No ... not mine. I figured that title would get some attention. One of our babysitters got married last week. Sunshine was her flower girl. My anxiety about whether she would be able to handle it without a meltdown was pretty high. There were a couple of mini meltdowns at the rehearsal the night before, but she was a champ for the wedding. She informed me the day before that she would not need me to hold her hand. (I was expecting that I might have to walk with her, which was okay with the bride.) She did a fabulous job walking down the aisle with the ring bearer. She sat with the bride's mother during the ceremony and mass (yes, a Catholic wedding). She was awesome for all the pictures in front of the church and then at the reception. I was so proud of her!
In front of our building, on our way to the church
The ceremony started a little late, so while we were waiting Sunshine did my favorite song and dance she learned at school.
three years ago I posted a guest post from a woman whose story I learned from a
Single Moms by Choice email list. She truly had been through the wringer, and
was still without a child in her arms. I am so very happy to announce that she
is now a mom! Here is her announcement to the email list:
I'm so very very blissfully happy to introduce my beautiful daughter Eliana
Jacqueline. She was born on February 5, 2014 weighing 6 lbs 14 oz and 19 inches
She is adopted. I got to be in the delivery room. The birth mother and I bonded
and it was a beautiful shared experience.
After EIGHT long and painful years of infertility and heartbreak, my little
baby girl's precious face makes it all seem like a distant memory. Yes, I'm so
I won't lie. It's a pride-swallowing siege; a humbling, exhausting, baptism by
fire to take care of a new born. Good lord! But it's worth it and it's a labor
I already wouldn't trade it for anything.
43 and finally a mother!!!
emailed her to ask if I could update her story on my blog she had even more
wonderful news. Baby number two is due in the beginning of September with a
gestational carrier and Stacy’s embryo from a previous IVF! Lots of happy sleep
deprivation ahead for this mom.
OH! If only
this post was about that G&T instead of “Gifted and Talented.” Mel has just
written twoposts about making the decision whether or not to put her bright
children into their area’s G&T program or to keep them at their local
elementary school, where they’re happy and doing well. First, I want to say
that I am blessed to even be able to contemplate these choices. My daughter is
healthy, and developmentally on track. She was behind verbally until her
hearing loss was corrected when ear tubes were placed when she was two. But, in
my opinion, she was still within the normal range with her verbal skills before
her surgery. Just on the lower end of the bell curve. Now (take my objectivity
with a grain of salt), I estimate her to be smack in the middle of the curve.
Do I think my kid is wonderful, bright, my own very special snowflake? Of
course I do. She is my joy! The light of my life. But gifted and talented in
the way that NYC tests for? Probably not. Not at not quite four. FOUR!!!! Age
four is when NYC begins testing for it’s G&T program. They can also take
the exam at five, but there are very few spots available for those who don’t start in
G&T in kindergarten. That’s it. There is no other time during their primary
schooling for NYC kids to be tested for G&T. Even though research shows
that it’s not accurate or effective to test at that age. And the test prep!
Tutoring a child at age four (or younger) for a test that is supposed to
indicate whether a child is innately ahead of the curve just feels so wrong. Oh,
and don’t suggest holding my late November birthday kid back a year, even though kindy is the new first grade, don't you know. NYC has
eliminated redshirting completely. Children start kindergarten the calendar year
they turn five. Whether their birthdays are in January or December. They
are then expected to start first grade the calendar year they turn six. So it’s
not an option to send them to a private preschool the year they turn five and
then public kindy the year they turn six. If you want to hold your end of year
kid back a year, private elementary school is your only option.
The air of
competition in NYC regarding kindergarten is insane. Nonetheless, I am grateful
that we don’t live on the skinny island at the center of the city, where test
prep for toddlers for private schools and G&T seems like the norm. There’s
this feeling that if you don’t get your child into the right kindy, his or her
future is DOOMED! Within the middle class contingent in my outer borough
neighborhood there is some of this, but not at the level it is in Manhattan. As
I said before, in my opinion, Sunshine seems perfectly average. She’s a happy,
boisterous, child. Very affectionate, possibly with a higher than average EQ.
She puts a lot of effort into nurturing her baby dolls. “Her wants to be next
to me, or her will cry.” We are lucky to be zoned for excellent elementary
schools. So why am I feeling all this anxiety about the G&T exam, for which
I would have to submit the application by November 8th? What if I’m
missing something? What if she’s gifted and talented in a way that the test
would show, but that I’m not aware of? And we miss this opportunity? Although,
for some of the same reasons Mel wrote about, even if she did test into the
G&T program, I would almost certainly not enroll her in the city’s program.
I do not
want her commuting to school at age 5. I don’t want to have to get her up
earlier in the morning to get on a school bus to go to another neighborhood. I
want her friends to be neighbors. I want her to feel like part of our
community. NYC’s G&T programs are almost all G&T dedicated schools.
