Next Steps

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Posted by Olivia Adams, Mommie-to-be | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 17-09-2010

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I went in to see my doctor on Monday.  It was perfect timing, since I had to get my annual pap and check up.  My doctor and I had been emailing back and forth about  my situation and it was nice to speak to him about it in person.

I had told him that I was very frustrated with the whole ordeal.  I had thought that taking the estradiols and progesterones would induce my period, thus, giving me the green light to finally have a baby.  I guess I had misunderstood.  Since I had been on several different types of birth control pills off and on for over 15 years, my hormones were all jacked and that was why I wasn’t getting a period.  The combo was to help me speed up this process, normalize my hormones and try to get back on track.

Geez, I wish I had known.  In the past, I’ve taken ortho, ortho lite, yaz, yasmin, some generic, then back to ortho.  Little did I know that all birth control pills were all the same.  Each brand has different levels of hormones.  Some may have more progesterones while others may have more estradiols.   Today, you can talk to your gynecologist and tell them what you are experiencing and they can prescribe the right pill that’s best for you.  For example, if you have heavy bleeding, acne, low sexual drive, etc.

When I went in to see my doc, we also ran another pregnancy test since I was late.  Again, negative.  He told me to not worry because this can happen from stress and other factors.  We did run a blood test, hormone test, and ovulation test.  Everything is fine and normal except my body isn’t telling me to ovulate.  Before I got on the pill and had my period, which was at the age of 13, I was totally normal.  I had my period every day, a bit on the heavier side, but I never missed, and I was totally ovulating.  I guess all those pills and other things have happened in between, that has caused me to be where I am at now.

Next steps are to get on another pill to get my ovulated-Clomid.  ” Clomiphene is used to induce ovulation (egg production) in women who do not produce ova (eggs) but wish to become pregnant (infertility). Clomiphene is in a class of medications called ovulatory stimulants. It works similarly to estrogen, a female hormone that causes eggs to develop in the ovaries and be released.” (Sourced from : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000752)

This one requires me to be in the “infertility program.”  Gosh, that sounds so terrible.  Am I really infertile?  I guess the doctor could see the horrified look on my face.  He tried to comfort me by saying that it doesn’t mean that I am not fertile, it’s just standard procedure in order for me to get prescribed Clomid.  I am currently waiting for the forms to be filled out.  In the meantime, my husband will need to give a sperm count.  When I told him, we had to laugh.  My husband has never had to do this nor has he donated sperm.  At least we can find some humor in all this.

Payback’s a *****

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Posted by webmaster | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 17-09-2010

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When my children tell me stories about their days at school, sometimes I’m appalled about the complete disregard and disrespect some of the students display – not only in their classrooms, but in their daily lives as well.

In the last week alone, I have heard stories of kids taking phone calls in class, telling the teachers to shut up, and refusing to participate in group labs in the classroom.  Worse, teachers are not subjecting them to any consequences for their actions and students in the classroom who actually want to learn something are suffering.

Not only is there disrespect for the teachers, but the long-standing student classes have broken down as well.  Freshman newbies could care less about respecting their elder classmen.  A 14 year old freshman girl picked a fight with a junior classmate during a science lab and then twenty minutes later asked the junior her opinion on whether or not she (the freshman) needed to stop taking drugs and drinking just because she was pregnant at 14.  She didn’t think she should have to and didn’t think it would make a difference.  Besides, she was just going to have it taken care of anyway.

Teachers and administration are aware of these situations, but seem to feel helpless in dealing with them.

In POP’s September 2010 issue, an article “San Mateo Says No to Bullying”, which you can read here or here, addresses a lot of these kinds of issues and has great resources listed on how to begin to deal with them.

What I find most interesting is this:

  • Either the parents know about their children’s behavior and are perfectly fine with it or;
  • The parents don’t know anything about their children’s behavior

Either way, it’s scary to me.  The lack of parenting morals and values may seem like an okay thing to tolerate for now, for some, but the payback, or lack thereof, twenty years down the road when our children will be taking care of business for us will be an even higher cost to pay.

