Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year and Ol' Acquaintances...

I never understood that line in the New Year's song Ol' Acquaintances be forgot... Why do you want to forget them? Do you need your space in your brain for other stuff?
Anyway, speaking of old acquaintances... I went to a grown-up movie today! I can't remember the last grown up movie I went to in the theaters. I ran into an old high school boyfriend. I thought to myself "look self, there's 'Billy Bob's' dad." Nope. It was Billy Bob himself. He hugged me and said I haven't changed at all in the last (huhmmm) years since graduation. All I could think is, "wow, YOU have. You got shorter. And wider. And where did your hair go?" Even though he looked like his dad, which is still creepy as I type this, his charm and ability to make me laugh was still there. It was fun catching up. We both have two boys the same ages, and he has an Ethan too! I admitted that I still, to this day, can't hear a Joan Jett song without thinking of him, or drive past a dairy farm for that matter since he helped his dad milk cows. I left wondering why I didn't give him more than a second thought in high school. Oh yeah- it's because he made-out with my slutty cousin- while we were dating. Good thing I didn't give him a second thought after all.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snow Much Fun

It's Christmas break and the only thing that could make it better would be warmer weather. We had a three day(ish) storm for Christmas, so we had a quiet one. On Christmas Eve we did the same old stuff. We went to church (but our NEW one this time- Which was WAY better), went to the in-laws, watched the other grandchildren open their mountains of gifts, while my kids unwrap a quarter (no kidding). There was lots of wine involved, so that made the "OMG! My niece slurs all of her words like a drunken sailor!!" Scream a little less loudly in my head. Seriously. She slurs her words. Both my niece and nephew whom are being raised by my mother-in-law are very low functioning and my mother-in-law, knowing full well I AM a teacher, told me she was going to write their special ed. teacher a letter asking "how she dare send home homework during Christmas break." All I thought was 'you should include in that letter that you would like the school to raise them, or that second and fourth grade MODIFIED homework is way above your intelligence level' because that is what will be read between the lines. Seriously. They are either all becoming more and more like hillbillies or I am becoming less and less blind. Christmas day was quiet. We were home. I made a ham- and wait for it... gravy!! Yes I did and it was good. The day after we went to my dad's and his wife's family was there for Christmas. Lots of liquor was involved there- which made it a really pleasant experience. I am petty sure my step- brother-in-law and I are running for office in 2012.
Now that the Christmas fun and excitement is over, life is back to normal. My children are getting along one minute, then fighting the next. I honestly don't know what to do. Before I had children, I would have them go to their rooms and write three things they love about their siblings. I wasn't factoring in the fact that one can't spell and his older brother (who spells just as well as the little one) would make fun of his spelling inantiquities, and the little one is so stubborn that he couldn't possibly think of anything he likes about his brother. Before I had children I would also have the kids sit in a room together but not be able to talk until they said they were sorry and loved each other. I really underestimated the freedom of speech on that one. Now that I am a parent, I have no idea what to do. Let them fight it out and they will annoy me and possibly get hurt. Telling them to "stop it" immediately puts a flash in my head of a drunken mom with her hair disheveled, and a cigarette hangin' out of her mouth saying "Knock it off you two..." as she's stumbling around wearing one high heel shoe. By not letting them fight it out, am I cheating them on learning how to fight fair with their future spouses? By making them fight it out, and I tarnishing their childhood memories so all they'll remember is fighting?
Maybe I should spit out my cigarette and comb my hair and help Ethan spell "You let me borrow your gameboy at your basketball games where I am board out of my mind, and wouldn't have to go to at all if you wouldn't ruin my weekends by being in basketball..."
Speaking of gameboy... For those who don't know, 'gameboy' is a portable game system, not to be confused with a 'playstation' which is a game system that hooks up to the TV. Yesterday I was cleaning off the kitchen counter and told Ethan, "Go put away your playboy right now."
Later when Stacy came over to visit I told Ethan to go downstairs so we could talk in peace. Ethan said, "Oh, you're going to say inappropriate words, like swear words..."
Go put away your playboy a--h--e!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kids

Last night Noah asked me, "mom, is it OK if I have a girlfriend?" I smiled to myself and said, "It's OK, but only if you don't kiss her." He immediately said, "Oh, I wouldn't do that"- as if that is the grossest thing I could suggest. "So, who's the girl?" He tells me, "She's Ryan's (his good friend) ex-girlfriend. Ryan dumped her and now she likes me, so I think I'll try to like her." Funny thing- that's how many of my high school relationships started, except some that I "tried" to like never stuck. Last night he drew a heart on his hand with their initials.
Ethan is so excited for Santa. I really wish I could freeze time and keep him this age. He has become such a good reader, he can read anything in front of him it seems. The other night the kids were talking about what they learned in school. Ethan said, "I know you need six things to live." He starts ticking them off on his fingers, "air, food, water, heat, love, and.... ummmm... a cell phone." I laughed and he said, "well, if your house burns down, how will you call 911?"
Last week my class switched Gym times with a fifth grade teacher because he had something else going on at his regular time. His time is right away at 8:45. Ours is at 10:10. We usually have morning meeting, reading, snack and then gym. I explained to the class at 8:40 (when school starts) that we are switching gym times and showed them the revised schedule and followed it up with, "so we better line up for gym, so we aren't late..." I walked the kids down to gym. As they past by me to walk into the gym, three students asked me, "Why are we going to gym so early?" One kid, Mr. Panda, asked, "Why are we going to gym? Did I miss snack?" Ohhh. You gotta love them!
Yesterday many of my students brought me Christmas gifts. I opened them in front of them because they wanted me to. One student who has a lot of trouble following directions and listening made me a card and wanted me to open it and read it in front of the class this morning. It said, (spelling is as is) Deer Mrs. Fairfeild, Mary Chrisssmas. I hope you hav a good brake. when we come back I will be good. I will lisen good in 2011."
2011!! How is that going to help me?!
Merry Christmas! I hope you are all ready for you holiday season!! I sort-of live by my mom's old advise. Get what you can done, what doesn't get done is OK because nobody will notice it's not done anyway.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I HATE WINTER

I hate winter. Why would I live in the land of Arctic cold temperatures then? Who knows?! I am nuts! I miss the days of just slipping on my sandals and leaving. Actually I miss the days of putting on my jean jacket and leaving- and those days were only two weeks ago. This is the third day of "official" cold, below 40 degree, weather we've had, and I am fed up!! It takes the kids and me an extra 10-15 minutes each morning to get ready to walk out the door. We have to put on our jackets, boots (yes, I have turned into my mother and I wear winter boots- NERD) find where Sam has carried our gloves off to, he can't just take one pair of one person, but one glove from each of us, warm up the car, remind Ethan to go pee before he puts on his snow pants and wrap him up in a scarf. This is all to just get in the car!! Seriously! WTF??? I loath this weather crap. I have been freezing at school. I wear three layers every day, and I still freeze. I told the head engineer all I wanted for Christmas is heat and he told me my student teacher said to turn the heat down a few weeks ago. Now all I want is heat and a be-be gun. I should say we are lucky because it has been this cold in October before and October and November were nice. But what idiot says, "We are so lucky! It's first day it's 29 degrees below 0 and it's December" HELLOOO!! It's still frickin' 29 degrees BELOW ZERO!! We are not lucky!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kids

Ethan has been so funny lately! I think my favorite age with Noah was 4, but I think I like Ethan's age right now the best. The other night I was cleaning out his backpack and he had a "booklet" he made about things he is thankful for. Page one; "I am thankful for the vacuum because it is sucky and sucks up stuff." Page 2; "I am thankful for God because without him, nothing would be living." Page 3; "I am thankful for my fish because they play with me" These must be secret agent fish, because from what I see, they never leave their tank. They swim, eat and die. The last page said, "I am thankful for my teacher because she gives me fun homework." I love that he likes his teacher, but his mom was no where to be seen in this book. His teacher is right up there with God, the vacuum, and his fish that he frequently forgets to feed and lets die. The next night we were eating supper and looking out the deck door. A huge jackrabbit was on the golf course. The dogs went out on the deck and started barking at it and it jumped really high and fast. It looked like it was flying through the air. I should mention it was a windy night, and when I told the kids, "LOOK AT THE JACKRABBIT!! It's like it's flying!" Ethan told me it was a bag being blown away. The next morning while putting our shoes and coats on to go to school, Ethan said to Noah, "Hey remember last night when mom saw the bunny?" Putting "bunny" in air quotes.
Later that night we were watching some music award show and Ethan said out of no where, "Debbie (my sister) should write songs and sing them, so when she goes on TV and they show her family, I get to be on TV." When I was tucking him in that night I was singing "Let it snow..." He interrupts to say, "Let it snow Santa and Jesus." Then turns to me and asked if they worked together in a partnership. Being the smart-ass I am, I really wanted to say, "Probably not since Santa stole Baby Jesus' birthday celebration from him." But I didn't. I didn't even tell him if you rearrange the letters in Santa, you get Satan. I'll save that for when I feel they need more couch material for their future therapists.
I absolutely love how innocent and hopeful my students are this year. Last week the kids were suppose to give a book presentation on a historical fiction book they've read. They were suppose to make a mobile with drawings and fill in information about the book, such as when/where it took place, who the characters are, what happened at the beginning, middle, and end as well as the problem and solution. I strongly suspected this girl didn't read her book because when I asked what happened in the beginning, she read from her mobile, "Get in the barn, said ma. No I replied. I am too scared to run outside. Get in the barn now said ma..." When I asked her what made this book historical fiction (it was a story set in the time of the civil war), she replied, "It happened in long ago time, like in 1980 or something..." The funny thing is I had a total straight face and glanced at my student teacher who thinks I am older than dirt, and I could tell he was thinking, "1980 WAS a long time ago."
Last Friday my class was having "share time" during morning meeting. One of my students
(girl 1) said, "My dad shot his deer last night, and he's going to donate the hide to habitat for humanity so they can sell it."
Student 2- "What will they do with it, I mean who would they sell it to?"
Student 3- "Oh, you know to the Indians. They'll make a tepee out of it."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Motherly Advice

