescription kind, anyway, har-har) I dig alternative therapies (I'm such a hippie sometimes).
4. Chiropractor: see above. Chiropractors are genuises.

Four names I wish I had other than my own:
1. I've never thought about this
2. Viola (ha!)
3. Lucy, because then people could say, "Oh Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-cyyyyyyyyyyyyyy"
4. ?

Four of my favorite actresses:
1. I don't really watch TV or movies, so I'm stumped....give me a minute....
2. I can't
3. come up
4. with anyone, sorry

Four songs I could listen to over and over again:
1. "Shelter" Ray Lomontagne
2. "Waltz: Better Than Fine" Fiona Apple
3. "Multiply" Jamie Liddell
4. "Extraordinary Machine" Fiona Apple

Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. Ghost Hunters
2. Family Guy
3. The Simpsons
4. The Sopranos (if I had HBO, which I don't)

Four places I would like to go on vacation: (fear of flying = limited international travel, so these are all domestic locales)
1. Vermont
2. Alaska
3. The Grand Canyon
4. Oregon

Four of my favorite cuisines:
1. Southern
2. Cajun (southern-ish, but spicier)
3. Americanized Chinese
4. Italian

Four places I wish I was right now:
1. Sitting on the couch, reading books with Jacelyn
2. Playing outside with Jacelyn (she loves swinging)
3. Doing anything with Jacelyn
4. In my own home, with Jacelyn

Four people I tag to take this quiz:
1. Teresa
2. Bethany, maybe?
3. Mike
4. Nicole (like you don't have anything better to do, I'm sorry!)

On My Honor.....

I agreed to do some go-fer work for Jacelyn's Daisy Troop. To do that, I am going to become an 'Adult Girl Scout'. I don't know exactly what that entails - hold up, I'm going to check the website, wait we go, in a nutshell:

"Adults 18 years of age or older can join Girl Scouts to serve as a mentor or speak at a Girl Scout event, volunteer in a troop or group, offer services at the council level, or simply say "I believe in the Girl Scout mission and want to show my support by becoming a member. Membership is what you make it. Pitch in your expertise or build a skill you've always wanted to develop. Speak any foreign languages? Dabble in Web design? Your Girl Scout council needs your talent! You can spend an hour, a day, or more, depending on your schedule. We're looking for members who believe in girls and volunteers who represent the diversity of the world we live inĂ‚—women, men, young adults, senior citizens, people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, and of course our treasured Alumnae."

The purpose of this, according to Jacelyn's troop leaders, is so that I will be covered by the Girl Scout Council's liability insurance. Ha! And, I am a 'treasured alumnae'. Ha! Funny stuff. I helped out at the meeting last night some, and gabbed with the other mothers there the rest of the time.

I heard some church and school related gossip that left me slightly chagrined. I have been living in a blissfully ignorant bubble, apparently. There was discussion about the principal, whom I have never had a problem with. The consensus on her seemed to be that "you have to take what she says with a grain of salt". Ok, but what does that mean? Isn't she probably busy with running the school, and then day-to-day operations and financial stuff and the like? Or am Icommittingg a first time school parent blunder by trusting this woman? It's not like she's going to sell off my daughter. I've decided not to worry about it, and not to let the talk get to me or change my opinions. I'll decide for myself, through further dealings. There was also some talk about the parish priest - some comments about the church and school declining since he took over, among other things. People were discussing moving their membership and whatnot. I just listened and again, decided to formulate opinions on my own. Sigh.

Jacelyn has her ceremony next week that makes her an official Daisy. The girls and the leaders will make a big flower, like the one on their smocks, out of construction paper. Each petal has a meaning, each girl gets a petal, and as they put their petal on the flower they say the meaning. In Jacelyn's case, she has the purple petal, which means "respect myself and others". She has some trouble with the word respect and always ends up saying, "Affect myself and others" but hey, we've got a week to work on it.

