Saturday, May 8, 2010

Just Keep Laughing

Enough about me, back to the real reason for this blog: my goofy girls! The older Lily gets the more I realize that the days of her saying the most unintentionally funny things are drawing to a close. Some days I regret not trying to have a third (although not today after they managed to break the sensor on the garage door), but most of the time I feel pretty comfortable with where we are in life. Caroline has started watching Lily for very short periods of time. This is really going to help once I am back to taking more classes.

Rob and I are big fans of the TV show The Big Bang Theory, in large part this is due to the fact that Lily reminds us of the character Sheldon. She is so smart, but misunderstands what seem like simple things. The other day she looked at Rob and said "I'm not going to give you are hard time. I'm supposed to save drama for Mom ("Save the drama for your mama"). Thanks honey, I get enough of that from your big sis, you really can share some with Daddy.

Lily loves boys. She just doesn't get the drama of little girls (friends one day and enemies the next), besides, boys will do whatever she asks. Currently, she has six boy friends. One of them is from Ghana and one of his first clear English words is "Lily." Another is Alex, who is as bright and funny as Lily. I drove him home from school a couple of times and they couldn't breathe from laughing at each other (About what? I don't know.) Alex is adopted (it is pretty obvious, he's African-American and his parents are white, his family is pretty open about it). Last weekend, Caroline asked us if he was adopted. I said yes, I don't think it's a big deal. Rob starts to hiss ixnee and I can't figure out why. All of the sudden Lily shouts "Well, if he's adopted, I'm not playing with him." After I recovered from my shock I asked her what she thought adopted meant. She responded "They picked him up from the shelter." Does my child really think there's a room at the animal shelter for children? It never ceases to amaze me how two siblings can be so different: Dreamy Caroline and Literal Lily.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Numerical Miracles and Minor Distractions

I said that I would explain why I was having such a hard time: here it goes. I have to take a math class to be fully licensed to teach first grade. It would be fine if it was an instructional class, but it has to be a 100 level math class (I need to be "highly qualified" according to No Child Left Behind).

For most this is no problem, for me, though, it is Herculean. I haven't taken a math class in 20 years and I have a learning disability in math. I have carefully structured my life to avoid math tasks. Under normal circumstances, you'd just think that I was ditsy, but truth is I perceive the world in a slightly different way. I have an auditory processing disorder which makes it seem like I can't hear. The thing is I can hear, I just hear everything and can't discern between foreground and background noises. My directionality is the pits, too. I get lost even in my own neighborhood. I know which way to go, but my mind flip flops it and I turn the wrong way. Every place looks slightly the same, no matter how many times I've seen it. If you ever want a laugh, watch me in an exercise class. They go left, I go right. Along with directions flipping, so do the hands on the clock and numbers. I have learned over the years to be very calm, very careful and always double check everything (GPS helps!). The only part of all of this that I can't work around is anxiety. I know, anxiety again, but this is where it all began. Math anxiety is a real type of LD. I think of math, my heart races, I can't sleep, I can't think straight. This is as real as a fear of heights or spiders. I can't make it go away. Nobody really seems to understand this except my mom. She lived through it with me.

In order to take a 100 level math class, I had to take a placement test. I spent the day of the test so nervous. Of course, this was the day of utter first grade ridiculousness. If my classroom had been a sitcom, our Nielsons' would have been through the roof! I had the perfect math lesson planned (the irony is not lost on me). In the middle of it one of my students "accidentally" tied his shoes together. This is a child who normally needs a lot of reassurance and attention from me. This was not how to get it. He began dancing around and made the knot tighter. Then he unraveled the laces until the knot was hopeless. I called the secretary (a good friend of mine) for help. She offered to come get the shoes because we knew that if I cut the laces, his very demanding grandparents would insist we buy him new shoes. After she finally untied them and brought them back, he proceeded to hop around to put them on. Another student (who also needs a lot of TLC) kicked his shoes up on his desk and proudly declared "I don't need laces! I have Velcro!" At this point one of my sweet little girls quietly asked me why my hair was standing on end.

After I got the little darlings home, I rushed to the community college to take my test. I was happily going along finding answers all over the place. It almost seemed fun and I began to think I knew more than I thought, when the test shut itself off (there is an automatic shut off after 4 wrong answers in a row). I failed gloriously! I would need to take 4 remedial type classes to even get into the 100 level. I only have nine months. As I tried not to cry in front of all of the twenty somethings, the testing coordinator suggested that I go talk to a counselor (the career kind). I met with a wonderful counselor and when he found out that I had a master's degree, he waved the placement requirements and put me right in the class! I start the week of May 17th.

It is amazing how things always seem to work out for me:) I am very lucky.