I have two facebook friends who recently had babies. There is so much advice I'd like to give them, but they really need to learn it on their own. Such as...
-Hold your baby as much as you want. Hold him when he sleeps, when you sleep, when you are both awake... He's only a baby and non-mobile for such a short time. Take advantage of it.
-Let your baby sleep with you. You both will sleep better, and isn't that the goal of weathering new parenthood? It's not like he'll be 14 and want to sleep with you. If he does, you've done some other things along the way that were questionable...
- Expose them before the age of one to a variety of foods. If you don't do this, you will hear, "I don't like that..." for every meal.
- Don't leave your baby on a bed without you holding/touching him. He may not be rolling over yet, but there is always that first time...
- The don't have to eat healthy EVERY day. It's OK to have a meal of hotdog, chips, soda and sweets as long as the rest of the meals that week are good.
- The world will not come to an end if they spend the day in their jammies, or go to bed with clothes on.
-It's OK if they don't brush their teeth every single night. They are baby teeth, they fall out anyway.
- Get them a pet, it will teach them love of living things (something my step-mom should have had), empathy, and will cut down on their chance of allergies later.
- Clean when the baby/toddler is awake. Doing housework while there is peace and quiet is just wrong.
- If the choice is clean or hold your baby, choose hold the baby. The dirty dishes will always be there, blink and the baby is running around naked in the backyard.
- Speaking of running around naked in the backyard, don't push potty training. Tell them, "Fine! Go to Kindergarten in diapers!" They will thank you and let you know when they are ready. I taught Kindergarten for 7 years and they never came to school in diapers- mostly because there's a school policy against it.
- Two words Baby Einstein. I let Ethan watch an hour of Baby Einstein every day between the ages of three weeks and four years. He's smart, appreciates classical music and I got to shower in peace.- Not at all bad!
- Don't let the TV be the babysitter. Sponge Bob is a funny guy, but a poor excuse as a parent. Talk to your kids. READ to your kids. Take them new places. Their future success in life is determined by the first three years. Comfort them, feed them, TALK to them, keep them safe, give them new experiences- even going to the grocery store is new and exciting to them.
-It's OK to teach your baby sign language, but don't be all shocked when he won't talk when he's three.
- Don't be afraid to say no. They will get used to it and listen when they are older. And BELIEVE me, your child's future teachers will thank you for it, as well as your child's friend's parents.
- It's absolutely OK to influence who your kids choose as friends. In fact you should. Would you sit by and let your child be friends with a jack-knife or crack cocaine? NO- think of telling your child "no" to the "bad" kids as keeping them safe, which is the parent's first responsibility. It is irresponsible to allow them to be friends with a "bad" kid. You are setting them up for trouble and you up for heart-ache. Of course those kids need to be "saved", but NOT at the expense of your child.
- That being said, it may seem for a while like your child has no friends. Trust me, one day - about the time when kids pick their friends and invite them over, rather than playdates arranged by their parents, and when being naughty isn't that "cool", your child will be Mr. Popularity because what parent wants to have a naughty kid at their house all afternoon?
- Last but not least, I know it's expensive and Payless is tempting, and they outgrow shoes every three months, but bite the bullet and buy quality shoes. They will hopefully be walking on those two feet for the next 100 years. There are over 50 bones in their feet and some aren't formed yet. Take it form me, it's a pain in the ass- and feet to have screwed up feet because the cheep shoes were too appealing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Am I Old?

My student teacher was trying to teach the concept of then and now. He is using communicating as an example.

“How many of you have a land line phone, a phone on the wall? When I was in third grade, the only phone we had was a phone like the one on the classroom wall except you could carry it around with you. It wasn’t a cell phone, it had buttons to push, but you had to put it back on the wall unit when you were done talking. It was called a portable phone. When Mrs. Fairfield was in third grade, I bet she had a phone on the wall with a cord and a dial that you had to put your finger in and physically dial. On the Titanic (we just finished learning about it) they used Morris Code to communicate….”

Do you also find it sad that he relates the next step up of phone technology during my childhood was Morris code? How old does he think I am??

I am also noticing fine wrinkles. I compared my last three school ping-pong pictures. There is a definite progression. The first one, I have shorter hair, look perky and no wrinkles. Last year I look tired, but no wrinkles. This year I look perky, have nice hair, look happy, but I have wrinkles on my forehead. I've never had wrinkles on my forehead. What's with that? In fact I took the last 14 ping-pong pictures from the last 12 years and if you hold them together in order and flip them like one of those books that "move", you can see the progression. The years my kids were little, I looked like death warmed over. I am amazed I could keep my eyes open being I sat down for the photo. My first year teaching, I looked like a 14 year old. In fact I taught at a middle school and a teacher told me to get back to class. That would never happen now. I have a Christmas party that goes until 12:30. My first thought was, "Who can stay up THAT late?" I think I may be officially middle aged. I heard a song on the radio today talking about a young mother and I thought, "that's me". But it's not anymore. Where did the time go? It seems like I blinked and Boom- add about six years to my age and double it and that is my expected lifetime. Last Wednesday I went to the gynecologist. I mentioned I can't lose weight as easily as before and he replied, "welcome to the world of middle aged." What!!? He also informed me that I should consider having a mammogram in the next few years. I remember people I worked with at Hornbacher's in college talking about having a mammogram and I distinctly recall thinking, "that sounds like no fun. Thank God it's just for OLD people."
Well, it's 4:00, I can't decide if I should take a nap or eat supper...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Miss My Mom

This time of year has been kind of sucky for me for the past eight years. My mom's birthday was in the fall, she died in the middle of November, and Thanksgiving was three days after we buried her. It's been eight years. I never thought I'd miss her less, but I thought it'd be easier by now. It's not really easier, I think I just have gotten used to it. I still think about her every day. When I have issues and need to talk to someone, or ask about my health history, or her health history, I wish she was here. She had a brain aneurysm when I was eighteen, so it's not like she'd be able to give solid advice, but she'd always be in my corner and that's really what we all need. I wonder what she'd think of her grandchildren? I wonder if she'd be proud of me? I think the fact that my relationship completely changed with my dad makes me miss her more. Dad got remarried five years ago. Although I am glad he is happy, I miss him too because since he got married he wants to pretend the 40 years before his new marriage didn't exist, and when his kids and grandchildren keep showing up that's hard to do. Weeks will go by without talking to him. Months will go by without him seeing me or the kids. He's forgotten mine, my sister's, Noah's and Ethan's birthdays. It sucks because even though I am a grown-up, I still feel like I need a parent. I always wanted my children to have a special grandparent/grandchild bond, but they don't. I wonder if they will ever feel cheated?

