Smother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day out there.

It’s been a hell of a few days.  We had a pretty impressive front stall out starting Thursday  night, and all the experts said we were doomed.  They said it so loud and emphatically that they cancelled school here Friday.  Now I know what you’re thinking: “She’s been counting down the days.  She should be pleased.”  And you are correct.  To a point.

My good friend, M, does not have the most understanding employer, so I offered to take her kiddo since I would be stuck at home with my 2, anyway.  It actually worked out surprisingly well.  We went to Costco and then I took them to see the Pikachu movie. It wasn’t until the end of the day that the Togetherness began to take hold and the jackassery go into effect.

Saturday I woke up sick.  It was like I had mono.  I couldn’t breathe.  My face hurt.  My molars hurt.  All  I could do was sleep off and on, so it was a good thing that the Doom Weather was occurring.  I didn’t have to go anywhere or do much of anything (although it did nibble at the back corners of my mind what I should be doing).  In any case, I felt much better after just being a slug for a day.

Today is/was Mother’s Day.  Will was going to the in-laws’ house to try to learn the magic behind his father’s gumbo.  I was going to bring M a treat, being Mom’s Day and all.  My car wouldn’t start.  Well, it tried to.  The damn battery was dead.  Will had to turn around and come home to jump it off.  It seemed to help, but when I went to leave it was sluggish.  Long story short, I managed to make it to M’s, back home, and to the in-laws’, but barely.

My poor old 4Runner is 19 years old.  I love it dearly, but it’s feeling the effects of entropy.  Just last weekend, Will had to pull out the drive shaft and replace the universal joint.  Listen to me.  Acting like I know something about cars.  I don’t.  I’m grateful as hell my husband does.  Anyway, replacing it is high up on our list of 1,009 priorities.

I hit the wall during lunch.  I. Just. Couldn’t. Talk. To. Anyone. Anymore.  My introvert was sobbing, curled up in a fetal position.  I had had 3 days of indoor Togetherness with my ADHD children and I was DONE.  I finally went to Oui Oui (MIL) and told her I needed to go.  She got it.  She understood.  That was my most needed gift today.

I barely made it out, as the car died again in the driveway.  Will conceded he needed to go get a new battery (old one still under warranty, so no cost but time and anxiety), so I drive his car home. Alone. Oui Oui offered to bring the kids home later if necessary.  I got 2+ hours of blissful quiet.  It feels kind of selfish and shitty to try to get away from the very people that make me a mom, but I guess that’s part of it sometimes.

As a parting note, we went to a ceremony at jiu jitsu Friday night, whereupon those who qualified got new belts or stripes.  Stella finally got her first stripe, and the Dude got his second.  Proud mom!

She got a pretty bad nosebleed one night last week at jiu jitsu, and told me she felt like a “golden fountain squirting blood into cups to feed the vampires.” I had her draw it for me for Mother’s Day.

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The Seven Deadly Wins

Today, for roughly 3 minutes, I became one of those parents. Today, for roughly 3 minutes, I lost my damn mind and behaved like some feral mom-beast.

I took the kids to their first jiu jitsu tournament. I know, I know. I initially didn’t want to do it. Their teacher talked me into it. I figured we’d go and at least check it out. If they didn’t like it or do well, we would just be the taking-classes vs competition kind of family.

The place was packed, and several other groups had joined ours to compete. There were lots of new faces – a whole lotta unknown. We knew nothing, Jon Snow. We didn’t know the rules, the scoring, or how many matches the kids would have. I was a nervous wreck.

Felix was actually in the very first match. I wasn’t that worried about him. He was one of the 3 smallest there and he’s a scrapper. The first kid tapped and cried. I was happy but felt awful for that other kid. I almost felt guilty clapping for the Dude. Felix lost his second match to his friend. His friend is really good and often prevails in class. It’s cool. Felix then fought the first kid again, who tapped almost immediately and cried. More guilt. At the end of it all, Felix’s buddy took gold, the Dude took silver, and the little guy that tapped took third. They all got medals, so that made it seem better. Felix was over the moon. Here we are now, roughly 7 hours later, and he’s still visiting his medal to polish it.

