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Stupid Talent Show
Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Every year I kvetch about the school talent show, and every year I cry during it.

So just deal with it.

This year has been particularly stressful to me: the music teacher told students they were allowed to be in three different acts at the most, which Cora took to mean “You should really do three acts.” I would not care so much, except for the fact that Cora doesn’t really like to, how should I put this, rehearse.

Which gives me a great deal of agita and just might put me in an early grave.

Since performing is what I did for a living, it’s hard for me to throw my kids up on any stage and just let them mess around. Not only would I be thinking about how they aren’t really putting any effort out, but I’d also cringe as I worried about the other parents and kids who have to sit through a narcissistic, watch-me-for-no-good-reason three minutes. And I’m not knocking people who aren’t the best singers in the world, but get up and sing anyway; or who can’t really dance but give it a good go. I’m talking about kids who decide to do something but don’t practice it or memorize it or really put any effort into it, then want us to watch them for three minutes. You know you’ve seen these kids.

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Standardized Testing
Wednesday, 23 April 2014

I hate standardized testing.

With a passion.

It’s the thing that makes me think the longest and hardest about homeschooling.

My girls are both quite bright, with some of the highest grades in their respective class levels. I’m not saying this to brag; I’m just giving you context.

Because Maddie started her first-ever round of standardized testing yesterday, and she was terrified.

Maddie was worried she wouldn’t do well and I’d be mad at her. She was worried she’d fail and it’d make her teacher look bad. She was worried she’d need to go to the bathroom and end up having an accident in her underwear because of the strict rules surrounding bathroom breaks.

I keep telling Maddie that 1) the state isn’t measuring her, it’s measuring how well her school does its job; 2) she will do just fine on the test; and 3) I don’t give a rat’s butt how well she does on the test. I’ve explained to her that as long as she gives a good effort I’m content and she should be as well.

As we walked to school Tuesday morning, Maddie talked. Non-stop. Non. Stop. She was so nervous she couldn’t even pause to take a breath. And when she left school there was a skip in her step and relief written large across her face: she’d survived her first day! Yippee!

Have I mentioned I hate standardized testing?

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Slave Labor Pays Off
Monday, 21 April 2014

We had a busy weekend with our new family business opening up Saturday morning at a farmers’ market, and while both girls had been a bit crabby about the earliness of the starting hour, it was nothing a little donut-for-breakfast couldn’t fix. By the time we’d gotten set up and ready for business, Maddie and Cora had kicked into Work Mode and were ready to go.


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The Family Business
Thursday, 17 April 2014

I’ve been working over the past year or so on starting up a little cottage industry, and it’s been quite a learning process. Up until this calendar year it’s been almost nonexistent, and Brian’s joked several times that I’m working as hard as I can to NOT let my business grow. This has been intentional on my part: I’ve wanted to go super slow, build only as many clients as I can handle, and make sure I’ve got my brand figured out, my niche, the paperwork, everything. Slow and steady wins the race, after all.

The upshot of all this sloooow growth is that my little company has been around the house, nonthreatening and laconic, for a long time now and the girls have simply gotten used to it. This spring, though, I set my sights on expanding my market size and have committed to selling at a local farmers’ market starting this weekend.


The girls were quite excited about the idea, and have told anyone who will listen that their mom makes Stuff and is really good at it and takes care of the environment in the way she makes her Stuff. They always want to help, and I walk that fine line of wanting to empower them, to educate them and foster independence, while still retaining, um, quality control over the goods. The girls help attach labels and sort ingredients, arrange my backstock area, and more.

Since Maddie and Cora are so taken with the idea of helping with the biz, I told them they can help out at the farmers’ market. I even made them aprons identical to mine, the full-body aprons with my logo embroidered on it. They are over the MOON with excitement.

Both girls have offered to help sell, to take money (um . . . . maybe?), to discourse knowledgeably on the products (Maddie’s words, not mine), and in general attract people to my booth “since everyone knows kids sell!” (Cora’s words, not mine. But she’s right).

I have no idea how long it’ll take for the bloom to wear off the sales staff rose, but I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth. Wish us luck!

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Sometimes All You Can Do Is Retreat
Monday, 14 April 2014

We had a hard week here last week: we had to say farewell to a beloved family pet on Friday, as well as face the first anniversary of the death of a very dear friend of mine and Brian’s. Friday night Brian and I did a concert we’ve been working on for almost a year, and at the end of the evening we were exhausted. I looked at the girls, running and happy with friends when just a couple hours before they’d been sobbing about our pet, and knew that Saturday was going to be hard.

So I cancelled the weekend. All of it.

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