God's Talking to Me

Ethan is constantly talking to himself. One day he asked as we were driving, "does God talk to you? He talks to me all of the time." I asked him if God says, "Ethan... Quit doing that." He said, "Ya. Stuff like that." He has a constant outloud comentary of what it going on in his head. The best is when he argues with himself. He'll also play board games with an imaginary friend, and cry when the imaginary friend wins and accuses the imaginary friend of cheating, "mommy! I'm not playing that game anymore, he cheats!" I'm waiting for the day he starts talking with his pointer finger like the creepy kid on The Shining. "Redrum. Redrum..."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Clothes

Last night after several promptings, a stuffed dog being thrown upstairs (where I was) with an attached note saying, "Pleez help me put away my cloths" and whining, Ethan finally put away his clean, folded clothes from his laundry basket. Fifteen minutes later he comes upstairs with tears in his eyes saying, "I need to sell some of my clothes!" Apparently they wouldn't all fit in his drawers. Take into consideration that he refuses to use his top two dresser drawers because he "can't see what's in there." I told him to use the top two drawers for jammies and he'd have room for the rest. Ethan's dilemma made me think of my dresser drawers. I have two drawers that I have "guilt clothes" in. I have pants that I've gotten as a gift, yet they don't look quite right. I keep them because they were gifts and if I lose/gain weight they might fit and look nice. I also have a few shirts like that. I have sweaters that are nice, but really not my style. I have a sweater I spent a mint on, but I wore it for one day and felt like I looked like a librarian all day. I can't part from it because I spent a lot of money on it. I have jammies that were cute on the hanger, but not that comfortable to wear. I have the sweater iIwore the day my mom died that I can't bare to wear or get rid of because of the memories attached to it. I have a t-shirt I received as a gift on my first Mother's Day that says, "I love my mommy", however I never wore it because it would be a little creepy if a grown woman were advertising their love for their mother. I have a sweatshirt that belonged an old boyfriend that I really should throw, but I haven't. It's not like I am a pack rat. I clean my closet every spring and fall. My rule is if I haven't worn it in a year, it goes. I wonder if other people have a "guilt drawer"?
Thoughts that I think: Why don't we go around shooting our own turkeys for Thanksgiving like in the olden days?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth

Ethan finally lost his other front tooth. No more snaggled tooth hanging there crooked. He went to bed Saturday night and pulled it out while laying there. The tooth fairy forgot to come, so she left him a message the next night that said, "I'm sorry I missed your tooth the night before. I think you lost it so late at night it didn't register on my lost tooth radar." He got double the money and got to keep his tooth. He is so honest it's funny. On Friday, after he went to bed he came up to tell us that, "Kate and Emma (friends from daycare) dared me to walk on the street from the bus stop to Jo's (daycare lady). But I only did it for 5 seconds." He comes out a little later, "Well, it might have been more like 7 seconds." A little later, "It really was more like 13 seconds." Why the sudden need to confess? Well, he thinks if he feels guilty about something he'll have bad dreams. Being the mother of the year I am, I totally fed into it, "You are right Ethan, you should always tell mommy everything so you won't have bad dreams." This has gotten him to tell on Noah- he let go of Sam's leash on a walk to see what would happen, and he's told on himself- he kicked the hacky sack way up on the lights in gym and didn't tell the teacher. He has the whole Catholic guilt thing going, and we aren't even Catholic.

We've officially had Sam for one year. 367 days ago, Sam became part of our family after we saved him from the destiny of the icy cold river, or a life in the liquor store. He got a big bone for his birthday. He carries it around with him all of the time. If he accidentally walks away from it and one of the other dogs (mostly Abby) goes to lay by it, Sam is too chicken to get it back. He just sits staring at the thieving dog and barks. I tell him he is three times bigger than them and to just take it back, but he doesn't listen. I tried to cut his massive leg hair this morning so he'd look more like a dog and less like a Clydesdale. I also had the tub filled with water, thinking I'd give him a bath after his new hair-do. He ran away from me as I was starting to cut his hair and jumped into the tub not knowing it was filled with water. Sam hates baths, so he looked at me like, "why you do this to me? I am not mean to you..."

Noah had his first basketball tournament last weekend. His team took second place. I hope Noah sticks with basketball because unlike baseball it doesn't bore me to tears, unlike football, I understand the concepts and rules, and unlike soccer, I can see the ball and don't have to sit in the wind/rain/sleet/cold to watch him. Noah also decided he's "going to ask Santa for a guinea pig this year because Santa always gets you what you ask for." I assured him that Santa does not deliver live animals. I told him if he wrote a persuasive letter to me telling why he should be allowed to get one AND did a lot of research on guinea pigs so he can answer any question I ask, I'd think about it. My concern is if they stink. I have been doing my own research and I asked my students, but none of them have every had one, so I still don't know about their aroma. One girl said, "We don't have guinea pigs because my mom says they are just fat, hairy rats." Maybe a kitten would be the better avenue to take...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Post Conference

I had parent teacher conferences on Monday and Tuesday. And yes, I was sick. I can't possibly buck that trend can I? I so rarely get sick- but the two times I do each year are during parent teacher conferences. I was getting sick two and a half weeks ago, decided I'd buck the "conference curse", but no. It lasted through conferences. I have bronchitis. I can't stop coughing. I haven't slept the whole night for three weeks because I am up coughing most of the night. I went in and got four kinds of medicines, but they are not working and I am still sick. Thankfully conferences went great. The parents all understood when I'd leave the table to have a coughing fit alone, and I didn't have anything negative to say about anyone. They are all great. I am so lucky this year. I absolutely love my class, they are well behaved, they are nice and they try. What more could I ask for? At Noah's conferences his teachers never have anything to say and I, as a parent, feel a little "jipped" having not filled the allotted 20 minutes talking about how wonderful my kid is. This week, I felt their pain. I had a hard time filling up 20 minutes when the kid is awesome, they are learning, are well behaved and I have no worries. You know me, I could talk to a wall (in fact I do most evenings), so these are some of the topics also covered during my parent teacher conferences 2009- please note- I did not bring up any of these topics, the parents did; millennium babies and how 1989 may have well be 1789 because they can't fathom the 20th century, in 1880 a mob broke into the prison in Grand Forks and lynched an inmate, how the 1880 lynching was news to me, the right age for contacts, orthopedic surgeons, Meritcare's emergency room, one mom thinking her left side is going to pot, traveling basketball teams, hocky for girls, if "pink" wine is really wine at all because there are no pink grapes. the guy who gardens in the nude on the road my dad lives on which happens to be on the way to the lake, and the highlight, how can the camels survive at the Fargo Zoo?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Advice? Venting?

I don't know if I am as much asking for advice as I am venting. My children (mainly Ethan) have been making me so crabby lately. I have been sick for over a week. Not swine flu, dying sick. But I have a sinus infection. My teeth hurt, all day my nose alternates between being plugged and runny, all night I cough and cough and cough. I am so tired of coughing. You know how you start coughing, then gasping for air and think, "This is it! I am going to die from a coughing fit right here in front of my non-CPR certified third grade students! I hope they know they have to dial 9 to get an outside line when they dial 9911. Maybe this is something I should review with them. If only I could stop gasping for air..."- That's me. I can't tell you how many times today I had to stop teaching and have them read at their desk, so I can finish my coughing fit. I know it's a sinus infection, but I don't want to go to the clinic, because what if I catch something worse while I am there? I could wrap myself up in saran wrap from head to toe, but the hours of waiting to be seen would entail me having to have saran wrap around my head too long, I'd probably suffocate. Let's see. Die from a saran wrap mishap, or from a coughing fit? The saran wrap option might make the newspaper, so maybe that would be the better choice... Anyway, I haven't slept and I am tired. If you know me at all, you know I am really not a happy camper when I am tired. It makes me not care about anything other than sleep. People have asked me to do fun things, that I turned down, I didn't stop at the liquor store OR get gas today because I don't care about anything other than sleeping and a way to stop coughing.
My question for advice is what do you do with two kids who fight constantly? My siblings were so much older than me, they either let me have my way, or were too tired to fight by the time I came along. Before I had kids, I had a "plan" about what to do with fighting. That "plan" sucks!! It doesn't work at all! Noah and Ethan fight constantly. They used to never fight. Ethan is (well he has more personality traits in common with his other parent)-touchy. You don't know what will set him off. You don't know which Ethan is showing up. You walk gently on egg shells. Noah has never stood up for himself. This is something I have been trying to teach him since kindergarten. When he was two he went to mean Jenny's daycare and she squashed all of his ability to stand up for himself, and I have spent the past five years trying to install it. Well, now it works. Too well. He is always criticizing Ethan, and Ethan gets mad, over-reacts and yells, which makes me yell. I have said the words "shut- up" and "knock it off!" to them this week. I have NEVER said those words to my children ever. At first I was ashamed, then thought, "Maybe there will be shock value in this and I can run with it." Nope. In fact the "knock it off" was on the way to Sunday School, and it didn't phase them in the least. Are you kidding me? What is driving me to such extremes? THEIR non-stop fighting. I told them through clenched sore teeth, "YOU WILL STOP FIGHTING OR ELSE!" Of course, Ethan (I should have expected it) said, "Or else what?" I've tried making them stay in their rooms. I tried making them stay in a room together until they write or say three nice things to each other- which resulted in Ethan having to stay in a room with me to think of three nice things to say to me for calling me "dumb" because he can't write and throwing a tantrum about it. - By the way all I got was him holding up three fingers and ticking them off as he said, "GO A-WAY!" All I could think is "YOU. LITTLE. BRAT." I've made them go outside to fight. I've taken away video games. I've taken away so much from Ethan, all he has left is his bed. He currently can not play video games, watch TV, talk to Noah, or go to the neighbor's house. Oh and to top that off. All day today ALL I wanted was to come home and sleep. Nope. I had to do laundry, drive Noah all over the city, and make supper. Ethan has a huge aversion to anything red. In the rice tonight were tomato skins (like tiny 12 squares total). He refused to eat it because it has something red in it, was by something red once on the shelf, could look like something red could be found in it, etc... I was about to string him up. I didn't want to cook for the little angel any more than he wanted to eat it, but I did. I am at my wits end. Noah does taunt him, but Ethan needs to chill out and not get so worked up about every little thing. I try to tell Noah to stop teasing him, and Noah acts all, "what??? me???" As if I were born yesterday. Even now as I help Ethan with homework we just had a heated debate about their not being an "h" in away. UGGGGGGG
Speaking of being born yesterday- or on another planet, I was making my bi-weekly run to Walgreen's to buy my fake sudafed and benadryl and I overheard a middle aged lady (YOU had better not be thinking- or like YOUR age Sara?) talking to a college age girl with dread locks. "How is your mom?" Dread lock girl, "Oh good". Old lady, "Have you been healthy" (now I am thinking, well she won't get planters warts on her feet from sharing a shower because I don't think you can shower if you have dread locks)- see I am even a bitch in my head. The dread lock girl answers- I kid you not- "Oh yeah, We're like vegetarian most of the time, but we still will eat hamburger once in a while, but NOT pork, so we won't get the swine flu." Really?... Just think, She might be taking care of me someday in the nursing home. I better load up on ham now.
Thoughts I think: I used to care, but now I take a pill for that.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cheating Ethan?