Stella was where things got really dicey. I was terrified for her. She’s a big strong girl, but simply does not have an aggressive bone in her body. In class she ends up on her back with her limbs flailing like some kind of tortoise, usually with smaller kids on top of her. She just never seems to get it. I knew her weight/age bracket would have more than 3 kids, so a medal was not guaranteed. I didn’t want her crushed.

She got crushed her first match. It was one of our friends from our own class, a boy who’s younger and shorter, but with a similar weight. It went to points at the end of the match and it was a shutout. She started to cry and freak out. I felt like shit. I had known that losing was the likely outcome, yet sent her out anyway. She has enough challenges and disappointment at school without adding to it on a Saturday.

She spent the next several matches crying. I was tempted to just take her and leave, then it was time for her final match. There were 4 kids in her bracket, so someone was going home without a medal. That third place was going to be Stella or some other boy. The coaches explained it to them before the match began. Something shifted in her at that moment. She finally found her beast mode.

It was not a pretty fight but she did it. She even tried to put the kid in an arm bar hold, which surprised the hell out of me; I kind of didn’t think either of my kids were picking up any actual technique. She won handily on points. I was so stinking proud of her. She was so proud of herself. I haven’t seen that kind of expression on her face since way back in first grade when she won student of the month.

I was not, however, proud of myself. I acted like an asshole, shouting like a crazy person. “Take him down, Stella! Go for the choke!!” I lost all composure. What was worse was that I realized about 30 seconds into it that I was sitting right by the other kid’s mom. Still I shouted. I wanted my kid to succeed. She really needed that win. Hell, after the past couple of months, I needed a win.

Jumping for joy

As I cheered when her arm was raised, it hit me that that other little boy was leaving without a medal. Then I really felt awful. Survivor’s guilt? I don’t know. I just felt like a jerk.

I do believe that kids need to learn that not everyone gets to win. That’s life. I hope that other boy is ok and not totally discouraged. But dammit, y’all: I’m so grateful my daughter got to feel like a winner today. When you have ADHD, wins are often few and far between.

I’m sure it will be a while before we do another tournament. Frankly, I’m not sure my nerves can take it. I came home feeling almost hungover from the adrenaline spike and subsequent crash. I do so swear, though, that I will attempt to conduct myself more calmly next time. (I won’t say whether my fingers weren’t crossed behind my back when I wrote that.)

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Load to Nowhere

I feel the need to apologize.  I think once upon a time, my blog was kind of funny.  I mean, I’m no stand-up comedian, but I’ve been told I can be a bit witty.  Lately, I have not been.  Like, at all.

This school stuff has taken over.  It’s made me angry, scared, bitter, anxious, and depressed.  I spent this past Sunday, weeping off and on, sometimes having trouble catching my breath due to nerves.  I went to lunch with Will today – Indian – and he mentioned that he couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen me laugh.  I’ve felt heavy every moment of every day.  This is one of those moments where I need to breathe deep, regroup, and look for the funny, the good.

I had Indian for lunch today with my husband.  The food was amazing, even if it did have carbs in it.  They have this dessert, the name of which I cannot ever remember.  It’s this watery stuff that has rice and fruit in it.  It tastes just like Froot Loops. I could take or leave the cereal, but the dessert is amazing.

Only 11 carpools left!! Hell yes.

I don’t think I mentioned what happened on our recent trip while going through security. Felix, I suppose inspired by the gun in the belt of the TSA agent, decided to share everything about the “powerful gun in his closet,” and how it could kill people.  This was early in the morning, and this surly-looking woman did not look amused.  This was probably why Will was chosen for extra screening.

