Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I have moved.

Please follow me to We Have The Stars, my new Wordpress blog built by Taso g.

Love,

Brittan Claire

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Those satisfactions are permanent."

My husband.

Yesterday Taso took me to the Inwood Theater to see a late-night screening of Dr. Strangelove with our friend who manages the theater. It's summer, so I can finally do things like that! We met up with said friend and had a nice, long talk about film. I've so missed those talks. With the exception of a couple conferences, I've only had them with Taso since moving back from New York (which is awesome, but who doesn't love group discussion?). I was feeling pretty good. Excited enough to be there that I didn't notice Taso's somewhat sneaky behavior. It turned out that our friend couldn't watch the movie with us, so the two of us settled in to the best seats in the empty theater and waited for the DCP to load. Instead, a Criterion logo, clearly attached to a Criterion blu-ray, filled the screen, followed by the unmistakable revving of engines. Rather than realize what was going on, I thought surely there had been a mistake -- he had accidentally queued up one of my favorite movies of all of time (not out of the realm of possibility, as the long-awaited blu-ray just came out) and was running to turn it off and start the Kubrick DCP! Typing it now, I feel ridiculous. Nope. My husband had surprised me with an early birthday present, a private screening of Two-Lane Blacktop, one of my Top-5-All-Time-Favorite movies, made even better by the fact that I've spent the last six years trying to get him to watch it with me. It's not a big title, so it's likely that could be my only chance to experience it in a theater (as I think all movies should be experienced). It was wonderful. It gets better every time I watch it. More importantly, I can't think of a better way to see it, or anything I'd like to have more than that for my birthday. And he knew that. He always knows. To be known that way... I can't think of anything better.



(Still from Two-Lane Blacktop, courtesy of DVD Beaver)

Friday, June 7, 2013

The end of elementary school.

Needless to say, I've had some time to prepare for this. I actively worked at it. I spent some time making B a really nice photo book of his school pictures and memories from his elementary school years. I organized his work, got rid of what I could, kept myself busy with starting to get him ready for middle school. (Are you ever really ready for middle school?) It was therapeutic in a way. Since we moved back from New York, I went through a huge, traumatic "MY CHILD IS GROWING UP WHY CAN'T I STOP TIME I'M NOT READY FOR THIS" downward spiral, and then I slowly climbed back up again. I'm okay now. I'm not dreaming about missing his little baby cheeks and hands anymore. I'm coping slightly better with the whole puberty thing. I'm being more understanding about the changes he's going through and more outwardly positive about the future. Do I feel mature enough to have a middle schooler? No way. And yet, maybe. I don't feel old enough, obviously, but I have a very "BRING IT ON" attitude about it now. I'm less afraid. I think I'm being more supportive than ever because I'm better equipped to be than I was when I was struggling to get through college and grad school. Thank god I got that out of the way before he hit 6th grade, right?

We had some pretty stellar luck in 5th grade. We were able to find one of the very-limited-and-hard-to-get-but-affordable condos in a very upscale suburb with fantastic schools. I just happened to drive by it on the day it went up for rent, we pounced and got it that day. That was a little over a year ago and it has been so good for us, despite my culture shock at having to live in the suburbs and missing my beloved Brooklyn. We signed B up for the awesome, highly rated school we are zoned for and then were told that school was overbooked and he would have to go to a different one, one that was less distinguished but had a certain charm I couldn't put my finger on. Wow, did that turn out to be the best possible turn of events. Pinkerton Elementary was the perfect fit for B and gave us the best year he's had since Kindergarten, when he was still in private school. He's always been a straight A student, but rarely has he thrived like this in public school. Pinkerton is becoming an IB school and introduced that curriculum this year. I won't go into all that, but just check this out: 
Our goal at Pinkerton is for all students to have experiences that build positive attitudes, a deep understanding of who they are, what their interests entail, and how they can contribute to an international society.
Through guided inquiry and trans-disciplinary units, students will be challenged to set their own goals for learning and play an active role in the learning process. Our teachers facilitate this learning by asking guiding questions and challenging students to be creators of knowledge through technology and real-world application. 
His classroom this year was a place for topical discussion, question-driven learning, Spanish lessons, tending a garden, building a mock business, and learning responsibility. His teacher was one of those humans who is born to be a teacher and she gave so much of herself to the class. Pinkerton does not have a discipline model in place, allows kids to bring their iPhones and tablets to class (as long as they use them responsibily), and offers a lot of fun days and perks. It sounds weird, but I swear the kids were better behaved and tighter-knit than any classes B's ever been in. What a great year.

The end of the year was a lot of fun, and the 5th graders were celebrated with a graduation ceremony on Tuesday. Each of the three teachers said a few words and the kids got to walk across the stage while their teachers said something about them. B's teacher spoke about her special class this year, and began to cry as she said, "I don't want to let you go." I know how she feels and I cried right along with her. (I'm tearing up now just thinking about it.) My smart kiddo finished up the year with straight A's (two 100s!) and a nice group of friends. We ate lunch in his class room and stuck around for the school talent show (which he refused to participate in, and then majorly regretted -- just as I told him he would). He did get his moment, though. At the end of the show, the entire 5th grade stormed the stage and did the Harlem Shake complete with confetti and silly string. It was ridiculous. 


Yesterday they had a half day to clean out their desks and say goodbyes, and then his friend Joshua's parents threw a pool party for the whole 5th grade. They had endless pizza, a sno cone machine, a photo booth, games, and a candy bar (a full spread like you see at weddings). I had no idea this was a thing, but it was awesome, the best possible way to say hello to summer! 

So yeah, I'm all mommed out with a preteen and no clue what I'm doing, but it's good. Bring on the summer!