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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Impotence

Given that yesterday was the first day of school I offer you, my beloved readers, the requisite back-to-school photo.


But something is wrong! Why are three children sporting new backpacks, freshly combed hair, and grins of anticipation laced with a tinge of anxiety while one is...

Moppy-headed and still in her pajamas?!

I'll start by saying that I love the year round school calendar and I think it is educationally superior to a traditional calendar for a variety of reasons. That was the disclaimer.

We live in Wake County, North Carolina and the schools here are so screwed up I can't even articulate the mess. Actually, I take that back. The schools themselves are fine, in fact I love the school we've attended since moving here and have nothing but glowing remarks for the teachers and administration, but the administration at the school board level sucks. Case in point: My youngest three are on a year round calendar but my eldest, who is attending middle school this fall, is now on a traditional calendar. She'll be home for the next month while her sisters are in school... And in October, when the other three are out for almost a month? She'll be in school.

There are some pros and cons to the situation, and I am nothing if not a glass-half-full kinda person... but this? Even I can't make it good.

This morning as the (three) girls were getting ready for school I had this conversation with Rachel:

Rachel: <heavy sigh> I always felt like we were a team... The Belinski girls... Like we were in stuff together.

KathyB!: You are a team, sweetie. That's the best thing about having all those sisters. It's special, and you will always be there for each other. No matter what. <gives big hug>

Rachel: Except I'm not part of the team anymore. It's kinda like I got cut. I'm separate now.

KathyB!: Oh sweetie.... <more hugs>

Rachel: It's okay, mom. I know you have to tell me that it's a good thing. But I'm old enough now.... you don't have to pretend with me like when I was little...

KathyB!: <spinning internally on so many levels. And silent...>

***

I expected to feel impotent as my daughter entered middle school. I expected to feel powerless and weak in the face of mean girls and peer pressure and hormones.

I did not expect that the board of education would deem that my child not go to school with the children with whom she attended elementary school. I did not expect to spend the next month scrambling to make connections so that she'll at least recognize a few faces on the first day of school. I did not expect that the school board would put her on a schedule that would be hugely incompatible with the rest of the family, or that they would deny all of my appeals. I did not expect to feel so frustrated and powerless and impotent as my children, at least most of them, headed to school this morning.

***

I know this sort of vitriolic spouting isn't why most of you come here. And yes, I wrote the letters, I appealed the decisions twelve ways from Sunday, I quite literally pleaded with the powers that be and I exhausted all recourse. Make no mistake, this is a very complicated situation, and I understand that it's bigger than me.

And yet, for me it's quite simple. My job is to take care of my children and foster an environment that nurtures our family, and I take that job more seriously than I usually express.

And for the first time in my life...

I'm impotent.

67 comments:

Justin Narin said...

Oh that is really bad... why do they have to screw the education system like this, man i feel sorry for you and your lovely daughters, but rest assured they are a great looking team :)


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Young Mom/Wife said...

Wow, that is awful. I'm sure you aren't the first or only parent to complain. Besides, year round schooling would be the most beneficial to older children. I am with you on how messed up this is, especially since it seems they don't even have the same break schedule. I am sorry, but like Justin said they are a great looking bunch of kids who have an awesome Mom!

ck said...

Impotent in the outcome of something that was far out of your control...maybe. Except that she you stand up for her. She saw how tirelessly you worked to remedy the situation in her favor. She might feel sad and a little left out and scared about the upcoming year, but she knows how how important she is to you. That she is worth every last moment of time you spent physically and emotionally. And that you'd do it again for her.

Heading into 6th grade with that kind of understanding is HUGE, kbexclamationpoint.

And perhaps worth even more than fixing the problem.

Lindy said...

That post had me shivering.

How completely odd that the school system splits their calendar like that?!

I just keep thinking about your last line "I'm impotent" and it strikes such a nerve in me.

What we wouldn't do for our kids.....

The Good Cook said...

I always thought year round school a bad idea for the family; a good idea for teachers and admin.

Sigh. Families should come first. Hang in there. Eventually they will all be in traditional year school.

BTW - your girls are beautiful!

Hit 40 said...

I am so sorry. I am frustrated for you!! A long letter to the editor to your local paper might be a good idea. At least, it will make you feel better. I totally agree with why your upset.

