Comments from the Peanut Gallery

Taking one day at a time...

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  • DO SOMETHING GOOD
  • Thursday, May 31, 2012

    Mama Is Pissed...

    Liv got hurt at school yesterday.  The school, however, did not call us to let us know.  She said her teacher offered her an ice pack, but she refused it.  And that was pretty much all the care she got for it.  Usually, when a student gets hurt, the teacher fills out an accident report and notifies the parents even if it's minor.  I have to do that all the time for my students, even if it's just a bruise or bump on the knee at recess.  Accident reports can be a hassle because it's paperwork and you have to know how to tell the parents about it delicately so they don't freak out.  Those accident reports are also worth it because they protect the teacher and the school if the injury is worse than it appears.  As a teacher, you have to do everything you can to protect yourself, your students, and your school.

    My point is that I was not notified that Liv had gotten hurt.  As you can see from the picture, the bruise on her chin is pretty awful.  There's also some slight bruising on her cheek above that, as well.  Initially, I thought it was ink and I tried to wipe it off until she started screaming.  SHE told me what happened; the school did NOT.  Epic fail on their part because this Mama is pissed off.  It's not the first time this has happened.

    I like her teacher, so I delicately crafted an email to her (and not her principal and school nurse), attaching the picture above, and let her know the protocol for accident reporting at school because she apparently doesn't know; I'd like to think that it couldn't possibly be because she doesn't care.  I realize she's a new teacher, but she also needs to know what to do when something like this happens again.  It will happen again because it's a school and kids get hurt all the time.  I also let her teacher know how much pain Liv was actually in because of this.  I don't think her teacher realizes that we could sue the shit out of her and the school and the Board of Education if Liv's jaw is, in fact, fractured and they didn't do anything about it or report the accident and notify us immediately.

    Food for thought.

    Wednesday, May 30, 2012

    It's Crunch Time...

    I just realized that June starts on Friday.  I seriously don't know where the time has gone.  It has flown by terribly fast. 

    There's a lot going on in the next two weeks, at home and at work.  I haven't even started packing stuff away at work yet, either.  It's hard to believe the school year is almost over.  The week after next is my last week at work and the kids' last week at school.  Liv won't even have a full week that last week.  She graduates from Kindergarten on the 12th.  Yeesh.  I'm going to bawl my eyes out there.

    Breathe.  Just breathe.  Everything will get done when it gets done and summer will be here before I know it.  The end-of-the-school-year crunch time always gets to me.  Sigh...

    Tuesday, May 29, 2012

    My Pride & Joy...

     Liv and Jack (top), Leia and Liesl (bottom)
    Yep, these little ones are my pride and joy.  I love them all the way to the moon and back.
    Sigh...

    Monday, May 28, 2012

    Hood Translations...

    An interesting post on urban slang...
    Feel free to use any of these phrases, but be prepared that others may not quite know what you're saying.

    Sunday, May 27, 2012

    Happy Jack...

    Have you ever seen a happier boy?  Yep, that's my son.  I'm so proud of him for doing such a great job this school year.  It brings a tear to my eye whenever I think about how far he's come.

    Saturday, May 26, 2012

    Live...

    This is how I feel lately.  Embrace today everyday.

    Friday, May 25, 2012

    Grammar Snob...

    Just so you know, I judge you by your use (or misuse) of simple grammar rules. 
    I can't help it.  It's in my nature.

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Go, Jack, Go!...

    I'm taking today off from work to watch Jack compete in the Special Olympics Young Athletes competitions at his school.  Since he's not eight years old, he cannot compete in the regular Special Olympics competitions.  However, he did go to them at Soldier Field and Eckersall Stadium last week, to cheer on the competitors.  Today is for his age group's competitions and the older kids will be there to cheer him on, as well.

    Since Liesl and Leia are sick, they cannot go.  I thought of keeping Liv out of school to go with me, but that might not be a good choice because she's so competitive for attention when it comes to him.  I'd hate for her to ruin it for him by trying to make it all about her.  So, Liv will go to school and I will go to Jack's school to cheer him on.  My Dad and my Brother will be there, too.  I can't wait!

    It's supposed to be 91 degrees tomorrow, so I'm glad the games start early.  I believe they'll take place on the school's open field.  I'm so excited to see my boy show off what he's learned about warming up, sportsmanship, and sports! 

