No princess beds here

My daughter is 13 and needs a new bed.

My husband suggested a lovely, intricately carved wooden sleigh bed that would make Jordi feel “like a princess.”  The frame she picked out is a square, utilitarian metal study loft, with a bunk bed above and a computer desk below.  No princess would be caught dead near this thing.

More than once, while furniture shopping, she commented that all the beds she liked seemed to be decorated and marketed for boys with sports-themed bedspreads and posters.  Anything with a pink spreads, ruffles, or (the horrors) flowered canopies seemed to repel her like polarized magnets. 

A few years ago, Jordi’s dream room had pink walls and butterflies.  She briefly flitted through a stage of leopard and zebra print, still distinctly feminine but with an older twist.  Now, at 13, after a lifetime of preferring new sandals to new toys and frilly ruffled dresses to pants, she has taken another turn and defines herself solidly as a “tomboy.”  Volleyball and science top the hobby list, and blue jeans, tshirts and converse shoes (blue!) are the preferred uniform.  Her younger, frillier friends are confused.  The other teenagers take it in stride.  13 must be a magic number.

A few years ago, my oldest hit 13 and starting reinventing himself, a shy, self-conscious kid trying on new activities and interests and finally finding his niche in (of all places) musical theatre, where he thrives.  It makes me wonder who and where my princess will be when she figures out her adult identity.  She also spends a lot of time smiling at a certain young man who is quite eager to smile back.  I wonder where he weighs in on tomboys and princesses.  It might be a coincidence that he likes science and volleyball, too, but it might not be.

I seem to be frequently in the position of playing catch-up to my children, following 2 steps behind and saying, “but I thought you liked…”

Time to order a bed.  My princess needs a place to stash her laptop and science books.

Peer pressure at its finest

Conversation on the 3rd of August about when our homeschool year will begin.

My favorite daughter: Mom, it’s not fair!  2 of my friends have already started school, and I haven’t.

Me (pretending to be sympathetic but inwardly snickering): Actually, at least 3 of your friends have.  Hannah started her schoolwork this week, too.

My favorite daughter: Can’t we start soon?

Me (sighing and pretending to be thoughtful): Well, this week is kind of crazy.  We could get out your math and science books next week, though.  You don’t have to wait until September.

My favorite daughter (thinking she’s just talked mom into something cool): Yay!

Big brother (butting in and trying to ruin a lovely moment): That’s dumb.  I want to wait as long as I can.

My favorite daughter (putting on a little pouty face that she thinks is cute): But I like math!

Sooooo…guess who starts math and science early?  She’ll finish before big brother, too, and then he’ll complain about that.  On a philosophical point, my friends assure me that it’s not hypocritical to use peer pressure when it suits me.  It’s just being a parent.  We need all the tools that work.

Writing is messy and complex.

http://englishcompanion.ning.com/video/rethinking-rubrics

The point of this succinct video is to explain why rubrics are NOT always the best way to score and grade essays, but in the process of making that point, Maja sums up my basic philosophy of writing.  It’s messy.  It’s complex.  Really good, creative, interesting writing will throw a rubric into chaos because it won’t fit the formula of “good” writing.

Woo hoo!  Throw out the rubrics!  Let’s rebel and write weirdly fantastic stuff.  (Just not on your SAT exam…)