Thoughts?

It’s Back to School Night, Not Sophie’s Choice

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Posted by Kirsten Patel, Elementary Mommie-on-the-Run | Posted in Kirsten Patel | Posted on 16-09-2010

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I remember clearly my first thought when I found out I was pregnant for the second time.  I already had two year old twins and all I could think was how is there ever going to be enough of me for three children.  But low and behold, I have managed with three children just fine for the past five plus years.  Some days there clearly isn’t enough of me to go around and other days I even manage to eek out a little time and energy to do something for myself.

I’ve learned to divide my heart into three pieces, but what often trips me up is trying to divide it into three equal pieces.   Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been obsessed with fairness.  I made sure each one of my stuffed animals had a turn right next to me in my bed and drove my mom nuts asking her to count the number of noodles I had on my plate to make sure my sister didn’t have more.

I try my best to make sure everyone has the same amount of milk in their glass.  I carefully count out the chicken nuggets to make sure each child has the same number.  We take turns picking the music we listen to in the car and I even made a chart to keep track of whose turn it is to sit in the most favored car seat.  But let’s face it, life is not always fair and I just can’t make sure they all get the same amount of hugs per day and chocolate chips in their cookies.

When my twins started kindergarten I went to great pains to make sure I volunteered the same amount of time in each one’s classroom.  I was assigned to Monday afternoon for one of them and there are several Monday holiday’s in a school year.  They noticed if I made it to one classroom that week and not the other, and I felt guilty.  I try to explain to them that things will not always be tit for tat.  For the most part it all works out and I probably feel more guilt over dividing my time up than is necessary.

Tonight is Back to School Night and like every parent with multiple kids at one school, not just twins, I fret over whose classroom presentation I would attend and which one my husband would attend. I don’t mean to imply that I am the superior parent, but I am on the front lines doing drop off, pick up, communicating with fellow parents and teachers and helping with homework.  I wanted to hear the teacher’s presentation first hand for both my girls.

At least my son’s kindergarten class presentation is earlier in the night and both my husband and I can attend that one.

After fretting over it and making my husband discuss it with me ad nauseum, he finally said, “relax, it’s not Sophie’s Choice.”  And he was right.  Whenever I am stressed about something like this I try to ask myself how much it really matters in the grand scheme of their lives.  They won’t even know whose classroom I was in.  Will they not get in to Stanford because I didn’t sit in their classroom one September night in 2nd grade?  Perhaps taking a step back from making everything fair and the same would be good for me and my kids.

The Story of Tiny….

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Posted by Rebecca Bingham, Special Needs Mommie | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 15-09-2010

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Tiny and I when she was 4 days old. Photos by Lucky Red Hen.
 
I can’t believe that my little girl is 4.  Tiny was my first child with special needs, so she was the tutor.  We just celebrated her birthday and were reflecting on how far she has come in the last 4 years.  She is totally caught up, physically, and we are starting to get a handle on what her learning needs will be .  Each night, before their birthday, we tell the kids of the story about how they joined our family. We have made a tradition of this for all our kids, both adopted and biological.  It is all about them that night.  I find that it is a great forum for them to ask questions and for us to tell them details that we might forget to share in everyday life. I decided to put the story of Tiny here, so this one is a little bit more adoption related than focusing on special needs stuff, but since that is a huge part of our family, it is all part of the same story.  Parenting on the Peninsula is going to do an issue on adoption pretty soon, so here is a post to get the conversation going.

Four years ago today I know exactly what I was doing. I had just come home from Africa two weeks before and we decided to start the paperwork to adopt from Ethiopia. In the mean time, I called a few agencies and told them that we were home study ready and would be willing to take a newborn that was born BEFORE the end of August (when our dossier would go to Africa) and because of the recent trauma with Cubby’s family and the “now we have him/now we don’t” experience with JoJo, we weren’t interested in having much contact BEFORE the birth but would love, love, love an open adoption AFTER the birth.

