Monday, November 17, 2008

A note on behavior and the sometime suckiness of single parentdom

I realized that I mostly only blog about the fun stuff that happens leading a lot of people to believe that the rugrat and I lead a charmed life of rainbows and unicorns that poop marshmallows. This is not, in fact, reality.

Case in point the ongoing saga with Malia's school which I've finally become calm enough to comment on. She's got some bad behavior issues especially tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants, she never stops talking, and she's got the biggest smartmouth around. Yes, she gets the mouth from me, but I do try to keep it somewhat under control. She hasn't learned that lesson yet. I had hoped that starting Kindergarten would help with this and for the first month and a half it appeared that it had. She was behaving much better at daycare and even at home. Unfortunately it was not the case at school. She was apparently saving up all her naughty for Kindergarten. Why did they wait a month and a half to FIRST make mention of this you may ask. I would not be able to answer that question. I had not gotten any indication that there were any problems at all at Kindergarten. No notes from the teacher asking for backup on her behavior or anything like that. That's one thing I have gotten from day one at her daycare. I get an update every day on her behavior and what steps were taken if she got into big trouble.

So after the phone call I received from her K teacher I was understandably pissed off and sad at the same time. I was pissed that this was the first that I had heard of it and I was saddened that I did not notice anything and that apparently I was not doing my job to encourage good behavior... or something like that. Not that I'm an expert by any means, but I probably should have known my daughter well enough to know she's going to push the limits in a new situation. I'm paying for this now because I'm pretty sure that bar a few exceptions I'm now the mean mom who makes her sad all the time. We did not go to my parents house this week because I told her that unless she managed at least 2 days on green or yellow we wouldn't. She managed 3 days on red, 1 on orange, and 1 on yellow.

I should probably explain the color system. The same time I got the phone call they instituted a new behavior system at the school. All the kids start on a green card for the day. The first misbehavior they go to yellow which is just a warning. Orange is for the second infraction and it results in the loss of half of recess and some center time (computer center, toy center, book center). Red is for the third and results in lost recess and lost center time and a note home. However, because of her continued issues, she brings home a note every day with whatever she's done and she has to meet with a Behavior Counselor something or other as well. I will give her credit in that she's not violating the same things every day, but she's not got a very good record. I now almost dread picking her up from daycare at the end of the day because odds are very high that she'll have gone red (Edit: Today she got Green!). Of the 15 school days, not including today since they instituted the new rules, she's managed the following:

Green: 1
Yellow: 1
Orange: 2
Red: 11

Does anyone else see a problem with this? Her daycare is backing this up for all the kids by making them do some extra practice school work based on what color they are. Even if they get yellow they have to do some extra work. Additionally if they get red, they have to do the extra work during the entire afternoon inside play hour. Guess Malia should be pretty good at finding words. Who knows, due to the extra work she may be reading by Thanksgiving instead of Christmas Dad! When she gets red it also means that she gets no TV at home which I'm starting to believe is more of a punishment for me than for her because she won't leave me alone for five minutes even if it's cooking dinner for her.

This would be a whole lot easier to deal with if I had someone else to help shoulder the blame, but being a single parent I can't do that. Nor can I say "hey, significant other, this behavior is your fault, fix it" because I am the only one doing the parenting. Additionally she threw a lovely "My dad wouldn't get so mad about this and he'd let me do what I want" at me the other night. I really wanted to reply with a "Yeah, the dad who apparently decided that he no longer cares to be your dad? In fact, he doesn't even want to be a dad to his biological children. You mean that one?" Thankfully I managed to refrain because I'm pretty sure that would only make things worse and then I'd have more reasons to feel guilty about my sucky parenting skills.

Anyway, that is the joy that is going on right now. On a lighter note, she's discovered the joy of showers. Feeling a bit bad about no TV time I've let her take long showers. Mainly because it gets her out of my hair for a bit and I can get stuff done. She's really loud in the shower (singing the theme song to Duck Dodgers mostly) so I'm not worried about her injuring herself. I did however discover that my water heater allows for about 1 1/2 hours of warm enough for showering water. I learned this yesterday when I lost track of time and she hollered to let me know that her shower was cold. Plus I remembered that I had this which makes it perfect for her:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Halloween - Fun or bust!

So, I thought about splitting this up into multiple posts about the different activities. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your view, I have decided against that idea. I've just created individual slideshows for the activities. I'll intersperse with my usual commentary.

First up for fun we had the Boo at the Zoo. Now, I love a good time at the zoo and I love that lots of people go because that means they make money and can stay in business. However, unless my life absolutely depends on it or Malia begs for months, I'll not be attending again. It was held the Saturday before Halloween. In theory it sounded great. Tables set up for trick or treating in a pretty safe zone sounded fantastic. Unfortunately every one and their dog also thought it sounded great. After the 4th 15 minute wait to get a sucker or a mini-candybar Malia and I gave up and just checked out the animals and then went home. I think the best part of the day was hitting up the Mexican restaurant not far from me with Krissy and Haylee and then having Malia drive off to Brigham with them for a sleepover with Haylee. Unfortunately for the parents, and fortunately for Krissy, Malia opted for sleeping at the parents instead. Boy was she glad to see me Sunday afternoon, and I was glad to see her. It's nice to have a break now and again, but I miss her terribly. I know, uncharateristic mush from me. I'll try to cut down. Here is the slideshow of fun. Note the terribly excited look on her face.

