Friday, January 16, 2009

Changes and Answers

The kids really enjoyed their visit to our possibly new school on Wednesday.

While they were there, my husband and I were on the phone obsessing over our choices for next year. We don't want to trade one set of problems for another in a misguided attempt to find a school that we loved as much as our bayou school.

There's a reason why the phrase, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence," is a cliche.

So I was anxious to see what the kids had to say when I picked them up.

As usual, it was like pulling teeth.

At first all my daughter could do was complain about the art teacher who told her she had to fill in all the white spaces on her paper even though she didn't want to. But the more she talked the more good stories emerged.

Her favorite part of the day was playing with the school dog at recess. Yes, the school has a very sweet (and sweet smelling) Labradoodle as a pet.

How cool is a school with a pet?

My son had plenty of good things to share too, but neither one of them was making the declaration I was hoping for. Neither one of them came right out and said that they liked it better than their current school.

But then during her violin lesson, (conveniently about half a block from the new school) I noticed a marked change in my daughter.

She was talkative. And confident. She asked questions and made comments to her teacher. She was smiling. And happy.

I haven't seen her like that since we moved.

On the car ride home, she never shut up. "Wow," I had to ask. "What's up with you, kiddo?"

"I don't know," she replied. "I just feel so happy. And self confident."

About ten minutes later she declared out of the blue, "I really liked that school."

Then she had to go back to her current school yesterday and get mediocre math scores, be bored in language arts, and get bullied at recess and car pool.

When she got in the car when I picked her up she made another declaration.

"I've had it!"

Apparently, she is fed up. She went on and on about a certain girl who is absolutely awful. She is rude and mean and, as my daughter says, "She doesn't deserve to be treated nicely."

You have to understand what a departure this is. Even when kids are awful to her, she'll worry that they are unhappy at home. She worries that they'll either hate her or tell on her if she stands up for herself. But she stood up for herself yesterday. And she plans to have a sit-down, serious discussion with her teachers about the situation today.

"What's with the sudden change in attitude," I asked her.

"I just confident at the new school," she told me. "I didn't like having to go back to my school today. I just don't like how I feel there."

And our obsessive questions are answered.

I've missed having my little girl around. It's nice to see her be herself again.

Of course, she still has to test and be chosen for the new school. But I think her chances are good. Unfortunately, they still probably won't have room for my son, and he really doesn't want to go to a different school from his sister.

But I'll do whatever I have to to make sure my daughter gets back to herself. Even if it means driving all over the region to take my kids to different schools.

Once she's in, we'll work on getting my son in from the inside.

And then the military will probably move us and it will all start over again.

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