Storm Clouds Coming

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Photo of Hurricane Rita used by permission from wikipedia/commons

My summer hiatus was more that just a hiatus it seems.   Sorry about that!

The tantrums have some what subsided and I am not sure why and have decided that it must be the calm before the storm.  I feel sure Hurricane Ten Year Old will arrive as a category 5!

I don’t even have a tantrum to talk about today.  I do, however, have the dread of her growing older.  I realized this over the Thanksgiving vacation while peeking at her Christmas list.  It read:

  • IPhone Six, with case
  • an MP3 player
  • earrings
  • a bikini
  • lip balm
  • a laptop
  • pink earbuds
  • hand sanitizer

What I realized is that my ten year old, deep down, just really wants to be an actual teenager for Christmas.  Not only can I NOT give her that, but I wouldn’t want to.  It’s funny how, when your child is very small, you look forward to a slightly more independent little person because you’re so damn tired all the time.

All you want is for this little infant to be able to tie her shoes, pour her own cereal and help you out!  Then it happens.  Soon, even more happens. You’re talking about menstrual cycles, buying tween size sanitary products, and listening to talk about wanting to be a YouTube sensation.

You’re setting parental controls on the computer, reminding them about internet privacy, and you just want it all to slow down!   You want to replace the desire for electronics for blocks and puzzles.

I want my infant girl back because the time really did go by too fast, and I’m not ready the tantrums that will come when the hurricane arrives.

 

What do you mean there’s no popcorn?

Popcorn?   Ha!   Not in this house!
Popcorn? Ha! Not in this house!

The world ended this evening around 7:00.  You most likely didn’t realize it, but it did.  It ended with a complete explosion of tears, leg flailing, and the all important throwing of stuffed animals.

I had already told my daughter this afternoon that we wouldn’t have a movie night.  She’s been plagued with asthma episodes, has not been wanting to get out of bed, and had a soccer game this morning.  All of that is a recipe for a trip to the ER for emergency breathing treatments while I’m waiting for her new prescription to kick in, and so I just wanted her to go to sleep at her normal time.  I had told her all that, and she was fine with it until after dinner when she began pestering me and hoping I had forgotten that I had already told her no.

And really, it wasn’t that I had told her no to the movie night that upset her so much.  It was the fact that I told her that he also didn’t have any popcorn.  That’s what did it.  That is what turned my 9 year old from a likable child with great comedic timing to a complete uber freak of a meltdown!

When it ended and the earthquake that centered in her room quieted, things were normal again.  They were normal, that is, until she fell asleep and I wanted popcorn.  Remembering that we didn’t have any, and being completely pissed off that we also didn’t have any apples, or candy, or chocolate, or chips,  I got pissed off and wondered what the hell I was supposed to do without all those things!   I’m the one who buys everything, and so I had to forage in the pantry until I saw my daughter’s left over Christmas M&Ms from my parents.

And you know what I did?   I ate them!   That’s right.  I ate them because I’m a hideous beast who is most hated and never has movie night and never, ever has popcorn.

Nothing Funny About the #@!@## STAAR

Exam

The tantrums of late are all brought to you by the STAAR test.   For those of you who don’t know what that is, imagine your brain being forced to do something it’s not developmentally ready to do, and then you feel completely stupid because of your brain will not do what you want it to do.  That is the STAAR test.

When my daughter was 8 months old, she could mimic patterns I beat on the little drum we had.  She had an ear for patterns and music, and was very verbal even though she couldn’t use actual words.   At the age of 5, she could recreate Van Gogh’s Starry Night with guidance from her art teacher, Miss Alma.

She’s now 9 years old and in the 3rd grade.  She can read on a 5th grade level, but no longer likes to read.  My little girl who could add and subtract without even thinking at age 3 and a half completely hates school.

Homeschool is not a viable answer because I have to work!  I can’t afford private school, and so we are left with little choice.    Without consulting actual brain scientists or child development experts, the amazing folks on the SBOE in Austin made the standards even more rigorous.  And the wizards at Pearson Learning didn’t consult with any actual brain scientists either.  Let me say right here, I’m for learning.  I’m a life long learner!  I’m for teachers!  I used to be one, and I really do like my daughter’s teachers.  I’ve liked all of her teachers, and I know they are doing their best.  What I don’t like is having kids being tested in a way that is inappropriate for their age!  I don’t like that my child hates school!  I don’t like that children are sitting in school feeling dumb and inadequate when they aren’t.

