auntbijou: (Default)
So... the Impossible Son is now a freshman in high school.

*pause for motherly whimpering*

In our small town, the freshman campus is separate from the high school. It's also on the other side of town from where we live. Not a big deal, because this is a small town. I am lucky, though, that his first period class, athletics, is at the high school, and so is his last class of the day, because this means he can walk to school in the morning and walk home in the afternoon, since the high school is just down the street from us. Which means... no more sitting in long slow lines of cars to drop off/pick up my student, HUZZAH!!!!

*dance of joy, dance of joy*

Since Impossible is also on the high school cross country team, this also means that every other morning, he has to be at the high school at 6:30 a.m. for running practice. The Husbandly One drops him off on his way to work, and if I wait long enough, I can go out on the back deck and see the whole team go running by. They get back to the school in time for the team to shower and get ready for their first period class. Which, for my son, is athletics, as I mentioned earlier.

The next thing I need to mention is that my son, at 14, is the tallest person in our house. He is all long arms and legs, and the basketball coach pretty much started drooling the moment the Impossible Son loped into the gym. So... the Impossible Son spends first period playing basketball pretty much nonstop. All. Period. Long.

All freshman who have their first and last periods at the high school are required to ride a bus to go back and forth. This bus leaves at a very specific time, and if a student isn't there at that time... too bad, so sad. There is only ONE bus for this. I totally get that.

However, what this means for athletic students is... depending on the coach, there is NO TIME FOR A SHOWER.

This... is NOT a good thing.

So, Tuesday morning of the second week of school, I was sitting and staring at the story I'm presently working on and wondering if I needed to do little tweaking of my outline when the Dropkick Murphys start screaming, "I'm a sailor peg, and I lost my leg! Climbing up the topsails, I lost my leeeeegggg!!"

It's my phone, and I think, "I turned in the athletic forms, he has all his school supplies, omg, what has he done now?"

"Hey, Mom."

I frown at look at the clock, thinking, did he miss the bus?

"I need to come home and take a shower."

Blink. Blink.

"Wait a minute, didn't you take a shower after class?"

"There was no time," he said a little sheepishly. "I mean, I barely have time after practice to throw on my clothes! I have to get out to the bus as fast as I can, no time for a shower!"

Okay, I know that's true, it was true when my daughter was a freshman, and will probably be true until the construction at the high school is finished.

"Impossible, you'll just have to suffer through it," I begin, knowing the school won't just let him come home. Then I realize, the ringtone was the Dropkick Murphys, not the Legend of Zelda. He was calling from the school office, not his own phone.

"Mom, everyone in my class says I reek! I stink, Mom, even the teacher says so! I need a shower!" he insisted.

It doesn't normally take me this long to catch on. "Wait a minute, are you just calling me on your own, or did the teacher send you to the office to actually go home and take a shower?"

"Yes, Mom, my teacher insisted!"

"Okay, I'll be there in a few minutes."

I was sort of stunned, but, having been around the Impossible Son when he was sweaty, I could sort of see it. Thing is, he didn't have that much of a body odor problem, really. It was mostly his feet that would get us during soccer season, where we would beg him to keep his shoes on until we were out of the car. But that's soccer pong, and just means keeping his gear clean. So, I got in the car and drove over to the freshman campus to sign him out.

The freshman campus was built in 1923 and has all the problems you'd associate with a building that old. It's small (the current class of freshmen are practically bursting out of the seams), it smells, and it's hard to air condition. In fact, only the classrooms and offices are air conditioned, while the halls are NOT. It's like walking into a sauna when you enter the building, and you want to hold your breath until you get into the office, where it's nice and cool. At least for a few minutes. Air conditioning at the freshman campus really means not as hot as the hall way.

So, I wade through the sauna to the relative comfort of the office to sign my son out. He arrives and keeps a careful distance from me, and when we get outside, immediately moves downwind of me.

"It's bad, isn't it?" he asks, eying me as we walk to the car.

"Not really." I take a careful sniff, but I don't smell much because... he's downwind.

"Just wait," he says ominously.

Amused, I unlock the car, we get in, I pull the window shade off the dash, start the car and get the AC going... and immediately my eyes start watering, my gag reflex leaps up and punches me in the throat, and my nose and lungs start rebelling and trying to escape.

"Oh... my... God..." I gag, turning to stare at my son in horror. "Did you roll in something dead??"

He's grinning at me. "I know, right?" The Impossible Son's cheeks are red with embarrassment, but there's an odd sort of pride in his eyes, too. "It's awful, isn't it? I told you! You didn't believe me!"

Frantically opening all the windows in my car, including the sun roof, with the AC going full blast in the faint hope of getting the... the... STANK out of my car, eyes watering and leaning away from my child, all I can say is, "Holy crap... how the fuck did this happen??"

