Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Speak of the Devil...

So, my Little Viking keeps getting bigger and bigger... and I don't mind admitting that adoring him has been a long journey.... I can't even really remember why, except to say that while he was not a difficult baby, he was the more difficult of my boys. I can just remember at times, looking at him and not feeling the rapture with which I'd cooed over the Tornado at similar stages of development. In the summer, when I'd started writing here, we started each day with a stand off about breakfast and then an 18 hour pissing match about whether or not the sippy cup would make it into the carpeted living room. He is the Mini Master because he's opinionated and strong-willed just like mom. Although not yet as diplomatic, so he's just kind of an asshole from time to time. Two years, 3 months and 27 days after his birth I can say without a doubt that I am completely enamored of this child.

He is a totally different species than the Tornado... he swings his fists like Holyfield, makes anything he can wrap his chubby fingers around into a sword, and blasts "shoots" out of the palm of his hand at imaginary ghosts, robots and "Black Knights." (and often shoots loved ones in the face - it's a gesture of endearment... I think) We recently went to my BFF's wedding and delighted with the red linens, the Viking would not go anywhere all evening unless one of the napkins was tucked into the back of his collar like a cape. If you don't know a bulldozer from a skid steer, save yourself a disgusted glare and don't talk - just listen, 'cause he'll tell you. The Viking's favorite game is "Fight?" It goes like this: "Fight, mama?" asked in the same tone of voice one might use to try to coerce a scared cat into a carrier - dripping with sweetness and the promise of some sort of treat but by the time you realize what he's asked, he's already socked you in the eye and he's dangling from your hair. Or you may just be watching TV or clicking around facebook when WHAM! you've got a welt on your temple the exact width of the homemade Captain America shield he's learned to throw like a boomerang. That game has been renamed "That funny, mama? Ha ha... That funneeee??"  He's a bit of a menace. Incidentally I told him that the other day, and his response was: "No. I. Cap'an. 'Merica!" Did I mention that he speaks in periods? It sounds like he's being raised by William Shatner and Christopher Walken. And then, just when you've been "Heeeee-ya!'d" to the point of insanity, he will do something fabulous like use his finger to fetch an imaginary "Liddle. Baby. Chick." from your nose. He'll pet it and pretend to kiss it and tell you to hold it while he goes to Stop and Shop. He's a surly, quirky little fucker with a right hook... and (finally) I really, really like him.
My mother was driving the kids out to see my brother recently and had been asked by the Tornado, "So who invented bad guys, anyway?" She began to tell him the story of God and the fallen angel, Lucifer. So she said, "Long, long ago God had a favorite angel who was the most beautiful and was the smartest of all the other angels..." (Lucifer, for those having trouble keeping up) at which point the Viking pipes up and says, "Yeah. That. Me." He hasn't been baptised yet and there's a part of me that really wants to flick a little holy water on him just to hear it sizzle...

The Viking wearing his cape at a recent wedding - The Devil's done with Prada - it's red linen this season

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Some People Tell Me I should Write a Book...

When people hear me talk about life in preschool they tell me things like, "You should write a book!" or that I should do stand up comedy (yeah... like I need another job that won't pay me shit) When I began writng this blog I promised funny stories about preschool hijinx... and I haven't delivered. Here's a little bit about why:

When I was in fifth grade I was mad at my teacher and his class pet for some slight I only half remember. So because it was the beginning of the "Mean Girl" stage of development, I wrote something nasty about them on a piece of notebook paper and planned on passing it all around the classroom. I'm cringing as I tell you that I believe the word "humps" made an appearance in my mini smear campaign propaganda. For whatever reason, I never did circulate the note... but my mom found it in my pants pocket the next day. She told me never, under any circumstances should I write down something that I didn't want to be found out. I would love to tell you that I'm a fast learner and that I never again screwed myself with undeniable facts written in my own hand... but the 25+ times in high school that she looked through my backpack or my room and found notes to/from friends about parties and things I wasn't supposed to do with boyfriends I wasn't supposed to have, are testimony to the thickness of my skull. I am proud to say, however that TODAY, well... today, I get it!

