Mommy Moments – 8.22.17

Munch and I have been enjoying our summer. School starts next month and I am preparing him slowly. His favorite color is blue (like his mommy) and he’s asked for blue tennis shoes again and a blue back pack.

Got it.

I’ve been buying school supplies and making sure that he’s enjoying camp. He started art camp this week and it goes through next week so I am excited about him learning and playing. This was the one request he had for a camp for summer. He wanted to go to art camp.

He’s gone swimming, skating, go-kart racing, to the fair and to an amusement park. He’s had a ball. We’re headed home to Tennessee in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait. I need the break.

Some funny news about Munch and his health…Last December Munch got a silver cap placed on his tooth. They call it a crown and his dad happened to take him to the dentist when they suggested it. I called the dentist upset because a crown requires a root canal and he still has baby teeth in his mouth. The hygienist was very helpful and just told me in essence it is a crown that his crown was to prevent the spread of decay of the two surrounding tooth. Okay.

After a $225.00 doctor visit for this crown and convincing Munch that it was okay as it was in the back of his mouth to the side, we got used to it. They explained that when his permanent tooth came in then the baby tooth with the crown on it will fall out.

Well, after only 8 months it fell out. Nope, I didn’t get my $225.00 worth of use. Munch was so cute because he thought that he should get more money from the tooth fairy because it was not just a regular tooth, but a silver tooth. Really?

He got a beautiful $1.00 from the tooth fairy. He then said the next morning “I wish it were a gold tooth. I probably would have gotten more.” LMAO.

The last few weeks in August will be spent attending BBQ’s, parties and appointments to get him ready for school. He has a vision appointment this Saturday to make sure he’s all set. School starts on the 6th of September.

How are you enjoying summer so far? Are your kids back in school? Any tips for getting ready to start the new school year?

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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Parenting Truth: Kids are Mean

Here’s a parenting truth…kids are mean.

I’ve shared my struggles with his school, teachers and his adjustment to being in a new environment and I have to tell you that I am so tired. I now see why many people may choose to home school their children. Heck, I’ve thought about. But, I’m just not there yet.

I know that it will only get worse as he progresses through school. Kids will continue to be mean and he has to learn how to navigate it. I have to give him the skills to in essence be mean in order to survive. I struggle with doing that.

Last night we were talking about his Heart for Hoops program and I asked him how did it go? He said, “Fine, I made two baskets.” I told him how wonderful that was. He then said, “Mommy, the kids are so mean to me. They don’t ever pick me in gym class and they never want to be my partner.” He then tells me that the gym teacher will pair him with other students regardless of whether or not they pick him and then the kids are mean to him.

I sighed and tried to not let my anxiety take control. I told him “Munch, please tell your gym teacher. She only sees you for a limited time throughout the week and may not know.” He said “Okay.” I didn’t know what to tell him. I was mad. Seething actually.

Damn kids.

Why the heck are kids so dang mean? Munch told me a couple of months ago that the kids are calling him fat. He said that they told him that his dad and I are fat too. I told him to ignore them. I told him that one of the hardest learned lessons in life is to stop caring what others think about you.

I’ve told him to tell the kids “My mommy says that opinions are like butt holes. Everyone has one, but waste comes out of my butt so that’s what I think of your opinion.” Not sure how effective that advice was. But, I was determined to not take it to the streets. He’s only 8.

My sister says to tell him to say “Your momma.” To any and every mean comment. Respond to any mean comment with ‘your momma’. Ugh!

I started to try and practice mindfulness with raising my son. I ask him frequently is he a nice young man. He will say yes. I will probe further. What makes you nice? What nice things have you done for others. When did you show God’s love to someone at school.

Sometimes there is an answer. Other times not. I want to instill in him to be a good person. Always.

But, hell kids are so dang mean.

parenting-truth

FBF: Self-Esteem

I found a book that I had created my junior/senior year of photos of me and my friends in high school. It was weird looking at the hairstyles and some of the outfits, but it was good. I was looking back at the photos and remembering how I thought I was fat at the time.

