Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mina Follow Up, SPC and Other Things

This is my last submission for this month's Glamor Theme at SPC. This is what happens when Mina is left alone for 20 minutes with a thrift-store scarf and a pair of scissors. She does this a lot; creates clothing, sometimes cutting up regular school clothes, sometimes cutting up non-clothing things, like when she made a perfect camel-colored pencil skirt out of the bag in which new athlete shoes come. She modeled the skirt while also wearing one of my white undershirts that she had cut up into a low-back, high-neck halter. She had embellished the tank with turquoise marker polka dots and had written MINA diagonally across the front. And she wore that with the tan pencil bag-skirt and strutted into the dining room switching her little booty like she was the cat's pajamas. I said, "Holy Mina, that's a fantastic outfit." And I think she said, "I know." I didn't get a photo of the creation in time. She will metamorphosize an outfit until it is reduced to small swatches all over her room, every possibility of the fabric explored. But I took this picture above just in time. This was her favorite transformation with this piece of fabric. Of the bunched part on her shoulder she said, "Look Mami, it's like a flower."

For some inexplicable reason, I receive an oversized high-end fashion magazine in the mail once a quarter. I received one this weekend, thumbed through it and handed it over to Mina. She cut out her favorite dresses and tapped them to the wall above her desk.

Mina and I did a lot of work together this holiday weekend. I tested her on reading. I made flash cards of challenging words. I made her retake math tests that she had scored poorly on in class. I timed the tests. She worked on her book report that's due next week. And I don't see it. I don't see a low-level student. She breezed through the math. She read difficult words after the smallest bit of encouragement. I then mentally dissected every bit of my conference talk with her teacher and the words "low-level" and "greatly artistic" faded into the background and other words rose to the forefront: "many kids in my class" "I don't know what she's doing during station time" "I'm not sure why her class folder doesn't have much work in it . . ." I began to get angry. I fumed at the possibility that this teacher probably doesn't have enough time to devote to kids, especially ones she thinks are low-level. The teacher probably does the best she can, I would hope. But what The Teacher had said to me does not match with the girl I've been encouragingly grilling for the last four days straight. I'm not saying she's blowing through Shakespeare, but with me she's engaged and she's reaching for more. While we were doing addition problems she asked me what multiplication was. I asked her if she was studying that in class. She said no. I explained the basic concept in a five-minute lesson and then asked her what 4x2 was. After drawing two groups of four dots on her own, she said, "Eight."

I decided that after school would be home-schooling time. Like Athena implied, Mina seems to respond better and learn more with concentrated lessons. I've already looked online for lessons and print outs. It crossed my mind to home school her on the real, but the hours between 9am and 3pm are not mine to give to her. We'll try the Mami-Mina School for Geniuses, After-School Edition and see what happens.

In other weekend news, the majority of the four days were superbly lazy. Pajama Jammie Jam Thanksgiving extended to a Let See How Long We Can Stay in PJ's Marathon. I did, however, waste an exhausting few hours searching for the perfect holiday dress for my company party which is coming up in a couple weeks. The search for a dress, for some reason, escalated to a frantic level. I spent Saturday trying on many things, always on the brink of complete boredom, and hating everything I tried on. I even tried on some Dressy Cuffed Short-Shorts and nearly cried over the lameness of it all. After a while, I became completely embarrassed by what seemed so frivolous. Kids are starving and a new dress is at the top of my priority list? Nevertheless, I couldn't stop obsessing about a damn dress. Until I saw these:

I spent my holiday dress money on this gorgeous, razor-sharp santoku set. They glide so easily through vegetables that I get goosebumps. Aren't they pretty? With the grippy-grip melon-color handles? I'm in love with them. They don't help starving kids either, but at least they are much more practical. I will use these beauties every single day. Fuck a dress,I thought. Until I went to a great thrift store in downtown SM called Wasteland and picked up this 1940's tea-length, black crepe dress for $35.

I retried it on today and I felt almost old-ladyish it in, not as fabulous as I did behind the hep, maroon velvet, thrift-store dressing-room curtains. Also, after zipping up the dress in the store, Mina said, "That's amazing," and I kind of went with her sense of style. Mina was also pressuring me to buy some earth-toned leopard-print earrings to go with the dress. But I passed though I'm questioning that decision now. The girl behind the counter said, tilting her head towards Mina, "Is she your stylist?" I said, "You have no idea." I also picked up this 1950's era clutch for $15 without any consultation from Mina. I love this more than the dress now. UG FUCK A DRESS.


SUEB0B said...

You are both stylish and beautiful. I wish I had 1/10 of your or Mina's fashion sense.

And as far as school? I toldja before she's a creative genius, just bored with the routine. No te preocupes.

athena said...