School has been going well. We had a small lunch eating crisis, in that she wasn't eating lunch, but I spoke with her teacher the other day about it and it has since cleared up. They wouldn't let her have seconds at snack time, and lo and behold, she ate all her lunch. Mrs. May, whom I love, saw me when she opened the classroom door yesterday and said, "Oh, we had a much better day". I immediately thought she was referring to a behavior issue I wasn't aware of and panicked slightly, but then I remembered the lunch thing and relaxed. She didn't only eat it all, she almost licked it clean. On a funny lunch related note, there is a little girl in Jacelyn's Daisy troop named Gracie. Jacelyn insists on calling her "Greasy", which is funny and horrifying all at once. I was talking to Gracie's mother about the lunch issue with Jacelyn, and she told me she had sent some pudding in Gracie's lunch that day, which she didn't finish, and so she put the opened pudding cup back in her lunchbox, to slosh around for the rest of the day. So when her mom opened her lunchbox to clean it out, everything was coated with pudding. Ha! It will only be a matter of time before Jacelyn does this, I'm certain, so I really shouldn't laugh.

I'm sure I've bored you all to tears with all this mommy talk, so I'll sign off. But we're doing well and having fun and we can't wait to see Teresa next week! Yay!

Monday, August 21, 2006

TGTWO: Thank God the Weekend's Over

Hmm, I don't think that will catch on, and no one will name a restaurant after that particular anagram, but it's how I feel, nonetheless. Oy, what a couple of days. I won't go into detail; suffice it to say that it was long and bad. Culminating in a bad Sunday night, which always makes you wonder what the rest of the upcoming week will be like and whether you should just stay in bed.

Living with your own family, you encounter snippiness and angst, annoyance, the gamut of family emotions. That being said, when it's your family, you can snip back. "Get over yourself" or "If you're going to be angry, go do it elsewhere" comes to mind. When it's your in-laws, there are different rules. Yesterday the Bernardos were in rare form. Subtly cutting each other down, alternately yelling at each other and then ignoring each other. Finding little ways of pushing buttons. Maybe they didn't get enough sleep, I don't know. Brian agreed to run to the grocery store to get some meat to grill and then sat on the sofa, perusing the newspaper, knowing full well it was driving his mother insane. Brian's mother was barking orders at Michelle for the craziest things, knowing it was driving MIchelle crazy. Brian's dad would hide away and then emerge, cranky and out for blood, to yell at Joe to get his feet off the table, to get his hands out of the bag of pistachios, whatever. And who else bore the brunt of their anger and annoyance? Poor Jacelyn. I think she was actually relieved when I announced bed time.

When I was putting her to bed, she got teary, which has been occurring more and more frequently lately. She said she didn't want to nap at school, which we have been through a million times. We discussed it again; then the truth emerged: she has gotten in trouble twice during nap time. Once for talking, and the teacher moved her mat away from everyone else, and another time for standing up to fix her blanket. She asked if I could go to school with her, and I said no. She said she misses me when she is at school; I told her I miss her while I'm at work. She asked if her daddy could go to school with her; I told her no, he had to go back home so he could go to work. She cried a little harder. She then said she misses Nikki (a friend of ours). I told her she would probably see Nikki soon, and she cried harder and said, "No, Ms. Nikki is probably gone forever". I assured her that was not the case, and she said, "Everybody always leaves me". I was DEVASTATED.

After she was in bed, the announcement was made that dinner was ready. Brian grilled some hamburgers and boneless beef ribs. Brian's mother announced that her ribs were not done enough and made Brian's father stop eating to cook them some more. Brian was annoyed; his father was annoyed. Michelle made Joe get up to check his laundry, he was annoyed. Michelle went after him to make sure he did it right, annoying him further. After eating, Michelle followed me outside as I was taking out the trash and complained about Joe, and how she is purposely not cleaning her tub to see how long it will take him to clean it himself or to ask her to clean it, how he doesn't help around the house and she shouldn't have to ask him and he never takes her anywhere or buys her anything and so on (and on and on and on). I was weary by that point, of all their digs at each other and drama and games and just exhausted by how unhappy they all were. So I did what any caring daughter-in-law would do: I went to bed.

