I come from a long line of holiday procrastinators.
If at any time during the mid-70′s/early 80′s you were strolling around the corner of Columbus Circle and Central Park West in July and looked up and wondered what kind of crazy person still had their Christmas lights up on their balcony, Hi, nice to meet you. I’m the daughter of that crazy person.
In fact, a few days after New Years my dad came by and was extremely impressed that all the decorations that had been out gracing our yard and eaves were put away.
My dad, however, proudly announced that his holiday decoration for this year (which will no doubt end up in our garage and on our lawn next holiday season) is a snowman. He insists that snowmen are not holiday specific and he put his up December 21, and it will grace his patio (which overlooks the Pacific) until March 21. Because, hey, it’s winter, so a snowman is appropriate all season long.
So while to our neighbors we are seemingly those people who are Jane and Johnny on the spot with cleaning up our holiday decorations, we cannot say the same for the in-the-house decorations.
You see, we have an environmentally correct (i.,e., fake) Christmas tree.
We moved into this house when Zoe was about 2. At the time her bedroom was on one side of the house and our bedroom was on the other side. Come Christmas I told Chuck I couldn’t possibly have a real tree because I kept having visions of a horrible fire caused by faulty wiring on a crispy dry tree. The tree would be in the living room which would be right smack in the middle of the two bedrooms and I wouldn’t be able to get my precious baby out of the house as it burned. So we have a fake tree. We’ve had the same fake tree for the last 9 Christmases.
And here it is January 15th and our fake tree was still standing in the corner of the living room, completely decorated. OK, we haven’t turned the lights on since a few days after Christmas but there stood our tree. Mocking me every time I walked in the front door.
Every day I say to myself, I really need to get that tree taken down. And every day I don’t do it.
And today I remembered what being a parent is all about and made Zoe (and Katie) take apart the tree.
They just finished. There is angel music coming from my living room.
I often wonder if times moves as fast for people without children as it does for those of us with children.
Zoe started 7th grade today.
It’s school acceptance letter season. It’s that special time of year when you find out if all the essay writing, test prep classes, recommendation letters, and money you threw at getting your child into the best possible middle school pays off.
Zoe goes to a lovely private school. Last year the school went from a k-6 to k-5 elementary and 6-8 middle school. Zoe transitioned right to the middle school for 6th grade. No muss. No fuss. No essays, test prep, letters, or extra money (besides the gut wrenching middle five-figure tuition). Zoe loves her school. Zoe loves her teachers. There’s a lot about Zoe’s school that Chuck and I love, but there are a lot of things we don’t love.
When she started at her school, the plan was always for her to leave after 6th grade. However, with the advent of the middle school taking her through the 8th grade there we reconsidered our options.
But there are times when it’s easier to transition to a new school. And there are times when it’s harder. Easier times are 6th, 7th, and 9th grades, when lots of other kids are making the transition. All the other times are harder.
So, since Zoe is going into 7th grade in the fall we revisited the new school discussion. There was a pretty short list, but since we are all very happy with the middle school curriculum at Zoe’s current school, we were pretty happy. But…there was one school Zoe *really* wanted to go to. It’s the school her best friend since kindergarten, Katie, goes to.
On the plus side the new school is an all girls school. A major plus. The girls all wear uniforms. Extra super duper plus. It’s still small, but bigger than where Zoe is now. Chalking another one up to the plus column. Excellent reputation. Plus plus. But the biggest plus of all…the tuition is less than half what we pay now. Ding Ding Ding. Folks, we have a winner.
So we did the dance. Zoe wrote, rewrote, and then rewrote again her application essays. We did intenstive one on one test prep tutoring. I solicited recommendations from all the right teachers. Then we crossed our fingers.
Every day the hot topic of discussion everywhere has been who got letters and to where? Yes, we’ve heard from A and B, but not C, and C is little Buster’s first choice. Yeah! We got into Sally’s first choice. Much faux lamenting what all this change is going to mean, which is just poorly disguised bragging. Talking to other mothers who have applied to the same schools as you have. Have you gotten your letter yet? The thing is, this is a discussion I don’t usually engage in. I’m not the braggy or faux lamenting type.
About a week ago I started stressing about Zoe’s application and when we were going to hear. On Monday I went through the application packet to get the number to call admissions and saw in their packet that they send out acceptances for 7th grade around March 30th. OK, I have a concrete date, I’m still anxious but I know when I’ll have an answer. Monday night one of the other mothers whose daughter has applied to the same school called to see if we’d heard anything yet. I told her what I’d read and not to expect anything until the end of the month.
Then yesterday afternoon this other mother phones and told me that acceptances were going out that afternoon. Eek. Apparently she could not be as Zen as I and called the admissions office.
All morning I not so patiently waited to hear the usual chorus of dog barking that means the mail had arrived. About 2:00 no cacophony yet, but I decided to check the mailbox. I went outside and what was that I heard? Yes, it was angel music coming from my mailbox. Laaaaaaaaaaa. We got the big fat envelope.
And we all know what the big fat envelope means. Yes, Zoe was accepted to her first choice school.
So what did I do? Yup, I immediately called the other mother that had applied to find out if she’d gotten a packet yet. No? Oh, I’m sooo sorry to hear that. Maybe tomorrow.
Zoe on why there are four half-full open cans of cat food in the refrigerator:
Because the cats like variety.
Boneatologist: An important kind of specialist who reads x-rays when other doctors can’t figure out what’s in them.
Source: Zoe Atkins, age 9 1/2
A discussion last night between me and my 9 1/2 year old daughter:
Zoe: Momma, I want the Manolo’s tomorrow.
Zoe: No (said, complete with eye rolls, like I’m the stupidest person to have ever walked the planet), the cookies.
Beth: Ohhhhhhhh, Milano’s.
I’ve been to a sum total of one professional soccer game in my life. It was a long time ago. I saw the Cosmos play. Pele was on the team and in rare form that day (or so those in the know told me).
This afternoon, for the first time, I’m going to get to watch Zoe play soccer with her school team. I’m guessing it’s going to be a little different than that other game I attended.
Because it’s a day that starts with the letter “S”, Katie is here. The usual regimen was followed–TV watching, giggling, jumping on the trampoline, and bike riding.
This afternoon the two of them absolutely begged me to take them to In-N-Out for lunch. Being the mean mom that I am I said no. But then in a maneuver designed to show me off as extremely magnanimous, I agreed to take them. In exchange for them vacuuming the living room. Naturally they thought I was joking and agreed to the deal immediately.
Well, we got home from In-N-Out about 30 minutes ago. About 25 minutes ago I reminded them that they needed to vacuum. Much hemming and hawing about chores and the shock and horror in discovering that I was serious about the vacuuming ensued. But I did not relent.
It was all going so well until I heard the kind of noise one should not hear when operating a vacuum, immediately followed by Zoe screaming, “Oh My God! Katie! Turn it off!!!!!”. Being a natural at this whole parenting thing, and goddess of housekeeping I knew that this was not good. I immediately ran in there to discover that somehow they had half vacuumed up one of Zoe’s Chuck Taylor’s.
Said shoe was finally extricated from the vacuum and cleaning resumed.
Now, Zoe’s sneaker is dust free, and so is my living room carpet.
It doesn’t feel like it was so very long ago that we packed Zoe off for her first day of kindergarten.
Tomorrow, she starts the 5th grade. Wow.
Over dinner tonight:
Zoe: Momma, what’s the worst hurricane there has ever been?
Me: I don’t know.
Zoe: Hurricane Bush.