So here it is. My kids have so many toys that we could personally ensure that each child in North America gets one this holiday season. We have known it to be an issue for some time, but now it is a crisis situation.
Our kids are turning into those kids. The ones I swore I would never allow. They break toys, ruin things, and basically have no appreciation for any belongings; theirs, ours, anyone’s. It makes me sick.
So as we were cleaning the basement the evening of the 26th and the end was nowhere in sight I felt as if there was no choice. I stopped cleaning and told everyone (aka Andy and the kids) to sit in a circle on the rug.
It was intervention time.
It all began with good intentions. We have always wanted the kids to feel like they have something to do when they are home.
Most of the toys (not all) have an educational value or are just ideal for big imaginations. It certainly isn’t to give them something we didn’t have, but rather to give them what we had. When I think about the toys I had as a kid I think about how much I enjoyed playing with My Little Pony, Cabbage Patch Kids, puzzles, art supplies, and my brother enjoyed his trucks and cars, Nerf guns, army men, etc. We have either purchased or allowed all of these things to have a place in our home. All with the best of intentions.
And now we must deal with the consequences of our unintentional actions.
As parents why do we do this? It is almost as if we cannot see the consequences of our actions until it is too late. Only when our kids were randomly breaking toys for no reason did we realize that DUH! they had too many toys. Only when they are throwing their third tantrum in twenty minutes do we realize that DUH! we have not been giving them the attention that they need.
Our parenting is about as proactive as a bottle of sunscreen after you are already burnt. Honestly though, who has the energy to be proactive in this day and age? We certainly aren’t lazy, and we are doing the best we can (or so I tell myself when I am doing my mirror mantra each morning…) So perhaps I can give other parents a break today. Just maybe we are showing our children that we make mistakes, are mature enough to admit those mistakes, and then demonstrate the hard work we are committed to doing in order to correct those mistakes. Maybe, just maybe that will be better than having been proactive at every turn, or maybe this is my sad attempt at justification for my refusal to become more proactive. Either way it works for me.
So needless to say we have far fewer toys in our basement now; many of them being donated to friends, goodwill, or the recycling bin. And we went to IKEA (our favorite place to shop) and got some organization for the things we kept. We have restored order for now, and as a way to make myself feel better I guess this could be seen as proactive. Now that things have a place perhaps they won’t be randomly broken.
So we enjoyed a very exciting weekend filled from Friday night to Sunday night with holiday shopping, graduation, a wedding, tree trimming, more holiday shopping, and a family Christmas celebration complete with my very own severe allergy attack followed by benedryl coma. Our children were troopers throughout, and seemed to handle the craziness pretty well.
Until late Sunday night.
I was awakened from my benedryl-induced coma to the sound all parents dread…vomiting.
Needless to say we were all exhausted from the weekend’s events and now poor Olivia couldn’t even get a good nights sleep. And sadly neither could we. So we were definitely not going to school Monday. I almost pulled out the emergency sub plans, but my wonderful husband took over and I drug myself into work to avoid having to feed a substitute teacher to the wolves this week.
But it didn’t stop there. There was more vomiting and an inability to really eat much Monday, so we were out of school Tuesday and I got called up to serve as acting parent for the day.
In my mind I felt two things: guilt for leaving a substitute in my classroom this week and hopefulness that I would get caught up on laundry, cooking, cleaning, and GRADES! Hooray!
None of this matters because what went down today was not really what I had in mind at all. I have yet to touch any school work. I spent the entire morning cleaning up the disaster from this weekend and the illness, have not gotten near the end of the laundry, and I am currently trapped on the couch under a sweetly sleeping seven year old. And for once this doesn’t bother me at all.
The grades will get done, the laundry will still be there, the dishes aren’t going anywhere (sadly), and we can figure out dinner in a minute. For right now I am exactly where I need to be.
What a blessing.
I am so grateful for this day.
Don’t get too excited by the title. I am literally writing this as I graduate and my fellow graduates and I are sitting on the floor of Worthen Arena.
A few things come to mind.
1. Since when did multitudes graduate in December. I thought I would walk because I worked hard and this would be pretty quick and easy, and I didn’t trust Ball State to get it right if I didn’t show. Total control freak, I know. I also drove two hours to get my own cap and gown in hand rather than having it shipped. I am sure that there are programs for people like me, but I don’t want help .