But it's over now. Brian is back in PC, Jacelyn is in school, Joe is at work, I'm at work and I have a brief respite from them. I'm sure what they do isn't any different from any other family, but it's different when it's not your family. As I said earlier, when it's your family, you can ignore it, because you've been doing so for years, or you can tell them to shut up, or whatever. Sigh. Oh well. It will get better. Or something. I'm going to get to work. Happy Monday!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Doing Alright

Well, another week has passed. Jacelyn is still on a good behavior streak - she has received all green smiley faces this week. There's still today, of course, they day is yet young and whatnot, but I think she'll do fine. She seems to really be taking to everything. Except lunch, of all things. Her worst subject is lunch. She hasn't eaten hardly anything I've provided her with for lunch. And I've been experimenting, trying different foods. Even stuff that she likes, foods that you can almost guarantee she will eat, still comes home almost untouched. She hardly eats anything for breakfast, she barely eats lunch. I don't know how the child maintains energy to play or even just stand up. I mean, her tummy is small, I get that, but she's barely eating anything. I think I have some ideas. Yesterday after school we stopped by Michelle's. Michelle offered her something to eat, and she said "I want 10 pizza rolls". Which she got, and ate. And then ate a big-ass oatmeal sandwich cookie. I was playing the role of observer yesterday, just laying low and watching the goings-on. I think the problem is a lack of structure. Among other things I won't get into right now. I think she needs to realize that if she doesn't eat breakfast (perfect example: this morning, she ate the top of a mini-muffin-just the top-maybe three bites, and that's all she ate) she's going to be hungry. And if she doesn't eat lunch, she's going to get sick. They have a snack at school, so that probably provides some sustenance, but I'm still concerned.

The difference between my thoughts on the subject and the Bernardo school of thought is this: I think it's a problem that needs to be solved at home, whereas the Bernardos seem to think that this is a problem the teachers need to address. I think with some gentle encouragement at home (read: stern lectures and appropriate punishments) combined with her getting used to the school day schedule and the limited time for eating. Sigh. I hope so, anyway. Other than the eating, everything is shipshape for Jacelyn. Big girl.

Teresa's coming soon! Hooray!

And to Steven: should you read this, or someone should pass it on to you: We do, indeed, have much catching up to do, so you better show, dude. I can't wait to see you! Hooray!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Stressed-Out Kiddos

Sister Jen recently posted here about Cam being stressed out before school. I've gone through this once or twice with Jacelyn, especially when she's wound up because there are people at the house, or her daddy is home, or whatever. Our secret? Massage. We read a story or two (currently 'Hop on Pop' and 'The Grinch Meets His Max' are on heaviest rotation, although she's also very fond of 'If Cats and Dogs Were Dinosaurs'), say goodnight, then I turn off the light, bust out the lavender baby lotion, and give her a good rub down. She giggles like a fiend sometimes, sometimes she just says "Yeah, yeah, that's good, mommy". Either way, by the time we're done, she's a limp little monkey and ready to go off to sleep. Although I am having to use 'mommy's magic sleep egg', an imaginary egg with sleepy goo inside that I break on top of her head, and then run my fingers down her face like the sleepy goo. Very scientific.

That's my only suggestion, and that works for us, but different strokes for different folks. Peppermint is supposed to be helpful for stomach ailments, maybe try it one night with some peppermint oil or lotion? Good luck!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My Girl Scout

Yes, I've done it. I've signed my innocent baby up for girl scouting. She is old enough to be a Daisy. These are the Daisy uniforms:

The flower in the center is the patches that they earn. See below, from the Girl Scout website:

Daisy Girl Scout Promise Center and Learning Petals
The Daisy Girl Scout Promise Center, which is earned first, is placed in the center of the front of the Daisy Girl Scout tunic.
Each of the petals is then placed around the Center, in the order a girl chooses. The Center and Learning Petals represent the different parts of the Girl Scout Promise and Law.
The Promise Center is Daisy blue. The Learning Petals are:
Light blue for honest and fair
Yellow for friendly and helpful
Spring green for considerate and caring
Red for courageous and strong
Orange for responsible for what to say and do
Purple for respect myself and others
Magenta for respect authority
Green for use resources wisely
Rose for make the world a better place
Violet for be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Cute, huh? I'll let you know how it goes.

