Thursday, September 27, 2007

Feeling better tonight

Well, I've warned you all before. My blog isn't pretty. It isn't sugar-coated. It is basically my therapy sessions. Just be glad I don't have all your phone numbers and spend hours on the phone pouring my heart out every time I get a little upset. I come here. I vent. And you can read or click next blog depending on how your day is going and how you feel. I truly appreciate all the kind thoughts and comments.

I am feeling much better tonight. I talked with Red's Mom a long time this morning (I have her phone number!) and she knows Violet really well and agrees that Violet is a fine kid. Sure she's more sensitive but that is what makes her her. And she does just fine in most situations and those that's she uncomfortable in, she'll get used to as she gets older. Just like all of you have been saying too.

One really nice thing she said was how much she likes that Red and Violet are best friends. They are so different in many ways. But Red's Mom said how she hopes that Violet's quiet, thoughtful temperament will rub off on Red, who (like the stereotypical redhead) has a quick temper and is louder and always very active. I told her that I hope Red's adventurousness and outgoing nature will rub off on Violet. If we could only put the two in a blender we'd get back the perfect kid.

The thing we both hope is that they stay friends as they enter adolescence. Red will make sure they don't miss out on any fun opportunities. Violet will make sure they don't get into trouble.

Red lives right across the street. The girls can see each other's bedroom windows from their own. Maybe I don't want to move after all.

(((Hugs))) to all my loyal readers and friends!

More to the story

After Violet went to bed I learned a bit more about what happened yesterday at the park. For once Mr. Incredible really got her talking!

The kids had been playing a version of "Red Light, Green Light" but they were playing by different rules than she knew. She wanted them all to start on the same line and go in the same direction, then go back to the line when they were "out". In their version they were starting anywhere they wanted. To her that must have been chaos. Rather than say she didn't want to play, or say "hey, I know another way to play" she broke down.

Turns out she's also sad that she and Schoolgirl have grown apart. They were good friends when they were younger, but it sounds like Violet doesn't really want to be friends with her anymore, not that they really have the opportunity. So she's dealing with crowds she can't speak up in and the loss of her first best friend.

I feel like I've inadequately prepared her for all this. After all, neither Mr. Incredible nor I are very good in social situations. We are both introverts who'd rather stay home. Some role model. I bottle things in for years then blow up and sever ties all at once.

She'd probably be going through all this if she went to public or private school too. I just wouldn't see it all. I'd just get the letter sent home "Mrs. Incredible, Violet broke into tears again today" or maybe a meeting with the school psychologist. Instead I worry about social workers being called. I'm sure that's irrational, but I'm not dealing with a completely rational person in Teachermom ("do you miss your mom?" I mean really!) I'm afraid if any authorities start looking at me too closely they'll decide I'm unfit to homeschool. Just my own insecurities. But we all have them.

I just want Violet to pretend to be normal in public. She can use and show all her superpowers here at home. Or use them in places where they don't know her secret identity.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I want to move

I want to go to a new neighborhood, a new town, a new state and just start over. Make new first impressions. Try again to make local friends.

There's a family on the block behind us. We used to be good friends with them. The mom is the president of the teacher's union. Ever since we decided to homeschool I've gotten nothing but loosely veiled criticism and dirty looks. Schoolgirl and Violet tried to stay friends. But it is hard when one set of parents so strongly disapproves of the other set. And when the freak parents dislike everything the other set of parents stands for.

This summer Violet went to Schoolgirl's house for lunch and to play. Teachermom had the carpet cleaning service in the same day to clean the carpets. I don't know if you've ever heard their truck or not, but you have to shout to be heard over it. Violet dislikes loud noises. It is one of the things she's highly sensitive about. Schoolgirl kept asking her over and over what she wanted to do, but never suggested anything. Violet's been taught not to ask to play with other people's stuff until it has been offered. A little while later they served lunch, macaroni and cheese. Violet doesn't care for it. She burst into tears.

What did Teachermom do? Was she sensitive to the issue? Did she use all her early childhood education training to smooth the situation over? No she asked Violet if she missed her mom. What kind of person immediately assumes an 8 year old misses her mom? Would she have asked any kid in her school that? As the first question? You know she wouldn't have.

I went and picked her up. Haven't seen or heard a thing from them until today.

The girl across the street, Red, came and got Violet to go to the park with her. It is at the end of our block. They went down (where Red's mom was waiting with little sister "Little Red"). Who was there but Schoolgirl, her little brother and dad. Schoolgirl starts playing with Violet and Red. Violet gets upset and starts crying. She hadn't played with Red in a long time and was looking forward to it.

I show up and Schoolgirl runs over to me to report that Violet just started crying. I don't need that sort of tattling, so I said let me just talk to Violet first. Violet never says anything, but Red's mom said that she knew all the girls knew each other and didn't know what had happened.

I just don't know what to do. I walked Violet home. I'm sure Teachermom will hear all about the unsocialized homeschool girl who can't even go to the park without crying. I worry so much that she's going to decide it is her "duty" to see to it that Violet is properly raised and call the authorities to check us out. Who are they going to believe up front? President of the Teacher's Union with a Master's degree in education or a couple of freak parents.

