Saturday, May 07, 2011

5/7/2011 Save and score

I'm really starting to think soccer was something of a weird bust for us, because of the team Gabriel got put on. I learned recently that some of his teammates don't even go to practices -- they just show up for the games. That's not a team, that's a group of ringers.

Today's game was against a different league, so was way the heck out in San Jose and against a different makeup of kids, racially and physically. I noticed that at least 3 of the boys on the other team were overweight, and the parent onlookers were much rowdier. Indian moms wearing sarees in Cupertino never yell "GOOOOOO!!!!!" Gabriel's team looked so much smaller and skinnier and -- well, geekier.

Though the San Jose team put more pressure on Gabriel's team at first, it still wasn't long before Gabriel's team dominated the game anyway. By the second quarter, we were well ahead in goals, most of the action was around the opposing team's goal, and once again, "two-touch" and "no scoring" measures were put in place.

Gabriel was goalie for one quarter, and got a little action. He made a terrific save which I didn't catch on video, but I did catch this save.

(the "ohhhh" of disappointment is when Gabriel fields the kick.)

Later, somehow Gabriel's team got to kick in a penalty shot. Since his team is always so far ahead, the coach lets the weakest players shoot, and this time it was Gabriel's turn. He scored! He was pretty happy about that. He did a great job, actually, a nice kick.

(the cheering is from the opposing team's parents, not ours.)

Our coach and his superstar son left at halftime, so this was a first: Gabriel's team playing without fabulous #8. Turns out, the rest of the team is also so good it didn't matter. Gabriel doesn't even realize he's one of the very weakest players, actually. He has a lot of basic personality traits that would serve him well in soccer, but his inexperience really shows at this age.

He says he wants to do soccer in the fall again, and I'll support that if he really wants to (not just "oh, well, ok"), but I sort of hope he gets on a real team that doesn't just obliterate the competition and actually loses sometimes.


Friday, May 06, 2011

5/6/2011 Early Friday

Got to work late today, didn't work through lunch, and left early. Yet I got a ton done and had a productive and useful day, both at work and outside.

This week my schedule has been crazy because of working late, trying to get ready to go back East for Dad's a result, I've let myself sleep after Dave takes the kids to school.

What a DIFFERENCE in how I feel all day. Energized, optimistic, bursting with ideas....normal. Not dragging, not miserable, not waiting until the end of the day, not pushing myself -- but rather, strong and active.

I'm just so not a morning person. My life is a morning-person's life, but there's no question that I'm so, so, so much more productive and happy throughout the day if I work late, get to bed around 12am-1pm, then can sleep in the morning until 8:30 or 9:00.

I'll have to return to a "regular" schedule when I get back from NY, but it's clear once again that though I go through the motions, biologically, I'm just not cut out for the early life.


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

5/4/2011 Restraining order

Our boys sure know how to exceed.

Today as I was picking them up, I was talking with the CDC director in his office with Julian, about "homework club," which we've signed Julian up for now. He's been messing around so much in class that he comes home with unfinished classwork, and can't keep up with his homework too. But somehow, he manages to "forget" he's supposed to do homework club, so I thought he needed a reminder.

During this conversation, Julian answered a question the CDC director asked him with, "Well, today the principal told me to...." Stop right there. The principal? Why were you talking to the principal? "Which time?" asked Julian. WHICH TIME?!

Turns out, Julian was sent to the principal's office twice today. And Gabriel was sent there once as well, for fighting with Julian. Seems the principal happened to catch Julian pushing Gabriel, and Gabriel pinning Julian against the wall in retaliation. Fluff stuff for them, but totally not allowed at school.

We got a note from the principal tonight, who said that he told both boys that during school, they are not to be closer than twenty steps to each other. They all we went out to the yard and he counted off twenty steps, and showed them how far apart from each other they need to be. The principal warned them that if they are caught together, they will both be benched for the remainder of that recess. He warned us that if there's any more hitting or kicking, they'll be suspended.

Twenty steps apart -- a restraining order of sorts. Can they possibly enforce that? Both boys of course immediately claim that it's impossible, because the other one will pester and break the rule.

This is really freakin' unbelievable. Most adults we talk to recall stories from their own childhoods, when they wouldn't have dared to defy their parents the way our boys do or speak so rudely to us when we sit down to talk with them sternly about being sent to the principal's office. But no one can give us any specific suggestions on what to do, short of threatening a whipping with a belt in the basement when Dad comes home. Frankly they both deserve it -- Julian has really been awful lately -- but let's be realistic here. How fast would Child Protective Services be on us if one of our kids actually reported anything like that happening to them? How could we possibly discuss this with other parents or teachers -- it's universally frowned on. Those sorts of methods just aren't done anymore, but nothing else that is done works to get through to them.

In this particular case, I think Gabriel was fairly innocent -- I don't blame him for being fed up with Julian's pestering. What's really called for is more separation. What a shame -- I like having my boys together, but it causes such constant problems. They're not even allowed to be together at school anymore -- they have to stay 20 steps apart.

To think, I was so looking forward to next year being the first year our kids are finally all at the same school. Instead, I'm dreading the next 2 years until Gabriel goes to middle school and they're finally apart!


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

5/3/2011 The problem child

And here I thought Gabriel was our "difficult" one. Oops there I go again, pigeonholing and assigning roles.

Julian has been SUCH a pain lately! He's not finishing his schoolwork in class, he's being a pest at the CDC, and is really obnoxious when we try to talk to him, rolling his eyes and making loud groaning sounds.

I had to have a long heartfelt talk with him (squelching my irritation and dismay) about not teasing a CDC-mate who only has 4 fingers on one hand. I mean, how awful! I told him how sad it would make me if someone teased him for that. I also tossed in the hard-line approach that it's also "not allowed," but mostly focused on appealing to his humanity, and told him that he's a nice kid so he shouldn't say mean things. He made a lot of excuses, like that the other kid pushes him sometimes.

Julian's latest way of getting out of things is to scream "I'm **HUNGRY**!!" -- but only when asked to do something he doesn't want to do, and sometimes after he's had seconds or thirds at dinner. Sometimes he's so adament in this excuse that we have to send him outside. Sorry, Dave and I just need to talk when he gets home sometimes -- especially when I have a trip back East imminent because of my Dad's passing -- We get to talk!

I recently asked Julian's teacher about 2nd grade. She suggests that we fill in a request form with the principal for a teacher. We're not allowed to request a particular teacher; only characteristics. Here's what Julian's teacher said.

Yes, you can make a request of the type of teacher that would best fit Julian. I am going to recommend that his room and Gabriel's room be as far apart as possible next year. Being so close together this year made things difficult.

If I could pick the perfect teacher for Julian, the characteristics of this teacher would be: FIRM, structured, give positive praise when needed, appreciate music/arts, energetic, knows about nature and science.

Seems every year toward the end of the school year, I shift into "hang-in-there" mode, in which I cross my fingers and hope that we make it to the end of the school year without any major disasters. This year, that anxiety is directed at Julian!

What is it with my bright little boys, bursting with health and vigor, brimming with promise and potential -- why are they so DARNED DIFFICULT?!