2. I have seen some really interesting shoe choices today and so many of my fellow educators have chosen flats and I laugh. It is all we know, as we are not in a profession that works with sky high heels. As a side note I wore heels, but only because I am short and cheap. I wouldn’t want to actually get this skirt hemmed! Also if the heels are so high that you have to take baby steps or walk like a t Rex just go with the flats.
3. No one looks good in a graduation cap. Why is it this tradition continues? What other hats might be better….perhaps party hats or would that be disheartening to the undergrads that are leaving the party? This is up for debate.
4. I wish my students could be here to see this and get outside of the limited neighborhoods in which they currently live. Also to see that we can all sit in chairs quietly for more than
30 seconds without hitting, cussing, or using the n word.
5. I have never been more relieved to be done with something other than pregnancy.
That is all for now. But I may post again shortly as we are all still on the floor and I am trying to sit patiently in anticipation of the remainder of the day during which I plan to party!
So we are going on either week five or six of my husband having pneumonia. This was preceded by two weeks of an intense project in which we barely saw him. To say I am done with all of this would be the understatement of the century. And just for fun let’s throw in there my first teacher evaluation for RISE (which determines whether or not I have a job next year) at a new school and the final project of my master’s degree that is closing in on me.
I have pretty much made at least one of my children cry every day for the past week. And those blessed people who get the chance to be around me are well aware of my high anxiety level. I have lost the ability to relax. Even when my children are not with me (which isn’t often)
I pretty much walk (let’s be for real, run) around like a crazed robot every day with my mile long list of responsibilities knowing full well that I cannot do them all unless I stop sleeping. And I have considered that possibility, believe you me; whatever that expression means.
Each day I wake up at five am and start working. If I am lucky I get to sit down around seven. And for those of you wondering, yes that is pm. And if I am really lucky I am in bed before midnight. Tonight I got home from school at 3:15 after picking up the kids, and I was in the kitchen cooking, cleaning, and cleaning again until fifteen minutes ago. I did get to sit down for dinner, where my children argued, whined and complained about myriad issues including the amazing pork loin, steamed broccoli, and fruit salad that I made for them.
Recently I instituted the kids helping out with clean up after dinner. I felt they needed to go beyond simply putting their dishes by the sink. That was a mistake. It is actually worse for me when they help. They fight over who does what and frankly their quality of work is so low that I have twice as much to do when they get done. I know they are just learning, but at this point I just don’t care. Tonight I fired them.
Then I promptly made my daughter cry over a note she wrote to her friend for a play-date Not on purpose, but still. Sadly I think my son was relieved that it wasn’t his turn again. I got him yesterday.
I spent some time with a good friend on Sunday. She sent me a text soon after asking when she could take my kids. So apparently I am not masking this stress well. Not that I was trying to. I have already booked the date with her. I am not an idiot. I know I need a break.
So consider this a fair warning to all of you out there that could run into me. If I am less than pleasant it isn’t personal, and there is a chance that I am going to make you cry. Deal with it.
And if anyone knows of any open roller derby practices, or a place where I can just hit some random people you know my number. Zumba just can’t put a dent in this situation.
I have had some random thoughts lately that I must share.
- It is appropriate to have differing opinions; in fact that is one of the things that makes this country great. It is reckless to share information that is not factually correct and fail to correct this even when the error is brought to your attention.
- My son thinks he is hot even when he has goosebumps. I am going to continue to allow him to wear summer pajamas all winter. I am also allowing him to wear shorts and a t shirt under his warm winter clothes because he thinks he is winning and I am actually winning as those count as additional layers.
- My husband and I are truly partners and split everything evenly. When that partner gets pneumonia life sucks. That is all I have to say about that.
- I am not going to participate in Facebook or Twitter anymore. I am going to make an effort to spend more time with friends and even make (gasp) phone calls. If you are my friend on Facebook or Twitter and need my email or phone number please message me and I will get that information to you. I have wanted to do this for a long time, but worried I would lose touch with people (or be unable to stalk them…either way). It is time. If you want to keep up with my blog you can subscribe via WordPress and it should be emailed to you. Or just check in every now and then. Whatever works for you.
