Smartypants, Revisited

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the parent-teacher conference we had with The Princess’s teacher and our concerns for what we would be able to do to help her remain challenged, engaged and frankly, unBORED with the process when she is so far ahead of her classmates academically.

I was able to speak with a coordinator of gifted programs and I felt well-prepared when Hubby and I went to meet with the school principal today about what kind of resources the school could or would use to help us help our daughter. Frankly, I was prepared to have to present a lot more information than I really needed. We ultimately decided skipping a grade entirely wasn’t the magic answer (and honestly? I heard SO MANY grade-skipping horror stories! Yikes!) and hoped that with some of our other ideas, we could present a compelling argument to the principal for putting something in place for The Princess.

We were pleasantly surprised.

Not only was he receptive to our concerns and our ideas – he had already started doing some legwork of his own to research ways an “OFFICIAL” program could be put into place. My daughter certainly isn’t the first smartie to walk through their door, surely she won’t be the last — and the potential benefits of developing a program for gifted children extend beyond just our family.

Not only had the Principal been brainstorming ideas of ways the curriculum could be differentiated to help The Princess, he’d already been thinking about what teacher would be the best fit for our daughter next year. He was already in the process of scheduling a sit-down with the superintendent to speak not just of our daughter, but the school district at large and how the lack of having a clearly-defined program could potentially hurt kids at risk for becoming bored with the lack of challenge in their school day.

And as I type this and recount it all, I am still giddy.

Do I expect the PERFECT plan? Nope.

Do I imagine it will all flow smoothly from Day One? Nah. Nothing ever does.

But the dialog has started and both sides are listening – and the fact that this impact may be broader than I had originally hoped, well, it IS exciting. To know that the schools are looking to identify these kids who require more challenge and possibly a little  tweaking to their curriculum to keep them engaged and eager to learn – and that they may have a plan in place to more readily help these families and keep those kids loving school? I could not be happier right now.

Thursday Ten: Big Fat Orange Moon Edition

1. I hate that it gets dark so early now, but as I left the house this evening to take some DVDs back to the movie rental place (“Baby Mama”, in case you were curious – but man, I can’t look at Tina Fey now without seeing Sarah Palin) and to go to Pumpkin’s preschool parent/teacher conferences (Seriously – more later) I looked up and the moon was rising and it was this huge big nearly perfectly round ball in the sky. I looked several times, not sure at first it was really the moon. I’m not sure what else I thought it might be, but it was just too perfect looking. As I drove, I kept looking up and the moon became more and more orange. Now it’s just obscured behind clouds (it IS Michigan, you know), but man, how beautiful.

2. And YES. Parent/Teacher conferences for Pumpkin’s preschool/daycare program. It was excruciating actually. When The Princess was this young, they didn’t do this kind of hooey, and though I’m relieved about that, I’m sure it would have been different because The Princess is this freakishly brilliant kid. Not saying Pumpkin’s not – she’s just…different. One of the things they assessed Pumpkin on is her knowledge of the alphabet – knowing the letter name, the Zoophonic animal representation, the Zoophonic “signal”, and if she could recognize the letter by sight. According to her assessment, she didn’t recognize any of the letters – a fact I know to be complete crap, because I’ve seen her identify letters. It’s really dumb to test kids like that – especially since three year olds tend to be free-wheeling, stubborn, controlling beasts who seem to like to do what THEY want to do WHEN they want to do it.

3. My grandfather seems to be doing well. He’s a little hoarse, but he’s home. I’m so relieved he spent less than 24 hours in the hospital this time. Whew. For those who extended positive thoughts towards my family – THANK YOU.

4. Music for the week: I have been listening to Seal’s “Soul” nonstop all day and I’ll be writing more about it soon, but OH MY GOD it’s incredible. So incredible. While I was all, “Oh Seal!” a friend sent me “I Wish”, a song by DMX featuring Seal, and I LOVE THAT ONE TOO. Also jamming to, “It’s a New Day” (, and “White Horse” (Taylor Swift). All good tunes. All of them. Not a rotten apple in the bunch this week.

5. In guitar today, my teacher taught me “Jesu, The Joy Of Man’s Desiring” (? Is that right?) by Bach. I told her I’d never heard the song before and she said, “What?! It’s in weddings all the time!” Well, not MY wedding (my dad wrote my music). Am I just an idiot?

6. My cousin rocks – he gave me free passes to see an early screening of “Four Christmases” next Wednesday. I’m so excited. I like Reese Witherspoon and I adore Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. And it’s FREE. Wheeee!

