Sunday, February 22, 2009

Things Are Starting to Pick Up Around Here

Right before Christmas, I interviewed for a long-term sub position (7th grade reading) at a local middle school. The district interviewer thought I was a perfect fit for the job and passed my name along to the principal of the middle school. I waited and waited to hear from him. Finally, he called and I interviewed last week. I am set to start March 9 for 8 weeks. In the meantime, I will sub as much as my schedule allows so I can get an idea of how the school operates. My first day as a sub was last week ... 7/8 Spanish. Considering that the last time I took Spanish I was in 7th grade, the day went smoothly. It was good to be back in the classroom! I was a little nervous at first, but the butterflies left as soon as the first students sauntered through the door. The last minute early morning phone call threw Mark and I for a loop, but we got everyone ready and out the door. Unfortunately, I had class that night so I saw the girls just briefly in the morning. I missed them terribly, but they didn't seem any worse for the wear.

I have an interview with another district in a couple of weeks, this one for a possible permanent position. I keep trolling the school web sites for job openings. The hiring season should start to heat up within the next couple of months. I'm a little concerned about how this crappy economy may effect my search. I keep reading about district's who are under a hiring freeze or who are considering cutting positions. If worse comes to worse, I can always sub next school year.

My second grad class starts pretty much the same time as my long-term sub assignment. Normally, this double-load wouldn't concern me, but I've seen the syllabus for the class and it's appears to be a heavy workload, especially for a 3-credit, 8-week course. We'll see. I'm committed to earning my master's so I'll figure out a way to get it all done and done well.

Lastly, I had a sobering realization about the girls the other night. Audrey wakes up yelling in the middle of the night several nights a week. All it takes to calm her down is a hug and some gentle words of reassurance. She goes right back to sleep. If Ruthie wakes up crying, it's because she's pitched Larry and Bob, her loveys, overboard. She, too, goes right back to sleep after Larry and Bob are back in her hands. Simple solutions. But I realized the other night, that some day I won't be able to solve their problems by handing them a lovey or hugging them. That makes me sad.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Naked Running and Cassette Tape Obsessions

After the girls take a bath, we let them cruise "au naturel" through the house for a few minutes. They love, love, love it. I probably would, too, if I was bound up in a diaper all day. Which, I guess, is likely to happen as the years pass. But I doubt that, should I choose to run nekkid through the nursing home, I will be as endearing as little Ruthie was the other night. As she lapped the kitchen table for the fifth time, she yelled, "Naked running!" and took off down the hallway.

Speaking of Ruthie, she has a tendency to become obsessed with various objects. This week, it is a plastic cassette tape case. She is a fan of all things Larry the Cucumber of Veggie Tales fame. Her best friend, in fact, is a miniature version of Larry. For their second birthday, Aunt Kathy bought the girls Veggie Tale coloring books and T-shirts. With her purchase, she received a free cassette tape of Veggie Tales Backyard BBQ songs, which she passed along to the girls. Ruthie treasures this cassette case. She calls it her "set." She carries it tenderly, talks with us about the pictures on the cover, and is inconsolable if someone takes it from her or if she misplaces it. Her little face turns red and real teardrops pour relentlessly out of her blue eyes. She goes from happy to hysterical in a matter of seconds. My heart breaks for her. Yep, it is that sad. And when girl and cassette are reunited, the joy is palpable. For the past two nights, Mark and I have dreaded bed time because it meant one of us would have to take the cassette from her and then deal with the aftermath. Strangely, when it is time to go to bed, she kisses the cassette case, puts it into the entertainment center, says, "Goodnight, set," closes the door, and goes upstairs to bed.

My little sweet. Is it too much to hope that she always possesses such a sweet heart?

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Parent Trap

I fell into a classic parent trap yesterday morning, and I'm not talking about the 1961 movie starring Haley Mills (also a classic) or the 1998 Lindsay Lohan redo (haven't seen it, but can't imagine that it, too, is a classic). I'm talking about professional portraits. It's a parent trap. And this rookie parent fell right into it.

Yesterday morning, we took Ruthie and Audrey to get their two-year-old pictures taken. We do this once a year, around their birthday. Any other time, it's digital camera city. This year I had the added goal of getting a family portrait, too. One that didn't involve three smiling family members and one writhing, wiggling, screaming, miserable child. One that didn't have 50% of the members with their eyes closed, or looking off camera, or drooling, or picking their noses. Lofty goal, I know, but I was determined.

I set the appointment for 10:10 on Sunday morning. I was so proud of my strategy. No one else in the city would be going for pictures so early on a Sunday morning. Silly, mommy. The place was packed. Wall-to-wall parents and their dolled up children. And, of course, the appointments were running behind and the photographers were short staffed. Resigned to our fate, we joined the other parents who were trying to keep their neatly-pressed and beautifully coiffed offspring from wreaking havoc while they waited. Finally, it was our turn. The photo shoot went smoothly. The girls giggled, laughed, cringed, and posed on cue. Things were looking up.

But then, more waiting. We had to wait for a computer to open up so we could preview our pictures. We had to wait while our photos loaded. The girls were wilting. They were tired, bored, and hungry. Mark and I were tired, bored, and hungry. The bag packed full of snacks and toys was useless. Another 15 minutes later, it was our turn. The plan: Mark would entertain the girls while I selected photos.

And this where they get you. This is the parent trap. By this point, parents and children alike are so stressed out and tired that they will agree to buy almost anything just to get out of the store. The sales people know this, and they prey on it. But I had been forewarned. My mommy friends had given me a heads up. I had the inside scoop. I was going to be strong. And I was, for a little bit. I cut pictures right and left as if I were the demon spawn of Edward Scissorhands. I showed no mercy, no emotion. But finally, I just couldn't do it anymore. I wanted out. I wanted out so badly I was willing to buy pictures of other peoples' kids.

So, today I'm cleaning a drawer to store the 100 10 X13 "free" portraits, 400 8X 10s and 1 million wallets that I bought yesterday. No amount of friends or relatives could help me deplete my stash. But man, I have some cute kids! Oh, and the family portrait? PERFECT!