After we finally made it past the TSA

My children are currently eating roasted turkey.  After the holidays, I turn into some crazy old woman and trawl the grocery stores for sales.  This year, I initially scored a small 8.5 lb Butterball and felt pretty pleased with myself.  A few days later, I found a 25-pounder for even less than I paid for the Butterball.  I had to have it.  In order to make room for the pile of Girl Scout cookies on my counter, I had to make space.  I’m saving the giant bird for Xmas.  I’m easily amused, even if it does feel weird to roast a whole turkey in May.

I will say one more thing about the recent events with school shit, but it’s a positive thing: I’m so grateful for my friend M.  She gets the whole school battle.  She fights it herself.  She lives in the world of parenting ADHD kiddos and has been available at any time to listen, often while we’re both sipping pretty hard on our gin and tonics.  I haven’t had that in such a long, long time.  I didn’t even know I needed it.  There are people that are my friends but not like this.   Most friends didn’t call or ask how things were going, or to see if I needed to talk, get a drink, whatever.  That makes me feel like it’s not something I can talk about at all.  And it’s not just school drama.  We get what it’s like to live surrounded by the noise, the chaos, the little people who sometimes forget to put on pants.  I don’t have to explain to her why I tag my Instagram posts #bombfactory.  M and I have decided that if one of us wins the lotto, A) we’re leaving this godforsaken state and it’s badly broken school system, and B) we’re just going to buy a duplex so we can live next door to each other.  We’d be like Sister Wives without the creepy man-sharing stuff.

So I’m going to try to find my funny again.  I need to.  I don’t think I realized how badly this was affecting me.  Bear with me.



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End the Knee

Spring break has come and gone, and the Bomb Factory traveled to Virginia Beach and back.  We saw antique planes, a very old lighthouse, Jamestown and Powhatan villages, and best of all, Busch Gardens. 

Stella was proud as punch that she’s tall enough to ride anything in the park.  She spent most of her day on big roller coasters, and I rode most of them with her.  Will took a turn but he’s not really into rides so much.  Felix rode 3 whole rides all day: a carousel, a silly teacup ride he found to be “scary,” and a water ride that he said was “terrifying.”  And word to the wise?  If you take little Cajun children up north and order lobster, they will loudly proclaim them to be the largest crawfish they’ve ever seen.

It was so good to get away and not think about all the stuff I’ve been thinking about for so long.  For a whole week I didn’t think about broken systems and testing and homework.  The effect was so dramatic that when we did come home, I spent Sunday having something of a panic attack, worrying about Stella walking straight back into a huge week-long standardized test and Felix being privately tested for gifted in under 2 weeks.

Now I’m trying to be zen.  Given the fact that we’re heading back out of town soon (more on that in a bit) and the kids will be missing the last 3 days of school, there are only 12 more school days.  Now, before you think me some irresponsible asshole mother, please know that the last 3 days are not only half days, but days when the kids do nothing but fuck off, watch movies, and have cupcake parties.  Fun, but not at the expense of going on vacation.

We’re going to the mountains!  I cannot wait.  It’s been years since I’ve seen mountains and breathed that kind of air.  Felix is so excited, he’s been carrying my old rock hammer from college around, polishing it.  He constantly asks me questions: Which end of the hammer do you use? What are road-cuts really like?  How big are mountains?  I told Oui Oui we would be getting really shitty gas mileage on the way home, as that kid is going to collect every single rock he lays eyes on during the trip.

I can do 12 days.  Only 12 more nights of homework battles, laying out uniforms, and packing lunches with lunchbox notes (I do take the summers off from that).  Only 12 more days of checking folders for crazy last-minute projects or requests and logging into computers to compulsively check grades and AR points.  Stella and I recently had a verbal skirmish, in which she was dramatically telling me how awful homework and school were.  I told her she had no idea, and that she likely would not ever have a real idea until she became an adult and mother herself.  Kids don’t get how their pain and angst become our own times ten.  Kids get to count down 12 more days at which point they can enjoy a summer of camps and field trips and swimming.