7. New season of Top Chef started last night. My goodness, I love that show and it always blows my mind what they do with food and yet I remain a fantastically unenthusiastic cook. Go figure.

8. Three days a week, I pack a lunch for The Princess. I got this cool book of little note card dealies to put in her lunch (I bought the book from Target). I had no idea that she even liked getting the notes from me until Monday morning. She packed her own lunch and then came tearing through the house looking for me so that I could write her a note to put in her lunch bag. The past few days, she’s been waiting for me to put the note in. I’m glad that she appreciates the something special I do for her. I was doing it to make myself happy. Added bonus that she likes it too.

9. The closer we get to the holidays the more my calendar fills up – and not just with kid related activities, but things that might be fun for ME too. I keep meaning to pester my BFF about plans for this weekend, but next weekend we’ve got a massive day of baking on our horizon (Seriously, my best friend’s sister-in-law tallied up the ingredients we need and we’re looking at 22 cups of powdered sugar in use. 22. 22. Let me say that again: 22 cups of powdered sugar — oh and TWELVE sticks of butter). But, how much fun is that gonna be? So much fun.

10. I need to get a new treadmill. Or an elliptical. I am getting VERY SICK of Turbo Jam.

Thursday Ten, Not a 9/11 Post Edition

1. First of all, I think I’ve written about 9/11 on the anniversary as long as I’ve been blogging (fact checkers, go take a nap, I am too lazy to look and I’m not gonna and you can’t make me. So there.), so today’s not about 9/11 – but it’s not to say I don’t recognize the significance of the day – just that there’s not much I can say that hasn’t been said better by hundreds of other people already today.

2. Guitar lesson… I learned two chords! E minor and G. I suck pretty equally at both. Actually E minor isn’t that difficult – G is a pain in the butt because my fingers aren’t used to moving that way yet.

3. Music of the week. Caught up and downloaded some stuff from the new Michael Franti & Spearhead album – including “All I Want is You”, “I Got Love For You” and “A Little Bit of Riddem”. All good.

4. My dad is now on a plane heading back towards California. It was a weird visit but with several good talks and that was a good thing. A lot of stuff that had been accumulating for a long time – good to somewhat clear the air and get that out of the way.

5. I went to the optometrist today for my yearly eye exam. First of all – I really hate getting my eyes dilated. Second of all, my eyesight is improving. Huh. Not that it’s all that horribly rotten, but, yeah. Getting better. With age. Just Like Me.

6. In college when I was trying to get out of the engineering program, UM put me in a holding pattern they call IOE – which really stands for Industrial Operations Engineering – but was more commonly known as In and Out of Engineering. My one IOE class had a lot to do with logisitics – planning deliveries and shipments for a trucking company. Today I proved why even IOE was too much for me – I suck at logistics sometimes. I have overscheduled the past two days to a hideous degree and while I’m vegging now, I still have to make dinner for our neighbors (they just had a baby a few weeks ago).

7. Last night’s Project Runway? How is it when Blayne gets auf’d, it’s the first time I can tolerate him? And Terri, eh. She made me glad for the double auf’ing. Buh bye. (I wonder if she’s really that bitchy. She was pretty bitchy).

8. Is it wrong that my neighbors are going to get chicken parmesan and pasta and garlic bread and all that, and I just want to order pizza for my family?

9. The Princess takes the bus to school. It’s consistently late on Tuesday and Thursdays. The days that I take Pumpkin to daycare and I have “off”. Only Tuesday and Thursdays. Conspiracy? Yeah. I’m thinking so.

10. I am still undecided what I think of the iTunes Genius playlist thus far. I only tried to make one, and I don’t entirely see the correlation between songs. My list was based on “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz… but included “Faith” by George Michael and “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band. Huuuuuuuh?

Thursday Ten, Meet the Teacher Edition

1. Just got home from meeting The Princess’s first grade teacher. She was Hubby’s teacher back when he was in first grade. She remembers him as being a smartass. I mean, VIVIDLY remembers him as being a smartass. When you think that he was in her class over 25 years ago, it’s kind of telling that that is what she remembers, isn’t it? Or that she even remembers him at all?

2. Then, I found out that the daughter of the guy I dated my freshman year of college will be in The Princess’s class. I have no problem with him or his wife (who I was friends with before I ever knew the guy), but I don’t doubt it could be awkward as the wife doesn’t exactly love me since she found out that he and I once dated. Heaven forbid The Princess wants to start hanging out with their kid. Sigh.

3. Ran into a handful of other people from my high school days as the girls and I were leaving. It was great to see some of them. Others? Not so much.

