Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Middle School Orientation

This can't be right. My daughter starts middle school in September?  I am pretty sure that I just dropped this kid off at 4K the other day:

And now I have this:

Her dad and I took her to middle school orientation last night. In our district, middle school is 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. I have been careful not to tell my daughter how much I hated middle school, because I want her to have a positive experience. It is going to be a HUGE change for her.  Here is the part that scares me the most:

She'll be in class a full hour and a half earlier than she is now. As I might have mentioned once or six thousand times, she is not a morning person. The three-minutes-between-classes thing scares me, too. I'm worried that by the end of the first year, I'll be able to wallpaper our living room in tardy slips.

As part of the orientation, all of the 5th graders and parents were ushered into the auditorium to get a rundown from one of the guidance counselors. She explained what classes the kids have to take and gave tips on being successful in middle school. Then, a panel of 8th graders answered questions. There were a lot of questions that I wouldn't have thought to ask. Can you chew gum? (Depends on the teacher)  Can you take a backpack to class? (No) Are hats allowed? (No) Why are there two cafeterias? (They each serve different stuff.) There is a lot to know.  My daughter seems more excited than worried at this point.

Then, we walked through the cafeteria where there were displays set up to advertise different extracurricular activities.  My kid is already signed up for Choir and is anxious to get involved in theater, too.  I noticed that she walked right past the display for the Math Club without even pausing.

I was happy to see some of the things the school has put in place to help incoming 6th graders get acclimated.  For example, at lunchtime, 6th graders only eat with other 6th graders. I would imagine that this will be less intimidating for them and, possibly, cut down on bullying.  It sounds like they generally keep the 6th graders together as much as possible.  Also, they are offering some summer programs.  There is a three-day session in August called Middle School Matters, where they give the kids a chance to practice opening their lockers, learning their way around the school, etc. I've signed the kid up for that. Also, they are offering some fun summer sessions with stuff like "Babysitting basics."  So, I signed her up for a couple classes. She wants to do a Minecraft class and a bread-baking class. I think that will give her another opportunity to be inside the school and get her bearings. The school itself is huge compared to the one she attends now.  When the tour guide brought us back to where we'd started, I actually had no earthly idea how we'd gotten there.

During the tour, the kid and her friend walked as far away from their parents as they could get. This might be because I had mentioned that her dad and I might get the urge to square-dance during the orientation. I didn't do anything too embarrassing . . . as far as I know.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to have a good cry over all of this growing-up business.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

None of this makes any sense

Last night I had a dream that I accidentally bought four sheep.  They were tiny, so . . . lambs, I guess?  I remember being relieved that they were petite enough to fit in dog crates. I didn't want my husband to know what I had done, so I put the lambs in the basement, each in a separate crate.  I lined them up next to the washer and dryer. My husband has not done his own laundry since the early 90s, so there was no chance he'd go down there and find them. I thought all of the lambs were girls and then I discovered that one of them was a boy. I was very worried about them making more lambs. In the dream, I was quite distraught.  You have no idea how relieved I was when I woke up to find I was sheepless.  So traumatic.

I guess this dream was better than the recurring dreams I have about being terminally ill.  Those are scary. I think my sub-conscious has some serious issues.

I'm sorry to say that my sheep dream is the most exciting thing I have to report. My days consist of working, doing laundry, signing homework logs, and chasing a puppy. The kid and I took Grover to class on Monday night. The instructor noted that Grover doesn't seem to know his name all that well. "Oh," I said. "Well, there is a slight possibility that he thinks his name is Goddammit."  We're going to work on the name recognition thing, though.  We also took him to puppy playtime last Saturday. The kid had a friend over for a sleepover, and I was not convinced that either one of them would be ready to go at 8:10 in the morning. Sure enough, I drove across town with a car full of dirty teeth and uncombed hair.

Puppy playtime is pure chaos, but Tina (the instructor, who is also a friend) keeps a close eye on the pups and watches their body language closely. Grover was repeatedly pinned by a slightly older female Boxer. I mean, she was just gunning for him. I took him to puppy playtime to build up his confidence (he is a bit shy), not for him to get his ass kicked. I felt kind of bad for her owners because their puppy needs the socialization just like mine does. The difference is that she's a bit bossy for that environment.  They ended up leaving early.  Grover did make some other friends, though.  He also climbed a little plastic obstacle that made him feel like he was hot shit after that.

Last weekend was just beautiful, weather-wise. After puppy playtime we stopped at a bakery to order the kid's birthday cake. She's just two weeks from the big 1-1. Inconceivable!  Later in the afternoon, I took the girls to a park.  I figured they'd play there all afternoon but after 15 minutes they announced that the were "too hot" and wanted to leave. It was all of 65 degrees outside.  Kids these days, I tell you.