I still don’t know the outcome for Felix.  He has one more round of expensive testing looming, and potentially a second.  I’m trying not to spend so much time preparing impassioned orations or drafting yet more emails for people who simply don’t care and aren’t willing to bend.  Worst case scenario, we have a plan B for 2nd grade: private school.  It’s not a great solution and it will be costly even when helped by our parents.  But it’s a solution.  I’m trying to let that be enough for right now.  He still may end up in gifted for 1st grade, but at this point I don’t have much hope or faith that the system can really know my son.  But I have to try.

Twelve more school days.

In the meantime, there is Game of Thrones.  OMG, y’all.


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Chicken Group for the Soul

I know some of you live far away, but do you know what a ya-ya is?  Down here, or at least to me, a ya-ya is a southern woman who is able to handle just about everything thrown at her.  Ya-yas travel in a pack, hence the sisterhood bit.  It may be just part of my own interpretation, but ya-yas are also excellent entertainers, able to produce food, drink, and activities to whatever number of guests with no notice.

I’ve never really considered myself part of any sisterhood, nor much of an entertainer.  I mean, I can do those things, but it has never come naturally to me, and it usually involve a whole lot of anxiety.  Yet I have discovered that I am, indeed, a ya-ya: a ya-ya with/for children.

On multiple occasions this year, I have found myself surrounded with them, picking up not only my own children after school or because of early dismissal, but extras as well.  I then take these children places and provide snacks, activities, and shout at them to go to the bathroom WHETHER THEY THINK THEY NEED TO OR NOT.  I’ve taken this band of children to the movies (that’s pretty easy) and the zoo.  We’ve gone to indoor and outdoor parks.  We’ve gone to Chuck E. Cheese.  I have a wee little gang.

I know.  You’re tingling with interest.

When I think back to even just a couple of years ago, I was reluctant to take just my own 2 children out by myself.  I certainly would never have dreamed of taking my children plus bonus children anywhere at all.  I might have volunteered to help another parent that needed assistance, but it would have involved staying home, and I would have needed time to plan not only activities but menus as well.  I would have dreaded it intensely.  I would have had to make sure I had adequate wine for recovery after.  Things are different now.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not Mary Poppins.  I get irritated.  I get grumpy.  I use my Mom Voice with these other children as well as my own.  But I don’t get anxious anymore. I don’t freak out if so and so is there and dinner time rolls around and so and so is hungry also.   I feel like I’ve advanced to the next level somehow.

Y’all do realize I’ve just totally jinxed myself.  The next time I am with my bonus children, all hell will break loose.  I’ll lose one or there will be a broken bone.  Actually, there was a momentary panic at the zoo one day when someone misplaced himself and the Mom Voice was used, but now I’ve really done it.

I’ll end with a bit of a down note.  I’ve been continuing to fight our school board.  I’ve had a meeting with an assistant superintendent and several directors.  As usual, they acknowledge that the system isn’t great and that Felix sounds gifted.  They’re suggesting more testing.  Fucking testing.  Of course I’ll have to allow it but dammit I’m tired of having to fight so hard.  Vacation is coming at a great time.

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The Win Beneath My Wings

Sorry I’ve been away.  I’ve been charging at windmills again.  This school stuff…  I’m like a dog with a bone, I guess.  Things have not been going according to plan.  You’d think I would learn to stop making them -plans, I mean.  Suffice it to say, our local school district seems pretty hell-bent on doing the worst possible job at working with my kid, such as giving him important screening tests on weeks when the entire kindergarten class is kept inside all day due to testing, and everyone is pissed off and aggro about it.  I have 2 swings left to take: private testing and a high-level meeting that’s on the books.  I’m trying to brace myself that things will likely  not go my way.  I’m logical and persuasive, typically, but logic seems to be out of fashion with this crowd.

Don’t you just feel the love through your screen?

The kids and I are DONE.  Today I checked them out early, because DONE, and in a childish way it felt like a middle finger to the schools. Nothing like a little hooky mixed with passive aggression, amiright? I’m on the verge of torching behavior charts and homework folders again, although methinks I should keep that sort of thing off Instagram.  We head back to Virginia on the 20th and that week out of town could not be coming at a better time.  When we return, we’ll only have about 3 weeks left of the school year.  I’ll likely spend the summer trying to shake off the bitterness left by this school year and preparing for the next one.