Check out that chicken skin on her arms. It still looks that way. These are also my favorite colors to put her in to this day. This was the smallest premie dress I could find at Walmart the day we brought her home……
 

–Sidenote for new readers… Cubby’s mom asked us to adopt her next baby, who was born 10 months after Jacob. She came to us TOTALLY unsolicited and we agreed. She ended up parenting the baby (a little boy that she named Jojo). She made this choice after we had had Jojo with us for about a week. This decision was fine with us (from the bottom of my heart I have no issues with women who end up parenting, that is wonderful as far as I am concerned…). But it still totally stinks. It hurts and it is hard. There was a lot of trauma involved in our relationship with her at that time. We were baby stepping our way into an open adoption and that is never easy. Other circumstances and choices made things very, very hard between us all at this point and very little of it had to do with the fact that she parented..so no flames / Trolls please. Read the archives if you are curious, but I am not interested in your opinion on whether we did the right thing or not. I am over it….. Nevertheless, my heart was still a little tender….

Tiny, 4 days old, for my impromptu baby shower with blog friends…

Getting this kind of a situation is almost unheard of. After all, most expectant parents want to meet you, and if they want an open adoption, they want lots of contact before the birth. We knew that we were making a tall order, but decided to put it out there anyway. Shockingly, 4 days later we had it. The agency told us that a little girl from the Bahamas was due at the first part of September and that the family did not want to choose the parents. They wanted the agency to pick. They wanted a family that was religious, middle aged (ouch), and wanted the baby to fall somewhere in the middle of the siblings. They preferred black parents, but if that wasn’t possible, they wanted other black kids in the family. They wanted no contact at all. They didn’t even want to know our names or see our picture or know anything about us. They wanted to have the baby and forget it ever happened. The ladies at the agency felt strongly that the family would change their mind later and want some sort of contact, so they wanted to match with a family that was OK with that. We were.

I love this picture because it shows the bracelet her mom gave her as well as how small she was. the bottle is bigger than her head…
 
 
After being matched with Tiny’s family for one week, her mom and grandparents decided that they wanted to look at profiles of other families after all. The agency called us to tell us that our match was “on hold” and that we should submit a file/letter/photos. I was a little bit sad about this, but I understood. I also strongly feel that it is better in the end for the expectant mom to have a say in the decision, so I was happy to hear that they were being more realistic about the choice to place this child. I stayed up all night doing our file. That was four years ago tonight. The next morning I was awakened at 6:30 by a phone call from the agency and told to get on a plane because the baby was coming NOW.  

We packed in a flurry and took the first plane to Utah (lucky us that Tiny’s family was in the U.S. and my parents were available to help us out). By the time we had landed, tiny 5 pound Tiny was already born. She was almost two months early. We took the kids to my parents and waited. According to the agency, the family decided that since the baby was born before they could view other files, it must be God’s way of telling them that WE were the family (their words, not ours). They still seemed set on placing and we just waited. Tiny’s mom is pretty young. She had her parents with her to help her make these huge decisions. Her first mom just wanted to have the baby, never hold her, never look at her, and just go home and continue to be a teenager. Her parents (especially her mom, who is about our age) was very adamant about her bonding with her baby, and for this I am very thankful. She truly, truly had her child’s best interests at heart and it was very clear the she was letting her make the choice, but giving her all the info that she needed. Tiny’s mom could have parented if she wanted to, but no illusions were made about how hard it would be. She also knew that “forgetting” it ever happened really wasn’t an option. Even though it was the hardest thing she had ever done (we talked about it later), Grandma was willing to watch her daughter (force her, even) bond with her child knowing that it would be terribly painful to place her and go home. She felt it would be better in the end. That is a mother who loves her child.

We waited for two days and then got the call that the papers were going to be signed in a few hours. The agency wanted us to go to the hospital because they really wanted to encourage the family to meet us. If we were close by, it would make it easier to arrange. We checked into a hotel near the hospital and waited. Tiny’s mom and her grandparents were very clear that they did not want to meet us before the papers were signed. Around dinner time, the social workers contacted us to tell us that we had another daughter (and at this point we still hadn’t ever seen her). She filled us in how the paperwork meeting went and indicated that Tiny’s grandparents wanted to see our file. They might want to meet us. Would we bring our family scrapbook to the hospital and wait downstairs?


