Thursday, June 16, 2005

Myriad - Updated

I commented earlier about how "abandonment" occupies a hub of pain in my life. There is another hub, one of action, and that hub is filled with guilt. So here I am, posting, because I feel guilty of abandoment.

What's happening these days? The children are about to end their regular school year, next week beginning summer school. I will say it, I've said it before, I'm dreading getting these boys up for school for the next five weeks - I need a break from the cajoling, the nagging. They don't like waking in the morning and no matter what time they go to bed (like their mother), getting up is near-painful. But...but...I'm hoping summer school will be worth it. For A, I'm hoping it will make 3rd grade easier. For J, I'm hoping school will interest him.

I've decided to send J to our community college for two classes: study skills and movie-making. I'm hoping taking a class at a college campus might make the doldrums of sitting in a class more palatable. I'm hoping to psychologically fool him. I'm hoping he'll fare better than taking the remedial classes at his junior high that he's supposed to take because of the two "F's" he has in math and science. Yup...F. You have no idea the trauma this causes me. It's...unthinkable. It was unthinkable. He's getting these failing grades not because he doesn't know the material, but because he found it annoying to review material he already learned and on his own decided he didn't need to do various assignments. Just like that...those things were deemed extraneous.

Please know that I, with every bone in my body, wish my child for once would just CONFORM! Be a SQUARE PEG and jump into that square hole for the love of all that's holy! Individualism is bad, I say! Thinking out of the box...a major no-no! Follow the rules, you must, even rules you may refer to as "retarded"! Such as that one rule that required you to write a table of contents consisting of the titles of the assignments completed in class! Yes, it seems a preposterous waste of time, but re-writing needless information is good for you, plus it was worth 20% of your grade!

[insert heavy sigh along with a gulp of a morning-time martini]

I don't condone J's behavior. As a parent, wishing nothing but success for my child, I really DO wish he'd just do as he's asked no matter how dull and useless. No amount of punishment changes him, either. D and I have taken away everything and still he'll only listen to his own drummer. One might think, "Why, Adriana, don't you put him in the advanced classes?"

Because, I have since learned, the only difference between "Gate" classes and regular classes is that instead of having the "gifted" student do 20 long division problems, they have the student do 40. J will simply choose not to do the 40 questions instead of the 20. Hearing that, I looked into alternative middle school programs. I discovered that the only kinds of children who will get a better education, a more diverse education, the only kinds of children whose individuality are celebrated are those who live with parents who occupy the top 1% of the economic strata.

Well, children of school teachers are doomed to this unimaginative educational system. No wonder California is in the bottom five of school systems across the country. No imagination.

Sure, sure, I could home-school. I could. I'll have to go into debt to buy curriculum, I'll have to go back to just teaching night school. All perfectly within the realm of possibility. J won't have it, though, because he enjoys the social world of junior high too much. And even if I were to join the home-schooling crowd and join the social activities in our area afforded to home-schoolers, that would mean J's new friends would be of the Christian-extreme brand. Not that such would be a bad thing, but as a home-schooler, I'd be looked down upon for not teaching J all about the New Testament and Creationism.

So back to independent enrichment. Nurturing of his independence. Did I mention that my daughter is very similar to J?

Calgon, take me away!

Update: I came across this link...this poor child is referring to quite the summer school program. My J would just flourish, with all those rules. Lordy. Pobrecito.

Update: Here's a story for you. A child dies following a 2-G ride, so far the reason for death is undetermined. As always, I was so sad for the family - what a terrible thing to have happen while on vacation. Just an awful tragedy. While I was feeling the sadness, though, I continued reading the article. Towards the end, I read about a woman who died of mini-strokes earlier this year while riding, "The Pirates of the Carribean." Imagine, you're walking into the light, earthen darkness is descending, the world is ending for you, paradise is on the cusp of your vision, gasp, gasp, yes, yes...almost there...all to the tune of, "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me! Dah duh tah dah dah duh tah dah (repeat many times) ohhhh...Yo ho yo ho the pirates life for me!" Those of you who grew up in Los Angeles know the song, the repetitive music as you float along Disneyland's pirated caverns. I don't know, I just don't think that is the way I want to leave this plane of life.

Last thing...we had an earthquake today, on this fine Thursday, here in L.A.'s suburbs, a whopping 4.9 apparently. I now have earthquake anxiety thanks to my daughter sleeping in her chair, in front of our entertainment center, while the earth rocked. You should have seen me running like a mad woman to drag her out of danger's way. My nerves. Criminy.


butterstar said...

Oh, but once they get past the torture of school, what free-thinkers they will be! That's got to count for something, right? In ten years or so? sigh.

Adriana Bliss said...

Yup! I'm working on visualization as a tranquilizing technique...I'm envisioning artists, college professors, musicians, writers, train, no, wait my vision is going off the desired track...

[Where's my lunch martini?]

Lori said...

Oh, bud...

Sorry to hear your kids are driving you to drink in the morning. I hope your plans to fool J this summer work beautifully.

Sorry to hear about the quake, too...oy. I remember having quake anxiety...and the time during one is just the worst, isn't it? Absolutely no control. All you can do is either freeze where you are, dive for a doorway or underneath a desk, and pray to whatever god that it stops quickly. I always got the quake heebie-jeebies worst when I was driving and traffic left me stuck underneath an overpass or on the top level of a cloverleaf.

