auntbijou: Thank you, Karadin! (Gackt eats!!)
So... had a parent-teacher conference with the Impossible Son's primary teacher today. It was interesting, and encouraging.

It was only supposed to be for 15 minutes, but... we ended up talking for 45! We talked about the Impossible Son's math problems at length, and I found that he's been rushing through his math assignments so he can read a book afterwards. While she's pleased to see him reading, she's not so pleased that he's rushing through his math, getting problems wrong, and not asking for help. He says nothing to her. Just finishes as quickly as possible and hands in it, then grabs his book and disappears into it.


Shades of his mother. Meaning me. Which means I know exactly what he's doing.

So, I told her, explaining yet again about the lack of trust in his teachers, and said, "It's not you personally. This started in second grade, with Mrs. Oblivious Teacher, who is now teaching fifth grade." I filled her in on what he had gone through, trotted out several of the math "explanations" she had given me, and followed up with what he had gotten in third and fourth grade, including the outside issues that were causing problems for him.

"Was he as lost as he seems to be now last year, too?" Mrs. S. asked me.

"Oh, yes," I replied. "I had Mrs. H. send home math homework, worksheets, whatever it took, to tutor him through what was stumping him."

We went over what I've found so far that stumps him, showed her what he was doing and what I had done to correct it, and finished with, "I can't help him if I don't know what's going wrong, so please, please, please send home worksheets!"

About this time, a mouse made its presence known.

Not long after that, a second larger mouse made its presence known.

We spent the rest of our time with our feet up off the floor, keeping an eye out for the mice, and talking about the Impossible Son and what we could do to help him.

Somewhere in there, I found myself volunteering to tutor three of her students who are having difficulty with reading comprehension. They read beautifully, but have no memory whatsoever of what they've read. "Apparently, this is a skill they didn't learn back in second grade," she said grimly. "Nor have they been tested or had any sort of intervention recommended, so far as I can find out. And the parents are... not responding to any of my notes."

Oh, goody.

So... this should be fun. I'll start out twice a week, and depending on how things go, I may end up doing it more often, but we'll see. I figure getting them to break the stories down into smaller parts and asking them to tell me what they remember is a good place to start, and I'll expand from there.

The other advantage is that this gets me into the Impossible Son's classroom twice a week, so I can see what's going on and unobtrusively observe him in class.

Lastly, I also need to talk to his Language Arts teacher about why he's making a 75 in a class he normally makes 90's to 100's in. I mean, seriously, this is a kid who is reading at a 7th grade level! I mean, I have my suspicions, but... I'll wait until I talk to the teacher.


Tis a puzzlement!!
auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
Yes, you were spared my math rants last school year because of the Incredible Mr. Knickerbocker™, the most Awesome Math Teacher in this district. He, unlike most of the other teachers here, actually makes it his business to find out what the kids that will be coming into his class are learning at their previous schools. And this is why he is rarely surprised when they come to him with little or no math skills.

I wish the other teachers at the freshman campus and the high school would do this. It would reduce the amount of eye-rolling that happens whenever they say, "You should have learned this by now..."

This goes for every single subject they take, by the way.

Anyhow, the Impertinent Daughter's current Algebra teacher is completely unaware of what they have and haven't learned before coming to his class and... he doesn't care. He started his class with, "I don't do subtraction or division. I don't like it."


Yeah, we're in trouble.

Because his "explanations" are... horrendous. I have no doubt he can do the math. Problem is, he understands it so well, he takes all these shortcuts, and expects his students to understand them. Problem is... if you don't have a grasp of how the equations work in the first place, if you don't understand the "long method " (his words) of doing them!

She understands how to do this. However, the wacky explanations she's been getting over the last three weeks have completely thrown her, so when she had to take a test yesterday, well... she didn't do well. And was so very upset when she got home. 'I know I know this stuff!" she wailed, "but I'm so confused!!"

She wrote out one of the problems she remembered for me and said, "I have no idea how to do this!"

I looked at it and was stunned.

x - 5 > 7

"You do know how to do this," I said, shaking my head.


"Honey, you treat the greater than sign like an equal sign," I said and did the problem for her.

x - 5 > 7
x - 5 = 7
x - 5 + 5 = 7 + 5
x = 12

Her jaw dropped. "I do know how to do this! But... why didn't he say that??"

I shrugged.

"This is how he showed us how to do this," she said, and grabbed my pencil. "You just turn the minus sign into a plus."

x - 5 > 7
x + -5 > 7
x > 7 +5

And... he didn't go past that point in the notes.

Okay, that's great, and that works... if you already know how to do it the way I did it! If you don't, or if you don't remember it because you didn't spend your summer holiday doing algebra and math, you'll be completely lost!! You want to teach them shortcuts, great. Do it after you've taught them the standard forms!!

It looks like the Husbandly One and I are going to be algebra teachers again this year. As well as chemistry teachers. Because, yeah, I had to spend some time learning how to do dimensional analysis so I could teach the Impertinent One how to do it, because her chemistry teacher can't. And she admitted it, too! "If you can't understand my explanations, go to the teacher next door and ask her. She's better at it than I am."

And this woman is the Advanced Placement chemistry teacher!!!

In better news, I got the Impossible Son through a misunderstanding in multiplication. It seems one of his previous teachers, in teaching him how to multiply large numbers, taught him to add... oh, geez, let me just show you.


This is, of course, completely wrong!! Because the answer is actually 125.

So... I did it both ways, side by side and right next to each other, explaining what I was doing on every step, and asked him which answer made more sense.

"Um, 125," he said, frowning. "And the way you did it makes more sense, too. Because the way I was doing it just... felt weird."

Yeah, tell me about it! And I got him through long division again, too, which normally he breezes through, but for some reason, he wasn't getting it. Took me a while to figure out he'd never been taught to use trial and error to figure out where to start. You know, taking a scratch paper and multiplying different numbers against your divisor to get close enough to starting the actual dividing?

Okay, I know that made no sense whatsoever, but it's something we all do. Once I got him past that, he sped through his homework. I'm going to have to chat with his math teacher and point out what's going on so she can reinforce what I've already done. Fortunately, she's a good math teacher, once she knows what the problem is.

It's enough to make me want to scream. And absolutely dread the years he'll be in junior high, with the absolutely sucky math teachers there. It's almost, but not quite, enough to make me want to go back to school and change my major to mathematics so I can teach it. But not quite.

GAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!! *tears out hair*
auntbijou: made by <lj comm=lvlwings_icons> (Delicious Hot Schmoes!)

Well, in this picture, he kind of looks like him, don't you think?