I've been following some of the news stories about Natalie Munroe, a Pennsylvania English teacher who vented about students on her personal blog. If you haven't heard about this, here's a brief back story.
It obviously hits home for me as my blog deals mostly with my personal life, but touches from time to time on my perspective of life as a preschool teacher. There have been many times that I could have used this as a sounding board for gripes I have about work stuff, but have held back for several reasons - 1. my supervisor reads this blog,    2. confidentiality is important to me, as is my sense of professionalism,  and 3. I've come to realize that my friend, Jen is the only person who can really handle the uncensored answer to "How was your day?" She loves it when I use the word "retard" and well... some other folks tend to cringe.

What's happening for the Pennsylvania high school teacher is unfortunate but, let's face it - fair or not fair, in this life you risk consequence with every action you take. I have no wish to debate right or wrong about this teacher's posts. She didn't use names and she spoke some truths that I share. What interests me more is the idea that if she were a doctor or a mechanic or a librarian or a bus driver she could comment on the absurdity and stupidity of nameless people she encounters in her work day without public uproar. So, America? What puts our children above reproach in our mind's eye? Why are we horrified by a teacher's rantings about lazy, entitled and it has to be confirmed - stupid kids?? Your kids have friends for Christ sake - you've encountered some of these people too. Spend some time on your school's playground after school someday and keep your eyes and ears open. What never fails to cross my mind when I'm out there is "So many 'treasures,' so few holes to bury them in." There is some atrocious behavior happening amidst the under 18 set...

Before you say it - What if it were MY child she had in mind when writing those comments? I've thought about this and tried to put myself on that side of the arguement, and you know what I came up with?
So what??? Here's the thing: I know what my child's potential is. I know his insides and his outside and I know what he's going to do/say/think usually before he does. I know how I feel about who he is and I know what my hopes are for who he will become, because I am his MOM. I don't expect anyone else on the planet to see in him what I see. No one will ever feel the way I do about the Tornado because to date, no one else has as much invested in him and that's the way it's supposed to be. Teachers and coaches and friends and their parents will form their own opinions about my kids that will have NO IMPACT on how I feel or what I know about them. So serioulsy? In the grand scheme of things - who gives a shit if someone thinks my kid should check in with local waste management companies for employment? (to be honest my biggest gripe about the PA teacher's comments was the insinuation that driving a garbage truck was inferior work -  work is work, bitch! It's a recession...)

So while I envisioned being able to share stories here about my present day work with preschoolers, I will heed my mother's advice (please don't tell her!!) and NOT put into writing anything about specific instances with my present class. I stand by everyhting that I've written about teaching preschoolers so far in this blog. However, only my nearest and dearest will get the "Full Monty" of classroom life with the SassMaster. I realized while pondering all of this, that while I gripe and parody and poke fun in the name of blowing off steam about a highly stressful job, what readers wouldn't be privy to are the moments that temper the What the Fuck stories that my BFF gets to snort about. Because there are days when someone small says something like "You are my nicest hero..." to you and it allows you to let go of the kid who won't stop knocking down his friends' blocks (let go of him figuratively, of course because head locks, while effective are strictly forbidden.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over.... or "If any more AWESOME gets crammed into this day I just might blow up and turn into Mary fucking Poppins...

I really want to get this posted while the high is still a fresh tingle in my spine... please excuse any typos.

First an update:

Weight Watchers is not the Hell I imagined and besides a few minor derailments that astonishingly did NOT involve Nutty Bars, is much easier than I expected it to be. After the first white-knuckle night during which I went through every emotion imaginable simply by virtue of the fact that I'd disrupted my usual routine of  bored? shove high fat/sugar stuff into pie hole. avoiding some task? shove more crappy food into pie hole. sad? angry? you know what to do, Porkchop! shove something with cream filling into your pie hole...
So I actually had to feel every feeling that I had for a few days and the experience made me want to come out of my skin. I also felt the urge to throttle random citizens and loved ones for no obvious reason other than it looked as though they might be breathing within 3 feet of me.
Thankfully that phase has passed and all people in my life, big and small are present and accounted for. No lumpy rolled up carpets, or weighted river dumps. Congratulations for surviving Chubby Girl DTs, everyone. And thank you for your patience.

