Monday, February 23, 2009

Breast Friends...and a second look

My honest personal opinion...don't whip out your boob in public! I know that people feel differently on this topic, but I have breastfed four children...some longer than I feel I am entitled to my opinion!

I had 'one of those days'...staying up late trying to find the folder of 'legal documents', waking up early to run 45 minutes to pick up a copy of Fruitcake's birth certificate, running back to register her for Kindergarten, trying to figure out her and Sassy Pant's schedules next year, changing Sassy Pant's preschool schedule, going to the bank to transfer money to the business account (because I wrote a check and forgot about it...hopefully it didn't already bounce...oops.) All with two wonderfully active little ladies.
When lunch time rolled around, I figured I deserved a playground/restaurant. (I was trying to think of what to feed my company tonight for dinner...the smell of hamburgers helps me think better.)
I'm sitting there, juggling my sweeties. (Forcing fast-food in them as a stipulation to the privilege of enjoying a germ infested playground) They ate enough crap to go swim in the germs, so I sat back and relaxed to the sounds of screams and crying kids...but not my I can't hear a thing.
Then...being the people watcher I am...I noticed a toddler who took a quick drink break. But it was no ordinary drink with a straw, oh no, not with my luck.
His mother lifts up her hoodie/sweater and shoves his head into her boob. Are you kidding!?! The kid was just eating french there can't be any 'health benefit' bull-crap reasoning. The economy is pretty bad...but the kids meal's comes with a drink. It only saves something like 30 cents to buy the hamburger and fries only to leave out the drink. This particular restaurant even sold milk as a beverage option in the kids meal. Should I keep going!? Yes, because they sell chocolate, strawberry, and regular milk.
She looked like a conservative enough, typical Mo-town (Mormon town) Mom with a bazillion little kids running around. She and a girlfriend were just chatting it up! Her side/back was to me and the rest of the restaurant. (which was full of parents/grandparents and kids) So, out-of-the-blue, my relaxing moment turned sour...literally, I think I caught a whiff.
Due to the lack of proper nursing attire...her shirt was pulled more than half-way up her back...tramp stamp...and a boob. FANTASTIC! And while the tramp stamp was a enough to make my eyes widen and a smile appear...then I saw the boob and kid's head...and I threw up in my mouth a bit. There goes my relaxing moment for the day.
The kids gets his drink and then leaves to continue his play. I couldn't help but close my eyes and shake my head. She was a human drinking fountain.

I'm not in the anti-breastfeeding club. I'm not even opposed to discreetly breastfeeding in public. But, well...I'm not quite sure how I categorize what I witnessed today. Whatever it was...I must say I am opposed.
There it is.

In taking a second look (not at my new breast look will last me a lifetime) I must clarify something...
I was talking to a friend on Saturday about Smarty's school situation. I know, I know...I just can't let it go. In my defense, I don't bring it up...but I still get questions. Anyway...
We were discussing closure and how hard it is to let something go if you don't feel you have closure.
That night, Mr. Smith and I were talking about things. I was talking about how I was still surprised at how everything played out, not at all how I expected. I pulled up my letter I had written to read it again. I was honestly surprised...the things I had written were not quite how I remembered.
So, to clarify some of my assumptions...
In the letter, along with all my complaints and problems with her teacher...I expressed my desires to remove Smarty from her school's 'special program'. So, while I had concluded the decision was not really was. From the principals perspective, I think he was just trying to give me what I wanted.
With no discussion or explanations, I took it as avoiding the issue. I was really surprised at the abrupt response...but in his defense, he was probably trying to be respectful and avoid further confrontations. Anyways...I guess I didn't get closure on many of the things I had gone through up to that point. For whatever reasons...things worked out the way they did.
I really feel blessed with the outcome. Smarty is so much happier and lives a stress-free 3rd grade life. As it should be.
I'm glad I took a second look at the letter. Coming from a different perspective, things weren't handled as poorly as I thought. I will sometimes come down with a case 'diarrhea of the mouth'...and I must say that I believe it is a virus. There is really no magic pill or quick cure. And it is contagious, so I apologize if I have exposed anyone over the last couple weeks.
Again, there it is.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Make no excuses, have no regrets...own it.

