Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween was Tiggerific!

Happy Halloween, everyone!! It has been one heck of a day, I can tell ya that. I am too tired to get into all the details, but let's just say that my day involved making 60 "stained glass" butterflies out of wax paper and melted crayon shavings, serving food to 3rd graders at a Pot Luck, cleaning up after 3rd graders at a Pot Luck, eating loads of crap, taking Mason to visit various friends in his unfathomably adorable Tigger costume and of course taking lots of pictures in the interim. The End. I'm tired and I'll tell more later. For now, hope everyone ate enough candy to give your dentist a run for their money but not enough to call in sick from work or school tomorrow. As Tigger would say, "Ta ta for now..."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

If it's still dark out, is it considered morning??

For some reason lately, Mason has decided that 5:30 is a good time to greet the day (and when I say "greet the day", I mean start screaming like a Howler Monkey and make it known to the entire neighborhood that he is ready to get out of his crib). I'm used to him being up early, around 6, 6:30, but 5:30 is where I draw the line. Especially on work days when I then have two hours before I have to be to work, and not all that much to do. But then again, it's pretty rough on a Saturday morning, when all I want to do at 5:30 in the morning is snuggle deeper in my covers and stay peacefully in LaLa Land for awhile longer. Ah well, such is the life of a mother, I suppose. I can sleep when I'm dead, right?

This past week has gone by in a bit of a blur. I can't recall most of the musings that made up the past 7 days, but I'll see what I can do. Working in the 3rd grade has been fun to a degree, but the noise level and crowd control is a bit of a problem. For some reason, when the lead teacher leaves in the middle of the day to teach music, the class gets riled up and refuses to be attentive and quiet. I am not sure if it's me and the lack of strict blood running through me or the fact that these kids are still testing the waters and still aren't sure if they really have to listen to me and the other aide. Maybe it's a little of both. Either way, I feel bad for the teacher, because each day he returns from music to discover that his little angels have been unruly, yet again. Besides that, it's going okay. Resource is chugging along as usual. It's not too hard to teach and control 3 kids at a time, so it normally goes off without a hitch. Friday was nice in the 6th grade. Unfortunately, it always zooms by, being that Fridays are early days. But I still enjoy the day with the pack of crazies. And it always inflates my ego, because the moment I walk in I am greeted with "Yeah, you're here!" and "You're staying all day, right?" It makes me feel special. Aww nice...I stayed home from work Thursday, due to the dreaded Allergy Monster. I woke up with my head ready to explode all over the bedroom walls and I had more mucus built up than you would think is physically possible. The babysitter was kind enough to come to the house and pick up Mason, so I could rest. That was surreal. I took some meds and took a long nap in the morning. When I woke up, I walked around the house in a daze--not because of the drugs, but because I didn't know what do with myself home alone all day. I got through it though and was thankful for the time to rest and be baby-free, just for a short while. Now now, don't read into that and think I wish I wasn't a mother or that I want to leave my son on someone's doorstep, but you fellow parents understand that it can be overwhelming and exhausting to be needed and depended on for every whim all the time. It's nice to get a little break. I'm not explaining myself any further.

Speaking of my little man, he is in my lap and being a squirmy wormy, probably because he's ready for his breakfast. I shall write later. When I have time.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

My son is the smartest boy alive!!

So I was giving Mason a bath tonight and he has this big rubber ducky and three little duckies. I showed him that he can put the little duckies on the big ducky and they'll float around. I did it a few times, making a "Whee!" sound. He laughed and studied the procedure. Then, he grabbed one of the little duckies, sucked on it for a second and then put it back where it was. He did that a few times. He's learning! I am a proud mama. Just wanted to share...

My week at work became progessively better each day. The third graders are growing on me (not literally, of course. That would be a serious medical condition!) and I've got a plan to keep my days as smooth and organized as possible. We'll see how Monday goes. Anyways, I was so happy to be back with the 6th graders on Friday. And since it was early release, the day was easy and uneventful. We made a craft of either a fall themed bracelet or a dream catcher. Surprisingly, most of the boys chose the bracelet. I think it was because they saw how complicated the dream catcher was, and they knew that lacing beads and charms on a string was less complicated than most of their video games.

