Monday, October 26, 2009

First Day Conquered

My girls and I have completed our first day at our new schools. The kids are in bed, though not asleep, now at 6:30pm. They were up at 5:30, I was up at 5am. We drove to school in the dark. I'm looking forward to the time change so it's light out when we're leaving at 6. I was just so stressed and tired this morning. Even with all the prep that was done the night before I couldn't have gotten us out the door in time without Will's help. G started crying right off the bat having been woken up so early.

Right now my brain feels fried. It's not really a headache, but a brainache. Mostly the front part of my brain feels overworked, like it's still trying to sort and store all the info I took in today: names, faces, classes, schedules, materials, lessons, projects, school layout, policies, procedures....

I'm still not done. Now I get to look over my plans. I need to put together a quiz probably.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Finally

I've been hired. Somebody actually wants me. Now I have to prove myself, to myself and my employer, that I CAN DO THIS! I am freaking out quietly inside much of the time because I start on Monday (it's Thursday!). The semester is just about half way through. The previous beloved teacher died of stomach cancer, so it's a sad, delicate situation. I don't know what the students have done. I have to put together a darkroom from a jumble of equipment (YIKES! HELP!) The rest should be okay, except that there are not texts. No text for art appreciation! Thank heavens for the internet.

The awesome part is the children will attend the school. It's a Catholic school. I'll be teaching high school. S will go to first grade at the K-8 school across the parking lot from my school. G will be about 10 minutes away at another Catholic Church where there's a preschool/day care center that is run by the K-8 school. We ALL start Monday. Needless to say, everyone is a bit stressed. I've been very busy this week filling out paper work, dropping off health forms, getting a flu shot, getting fingerprinted. Tomorrow I'm taking in all the paperwork so it will be finalized. Then I'm taking S to the mall to get the last items for her uniform. Fortunately, we got a few used uniform pieces so she's good to start this week. We'll have to get some more jumpers once I get some $$$, cuz that stuff is expensive. I love that it'll all be able to be passed down to G.

Not looking forward to the commute. It'll be about 45 minutes. Just like camp was all summer. We'll have to leave every morning no later than 6:15. I haven't gotten up before 6am for YEARS! Not since I had to get the bus at 7:10 in middle school when I got up at 5:45 some mornings. But with having to take G to her day care center at 7, then drive back to my campus and get S to before school care, I'll get only a few minutes before the 7:45 warning bell.

I'm excited to finally be teaching, but I'm very aware that the first year is a very difficult one and THIS semester will be more like I'm a long term sub than anything. The previous teacher's belongings still have not been cleared out. I hope they will be before Monday.

The benefit of the kids going to Catholic school, going to school WHERE I WORK, having free before and after school care if needed... it's the most wonderful situation and more than I imagined would work out for us.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Two Thoughts that are not related but may be

I am on pins and needles.

I have also reached a point with this blog where I feel like going and deleting posts. Is that normal?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Conundrum

There is abundant discussion about a teacher's role online. Many teachers have blogs. Some blog incognito about their school and students, others do it openly for the benefit of parents and students. There is the issue of Facebook and whether to friend a student, or maybe do it after the student graduates or maybe never. Some teachers say it's their duty to be visible in the online community to monitor and protect the teenagers who may put out warning signs of trouble and need a responsible person to recognize them. My first instinct is to not friend students, but one teacher on a message board reasoned that she could add her students in a group on facebook that was not allowed to see her entire profile. Okay, so limited access is a good way to handle it and the teacher would still have access to what the students were putting online. That is where teachers (can I say older teachers without being ageist?) are afraid they could get into trouble having access to pictures and information the students may be participating in that is illegal. Like, Hey is anyone getting a keg for Bonehead's party this weekend while his parents are out of town? A teacher might think it's a joke or might LIKE to think it's a joke. Probably it isn't though and the teacher should check in with Bonehead to let him know he'd be a bonehead to have a party while his parents are out of town this weekend and maybe she should email his parents. People who grow/grew up in small towns can tell about so and so telling their parents about what they saw them doing. The whole village theory. It's an online village--ivillage, remember? I used to do the message boards there before blog and facebook.

Anyway, while pondering this whole facebook thing, I suddenly thought about my blog. I don't say anything on my blog that I wouldn't say to my family. They know how I stand on politics, kids, food, religion... sorta they know about religion. I don't even quite know where I stand on religion... it's a moving target. Anyway, I think I'm a pretty respectful person on here and am mostly anonymous. I'm tempted to delete all photos, but then I scan through the multitude of blogs about families and children. My blog covers it all though.

