Mar 11

Saving our Teachers

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10:  Teachers who ille...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Things are dire in LAUSD and being a parent at a lower-income school, it’s even worse. Six highly trained and credentialed teachers were given pink slips. In a world of budget cuts and people losing their jobs, this may be ho-hum to most, but these 6 are extraordinary individuals. Our school has a great Dual Language Program (Spanish) and one of the teachers who received an RIF (Reduction in Force) was the one who started the program at the school. In fact, three of the teachers who were notified teach in the Dual Language Program. Our school is also, along with the middle and high school, in it’s preliminary years of becoming an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. Over the past 2 years, all 6 of these teachers have gone through the IB training to ensure the goals of the program are being followed.

With the District proposing an increase in class sizes (We currently have 1:20 in grades K-3, the District wants 1:29), this means that in addition to losing the 6 teachers, the school will have to buy 7 more teachers who may or may not be qualified to replace the lost teachers. As it stands, LAUSD does not have any extra teachers who have already gone through IB training and often, teachers who are credentialed to teach Dual Language, aren’t necessarily interested in doing so. The lack of trained IB instructors puts the schools upcoming approval in jeopardy.

The best thing, is that the school is being proactive about keeping these teachers. For our students and for the approval of becoming an IB school, it’s paramount that these teachers remain. On Tuesday, signs were posted alerting parents to what was happening and six chairs are outside, so that students can write words of support or their names on the paper provided. Next Thursday, the school is holding an emergency meeting to inform parents and the community what is happening. I hope more parents show up and more write letters to the District urging them to retain these teachers for next year, no matter the final budget outcome. We need these teachers!

Apr 10

Is this who LAUSD wants representing them?

Today, I had the most bizarre experience with a completely unprofessional teacher representing the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) School Readiness Language Development Program (SRLDP). This mandatory program began this week and runs until June 8th. Parents of Pre-K students must attend the classes or risk having their child removed from Pre-K.


As you can see, the flyer we received gave us 3 days of the week that classes are offered with 4 different 2.5 hours blocks of time to take these classes. I chose today since it was the one day I knew I would be able to come.

Once I arrived at the school, I learned that the class had been moved to another room. Other parents and an interpreter all showed up to Room 1 for the class, I walked them over to the correct room. When we got there, there was one other parent inside the classroom with the instructor.  The instructor looked up, looked at the interpreter and said, “I don’t need you today. I needed you yesterday. Wednesday.”

“They told me to come today”, he replied as taken aback as I was by her tone of voice and lack of niceties.

She snapped back, “They told me I wasn’t even going to have an interpreter. Sit over there for 5 minutes, maybe some random person would need Cantonese today.”

My eyebrows were in my hairline, but I thought that maybe they had a history. I was soon to learn that she was just a bitch.

She turned to me, “What is he doing here? Why isn’t he in class?” indicating my son.


I’m thinking this woman has clearly lost her mind because nobody speaks to me like that.  I explained that he is in the afternoon classes that start at 11:15, fifteen minutes after the time the SRLDP is supposed to end. She said, “I’m trying to teach a class here. You couldn’t leave him at home?”

“Well, yes, I could hav e left him at home, but he would still need to be at school by 11:15. So…I…brought…him.” While I’m saying this, I’m taking my netbook out of my bag, so that I could set up a game for him to play while the class is going.

The instructor had turned away while I was talking and said something to another parent. Then turned back to me. “What is that?! Why are you taking that out?” I looked at my netbook, baffled.

“It’s a computer. I going to let him use it so that he’s quiet during the class. If that’s a problem, please let me know”, I told her, looking directly in her eye.

She sighed, rolled her eyes and said, “I’m trying to teach a class here. Today’s class is in Spanish.”

Surprised, I responded, “I didn’t know that, the flyer didn’t state that Thursdays was Spanish Day.”

“Your teacher should have told you”, she interrupted.

“But she didn’t and you’re assuming I don’t understand Spanish. Is this a problem? Do you need me to leave?”

She started stammering and sighing, “I just don’t know why you have him here and that is out.”

Fine. If I had to listen to this woman say one more thing, she might have to have my netbook surgically removed from her ass. So, I started packing it up.

“Where are you going?!” she yelled.

I looked at her like she was mad, “Clearly, you are aggravated by my presence, I’ll make it easy. I’m out.”

She said she wanted to talk to me. I told her that I don’t want to hear her. She said that she’ll follow me out and I shrugged and said, “Don’t bother. I don’t want to waste any more of my time with you.”

She followed me out anyway and started making noises. I interrupted her, “First of all, you don’t speak to me like that. You don’t know me. Secondly, if this only a Spanish class, then the flyer should have indicated that. And last, your attitude is rude. It’s crap that you expect me to listen to you.”

Her clever response? “What’s crap is your attitude!” Thumbs up. Way. To. Go.

