I’ve been playing this week backward and forward in my mind, especially since two weeks ago, I thought that this week was last week and almost got all prepared for it.
Yesterday M and K woke up early (oh so early) and told me how stuffy and miserable they were. By the time I made them breakfast, especially tea, and they’d been upright for a while, they almost didn’t notice how stuffy they felt. Still, the “I must be a bad Mommy.” feeling kicked in hard.
I decided to stock up on allergy relieving things – and dust and vacuum K’s room deeper than usual, and wash all her bedding and stuffed animals that she sleeps with in hot water, and M’s pillow, and mine. And I hit all the black mold on the window sills with vinegar (die mold, die!) There was a lot of dust on K’s display shelves, but I had to stand on a ladder to see it.
We got groceries and laundry quarters yesterday in addition to decongestant, anti-histamines and cough drops. I planned easy meals, because I’m always wiped after testing, even though we come home right after lunch. I have lots of snacks for B to take to testing with him, I need to think about what I’m packing for M and K. I also bought double the chicken for enchiladas, since one of the traditions of this testing co-op is that the families prepare a meal for the proctoring mothers. When K is older, I’ll get to be one of those moms – yum!
I decided I’d bring the electric tea kettle and my cup sized filter holder with me as there is no easily available coffee pot at the gym – and really, do I want to be buying a fancy coffee every day at Dunkin Donuts, often with donuts thrown in? Better to leave that question rhetorical.
I haven’t decided if I should load the new laptop up with the pattern I’m working on to get it tidy, or if I should just knit samples since that takes less quite to do. I’m leaning on the samples.
I have imagined sitting in the gym while M and K play, visiting with the other local homeschool Moms who aren’t administering the Stanford Achievement test, and making it more comfortable. With the older kids testing and the younger kids playing in the gym, there is the possibility of independent thought. You can write out lesson plans, balance the check book, work on writing knitting patterns, sample knit. Or you can visit with the other moms, many of whom are doing the same thing, so you can compare and contrast curricula and knitting style.
Compare and contrast is an intimidating game.
All the time we are visiting and such, we are also monitoring the kids. The youngest are supposed to stay on the sidelines when the testing kids have their breaks, so that they can run wild and not step on anyone. In practice, it gets fuzzy. The older girls want to play mommy with the toddlers, and will take them out to the middle to play ball – but then the toddlers wander into the middle of the cut throat volley ball game, or worse the wall ball game (which can overlap the volley ball net if we don’t remind the guys to play it on the other wall.)
Other years I have had strategy differences with the other moms, and since I am not in charge, I now stay out of it and try to follow instructions. Which means that while I’m not arguing with the persons who ARE in charge, I’m not actively contributing either. I believe a consistent leadership structure is better than a conflicted one, so it’s for the best. I just look like a freeloader.
There I go imagining what others think again – not good.
All those family configurations (the families with just girls, or just boys…oy.), all those discipline variations, those views of leadership, views of order, views of structure…they are all really, really different. The parents are figuring out justice and practice in real time, it’s heady. Ever year I say I’ll sign B into someone else’s official name, and take K and M home before we all get headaches, and every year either K and M beg me to stay, or I get so engrossed in conversation that I don’t notice the time.
Still, this testing co-op is more like a family reunion than anything else. The children look forward to visiting old friends, and I’ve always come away with interesting things to think about. I’m grateful I can participate.
The Difficult Child by Stanley Turecki came in at the library for me – I read it in one sitting.
And B? Oh yeah, B. This whole enterprise is mostly about him! I hope he enjoys his snacks, library books, and knocks the socks off that test, despite his allergies.
And the Gaga Pit (nothing to do with the pop star, it’s a hexagonal sand pit where the kids play an elimination game of complex rules while bent over. All of them can play at the same time, the handicaps equalize the older children. They show excellent sportsmanship in this game) I hope he has a blast in the Gaga Pit. He’s going to have to wheel home on his unicycle if he wants to stay really late, but still, I hope he has a blast at the game.