Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to School

I have never been more happy to see my children march off back to school! This Summer has been great in so many ways, but in others, it has been so not for me.

I always wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom ... always. Until I had Sage and realized that the day to day routine of staying home solely to care for your child was actually a LOT harder than going to work. I missed Sage from the moment I dropped her off at daycare until the moment I picked her up. I was torn because I missed so many milestones by being away from her for 10 hours per day. However, those 10 hours per day were what it took to reclaim my sanity after those evenings that were strained.

The days that I managed to eek out over the last three years with Sage, where it was just her and I at home during the day were some of the best. It made me resent going to work more and more. When I was laid off and almost immediately decided that I would not go back to work right away, it was those days that I had visions of. I wasn't thinking too clearly, obviously!

Sage and I together are great. Sage and I with her sister all Summer, not so great. I don't know what it is about her sister, but she's like crack to Sage. She gets her all wound up ... they trash my house and they bicker at each other constantly. It was a never ending battle from the time they woke up until the time they went to bed. And in all fairness, she's not just like that with her sister. She's like that when anyone else comes into the house. She's almost passive and calm when she is alone with me, but add anyone else to the mix and it's like a nuclear reaction.

I now understand all of the mothers who so cheerfully exclaim that their children have gone back to school. I never really got it until this Summer.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


The state of Maryland has changed the rules in recent years determining the cut-off date for a child to enter Kindergarten. Previously the date was December 31st, however in the last several years they have moved the date to September 1st. There is a 45 day grace period given for children who pass a standardized test to allow them early admittance.

I have HUGE issues with this new regulation since it will have Sage starting Kindergarten 3 months prior to her turning 6 years old. That Board of Education will allow no deviance to their new ruling and I have been fighting with them for over a year. Yes, my child isn't even 4 years old yet, but she is extremely intelligent and was considered advanced in her daycare center. They placed her with children a year older than her and she was still more mature and smarter than most in her classroom.

In my opinion, keeping her out of Kindergarten as a 5 year old will hold her back. She will know the things they are already teaching by then and will be bored. She craves knowledge. I feel it is a disservice to her to not allow her entry into Kindergarten because of where her birthday falls if she shows the maturity and the skills they are looking for in a child entering the school system.

Her brother is a perfect example. His birthday falls 10 days prior to hers and he entered Kindergarten under the previous administration regulations. He entered college before he ever stepped foot into high school. He is in a federally funded advanced learning program at Frostburg State University during the summer. He started doing college level work prior to entering his Freshman year in high school.

It has been said by many that Sage is more intelligent than he was at her age. I'm not unrealistic when it comes to educating a child. I do believe that there are arguments both ways and that there are many children who would benefit from having that additional year home prior to entering school.

But having such stringent rules can also hinder some children. I believe with all of my heart, that many of the children who have issues in school, develope those issues out of boredom. Many of these issues start in early childhood education when they are not challenged. I know that often the root cause of many issues lie elsewhere, but it cannot be denied that some stem from sheer boedom.

The only solution available to me is to homeschool Sage the year I feel she should be entering Kindergarten. She will need to pass the standardized testing for Kindergarten curriculum and I will then present that papework to the Board of Education with the recommendation that she advance to the 1st grade. With that in hand, she will be able to enter the school system as a 1st grader the year that she would enter the Kindergarten based on the new regulations.

The only issue I now have is keeping her from getting bored and not melting down into the deepest pit of despair when her sister goes to school this year and she cannot. Who knows? Maybe I'll start the Kindergarten curriculum with her this year, just prior to her turning 4 years old. I believe that she is ready for it. I do not know if I am!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Swimming Like a Big Girl

Or so she thinks.

Coming into the Summer, Sage had a huge fear of swimming pools and water. Last year, without my knowledge, my brother took her to a friends house to get into the pool. He had her, his two children and my my niece. Because my niece was 15 at the time, he figured Sage would be okay with her in the pool. She was on a floatie and was very wary of the water. Somewhere along the line, someone wasn't paying the best attention, and she was knocked off of the floatie.

It terrified her.

The first two attempts to get her into my parents pool were unsuccessful this year. The third time, she got in on a floatie while clinging to her grandmother. She repeated this a couple of times but would not give up the floatie or the person she was hanging on.

I was a little worried about our trip to Tennessee. Ten days on the lake with a child afraid of water was going to be difficult.

Fortunately, it wasn't an issue. The first day in the water she was in a life vest and a toddler floatie that she could sit in. She was nervous at first, but she eventually started to relax and have fun.

After the first day, she wouldn't use the floatie. There was no giving up the life jacket, which wasn't allowed anyway. She still clung to people throughout the week, but she was in love with the water and splashed around in wild abandon. She hung out on the dock with her sister making monkey faces at me.

She had a blast playing in the water with everyone ...

Mostly with her MawMaw

Also, with her Aunt Linda

And her cousin and sister ...

By the end of the week, she was letting go and "swimming like a big girl." She would go from one person to the next, giggling and splashing.

She won't get into the pool without her life jacket, but she now loves the water and is trying harder and harder to swim. She splashes around with the other kids and has a blast. In doing so, she is turning this into one of the best summers I have ever had.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes ...

I've been all about changes lately. My desire to delve back into a community that I miss is only one of those changes.

You see, about two months ago, I was laid-off from my employer of 9 1/2 years; from an industry that I have worked in for 20+ years. The thing is, I wasn't overly distraught about the fact. I was very, and I mean very, briefly upset because I thought, "holy fuck, how are we going to make it?" That lasted about 2 hours and then I was okay with it. Unemployment benefits while I am looking for/deciding on a new career, almost cover what I was left with after paying for childcare expenses, gas and lunches. In fact, I'm saving money because I don't have to pay daycare expenses for an additional child for the summer.

The lay-off allowed me to take my first real vacation in 10 years. The girls and I went with my parents to Tennessee and spent 10 glorious days lakefront with nothing but water and the surrounding mountain range. The time spent there is what cemented my desire, my need, to get back into the pagan community. I don't know what it was about the mountainside, or the lake, that made me miss it so much. But it did.

This was my view every morning as I sat outside while everyone bustled around. It had a calming effect on me. During those mornings, I thought about the things that I want to do with my life. I made a promise to myself that I won't go back into the workforce as a mindless drone, answering to people who have no interest in anything other than what I can do to make them money. My previous boss, for lack of a better word, was interested in my photography talents but was unwilling to pay anything additional for my services beyond my regular wage. He wanted me to photograph things during our normal working hours for the company that I worked for.

I've wanted to start my own photography business since my pregnancy with Sage, and have taken the first steps in doing so. I've photographed a few babies and a christening. I've made arrangements with one of my boys football coach to not only shoot all of the JV football games that he will be playing in, but the Varsity games as well. I'm starting slowly and with what I am comfortable with and will build from there.

It's part of changing, and growing. Actually becoming the person that I want to be instead of only thinking of the person that I want to be.