- I really want a tattoo. I just have to figure out the right words to display. Something to the effect of do what makes you happy and forget what others find acceptable. I have toyed with ‘be who you are, say what you mean, mean what you say’ and ‘to thine own self be true’. Just haven’t found the right one yet. But it is going to be a daily reminder to myself to keep being me and not to listen to others when it comes to what I should be doing, feeling, etc. Ideas will be considered, but more than likely rejected ( I am a control freak).
- I am dreading the holidays. With my gluten allergy I have had to completely change the way I eat. All the traditional foods will still be there. In some cases I am thinking I may need to bring my own meal. And then the questions will begin and people will judge me, and I will feel out of place. Just not looking forward to that at all.
- I seriously have no butt. No matter the size of pants I wear, a belt is needed and barely succeeds in holding up the back of my pants. Not complaining; just something I noticed the other day. Luckily, Andy has enough backside for both of us.
- I am a huge fan of Pandora radio, and have been for some time. I find Spotify’s attempt at an internet radio to be a bit lackluster. That could be a personal bias, or the fact that I have carefully cultivated my Killers radio station on Pandora over the past few years and have tried Spotify radio twice. No matter the reason I will be staying with Pandora.
- I cannot imagine getting my children one item for Christmas. Their toy situation is serious. It is not that I don’t want them to get something they really want over the holidays, but perhaps that I would like to find something creative rather than just adding to the toy explosion that is our basement. And honestly they have so much that they don’t really ask for anything unless pressed. I am thinking there will be a follow up post on this topic by itself. Lots to say.
- I really want to work a puzzle.
- Today Andy suggested that I get new house slippers. I was personally offended. Just because my slippers have holes in them and one has a bow while the other doesn’t shouldn’t be an indicator that new slippers are needed. These suckers are just getting broken in.
- I like PF Chang’s one hundred times more than I like Pei Wei. In fact, I do not think we should be told that they are associates. Nothing at Pei Wei comes close to even mediocre fare from PF Chang’s. Just sayin’.
- I think these home makeovers, contests, room makeovers and such are all a load of crap. None of that is going to make you happy. Sure you may feel a rush at first, but it doesn’t change anything. We recently re-did our bedroom getting rid of our classy furniture passed down by Dwight and Deb all those years ago. I thought I would like our room more. It does look nice. I like the room. It just did not really change a thing. Interesting. I really thought it would. Silly me.
- When I got a duvet for our new room I felt as though I had officially entered adulthood. Also not true. I still giggled today when a co-worker mentioned needing bigger stress balls.
That is all for today.
Feel free to call me up or send me an email if you need a few more. Or just make sure I have your phone number. Now that I will no longer be on social media I will be randomly text messaging my friends and family my photos and quirky comments. Prepare yourself now (and no, I will not honor requests to remove you from my phone book).
My parenting and my master’s classes have merged this week to bring you this insightful post on the importance of play. I first heard of this in 2008 upon moving to Terre Haute and finding the most amazing child care center in existence, Little Hands, Inc. Honestly, it is a huge part of how far Livy has come since age three. She used to refuse to talk to anyone, and now she is singing at Brownie scout meetings and ordering her own food when we go out. She only knew a few letters upon entering Kindergarten, however she was so successful that as a second grade student she is reading far beyond grade level, AND she loves to learn! As a parent I couldn’t ask for more.
As I reflected on our readings and YouTube videos this week in class I realized just how important the play at Little Hands really was for our children, and for everyone. I related the following story to my classmates, and based on their reactions I felt compelled to share here as well.
When Olivia was born in 2005 I knew I would be a working mom. We have all talked about my shortfalls in the stay at home mother department before, especially regarding infants. Therefore I started my research on local preschool and daycare options pretty early. There were so many overwhelming options, and people discussing your child’s future success and how you could help them. As a teacher I am interested in my child’s education, and as a parent I am interested in their success. I don’t remember a single center or program discussing play at any time. Therefore I did not see this as important. I just thought, well kids play, so of course there will be some play time. I didn’t even check to see what kinds of play were offered. I knew the curriculum options, how old Olivia would be when she would likely start reading, and just checked play off as if it were of such little significance that it would simply get done.
Little did I know.