It's the way his long hair is blowing in the wind, you know. And if you're wondering, that cute little fish was his catch of the night. He'd taken the kids salt water fishing for the first time, and while the Impossible Son caught the biggest fish of the night, and the Impertinent Daughter caught the second largest, the Husbandly One caught... the smallest. And no matter how hard he tried to catch something bigger, for the rest of the week, everything he caught was... pretty much the same size as that cute little Gulf cat in the picture. Heck, for all we know, it was the same fish the entire time, following him all around Rockport and Fulton, throwing itself shamelessly on his hook for one more look at its long haired hero! ♥ ♥ ♥!!

Oh, come on, I had to say it!

I find this an extraordinarily entertaining photo, on so many levels, and I'm proud of the Impertinent Daughter for taking it. She got a good shot of her papa!

I wanted to write more, but I'm just too tired to concentrate. School starts in three weeks, and... I can't wait.

auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
It was 100 F (37.7 C) at the school down the street from us today, and 101 F (38.3 C) at my son's school.

It's only May 25th!! Jays, this is going to be one scorcher of a summer! It's going to be another triple digit summer like it was two years ago, I just know it. Yay whoopie yay.

Yesterday, when I picked the Impossible Son up from school, he stated most emphatically, "Mom, I never... ever... want to come back to this school... ever... again."

And I thought, "Uh-oh, what happened now?" Because he'd been having bully problems, I'd emailed his teacher and while she didn't reply to me, he had told me things had improved.

Next, he'll want to sell me ocean front property in Arizona... )
auntbijou: (Voldie Santa)
My plans for World Domination Through Cookies is proceeding nicely!!! Haha!!!

Er... I mean... I made cookies for the Impossible Son's class today, because his birthday is on Sunday, and... I brought them in, remembering to set aside a bagful for one of the teachers at the school. Why did I do this? Well, Mrs. L. is not only a pre-kindergarten teacher, her husband is on the soccer board AND her daughter is goalie for the varsity soccer team. This daughter has been giving the Impertinent Daughter a hard time, and I realized the best way to defeat this was to win over Mrs. L.

It's working, too. *evil grin* And the cookies... heh, no one can resist my cookies!!!

Varsity Goalie is nervous now, and has been backing off from Miss Impertinent.

Yes, yes, I am evil, I know. XD

Anyhow, I proceeded on to Mr. Impossible's class and they pretty much just... inhaled the cookies!! I took double chocolate chip and chewy ginger. It's funny, they were all sort of doubtful about the ginger, but... once they tried them, they disappeared pretty fast! One of the girls came up and asked me shyly if I would make cookies for her on Tuesday.

"Why, is it your birthday?" I asked, not wanting to step on her mother's toes, so to speak.

"No," she said dreamily as she nibbled at her cookie. "I'm in... cookie heaven! And I want to go there again!"



um... yeah, anyway... it was awesome! And the Impossible Son was pretty happy, too!
auntbijou: (Voldie Santa)
It's been a busy week. I got to argue with Dr. Endocrinologist about my thyroid medication. The dosage was lowered during my last visit because my levels were too high (????) and not even three days after the dosage change, my hair started falling out again, I was experiencing Personal Antarcticas again, my skin was drying out... oh, yeah, I was a totally happy camper, don't you know? I especially enjoyed the falling asleep at the drop of a hat part, yeah, that was fun. Not.

And after all that hair grew back in again, too! Damn it! Now I'm going to have weird short tufts sticking up when it starts growing back in again! *grumble grumble*

So, basically, Dr. E. had a very grumpy, snarly, and very determined Auntie in his office. He laid out all the risks of increasing my dosage, with increased risk of bone fractures, heart palpitations, and laid them next to the hair loss, the fatigue, the dry skin, the cold flashes, the weight gain (I had lost over twenty pounds and gained them all back!!), the hair loss, the sleep disruptions, the hair loss, the lack of appetite, and did I mention the hair loss??

He's increased my dosage back to where it was, thank you very much!

The rest of the week was spent on frantic bouts of last minute shopping for the walking stomachs kids, who seem to be outgrowing or wearing out everything they own all at the same time. I had to get it done before noon today, because... it's kind of hard to shop for the kids and have the stuff you buy be a surprise if they're with you. Plus, the Husbandly One will be off for the next two weeks as well, since business slows down at this time of the year. Which is totally awesome, but makes me wistful, because I miss the years where we'd have a couple of days to ourselves before school let out for winter break. Heh.

I think this is the first time I've sat down in three days!

THO, of course, is feeling rather stressed right now. Let's just say that [personal profile] koshweasley isn't the only one feeling screwed by his employer at the moment. No, THO still has his job, he's just... not terribly happy at the moment. His boss makes the Grinch look like a happy, cheerful, and entirely generous sort of fellow.

*more grumbling with occasional snarls thrown in*

Oh, I almost forgot one of the funny things that happened this week. Soccer practice has started in earnest for the Impertinent Daughter (she made the high school junior varsity team, YAY!). This means she has to go to two different campuses; the freshman campus for her classes, and the high school for athletics. This week, they were taking their midterms, which meant their schedules were... well... nuts. I mean, come on, y'all have heard me bitch about this school district, so you know it's going to be chaotic, right?

Normally, a bus runs between the freshman campus and the high school for this purpose, but... the schedule was, as I mentioned, chaotic. Meaning the Impertinent Daughter's class was letting out a little late for her to catch the bus for the high school. The bell rings at 3:42, the bus leaves at 3:45, and they had to be at practice by 4. Sounds simple, right?


Three minutes is plenty of time to run to your locker, switch out your stuff, and haul ass out to the bus. I even told her that. "Hell, you're a soccer player! Hauling ass is normal for you!"

Except... her group was taking a TAKS diagnostic as part of their mid-terms. Which meant they got out at a little closer to 3:50.

So, on Tuesday, I had three teenage girls in my minivan, along with the Impossible Son, and let me tell you something right now. Teenage girl pong is just as bad as teenage boy pong.

*wrinkles nose*

Eeeeurgh!!! My eyes were watering!! and the only reason I didn't fling open the windows right away was because all three girls were changing into their practice gear on the way. In fact, I think the only reason one particular group of boys aren't road-kill is because the bus driver who nearly plowed them was paying attention to driving.

They were too busy staring open-mouthed at my car while the Impertinent One whipped off her shirt and tugged on her jersey, much to my astonishment (and theirs), and I had to remind her that while our windows are tinted, the front windows aren't that tinted, and they could still see her. They couldn't see anything beyond her shoulders and bra straps, because she had her back to them, but still!! It was an amazingly weird experience to be driving along with clothes and soccer gear flying all over the car, the Impossible Son in the rear seat wailing about his eyes burning and oh, gods, can we open a window, Mom, pleeeease???, and all with Japanese ska playing in the background.

Surreal doesn't even cover it.