Speaking of hot, I am really looking forward to summer. My middle sister and my nieces are visiting next month. Blondie is touring colleges. I am hoping she will choose a school near me, though I confess it does seem unlikely. In June, after school lets out, the kid is flying out to DC to hang out with her aunt and the gang. Her dad and I will follow along a week later. I can't say that we are too sad about the fact that she won't be joining us on the 16-hour drive. (If she can manage to complain that a perfect spring day is "too hot," you don't even want to hear the litany of complaints she can dole out on a long car trip.) We are going to take a little detour to Pittsburgh this year. Neither of us have ever been there. Mr. M wants to go to some geek shop that's supposed to be a mecca for his people. I will find something to do while he is in worship. We're also thinking of another side trip to Harper's Ferry. We haven't been there in a while. We're planning to spend four days at my sister's house and then four days at the beach where my dad and stepmom live. Then, of course, we have the excruciatingly long drive back home. I'll try not to think about that part right now, though.  In August, we plan to do the cabin-by-the-lake thing as usual.

As for the kid, we're not putting her in daycare this summer. She is much too cool for such things. I do have her signed up for some week-long camps, though. The local humane society has one. She also has choir camp and Girl Scout camp (with a friend of hers - that one's an overnight camp). I'm not sure why I'm blathering on about our summer plans, but there they are.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my puppy is very quiet and nothing good ever comes out of a quiet puppy.

This my free spirited girl, dancing at a drum circle at our church.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I'm looking over a four-leaf Grover . . .

That's just one of the nonsensical songs I sing to my puppy. I also sing, "He's a goofy Grover, yeah!" which will only make sense to you if you have wasted invested some portion of your life watching Spongebob Squarepants. 

My favorite part was when she couldn't pry
the treat out of the pocket in her skinny jeans.
Grover had his first obedience class on Monday night. This initial class is mostly about socialization with some beginning obedience stuff added, too.  The instructor is a friend of mine. There were a lot of pups there for the first class - including another Boxer. I'd just had a cortisone shot in my foot (yes, the plantar fasciitis saga continues), so I decided to let A do the training, at least for this class. My doctor wants me to take it easy for two weeks, which feels just about impossible. Anywho . . . the kid was beyond excited to get onto the training floor and get started, but there was a question and answer period first.  I can tell that I've been doing dog stuff for too long when I heard some of the questions that the new puppy owners were asking Tina. One guy's pup is just six weeks old and it sounds like he's had her for a bit already. I just felt like screaming, "No! You've made a terrible mistake!" A six-week-old puppy has not had enough time with her litter mates and is very likely to have issues with bite inhibition. I give the family credit for coming to class, though - for that matter, everyone who takes a dog to classes gets a thumbs-up from me. After 16 years of rescue work, many times I have seen situations that could easily have been avoided with some proper training.  Another doggie dad talked about how his puppy wasn't using the puppy pads they bought for him.  Tina wisely pointed out that this can be confusing for a pup, since the ultimate goal is to get the dog to pee/poop outside. I was right with her on that one - I can't think of any circumstance under which it would be a good idea to encourage a dog to do that stuff inside the house.  Grover is getting better, slowly but surely. Nighttime is a challenge because my daughter is hell-bent on sleeping with the puppy. However, her version of sleeping is very similar to a coma. So, she doesn't hear him get up. He poops in her bedroom and she still doesn't wake up.  I'm hoping this situation will resolve on its own eventually.

Last weekend, my daughter was out of town. She was on a mini tour with the choir. P had to work Saturday night.  So, I decided I would have a slumber party in the living room with the dogs.  I inflated an air mattress and wedged it between both couches. Then the dogs and I grabbed some blankets and some wine and settled in to watch Saturday Night Live. Well, I didn't give the dogs any wine because they are jerks when they drink. Anyway, let me just say that it was the worst night of sleep I've had since I had that stomach flu in February. The dogs milled about aimlessly (whining sporadically because the change in routine was apparently just too much for them), the puppy had to poop in the middle of the night, and the air mattress started to deflate in the wee hours of the morning.  Anyway, the kid is mooooore than welcome to keep sleeping with the puppy.

In other news, our foster dog is getting adopted on Friday. I am so happy for him! He's been with us for about three months and is very attached to me, but I'm sure he'll adjust. The adopter has had many German Shepherds, so she is very familiar with the breed (much more so than I am, I'm sure). He is still blowing his coat so I won't miss that.  He doesn't like to be brushed so when I walk by, I often just grab a few tufts that are jutting out (otherwise, I just have to pick them up off the floor once they are ejected).  Agent turns and gently mouths my hand as if to say, "I could break all of your fingers right now, but I choose not to . . . because you're my girlfriend."

I will take in another foster dog at some point, but first I need to take a couple weeks to focus on Sir Poops-a-Lot. He and I need to have some heart-to-heart chats about how the back yard needs his turds more than the carpet does.