... a piece of advice to all. The next time you go to a meeting to get something that you want done. Take a not pad of paper and write a lots of notes. Take your husband with you too. Have him write lots of notes too. Ask them to spell their names for your notes. IT WILL FREAK THEM OUT!!! I hate to say it, but I always get what I want. I am not afraid to come off a little bit whacked if it is important to me.

Schools help the whacky moms more than the nice moms. They are not afraid of the nice ones. So sad but true.

Hit 40 said...

I am willing to be whacky for my kids :-)

confused homemaker said...

That's just shitty, sorry but it is. I cannot believe that they'd be so dense as to think that multiple schedules for a SD would work. BUT I do agree with CK your daughter has seen that you are willing to do whatever you can to help her transition & that means a lot.

TKW said...

Can I be an honorary Belinski girl? It sounds like a very nice team to be on.

Give Rachel a big hug for me. And I'm getting you a cocktail.

bernthis said...

I call the L.A. USD. the deep black hole.it's freaking nightmare.

Tina said...

What a mess the Wake Co. schools are! We hear it on the news all the time (our "local" news channels are from Wake Co.)

My husband has some family that live in Moore Co and are in the same situation. It's just a pain in the butt all around.

It looks like if they're going to do year-round they'd do it district wide through all grade levels. I think year-round school can be a good thing, but not to the detriment of family life. Hugs to your daughter.

evenshine said...

Hate to break it to ya, but I think that as she moves into adulthood there will be many moments more where you're left impotent. However, the fact that she's able to work these things out on her own without throwing a teenyboppertantrum or putting a fist through a wall is commendable, and is directly proportional to your parenting skills. Well done, KB. And happy first day of school!

countryfriedmama said...

I imagine there must be many, many parents screaming over this situation. How frustrating. While it's too late for this year, maybe continued advocacy can change things for next year? In the meantime, at least she'll get some one-on-one time alone with you.

Tsquared417 said...

That is so crazy. I thought it was bad just having 3 different spring breaks! That's just nuts...hopefully you can get it changed...I KNOW you can!!

JC said...

We do just the normal school year ... start early Sept and get out late June.

i am the diva said...

awww, this post broke my heart a little bit.

Kristina P. said...

Why do they do this? When are families supposed to take vacations?

Danielle said...

Your girls are beautiful, just like their mama!

Nikki said...

That's a very weird situation with the schools having different calendar years...

I can definitely see your frustration. Makes it rough for families, doesn't it? Poor kid.

for a different kind of girl said...

First, let me say you have such beautiful (and clearly wise) girls!

Then, I'll echo a lot of what's already been said in the previous comments. It's bizarre that the school board would have such a shift in their calendar thinking between school levels. As you clearly point out, it's a logistical nightmare, and I think even more so when entering middle school and all that that can bring upon a kid. This post broke my heart a bit, but you clearly put up a valient fight on your daughter's behalf. I just wish it would have worked out.

Meg said...

I sort of follow the school board drama. One of my best friends is a teacher at Broughton, formerly at SouthEast Raleigh, formerly Enloe. She occasionally talks to me about stuff going on at school, like when the school board took away Broughton's Magnet status. Broughton! WTF? Or Martin Middle's principal's inability to notify parents of students disciplinary actions. I have to say that I don't have kids and this mess makes me angry. ANGRY! I can't imagine what it would be like if I did have little people to send off to these schools! I think I would pull them out and home school, honestly. Private school if I could.

The school system in our county is a mess. I can't tell you how many times I have thought about running for school board. And I don't have kids!

Sapphire said...

Oh, KB! this sucks. I just can't understand the logic behind having a school district with different schedules. When are you supposed to go on vacation? It's totally ridiculous.
At least you will have one on one time with your oldest for a month, but the rest of the year sounds like it will be crazy.

Just think, she will probably feel worse when they are out of school and she isn't. That's even more alienating!!! Damn them!!!

Laoch of Chicago said...

God, year around school. The horror ... the horror!

the ungourmet said...

Wow! I think this would make me feel a bit crazy trying to keep track of everyone's schedules.

I feel sad for your daughter. :0(

I hope things will adjust and settle into a routine quickly!

Maybe the two of you could do a mother daughter pedi and lunch day together to help cheer her up.

Ink said...

What CK said. In spades.

And that's a beautiful picture of your girls!

Hugs to you.

Gibby said...

