Thursday, February 28, 2013

The long and short of it

February has been one cruel month here. The shortest month of the year and some of the longest reasons for frustration and despair -- and it's only going to get, better? Maybe. In less than 12 hours Earbaby officially turns 14. The road is getting bumpier and bumpier.

The last four weeks have seen a massive snowstorm of some proportion. I don't know if I could say it was epic, that word is overused, but it was big (25-plus inches) and sloppy, and wet, and frustrating. But I didn't have to do too much shoveling (one of those reasons to get married, along with the removal of dead things on the premises), and luckily it fell on a weekend when I was already scheduled to be off. Unfortunately for EB, the reason I was off, her first semiformal dance, was also postponed.

So the first full day of the storm I stayed inside, while my husband shoveled for hours, the dog played until she was exhausted, and EB went outside for a bit, coming in covered in white and proclaiming it looked like a post-Apocalyptic world out there! I was happy baking brownies and was impressed she knew the word post-Apocalyptic. But then, she goes to a great school.

The next day, after church was canceled, giving me two full days with no commitments for the first time in I don't know how long, I ventured out to help my husband and our neighbors clear the driveway enough to get my car from across the sidewalk and make some headway around the rest of the property. EB didn't have school for a few days after the storm, so she also got several do-nothing days out of this winter blast.

But it wasn't all snow angels and baked goods.

February also marks the middle and end of the dreaded third term in EB's school, and things have taken a sudden downturn in some of her classes. Last year we saw the decline from the first to the second term, but were still shocked by the big drop of the third term when she didn't make the honor roll. This year she actually improved from the first to the second term. Then two things happened.

First, her wonderful, young, and enthusiastic science teacher turned out to be temporary and she left, bringing back the assigned teacher, who is older, a lot less enthusiastic and is alleged to be quite surly. I say alleged, because when I met him, he was OK, not particularly pleasant, but not surly either. Anyway, EB went from an A in science for two terms to getting a warning notice that she was failing. Which was the reason I met with the new/old teacher anyway. The second thing that happened in this cruelest of months is EB's math got harder.

I was actually proud of her though when she said, "I think I need a tutor." I had been pounding into her little head that if she needed help, asking for it was a sign of strength, not weakness. Apparently she heard it. We found her an excellent math tutor (who came out after the snowstorm even!) and she's starting to feel better about math. She's even asking for a science tutor. We're actively looking.

I'm not sure she'll make it through this third term unscathed, but she has two more terms to get back on track, so I'm trying not to get too upset about it.

What has upset me is her attitude, which I'm told isn't going to be any more pleasant in this coming year. Rarely does a day go by that EB doesn't ask for something. Her semiformal was rescheduled for this weekend, so after buying her a nice dress, nice heels, two nice little shrugs to choose from and getting ready to shell out more than $100 for her hair and nails, she manages to ask for more stuff. She needs certain shoes to wear to a dance (not the semiformal, another dance). She needs shoes for a dance competition in a week. She wants, wants, and wants, and I want her to nip this shopoholic gene in the bud. And gratitude? It's fleeting. Thanks mom, is usually followed in the next few hours by, Oh, I also need ...

And to end it all, the ridiculous Cocoa managed to get skunked yet again (No. 12), this time at 8:30 in the morning. We apparently have the only diurnal skunks in existence, so while we knew nighttime, dawn and dusk weren't safe, now, daylight isn't either. Meanwhile we're spraying her and every surface of the house with skunk odor removal all the while knowing that we, and everything in this house is going to stink for at least two months.

Fourteen years ago, I was awaiting the birth of my first and only child. I didn't know if it was going to be a boy or a girl. It was scheduled, so I already knew the place and appoximate time.

I wouldn't take any of it back, but as we venture even farther on the road of teenage-hood, I'm strapping myself in a bit tighter. Happy Birthday. Help me, Lord.

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