4. I am going to see the Counting Crows tomorrow. And Maroon 5. I keep saying Maroon 5 as an afterthought. I really am not super crazy about them. They have some good songs, and I’m sure they’ll be awesome, but… meh.

5. Project Runway last night? I’m surprised that Keith went. Not because he didn’t suck – because yeah, his outfit sucked – and then it ripped when his model sat down and then he got all whiny with the judges on the runway… BUT, usually, when the show gets edited that way, that makes it seem like one person is the obvious choice to get auf’d… that person ends up being safe. Funky little twist there, Bravo. Sneaky. By the way, I’m kind of impressed that you can make that much stuff out of the parts of a Hybrid Saturn Vue (and let’s hear it for product placement).

6. Last night, I was able to meet a former coworker for dinner (hey C!) and it was a great time to see her, get caught up on life and talk about all things bloggy and Twitter-y. And to be out without kids? Whooohoo!

7. I’ve got a couple interesting projects in the works – so I’ll plan on dropping some news next week. Wait for it. (Love how I did that, worked some suspense into it?).

8. Hitting the road Sunday for a day trip to the other side of the state to shop at Ikea with my best friend – but most importantly to gab and catch up on life and not get lost. She kicks ass. She never gets lost, evah! She’s got mental GPS. Can’t wait.

9. As I type this, Pumpkin is snoozing on the couch and The Princess is so peeved that her sister fell asleep on the couch that she’s huffing around the house really loudly, “There’s no room to sit! The chair isn’t comfortable!” Silly monkey, if she would just use her manners, I would happily give up my seat on the couch. Oh well.

10. I am pretty sure the nice folks over at Apple are going to send a search party to my house, as my downloading habits have been a bit on the slow side this week. I did download “Whatever It Takes” by Lifehouse – moronic given the fact that it’s on the radio every five minutes… but I like it anyway.

Thursday Ten, Is Summer Over YET?

1. I took my girls to story time at a nearby teacher’s house. Weekly, she has story time on her front porch which is this huge veranda-type deal. Today, Pumpkin took a book with her (“Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear?”). The teacher let her come sit in the guest-reader chair and held the microphone so that Pumpkin could “read” to everyone. She got shy and only said some of the words but it was still so adorable. I took lots of pictures. If it was anyone else’s kid, though, it might not have been as adorable.

2. The Princess’s elementary school is undergoing construction and won’t be cleared for public inhabitance (?) until the 29th. They are having meet-the-teacher day on the 28th. Outside. I am more than a little annoyed that they couldn’t have postponed the teacher meet event until the afternoon of the 29th so that not only could the kids MEET their teacher, but find their classroom as well. The Princess will ultimately be fine, but she’s mentioned more than once that she’s a little nervous because she doesn’t know where her new room will be. These are kindergartners and first graders at this school – they really should have thought this one through a little bit more. My kid can’t be the only nervous one.

3. Since I’m on a school rant – we received her teacher assignment the yesterday. I requested this particular teacher at Hubby’s request as it was his teacher when he was in first grade. I’ve heard lovely things about her, and The Princess will rock no matter who teaches her — but, this would not have been my first teacher choice. The PLUS side is that her friends are in different classes – and it will be cool to see her branch out and make more friends.

4. But I really hope that none of her classmates are sons or daughters of any of my former high school boyfriends. It’s possible, and I dread that.

5. I’ve been a slacker on the music downloading front this week – I’ve got nothing new. (Recommendations, please?)

6. Last week, someone was telling me about the country group Sugarland. I rarely listen to country but when I checked them out on iTunes, I saw that they did a cover of Matt Nathanson’s “Come On Get Higher”. I prefer Matt’s version, but there’s is still good.

7. Project Runway last night… Glad to see Daniel go – but peeved Jerrell is still in. Once I saw the final two though, I chilled because I figured no matter how it went, it would be alright with me. On a fun note, I loved the Drag Queen challenge.

8. Starbucks cup wisdom: “The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will’. Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” – David Copperfield

9. Since last night’s dinner sucked (according to the peanut gallery), tonight I am making honey chicken which is one of the girls’ favorites. You mix 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and about 1/3 cup of honey. Dunk boneless chicken breasts in it and then cover lightly with breadcrumbs. Bake until the salmonella is gone. I serve it with couscous and a vegetable – the couscous is the part the kids like best, but I refuse to just serve a plate of carbs.

10. The next few weeks are going to be interesting ones for me – lots of fun stuff on my plate, which is awesome. Supposed to go skating on Sunday (Hi M!), plans with another girlfriend on Wednesday, Counting Crows next Friday, and a trip to Ikea that Sunday – and then (it’s about freakin’ time) school starts on September 2. Whoooooo.