But would I really want students reading it?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

WTF Moment

I read this blog recently and relate to a few things in it, like having an infant who is not interested in a lot of the food offered and doesn't want solids until seven months (G--premie thing) and also I relate to DREADING dinner. It's gotten completely out of hand. I'm sorry about all the times I felt I had this feeding thing under control. I'm sorry about all the times I gloated in my head about how my kids eat salad and like a variety of foods. I wish I were working so I could blame this absurdity on that. I don't know why, but S (my six year old) has decided that she will make each and every dinner a power struggle. She has been the best eater since that first bite of rice cereal she was incredibly eager to consume. Her tastes have varied through the years, but she usually liked most of what was put in front of her and was always will to "just try a bite." Now there's no rhyme or reason to her MADNESS. She sits down and starts grimacing. Then she chooses some minute aspect of her meal (I don't like mustard, Yes you do you told me you liked when Daddy put it on your turkey sandwich the other day, Well, I don't like it). Then she starts looking all around her plate and becomes exasperated by everything she sees and slams back in her chair pouting. That's when I give her the 5 count down to get rid of the negative attitude and start eating or leave the table. She's had to leave the table numerous times, says she has calmed down and comes back to eat. Then she eats a couple bites and is all "Oh I do like this." WTF!?

Tonight was it, though. It's been at least a week of this behavior. Starting tomorrow, I told her, she'll get ready for bed (shower, pjs) after she's done homework and then she'll spend the evening in her room while the rest of the family has dinner. When we're through she can come down and have dinner--what has been made for everyone's dinner (with the exception of beef/pork)--and then go to bed. Her negative attitude makes me sick. It stresses my parents, too. No amount of their pleading and reasoning changes her attitude.

The problem is she often has a negative attitude, even about things she has told me she likes, such as school and Sunday school and camp this past summer, which she said she never wanted to go back to but now wants to go again next summer--WTF?!

One night months ago, before we moved, maybe even last year, we were leaving the Y after my weekly kickboxing class and she started in with her complaining and negativity and I told her I hear that she is not happy, but I just had a great work out and am full of positive energy and her negative energy will push out all my positive energy and then I will be very angry and not a happy mommy and she needed to either blow out her negative energy, throw it away or keep it to herself. Her response? I DON'T BELIEVE IN THAT. WTF?! I said, That's fine, people didn't believe the Earth is round, though it is. One day you'll realize energy is real and it can be positive or negative. All she heard was blah, blah, blah.

Many things are power struggles with S. I know it's a normal kid thing and kids like boundaries and restrictions and they push to see what they can get away with. But food? Dinner? I really don't want food to be an issue with her. She already self-mutilates, bites her arm when frustrated, which is also a fairly common thing. I don't even want to imagine her teen years with food issues and self-mutilation involved. If that happens it's not WTF, we're just F-ed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

First Impression

I'm mostly a reserved person. I learned when I was young that if I was more quiet than talkative and more reserved than outgoing there was less chance for me to embarrass myself. I hate doing or saying things I regret, more than I hate not saying things or doing things I wish I had. So, I've developed this sweet, quiet, reserved personality. Those who know me, know I'm a goof ball a lot of the time.

It's getting annoying though, when people are surprised by my saying something or revealing something. For instance, at camp this past summer I was working with my director on the back drop for the campers' performance. He had been working before I got there and had the radio on a hip hop/R&B station. After a little while he said he was leaving to get some lunch and switched the radio to some pop station then asked me what station I wanted the radio on. I told him to put it back on the hip hop station. You like hip hop? I may not know all the artists on that station, but, yes, I do like hip hop music. His response? Chuckling. That's funny, Lauren. I could have said, What, because I'm a white girl and I wear glasses to correct my vision I can't listen to a variety of music? I didn't. He just left. Whatever. Then I laughed about it to myself.

I'm pretty good at sexual innuendo. Yeah, I'm not always funny or witty, sometimes I'm more goofy than anything. But sometimes the wit just flows. In HS Shakespeare class I did a paper on Shakespeare's puns. That guy was dirty minded. I liked it. As a teenager I often found myself saying seemingly harmless things that peers could turn dirty. Sometimes we made a game of it. I developed my style. I've used it to make people blush as used to happen to me. My future brother-in-law has been made to turn red a few times by my jokes. He tried to set me up one time, but it really wasn't my style, not really dirty. Then within five minutes he innocently said something that could easily be construed as dirty and I pointed it out as something I could work with. He blushed. He's blond and blushes too easily, but so do I, so it's fair. Recently I was at my sister's house for a cook out. She had other friends over and we were talking about phones and iPhone applications (one guy works for a phone distributor). He, Will and future BIL were talking about a weight loss application where you strap your phone to your gut and it vibrates the fat off. Of course, I responded, I can think of a much better reason for the phone to vibrate. No one knew what to say. Will just gave me a look like, Can't you ever let it go? I think the phone guy was embarrassed, I can't be sure. Future BIL is half deaf and proceeded to make the same joke I had just said, but not so directly and was stumbling over his words trying to find the best way to phrase it, so I stopped him, let him know I already beat him to it. He nodded, already having blushed at trying to say the joke himself. Phone guy said he was surprised I said that.

