Thursday, January 26, 2006

I love my U2

It has been a goooood day. I sailed to work today, with Bono singing how beautiful the day was and as I crested the hill, the sun broke free of clouds as the song crescendoed and Larry Mullins gave me great drum solo.

Okay, not really.

I drove to work in the dark, half an hour later than usual, thinking of how I could manage to get the days work laid out and do bus duty. Missy Hoohaw whimpered because her baggie o' waffle bits was out of reach. Drama Queen sobbed over my cell phone because we wouldn't let her have overnight company. Hello, it's called being grounded? It started to rain as I pulled into the daycare parking lot. But Bono was singing to me and that made everything just a wee bit better. Missy's arms wrapped around my neck and smacking kiss as I pulled her from the car seat made it even better. And her little bounce and giggle when I gave her the baggie made it a beautiful day.

It's the little things, you know?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Beauty and the Brain

Recently, I have been bombarded with media that purports one cannot be beautiful and smart. I don't know if I'm just hyper-aware of it lately, or if that message seems to be gaining speed. As the mother of two girls and a middle school teacher, I see the effects that media has on our young women and I'm getting a little scared.

I'm attacking the boob tube first. And I call it the boob tube for a reason. My husband is an ardent fan of Fear Factor. I watch along because, hey, that's couple quality time, right? hehehe. Am I the only one that's noticed the girl's intellect is inversely proportional to her chest size? They're all lovely young women, but Ivy league? Hardly. Of course, this show is the low end of the low-brow spectrum.

Falling below that, is this thing called Beauty and the Geek. Now, granted, I've never watched it. But the trailers indicate that these girls are gorgeous and stupid. Because all really hot women are, right? uh huh.
Well, they are agreeing to appear on this show.

Now the rest of media in general. I'm sure Paris and Kimberly and Nicole and the rest are lovely young women, but please stop putting them in a position to be role models to our young women! Every time they open their mouths, they give vacuous a new meaning. Adding insult to injury, MSN has a feature today called When Hot Women Pick Hot Stocks. Are beautiful women with business savvy so rare as to be NEWSWORTHY?

I actually heard one of my female students say, "I don't want him to think I'm smart or something like that!"
Oh no. Have we really sunk this low? Is Drama Queen going to want out of her IB program so she can get a date? She was in tears yesterday, because her crush doesn't like her back. Apparently, she has the right answers too often. He is now the boyfriend of another, less academically gifted, girl. This pisses me off, people. Granted, she's only 11 and there is a lot of time for boys, but I don't like where this is headed.

You know, I'm a pretty attractive woman. Before I had kids, I had an amazing rack. And I'm smart. Really smart. Not Mensa, but brainy. My husband will tell you to this day, it wasn't the hair, eyes, rack or legs that snared him. It was my brain. He loves that I am smart. He revels in it and often will look at me in wonder when I can pull Jeopardy answers out of thin air, saying, "That's hot." I love that about him.

Dove, I love your ad campaign for real beauty. I have from the first "sea of blonde wigs" commercial. But let's add smarts to the equation, okay? Let's remind women and girls that being smart is gorgeous. Men will follow suit. They always do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Indigo children

So, I'm reading Three Kid Circus, Jenny Lauck's funny mothering blog and she's talking about the concept of Indigo Children. She did this really neat-o thing, where she made the link out of the words "Indigo Children" but I'm not that good. So here's the cut and paste version:

www.metagifted.org

Whoo. I laughed so hard, I peed myself. Yeah, hardly a news flash from the prego, huh? I can't wait for the Crystal Children. Since I'm pregnant, I'm sure I'll have one of those next. I'm just waiting for Missy HooHaw to fufill her true Indigo nature. Watch out, Xena, Missy is on your tail.

I wonder what Drama Queen is. Probably Vermillion. I think I'll start a movement for the Vermillion Children. Perhaps...

1. Is your child skilled at the art of debate?

2. Does she obsess about details, to the exclusion of larger concepts?

3. Is time a relatively meaningless concept to your child?

4. Is truth a fluid concept for you child?

5. Does your child often seem prickly and weird to others? (yeah, Mir, I stole it. Come and get it back.)

6. Does your child have a rich inner life and construct elaborate fantasy worlds?

7. Is your child flamboyant and demonstrative?

Yeah, it'll go something like that. Any ideas?