WTH was the school board thinking when they came up with that great idea? My head is spinning.

Well, even though the situation stinks, maybe it will be nice to spend time with your oldest. The one who you used to spend all your time with way back when. I miss those one-on-one times with Poonch...

~Thought's By Dena~ said...

that really is a bit messed up...you;d think they want to make it easier for everyone by having all the schools in the area on the same schedule doing this way makes no sense at all!!! I send you a big hug....tell your daughter that this will give you and her some special time to spend together!!!

Grant said...

Time to home school.

mom-i-am said...

That is frustrating. But I agree with others, that it is a good opportunity for some one-on-one time with her.
And we come here to read your stuff, funny or cathartic. And because we like you :)

faemom said...

Poor thing. But this is a great time to assure that no matter what, she and her sisters are a team, no matter the dsistance, the schedules, the lives.

Tammy Howard said...

ooooh - she feels liek she was cut from the team... that is so sad!!!

I think a year round school year is a great way to go, but I cannot for the life of me reason as to why they would do it for some kids - grades - but not others. That makes no sense.

I'm sorry this is happening, and sorry for that feeling of helplessness.

The only upside I can see is a little more quality time with each girl, particularly the eldest who just might need it the most right now...

WhisperingWriter said...

Poor girl :(

Zip n Tizzy said...

Oh ouch!

I also think a year round schedule is awesome, though we don't get one here, but it seems like everywhere they've employed it, they stagger the grade school schedule with the middle school and HS. How is that helpful to anybody? I thought the whole point was to make the break times more doable for families.

OK I'm ranting. What I really don't understand is why they would separate your daughter from the kids she grew up with. That's just cruel. I would feel just as upset as you.

Megryansmom said...

sooo, hang on while I duck just in case, have you thought of perhaps homeschooling the whole team?

Pam said...

Big hugs for Rachel. How sad that she feels left out. It's actually kind of refreshing that she loves her sisters so much she wants to be with them so much she wishes she was going to school! Great kid! Good job, Mom! Is Rachel attending a middle school in a different district? Why won't she be with kids she went to elementary school with? This does sound a little messed up. As Tammy said, enjoy your one on one time with Rachel.

peewee said...

THAT.IS.CRAZIER than ALL Of the crazy creatures in your backyard. Can't you rally up like every other parent? Surely you're not the only one!

I am ANGRY for you. And because of that? I am going to get some chocolate!

You're welcome.

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

Now THAT is crazy! At least the public schools here are all going 4 days!

So sad that she feels left out.

DebraE64 said...

I truly don't know anyone who likes what the Wake County School Board does with our schools. Thus, I have no idea why these people are still in power and still consistently screwing up our schools with all this nonsense. First, they strongly resist neighborhood schools, all in the name of diversity, which they claim to have achieved, not based on race, but based on economics. Call it what you will, but it is bussing, plain and simple. Most of this country, including Memphis, where I grew up, figured out that bussing doesn't work, but these guys can't seem to get that yet. So, everyone moves here, thrilled with the reputation of the education that is offered by the schools in Wake County, but it then becomes like a slap in the face when you realize, as you have, that they can totally play with your family and their schedule. They want to push year round schools to ease over-crowding, but then deny it to people who would be interested in year round school to maintain some sort of cohesiveness in their family's lives. It isn't right, and again, I have no idea why this continues, since I know of no one who is happy with it. Having said all that, a lady named Debbie Vair, who is also in charge of membership at Granite Falls Pool and who is in the forefront of the "SOS or Save Our Slaves," organization, that is fighting Wake County and trying to prevent them from building a new school right on top of a former slave graveyard, is running for the school board, and the election date is in October. One of the things, other than the SOS movement, that she is passionate about, is returning Wake County to neighborhood schools, and thus, getting rid of all of this craziness that is a blight on our school system. Whew....when did I find time to type all this?! ;-)

DebraE64 said...