    Today is going to be a great day!

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Best Friends, Mortal Enemies...

    Jack and Liv...By the looks of this picture, you wouldn't think there's any sibling rivalry going on.  She doesn't understand what autistic means and often resents whenever he gets any kind of attention at all or when concessions are made to accommodate his unique needs.  She's my quintessential middle child, after all; she has to shine at all times because it's in her nature.  He writes and composes the musicals and she stars in them.  It's always been like that.  He's the brains behind the act and that may be an analogy worth exploring on my part.  Hmmm...

    A couple of days ago, she knocked out his other front tooth.  It was only a little loose beforehand.  She claims it was an accident, which it may have well been.  I'm not entirely convinced that it wasn't an accident, though.  They were playing rough, no one was looking at what they were doing in relation to the other one.  BAM!  Blood everywhere.  It's a good thing Jack doesn't freak out at the sight of blood. 

    He wiggled that tooth just enough and it flung across the table.  He didn't seem to mind because he knew that the Tooth Fairy would be coming that night as a result.

    They love each other immensely.  She hates him at times, but she doesn't know how empty her life would be without him.  Come to think of it, neither do I.  I never had a sibling to hate because mine were so much older than me.  I may have been oblivious to it if they had hated me at times.  Apples don't fall far from the tree, right?  Jack isn't all that different from his Mom sometimes.

    The one thing I'll never, ever regret is having all of my children so close in age.  Jack was four when the twins were born and Liv was three.  They are a pack when they're together.  They will always have each other through rain or shine, thick or thin, good or bad, with or without me around.  There may be some sibling rivalry going on at times, but it happens in every family.  By the time they're in their thirties, they'll look back on their childhood frustrations with each other and smile.

    Family...it's what matters most in the end.

    Tuesday, May 22, 2012

    Tuesday Funny...

    If only it were this easy, then there would be no need for doctors.  Heh.

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    Seventeen Days & One Hour...

    Yep, that's how many days of work I have left until summer break.  It will go smoothly for me because I've already planned the rest of the school year out in my head and my students and I are working on some very engaging novels for the remainder of the school year.  Every great architect starts out with a great plan; my pedagogy should be no different. 

    Kids everywhere are jonesing for summer break, so classrooms all over the country that observe the same schooling timeline are all feeling the pain.  The last month of school is never easy...for anyone...parents, teachers, students. 

    I'm hoping for the best because vacation is just a breath away.  I plan on finishing the school year with a tightly knit schedule that leaves little room for idleness for anyone, myself included.  I thrive on structure and I know kids do, too, even if they don't admit it. 

    Structure is everyone's friend.  It is also just as important to be flexible with said structure.  Teachable moments can happen at any time, so deviating from the prescribed journey when it's warranted should never be frowned upon or feared.  A great teacher can make great things happen in his/her classroom, whether they are in the lesson plan or not.  Call me conceited, but I am a great teacher. 

    I believe that great teachers are born with a gift.  I do not believe that great teachers can be created in Ivy League colleges or that people can become great teachers because it was their second career choice.  I think it takes a special person to reach the minds of our youth effectively, knowing that it was the only thing he/she ever wanted to do with his/her life.  And I'm not afraid to say that I have that gift and I was born with it.  Kids just love me and they buy the ideas I'm selling, the skills I'm instructing them on, and my enthusiasm is contagious.  I rarely have discipline problems because kids just don't go there with me.  I'm a second Mom, I guess.  Some even call me Mom.  I am not "friends" with my students; they understand that they don't have to like me, but that they have to respect me.  I have high expectations for them and they usually rise to meet them because they respect me.  The mere politics of a classroom demand that a teacher win over the leader of the student group in each class.  I never lose.  If the leader loves me, so does everyone else.  If the leader tests me, the students watch what happens.  Win the leader, win the class.  If you lose the leader, the rest of the year is shot.  It's easy once you know that's how it works. 

    It puzzles me when people leave the corporate world to become teachers.  They usually leave the profession within five years because it's not what they thought it would be.  If you're doing it right, teaching is never easy.  It's never about the vacations.

