First day of 7th grade

First day of 7th grade

Energy is a peculiar thing.  Not just physical, as in, I got enough sleep to be able to climb stairs, deal with difficult people and cook another supper.  It is mental, as in, I can envision and do the small step towards getting my big dreams accomplished, and spiritual, as in, I can spend the morning editing my overgrown garden and know I am just where I should be.

I was at the first Quest Retreat this past weekend.  I was one of 6 staffers and came home exhausted.  I slept well Sunday night but it took until Tuesday to begin taking small steps again.  I’m still busy on that never ending to-do list and spiritual energy is on the back burner.  Hope to get there without untoward delay.
I feel a pressure to get cracking on the two Mindful Circle workshops that I have scheduled at the end of the month.  I had no one sign up for the summer workshop and I am feeling the dread of that happening again.  I am awful at promotion, especially self promotion, and so I drag my feet and sweat over doing it.  How would it be to change that?

At school, Julia was scheduled art on only A or B days (they alternate and I forget which) and she has it for two periods in a row.  I missed it looking at the proposed schedule last week even though I know that I studied it.  Today, I noticed it and this is not at all optimal for Julia.  I think it may create behavior problems in school.  I don’t know how much content in the two classes will vary or whether Julia will just be carrying over whatever she works on in one class to the next.  I suspect that Julia will be left to do her work pretty much by herself a good deal of that time.  She will love that; however, that backlash will mean a much tougher transition to the next academic work.  It also means that there is no art 2 or 3 days a week which doesn’t work at all.  Emailing her special ed teacher seems to have fixed things and changed schedules.

Vigilance!

I am in the lucky situation where no one is trying to give her less than she needs but I am the only one who looks after her best interest to the exclusion of all others.  Yeah, that’s a parent’s job.  It’s just that when you have a typical kid, it doesn’t come into play as much as it does when a kid has challenges.  If this had been Cheshire, I would not have bothered calling.  She still had a lot of art. Had this been a smaller school for Julia, I might not have called.  As it it, I see art as the best grounding time that Julia has in the day and I didn’t want to give that up.

And she is willingly taking lunch from home.

At least for the last two days.  About mid-way through fifth grade, Julia wanted to “eat what the other kids eat” which meant cafeteria food.  I am not crazy about cafeteria food but if it made her feel like other kids, I could support it.  In elementary, the lunch was handed to them on a tray.  No choice.  This was actually good for Julia.  She tends to eat what is on her plate unless she really dislikes it.  Read: broccoli.  Last year, the middle school lunch model is for kids to line up and pick what they want from a choice of a few things on the cafeteria.  Pick the amount and the variety.  There is also a salad bar but I don’t think she ever used it except to pick up a piece of fruit.  According to Julia, most of the time she was eating one small piece of pizza.  To get lunch, the kids get in line and Julia tends to get in and then leave lines.  The kid does not do lines.  I am sure when she came back to her place, the other kids told her to go to the end of the line and I am sure that she did that without question.  The upshot was she got her lunch last every day and by that time the choice was not so great even if she had decided to pick up more than the pizza slice.  Also, by the time she sat down to eat, there was very little time left.

Last year, when her little social skills class had some cooking lessons, her teacher commented that she ate anything she could.  From that I take it that she could have eaten more at lunch.  This summer, I saw her eat three hearty meals in Italy, I packed a big lunch for Girls Rock Camp and she was not shy about any meal at Camp AweSum.  And so, I surmised that the single piece of pizza at noon was leaving her hungry for at least part of her school day.

She was not adverse to my suggestion to pack lunch again, especially when I offered spicy noodles, tomatoes and peaches.  She picked out a new lunch bag and we got new little plastic boxes.  I love those tiny plastic things!  I put in an extra granola bar which she did not touch yesterday but everything else was gone.  What I packed, sans granola bar, is less than she has been eating at lunch but I am hoping that she eats everything.  I will increase it later if this works and she is still eating more than a single piece of pizza.  I’m not even mentioning nutrition.  What delighted me was that she, and her teacher, told me after school that Julia asked to go upstairs to her locker before lunch to retrieve her bag.  This kind of remembering was unheard of two years ago.

Julia also asked me a few days ago to make rice, peas and hard boiled eggs for breakfast.  This is new.  She rarely asks for any special food and when I give her choices, I usually have to drag the answer out of her.  She has been eating waffles, a scrambled egg and a banana for years now.  Rice, egg and peas is easy.  I’d go a lot further if she has more preferences.

On Thursday, before breakfast, before she got dressed, Julia said that she felt dirty, wanted a shower and wanted to use deodorant.  Could have knocked me on the floor!!  Washing has never been her strong suit.  I’ve chalked it up to a lack of early training and a lack of awareness about herself in relation to the world.  We’ve been in conversation about keeping clean; she has a shower/bath schedule and she has not seen any use for deodorant before today.  Again, this may never happen again, but WOW, for one day.

When I dropped Julia off on Thursday, I said to have a good day at school.  Like always.  She got out of the car and was about to close the door when she said, ‘you have a good day at school, too.’  Then she stopped and asked, “are you going to school today?”  I tell ya’ that sent chills up my spine.  Julia reciprocated with a pleasantry which is a big deal around here and then she noticed something about me.  ME!  Well, me, as in not her.  What was I doing today?  I almost couldn’t answer but I reeled off a few things before sending her to the school door.

She ran to the door and I again noted how different she looks from everyone else.  Other kids are in jeans, maybe shorts, tee shirts, sneakers.  I remember Cheshire’s middle school look which was different from that but matched her class pretty well.  Julia multi-colored skirts, tie died shirts and pink shoes.  Her backpack is purple, her notebook neon green and her lunch bag a pink and black zebra stripes.  She is the tiger lily  in the garden bed of old hydrangea.  She either sticks out like a sore thumb or is gloriously unique.

Today, Friday morning, of course was another story.  Oh, Julia arrived at school but it was late.  She dawdled and was distracted even with her written schedules.  I could have rush through the last few things but I have faith that if she gets natural consequences, she will figure it out.  I want to have peaceful morning, at least when possible.  Perhaps I want that as the norm because I know that exceptions will arise. And she wants to get to school.  On time.  I will wake her up 15 minutes earlier next week to see if that helps.  As it is we are waking up close to an hour and a half before we need to leave the house.  Her routine would take me 30 minutes and should take her no more than 45.  So, there is a lot of lead time now.  This is still about our old nemesis time.  There is some understanding on her part, but not enough.  Clocks, watches, alarms and visual timers do only a little bit of good.  Julia can ignore any of them.  Sometimes I imagine that she is not willfully ignoring time but that she exists in a parallel universe in which time does not exist.  I know I can be obsessed with time and I don’t want to do that to her.  But I would like to install some curiosity about keeping and attending to time.  That might be enough.