I truly don't know anyone who likes what the Wake County School Board does with our schools. Thus, I have no idea why these people are still in power and still consistently screwing up our schools with all this nonsense. First, they strongly resist neighborhood schools, all in the name of diversity, which they claim to have achieved, not based on race, but based on economics. Call it what you will, but it is bussing, plain and simple. Most of this country, including Memphis, where I grew up, figured out that bussing doesn't work, but these guys can't seem to get that yet. So, everyone moves here, thrilled with the reputation of the education that is offered by the schools in Wake County, but it then becomes like a slap in the face when you realize, as you have, that they can totally play with your family and their schedule. They want to push year round schools to ease over-crowding, but then deny it to people who would be interested in year round school to maintain some sort of cohesiveness in their family's lives. It isn't right, and again, I have no idea why this continues, since I know of no one who is happy with it. Having said all that, a lady named Debbie Vair, who is also in charge of membership at Granite Falls Pool and who is in the forefront of the "SOS or Save Our Slaves," organization, that is fighting Wake County and trying to prevent them from building a new school right on top of a former slave graveyard, is running for the school board, and the election date is in October. One of the things, other than the SOS movement, that she is passionate about, is returning Wake County to neighborhood schools, and thus, getting rid of all of this craziness that is a blight on our school system. Whew....when did I find time to type all this?! ;-)

Susie said...

It's ridiculous! Good luck working with the mess that they gave you.

blueviolet said...

When we were in a school system with a year round calendar, it was exactly the same way once you hit middle school. It was due to the athletic schedule. Of course.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

As a teacher, I couldn't agree more. The positives of year rounds school are so great, but we are stuck in a rut here in the U.S. Eventually, we will have to go to another system, as this is obviously not working..
Like blue violet said, it is often because of sports. bleh.

Kristen said...

I am really surprised that the school board doesn't have any year round schools after elementary school! We have a year round school here that goes up until 8th grade but all the hs are traditional. I agree that year round is probably better for the kids because they don't have as much time to forget things, I just cannot believe how early the girls are starting! I'm sure they love it though! I am so sorry that your oldest is left out :( Maybe somehow she can enjoy the month she can sleep late!

LadyFi said...

Darn red tape and school boards! They stink!!

Off topic - thanks for trying so hard to get into my blog... not sure why it was having problems. No one else has mentioned this, so not sure if it was a hiccup my end or yours... Seems to be working fine today though... (I hope!)

passions and soapboxes said...

They are getting so big. Year round sucks and you know it. Grab your soapbox, stand on it and yell it at the top of your lungs. What if they all end up on different schedules.

ScoMan said...

Sometimes I wonder why the powers that be make the decisions that they make. This is one of those times.

What is there that could possibly be accomplished by running the schools on such different calenders? If anything, it would create inefficiencies in the system.

Oh well, I guess you've exhausted every avenue trying to get some sense into them, but unfortunately some people cannot see the light.

MadMad said...

Oh, that is just awful; I'm so sorry. Poor thing. Separate vacations are tricky enough - you may have heard me whine about them? ;) - and heck, middle school is tricky enough, too! - without all the rest, too. It almost feels sometimes like school TRY to make it hard for parents!

Undercover-Princess said...

Glad to know how 'impotent' you really are. I was wondering...back to school already?! But then I saw the disclaimer. I think all schools should do year round. Maybe then we could compete as a nation with countries like Japan.

One of mine starts middle school this year, too. I already feel....sigh...anyway...

Spout all you want. Sometimes a little leak is better than a huge explosion.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

I come to this site for Kathy B! And I'll take any type of post you care to write. For me, it was fantastic to see this side of you. Seriously! I know this post was meant to be a way to express what you're feeling, but, for me, it was even greater insight into your life.

The situation you are describing is ridiculous! I just hope that your 1:1 time with Rachel might bring you a little joy at times. :)

xoxo

Francesca

The Blonde Duck said...

Is there no way she can go to a year round middle school? This sounds ridiculous! Don't they realize parents have more than one child?

Kathy from Strawberryseeds said...

Being in NC myself (Union County) I have often wondered how families combine traditional school year with the all year round ... they should do it across the board or not at all ... IMHO of course! In any case your girls are adorable and loving. I have passed on the Lovely Blog Award, so come on by and claim it! :)

K said...

That's horrible.

They should definitely all be on the same schedule. Definitely makes life hard for everybody to split up a family.

Staci Z said...

Four girls...I bet your house rocks like mine does. I have 3 girls, 2 female dogs and 1 female cat...my husband is the one that is impotent in our family.

I feel your pain though...but keep up the good fight.

Zeemaid said...

wow.. I was astounded yesterday that your kids were back in school already then recalled that they were off early. I am more astounded today that they would not make all the schools in the area follow the same schedule. What about parents who like to take their kids on summer vacation? What you're supposed to leave one behind? Must have been a juggle for you. I feel for you in this situation!

