Sunday, March 30, 2008

Double Dutch

This article isn't about my daughter's school...but it could be. We are very close to the school geographically. Our test scores/diversity are about the same.

And the observations made in the article are very similar to our experience.

On Friday, I volunteered for an hour at a special "extended recess" at D's school. I was in charge of twirling one end of a very large, long, heavy jump rope. A group of kids (mostly girls) congregated and began playing complicated jump-rope games.

Of the approx. 12 kids, 11 were African-American and extremely proficient at jump-roping. I was amazed by their grace and athletic ability. It is not easy to jump rope. Trust me. These girls made it look easy. No matter how quickly we turned the rope, they jumped and jumped some more.

The 12th kid was white, slightly overweight, and not even remotely skilled at jump roping. She just couldn't do it. Every time she tried, she got caught up in the rope.

In my elementary school experience, she would have been mocked. She was different in every way possible. She would have been made fun of. She would have been excluded. These are 11 year old girls, after all. Aren't they supposed to be cruel and clique-y?

But the thing is...they weren't. They were kind. They were supportive.

We played a game in which each kid would run through and jump a successive number of times. The first time, they'd just run through (no jump), the second time, they'd jump once. The third, twice...and so on. But the end of the game, the 11 girls were jumping 20+ times. The last girl had yet to jump once.

And then she did it. She jumped. The rope didn't get caught. She did it! My heart soared for her. For some reason, I always seem to bond with the outsider, the geek, the outcast.

And then, the strangest thing happened: the other 11 girls erupted in cheers and clapped for her. Yes, pre-teen girls spontaneously being kind.

There are tons of problems with our extremely low-income school. Serious problems. I won't even attempt to gloss over them.

But this stuff - this kindness - it happens all the time.

It is currently the season where people in our neighborhood decide which school their soon-to-be-Kindergartner will be attending. I rave about our school, but it's a tough sell: low test scores and high poverty rates scare most people straight to the private schools.

If only NCLB tested for kindness. Then, maybe we'd have a chance.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


So Carville says:

“Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic.”

Does anyone else find this slightly offensive?

I think it would be a bit odd to compare any politician to Jesus Christ. Regardless of religious beliefs. But the Clintons? Geez. I'm smelling desperation.

I'm trying to convince my family to attend a Unitarian church with me on Easter morning. Husband D. and daughter D. are game. Son D is resolutely against the idea. He wants to go to "the same church we've always gone to." He's quite insistent. So, I guess that the Methodist service will have to do.

Growing up in a military family, we switched *everything* every few years: cities, schools, homes, religions. As a result, every few years, I get antsy to switch something - anything. Evidently, son D. does not feel this same itch.

Friday, March 21, 2008


I think I might never tire of listening to Barack Obama speak. If he does become President, Our TV will be permanently set on CSPAN2, hoping for a glimpse of a Rose Garden announcement.

His speech on Tuesday was brilliant. I hung on ever word. His speech today, after Richardson endorsed him, was witty and upbeat. I yelled at my TV every time the CNN announcers talked over him. (Which they did a lot.)

If he doesn't win the nomination, can we just agree to have him do the speeches for Hillary?

Maybe when Oprah starts her new network, she can have an "Obama hour" and just broadcast his speaking engagements. I'd TiVo that.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hope springs eternal

For the first time in 10 days - no one had a fever at our house! No one threw up at 3 am. No one woke up in a cold sweat. I slept an entire night. An entire night!

Life is good.

Husband D was in China while the kids were sick, so this was a particularly rough patch. But he is back and the kids are healthy and I got to go to work today. For the whole day. ("Who are you?" they asked, when I arrived...) After 8 days of being house-bound with sick kiddos, going to work is a supreme paradise. Hell, leaving the house is idyllic!

There was one night in which the kids' illnesses overlapped. I swear one of them woke up every hour - either to vomit or in a fever-induced sweat or needing medicine or a drink of water, or to vomit again.

I nearly lost my mind. Sleep Deprivation + Temporary Single Parenthood + The Smell of Vomit, refreshed every hour = One Crazy Mama.

But it's over. We made it. They're healthy again.

And tomorrow is spring!