And just to wrap up my week in total, I managed to get about five pages written today that didn't suck. Now, if I can just keep it going! Somebody grab me the Anti-Writer's Block spray!!
auntbijou: (Calcifer)
Soooooo... I had a conference today with the Impossible Son's main teacher, Mrs. G., and his math teacher, Ms. H.

Yes, they're still alive and the hair has not been singed off their heads.


I'll admit, I was in a rather feisty mood and loaded for bear. However, I haven't had a chance to speak to Mrs. G. beyond some emails, which is rather unusual, because I try to get to know my kids' teachers, if only to figure out how much "home-schooling" I'll be doing and in what subjects!

The first thing I learned when I arrived was that Mrs. G. expected me to be a no-show. I blinked then said, "I always call and email when I can't make a meeting, Mrs. G."

"Well, as a matter of fact, you do," she said, and looked rather taken aback. "Most of the parents I meet with, when I meet with them, don't."

I just nodded, and we sat down with Ms. H. to start talking about Mr. Impossible's math problems, and a few other issues.

We cleared up a few things. Like the reason Mr. Impossible doesn't like showing his work. It's not that he doesn't want to, it's that he doesn't see the necessity for it, since he's already done it in his head. "Why should I have to do it twice?" he asked me grumpily.

"Because the teacher needs to see your thought process, especially when you get it wrong because you rushed through it," I said crankily.

This also allowed me to tell Ms. H. that the reason he sometimes rushes through a test, or classwork and turns it in with either all the wrong answers or no answers at all is because he's frustrated, he wants to get it over with as soon as possible, and gives it to her in the mistaken belief that this will make her happy and she'll leave him alone. In other words... he's frustrated.

I'm very familiar with this tactic. My dad used it all the friggin' time! However, unlike my dad's family, I don't let the Impossible Son get away with it.

Neither will Ms. H., now that she knows.

We cleared up a few problems with Mrs. G. as well, and addressed... the Bully Problem.


Yes, once again, there is a bully problem, but this one is a doozy. I can guarantee that at least three fourths of you are going to be absolutely furious, so I'll advise you to move all liquids, or breakable objects far away from your computer before you proceed.

Tum-te-tum-te-tum... hmmm-hmmm-hmmmm... dooty-doo-doodle-dee-doooo....


Okay. This particular bully is the nephew of one of the P.E. teachers and was functioning under the mistaken belief that this gave him complete immunity, a fact he rather gleefully passed on to his victims on a regular basis.

And he's learned not to use his fists on the Impossible One, because Mama gave him the second installment of her "Major Points of Vulnerability on the Human Body - Elementary School Edition" in the backyard. Nothing discourages a bully like a quick elbow to the solar plexus! Hard to chase a kid when you're laying out flat, puking your guts out. Yeah, the Husbandly One and I basically gave Impossible permission to Do Unto Others, Do It Like You Mean It And Knock The Snot Out Of Them. This would, at the very least, get the teacher's attention and warrant a phone call to us, where either I or THO would set them straight... or threaten to file charges.

So... this bully started using his words.

He called the Impossible Son gay.

"Your shorts are too short, they make you look gay! Only a faggot would wear shorts like those!"

"You're so skinny, just like a queer!" "Only a gay faggot would wear those colors!" "You're such a homo, dancing around like that!"

I pretty much hit my limit when the teacher was at the door, taking up books from students coming into the classroom, and the bully took advantage of her distraction to hump Impossible's desk before grabbing his own crotch suggestively while chanting, "Suck it, suck it," to him.

Yeah, the teacher was appalled when I told her this. Aren't they always?

However... the Impossible Son wasn't his only victim, and he was caught yesterday taunting another student about being, "gay." He's hit the zero tolerance policy and apparently one more infraction will get him suspended.

*makes a rude noise*

Being the generous, sweet person that I am, I said, "Is it possible that he has no idea what it means? That he's just repeating something he's heard with the idea that it's funny, or trying to impress someone?"

"Oh, no," said Mrs. G. with a look at Ms. H. "He knows exactly what it means. I asked him what it meant, and he told me and I was rather surprised, but... he knew what he was doing."

I just nodded.

"You look skeptical, Auntie," said Ms. H. "Why?"

"Let's just say I've heard this all before. And frankly, I think the three day suspension, if the parents aren't on board with this, amounts to little more than just a three day vacation." I shook my head. "He's knows what he was doing was wrong, you're right. I just wanted to see if you realized that."

Mrs. G. nodded and then said, "There are... issues... at home, and that is contributing to what the bully is doing here at school." Then she said something that actually gave me some hope and made me want to cheer. "It's a reason, though. Not an excuse."


Anyhow, they assured me that they would be informing the counselor of what I'd told them (I'm going to email her again, just because), and that they'd keep an extra eye out for my son, too. And I made sure they understood that if this didn't stop, we'd be filing charges.

Then the bully walked into the classroom with another boy, and I got a huge shock, and a... rather bizarre insight.

Guys, this kid has a LOT of nerve calling MY son gay... considering he was wearing a bright PINK flannel shirt!!

He was big, rather burly for a fourth grader, had two very small blue eyes set too close together in his face, and... the bright pink flannel shirt. Hello, denial much? Trying to divert attention a bit there, dude?

You know, whether or not the Impossible Son is gay is no one's business but his. I will love him just the same, no matter what. He's my son. That's all that matters.

So, the teachers and I have set up a system of communication involving emails, his agenda (a notebook the kids write their assignments in) and phone calls, all to keep the Impossible Son on track with his school work, and to keep him safe. Period. I wish his second grade and third grade teachers had been this willing to work with me.

I dread junior high for Mr. Impossible in a way I didn't with the Impertinent One. Hmmmm... wonder if I can find a Krav Maga class for him. Or kung fu. No, Krav Maga would be better, I think. It's dirty fighting for survival.


This is the part of parenting that gives me grey hairs, I swear!
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!!"


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.

Boy on Fire!!!

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 08:58 am
auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
So yesterday, I picked the Impossible Son up from school as usual and when he climbed in the car, he said this week was "Stop-The-Bullying" week at his school, and in celebration of this, the kids in his class got to watch a film.

Prepare yourselves.

Now, the thing you have to understand is that when the Impossible Son is excited, or confused, or upset, his narrative tends to get somewhat... garbled. It's even worse when he's trying to work through his memory to tell you the story.

So, he started telling me about the film, and I could tell it bothered him, because his eyes were big, and his voice got high, and he was speaking very fast, as if he just wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. The basic gist of what he told me is this; Kid A starts bullying Kid B. Kid B tells, and Kid A is suspended from school. His parents ground him for a month and take away all his privileges, so all he can basically do is just lay on his bed in his room and do nothing. This makes Kid A feel bad, and finally... he sets himself on fire.