I'm going camping with a 5th and 6th grader. (Do you truly believe I'm absolutely certifiably insane yet?) I agreed to participate in this Learn and Serve Grant, where I am the representative for our school in a city wide community service program. The camp jumpstarts the program, where they inspire, pep you up and generally get you really excited to help out your town. There are skits, meetings, presentations and activities involving teachers and students. And it's for 2 nights/three days at a youth camp nearby. Another aide from the school is going too, which alleviates my concern of taking two kids overnight. I picked the 6th grader, who's a really energetic, outgoing, friendly, and generally crazy boy that I predict will thrive in such an environment. It should be fun. It's in a couple of weeks, so if I survive, I'm sure I'll inform you all of my adventure.

Today Mason and I went to my friend's house (the one who has the little girl) and took lots of fall pictures of him and some with her. Perhaps I will get off my lazy butt and add one to my next blog. If you're lucky. Okay, it's Saturday night and although I don't have more thrilling plans than this, I'm going to go pretend that we have exciting plans. Ta ta.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

"Tut tut, it looks like rain..."

Lots of rain in fact. It rained and thundered like crazy last night, which I just love. It continued today, which would be all right, except rainy weather prevents children from going outside during a school day. Indoor recess just isn't the same. I love being at home and hearing the rain on the rooftop and smelling that after-rain smell. But any teacher will tell you that a rainy day is a bit glum. But at least today was a better day overall for me than yesterday. I have an insanely bad headache right now, but I don't think it was caused by my day. I felt it went smoother than expected and I feel like I'm starting to get the 3rd grade names' down and get into my groove. I did, however, stare longingly across the hall as the 5th and 6th graders had a "Read-a-thon" day (laid around with pillows and blankets and read their favorite book for most of the day). I spotted some of the 6th graders in the hall or in passing and their faces lit up and they waved or said hi and that's when I missed them. I will see them on Fridays, and I have to keep remembering that. For now, I'm with the 3rd graders and it's going okay. I just need to get rid of this headache and a slight stomachache. Not a lot of down time and rest with a 9 month old that is clearly getting a mouthful of teeth all at the same time. Good times...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Can we say chaos, boys and girls?

I'm tired, hungry, have things to do and frankly don't feel like writing, but I do not want to keep you dedicated readers on hold any longer. I feel like a lot has happened since I last wrote and I should fill you in. Let's see, where do we begin? (that rhymed!! "It's so sad how they hopped on pop...")

Well, this past week was Fall Break at school, which was REALLY nice. It was a little strange to be home in the middle of the day again. I watched a bunch of crappy tv, read People magazine, took naps, went on walks with Mason in tow, ran some errands and tried to fill the day with the things I seem to never have time for anymore. Honestly, I was a little bored but also dreading the return to work. I used to like my job, but it's taking it's toll on me. But I'll get to that in a minute. Anywho, this past weekend we went down to visit Nana and Papa (my parents), which went as expected--lots of talking (which translates as my parents rambling on about family drama that usually involves my sister and her kids, with me trying to get a story in edgewise and my husband tuning it out by reading the newspaper and watching whatever is on tv), lots of snacking on foods we don't buy and the lucsious sleep I always get on their queen-sized guest bed. My parents babysat Mason while my husband and I took a little jaunt to the state fair, which was a lot of fun. There's nothing like being tossed around like a sock in a clothes dryer and eating fried foods on a stick!! (you haven't lived until you've eaten deep fried garlic mashed potatoes on a stick and a deep friend Twinkie on a stick!) Good, clean fun...

So on to my job. The craziness and lack of direction and organization began last Friday. A select few of us were required to move furniture, books, and all other school crap from two classrooms(the 4th/5th grade and our 6th grade) into a new building that wasn't even finished. No one knew what was going on or where anything should go. The new building didn't even have stairs yet, so we had to climb up into the room like hikers on Mt. Everest every time we had to drop off a load. The time frame in which we had to get everything done changed on us a half dozen times and after all our blood, sweat and tears we were told that no student could set foot into the building until at least Tuesday, due to wet cement and tests that needed to be done on the water. So why again were we in such a rush?? The Powers that Be stood firm on the decision of moving EVERYTHING, even though that meant we would be empty handed on Monday morning, when we'd still have to entertain kids, without desks and materials. I was so exhausted and frustrated, needless to say. So, when today came, why should it have surprised me that the plan had changed and then changed again and then changed some more?!? I was under the assumption that I would be in the 6th grade today, to help them maintain a certain level of sanity and to explain to them my new schedule, but noooooo, they had to go and send me to the 3rd grade already!! Patooey! That was great fun. The teacher hasn't really worked out the kinks or set up his room completely and I'm expected to teach them for an hour and a half in the middle of the day without him. He also teaches music to the whole school, so off he went and I was clueless. Did I mention that I do not do well under chaos?