I was always the biggest girl it seemed but I really hated my shape. I had a big head, big nose and a big butt. I thought of myself as the odd girl out. The oddly shaped girl who wasn’t quite right. But, I was perfectly fine.

See at that time I just wanted to be invisible. To be seen as a beautiful girl to one boy. I smiled on the outside when many times I was so broken and damaged inside that people couldn’t see it. You can’t see the scars of the abuse. You can’t see the pain that I carried while trying to have a “normal” childhood.

Normal. What the hell was normal?

I guess it was boyfriends and dances. Dates and parties. Friends and fun. I had those memories. Hidden inside my size 12/14 frame.

What I learned…We are our own worst critics. Stop judging yourself and just love the person looking back in the mirror. You are beautiful just the way you are.

Election Day – Part 1

I’ve stayed away from discussions about the election for numerous reasons, mainly because I don’t want to engage in a back and forth argument over which candidate is the best. At this point, neither is that great. However, I do believe in the importance of voting.

It is a right that I don’t take for granted. I am black. Voting wasn’t granted to my ancestors even after freedom was. That being said we need to exercise the right to vote. Even when the options seem slim.

My son has been getting all into this election mainly because Nickelodeon has been running ads to educate the kids on the voting process. He goes to school and they discuss politics. He’s only in the 3rd grade, yet he has an unwavering ability to let you know who you shouldn’t vote for and his reason is simple “I don’t like who he is”.

Pretty interesting huh? He’s 8.

I early voted here in Maryland last week. It was my first time early voting. I’ve taken my son to the polls every time since he was born on election day. This was the third time for the presidential election, but every time we have an election I bring him along. I want him to understand the importance and value in voting.

Last week when we went out trick or treating in a well off area where the candy is plentiful and the gifts are amazing (they gave brand new books to each child) we walked the streets admiring the costumes and houses knowing that we wouldn’t be able to afford a house in this neighborhood. Prices were well over 1 million dollars and as a single parent with one income, unless I sell “sex on the corner”, it ain’t happening. At least not now.

So many people trick or treat in this neighborhood far and wide. The people are always friendly and they really go out of their way to decorate their houses and yards and make it fun for the kids. Year after year, we’re never disappointed. I’ve brought friends with me for the last three years and they love it too.

Well, we’re walking along a street and Munch is yelling “Trick or Treat” well before he gets to the house in anticipation of his candy. He laughs and says thank you after a treat. One house we stopped at had a sign supporting their presidential candidate choice in their front yard. Munch looked at it and asked the woman “Why do you have that Trump sign in your yard?” She responded “I don’t know.”

Feeling embarrassed by his lack of decourum, I rushed him away. He then turned to me and asked “Mommy, why does she have a sign for Trump in her yard?” I responded, “Because she is supporting him.” He didn’t understand. He asked, “But why mommy?”

I said “Munch, the great thing about an election is that you can vote for whomever you choose. You can support whichever candidate you feel is best to represent you.” He listened and then said, “But mommy, Trump is not a good guy and he doesn’t represent anyone.”

I realized at this moment that my little boy was growing up. I couldn’t be embarrassed by his questions when I’ve done everything to show him the importance of voting. I can’t get mad when he yells that you should vote for Hillary Clinton because those are the top two choices we have (realistically speaking) who will run this country.

He’s entitled to his opinion. Which is what he was expressing when we went to the polls last week. His 8 year old opinion.

 

The New School – Part 3

This post is a continuation from yesterday’s post.

The next day as I was driving Munch to school he then tells me that his English Language Arts teacher no longer works there. They have a substitute for that class as well. What? Are you serious? I was livid! I just saw the dang teacher on Friday and she never said a word. No “This is my last damn day at this school”. Nothing.

Why didn’t they send a note home? Is it so dang hard to get a letter together? You have 3 secretaries. Heck, I could type it up. So, if you’re keeping count. Munch only has his original music teacher which he takes weekly, his PE teacher and his art teacher. His main two teachers who make up more than 2/3 of the grades are replaced with substitute teachers.

