Wednesday, September 14, 2011

She could have been a contender

I am racked with fear and guilt that I have ruined my daughter's life.

This was going to be a great school year.  She was at a school she loved, with friends who loved her.  Her favorite teacher of all times was just down the hall, available for quick hugs and advice.  She won the back-of-the-school-tee-shirt-art contest, her art would be worn occasionally by other members of the student body on their school shirts.

This was a situation that had taken many years to grow. It started that our next door neighbor and for many years Thing 1's best friend was one of the inherently "cool kids" in school.  He's a cute and nice and athletic little boy, who for some reason or another was just born cool.  He has always been very kind to Thing 1 and 2, and though their friendship has had a few ups and downs, for the most part they've been very good friends since they could both walk.  He was over at our house or the girls were over at his house most of the time.  Just associating with him has given Thing 1 a certain vicarious coolness.
She has developed a bunch of other friends over the years, and was for the most part very comfortable and happy in her relationships.  I had found an after school art program where she was able to further vent her artistic side, when she found the regular programs in the school insufficient for her needs. However her 4th grade teacher was going to be the teacher in the school who is most actively involved in the school arts program.  Everything was perfect, except our house was too small.

Then we picked her up by the short hairs and moved her 30 minutes East.  Not far in the grand scheme of things, but way too far for me to drive her to her old school.
While Thing 1 gained her own room (with its own PATIO) and a huge back yard,  she lost everything else.
Since we moved she has been experiencing various stages of continuing misery, from substantial discomfort to abject sorrow.  Sometimes it's minor but it seems to be lurking beneath the surface at all times.  Things that didn't bother her before have now become daunting and scary.  Shyness that I had previously never seen has suddenly erupted all over the place.  In all directions.  When I suggested SHE has to approach people and ask to play with THEM, she was horrified. I think all her life other people have sought out her company.  She's never had to initiate social contacts.  When I told her that it's flattering for other kids to be told their game looks interesting and that you'd like to join, she insisted if someone told her that she'd be embarrassed. 
"You'd be embarrassed if someone wanted to join YOUR game?"   Yes.  Sob.

I don't know how to handle this. 
I keep reviewing our decision to move here... We knew from the first minute we were househunting that the girls wanted to stay in the same neighborhood, but we also knew that what we wanted didn't exist in that neighborhood, and if it did we couldn't afford it.  There were other reasons we had for moving up here, many of them most important to Hubby but valid for the rest of us.  I find myself doing quick real estate searches to find if anything was/is available in our old zip code.  But would we move back?  Not hardly...

Though there are things that keep surfacing about this area that we like, and about the house that we like, I am caught up in fretting over Thing 1.  When my baby's sad, it makes me sad too.  

She did have a lovely birthday, which I need to write about.  But the pictures of that are trapped in the camera because I can't find the cord that connects it to the computer (it's in a box somewhere), and today this is on my mind.  I need her to find a friend... a good friend... and fast.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

We're walking.... we're walking....

I am not an ironer.  My husband could pass for retired military, with the stiff creased lines down the front of his immaculately pressed pants and the arms of his starched shirts.  I sport a more casual, wrinkled, perhaps I might have slept in my clothes sort of style.

In our old house laundry would often be left in the dryer for a few days, or be stacked clean and waiting to be folded into huge piles.  There was nowhere to fold it except when I'd resolve to break down and cover the couch and all other elevated area in front of the TV with the clean laundry.  The floor is out, because unless I vacuum very carefully before I iron, all clothes would be covered with Kelso hair.   At any given time, even after I vacuum, there is a certain amount of Kelso hair around my house.  This, by the way, is Kelso on the path that runs behind our new house. The path is fabulous for walking the dog, though I'm surprised at how many burrs his coat picks up even if he doesn't leave the path. But I digress.

I have made extra effort in our new house to get the laundry out of the new dryer before the permanent wrinkle folds embed themselves in the clothes.  Oh, stop for a picture!  The new washer and dryer are so be-you-tee-ful!!

Soooo pretty!

The guy at Home Depot was teasing me when I asked which models came in the more expensive red.  He told me just the one, but who really cares about that?  "What are you going to do, take people on a tour of your Laundry Room?"  He did an abrupt tour demonstration between the appliances, backing up and motioning me to follow saying "We're walking.... we're walking..."

Actually we do take everyone on a tour of the new appliances because the appliances live in a bump out closet off the main hall from the back door.  They would be hiding behind some bifold door except that one of the first things I did when we moved in was remove the bifold door to that closet.  The spring on the bottom of the door was broken and it has been dragging across the wood floor and scratched it all up.  Also when the laundry closet bifold door is open, you couldn't open the door to the garage.  Easiest solution: remove the bifold door.  So yes, every time someone is taking the tour out to Hubby's Fabulous New Office above the garage, they're going to see the Beautiful New Cherry Red Washer and Dryer right off the hallway in their own little nook.  And yes, I really am enjoying the washer and dryer, I think, in part, due to their fabulous color.  And the fact that they are right there, flat and convenient for folding clothes.  No TV to watch, but no Kelso hair floating around either.

When my brother and his wife were up for the first time last week my folks also came up for the afternoon.  My mother is of course the devil's advocate in all things, ready to argue every side of every situation.  She saw the house before we bought it, and it worried Hubby sick at the time that she was going to try and talk me out of it because no, it is not perfect.  But she gave her stamp of approval and now we've relocated.  What was amusing was that on this particular day she was the one giving the tour.  I think she has been vicariously enjoying having a new house through ours.  It's always fun to get new stuff, and of course a new house sort of tops the list for most people.  I sort of ended up hanging back and watching while she showed my brother and his wife around, and gushed about the good features of the house, how it fit our needs so well, and explained our visions for the improvements.  It was pretty neat to watch her get excited about it.  

I think we're going to like it here just fine.