White Chalk????

Its the end of August and its mayhem.

The last week of my life has been a little hectic, to the say the least.  In addition to a busy time in the office its also back to school prep time.  Which means its also appointment booking time.  And its massive acquisition time.  We’re also about to fly across the country for 10 days for a cottage stay AND a family wedding (read: packing for 4 people for a trans-continental trip with the two main activities on the exact opposite end of the wardrobe spectrum).  Add to that my entrepreneurial husband’s move into a new office space and the fact that the floors in our 18 month year old house are about to be replaced.  ALL OF THEM.  Yeah, so if I told you that I enjoy a large-ish glass of wine after work today I am sure you wouldn’t judge.  Right?

To say I could snap at any moment would be an understatement.  Am I holding it together ok?  The answer is a resounding “for now”.  My biggest worry is the proverbial straw that will break this Mother’s back.  At the moment, the straw just might be white chalk.  What now?  Yep, you heard me right – WHITE CHALK.

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WTF.  White Chalk.  The bain of existence!

Shorty #2 is kicking off her preschool career this September and as part of her care package to contribute to the classroom (in addition to a pack of pencil crayons, some glue and an earthquake kit) the school has requested a box of plain white chalk.  Seems easy enough right?  Well, I’ve been to 3 stores already and NO WHITE CHALK.  Multi-coloured chalk a plenty – but no white chalk to be found.

Keep in mind that I have a full time job, 2 kids and a husband and have been running around the city for the past week dealing with all the shit on my plate and getting myself into 3 separate stores, all of which do indeed carry chalk but none of it white is just the sort of thing that could push me over the edge.  Like really?  What would happen if I drop the Shorty off for her 3 week gradual entry program (oh, THAT my friends is a whole other blog post) with a pack of multi-coloured chalk.  Would the teachers forgive and forget?  Or would I be forever branded as a problem parent.  Imagine, the scenario.  The one teacher says to the other “We’re missing one field trip payment.  Who could it be that hasn’t submitted?”  And she replies “I know.  Its that Mom who brought the multicoloured chalk.  Can’t follow instructions.”

These are the things running through my head when I wake at 4am. White chalk where are you????

Dear Provincial Government Hacks

Oh hi. You don’t know me, but I voted for you. I gave you my vote and my trust that you would do the right thing for our community. That you would act in the best interest of my family and most importantly, my kids. Yeah, you’re not really doing that right now.

There are many aspects of government that are of vital importance – public safety, health care, infrastructure, etc. I get it – you’re busy. But just between us, one of the most important things on your agenda is (or should be) education. And right now, you’re kinda sucking on that big time.

Lets face it, you’re not very good at taking care of kids. We live in an expensive place so its pretty common that both parents need to work. When that happens, someone needs to look after the kids. Public daycares, preschools etc are super important to our society because second to the parents, these caregivers spend as much or sometimes more with our little ones. Helping them to grow, learn and shape their view of society. Right now, we are facing a shortage of excellent and affordable early childcare solutions for our kids. So that in and of itself is kinda bad.

Now, you’ve locked out our teachers, forcing a strike vote that will more than likely end up in a full blown strike ending the school year two weeks early. Yeah, that’s kinda bad too.

You don’t know my kid, but she’s 7. She’s really cute and funny and smart, but for various reasons she struggles with her reading. She is barely able to read at a Grade 1 level and needs extra care to help her so that she won’t be held back a grade.  She WANTS to go to school. She desperately WANTS to learn. So thanks, thanks for encouraging that in her when she needs it most of all. Locking out her teacher so that we can barely find a minute to catch up on her progress and possibly causing the cancelation of summer reading camp which would ensure her progress through the fallow summer months. We appreciate your support of her enthusiasm for education which as we all know with all kids lives on the edge of a sword. When you’re 7, even one bad experience can make a kid hate going to school. So thanks for that too. We really appreciate it.

I’m sorry to have taken your time up when you’re clearly busy fighting for pipelines and spending our tax money on fancy trips to “encourage trade”. But if you could see it within yourself to let our teachers go back to work so our kids can get busy learning, that would be awesome.

Love,
The Rock and Roll Mom

Hot for Teacher

The British Columbia Teacher’s Federation are on strike.  What does this mean?  I’m not totally sure.  The Union has begun rotating strikes  and in retaliation, the provincial government has locked them out.  School is still in session – for the most part – but it means that we have occasional school closure days (at least two so far) and that the teachers cannot be in the classroom outside of regular school hours.

This is a prickly issue – the teachers are looking for a pay raise, reasonable class sizes and other important things.  The cash strapped government continues to run school boards at a deficit each year further cutting back an already lean public school system.  So what next, who pays the price?  This generation of kids does.  The kids getting ready to write exams and graduate (although exams and graduation ceremonies are still on the books for now), the kids struggling with their education that need the extra care helping hand.  This issue has been dragging on forever it seems.  Just two years ago the teachers were forced to take job action for an entire school year.  That issue was resolved and the teachers came back so how could we possibly be back here again just two years later?

A very astute group of students in Surrey, BC have built a Facebook page calling for a province wide walk out of students on Wednesday to protest being caught in the middle.  Good for them for speaking up because the simple fact of the matter is that most kids are not actually applauding the school closures.  They want to be in school every day getting down to the business at hand – learning.

I wonder if the people handling the negotiations on this issue are listening.

We live in a city where childcare is a complete nightmare.  You can get it – if you’re willing to pay a lot.  If you’re not able to cough up the extra $1500 – 2000 (or more) a month to pay for daycare or a nanny, the options are marginal.  Kindergarten comes on as a great relief for many parents as we trust in the public school system to offer excellent education standards and care for our kids.  What is early childcare and education but a foundation for the future for our little ones.  Its clear that the government are not placing importance on this or are they considering the ramifications for the future.

So what do we do as parents?  Go to public hearings and try and be heard over the din of a very heated debate?  Write letters to the editor (or blogs) that no one who is handling this issue will never read?   I’m tired of government rhetoric and choices made with re-election in mind rather than the greater good.  All I know is that I don’t really want to see the Shorties caught in the middle on this one.

PS – if you like what you read here at The Rock and Roll Mom, please feel free to vote for this blog for the Top Vancouver Mom Blogger Award here: http://vancouvermom.ca/best-of/vancouver-mom-bloggers-voting-2014/

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