Yes, you read that right. Go ahead and read it again, I'll just sit here and file my nails while I wait.


Okay, to reiterate, Kid A feels so bad he SETS HIMSELF ON FIRE.

This is bad.

He goes to the hospital and when he comes back, he has a lot of scars. The Impossible Son doesn't specify where the scars are, but I get a pretty good idea after Kid A goes back to school, because all his bullying buddies turn on him and call him "Pizza Face."

However, Kid B, his former victim, stands up for him and everyone stops. Kid A still has to transfer to another school, where he meets Kid C, who becomes his best friend and supporter, and when Kid A's teacher finds out what happened to him, he throws Kid A a party. The end.


So... the message is... don't bully or you might set yourself on fire, and then your new teacher will give you a party???

Once Mr. Impossible told me about it, we talked about it and I asked him what he thought about it, and he said it was kinda freaky, because OMG, THE BOY WAS ON FIRE!! And I said, "Wait, did they show him on fire? I mean, did the film show him setting himself on fire and burning?"

"It was pretty weird, Mom," he said, which didn't really answer my question.

I backed off for a bit, then asked him about it again when we got home and he said, "It was just a movie," and I asked him if he thought what the boy had done was the right thing to do. He said, "It was pretty stupid to set himself on fire. It just made everything worse. All he had to do was just read some books to get through the boredom, and the month would be over and he could go back to playing and stuff. I didn't like that, it was stupid."

I thought, okay, no worries on that front. He understood that much.

I forgot about my son's overactive imagination.

The Husbandly One put him to bed last night while I made lunches early, because I felt like crap and just wanted to go to bed. And it looked like I was actually going to get to bed before 11 p.m., it really did! Until I sat down at the computer only to find a shivering child next to me with tears streaming down his face.

"What on earth?" I asked and he threw himself into my arms.

"I can't stop thinking about the boy being on fire!" he wailed.

. . .

It took putting him in our bed with THO on one side of him and me on the other, and a LOT of talking to settle him down. And none of the usual, "Think about cookies, think about Grandma holding you while she sings, think about Muta purring as he curls up next to you," worked to distract him. Finally, I had to give him a lot of water imagery to focus on, until he decided to imagine Katara from Avatar using her waterbending healing skills to put the fire out, and then he finally relaxed. I ended up having to sit at the computer so the light from the screen would light the room up enough to let him go to sleep. It was after midnight when THO was able to finally carry him to his bed and tuck him in.

Needless to say, I have emailed his teacher to get an idea of what actually happened yesterday. I called the school, but after the trouble it took for the secretary to understand me (I have a nasty case of laryngitis right now), email seemed to be a better idea.


Can we please just have one week without some sort of excitement going on around here? Just one???


Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 12:48 am
auntbijou: (Devilish)
So, I'm in the middle of Jasper Fforde's Lost in a Good Book, and I come across this:

I bought a ticket, hurried to the check-in and spent ten minutes listening to a litany of pointless antiterrorist questions.

"I don't have a bag," I explained. She looked at me oddly, so I added, "Well, I
did, but you lost it the last time I traveled. In fact, I don't think I've ever had a bag returned to me after tubing."

She thought about this for a moment and then said, "
If you had a bag, and if you had packed it yourself, and if you had not left it unattended, might it contain any of the following?"

She showed me a list of prohibited items and I shook my head.

"Would you like an in-drop meal?"

"What are my choices?"

"Yes or no."


She looked at the next question on her sheet.

"Who would you prefer to sit next to?"

"Nun or a knitting granny, if that's possible."

"Hmmmm," mused the check-in girl, studying the passenger manifest carefully. "All the nuns, grannies, and intelligent non-amorous males are taken. It's technobore, lawyer, self-pitying drunk, or copiously vomiting baby, I'm afraid."

"Technobore and lawyer, then."

--------- Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Char is probably laughing herself silly at me right now, but I am getting seriously hooked. I mean... I actually had to stop reading this book for a short time, because... I got so stressed out when the main character's husband disappeared, and I couldn't help but take it personally!

And I am seriously in love with Pickwick the Dodo, and her "Plock, plock, plock." I want a dodo. I want a herd of dodo's wandering around in the backyard, nibbling on the vegetation and making "plock, plock" noises. Doesn't matter that they're extinct. I want one.

*brief discussion follows with the Husbandly One about the short story, "The Ugly Chickens"*

This is a relief, actually, because I've been in a bit of a reading bind, lately. I had picked up a newish Anne McCaffrey at the library, Catalyst, but... I just couldn't get into it. And the Husbandly One, who is a Vine Voice for Amazon and somewhere in their top 5000 for his reviews, sometimes gets freebies from Amazon if he's willing to review them. So, he gets books, and if he isn't interested, he gets Miss Priss or myself to read them and tell him what we think. Mind, the books we get are galley proofs that still need a lot of editing, and I try to keep that in mind, too, but... this last book THO got me... I couldn't read. It was a Mercedes Lackey book, Much Fall of Blood and I have to say, I had to give up halfway in because, seriously, the last time I was that confused, I was reading a somewhat incoherent fan-fiction. I'm hoping the copy I got was seriously preliminary because the story would leap perspective literally mid-paragraph. One second, I would be reading it from Character A's perspective, and the next, it would skip Characters B, C, D, and J, and leap all the way to Character Q. In the same sentence.


It seriously screwed with Auntie's poor brain. And... I was never sure if we were Viking Werewolves, or Mongol vampires, or Viking Mongol Undead, or WHAT... because... well... like I said, let's hope this was just the extremely un-edited version, because O.O if it wasn't!!!

So, it was a very nice relief to get back in to a Thursday Next book.

And by the way, I recently finished My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme, and it was awesome I absolutely loved that book. It makes me wish very much that the movie "Julie & Julia" had been "Julia Child: My Life in France," instead. It would have been a much better movie, seriously.

And in case you're wondering at my sudden volubility, I have lost my voice (probably thanks to the stress of the last few days), and the Husbandly One has made me a very, very strong hot toddy, so Auntie is pleasantly squiffed. Plus, I am very, very tired after a rough day of shopping for school supplies... on the tax-free weekend.

Prolly should have had the hot toddy before going school supply shopping, because seriously... ugh.

Next year, I'll start buying in July, when the supply lists come out, and save myself the hassle. I don't get the grabby, pushy, shove someone out of the way so you can snatch the one out of the 250 other boxesof the same thing that someone else already has their hand on. I don't do touchy-feely; I do ouchy-bleedy.

Oh, yeah, one man in particular learned a very harsh lesson. Do not grab Auntie's bodacious booty and try to explain that it happened because you were making a grab for the glue-sticks, especially if the glue-sticks in question are at eye-level (and Auntie's bodacious booty isn't). Most especially, don't do this in front of your wife.