Felix has all the feels. Well, some of them.

We’re trying to stay busy with good stuff as well.  We recently went to our local kids’ museum and it’s officially warm enough for the foam machine to come out of storage.  This weekend will be some egg-related activities, weather-permitting.  And we keep on with the jiu jitsu.  Their instructor is having a tournament next month.  We’re not going to sign up.  Candidly, my kids just aren’t very good.  I don’t want to pay $40 a head to watch them tap out.  Maybe next time.  It’s still a worthwhile endeavor, although I think some nights I get more out of it than Felix and Stella do.

Work has been pretty awful, with me being voluntold to participate in this horrendous review committee.  My next 2 work days will be nothing but consensus meetings – roughly 12 hours of f’ing meetings.  I hate meetings.

I would really like a win right about now.  Just a teensy one.  At least we will soon have Game of Thrones.

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Carpooling Myself Up By My Bootstraps

I guess it’s been almost a week since I last posted.  I’m still coming to terms with the whole Felix-test thing.  I’m still very angry and sad about it.  I may yet send out emails to every school board member and superintendent I can find.  I hate feeling powerless. I hate feeling that no matter how right I know I am, and how much a situation sucks, there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.  If only I were a wealthy Hollywood mom, no?

So it’s times like these when I need to be a bit more deliberate with my thoughts and find things that are really ok.

Breakfast still exists and you don’t have to take a f’ing test to get it

School is almost out.  I wish my children could understand that we parents hate this shit as much if not more than they do.  Especially me.  Especially now.  We all could use some summer – time away from homework, uniforms, lunchbox notes. Oh, and carpool. Why won’t people pull all the way up, dammit????

Stella and I survived our 13 hour Girl Scout day camp trip.  I didn’t feel 100% physically (the damn carrier monkeys finally wore me down after 4 weeks) but otherwise it was a nice trip.  I had worried about Stella and her behavior, but she did fine.  I had to shout her down the first trip to the bathroom (because bugs) but after that all was right with the world.  She had a wonderful time and that was good.

I’m grateful to the people that are kind and cool to my kids.  The folks at our jiu jitsu academy have been wonderful, even if the Bomb Factory kids are having an off night or week.  That’s been one of those village-expanding sensations that feels really nice these days.

My children are wonderful and strange.  Stella, who is on again-off again terrified of bugs, sleeps with a giant stuffed tarantula and a battered white tiger named Sweet Kitty.  Felix sleeps with a Komodo dragon and a pink blobby dragon-like thing he calls Peanut.  At least he got over the cactus pillow thing.

I do have Felix scheduled for private IQ/gifted testing.  I have to try.  We may end up with the same results, but if he can pull it off, at least he’ll be in a group with kids more like himself and with more enrichment.  I’m giving him this week off, but we’ll start drilling next week.  Have I told y’all how much I hate tests?

It’s sunny outside and this is that rare stretch of time when the weather is not terrible.  I wish I felt well enough to get out and enjoy it more.  Hopefully by this weekend I’ll be 100%.

We have 2 trips coming up in the next couple of months: a week in Virginia Beach with my dad again, and a week or so trip to Tennessee.  My kids have never seen mountains up close.  Felix has already started polishing my rock hammer.  He’s very excited to experience a road cut and bang on rocks.  I predict we’ll get horrible gas mileage coming home.  That kid is going to collect every rock in the state.

Sorry for the bore.  I’m working on getting my hilarious self back.

I took this in carpool the other day when the car in front of me would not pull the whole way f’ing up


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Spew Hot, Spew Furious

I gotta unload, y’all.

