I Don’t Think You Get It

Dear Hubby,

I don’t think you get it, so I’m going to explain it one more time.  I WANT to go to this conference tomorrow.  I do not have to go, I want to go.  I asked my principal for permission to attend, he did not ask me to go. I created a presentation for one of the breakout sessions so that I could get free registration.  I convinced my coaching partner to come, too.  This was all my idea!

Yes, I want to get up at 5:45 so that I can make it there in time for the opening key-note speaker.  No, I do not want to leave early-there is a breakout session at the end of the day that I want to attend.  Yes, I want to go back on Saturday for the second day.  No, I am not getting paid extra for working on the weekend.

I’m sorry you have to get the kids to school by yourself in the morning–I know that isn’t easy.

I’m sorry you have to help my mom take our kids and the cousins to get the pictures taken that were rained out today–I know that won’t be a ton of fun.

I’m sorry you are on kid duty alone on Saturday–I know you need a break after being home with them since Wednesday.

However, I am still going.  Both days.  All day.  Because I want to.

Thanks for understanding.

Love,

The Teacher You Married

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Last Minute Meeting

At 2:21 this afteroon an email from my principal showed up in my mailbox.

Sorry for the late notice, but we will meet as a whole staff in the library prior to PLC meetings this afternoon.

My mind immediately started racing.  What are they going to tell us? I kept wondering over and over.  3:50 felt like an eternity away.  My experience with last minute whole-staff meetings has been only negative and usually related to our principal leaving.  I’ve been at my school for ten years and we’ve had five principals in that time, so we’ve had more than our fair share of last minute whole staff meetings.  What are they going to tell us?

The minutes seemed to tick by slower than usual.  I kept myself busy making copies for an upcoming presentation and preparing for two coaching cycles that are starting tomorrow, but my mind wasn’t fully focused on any of my tasks.  What are they going to tell us?

The bell finally rang, ending the school day.  Students flooded out the doors and dissipated into the neighborhood.  Our office manager’s voice crackled over the intercom, announcing the whole-staff meeting for anyone who hadn’t checked their email yet.  The awaited hour had finally arrived.

What are they going to tell us? When I entered the library, I immediately noticed the tension suffocating the room.  No one was laughing and joking around.  Everyone looked nervous.  At the front of the room stood three administrators from the district offices.  I took a seat in the front and tried to get mentally prepared for whatever I was about to hear.  I could feel my heart beating in my chest at an unusually rapid pace.  I took a deep breath and told myself to stay calm as my principal stepped to the front.

“Thank you for being flexible with the last minute change of plan today.  We have some visitors here to talk about the future of leadership here.”

My stomach did a flip as the assistant superintendent stepped forward.

What is she going to tell us?

Facebook Boycott

As I was driving home from work, I heard on the radio that someone of some importance has called for a Facebook boycott, urging people to delete their accounts and stop using the social media platform in protest to the inappropriate use of users’ private information.  I didn’t really pay that much attention to what they were saying, though, becuase (and you might want to sit down for this)…I don’t have a Facebook account.

Have you started breathing again?  Good, becuase, believe it or not, it’s true.  I do not and never have had a Facebook account.  Friends and family have tried to get me on the social media platform, saying, “You would know what I was up to if you were on Facebook!” Or “If you were on Facebook I could see pictures of your family!” Or  “You would know that if you were on Facebook!”  But I have a long list of reasons why I am not interested in it, and here are a few of the top ones:

  • I don’t have time!  I don’t get enough sleep and I forget to brush my teeth more than I care to admit, so when would I squeeze in time to update a Facebook account or check what other people are up to?
  • I talk to all the people I care about in person, by phone, or over email.  I’m not into the impersonal communication of social media.
  • I don’t care about half the stuff people post on their Facebook account.  You’re going grocery shopping?  Unless you want to take my list and pick up a few things for me, I don’t need to know.
  • I don’t want to deal with the etiquette of “friending” or not friending people.  If I did have an account, I wouldn’t want to be friends with every single person I know or have met, and I certainly don’t want people from my past finding me, but I’m too nice and would worry about offending people.

Sometimes it is annoying not having an account because people make big life announcements only via Facebook and then think everyone has read them (like they’re getting married, having a baby, or moving to another country).  Some groups and companies only use Facebook to communicate, which is a hassle.  But in general, I’m blissfully happy without a Facebook account.  And on those rare occasions when I really need to see what someone has posted to Facebook, I have Facebook informers to look it up for me: my mom, grandma, and coaching partner.  Thanks, ladies, for letting me continue by Facebook-free lifestyle!

First Time Fears

Four eyes stared at the black salon chair, sparkling with a mixture of fear and excitement.  It was my three-year-old twins first time inside a salon.  We were there for their first “hair-ah cuts.”

“Who’s first?” the stylist asked them.

“A can go first,” P said quickly.

“What?” I asked P, kneeling down next to her.  “I thought you wanted to go first.”  I thought that was a fair assumption because ever since I announced the night before that we were going to get their hair cut, P had been saying, “I’m going first!”  But now, faced with the unknown of actually being the first, her excitement had faded.