Hey Laaaaaaaa-dies....

I call McGuire's night, I call McGuire's night! Teresa will be in town soon, and that requires, by I believe some sort of Florida legislation recently enacted, that we go to McGuire's. Hey, it's not me, it's the law. So start planning now - let's get this date on the calender. Come on, people! This is important bonding!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

TGIF: It's the Weekend!

Yesterday I was off a half day (A whole half day! I didn't know what to do with myself! I hate band season!). I got up with Jacelyn, and while trying to wheedle her into eating her breakfast Michelle calls. She wanted to know if she could go with us. She has gone with Brian every day to pick Jacelyn up but had not yet seen the morning routine. We agreed, so after wheedling half an English muffin into Jacelyn, I got her dressed and we went and picked up Michelle. On the drive to school I Michelle asked Jacelyn if she could walk her to her class, and Jacelyn was aghast and said no, she wanted to be dropped off and have the boy hold her hand. It was my turn to be aghast: she's in this for the boys? So I asked her what if a girl helped her out of the car. She was silent, mulling it over. Finally I asked her if that would be ok with her, and after another moment's thought, she said, "Yeah, I guess". Great.

We pulled into the carpool line, and to my glee it was a girl who helped her out of the car. Jacelyn walked off, looking slightly disappointed, and Michelle and I went off to have breakfast at Hardee's (the ultimate omelet biscuit: stomachache in a cheese-encrusted wrapper).

I spent my morning doing stuff around the house: cutting grass, picking up. When it was time to pick her up I went with Brian. The K4 kids seem to explode out of class. Jacelyn got in the car and handed over her backpack. I checked her daily report and for the third consecutive day she had a green smiley face! Hooray! (they have a traffic light behavior report: green, yellow, and red). She had four worksheets that she had done that day, an application for information on the local girl scout troop, which I'm filling out and sending in (she's old enough to be a Daisy!), and a list of the names of the kids in her class. Arianna, Adrian, two Emily's, Fisher, Donovan, Jackie, Margaret, and two other kids whose names I can't remember. And of course, Jacelyn.

I asked her how her day was; she said fine. I asked her what her favorite part of the day was, and she said the Dora pretzels at snack time. There was some gossip: Fisher hit Margaret on the arm, she said, and Margaret called him a bad boy and told the teacher. Fisher spent some time in the corner and, Jacelyn reported, a fearful look on her face, Mrs. Myers called his mommy. Da-da-daaaaaaaa! The fear of the phone call. It's a beautiful thing. I assured her that we know that she is a very good girl and Mrs. Myers will never have to call us because she did something bad. She nodded and agreed. Here's hoping!

The weird thing, for me, is her talking about these kids that I don't know. Up to this point in her life, her circle of acquaintances has been small, too small, really, and I've known them all. Suddenly, she knows people I don't. I'm glad for her, don't get me wrong, but it's strange to hear her talk about these kids. There's so much I want to know: are they nice to her? Do they talk to her, or is she sitting forlorn in a corner somewhere, eating her Dora pretzels, her face damp with lonely tears? I know it's not that bad, I'm kidding, but I do wonder. I would kill to be a fly on the wall. Or I need a Sunny, like Jen has, someone on the inside. Or a webcam and an internet feed. That would be awesome. But a huge invasion of her privacy, so I wouldn't go there.

