Happy 7th Birthday, Valentine’s Baby

If you happened upon this post, or caught a bit of subtext in some others, or hell, if you happen to actually know me in real life, you know this year hasn’t always been the very best for my S. Since before that child was born *60 hours of labor, cough, cough*, she has been stubborn and willful and the kind of gal that marches to the beat of her own bongo. See here for some toddler reference.

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In the last couple of months there has been an incredible transformation. Sure, she’s still strong and willful and a bit on the stubborn side, but there is no more “clipping all the way down” almost weekly and landing in the counselors or principal’s office. Almost daily she is “clipping up” to “Role Model,” acting as student of the week, bringing home awards, and behaving in such a way that leads to mommy-happy-tears emails from her teacher. She tries to help out, assists with her annoying little brother and, I swear to god, even her room is clean. (Sure, I did most of it, but she’s maintaining it.)

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She has grown from an irritable, emotional, adjusting and sometimes violent level of strong and bold, to a more patient, responsible, accountable brand of strength. She hugs me and tells me she loves me every day. She astounds me academically, especially in math and science. Her passion for animals has never wavered. She sings and dances all around and gives zero fucks about being any kind of a princess in itchy dresses. She is one of the most balanced and awesome girls this earth has been blessed with.

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I can genuinely say I both admire and envy her. At SEVEN years old she has more backbone than I did at …. Shit. At least 23 or so. Her beauty is exterior in her cute, half toothless grin, chubby cheeks and big blue eyes. But her true beauty, what makes her most fascinating is her beautiful soul. I’m glad I had her when I did, and I’m glad I’ve reached a point in my life where I can be stong enough to raise a woman as strong as she. I never want to hinder her from the greatness I know she will find. I never want to cloud the pure sunshine in her heart. I never want to let her down. I know she leads me just as much as I lead her and I can’t wait to see where this next year of her life leads the both of us.

This morning, all six of us were up extra early to celebrate another year of this girl. We dined on fine chocolate chip muffins, strawberries and sparkling cider in plastic eyeglasses sniffing scented pencils. It was honestly great. I mean, sure, the moms throwing sack lunches together as fast as humanly possible while chugging coffee and water equally after too much the night prior. But that’s us. That’s our beautiful life and I know my baby girl seven year old genuinely enjoyed her quickly family’s cheers to her, AM celebration. Next up: Nachos, a “horse cake,” and headache-inducing karaoke.

Happy birthday, my Valentine’s Baby. I love you forever and I like you for always.

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What I Wore Wednesday… On a Thursday

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My outfit of the day yesterday was a bit out of the usual for my Work Wear Wednesday look. Maybe you noticed. I mean, I may be a big slob, but I still don’t typically wear baggy dude jeans and a friggin hoodie to work. I recently discovered, however, that this IS my outfit of choice when my kid gets suspended from school for a day.

Yeah. You read that shit right. I knew I wasn’t in the running for mom of the year, but geezus, suspension wasn’t in the playbook either. Tuesday afternoon I was trucking along at work and getting stuff done. Cold calls, follow up, the whole thing and feeling pretty darn good about it. After one such appointment I was checking my email while still parked and received a phone call – from the elementary school principal. I wasn’t actually too surprised to see the school number flash on my phone. S seemed off that morning. I just knew she was coming down with something. As it turns out, it was less flu-like and more Feral Child Syndrome-esque. The principal went on to tell me about how at recess S was caught tackling a kid on the playground with limbs flailing and hair-pulling. More or less a flat out bar brawl. Nice.

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My little sunshine this summer

I’m the first to admit S is a very emotional child and often her feelings and strong will get in the way of five-star manners, but seriously, full on tackle and hair pulling?!?! It took me some time to process but after hanging up, I went back to checking my email. My boss had emailed to let me know the principal called the studio number, and she had given him my cell. Awkward, but since she already knew something was going on it made it easier to go in a ask to work from home yesterday. Thus the outfit.

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Same kid and her expressive face…

Long talks were had with both S’s dad and Terra. Despite S’s previous offenses, this was and is uncharted territory. We’ve looked at everything from emotional issues with the divorce and all thereafter, to her just actually being ill and tired that day, to other concerns such as behavioral disorders. Finally I got the chance to just be home and talk to S privately. I told her to write and draw me a story of her whole day. She told me how in the morning she was so upset that she just hid under her desk. The managed to “turn her attitude around” but had some “not-so-good stuff” at recess.  Here’s her story:

We were on the playground and two kids were playing with a football and I wanted to play with them and they said I could. But then we were gonna play dogs and I was a dog that loved balls and so I pounced on the girl with the ball and tried to get the ball from her and we were playing and I accidentally pulled her hair and we all got in trouble.

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Sassy for sure.

I wasn’t really sure what to think of all that. She’s such a weirdo. 😛 I turned it into a conversation about bodily autonomy and how she shouldn’t touch anyone without their permission, even nice touches like hugs. Nor should anyone touch her without her permission. She spent the day grounded and suspended, missed the one sunshiney day of the week,and “specials day” at school. Stayed tuned. This is far from the last crazy situation I will find myself in with this one.

A Parenting Win for our Non-Traditional Family

Starting at a new school can be an intimidating, difficult transition. Particularly if you have never attended a real school before because you are a just a tiny little kindergartner. It is even more difficult if you don’t know anyone who is going to the elementary school to which you have been assigned. And I’ve never been in this predicament, but I would assume if you happen to be a five year old dealing with all that, while also adapting to your parents splitting up, your mom (and consequently you and your little bro) moving to a new apartment, and your mom getting a new girlfriend within the same time span, life could be stressful. With that in mind, I was calmly cautious about my first ever parent-teacher conference for my daughter, S. The ex-husband and I were to be there together and neither of us had been to any such thing before. I know my daughter is fiercely independent and strong-willed, even if a kind and compassionate soul. It can really be hit or miss when anything is amiss in her world.

S at the children's circus summer 2015
S at the children’s circus summer 2015

Ex-husband was nervous. Really nervous. I wasn’t, but at the same time, I had no idea what to expect. The first words out of teacher’s mouth were, “Well we have a very strong-willed young lady on our hands.” *Pause.* I don’t love “strong-willed” as it seems to have negative connotations in line with the bossy v. leadership skills debate. I straightened up in my seat ready to hear out whether this was a complaint, compliment, or simply a fact. I’ve heard it as all three.

Walking to Kindergarten
Walking to Kindergarten

It was simply a fact. My S is strong and independent.  Mrs. R went on to give us more details about S’s classroom behavior. She both tests and respects boundaries, especially once she knows the boundaries are there and why. She is a leader among her classmates. Her marks in all scholarly categories were above average. (Although frankly, I don’t care. She’s five. I’d rather have a kind, strong, helpful, creative and self-aware kid than some kid who is already proficiently reading.) She engages in all aspects of the kindergarten curriculum from phonics to computer lab to phys ed, and as per usual, she is (typically;)) a delight to be around. AND the teacher with a good 20+ years of experience repeatedly praised us for being attentive, involved, good parents working together to raise a great kid. BAM, bitches.

First day of school and posing with erh scrubby little brother... not his first day of school.
First day of school and posing with her scrubby little brother… not his first day of school.

So there you have it folks. So far, so good. Despite what you may have read,almost-divorced, lesbian moms actually can raise well-adjusted, kind, intelligent, and all-around kick ass kids.

Pre-K Graduation
Pre-K Graduation