Next up we had the fun of having Ryan and Mel come over to carve pumpkins. Well, we actually went out to dinner to the New Ho Ho Gourmet and we bribed Malia into behaving with the promise that they would come over if she behaved. Following closely on the heels of the behavior stuff at school, it was handy. That whole cluster is an entirely different post that I'm waiting until I'm less pissed at her school to post. Anyway, it was a good time with Ryan assisting Malia with the actual cutting of her pumpkin. She drew the picture and he wielded the knife. This was probably best for all involved. I did my pumpkin all by myself because I'm too particular to allow help. Mel had the best idea though and refrained from actually touching the pumpkins. If I wasn't the parent, I would have opted to go this route. I swear my hands smelled like pumpkin for days. Here are the few pictures taken. I apologize that they are so dark. I only have the ones that were taken with Malia's camera and it appears that no flashing happened. Also, yes, she is hugging her pumpkin. We had to go out at bedtime so she could give it a hug and kiss goodnight. Added pictures that Ryan just sent me to the slideshow. HAHA Mel, got some of you too. Oh, and yes I just realized that Malia is indeed kissing her pumpkin in one picture and yes, her pumpkin has hands.

Halloween Day I was the favorite parent ever at Malia's school. I was in charge of donuts. Since in my quest to find glazed donuts I failed, I ended up getting maple and chocolate bars. Not only that, but they either had candy corn or bat/ghost/pumpkin shaped sprinkles on them. I feel rather bad for the parents that got their kids home after that gorging of donut. I'm pretty sure those bars count as two donuts, plus adding in the sugary toppings? Oh, that's pure insanity. I got much love from the class. Here are the pics. No Slideshow because there are only three. Also, note the lovely green down the front of her costume. That should teach me to allow watermelon yogurt for breakfast.


Finally we have the joy of actual Trick or Treating in the parents neighborhood. Needless to say it was difficult getting out the door. It seemed like Malia and Haylee had been hitting the crazy juice because holy crap were they wired. Hannah wasn't so much but she's young and hasn't been completely infected by her cousins yet. It's not for lack of effort on their part though, trust me. I think it's just a matter of her getting better at keeping up with them. I foresee a madhouse at the parents for Christmas and I can hardly wait! I just wish JC, Carin and Zenock would be there too. Anyway, after a couple of houses Hannah was done so Krissy, Rob and I went on with the two riff-raff. We only did approximately 3 blocks worth of homes, but man did they get a lot of candy. I hope Haylee got some of hers... Rob, I'm looking at you! Malia and I have hardly made a dent in hers and it's not like we aren't snacking on way too many each evening. By the end, the girls were dragging and Malia made me carry her bag because it was just too heavy. In keeping with her drama queen crown, Haylee gave me her "worn out" look. I think she looks drugged, not tired, but she's young and has plenty of time to fine tune before she gets to Broadway. Here is the slideshow of fun.

All in all it was a good holiday, but now I'm worn out and am taking a small break from doing anything. Gotta rest up for the fun of sewing the girls' Christmas dresses. So excited!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I know I'm behind on stuff

But it's not my fault! My harddrive went out on my laptop so it was in the shop from last Friday until Tuesday. Then I spent Tuesday and Wednesday nights feverishly getting my music and pictures back on my laptop from my ipod because I'm too cheap to pay several hundred dollars for someone to pull apart my old harddrive and pull the information directly off the whatever they are called. Which isn't as easy as it should be. Apple.

I still haven't gotten them reorganized because don't think I can find a program that would keep the same organization, but at least I didn't lose anything. I think except for this one sweet background that I'll have to search the tubes for again. Also, I've lost my CD with my Leopard upgrade so things don't look the same and I'm floundering a bit. Grr!

Anyway, I hope to be back blogging and putting up all the fun pumpkin carving and Halloween adventures by this weekend at least.

Also, and sorry to get all political again, but I'm way excited. Yay for President-elect Barack Obama! Regardless of your thoughts about him, please take a look at the website he's put up for his transition. It appears to be set up for regular updating. I think I'm a bit more excited about this aspect of his presidency than just about anything else. The internet is becoming more and more a part of everyone's lives and I like his apparent desire to keep transparency with what he's doing and continuing his message that it's about all of us doing something. He's asking for our input and I think we should give it to him. I'll step down from my mini soapbox now, and sorry, but this is the first time in a long time that I've had a lot of hope in what the government can do for Americans.