I spoke to the School Coordinator and Principal about this woman. They said they’ve had complaints about her too and that she’s rude to them too. I just can not believe that anyone with that shitty attitude would even be allowed to speak to people, let alone get paid for it.

Dec 09

Top 5 questions people say when they hear you don’t want to have more kids

I stumbled across this article titled: 9 Silly Things People Say When They Hear You Don’t Want Kids (And Ways to Counter Them). Just from that you know that the author is one of those so-in-love-with-their-own-cleverness sorts. Not that’s bad, but you know…you can come off like a jackass. I should know. I’m that sort.

That being said, the author has been kind enough to give unreasonably stupid responses to the unreasonably stupid questions nosy people ask or unreasonably stupid statements they make when they find you don’t want children.

The only one that was rather amusing was:

5. “But they’re so cute!”

This is a topping good reason to buy a Hello Kitty “vibrator,” but to bring a whole new person into existence?

We hadn’t planned on having kids. Even though I was asked these questions (which I do think is extremely rude), I was never a jackass like the author and most childless-by-choice people I see online. People did tell us that we’d change our minds and clearly we did. Otherwise, my stock answer to strangers asking “Do you plan on having children?” was “Not at the moment.” Pushers got ruder responses. To my friends, I typically responded, “The day after never!”

Having kids does NOT stop these rude questions. I have a girl and a boy and people still push us to procreate. When I get the questions below, I just, smile and say, “Yeah…we’re done.” (Hey! Who says I lack tact?)

1. “Well, I was raised in a large family. I loved the chaos. “

That’s great. For you. But I have to raise that chaos. My two already create enough chaos for me.

2. “But don’t you think your daughter should have a sister/son should have a brother?”

I have one of each and my husband has no siblings. We turned out just fine.

3. “But you make such cute babies.”

Your point?

4. “But what if something happens to one of them?”

My. Aren’t you just a ray of sunshine?

5. “You’ll change your mind.”

Just because celebrities have babies in their 50s doesn’t mean I want to join them. As it is, having these two in my 30s have wiped out all of my energy reserves.

Also note, the ones who push you to procreate are NEVER around when you need a sitter.

Oct 09

Pre-K Literacy Parade

Here’s some photos from today’s Literacy Parade (read: Halloween parade) for Pre-K.

Aug 09

She’s a swimmer now

I’m a hands-off sort of parent. I don’t believe in doing things for my kids, preferring they figure it out themselves. It makes for frustrating times, but the payoff when it clicks is well worth it. Ilia’s been in swim class for 6 weeks now. The first couple of weeks, was her just getting used to being wet. She’s a stubborn one and doesn’t pay attention to my directions at all. So, there were a lot of tears and frustrations on both our parts. Eventually, it clicked and she was willing to explore more. The brightest day was when she learned the backstroke. She’s a natural at it, even her instructor was impressed by the form and quickness. Still, she was wearing the swim belt.

As we walked toward the building, on Tuesday, Ilia turned to me said, “I’m going to swim without the swim belt today.” I smiled, “That would be wonderful”, I replied. To my shock, once we got to the pool, she jumped into the water and started doing something she had been unable or unwilling to do before: She swam. She kicked her feet, face in the water, and moved. WOW! I can not even begin to explain how proud of this stubborn yet scared little girl just getting it. She wants to continue. She wants to learn to dive. She wants to compete.

Jul 09

Ilia wants to be Indian

Compagnie Dansez Masala - Bollywood Dance   -10

Image by pixiduc via Flickr

We watched some Bollywood movies the other day. My daughter, dancing on my bed, turned to me and said, “I need to be Indian. Because then you can wear pretty clothes, have a dangly thing on your head and get henna on your hands…when you get boobs, you get a dot on your forehead. Oh, and dance around the mountains in the rain. When I grow up, I’m totally going to be Indian.”

She is also convinced that she can now speak Hindi, because she was repeating the movie lines.

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Mar 09

Gratuitous kid photo

I know I still need to write about the Spring ArtNight Pasadena we attended on Friday. But before I delve into that, here’s a photo of the kids at Pasadena City Hall.

Mar 09

A photowalk in Chinatown



The kids take photos in Chinatown

The kids take photos in Chinatown

On Sunday, I thought it would be nice to let the kids get some pictures of LA. The kids were so excited at the prospect, especially since I hooked them up with my old camera cases.  Alton got to used Ilia’s old camera and Ilia was given our Samsung to use.  


It was a nice day to walk around Chinatown; not too hot nor crowded.  The clouds billowing over the skyscrapers downtown caught their attention as much as the red lanterns swaying in the wind.   The moment we got out of the car I remembered that I left the xD card for my camera at home. 