P shook her head.  “A can go first,” she repeated.

I turned to A.  “Do you want to go first?” I asked.

A’s eyes got as big as saucers and she quickly shook her head.  “No thank you,” she whispered.  “I’m a little bit shy of it.”

The stylist tried again.  “Who wants to go first?  You get to sit in the chair and sit on this big cushion!”

Both girls looked a little more excited at this new revelation and took a step closer.  “Do you want to go first?” I asked them both.

“A can go first,” P repeated.

“No thank you,” A insisted.

The stylist got out the cape and started getting her combs and scissors ready.  “Oh, look, you get to wear a cape!”  A got really excited at this prospect and broke into a smile.  Oh good, I thought.  “A, are you ready to go?”

Her face suddenly turned to stone and she dropped her eyes.  “No thank you,” she said again.  Now what? I wondered.

Finally, after a few more minutes, curiosity won out and I finally convinced P to go first.  She climbed up in the chair, a little hesitantly, but was all smiles as she settled onto the big cushion that made her sit up higher.  When the stylist started to raise the chair up, P burst into giggles.

“Mommy, she’s pumping me up!” she laughed.  And from that moment on, it was nothing but fun and smiles sitting in the salon chair and getting her first “hair-ah cut.”

Before too long, A was won over by the great time P seemed to be having.  “Is P done yet?  Is it my turn?” A wanted to know.  When her turn came, she happily climbed up in the chair.  “It tickles!” she exclaimed when the stylist sprayed her hair with water and started to comb it out.

Somehow the stylist managed to cut their hair, no small feat given that neither of them paid any attention to the stylists directions to “hold still” or “look down” or “don’t move.” When both girls were done, the stylist gave me two envelopes with the first curls she cut off of each girl.  After I paid and we were headed down the sidewalk, the girls skipping in front of me, all I could think about was how big they are getting.  Turning three has brought many challenges and frustrations as they try to assert their independence, but at the same time it is amazing to see how much they depend on each other, especially in new situations. What a unique situation, to be a twin and always have your best friend at your side.  I can’t wait to watch how they grow up to be independent, dependent girls.

Bacon & Biscuits

“I wish I could have bacon!” my son exclaimed.  We had just finished watching The Illusionists, a Broadway magic show, at the 5th Ave Theater and now we were in search of lunch.

“Hmmm, bacon.  Let’s see if we can find a breakfast place close by.”  After consulting my phone, we headed off towards Ludi’s, an eight minute walk according to Google maps.

“C’mon, Mom, let’s run!” C begged, grabbing my hand and pulling me forward.  “I can’t wait to eat my bacon!”  I laughed and played along.  Only my energetic, six-year-old son could possibly convince me to alternate between running, skipping, and speed walking through the heart of downtown Seattle.  In less than eight minutes we were walking into a small breakfast diner on the corner of 2nd and Pike.

Ludi’s was exactly what I think of when I think about breakfast restaurants.  There was a counter with round cushioned stools that spin in place, tables and chairs around the room, customers who look like they come there often, and a fine layer of grease covering everything.  It smelled delicious.

“Shall we sit at the counter?” I asked C.  He hopped onto a stool and spun around in answer.  I sat down next to him and grabbed the menu from behind the ketchup bottle.  “What do you want to eat with your bacon?  Toast, pancakes, a biscuit?”

“A biscuit,” he replied.  “Can I have six pieces of bacon?”

“Let’s see, an order comes with three pieces.  Let’s start with that, and if you want more you can have mine,” I said, wondering if giving your young child too much bacon is as bad as giving him too much candy.

We gave our order to our waitress, then started going back through all of the amazing tricks we had just witnessed at the magic show.  I’m not sure what I enjoyed more, watching the magicians’ tricks, or watching C’s delight and amazement after each one.  I had bought the tickets months ago as a surprise, knowing he would love it, but I was happily surprised at how much I enjoyed the show, too.

“Why don’t you pick out the kind of jelly you want for your biscuit,” I said when I saw our food up in the window.  There was a bowl of the individual-serving jelly containers in front of us on the counter.

“What is a biscuit?” C asked as he sorted through the different flavors, selecting strawberry.

“You don’t remember what a biscuit is?” I asked, surprised.

“I haven’t had one in so long I don’t remember.”

Our food arrived and C chowed down on his bacon while I spread butter on his IMG_0924biscuit.  “I want to put the jelly on myself!” he said said when I reached for the packet he had selected.  He spread the jelly around unevenly, plopped the top back on, and took a bite.  “Tastes like bread,” he said matter-of-factly, and went back to his plate of bacon.

Two-and-a-half pieces of bacon, one sausage, and half-a-biscuit later, C declared that he was full.  My empty plate of French toast and sausage left me feeling just the same.  Even more satisfying, though, was the fullness of my heart and soul after a morning out with my son.

A Letter to My Mini-Van

Dear Mini-Van,

It’s been over a year since you first joined our family, and I can’t imagine life without you now. It’s true that I didn’t want you in the beginning.  I clearly remember promising myself that I would never drive a mini-van. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen you, which makes me all the more grateful that you were gifted to us. But now I am proud to say, “MINI-VANS ARE AWESOME!”

