Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hugs from a hostile four-year old.

Today I had an amazingly rewarding moment. I am taking it as a pep talk from God conveyed through the mouth of a pre-k girl.

Last week was so hard. First of all, 8 hours is a long time for a four year old. Much less 19 of them in one space. Compound that with first time away from home jitters, nervous parents, regulations of the 4 different umbrellas that are over a public school program, new year paperwork, etc. Not to mention my 2 Grad classes that I am taking (in Conway) in my "spare" time.

In particular, I had one little girl who was my screamer and sulker. She would cry endlessly, then find a corner to plant herself in with her arms crossed and a look that said she didn't like school, want to be there, and wasn't interested in my songs, stories, or overall silliness.

But as the week went on, we made progress. She began walking down the hall by herself. She would sit in circle time. She let go of my leg on the playground. Eventually she smiled. Then I caught her on in my lesson singing and moving ever so slightly. Woah. Major breakthrough.

Today I met her walking with mom down the hall, and we got caught up in general conversation about how she was doing. Then she hit me with it. Last night, my little girl who had been so slow to warm up had asked to call her teacher. Because she loved her.

I really do love teaching pre-k, and one of the reasons is because they are so honest. What the feel and think is what you get. The rewards (and sometimes criticism) comes openly on a daily basis. But I know that today I received a gift, because even this early in the year, I can feel that at least for that one girl (and the mom who was just as scared to leave her) something worked. And really that's the best you can ask for at this crazy time of year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


We recovered from yesterday. I always forget how hard the first week is. I think it's God's way of retaining teachers. Or post traumatic stress.

So I did something today I've always wanted to do, but never had a lapse in reason long enough to really follow through.

We have worn sandals, crocs, flip-flops, etc. all summer, and haven't even opened the sock drawer. Yesterday morning the boys went to get socks to wear with their new school shoes, and couldn't find a single, acceptable pair.

We found lots of holey socks and plenty of lonely socks, but our struggle was in finding two sole-mates that were acceptable for public display.

I despise sorting and folding socks-it is worst part of laundry for me. I usually end up with a basket, and we pull a couple out in the morning until I find time to sort through and put away socks for all five of us. I have always thought it would be so much easier to do this task if everyone had only one kind of sock, and each person's socks were distinguishable.... It's the little things that excite me.

So disregarding all reason and practicality, I went through each room with a trash bag and threw away every sock. It was hard-in the process I found a few that probably would make the cut, but I was on a mission.

This afternoon I went to Walmart and bought new socks for all five of us. I feel so liberated! We escaped major school clothes shopping, so I am rationalizing this as our fall wardrobe purchase.

Is it weird that everyone can't wait to get ready for school so they can wear their new socks?

Monday, August 18, 2008

oh my

I am so exhausted.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Our little battles

We took the kids out today for one last hoorah before back to the grind. We had a great time at Chuck E. Cheese, then we were off to find Parker a lunch box.

The problem is, Parker is very much like me. He gets very set ideas in his head about what he is looking for, and that is what he wants. Whether it exists in actuality or not. In June, he decided his b2s theme this year was flames. I don't get it, but I am comfortable with it, and a little relieved to be moving away from superheroes and characters. Whatever.

So we bought a flame backpack and way-cool converse with rock-n-roll guitars. But we never could find a lunchbox to match. To a lot of people, that might not be a big deal. Kaden's school supplies were a mixture of Spiderman, camo, puppies, and Thomas. Parker wants to coordinate.

We are down to the wire, and at risk of eating (gasp) in the cafeteria, we are desperately seeking lunch containers. But all of the sudden he wants Transformer (yuck) shoes AND a lunchbox. Transformers happen to be big now, and even though I despise them, I just assume it is a guy thing that he will grow out of. Only there are no lunchboxes to be found, which seems like an end to my problem since we already have those ROCKIN' flames.

We go to K-Mart, and there is a lunchbox with a volcano on it shooting out flames and lava. Matches perfectly, and we are totally into lava. But his face has that pouty-disappointed expression, and I could tell we were settling. That frustrates me, because I know that as soon as we buy it we will find one with Optimus-whoever on it, and a real battle of wills will begin.

We leave without it, deciding to wait until we find the one that we really want. Until we pull out onto Rodney Parham into traffic, and then that lunchbox turned from kinda okay into the COOLEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN! IT WAS PERFECT! THAT LAVA WAS ?POWERFUL?! TURN AROUND I HAVE TO HAVE IT. And the fit ensues.