So our first partial week of school went well. Jacelyn was actually a little disappointed that she doesn't go to school this weekend, although I'm sure that will pass. She has been on half days this week, and she has one more half day Monday (7:45 to 11:30) before they go to full days, 7:45 to 2:30. I'm feeling really good about the whole private school thing. We're paying for this, but it's really turning out to be worth it. The staff is wonderful (two teachers in a class of eleven? That's freaking awesome!), she's actually learning stuff. I discovered Powerschool yesterday, an internet program that shows each student's attendance, grades, teacher notes, school calendar, assignments, school announcements....the only thing it doesn't have is an internet feed. So I'm feeling pretty good about everything. Here's hoping that lasts.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

School Day 2: Mommy's Mess-Up

The power went off briefly at the house yesterday, causing my alarm clock to go on the blink. I set it last night before bed, set the alarm, and collapsed into sleep. This morning: I rolled over and looked at the alarm clock, and it said 6:37. I started to roll back over, and then leapt out of bed. 6:37? Shit! It turns out when setting the clock I set it for AM instead of PM, but managed to set the alarm for AM, so it never went off, obviously. I got her up and to the table, poured her a bowl of cereal, inhaled a bowl of cereal of my own, then checked the clock: 6:50. She's having a leisurely breakfast, eating her Trix by color group (OCD much?). I woke Brian up and asked him to get her through breakfast and dressed so I could shower. I took a quick shower, got dressed, fixed her hair, and we were in the car and backing out of the driveway by 7:30.

While I was getting my stuff together at the house I had jokingly said, 'I guess you don't want to be walked up to your class anymore, do you?'. And she agreed! 'Just drop me off, mommy'. What? No, I was kidding, I'm not ready for that! Brian was horrified and insisted that I park and walk her to her class (it's all of ten or fifteen feet). While in the car she kept saying, 'just drop me off, just drop me off'. I felt panicky - what should I do? Finally I decided - I'll do what she wants. So I asked her for the last time what she wanted, and she said she wanted me to drop her off. So I did. I pulled into the carpool line instead of parking, and a handsome young eighth grader came to the door and helped her out of the car. She gave me a little smile while I was frantically assuring her that I loved her and to have a good day and to BE GOOD, and handsome eighth grader slammed the car door, took her by the hand, and walked her over to her class. I was driving slowly and erratically, watching her in the rearview mirror, and she was fine. I actually went so far as to park, I was going to get out and watch her again, then reconsidered and backed out and left. Sigh. It's all letting go, this stage. Letting go.

I quizzed her last night on her goings-on at school: they read a story about a mouse, and then they made a mouse face out of construction paper using glue. She was very smug about using glue by herself: we make a lot of things at the house and I have never let her apply it. I suppose I'll have to, now. Then they played outside on the playground, with their teachers. They had a snack. That's all she could remember. I casually asked her what her and her friend Margaret were talking about (see yesterday's post, where I was dying to know), and she said, "Backpacks and cars". Hmm. I see. She told me about her chair with her name on it: it's blue. I asked her who she sat next to: Jack, and some other kid. She said everyone was nice, and everyone played well together, and she was slightly disgruntled and, I think, sick of discussing it. Brian took some pictures, I'll see if I can't manage to put up a couple.

So all is well for now. Once we get settled into a routine things will be better. In a way that will be easier once Brian leaves, because I have used him the last two mornings to watch over Jacelyn while I get ready, and he's leaving Sunday, so I won't have that option. But she was happy and excited to go to school this morning, so here's hoping that it stays that way. My big girl!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Jacelyn did it!

She survived the first day of school! I was dying. I was jumping up and down, I tried to call Brian's cell phone but Jen made me hang up. I couldn't wait to see her. When I saw Brian coming through the door I ran (literally) to the door and knelt down for a hug, which I got. I rummaged through her backpack and found her go-home folder. Its' contents: the school bulletin, the bottom of which has to be signed and sent back. A 'Personal Best' award for Jacelyn, and a bookmark. And something else - I don't remember what. She said she had fun; she talked to her friend Margaret (whose name she actually remembered, which says a lot since she is horrible with names) and 'some other kid'. They played outside, and read a story about a mouse, and then they drew a mouse. And had a snack, but she can't remember what. AND she said she didn't get in trouble, which is good.