Lately I've been feeling "mom guilt"And not the "mom guilt I was told about yesterday when a mom told me she feels so mean telling her 9-year-old daughter she can't shower with her anymore. Ewww, by the way, inappropriate and TMI. Since I am not very good at hiding my feelings with my facial expressions, I think she got the idea. Anyway, my mom guilt is based on cheating Ethan out of his childhood. There are things you should do with your kids to make traditions and memories. My parents didn't do these things and I am a stable (most of the time) well adjusted adult, but still... I don't want to be accused of not standing outside for a half hour when it is 45 below waiting to see Santa at Santa's Village someday in a psychiatrist's office. I want to be accused of stuff I didn't mean to do, such as telling two-year-old Noah we sold baby Ethan on e-bay. And that the car stops working if the seat belts aren't buckled, and they would poo orange if they didn't eat all of their vegetables, or caffeine makes them shrink. All of the things they can accuse me of are things I said based on their best interest- well except the e-bay thing. That was just funny. Anyway, I am struggling with continuing the "childhood" traditions I have tried to undertake to make memories for my kids. Maybe it's because I chose to do too many, maybe it's because after doing them for seven years it's getting old, maybe I am just too busy/lazy.
Take Halloween for instance. Every Halloween the boys and I go to the pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin, one year Ethan even rolled it down the steps to show me, denting the wall in the process. There are mazes, horse and wagon rides, "real" cowboys and a "haunted" path to walk down. It is fun. I should say, it IS fun when the leaves have changed, it's semi warm out, not soggy wet, and it's one of the first six times you've done it. This year it has rained pretty much every day from the end of September and all of October. The leaves didn't change and fall, but simply stayed green and fell due to the constant downpour of rain. I didn't even mention the pumpkin patch to the kids this year, but got two pumpkins at Hornbachers. The other night Ethan asked why we didn't go to the pumpkin patch. - Bad mom moment one. I also usually make a big deal out of planning their costumes and picking them out. Last year it was such an expensive time consuming fiasco, with Noah's costume arriving in the mail ON October 31, I didn't want to re-live it, so I told them they had to wear something they already have and like it. Bad mom moment two. I have a sneaking suspicion Noah can't find his costume. I told him if he can't find it he has to clean his messy room. He says he found it, but I think he didn't and is just telling me that. Bad mom three and four. One for letting him lie to me, and one for not caring if he finds it because he's right on the verge of being too old to trick or treat. On the Friday before Halloween it is tradition that we carve the pumpkins. Actually I carve the pumpkins while the kids run around the house like wild animals. I LOTHE carving pumpkins. It is messy, gross, involves a good chance of me cutting myself with a sharp knife and did I mention messy? The kids can't help even if I wanted them to. They would make it messier and it involves knives. I asked Ethan last night if he really wanted to carve pumpkins this year. I crossed my fingers and hoped he'd say no. What is wrong with me?? Why am I robbing them of their childhood? My parents never did ANY of this with me. In fact, they sent me in the car with my old-enough-to- drive siblings to take me around trick or treating. When they moved out in second grade, that was my last year because my mom "had to stay home to pass out candy" to the eight trick or treaters that came to our house. I know- tell it to the psychiatrist. I am finding myself more and more relieved when they want to pass on the "kid" activities, such as story time at the library, going to the children's museum, etc... Those are fun things, and I really enjoyed them- when they were experiencing it as a young child. Ethan has always been a "go against the grain" kid. His Kindergarten class photos are so sad. He is the only one on pajama day wearing jeans. He's the only one not taking part in "50's" day, or yellow, red, blue, or orange days. Therefore he is a little more agreeable when I ask if we "have to..." I should not use this to my advantage. It feels like I am taking away his childhood. Or maybe they are growing up and I am torn between letting them, and keeping them little...
Well, I better go carve the pumpkins now, and ask how they REALLY feel about Santa's Village.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

I have been neglecting my blog lately. I guess I just don't have much to say. My students are so good this year, I don't feel the need to vent. They are so nice. In fact, I am not agitated most of the time and I have time to sit back and laugh (in my head) about them often. Take this week for example. The kids are taking the NDSA. It tells the state, and George W. as well as Obama if I am in fact doing my job. We do not get the results of this test until the very last week in May, but it determines if our school is a good one, or bad one. Last year, I had several students read an article about an albino buffalo and "guess" based on the article, that an albino deer is really a ground hog or squirrel. They still passed! So, I am giving the standardized test while the kids have their privacy folders set up around them. I have one kid who crouched down into his folder, then slowly peeks over it at me. If he sees me watching, he quickly ducks down. I can't hold in my laughter and start laughing as I give the next directions. I have one who poked holes in his privacy folder (which I have had for 9 years, I'll have you know) which makes me mad and stop laughing, and I have one who stares at the ceiling when she is thinking- as if the answer is written up there. It's not, I looked.
Today was our Halloween party. The other third grade classes were wild and loud as they changed into their costumes. Mine quietly changed and sat down without making a peep. As if everyday at 2:00 we put on costumes. These kids need to learn how to party. At the end of the day, most of the kids wore their costumes home. "Mr. Panda" came back to school about 20 minutes later, frantic because he "lost" his costume. He looked in his desk, in his locker, in his neighbor's locker, no luck. He was on the verge of tears. I told him, "Maybe you left it at home. Where is your backpack?" He replies, "In the car, my mom drove me back." His mom, who has four boys, drove him back across town to look for his costume. I was helping him look and I finally said, "I can't remember what it looked like, what was it?"
"It was like this," he says unbuttoning his jacket. He was wearing it the whole time. He looks down and says, "ooh." and dashes out the door, only to come back for his jacket. I had one juice box left and I offered it to him and he said, "No thanks. My mom makes me share with my brothers." Being there are four of them he'd probably only get a sip. He is SO funny!!

I am little worried this is Noah's last "dress up" Halloween. Fifth graders trick or treating is kind of pushing it. Where did the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday I made a little cow outfit for him to wear and crawl around in? It was nine years ago today he got his first tooth, yet it seems like yesterday. I know the best way to ward off baby fever. Get a puppy. Sam IS one now, so we don't have an official puppy anymore...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dogs. Do You Get What You Pay For?