The kids have always loved Chinatown, but since this was their photowalk, they were calling the shots. The things that fascinated them were just as interesting as the things they walked on by.  One shop had several small pillows in the shape of various animals or cartoon charachters.  The kids were immediate drawn to them, squishing and hugging whatever pillows were in their reach. But they did not take photos of them.  Instead, Ilia focused on the rooflines of the pagoda-like buildings or colorful scrolls hanging in a shop.  Alton, took a lot of pictured of people’s feet and the sky,which we found greatly hilarious. He’s so used to see us go down on one knee to take his photo that he thinks that’s how you take photos.  

The only downside of the day was when we got home and realized that not only did most of the 121  pictures Ilia and I took on the Samsung were corrupted, but the 13 or so did turn out find can not be accessed.  We could harp on that or we revel in the fact that 2.64 miles of walking Chinatown gave the kids a little better insight on that section of LA.


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Feb 09

A day at Travel Town

Ilia takes a turn

Ilia takes a turn

When you live in Los Angeles as a childless person, you find the city at once exciting and boring. When you live in Los Angeles as a parent to wee ones, you find a city you never knew existed.  My husband recently reconnected with college friends on Facebook and made a date to meet. Where we used to plan to meet friends at a bar or restaurant, if they have kids as this friend did, we now seek out toddler friendly meeting locations and times that work around naps.  It was in this spirit that he agreed to meet this friend at Travel Town, for every parent of a child uner the age of 3 is well aware of Travel Town.  It’s centrally located, has free admission, many spaces for the kids to run around and most importantly, trains.

The meeting with the friend was nice, the kids ignored each other as they usually do, but something happened soon after our arrival. I saw the librarian from my daughter’s school. Her son is in the Dual-Language program with my daughter. Turned out, she was there celebrating her youngest’s birthday and invited us to join the celebration.  This made Ilia very happy because then there were other kids her age and other girls to play with, instead of just the two 3 year old boys we had in our small group.

There’s something interesting watching my kids play with other kids. Ilia becomes both aloof and overprotective of her brother. She makes sure Alton is included in the fun, but then wants nothing to do with him. Alton is happy being left alone, so he’ll wander off to walk by himself or sit off to the side an watch the other kids play. Occasionally, he’ll yell out to “Ewa” and run alongside her for a bit. My daughter is very social and she’s fascinated by older girls. She thinks of them as substitute older sisters. The females who’ll teach her about being girly, because it’s clear to her that mom is not going to do that.

The party was attended by most family members, but everyone was gracious and open. There were two piñatas, which made the kid of the lady we were meeting very happy. Apparently, he’s always wanted a piñata. My kids, who have not only had piñatas at their own parties, but have attended many other parties with t, still don’t get it.  Ilia, instead of grabbing any candy she ran across, mulled over the options. She discarded those she didn’t like, she allowed other kids to snatch candy from her, she was thoughtful about what went into her bag.  Naturally, this meant that when she saw how little candy she got compared to the other kids, she was a little upset. I explained to her that she had more candy at that moment than she did 5 minutes previous, so she should be grateful. She smiled and had a lollipop. Alton, on the other hand, did the same thing he always did; grabbed a piece of candy nearby and popped it into his mouth. When he wanted a second piece, he went back, surprised as always, that all the candy was gone.

We left soon after, but it was an afternoon well spent even if this time around we never got to see the trains. As my daughter said, “We come here all the time, it was nice to be here and not just look at trains for once.”

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Nov 08

Hope for my children

CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 11:  Michelle Obama, the wi...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Last year, about a month before my daughter turned for she asked who the “pretty man” on TV was. “Obama” I replied.  When I went to YearlyKos in Chicago, I told her about how the Democratic presidential candidates would be there and she’s asked if “President Obama” would attend. I explained to her that he wasn’t president and I doubted he would be.

She bugged me all summer and fall of 2007 to vote for Obama, but he wasn’t my choice. I wasn’t interested.  She told me on my birthday last year, “If you don’t vote for Obama, maybe a bad guy will win and you’ll be sad.”  Manipulative little…

Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday

When we voted in the primaries, I was definitely going to vote for Obama.  She was at my side, as usual, making sure I voted the right way. “Is he president now?”, she’d asked.  Not yet, but at that point, I was sure he would be.

Throughout the primaries, her face would light up with she saw Obama on TV.  She’d asked if he was president yet and I’d tell her not yet.  She loved Obama.  When she finally figured out he had two daughters, she asked me to call him to see if they could have a playdate.  On Super Bowl Sunday, I had taken her to see Michelle Obama speak (the day, I firmly became an Obama fan, incidentally).  My daughter recognized that she was seeing a woman who looked like her mom, though admittedly more beautiful.  She thought Michelle Obama was a queen.

Once the general election kicked in, she was very much against McCain. “Why is that man so mean?”, “Why does he tell lies? Lying’s bad.”, “I think his mom should give him a timeout.” were questions she asked over and over again.  By mid-September, she was done with politics and thought the mean guy should just let Obama be president already.  I agreed, but gave her an age-appropriate lesson in democracy. Continue reading →