You know that I’m dying right?

I’m trying to be patient and I’m firing off emails and asking questions. My main issue is this is the mission of the school:

The mission is to provide a rich, challenging, rewarding instructional program based on literacy that will allow our students to become competent French speakers who are active, compassionate, and lifelong learners. We will uphold high expectations and accountability for ourselves and for our students. We will maintain positive and professional collaboration while maintaining open communication with parents and other stakeholders.

This is from the school handbook that they make every parent sign. The last sentence says “We will maintain positive and professional collaboration while maintaining open communication with parents and other stakeholders.” Umm, when Forrest? When will you maintain open communication?

I sent another email to the program coordinator to ask about why grades hadn’t been updated in English since 9/14 and the teacher is no longer at the school. Worse, he had an English report due that we’ve yet to see returned and no grade is entered. Are you serious? It’s been a month. They have to find a better way to communicate. This is their mission and at this point, they are failing themselves.

Jennifer from the blog Confident Parents – Confident Kids asked some questions about teacher’s in her post entitled “How Do You Feel About Your Child’s School”

I explained my situation to her and she was very encouraging. She suggested the following:

Wow! That’s tough on everyone it sounds like. So many teachers have left and a new administration. Everyone is dealing with a lot including that Program Coordinator. No wonder she’s not keeping up with grades with that many to enter. Great that you called her. At least you know what’s going on. Being short-staffed is super tough. And sounds like the drop by option is not an option. Since your hands are tied in so many ways, I would tend to focus on my son. Perhaps do a little extra practicing with him. Make it fun if you can.🙂 Trust your gut. If you think he might be struggling in a particular area, give him more support and practice with you. You’ll feel more empowered like you are able to do something and no matter what, the time with you and the extra practice can help him. It sounds like you are trying to be patient, stay positive and wait until the dust settles. That’s smart. Give the new administration a chance to address the issues. And get ready for your parent teacher conference next month so that you can use that time/meeting well. Here’s an article that attempts to help you make the most of your limited time in a parent-teacher conference. All the best to you! Know that all you are doing for consistency and your child’s development is helping and supporting him! Hoping things will improve over the coming month!

I told ya’ll that I love my blogging family right? I will take her suggestions and be patient. I’m also going to level set prior to the county wide parent/teacher conferences in a couple of weeks. I did learn that since grades aren’t being put in regularly as required by the board of education that I can protest any grade that I am not satisfied with.

Ah, you got to love justice right?

Check out Jennifer’s post for suggestions on parent/teacher conferences.

The New School – Part 2

This post is a continuation from yesterday’s post.

Friday comes and I am at Munch’s school volunteering all day because it is picture day. I find out by speaking with other parents who attended the meeting that their child’s teacher was also out and that there are 3 out of 4 first grade teachers on administrative leave and one third grade teacher….Munch’s teacher.

I was troubled by this because my son is at a new school and although they can’t do anything, nothing was sent home to parents. They stated that they sent letters home and the woman that I met with is the program coordinator for the school. She stated that they have a substitute teacher in his classroom now and she speaks fluent French and she believes the children will be fine.

She told me that letters were sent home. I asked her to explain how not one parent got the letter if it was sent home. She couldn’t. She informed me that she would resend the letter to me today and asked could I forward it to the parents in the classroom. I agreed to do this.

When the letter came it was dated October 11th. The day after I sent the email about the change and not receiving notification. Umm, strike one. Why didn’t you just admit that you dropped the ball and you would send something home immediately? They were playing games.

But, not trying to sound off and be aggressive and such, I politely thanked them and agreed to send. That same day Munch came home with another note detailing who the sub was and that they will test all the children to make sure that they are where they are supposed to be.

