Monday, September 21, 2009

9/21/09 Stay-at-home Monday

OK, I promised some photos and video of Gabriel at the BMX park last Sunday. He's ventured into the 2nd-level area now, and while he won't do the hardest hills, just getting there is more advanced than anything in the 1st-level area.

A fine place to stop for a cellphone chat. This kid will get his driver's license in what, 2 years? Can't wait.

My camera's shortcomings as a video camera really show when trying to record so much movement, but here's a glimpse anyway.

I happened to capture a guy hanging at the top of a plateau giving Gabriel a verbal pat on the back as he rode by. Aside from one other really good 6-year-old (better than he is, Gabriel says), Gabriel really stands out as being the smallest and youngest in this area.

Since Katrina threw up last night, one of us had to stay home with her today. Usually it's me, but my new MWF part-time schedule puts a lot of pressure on my time, and I missed a lot of work last week. Dave had no meetings today, so he stayed home with Katrina while I went to work. I think he got the better of the deal: I froze my butt and fried my mind with numbing, dull, tedious work (did I mention it's BORING?), but all in the name of getting this job DONE so I can move on.

If I had to guess, I'd say Katrina has been the healthiest baby/toddler of the three. She's gotten sick the least and recovers more quickly. Even after last night's throwing up, after which she SCREAMED (and I do mean SCREAMED) for quite a while, two hours later she was back to her old tricks finding a zillion and one excuses to get out of bed. And she was fine today, so all goes back to normal tomorrow.

Today I'm also struggling with a new committment at Gabriel's school. Next week, Gabriel is "Star of the Week" in his classroom, the first one, and I have no information at all about what we're supposed to do to prepare. The sign-up sheet (posted outside the classroom, which we're not supposed to go to because it's a "closed campus", so how were we supposed to sign up?), which luckily I took a picture of when I dared to cross the Blue Line, says:
"Each student will be highlighted as Star Of The Week. The student and their family member(s) will give a ten to fifteen minute presentation on their cultural background, talents and/or hobbies at 8:45am, on the Monday of their week. Please choose a Monday, which is convenient for you to present on. Thanks!"

Uh...hold the phone here. "...AND their family member(s)" ?? What if family members have to work, or take care of a toddler? What about this supposedly super-strict rule that no adult (or child no doubt) can enter the classroom without a negative TB test on file in the office? See any mention of that in the notice? Can the school really require a parent to get a TB test and childcare for an in-class presentation?

I'm tempted to rebel and protest just on principle, because I can't stand this sort of presumptuousness. (Not to mention the "cultural background" thing again -- we're American, we don't HAVE a cultural background!) Then again, I'd like to do it with Gabriel, and hate to disappoint him -- he loves special attention like that from me. I'm sure he'd be the only kid in the class flying solo if I refused.

I "can" take time off from my hourly-paid job, for which I pay for childcare, to present with Gabriel. But why should the school assume I can? What do stay-at-home moms with toddlers do? I couldn't possibly have Katrina in the class -- are SAHMs supposed to pay for childcare? Not all of us have parents living with them from the old country. Why should I have to make a choice between missing work and disappointing my son? And how do I have the nerve to complain to the teachers and risk starting a row?

I'm so annoyed about being put in this position! And about doing something I wouldn't mind doing!

I'm also annoyed how the signups went: on a sheet outside the classroom at a "closed campus." The only notice I had that they were there was a sentence embedded in all the other homework stuff, long after most of the signup sheet was filled (by the scofflaw moms who actually do go to the classroom door, ooh).

Call me a bureaucrat, or accuse me of spending too much time in an unambiguous, literal, completely deterministic world, but I can't stand rules that depend on laxity. "Oh, well, it's OK to cross the blue line if you're quiet" doesn't cut it. If it's a closed campus, then teachers can't put signup sheets outside the classroom door.

Funny, maybe now I know where Gabriel gets his respect for rules (well, other peoples' rules anyway).



Louise said...

It is clear to me that the only way to really get the most out of this inconsistent rules conundrum AND highlight your family's interests/talents AND make a real impression on Gabriel's classmates is this:

Wearing full leathers, ride your motorcycle over the damn blue line right up to the classroom (perhaps even through the door), whip off your helmet, shake out your hair, and declare, "The Doudna's kick ass on two wheels." Show the BMX videos, rev your engine to redline, and take off before the cops show up.

I would seriously hop on an airplane and fly back to CA from Ohio tomorrow if you told me you'd do this. I'd also post bail money :-)

MommaWriter said...

Louise's suggestion is doubtlessly the best, but just taking Katrina with you might almost make that much of an impression! That's certainly what we did when Gavin was supposed to bring the family in last year. Of course, Mam is pretty happy to just sit there and listen...

At least our school has bulletin boards for the classrooms at the end of each hallway. No need for any major scofflawing...although all that sign-up stuff is always at Back-to-School night or online anyway...

No envy for that situation. But then, I'm all about practicality. And I probably would have asked the teacher if I could put the sheet elsewhere. I'm annoying that way : )