Think about what that means in terms of diversity. Our neighborhood is THE most
culturally diverse neighborhood in a culturally diverse city. Our neighborhood
is also a mix of middle class and working poor. This benefits our local schools
immensely. The middle class parents who send their children to the local public
schools tend to be involved, and the percentage of the student population below
the poverty line entitles the schools to additional funding and resources
through the Federal Title 1 program. But, I’ve heard of schools that became
high performing schools thanks to the Title 1 resources, then the middle class
families zoned for the schools began sending their children there, only to have
the percentage of students below the poverty line drop to just below the
percentage to qualify for the extra funding. What happens then? Teachers are
eliminated. Class sizes increase. You get the picture. As this article states,
these schools can become victims of their own success.
rambling, but all these factors are part of my anxiety. Adding in the
uncertainty of what the Department of Education will change next. I'm hoping our next mayor will shake up the DOE. I know what my
first choice is for Sunshine for kindergarten, but due to overcrowding, I have
no way of guaranteeing that, even though my first choice is one of our zoned
I have much to update and much to say, but not enough time
or energy. Briefly, my surgery went well, and my back feels so much better.
Shopping for new clothes is FUN! Sunshine is growing like crazy, and started
pre-k. Work is still crazy stressful, but basically, all is well with our
Last night Sunshine got this big, proud look on her face and
said to me, “Mommy, when I was in your tummy, I didn’t go to school. I went to
Yes, honeybun. You certainly did.
Here’s some cuteness for you.
My little monkey!
Helping our building's super water the grass and plants.
Thanks to Dresden’s post, I
am now aware that The Deppster and I share a birthday month. Johnny is all of
17 days older than me. In June of 1963, the world was graced with both of us.
Yup, you did the math right. I’ll be turning 50 in less than a week. Just a
little over 2 months before my daughter starts pre-k. CRAZY! We had an awesome
party last Saturday. (Sorry, no pics yet. Waiting for the 3 people who took
pics to send them to me.)
I actually okay with this
BIG number. I have my Sunshine! I can only imagine how I’d feel about this
birthday if I had not managed to cross over from the Land of IF. She is truly
the light of my life. But on the other hand, I’m so exhausted! 3 1/2 is a hard
age. It feels like just about everything is a battle. She was awesome at the
party, because I let her have as many juice boxes and treats as she wanted.
Obviously, not an everyday thing. I know these battles are completely age
appropriate, and she’s probably easier than lots of other 3 year olds, but it’s
wearing me down. Working full time in a stressful environment and my chronic
pain issues make it that much harder.
But my big birthday gift to
myself should help. With my mom helping with Sunshine, I am scheduled for a
breast reduction in 3 weeks. I’ve wanted this for a long time. I was big
chested before, but between pregnancy and nursing, I went up about 3 cups sizes.
They did not go down after I weaned. Thankfully, my insurance company agrees
about the medical necessity, and approved the surgery. From what I hear from
people who’ve had this done, the mid and upper back pain, and shoulder and neck
pain will ease very quickly afterwards. I’m somewhat nervous about the
recovery, but I’ve been reminding myself that I recovered from my c-section
much more quickly than I expected, and much more easily than other women I
The surgery is scheduled for
a Friday, and I’m taking the following week off work. My mom will have Sunshine
at her house for the week. I’m anticipating going to my mom’s after a few days
if I’m up to it, as I’m sure Sunshine will be jonesing for mama. She’s never
spent more than 3 nights in a row at my mom’s without me, and it’s usually just
1 or 2 nights. I expect it to be emotionally rough all around. I’m also
concerned about getting Sunshine to understand that she’ll need to be VERY
gentle with me while I’m healing. You see, Sunshine seems to think they’re hers
to do what she want with. Even though I weaned her at one, and I know she has
no memory of breastfeeding, she routinely reaches into my shirt for a
comforting grope. And when she wants to snuggle, it’s not unusual for her to
slam her head against a breast. OY! Any suggestions? I’ve talked to her little
about the surgery and how she’ll need to be gentle. I told her I was going to
have an operation, like she did when Dr. W fixed her ears and nose, and it
would make my back feel better. My little smart cookie asked if I’d be able to
sit on the floor to play with her after. Something she knows I don’t do much
because of my back. I’m not too concerned about not picking her up. She’ll have
to get used to hearing no on that. For at least a couple of months.
I’m excited, nervous, and
just wish the day would get here already.
Sunday was the Pride Parade in our neighborhood. It’s not as big as the one in Manhattan later this month, but it’s still sizable and very festive. I pulled together a perfect outfit for Sunshine to show our support for equality.
As we were watching the marchers go by, Sunshine spotted this costumed marcher (wearing the wings on the left (link is semi safe for work)).
I really want to keep a record of some of the things she
says. They may not be chronological, but I’ll post them here as a sporadic
Sunshine has been a bit of a demon lately. She’s digging her
heels in and testing her boundaries. It sucks! I’m now that mom — leaving
stores with a screaming preschooler; standing calmly next to her stroller while
she screams and puts her feet down on the pavement, so I can’t push the
stroller; counting to three, so she knows I mean business. Good thing I don’t
embarrass easily. She actually woke up at 2:30am recently and had a tantrum,
screaming for cookies. (Suffice it to say, she didn’t get any.)
Last night, in between tantrums, she played pretend with me.
Sunshine: Mommy, I da mommy and you da baby.
Sunshine: If you want someting, you don’t get it if you
scweam and cwy.