30 April 2013

Parenting faux pas

I am so very thankful that Miss Girl acted out of character tonight! She is usually a mother hen, who will get others to do what they are supposed to do, even if it means physically guiding them....
I heard the toilet flush in their bathroom, after she'd already been in bed two hours, then I heard the soft patter of little feet coming toward my room. She peered through the open door and whispered loudly, "daddy, the toys didnt go night-night."
She then grabbed my hand, and dragged me to the bathroom, where the bath is still occupied with water and toys. Lil Miss had started crying during Girls bath, so we finished up, and I took her with me to go tend to the baby, forgetting about the bath....
Thank God she didnt try to get the toys out herself, because they have trouble getting in and out of the bathtub, and God forbid she'd slipped and hit her head, and possibly fallen into the water.....would I have heard it?

Lil Miss is officially 6mo old. Its bittersweet, in that my first daughter never made it to that milestone, passing away at 5m27d. (SIDS) Ive been a bit more anxious as that milestone grew nearer, as I was when the twins neared it. Its sometimes easy to forget that kids aren't invincible, even as I sit here now, with a 6mo, my mother hen safely back in bed, and my son recovering from heart surgery in the hospital.
The one child who I didn't think I had to worry about, ended up being the one that could have been seriously injured, or worse!

Im going to try not to beat myself up over this, but it does reiterate how important it is to not only teach boundaries, but also to keep aware of your environment, because teaching doesn't always work.
We have taught the twins over and over that they are not to be in the bathtub (or pool, pond, lake, deep puddle, ocean, etc) without an adult there. But they don't always listen to rules, and that could have very easily been the case.
Or, had this happened a few months down the road, it could have been Lil Miss, reaching for one of the duckies.

My nightly check includes securing everything in the kitchen, and all the downstairs windows and doors (windows are usually open during the day, because of our temperate weather), the lights, the windows in the kids room and nursery (putting the twins sippy cups in the mini-fridge, as well) and quick overview of the rooms (make sure monitor is working, nothing is in the crib, or near it, make sure twins haven't stashed anything, etc). The bathroom wasn't something that occurred to me to check, since it has no windows. But, alas, my Parent-brain kicks in. Forgetting to drain the bathtub. I will be including it for now on.
Being a parent is like working in the IT field. You have to constantly be upping your game, or you risk mild-to-severe consequences. You cant still be trying to baby-pad the brick fireplace when your kid is now running out into traffic. You have to stay ahead of the game, or at least keep up!

12 April 2013

That kid

Walking down the hall, feeling like he's being watched.
Quickening his pace, he reaches his locker, changes out his books, and rushes off to his next class.
He arrives before anyone else, breathes a sigh of relief to have made it safely, and takes a seat, ready for the quiz he knows is coming.
He shared several of the same teachers as his older sister, and after class collects the work to take home to her, while she is out sick.  He makes small talk with the teacher, updating her on his sister, and discussing the quiz.  It had been easy for him, as usual, the patterns and puzzles unfolding their solutions, quickly, in his head.  He didn't intend to be a "teachers pet", but the teachers were some of the few in the school who didn't cast him aside because of how his brain works.  Unfortunately, his teacher shoos him on his way, not allowing him to be late for his next class.
A quick jab to his shoulder is all he endures, walking to the opposite end of the hall, but he knows this next class will be less than pleasant.  He takes his assigned seat, diagonally in front of one of the kids that has made his year a living hell.  This teacher, not being as considerate as his other teacher, believes that kids need to learn to stand up for themselves, and therefore refused to move his desk, when he finally asked several weeks earlier.
He endures quiet name-calling as the clock drags on like honey in a snowstorm.  He is hit by several paper balls in the back, before his classmate escalates to pencils.  He does his best to ignore him, knowing that reacting will fuel these antics.  He focuses on his worksheet, counting down the minutes until the bell.
When it finally rings, he gathers his books quickly, and darts for the door, but not quickly enough, as his classmate gets there at the same time, and shoves him into the door frame.

He takes the long way to lunch, avoiding any traps that lay in wait.  When he purchases his lunch, he makes his way to his usual table.  Though his sister is not there to watch over him, her friends still let him sit at the table, and they are nice enough not to give him a hard time, like the rest of the kids.  He's a bit different than most of the kids at the school.  His name doesn't match his parents, or his sister.  He is a foster child, an "unwanted" in the eyes of the other students.  He is a smart kid, and is 2 years ahead of his peers in his classes, but that wont reconcile their opinions of him.  He doesn't fit in, whether he tries or not, and the other kids don't make it easy.

