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Friday, February 02, 2007

Wiffle-Waffle No More

Monday the new school year began. Thursday we kept Elle out of school. Friday I unenrolled her. However, I won’t be announcing this anytime soon on the other blog because I can’t deal with the ramifications yet. There will be questions like Why? and Wasn’t she doing so well in school? and Are you capable? Add to that the criticisms about how mean I am to pull her out when she has settled in so nicely, and maybe how I’m over-reacting, or damaging her, and how the system is good enough for everybody else, and the truth is, I just don’t feel like facing it over and over. I’ve already had to explain it to the principal and to a parent of one of her friends who wondered why we were headed out of school that morning.

Last time I decided to homeschool, six or so years ago, I’d simply decided to keep the girls up to speed for our originally scheduled relocation Down Under. Then we stayed in Florida but moved out to a boat-only island and it was easier than being an unseasoned salt navigating a vessel twice a day in sometimes questionable weather. And then it was because we enjoyed our freedom, and then because I knew I could do a better job, and then Fight the Man!.

But this time is different.

To clue you in, Amazon is speeding a copy of Parenting the Strong-Willed Child to me. From the day she was born, Elle has been a challenge. Different than the others. Difficult. Yet, in the public’s eye, being a master manipulator, she is pretty much an angel. She is the child my mother wished on me. I hope you have one just like you… But first of all, I don’t believe I was ever really that bad, rather, merely misunderstood and smarter than the average bear, and secondly, I sure don’t want to pass the toxic mother-daughter relationship I endured on down to my darling.

I am a very patient person, but everybody has their limits. Jorge finally reached his the other night when, after being home early from work two days in a row, he got a taste of what I’ve been up against all along. He knows now I have not been telling tales and he immediately decided what must be done.

She is very good one-on-one and she’s incredibly bright, so we’re going to focus on that. We’re also going to turn negatives into positives: She’s not bull-headed, she’s persevering; not manipulative, artful; not detached, independent. Defiant? No, feisty. Physically aggressive? Vigorous! She’d probably make a fine politician or attorney. My main concern is that she uses her powers for good.

I believe she’s simply lacking that individual attention that her two sisters received in heaps at her age, but I prefer not being forced to repeatedly justify my position to family and acquaintances who surely think I’m exaggerating or, worse, flat out fabricating the situation, nor do I want to stigmatize her as a behavioral problem.

So for now, mum’s the word.

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