I appreciate all the words of encouragement and support I received last week. I'm so grateful for this outlet I have to express my thoughts through writing. It feels so therapeutic, and I somehow feel that once I've written it...I can move on and let go.
I really believe that playing team sports has helped me with many of my life's situation. I think that there is something to be said for "there is no 'I' in team" and "go hard or go home". These type of phrases have stuck with me and have helped me in many ways. One of my favorites is "No Regrets". This has meant the most to me in my life and the crazy situations I've faced.
I'm not a believer in the "No Regrets" that encompasses the "no apologies" philosophy, but I think you have to try the very best you can, and not look back in regret. In basketball, we were told to play with no regrets. That meant to give everything we don't want to look back at a game and wish you had given it more, or done things better. I have made a ton of mistakes in my life, decisions that I am not proud of. And while the consequences have been hard and often extremely painful, I wouldn't be who I am today without those experiences. There cannot be rainbows without rain.
There is little in this world that bothers me more than people not owning their actions. As adults, we decide what we do, or don't do...what we say, or don't say. At a certain point...our decisions are ours. No matter what someone else did to us or say to us... what we choose is our own choice. There can be no blame, or excuses...we have to own it. Step up, and take responsibility.

I drove home through insane weather and got home early this morning (1:00am) from spending the weekend with my sister‘s. It was ironic that everything with Smarty went down right before leaving.
Moab is my idea of serenity. Clean air, amazing trails, quiet sounds of nature...away from anything stressful in my 'rat race' of life, and enjoying some of God's most incredible and breathtaking creations. Since my first trip to Moab, I've known that God is an artist. His palette is this earth, and I'm so glad I can enjoy his masterpieces.
The morning I left, I wrote a letter to Smarty's principal. Of course, I was still very passionate about the situation (although I'm pretty passionate about most things I feel) I got Smarty's heartbreaking letter, finished my blog, and then wrote the letter to her Principal. I was frustrated that there had been no progress in the meetings with the teacher and I didn't know what other avenues to pursue.
Mr. Smith and I had discussed the decision of removing her from her class if things didn't get better...but I think her letter was the tipping point, so I expressed our position in my letter. I really thought there might be progress and we could move on with a better understanding of each other and meet somewhere in the middle.
{Tipping Point: The tipping point is the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development.}
On Thursday, after meeting with her teacher twice and the principal once...Smarty was still failing. It was now one full month into the quarter and only one of her assignments had been entered into the computer correctly. Have it be her Aide or her...Smarty was working her tail off, and her work was lost somewhere in the shuffle. Her problem with turning in her homework was corrected, but her grades were not reflecting it. Smarty would cry in hopes that she wouldn't have to do work over again (like 6 page Grammar packets that took her over an hour to complete) I knew this either needed to be corrected, or she needed to be removed from the situation. So...that's what the letter said. I figured there would be more discussion before the decision was made and was mentally preparing myself.
I was excited to go on this trip with my best friends. I could get my mind off things and relax. Since I cried to the Principal, cried to Mr. Smith and barely held it together in front of her teacher...I figured some time away would let me 'pull it together'. I'm not a person who cries. I had cried at least once a day since Monday...ridiculous!!!
On my drive...somewhere between Soldier Summit and Green River...I received a phone call. We exchanged 'hello's' and the voice simply said "(Smarty) will be placed in a different class on Monday." I was a bit surprised and said, "Okay...thanks." There was a 'your welcome' and that was that! Very short, blunt, without emotion and to the point.
For the rest of the drive I ran through the last week in my mind. I thought about Smarty, and how she would feel. I second-guessed EVERYTHING I had said, typed or thought.