I stood back and assessed her with a mother's eye: she looked tired, and a little overwhelmed. That was a lot to take in, especially when you're used to spending your day in the company of grown-up family members. But she said she wanted to go back, which is good, since not going back isn't an option. I think after a nap and some lunch she'll be her normal self again. Out of good behavior mode and back into the normal, home swing of things. My big girl! I'm so proud of her. Things feel almost anti-climactic now. The anticipation has been building and building up to this point, and now we're here,'s over, and done. Life goes on. This is the new normal for us, I guess, and we'll get used to it. But it doesn't seem right, somehow, to let this day pass on this easily. Just to say, "Well, that was that". But I guess that's what you do?

I can't wait to go home and see her. Talk to her. See if she's different, somehow, or pretty much still the same. I have a feeling she'll be maybe just slightly different, but not in a bad way. Maybe in a sad (for me) way. I'll let you know.

She's in school!

We woke up, ate, got dressed, and went to school. Brian drove. We got there and walked her over to her teacher, who was trying to console a little girl who was crying for her mother. Jacelyn looked dubious but was fine. I told her goodbye, and we retreated to the car. The entire school meets outside with their class, and says prayers and the pledge of allegiance, before going in to class. We hid behind a minivan like some sort of overprotective parental spies and watched her. She stood still, talked to a little red headed girl named Margaret that she met at orientation, looked around, but....she behaved! Woo-hoo! At one point she saw me, because I had stepped away from my hiding place to talk to another mom, and I waved, and she gave me this look like, "gosh, mom, you're still here?" and almost, I think, rolled her eyes. But then she blew me a kiss, which is what really got the tears going. Promptly at 7:45, Sister Patricia, the principal (and a nun! a real live nun!) welcomed everyone, and said, "When I say, 'good morning students!', you say 'Good morning sister'". Brian was impressed. The good mornings taken care of, they said the Lord's Prayer, the pledge of allegiance, there were a couple of announcements, and the kids headed to their classrooms. Jacelyn's class, who are tiny little things, were told to walk slowly and carefully in line. Jacelyn, listening for once, was walking so slowly and carefully that she was a good five feet behind the girl in front of her and was actually passed by another little girl. She was being so good. I'm sure that's just because it's new, but she really was being good and wasn't upset in the least. She gets out at 11:30 today - they are on half days until next Tuesday - and since I can't be there to pick her up today Brian and Michelle are going to pick her up and bring her up to work to see me so she can tell me about her day.

I just can't help but think about the fact that right now, she is in school. She is outside the realm of parental or family control, completely in the hands of others. Not that I'm worried - I know she'll be fine, but this is the first time I've dealt with that. I've left her with people, obviously, but it was always family. She's kind of on her own, in a way, without one of us standing over her, correcting her manners or her speech, reminding her of the way she should act. I think she'll do fine. She will need the occassional reminder, but she's basically a well behaved child. The only other time she's been away and free to act as she will is when she goes to the dentist (they don't allow parents in the exam rooms, for good reason) and they always rave about her - "She's so polite!" and "What a sweet, good girl!".
I'm clinging to that, right now. She seemed almost timid, which surprised me. I can be shy (yes, I can, really, I promise), but I've never seen that in her.

One of the things that got me, touched me the most, was her talking to Margaret. She's never really associated with other kids. She's been around Cam occasionally (but really, not enough) and she played with Alex (a friend's son, a little older than her) but other than that this is it: her first experience or foray into the world of friends. And her and Margaret were talking quite a bit. I was dying to know what about - I wanted to be a fly on her bookbag, or find some way to unobtrusively sneak up behind them and eavesdrop. What were they talking about? The weather? Their ugly school jumpers? How parents just don't understand? She has a friend! Yay!

I had better get some work done, but I had to post, and I'm sure I'll post again once I talk to her this afternoon. Send her happy, good behavior thoughts!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Here We Go....

