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Rise Up!

May 8th, 2006

Feeling political today? Check out MomsRising.org. (Thanks to Staci for the tip.)

I am all for free, safe, universal daycare and afterschool programs. I stay at home with the kids, as you all know, and am able to write and edit from my home office. But even I can appreciate how nice it is when Wacky Girl has an afterschool art class and can I get a witness? HOW AWESOME IS IT TO HAVE THAT EXTRA HOUR?!!!?? Or if you have a younger one, how nice is it to not have to wake them up from their nap to run to school? Those moments are so rare and beautiful.

Plus WG loves playing with her school friends and not being stuck at her desk, trying to behave while the 28 other kids in her class try to do the same. Too. Much. Pressure. On first-graders (and all other grades, too) nowadays.

(Also, WG is irritated that I did not blog about her concussion, which happened, that’s right, the same day — in the evening, after the Big Stupid Injury. She was playing a game with her brother; he was the fisherman, she was the fish, and off the couch she toppled, smack into the coffee table. Head owie, lip bleeding, loose tooth made looser. She’s fine now, it’s been weeks ago, but just in case she asks again, OK, the Internet now knows what a worthless mom I am, letting the kids play fisherman and injure themselves. Wacky Boy’s comment was, “Wow, that was good it was her and not me!” Nice empathy! He’s had three concussions so far? Or four? I lose count. Anyway, we fear for his brain.)

Back to Why Free is Good: My friends who work outside the home are always pulling their hair out trying to patchwork together something, anything, that will work for their schedules and budgets. Grandma one day, the neighbor one day, the sitter three days. And who misses out? The kids. Because they’re parked at the babysitter’s, watching TV and not getting help on their homework, not getting exercise, not doing art, reading, having fun with science projects, all that good stuff that makes childhood afternoons spectacular. (I realize not all aftercare is this bleak, but it seems to be true for the majority of aftercare, from the bitching I hear from my girlfriends.) And WTF? do you do if someone gets sick? If the fever is there at 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning, gone Wednesday morning, but you’re supposed to be 24 hours without a fever before you return to school and I really, really, can’t miss another g.d. day of work and she seems fine? Can I load her up on Tylenol and drop her off at school? Then the fever spikes again, after the Tylenol wears off at noon, and there you are, Bad Mommy, “You shouldn’t have sent her back so soon!”

How awesome would it be if there were a “halfway house” kind of place, where kids who weren’t super-sick, but weren’t well enough to be running around, could go and rest, and have someone, a nurse? Is it too much to ask for a real nurse to monitor my kid, not the sweet, stressed-out, not medically-trained school secretary? And they could call me if they needed me?

Yeah, this is why I’m not planning on working outside the home anytime soon. Who the hell is supposed to watch Wacky Girl when she’s asthma attacking? The last time she had an asthma attack at school no one noticed.

No. One. NOTICED. Except me, when I got there for pick-up. She was getting blue, around her mouth, and couldn’t stop coughing. That’s how you know she’s having an asthma attack. They all know this at school, cuz I’ve told them.

Then when the school secretary (never a nurse, always the secretary, who is not an RN, that’s why her title is “secretary” not “nurse”) looked for her inhaler in the drawer IT WASN’T THERE. Because someone had swiped it. Nice. The spacer was there, but no Albuterol. I had her drink as much water as she could (it helps slow her cough) and ran her home. I’m all, “I can get her home more quickly than an ambulance could get here.” Yeah, that’s brilliant thinking. For real, she could catch her breath, she just couldn’t stop coughing. I asked the secretary if we could get a puff of someone else’s Albuterol, but “That’s against policy, sorry.”

Did I already blog about this? Sorry if it’s a re-run. It’s been months ago and obviously I’m still pissed off about it.

One of my girlfriends, a Wacky Mommy of two, is living with her family in Amman, Jordan right now. (They were living in the States and felt less than welcome after 9/11. Thanks, Patriots! Fwaaaaaaaaaaaa.) They love Jordan — dad is Jordanian, she’s Mexican-American, lots of his family is there) and have been doing well, ex-pat’ed. She told me that one of the best parts is that her kids do everything at school — art, fitness, music — everything. Everything. It’s part of their regular routine.

“None of that running them around all over after school, to soccer and music and dance,” she said, “They just get to come home, play with their friends and have fun.”

Can you imagine?


  1. fifilaroach says

    I’ve always wondered why we don’t have this as part of a national service program. Why don’t high school students graduate and then put in 18 months, either helping with daycare for seniors or kids, or maybe driving people around that can’t drive? We could give them money toward college for payment, and maybe some of them would learn a little about the world they’re in and get some empathy…
    Just a thought!

    May 8th, 2006 | #

  2. Wacky Mommy says

    That is a cool idea.

    May 8th, 2006 | #

  3. Anne says

    Too tired to rant (much) but your tale of the unnoticed asthma attack infuriates me. My daughter has life-threatening food allergies and I had to do a sit-in for 3 months at her PPS elem to get them to UNLOCK the emergency meds (if they are locked up, you can’t use them right) and train enough people to deal with her if she had an allergic reaction. I told them I would not leave until they changed the policy. So I stayed in the hall while she went to kindergarten until November. They changed it and did more eventually. But not without a lot of yelling on my part.
    THe mom of a diabetic kid at our school told me she got a peek at her son’s records and it had DIFFICULT PARENT printed on it. I cannot imagine what they put on mine–“INSANE PARENT, DO NOT GO IN ROOM ALONE WITH HER”, a label I would wear proudly, as long as I know my child was safe. There was a group of mothers of disabled children that marched under the banner “MOTHERS FROM HELL”. What a different, and more accurate label, than the usual “aren’t those moms of disabled kids saints? How do they do it?” crap they put in Ladies Home Journal and Family circle.
    PPS’s treatment of children with serious health issues would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.
    Enough. Have to go play cards with my daughter before bed.

    May 8th, 2006 | #

  4. Wacky Mommy says

    Does the staff not realize that those records follow along after the kid? What a crappy thing to do to a parent. And what a crappy thing to do to a kid! That’s not helpful, that’s just bitchy gossip, labelling someone like that. You can get court records expunged — what about school records? Yeesh. And excellent work, Anne, training the staff on the medical stuff.

    May 9th, 2006 | #

  5. Heather says

    Poor WackyGirl the fish! I am sooo glad she is fine.

    I know that in the medical industry, comments that are in a patient’s chart that the doctor thinks no one will ever see become public when records are subpeonaed and some are hilarious–if not terribly flattering, lol. We have appointment makers have used to have codes, like PIA means “pain in the ass” but if questioned we say it stands for “patient insists appointment.” lol Of course *I* would never do such a thing. Nor do I agree with writing that on a kid’s school file, Anne’s comment just made me think of it.

    I admire Anne for doing what she had to do to make sure that her kid was safe. Geez Louise why does it have be so frickin’ hard. Back in the good ol’ days, before schools were scared of getting their heinies sued off, we had a little thang called “common sense” and “giving kids their medication just because they need it.” I know, scandalous thought.

    Wow, Jordan sounds nice. Oil money maybe??? See what happens when people actually *fund* education.

    May 9th, 2006 | #

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