Tag Archives: school

What do I know?

On the way to dropping Miss Drama off at school I got a call from the high school.

“Your son has a spider bite and it’s bad. He needs to go to the doctor.”

“He’s had that for like a week. ”

“But it’s getting worse. He really needs to be checked out. It’s contagious.”

No, pretty sure that isn’t how that works and it didn’t look bad when I saw it.  “Okay, fine. I’ll pick him up.”

“So, you’re on your way?”

“Not right this minute. I’m across town dropping my other child at school.”

So, I drove all the way back, took Mr. Smarty-pants to the pediatrician, who shared my, “Seriously?” attitude.

It had finally burst as those icky things are wont to do, releasing all the icky stuff, which meant it was healing up. No red streaks, no sloughing skin or crazy swelling– he just had a raw spot that’ll scab over and heal up in another week or so.

I told the doctor, “Yes, they claimed it was contagious.”

She laughed. “Yeah, if he like smeared it all over someone.” She gave him a band-aid to cover the bite so the school would quit flipping out. Yes, it fit under a single, normal sized band-aid.

As consolation, she gave me a sports physical form so I wouldn’t have to come back for that.

Having missed his second breakfast, AKA school lunch, I swung by the house so Mr. Smarty-pants could get noms. He devoured two sandwiches and three hot-dogs. Yep, sooooooo sick. I then took him back to school less than two hours after I had checked him out. The secretary that had flipped out seemed surprised to see him.  “I guess he was fine.”

I just smiled.


Middle Mania

So, the past few months has had me in the middle of a lot of chaos. My advisor changed schools, the announcement of which happened right when I was about to take my oral candidacy exams and there was a slight debate about the timeline of my dissertation.  That was resolved, finally.

Then, the school year started. While I hunted for data and filled tables and wrote really boring science stuff, my middle child started middle school.

In all her years of school so far, she’s been my independent child. Suddenly my low-maintenance child is requesting help with EVERYTHING. My sister, who teaches middle school, assures me it is a common phase which will pass, but it drives me nuts. While things appear to be waning, for awhile every night it felt as if I had middle school homework.

For full disclosure, I hated, loathed, and despised middle school. In all three years, the only thing I really liked was choir and the fact that I finally made a few friends. I did my time, so to speak, and having to muddle through pre-algebra again is not my idea of fun. It isn’t the math that is tedious, so much as explaining things over, and over, and over, because Miss Diva has misplaced her confidence.

I sympathize. I do. Twelve is a tough age, but it is tough for her while it was hell for me. She’s pretty, popular, and an excellent student. I was gawky, a social outcast, and criticized for that excellent student status. Everything I did was wrong, so in many ways, it gave me a freedom I didn’t know I had. She’s a sweet child, but at times I see the girls I went to school with– the ones that treated me like less than dirt. She worries about her hair and nails, about looking cute and not making mistakes. For me the challenge is teaching her to find confidence and independence that will last a lifetime while learning to share some of her interest, even if I’m only doing so for her sake.

So, I let her do my nails, even if they are totally not my style. I take her shopping, even though clothes shopping ranks pretty low on my “List of ways to have fun”. I also check her math homework when requested, but there may be a glass of wine or a mohito involved. I got through three semesters of calculus, differential equations, and statistics. I can do pre-algebra even when buzzed.  I can even do math while I write or inform Miss Drama that baths really ought to be a habit and tell Mr. Smarty-Pants that no, he cannot be online until he’s passing ALL his classes.

Have I mentioned Mr. Smarty-Pants is ALSO in middle school? Yes. 8th grade. This is his last chance before high school for him to get his act together. He’s trying–mostly. He had all A’s, aside from the big fat F in literature and a D in Science. He’s nearly brought the D to a B. I’m not sure much can be done with the F. If he’s passing by the end of the quarter, that’ll be a miracle. On the bright side, he finally has a teacher that gets it. He’s lazy if it isn’t something he likes.

I think he was Tom Sawyer in a former life.

The silver lining in all of this? Mr. Smarty-Pants will be in High School before Miss Drama gets to Middle School.  Then again, Miss Diva will still be in Middle School, so maybe that’s more like a brass lining.

That’s my girl!

I’ve posted in the past about Miss Drama’s struggles in school. I never did hold her back, but rather had her evaluated for ADHD, treated, and also tutored. It’s taken time, but she’s steadily improved in school.

