Susan's Blog

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lines, Figs and Donut Holes

Tuesdays are full and crazy, but I luvs them. Tuesdays are when I have my Baby Bellies, and when I have to make the school newsletter, Lincoln Lines. It is a lot of working getting through both, and there are times when I have wanted to quit, but I am proud of myself for hanging in there.

Today was a good day, albeit busy. In the morning I got an email from a dad at the school who is also a good friend of ours, and he had at item for the newsletter about the Pumpkinfest Golf Tournament. Pumpkinfest is our school’s biggest fundraiser, and it is crazy busy and successful. There is, among many things, a silent auction, and the tournament was one of the prizes to bid on. I was psyched when I got the email about it because now I had my lead story. I told Ned and he said, “You are such a huge dork.”

Well, yes. But he doesn’t understand how much fun it is running a tiny media empire. I love amassing school news items from various sources: the main office, the front door notices, the school website, and parents and teachers sending me emails. Most everyone gets stuff to me by my Monday deadline, and by Tuesday afternoon, after the Baby Bellies, I can take an hour or two and lay it all out online. I come up with attention-grabbing headlines; I decide what is front page news and what is stuck in the back; I edit things so that they fit and are clear; and I get Ben to do art for a story or two. Sometimes I use Clip Art, but that stuff is so corny. Ben’s stuff is edgy and powerful, like this one he did for the golf tournament: [if no image, Blogger sucks]

I was in some kind of zone today, because it went well with the Baby Bellies. It has not gone that well much this session; there are 13 girls, plus occasional playdates come along, and I have had a hard time with all the chaos. I talked to a friend who runs an afterschool baking class like mine, and she said that the thing to do is hold them off on the snack as long as possible, and only expect to be able to teach them 30 minutes worth of stuff. The rest of the time is eating and running around.

But more than that stellar advice, there was also my expectations being too high. These are very little girls, for God’s sake. What was I thinking, that they had to learn so much bellydance? It hit me like a clap of thunder today: let them play with the veils, who cares? That’s pretty much all they like, anyway. And who can blame them? They are floating color! Candy on the breeze! Silken rainbows!

But I could not let go entirely. I still made them practice the “fold and hold” (making a pocket around themselves with their veils folded sideways and held in one hand) and camels (S-shaped body waves stepping forward). One of them insisted we call the camel move “Figs,” after her pet dog, whose belly apparently undulates in the same fashion. So then I said that we should do the camels — er, Figs — into the center of the circle when we do our recital piece, instead of the hip-lift-walk that becomes an utter mess when they try to do it.

This was easy to teach, too. You push your lower belly out, leaning back on your heels, then push your upper belly forward, followed by your chest, bringing your foot forward in a stepping motion, then pulling your shoulders back and lower belly forward again. That is how you get the “S” shape.

The girls were very good at the Figs, and the move looked much better in the piece, as I thought it would. I was so happy with their progress that I let them have their donut holes a little early and sat back while they chased each other, all wrapped up in my veils. Two of the youngest fell and got a little hurt, so I said we had to stop running with veils. I could tell that the oldest ones, whom I had kind of yelled at last week, were trying extra hard to listen to me, and I felt moved by their sweetness and it made me feel very loving towards them. And they responded by seeming happier in class than ever. One of them actually started going through my songs and picking out the ones she liked, and getting the others to just dance to them. I figured this was as good as anything else, just getting them interested in World Music, rather than shlocky pop. We only have two classes left, and as long as they practice their fold and hold and their Figs, we should be in good shape. Even with 8 donut holes per BB.


Greetings from my school n’letter media empire to yours! And I feel the EXACT same way! We don’t miss any events b/c I know about them all in advance. Plus, I earn the gratitude of people for running stories about their stuff!

The after school activity thing is difficult. Now that I understand sensory issues (the hard way) it’s easier for me to comprehend why my Girl Scouts and religious ed students were so raucous. It’s asking so much for them to sit in class all day and then continue to pay attention after school. — Cathy in CT

— added by Anonymous on Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 10:03 am

Hi Cathy!
Are you going to do the newsletter next year, too?

— added by Susan Senator on Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 6:49 pm

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