Who else can transport three young children around peacefully because they are sitting far enough apart that they can’t touch each other?

Who else can taxi seven people and their luggage for a week to the airport?

Who else can fit an entire roll of paper towels in the console?

Who else has backseats that fold down flat to allow for hauling large items or sleeping in the truest sense of the term “car camping”?

Not only do you do all of those things, but you do it while consuming much less gas than any SUV with comparable seating capacity.

So as I’m sitting in your comfy bucket seat, my husband in the captain’s chair, my three kiddos spread far apart in the back, bikes in the trunk, I want to say thank you. Thank you for reminding me not to judge. Thank you for reminding me to be willing to change my mind. I’m sorry I didn’t want you. Thank you for being you in spite of me.

With love and respect,

A grateful mom

 

Today I am Thankful for…

Today I am thankful for…

  • morning bike rides to my son’s school.
  • kisses blown my way as I go out the door.
  • needing my sunglasses on my drive to work.
  • day-old donuts from yesterday’s staff appreciation breakfast.
  • confirmation from my principal that my coaching position will exist next year.
  • a child-free dinner with my best friend.
  • lemon tiramisu eaten at the beach.
  • coming home to a peaceful house.
  • snuggles under the old red and blue quilt with my children.
  • Little Critter bedtime stories.
  • quiet time with my husband.

Hangry

If you look up the definition of “hangry” in a dictionary, you will probably find a picture of my husband and children next to it.  Long before I was a mom I always carried snacks around in my purse in an effort to avoid hangry encounters with my husband.  As someone who does not suffer from hanger, it was amazing to me to see how a normally calm and rational individual can become belligerent over the course of just a few minutes and then almost instantly transform back to normal after ingesting some calories.  The other mind-boggling aspect to this disease is that the afflicted individual doesn’t notice that s/he is hungry or think, “Hey, I’m acting a little crazy and this has happened before.  Maybe I should eat something and see if I feel better.”  No, instead they are completely dependent on someone who knows them to recognize what is going on and tell them, “Eat!”

Unfortunately, this trait seems to be hereditary and all three of my children also suffer from hanger.  The most stressful part of my day is the thirty minutes between when I walk in the door from work and when we sit down at the table for dinner.  Tonight was no exception: my son was firing Magnatile missiles at his sister who was roaring back at him like a lion while their other sister was sprawled across the kitchen floor crying because I couldn’t hold her and cook at the same time and my husband was grumbling aloud about having too many kids.

Somehow dinner got done.  Somehow I got everyone to the table.  And then, like a miracle, everyone started eating and transformed back into the family I love.  My kids  played together happily most of the night.  My husband was cheerful and talkative.  I was left considering how things went from bad to good so quickly, although I knew the answer: food.

So tomorrow, please, eat a snack before I get home so we don’t have to do that again!

 

Missing Teeth

“Oh, I see it! Just a little bit coming through!” I told my son as he brushed his teeth tonight.  First grade has been the year of loose teeth for my son.  He is currently missing two teeth on the bottom as well as both of his top front teeth.  The top one that is just pushing through fell out way back in December; the other fell out just a few days ago.

“Don’t let that tooth fall out!” I had warned him playfully that morning.  “If it does, I’ll have to make all of your food into milkshakes to drink.  You’ll have to have a meatloaf milkshake for dinner tonight.”

“Mom!” C laughed.

“I know,” I continued, “I’ll glue it in to keep it in place.” I went to the kitchen and came back with the bottle of Elmer’s school glue.  “Open up!”

“Mo-om! No way!” He laughed, rolling around on the couch.

Later that evening we were headed towards the beach for a pizza picnic dinner when C suddenly asked for a napkin.  Glancing in the rearview mirror, I saw a trail of blood on his chin and fingers.

“Did your tooth fall out?”

He nodded and flashed a toothless smile at me.  “I guess my tooth didn’t obey you!”

The next night we were eating corn on the cob for dinner, one of C’s favorites.  I had gone into the kitchen to get some more napkins when I heard him exclaim, “What?! I can’t even eat this!”

When I got back to the table I laughed at the sight of him unsuccessfully trying to eat his corn with the side of his mouth. “Do you want me to cut it off for you?”

“Yeah, I guess so!”  So C ate his corn on the cob off the cob, declaring, “I wish my tooth had obeyed you!”

I’m glad that tooth is starting to come in.  I was getting a little worried since it has been three months.  I can’t wait to see his new smile when the giant permanent teeth take their place in his little six-year-old mouth!

Stalling

Why won’t you go to bed tonight?

  • I’m not tired yet.
  • I just need to finish this thing I’m building.
  • I’m hungry.
  • I’m thirsty.
  • I have to go potty.
  • You need to cut my fingernails.
  • We haven’t read a book yet.
  • I want to take a bath.
  • I want Little Kitty from Daddy’s car.
  • I have to go potty, again.

Please go to sleep.  I need some me time.  PLEASE!