Tiny pretty much lived in the sling for the first 6 months. She was so SMALL.

The social worker took our paperwork upstairs. We waited for a few more hours. Eventually they sent down word that they wanted to meet us and up we went. LONGEST ELEVATOR RIDE EVER. I’ll never forget the sight of Tiny’s grandparents. She looks SO much like them. Grandma was rocking a leopard print muumuu. Yes she was. We visited with Grandma and Grandpa and swapped stories. We had a million questions about Tiny’s mom and they were really good at answering them for us and telling us all about their family. I tried to memorize the facts, their accents, their faces. I can’t remember how it happened, but at some point they went down to tell their daughter about us and asked if she wanted to meet us. She did.

Tiny on her first birthday. She still has the cheeks, the afro and the yummy lips. She is the SPITTING image of her maternal grandmother in this picture.

I will also never forget the first sight of our daughter.  Mamma was in the hospital bed holding the SMALLEST human I had ever seen. Tiny’s miniature face peeked out of her white blanket. She had a full head of black hair and a sweet green bow tied in it. As we walked in, she made a little bit of a sour face, pursed her lips and let out a yell (a look and sound I am now very, very familiar with) and I had a very strong impression come into my mind. The exact wording was “this girl is going to be sassy….”.

She is.

These two are my very favorite pictures of her from around her first birthday. Especially the bottom one.



 

What Happened to My Eater?

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Posted by liafreitas | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 14-09-2010

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When LG was a baby, she ate everything.  I have pictures of her shoveling in the peas and carrots!  If she could get her hands on it should would eat it.  Fast forward 3 years, the girl is still on the “toddler diet.”  You know that diet right?  You know, the one that consists of mac n cheese, dino nuggets, grilled cheese?  She loves them all.  Truth be told she does eat some things that are good for her, I would just like her to broaden her horizons a bit.

I have read that it happens to lots of children.  Many of my friends that are parents complain about how, “My child used to eat EVERYTHING and now they eat about 20 different things.”  We all just laugh and nod our heads in agreement.  Deep down, I know it kills us all.

Now that LG is in school I am hoping that her palate will start to expand.  I am making an effort to make new things and try to get her to eat them.  Right now I have a one bite rule which I got from her preschool.  Oh yeah, did I mention that at preschool she would eat things and then I would make them at home and she would REFUSE!  What the heck?  Sometimes those one bites are a nightmare to get through.

Last night I made the best dinner!  If you haven’t tried The Pioneer Woman recipes you are missing out!  I made Chicken Spaghetti.  For the most part, the ingrediants are all things that LG will eat with the exception of green peppers, pimentos and onions but I figured I could pick them out for her.  Yep, I said pick them out!  I made dinner, picked out the parts I knew she wouldn’t eat, added a bit more cheese and set it in front of her.  She BURST into tears.

“I HATE this pasta!!!!”

“You have never even tasted it LG, I think you will like it.”

“I won’t!”

“Well, you need to eat one bite and give it a try.”

After more tears and more drama, the bite was taken, the dinner was declared horrible and I was so frustrated.  I am not giving up!!!  I have confidence that she will come around and start to change but it is going to be a looooooong process.

Time For Number Two?

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Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins | Posted on 13-09-2010

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Let me start off by saying, “No.”  Goodness, no.

Much like the couple whose literally just finished dancing the first dance at their wedding, people are chomping at the bit to know when we’re going to conceive.  Relax, people – relax.

Now that DJ has turned one, I am faced with the, “So, when are you gonna try for number two?” question left and right.  I find it amusing that people assume that once a couple is married, they automatically turn into baby-makers.   Perhaps even more amusing, they assume that there’s no limit to the number of babies said couple makes.

