Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Momster me... ROAR!!!

hey it's perfect mom me back from la-la land. back to reality. the reality where i am actually sometimes a monster of a mom. it's really hard for me to admit this into vast open space for everyone one to see, but transparency makes it better for others. (right?) anyway, i had a crappy morning and lauryn was (unintentionally) driving me crazy. a million zillion questions, 90% of which were the single, three letter word question: why? or actually, she says "'cause why?"

it was only about 930 when my little red i-have-had-enough-of-this light started blinking with increasing speed and intensity. 930 AM and i was done. how awful am i?

it was just one of those days when every. single. dogvomit thing was a huge BATTLE! you ever have one of those? is the pope still catholic?

so all this to say that by the time we arrived at our destination at 1145 and i had parked the car and looked around at lauryn and saw her oozing green nose (yummy!) after i had TOLD her to GET A TISSUE AND WIPE IT before we left the house, i snapped like a dry twig. and i said to her, DIDN'T I TELL YOU TO WIPE YOUR NOSE BEFORE WE LEFT THE HOUSE, LAURYN?! and i grabbed a wipe with all kinds of malicious intent and reached around to wipe her face. but she pre-empted me and her hand shot up to her face where she began to use the back of her hand to drag that yummy goodness across her cheek. did i already say that i had snapped? because that was a lie. it was at this point that i growled at her and almost screamed: NO!!!!!!!!!!! and she froze. then i tried to wipe the crap off her face and she pulled back (snap! growl.) GIVE YOUR FACE TO ME!!!

can you imagine the scene? and literally, within seconds she was talking and acting like nothing had transpired between us. i mean, about 3 seconds. is she really that forgiving? that innocent? can she actually just let go like that? or will this come up in 20 years on a doctor's couch?

i really hate when i act like that. i was running it over and over again on the loop in my mind for hours after. feeling awful. but then i followed suit and forgave me. i think everyone involved knows i'm not actually evil. not perfect. but not evil either. how about you?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

my bug-eyed beaut'

you know how sometimes on tv they have the elapsed time photography of something magical that usually happens in a shroud of mystery, but then they go there and set up their cameras and wait and wait and then we get to sit at home and watch it happen in seconds? (what is that like a 50 word sentence?)

but you know what i mean - the amazing flower going from tiny little bud to amazing burst of color and majesty right before your very eyes. like that.

sometimes i feel like i'm watching that - a little bit, not a lot (kind of like the 2-second loop of the weather moving 1cm on the radar) - with my daughter, lauryn. it's like she's ever so gently, ever so slowly unfurling right before my very eyes. and some days i stand in genuine awe and amazement to see the beauty and the joy that is my daughter. that is lauryn. not my daughter, really - just her very own self.

there are moments when the intoxicating fragrance of her catches me be surprise and i have to stop what i'm doing and breathe deeply. drinking her into my very cells. her laugh. her determination. her spark. those big tropical sky-like brown eyes- mostly sunny and clear, but sometimes uncertain, even rainy. her still-tiny hands on my face, arms tightly clinging to my neck. the actual feel of her skin under my lips. that she still fits in my lap. her delight in living things - especially animals. these are the moments when i feel so tinkerbell-ish; like i've been sprinkled with fairy dust and i really could just float away with my happy thought that is lauryn elisabeth.

she caught a frog yesterday. and i was so proud. i felt like - like i had the coolest kid on the block. did you know lauryn caught a frog? i said to everyone with ears. tell 'em, lauryn - i said almost gloating (i bet your kid doesn't catch frogs.) but not quite (thank god because, really that's not at all what it was about). and she was proud too. she wanted to tell everyone. and she did. and, of course, when our audiences were duly impressed, i would fill in that she catches lizards too. regularly. (can you see the aloof smirk on my face?) oh yes, she really is something else, isn't she?

i love feeling this way about lauryn. i wish it was possible to feel those feelings 24/7 (do i really wish that? i guess that would be nice.) but alas, this is the real world and i sho nuff don't. but for now, let's just revel in this bliss. let's flounce carelessly in the fairytale fields and meadows of the times when we are fully aware of - immersed in - the magic and wonder of our children, for they are not so close together as we'd like them to be.

i'll close with a quote from Anne Lammot's superaweseomgreat book, Plan B (this is majorly paraphrased due to the slow but steady removal of my brain tissue through my breasts over the last 4 years)... blah blah blah here it is: unconditional love is real and attainable, it's just that it only lasts for about 8 to 10 seconds at a time.