We are once again members of our local YMCA. Haven't been back since renewing the membership except to take the boys for a swim. However, I am encouraged that the thought no longer drives me to the cupboard in search of a spoonful of Fluff. We've been incredibly sick this winter with what I'm going to call chronic Pan-American Death Flu. I almost grabbed the kids and headed to the gym this afternoon when the thought of the childcare rooms with the Death Flu strains they are, no doubt still crawling with, turned me into Agrophobe Mommy and I opted for mounting the elliptical machine/towel dryer at my house. We just got better for Christ's sake...
errr... update complete.

Today I felt some more of the feelings I'm so used celebrating/stifling with cream filling and I may not sleep for hours yet because there's still a palpable buzz in my being from all of it. This afternoon I got on the elliptical/towel dryer for 30 minutes and instead of watching the clock and feeling ashamed of the jiggles and all the clicking I heard my hips doing I felt AMAZING! What a relevelation! My head is a riot of words right now trying to find the best way to describe my exercise experience today...
Anyone who knows me will tell you I am the self-proclaimed poster potato for couches. Yesterday I would have told you I only run when chased... today I felt like I could run a marathon (except I would totally sacrifice time for a bathroom break when I need one - No way will anyone catch me crossing a finish line with a melange bodily fluids running down my leg.)
At first I was just thrilled about not sucking wind inside of three minutes but as my legs found that familiar rhythm and pace of the machine, I felt stronger and stronger and sweaty, and tired, and stuff started to get sore and I lost my balance a little bit, but then all those glorious endorfins that failed me during labor and childbirth flooded my system and stronger took over again. I felt some anger I recognized had been ruminating inside me for a few weeks and the angrier I got, the better I felt so I let it go and pushed harder with my body... Music I love was blaring in my ears and I didn't care about where my children were... or what family and strangers had done to incur my wrath. I pumped my legs and punched the air. I thought, "Somebody line up Glenn Beck and Ted Nugent. The SassMaster is ready to kick some ass." Poppets, I smiled and flailed and moved and sweated and closed my eyes and head banged through a work out... and I loved every minute of it. Fuck me. Who'd have thunk?

picture this with curly hair and much more "jiggle" or if that visual is too much for you,
 just enjoy 10 seconds of Brad Pitt

The second bit of awesomeness to grace my day was my brother. He continues to triumph over the train wreck of his not-so-distant past and is all the inspiration I should need to keep moving forward no matter how many obstacles I put in my own path. He's a recovering alcoholic who is in his umpteenth stretch of sobriety at the ripe old age of 29. Today he walked into the kitchen and reached out for the Viking with hands that didin't shake and a solid, grounded stance, a clear and contented gaze and I handed over my baby without an ounce of trepedation... just trust. I couldn't do that 6-8 months ago. I couldn't be sure my brother was sober enough to keep himself upright, let alone manange my squirming toddler without ending up ass over tea kettle. The best part was that I didn't let our history of dysfunctional communication stop me from telling him how proud I was of how far he's come and how happy I am to look into his face and recognize the person looking back at me.

Coincidentally, my BFF whose father is still struggling with his disease posted this today:

God, grant me the patience to relish each second of this day,
the courage to learn from and let go of yesterday,
and the passion to pursue tomorrow.

Jen, I think I got the best of this one today, but I know your Grace is due... and until then, I'm here to listen and respond with irreverence and sarcasm, as always. xo
Keep yours eyes open for your Grace, poppets... it doesn't always jump on your face and wiggle, but it's happening around you, of that I'm sure.