(shh...don't talk about the 6 inches of snow we are supposed to get on Friday...let's just wallow in the happiness of welcoming spring without influenza B in the house!)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Out of the Loop

One consequence of being sequestered in the house for a week with two very sick children is that I am completely oblivious to what is going on in the world. I haven't had time to read the paper, watch the news, surf the political blogs until today.

I was on a news site and an ad popped up. It said, "K...(my first name)" - "Find out more about her"

I thought, "gee, those cookies are getting more sophisticated, if they know my name."

I clicked through and learned that the "K...." in question is a highly paid prostitute. Not me. And that the Gov. of New York is no longer in power.

wow. missed that one.

If I were a psychologist, I would study why people in power publicly come out so strongly in judgment against that which they are doing themselves. Spitzer and prostitutes. Craig and homosexuality. And that Senator IM'ing with the interns. (whose name escapes me because I haven't slept in 6 days...)

It makes me wonder...

-Is Tom Cruise popping anti-depressants on the sly?
-Is Lou Dobbs madly in love with his illegal-immigrant housekeeper?
-Does Steve Jobs love to play Guitar Hero on his X-box when no one is looking?
-Does Bill O'Reilly secretly yearn to be a fact-checker?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ring my bell

Resurfacing to whine: Influenza found us this week. Influenza B, to be specific.

Evidently, this year's flu shot did not meet the strain of flu that spread, so even if one were to get the vaccination, one was still not protected.

I've always thought the flu shot was silly. What could be so awful about a little flu virus? It's not like it's the Measles. We've always gotten the shot - but really only because Daughter D is born in November and at her annual physical, they give it to us. We're there, after all.

But now that I've lived through a week of a child with a full-blown case of the flu, I've changed my tune. It's awful! I've never seen anyone that sick. Daughter D did not move for 3 1/2 days. She couldn't eat, drink, watch TV, walk, or talk. It was really scary. She'd black-out if she even tried to sit up.

We had a few horrible incidents. Her throat was so sore she couldn't talk. She couldn't move on her own, due to the vertigo/black-out thing. I tried to stay right by her side, but that wasn't possible 24/7. Yet, she was vomiting regularly, whether I was there or not. So, I set her up with a bell. If she thought she was going to get sick, or thought she was going to faint, she would ring the bell.

The system worked very well. As soon as I heard the bell (usually at 2am) I'd jump up and be at her side in seconds flat.

This afternoon, she turned the corner. She started talking, walking, drinking and eating. It was delightful to get my child back. Life is slowly getting back to normal.

Except for the bell. Turns out she liked having an instant device that makes Mama drop everything and come running - at all hours of the night. She refuses to part with the bell. She is sleeping with it as I type.

Call me Pavlov, but I suspect the sound of a bell will make me run to her for the discernible future.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

To blog or not to blog?

Every few years, someone finds me via a search term in Google that is unprintable. unspeakable, even. And I freak out. I stop blogging for weeks, months. I start thinking that this whole blogging thing is:
a) extremely narcissistic
b) potentially dangerous
c) an invasion of my children's privacy. They, after all, have not asked me to spew details of our life out on the internet for all to read.

C) is the one that gets me. I can deal with being narcissistic. (Life's too short not to think you are an interesting person.) And I'm not *really* worried about security. I'm fully aware that the biggest dangers to our life are sitting in our garage right now. Those 2000 pounds of metal that barrel down the highway at 65 mph are probably the most dangerous inventions, ever.

I don't use the kids' names. I don't put up pictures of them. But someday - will they hate me for telling stories like this? Sigh. I suppose I have to give them fodder for therapy somehow. I wonder - in 2020, will there be a slew of 20-somethings meeting with professionals to discuss the irrecoverable harm placed upon them by their "mommy bloggers?"

I'm thinking about continuing with a password. But is that really any different? Or do I just say "the hell with it - they'll survive much worse than this."

Part of me just wants to continue to write and keep it a secret. (The kids don't really know about this web page. yet.) Then, upon the birth of my first grandchild, to unveil the link. Then they'll know that I 'get' it - the trials/tribulations/frustrations/compromises of life that no one really understands until they have kids of their own. They'll say, "Ha! Mom wasn't really an angry uptight 'rhymes with witch' after all! She just loved us more than anything in the world."

A girl can dream....