"Mom," the Impossible Son says as leans helpfully away from me, "we ran four miles this morning in cross country, and then I had to go straight to basketball practice! No time for a shower! And then we barely have time to dress before we have to catch the bus! We all reek!"

I think all my nose hair was gone by the time we got home. My eyes are watering just remembering this. It was horrible. Like... old cheddar cheese that's been sitting in a bowl of water in direct sunlight for three days, and moldy soccer socks in a hot car, with a little muddy dog and three weeks unchanged cat litter box. During a hundred degree summer. With... sweat.

*is still horrified*

I never thought I'd ever say that about one of my children, but omg, he reeked. It made soccer pong look... pleasant.

So, after he'd decontaminated and changed clothes, he told me the story.

He was in his second period biology class, and the teacher had broken them up into smaller groups to work on their assignment. First, the kids in his group had started moving away from him with, "God, Impossible, WTF?" and "Dude, did you even take a shower??" Then some of the groups that were close to them started complaining and became vocal about insisting he go home to take a shower. The teacher, noticing the increasingly vocal protests, called him over to find out what was going on. At this point, Mr. Impossible had had enough. "Miss Biology Teacher, I really need to go home and take a shower," he said apologetically.

She said humorously, "So you're a little sweaty, you're fine, stop messing around and get back to work."

"No, I really, really stink, that's why they're all complaining," he insisted.

At that moment, the AC came on, and the vent was apparently behind him and blew air directly toward her. He said she was opening her mouth to probably tell him to go back to his table when his personal cloud of stench was blown into her face.

She froze. Her eyes went wide and her nostrils flared. Her eyes bulged as she stared up at him with horror, then they reddened and started to water. Her nose looked like it was trying to pinch itself shut. Her hands gripped the desk so hard, her knuckles went white. And her mouth snapped shut.

He said, "I seriously started to worry about her, because it was like... she stopped breathing!"

Of course, she stopped breathing! She was trying not to smell him.

After a moment, she started frantically pointing at the door. "You," she said, scooting hastily away from him after thrusting a hall pass at him. "You! Home! Now! SHOWER!!!"

"Well," I said, leaning toward him, "you smell much better now."

"I should," he said as we got in the car to go back to the freshman campus. "I used almost half my body wash cleaning myself off! Do they make industrial strength body wash?"

"No, and before you ask, Axe Body spray is not shower in a can," I said firmly. "If you had used it you would not have smelled better. You would still have the Stench, it just would have been... the Stench WITH Axe Body spray. And that would have been much worse."

"How do you know?" he asked as we pulled up to the school and I parked.

"Because the pot smokers at my high school used to try to disguise the smell of what they'd been doing before school started with this mint breath spray called Binaca. And it never worked." I grinned at him. "They never understood why they kept getting caught, but you know, it was because instead of smelling like pot smokers, they now smelled like Fresh MINTY Pot Smokers™!"

He laughed. "I'll pass that on!"

"Good. Because we're all kind of tired of smelling sweaty teen pong with Axe Body spray!"

You know, I'm still working on getting the smell out of my car!
auntbijou: (Dancing Snape)
So, last Friday night, this happened...



Yes, after twelve years of alphabets, numbers, packages and packages of lined paper and crayons, dodgy math education and questionable science, hoping that this year she gets a good teacher, hoping that the district keepsthe good teacher, crying when the district lost a good teacher, two bouts of mono, freezing in the stands and cheering for her while watching her play soccer, then holding her when the coach turned out to be a major asshole, endless teacher conferences and meetings with the principal to argue against stupidity in administration, doing the happy-happy-joy-joy dance with her teachers when something went right, many, many MANY bento lunches, and lots of hugs, love, and encouragement... the Impertinent Daughter has graduated from high school.

Even through the many obstacles that were thrown up at the end, like having to have a stupid orange paper signed by teachers that my daughter NEVER HAD and pay any fees that were owing OR SHE WOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO WALK ACROSS THE STAGE TO GET HER DIPLOMA, my daughter graduated.

And it was a wonderful, joyous ceremony, too! I have to share!

There was a brouhaha because of the threat of rain, and we weren't sure whether we'd be able to hold it at the high school stadium or not, but the weather remained clear. As parents, the Husbandly One and I were seated on the football field (the ceremony was held on the field, with everyone else sitting in the stands), and we got to watch our daughter file in with her classmates, that million megawatt smile in full evidence when she spotted us. The Tall Blonde told me later that past graduations were much more solemn and controlled than this one, but this one? Well, let's just say the Impertinent Daughter's influence on her classmates was most clearly seen in this ceremony.