As you know, I have three dogs. Abby, an eleven pound King Charles Spaniel, who believes she is a beautiful baby princess because we tell her that every day. Max, our "special" 13 pound King Charles Spaniel/Bichon cross. And Sam, the 28 pound liquor store dog who thinks he is an eight pound puppy.
Before we got Abby, I took an Internet test to see what dog breed was right for me. I wanted a small dog, that does not bark, pee in the house- could possibly use a litter box or toilet, is good with the kids, does not need to go on a lot of walks, does not shed, and is not hyper. After I typed it all in, the wheels were turning while concocting our results, I fully expected it to say the perfect dog would be a cat. I did not want a dog. Scott's, husky/wolf/devil dog constantly peed on everything, including the children, me, the cars, bikes, strollers (with the baby in it), other dogs, the slide and of course my new beloved deck, and ruined anything good we owned had died two years earlier and I thought "Thank God. We are never getting another dog." Scott wanted a dog. We made a deal that I could pick the breed. Not knowing anything about dogs and spending my entire life loathing them due to the fact that all of my relatives lived on farms, therefore they had farm dogs. When farm dogs see little blond girls, it apparently reminds them of something they must knock down and turn into a chew toy. I remember growing up and into my late teenage years, worrying for days about knowing I was going somewhere and they had a dog. Also, it didn't help that my in-laws were major "dog" people. When I met Scott they had three dogs. THREE DOGS! I'd tell people this and we'd both agree they are certifiably nuts! They reminded me of the Saturday Night Live skit where they lady would hold her dog in front of her and talk for it as if the dog was talking and go on and on about "loving dogs". The last thing I wanted was a dog. The Internet results came in. King Charles Spaniel. They are wonderful with kids, don't shed, are evenly mild tempered, are loving and basically perfect. I didn't believe it. Scott thought his monster dog was perfect. My uncles thought their dogs who knocked down little girls and drug them around was perfect. The in-laws who had dogs who barked so shrilly, I continuously checked the side of my face to make sure my ears weren't bleeding, thought their dogs were perfect. I had my doubts. I put it out of my mind. It was a mute subject for about six months until I was on my way to pick up the boys from daycare after school one day and I heard on the radio that someone was donating a King Charles Spaniel puppy for the Christmas wish program a radio station was hosting. People were suppose to bid on the puppy and the money would go to the Christmas wish, which would in turn go to help a needy family in the area. Wanting very much to donate to the Christmas wish in my mom's memory, it peeked my interest. I heard the puppy whine on the radio. I was a done deal after that. Knowing this breed is expensive I assumed I had plenty of time to make my bid because who in their right mind would pay good money for a dog? I called the radio station and bid 350.00. The DJ assured me I was the high bidder and would likely win. I raced to pick up the boys and told them we were going to West Achers, where the Christmas wish program was taking place, and expected to take home my puppy. We arrived. People were man-handling my puppy! There was a line of people to hold my puppy! They were taking pictures on their phone with MY puppy! How dare they? She is MINE! When I arrived I told the DJ, "I am the one who bid 350.00 for the puppy." I was fully expecting the royal treatment, them to rip the puppy out of the puppy-hungry people's hands, and hand her over to me. He said, "Oh. The bid is up to 600.00. Do you want to bid again?" This was the approximate time when my e-Bay fascination and competition was at it's peek. I already made an inner pact that I will never be outbid, and I will not allow it now. I bid again. After I bid, I thought I should alert my husband so he will know why so much money was coming out of the checking account. Minutes after I bid, I was outbid. The "auction" was only suppose to go until 6:00. So I had a plan. Do what all good e-Bay winners do. Wait until there are 30 seconds left and outbid the last bid. The kids were five and three. They wanted to pet the puppy. They wanted to eat. Ethan wanted to go home. We waited. We were still in line to pet the puppy. We were there for an hour and had not touched the puppy. Anxiety got the best of me and I bid again before 6:00. Scott showed up, told me to "STOP IT!" The bidding war continued past 6:00. It continued past 7:30. The kids were starving, but I was not leaving without my puppy. They have the rest of their lives to eat. At 8:00, it was between one other person and me. That woman already had a King Charles Spaniel and a spoiled teenager who "wanted her own..." Are you kidding? I have two young boys and NO dogs. I deserve it more!! I was holding the puppy and was not willing to let her go. The radio station manager decided to stop the madness and told us each to write down an amount we were willing to spend. The puppy goes to the highest bidder and the money goes to the Christmas wish. I am embarrassed at how much I wrote down. It was more than our mortgage and car payment combined at that time. Well, the money granted three Christmas wishes and our family got our wish. We named her Abby. I fell in love with Abby. She was like a baby you could leave alone during the day. After more research we found out this breed can't really be left alone or they will get sad, and they are predestined to hip, heart and eye problems. I didn't care. I loved her. She is suppose to be a pretty, pretty princess but she is the first one to splash through mud puddles, roll in the wet leaves/dirt, and dig to China in the sand, as well as the only one to do hard time after being arrested by the dog catcher for getting loose. At any given time, she is the stinkiest and dirtiest one of the three. She also is the only one that needs her teeth cleaned at the vet, as well as the only one who has vision and ear problems. Two years later we decided to get Abby her own pet so she wouldn't be so sad when were weren't at home. That was an easy choice. One day Scott called me up and said, "Do you want your birthday present a month early?" "OK" That night we went to West Achers to meet Maxie's owner and came home with a six week old fur ball. To this day Ethan thinks dogs come from West Achers. Max is "special". He's not so smart. He runs into stuff. He thinks he's hiding under the bed when his butt and tail are sticking out. He'll crawl into a sleeping bag and not be able to find his way back out. Some see it as intellectually challenged. I see it was perfect. He would never run away when he gets loose, unlike Abby the ex-con. Maxie might try but then I'd say, "Max" and he'd come running back. Max lets you hold him like a baby and goes limp like a baby would in your arms. He also lets you wrap him up like a baby in a baby blanket. When he takes a bath, he just lays down in the tub, which makes my job so much easier. Max is the most quirky. He has to sleep above my pillow between the the pillow and headboard, he hides in his kennel when Sam gets to be too much for him and with his small mouth, he refuses to play fetch. Max is also scared of people, "stranger danger" is a big fear for him. Once he was sitting on my mother in law's lap and she started talking. He got this look on his face of pure panic. I think he thought he was on my lap. He loves his mama. Sam was the unplanned "free" child. Scott rescued him from a cold watery death at a liquor store at the ripe old age of three weeks old. We didn't know what breed he was. Turns out he's probably some kind of Cocker/Brittney/Springer Spaniel mix. He thinks he is an eight pound dog. He tries to curl up on your lap like the others. He is scared to jump off the rocking chair or swing on the deck. He's scared of the vacuum, as well as any animal bigger than Max.
Abby continues to be the most expensive with the teeth cleaning and extra visits to the vet for her ears/eyes, as well as bailing her out. Max is the next most expensive because he needs his hair cut, although he lets me do it, he is embarassed when I do. And Sam remains free. He is the picture of perfect health. With all of the research and price that went into Abby, I can't say I love her more than the other two. I love them all the same but for different reasons. I can't believe we are now the certifiable nuts who have THREE DOGS! They make a mess. You can't leave them to go on vacation. Sometimes they are loud. They interrupt my sleep.However, I know I wouldn't want it any other way.
This week, one of my students saw my school pictures laying on my desk. She is one of my sweetest students. She also happens to be the same girl who told me I look very different than I did when I taught them in Kindergarten.
"Mrs. Fairfield, when did you have your picture taken?"
I answered, "Before school."
"OH. That must be why you are so dressed up."
"I wore the same thing all day."
"Well, here you have on make-up and your hair looks nice."
Really? 8:15 I look nice. When the bell rings at 8:20 I am a mess.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

TV Land

I just probably stated a blog war with someone I don't know. My friend who has a blog (whose friend said a few weeks ago her precious baby was dying- but it was a dog), posted a post today talking about how we grew up on Little House, Different Strokes, Jeffersons, Cosby Show, Waltons, Happy Days, Family Ties, Growing Pains, Who's the Boss, The Brady Bunch, and Facts of Life. They were shows of our generation. They had a message, you learned a lesson after watching each one. The parents loved their children unconditionally and the children were always respectful. Our kids are missing out on that. There are few options a family can choose from to watch TV with their children today. A lot of shows (I've noticed especially Sunday) have inappropriate language, sexual overtones or are just plain gory. The Disney channel has shows for kids, but the child acting is awful and obnoxious at best, and I can't stand to watch them because the kids are so mean to each other and are disrespectful to adults. It's as if being mouthy is the new humor. Anyway, she received a post from a follower:

"We don't have tv in our house. This goes for video games also. NONE!! If we want change in the world we need to be that example, that may be harsh for some. Imagine what you could get done if you had all the time back to do something useful with that you watched tv with. My children read a lot of books. They use their imagination and play their own games in and outside. I find that more and more parents want out children to play with theirs? I wonder why that is?
I don't understand why you are ok with children being raised by gays or even single parents? How can we get people to understand commitment again? That it is not ok to quit their marriage. A child that my son plays with is in public school and he is one of three kids in his grade whose parents are not divorced!! That is terrible. If this continues the next generation will not even bother to get married. Just imagine the lack of morals you will see on tv then. So back to my original question, why is it ok with YOU to see gays and single people raising children on tv?"

Are you kidding me? These are the same people who posted a post on my friend's blog last winter stating the evils of public schools, and how they home school because that is God's will. Children who go to public schools are products of parents who don't love them, and all teachers are going to hell because they are helping Satan in going against God's will. My friend sends her children to public school, and is a teacher for public schools. If you are going to b**ch about the evils of public schools, don't do it to a teacher. Also, who gave him the right to judge people? How dare he insinuate all who do not live like him, or who are divorced, had a child before marriage, or are gay are immoral? I'd say being judgemental is immoral. Are all single parents immoral? What about gay couples? If they love their kids, I'd say NO!! I'd also say, by this person's standards, the dad on Different Strokes is immoral because he's a single parent, and adopted (gasp) children of a color other than himself. Good Grief!! I responded, because I couldn't hold it in and apparently I want a hex on myself/children/home. Here is what I said...

