right after school is out the future looks so bright…
I hear about a documentary and I think “damn, that sounds so interesting! I’d love to see that.” But, I almost never do. I barely get to the movies unless I’m escorting my kids to an animated film…then I prefer to go to a theater that has wine. It relaxes me when I see animals talking.
But, when I was invited to watch a documentary about teens and anxiety I did watch it. Not on a “screener” ( which I NEVER get unlike everyone else I know in Los Angeles), not streaming, but got in my car and drove. Drove to Westwood no less. I hate driving to Westwood. Not as much as I hate driving to Glendale, but much more than driving Downtown.
Why did I go? I now have a tween. I can see that middle school seems more challenging than elementary school. Not academically, but socially, the vibe, the lack of play. Schools seem to think that at 12 no one wants unstructured outdoor time. Join a sports team! (more anxiety.) My husband came with me. He has already had 3 other children go through teen years and he seemed to have less insight into the process than I have.
The movie is called “Angst“. It’s a lot of people talking about their anxiety, so I did feel a bit anxious watching it, but the good news ( and for short attention span Brogdon this is very good) it clocks in just under an hour. There are different teens describing what they went through, some of what made them better. Various therapist talking about treating teens with anxiety. Now, there were moments watching were I thought, “Gee shut up you nice looking, largely white kids who live in America and are scared to go to school. You are not in Cambodia scared your back yard has unexploded land mines.” But, then I am not worried about land mines either and my children’s worries are probably more like the kids in this film. Urban, metro, educated families. Makes sense they would get anxious.. they have a mom who stresses about driving to Westwood ( also cause it’s all crap chain restaurants, except Falafel King, thank God that is still there).
Two things really jumped out at me as take aways for parents: 1) if your kid has chronic tummy aches it is probably anxiety. Which doesn’t mean “tough it out”, but address the underlying issue. 2) one therapist said it would help young people to process feelings if their parents did openly as well. Example a parent might share with their youngin: “I had a disagreement with my friend at work. I didn’t know why she was mad at me and I ignored it, but it started to bother me, so I asked her to get a coffee with me and we worked it out.” Remember being a teen in your darkened bedroom with headphones on listening to Pete Townsend’s solo works and thinking ” I am the ONLY ONE in the world who feels like I do” ( on hi low carpeting as I recall).
When Mark told some friend’s of ours about it the next day he summed it up well, “It scared the shit out of me.”
I don’t want to be a spoiler, but near the end of the film a FAMOUS person surprises one of the kids and speaks frankly about their struggles with anxiety and depression (which kinda sorta go together a lot). It’s a real high point and I’m sure the producers high fived when they booked THIS PERSON. “woo- hoo, we have our ending”
So, check out the film. The film makers have a comprehensive website with resources. Also, if you want the film to be shown at your school or youth organization they will set that up for free. They will help facilitate talking points, etc.
It happens every June… I’m burnt out on volunteering at my kid’s school. Also, I volunteer other places, but knowing Summer is in sight, that I’ve almost reached the mountain top makes me want to run screaming from the campus.
Also, Vivien is graduating from Elementary school and for months I’ve been part of a group putting that shing ding together. I retired from beautification after 5 years, but got pulled back on fundraiser party committee, but the one thing I’m bound and determined to not do next year: serve hot lunch. Here is a video I did the first time I did it when Vivien was in kindergarten.
I need to do the update… I’m a veteran now. I know what to do and which kids are going to be picky and which ones stare at the sky while I repeat, “do you want apples? Do you want apples? I said, Do you WANT APPLES?” Sweeping the smashed food under the tables. Ending the shift and realizing I only have 90 minutes before pick up.
Four more days…
Then in the fall I have to have the strength to just say no.
What are you looking forward to when school ends?
As my kids get older I’m less comfortable with blogging about them directly. Vivien is savvy enough to say to me now when I take a picture “Don’t post that”. Poor kid.
So, it’s been harder to figure out how to pivot coolmom to still be relevant to parents. This tussle has lead me to not post at all sometimes. So, thanks to the 4 of you for bearing with me as I figured this out.
One thing that has been getting to me recently is HOMEWORK. I hate homework. I come home with the kids btw 3:45 and 4:15 and it’s the time of the day I’m my MOST exhausted and I hae to say, “no screen time till you do your homework” The wrestling begins.
But, I’m an alternative school kid and I don’t even believe in homework most of the time. My kids need to chill and isn’t better if I let them just start to play creatively? One day I did and they turned my driveway into a delightful homeless encampment.
They took empties out of the recycling to make a it look like a home. Clearly they used the palms for a tropical thing. But, most days are more like the following video.
