Remember last year, when Nicholas did his Biography report and had to create his person out of a 2-liter bottle? Remember this:
Well, the good thing about having Nick and Nate in back to back grades is that we are prepared for the biggest assignments. I knew Nate was going to have to collect rocks. And I knew he was going to have to create his own bottle person.
Here he is:
No, it's not Einstein. Yes, the hair can trick you, but obviously this is Benjamin Franklin. See the kite?
His hair is just standing on end (I am informed) because of the electricity running through his body. Also, the lightning seems to be stuck to his back.
Nate was very proud of Bottle Ben Franklin. We hope he will get along with Bottle J.K. Rowling, who is still hanging around from last year. (Yes, I know it looks like George Washington. It's not.)
Following it up with a tournament in a town 40 minutes away, when you'd forgotten you signed up to volunteer and then they gave you the 7am volunteer time slot, and then your kids competed later in the day, and then when they were done one of them refused to leave until he found out his score at closing ceremony, which took place at 6pm.
I'm glad it's over. I'm glad next week I'm back to more stable work hours. And I'm glad that I only ALMOST rear ended that other car on the way home because I maybe was so tired I was slow to respond.
It always has been. I've kept the tradition even since Steve moved out, figuring it could be a fun night we all kind of crash out and have screen time together.
It's not exactly the same. I don't have Steve's skill at finding exactly the movie we want, so we need to know what we have before choosing. We still take turns, but we often forget whose turn it is as we don't have turns each weekend anymore.
Last time we had a movie night, it was Nate's turn, and it was Valentine's Day. It was more than 2 weeks ago, because of February vacation. He chose and old Godzilla film, and I had to grit my teeth as the dubbed film went on and on and the boys stared openmouthed at the screen, waiting for monsters.
Tonight was Andy's night.
I showed him what we had available on my Amazon account, and he chose My Dog Skip, because there is a picture of a tiny dog staring at a toilet, and I said "Maybe the dog learns how to use the toilet?" And Bingo, Andy made a choice.
Have you seen this movie? It came out in 2000. The little boy in the movie is almost 30 now. In fact, all the actors are incredibly young. It's a sweet movie with a sweet story. But the boys are a bit cynical. Almost as soon as it started they were talking about how the dog was probably going to get hit by a car. "That always happens in these movies."
As the movie went on, the boys laughed and talked about relationships between the characters in the film. The kids are pretty intuitive about some things. The next door neighbor comes home from the war and is different. "Who do you think might understand him?" I asked. Nate was the one who said the boy's father, who had lost his leg in the war. And it all seemed good.
Until the end.
OK, so, flashback and subject change (kind of.) When we were kids, my mother got the movie Turner and Hooch. Do you know this one? It had Tom Hanks in it, back before he was Big Tom Hanks and was just Medium Tom Hanks? Anyway, it was about Tom Hanks and a dog. One of them was Turner and the other was Hooch. I don't remember actually watching this movie, so I can't tell you who was who. And SPOILER ALERT! At the end of this movie, I'm pretty sure the dog dies. I think he gets shot. My mother watched this movie with us, and at the end of the movie, she was a gibbering mess. And so was my brother Jamie, who must have been around 8 years old. They cried and cried together, Mom and Jamie, all over this dog from this movie.
So.... My Dog Skip.
I'm about the spoil the movie for you. The dog dies.
But not when you think he's going to die. They make it so you think he's going to die, but then he doesn't. During the time when the little movie boy was crying and we all thought the dog was going to die, Nathan started sniveling. And then Andy started tearing up. And then the movie dog got better, and it looked like it was going to be OK, but then the dog got old and the narrator (Harry Connick Jr.) told us that he died at the old age of eleven.
And then the movie was over.
I went over to give Nate a hug, because he'd started crying. Only when I hugged him he started right out bawling. Nick made a comment and I replied, "It's OK that Nate's crying. It shows that he has feelings and that he's empathetic."
At this, Nate started crying harder.
He cried and cried. Andy was crying, too, at some point. But then he lost interest in crying and decided he was just sleepy. Nathan kept going. After ten minutes I was coated in snot and Nate was making odd wailing noises.
The thing is, I was serious about him being empathetic. Nate gets so wrapped up in his own story and is so easily frustrated that it's easy to forget that stories affect him this way.
One week, he wants Godzilla. The next he's sobbing about a dog. My baby boy. My baby bear.
There have been many changes in my life over the past year. Some are obvious, blunt, and harsh. Others are softer, milder, and more subtle. Or simply waiting to be discovered.
Such as this little graph on my most recent bill from PSNH. Electricity. It's going down.
*By "going down" I was referring to how much I use. Not the cost. Which has not decreased as significantly as this graph might suggest. Which says to me it's all bunk and that the utility companies have us right where they want us. Unless we're willing to drop of the grid entirely. I could turn everything off except for emergencies and still end up paying $100 a month just for the possibility of turning on a lightbulb. Still, I am proud that we aren't using as much.
I took this picture moments before he walked out the door.
He came home raving about the gym and how big it was, how he could hear someone yelling at the High School students, and also, the Kona Ice truck came by as a treat, just in case they needed more bribing convincing.