    Perhaps I come off as sounding like I'm full of shit, but if you were in my class you would understand just how hard I work because I believe that all of our futures depend on the children inside our classrooms.  I only wish the politicians could understand this and stop demeaning our profession as if we are the laziest people in the world.  In my humble opinion, the laziest people in the world are the politicians. 

    My summer break is one that I definitely deserve.  Come to my classroom and you'll see why.

    Sunday, May 20, 2012

    The Sky Is Falling...

    This sounds like something Livie would say!  Seriously.  This reminds me of the time when I was thinking of enrolling the kids in a Catholic school and we had to go there to register two spots.  Livie walked in and saw a statue of the Virgin Mary and said, "Who the hell is that?"

    Hey, I never said I was Mother of the Year.  Heh.
    And I opted for a public school instead.  This Mama just doesn't do brainwashing, especially after getting a Catholic education myself.  I prefer to teach my kids about spirituality on my own and they know about many different religions.  My husband and I are agnostic (both of us were products of Catholic school educations), so it's only fitting if our children learn about all religions.  Our way might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's ours and there's nothing wrong with that.

    But I digress.  The kid in that paragraph at the top sounds just like Livie.  I shit you not.

    Saturday, May 19, 2012

    Big Money, Big Money...

    Today is a very busy day for us.  We've got to be at my Mom's by 8am or so to set up our stuff for their neighborhood's annual multi-family garage sale.  Jack and Liv have to wake up as if it were a school day.  I'll be up at 5am; Jack at 6am; Liv at 6:15am.  Liesl and Leia will need to get up by 7 or 7:15am, at the latest.  It's going to be a chaotic day, but we're hoping to make a killling like we did last year.

    As long as I don't look at any of the stuff we're selling, I won't get sentimental about all that baby stuff.  Sigh...

    Friday, May 18, 2012

    Will The Real Audience Please Stand Up?...

    I'm not sure who Dr. Seuss really wrote books for because so many things he said (wrote) can apply to adults, as well.  There will never be another Dr. Seuss because he was one-of-a-kind. 

    I feel the same way about Maurice Sendak and Shel Silverstein.  It takes a very special skill to write books that every age can enjoy.

    Thursday, May 17, 2012

    The Purge...

    This weekend is the annual multi-family garage sale in my Mom's neighborhood.  Last year, we made a killing selling lots of "stuff."  This year will be no different.

    I think half of my basement is going to be on my parent's side lawn. 

    I hate letting go of some of that "stuff," but I need the space.  I've got a kickass art studio/play area to create in the basement this summer.

    Sigh...

    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    Hate...

    This is such an accurate statement.  Sadly, I know many people who fall into the "hater" category.
    I always tell my students that the only reason anyone would ever hate them is because they can't BE them.  They concur.  Smart kids.

    A)  You are only a threat to someone if they lack the self-esteem or self-worth and believe that you are superior to them. 

    B)  If they hate themselves, there is nothing you can do about that; change comes from within. 

    C)  The only person who can be you is you, so anyone who envies you needs to come to terms with their own definition of happiness.  We cannot help those who don't help themselves.

    Tell me I'm wrong.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    Living Dangerously...

    This is Jack living dangerously as he attempts to crawl across the top of the gigantic playset in my Mom's yard.  Notice the adults around him ready to catch him if he fell.  While he didn't go any farther than he is in the picture, he sure took a risk and made all of our hearts beat a little bit faster contemplating this simple act.  Judging by the smile on his face, he was more than happy keeping us all on our toes.  I was pleasantly surprised to see him push the envelope a bit, especially because he's the "cautious" one.  Heh.

    I also noticed that I've been posting a picture with each post lately.  After doing two 30-day photo challenges in a row, I find that it's difficult to break the habit of including a picture with each post. I'm not complaining about it; it's just an observation.

    Have a great Tuesday!

    Monday, May 14, 2012

    Tick Tock...

    There are 21 more school days left...and one hour. But who's counting?
    Yep, this girl. 

    I think I'm ready for summer break with my children.  It's so hard to wake up before the alarm clock rings; it's been that way for the last month.  I love my job and what I do; I also love summer break.  Not much longer now.  Heh.

    There's so much to do this summer around this house.  I'll be very busy, but it will be a different kind of busy.  I'm ready for a new routine.  C'mon, summer!  Bring it on!