"Nevertheless, I couldn't stop obsessing about a damn dress. Until I saw these:"

ROFL. i bought me a swell pair of knives a couple months ago too; which shocked my husband because usually knives are the last thing on my priority list of things to buy.

and i think you're doing a great job with your girls. taking them to vote, encouraging them to do their utmost best in the things that mean a lot to them, recognising their talents and asking mina, for example, for her feedback for something like the dress you just bought. that just shows how much you care and respect your daughter's love for fashion. although i could see mina on both sides (creating the garments AND modeling them). well done.

Marigoldie said...

Fuck a dress and way to go on pulling together a perfect thrift concoction.

Love your after-school plans and know that Mina's gonna be fine.

bettyboop said...

that's weird. sounds like you're right that teacher doesn't spend enough time with mina, or that mina is just bored in class. you probably make it more fun. have another sit-down with the teacher and ask her to be more specific about mina.
love the knives!!
love mina's zany style! have her cut up that dress into something fab for the party! have fun, yo!!!

Marigoldie said...

Also, post script, just dropped off Kiki and learned tonight that they don't do reading every day in her class. It feels like more crowd control, less learning. Ack, the world's upside down!

lovegreendog said...

mina is one lucky girl to have a mom who is right there for her. she's got greatness.
has piano started?

acumamakiki said...

you are such an inspiration to me as a mama, truly. i haven't even read the whole post but wanted first to comment on the brilliant idea of after school home school. I SO hear you on the teacher and the big sized classroom and that she is hopefully doing the best she can.
I had my teacher conference and it didn't seem that she really knew my kid, esp when she was 'evaluated' in mid October, 6 weeks after school began. I'm going to adopt the after school home school idea. You rule.

acumamakiki said...

that dress is gorgeous and i just don't see it looking old lady-ish on you. i love those knives. i want beautiful vegetable knives too. but then i'd be required to cook. (=

madness rivera said...

Thank you for the encouraging and kind comments. We've all been on a little mission lately and Mina's been responding well.

Yes, crowd control & YES, acumama, not really knowing my girl, like she's passing under some radar.

For homework yesterday, Mina had to place words in the correct section of the dictionary; questions like "clown" goes in the beginning (A-L), middle (M-S) or end (T-Z) of the dictionary? I said enthusiastically, Mina have you guys been learning how to use a dictionary? And she said, Well some of the kids have, but not me. I said, Why not? She said, I don't know. I was fucking furious, and we bee-lined it to Staples and I bought Mina her own dictionary and we put her name on it and I taught her how to use it. She was thrilled.

I didn't feel this unsafe when Maya went through elementary, but that's mainly because Maya refuses to go unnoticed. She's all but ringing a cow bell at her desk while Mina clams up & checks out if she feels embarrassed or out of the loop. But I feel ok now. Now that I'm just taking the reins on this.

Lovegreendog, about piano lessons . . .I'm waiting to hear from my neighbor about her schedule, but I've also just come to the sobering realization of her prices . . .I may need to look into another avenue for lessons or I'll need to eliminate something else for piano. Either way, she's going.

Thanks again, familia.

andrea said...

that purse is fantastic. as are the knives. as is this post.

keep on keepin on with mina, because after the small amount of time that I spent with that girl this past summer, I thought wow. overflowing with all the smart and the bright, OVERFLOWING. and don't even get me started on the fashion thing. mina's got the design chops, sounds like. which makes me so happy.

Green Whale said...

I'm so happy for you.

tina said...

You've GOT to take a picture of yourself actually wearing that fantastic dress so we can see how it looks on you.

eric wp said...

The history of perfume goes back to Egypt, although it was prevalent in East Asia as well. Early perfumes were based on incense, not chemicals, so aromas were passed around through fumes. The Roman and Islamic cultures further refined the harvesting and manufacturing of perfumery processes to include other aromatic ingredients.

Thus, the ancient Islamic culture marked the history of modern perfumery with the introduction of spices and herbs. Fragrances and other exotic substances, such as Jasmine and Citruses, were adapted to be harvested in climates outside of their indigenous Asia.

eric pb said...

Ah….the sweet, smell of perfume! Today's market is flooded with hundreds and hundreds of different fragrances ranging

from floral to woodsy. Most women love the smell of perfume, wearing it even when going to the grocery store. The problem

is that perfume allergy for some women, is anything but nice.

perfume creed said...

Choosing the right perfume can be difficult and because it is also considered an intimate gift buying the wrong perfume

can backfire on you and get you the opposite result of that which you hoped for.

The first thing you need to do is do some homework, meaning research. Look at your lady's perfume bottles, the ones that

are nearly empty will be her favorites. If there is one there that is nearly full chances are she doesn't wear it often

or doesn't like it. Hint around and ask her what types of fragrances she likes and dislikes.

Humans are very sensory oriented and our sense of smell is no different. Certain perfumes can elicit strong reactions in

both the wearer and the person reacting to the scent. Perfumes are made not only to attract but to also relax someone. If

you aren't totally sure what kind of perfume to buy you can always play it safe and get something in the aromatherapy

line. If you go this route, bear in mind that vanilla scents are considered to relax and a peppermint or lemon scent will

be more stimulating.