"My kids play outside for hours on end, play make believe, read a lot, and yes, watch tv. I did the same. A classroom where only three children have intact families is sad, however, I can only hope that there is unconditional love in those homes. Being a traditional married couple isn't going to guarantee happiness, stability, and good values any more than another household I'm afraid. Why are divorced parent immoral? What if you grew up in a household where the parents stuck together because divorce was "bad" yet you went to bed EVERY night praying they'd get a divorce, so you could get peace and have an actual childhood? Also, I've learned you really can't judge people unless you spend time in their shoes. Glass Houses, my friend, Glass Houses.
Also, I am not disturbed that children are being raised by single parents or gays on TV- it's the blatant disrespect of the child actors on TV. I don't like how evening shows show more gore than I could even imagine as a child, as well as flaunt sex as if we all live in Vegas."

I want my children to believe as long as they can about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and that babies are made when their parent pray REALLY, REALLY hard about wanting a baby. Am I lying to them? Yes. But, wasn't life easier and kinder when you believed in Santa and that all babies are wanted? I just can't get over how angry these people make me with their superior/judgmental thinking. Why not? For the past week, I've burst into tears almost everyday on the drop of a dime, constantly wondered if life is suppose to be this hard, gave people the "teacher eye" AT CHURCH when they didn't return my smile, and it's not even close to that time of the month!!
Maybe I'll crack open a bottle of beer and create bumper stickers that say, "My kid beat the crap out of your home schooled non-TV watching kid". Except, Noah would never hurt a flea and Ethan doesn't give anyone the time of day to care enough to hit them. Then I'll have to change it to: "My PUBLIC school Students beat up, robbed, and taught gang signs to your "Superior" kid."

And to think my post for today was going to be, "Dogs, Do You Get What You Pay For?"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Remembering

Half of the students I have now were the graduates of my last Kindergarten class. All month I have been wondering, "Did you guys learn anything? Why was I stressing out day in and day out, worrying if you are reading up to your potential, understanding number sense, and most importantly falling in love with school and learning, when you remember nothing about the whole year?" I realized this when they didn't remember penguins will never meet Santa or polar bears because they live in the South Pole, something we studied for a month. They had NO idea who Johnny Appleseed was- something we did a unit on for a whole five weeks! They didn't remember it is easier to swim in the ocean than a lake because of the salt water, or if you drop a play-dough ball in the water it'll sink like a rock, but if you spread it flat like a raft, it'll float. They don't remember our student teacher, Mr. Ganab, who was with us for eight weeks and is now Noah's teacher. When I recently told my class if Hawaii had a better school system, I'd pack my bags and live there, a boy (who was in my class) said, "My kindergarten teacher went to Hawaii..." Hellllooo!! That was me!! Don't I look vaguely familiar? Doesn't the NAME at least ring a bell?
That year was my most trying year as a teacher, and these kids didn't remember or appreciate all of the hard work I put into them. However, this week, I have learned they remember my birthday is the same day as Mason's because I baked a cake for snack, and let him blow out the candles. They remembered how I tried to convince them there was a swimming pool in the third floor teacher's lounge, as well as I tried to tell them I forgot how to subtract and they'd have to teach me. - One kid even went home and told his mom he was worried I'd get fired because I forgot how to subtract. (Do you also find it disturbing they vividly remembered the times I tried to lie to them?) They remembered that I called Andy, Andy Panda, Tate, Tator tot, and Kelly, Kelly Bo Belly. They remembered I loved to read to them, and my favorite books were The True Story of The Three Little Pigs By, A. Wolf, and SkippyJon Jones. They remembered the time I was hanging something up on the wall during center time, and I jumped down from the chair, everyone turned to look at me, so I raised my arms and said, "TA-DA!!" They remember the ficken' worm in the sink that would never go away. They remembered that I hung orange and black streamers from the ceiling for Halloween, and their teacher stood on a volcano, on a black sand beach and swam along a coral reef all in one day. They didn't remember the lessons, objectives, or standards I tried to teach them, but they remembered how I was. That is really humbling. As a teacher, we focus so much on standards, and "are the kids learning enough? How can I re-teach that objective without boring the ones who got it while dumbing it down to reach the ones who didn't?" That's not what they remember. They remember how I acted with them, things I did that were special. That was the last year I decorated my room for any Holiday because I thought the kids don't care, or even notice, but I think I will this year. I need to back up. Tell them they are a great class, read to them more, and do special things. Then maybe they'll believe me next month when I tell them I forgot how to multiply and I need them to teach me.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Carnival

It's been a while since I blogged. I have been busy teaching and with school stuff. Last Friday my children's' school had their school carnival. Noah bought the tickets ahead of time so, they had 48 games to play. Needless to say they were there when the doors opened until the principal kicked people out. It's so interesting, amusing, disturbing and at times ironic to go to a packed, chaotic school function. As I entered every classroom, I was instantly counting desks to see how many students they had, looking at their daily schedule, classroom layout and anything else that may inspire me to do something different. I did remember after going into the third grade rooms I need to break out the sunrise/sunset chart, and I hope the janitor didn't throw it away last summer. Other people walk in and let their small children run like mad in room, while others go in and budge to the front claiming, "I no know there was a line..." It's sort of funny- not ha ha, but ironic, how kids often mirror their parents. I can't say always because when Ethan was one and a half until four-years-old, he would point and go pewww, pewww as if shooting them whenever someone talked to and or looked at him. He sort-of took the whole "stranger danger" thing to the extreme. Any potential kidnapper would be left thinking, "I don't want that kid, he's mean." Anyway- that in itself proves kids don't ALWAYS mirror their parents, because to the best of my knowledge, neither his father or I have ever "fake shot" people for looking at us. However, I do throw around my teacher look as well as roll my eyes a lot. I saw an example of apple- tree, not-so far was at the "fishing" booth. The kids throw a fishing pole over the curtain and someone behind the curtain puts a toy/candy/prize on the clip connected to the fishing line, connected to the pole. You could tell this dad acted very entitled, by how he budged, then yelled at little kids who tried to do the same, and he was really loud on his cell phone as if we all wanted to hear his half of his "important" conversation. Anyway, this guys kid pulled out a small piece of candy, the kid who is about six, instantly stomped, whined and wanted a better prize. The dad yelled, "throw it back over, he wants something better. You have better prizes back there." I bet the people organizing the game were all, "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain". Later Ethan and I went to the cafeteria to eat. There was a fourth grader whining, yelling and pulling on his mom's shirt- something ALL kids do, however most outgrow it by the fourth grade. The mom turned around and closed fist punched him!! I couldn't believe it! I was thinking, "OMG! I need to do something. I am a mandated reporter. I need to get her name, re-po her child... what if she punches me? What if she won't give up her name? What if her kid kicks me? I gotta do Something..." So I gave her the ultimate teacher look. When we arrived at the carnival, Noah wanted to do all of the sports games and Ethan wanted to do all of the sure to win instant gratification games that resulted in candy. Therefore Noah went one way with Scott and I went the opposite with Ethan. I kept seeing Noah's friends wandering around all alone looking for friends to hang out with. When I saw the fourth friend I thought, "I need to organize these boys so they will find each other." I told Andrew to come with me and we'll find Noah and hopefully some of his other friends along the way, but I'd have to stop at the bottle buy, the clip drop, ring toss and lollipop pick along the way. Apparently to a fourth grader, the only thing worse than hanging out with your OWN parents during the carnival is hanging out with your friend's parent when that friend isn't with the parent. I am so glad my child still likes to hang with us. So glad in fact, I had to hug and kiss him in public!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Homeless and Hungry

Today we had two high school students from one of the local churches come and talk to us about the program called "homeless and hungry". Last year the area elementary children filled the Fargo Dome with food for the homeless shelters. This year the challenge is to gather perishable items like soap, shampoo, diapers, etc... Anyway, it was a boy and a girl talking to the school about homeless and hungry. At the end the boy asked the students what they are, the students answered back "homeless and hungry". When we got back to the room, one of my students asked, "which one was homeless and which one was hungry? I think the girl was hungry because she was really skinny." I also had the kids journal about their weekend. He wrote, "We went to OAK Clare. It was a long drive. 5 ours long. We were so escited to get out of the car when we got there. We only got out of the car and went to the hotel, and came back home again for 5 ours."
A little girl in my class told me today, "You look different than you did when I was in Kindergarten." Right away I asked, "How? Taller, shorter, fatter, older? How?"
Right now, Noah told Ethan, "I'm gonna grow up and make more money than you will ever see because I am going to be a professional football player. In twelve years I will make 2 million. I am the smartest kid in class, but that won't matter after college." Deciding to squash his dream I told him he needs a back up plan because not many people get to play professional football. He replies, "When you have talent like mine you do." Noah has become one of those kids in high school I hated. It is time he gets knocked down a few pegs. There is good self-esteem and there is unrealistic cocky esteem where you are obnoxious and annoy those around you. He is becoming the second. I told him he really isn't THAT great and sent him to practice. Ha! I did not, but I was SOO tempted! I really don't know what to do. His ego is so fragile, but he really is getting obnoxious and snotty about how "awesome" he believes himself to be. My friend in high school thought he was so super-great he was destined to be a pro basketball player by the time he was 20. Circumstances changed, a death of a parent, stress due to that lead to not very good grades, which lead to losing his scholarship, which lead to him dropping out of college because "why go to college if you aren't playing ball? It cuts into the drinking time." To this day, he is a 36-year-old man who still swears he could, and should have been the world's first 5 foot 11 professional basketball player. Maybe someone should have told him before he was 19 that he should depend more on his smarts, than his ability to be a point guard. Noah is a long way from high school, let alone college, but I don't want him to isolate himself because he can't understand what it means to be humble. I guess he will find out sooner than later. I'd rather not tell him because I don't want to break his heart. But I will tell Ethan in front of him, "Ethan, you are going to make SOO much money because you are really smart!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

