Bully – Powerful, On So Many Levels

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When I first learned that this movie was being released, a part of my heart sank.  I have a daughter that was mercilessly bullied at the hands of a group of girls in her Catholic elementary school.  I was dismissed by school administration on numerous occasions with regard to my daughter, told that it wouldn’t be fair to single out individual children.  Until that child was my daughter, and she took a stand for herself.

I didn’t know if I wanted to see what COULD have happened if we hadn’t found Eilis another school and given her a chance to get out of the situation she was in.  I wasn’t sure I could handle the pain of the other children, or the parents of these other children, going through something that would not only hit close to home, but would land right in my living room.

But I had to.  And you have to.

Bully takes us through the experiences of several children who have suffered at the hands of bullies.  You will feel their pain, and you will see the anguish of their parents.  When you realize that the happy little boy the film opens with has taken his own life as a result of the routine bullying he was a victim of, you will feel your heart breaking, your stomach turning, and I dare you to get through the rest of this film without cleaning your handbag out of tissues.

You won’t find solutions in this film, but you will find a jumping off point.  Important for children, parents, school administrators and staff, even coaches and scout leaders to see, the movie doesn’t solve the problem of bullying, but it opens up a dialogue for us to step up and figure out what to do to save these children.  It is time for us to take a stand, and while the movie doesn’t give us all the answers, I hope that it gives us the  motivation.

Bully is the first REAL stand for these children who suffer, some to the point where the pain they bear becomes overwhelming.  It puts this problem on the map, in our faces, and hopefully on the top of the priority list of school administrators who are too quick to brush this aside.

See Bully this weekend, and see it with your child, whether they have been bullied, are bullies, or have the potential to make a difference in the life of a peer who accepts silently the treatment that will cause lifelong emotional scars.  It’s a movie that no one should miss.

Getting Back To School Over a Mountain of Paperwork

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Remember the good old days?  We were all out to save the planet – remember that?  We were recycling, conserving energy, having our bills and bank statements sent electronically to save paper, and stopping the junk mail to save trees.  Remember back then?

I have just printed out nearly 50 sheets of back to school paperwork – between Eilis, Granuaile, and myself.  My printer has waved a white flag, and the guy selling toner down at the office supply store just ordered a brand new BMW.  Oh, and there’s a group of conservation enthusiasts chained to my dogwood tree out front with signs that say, “You Won’t Take This One Without a Fight”.

Let’s not even talk about the writer’s cramp I’m about to get while I fill out all this paperwork!

Is there no way to order a Seat Sack online for Granuaile?  She goes to Catholic school, for pete’s sake, they have my bank account number on file in case I skip out on the $11 bucks because the school doesn’t take PayPal or credit cards for this particular item.  And while I’m at it, what IS this particular item?

There are lunch order forms, emergency contact forms, parent volunteer forms, school supplies which can only be purchased from school order forms (Really?  Just tack that extra $10 on my tuition and give my kid the supplies on the first day.  You already know they need them – you typed it out on a form to tell me!), and even a form from the PE teacher that I have to sign that says my child will be exercising in PE class.

Where is the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor in support of fewer back to school forms?  They could call it “Mom’s Gone Nutty” – vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with nuts, spiked with tequila.  That should keep me unconscious until next year’s school forms have to be filled out.

Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmatic – oh, and Anatomy and Physiology

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I’ve done my best to blog like a madwomen these past couple of days because I have a dreadful feeling, my blog is about to go dark for a few weeks.

When I decided to go back to school, I focused on the important things – what cute book bags there are out there!  I don’t have to cook dinner if I take night classes!  I don’t have to do laundry if I take day classes!

Who knew there’d be all this studying and crap to do?  They want me to write papers, turn in assignments, and – GULP – study!  The nerve!

As I prepare for my summer classes – Anatomy and Physiology I and II AND (as if that wasn’t enough torture on myself) World Civilizations.  Oh yes.  The fun never ends in this house.

Summer vacation? HAH! Who needs fun in the sun and relaxation when you can be learning the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone, and the brain bone is disconnected when you have children?

So in case I don’t make it back, please disregard the email requests for urgent cash sent to Rome, where I’ve been hustled by Gypsy children, lost my passport and can’t get the Embassy to help me.  I won’t be in Rome.  If you get an email asking you to donate money for my kidney transplant, because I was left in a bathtub filled with ice after having a drink spiked at the Kool-Aid bar, just ignore it.  My kidneys are intact and still enclosed within my body, which will be in school.  All summer.

I’ll miss you guys.  I’ll get here whenever I can!

Bullies – They’re Not Who You Think They Are

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So, Eilis came in from school today quite upset. In school, two little girls handed out invitations to the other girls for their upcoming birthday party. Eilis was the only girl in the class who was not the recipient of an invitation, and despite assurances from one of the girls that they just “forgot” her invitation, she was hurt. Because Eilis has been the victim of bullies before, and this sort of felt like bullying.

Now, truth be told, this was an accident. The mom to one of the girls was kind enough to call me and explain that the invitation was misplaced when it was pulled aside to make sure the name was correctly spelled. This was a simple misunderstanding, but the defenses were already up.

Because this is what you think of when you think of a bully

It’s always the bigger kid, picking on the little kid.  We have this vision in our heads that bullies came in big, burly packages.

But they don’t always.  When the group of girls at your daughter’s lunch table stands their lunch boxes up in front of them, then tells your daughter it’s because they don’t want to have to see her while they eat, that’s bullying.  Or when they make fun of your daughter on dollar dress down day because her clothes aren’t as hip or contemporary as their’s, that’s bullying.