Now, I am not a patient person, but I’m trying to be because I understand that they are literally scrambling but dang it…can I get some sympathy? All of this is new to Munch and I and they are literally being inconsistent as hell with all these changes and he is just supposed to be cool with it? The only thing Munch said he liked at the school besides the principal and the music teacher was his main teacher.

I decided to relax and just keep encouraging Munch and inquiring about grades. Grades aren’t being inputted and the program coordinator has to input grades for 75 children because substitutes aren’t allowed to enter grades. This is in addition to her other duties. I get it. She’s swamped.

Does it change my opinion that they need to do what they need to do about my baby’s grades? Nope, but I’m trying to work on my patience. Literally, I am. That being said, while I’m praying to sweet baby Jesus for strength, patience and understanding with his school, I’m watching the on-line portal like a hawk to see when and if grades are updated.

My stalking the portal showed that Munch had earned a 50 on a math quiz. What the what? Really? Can you please send it home? How can I help him when I don’t know what the issue was? Well, the paper came home and it was in fact a zero. Yep a big fat 0.

Why did they give him a 50 instead of a 0 you may be asking? Because the County says that you can’t give children in grades kindergarten through third grade a 0. You have to give them partial credit. Yep, that’s bull, but I accepted it. What I didn’t accept was that it was a 4 question quiz and that boy got not one question right. Are you serious?

I had him redo the quiz and printed off some math homework for extra work. As I explained to him… your failure to apply any effort means no extras for you with electronics. It means that you will have extra math homework. It means that your free time will be spent studying and focusing on the areas where you seem to be struggling.

He’s mad, but he’ll live.

The New School

I’m going through it with Munch’s new school. I moved at the end of April to the northern part of the County. I drove back and forth to Munch’s old school and kept him in camp and swim lessons on the southern side of the County from April through August. I wanted to keep it consistent for him.

I anticipated this new change as being amazing because it was a Blue Ribbon School a couple of years ago. They know what to do. My son would be fine is what I kept convincing myself. He will go and meet new friends and have wonderful experiences. His teachers will be exceptional and engaging and I will be glad of the choice I made.

But, I’m not so sure now. I shared with you some of my frustrations in my prior post, but I haven’t updated you in a while. The school has a new principal and vice-principal this year. Both seem very nice and I’m sure they are qualified, but I feel like screaming sometimes.

Here’s what happened…I check grades every Monday because the County states that teacher’s have until 11:59 on a Sunday night to enter the grades. It so happened that I didn’t check grades for two weeks in a row. I didn’t check on 9/26 and 10/3. I logged into the on-line portal to review Munch’s grades and found out that no grades had been entered since 9/16.

I had some emails that were outstanding from his teacher that I was getting ready to follow-up on and then noticed that another woman’s name was under his teacher’s name. Now, Munch had mentioned that they had a substitute, but other than that nothing had come home. So, I reached out to the principal and vice principal about the change and received no response.

I sent an email to the parents in Munch’s classroom to ask them did something come home about the new teacher and they all said no. Later that afternoon some parents started to respond that they had heard rumors that he was on administrative leave along with three out of the four first grade teachers. What?

So, I sent an email to the woman whose name was listed in the portal regarding his grades and awaited a response. I was going to be volunteering at the school on Friday of the same week and I wanted to meet with her. That evening the County had a meeting at our school about the process they take when teachers are placed on Administrative Leave.

I was unable to attend the meeting and was told by the PTSA president that they would send out notes. I waited patiently and nothing came home. Three days later I sent the principal and vice principal another note saying that I had requested a meeting with two teachers and never heard back. I forwarded the emails and asked what is the expectation that I should get a response? The teachers responded within 10 minutes.

Now, let me back up and let you know that the school had announced last month at Back to School Night that it would no longer allow parents to just drop by and observe their child’s class or have lunch with their child. Parents were livid. I didn’t say anything because I tend to plan everything and unscheduled drop-ins aren’t my thing, but I felt the outrage. That being said I didn’t like the fact that you have that rule and teachers are allowed more than 2 business days to respond to a request for a meeting.