As a parent, it hurts to see your child struggle, especially when it is clear they are capable of so much. You want others to see the same potential that you see, but far too often teachers are over-worked, underpaid, and cannot provide the extra help needed. In Miss Drama’s case it was very much that, but also a mismatch in teaching style and learning style. Miss Drama is one of those unfortunate souls that learns best by doing and traditional classrooms do not often accommodate that learning style.

By the end of first grade Miss Drama had adopted an attitude that she just couldn’t succeed. Her vivacious thirst for knowledge was drying up. I knew I needed to step in before it was too late. Meds aren’t for everyone, but they made a huge difference for Miss Drama. She’s on a very low dose, but it’s just enough that she was able to learn what focusing was. The tutor I hired in second grade helped her to read and get past her dyslexia. When I got her test scores from the end of her second grade year I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, she was in the “basic” category in a couple of areas, but she had high marks in others. Little-Miss-I-can’t-sit-still-and-focus-for-3-seconds had learned to pay attention with the aide of medication and successfully take an all-day boring test.

This year her tutor is focusing on spelling and study skills. It’s paying off. For the first time Miss Drama made the honor roll. She told me that now she wants to make the principal’s honor roll. I could see her pride and I felt it too. Things that have come easy for her brother and sister always seemed harder for her, even though she’s just as smart.

She asked for a microscope for Christmas and is hyped to sample pond water once the weather gets warm. She might not like school very much, but her thrill for learning has not dimmed and she’s regained her confidence. There have been days we forgot her meds, but she’s learning to focus without them. In time, I believe she’ll be able to ditch them, just as the psychologist predicted.

My little Miss Drama tries my patience and wears me out at times, but she’s creative, fun, curious, and full of exuberance. So even if her room is often a disaster and she still thinks skipping underwear is a good time-saving method, this Mama is very proud of her baby.





Back to regularly random posts!

The nightmare of qualifiers past is over. The ghost of oral exams has not yet arrived and dissertation defense is not even a worry yet.

Before we skip ahead to the “Merry Christmas and God bless us one and all!” let me share the recent shenanigans of Mr. Smarty-pants.

He thinks he’s sly and clever. Eventually he’ll get the message that he isn’t that clever.

Mr. Smarty-Pants did not want to go to school. Maybe he forgot an assignment. Maybe his ears did hurt a bit as he claimed, but seeing as how he spent all evening outside while said ears were allegedly hurting, clearly he was not the sick, pathetic child he attempted to feign. I expressed about half a second of sympathy, gave him a decongestant, and told him to get his butt dressed.

When it came time to leave, my keys were MIA. Last night, after a trip to the grocery store, I set them in plain view on the kitchen table so there would be no key hunt in the morning. I made a mental note and everything.

mental noteNeedless to say when my mental post-it appeared to lie, as no keys were on the table and we were already behind schedule, I got slightly pissed. Mr. Smarty-Pants was the only one who mentioned seeing my keys. He claimed he saw them on the table last night before dinner. Before dinner? I thought he must have mistaken the time, as he fell asleep early and I went to the grocery store. Mr. Smarty-Pants started looking around with me. I looked in all the usual places, and ten minutes later still could not find the keys. At this point I was about one small disaster short of strangling someone.

As I stood in the kitchen, a little mental prodding of my subconscious told me to check the bookshelf. I NEVER, EVER put my keys on the bookshelf. There’s too much crap on there and it isn’t a logical place in my opinion. Still, I followed the instinct, lifting papers and pictures and odds and ends. Mr. Smarty-Pants joined me, rummaging, rather lamely, through the picture albums.

“Nothing back here,” he said.

The picture albums? Really? How on earth would they get back there? I could envision someone moving a stack of papers off the table with my keys and dumping them on the shelf. The picture albums didn’t fit into any accidental scenario I could imagine. Soup King and I heard a little clink.

“That sounded like keys.”

“Yeah. Maybe.” It could have been the metal flashlight knocking against something, but then again…. Mr. Smarty-Pant’s behavior seemed more and more suspicious.

I stuck my hand right behind the picture albums, the ones Mr. Smarty-Pants had been messing with. My hands closed around my keys.

I said nothing beyond announcing I’d found them and then corralled all three kids out the door. Mr Smarty-Pants was nearly half an hour late to school, but with my suspicions, he most definitely was NOT going to stay home.

Once in the car I started it up and then looked at Mr. Smarty-Pants. “I’m not stupid. You pull a stunt like that again and you’re grounded for a month.”


He didn’t even bother attempting to deny it.