And those bullies look more like this

They’re the kids that don’t want your kid in their games.  They whisper about her behind her back – or they whisper about something else right in front of her.

They make your kid feel less than she’s worth.

And no matter what we do to prevent bullying, no matter what threats the schools make to punish the bullies, they’re still going to be there.

Because some people just can’t accept that other people are different.  No matter what the differences are.

In our case, this time, it was a simple misunderstanding.  But it isn’t always that way.

Sometimes, it’s just genuine hurt.

I’m going to nursing school, I just don’t know where

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You know when you ponder things for a really long time, and then other stuff happens, life takes over, and the thing you’ve been debating over for forever gets pushed to the back burner?  And then you finally have time to sit down and make your decision, and the thing you wanted may not be as attainable as it would have been had you kept it in the front of your list of priorities?

Well, I’m finding this frustration with nursing school.

There is a nursing shortage, but there is also a money shortage.  Nursing programs all over the United States are having to cut back on the number of people they are admitting for a variety of reasons – they don’t have hospitals that have enough stuff to supervise clinical hours for students.  They don’t have instructors to teach the classes.  Programs are being eliminated due to funding and other issues.  That means that in some schools, there is a two year waiting list to get into the nursing program.  Or there is no waiting list, but your application will be one of four or more for every open spot they have.  Getting a seat in some of these programs is going to be like hitting the lottery!

I am also finding that even though I’ve taken courses and gotten As in them, most of them are too old.  I’m having to repeat classes that I already took.

And I am finding that all those math and sciences classes I avoided taking in college because you didn’t need them to get a degree in English are all the classes that I need now – so on top of the nursing program I need to get into, I have to tackle at least two semesters worth of terrifying classes.

I am lucky that even though my DH has retired from work early due to a vision disability, we are able to send me back to school full-time. And I have a full-time free tutor at home with nothing else to do 

But where do I go to school?

I ruled out any programs from non-accredited institutions.

Looking for a 4 year accredited school (college or university) for an BSN program that admits to the Nursing program, even if conditionally, is looking like a needle in the hay stack.

Am I missing something? Is every BSN program only taking transfer students, or students who get admitted to the College or University as -or general studies, and then roll the dice and hope you get accepted to those limited number of slots in 2 years?

Or are the $40k/year programs at Illinois Wesleyan University the only types of programs that do direct admission?

And So It Begins…Prom Season

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In April of this year, my daughter’s school will have a ring dance.  This is their equivalent to the junior prom.  This dance is more than 2 months away, and my daughter is home sick with a bad sinus infection.  What is on her mind this evening?  Why she doesn’t have a date for the dance.

We went through this last year.  She ended up having to turn a couple of boys down, because she had more than enough dates.  But this year, she is convinced she will not have a date.  One boy has already asked her.  She turned him down by acting as if she didn’t know he was asking her.  He has not worked up the courage to ask again.  The guy she would have gone with last year if he had asked her before the guy she went to the dance with is afraid Brighid will have to turn him down again this year, so he is asking someone else.  The guy she went with last year has a girlfriend this year that will go with him to the dance.  She has had a couple of boys earlier this year express great interest in dating her, only to get side tracked with school and sports and not be able to date anyone.  Such is life at a challenging school.

But I anticipate tears, fears, and headache after headache (mine) as she wrestles with whether or not she’ll be asked. 

So much to be said for arranged marriages.  I wonder if you could do arranged prom dates?

You Bad

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Those were the last coherent words spoken to me by my youngest daughter today as I dropped her off for her first day of school.  After that, she crumbled into a screaming, unintelligible heap.

At her father’s insistence, Granuaile began nursery school today.  She is going to the same school Eilis went to, and I am confident that it is a good school run by people who care about kids, but she does not want to go.  We took her on Friday to meet her teachers and give her an hour of a dry run, but she cried the whole time, and threw up all over herself.  Today, no vomitting, but I don’t think she could have cried anymore if someone had crushed her last teddy bear.

She recognized the place from last week immediately, and began yelling in the car, “No school, I want to go home!” over and over, loudly.  Then she calmed down enough to get in the front door, calmly telling me over and over she wanted to go home.  But as soon as we set foot in the classroom, the hysterics began.  She grabbed my neck, locked her legs around my waist, and had to have her jacket pried off of her.  The teacher asked me what I wanted to do – did I want to stay with her or did I want to just let them take her.  I asked what would be best, and they advised me to let them take her.  They said she needed to learn to trust them.  I don’t know if I did the right thing.  I may never know until I’m sitting at her trial for being a serial killer and she throws herself on the mercy of the jury and tells them this is all her mother’s fault for dumping her in daycare.  I know I don’t want her to be the kid going into regular school crying and having to be dragged up the steps.  I’m hoping this helps us avoid that when the time comes.  I’m also hoping this will help in the potty training department.  She knows when she goes, but hasn’t yet found the patience to sit on the potty when she needs to go.  I know for both other kids, being around the other kids and going on a schedule really helped, so we’ll see how Miss Gracie does.

She has already told me she doesn’t want to go to school tomorrow, and I’m not looking forward to taking her.  I keep telling myself she only really has to be there until June when the other two are out of school, and it makes it seem not so far away, but when I’m handing her off to the teachers tomorrow, and she’s screaming and begging me not to leave her, June might as well be in the next millenium.