I am sure he'll regain hearing in that ear... someday.

And now, my dear ones, I am going to pour myself into bed. Goodnight!
auntbijou: (Calcifer)
As most of you are well aware, the Impertinent Daughter wants to be a manga artist someday. Thus, she is constantly drawing, and while she makes up stores for most of her manga, there are comics that she draws that are taken from her daily life from school. I have to admit, I love those, because they give me a glimpse into the workings of her day.

I've complained about the math department at her school, and her algebra teacher in particular. Her latest stunt? Putting stuff on the tests that they haven't gone over yet!! But, she's covered it in other classes (maybe) and thus thinks the kids in her honors class have ... absorbed it by osmosis, I guess.

Well, here, to give you an idea of what her class (and her teacher) is like, two of Miss Priss class comics...

Algebra Class

Yes... her teacher really talks like that. *rolls eyes*

Algebra Class 2

*head-desk* Ugh, I hate this school district so hard!!
auntbijou: (Calcifer)
Or maybe I should have titled it "The Angst of Auntie."


Where do I even begin? Life has been... difficult. And for the stupidest of reasons. I can't go fully into it, but suffice it to say, I think that the Husbandly One and I are going to be most definitely resigning our positions on the soccer board. The past five months have been... hard.

We have a person on the board who... if we had known ahead of time what we know now, we would not have voted him on. And one of the present board members, who has not been on the board as long as we have, has a great deal of... emotional investment in this person. Quite a few of us on the board think the person is... not entirely honest, and poses a serious risk to the board and the organization, but the board member is adamant that it is all lies, libel, etc, and has told us any move on our part to have this person removed would result in legal action against us.

There is nothing in our bylaws that will allow us to get rid of this person, save catching him red-handed with his hand in the cookie jar. Which I personally suspect is not long in coming.

In the meantime, THO and I are being accused of having a "personal bias" against this person, and THO has been told he has "control issues."

This, right in the middle of our trying to deal with the city and the issues with the fields (the city wants to "disk" our fields, which would totally and completely screw them up, not to mention wrecking the sprinkler heads on the irrigation system WE installed). We were going to resign at the end of this season anyway, because the Impertinent Daughter has gone as far as she can go in this league. We don't have enough kids to field a U15 and up team in the fall. We never have. So, that means we need to go to a league in San Marcos, or New Braunfels, or gods help us, Austin. And if we have to take one kid to practice in another town, it seems ridiculous to leave the other to play here. Might as well move both of them and not have to try to go to two different practices in two different towns, and then two different sets of games on the weekends. And if our kids aren't playing in the league, then there's really no point in us being on the board, since we will be basically running hither and yon anyway. There just won't be time for it. So, maybe this was our wake-up call that it's time to move on.

In other news, I have the sinking feeling that the 8th grade principal at the junior high is well on her way to some sort of mental breakdown. That or the sweet smiles I've graced her with whenever I'm at the junior high are finally shredding her nerves!

I quote from the Impertinent Daughter's journal on DeviantArt...

"I got nothing else to really report.

Oh, no wait... the principal is going all psychotic about the dress code again.

So after giving us some other crazed up lecture and making everyone late for class, she released the boys but held the girls back. Then she told the custodians to close the doors in the cafeteria so no one could get into the cafeteria. At that point I was getting worried. But then she started on a rant about how the girls were wearing too low-cut shirts (I don't) and that we weren't supposed to do that and that we will get in trouble if we do. Then she started to complain about us wearing short shorts and told us again that we COULD NOT WEAR SHORTS THAT DON'T TOUCH OUR KNEES. Not even a CENTIMETER above the knee. No. Then she started complaining about how we use our jackets to hide low cut shirts or we hold our binders in front of our chests to hide the low cut shirts. I swear, if she could outlaw jackets from the dress code she would. And the way she went on about all of this made it seem like we were doing illegal drugs instead of breaking a few slight dress code rules. Ugh. I hate her so much. "

They were ten minutes late to their next class.

And this doesn't include the lecture she was giving the kids about talking, etc.

Oh, haven't I mentioned, the majority of the kids lunch periods is taken up with Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere and Principal Noodlehead lecturing the kids from the stage? Oh yes, with microphones and everything. "You need to think about the decisions you make, you must make appropriate decisions or you will be left behind, or worse, find yourself in a place you never imagined." "There is too much talking and not enough eating going on in here!" "You need to change your behavior, blah, blah, blah, blah..." which is pretty much what it degenerates into. I am stunned every single time I walk into that school to hear one of those two women droning into the microphone or haranguing them for something: "you over there! You need to stop clumping up and stand on the blue line! Stand on the blue line for the lunch line, stop cutting and talking! Do you hear me over there? STAND ON THE BLUE LINE OR I'LL TAKE AWAY YOUR SWIM DAY PRIVILEGES!!"

This goes on every single school day, for all three lunch periods!! And personally? I think they are massively counterproductive.

The good news is... they are not going to be returning to the junior high in the fall. The bad news is, we have 30 more days of this shit to live through.

What I tremble to find out is... where are they going next? Because Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere keeps getting removed from the junior high, then a year or two later, turns up at one of the other schools like a bad penny only to be removed by the virulent and furious insistence of the parents... whereupon they ship her back to the junior high.

Which means she'll be back by the time the Impossible Son makes it to the junior high.

Personally, I'm thinking of shooting an email to the school board president and saying something along the lines of, "I think Mrs. Sees-Plots-Everywhere is getting close to a mental breakdown. Her OCD is going into over-drive, and I'm worried for the welfare of the students. Granted, she's only got 30 more days to go, but enough is enough, get the crazy bitch out of there."

Of course, I would word it a bit more tactfully and diplomatically than that, being the awesome writer that I am.

I'm sorry, but spending ten minutes haranguing the girls about the length of their shorts, and whether or not they are wearing "low-cut" shirts is... too much time.

This is one of those times when small-town life loses its appeal.Life
auntbijou: (Dancing Snape)
The Impertinent Daughter got a 100 on her Reading TAKS, and despite the best effortsdubious instruction idiocy of algebra teacher, got a 94 on the Math TAKS, which means she's gotten the exalted "Commended" status so many teachers want their students to get (because it means more money for the school, etc.).

Yes, yes, I am awesomely proud of her, why do you ask?
auntbijou: made by <lj comm=lvlwings_icons> (Delicious Hot Schmoes!)
Oh, how I wish I was talking about the jam band...

I was sitting here yesterday, working on a post about cheap crap Dell computers, and how fail-tastic they are when the phone rang.