Maybe I do like the contrast of my appearance and what I say. It is fun to surprise people like that. But, I still find it annoying a lot of the time.

I want to meet a bunch of strangers and then have them interviewed privately about their first impression of me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Backfire!

I'm brainwashing my kids. We all do it, only we call it raising them to share our ideals. I want them to understand, fully, what meat is. As a kid I found raw meat so disgusting I couldn't imagine ever preparing it, though I didn't have too much of a problem eating it once my mom cooked it. Well, I suppressed that revulsion and forced myself to make meatloaf a few times and fry pork and bake chicken. Now that I'm vegetarian the kids are asking why. I don't tell them meat is disgusting, they still are given chicken. I tell them they can choose to eat it sometimes, but mostly it's better for their health to not eat it or to eat very little of it. I tell them meat is animal muscle that has been cut off the dead animal. I say all information in an even tone as if I'm explaining how taxes work (yes, S asked about taxes, though she didn't know what it was called). Very straightforward, as I always am with them. But, telling them that meat is muscle, muscle like we have, may have backfired with S. Eating meat is so normalized for her. She's never visited a farm or county fair. She's seen cows from a distance and pigs at the zoo. It's difficult for her to equate the meat she eats with these animals. G is more impressionable at only 4 and says she wants to stop eating meat like mommy. She shows some understanding that we're eating pieces of dead animals and seems to not like that, but she's fine with continuing to eat chicken, since I said I'd keep giving it to her. But 6 year old S? Last night she was sucking a chicken bone dry!

What did I expect my children to think telling them meat is muscle? "Oh, people have muscle. I'd never eat a person's muscle, so why would I eat an animal's muscle?" Turns out, S thought about that much differently than I expected.

Today we were watching the end of Swiss Family Robinson and as the pirates were being killed off, S said "They should just eat the pirates. They have muscle just like us and muscle is meat, so they can eat them." I responded, "You want the family to eat other people?" Not skipping a beat S said, "The pirates are bad people, they deserve to be eaten." Looks like my daughter is pro-cannibalism as long as the people on the menu were bad.

The menu.

The could-be cannibals. And really, before S said what could be done with the pirates I was thinking, they're sure gonna have a lot of stinking, dead bodies to clean up!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Curly Myth

Apparently in hair stylist school stylists are taught that curly hair can only have long layers and never lots of short layers. I've heard this myth, I've READ this myth in a magazine, my sister has heard this. It's NOT TRUE. I went to Hair Cuttery today and told the stylist my hair had grown out a LOT and I needed 1.5 inches taken off. She said "It's all one length?" No, it's layered, especially more in the back. She said she couldn't tell, so I told her to put lots of layers in it all around. She picked up one side of my hair and said "If I put layers, it's going to puff out like a fro here." "Yes, that's fine," was my response. Why argue? I've done it before: No, it actually is less frizzy and less of a fro when I have lots of layers. It just curls, stays in place and doesn't grow any bigger. When it's closer to one length, like it was before I got it cut, it gets bigger and bigger throughout the day until I'm forced to pull it back because it's Dianna Ross style. And while big, curly hair may be glamorous when it's done up nicely:




Usually it just looks like you were out on a windy day:



So I got my hair cut to the top of my shoulders, but it curls up over an inch, and it has lots of layers. It's slightly shorter than in my profile pic. It's very curly, no longer poofy, puffy or anything like a fro. But really, why was fro used in such a negative way? Can't a fro look good? Let's see:


Nope.


I wouldn't say looks good, but it works.



Seth Rogen. I love his Jew fro!
Yes, it looks good on Lenny Kravitz. Can his be called a Jew fro, too?
On a more or less serious note, I'm interested in seeing Chris Rock's new documentary "Good Hair." I actually caught myself saying "You have good hair!" as I brushed out G's hair this morning. Woah. I never thought I'd said that phrase. But as the brush smoothly went through her hair making it more full and soft, that was my thought! Good hair! Geez. That reminds me, each time I see a new stylist they say I should get highlights, not blond, but light brown because I have such a nice natural color. If it's so nice, why would I change it in any way? I don't understand the blond thing. I love my brown hair and I love it curly. If it were straight, maybe I'd feel differently and want to change the color to be more unique, though if everyone is fake blond, how unique is that?