What’s happening to kids now is heart breaking!   The educational system in the US is not doing it’s job, and the answer isn’t more testing and harder standards that the children’s brains literally can’t comprehend because their brains aren’t ready for what they are learning yet.

I’m all for assessing a child to see where they are, and what the next step is.  I used to give short informal assessments all the time, and as a parent, I still do.  Assessments are valuable tools when used correctly.  The STAAR test is NOT one of these tools.  It has to stop before we have a generation of children who completely shut down and hate learning.

If you have a suggestion, or a rant, please leave it in the comment section.

 

Nothing is ever easy for me in this house!

You know these window cleaners aren't having ridiculous tantrums!
You know these window cleaners aren’t having ridiculous tantrums!

Todays tantrum is brought to you by chores.  My 9 year old wanted to wash the windows, and I’m not about to turn down anyone who wants to wash my windows.  But do you know what you get when you have an overtired kid, some window cleaner and a roll of paper towels, and then add in some blinds that won’t stay up for her?

You get a tantrum!   And not just a normal tantrum.  You get a full blown Remember-Being-Three-Tantrum.

Since I was in the kitchen doing my own chore, I didn’t realize she was having trouble until I heard the blood curdling scream from the den.   “STUPID blinds!”   I go into the den and quickly and easily adjust them and then she just starts crying, “Why is everything so easy for you!   Why do you do this so easy?  It’s not fair!   Nothing is ever easy for me in this house!”  Then she runs to her room crying.

And so I stand there and walk back into the kitchen and finish the dishes.  And that’s when the two year old labrador runs and jumps on my daughter’s bed.  All the dog wants is to love on her and make her feel better.  She wants to play.  Yet, this makes my child cry even harder and then she screams, “I hate you Lucy!   Get away from me!”   She doesn’t use the OFF command though,  and so Lucy just stays on the bed.

And that’s when I lose it.  Not for the tantrum, but because she didn’t use a command and is getting angry at the dog.

When my little rant was over,  I just wanted to grab the keys and drive to Target and just walk around aimlessly looking at home decor.  I wanted to just drive somewhere.  Anywhere.  I dreamt of fruity drinks with umbrellas, going to concerts, and being able to do what I wanted when I wanted.   I took a deep breath and began to count because I wanted to tell her to get a grip.  I wanted to tell her that things were easy for me because I’m decades older than she is and that she needed to just suck it up!  That’s what I wanted to tell her, but instead I just kept breathing and counting because the tears were starting to form.  Nothing is ever really easy for me in this house either.

Skinny Jeans are from Hell

None of this material should be made into skinny jeans!
None of this material should be made into skinny jeans!

Skinny jeans, I’ve determined will be the death of me.  They are what makes my life a living hell every morning.   My daughter used to be a kid who didn’t care what she wore.  She’d wear red, white and blue stripped shirts with pink flower pants and have three ponytails.  It just didn’t matter.  She was three then, and she marched to the beat of a different drummer when it came to her sense of fashion.  Nothing matched.  Ever!  One time she wore her Halloween costume for a week.

I miss those days.

Now, I deal with tantrums over skinny jeans.  Imagine my surprise when I felt the swoosh of the jeans fly over my head while I was walking down the hall from her bedroom followed by a screaming, crying fit over the fact I wouldn’t buy her more jeans.  You see, she has two pair of skinny jeans, and another pair that’s just “normal.”  And by normal, I mean absolutely hideous.  And by hideous, I mean jeans that aren’t “skinny.”

Somehow, my 9 year old has decided that all pants that she owns need to be “skinny.”   This is because all of her friends only have skinny jeans, and that she is the only girl in her entire grade who owns a single pair of non-skinny jeans!   Imagine the horror?  I’m ruining her life one pair of jeans at a time.

