Challenges and sunday school

My daughter is now officially in the older kids class in children’s church.

Through some different phases of changes in age divisions over the years… this is actually the first time she’s been technically moved up in the 5 years here…. because the 4-5 class got merged with the k-1 class before she was done, and then when they split the younger kids back off she was already in first grade, which then got changed into a k-3rd grade room.

So now she’s into the 4th and 5th room.

Which I didn’t really expect to be a big deal. The classes combine for worship anyway… and the teachers I’ve seen so far are all ones she’s had at various times before in the younger kids room.

And so… when she complained of a tummy ache the week after the transition, I didn’t think anything about it. The next week when we missed again because she’d refused to go to sleep and so was tired and battling over getting up and getting dressed to the point that the battle wasn’t worth it, I wrote it off as not being used to being back to school yet.

It wasn’t until the next week, when I made her go by force anyway, that I figured out the connection… when I picked her up from the big kids room, as the teacher told her she could make up the two lessons she was behind in this binder/workbook they are working out of, and handed me a full page sheet printed on both sides with verses she has to memorize in NIV to be able to get to go to a pizza party…. and on the way out the door grumbled about “This is just like school”.

School, where we’ve been having battles with not having the focus to get things done and have had constant struggles over getting her to finish her homework. Even with things much more suited to a kid with ADHD than memorizing good sized passages of things.

I’m kind of torn on how to approach this.

I’m sure the workbook probably isn’t as bad as she’s feeling like it is…. I mean, this is still a children’s program even if it looks more like a textbook than like the worksheets they sometimes did in the other room.

And she may warm up to it more.

But… honestly… looking at this sheet of paper… knowing I’m going to be confronted with the frantic “I have to know this or I don’t get to go to the pizza party” frenzy… and knowing how much of a major battle this is going to be, especially when we haven’t even gotten the schoolwork battles under control yet….

I’m a bit tempted to offer to buy the kid her own pizza on the condition that we skip this project altogether.

Though, I think rewarding her for NOT memorizing scripture is probably a really bad example to be setting… so that’s probably not the best move either. If we didn’t already have the battles and issues right now over school I might have just come up with an alternate project like reading over the verses twice a day or something… but right now… I’m not even that brave.

And while both the workbook and the memorization seem like a huge headache looming on my horizon, I don’t really want to complain at the children’s director about it… because I know that it probably is right about on the right level of being challenging but possible for the majority of the other kids… and a nice project to give them a positive goal and reward.

And I don’t want to seem like I’m just writing my kid off as not capable or not wanting her challenged or expecting rewards without making her earn them. It’s not that she can’t do it…. it’s more that the extended time and effort involved in her accomplishing it at this point in time is more than we’re really able to devote to it right now with the school challenges already on her plate.

Which sounds almost as bad to say that we don’t have time for memorizing scripture as it does to consider bribing her to not participate.

I’ve wondered if I can ask that she be moved back down to the younger room… on the logic that absorbing more at a lower level is worth more than absorbing little at a higher level, about the same logic I used in keeping her using the children’s language bible longer instead of moving her up to new living translation even when I knew she was capable of reading it.

But… that’s got to be awkward to be “held back” in sunday school, and not be with kids at her age level.

Plus… I kind of feel like I’m creating a double standard… as it’s the opposite policy as I’ve taken in her school classes. Because real life isn’t going to be willing to give her extra allowances just because she has trouble with focusing on tasks and completing them, so I don’t want them used more than critically needed in school to start expecting to get away with meeting lowered expectations and treated as “special”.

But I don’t particularly want to spend two years fighting to get her to go every sunday either. Or dealing with upset feelings over not getting prizes for accomplishments.

Transitions again

The summer of perpetual camp is over.

And honestly, it went really smoothly!

The last week we did get some resistance… but that was mainly over moving back to the general camp from the sports camp which she preferred.

But overall it went well… she liked it… the counselors liked her and kept telling me how great and helpful she was… and she’s already planning on next summer and hoping the sports camp has less football weeks so she won’t have to go to the general camp as much.

Gotta love it when things actually work out well.

Unfortunately, school is now back in session.

Somehow, I failed to think about the end from the beginning.

Being in an active, activity filled environment with lots of fun things and lots of sports and swimming was a great mix for a kid with ADHD…. especially compared to the day care alternative.

But…. having 4 days to go from the summer of perpetual camp back into boring school mode? Yeah, that one’s not going nearly so well. First detention slip made it home on the second day of school… and has had several of his buddies arrive since then.

Here we go again… sigh…

The baby parent

Every year on parents night for the new school year, I’m amazed by how much older many of the other parents in kiddo’s class seem to be.

Maybe part of it is where she goes to a traditional magnet… but it seems like a lot of the parents are closer to my mother’s age than to mine.

Yeah, I was a bit young when kiddo was born… but not that young.

But to top the weird?

I figured out that one of my daughter’s classmates is the child of one of my high school teachers.

Granted, yes, he was one of the younger teachers during my sophomore year…. probably early 30’s at the time… so probably late 30’s when this kid was born…

But it just still strikes me as sort of interesting each year.

This year particularly, as it seemed like I was probably the only one under 35 in the half of the class of parents attending the same time period I was.

Reversed advice

So school starts this week.

I never got wait list notification that anyone dropped from the program, so I guess it’s next year for that.

But, I’ve made the decision not to go back to classes this current year to kill time until then.

It’s actually purely a financial decision. I’m just too close to the undergrad student loan cap for comfort when I’m still going to have two more years at a somewhat expensive school to be covered.

But the interesting thing is how many people who were totally against my going back to school last year are totally against my decision not to go this year too!

I’m too cautious to go for the “oh, financial aid will work it out somehow” line of thinking and just hope it resolves itself down the road.