A little background on his town:
There are less than 10,000 residents, and there are more grocery stores (2) than airport employees (1 f/t).  In the last 10 years, you were more likely to get killed by a tornado (4 people) than by another person (2 murders).   There are more cops (19) than there have been fatal car crashes (17) in the last 35yrs.
There are 2 elementary schools, one middle, and one high school, each one hosting between 400-600 students.  There are less than 1% of households with children who are not the biological children of the household heads.  It is a 90%  White community, with less than 2.5% Hispanic residents

After lunch, its time to head upstairs for Spanish class. He is at an advantage, in that he grew up speaking Spanish, but it only proves to make him more of a pariah.  He tries to keep his head down in class, but the teacher doesn't allow him to not partake.  She calls on him several times, and though he hesitates with his answers, they are correct, earning him a piercing glare from his main bully.  When their last tests are handed back to them, there are groans and moans from the masses, and the teacher suggests the other students should seek his help studying.  This serves only to alienate him further.
When the bell rings, he is slow to rise, hoping to miss the crowds on his way to his last class.
The halls are sparsely populated when he makes his way to the stairs.
As he steps through the fire doors, at the top of the stairs, a blur comes out from a corner, and pushes him to the floor.  His books slide across the floor, scattering his papers everywhere.  When he tries to grab his book, it is kicked off the landing, taking what seemed like ages to hit the floor below them.
He scrambles to the railing, trying to get to his feet, when he is struck in the back, knocking the wind out of him, and causing him to hang on to the rail for support.
He is called names, told he is weak and pathetic. He is spit on, and told he is worthless. Wiping the spit from his arm, he tries to get to his feet, but is grabbed, and shoved against the rail again. So close to the edge, he loses his balance and feels himself falling down the stairs. He reaches out to catch himself, and is rewarded with a disturbing snap, as his arm collapses beneath him. He cries out in pain, as he continues tumbling, eventually coming to a stop on the landing, hitting his head against the wall as he rolls to a stop.
His screams alerted several teachers, who come running from the second floor. As his attackers run away, one of them kicks him, with malice, or just trying to escape, its unclear.
When the teachers reach him, he is unable to get up, with sharp pains pulsing through his rib cage. This is the first time he notices the metallic taste in his mouth, as one of the teachers run to find a phone. He tries to bring his hand to his mouth, but finds his left arm angled oddly, with searing pain. He pulls it into his lap, cradling it. His teacher pulls out a napkin, and wipes away the bloody spit thats dribbling off his chin.

When the paramedics arrive, he is carefully placed on a stretcher and transported to the local clinic. He is diagnosed with a broken arm, several bruised ribs, and a gash in his lip, from where his teeth dug in when he hit the rail. He also has a concussion, and was kept overnight.

The school suspended him and the other students involved (that they were able to identify) in the fight. They recommended to his parents that he be removed from the school and transferred to a different school, stating if another incident happened, they would have to expel him.

He finished the school year at a school 30min away. Having to wake up an hour early to make it to school in time. He was closely supervised at all times.
Upon completion of the school year, his parents researched alternatives, and were afforded the opportunity for him to study abroad. On scholarship, he made it into a school in Europe, one which promised a safe environment for him to learn, and offered the stimulation he craved.
His next school year started off slight, but he made several friends, and found his in helping tutor several of the rugby players.

01 April 2013

The First Date

So, Mr Boy is currently on a date, with one of Miss Girl's friends.
Starting from the beginning:
We went to church yesterday, and enjoyed the company of some long time friends, who have a daughter a few months older than the twins. Cee gets along really well with both twins, and is just a really sweet kid.
After the service, we were enjoying some refreshments and sweets, and Mr Boy approached her and asked her to go on a date with him. She said "sure" and they hugged. He then told her he would take her to lunch tomorrow (now today)
All the parents are sitting around amused, at this point, trying to to laugh.
Mr Boy comes up to me and says "Daddy, I need the caw tomowow"
"Oh really? For what?"
"I has a date, youw dwiving us to lunch"
"You have a date? With who?"
"With Cee, duh! And I need you to pay."
"Daddddddy.... I don't have enough dollows fow it. You do!"

So, it was set. We cleared it with her parents, who were amused, and fine with the idea.

Then came the planning. Mr Boy refused to take her any place "cheap or cheesy", so no kiddie restaurants or fast food. We agreed to Olive Garden. Then he said he needed his shirt ironed, and proceeded to lay out his outfit, and tell Wife how she was going to do his hair.
He even wanted me to wash the car.... Fortunately, it was getting dark, and was raining.
Today, he woke up quickly, ate breakfast, cleaned up the Easter mess, and watched MLP:FIM, all the while asking if it was time to leave yet.
He took a bath, got himself dressed, had his mom do his hair, borrowed a dab of my cologne, and then ran off to the backyard to gather some flowers for Cee.
When we got to her house, he told me to wait at the car (chauffeur has to open the door for them, of course) and he went to the door by himself. He looked a little nervous, but he rang the bell and stood patiently.
Her mother answered the door, and invited him into the foyer, telling me they needed a minute.
A minute or two later, he escorts Cee out of the house, and I open the door to let them into the vehicle. He helps her with his sister's booster seat, before securing himself.

Once we are at Olive Garden, the hostess greeted us, and asked about our party number. Boy chimed in, informing her they were one a date, and needed two seats, and I wasnt sitting with them. She seated me two tables away, so I could keep an eye on them. Fortunately it wasnt super busy.
I helped them order pasta and made sure they had their breadsticks, and then I was exiled.
They are talking, and coloring, and eating.
And I sit here with my ipad, alone, eating my alfredo pasta thing, alone........wondering when they will run out of things to do while sitting at a table....