I had a talk with Violet. Told her that a lot of people would like to believe that homeschoolers can't get along in public or with other people. I said that's obviously not true. She'd spent the afternoon at Tinkerbell's house playing with her and her brother and sister. But people who don't like homeschooling aren't going to believe that. She's got to pretend. She's got to keep on playing and not burst into tears at the park when others are around.

I just don't know what to do. I'm afraid of Teachermom and the power she wields. I don't want Violet to be so easily upset and hurt. I want her to just get along with people and not cry so easily. I want her to look well socialized even if she isn't. I want to move away from them all and start over. I don't want to tell Mr. Incredible about it. He'll turn it around to be completely Violet's fault. She is largely to blame, it is a public park after all and lots of people play there. But blaming an 8 year old won't solve the problem.

I just don't know what to do.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

No Gardens today

This morning Violet, the Super Grandparents and I headed out for the Chicago Botanic Gardens. We got about 8 miles from home when the Oil Pressure light came on and the car slowed down and stopped. Luckily I was able to pull into the parking lot (across 3 lanes of traffic) of a self-storage place. We checked the oil, the level was fine. We waited and try to start the car again. It almost turned over once, then nothing.

Sigh. Time to call AAA. Grab the cell phone. None of us had a cell phone. No problem, we have OnStar. Push the OnStar button. Nothing happens. Does OnStar need power to work? Head into the self-storage office to ask to use the phone. The lady was pretty skeptical at first, but grew quite sympathetic as the call went on.

Mr. Incredible had taken the car in to Jiffy Lube for an oil change and new oil and gas filters Sunday morning. As the car sat in the parking lot leaking gas, we suspected they did something wrong.

AAA helped me arrange for a tow truck. But since the tow truck could only carry at most 2 passengers and we had 4, they also helped me arrange a cab. There aren't many cab companies in our area, so that was unusual. The other choice was a rental car, I wasn't ready to commit to that just yet. I just wanted to get Violet and Super Grandma back home safely.

Super Grandpa rode in the cab with them back to our house where their car was parked. I figured Super Grandpa might have to come get me at the car place if need be, and if I could find a phone to use. I waited for the tow truck and watched him load it on the back of the truck, then we chatted on the way to their shop. (His wife is expecting their first baby any minute now so he jumped when his cell phone rang. Not her. That was good, I didn't want to be ditched just so she could go to the hospital! I mean really! LOL)

Back at the repair shop it took about 10 minutes to fix it. Jiffy Lube didn't reattach the fuel hose correctly. Sounds like I was lucky they didn't break it all the way off. The Good Guys put on their invoice that it was incorrectly attached by Jiffy Lube, Mr. Incredible will be making a trip over there when he gets home tonight. He's already called.

Course my fun wasn't completely over yet. My bill was $89 for an hour of service. I had some cash but no checkbook. They charge an additional $10 for credit card payments. I gave them the $60 I had, they kept a copy of my driver's license and let me get more money. I went to the bank rather than all the way home. Thought I'd get money with my ATM card. My ATM card had expired. Back home (about a 10 minute drive, I had had AAA find me a place near our house in case it involved more than just a quick fix). Super Grandpa rode with me and we paid off the bill. Now to figure out how to get a new ATM card.

Don't get me wrong. I've spent most of the day saying how it could have been so much worse. We might not have been safely off the road in a parking lot. We might have been much farther from home. It could have been raining (that didn't start until this afternoon). We could have had non-refundable tickets somewhere. The lady might not have let us use her phone (I called the business back after we were home, and got the answering machine and left a message thanking her. Had I been the one in the office I would have been curious if the people made it back or not. She might not have cared.)

Perhaps we'll go to the Gardens another day. Maybe not. We're thinking about an Arboretum in Rockford instead. Not sure we want to try this again any time soon.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Why doesn't she like math?

We only did 2 pages of Miquon math this afternoon. It was all I could take. Violet hates math and really struggles with it. Or maybe I should say she struggles to get out of it.

She talked me into letting her sit in a small chair with her book on a regular chair instead of at the table. Then she spent most of the time falling backwards, staring at the ceiling, rolling around and otherwise not paying attention. Whenever she actually looks at the book and at the rods she gets it, at least fairly quickly. I keep promising her that there are absolutely no answers on the ceiling.

Maybe we need another new math program. I think she gets this one as well as she'd get anything. I think we need a new math attitude. I just don't know how to find that. Does Rainbow Resources sell those? I bet they are expensive if they do.

I absolutely love math. I'd do extra math problems and workbooks just for fun as a kid (yes, I was a freak even then). How can anyone not love math? At least any kid of mine? Sigh.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

desert diorama

We are just finishing up Violet's multi-week study on deserts. We used the Sonoran Desert lesson plans from My World Science. (I'd link to them but I can't figure out just now how to insert links into the new Blogger format, I'll work on that later.) We didn't do many of the student work pages, but we did a lot of the reading, watched one the DVD recommendations and did any experiments we could find. She really did learn a lot about the deserts.