Moral of the story...I'm not sure which is a more frightening and crazy ride: being strapped into some caged contraption and catapulting 75 feet in the air on an amusement park ride, or working at a charter school, for a dimwitted principal.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

We got a bleeder here!!

So Mason had to get a hemoglobin test for anemia. I guess it's pretty standard, once a baby starts eating solid foods and there's a chance they might not be getting enough iron in their diet. He had the test done when he was a newborn, and it was done with a poke of his heel. Today, he had to do it again. The medical staff decided that they would poke his finger instead, since his heel has hardened as he has gotten older and it would be more difficult. Well, apparently they didn't anticipate that he would spurt blood like a geyser. At first, the nurse had a hard time getting blood into the little vile, but then once she was done, and I was holding the cotton on his finger, blood starting spilling out onto his clothes and my hands and all over the chair. You wouldn't think a little prick of the finger would produce so much blood, but it can. I sat there, squeezing his finger, and trying to get the bleeding to stop. They bandaged it once, but he just yanked it off. After much wiping and sopping up pools of blood, the nurse came up with a plan--wrap the finger, then wrap the whole hand. So, he had a mitten made of blue bandage tape. It immediately went into his mouth, but at least it stopped the bleeding. He sucked on his mitten all the way home, and seemed a bit disappointed that I unwrapped it.

But now we know. Don't take his blood unless you are prepared for a downpour.

Tip of the Day: Don't take a mitten made out of bandages off too soon. As I was writing this blog, I assume either Mason put his finger in his mouth or the dog Max started licking it. Either way, it triggered the wound and out came the blood for another go-round!! I turn around to check on Mason, and there's blood on the carpet, on his outfit and all over him. Upward went my stress level. As I am battling my 9 month old to keep his finger out of his mouth, while at the same time attempting to clean him up and put a bandaid on his gushing finger, I am also trying to comfort him. An impossible feat, I will tell you that. THEN, after reigning victorious over the blood spatter, Mason decides to snack on his bandaid, and to battle we go yet again!! I clean him up, put another bandaid (2 actually) on his finger, and I decide to win this fight. I strap a mitten to his hand with surgical tape. I AM THE SMARTEST MOM ALIVE!! So, he is now napping peacefully in his crib, looking partially prepared for snowy weather...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

"And now, the Yak mating call..."

"Yaaaaaak!!" We went to a farm today, and no, there aren't any yaks anywhere near where I live, but I just felt like having that as the subject, as a random reference to Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.

The farm has an annual pumpkin festival, where they have craft booths, lots of homegrown foods, games for the kiddos and of course a huge pumpkin patch where you can pick your own pumpkin. Normally, it's pretty simple and painless to find a perfect pumpkin and be outta the insanity of billions of others trying to do the same thing. But for some reason, this year wasn't as easy. Most of the pumpkins were either still green, too huge or very, very rotten. After much searching and wandering around, we found one. I wanted one that Mason could sit with and we could take pictures (of course!), but not cost us an arm and a leg (it would be hard to carry a pumpkin back to the car with only one arm and leg)! It was really neat to see Mason taking it all in. We went by the petting zoo and let him peek in on the chickens, ducks, pigs, bunnies, goats, sheep, llamas, ostrich and deer. He cocked his head to one side and viewed them with a quizzical look, as if to say, "Those are some strange looking puppies and kitties!" We didn't let him take some grain to feed the animals, because without a blink of an eye, the grain would be in his mouth and all over the place. We had some oh-so-yummy homemade ice cream and of course Mason had to taste it too. He just loves ice cream. He's definitely my son. So overall, a nice, memorable day. Hope you all had the same...Well, it is very unlikely that you also went to a farm today and bought a pumpkin, but you know what I mean.