So, here is a quick one I did recently. Because if I do something as a mom and don’t blog about it, did it really happen?
Hence why so many moms are winos.
As a parent who volunteers more at her kid’s school than people who draw a salary I get to see all sides to a school. So often parents find the fault with a school and lay it a teacher or principal or a child that is not theirs knee. When maybe, it is their kid.
I heard a mom a while back talking about how some teacher wasn’t stimulating to her little genius. Then I was volunteering and saw this kid and thought I would need a lasso and a muzzle to deal with him. ( Hence, I didn’t go into teaching).
As it was one day when I thought my little precious, angel might have the makings of serial killer
So, When Viv was first in Kindergarten I volunteered, but as this video shows it didn’t quite go as I had planned. I tired a few more times, but it always seemed to be school lunch time just as Rex fell asleep so I’d be looking for parking right outside of the school when he would nod off. I test the mom in charge, “Sorry, can’t do it, Rex asleep.” An unreliable volunteer, what are the chances?
So, last year when Rex started Kindergarten I started again. Daphne Dishes.. up food. There is a lot of running back and forth so I always get a lot of steps for the day. I learn a lot, not so much about my kids, but which kid is going to flip out if I make him/her take the required veggie/ fruit. How anyone below 3rd grade can’t be asked a complex question like, “with cheese, or without?” Sometimes I’m standing there in my hair net thinking, you know, I host a Food Network show? But, no one cares. They just want another glass of milk.
The sweep up at the end of the shift is the worse. Mashed food on the ground. invariably piled high in the trash cans big chunks of the fruit and veggies we made the kids take (federal law).
I just popped in to my neighborhood book store to get some books for Vivien. I do my very best not to buy books online from the place that rhymes with parmesan and go to our locally owned small book store full of charm and questionable profit models. I was clearly doing the right thing because in the back of the store they had a toddler music class going on.See, a store in the community cares about community. I smiled. Transported to those years, not that long ago when I took my children to music classes. Sitting a in a circle with an earnest adult playing guitar. ( sidebar, there was one kid there who looked about 5 or 6 and I thought if I brought Rex to something like that now I’d be a victim of matricide).
With my first kid I trucked all over for little kiddo classes. I thought it was good for her. Was it? Good for me! Naw, truth is if you stay home and don’t stress that they fell asleep for a nap right before you get to the class you spent $200 on it’s easier on mom.
So, when Rex came along I was wiser and poorer so I did my own music class. It turned out great!
He, he, this cracks me up.. I’m humbled all the time being a mom, but never more then when my kids ask me questions that I cannot answer. Have you been there? I’m sure you have. Vivien is now a 5th grader, but I know I’m not smarter than a 5th grader, I was falling behind years ago. Combined with my spotty, progressive ’70’s education it’s a wonder I’m walking upright.
When I did this video about volunteering to serve lunch at Vivien’s school I was treated very differently.
I thought it signaled the start of my children’s disinterest in me and concentration on their friends. But, now that Rex is in kindergarten I’m trying it again. This time I’m getting the love that had eluded me. Between putting on the plastic gloves, tying up my hair and running to replenish the pizza and orange slices Rex will appear for a moment “Hi, Mommy!” Give me a hug and run off. Then between asking kids if they want two helpings of vegetables or one of vegis and one of fruit, there is a lull where I gaze lovingly at he and his new buddies playing on the grass.
On the 3rd hour of this shift as I sweep the debris left under the tables, Rex long ago back in his class, I think. Don’t I see this kid every night? There must be an easier way to see him.
Happy the experienced guy won and the Mark Ridley Thomas machine did not prevail. But, what did we eat? They served some good Caribbean food. Good we ate before we walked in the room because it was Louisiana hot in there.
Think they didn’t have the campaign funds for A/C. But, good vibes mixed with the heat as the results came in he was ahead from the start– barely, but never lost the lead.
Of course hardly anyone voted so in the end though he won by about 6%, that was only 1,800 votes. In a city our size that’s tiny. But, hey, a special election in summer? To be expected.
The event we had for him a couple of weeks before went well. I was sweating with A/C trying to get bodies there. Summer vacations, apathy and resistance to a nuanced political strategy made it hard to get people to commit. But, in the end I got the numbers I wanted.
It was a fun party and it was good mix of people. Folks were charmed and impressed by Dr. Mckenna when he spoke and everyone loved Mark’s grilled cheese.
I was really touched by a few old friends who came or volunteered and loved seeing new faces. I think it’s great for our kids to see us involved in our community. But I won’t kid you, I’m glad it’s over. Oh wait… this was just the special election! Next year it happens again. Honey, warm up the grill!