Felix did not “pass” his test to get back into the magnet school.  Just like last year, I’m devastated for him and for all of us.  I really thought we had it this time.  He’s done so well – straight “outstandings” in school.  He’s settled down in class.  Behavior charts all show green.  We’ve been working first grade exercises – and even some second grade – on this computer program that the school likes to use.  He has worked so very hard.  But he’s not good enough, according to some random bullshit test.  What was craziest of all was that it was his math score that did him in.  I even called to make sure there wasn’t some error.  He has a math/science brain.  There had to be some malfunction.  Nope.

I’m so fucking angry about this.  My freshly-turned 6 year old boy is brilliant.  I don’t care what some test says.  Oh, and let’s not forget that with ADHD, kids often don’t “test well.”  It’s fabulous that this is the only criteria with which we choose to measure and place them.  I’ve never seen another 6 year old carry a ziploc bag of rhizomes to school to illustrate that seeds are not the only way plants can reproduce.  He’s the only one I know that can name most of the major index fossils of the Paleozoic.  This morning he was looking at his periodic table blanket and wanted to watch a YouTube video about it.  He had breakfast with Mendeleev.  He’s 6.  And he’s not “smart enough” to be a magnet kid.

He created a miniature museum and organized his collection with proper labels. He’s clearly a dummy.

Our education system is seriously fucked up.  This is wrong on so very many levels.  And I know my son is not the only one out there by far.  Who knows how many brilliant kids are being cast aside because the powers that be choose to look at such a narrow sliver of a kid’s potential performance – and all this despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary regarding different types of intelligence.

So I’m sad.  I’m pissed off.  I want to cry, scream, punch someone in the fucking throat.  And I’m tired.  It feels like everything is a fight.

So I’m trying to pull up my big girl panties yet again and rally for another year – another year of 2 schools with the same schedule, 2 sets of teachers and support staff, 2 sets of school fundraisers, colliding programs and assemblies, another magnet application in the fall, waiting on another letter telling us if he even gets a shot at taking the test, another test, another wait on results.  And if that goes poorly – as it has twice now – another day sitting stunned at my desk trying not to cry like a wuss at work, frantically Googling charter and private schools just to see if maybe something new and workable is out there.

The above paragraph is rather petty.  That’s all about me.  The worst thing is him.  How do I tell him he didn’t work hard enough when he really did – for months.  He now knows that Stella’s school is better than where he is.  They get cool perks – travelling farms, StarLab.  They get field trips.  He gets the bare bones.  While I was in the magnet office waiting for him to finish testing, they got a phone call: the local STEM magnet high school was inviting the kindergarten classes to come tour their robotics lab.  Felix belongs there.

I also worry about the kids he’s with now.  These are kids who aren’t necessarily raised the way he has been.  They’ve been exposed to things I don’t think children should be exposed to.  They’re rougher.  There are fights in the older grade levels.  I guess it’s a really good thing he’s in jiu jitsu.  It may actually pay off in a real world setting.  I’m scared for him.  He is a sweet little boy.

I know y’all probably get sick of reading my ranting and raving.  It’s tiresome.  It is for me, too.  My kids should have the same opportunities; there is a huge disparity in the experiences they’re having.  All children should have these same opportunities.  It’s criminal that the system sets them up for failure rather than success.

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Ticket to Hyde

My nerves are bad.  Tonight was one of those WTF ADHD nights and it’s sticking with me.

To set the scene, I got the kids after school and all was right with the world.  Felix was his usual happy self.  Stella was chattering away, reporting that she had a great day at school and there was no homework – not even math.  There was salmon and vegetable lasagna for dinner.  Everyone ate their fill and we suited up for jiu jitsu.  Stella even cleared the sink and loaded the dishwasher for the first time ever without being asked.  I gave her $3 for being cool.  It was a good afternoon.

Things went to hell as soon as we got to practice.  Suddenly, my beautiful, smart, cooperative 8 year old daughter regressed about 4-5 years.  She freaked out.  She made crazy faces.  She yelled.  She whined.  She cried.  She informed the world how horrible she was – what a failure she was.  She threatened to run away.  She said she had no friends.

My problem is that I try to fight this shit with logic.  I’m a science person.  I rely on data.  I need to figure out problems.  This shit is not logical.  The more you logic it, the more it pisses on your foot.