Monday, May 21, 2007

NQP Curriculum (Primary School)

i really wanted to show you why i am so excited about this school. Here is the official site for the creators of the curriculum. Specifically, it's the page about the primary school curriculum.

looks doubtful that I'll be able to teach there anytime soon, however, as they have some requirements that I don't currently meet. more on that later. right now, I MUST get to bed.

nighty night.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

fairytales for feminists: ode to elisabeth

another one of my agenda's, i guess:


really, i'm about "humanism" but sometimes you have to pick a group and fight for them to gain status (africans, for example). and the glass ceiling is real people. lots of women are reaching for the short end of the stick and the don't even know it. what do i mean by that?

settling for mediocre mates.
feeling inadequate without one.
walking out of the room.
believing in an inherant weakness.
forgetting that the divine is equally as feminine as she is masculine.
(are we or are we not made in the image of God(dess) and we ARE women, right?)
and much more!!

so, thanks to inspiration by some forward thinking friends (hey girls!) i have revamped my storytelling so that women aren't always helpless victims that need rescuing by sword weilding, crown wearing heroes. last night i created my ode to elisabeth.

prince rafael always had a hard time listening to his mother. as a young boy, a teenager and even as a young man. (i figure i shouldn't deviate too much from the standard terminology till i'm deeper in the water.) anyway, he grew up well enough and loved to take walks in his vegetable garden. where he grew all kinds of wonderful, healthy veggies so that he could be strong and smart. zucchini, potatoes, broccoli - you name it; (no seriously. you name it! you can put in your own list here). so one day while walking in his garden, poor prince rafael stumbled and hit his head and fell into a deep, deep (deep) sleep.

meanwhile... (i'm enjoying this a little too much, i think)

in the next QUEENdom over, there was a lovely princess called elisabeth. sshe was always kind and good and took good care of her little brother (i'm not kidding. i said that.) she never pushed or hit and always LOVEd to share everything she had. she also had special magical powers of healing. and so people from all over came to her for her to touch them with her kindness and love. (inspired by a story i saw on 20/20 on friday about a living Goddess in india called Amma who hugs people, i also said that princess elisabeth gave the best hugs ever!) but most of all, she LOVED animals. here i listed a litany of every furry, shelled, crawling, cold-blooded, minute, enormous animal i could think of that came to her for healing for themselves as well. (at this point in the story, lauryn enthusiastically interjected that princess elisabeth "is me, mommy!!!") and said that coincidentally elisabeth also had lovely brown skin and dark brown curly hair and the biggest most beautiful dark brown eyes you'd ever seen. so big, i said, she held the world in them. (damn! i'm good)

well, princess elisabeth got word of the tragedy with prince rafael and decided at once to ride on her beautiful mare "midnight" where she was warmly welcomed by prince rafael's worried mom. and elisabeth gained an audience with the (comatose - haha) prince and she gently and lovingly touched his shoulder and he woke up. and he was so thankful to her that they became best friends. and he showed her his vegetable garden and they grew veggies together and took long rides in the coutnry together and loved being with each other so much that they decided to build a new castle together and share their lives together as friends. (i guess i could've thrown some economic justice in but the story was already chockoblock full. i'll come up with another story for that.)

isn't that a nice story? i know i'll tell that one again and again. (if she wants to hear it!) "mom! enough with the agenda stories! can't you just tell me regular old goldie locks?"

just doing my job...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

mother to mother

dear mothers,

i am just thinking about this journey we are on as a group and as individuals. i am thinking about the beauty of who we are and what doing with our lives and in our children's lives. i am honored to be a mother and i honor you, mother.

we are connected, each of us, to the quiet strength of our Mother Earth.
we pass on our strenghts to our daughters, and to our sons.
we are responsible for the coming of a new day; a new generation of human beings.
we are the roots of the trees of our families.
we are the soft place that our beloved comes to rest.
we are the sparkle on the ocean
the light of the moon
the whisper of the wind
the rhythm of the world.

i honor you mother. your strength, your beauty, your love.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

getting an edumacation in para-(medic please!-)dise

first off. sorry it's been like 10 years since i've last posted. i am trying not to say that i was in the vortex that is my life, but i don't seem to be able to help it. this thirteen jobs business is kicking my but. thirteen? let's see...

nursing (that's two: am and pm)
talking to my preschooler (over and over and over and over and over and over again)
recovering from this op. (almost over. yaay!)
waking up every morning
strapping kids into their car-seats (don't scoff. when it's more than one kid, it counts as employment!)

i think that might be it. so i lied. call it exaggeration. anyway, my latest job has been sorting out lauryn's schooling. since the home school thing isn't looking too - let's just say it - pretty. oh, i AM starting a home school - a play-group in my apartment to be more "pacific". (i've always wondered how come those people never were "atlantic" about anything.) anyway, it's going to be called the spectrum play school. i still hope to pull of the montessori thing in the next couple of years but in the meantime, it will be a thrice weekly for 2's and 2 1/2's.

