Sunday, September 14, 2008

Breaking My Own Helicopter Mom Rule

I broke one of my own rules. You know that little thing I have about avoiding volunteering for...well, pretty much anything? Ok, first some background.

Danni is still recovering from mono. Most days, she feels pretty good. Those days are dangerous, because she thinks she's fine, and then she tries to do too much and makes herself sick again. Last Monday was one of those days.

She decided to go to early morning marching band rehearsal at 5:45am. On Mondays, the band also has an evening marching rehearsal from 5 - 7:30pm. Don't ask me why they have two practices on Mondays...I have no idea. They do Wednesday evenings and then Thursday and Friday mornings, but for some reason on Mondays they do both.

Well, since the beginning of the year she's pretty much been excused from the early morning rehearsals because of the mono. Which is no big deal. She's a fast learner and she has the flag routine down for the part of the performance that they're doing.

However, this past Monday, she was feeling good, so she decided to go to the morning rehearsal and the evening rehearsal. Then in between that, she had school, which includes her company dance class, plus she's a teacher's aide for beginning dance, and she was working out in that class too. By the time she got home Monday night she was feeling sick and exhausted.

In her dance company, she is also on the committee that is putting together the program, the flyers and the tickets for their first show in November. Actually, as far as I can tell, she is the committee, because she seems to be doing all this herself.

On Monday night, she was having a nervous breakdown because she felt horrible, and the layout for the program and flyer were due the next day. Since she was about to lose her shit about it, I helped her with the layout of the program, and ran her to Kinko's at 9pm to make one copy she could turn in the next day. In case you're wondering why she hadn't started on it earlier, it's because the rest of the girls were supposed to turn in their information about their particular dances to her so she could put them in the program, and she hadn't gotten all the info until that day. Now, could she have started on the layout earlier? Of course...but...yeah. She's a teenager. Anyway.

So, Tuesday morning she can't get out of bed because she's still exhausted and feeling sick. So I call her in sick to school, and I go to work and let her stay home and sleep. Now, the nurse, her counselor, and all her teachers are aware of the mono issue, and she has special permission to miss extra days of school. She is keeping up with the work in all her classes.

At around 10am Tuesday morning, I'm at work. I get a frantic phone call from Danni. Apparently one of her friends in dance company with her has texted her saying that the teacher is really mad that Danni missed the deadline for the program, yadda yadda yadda. She's on the phone telling me this, and the poor child is coming completely unglued. I mean, she was flipping out, big time. So I'm trying to calm her down. I told her that she needs to pull herself together, get dressed, and go over to school and talk to her dance teacher. This is a teacher that Danni really loves and respects, by the way, and I think most of this freak-out was due to the fact that she was afraid she was disappointing the teacher and letting her down.

I had a feeling that there may have been some miscommunication somewhere between the teacher and the friend's text message, but I couldn't stand hearing my child so upset. I did something I don't ever do. I called her teacher. Normally, I do not call or email teachers on my children's behalf. I want them to take care of things themselves. I try to stay out of things. I want them to be responsible and deal with things on their own. But on this occasion, I think Danni truly wasn't thinking straight and she was so upset that I felt I had to do something.

By the time the teacher called me back a couple of hours later, I guess Danni had already talked to her. They had discussed the program and flyer, the teacher had given her some extra time and talked her through a couple of things that Danni hadn't really understood about paper weight and dealing with the copy shop.

While talking with the teacher, I realized that she too, was under a lot of stress. She has several different dance classes, she's trying to put together this show, and she's just been informed that her T.A.'s are no longer allowed to grade papers. I don't know why, but that's what she said. She was telling me all this, and I really wanted to help first of all, my daughter, and secondly, I wanted to help this lady that my daughter loves so much. So before I knew it, I heard myself say,

"You know, I'm off work on Fridays, so if there's anything I can do to help you, just let me know."


You know what happened next. I got an email a couple of hours later saying that she would love to have me come in and help between say...9am - 10:30. Which is fine, actually... I just moved the weekly Sit and Bitch to lunch instead of breakfast. Also, to Friday instead of Thursday, since I now work Thursdays. I'm so lucky to have such nice and accommodating friends. Thanks Jen and K...Love ya!

Anyway, I go to help the dance teacher Friday morning. Don't worry, I wasn't actually helping her with dance class, because while I'd look great in a leotard *cough*, my pirouettes aren't what they used to be. Ok, I never took dance and I don't even know what a pirouette is. I even had to spell-check it, because I wasn't sure of the spelling. That's how much I know about dance.

What I did was set up a calendar of special mandatory rehearsals for her, and any conflicts any of the 100 or so girls had, and graded some quizzes. I know, I had no idea there were quizzes in dance class. But I now know 10 ways to change a motif in dance. And no girls, spacing is not one of them. Sheesh, I can't believe how many of you got that wrong.

Where was I? Oh yeah, so I did this paperwork for her, and there was another mom in there helping out too, whom I happened to know because our daughters went to elementary school together and it was really nice to see her. So I was finished and it was time for me to leave so I could get to my Sit and Bitch on time. The dance teacher was grateful for my help, and thanked me profusely. Then she said,

"So, next Friday morning?"

And while about 100 things went through my head, the only thing that came out of my mouth was,


I'm telling you, no good deed ever goes unpunished. Ever.

*Disclaimer - I really do not mind going in on Fridays and helping this teacher out. It's just that Fridays are my only weekdays off, and I'm a little selfish with my Fridays. But in case anyone that reads this happens to know my daughter and the teacher I'm talking about... really, I don't mind! :) Much.


Mary said...

Put your volunteer hand down! Down, I say! Down!!!

Danni sounds like she's doing great dealing with mono. Much better than my daughter did. My poor kid was too sick to go to school at all, let alone dance and keep her grades up. Good job, Danni!

Fannie Mae said...

I can count on one hand the number of times I talked to a teacher about my girls (outside of parent teacher conferences), but sometimes you just have to.

And from now on? Make sure you have an "appointment" on Friday mornings. You know, because it's your only day off ;)

Alice said...

Parents can grade papers? I find that weirder.

We're required to volunteer at the elementary school. I got a badge for my car because I'm an "Exceptional Volunteer" and won the "Charter Challenge". One of only 40 families last year. ;) I met 1/3 of the hour requirements in the first two weeks this year. o_O

You wouldn't think I'd be that competitive. Hehe. I'm just quiet about it. ;P

HappyHourSue said...

I was a slacker last year, and I hadn't discovered blogging yet. Now I don't volunteer for ANYTHING - which is lame, I know. You're a good mom :)

tsumomi said...

Yikes! That sucks. I don't blame you for wanting a day to chill. I learned a lesson from you "just say no" That is my new motto.