Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

The School Choir December 10, 2018

Jay decided at the beginning of the school year that he wanted to join his schools choir. This came as a surprise because a) he’s never really shown any great interest in singing b) he’s never shown any great interest in any kind of performing c) he comes from a long line of people with horrible singing voices (his mom included).

I am not one to discourage my childrens extracurricular interests though so I filled out the paperwork and every Tuesday morning, before classes started, he would go to rehearsal.

 

About a month ago he began saying he wanted to quit. He just didn’t like it, he said at first. Then I found out he was getting anxious about the upcoming shows. He dreaded getting up on stage and singing in front of a crowd. But as much as Shaunie likes to paint me as the “easy” parent and as much as I try to lean into the boys emotions and I tell them that their feelings are valid and their desires have a right to be acknowledged and taken into account, I made him stick it out. I was not comfortable with him quitting mid-season. He had made a commitment and needed to see it through. His teacher and the rest of the students in the choir had put in a lot of effort during their many hours of practice and they were depending on him (on each of them) to do their part and show up for the team. I told him that all the kids were probably nervous but they would get through it together. I asked him what would happen if they all decided now that they didn’t want to do the shows because they had stage fright. Plus, it wasn’t like he had to do a solo … Remember what I said about the families singing talents?

Ace encouraged him saying he too had been in his schools choir in the 5th grade and he too had been nervous but that in the end it was fun. Jay liked hearing that his older brother had experienced the same thing. It gave him some relief.

Still, he moaned and groaned and asked us NOT to come see him perfom and lost the check needed to buy his uniform shirt and then lost the shirt itself once the payment situation was sorted so we had to borrow one but …

 

They did their first show last week and it was really great. He smiled for pictures and waved at us in the audience.

 

I was so proud of him – and all the kids really.

I even appreciated that the songs were so diverse.  They did Christmas songs and a Hanukkah song and even an old negro spiritual which didn’t sound very “old negro spiritually” coming from a bunch of elemetary school kids but still.  It was delightful.

 

They have 3 more shows at the school this week and then a field trip to perform off-site next week. He hasn’t raised any concerns about those so I guess getting that first show out of the way was all he needed.

 

They start a new season in January and I’m not sure if he will sign up again – I won’t force him if he doesn’t want to. Either way, I will consider this experience a success.

 

Birthday Buddies Bust September 27, 2018

A couple of weeks ago Jay came home from school with a flyer advertising “Breakfast With Buddies”.  Basically, students were allowed to invite someone (a non-student) to have breakfast with them in the school cafeteria.  As a mom who works a full time job, I rarely make it to these kinds of events.  I can’t remember the last time I chaperoned a trip. It’s been years.  I attend concert recitals and I’m always available if there is an issue where I have to meet with a teacher but I’ve never been to a field day or to the annual Thanksgiving lunch – And before today, I hadn’t been to a “Muffins with Mom” or any other fun breakfast gathering.

When the flyer came home, I knew I wanted to go.  This is Jays last year in elementary school which means it’s my last opportunity to engage in these kinds of activities with him.  Lately, I have been feeling a compulsion to make the most of the time we have here.  To NOT put things off.

I asked Jay if he’d like me to go with him and he gave me an enthusiastic yes.  I put it on my calendar and let my job know that I’d be in late.

 

Today was the day.

As we pulled into the parking lot, Jay told me that he hoped there would be bacon.  I told him I didn’t think there would be, but we would see.

When we filed into the cafeteria along with all the other families, Jay disappointedly said, “Aw man, all they have are donuts. Ugh!”

 

Jay got his donut, I got mine and a cup of coffee.  We sat and chit chatted for all of one minute before he said:

“You can go now if you need to.”

 

I told him that I hadn’t even finished my donut yet.  He said “Oh, I’ll sit with you while you finish.”  As if he was doing me a great favour.

As soon as I took the last bite he let me know that I could take my coffee to go.  He was over the breakfast.

Well.  OK then.

 

At least I got to sleep in for an extra 90 minutes – which I very much appreciated.

 

Exactly the Labor Day, Birthday day that I needed September 4, 2018

The last couple of weeks have been good in some ways but trying in others.  Even though I share a lot, there are some things that are way too sensitive for public consumption so my blog has been quiet.  Ya know; while I stewed and processed and deep breathed and soaked in the fabulousness that was getting to spend time with my best friends from near and far.  That part (the time spent with best friends) was truly awesome.

 

Yesterday Ace turned 12 years old (Yay!) and it was exactly the Birthday, Labor Day, Unofficial End of Summer day that I needed.