People watching should be a sport...

Don't I have just the cutest baby ever?? Kay, anyways. So, yesterday Mason and I took a little trip to the mall for something to do (and let's face it, I needed my soft pretzel fix!). I found him the blue hooded jacket (pictured) at Gap on clearance for $7.99!! Couldn't resist, because it's velour, it's adorable and it's getting a bit chilly willy around here, especially at night. So, back to my story. We were at the mall, and my favorite thing to do there (besides eating, of course!) is watch all the people that come out of the woodworks to shop at the mall. All I can think, is "it takes all kinds." There's nothing more entertaining than sitting in the food court and watching the happenings of other people. I saw two "tween (middle school agers)" girls giggling as they climbed into the little photo booth and took silly pictures of themselves. I remember doing that. It was so cool when the tiny sliver of smaller-than-wallet-size pictures slid out of the slot. I recall the big debate on which one of us would get which picture. Then there was the high schooler that walked by, wearing an attire that almost convinced me of time travel. Seriously, he looked like had been snatched out of the punk rock era of the 80's. He had a nice spiked 'do going, a leather jacket with the sleeves ripped off, covering a metal band t-shirt, skin tight black jeans and lace up army boots. Should I dig out my charm necklace and jelly bracelets? Weird. I saw some old men sitting in the food court drinking coffee and shooting the shit. Not a real surprise, knowing the demographic of this community. On my way in to the mall, I saw more Cadillacs, Buicks and Oldsmobiles than any other type of vehicle (aside from the gigantasaurus SUVs) . I saw the pimple-faced mid-puberty kid working at the Orange Julius, just trying to earn some extra cash on the weekends, to buy himself a sweet ride. And then there's the crew of the fast food Chinese place, in which not a single employee was Chinese or of Chinese decent. There was the humorous scene of a mother and daughter in Claire's, near the ear piercing station, where the daughter's ears were already pierced and she's dancing around near the necklace rack, and her mother is nervously discussing with one of the employess, where she should place the hole in her ear. And the most touching moment was when I was getting ready to head home, and I was sitting at a picnic table outside, enjoying the sunshine with Mason asleep in the stroller. A family was walking up to the doors and I noticed the little girl in the stroller had Down's Syndrome. Her mother was pushing the stroller, Grandma was opening the door, and what I can only assume was the aunt, was talking to the little girl and taking her hand as they went into the mall. They just made me smile. Those little moments where people think that no one is watching and they are just kind to each other without a hidden motive are the times when I greatly enjoy observing others. I guess that's what makes the world go round. How boring it would be if we were all the same. I certainly wouldn't frequent the mall as much as I do...

Friday, October 07, 2005

When did we get to Disneyland??

I didn't fall off the face of the earth. I I didn't have a life threatening disease or have traumatic surgery. I didn't go on an exotic vacation or attend a work related convention. I didn't get lost and not find my way home. I did, however, lose a week's worth of time, somewhere between my parents visiting, working, tending to my little dumpling, maintaining my idea of a clean and organized house and running errands. So deal with it.

My head's been on the Tilt-A-Whirl this week and I'm just now being able to slow the ride down and view the scenery for what it is. Work, as always has kept me on my toes. For you dedicated readers, you remember awhile back when there was some grand confusion regarding my position at the school. There was talk of me leaving the resource room and being in the 6th grade all day. When I had confronted the principal about it, she looked at me like I was speaking Slavik. Then yesterday, she says casually, "So you will continue doing the resource room and then after lunch you'll be in the third grade. " WHAT?!?! Needless to say I didn't see that freight train coming. There is some musical classroom action going on at work, and one of the aides in the 4th/5th grade class will be taking a 3rd grade class after next week and will need an aide. And guess who was nominated? Yeah, without my approval or input. Apparently they wanted me in there because I was a strong and experienced teacher. I say ptooey to that! I was outraged when I heard this tidbit of news yesterday, being that I had no warning. I didn't want to leave my 6th graders. I love my 6th graders. They make me crazy and want to bash my head into a wall at times, but regardless, I love them. And I was crushed to think I wouldn't be in there anymore. Plus, what about Disneyland? I was promised a fun-filled day of weaving through a chaotic crowd of strangers with other people's children and I demand that promise be fulfilled!

