Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lessons Learned

We make decisions everyday all day long. Some decisions are good and some decisions are not so good. Making a not so good decision and living with the results can be a hard lesson for a child to learn. As Hannah gets older there is more freedom to make some decisions on her own.

At the beginning of the school year the 5th grade students had the opportunity to join the band or orchestra. She was so excited to start learning an instrument and picked out the flute as her instrument of choice. I was apprehensive. I remember being in the 5th grade and choosing to the play the Clarinet. I didn't make it through the whole year. I didn't like it and I hated practicing. I knew in my heart that Hannah would be the same way. It would be a fight to get her to practice the required 20 minutes a day. Plus she already had made a commitment to multiple dance teams for the year. Yes, in my heart I knew the flute was not going to make it through the year.

Just as I expected, practicing was a chore. I had to badger her into practicing and because of our busy schedules I ended up letting it go more often than not. She did seem to enjoy playing and actually seemed fairly good at it, but she was not determined enough to keep practicing.

As the winter break began, Hannah told me she wanted to quit band. My first reaction was no, but she went on to explain her rationale. Hannah has great skills at manipulation, I mean making her point. She told me that she wanted to quit because she needs to focus more on her raising her math grade. Plus she went on to say that she already has so many dance classes and her school work needs to come first. Well I couldn't argue with that reasoning. She was right. Her math grade is too low, but she hadn't been practicing her flute anyway so I wasn't sure how it would really free up more time for math. But, nonetheless she has too many activities and needs a more balanced plate of things. So I agreed.

I emailed the principal and the band teacher as soon as school resumed. The band teacher was disappointed and had even named Hannah as the January band student of the month. But he understood that her grades need to come first.

Last week Hannah announces that she changed her mind. She wants back in band. The true reason for wanting to quit had finally surfaced. She had misplaced her band music book and was embarrassed to let the teacher know. I had already spoken to the principal about her lost book and was in the midst of getting her a new book when she announced she wanted to quit. But I guess she was afraid the new book might not be right or that she was still too embarrassed over having lost the book in the first place. Anyway, she cleaned her room last weekend and lo and behold she found the lost music book. Now she wants to return to band and wants me to fix it for her. No. Her original rationale was right. Her math grade needs to be addressed. She was just too good at manipulating, I mean making her point. She is now stuck with the results of her decision. She is not happy. Last night, through tears, she told me I should have, as her mom, stepped in and not let her make this big of a decision. She said she was just a kid what did she know!! Again, so good at making her point! I will not relent. No band.

If she is still interested in learning to play the flute or another instrument we will look into lessons over the summer. This situation opened the door for the good choices talk! Even the simplest decisions should only be made after much thought and prayer. Oh how I pray she will make good choices as she continues to grow in both age and wisdom.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Boyfriends Already?

Earlier in the school year, my 10 year old daughter informed me she had a boyfriend. She was "going out" with a little boy named Tyler. When she told me about said boyfriend, I was able to maintain a nice, simple smile, while my mind raced with wild visions of boys, fast cars, skating rinks, and drive-in movies. It's just 5th grade, I told myself. And I repeated to myself one of my dad's famous lines "keep things in proper perspective". I asked Hannah what exactly does "going out" mean? "Mommmm" she said in a very sarcastic tone, "it doesn't mean anything except we like each other." Oh, I see.

And then I did me some major praying...and thinking...and praying some more. I certainly didn't want to over-react so I decided to let it go. I talked with Hannah about how she should keep it in proper perspective as well as a lot of boy-girl do's and dont's! I don't know a lot about Tyler, but he seems to be a nice boy. For their 2-month anniversary, yes I said 2 month anniversary, Tyler gave Hannah a really nice handmade card. He made it himself! Wow! This little 5th grader needs to be talking to some of the 40 somethings I know. He seems to know how to treat a girl! He must have a fantastic mom!