Upon relocating and finding a place in our new school I was educated on the importance of play and how the entire curriculum revolved around playing. I was skeptical at first, but quickly grew to love this way of thinking. The teachers were amazing and knew how to guide the children without being dictators. It really was something spectacular. The kids weren’t stressed, and my own children were often disappointed if I arrived early for pick up as they could possibly miss out on something exciting. Specifically, I remember a parent meeting where the issue of size and cost came up. All of the adults in the room got very serious, and the director looked a bit stressed. Then one brave parent asked, “so are we going to lose our spots? Will some students have to leave?” She assured us this was not the case, but a needed addition was going to lead to an increase in tuition. We all breathed a sigh of relief, laughed and said, “we will pay whatever you need, just don’t make us leave and find another place to go.” To me that says it all.
I have also found examples of play in my life. When I take time to hang out with friends and do impromptu activities I am a happier person. I completed a triathlon with three days notice in August, I also randomly attended a concert, and found some me time. But then I got sick. The kind of sick that lingers for weeks. And then there was no playing. I was doing well just to keep my head above water. Now I have all of these things crashing down on me, and no stress relief. That equals high blood pressure, and an inability to function at my peak level. It also equals zero fun.
So the next time you are stressing about your kid getting into the right school, or knowing their numbers and letters by age three, or getting everything perfect at work, or any of the other overwhelming issues facing parents just remember. We were meant to play. At all ages. And if we don’t then we are missing out on something that can teach us far more than any YouTube video or educational website.
If you need me, too bad, the kids and I will be outside rolling down the driveway and riding our bikes Ciao.
I am over this week officially.
Here is the reader’s digest version…
In the course of one week I have been sick with a hacking cough and sinus pressure that made my teeth ache. On Tuesday we had to leave the house due to mold in the basement and stay at the studio apartment. Olivia peed the air mattress, and the bathroom looked like a cave when we got there due to water being left on in the shower. More mold. Still sick. My car stopped working, and caused scheduling issues. This led to me being at school from 7 am to 5:30 pm Wednesday with part of that being spent with my children and a dead cell phone. This then allowed me to spend forty five fun-filled minutes outside with the kids waiting on Andy and being eaten alive by mosquitoes. I went on a field trip with my students that same day and they were horrible, and started a fight at McDonald’s; spilling coke everywhere. I also got Faygo in my hair while working at the food pantry with the kids before the McDonald’s incident. And between the field trip and the arrival of my children there was a staff meeting where I fought to concentrate with little success. On Wednesday night I slept from 5:30 pm to 6:30 am; and still felt awful. I had to go to work because one of my other teammates was already out and I just could not abandon my other two teammates to a day with our kids and two subs. I then went to the doctor and was hoping to get some relief as I had been on Mucinex D for six days with no end in sight. She was young. And fit that stereotype of a young doctor. She put on her fake pity voice and told me it was just a bad cold and that my cough might linger for weeks. She was not gonna give up the meds and told me I might need Mucinex for two weeks or more. And I had to pay for that. After I explained to her that I get frequent sinus infections and that my teeth felt as though they might explode out of my mouth from the pressure she suggested that I also get some cough syrup. Thanks for that, I am sure that will be the answer to all of my problems. It was also downtown so I paid for her and for parking. Nice.
So as you can see I am more than happy to wave good-bye to this week, and I sure hope that next week will be better. Perhaps then my non-prescription, over the counter drugs that I was already taking will make my ears and teeth stop hurting. But she did say if it didn’t get better I could come back. So generous of her. It was one of those weeks where all you can do now is laugh about it because crying won’t be productive.
So in the spirit of Tommy Boy and laughter one quote comes to mind. “GOOD, GREAT, GRAND, NO YELLING ON THE BUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
So this is an angry post and as much as I love my husband I have to let this out in order for him to live.
He might be the loudest human being on the planet. Seriously.
I have posted about this on Facebook, but I do not think that the message is getting through and now this has escalated into a blog and possibly a glass of wine for me. If anyone knows of any ear plugs that make your husband silent while you can still listen for your children I am interested. Not for all of the time, just every evening after the kids are in bed.
It is his phone. It is both a blessing and a curse. It provides for our livelihood as he is self-employed, but it makes my ears bleed every evening in which I attempt to work in the living room while he is in the office. And these calls are always after nine pm.
