Susan's Blog

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Day of Purpose

A day of energy and collected wits. Some days are like that; I find I am more articulate, more patient, more energetic. More. It is good when I feel this way in the early part of the day, because then I can set myself up for a good, productive day, a la Mom. Mom likes to exercise first thing and really start her day off with her best possible self.

So this morning, after drop off, I decided to finish the yard clean-up. I have already done around 20 bags just raking up remaining leaves and dead grass from the back. Today, the front.

Zorn, as the rabbits say in Watership Down. This means, “utter destruction,” in Rabbit. The sewage pipe replacement left in its wake tons of small stones and a few upended roots, where once there was a large bed of lillies of the valley. Now that side of the front yard is ugly, broken, gaping, and brown, like a hobo’s mouth.

I raked out all the full-sun beds all along the stone wall that rims the front and side of my property. I collected sticks and pushed rocks to the side, to be carted away by my landscaper (once I hire him). I filled six big paper bags. I uprooted a dead pine. I raked the soft, chocolately black earth and uncovered bulbs and newly green plant clusters. Tiny tufts of green everywhere.

Well-satisfied with my work, I then hurried to an appointment which I shall not write about, because I just cannot bring myself to. But it went well. After that, Beastie pick-up and Baby Bellies. Or should I say, “Bratty Bellies?!” They were so bad last week! There are now fourteen girls, whereas last session there were around 8. Be careful what you wish for. Needless to say, it is a world of difference. Hard to get anything done. Word got around the school that Susan Senator’s class was acting up, and the Mom Network swung into action. I had offers from three or four people to help out with discipline if I needed it.

I didn’t want to rely on other moms though. I wanted to solve it myself. I knew I had to set boundaries, lay down some rules. Stop being so soft. I was determined that today would be better. I thought for a bit today about what to do. I asked another mom for a little help and also a teacher came in and gave me a little advice, mainly saying, “Yeah, this bunch is a handful, I know most of them;” and “you can send them right to the office if they misbehave.” Yikes! Okay. Well, I didn’t think I would need to do that.

I started off by leaving my veils and hip scarves home. The Bellies would have to earn them, I decided, with good behavior. I didn’t want my stuff to be abused (dragged across the gym, swung through the air, worn into the bathroom). I also told them what we would do today, a la Nat: first, next, last.

I showed them some performance pieces from the Bellydance Superstars, to familiarize and remind them of why they were here. Then we worked on isolations and hip lifts. (So cute!) Some things they can do really well because of their little flexible bodies. Some things, though — ! I really worked them hard, delaying their snack until I was satisfied that they all were trying their hardest. It is very difficult to convey how to do a hip lift, I have found. They all bring their legs out to the side to jerk their hips up and they straighten their knees, which is all wrong. But you can’t say, “No! All wrong!” You have to pick out the small thing that’s right and then try to get them to change the rest! Also I had to come up with metaphors, like, “pretend you’re sitting in an invisible chair,” to make them understand how the butt sits on the back, bent leg.

They were all very good today, minus the part where they laughed at me for sweating a lot. I told them that when they were 45 they would understand. “You’re 45! My dad is not as old as you!” Oy vey.

All it takes for me to have a good day, I think, is to have a positive purpose or two, and the time to accomplish them. And a sunny yard and high-spirited children within reach.

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