(have you noticed that i have yet to get to the subject line of this post? well, i DID mention it last paragraph but let's just get to it then, shall we?)

disclaimer: the thoughts, views and opinions expressed at milkshaken will not reflect those of the reader. you may not like it, but don't be offended because every mom does what she feels is best. and then there are those moms who risk martyring themselves to do better than that. i relinquish all responsibility for anybody's feeling offended cause that's not about me. nuff said.

lauryn will be going (we hope) to the little schoolhouse in september. most of you already know that i am a very firm believer in no academic learning for young children. i think it is absolute BS. this ridiculous race to the illusion of a finish line has trickled all the way down into the pre-schools and i am pissed off at the shit that i hear about at some schools. for example there is a local school that's well respected. the owner is quite a lovely individual and i do not wish to mar her credentials so i will not name the school. let's just call it "the top school". the group of kids there that are 3 at that start of the school year are now learning how to write their names. let me say that again. THREE. LEARNING TO WRITE THIER NAMES. i really am heartbroken. and i have a friend whose child is being threatened to be HELD BACK. HELD BACK. if s/he doesn't learn how to do this by june. this child will not be four until after june. people are you hearing me? this isn't even pre-kindergarten here. that is some shit. i've mentioned it to a couple of early learning specialists and they - traditional as they were - were equally flabbergasted.

so there are really one a few options on the island for schooling: (i'll use fake names to protect the schools' identities)

monarch way- not even if it was free and the last school standing. everyone there is vomiting (anti) jesus crap that will darken any light that remains in the soul.

prime and anti - too far. no high school (major problem) and the curriculum is really really heavy. so no.

elizabeth's choice (EC) - went for the tour. the ELC is NOT an option. more on that later.

sandy port kids club - btdt. too far. waiting for AL to retire either way.

not quite presbyterian (NQP) - costs a ton of cash. went for the tour anyway. here lies the crux of my sad state of affairs.

now for the stories. for me, it had come down to EC because it was a good school and it was close by and relatively affordable. with ideals like mine: montessori learning, no rushing kids, lots of space to run and play, a pool and a good sports programme - it is impossible to find the perfect school. (here in para-medic please-dise). but i figured if we skip the ELC (which i've heard countless scary stories about) and just started in the primary school it would be OK. well, deborah went to book the space and - surprise surprise - it's almost impossible to get in without going through the ELC. so we went back and did the tour to see for ourselves if it was as scary as some had made it out to be. sad news. it was. i am tormented by the image of three year olds (turning four during the school year) with big red X's and check marks and SCORES on their WORKSHEETS. count the beans, glue them down in quantities from 1 to 10. that was the task. fair enough (i guess, but not really) and they were graded. what TF is that? deborah and i left and we were reeling. we were almost prepared to deal with the writing in pre-k, the lack of good toys, the computer in the class - those big red X's were the little breeze that blew us over and now we were stuck. now what?


my brain had the lovely little idea to "just have a look see" at what NQP has to offer. this, for me, was kind of like saying i need a watch, let's just nip into patek phillipe to see what they have. mostly ridiculous since i can only really afford a citizen but i happen to know that they (PP) make very good watches.

naturally, i went for the tour at NQP and it was WONDABAR! INCREDIBLE!! AMAZING!!! The classrooms were like little shrines to most of my ideologies. (of course.) no letters/numbers on the walls. just really neat creative stuff. they were doing eric carle books and had done artwork to match the story. they were learning about how humans coexist with animals. they have a fantastic library with gallery floor seating for the little ones. they have a huge, fantastic music room. no religious stuff. reading doesn't start till reception (kindergarten) and even then they only get books when each child is ready. no computer in the class. no graded work as far as the eye could see. just lots of color and wonder all around the room. monthly parent-teacher talks. parents can come it at 2:15 and share in story time. folders done at year's end to show the progress through the year. (this is how rex drew mom and dad in september - circles - and this is how max is now drawing mom and dad in may - circles with lines for legs and facial features.) i really was impressed and i had to keep my jaw from being slack with wonder and aww. no kidding. it was that good. so what's the problem? the little thing i haven't mentioned yet: tuition. and i say tuition because "school fees" just wouldn't cover it. sort of like calling a luxury million foot yacht a boat. it's right. but it isn't.

twenty six seven hundreed dollars per term... for kindergarten! that's 2-7. hundred. kindergarten. it increases for each grade level. so now what?


get a job teaching there. the vice-principal who gave the tour said that the discount for teachers is generous and was made even more so just this year as there were still some teachers who couldn't afford to send their kids there and the admin thought that was insane. so i finish my degree and teach there. or, get a part time job and earn $400/week working from 10 to 2 every day.


bottom line, i know i'm going to get flak for my decision (just like natural birth, co-sleeping, extended nursing, un-schooling, healthy eating and all that) but i am a mother who intends to do the absolute best i can for these people whose lives have been entrusted to me. and i will do what it takes for them to get the kind of education i think is best. like i said to nathan, it won't be easy. it won't be pretty at times but i will show up for these kids. i will be home when they are home and i will find a way to work and make the money i need to while they are in school. and it will cost me a lot (personally) but this is what i've signed up for. so look for bitching and moaning on the side.

yeah baby.