And, I will also say it was because Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere has been the grade-level principal for this particular group of seniors since they were in sixth grade. Well, actually, she was placed on administrative leave for a year after 8th grade because of the howling protest all of us parents put up. Unfortunately, she turned up at the high school when they got there for 10th grade. So, when I say Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere had an influence on how this group handled their graduation, I don't mean it as a compliment.

Let me put it this way, when the valedictorian gave her speech, she directly contradicted what Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere said in her speech to the kids earlier, her "Your years in high school are the best years of your life," or some such nonsense. Valedictorian said, "Guys, don't make high school the best years of your life. Those are yet to come. If high school is the best time of your life, then your life is going to suck." Or something to that effect. But the best part of her speech was the end, when she said, "Okay, remember what we discussed? On the count of three, one... two... three..." and the seniors shouted, "DOBBY IS FREEEEEEE!!"

Oh, yeah. Awesome. And boy, didn't Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere looked puzzled?

The other funny thing? The beach balls. OMG, y'all, the moment that woman started speaking, the beach balls bounced up from everywhere among the seniors. And silly string!! Streamers!! CONFETTI CANNONS!!! It was EPIC!!

20140530_203204-MOTION

Adding insult to injury? In previous years, when administrators and security caught the balls, they'd pop them with knives and dispose of them. This year? THEY THREW THEM BACK TO THE KIDS AND EVEN JOINED IN ON THE FUN!!

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I noticed all the kids were hugging Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere and thought that was weird, but I also noticed they were draping something around her neck. I found out later the hug was REQUIRED (by guess who?), but I was vastly entertained when I found out that what the kids were giving her and draping around her neck were their school ID's and lanyards.

If that isn't the biggest "fuck you, bitch!" I don't know what is!!

Oh, yes, the kids got their hits back in on Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere, and did it with humor, class, and the full participation of the rest of the staff! In fact, the entire ceremony pretty much fell apart when it was time for her to give the closing speech. No one knows what it was, because everyone was pretty much up and moving to take photos with their kids, or leaving the stadium.

If that doesn't give a clear impression of "No one in this district respects you," then I have little hope of anything getting the message across to her.

But I care not. Do you know why? Because my beautiful, wonderful, brilliant, talented, artistic, and just plain epically awesome daughter graduated from high school, and did it her way.

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The first photograph is mine, but credit for the gifs go to [personal profile] krystiegoddess, who was much calmer than me and took more photos than I did. I fully expect to return the favor in a few years when it's her turn!
auntbijou: made by <lj comm=lvlwings_icons> (Delicious Hot Schmoes!)
This is what happens when the Impertinent Daughter gets bored halfway through an assignment to write a journal entry as if she were a colonist who had managed to survive a year in one of the New World colonies in the 1600's...



"Friday, August 29, 1600-something -- Sunny. The recent arrivals to the colony were a great relief to all of us as they came with supplies. I mean, we have been trading with the Indians for food and some of their supplies, but... it isn't the same as using what we good English folk are used to using. Besides, if there is anything our new arrivals (and some poor, clueless souls here) should worry about, it's the werewolves. Those bloody pests have been getting too many a man as of lately! Tomorrow night is the full moon and some of the stronger men are going to go hunt them down and rid our colony of these beasts the illness. I think it may come from the water? Or whatever we have been eating. We basically live in a swamp. What the Indians don't give us and that the other colonial men pick up is probably not good for us. And then there's the natives themselves! I've seen some in the woods outside of the borders of our colony, but they don't venture too near. Probably because we're all obviously diseased here and they don't want it. Besides, they've got their own problems. I hear the werewolves are getting them, too. The infestation is worse than I thought diseases are spreading to them and from us no less! But, at the moment, that is of no matter, I have survived a year here in this new world colony, even if it is crawling with moonlight freaks a little dangerous... it is an occurrence worth writing about!"



Part of me wants her to turn it in just like that, but I'm fully aware that as it's only day three, and she doesn't know the teacher well, it's probably a little too early to be testing the bounds of the woman's good humor. Still, she's awesome, and incredible, and I love the skew in her humor!

Werewolves. Heh, heh... utterly wicked and delicious!!!
auntbijou: made by <lj comm=lvlwings_icons> (Delicious Hot Schmoes!)
There are many challenges to being a parent, not the least of which are those moments when your child does or says something that somewhere in the back of your mind, there's a niggle telling you that you really should reprimand him or her, but the rest of you is so caught up in either hilarity or admiration that you... just... can't quite manage it. Not without giving yourself away.

Or you don't know whether to scold... or applaud.