What I wanted to do was yell at her and invent some imaginative curse words that really conveyed what I was feeling at that moment.  I wanted to tell her that I just could care less about her jeans.  But I just watched her as she cried and cried while kicking her non-skinny jeans all over her room and then lifted them up and put them on and yelled, “See?   They don’t fit!   They are too small!!!!  I hate these jeans!  I hate my life, and these stupid not skinny jeans!”

I looked at her and squinted, adjusted my glasses, and replied, “But you’ve just pulled up your jeans without even unzipping them.  If anything you need a belt.  You’ve grown a bit, I think. But, they still fit!”

When did such young kids start caring so much about clothes?    I asked her why she didn’t tell me all this while we were buying her jeans at the start of this school year, and her only reply was, “Well, I just didn’t know I’d like skinny jeans this much!”

We play this little game now.  She hides the non-skinny jeans in the donation pile, and I drag them out while she’s sleeping and put them back in her closet.  They still fit her, after all!

Quiz TIme!

Desert  by Moyan  Brenn https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/

The bedtime routine at my house used to be awful!   It was full of tantrums and screaming because when she was three my daughter became a complete monster at bedtime.  I had to go complete and total Super Nanny on her.   Times have changed though because Super Nanny is awesome.  She’s a hideous beast when it comes to consistency at bedtime.  Now, my little one reads in her bed.  I give her and her lovies a goodnight kiss, I put the dogs strategically in her room so she knows zombies won’t get her, and then I promise to check on her in 9 minutes.

This is where I become completely horrible.   Tonight, I didn’t check on her in 9 minutes because I was checking out a quiz on the Internet!   You read that right.   And according to The Internet, I am Luke Skywalker.   I have to admit, using Star Wars to motivate you to take the Briggs-Myers Personality Test is brilliant!

Here are my results:

Defining Attributes: Creative, Private, Introspective, Highly Idealistic

Driven by your values, as an INFP you are interested in helping people and serving humanity as a whole. An easy going individual, you are unusually adaptable and laid-back unless a strongly-held value of yours is threatened. “Idealists” are characterized by their ability to be present with another individual on a deep level, and are usually Imaginative and often talented in language and writing.

So, was Luke an idealist?  Yes.  He was.   So am I.  It’s why I left teaching.

Can he be present with someone on a deep level?   Absolutely.  He could communicate with Leia telepathically and could hear Ben’s messages from the dead.  However, I’m unsure if this connecting on a deep level is due to his personality or just his Jedi training.  He wasn’t exactly present with Uncle Owen on a deep level.   I can be present on a deep level also.  It’s true, but not so much if you’re a Sith Lord.  I’m not down with the dark side!

Was Luke imaginative?   Hmmm…..I’m not sure if dreaming about space is imaginative or just being bored because you’re stuck on a desert planet.  I never did see him draw or write.   He was good with languages though.  Wait….no.  He wasn’t.   He almost got his ass kicked in a bar because he couldn’t understand what someone was telling him.  It was C-3PO who was good at languages.

Was Luke private?   I know I am, but I’m not sure about Luke.  What do you guys think?   Was Luke Skywalker “private?”

And if you want to take the quiz.  You can do so here and find out if you are Luke Skywalker or Senator Palpatine!

(The beautiful photograph isn’t of Tatooine.   It was taken by Moyan Brenn. )

Who’s in Control?

Today I have a treat for you in the form of comedian and writer Jeff Kreisler.  I found this little gem while I was reading his blog, and I think you’ll really enjoy it.  The whole video is brilliant satire, but what I think is the greatest thing we need to remember about parenting begins around 1:06.

See folks?   It’s all about who is in control!!!   And our kids know this.    Luckily, I’m a hideous beast of a parent and I learned the art of no-gotiating along time ago.

As Jeff says in his video and blog, you have to learn how to GET TO NO!  And I mean, YOU get to no.  Not the kid because when your child gets to no, let the games begin because that’s when the battle for control begins, and you better win!  Believe me, it’s better to just cut them off after they start with, “Can I?”   Just say no.  You don’t have to hear the rest of it!   Just stand your hideous ground and don’t even listen if you don’t feel like it.  You want to say No regardless, so just do it!

**This video was posted with permission by Jeff Kreisler.    Please check out Jeff’s blog here, as well as another site he works on called The Final Edition.