Eating Crow.

91 more days. Not that I'm counting.

My classroom is in the north forty of our campus. As a result, in the beginning of the year, I was lenient in enforcing tardies. I know better than that. Middle Schoolers sense leniency like dogs and bees sense fear. They began to abuse this leniency. I saw them sauntering up to class or standing at the opposite end of campus, talking to friends after the first bell. They waited to order lunch until the first bell rang. Students who arrived at school at 7:15 were tardy to my 7:50 homeroom. So I got strict.

I began sending students all the way back to the office for tardy slips of they came in even one minute late. I stopped excusing tardies incurred during lunch purchases. I religiously handed out detentions for those students who had been tardy three or more times. I was the Tardy Nazi.

I even checked the student handbook and interpreted the tardy code as being 2 tardies for the year, with the third resulting in a detention. It was vague, but I was pretty sure I was right.

I wasn't.

I assigned detentions to two young ladies who had two tardies from last trimester and had been late for my class once this trimester. They questioned this, but I showed them the entry in the handbook. They served the detention. They also checked with another teacher, who then talked to the principal, who verified that it is two tardies a trimester, not a year. Oye.

I was pretty embarrased after I got the voicemail setting me straight on the tardy policy. I apologized to the girls and bought them lunch at Jack in the Box. I had the detentions wiped from their records. But I still feel stupid. Dang, I hate losing credibility.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

snips and snails and puppy dog tails

Several months ago, one of our "couple friends" suggested that we swap babysitting nights once a month so that we could have a date night. Now these friends have two boys, four and five. Yeah, it was an accident. The boys have a rep in our circle of friends as being "difficult." One particularly twitchy mom (um, yeah, I really wanted to say something else!) calls them demon spawn in the hearing of their parents!!! Personally, I don't see it. Yes, they are occasionally loud and obnoxious, but aren't all children?

I digress. We enthusiastically agreed to this, since our teenage sitter recently got a license and a boyfriend (the little tramp) and never has time to sit anymore. So once a month, we get a night out, then experience what life with four kids would be like. I gotta say, I like it. These boys worship Drama Queen and she, being especially good with small children, entertains them and generally makes them invisible for the duration of their visit. This is one of my daughters more endearing traits.

So tonight, I'm sitting with them, watching Finding Nemo and letting them stay up way too late, so their parents can sleep in tomorrow. See how I am? And experiencing the wonder of the creature called boy. You see, I have girls and I love them and I am a great "girl mom." But with the impending arrival of an unidentified someone, I find myself wistful in the blue section of baby departments. I'd like a chance to have a son. I know that Missy HooHaw will play soccer and assorted other rough sports and be a total tomboy, because at 18 months, she already loves to roughhouse.

But a boy. I'd like to travel that road too. And maybe I will...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Drowning

I am so unbelieveably busy my head is spinning. Every time I think I have a handle on things, something gets added to the plate or I remember something that has to be done today!!!!

Ugh. Can we skip the next 3 months?

94 days left.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Is it summer yet?

If I were in high school, I say I had a bad case of senioritis. I'm not in high school anymore (thank-you, my dear, sweet Lord.) but man, am I ready for summer.

This is bad for two reasons. 1: Summer is 6 months away for me.
2: I just came back on-track a week ago. sigh

After years of teaching, I know that the first couple of weeks back on-track are hard. Hours of nintendo and MTV have turned minds into mush. Bodies used to sleeping until noon are schocked by an early alarm. After having the freedom of deciding what had to be done for the day and what could be skipped, a regiment of worksheets and grades is re-implemented. And the students have it rough too.

Seriously, the brain power in my class is frighteningly low. I had a normally capable class look at me blankly when I asked them to get into pairs and practice their vocabulary. I paused several beats, looking about at the glazed expression and gently said, "now?" They blinked and I mentally hit my head on my desk several times.

"Find a partner and practice you vocabulary words, now." I repeated.
"Oh!" said the class, virtually in unison. My aide was at her desk, shoulders shaking in silent laughter. After they paired up, they began silently looking at their vocabulary cards.
"You should be saying them to each other." I prompted.

Let me say this. These students have been doing this exercise every Tuesday for the entire school year. The seventh graders did this last year, every Tuesday, for an entire school year. But we just got back on-track and it's gonna be a rocky start.