School and Blogs

Today I was reading a friend of a friend's blog. That is a friend once removed. The blog actually belongs to an acquaintance, but all I know about her is she has a son Noah's age, and he plays baseball, she has a little girl about 3-years-old, and lives in Moorhead. Anyway, my friend said on her blog to read her friend's blog and give her support. I opened the acquaintance's blog, and a picture of her beautiful little girl is at the top. The blog is titled "Ellie", it starts with "My wonderful baby girl Ellie has been sick, very sick..." It goes on to tell how Ellie hasn't been feeling well, drinks a lot of water and "gets up to pee 2-3 times a night. Last weekend she was sleeping (with the acquaintance) and peed the comforter." She and her husband "decided to take Ellie in, expecting she may have diabetes." They found out "Ellie has diabetes, and they did blood tests that revealed liver cancer." I am crying as I am reading this, thanking God for my children's health, and asking for forgiveness for my sins so He doesn't punish me by making one of my kids sick. Wouldn't you think with the picture of the little girl and the "my wonderful baby girl Ellie" that Ellie is her daughter? NO! It wasn't until the VERY last sentence of the blog entry (which was longer than most of mine) did she mention, "We had to let Ellie spend the night at the vet." What?! The VET? Why would you send your dying daughter to the vet? I had to read that sentence three times to make sure it was correct. Just a guess... Ellie is a dog. I promise I will NEVER tempt fate like that and post a photo of my children and call my dogs my baby and say they have cancer leading you, the reader, to believe that my actual human baby is sick. I was so pissed she made me cry for nothing. Although- I do hope her dog gets better. However, a dying dog doesn't isn't even in the same category as a dying daughter.
OK- I vented about that. Now onto to school. I love my class!! They are really starting to understand the routines and procedures, they respond really well to bribery and I don't have to use my angry voice or consequences very much because the bribery works. Yesterday, during reading I told the class to turn to page 16 in their reading books. On Tuesdays we have Reading at the end of the day, compared to the beginning of the day when they are fresh and ready to learn, because on Tuesdays the art teacher gets them right away when they are fresh and ready to learn. So the whole class is giving me this "I literally can't stand to hear your voice, look at you, or pay attention for one more second" look. So, we got up, played a round of silent ball and went back to reading. I told the class to turn to page 16 AGAIN. Mr. Panda turns to page 98. Meanwhile, when I get hot or frustrated, (which I was both yesterday because, well, summer finally showed up in North Dakota, and the kids and I were done for the day) I take my bangs, and the hair on the crown of my head and make a ponytail. If I have a ponytail holder or clip, I put it in place. A ponytail right on the top of my head including my bangs so it might look a little like a unicorn. Yesterday I didn't have a ponytail holder or clip, so I twisted it and shoved two pencils in it to form a make-shift ponytail with pencils sticking out of it on the top of my head. My students have become so used to it, they no longer look at me like I am going to twist my head around 360 degrees and spew Hebrew at them. Everyone was on page 16. Mr. Panda was on 98. I went to his desk and said, "16" and tapped his book. He goes further in the book. I crouch down and say, "16, you are on 108. Should you go further, or back? Is 16 less than 108?" He looks at me and blinks. "Honey, do you understand what I am saying?" Mr. Panda says, "no." I am thinking 'he is deaf and I am going to be the ultimate hero to crack the case of why Mr. Panda doesn't understand. Ever.' "You don't? Can you hear me?" Which now as I write it, it was a dumb thing to ask because what would he say, "No I can't hear you. I am stone deaf." Mr. Panda answers, "Yes." "Can you understand what I want?" "No." "Why (Mr. Panda)? Why not?" He answers with a totally straight face, "because you are too pretty." So that's it! All this time I have been thinking 98% of the people I have interacted with just tune out the frequency of my voice, but now I know the REAL reason. Keep in mind, I still had the ridiculous pencil/ponytail on top of my head at this time. If this were any other kid, I'd think they are saying it so I will get off their case and walk away, but not him. Mr. Panda isn't clever enough to think that way.
The "Panda" story- in case you don't know is this: I taught him in Kindergarten. We were working on learning our last names, so I would say the kid's first name then they'd tell me their last. We did this up and down the rows of tables they sat at daily. It would be, "Jane" she'd answer, "Doe". "Billy" he'd answer "Olson" or whatever. Mr. Panda was the 10th kid everyday. He thought his last name was Panda because his family called him "(Johnny) Panda".
I'd say, "Johnny"
"Panda"
"No. say (Doe). Your last name is Doe. Ready? Johnny"
"What?"
"Tell me your last name."
"Oh. Panda."
"No. It's Doe. I say Johnny, you say Doe. Ready? Johnny"
"Huh? Oh ya. umm.... what? Oh! Panda!"
"I say Johnny you say doe. Johnny"
"What?!"
"What's your last name? If you tell me I'll give you a sticker."
"OK"
OMG. It was impossible to teach him his last name, then finally one day he blurted it out. Just like that! He got it. It only took four months. He also called me Mrs. Mund who was his brother's second grade teacher at the time who was retiring, and had black hair and sang a lot. It wasn't until Christmas he learned my name, then he told everyone the next year that Mr. Fairfield was his Kindergarten teacher when I was their's also being it's a small school and I was the only one. Now, I am his teacher again, but he forgot my name, so I am just "teacher". Anyway, "Mr. Panda" was the kid to interview today during morning meeting. The other kids ask him questions and he answers them. One kid asked, "What's your mom's name?" He said, "Lisa" without skipping a beat. His mom's name is Beth. I envisioned me saying, "Johnny. I say mom you say Beth. Mom..." We'll save that for when we really are on page 98 in reading.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Back to School Shopping

I went back to school shopping for the kids today. Not for me. Guess I will have to continue going to school naked being I didn't get any back to school clothes yet... Ethan and Noah both received gift cards to JCPenny's from my dad and his wife for their birthdays. Dad doesn't believe in giving kids toys for presents, and his wife is a clothes-aholic, thus the kids end up with JCPenny's cards. They used to get Herberger's cards that I would buy from them so they'd have the cash and I'd use the card, but I can't really even find the department where my clothes would be at JCPenny's. They cater to size 0 juniors, women size 20 plus, and old ladies. Therefore, I took the kids to Penny's to pick out "any clothes you want". With Ethan I quickly regretted saying that. Ethan has always liked gaudy. The gaudier the better. He found lots of flashy shirts with metallic dragons and crossbones on them that I nixed right away. I even found myself getting desperate enough to encourage him to buy a shirt that said, "Homework? Are you Kidding ME? Talk to the hand". I noticed that 75% of JCPenny's boys clothing is gangster wear. I asked Noah, "do kids at your school wear these clothes?" He said, "ya, the ones who don't listen and get in a lot of trouble." Enough said. The kids at my school who wear clothes like that think they are in a gang. I even asked an employee at Penny's "where are the non-gangster clothes". He looked at me like I was from outer space and I almost expected him to point me to the old lady department, but he said, "there's some Nike stuff over there..." Two little islands of non-gangster and NONE of it in Ethan's size. WTF??? Noah ended up with 147.00 worth of clothes. I gave into Ethan's wish for a "flashy" shirt and let him buy a webkinz. Then we went to the shoe department and were practically greeted with shoes saying a "yo yo man. Whazup?" Needless to say we left that store to go to a different one for shoes. Tennis shoes are so expensive. Again, Ethan picks out the ugly tacky ones that are on clearance (because no one wants them) that were thankfully not in his size. Noah picks out the most expensive pair and if I were in a better mood I would have toyed with the idea, but I laughed and said, "Are you kidding? When are you going to get a job?" I gave him three choices. One pair, I'd love to pay for, the second I wouldn't mind paying for but they were identical to his current pair and, one that I could live with paying. Of course he chose the most expensive one. The thing that really sucks is, that one he wanted was a black and orange Nike, but it didn't come in his size, so the salesperson brought out the white and black version- which was 12.00 more than the orange and black. Those are the ones we got, but I have to admit, they do look nice. Ethan ended up with a cheaper version of the obnoxious ones and they look like trash, but he loves them. Oh well, I don't have to wear them and they were less than 40.00. I now understand why my dad would get crazy crabby during back to school shopping time, and I would have been the kid to pick the cheaper of the three choices given to me. You know, now that I think of it, they didn't have to look for reasonably priced "non-gang" clothes because there weren't gangs then. I also was pretty easy because I knew they'd only spend so much and I would gladly go to 15 stores to find Levis on clearance. They had it pretty easy. They could have had to fight the "I want to dress like a hooker" or "I don't care if I have one pair of pants for the whole year- they are going to be Guess Jeans (size 29)!" Huh...