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

    Mama...

    Mama...
    It's the title I have worked hardest for, am most proud of, and wouldn't trade for anything in the world.  Happy Mother's Day!

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

    Naptime...

    I'm guessing this is how Java feels everyday. Heh.
    (Click on the picture if you can't read the words clearly.  It's worth it.)

    Friday, May 11, 2012

    One Of The Funniest Emails My Mother Ever Sent Me...

    So you're a sick senior citizen and the government says there
    is no nursing home available for you, what do you do?

    Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun and 4 bullets.
    You are allowed to shoot four Congressmen.

    Of course, this means you will be sent to prison
    …..where you will
    get three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating,
    air conditioning and all the health care you need!

    Need new teeth? No problem. Need glasses? That's great. Need a new
    hip, knees, kidney, lungs or heart? They're all covered. And,
    as an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you as often
    as they do now.

    And who will be paying for all of this? It's the same government
    that just told you that you they cannot afford for you to go into a
    home.

    Plus, because you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay any
    income taxes anymore.

    Is this a great country or what?

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    Fluency...

    Those who know me well already know this.  Heh.

    Wednesday, May 09, 2012

    After Dinner Chaos...

    Do we know how to have fun around here or what?
    When the kids start running around and getting nuts after dinner, if it's raining, too cold, or wet outside, this is one of the things I have them do.  They can all do it very well.  Liesl's feet aren't quite on the wall completely, but she knows how to do it.  It's so funny to watch them do this.

    We do all kinds of crazy stuff like Push the Wall, Push the Floor, Handstands on the Wall, etc.  It keeps them from running each other over, it prevents accidental injuries (e.g. cocobutting heads), and wears them out.  If they're too rowdy to do yoga, then this is what we do.  It gives them a physical outlet, but keeps them from getting run over by each other.

    Don't judge me.  I am a full-time working mother.  I have four children; a 7yo HFA son, a 6yo quintessential middle child daughter, and 2.5yo twin girls.  The Handstands on the Wall game keeps me sane and prevents me from living on Xanax.  Heh.

    Tuesday, May 08, 2012

    Jack's Art...

    I received an early Mothers Day present to myself yesterday.  Jack's art teacher was running a fundraiser not too long ago.  We could buy a piece of Jack's artwork in a wide array of formats.  I chose a plaque and a pendant.  I couldn't be more pleased with my purchase.  His garden is beautiful, full of flowers and insects, and reflects a huge amount of focus on his part.  I'm so proud of him and his art.

    I love this piece so much that I'm thinking of trying to get one of Liv's pieces of art as a pendant, as well.  I'll have to contact the company or visit their website to see if I can do this, since this was a fundraiser that was at Jack's school and not Liv's.  As far as I can tell, it's just a fundraising gig and I don't think it's open for business other than through schools.

    Wouldn't it be great to have pendants of all of my children's artwork?  It's such a cool idea.

    Monday, May 07, 2012

    Connections...

    I saw this the other day and I just had to post it here.  I love it!
    The connection my son and I have is like no other.  For some reason, I just get him and he gets me.
    What more could I ever ask for?

    There's no bond like the one between a mother and a son.  It's not like the bonds I have with each of my daughters.  It's very different.  I can't explain it or put sufficient words to it.  It's just one of those amazing things in life.

    I suppose the fact that my son is on the autism spectrum makes our bond that much more precious to me.  I don't ever take it for granted.

    Sunday, May 06, 2012

    Chew On This...

    Liesl and Leia both got a new molar on their bottom right side.  Liesl is also going to get one on the bottom left side any day now.  I can see the white just below the surface of her gum.  It's about time for them to come.  It has just hit me that this last set of molars is the last time any of my children will experience getting baby teeth.  Sigh...  I don't like this feeling.

    Saturday, May 05, 2012

    Tired...

    Oh, Saturday!  How I love thee!