Only 95 school days left.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dipping a toe

I'm going to start this post by saying, Jenny P., you rock! You are number one (not pee.)

Sorry folks. If you want to understand the last comment you'll have to read Jenny's funny and touching blog at www.jennyonthespot.com. Great for moms and those who want to understand them. She gave me a quick tutorial on the whole tagging and meme thing, along with blog etiquette (Blogiquette?)

So, now to the business at hand. As some of you know, I'm expecting a third child in July. My better half and I have been debating how to best address the budget constraints this puts on us. In addition, I keep learning more about this IB program my oldest will be enrolled in next year and whew, it's gonna be a lot of work.

So, we decided. I've handed in my letter of resignation and will be leaving the field of teaching for a few years to raise my children. It's official. And I am scared out of my ever-lovin' mind.

I was elated when I penned my letter and giddy when I submitted it. The real terror did not begin until the district sent me a letter saying they accepted my letter and who cares anyway cause we didn't like you, so nanner nanner nanner. The district letter of course did not write those words into the letter, they were more suggested by the tone of said letter.

Let me say here that I fully realize I am paranoid and reading far more into this than is there. I know it's a form letter. I know that they send the same letter to everyone who submits the letter of resignation. I know it's not at all a rejection or comment on my teaching ability. But geez, would a little wailing and gnashing of teeth be too much to ask for? Apparently.

The hurt dealt to me by my cruel district's callous disposal of me...alright, I'll knock off the melodrama.

The knowledge that I'm expendable hurt a little. The realization that we will be, for the most part a single income family caused panic. Of EPIC proportions. My husband is calm. I am afraid to spend a single nickel. Oh, it's a fun time at my place, believe you me. No more eating out. No more frivolous expenses like clarinets and hair dye (for my husband, not me...I married a bottle blond). Missy Hoo-Haw must start potty training NOW, because we will not be able to afford diapers for two children. AAHHHGGGGG!

Eventually, I'll settle down. I'll sub a little and bring some money. But the change in income is going to be worth it. I know I'll never regret this step. No one ever said, "I wish I spent less time with my kids and more time working."

Monday, January 09, 2006

Tagged

My darling childhood buddy, Jennyonthespot, has tagged me for a meme. Don't know what this is, precisely, but since it involves talking about myself, I'll gladly participate.

I'm supposed to list 5 of my wierd habits (only 5? how WILL I choose?) and then tag 5 more bloggers, then link to them from my site. I do not know how to do this, but I will figure that out later. Tomorrow is another day and all that crap.

5 wierd habits of a special ed teacher

1. I religiously start my workday by sitting at my desk and flossing my teeth, then applying Carmex liberally. Even when I don't have chapped lips. Why at my desk? I don't like to floss in front of my husband. I will do all manner of other far more disgusting things in front of him but floss? No way.

2. While I check my email, immediately after the flossing and carmex ritual, I never check my voicemail until the end of the workday. Why? because if I do, I spend my prep period returning phone calls and not PREPPING.

3. I eat chewy Sweetarts all day long. Even in the morning. But not the green ones. Those, I throw away. Really. I also do not eat green Jolly Ranchers or green Chewy Spree. I will eat green M&M's, but not the brown ones. Just kidding.

3b. This is a personal, not teaching, habit and it directly relates to the habit above. I must eat these candies in a certain order. I pour them all out of the package and divide them into colors. I throw the green away, then eat the yellow, the purple, the orange and the red. This also goes for Starburst, though there are no green ones. I throw the pink away instead.

4. While at school, I only drink from ceramic mugs. I pour everything into one of the myriad of mugs I have lying about my room, even water from a water bottle. It tastes better that way, I swear.

5. I have to check my calendar several times a day, so I do not forget appointments. By several, I mean 15 - 20 times during the workday. Seriously, I am that absent-minded, even when I am not pregnant.

Okay, Jenny, there are my 5 extremely weird habits. You've made me question my ability to teach the next generation and raise healthy, functioning children but I did it. Now I just have to figure out 5 bloggers to tag and how to make a link. hmmmm

Okay, Jenny schooled me on the whole linking thing, so I'm tagging strangers whose blogs I've read and love. Mir and Jenny L., please don't hate me.

I'm tagging:
Mir at www.wouldashoulda.com

Jenny at www.threekidcircus.com

Okay, this is way more fun than tagging strangers at the mall. Some of them hit me back!