retin-a, the pill and moving on…

My foxling is 13, precious and full of life, 13 going on 29. =) One minute she can be curled into a blanket with me on my bed, begging me to read her “baby books” to her and make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. The next she will scoff any attention I attempt to lavish on her, retreat to her room and write pages for novels in which her parents are dead, emerging hours later a vegetarian. She is exploring, discovering herself, and deciding who she wants to be, on any given day. She is hot and cold, fire and ice, brilliant and plain-ass dumb. In short, she is a teen. Welcome to my world, I am hoping I will be one of the millions of mothers who survive the teen years and do not have to give up nursing school to check myself into a “facility”. * =)

One of the marvelous things about genetics is the small chance we passed all our best qualities onto this amazing child. Of course, reality intervenes and along with her stellar sense of humor and astronomical IQ, she got the spots. I was lucky to not have had acne badly, but my brother was an absolute mess for a decade and The Professor was on every script available for years as well. So my poor little foxling never stood a chance. She was fine as a child, but the second she hit puberty all hell broke loose. I finally found a DR who takes it seriously, and have an insurance plan that will pay, even if I have to call and throw fits regularly to motivate them.

She has a sulfur wash and lotion for the day, and a retina-a micro treatment that goes on at night. The spots are clearing up and the redness is dissipating as well. Most sunscreen makes her break out, so that was an added bonus to the situation, but it looks like we are making real progress. Last week, her DR also prescribed The Pill, to regulate her cycle and cut down on the breakouts. Yes, THAT pill. Yikes, cannot tell you what that did to my tender mother’s psyche… she is only 13 after all.

I will admit to having some misgivings about the regimen, even before The Pill was thrown into the mix. She is young, and needs reminding, and who would be the one to remind her on a daily basis ? Yours truly… and she feels like I nag her enough, thank you very much. But the more I considered, the more sense it made to let her have complete control over the process. After all, she was so compliant with her Invisalign that the braces were on for only a year instead of 2 ! She also is responsible with her cleaning, school work and online time, so why should this be any different ? I only had reservations because if she does not use the products properly, she could end up with chemical burns, and that is not an option. So for the past month, I have been doling out the products, one at a time. Instructed her as to the procedure, let her read the packaging inserts and let her manage. Last week she began the retina-a without any problems. I was expecting a lot more redness and dryness, but I think that spacing the products a bit helped. She now uses all 3 products every day and is careful to take the time to properly apply each one. She said she feels like she is doing something good for herself, and does not want to rush since that could screw with the results. =) I am glad she came to this on her own, rather than me telling her repeatedly. Means more to her.

So… we as parents are preparing our children to ultimately make every decision for themselves. To understand right and wrong, as it applies to them and their ideals and world. To do their best, to feel comfortable and happy with their decisions and how to deal when things go awry. Some children mature faster than others, but no matter their age when we begin, we MUST begin to let them do for themselves. To fall and break occasionally, and to get back up, brush off the dust, assess and move on. If only there was a gentler way to ease them into adulthood… but if we are too protective and gentle, they end up crippled and unable to fend for themselves. Who knew, 13 years ago as I lay looking at that darling blueberry-eyed baby with the pug nose and silky brown hair, that is would be so hard ?! So we do our best, and with reservation, let them take the reins and hope they don’t plow us all into a brick wall. =)

She has had a lot of growing up to do in the past year. She felt immense guilt for a long while, like her opinion of our situation was what allowed her father to move out. It took me months of constant talking and reassurance to help her see that he made the decision separately from his love for her, and to talk to me when he told her things that made her feel uncomfortable. Our relationship is strong, and she is all good so even thru pain, she has been able to see one can create beauty and happiness out of the rubble left by another’s choices.

She also now sleeps at 2 different houses, with 2 sets of rules. There are not many at The Apartment, as she calls his place. We are more structured, mostly because in our home is where the schooling takes place, and we need the routine to accomplish everything she wishes to do. She has more freedom there, more free time with which to fill in many ways. She is learning how much is too much, and how little sleep she can function on without being a raging witch. =) She is getting more in control of her days, and I allow her as much freedom here was possible, as well. Too much disparity between homes is the hardest thing for a child to deal with, so I have adjusted as much as I can here to make the transition easier for her.