When we first moved to town, there were three schools. The Lower Elementary School for 1st and 2nd grades, the Upper Elementary School for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, and the Middle School for 6th, 7th, and 8th grades.
That was it. 3 schools. All High School students were bussed over to the next town for High School, and Kindergarten was private or nothing.
And then the town we sent our High School students to told us we had to find a different solution. We had too many kids and we were straining their resources. So the citizens of the ton fought and argued and bickered and we ended up building a High School.
Just around the time we built the High School, a law was passed that made public kindergarten a requirement. I fully support this. Our town, however, did not. Why should we do that when most kids went to private kindergarten anyway? But the law is the law, and after pushing it off and extending the deadline as long as we could, the town purchased a number of portable trailers to temporarily house the kindergarteners.
Let me say that part again.
The town purchased a number of portable trailers to temporarily house the kindergarteners.
This is where Nick went to Kindergarten. It's also where his Transition year was spent. It's also where Nate went to Kindergarten, and where he spend 1st grade.
Because somewhere along the line, it became apparent that we had to do something more permanent. So the town fought and argued and bickered and finally built a Kindergarten Extension to the Lower Elementary School. Not large enough to house all kindergarteners, but large enough to house the kindergarten only if the Half Day Schedule (less than 3 hours a day) was continued.
And it's a good thing it was built when it was, because about that time it was discovered that the Upper Elementary School was TOO CROWDED. So the town argued and bickered and instead of building anything, they came up with a temporary solution. Four 3rd grade classes would be moved from the Upper Elementary School to the Lower Elementary School. The Kindergarten would move to the newly constructed Kindergarten wing, overlooking the playground the 2.5 hour day did not give them time to use, and many 1st grade classrooms would be moved out to the 'temporary' portable, previously occupied by the kindergarteners.
Which is how Nate spent his 1st grade year there.
That brings us to this year. This year, we had no one in the portables, All 3 boys were in the same school, something that wouldn't happen again until High School.
AND THEN!... And then And Then And Theeeeeennnnnn....... They found mold.
In the portables. Remember the portables they got as a temporary solution? The ones I've had kids living hours and hours of their lives in? Yes. Mold.
As soon as they discovered this, all 8 1st grades classed were crammed back into the main building in ever available space. Kindergarten classes doubled up so 1st graders could have a room. Music rooms, art rooms, the library - all became 1st grade classrooms, 2 classes to a room.
What would they do? The school couldn't function like that!
Well, we recently received an email informing us of the solution.
The 4 3rd grade classes at the Lower Elementary School will now be held... AT THE HIGH SCHOOL!
But don't worry. They won't have to take busses with High School Students. They will take their regular busses to the Lower Elementary school, then get on another bus to take them to the High School (which we pass on the way to the Lower Elementary School). At the end of the day, they will take special busses back to the Lower Elementary, and then their regular busses back home.
This is Nick.
As thrilled as I am by the prospect of Nick spending an additional 30 minutes on a bus, I'm kind of horrified.
The school claims they will still have their Unified Arts - Music, Art, Library... but how? Where will the books be? Will they only have the 3rd grade books? And who will teach them music? Because the music teacher at the Upper Elementary didn't travel to the Lower Elementary, so will the High School music teacher be taking over? How about art? What about violin? Where will that happen - at the High School? At the Lower Elementary? What if he misses the bus? Do they realize just how many additional places they've created for Nick to forget things? And what if he gets lost? What about the bathrooms? Won't that be a little awkward for both High Schoolers and 3rd graders?
Seriously, this is Bizzaro World, people.
And I got really prickly when the teacher sent out a peppy email about change and our approach to it. Life is change, people! Your attitude when it comes to changes will affect how your child blah blah blah and all I could think was "God Dammit! HE's had ENOUGH CHANGE already!"
The thing of it is, Nick couldn't really care less about it. I'm the one freaking out. New Schedule starts in March. I'll let you know how it goes.
I've been spending a lot of time thinking about this blog.
"Really?" you say. "Because you don't seem to spend an awful lot of time writing it any more!"
And you are right. I don't. I got distracted, and busy. I've started working - at a grown up job at a grown-up place. I can't write during the day, and when I come home I try to fit everything else in the world into the 2.5 hours I have with my kids - get them home from karate, feed them, make sure they do homework, practice piano or violin, bathe them, read to them, get them into bed.
After that I'm exhausted, but still I have a to-do list of issues I need to research, emails I need to return, things I need to do... It's backlogged because I make myself stop once it gets to be too close to 11pm so that I can sleep.
Only, depending on what I was just doing, sleep doesn't always come easily.
Time constraints aside, I'm not sure what to write about anymore. I don't want to write too much about work, because employers don't tend to like that sort of thing. I can't write about this divorce that I am consumed with because it involves another person who might not appreciate it and might take legal action. I'm speaking about my lawyer, although Steve might not like it either.
But I haven't given up. I'm still going to write. I'm still going to post when I can think of it, and when I have something to say. For the time being. Until the people viewing this blog trickles down to such a tiny little trickle and I don't feel like it any more.