Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Did I Mention...?

...that I've been working on my next piece for Time? It'll be on newsstands sometime in the middle of the month; the cover date will be June 23, but as I found out last time, that's the date the issue goes OFF the stands, not the date it goes on. I'm up to my neck right now in edits (much lighter this time, which really pleases me) and fact-checking queries, which is why the last time you heard from me was Friday, despite the fact that much has happened since then. FWIW, the piece is on kids and obesity, and what parents can (and can't) do. It's part of another one of those special sections, this time on kids and fitness. And here's the best part: It only made me about half as crazy as the last one did! I didn't once write a post here about how I'm a fraud, after all. I may have laid on my bed moaning that I'd never work in this or any other town again, but I kept it all to myself. PROGRESS!

...that I'm going to have to bend over and take it up the...um...you-know-what regarding the whole Issue of the Stairs? Hard to understand, when I was just in full-on I'm-going-to-take-them-down-and-they'll-never-know-what-hit-them mode. But, see, late last week I took a break from re-reading my scathing letter to the principal, the school district and its lawyers right before sending it, and set it aside for a minute so that I could start composing my letter asking the principal and the school district to consider retesting N based on comments from his teacher and his OT and an observer in the classroom, all of whom think he needs more services than he's getting. And then, all of I sudden, I thought...What are you, INSANE? "Dear Everyone: I know I just threatened you with lawsuits and a public relations nightmare that I'm personally going to engineer, but would you please help me help my kid? I need you to bend some rules for me to do it. I'm sure you'll be happy to do that, since I'm sure you're feeling very generous towards me right now. Love, TC" Yeah. That shuffling sound you hear? That would be me, backing away from that particular fight. (Now, if one of my kids so much as scrapes his or her shin on those stairs, that will be another story entirely. I will eviscerate every one of the people involved in this catastrophe of a decision. But until then...Someone else is going to have to take on The Man. Or noone will. Which is much more likely. And really sad.)

...that the kids had their end-of-the-year "event" at their religious school on Sunday? They each did a collage of photos entitled "My Jewish Life," and they were all adorable. The older kids, including Em, also made up a list of their own "commandments." Em's cracked me up, ranging from things like "You shall not kill" to "You shall not eat in front of the television." But the part that had me clutching my chest from the cuteness was N's. He had apparently had a lot of help in putting his together from his little friends Zach and Lex. And so, at the bottom of N's poster, Zach had written, "By N, Zach, and Lex...The Three Dudes!" And when someone asked to take a photo of them, N got right in between Zach and Lex, and the three of them linked their arms together and grinned identical wide, happy, grins. From behind me, one of the older members of the synagogue commented, "Look at them. Those three are going to run this temple some day. And probably sooner than we think." The best part? This is the kid who hasn't had a single playdate at school, who got invited to one birthday party all year--and that of a kid who invited the entire class--and about whom everyone at school is 'concerned'--a concern expressed with serious faces and frowns and obvious questions about his future. But there in the social hall of his synagogue, my boy doesn't just shine, he leads. He may not be able to put together his own collage, but he has friends who will help him. And for now, that will do. That will more than do.

...that Em was in a recital at school the other day? She's been learning to play the clarinet this year, after a less-than-stellar year on the flute, and she's So Much Better at the clarinet. It's really fun to listen to her. So we went to the orchestra and band recital a week or so back, and then Em told me I should come listen to her do just one song for the third and fourth graders. She told me that the point of this particular recital was to convince the third graders to join orchestra next year (they're not eligible until fourth grade) and to convince any fourth graders who hadn't joined this year to join next year. What she DIDN'T TELL ME when she nonchalantly mentioned that I might like to come hear her, was that this was NOT the whole orchestra. It was a select group of kids, some playing solos, some playing in duos or trios, and Em as part of the clarinet "ensemble," which consisted of just five kids and the band teacher. I didn't even bring a video camera...I just thought it would be more of the same of what we'd seen the week before. But there she was, her first year on clarinet, being singled out to play in an ensemble! That kid is so cool, and so laid back. I hope I grow up to be just like her.


Anonymous said...

I love when you write about your kids and their deep ties to your temple. Today, in fact, as I was reading about N, it occurred to me that this is the thing we strive for in our schools--a place that seems incapable of giving our kids the emotional support they need--and here you have it through your temple and those wonderful little friends who are clearly being raised with a strong moral backbone.

I'm not articulating this well, but what I'm trying to say is that yes, this is a beautiful, wonderful thing. And N and Em are both so lucky to have this in their lives. A safe haven. A place where they are loved and cherished beyond their own front door.

Oh, and, congrats on the Time piece. Glad to hear it was less stressful (or at least more manageable) this time around.

Green said...

Can N go to school with his friends from temple? He just seems like such a sweet boy - does he pick his nose at school? I don't understand why he doesn't have playdates and friends at school.

You know I started out wanting to play flute. The band teacher had me meet with him, he looked into my mouth, and said, "I have good news and bad news. The bad news is, your mouth and teeth are not aligned in a good way for flute. Play the clarinet instead. Good news? You'll never need braces."

Had I not had learning disabilities that make reading music so difficult, I'd have played clarinet a lot longer than half a year. But he was right about the braces. Go Em!