Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Better Than Happy Pills

Something strange happened yesterday. 
I was nice. To children.

And patient. And kind. When two of them broke glass vases (at two separate times) I cleaned it up, asked if they were ok, and reminded them it was "just an accident". 

Who am I?

Then one of mine ran full speed into a tree on the playground (because she was running while looking behind her) and my response was "Had to learn that one the hard way, didn't you?" So I knew the real me was still in there somewhere. Whew.

Then I realized where my previous patience had come from: we had a two day school week last week. We had Monday off for Labor Day and teacher workdays Thursday and Friday (thanks Rosh Hashanah! Mazel tov!). So the children were only at school on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

It was heaven. 

Before I was a teacher, I assumed that teacher workdays totally sucked.  Now I know better. WAY better. Teacher workdays FEEL like days off, because you are merely gluing, cutting, and organizing things in the classroom. In silence. Blissful, utter, complete, silence. I can listen to the radio or talk on the phone. I can check my email. I can talk to grown ups about grown up things.

Now it's back to the grind. Let's hope my patience holds up. But if it doesn't, at least I can tell myself I don't smack myself in the face with trees. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

...I have become my mother, after all.

I've been fighting it for 24 years now, but yesterday it became complete. I AM my mother. You know why?

I bought Shredded Wheat. Willingly. To eat.

This probably isn't a huge deal to anyone else (but hey, it's my blog!), but you have to understand something. I grew up watching my mother wake up for six a.m. Jazzercise workouts that she would follow with a heaping bowl of (plain) Shredded Wheat. 


To my fat kid child's mind, this was yet another mystery of adulthood. Why would anyone eat something that looked and tasted like cardboard when you could eat Reese's Puffs? Rice Krispy Treats cereal? Pop Tarts? (Mind you, this could be why I've always been overweight and my mother has...not. Is this what they call a "breakthrough"?)

Don't get me wrong. My mom has countless qualities that I would be proud to emulate. It just so happens that instead of the no-holds-barred balls of steel she has (did I mention she was in the Navy for 22 years?), I seemed to inherit the taste for cereal that tastes like wood pulp and the inability to function before my two cups of coffee every morning. 

Oh well. Guess I'll have to take this one for the team. At least I don't tell the same joke for 25 years and think it's as hilarious as the first time I said it. (Like every time we're in traffic and she shouts "It's the WACKY RACES out here", then slaps the steering wheel while shaking in silent laughter.) Hey Mom? That wasn't even funny 25 years ago.

I may have forgotten to mention I've started doing 6 a.m. workouts as well. 

But at least it's not Jazzercise...yet.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I Liek Yu

Remember when I told you that last week was the first week of school? I lied.

A more appropriate phrase would be "calm before the storm" (or: "What the hell was I thinking?"). I spent last week with my twelve returning kindergartners (Montessori classrooms are multi-age) reading, playing outside, and reconnecting after a summer apart. 

Then the four year olds showed up. 

Since we had staggered entry for our pre-K's, every day this week was like living the same bad dream over and over. A bad dream in which I scream "DON'T TOUCH THAT" until my throat is sore and get boogers wiped on me. 

The icing on the cake was when a kid pooped in his pants yesterday. While he was holding my hand. Did I mention we were on the opposite side of the school from our classroom (i.e. his change of clothes)? Minor detail. 

Then another teacher offered me gems of wisdom by asking "Did he have a number two accident? I can smell it all the way down the hall."

You mean that rancid, horrible odor that just made me gag and run for the trash can? What on earth are you talking about?

Thanks for the help!

So, that's disgusting. And every time a kid breaks something he wasn't supposed to touch in the first place, starts crying because she misses her mom, or loses control of their bodily functions ever at inopportune moments all I can think to myself is middle school would seem like a breeze at this point. Bring on the hormones! The attitude! The apathy! Just please keep your poop (or anyone else's) in the bathroom. And for the love of God, please stop crying. And touching me. 

There are other moments too. Like when a new little bitty whispers to me that she's nervous about the first day of school as she slips her plump little hand into mine. Singing Justin Bieber on the playground. Going on nature walks in which every leaf found is THE most beautiful leaf in the world. Getting notes that say "Mis Enslee, yu ar fun. I liek yu."

From now on, I'll take a deep, cleansing breath and think happy thoughts when I get frustrated. Or when (at 10:17 am) a pre-K taps me on the shoulder and announces: "I would like to have lunch now."

In which case I'll tap him back and say "Guess what dude? This is S-C-H-O-O-L and (unlike your mom) I'm not here to cater to your every whim. Get back to your work."

And (once again) please don't touch me.

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