Now, I know that people in the central Arkansas area must not be watching their CSI or 48 Hours, because if they were, they would know to call 911 if they saw a car going down the interstate with a child desperately screaming and clawing at the back window. But noone pulled us over. At one point between there and Benton I almost wanted them to. almost.

We made it home, and shopping days are over, and I wonder how we will survive this week without the perfect new lunchbox. By next weekend, lunchbox issues will seem minimal compared to the stress of the first week.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Where has summer gone?

This week has been so busy. Apparently last week was, too-I am already slackin' at this bloggin thing. Anyway, so anyone who is getting ready for back to school knows how crazy this time of year is. Especially if you are a teacher. Double especially if you are a teacher AND you have kids of your own to get ready.

Maddie returned to daycare this week. We are so blessed to have a daycare owner who really loves our kids and understands this teacher summer-off thing. So we stayed home all summer, and now we are back. But without Kaden (who is going to Pre-k @ Perritt with me and Parker.) And now she is 18 months old-the very peak of seperation anxiety. Also she has been a permanent fixture of my hip for three months. Know where I'm going? This had been so hard! Monday when I dropped her off she cried and desperately clung to my arm. And when I picked her up she was still crying. By crying I mean the ugly gasping, puffy-red eyed, snotty nose, really guilt ridden cry. I almost decided to stay home right then.

I might have if I hadn't been working on my room day and night for two weeks. I just couldn't do all of that work then leave. So I sucked it up. I told myself the same speech I tell my pre-k parents. "She'll be fine. She only cries for the first few minutes, then finds toys and friends and has a great time." I firmly believe this-but this is MY BABY!

Here we are at Day 4. No bags under eyes, snotty tears, or wailing. A few protests, but no more trauma.

Maddie will be fine.

Kaden is thrilled to be going to school with us. He strutted through the mall with his backpack the other day. He instantly looked a year older when he put on his new school shoes tonight before open house. I am gonna have to face the fact that he is not a baby. But I don't wanna.

Parker is so ready to be back in school. He has missed his friends, along with his classes, and I can't do enough to keep him busy while we are home. Hooray to those homeschool moms who teach several different levels at the same time. You are my heroes! I have been so frustrated this summer trying to do Parker's projects while finding something for little brother to do (he won't be left out), at the same time keeping Maddie from destroying their hard work. Not to mention they wanted to do things like eat and wear clean clothes. Ugh. So tempting to just turn on Noggin and sing with the Wonderpets.

So we are going back to school! My classroom is ready. Supplies and shoes have been bought. We have survived open house (which is not easy when you teach in the same school where your kids are going), and are on our way. Only 36 weeks til next summer!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Where are my buttons?!?!

I am sitting here pouting at my computer like a child. As if it personally attacked me. I came home from working on my classroom all day, and all I wanted to do was check my email. Wasn't even gonna blog or facebook-really.

And they are gone! My back button and other nifty things that I am comfortable with getting me from one place to another are no where to be found. For most people I'm sure that there is a quick fix, one little right click to back-button normalcy.

But tonight I am tired. I am cranky. I probably need a time out. So I will struggle through manually using my browser tonight, and maybe tomorrow I will be better rested and more patient.

This must be how my kids feel when grocery shopping spills over into lunch and naptime.

P.S. Thanks for the tip, Amber. Gonna give it a try. Come find me if I can't find my way BACK.

Here we go!

My mom kept the kids tonight so I could work in my classroom. Well, mostly so I could recruit Brad to work in my classroom. I have collected things throughout the summer for school, and I needed Man-help to get them there. Did I mention that today is our anniversary? Happy Anniversary, honey! Grab another box!

So we worked, and hauled, and moved furniture. And we went to dinner at the Burger Barn. That's right-just us. Time alone is few and far between, but a dinner with no fighting or flying french fries is romance in itself.

After dinner we went to retrieve our children. Mom had fed them and given them BATHS-I was taking home ready-for-bed children! She walked us out to the car, and with an exhausted look on her face said, "You do this every day. I don't know how. I might need medication."

We DO do this everyday. Some days are busier than others, and at times I wonder if the day will ever end. Sometimes after long days of workshops, you only want to go home. Then you get a call that you need to take someone to the emergency room because their brother hit them on the head with a trophy (last Friday). But later you are reminded that they are so precious, especially when they are full, and smell like Johnson's, and they are laying in bed at night. "One more book, please." "I wonder what we'll do tomorrow." "God, thanks for my hermit crab."

So for all of the moms out there...we'll just keep doing what we do. However we can manage.