Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Just call me Oscar..

I was having very grouchy thoughts this morning. Generally in a good mood (so not PMS-y - thanks, I think, to exercise - a simple 45min brisk walk up the beach yesterday afternoon and I was a different person!) - but still, sometimes the 'Oscar' within makes an appearance, usually set off by some small thing or another.

I've been getting more and more grouchy with the primary school stuff recently, and reading the school newsletter this morning just set me off again. What sort of SAHM am I? (Maybe just an Omega one rather than an Alpha - oh, boy, I am so not Alpha!! )

Easter Hat Parade tomorrow.. and I'm over them. Over, over, over! This would be the 10th year for me- since the eldest started kindy... and I ran out of interest and energy for them quite a few years ago now. Simply put, I don't see the point in them. We decorate hats at Easter because? And we watch half the kids with creative Alpha parents who help them make a super whammy deluxe hat to parade around in, while the rest of the kids with slightly more normal parents (who also believe in letting the kids do their own creativity) parade around in a more amateurish hat, while the parents dutifully applaud, and the older kids, in particular, try not to feel stupid.

Oh, despite thinking all this, I feel so damn guilty because the youngest is only Year 3 (and still only 8 years old), and I feel I still owe her some enthusiasm. However I have searched within for Easter Hat Parade enthusiasm, and I can't find an ounce of it anywhere. (Heh.. typo then was Easter Hate Parade... LOL - how appropriate!) I wish I had an excuse not to go.. but I simply don't have one. I'm a SAHM, and it's what SAHMs are supposed to do. So I will still heave myself up there and suffer through it, because the mother guilt would consume me if I didn't. With enthusiasm, Tracey! Rah, rah! (Heh, maybe I might get a chance to grouch to someone about all the things that are p***ing me off.)

Also in the newsletter, it announced that this year's school cross country will be a fundraiser- associated with some Fundraiser company. My grouchiness with it is that it is not anything special or different to what the kids do every year!! For god's sake, if you are going to hold an 'a-thon', make it something special, or extra challenging - not something you do every year anyway as part of the school's sport curriculum. As Marc said, why not just call it 'give us cash for going to school' day. The way collecting sponsorships seem to work these days is also by requesting money up front, not for laps/km, or per anything, which I believe misses the point of an 'a-thon'. That's not sponsorship! That's a donation! (I did wrestle with that issue myself when we raised money for the Heart Foundation for the Big Ride last year... why should people donate money for something we were going to do anyway?)

That trend has actually p'd me off for a while now. AND.. with this glossy promotional fundraiser stuff that school fundraising committees are getting into, with the kids get prizes related to the dollars raised, I am feeling that we are missing the whole point somewhere in there...

Further school newsletter induced grouchiness is the weekly 'advice' on how to be a better parent. This week's lecture from the Principal was 'How to grab 15 minutes of family reading time every day'. - as a pre-holiday pep talk. Read on the go... read interesting signs, billboards etc with your child. Be prepared - take books with you where you might have to sit and wait. Better than TV - read instead of watching a tv show..... Labels everywhere - stick labels on items in your child's room or around the house, and read them regularly. - F&*% OFF!! Stop telling us how to run our lives! I don't WANT to turn my home into a school classroom.. Kids have enough structure in their day with school! If you just behave fairly normally in your life, as a normal caring parent who talks to their child, and answers their questions, most of these things will happen incidentally, without having to write a bloody lesson plan for each day! And if you are not a normal caring-type of parent (of which, unfortunately there are some) then you're not going to take on board this bloody lecturing anyway!!!

I am extra grouchy when it comes to advice on how to make your kids good readers. I think everyone is becoming so obsessed about it, they are producing OCD readers, rather than natural, 'read because they love it' readers. Listing what you read for at least 10mins a day promotions just produce, IMHO, obsessive compulsive list makers!! I for one have flatly refused to interrogate my children as to what they have read each day. I am also not going to follow my child around to check up on what she is reading. I KNOW she reads.. and I'm not going to make an issue about it so that it looks like WORK rather than FUN. I also don't care if she doesn't get round to reading anything for a day - or two - or more! Because on another day she might read for hours! (And if she didn't read, following her around to make her read for 10 minutes isn't going to teach her to ENJOY reading, is it?)

Yes, I read to my kids when they were little.. but not religiously like all the latest palava tells you must. I didn't get all OCD about it having to be EVERY NIGHT either. Some days might be a lot. Some days we missed it. Whatever!! And my children are not only living proof that they didn't suffer because of this, but also that you don't need to read to babies from one day old for them to become readers!! (I suspect that my tendency to get 'lost' in a book, or for both me and Dad to be sidetracked with the newspapers on the weekends (and consequently ignoring our children!) does more than getting all school marmish over it. And, being the terrible parent that I am, I pretty much haven't read out aloud to my kids since they could stick their nose in a book themselves. I don't really like reading aloud, not pages and pages of novels. We might read out loud, for the benefit of whoever else is around, some interesting piece we've read in the paper, or online, but frankly, I don't have the stamina to read novels. There are read aloud cassettes and cds with much more talented readers that the kids borrow from the library - far better role models than I could be in that department! I just wish the school librarian and principal would stop putting things in the newsletter telling me that to be a good parent I should be reading aloud to my already reading children!!! Go away and LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

I also think parents and teachers might do better in some respects to get off the case of kids who don't want to read books, particularly fiction. WHO CARES!! Yes, make sure they can read per se, but stop getting so hung up on it! It isn't a tragedy if they don't like to read novels for heaven's sakes. There are lots of other media - particularly these days -to stimulate their minds, and their reading.

Just CHILL OUT with it all, for heaven's sakes! Or as Oscar would say: "Ding dong, you're wrong!"

*so says she as she bangs the lid on the trash can and retreats to the diabolical mess that is her abode*



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