The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Watching My Kids Become People

I haven't blogged a lot in the last year, and it is mostly because I am feeling more private about my children than I have in the past, for reasons that are kind of hard to explain.

Nonetheless... my amazing children amaze me. They have just become such interesting people.  Vinny loves music and the arts so much, and flourishes as we let him fill his life with the things he loves. He is, of his own desire, taking three hours of dance a week now, and this Saturday, when he had a bunch of free time before our show Saturday night, he spent a good two hours solid playing piano.  He's pretty good. I mean, I won't pretend that he's phenomenal for an eight-year-old or anything... like he isn't a prodigy or anything, but he is better than I ever was in high school, and I tried pretty darn hard to learn. He learned this Easter song "Up Up Up He Arose" and plays it well enough to sing along while effectively with playing two hands.  I don't think I ever really figured out my left hand. I could get chords on my left hand, but that was about it.

And he is just so dedicated to everything he does.  We are in Bye Bye Birdie right now (it is the first time that he and I have been in a show together, and it's been a lot of fun), and he knows every single song by heart, even the ones he isn't in.  Yesterday morning, he played through the entire vocal book, even songs he isn't in, like "Baby Talk to Me." I love that he loves music as much as he does. He pushes me to be a better musician. When I miss a lyric or something, I just feel like, "Vinny wouldn't have missed that."

Tiana is something else.  That little woman has got a tenacity like none I have ever seen before. She's such an interesting little person too. She cannot handle boredom, but has no problem entertaining herself. At brunch today with Marc's family, she got a pen and drew all over the butcher paper on the tables. Not just typical preschool doodling either. Her fine motor skills are better than mine were when I was like eight-years-old. She drew detailed sketches of a tv and a tv show on the screen with a girl dancing, and of windmills and smiling suns and our family on a walk on a very detailed sidewalk, and a mummy wrapped in bandages, and stuff like that. She's really creative.

After spending this week lifting her up to reach the top of her closet so she could pick her own outfits, I finally acquiesced this weekend -- Tiana needs access to her own clothes, so I rearranged her closet to give her access to all her own clothes. This is one area in which my children and I are fundamentally different. Clothing, to me, is for covering one's body. If I ever make a "fashion statement" with my clothing, the statement is clearly "I don't care, and you can't make me care."  I just love fun colors and patterns. I hate layers, but love flowy, seamless clothing that makes me feel free. Vinny loves nothing more than his blazer, and he is grateful for any opportunity to get dressed up and coordinate his shirt to one of his many clip on ties. He cares very much about "looking good" and asks for assistance on matching colors before he puts anything on. Despite my disinterest in fashion, I attempt to use my knowledge of traditional color combinations to guide him as well as I can. Tiana just loves clothes... period. Marc literally took her shopping with him last night to pick out new jeans for himself. He knew she'd spend time on it and tell him the truth. On the way home from the store, she told him, "Gosh, this was just the best night ever!" Doesn't take much to make her happy. When we got home today, the first thing she wanted to do was go look through her closet and pick out an outfit for tomorrow, which she has laid out neatly on the table in her room. "Come see, Mom," she says, "Don't this shirt and this skirt look cute together? It's so cute!"  This poor girl is seriously lacking the fashion buddy she desires to find in me. At least she has plenty of aunts who love clothes and shopping. And Vinny and Tiana have each other, which works out well.  I just want to know... how?  How did two kids raised on hand me downs, clearance racks, and thrift shop finds end up caring so much about their clothes?

And seriously... once these kids figure out that mom doesn't have any regard for traditional fashion, they are going to be so embarrassed of me. They are both likely to spend their teenage years attempting in vain to dress me acceptably. And I will just laugh.

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