I answered it, and... it was the vice principal at the Impossible Son's school. And I couldn't help it, the first words out of my mouth were, "Oh, what has Mr. Impossible done now?"

Understand, Mr. Impossible is actually a pretty well-behaved kid at school. He gets in occasional trouble, like the time in kindergarten when he poured glue all over the toilet seat in the kindergarten restroom as a "trap," though we're not quite sure what exactly he was trying to catch. Other than a few blips like that, he's always gotten a lot of praise for his good manners, and how polite he is, and how well he listens, etc, etc, to the point where I want to say, "You are talking about my son... right?"

So, when Mr. Vice Principal called, well... I just knew, and I even told him after he asked why I had said that, "Well, Mr. V.P., it's very rare for me to get a phone call from the school unless Mr. Impossible is sick or hurt, or has done something strange but relatively harmless. And even then, it's either his teacher or the school nurse calling me. If you're calling me, I'm thinking it's probably because he's in trouble."

And I was right.

Apparently, my son took the string cheese I put in his lunch today, held it to his crotch, and started wiggling it at the girls in his class.


Y'all have no idea how hard it was for me not to die laughing right there on the spot. I swear, I nearly broke a rib suppressing it, and it wasn't necessarily because it was so funny, but because it was just so... wildly inappropriate and just... so not like the Impossible Son! What else could I do but laugh?

I didn't, though. I remained calm, and asked what exactly was going on.

Well, a teacher caught him, made him sit in lunch detention, and then sent him to the vice principal for a "talk." According to Mr. V.P., to this teacher, this meant either an in-school suspension, or a three day suspension.

Thank goodness Mr. V.P. seems to be a reasonably sensible person, who decided to talk to the Impossible Son and try to figure out what was exactly going on, and he quickly realized that it was an impulse of the moment thing. Because, Mr. Impossible truly had no idea why he did that.

So, Mr. Vice Principal talked to him, explaining why what he had done was so highly inappropriate, and why it was considered vulgar... and then he had to explain what "vulgar" meant, and said, "I guess y'all don't use the word vulgar much around your house."

I snorted and said, "Well, no, not as such. Mainly because anything that my husband and I would consider vulgar aren't things we would necessarily expose our children to in our home, and when they've been exposed to it outside our home, we tend to use age-appropriate words like rude, inappropriate, and socially unacceptable, which we consider to be more accurate, anyway."

"Oh. Good," was all he said, and then he urged me to talk to the Impossible Son about it and explain why he shouldn't have done it, "because explanations like that really are more appropriate coming from his parents, don't you think?"

Well, not that I'm passin' the buck or anything, but you know, he had the Impossible One right there, in the moment, when an explanation would be most effective, so I said, "Do you want me to come to the school to talk to him?"

"Oh, no, he's fine. Just, you and your husband should talk to him tonight, that's all."

And that was fine. And after I got off the phone, I laughed myself silly. Especially after the Husbandly One emailed me that he'd just gotten a call from Mr. V.P. as well, because our son was, and I quote, "waving his cheese at the girls."


And yes, it was a very interesting conversation, once I got him home. No, I don't think it was a case of "boys being boys." Mostly, I think it was a case of "boy suffering massive brain-fart, and following the lead of other boy-type stinkers in class." Because, you know, this is not behavior that the Husbandly One models in front of his son, or even behind his son's back. Nor do any of the male role models he's been around. So... I'm left with "peers and peers' siblings."


Adventures in Boy-Land. It's a definite trip, and not for the faint of heart!
auntbijou: (Dancing Snape)
The Impertinent Daughter went back to school for half-days yesterday.

I know she was happy, even though she was also very nervous. But she handled it just fine, despite several bone-headed moves from the staff. Like the attendance clerk who expected Miss Priss to stand by her window and wait for the guidance counselor to walk down with her new schedule.

Hello? What part of "recovering from mono" didn't you understand?

Miss Priss lasted for about three minutes before she went white and started swaying.

I had already asked if we could just walk to the guidance counselor's office ("No, no, she'll be here in just a minute or so, just stand there and wait!"), so I caught my daughter under the arm, and turned to Mrs. Moron and said, "I'm taking my daughter to the front office to sit down," and started walking.

Of course, Miss Impertinent didn't make it that far, but it was okay, because there's a bench just outside the office, and once she was sitting on it, she was fine. Of course, I think somewhere in the attendance clerk's mind, she was convinced I had kept my daughter home out indulgence or something, or maybe I'm just a super overprotective mother in her mind, but seeing Miss Priss' white face and shakiness went a long way toward convincing her that Miss Priss had been genuinely ill.

Otherwise, everything else went fine.

Picked her up at what would have been lunch for her grade, made a quick stop at the store, and she pretty much went straight to bed and crashed when we got home. Once she was awake again, she was happy, and told me that not only had her friends missed her, but people she didn't really know that well but were in her classes missed her, too, and she got lots of hugs and enthusiastic greetings.

I know she's worried about recovery, though. She's so tired and feeling so weak, that she told me yesterday that she didn't know if she could do soccer camp this summer, because she's lost so much stamina, etc. I said, "Well, that's up to you, but I think if you start slow, you can build yourself back up again. You're not going to be able to play soccer this season, that's true, but I think by summer, you'll be back to running everywhere, and getting into as much mischief as usual."

We'll just have to see what we can do to help her.

The Impossible Son was happy to have her back in the car in the morning. "Now it feels like I'm going to school!" he said happily. He told me last week that he enjoys talking to me and having me all to himself in the mornings, but... he missed having his sister in the car. Even if she was sometimes grumpy in the morning, he still liked having her there. Which made me go "Awwww," but I know what he means. It took him a while to adjust to not having her at the same school when she went into sixth grade, and he said once, "When I start high school, will we be at the same school again?" and I had to tell him no. Why? Well, while she'll be a senior when he's a freshman, the schools in our town are set up so that freshman have a campus all their own, separate from the high school. So, while he might see her when practicing after school sports (because all practices are held at the high school) he won't see her during the school day. And that made him sad all over again!

So, I have the house to myself in the mornings again, and I'm starting to write again, which is good, and hopefully, I'll get back into a groove and start posting fic again. What a long dry spell this has been! You guys have no idea, I have been suffering writing withdrawals something awful!!
auntbijou: (Calcifer)
First off, a big Thank You to [personal profile] elfwreck and [personal profile] eeyore9990 who helped the Impertinent Daughter with her algebra homework a couple of nights ago!


In case you're wondering, the AZ stands for "Angry Zangoose", which is her moniker on her DeviantArt account. She got an 88 on the test those questions were on, and said ruefully, "I would have gotten a higher grade, except on that one problem, I had memorized the formula and had the number 27 in my head, so when I worked the problem on the test, I write 27, instead of 47, which was on the test!"