    The weekend felt like it took so long to get here this past week.  I am just beat tired and I don't know why.  I think I'm ready for summer to begin.  I need a break from half of my daily responsibilities.  It's not easy being a full-time working mother because my day doesn't "end" when I come home.  I'm literally "on" for fifteen hours a day between working and being Mom.  I get two hours or so to myself a night after the kids go to bed and I'm lucky if I get seven hours of sleep a night.  Seven is generous, but it's realistically more like six hours and even less if someone has a bad night.  At least when summer arrives, I'm free to relax, enjoy Mommy Time with my kids, and take a break from the usual routine during the school year.  Sleeping late is never an option, but not waking up at 5am is.  I can handle 6am.  Heh.

    In the summer, there are no lunches to make, homework to help with, or strict bedtime schedules.  A new routine will begin with Day Camp for Jack and Liv and I'll be able to get some things done around the house that I'm not able to do during the school year.  Maybe I can make that art studio in the basement for Liv, since I really couldn't do it last summer; I took two graduate classes last summer and my time was so limited.  That won't be happening this summer, so I can do lots of things.

    I'm welcoming summer with open arms, just like I do every year.  I love my job and the career I chose, but it's always nice to have a break from the daily grind.  I'm not complaining, by any means.  I'm just tired.  Anyone that tells you that teaching is easy is most certainly NOT doing it right.  There's nothing easy about it, but society looks down on teachers for whatever reason.  Yeah, I get summers off, but I need them to recharge.  I put 1000% effort into what I do in my classroom with my students.  If I weren't exhausted, then I wouldn't be doing my job well enough. 

    Summer can come early if she wants this year, as far as I'm concerned.  Stick a fork in me because I'm done.

    Friday, May 04, 2012

    Beauty...

    Liv will be graduating from Kindergarten next month.  I fully intend on bawling my eyes out at the ceremony, just like I did at Jack's last year.  Sigh.

    When did she get so grown up?

    I look at these pictures and I can faintly see what she'll look like in the future.  What a beauty!

    Thursday, May 03, 2012

    30 More...

    Yesterday, I went to the park and turned in the form to get Jack a one-on-one aide for day camp.  Cross your fingers that whoever he gets this year is just as good as the one he had last year.  Dave was amazing and I don't know if anyone will ever hold a candle to him.  I wonder if Dave is going to be an aide this summer at all or if I could request him if he is.  Hmmm...something to ponder.  What are the odds?

    I'm counting down the school days left.  It's that time of year.  The kids are looking forward to day camp.  The twins are looking forward to gymnastics classes once a week and pool time in the yard.  And I'm thinking about painting all the rooms in the house for a fresh new look.  I've got some colors in mind. 

    Only 30 more school days to go...

    Wednesday, May 02, 2012

    The Zone...

    Have you ever gotten into a "zone" and gotten so much accomplished that when you think about it all later on, you're amazed that you did what you did in such a short amount of time?  Yeah, I have a lot of those days. 

    I love getting into a zone and just getting shit done in record time.  Sometimes I amaze myself.  For example, there are times when I'll be thinking about lesson planning and several weeks of planning just pop into my head.  I can see the end goal and the most fun way to get there for my students and I map it out quickly.  It's as if I'm tapping into a different dimension and channeling an energy that isn't from this world. 

    I know, I know.  I sound like an acid trip right now.  It's just that sometimes I have these moments where they just don't seem real at all because of how much I'm able to accomplish in my head and on paper.  The clarity is unreal and the results are always positive. 

    I don't know what it's called, so I call it my Zone.  I seem to be having a lot of those moments lately.  It's not a bad thing.  It's just...surreal, at times. 

    Tuesday, May 01, 2012

    May...

    Okay, so I did TWO 30-day photo challenges in a row.  It sure was fun trying to snap a pic or find a pic I'd previously took to match the subjects for each day.  I contemplated doing a third challenge. 

    I think I'll take a rest from it.  I've got enough on my plate right now.  I sure had a lot of fun with it in the last two months.  I'm glad I did it.  I didn't do it to make sure I write a post every single day because I've been doing THAT for several years now.  Writing a post has become second nature, something I do in the evening to relax after a long day.  When you really love doing something, you make the time to do it.  Writing is my joy.  Recording my children's milestones brings me happiness and I love looking back on what I wrote years ago.  It reminds me of how much I've evolved.

    I can't believe it's already May.  Before I know it, summer will be here, the pool will be up, and I'll be working on my tan.  Oh, yeaaaaaaaahhhhh!