Though, there are still 2 classes I could take now that would be less to have to take down the road… that I’ve considered doing through one of the local community colleges for much cheaper if I can get a job to pay for it before the spring semester.

But, I have to laugh at the order of things if I do that.

I’ll have gone from high school, to classes at a community college and local state college, to private university, back to public state college, back to community college, then hopefully to a catholic college.

Somehow I think I got my linear ordering a bit looped around. 🙂

Touching worlds

The last three posts have actually been attempts at writing this post that went into different directions, because it’s hard to phrase right exactly what I’m feeling.

But I think the thing that has thrown me off the most with the job program is that I feel like I have feet in about three different worlds.

It sort of does a weird number on things when you sit with coworkers through a discussion of the benefits of local organizations from their perspective as a client…. then go to church that very sunday to hear an announcement about helping out serving those poor unfortunate people at one of the same places…. and it suddenly sinks in that “those” people being helped with such a tone of pity are the same ones I consider peers during the week and hadn’t particularly considered in need of pity.

I have the world of people struggling with accepting that they can’t afford a brand new car right now…. mixed with a surprising number of the program participants that don’t have any car, even a shared vehicle. Participants that whine about the fact that the program requires them to be picked up and dropped off by their supervisor, and those for whom it’s the only way they’d be able to get there without a long walk to the nearest area covered by bus routes.

Those who’ve made the sacrifice to give up cable, and the two families that I know that have gone multiple weeks without having power in their homes. And the ones that don’t even have a phone that I could call them without leaving a message with their relative, let alone be online… which makes me realize exactly how spoiled to technology aided communication I am.

But it’s not really the contrast in the worlds that gets me.

It’s how close they really are to each other.

I feel somewhat in the middle right now…. in a place I’d never have aimed at being and have spent most of my goals and ambitions trying to avoid.. pretty much a lowest place in my life looking at things on a material level.

But, really not that far from the lower middle class of previous jobs… close enough to see it as as a reasonable hope.

But it sort of scares me a bit realizing how close the “unfortunate poor people” really are… I kind of tend to try to imagine a distance there…. between us and “them”… that I’m quickly realizing isn’t an across town sized division…. it’s an across the street one.

Maybe even a next door one.

But it’s sort of a different position for me in other ways, because most of the time when I’ve gotten this feeling, I’ve been in a position that I’d intentionally gotten into, a position to help. Handing out sandwiches or giving resources or connecting them with places for help.

This time… as much as I’d have given to be able to pay off that electric bill for someone I now considered a close friend… this time I’m not in this by choice, and have no quick escape back to better times…. no bag of solutions i’m under the impression will make things feel better.

This time all I can do is be there.

And it’s different. A bit helpless feeling… a bit scary… a bit relieved at not having to have solutions or answers or even confidence in my ability to pull myself out of messes let alone a superwoman feeling of being able to drag someone else out.

Can’t say it’s a place I would have visited voluntarily, but it’s become an interesting trip.

Looking like you belong

So as mentioned in the last post, right now with the job program I’m working 30 hours a week at a retail store, department store in this case, for about another month.

With the exception of anything involving cash registers, we basically do the same tasks as the store employees. Lots of hanging clothes in the back room, bringing things out from the back, putting things away, going through and picking things up, setting up displays, sorting things, organizing things, fixing things.

One of the things that has amazed me though…. is that even though we have no name tags for the store, and we don’t wear the store communication headsets like the employees, and we wear the same clothes we would if we were just shopping…. customers can still tell.

Sometimes of course it’s obvious, I mean if I have a big rack of a random item that I’m putting away then yes they are going to assume I work there. Or if I’m standing behind the desk in the fitting room handing them numbers and re-hanging things.

But there are a lot of times that I really have no clue how they picked up on it.

Times I was wandering through the clothes racks checking for sizes in the right places, and probably could have been mistaken for shopping.

Times I was sitting down in front of the shelf in the shoe department picking up random pairs of shoes that I couldn’t see the size labels to make sure they were paired right.

Times I was wandering through the purse section with only one in my hands because I was looking for more of the same brand for a display.

Times I’ve been holding and refolding a rug on the rug and throw pillow aisle… my least favorite row of the store.

And times that I’ve randomly turned a corner, with nothing in my hand, just walking around looking for my supervisor, and had someone ask me if I work there.

It’s just sort of a weird thing… that people are able to somehow sense that I’m not just refolding the rug because I decided not to buy it… and that I’m not just looking for a purse I like.. or even that I’m not just randomly wandering down the towel section.

Do I work there? Technically no. I’m a volunteer with the work program who is assigned there.

But there’s enough of an “act like you belong and you do” thing going on that even when you aren’t even actively doing anything distinctive to an employee, there is a sense that you must be one.

Even when you are literally just standing there, in a t shirt and yoga pants, staring at the clearance section to see if there’s anything interesting marked down.

It continues to baffle me.

Current steps

So anyway, after the class mentioned in the last rant (lol), I’ve been in a part of the program that’s actually outsourced to a private group…. which is designed to train you and give you experience in different areas to make it more likely you can get hired and jump in at an experienced level at those jobs.

So basically, they pick you up each morning, and you work 30 hours a week at these jobs. The supervisor stays on site with a group of 3-7 people and basically trains you to do the tasks they are asking you to do, but it’s actually doing the job at the location for the store. Don’t get paid by the store unfortunately, just the basic stipend for the job program… but otherwise, it’s pretty much being an employee for them, just with a coach.

They have different types of jobs, but the two I’ve ended up with are retail and warehouse pick-line.

The warehouse I expected to hate, but it actually wasn’t bad at all other than the heat.

Retail, I have mixed feelings about.