But the important thing is, she understands it now!, so... no worries!

In other news, the Impossible Son is experiencing tummy trouble again, though it seems to be more serious now.


No bullying this time, but he is having anxiety about the TAKS "diagnostics" that they're taking this week. Yes, they take diagnostics to find out where the kids are weakest and see what they need to work on to improve their scores when the real test comes in April.


He went to the school nurse twice on Monday, had to come home on Tuesday and go to the doctor, who palpated his abdomen and said, "Well, he's not constipated, and he's not reacting when I push down and lift on his right side..."

So, we were sent for bloodwork, and his white cell levels are normal.

He stayed home yesterday, and was fine. Till afternoon, when he started complaining about his stomach again, and then by last night...


He didn't eat breakfast this morning, either. So, I proved to him again that he can handle addition and subtraction... and he decided to go to school.

Haven't gotten a phone call yet, so... I'm hoping for the best.

Thing is, it's not general stomach pain. This is very specific. It hurts... behind his belly button. Appendicitis and gall bladder problems run in my family. And on my dad's side, it's stealth appendicitis. My dad complained of vague stomach pain, and didn't want to eat. He never ran a fever or had any nausea, went to the doctor, had blood tests run and all that. Nothing. So, one day, he decides, "Enough lolly-gagging, the house needs painting, and it won't done any faster if I don't start." So, he hauls out the ladder and starts painting. Mom's in the house, and this was before we had air conditioning, so all the windows are open. She hears a groan, then the ladder hits the side of the house, and there's a loud thump. She rushes outside, and Dad has passed out and fallen off the ladder. He never faints, so she knows something's drastically wrong and calls the neighbors to help her get him up and get him to the hospital. The E.R. docs take one look at him and say, "Appendicitis," and get him into surgery just before it bursts. Then there was his dad, who was sitting at the table one morning, drinking his coffee and reading the paper one moment, then rolling on the floor, grabbing his stomach and howling in agony the next. His grandmother, who calmly finished cooking dinner, laying out the table, and making sure everyone was served before saying, "I'm going to see the doctor now," and promptly hitting the floor. Yep, appendicitis.

Is it any wonder I'm worried and waiting for the phone to ring?

What keeps me from freaking out is... he's eating. He's pooping. He's not running a fever. He doesn't complain when you press on his stomach with your hand. He's not rolling on the floor, grabbing his stomach and howling in agony.

What keeps me concerned is... he's complaining consistently that it hurts behind the belly-button (which rules out gall bladder in my mind), he does not like anything pressing against his waist or tummy (like jeans, underwear, passing butterflies), and he's content to curl up on the couch and watch TV or play games on the Wii.

My son likes to watch TV like any other kid, but give him a choice between TV and playing outside, and outside will win every single time. Having him curled up on the couch and not begging to go play outside is... unnatural.

Needless to say, the Husbandly One, the Impertinent Daughter, and I are all watching him like so many hawks. And I can't help but think, today is Thursday... you just know if anything is going to happen... it'll happen this weekend.

*sigh* I've already told the doctor I want a recommendation for a pediatric gastrologist, because I know Mr. Manzie has major acid-reflux as it is. Thanks, Dad, but you know, the tummy problem genes were in that group I wish you'd kept to yourself!

auntbijou: (Calcifer)
All right, F-Listies, I am depending on you!!

The Impertinent Daughter has algebra homework that has completely stumped me. I have gone through my notes, gone through the book we got to help her, and even done a search on Google, but...

Okay, one, this problem makes NO sense to me whatsoever. And I can't refer to a text book because... there is no text book for this class. Why? Because the algebra teachers at the junior high decided this year that the text the district selected did not, and I quote, "adequately teach the algebra concepts that would be covered by the TAKS."

Okay, the last time I heard that, the Husbandly One and I decided to take over teaching Miss Priss math, and she was one of the few third grade students at her school who passed the Math TAKS.

Anyhow, because of that, the junior high's algebra teachers decided to write their own text book, so to speak, and they're writing it as they go along. Don't even ask me how I feel about this, because you probably know already.

Here is the problem:

The length of a rectangle is three more than twice its width. The perimeter of the rectangle is 27 inches. What are the dimensions of the rectangle?

She is expected to give the equation, and the dimensions (length and width).

Oh, and since she's supposed to take notes, and the teacher moves through this with blistering speed (being one of those people who knows her subject so well, she is lousy at teaching it), and explains things by teaching them shortcuts instead of showing them how to actually do the work... well, you see how we got here.

Oh, and just for shits and giggles (can you tell I am supremely annoyed?), there's another problem that is giving us both fits.

Tanya wrote four consecutive integers on the board. The sum of the fourth and five times the first was 957. What were the four integers that Tanya wrote?

Again, she's expected to give the equation, and the four integers.

She took notes on this type of problem today. Only... the formula she was given... won't work on this problem.

*bangs head into desk*

Please, if someone can tell us just how to work these damn problems (if they are, indeed, workable), we can come up with the answers ourselves, but... *flails*

Oh, and the teacher's solution when Miss Priss can't understand her explanations is to send her to the library until she can work the problem.

Perhaps she's hoping Miss Priss will find a real algebra teacher in there?

Help us, please!!
auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
Just when I think I've gotten over being furious with the Impossible Son's second grade teacher... something happens that makes me furious all over again!!

*takes slow deep breaths to calm down*

I knew he had lost a lot of instruction time last year, thanks to Oblivious Teacher and the bully incident , but I didn't realize just how much until yesterday, when I was helping him with his math homework.

Cut, because OMG, such a long story!! )
auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
Okay, so... I talked to the 8th grade principal, who happened to be the person who took the Impertinent Daughter's bag. And I must thank [personal profile] elfwreck for her invaluable advice and suggestions!

Anyhow, I organized my thoughts and called for an appointment... only to have the school secretary take my number because Ms. Principal was in a conference with another parent and would call me back as soon as possible. Ms. Principal did call back, probably hoping to catch me off guard, and wanted to handle things over the phone. Fine. I had everything I wanted right in front of me, no problem.

The basic gist of the conversation was ...

(1) When the junior high was completed a little over ten years ago, a decision was made to not have lockers, and not allow backpacks, bags, etc. as a safety issue.

(2) Any bag large enough for a zippered binder to fit into was too big.

(3) The junior high had 1000 + students, and it was hard to keep track of them all and they are clever about hiding/concealing things they don't want the teachers/administrators to see.

(4) The one thing they had discovered over the years was that students were continually hiding things in their bags, things that weren't allowed at school, and it was causing problems. It's been a much safer, calmer school since they banned backpacks and book bags.

On that last one, I said, "What kinds of things were they hiding??"