Tomorrow is the Impertinent Daughter's high school's homecoming game. For the uninitiated among you, Homecoming (and yes, it's usually capitalized like that) is usually held during football season for one specific game, and is ostensibly the game where the school's alumni is welcomed back. There is often a dance afterwards at the school gym, and a Homecoming Queen and King are elected by the students, along with their court, and theoretically at least, a good time is had by all.

There are also mums. HERE are some examples. Originally, they were these huge, ginormous, sometimes bigger than your head chrysanthemums, with ribbons that had your name, your date's name, the year, your school name, etc. written on them. Plus, there would be ribbons with charms on them, like miniature cowbells meant to jingle sweetly as you walk, little miniature football helmets, footballs, miniature school mascots, and so on. Nowadays, the mums are artificial, mostly silk, and you only get real ones if you're willing to spend megabucks on them.

With me so far?

Okay, so... the boy responsible for THIS got a mutual friend to ask Her Royal Impertinence to Homecoming. This friend, the Wombat (yes, that's his nickname, it's totally my fault, and I'm just lucky he likes it), asked her and was surprised when she said, "Oh, hell, no! no way!"

"Why not?" asked the Wombat, surprised.

She said she laughed and said, "Well, if he'd asked me face to face, instead of getting you to ask me for him, I would have respected him a bit more while I beat him up."

I completely lost it at that point. I was laughing so hard, I nearly wrecked the car!!

Of course, the Responsible Adult inside my brain was saying something ridiculous like, "That was very rude of her, and she should never be encouraged to beat someone up! She probably hurt that poor boy's feelings!!"

*snorts*

Fortunately, the rest of me quickly stifled the quasi-Responsible Adult, and not only died laughing again, but celebrated my daughter's independence and strength of character. She's got friends who have "dated" boys (they were only in junior high, so "dating" mainly meant they hung around together, held hands, and tried not to look too embarrassed by it), simply because the boy asked them, not because they liked them or anything. Because some of their friends told them that having the boy ask them at all obligated them to say yes.

Excuse me??

No, you don't have to go out with a boy just because he asked you, or because you don't want to hurt his feelings, or because you're "obligated" by his asking. You have as much right to say "No" as you do "Yes." If you don't want to go out with him, say so. If you don't like him... don't go out with him.

*rolls eyes*

Of course, once I calmed down from my laughter, I did offer some motherly advice:

"If you're going to beat him up, dear, please don't do it on the school grounds. It might get you suspended and your father would be inappropriately proud wouldn't be too happy about that."

The Husbandly One and I ordered mums this year. One is from us, and the other is from the Impossible Son. He gave it to her after they got home from school today. When I handed it to him, I said, "Son, you get the honor of being the first boy to give your sister a mum."

He frowned. "Is that important?"

"Yes," I said very solemnly. "It is. And it's very special, because you're her brother. You're her Knight in Shiny Armor, Protector of all Sisterly Honor, and Official Tormentor of all who come to court her. Are you ready to take up your duties, Sir Impossible?"

"I am," he said very solemnly, and then he giggled.

"Go for it," I said, and watched him give her the mum.

She was grumpy when we first got home, so I was honestly worried that she'd snarl at him when he gave it to her, but... she rose to the occasion magnificently. In fact, her whole face lit up, and she got that million megawatt smile going. She looked at it, squeed at the little soccer balls on it, then snagged him for a fierce hug and kiss on top of his fuzzy little head.

It was awesome!

Later, she cornered me in the kitchen and asked, "Mum, what do I tell my friends when they ask me who gave it to me?"

"You tell them your Little Bother gave it to you," I said with a grin, and the concern in her face just melted away.

"Yeah," she said happily. "I'll say, 'my Little Bother gave it to me, stop asking questions!' and walk away."

I laughed. "Just tell them your Little Bother gave it to you because he's cool like that."

Later, my friend, the Tall Blonde came by with the mum her papa and I are giving her (the Tall Blonde was returning a favor) and she was thrilled at the idea of having two mums to wear for Homecoming!! I'll have to take pictures in the morning!

All of it just made me think about what a challenge it is to make sure the little monsterskids we raise today turn out to be adults capable of making decisions and standing up for themselves while not destroying the world around them. It's a tough job. How to you balance teaching them to be polite and considerate of the feelings of others with keeping themselves safe and not letting other people treat them like door mats? How do you teach them the difference between not making a snap judgement about someone and listening to their own intuition? How do you teach them how to be constructively rude?

It's all a work in progress, really, and I'm making it up as I go along. Fortunately, neither the Impertinent Daughter nor the Impossible Son seem to be the worse for wear. At the moment, I'm just happy my girl didn't cave to the pressure of going out with someone she can't stand, just because he asked her.

It gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, I'm doing something right.

September 2015

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