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.