After much deliberation (and a bit of pouting on my part, I am not ashamed to add), there was a compromise. Monday thru Thursday I will be in the resource room in the mornings and 3rd grade in the afternoons. Then Fridays, I will be in 6th all day. I feel like a human yo-yo, but at least I get to see my teenage basketcases at least once a week. I will be focusing on writing and Language, which is my passion. So I have that going for me. Plus, because there will be a 2 hour block in the middle of Mon-Fri where I am teaching without the lead teacher, I am getting a slight pay raise. That's something. We could use any moola possible at this point. It's a step closer to my husband not having to pull two jobs every day. So, now that I've had some time to reflect and evaluate, I am warming up to the idea of the change. I despise change as you may already know, so it's still hard for me to let go of my current situation. But, I do really like the guy who's gonna be teaching 3rd grade and I'm getting extra money out of the deal. So, I guess I'll survive.

On a side note, my parents' visit went well. My aunt got to meet Mason for the first time, so that was nice. I of course could not go a single visit with them without the criticism or "I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but..."speech, so this visit's topic was the fact that I don't heat up Mason's baby food. I took it out of the kitchen cabinet (gasp!) and fed it to him just like that, as I always have and my dad almost had a coronary. "Shouldn't you heat it up in a pan?" A pan? Yeah, I'm gonna pour a teeny 4 ounce jar of baby food into a huge pan and wait for it to heat up, as Mason screams bloody murder, flailing around in his highchair. I think not. He eat is at room temperature, so I don't see what the problem is. Plus, it elminates the problem of being out somewhere and not having a pan to heat up his food. Whatever. They're from the old school and it's hard for them to see that sometimes there are easier approaches to parenting.

So yeah, we'll see them again next weekend when we go down for a weekend visit and they have a chance to babysit. I love them and love every chance they have to be with Mason, but it still makes me tense. Ah well, you can't pick 'em, eh?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Lions don't always rule the jungle...

So the lead teacher was out yesterday for an out-of-town conference. I thought, no big deal. I've taught before ALL ON MY OWN and besides, the kids know me and know the rules. All I have to do is follow the lesson plan and get them out the door at 2. Simple. Uh, not so much. Apparently they were under the impression that because the teacher wasn't there, they were allowed mass mayhem. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but it didn't run quite as smoothly as expected. Let's see if I can't paint a picture of my "smooth" day: we had two fire drills; one little girl was jumping rope during recess and her skirt fell to the floor (she then ran off in hysterics, hollering down the hall and into the bathroom, where another teacher heard her and sent her and her two partners-in-crime to the office. A lot of good that did. They got to "stay in the office and work as long as they wanted"); I had to collect fundraiser money and permission slips for an upcoming field trip; I had to take in a 5th grader because of behavior (he was expected to work dilligently, as a punishment. But it turned out that he thought it was pretty darn cool to be hanging out in the 6th grade class); and on top of all that, the overall behavior of the class was atrocious. They were talking when I was talking, refusing to work in some cases and being particularly loud all day. I was at my wit's end. I told them, threatened them, that their teacher would be hearing about the way they were acting and that she would be very upset to hear it. It didn't phase them. We'll see what she thinks on Monday, when she reads the note I left.

My parents are coming to visit today. They haven't seen Mason in awhile, so that's always fun. I love seeing them, but I have become invisible to them since Mason was born. It used to be that when I'd ring their doorbell or they'd come up to visit, they'd greet me with big hugs and bright faces. Now, I answer the door, and they're peering behind me, searching for their grandson. I see how it is. So the whole point of having children is so that someday they can have children of their own and you can spoil them and not have to do all the dirty work. I hope to reap from this theory someday. It's strange to think of Mason getting married and having children. It better be MANY MANY years, in fact DECADES from now, but still. I often wonder what type of man he will become. Will he be an intellect? Will he be an athlete? Will he be a teacher? An astronaut? A pilot (my husband's dream)? A lawyer (please God, if he is, let him be one with morals--not the "If you were arrested for a DUI, call Mason and Associates and we'll FIGHT FOR YOU!")? A doctor? Or perhaps a soldier? Only time will tell I suppose.

That's it from here. I'm sure my next entry will have a picture from the grandparents' visit. Ta ta.