My husband and I had always talked about having two children.  I am an only child, and he has a younger brother.  As a result of both of our experiences, though different, we felt that two was indeed the magic number.  However, that was the plan before DJ was born.  Now that she’s here, I honestly don’t know what the plan is.  I mean, I adore being a mom – but I also adore devoting my undivided attention to one energy-sapping little human.  (And I mean that in the nicest way).

The truth is, I’m not sure I even possess the skills necessary to love fairly.  I mean, judging from how much I cherish DJ – would I really be able to treat a second child equally?  I know, I know – for those of you who have multiple children, you are shouting “THE HEART EXPANDS!”  And I have witnessed that.  For those of my friends with more than one child, they do in fact love both equally – though differently.  I marvel at their ability to multi-task so delicately and affectively.  So yes, I know it’s possible…..I just don’t know that I am cut out for it..  Call it insecurity, call it fulfillment – I am just wondering if one is indeed enough?

Everyone tells me that once DJ reaches a certain age, I will ache to once again feel a baby sleep against my chest.  As much as I will celebrate the achievements of a growing toddler, I will also mourn the loss of the baby-stage.  Perhaps.  All that I know now, today, is that we’re not ready for number two.  That’s not to say that we wouldn’t consider it an absolute blessing if we did “accidentally” get pregnant….it’s just not in the immediate plan.

So, people, please leave me alone and just allow me to enjoy this kid before harping on me about gettin down with my husband to make a second.

Doing The Right Thing

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Posted by jamielentzner | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 12-09-2010

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I am not proud of it, but I have been known to pass the buck a few times in my personal life.  Sometimes I did it out of laziness, sometimes I just did not care.  Yet other times it was just so easy to do.

About two years ago I had my 20 year reunion and I was large and in charge.  I took over the job begrudgingly, and may of had a little tearful freak out session right before the big day.  My committee even had a t-shirt made for me that said “Somebody has Got to Own It!”, a quote they say I used over, and over.

To help with the logistics of the event we hired a company to take care of all the details.  You know, like telling a certain classmate that she had too much to drink…something I refused to do.  They took care of collecting the money, renting the venue, and all the other details I did not want to worry about.

About an hour into the reunion it was time to eat dinner and leave the bar.  Well, that was just not an option with my class.  A social bunch are they.  Treasure (and yes that is her real name), the woman from the Reunion company became very agitated.  She pulled me aside and pretty much demanded that I get everyone into the banquet hall.  DINNER WAS READY!  She wanted me to be the bad guy, she wanted me to whistle, yell, threaten to cut off the booze to all my friends.  I looked her square in the eye and said, “No.  That is your job, and that is why I hired you.”  Then I marched right up to the bar and got another drink.

Being a small business owner/entrepreneur has no room for passing the buck.  I mean I can blame Fed Ex when they did not deliver a package in time for a photo shoot (true story and it was their fault).  I can claim I did not get the order in time if the customer never sent it.  I can even claim to know nothing about our billing or accounting – and that is the truth.  I do a lot, but this girl does not do any math of any kind.

However, last week I was unable to blame a problem on a poor unsuspecting delivery man.  I had to own it.  I don’t have any company to blame it on or to push under my computer desk.  And I had a hum-dinger of a problem and it was a major problem.  Basically without going into too much detail we have to do a project over, and I mean over, from scratch.  There was a problem and it was part our fault and part the company that sells us the tiles fault.

I wish I could have passed the buck.  I wish it was something as simple as getting some drunks away from the bar.  But such is life, it kind of feels good to own it and not be hung over the day after…that feels good too.

Hope

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Posted by Olivia Adams, Mommie-to-be | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 11-09-2010

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So in my last entry, I had mentioned that I had missed my period. I should have gotten it on August 31st. At first, I didn’t think anything of it. A few days passed and then I started to get a bit excited. Could it be? Could I finally be prego? I told my husband and we were both pretty excited. Before I get tested, I wanted to wait about a week.