She said, and yes, I am totally serious, she actually said this, "Things that aren't allowed by the Code of Conduct." You could actually hear the capital letters in that phrase.

*mental eye-roll*

"Can you be more specific than that?" I asked patiently.

"Well, electronics, cell phones..."

"Since cell phones are allowed by the Code of Conduct with permission note from parents, I don't see that as a problem. And I'm not sure I understand the danger of iPods and DS games, though I admit they are distractions." I considered, then said, "If you're talking about drugs or weapons, I should think you would keep parents informed and involved, since they are probably your best bet in preventing either from showing up at your school." Didn't want to mention the fact that if there were drugs in the school (and there are), it's likely that a teacher or other member of staff is part of the supply-line. During my time at high school, even the un-cool, straight edge kids knew which teacher or janitor to go to for something to either ease the pain or keep you happy for the weekend.

She said hastily, "We just find it's better overall if there aren't bags or backpacks in the school. Since the students aren't allowed to take text books home, and all they're carrying is their zippered binder and their lunch, it's not like they're loaded down."

I pointed out that some kids carry considerably more than just a binder and their lunch. Some carry a binder, a lunch, gym clothes, instruments for band, special supplies for other classes that can't be kept in the classroom. And that since there is no textbook for my daughter's Algebra 1 class (and that is an entirely different rant I won't get into now), that binder is now crammed with notes and handouts from THAT class, as well as work from her other classes. "I'm not asking for an exception for my kid," I said, trying very hard not to sound angry. "I'm asking for a review of your policy, because y'all are being very inconsistent in enforcement of that policy."

Oh, it's not a policy. It's a procedure. And they're doing it because they've always done it, since the school was built ten years ago. She kept harping about that, ten years ago, we did this because it was decided ten years ago... over and over. This puzzled me greatly.

She told me that there was going to be an administrative meeting the next morning, and they would review the policy procedure at that time. The woman also seemed to have uniforms on the brain, too, because she said, "And the issue of school uniforms is not something the district can decide on its own. It has to have the input of the parents as well. I'm so glad you reminded me of this, Auntie! I'll put it on the agenda for the meeting tomorrow morning!"

I said, "Ms. Principal, I didn't say one word about uniforms. I'm talking to you about book bags, purses, and the no backpack policy..."

"Procedure," she said.

"Policy," I continued. "Do not count me as one of your supporters where uniforms are concerned."

She promised to call me after the meeting to tell me the results (like I couldn't predict the outcome of THAT meeting) and I said, "Thank you, please do call me, because if you don't, I will be calling you."

"Oh! Certainly!"

After I got off the phone, I kept hearing that "ten years ago," over and over, and having a little suspicion in my brain, went to do a bit of research. And BINGO! I was right.

Columbine happened ten years ago.

*shakes head*

I guess it makes no difference to her that the two boys involved did not "hide things in their backpacks," and sneak them into the school. Or that this happened in a high school, not a junior high. Or that there were concerns expressed about the two students involved, that they had been in therapy, had been investigated... and that law enforcement had failed to follow through in their original investigation.

This also explains the almost rabid fear of Goths in our district.

I also had forgotten that Ms. Principal had originally been the head principal at the junior high, and is responsible for the dress code that has been driving us all nuts. And she got fired for it... twice. And now she's back as the 8th grade principal.

So, I wasn't surprised at all when she called me yesterday to tell me that the administration had reviewed the situation and decided to keep the no backpacks/no book bags policy in place. And that they had sent an email to all the teachers at the junior high to remind them of this procedure and that it was part of their job to confiscate bags as they see them.

She also told me the teachers were quite happy about this.

My feeling is, if the teachers were quite happy about it, there wouldn't be so many kids openly walking around with beach bags/totebags/messenger bags.

So, I will be following up on this, either with a letter or an email to the principal, and a letter to our school board representative. This becomes a little more imperative since the Impertinent Daughter is now taking part in the UIL art competition (though she isn't taking art at the school) and is having to bring her sketchbook and art supplies to school.

I'm getting tired of this, and I am very glad that this is Miss Priss' last year at this school. Now, if I can just get her through the debacle that is her algebra class!
auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
The Impertinent Daughter's bag was confiscated today.


See, the Husbandly One got us both Dumbledore's Army messenger bags. Mine was a birthday present, and hers was to keep her from absconding with mine. Because... she wanted one, too!

I am using mine as sort of a purse, because, well, Auntie is a mom, so... I carry Mom-type things in it (tissues, a small sewing kit, a few bandages in a small bag, Germex, etc), and I like to sketch sometimes, so... a small sketchbook and a bag of pencils, etc, and then there's my wallet, a small hairbrush, my DS Lite for those times when I'm waiting and unable to sketch or read... you get the picture, right?

The Impertinent One was using hers for pretty much the same purpose. She carried her wallet, her emergency moon cycle stuff, pencils, pens, phone ( I think in today's world, when a kid starts junior high, they need a basic, no frills cell phone), and had room for her gym clothes and her zippered binder. It's smaller than the bags most of the girls at her school carry as "purses," so we thought it would pass muster.

Besides, the dress code only bans backpacks. Not any other type bag. Just backpacks.

She's used this bag for two weeks with no problem. Then today, the 8th grade principal stopped her, thinking she was a new student (!!) and confiscated the bag. When Miss Priss said, "Ms. Principal, it's me, the Impertinent Daughter," Ms Principal frowned, then said, "Oh, my, you've had a hair cut!"


Her hair was cut two weeks before school began.

Nonetheless, Ms. Principal took her bag, making her take everything out of it and saying it would be too easy for someone to steal her stuff.

Um... what??? What the hell does THAT mean?? If the bag is on Impertinent's shoulder, and it is closed with straps and buckles... then... how does that make it easy for someone to get into to steal her stuff??

Not only that, but it seems there were six other girls nearby, all with bags bigger than Miss Priss' bag, but... they weren't being confiscated.

Now, I have been in and out of that school. And I see girls on a frequent basis with bags that are about the size of your average beach bag. Big enough to literally hide behind, right? And no one has ever taken them away. Needless to say, I will be making an appointment to see Ms. Principal tomorrow to talk about this issue with the bags. Because, like so many other things at that school, they are not being consistent. Okay, you don't want the girls to carry large bags? Then you better start lining them up in the gym every damn morning for bag inspection, and if some of them are carrying bags that are too big, they better go, no matter WHO their daddy is and how much he donates to the football team!

Can you tell I'm getting all riled up? I wouldn't be so cranky about this if it was a district wide policy. But it isn't. It's only at the junior high. The freshman campus, and the high school allow backpacks. They also allow normal clothing choices. So why just at the junior high?

Not a clue.

Should be interesting tomorrow, that's for sure!

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