Then came the break-up. I was out of town for work and I called home to check on Hannah. She tells me that another little boy wants to be her boyfriend and she asked me if she should break up with Tyler and "go out" with the other boy. Double wowie, I can't believe I am having this conversation with my 10 year old daughter!! I carefully explained this is just 5th grade and she will most likely have many boys who like her before she finds the special one God has hand-picked for her. But, my advice was not to break up with Tyler if she liked him. Well, apparently Tyler had heard through the recess rumor mill that Hannah was considering a different boyfriend. So he broke up with her. I didn't really blame him. After all he had been a good boyfriend, as far as 5th grade boyfriends go, and she was at least considering dumping him like yesterday's school lunch. Secretly I was relieved. We have enough on our plate than to have to deal with boys....good grief, I thought I at least had until she was in high school!

She was heart broken. To make matters worse Tyler found himself a new girlfriend. Hannah had to watch them talk to each other and sit by each other at lunch (with 4 people in between, you don't actually sit right next to them!). She was sad and had a whole new understanding for mom and dating! I have to admit I was sad for her. I could tell her heart was broken. Last week she announced that she and Tyler are back together. Have mercy!! I hope I make it through her teenage years!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A for Accomplishments

Finally, I'm giving myself an "A" for accomplishing many of the tasks I had carefully placed on my need-to-get-it done list. Every year it seems I waste away my week of vacation between Christmas and New Year's. But not this year! This year I did not just sleep the whole week away, or even just laze away in front of the television (although I did watch a lot of movies). But, before I toot my own horn too loudly I should probably mention that I didn't get everything on my list accomplished, but then that would be perfection and well, we all know I'm far from perfect!

I had hoped to chronicle my accomplishments as they were achieved, but well...again more imperfection! So I'm here now telling all that will hear about the week that got an "A".

Accomplishment #1: Christmas Coming Down
After all the time and energy that is spent turning our home into a Christmas wonderland it always seems somewhat sad to take the decorations down. Around Halloween I start getting visions in my head....not of sugar plums but of a beautifully decorated mantle, a fully trimmed tree, a staircase donned with garland and bows and even special Christmas towels in the bathroom. I love my house decked out in all it's Christmas attire. But sadly the time had come to take the things of Christmas down and pack them away for another year. Accomplished!

Accomplishment #2: Sassy New Look
I am a spur-of-the-moment kind of gal. When I decide I want my hair cut, well, I want my hair cut right then. I don't like to make hair appointments, I just want to show up whenever the mood strikes for a new "do". But that usually doesn't work because apparently hairstylists aren't just waiting for me to show up with my new hair mood! So, this week I actually made an appointment to get a sassy new hair cut and color. Best hair experience of my life! I went to someone new....someone who was referred to me....someone I was a bit apprehensive about...but WOW, what an incredible experience. Let me just say HEAD MASSAGE!! I have never experienced anything quite like this at the beauty salon and you can bet I'll be coming back again!

Accomplishment #3: A Newly Organized Kitchen
What is it about the start to a new year that brings out the need to organize? It can't be just me that feels this overwhelming desire to clean out drawers and cabinets because the stores all have containers big and small as well as organizational stuff out front and center. I completely re-organized my kitchen. It feels like moving into a new home. I even moved our silverware to a new drawer, which is taking some getting used to!!

Accomplishment #4: Fun Stuff
I sprinkled my week of accomplishment with a little fun here and there. I spent some time with friends, saw a movie and watched lots of DVDs. I think I watched 6 or 7 movies! In the theater I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt. Who doesn't love a good Brad Pitt flick! But, it was way too long and at times a bit boring. It was the movie that wouldn't start and the movie that wouldn't end! We were sitting in the theater waiting for the movie to begin, but nothing happened. The time for the movie to start had ticked by and still nothing. Finally some people went inquiring and apparently there were some technical difficulties. It finally started almost 30 minutes late and then it lasted for nearly 3 hours! And then I lost my coat....oh my this is probably a story worthy of its own post so I will leave it at that. I did eventually find my coat!

Now my week that gets an "A" is done and I'm back at work. Life is once again in full motion. The week was indeed a success, now if I can just remember where I put the silverware!