Monday, December 22, 2008

Ice isn't nice at school drop-off time

Wow, what a mess the school commute is this morning.

I'm usually skeptical about things like snow days and delayed openings, but it's obvious that this morning the openings should have been delayed even longer than they were, until the school parking lots weren't completely covered in wheel-spinning, shoe-sliding ice.

It was an adventure walking my son to school -- from getting down our skating-rink driveway to making our way down icy sidewalks to crossing the extremely slippery and dangerous parking lot. Our walk was accompanied by the sounds of spinning wheels as car after car got stuck trying to drop students off. And by honking, because, you know, nothing helps the stuck car in front of you dislodge like laying on your horn. Hey, maybe sound vibrates the ice, who knows.

I suspect this same scene was played out in other parking lots all around town. What a mess. As cold and limb-risking as it was walking to school, I'd much rather have been doing that than driving. Even with my son hanging on my arm for dear life.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Can we swap "Wife Swap" for something less annoying?

My daughter has acquired a fascination with the show Wife Swap. And it is at times like this that I regret moving my desk out into the family area. No matter how high I crank the iTunes on my eMac, I can still hear those people whining at each other. Who signs up for something like that? Who would want to watch them? Other than teenage girls looking for an excuse not to do homework? I may have to flee the room.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Are you the kind of parent who would read her child's e-mail?

Would you go so far as to set up an account for your young person in such a way that all messages would be copied to you? Could you be that much of a privacy-invading, helicopter-parenting, trust-ungiving snoop?

Yeah, me too. I posted a step-by-step on my site today describing how I set up a Gmail account for my daughter that forwards all messages to me. So I can see what she's buying on iTunes, and who she's friending on Facebook, and what her aunt is writing to tease her. Inquiring minds want to know.

She knows about it, by the way. For kids uncertain of their social skills, a benevolent spy's not such a bad thing to have looking over your shoulder. Hope she keeps trusting me more than I trust the people who write to her.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Is it just me, or does this seem like a hostile gesture?

Our school district's special-education department started a parent advisory group, as per state law. Meetings have been spottily scheduled all along, but recently they seem to have settled on 2:00-3:30 p.m. Which happens to neatly encompass all the school dismissal times for the district.

Now, I get that you sometimes have to schedule these meetings during the day, but why on earth would you ask parents to gather in a conference room at the very time when they need to be picking up children or waiting home for buses? Is it just me, or is this sending the message that they really would like it very much if nobody came?

It goes without saying, I suppose, that they send the notifications out so late that it's difficult to make alternative arrangements for your kids even if you could.

Yeah, puts me in a heck of a collaborative mood.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Why did the parent cross the road?

Do you drop your child off at school? Let me ask you something: When you're driving through the school parking lot, do you drive fast? If you see a kid trying to cross in front of you, do you slow down or speed up? Because seriously, the parents who drop off kids at the high school next door to us seem to be thinking about nothing but speeding their cherub to the front door, and if they have to mow down a few classmates to do it, that's just the way it goes.

I've always driven my kids to school before this, and I think I've been fairly respectful of young pedestrians (though not always of crossing guards, one of whom seemed to time his trips to eliminate any hope of a left turn at a busy intersection). Now that my kids are walking to school, though, I'm noticing what an unsafe situation it is, even in these days when everybody's talking big about Child Obesity and Global Warming and The Tragedy of Kids No Longer Walking to School.

For my kids, the problem is the main speedway passage through the high-school parking lot, which they have to cross to get from the side where our house is to the side where the buildings are. They don't have to cross a public street, just that parking-lot lane. There's a sidewalk that goes around our corner and ends at a natural spot for a crosswalk ... but no lines, no signs, no indication that kids will be making their way across the asphalt. And no slowing down from motorists, either.

I'm not expecting them to put out a crossing guard to hold the hands of teenagers as they make their way to school. But a crosswalk would both show kids one safe place to cross -- rather than darting randomly through traffic, as they do now -- and show parents, at least theoretically, that here's a spot where they need to slow down.

As it is, I have to walk my son to school, because no way could I trust him to not cross unsafely (or, for that matter, stop in the middle of the roadway to look at an interesting rock). On my way home today, I saw the high-school principal standing outside without armed guards or anything, and went up to make my case about a crosswalk. He listened for a few minutes, then gave me that "Parent, you have overstated your case" eye-glaze that professionals get, so who knows if it will do any good.

But if you drive your kid to school, next time you're driving through a school parking lot, slow the heck down, wouldja? Some of us are trying to cross here.

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's beginning to look too much like Christmas

I'm about half to two-thirds of the way through Christmas shopping, which is slightly ahead of schedule for me, but nowhere close to getting Christmas cards out, which is entirely according to my usual schedule. I'd like to think there's still tons of time, but I know these next two-plus weeks are going to zip by like a flying reindeer, and soon I'll be giving up on the card-sending and paying the emergency-delivery fees on gifts. Makes me miss the days when we were kids and Christmas took FOREVER to come.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Leaving an IEP meeting happy

My daughter's IEP meeting was today, and we set up such a good program for her senior year that it's going to be hard for me to wait through the rest of this year. It looks like she will be able to do an internship for a couple of periods out of the day, at the elementary school she and my son attended. She wants to go into childcare, so it will be good experience and training, in an environment where a lot of people will know and support her. Cool!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cafeteria intrigue

I have cafeteria ladies spying on my son now. Does that make me an overprotective parent?

At issue is the fact that we've been giving him $1.25 to buy a Snapple with lunch, but that money has often been going to a classmate -- whether because he's a bully, an opportunist, or a willing recipient of my guy's generosity, I don't know. He's a child with special needs, too, and I don't want to get him in trouble, and I don't want my son to be a rat, I'd just like the $1.25 to go to the purchase of a Snapple consumed by the appropriate party, or be returned to me.

I've been conferring with the very helpful food-service coordinator, who suggested that the workers who run the Snapple-selling snack bar could tip me when he doesn't buy one. Apparently, my guy's well-known, and they're willing keep an eye on him. I hope this can be done without turning the whole thing into a federal case. I hope that just knowing I'll know will be enough to stop the illegal transfer of funds. But we'll see.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Friendless on Facebook

My daughter dipped a toe in the Facebook waters this weekend, then jumped in with both feet. Now she has 43 friends. How many friends do I have on Facebook? Three. Not that I'm competitive or anything, but if you're on Facebook and want to be my friend, look me up. I'm the Terri Mauro with the glasses and the messy hair and the blue dress and the smile that makes me look like I forgot my dentures. As opposed the Terri Mauro standing in front of a racecar. That Terri Mauro has 88 friends. I'm just saying.