When I informed him he was grounded for the day (would have turned into a week had his sisters been late), he simply agreed with a grim expression.

Miss Diva chimed in. “What happened?” What did he do?”

I explained and the looks of shock on the girls’ faces cleared them of any culpability, although, I did not suspect them of collusion.

The kid has gumption. I’ll give him that, but sooner or later I catch him in all his little stunts.

Rise and… zzzzzzzzzzz

Once upon a time it was summer. I slept in until the lovely time of 7:30am without the hustle and bustle of herding children out the door. Then the fairy tale ended and the evil torture that is the school year began.

Four days into the new year and I overslept. Oops. I’m still adjusting to the earlier school hours and unlike when I was a spry fifteen, I can’t get by with four hours of sleep. In fact, anything less than seven and you might have to hire a building crane to remove me from bed.

The minion horde appears to share that trait. Even Marble cracked open one eye and glared at me the other day for waking her before the sun was up. When your dog says you’re up too damn early, it’s hard to disagree.

I haven’t worked out once since school began, as I’ve been too tired. I feel that this is solid evidence that waking before dawn is bad for your health.

I read a post on Facebook that claimed a week of camping would reset one’s circadian rhythm, which gets out of sync from the use of artificial lights. I woke just after sunrise this morning, so clearly I’m in sync just fine. I think we should send the people who decide school times on a camping trip, don’t you? Maybe all of corporate America should get shipped to islands in the middle of nowhere for a week, or at least to Mexico long enough to adopt siestas. 

If you’re going to make me get up before the sun, at least schedule a nap.


Et tu July?

We’re half way through July. It is poised over summer break with a knife as August demands it deliver the final blow…..

Too literary an analogy for summer?

I’ll be blunt.

They are advertising back-to-school sales and the kids go back in three short weeks.

On one side, they’ll be at school instead of devouring my pantry. On the downside I’ll have to wake up at a disgusting hour as the “combined” school system decided to conform to county school times, which bumps everyone back half an hour. For this alone I loathe the school district merger.

In either case, summer is flying by and I’ve yet to make it to the pool even once, although I did ride 14 miles through the Shelby Farms trails with Mr. Smarty-Pants. It is no wonder he excels on the soccer team. In an age where daily exercise means walking to the fridge, when he’s not parked in front of the game system, he’s running, biking, or moving in some manner. He kept pace with me the entire way, and I’ve had to work my way up to that kind of fitness.

As fall plots the death of summer, I look forward to it with mixed emotion. Fall means time for my PhD candidacy exams. (Excuse while I go panic……………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………..Okay. I’m back.)

Fall will also bring several writing goals to fruition:

  • August– promotional event with Imagicopter– It’s a multi-author book signing celebrating regional talent.  I’ll talk a bit about my upcoming books and have copies of Conjurings.

    In addition my editor will reveal the cover and release date of my book, Fated Bonds, an urban fantasy romance.
  • September- Kerlak/Dark Oak Press is tentatively scheduled to release A Tall Ship, A Star, and Plunder”, a pirate themed anthology in which my story “Pirates of Happenstance” shall appear.
  • October- Tentative month for the release of Fated Bonds.

So, good or bad, regime change is on the way. I feel like I should stand on a balcony and announce, “Friends, interwebs, countrymen, lend me your ear!”



Last week I held my second committee meeting. Much to my dismay, I didn’t get to use a gavel, just loads of slides as I attempted to impress upon the professors who will eventually decide I’ve toiled enough to graduate, that I have indeed been doing stuff since my last meeting.

Professor M forgot about the meeting and I had to ring his office.

“Hello, this is Hilaire, calling to remind you about the committee meeting at 2 p.m. today.”


“Hilaire. I’m calling about the committee meeting.”

“Retirement meeting?”

“No. CO-MIT-TEE meeting.”

“Whose committee?”

“Hilaire Playa.” I stretched the syllables out in an attempt to make them sound clearer.

“Today?”…And on it went until he figured out I was politely informing him that he was five minutes late.

This call was made in the hearing of all the other professors on my committee. The one kind enough to provide Professor M’s number commented, “Must have been the secretary.”

“Uhm, no. No, it wasn’t.”


At the end though, they agreed I was making good progress. In light of this decision, the reaction I set up Friday has done nothing. Nada. Zip. Graduate in a year? HA! It’s mocking me.

To show it who is boss, I left it alone and neglected in the lab until tomorrow. We’ll see who breaks fist.