To wrap things up she's going to make a desert diorama. I had her get started on it today even though it isn't technically a school day. Hey, I figure public school kids have weekend assignments all the time! I got out the self-hardening clay and she made a couple of cacti, including a saguaro complete with a hole for an elf owl to live in. She also molded a rock formation and a roadrunner nest. In a few days when they dry completely she's going to paint them. For one of the cacti, the barrel cactus to be exact, she used toothpicks stuck all the way through it as prickles.

I don't really know if we'll ever get the shoebox out and a background scene painted or not. But to tell you the truth my plan was only to have her do some clay cacti and leave it at that. The book suggested the diorama and Violet was the one to say that sounded fun.

Next week to wrap things up we're heading to the Chicago Botanic Gardens to see their cacti collection. It is over an hour drive, but my parents are coming with us and it promises to be a fun outing.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

She should trust me more

Violet and I are working our way through Janice VanCleave's "Dinosaurs for Every Kid." Each chapter has a few pages of reading, some quick exercises and an activity. We did the chapter on geologic time periods today. The activity was to use a roll of adding machine tape to show how old the earth is and how short of time humans have been on earth. (My apologies to creationists, but we are an evolution family.)

When Violet learned there was going to be no messy model making today or water splashing anywhere she was disappointed. Claimed she only likes experiments, not things like that. I said just do it anyway. It won't take long.

Part way through I hear a "cool!" from her. Later she's laying down next to the tape to see how tall she is among the time periods. Then she's got her toys out measuring them too.

Tonight when Mr. Incredible gets home I'll bet dollars to donuts she'll be showing him the whole thing too.

She really should give my lessons a chance before declaring them boring. I actually know a thing or two.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Nothing to complain about today

I guess I had a good day. I can't think of a single gripe.

We got through a nice amount of school work this morning. This afternoon Violet had her friend Tinkerbell over for the afternoon. They both love imaginative play and spent the afternoon as secret agent spies. I tried to get them to play outside because it was such a beautiful day, but they didn't last long. Apparently they had no spy weapons to protect themselves from the giant spiders they encountered.

I am currently caught up with work for my paying job. That happens so infrequently.

We made arrangements to send the weekend in a couple of weeks at the in-laws. They live in Wisconsin and the leaves should be just beautiful. I intend to soak in the colors and fresh air and come back even more refreshed.

The chicken is stewing away in the crockpot. There will be soup, chicken pot pies and chicken salad in our near future.

And in case I scared anyone away with my complaints about the Christian homeschoolers in the park yesterday, please see my comment I added where hopefully I explain myself better. I just need to complete my search for enlightenment on my own. There are already too many external components trying to influence me. I need quiet mediation rather than lectures at this point in my quest for answers. I do greatly admire those who have already figured out their answers. I will get there someday. That much I do know.

Violet is busy with Littlest Pet Shops, Mr. Incredible is on the train coming home from the office, Dash the Cat is sleeping (as are Dash 2 and Dash 3), and I'm trying to remember what I enjoy doing when my free time is actually mine.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Why is there an expiration date on soap?

I was just cleaning the bathroom and refilling the softsoap dispensers (I know the glamor just never ends!) and noticed an expiration date on my softsoap refill. Does the soap quit cleaning after that date? Does it start making things dirty? Should I be concerned?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Two microwaves

You know how some really good cooks will have two ovens and extra range burners? I think I need a second microwave. The first frozen dinner gets cold by the time the last one is cooked.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Must clean refrigerator

I pulled out a moldy cucumber this afternoon. It was squishy. I'm afraid to open the yogurts in there to recycle the plastic containers (Mr. Incredible insists on recycling anything even remotely recyclable). I don't even want to look at the date on the sour cream. And that last muffin from Trader Joe's? Well, they don't use preservatives, so I'm guessing that thing isn't very "preserved" anymore.

I feel like I'm back in college.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I avoided the Kool-Aid

I went to my first Girl Scout service team meeting last night. Back when I was still under the influence of the Kool-Aid I signed up to be service unit registrar. Our previous registrar has held the job for 30 years. I'm not following in her foot steps for that long! But the job is a pretty good fit for me. They have to bring me the stuff. I log it in, I turn it in. They don't get it to me, oh well. Not my problem. I don't chase them down (per the retiring registrar). I can do that.

I wouldn't let several of them leave last night until plans were made about how to finalize day camp. It isn't completely settled, but someone else (not me) is following up with the ones who wigged out on us.

But you will all be proud of me that I was in my Freakmom mask and did not agree to any new jobs or duties.

I have been attending my VA meetings regularly (Volunteers Anonymous) and I think I am doing okay at maintaining moderation. I would set up a chapter of VA in yahoo groups so we could all benefit, but I'm afraid that would be considered volunteering. My sponsor won't let me.

My name is Freakmom and I am a recovering volunteer.

I found my face!

Finally I feel like I can be me in blog-dom. Now I've even figured out who can properly represent me: Mrs. Incredible (because really, does anyone ever remember her real name?)