April 3, 2010

Spring break

I love spring break; it means the beginning of the end of the school year. Like many other parents, we anxiously await summer break when the rules of the school year are relaxed. No worries about bed time, homework or the early morning alarm clocks.

However, I also have learned over the last 15 years, that every mid-august I begin to crave those routines of the school year. I am always glad when school starts again. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I cannot see the grass today, as we got 18 inches of snow this week.

This year, my kids were on different breaks. Tom and Courtney were off the middle two weeks of March and Alex last week. This calendar discrepancy prevented us from doing anything together as a family. This is fine with John, who refuses to leave our beautiful valley during ski season. Thankfully, I had already had my winter escape, so the kids were left to their own devices.

With Courtney and Tom back at school, and John and I at our full time jobs, Alex was on her own for her break. I have no concerns about leaving Alex at home by herself in terms of safety. She watches TV or works on arts and crafts projects. Give the girl some paper, tape, markers and a computer and she can create anything. This week’s masterpieces were about her birthday presents. She created beautiful detailed letters about her requests for June 19th; a laptop, a snowboard, and an electronic journal. Really quite an accomplishment.

My only real concern about Alex and an empty house is her ability to eat. We had a lot of left over goodies in the house, from Courtney and Tom’s break. I did my best to eat as many chocolate chip cookies and ice cream as I could, and I was fairly successful. Poor me, I sacrificed my own dietary rules to ensure Alex’s diet was not compromised. What a great (and presently plump) mother I am.

I did work out an arrangement with Alex where she called before she ate anything. This meant my phone rang at 11:59, as lunch is always at 12:00, as well as a couple of times in the afternoon for snack time. I did not see too much food missing at the house, but I really could not control everything she put in her mouth. I would give this week and food consumption a “B”.

In order to make spring break special for Alex, we did have some evening dates. The activity Alex enjoyed the most was seeing “The Last Song”; preceded by dinner at her favorite restaurant. As it was her break, I did give in and we split oreo ice cream cake for dessert. Bad Mommy!

Alex has been a Miley Cyrus fan since she first appeared on the Disney channel as Hannah Montana. She loves her TV show, jives to her music, and has been bugging me about this movie since the trailers first appeared. This movie was not at the top of the list of movies I wanted to see, but I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. Alex understood the content, and although she did not bawl at the sad parts, like her mother; she got the drama.

There are lots of reasons Alex likes Miley Cyrus, but mostly I think Alex lives her life vicariously through teenage Disney characters. Alex wants to have a boyfriend, she wants to be popular and she wants to be a rock start. These things are not happening in her life right now, so she gets her fix through TV. I have very mixed emotions about this, but haven’t figured out an alternative solution to Alex’s dreams. Like many aspects of life with Alex, I think about this often.

I am looking forward to school starting on Monday. The Disney channel will be retired for a while, food can be monitored, and I will stop feeling guilty that Alex had a “boring” vacation. Schedules are good, and summer is just around the corner; despite the snow we got this week. It is the beginning of the end of Alex’s sophomore year…as they say; the kids grow up way too fast.

School has been going well lately for Alex. The weekly e-mails updates have been great. Alex is progressing and growing in her academics. The school counselor and speech therapist have both reported Alex is making progress towards her IEP goals. The principal and the BOCES representative have taken an active and proactive role in Alex’s education. Soccer is going well, and Alex is getting into shape for track and field (at least sort of). After all the National Games are only 104 days away.

This spring break feels good. To make a bad analogy, perhaps this is the season that will bring rebirth, renewal and regrowth to Alex and to us. I feel it in the wind and snow and sleet……..

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