This is why blogging is difficult:
#1 I have not been working out and I feel terrible about it. Ever since the mousescapades I can't go on my treadmill. Mr F tried to pretend that they magically disappeared when he removed their habitat (insulation)... but I knew better. By now there are probably an entire nation of them and they are plotting their extensive upstairs infiltration plan as we speak.
#2A School has been on an upswing. I'm really not sure what we'll do next year, though. Kid is getting all As which is fantastic, but we still have 2 hours of homework a night and at least one weekly breakdown (usually on Memory test prep night). The fact is that this is only 4th grade and the homework situation is only going to get worse next year. For the most part I'm cool with the academics, but the teacher is not a good teacher and I still have to reteach her everything after school. Add to that the fact that next year Baby will also have homework and I just don't know that this is a feasible situation. Kid currently leaves the house for school at 7:35 AM and is done with homework at 6:00 PM... between school, commuting, and homework she is putting in 10 hours and 25 minutes toward school every single day. She is only awake for 14 hours. You know? It just isn't a good life balance. Plus, she doesn't have weekends off... we have 2 hours of homework to do on Saturday AND Sunday every single weekend. Plus, while she has made 2 good friends, they are Korean exchange students that are going back to Korea next semester. That whole thing is very interesting, and telling. It is not a coincidence that she chose them. As she said "It's like playing with deaf kids that don't know sign language." Which means, it's fun and light and superficial. There is no drama, there are no feelings getting hurt, there are no playdates, or disappointments. I said "You know, I wonder if you would have liked being a boy. They seem to be able to just play at recess without it being a big deal." "Yes!!!" She said. Being a girl (especially these days, and especially at this age) is different, there are a lot of politics and it just doesn't appeal to her. I actually respect and am in awe of her ability to avoid and disengage from that. I still can't do it. She created with the Koreans exactly what she was looking for... fun with no strings attached. They love her and she loves them and there is never any drama.
(I actually wonder if her boy craziness is in large part an interest and wish to be part of their fun and playing... I do wish girls could have that freedom more)
#2B Baby loves school and is enjoying her Lutheran indoctrination (and I'm not joking... she digs it). She is doing well and has made good friends and fits in well socially. BUT She was identified (by them) as "very gifted in higher order thinking" in their Kindergarten testing for conferences and this school couldn't be a worse fit for that. It is a great fit for a shy anxiety prone middle schooler that likes things very organized and cookie cutter so she can more easily manage ... but... not so much for a think-outside-the-box creative type. I think I mentioned her ability to draw and write (without any compromise in detail or ability) upside down or to a sideways orientation if she wants? Yeah, something is going on in that noggin. She has a fantastic teacher that is actually teaching her things and a wonderfully small class (7 kids), but next year she'd be funneled into a 24 kids 1st grade and have to sit in her desk all day. There is a school for the gifted in Ann Arbor BUT it's twice what we are paying now for both girls to attend this school... which makes it, technically, 4 times what we can realistically afford on an ongoing basis. Gah!
#3 I'm looking at homeschooling again, which will allow us to pursue the things that are more stimulating to her (and be able to afford and have time for extracurriculars). But as I said to the girls... "if we are homeschooling next year we are homeschooling for excellence". Baby now likes to chime in with "for excellence!" anytime I say homeschooling, now. Which may mean the use of specialized tutors for some subjects. Now that I know what Kid is capable of... we're going for it. There are a lot of great advantages to homeschooling including some awesome programs that allow you to finish an Associate's degree by the time you graduate high school. Plus, this school they're in is a small school. We could try homeschooling next year (my first year juggling two curriculums) and if it isn't great or if we don't think it is better than the school, we can always put them back in. They can go in at anytime and they'll know everyone and it won't be starting back from scratch. Kid is in favor of homeschooling, and I know when the Koreans go home she's going to really struggle to stay in until the end of the year (which we are 100% doing at this point). Baby is willing to try it if it means she can participate in gymnastics and dance (which she'd have to give up if she went to 1st grade at St. Paul because of time constraints and cost). So that is that. I'm heavily researching different curriculum options which is something I find very interesting... so that's fun.
#4 We are trying to adopt! A 25 year old! Things might not pan out but we are hoping to be able to give a good safe place to land and start things over to someone we care about. The kids are excited, and as I said to Mr F "It'll be good practice for adopting". Plus I could use the company, this lifestyle... of driving all over town all day long can get very lonely. I actually thought about trying to train Big Boy to be my car companion. Mr F told me that no cat would like that... but I've found plenty of YouTube evidence to prove otherwise!
#5 I have been listening to an old Tony Robbins motivational CD in the car. People, he says some profound stuff. And this was an OLD one... he's gotten his schtick much more refined. Still this was the take away:
If you are in a negative interaction you can change your perception or change your participation.
People, that's Big Time. I'm really working on that.
I'm also really working on my new catch phrase that I created for my real (but very much embellished for my own inspirational purposes) friend/ mentor (unbeknownst to her):
"That's a hot bed and I'm not going to lie in it"
I think that can catch on.... feel free to spread it around. It's such a great visual. I'm using that all the time.
More on my real/imaginary friend/mentor later. Her name is Julie and she is really an amazing person. But I've made her more amazing in my mind. I don't think she'll mind. I also like to pull a WWJD? with her when I know I'm entering a toxic situation. Her name is Julie so the WWJD? works perfectly. Usually my imaginary Julie response is "That's a hot bed and I'm not going to lie in it!". This makes me laugh hysterically... but you know.... she's on to something. Try it. That phrase is empowering.
Also, on a similar front I've spent an awful lot of time worrying about Kid and her social life. And some of these revelations (the boy thing, the Koreans, my fake/real mentor and her fake slogan, Tony Robbins, etc) has all come together and made me think about my own projections. Kid did not come out as a child. She came out as a Julie! She already knows a hot bed when she sees it and she sure as hell is not going to lie in it. I on the other hand am still working on the impulse to ask the occupants to roll over so I can squeeze myself in. Kid knows herself more and is more comfortable with herself than I've ever been. She has had MANY social opportunities, and she does have friends, but more often than not (nearly 99.5% of the time) she doesn't like groups of girls (which at 10 is the option), doesn't like parties, or large gatherings where you don't know how to quite fit in, she doesn't like extracurricular meet ups or classes. She likes to play anonymously on a playground, or at a 2 week summer camp where there are not huge emotional strings attached, or have a one on one playdate with a couple of kids she's invested in. She's fulfilled by that. And any need I think she has beyond that is not about her but about me.
Okay, that's a lot.