Thursday, May 30, 2013

I. Am. So. Tired

I am so unbelievably, freaking tired. I have given everything I have had to this school year. I have nothing left to give. I am tired of driving kids places. I am tired of answering kids' questions. I am tired of smiling when I really want to say "Are you kidding me!!!!" I am tired of telling children what to do and encouraging them to use the sense God gave them. While we're on it, I am tired of taking kids camping ( guess what I am doing this weekend?). I am tired of driving kids places and listening to them argue, complain, or tell me how stupid I am. I am tired of listening to rants and obsessions. I am tired of arguing with kids about studying and instrument practice. I am tired of telling kids to brush their teeth, change their damn underwear, and pick up their crap.

I am trying to dig down deep and make to the end of this marathon, but Holy Cannoli it is hard. I have miles and mounds of work to do. There are teacher gifts to get and loving notes to write to my kiddos. I don't want their last memories of first grade to be a strung out crazy woman. I over did it this year. I now know what is my breaking point. Useful information, but the question is will I use it? Will I prevent this from happening next year? What do you think? Here's a hint: next year at my school I am team lead, on the PTA, Literacy Committee, and helping out with the parent education group. For Lily we have scouts, violin, and school advisory council (school level and superintendent level). Caroline we have scout leader and everything that goes with high school.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Our Gang is Alive and Well

Our Gang is alive and well and taken up residence in my driveway. I am most likely dating myself with an arcane T.V. reference (much like the failed Mr. Kotter reference at our staff meeting). As a child, I would wake up before everyone else. The only things on T.V. were scary yelling T.V. preachers, Davy and Goliath, or Our Gang. Davy and Goliath, while a cartoon, was a bit too preachy and made me feel guilty. Our Gang, however, knew how to have fun. In today's era of technological jaded children, you would think kids tearing around a neighborhood would be a rarity.

Well, it looks a little different (more like the UN), but somethings are the same. It is a little blonde kid with a faux hawk showing up on our doorstep carrying a turtle like a pizza delivery box. It is bike races up and down the court (hopefully the rest of the neighbors look up the melee with fondness for their own youth and don't see the herd of screaming children as annoying. It is enough water balloons to turn a yard into a swamp (I dodged hosting that mess. My apologies to the family up the street.). It is some odd dance of little girls in princess dresses with cheetah print heels and umbrellas (this prompted a "What the heck?" from my teen. This one looked more like a black and white French film than a slice of Americana.). It looks like my teen frantically dodging her adoring fans as she sprints from mailbox to house. It sounds like yelling, fighting, making up, bossing, laughing, giggling, screen door slamming, doorbell ringing, dog whining.

It is the kind of childhood that I always wanted for Lily. How lucky she is!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

We Aren't Normal, Are We?

I could not make these these things up. This week the following was overheard or occurred at my house:

Lily "Don't be a bleep-ass." That statement was followed by a look of horror when she realized that she bleeped the wrong word. Rob has now adopted this phrase. Nice job being a positive role model sweetie!

Caroline (in typical cranky spring fashion) was annoying me and I opted to communicate with her solely via text for the night. I texted "Take her out." (as in take out the dog). She responds "You want me to kill someone?"

I asked that someone "please bring me two Advil for my headache." Caroline countered with "Bring me three." Rob added on "I'll take two. Now, how many would that be?" Awesome, family math problems through pain management. That isn't at all weird or slightly dysfunctional.

Rob and Lily were engaging in their nightly round of potty humor. Caroline wonders aloud what it would be like to "live with a classy family for awhile." I shoot back "What do you think I've been trying to create here?" She did agree with me. Of course, two minutes later, Rob was bugging her in the kitchen and poking her with a pink spatula. She counterattacked with a wire whisk. This resulted in a high speed chase with kitchen tools around the house. I felt the need to comment on the "classiness" of said chase. Rob laughed, got whisked in the knee, and responded "Now my knee is light and fluffy." At least Caroline laughed.

At the end of this all Lily yells "We want people to think we're normal. We can't do this. Wait, we aren't normal, are we?"