And yeah, IA...Pirates of the Caribbean wouldn't be my choice for the last tune I wanna hear before departing this life.

Oh, btw...caught the freeway chase on CNN. I swear, these losers must just be desperate to get themselves on TV. Either that, or they really are stupid enough to think they're actually going to escape the cops...what with a dozen cop cruisers and news choppers following them the whole way. I mean, really. I'm just glad it ended without incident. I was really afraid when I saw the dude brandishing those poor kids.

MatzahNacho said...

I'm a firm believer that summer school is evil. If I'd ever had to go I would have felt I had no reason to live. I lived for summer vacation when I was a kid. It's what got us through, gave us something to look forward to. I also believe homework is evil. School had me from 8am-3pm five days a week, nearly a full time job. Once I walked out those doors they didn't own my time anymore. Mom did. We always came home to chores.

nappy40 said...

I think kids need to be school longer. Two weeks vacation just like the parents.

Or is that cruel?

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

I hear you, adriana. It does not get any easier, I am afraid! I am still waking my daughter up for exams, (by telephone albeit, and she is a junior in college). Try to take some time out during the day to take care of you, whether you write, paint, walk, or engage in meditation and/or prayer. Have your own space every day for a few minutes.

Diana said...

I have a daughter like that, so I feel your pain. I laughed at the wanting him to just conform already - when you're pregnant you wish and hope for a kids who is different, unique, his or her own person. But then when you see how hard it is for them to grow up this way you find yourself looking at all the cookie-cutter kids, the one you secretly disdain, and wish your kid could just be like that SOME of the time. Like a switch you could turn on and off.

And I have so many happy childhood memories of D-land and the Pirates ride in particular that I don't think it sounds an unpleasant way to go, actually. :)

Tamar said...

Adriana - is that picture you?

Nappy40 - that's cruel...but then you knew I would say that ... how's about a month?

Always keep in your "visualization" that we were children once and how did "we" feel?

hokkaidoabbey said...

That decides it. I'm not having children.

Adriana Bliss said...

Lori, oh yeah...every so often I think about being under a bridge during an earthquake or on top of one. Yikes! And...YEAH...I have no idea what's going through the heads of these guys who are running from all those cops. Lordy. As to Pirates, I suppose Diana is right on one level - Pirates brings back my childhood, it brings to me visions of my own children enjoying life. For a few minutes, the world stops and you're in a fantastical place. I can't do it. No, I must have angels singing or perhaps something sad by Sarah M. ;)

Matzahnacho, I do remember feeling school was a bit of a downer. I didn't really enjoy school until college. I'm really going to see how we can make it better for J. Repetitive exercises in class, though, sure isn't it.

LOL Nappy40...poor babies.

Barbara, very good advice. Parents can really lose themselves in the raising of kids.

Diana, exactly! I do think our school system wants children to turn it on and off as well. They demand creativity for projects but ask that they turn it off when the kids are asked to do useless assignments. Aggravating. I wish us luck! :) Good point, too, about Pirates.

Tamar, yes, that's me in all my agonized glory. Quite imperfect and plain, but real, lol! Good suggestion about the visualization...I do try to relate to J's difficulties. I wasn't all that different other than my effort to not fail classes. I did judge my teachers harshly and would often let them know. I think it's tougher these days being a child.

hokkaidoabbey, thanks for making me laugh out loud - god, if only there were blogs when "I" was young.

nappy40 said...

Ok a month. The entire month of July they can be on vacation.

Tamar said...

Ah - you are beautiful! Soon it will *have* to be Nappy40's turn to show us her picture, surely?

Adriana Bliss said...

Aww...thank you, Tamar. How sweet of you to say! I, too, am definitely anxiously waiting to see Nappy40!

tornwordo said...

I'm howling with laughter, though I'm not sure that was your intended effect! Great blog.

Em said...

Hey, I'm new to your blog, my friend tornwordo sent me the link because he wanted to rile me into writing you. Darn him.

I homeschool my kids. I hate it that the Christians have won the PR battle and that non-Christians feel creeped out about homeschooling. I'm in the LA area too, and I don't know anyone teaching the commandments.

I'm not trying to sell you on homeschooling. Just trying to say that there are a lot of us out there who are liberal, non-religious parents who would rather do many unpalatable things instead of drag our kids out of the house every morning. Oh, and I don't use any curriculum. It's pretty cheap to homeschool if you don't worry about doing it someone else's way...

Oh, here's a thought... threaten your son with homeschooling if he doesn't get his mindlessly boring schoolwork done... (evil grin)

Adriana Bliss said...

Em, even though you didn't want to sell me on the homeschooling, I'm definitely curious about your method. I do wonder if J would do better with independent study.

And...tornordo, thank you! I'm glad I gave you a laugh...I did actually intend the post to be funny in a...perhaps bitter way. :)

Em said...

Hi Adriana,
HSC has a website that has a good overview of homeschooling -they are at

They are having a conference in August in Sacramento that will be full of unschoolers and their parents. I know it is far, but if you can get to it, it is worth it.Your son would probably like it too; there are lots of good chances to spend time with other kids. We are also going to be blogging the convention, so you could read some stuff that way. The blog will be linked to the website. It isnt' up yet though.

Oh, the other thing I wanted to mention is that at your son's age a lot of homeschoolers end up just going to community college. The kids feel that they have a little more autonomy that way and I have seen it work out really well.

I wish you luck!

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