Shaunie had left out 2 new boxes of Legos and a new book for them the night before so they’d have something to occupy them until we woke up.  At 7:45 on the morning of the birthday, I walked into Ace’s room, to find him and Jay in his bed, reading the new Dog Man book and laughing together.  Swoon.  I wished my boy a happy birthday and then Jay told me that he had offered Ace his new Lego as a gift.  Seriously … How sweet!

Next, we revealed Ace’s real gift – A PS4 gaming system.  To say he was happy is putting it mildly.  He then opened a birthday card containing a Game Stop gift card so yeah, later in the morning, after he came back from getting a fresh to death haircut, we went to Game Stop and then to Target where Jay spent his own pocket money buying Robux (video game currency) and Ace splurged on the biggest Nerf gun they had.

Back at home, everyone just kinda hung out.  The boys were happy to play with their new toys, I was happy to have them home and know that they were happy.

In the afternoon, we hit the pool for a bit, made a cake, had a Nerf war, played a board game and chit chatted as we all got ready for the next day.  Jay wants to be something scary this year for Halloween.  Possibly that guy from Scream.  Ace initially thought he wanted to be a paper boy, but has now switched to Dead Pool.  Quite the pivot.  Jays really big news is that he has expanded his food repertoire and now eats rice, chicken, sausages, scrambled eggs and corn.  What in all the hell???  For the first time EVER, we all sat at the table and ate the same meal for dinner.  This is great but I’m still kind of stunned.  Ace will need to change clothes for gym class this year and he’s not excited about that but he IS looking forward to all the other things that 7th grade has to offer.  School did not used to be a place he felt comfortable.  How far the boys have come.  I love it.

 

I spent a little one on one time with each boy before they went to sleep and everyone was out like a light by 9pm.

It was a simply delightful way to spend a day.

 

This morning, Ace was up and ready.  Jay let me know that he would not be posing for any pictures because he was not happy about going back to school and this was not a day to celebrate.  *spoiler alert*  He posed for pictures because this mama is not above bribery.

In the end, he was glad to see his old friends and the day started just fine.  I got my first pumpkin item (a muffin) of the season and there are no work events on my calendar for this week so it shouldn’t be too bad in the office.

I’m looking forward to seeing the boys later and hearing about their first day.  Oh, and also, eating more of that birthday cake.  🙂

 

Ace Update November 11, 2016

Filed under: Life on the Jay train,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 11:25 am
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How was your concert?

 

It was terrible.  I had so much stage freight.

 

But was it a little bit fun once you were up there?

 

NO!  I was in the front row on full display for everyone to see.

 

But you guys practiced a lot right?  And you weren’t up there alone.  So didn’t you feel any excitement?

 

NO!  Only stage freight.  When we practice there are only 3 or 4 people listening.  There were 600 people at the concert.  

Wait.  I did make 2 people cry.  But not in a sad way.  It was a happy crying reaction because they felt something from the songs.  Everybody didn’t cry.  But 2 did.  So that was good at least.

 

Well, that was your first show, so hopefully now that you got that one under your belt, you won’t feel quite as scared next month when you do your next show.  I’ll be there for that one.

 

Yeah, I think it will be alright.  

 

Just so you know, I’m really proud of you for taking on something that you were scared to do.

 

OK.  What’s for dinner?  

 

My boy, who apparently doesn’t like to be on display, joined his school chorus, practiced every week, donned the requisite khaki pants and red polo shirt and stood on a stage at his school and performed for Veterans and their families.

 

I am super proud of him.

 

Earlier in the day we had met with his teacher who told us what a good kid he is and how well he’s doing.  He’s a hard worker and he comes in with a positive attitude every day.  He picks up on new math skills easily.  He has friends.  He’s well-liked.  Of course there is room for improvement and she gave us some recommendations for books she thought he might enjoy so we can elevate his reading and comprehension skills.

 

Did I say I was proud of him?

 

On our way out of the school building we had a quick, friendly chat with his principal, who he has developed a relationship with courtesy of the Lego Robotics club.

 

Ace was nervous about the move here.  He was worried about having to make new friends and about not liking his new school as much as his previous one.  I am really glad that he is finding his way.

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some work to finish and then I’m going home for the weekend.  I have a date to spruce up for .  OK, it’s just a movie so there won’t be much sprucing.  Also, Jay has requested some play time with me.  I am happy to oblige.  I’m gonna see if I can take a trip to a bookstore with Ace as well.  We have to up our book reading game.  No more settling for comics or Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  I’m open to suggestions if you have any.  He’s 10.