I've been having some trouble coming up with relevant topics to write about here for the past week. I suppose you could argue that nothing on this site is really relevant and I should work a little harder to actually write here and stop using this space as a repository for Things My Kids Say I Think Are Funny. And to you, I would say, hey! I resemble that remark.

There are about four inches of snow on the ground today and I could go on about a multitude of things up to and including:
  1. there is snow on the ground
  2. complaining about the schools being closed
  3. my Daphne bush may have actually bit it this time and I'm just a little bit sick about it
  4. complaining about the children in the house because the schools are closed
  5. my kids are home in the house when it is sunny and beautiful outside
  6. let me repeat that, day two of my kids stuck in the house because schools are closed
  7. Did you hear me? snow Snow SNOW! Snopacalypse! Snomageddeon! Snotorius D.I.G! SNO NOOOOOO!
So. Cabin Fever with The Shortlings. I decided to start off my morning by reminding myself that I really do like Winter. It's one of my favorite times of year and I sometimes have to force myself to remember that for a great part of my life I didn't get to enjoy Winter. Or Fall. Or Spring. I lived in a place where there were only two seasons, Summer and a week in December that we just called Notsummer.

Plus Winter has some pretty morning skies when you get up at four am. (Why I'm up at four am is another blog post.)

There, I feel better now.

My immutable complaining about schools being closed might sound purely selfish, but there's really a good reason behind it all, I promise. We're had a near constant battle with The Dormouse over her behavior in school. It was one of the things we knew we'd deal with when deciding to put her in school early - her comportment being less mature than the other students' and her impulse control being less... you know... under control. Though those concerns have come to fruition, we still don't regret the decision we made as having her wait a year to go to school would have made her the eldest in her class and just a big ol' handful of Bored Child behaviors. Her teacher last year was way better at dealing with her and, I believe, got better results. Not that her teacher this year isn't okay, it's just that she's only okay... and I got spoiled by last year's My Teacher. I know it's a first world complaint, but I really need her to do well in school so she can get a good job and afford to support me in my old age. Always looking ahead. The upside? This year's My Teacher does not have classroom pets.

At any rate, I've been in continual contact with this year's My Teacher about The Dormouse getting in trouble for talking in class or speaking out of turn and a host of other related behaviors that stem from her just basically being less mature than her classmates and having inherited a loud voice from her father and me. We've tried talking to her, rewarding her, punishing her, yelling, ignoring, and every other kind of -ing you can think of. -Ing's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ing, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus.

Sorry, just got an urge to go watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off for a minute there.

At our parent teacher conference after the first semester, My Teacher said to me, "You know, I had this problem with
my daughter and you know what I did? I sat her down and explained to her that MY JOB is to be a teacher and that HER JOB is to be a student. And part of HER JOB was to be quiet in class so she could learn at HER JOB. That was all it took." She was very proud of her idea. Like it was a revelation Jean Piaget himself couldn't have thought up.

"Oh, honey," I shook my head and laughed, "that was the FIRST thing I tried with The Dormouse and I exhausted that tactic two years ago. If that was all it took, she would be the best behaved kid in the school."

One thing I have noticed, however, is that this happens whenever there's a disruption in the school schedule (a holiday, a snow day, one of those damn incessant teacher planning days that are only supposed to happen once a quarter but that I swear happen every month - and teachers, don't bother to point out the schedule on the calendar to prove that there's only one teacher planning day per semester because I, much like those people who think that Global Warming is a myth, am just going to look at all your evidence and say, "I still don't believe it."). It always takes The Dormouse several days to calm down after the first day back. Invariably, the first day back at school she will come home with a note for talking in class and the teacher will email me asking me to have a talk with her. The second day back is a little better and the third day back better still. For whatever reason, the weekend doesn't affect her like this; just days off when she would have been in school.

The first semester of school there were two, count 'em, TWO weeks of five-days-a-week school. I think by the end of the second semester there were only three. I tried to explain this theory to My Teacher at our parent teacher conference early in the year. She agreed with me that kids need routine but basically didn't see the connection and poo-poohed my idea. She usually emails me when The Dormouse reaches a certain point on their behavior plan so I started responding to her emails with, "And what was yesterday? That's right, ANOTHER TEACHER DAY" or "Not surprising since school was closed at two hours early on Monday for a snowstorm that didn't start falling until after 6:00 pm and then the next two days she was off."

Finally, after the winter break when The Dormouse had been redirected for talking excessively and not following directions on two consecutive days, I got an email from the teacher that said, "She's finally starting to calm down after the break. Crazy how that affects her, isn't it?"

Small victories.

Snow days, especially the massive excess to which the counties here call off school for weather-related events, compound those issues for her many fold and it's really because of THAT that I hate it with a hate that cannot be named when they cancel school here before they even see a snowflake. Not only does she lose the instruction that was planned for that day, but we're also looking at a week of damage control and time that could have been spent oh, let's say, learning in class afterward.

I've tried to do some prep work to prepare her for going back to school after a day like today but it's been only marginally helpful. I'm not sure what to do to fix this and I'm desperate enough to be open to suggestions from the interweb. Do other people see these kinds of issues with their kids or are we just weird? I don't want to be after her all the time about it, I don't want to crush her spirit, but I also don't want her to be holding the SLOW sign on the side of the road (LOVE that that photo is still there for me to reference) when she grows up either. We need to find a happy medium. Until then, she'll be writing sentences like "This punishment is not boring and pointless"... because it amuses me, the things I could be making her write.