First let’s just start with his ringtone. While it may seem like an innocent old school ring to an outsider, I liken it to the awful high pitched sound a microphone makes when there is feedback. So he is really screwed from the start because just his ringtone makes me want to drop kick a seahorse. (And if you have ever seen someone do this you can understand the extreme anger involved).
Then there is the talking. Not only does he talk at a volume that could wake the dead, he also talks for an exceptionally long amount of time. One might even say an excessive amount. And did I mention the volume? I mean if there is ever a zombie apocalypse we are screwed because they will hear him from miles away and come running. They might even find it as annoying as I do and all of us will suffer a terrible end. Andy, is this really something you are willing to risk with all of this talking? I mean we are talking about the safety of your family from the undead…really.
So in summation, I don’t even care if anyone else reads this post. In all honesty I am just praying that he will be notified that I have posted, will read said post, and then STOP TALKING! For the love of all that is holy. Pray for me…and Andy’s safety.
Do you ever have a moment when you realize that after this nothing will ever be the same? Where you know something has forever shifted and it is time to put up or shut up? I am living there currently. And I am teetering on the edge of something awesome. And it is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
I have always known that I wasn’t going to spend my entire career in the classroom. I think being there is admirable, but I just knew it wasn’t a good long term fit for me. Now I am almost done with my master’s. I have been equipped with a great deal of information, and spent much time carefully crafting my true teaching philosophy knowing what I now know. And I have also been using my experiences in working for the man to think about my direction and what kind of leader I want to be.
After some serious soul searching (and a glass or two of lady punch) I finally figured out why this revelation took so long.
I have spent my entire career doubting myself, my talent, and my gift for teaching and coaching.
No more good friends, no more.
I am damn good at what I do and anyone would be lucky to have me consult with their staff. So here is to my new business. It may take me a while to build it, but I am done clocking in and working under other people’s thumb with no future plans. I am ready to give it a shot. I might fail. But I might not.
So a toast. Here’s to late nights, grant writing, soul searching, business plan writing, and finding strength and confidence that I didn’t know I had. Goodbye conventional work, I cannot say I will miss you. But thanks for the insurance and for kicking enough dirt in my face to get me to do something other than complacently showing up during my scheduled shift.
If you pray, start now. If not, do it anyway. I am going to need all of the support that I can get. And if you see me out and about and I look haggard, hit me with a top gun high five and a little encouragement to do what I know is right. I have never been brave enough to listen to my heart before. And my head is screaming to be reasonable and take a teaching job, but that just isn’t right.
Not now, not anymore.
On your mark, get set, and go. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…
So I have mentioned it enough times here to feel certain that you all know I recently discovered that I have issues with gluten. It is not my friend.
Most of you also probably know that I am (was) a carb addict and while I most often eat healthy there are just times when I want a donut, a Panera bagel, or a cookie. Not all the time, but sometimes. You also probably already know that my schedule is a frenzy of activity with very little time for anything deemed unnecessary.
So today. My husband takes me out to lunch. He chooses Panera. God love him.
They don’t have a gluten free menu. There is a website that shares gluten free information from a corporate member of the Panera bread organization so I go to that website to decide what I should order.
Here is the thing about that. I don’t want a salad. I am not a huge fan of salad to begin with, and now it seems that salad is almost my only option every where. And it has to be special ordered so I don’t feel like I am dying after I eat it. So after removing salad as an option I can have tomato soup. Yippee! Oh, but without the crutons. And for my side…well as to not miss out on the acid fest I can have an apple. How great.
So about four bites in I decide I am done eating. It isn’t as though something has to be amazing for me to eat it, but seriously. I feel like I am being starved while being surrounded by food.
I know I can do this because I don’t have a choice. I am just really ticked off that I have to. I know there are worse things. And I am thankful that this isn’t one of them. But I am still just so mad.
I have heard a tale of a gluten free bakery in town. I don’t know where it is or if it even exists, but I do wish I was there right now eating a naked cupcake, some kind of pastry, and a piece of chocolate cake.
On the plus side…swimsuit season is looking up since I am forced to eat healthy…But I would trade that for a large pizza at dinner tonight in a heartbeat. Sad, but true.