Jacelyn, my baby, my angel, my stinklepink, starts PreK tomorrow. TOMORROW. She is going to St. John's Catholic school. She will be wearing a uniform - standard catholic school plaid jumper, polo shirt, mary janes. She has a PE outfit to wear on the days she has PE - Monday and Tuesdays. Wednesdays she will have library and computer time and mass with the rest of the school. Thursday is music and Friday is art. They have language arts curriculum (based on a program called 'The Land of the Letter People'), a math program, religious study, and a couple of other programs that I can't remember right now.

Yesterday we took her supplies to school, and she met her teacher and teacher aide. There are eleven kids in her class, which is a good number at that (or really, any other) age. Her classroom is cool - computers, books, toys. There was a little chair with her name on it, which whenever I think about I tear up. I was fine with everything else, but there's something about that damned little chair that gets me. She has a cubby hole where her markers and crap will be.

One of the items they noted was that they are going to learn the alphabet, a letter every four days. Something else said that they will learn number recognition. When they saw that, the Bernardos, as I knew they would, said, "She's going to be bored. You should see if she can skip a grade". Yes, she knows the alphabet, yes, she can write the entire alphabet and some small words (if told how to spell them), and yes, she can recognize and write her numbers. BUT she has never socialized regularly with other children. And just because she has had some one-on-one instruction by Michelle on how to write her letters and numbers and whatnot does not mean that she is ready to advance a grade level. And I'm certainly not going to ask. I figure, if she's some extraordinary genius, they will notice and come to me, not vice versa.

I'm not worried about the separation. I'm worried about how she will behave. And she BETTER behave. I've been drilling her on her manners for the last two weeks. I was a little disappointed at the orientation yesterday, that despite my attempts at having her say 'yes ma'am' and/or 'no ma'am', she just mumbled 'yes' or 'no' and at one point, 'Huh?'. Other than that she behaved well, but I'm a firm believer in the ma'ams and sirs. I'm so nervous. Spread your wings and fly, little one. But you better fly right, lest you lose your TV privileges. Kidding. Maybe.

I'll let you know how it goes. I know she will be fine, I know she will. I'm trying to come up with some sort of something to reinforce good habits and behavior. She will get a daily conduct report with a color code: green for good behavior, yellow for decent, and red for "Tomorrow will be better" - their words. But then again, should I reinforce good behavior? I mean, I was expected to be good, and I usually was (at school, anyway) because if I didn't, I would get in trouble. Ah, well, I'll muddle through. We'll both muddle through. Wish us luck! Well, her mostly, but I could use some, too. She's a big girl now!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Have you ever heard the expression.....

"....he gave me a look like I had farted in church"? Stephen King has used it once or twice, I believe. I now know what that look is, thanks to Jacelyn. We were in church Sunday. We were standing, singing the entrance hymn. A gentleman had slipped in late and was still on the kneeler, directly behind us. Jacelyn was standing on the pew, singing along, words she was making up. The hymn ended, all was silent, and.... Jacelyn farted. Loudly, and with gusto. And if that wasn't enough, she felt the need to narrate: "Mommy, I just farted. Excuse me." And right in the poor man's face. I looked at her, jaw gaping, then looked down at him. He was looking at her, then looked up at me, there was a moment of indecision on both of our parts, and then he laughed. I laughed, nervously, and in a horrified kind of way.

Fast forward: end of mass, we are off to the school cafeteria for a meeting. We are sitting in this cafeteria with three other people: two gentlemen and another woman. Jacelyn is standing on the chair, singing loudly because she is enjoying the acoustics of the room. She stops singing and....farts AGAIN. Loudly, and with gusto, possibly still appreciating the acoustics of the room. There is another frozen moment of indecision that even Jacelyn joins in: she looks at me, concern on her face, and checks out the other people in the room. Finally, one of the men chuckles. It was what the room needed: everyone else starts laughing, Jacelyn included. I apologize, and life goes on. I ruminated on it for a little bit, and decided to let it go. Everyone farts, some of us have more control over it than others, and no harm was done. And the acoustics were good - it echoed, y'all. Echoed. Good for her. I'm sure she had to feel better after that.