Sandy said...

Year round school for PART of those in the system? I've never heard of that. Is it common?

angie said...

I can't believe the schools are not all on one track or another (traditional or year round). I'd think all the parents would be having absolute FITS!

Mary K Brennan said...

Kathy, make no mistake how important you are in Rachels life. I'm sure the fight you gave was a good one (we don't win them all). Rachel will remember this one.
I can't imagine such a schedule. We're going through a similar situation this September. We pulled Potter out of Catholic school (story to follow) and Scooter will be attending half day there. So Potter will be on public school schedule. I only have 2 and my head is spinning. Enjoy this time together. We are so lucky to be able to stay home. Try to put a job in that mix. Good luck. Send my best to the kids.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I can't believe I haven't found your blog before, this is my first time here.

I'm a teacher in a state that was year round the last 15 years but is moving back towards a traditional year. I'd list the reasons but that would be another post in itself.

However, a couple of years ago, the first thing the powers that be did to get their shit together, is put the entire system on the same calendar. For many good reasons, including your problem with siblings.

Hit 40 is right, they are afraid of the squakers.

Janell said...

That is just stinky and completely nonsensical. I feel for your daughter, and you. The only positive thing I can think of is that this month you'll get a lot of good quality time with her??

Helene said...

That just downright sucks, to put it bluntly. I can tell how much your heart hurts for your oldest daughter...it would break my heart to hear those same words from my own child too. It makes no sense...you'd think the board would go out of their way to make sure siblings are on the same schedule....what about family vacations? extracurricular activities? Do these board members NOT have children themselves?? It just doesn't seem fair and for that I'm truly sorry.

Yaya said...

This is so sad. :( It breaks my heart she no longer feels part of the 'team'. And that schedule is completely screwed up.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Awwww! So sad she feels she's been 'cut from the team' - but man, you have done such a great job...I hope Princess Nagger has that sort of enlightened spirit when she gets to that age.

'Year Round' or 'Traditional' scheduling aside, I have never understood the reasoning behind 'assigning' kids to classrooms that don't have the same kids they went to school with the year before. I'm nervous about how Princess Nagger will be when she starts first grade this year, particularly if it turns out NONE of the kids from her kindergarten class are in the same classroom as she is. She's just like her mama - takes her a little while to warm up to strangers, but fiercely loyal when you've become a friend. If I thought I had the patience to do it, I'd consider homeschooling...but since PN doesn't have the blessing of siblings, I'd rather she have that socialization aspect instead.

With your cup 1/2 full personality, I know you're going to make the best of it with your 1:1 time with Rachel - you're an awesome mom, and it shows! :)

msprimadonna67 said...

The scheduling nightmare that results when your kids are on different tracks can be incredibly frustrating. My sister is going through all of that right now with her girls.

C. Ialis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
L. Ovex said...

While the two of you think about their sexual relationship, is to understand the influence that impotence has had on the two. Then, together, decide on the way in which a plan to get closer to her and what are we going to help each other front and better their sexual relationship.Feelings, thoughts and behaviour in relation to any sexual dysfunctions will have an effect on their physical and psychological well-being. An example of this is Ellen and Paul. Since undergoing triple bypass surgery a year ago, your sex life has decreased.Ellen decided to do something about planning a special night together, making sure there would be no distractions or interruptions. "I've been waiting for this special moment to share a compliance, the intimate experience", says Elena. But in spite of my caresses and hugs, Paul did not seem to be able to respond." "The more attempted it, most eager to became the two."Any woman in a relationship with a powerless man can relate to this experience. It is not only the man suffering, women also. Women begin to think of possible reasons for his partner's sexual dysfunction and wonder if you blame.Women have many of the concerns exactly the same as men as regards impotence. Therefore, it is also important to talk to others about what may be the cause of sexual dysfunction.Approximately 85% of cases, the male impotence is caused by something physical, that can be diagnosed and in most cases can be treated, with some even curable. So it is important for men to see a doctor and have one query medical.It is important to discuss what both sides need their sexual relationship. Today in the society we are conditioned to think and behave in a certain way in regards to sexual behaviour. What are sexually when faced with a powerless partner and what you believe means must think and feel can be two very different things.

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