During that week, I felt a bit more tired. It usually takes me a while to fall asleep, but I fell asleep fast. I slept so hard, that I didn’t even wake up to hear my husband’s alarm clock or the dog barking. I also felt like my appetite had increased. I was eating more and craving bread with olive oil and black pepper. I had some cramps and I had read that when you get cramps, that usually means egg implantation. Was I psyching myself up or was I really?

As I walked in the store to purchase the test kit, I could feel my heart rushing. In a matter of a few minutes and a few drops of pee, I would know. I got home and was talking to my husband. We were both excited and hoping to see the 2 stripes. I took it and…and I was really expecting to see both lines, but I only saw one. I was sad but for some reason, I wasn’t as sad as I had thought I’d be. I mean, this has been going on for a while now, that I had maybe thought something like this would happen. After all, I’ve been disappointed over and over again.

My husband was thinking that I had taken the test too early, but the one that I had gotten said “most accurate, even 6 days before your missed period.” Let me do the math, I was supposed to get my period the 31st, today is the 9th, no, I’m right. If anything, I could have taken this the week before the 31st.

This morning, I sent my doctor an email. I don’t know what to do at this point. I had my period the last 4 months. During the 3-month treatment, I had gotten my period successfully each time and at the right time. The following month after treatment was done, I got my period. This month, I didn’t.

I will wait to hear back from him and see what’s next. A friend of mine also mentioned acupuncture. Hopefully, we have that covered under our insurance. Although I have been let down again, I am not going to let this break me. I have hope.

High School Drama and The New Slang

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Posted by webmaster | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 10-09-2010

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There’s a lot going on in high school these days.  In order to keep up with what’s going on, you have to keep up with a lot of the lingo.  You have to stay ‘hip’.

One of the latest terms I’ve heard a lot of over the last few months, and this is shared in the celebrity industry, is ‘hot mess’.  This term refers to a male or female who is attractive (hot) and is in quite a bit of trouble; their lives perhaps out of control at the moment (mess).  i.e. Paris Hilton.  i.e. the girl in high school that just got caught having sex with the smirking face guy…in the high school bathroom.

‘Sic’ is making a comeback.  It was falling by the wayside a few years back as it was used more by the coastal crowd than the inner city, but it’s definitely picking up steam again.  This term refers to something super hot or super cool, depending on whether you’re watching True Blood (sic = super hot) or The Vampire Diaries (sic = super cool).

And for those of you trying to point out someone with an extremely bad attitude, you may use the term ‘salty’.  The girl that was just escorted to the office to be suspended was a bit too salty with the lip service she was giving a friend on her cell phone…during class.

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this (sometimes I wonder myself), it’s not to arm you with the latest terms being used on campus so the next time someone refers to your daughter as ‘crunk’, you’ll understand she’s a crazy drunk (cr + unk = crunk), but to point out that sometimes the shortest line between connecting two points (you and your young adult in high school) is the easiest.

You might not have to install high security locks and video cameras on their rooms and on your house’s perimeter or activate that app on their new phone that comes standard now so you can tell where they are at all times while you observe their location on a map on a browser or search for their secret place where they keep their secret stash by hiring the local search and rescue dog to sniff it out (hey they could use the training!).

Simply take them to get something to eat and talk to them about their day; their friends, their dreams and aspirations.  Don’t just go into the drone zone; actually listen.  It’s entertaining and enlightening at the same time.  I mean, when’s the last time you heard the words ‘jank’ and ‘bonk’ in the same sentence?  And when they tell you something is ‘chewy’, they’re not talking about the food you’re eating.

By being aware, you can increase the odds that the girl with the smirking face guy is NOT your daughter and she is definitely NOT the salty young woman being sent home for three days.

If only I could teleport the moron trying to sweet talk my daughter to another part of the world with the universal remote control…

Who’s Homework Is This Anyway?

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Posted by Kirsten Patel, Elementary Mommie-on-the-Run | Posted in Kirsten Patel | Posted on 09-09-2010

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It didn’t take long this year for my third grade daughters to bring home their first project homework assignment.  You know what I am talking about, the type of homework that requires a tri-fold board or a trip to Michael’s.   The second week of school and my children were required to make a solar oven.  I don’t mind these types of projects and luckily my kids are usually quite willing and excited to work on things that require glue, scissors and permanent markers.

