My Postman is Better Than Your Postman

03.11.13

Friday night was a bit of a disaster. We all hopped in the car to go to Sugarfish and as we were almost there Jane yelled at one of us for something. I lost it and yelled something at her to further escalate the issue. I should have known better. I’m allegedly the adult.

We turned around and went home because I spent eight long years working in diners, bars and steak houses and I’ll be damned if I’m ever going to be the person who goes to a restaurant to fight. Those are the worst tippers and the most horrible patrons. If you’re having a bad day stay home until you can pretend to be happy.

We had dinner, Jane was sullen and Alexander was trying to cheer her up. When we’d finished she looked at me and asked if I’d take her to Hugo’s for hot cocoa. Not only did we go but we had a lovely time. She was chatty and happy and back to being the kid I’ve raised for 14 years. Things were normal again.

Until Saturday morning. There was door slamming and yelling at 8.30 in the morning. Again, this is my sweet and even tempered child. I don’t have experience with mood swings, tantrums or doors slamming. We didn’t even have a terrible twos. Nothing. We just had Friday night and Saturday morning. Mercifully at about 9am an email came through with a link to a video. It was this.

Ever since traveling with the folks from Project Aether I’ve been looking at single sex schools differently and Archer is a great match for my kid. I love everything about that school and hoped that it would be her first choice. It wasn’t and I’m pretty sure she’ll be going somewhere else but I’m wise enough to know that until we put the envelope in the mail things can change.

Jane was incredibly relieved because Archer was higher on her list than Notre Dame but not as high up as Viewpoint or Oakwood. Shortly after 9 she’d showered and we looked outside and saw two magical objects parked on the street. Mail Delivery Trucks.

Jane and I did the same thing as many mothers and daughters around Los Angeles on Saturday morning. We hovered on steps at the front door and sort of stared longingly at the trucks. I sort of nudged Jane and said, “Go ask the mail carrier if you can have your mail first.” And she declined. Too shy.

So I sort of wandered to the mail box and my mail carrier came to talk to me. He has a 15 year old daughter and wondered if we were waiting for a package, he didn’t want to disappoint Jane but we had no packages. I explained to him that we were waiting for high school acceptance letters and he gave a finger wag and a, “Why didn’t you say so?” talk. He explained that he was training a new carrier and he was slow but getting faster and was just around the corner. We talked about his daughter’s high school and then he just disappeared.

The next thing I know my mail carrier is running down the middle of the street holding envelopes up over his head and yelling, “They’re here, they’re here!” and the neighbors are looking and one of the envelopes is very very big while two of them are small. Jane runs to meet him and starts screaming Viewpoint after grabbing the large envelope from his happy hands. Our neighbors and their kids are yelling congratulations and all is right in the world.

 

Unprepared for Disappointment (updated)

03.8.13

My daughter is cranky today. This is worth noting because, much like her father, Jane has a complete inability to hold a grudge or stay angry for any period of time. I, however, am perfectly capable of holding a grudge long enough to forget a person’s facial features but I can easily recall the slight. I’m not proud of this. It’s just the way we’re made. So when I pick up a stressed out and unhappy kid from school I was surprised and unprepared. Alexander and I are walking on eggshells, she’s sitting next to me now scowling a bit and refreshing her email every few seconds.

Today is the day that the high school acceptance letters are put in the mail. Last Friday was the day for the parochial schools and today is the day for the secular schools and my daughter is freaking out more than a little. She applied to one Catholic School and was accepted there. It’s a great school, she and I both love it (Mr. G is lukewarm) but it’s not her first choice.

Last Friday at promptly 3pm I got an email from Notre Dame congratulating Jane on her acceptance. The following day an admissions packet was sent to my mother’s house (we’d had that bit of mail forwarded to where the kids were staying) and tomorrow is an orientation day (which is code for get your checkbooks out). Of course we’re supposed to be at that school first thing in the morning tomorrow but the mail arrives around 12.30 which will let Jane know what other schools she’s been accepted to and there’s the whole issue of being in two places at once.

In that car on the way home today Jane was really upset that one of her teachers wasn’t current on grades so she appears to have a B when, in fact, it’s more like a B+ or an A- and the high schools got the wrong grades and on and on. Again, there is oddity in hearing her upset. So Alexander pulled out his limited toolkit and said something about how she’d get into every school she applied to and not to worry. He was met with venom. “Don’t say that! You don’t know that. Stop it.”

And we were all silent. Both of my kids were miserable and I wanted to punish my daughter and hug her at the same moment.

Alexander and I are doing our best to avoid her now and she’s just asked if we can have dinner at Sugarfish. I said no but missed the moment when I didn’t finish the sentence with… because I’m not spending $150 to have sushi with you when you’re nasty. I guess a good bit of parenting involves missing the moment. It’s a good thing I’ve got a few more years to get that right.

It occurred to me just moments ago that I have a celebration plan. We’ll have a nice dinner somewhere (probably Sugarfish or Katsuya) and then we’ll buy her a sweatshirt from whatever high school she decides to attend. I had not even thought of the fact that she might only get into one school. I have no plan that involves disappointment. I’m not the most optimistic woman in the world but I’m not a pessimist either. I just see my kids and I see perfection so I assume the rest of the world will too. This is probably not a realistic manner in which to approach the world.

So 3pm has come and gone and Jane and I are silently thinking that the lack of emails mean non-acceptance. When 5pm and 6pm pass and there are no emails I’m assuming that our anxiety levels will soar. How do I parent her through this one? What if her first choice school doesn’t see her as their first choice? Do I pretend to be okay with it?

What if no one emails and we actually have to wait until tomorrow afternoon? Will my heart hold out? This is not the part of parenting that I’m good at. It’s a good thing someone sent me Kinderchocolate. I’m about to bury my face in it so that my daughter can learn some real coping skills.

Update: Apparently we’re going to Sugarfish…

Sugarfish

Would You Send Your Daughter to an All Girl High School?

06.19.12

Mr. G and I had a meeting with the head of the Upper School (that’s middle school for you folks who don’t have kids in K-8 schools) and the Head of Admissions (who is very involved in high school placement). The meeting was to discuss which High Schools Jane should apply to. We talked about the area schools, which would be academically challenging without crushing her, religion, the number of students in a classroom, philosophies, how “Hollywood” they are, and if they were all girls or co-ed.

I know Jane’s first choice school is Catholic and all girls. It’s NAIS accredited so it’s academically sound, great even but I’d sort of had this fantasy of sending my kids to a completely secular school. I’m so very very tired of Chapels and prayers and I don’t even GO to school. I just sort of cringe… it’s like we finally escaped Temple and now my kid is asking for prayer.

Prayer and no boys.

Her second choice school is also all girl but it’s secular and her third choice school is secular and co-ed but has Kardashians as graduates…. they went Ivy League, right? Oy.

When Alexander walked on that campus for the first day of Kindergarten I remember overhearing parents talking about where their 8th graders were deciding to go to High School. I remember thinking to myself, “Do NOT take parenting advice from these parents. Who lets teenagers make these sorts of decisions?” I do. I let my teen make the decision. It seems so logical now to give Jane control of this, she’s only looking at great schools and if she can get herself into one of them then I’m prepared to support it.

I know there are 8234823297 studies about how girls excel in an all girl environment and recently a high school physics teacher told me that all science teachers in co-ed schools have a bias against girls (even if they don’t think they do) so maybe my daughter intuitively knows what’s best for her.

Here’s hoping anyhow.