It seems everytime I "title" my post, it turns out to be rather different than I at first intended, but since this is just my random run-on thoughts, I don't go back and change either. So apparently from the comments on my friend Don's blog (see previous post) very few people fully understood what he meant. Turns out it had something to do with having a sense of humor - gasp... Don referring to humor - I should have known. Secondly, in my last post I mentioned my nightmare parenting moment -- you know this parenting stuff can really suck when really all you want to do is have some fun with your kids and help mold them into decent people. So maybe I had my children too close together, that is one person's theory on my dilemmas of recent weeks/months -- the other is that I am a bad example (whatever!).
My major recent dilemma is that my kids don't treat one another with respect, particularly when they are away from home, which generally means "at school". You see, my three little darlings do sort of have a few strikes against them in this... A. - they are only 15 months apart, each set - therefore the oldest is 2.5 years older than the youngest - yes I banged out three kids in fewer than three years - it can be done. B. - they attend a 7-12 school, this means that while one of them could be enjoying a portion of her high school years alone - she isn't, her brother and sister are right there on the bus, at the activities and in the halls with her - all day, every day (unless they are staying home faking sick). C. - they attend school outside of our neighborhood, so much of their social life occurs only during organized after school activities or during school - they don't really hang out with school friends because of geography, and they don't really hang out with neighborhood kids, because they don't go to the same school and therefore know very few neighborhood kids. I recognize that this makes for some challenges, but add to that, the boy is the middle child - you know all that crap about needing more attention, etc. -- only he is the only boy, therefore he gets all that male child attention to make up for not being the oldest or the youngest. He is however sort of an ass - okay if I were his 15 or 13 year old sister I would probably say he is a big ass - in fact they do say that. The oldest, my "sanguine" child - I don't know if she is obsessed with trying to be sanguine because the word sounds cool, comes from the root 'blood' (she loves anything bleeding - that whole wanting to be a surgeon thing), or because it's a great excuse not to have to learn to deal with emotion - she did get pretty slamdunked at an early age with death, dying, disease, and general shitty depressing times - anyhow, my oldest, well she can be kind of a bitch - it's her way of protecting her emotions - if she doesn't make friends, she won't have to get hurt - and she "doesn't care" (her idea of sanguine) - this causes problems with the friends that the others make - my youngest doesn't know a person that isn't her friend, she is gregarious, outgoing, friendly, open, to a fault -- she is friends with the busdriver, the janitor, the cafeteria ladies, and the grocery store clerks -- but, understandably, she doesn't like all of her brother's friends -- more friction.
So to the event of disrespect last week - apparently things haven't changed much since the 1800's when we rode the covered wagon school bus across the prairie to school -- the cool kids hang in the back of the bus, unless they are underclassmen -- or something like that. So, my oldest likes to ride in the back of the bus because she is an upper classman - but she has no friends on the bus to speak of. My son, who thinks he is supercool because upper classmen like him, and apparently nearly every 'sevie' girl (except his own sister) have the hots for him, feels both obligated and privileged enough to ride in the back of the bus in spite of being in only 8th grade -- apparently however, a lot of 8th grade boys ride the back of the bus - I think the little twirps (yes I condone name calling) think they are supercool. My sevie daughter, who actually is cool and popular, rides in the front of the bus, because she likes the busdriver and she and the seats are roomier???? -- also her friend prefers the front - however, due to some hideous behaviour by some boys (basically sexual harassment) - one of those boys is now required to ride at the front of the bus, and my sevie and her sevie friend no longer feel comfortable up there - so they have moved to the middle/back. Now I know this was a rather silly diatribe on bus position - but if you ever rode the bus in Jr. High or you have kids that ride the bus, you know how important it actually is...
So apparently ms. bitchy (oldest) refused to move up a couple of seats when asked by the boy's "supercool (translate jerk)" friends b/c she feels they only ask her to move to support another girl who sits in the back (this girl is in my daughters class, but hangs out with the younger boys and has tortured my daughter w/ gossip etc. since about 3rd grade) and to be mean to her - so to be mean right back she refuses to cooperate/compromise. Her brother, with his enormous lack of "family is a team" and his overwhelming typical adolescent boy immaturity, not only backs them up, but then assists them in torturing and teasing her all the way home. Her sister (now moved back, but used to be in the front), supports her because she doesn't like either the older 10th grade girls or the idiot 8th grade boys because apparently they also make fun of her friend (who is a tiny bit chunky - but to hear them talk you would think she was built like Orson Welles) -- so I pick them up from the bus and get blasted with what an asshole the boy is, to which I respond - "and you don't try to be friendly or nice or to compromise so you set him up to be an asshole" -- well this met with the usual iciness and disdain brought on my any criticism -- in my defense, I also slammed (verbally) the boy for his behaviour and I tried to allow the youngest to maintain her neutrality. Because they continued to be idiots and argue in the car - by the time we got home I had threatened (I am the idiot queen of absurd ridiculous threats) to put them all in different "neighborhood" (read lousy drug and crime infested slut hole) schools and I may have also said something about no more extra-curricular activities -- well this met with tears, even from the boy - who then said "it's all my fault mom" to which I responded -- too late for that (by now we have walked into the house, where my husband's office is, and have been overheard -- okay I was yelling) - my husband soon appeared - now, as of this writing, actually nothing is settled, he likes to go on complicated voyages of discovery, ours was shortened by evening activities, and never finished... however the next day, the oldest did confess that she tried to be nice, and the boy admitted that his friends were assholes but he didn't participate -- it's a start.
Apparently it is wrong for us to "require" that our kids be supportive and friendly to each other publicly and that family comes before anything else -- at least that is one message we are getting. Thoughts?
Oh yeah the voyage - write down ten characteristics of the ideal sibling - we got to about #3 (working from 10-1) in our follow-up roundtable discussion. The boy wants things like "is popular", "is smart", "likes sports" -- the oldest wants things like "knows when to leave me alone", "knows when to comfort me", "doesn't interfere in my friendships", "gives me my space" -- the youngest, (aka drama queen) "chivalrous", "kind", "generous". I think that the different approaches and the selfishness of some of the answers still needs to be addressed, as well as, what is going to change - b/c right now they are simply moving forward on fear that this absurd threat will be the one I will carry through on.
p.s. Our neighborhood schools are not ideal, but they are better than many, and education is all about how involved you are as a parent and how committed both parent and student are to getting an education -- but, my kids do feel very privileged to have the opportunity to go to the school that they attend - so they see the neighborhood schools as some sort of blight.