As I was reading the instructions, I noticed down toward the end was a sentence that made me smile.  It read, “students should do this project on their own without parental help other than providing materials.”  Thank you third grade teachers, I thought to myself.  So that is exactly what I did.  I provided my girls with the shoe boxes, tin foil, black markers, saran wrap and duct tape that they asked for and set them free to design their ovens themselves.  They tested them out one afternoon in the back yard one afternoon and off to school they went with their ovens.   I was thrilled.

But I had to wonder how many parents had actually followed the teachers instructions and kept their hands out of their third graders solar oven.  If history is any indication, my guess is more than half the parents couldn’t help themselves.  My first taste of this was when my  twin girls were in kindergarten and the 100th day of school rolled around.  We were tasked with creating some sort of display of 100 of something.  It could be anything.  I asked for my daughter’s input and we created two simple poster boards.  One wrote 100 with 100 pieces of elbow macaroni and the other made ten hearts out of candy hearts.  They counted, arranged and glued the macaroni and candy hearts on themselves.  I thought they turned out cute and they looked like they were done by kindergartners.

But when we brought our projects into the classroom I was taken aback.  One child had a board created to look like a beach complete with sand dunes, fake water and tiny beach umbrellas.  Glued onto the board were 100 beach type and sea life things.  Another child had a mini racetrack with mini race cars and the thing even lit up!  Now don’t get me wrong, these projects looked great and were really cute, but there was no way they were done by a kindergartner.

A few weeks later when my daughters were asked to make a leprechaun trap, I set out to Michael’s for green paint, glitter, fake gold coins and anything else green I could get my hands on.  I picked up the girls at school, set us up at the kitchen table and told them my plan for the leprechaun traps.  They politely told me that I had some good ideas, but they had some ideas of their own.  They did the traps just they way they wanted while I had to restrain myself from interjecting my opinion.  Sure enough there were a few leprechaun traps, including my girl’s, that looked like they were done by 6 years olds and a few that made me want to check under mom and dad’s fingernails for green paint.

So this is how it went through first grade and most of second grade.  I found it slightly annoying, but not enough to make a big deal out of it.  My girls were decidedly do-it-yourselfers who would listen to my input on their projects, but really wanted to do it themselves.  They didn’t seem bothered that their classmates projects were far superior to theirs.  They weren’t really being judged against each other and I’m sure the teacher was aware of who was doing most of the work.

Toward the end of second grade though, the disparities started to become much larger.  At Thanksgiving the girls were asked to plan a menu at home and prepare a meal of thanks for their family.  I loved this project and we had a great time looking through cookbooks, buying ingredients and taking photos of the food they prepared.  When it was time to put together the tri-fold board I stepped back and let them hand write the recipes and photo captions.  When we brought them to school, I noticed some of the other boards had recipes typed out in fancy font, construction paper frames for the photos and everything was glued on perfectly straight.  My daughter noticed and said she didn’t want to turn hers in.  And then I was angry.  Just the night before she was so proud of her work.  I gently explained that those kids had help and she did hers on her own and that she should be proud of her project.

It went the same for the country reports, book reports, etc, etc.  At Open House at the end of the year I was seething while browsing the second grade dioramas.  There was just no way a second grader designed and sculpted some of those creations I saw.  I started taking pictures and planning my rant to the teacher.  Have we become so competitive that we have to do our kid’s homework for them?  What are we teaching our kid’s here?  If your project isn’t perfect it’s not good enough?  How do they learn anything from turning in three perfectly typed pages that they had nothing to do with?

That is why I was so happy to see that little sentence at the bottom of the instruction sheet for the solar ovens.  The learning happens when they actually do the work themselves.  I know it’s hard for parents to step back and let them turn in something that is less than perfect.  I get it.  I know their teachers are on the same page and I will continue to encourage my kids and praise their less than perfect hard work.  I will also continue to be irked at those parents who feel like they need to do their child’s work for them.