I tried to calmly talk her down, without interfering with the class and her teacher.   Finally, another jiu jitsu mom moved closer to me and said that after a few weeks of her kid acting like that, she finally had to leave and wait in her car – that her kid was just waiting on someone to react the way he wanted them to.  At first I was kind of pissed, defensive.  Then I recognized her for what she was – a member of the tribe.  She said she knew the expression on my face well when Stella started acting a fool and she felt gratified that she wasn’t alone.  She legit meant well.

There are lots of us there.  I was feeling for another mom just last week, when her kid kept being sent in the corner to do burpees for acting out.  I saw the expression on her face (I call it the ADHD face – a mix of embarrassment, anger, sadness, and fear) and felt for her.  There’s another kid that cries….all the time.  Felix gets paired with him for sparring quite often, and it has puzzled and pained him.  Usually when he sees a kid – or adult – crying or in pain, he does whatever he can to take care of them.  Now he’s being encouraged to keep trying to grapple this wailing boy.  He’s gotten better at it, although I still have a hard time watching.  We’re all hoping this sport can somehow help our kids come to grips with some of this stuff that otherwise hasn’t been helped by traditional methods.

I need to remind myself to let go – that this is not an equation that can be solved.  That some days – some moments – my kid will be Dr. Jekyll and then transform for no apparent reason.  I need to remind myself that my kids are not alone and that there are many like them that will have the same challenges and the same gifts.  Hopefully Thursday night I’ll be taking Dr. Jekyll to jiu jitsu.

Felix’s test is tomorrow.  If you’re a praying sort, please drop a line to the big one.  If you’re  like me, send some positive thoughts and vibes his way.  I may throw up before it’s over.  There’s a lot on the line for a little dude.  He’s worked so very hard, but this may be one of those hard life lessons where it’s not enough.

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And Now for the Test of the Story

So how has this week been?  Personally?  It’s been a bit rough.  This time change thing is complete and total bullshit.  Somehow I manage to hate it more every year.  It completely jacks my kids up.  They don’t know when to wake up, go to bed, eat.  Stella has been completely bitchy and “distracted” doesn’t even begin to describe Felix.  Somehow, the time change makes ADHD more.

Which is why it about knocked me over when Felix got his first stripe in jiu jitsu last night.  He had been spacing out all week, sometimes just laying on the mat staring at the giant fan.  Regardless, I wanted to cry I was so proud.  The expression on his face was priceless.  He was over the moon.  Stella had skipped yet another class because of some event at school which earned her a free dress pass for today.  That girl would stab me through the ribs for a free dress pass.  Anyway, Will had taken her to that while I went with the Dude to class.  We beat them home and he refused to take his gi off because he couldn’t wait to show Stella.  He correctly predicted that she would be mad.  I’m hoping this settles into some good old fashioned sibling rivalry and she digs her heels in.

I’ve gotten to give some geo talks to different student groups lately, and that’s been fun.  Oddly enough, some of the kids have been raised in homes that literally interpret the Bible, so I got some strange questions.  It was somewhat weird  that groups like that would invite a geologist to talk about stuff like evolution and geologic time, but fortunately most of them were pretty cool.  Even with the most hostile kids, fossils can work magic.  No one is too cool or brainwashed for fossils.

This weekend we will go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade and then try to put the kids to work – along with ourselves – in the yard.  After waiting years, it’s become clear to me that “Redneck Chic” is not going to become a thing in landscaping and home design, and the Dude is demanding we plant stuff.  He wants carrots.  I once tried to grow carrots.  They grew fine, only they tasted completely awful.  I  may just buy some whole carrots at the store and “plant” those.

Felix takes his magnet screening test on Tuesday, so if you’re into that kind of thing, send him positive thoughts, cross your fingers/toes, sacrifice a chicken, whatever.  I’m a nervous wreck.  We’ve both been working so hard to prepare for something we don’t know how to prepare for.  We need a bit of a break!

Random cuteness for the win


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