Happy Birthday Ethan!!


Ethan is seven years old. It seems like yesterday the doctor told me, "It's a boy" and I called him a lyre and proceeded to tell him I don't have any boys names picked out. Which he replied, "Then you should have known it'd be a boy." For months after I dreamed Ethan really was a girl. However, the minute I held him and he continued screaming his sob story, I fell in love and couldn't imagine having a different baby. We had to describe our child in one word for his "back to school" forms for the teacher. There were so many I could choose from; happy, excited, crabby, loving, cuddly, frustrated, independent, caring, kind, respectful, stubborn, cute, funny, innocent, anal, shy, smart, picky, active, sweet, and my baby. The word I picked was 'mine'. Ethan is the one person that can drive me crazy one minute and feel absolute for him the next. Ethan knows exactly what to do to push all of my buttons, but he also knows what to do to get back into good graces. Ethan has always been "mommy's boy" and doesn't give a lot of people the time of day. Knowing that and being told by him weekly that he loves me more than anyone else make me feel more important than the president, more special than the queen, and more saintly than St. Nick. My days with my little boy acting like a little boy are numbered. He already won't hold my hand. He did sit on my lap and slipped and called me mommy the other day, which I burned into my memory in case it's the last time. It will be nice to pay less for daycare this year, but I crave for the time my little boy would see me drive up to daycare and he'd run to me with open arms because he's so exited to see me and wanted me to pick him up. Yesterday I was looking at the Target and K-Mart adds and there was an adorable baby in one. I convinced Ethan I was "baby" shopping and we were picking out the cutest one. Wouldn't it be great if it were that easy? If you remember, baby fever always leads to a new puppy and we have three and no room for a fourth. However, both my dad and Stacy have offered to give us a kitten...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Back to School Night

The boys had back to school night last Thursday. We packed up their small fortune in school supplies and headed out to meet their teachers. Actually Noah's teacher was my student teacher three year ago and also his basketball coach last winter, so we knew him already. The boys were so excited. We went to Ethan's room first. He unloaded his "stuff" and met his teacher. She seems so nice! Exactly what your would want for a first grade teacher (I wonder how many parents thought that of me after meeting me on back to school night?) Noah remarked three times during the evening that "she must be good because you can tell she spent a lot of time making her room look nice- she must be at school all of the time."- Only a teacher's child would notice that. Later he said, "She must really understand little kids because she put the minutes like 5, 10, 15, 20... on the clock for the first graders to learn." Ethan sat in his new chair and looked around. I read the names of the kids that will be sitting near him. He started to get tears in his eyes. Thinking it's because none of the names are familiar I walked around and said more names which resulted in bigger tears. Finally a name looked familiar. Ethan has a friend named Max. I should remember his name because we call our dog Max, Maxine and Ethan called his friend Max Maxine on the first day of school last year. However, Max looks like a Will to me. So I said and enthusiastic, "Ethan Will! Will is in your class! Will Ethan, Will!! More tears. He later tells me in the car that Will is not Max, but the boy in his Kindergarten class that is blind, has cerable pulsey and can't talk. Oh well. He'll make new friends. I did find out a boy down the block will be in the same class. He rides the bus with him, so Ethan knows him.
Next we went to pay for lunch, buy Noah a planner and Ethan a calculator. The lines are always super long. However, the calculator line was empty, so I took Ethan and went there first. The people selling the "stuff" are volunteers from the PTA- parents. The calculator lady was an older grandma. I said I needed a calculator and saw about 100 sitting all around her. She said, "you don't have to buy a calculator dear. If you have one at home, just send that." Funny. Every year we have to buy the "school" one for Noah because he always loses it over the summer and no one told me that. I bet they aren't going to put her at the calculator table next year, think of all the money the school missed out on- especially when the calculators come with the curriculum. Next, on our way to Noah's room we see the principal. Noah and the principal have been personal friends since back to school night for Noah before Kindergarten when Noah was wearing a Vikings jersey and the principal is a huge Vikings and Twins fan. He even has a cousin that plays for the Vikings- so that is the next best thing to his principal actually playing for Noah. Every Monday during football season in Kindergarten, Mr. Kopperude would come and get Noah during snack and milk break to take him to his office to have snack with him. Mr. Kopperude stopped us in the hallway saying, "Welcome back Noah and Noah's little brother." Oh well. If he knew Ethan's name it would be for a very different reason, so maybe it's good he doesn't. We talked football and Twins with him, then headed upstairs to Noah's room. Noah has a lot of friends in his class this year, and they were all there at the same time. Noah had to do a "scavenger hunt"- like at every back to school night, which I rather enjoy doing with the kids, but Noah did this hunt with his friends. Who ever said I was ready for him to grow up? Mr. Ganab, Noah's teacher, called me "Sara" for the first time in three years- even last year at basketball he called me Mrs. Fairfield. He also called Scott "John" making Scott wonder who this John was that I "must have talked about" when Mr. Ganab was student teaching. All in all it was a good night. The kids are excited to get back into the swing of school, and my students will have been in school long enough to have a reading and spelling test. Huh.
Thoughts I think: I have a student who doesn't listen and does whatever he wants. On Friday, I decided we needed to have a little talk. I started it out with, "Don't you ever get tired of ignoring everything I say?" He just looked at me with big eyes, probably thinking, 'No, I never get tired of ignoring you- it's easy actually. You maybe get tired of it though...'

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

E-Bay

I have many vises, biting my nails, falling off of my never ending "diet" wagon, Coors light, Dt. Mt. Dew, Young and the Restless, and talking on my cell phone while driving just to name a few. My most expensive one is the E-bay one. I am a bit, what should I say... COMPETITIVE. So, E-bay feeds right into that. In the last seven years, I "needed" several pieces of Brighton (really expensive) jewelry, a Coach purse for $65.00 that holds exactly five bills, fourteen coins and a small pack of gum. Actually, it is a purse that goes into my real purse. I also "needed" lots of baby clothes for Ethan until I realized I was paying for used clothes what I would pay for new at Herberger's or Macy's, a Halloween sweatshirts (even though I did get a cool one with blinking lights on it that make my ADD kids go nuts- not so good for the kids who are prone to seizures though), and a Halloween costume. Being an elementary teacher you have to dress up for the Halloween party. I used my pumpkin outfit for years. It's basically a dress with elastic around the thighs and I wore tights with it. After wearing it for several Halloweens, I got sick of it- even though it is still in my closet at school and I dragged it to all six schools I taught at. I believed it was time to buy a new costume. It is impossible to buy a "school appropriate" adult costume at the stores. They are all 'naughty cheerleader', 'naughty nurse', 'skanky witch',and ' look at my huge cleavage school girl'. So, I decided three years ago to order on E-bay a "Woodland Fairy" costume. I anxiously waited at my mailbox (much like I wait by my mailbox for the mother of the year award to arrive) and I finally got it! I tried it on. It was SO NOT a woodland fairy costume, it was a slutty whore fairy costume! It was short- SHORT and very, VERY see-through. Needless to say, I couldn't wear that to school. By the way if anyone needs a size eight woodland fairy costume, let me know- I can hook you up real cheep! Now I am looking for a new "school appropriate costume" for this year. My recent E-bay addiction is webkinz. It is stuffed animals that come with a code that the kids use on the webkinz website to adopt and take care of. Noah has 17 and Ethan has 21, soon to be at least 23. I started the addiction when they came out and were hard to find in the stores, so I gladly paid $15.00 for a webkinz stuffed animal. Now they are even at Target for $9.99. Still I found myself last weekend ordering webkinz on E-bay for more than I want to admit because Ethan wants specific ones for his upcoming birthday. Now I am back to constantly checking E-bay for things I "need" to fulfill my competitive nature. What is with that? I have a whole garage full of crap that I don't want anymore! Maybe I should sell it on E-bay. Stupid people like me will pay more than the price it was new when you could easily get at the store. Also, why the hell would I buy a blanket on E-bay when 1) we have about 87 blankets at my house and 2) who wants a used stinky ass blanket? However, did that stop me from buying it? NO- It is currently in my garage with the other crap I want to get rid of. I think E-bay has it's place, as in when you need to find a specific thing you are looking for that you can't find in stores. However, when someone who could be a little obsessive, and who tends to compete with everyone about everything without their knowledge gets a hold of the website, it could get dangerous.
Well I better sign off, my witch costume I am bidding on is coming due soon.
Thought that I think: Sam is becoming a nice dog. He has settled down. He doesn't barkthat much anymore, but he still thinks I need his 35 pound company in the shower in the morning. Oh well. It gives me someone to talk to.