So she is 13, creeping up to 14, and is about to start high school. Those years that are so important for now, but after earning a Bachelor’s become completely inconsequential. I had a real heart to heart with her recently and decided to allow her to choose who she lives with, and if she transitions into a public high school. I think that regular high school will not showcase her talents the way that a tailor-made education in a private, online school would. But I also see the draw of moving to Ca with her dad and his new family. The fun and excitement of it, the beach access, her granddad and uncle being right there… it is everything I could want for my darling girl, other than the school and the fact that I will not be able to participate. Oh, I know, she was leaving eventually anyway, but the shock that came with the possibility of this scenario playing out in 2 years was hard to shake off. Now that I have had weeks to become accustomed to the idea, I am thrilled for her, in every sense of the word. She is exactly like me in that aspect; the belief that the best things in life come from making an educated guess then racing off a cliff to jump into the unknown… =) I want her to live a life of possibility, of nerve and calculated risk, not one of fear and wondering what might have been. So I have turned the kaleidoscope so to speak, and am looking at this as a chance of a lifetime, which it is. These may very well be the last years she has her granddad, and I want her to be able to build a relationship with him, just like she was able to do with my dad. And seriously, a chance to be in sunny CA surrounded by people who love you ?! What on earth would prompt YOU to say no ?! =) =)

So now, the only stress I am feeling is about how to best prepare her for the move. CA is notoriously unaccommodating to home schoolers, especially those from another state. According to the administrator of the school district in question that I spoke to recently, the chance is minuscule that any of these high school credits that she has already earned will transfer to their system. Let me be clear, according to the colleges I spoke to, backed up with ISBN numbers and test scores, along with work samples, these are indeed high school credits, with more work accomplished than the average Honors courses here. I am nothing if not thorough in her education. But CA is very hard to please, and if the classes were regionally accredited, than this would not be an issue. National accreditation is sticky as well, but not as much as good old fashioned home school work, no matter what you can back it up with. As an aside did you know that over 23% of all high schools in the US are not accredited ?!

My foxling has been working on high school honors level since grade 6. She has even had some classes that are college level. Now to find out that if she moves, and we continue doing what we have been, she may have to begin over and attend sumer school for 3 years just to graduate on time… fucking absurd. But I will leave my thoughts on state control of national education requirements for another day. Another aside, Brown and Bard think she is being well-prepared, as does the medical school at UConn… AND SHE HAS NOT EVEN BEGUN HIGH SCHOOL YET ! =) But what matters right now is not my indignation, or the insanity of a cross-country move with an eclectically-educated child. What matters is getting the most out of the next 2 years with her, making her look as good as possible on paper, for the powers that be. While I am confident I can usher her into any selective college in the nation, the public high school system in CA is going to be a challenge. So I need to figure out a way to give her the interesting and quirky classes she wants, while fitting her requisites into the obscenely run-of-the-mill packaging that the school system demands. While my first instinct may be to scream FUCK YOU, MORONS… this is HER dream, HER goal and I, as her mother, educator and administrator, have her best interests at heart. So I begin to play the game that I have avoided like the plague for the past 14 years… gods help me.

I will keep you posted as to what we decide to do… the deadline for applying to the large, local high school for AP and honors classes passed in May, and we are not in the new house yet so cannot legally even apply for regular attendance yet. As, the plot thickens.


* Again, take my words in the spirit with which they are thrown on the page… humor, not judgement or cruelty. =)


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. NotAPunkRocker
    Jun 26, 2014 @ 10:02:44

    6th grade parent – teacher – kid conference…he gets asked, very seriously, about his career aspirations. They needed to know to plan his high school courses.

    I thought they were joking, or this was casual discussion of possibilities. Um, no.

    I think Matt got his complexion from his father. I had, and still have issues with acne mess, though nothing like my brother had to deal with.


  2. tishmoon
    Jun 26, 2014 @ 11:43:40

    I guess what I am in disbelief about is that private colleges are interested, very interested in what we are doing, but gosh darn it, it is simply not good enough for a high school diploma in CA… In speaking to MANY home educators who have had to move to different states in the high school years, as well as school administrators, there is less of a systematic approach that the schools take, and more of a case by case basis. I saw what my nephew had to take in order to graduate, and the work was pathetic; they never finished a whole textbook and he did not have to read an entire novel more than once in 4 years… stunning that this lead to a diploma from an “accredited” high school. Oh well, it is what it is and either we play the game or we forfeit… and you know me well enough to know the latter is so NOT an option ! =)


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