Mercury Is In Retrograde And I’m F–ked

I’ve never really put much stock in the whole astrology thing. I think it’s mostly bunk (though I am the most Taurus who ever Taurus’d). So when things started taking a nosedive around here and people started saying “hey, you know, mercury is in retrograde” I thought they were nuts.

I TAKE IT ALL BACK.

On Thursday, Liam came home with some troubling news. The first bit being that he’d taken a rubber ball to the right side of his neck in gym class and was feeling dizzy and nauseated. The second bit being that someone had written “F–k Liam” in a boys bathroom at school.

Yeah. I’ll start with the second bit. It was done in the bathroom in the 5th grade hallway. This part of the building actually ONLY has 5th grade students. Liam is the only Liam in the 5th grade. Thus, one of his classmates must have written it and they can only have meant him.

Well, you can imagine how upset he was. How angry and upset Scot and I were. We spoke with the principal directly about it and the upshot of the business is this: because of timing issues, they couldn’t use hallway security camera footage to determine which child did it. The principal¬†instead gathered all the 5th grade boys and put the fear of God into them. They were told that this was a suspendable offense and that they got lucky this time because they couldn’t determine culprit. They were told that when they see such things they should report them IMMEDIATELY so that they can sleuth out who did it. And they were told that this is not how a school that is supposed to be a bully-free zone works. They made a target of another child and that is simply NOT OK.

The principal also had the custodian remove the graffiti ASAP – so quickly, in fact, that when Liam took me in to see it, it had already been sanded away. (The little shitcake that did it carved it into the stall wall.)

Now, as to the injury in gym class – Liam was still feeling off the next morning. But I was going to be at school all morning helping with picture day so I made him go to school, told him I would be there, and basically made him give it a try. By 9 am he was in the nurses office. He just couldn’t get the dizziness under control and it was making him nauseated and unsteady on his feet. So I signed him out early, left the other volunteers to deal with picture day, and took him home.

When I called the pediatrician, they recommended I have him seen at Children’s for evaluation. Many hours and little sustenance later he was diagnosed with a concussion. A mild one but a concussion nonetheless. (I must take a moment to acknowledge that my dear friend Dawn drove all the way into the city to bring me sustenance while we waited it out in the ER. She’s a lifesaver.) So, now we’re on the concussion recovery train, complete with having to see extra doctors. GOOD GOD. He went back to school this morning and I’ll know in a little bit how well that all went. *fingers crossed*

So, this morning I head off to work. Things are crazy hectic but hey, it’s a Monday.

Until I got in the car to LEAVE work and couldn’t because the car wouldn’t start. Dead battery.

My boss saved my ass and helped me get the car jumped. I drove it directly home – skipping the errands I was planning to do – and parked her in the garage. Turned off the car. Waited about a minute. Tried to start her up again.

No dice. Need a new battery.

With help from my friends on Twitter who pointed me to¬†a YouTube video that shows me exactly how to pull the old battery and drop in the new one, I can at least save myself the tow fee. Now I just have to wait for Scot to get home with the other car so I can purchase said battery. But, hey, Valuable Learning Experience here. By the time I’m done, I’ll know how to change the battery in my car.

So. When does Mercury leave retrograde?

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Forward Motion: Picking Up Steam

As of August 27th, school is back in session. This was the test of all the stuff I’ve been fretting about all summer with Jamie. How would the transition to first grade and an all day schedule go? How bad of a crash and burn would we see? Campfire? Bonfire? Forest fire? ICBM?

I’m delighted (and gobsmacked) to report that he’s doing incredibly well. No fires at all. Not even a single flame. He’s taken to first grade like it was no big deal. All day school? No problem, Mom, I got this. I’ve spoken with his teacher, the principal, and his speech therapist – they all report that he’s been doing a FANTASTIC job at school. Far better than I thought he would be.

I have my theories as to why. Kindergarten in our district is a half-day program; we are one of the last holdouts in the area as far as this issue goes. Despite that, they have extended both the Math and Language Arts curriculums down to the kindergarten level. This means that they are shoving a full-day curriculum into 2.5 hours a day. Jamie never had recess last year because they flat didn’t have 20 extra minutes in the day to give to it. Frankly, that’s a lot of pressure to put on 5 year olds.

Also, he had a large class last year. There were 23 kids in his kindergarten class – three more than the cap is supposed to be and four more than the number Liam had. Any parent knows that additional children is not a linear equation when it comes to the work involved. It’s exponential. So extra kids is exponentially more sound, input, and commotion. Combine that with the enormous curriculum expectations and you get a whole lot of anxiety.

This year his class is 18 students and he has a WHOLE DAY to do a whole day’s worth of work. What a concept! He gets lunch, recess, and snack breaks every single day. Suddenly the pressure is off and school is fun. Plus, his teacher this year is every bit as much of a gem as his kinder teacher was.

In the last two weeks he’s been in school I’ve seen his speech get clearer and his reading explode. Last night he sounded out the word “wants” without any prompting from me. He hit the word, didn’t know it immediately, sounded it out, then said the whole word while I sat there with my mouth gaping. Before school started? If it wasn’t a sight word he knew from kinder he refused to even try to read it.

I still don’t expect every day to go this well. I’m sure we will have our bumps and issues. But he is so much happier this year and I couldn’t be more relieved.