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Waiting for That Shoe to Drop

Well, Rob is out of town. That generally means freaky weather or the collapse of a major appliance. I have handily avoided these scenarios by a. the luck of gorgeous spring weather and b. vowing to use the appliance sparingly and with the utmost respect ("Oh thank you great dishwasher for delivering sparklingly clean dishes to me, your humble servant."). So all is hunky-dory, right? What's that you hear shouted from my house? "Boys are stupid!" That's not the teen daughter, nor is it the eight year old. No, it is the frustrated mother of said teen daughter. Somewhere over the course of time, boys became moodier and more complex than girls. The Boyfriend would fall into this category. It doesn't help that modern teens communicate solely via text which can be read dozens of ways. I guess it is all ironed out now. I just get tired of other teens hurting her. My tough cookie is not always as tough as she seems. Especially, during test time.

The amazing thing about women is how quickly we bond. I shared the tale of woe with my closest friends at work. Oh, the "Stupid Boyfriend" stories they drudged up. The ultimate outcome, though, was wise words of encouragement for my girl, our girl. There was even calls and texts checking on her. I don't think that boys have that, a circle of wise and caring elders surrounding them (even when they aren't there). Maybe that's why boys are so damn confusing. There is no one around to share tales and encouragement.

Monday, May 13, 2013


I am all over the place lately and I blame it solidly on the weather. Usually, I can count on the warm breezes and spring flowers to give me hope during the most stressful time in the educational year. Instead, I am freezing my buns off. My body doesn't know what to do. It is light out longer, but cold as heck. They're calling for frost tonight, in May! My flannel pjs groan every time I tug them out of storage. My body has gone into round 2 of hibernation. I am supposed to be gearing up for bathing suit weather. Everyone has the same tired line "We'll be wishing for this come August."

I am very stressed right now (what else is new), but have so much to be thankful for. I have my amazing girls, my sweet little niece, my wonderful husband, and the list goes on. My mom goes for another scan at the end of the month and we see were to go from there. At least she has a little more energy right now. Rob and I went to go see my favorite high school English teacher's band on Saturday night. As I tend to do while watching live music in dark theater, I ran my own little montage moment through my head. I have led a rather full life in a short period of time. The trick is; can I slow down and enjoy it?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pie in the Sky

I have a quote that I tell my girls; I attribute it to my mother, but I could have dreamed it, or even read it, who knows. Anyway, here it is "Sometimes, your best defense is your own good manners." I am tired, I am stressed, and I am in hyper "Mama Bear" mode (for my girls and my students). Last week, I got po'd at the drop of a hat. I had co-workers chase me down to say "Breathe first, just breathe" as I charged down the hallway to right one wrong or another. This week, I have slowed down and calmed down. Exhaustion and long stretches of time spent by myself in hellish traffic have given me no other choice.

Last night, there was a very long PTA meeting with a very long sidebar about funding a club that my friend sponsors. The bottom line is that the PTA can't afford to sponsor every club (I know that). Some suggestions were given to create scholarships and we will look into that. It seemed to me that another parent was being unreasonable. I made an impassioned (and voice cracking) plea on behalf of one child who had benefited from this club. I explained that he was in my first grade class a few years ago. He was the kindest and sweetest boy who wanted nothing more than a piece of paper to take home at the end of the day so that he could draw. He never demanded prizes or stickers or any other treats. He was so excited this year to join this club because it was free. I went on to explain that it was the only activity that he'd ever had because his family couldn't afford any others. I had thought that I had wasted my time and made a little bit of an emotional fool of myself.

That same parent just messaged me and asked if she could buy a yearbook for this little boy. I am sitting here crying and so moved. Now, I am even more in love with my job, my school, and the community that it serves! Life is so much better when I keep my pie in the sky Pollyanna outlook and refrain from judging others. There must be a quote in there for my girls.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I Hate Spring

Spring used to be a time for new life and renewal. Now, thanks to No Child Left Behind, it is a time for testing, and cramming, and, if you live in our house, panic. The only thing worse than watching your 15 year old hyperventilate over test anxiety is watching your 3 year old get stitches. I should not have to explain panic attacks and hyperventilating to my child. We should not be talking about strategies to stay calm and not keel over on the floor.

I think that I have established that my child is wildly creative and thinks outside of the box. Some days, she thinks outside of the factory that builds the box. People like her (and me for that matter) don't test well. She has A's in advanced placement classes and writes better than most college kids. She was recommended for AP Western Civ and pre-AP English. Isn't that proof enough? What the hell? This entire system sucks. I am watching the downfall of creative thinking and problem solving. We are creating a generation of robotic Jeopardy contestants who are so stressed that they panic or explode.