I really didn't want to be seen as the 'over-protective, crazy woman' who comes to the school and makes a big deal out of everything. And I certainly didn't want Smarty to suffer any repercussions due to my craziness. I didn't think I deserved an apology, partly because it's only words, I just wanted the correct scores on assignments, and assignments found that had been turned in. I wanted some type of communication if my child was failing a subject so I could help her improve and learn without a gut-wrenching report card. I think that seeing an 'N' on a report card should not be the first time I am made aware of a problem. And while I can move on from last quarter...the failing grade continued this quarter was not correct, and her lack of organization was not fair to Smarty and all her hard work.
Fifteen minutes after the stomach ached, my head hurt...but I had only shed two tears. (It's a good thing people were around or it might have been a ton more!) That night I cried...the next day I tried not to think about it. Again, that night I cried, and sure enough...the next night I cried again. I was fine until I laid down at night, nobody was around and my mind wouldn't let it go. I think I have cried more in one week than I have in two or three years combined... HONESTLY!
Before I was a parent, I could make decisions and move forward. What's done was done...and it would work out. I think that now I worry about screwing up my kids. Well, I KNOW I will screw them's just a matter of how badly...and will they forgive me for it?
During our five mile hike yesterday, my sisters and I did a lot of talking. Two of us like to take risks, and aren't afraid of heights...and one of us plays it safer. We were discussing why we were different. I mentioned how I am much more calmer than I used to be.
Before I was married I always freescaled. That means I would scale up rocks and climb major heights without ropes or equipment. Granted, there were some close calls, but I was the first up the mountain. I love adrenaline!
Since having children, I am smarter about not dying. I'm still not as careful as I should be, but I'm much better than before.
I told my sister that I think I'm that way because I have to live with "no regrets". I think the worst thing is to look back at a moment or opportunity and wish you had done something else. I know that if I don't do certain things...I will always wish that I had. Like two years ago the lake, when I had to swing off a high cliff on a rope swing. (You can see lots of You Tube videos of young boys doing it) Mr. Smith is smart enough not to...but me? Not so much. So instead I hit the water and get the air knocked out of me. If I hadn't kept my life vest on, I wouldn't have come back up to the surface. Yep...not the smartest!
Tombstone: Wife and Mother...who died jumping off a cliff, just because..."sorry kids" make my point...
I checked with the school this morning, and as luck would have it?...Smarty had credit for all her work. Straight A's and 101% in Language. While I am happy that things were fixed. I am more happy that Smarty will get to see that! She needs to see it more than anyone! But now it was too late. I couldn't walk in and beg to have her stay in the class. Decisions were made, and for whatever reasons... it was better to have her leave the class than to correct things or ensure change.
I walked into the school this morning and the Principal greeted us with the information of Smarty's new teacher. Smarty wrote a letter to the teacher she was leaving, telling her how much she loved her and her class. The only request I asked the Principal was that I "just want Smarty's correct grades to transfer, so she doesn't start out behind." To which I was told didn't matter...the grades are erased. Then I thanked him for his help and his understanding.
I could feel his frustration and the tension was thick. And while I received some feelings other than 'warm fuzzies', I don't think Smarty had a clue. In fact, on the way to school she told me the teacher she wanted...and as fate had it...that's who she's with now. Maybe the Lord knew she needed something extra in her favor.
Just like every pivotal decision I've had to make...I feel I tried my best to help Smarty's situation, and I feel reassured that everything will work out. I can say that things didn't work out how I had expected. But I did what I needed for Smarty, and things played out that way. I don't feel I asked for anything that Smarty didn't deserve.
Mr. Smith and I had some reservations with this ‘special program’ for various reasons. When it came time to make the decision of whether or not to put Miss Magoo in...I felt strongly that it wasn't the best thing for her. I let her make the choice, and was relieved when she wasn't interested. Most of the families I know have placed other children in the program if one of their children are in already. I felt funny explaining why Smarty was in and Miss Magoo wasn't. Now I think it's a blessing.
I have learned a lot in the past 7 days. And while I have looked to some friends and family for advise and reassurance, it's an internal battle I have to stop fighting. It is over. I have to stick with my tears, no whining, no looking back, no excuses, and certainly NO REGRETS.