Friday, September 28, 2012

What I Learned from the NFL Ref Lock-out Part 1

I have given myself some time to heal from the MNF fiasco. As you can see, we are huge sports fans at our house, in our family, and we usually take these losses quite hard...especially hubby. He can be found pacing back and forth wearing the carpet thin during a Packer game. He has gotten better with time. With a loss, he used to pout and act like he was just diagnosed with a terminal illness for at least 3 days and then he would move on just in time for the next game. As of late, he has been able to suffer in silence and then sees that there are much bigger things in life to stress about (he usually chooses gas prices or the ozone layer -- you know, things he can control). 

I am not going to lie, I even felt a little gray cloud following me around in the morning. To make matters worse, I had to go into a room of 24 students. Going to my beloved classroom was not the hard part. The hard part was listening to all of them parrot back their parents' interpretations of the big game. Some parents are pro-Packers, some not.

Then came the moment of truth..."Mrs. Sanderfoot, how did you feel about that game last night?"
As  teacher, I am supposed to teach these children to be open-minded and to accept others and to have good character. So I avoided the question with, "Oh my, what a rough game."
Yet, my buddy Nick pressed on, "But did you think it was a touchdown?"
I avoided further, "It was a tough call to make." In my head all I could think was: No it wasn't. It was so clearly an interception.
Nick still wasn't satisfied, "Mrs. Sanderfoot, did you think it was a bad call? My dad said the refs sucked."

I can agree or I can make this a teachable moment. And this is where I had an epiphany (good word, right?).

I had just read a book to my students about the Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes. The title kind of gives away the plot but the important lesson in the story is that everyone makes mistakes and we need to get a sense of humor about them and move on. Time for the"text to world connection." 

Everyone makes mistakes everyday -- big and small. Now imagine that your mistakes were broadcast on national television and then everyone repeatedly analyzed your mistake for a full week afterward on ESPN and local/national news stations. 

You would see that moment when my mouth can't find the right words, you would definitely see me falling or tripping up the stairs (Grace is not my middle name), you would see me lose my temper with my kids, and even forget to save my receipt from grocery shopping so that hubby  could balance my check-book. While some parts would be quite entertaining for others, I would have to relive those mistakes over and over. 
Now it is obviously easier if people admit that they made a mistake so that we can forgive and try to forget, but who likes to do that.
So that is how I explained it to my students. Hopefully I taught them a little about empathy and forgiveness. And it is a great reminder to myself each time I see that interception....I mean mistake replayed on TV.
Part 2 maybe later....I have to get ready for school. Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sweating It Out

Neddy had a doctor's appointment last week. I hate bringing my children to the doctor. They each grow horns and a tail the minute we step through the fascinating motorized-assistance doors. 
Have you ever noticed that the doctor's office is always kept at a steamy 85 degrees? Why do they do this? It is so blasted hot in there and then I get embarrassed because my kids are licking the fish tank or breaking toys so I sweat more. Then I am forced to keep the madness to a minimum in a tiny room for 20 minutes while I wait for the doctor to grace us with her presence. This causes sweat rings to form under my arms and around my neck. I can't imagine what I look like when she finally enters the room.
This particular visit Kate decided to develop OCD and had to wash her hands 50 times. At her 51st request, I denied her and she threw herself on the floor for a tantrum that I have never seen before. She ended up in time out. A second fit started upon reentry to the world when she realized that we were at an appointment for Neddy and the doctor wasn't going to look in her ears. She went back to time out and then screamed, "I TIIIIIRED! I NEEEDDD GO BED! I NEEEED NUKKKK-EEEEEE!!" Awesome. Now the doctor knows that you still get a nuk. Get ready for dirty looks and a scolding.
Then it was discovered that Neddy had a red throat and might have strep. Why didn't I know this? Way to go loser mom. Your kid might be really sick which is probably why she has been so naughty lately. We survived the awesome strep test and then just whined and cried for the remainder of the appointment. Truthfully I got nothing out of it but an increase in my body temperature and lots of pit stains. I couldn't hear anything over the screams and whines of my children. 
We went to the front desk to schedule an appointment for Neddy's 18 month visit. The nurse was trying to schedule me for the wrong month. I tried to explain. She didn't want to hear. I think she just wanted us to leave. Kate was pounding on the fish tank. Neddy was climbing under the tunnels of chairs. It was loud. I was sweating more.
Then came the unexpected. A boy came sprinting at me from across the room. He was the same height as me (which doesn't say much) but clearly a boy. Stepped into my "hula hoop" of space and wiggled his fingers at the base of my neck....and kept wiggling them....and kept wiggling them. All I could mutter was, "OH!"
His mother came across the room with baby on her hip and said, "C'mon. Let's go." 
His fingers kept wiggling. 
I grabbed his hands and said, "You need to go."
Then I stood there feeling assaulted and laughing to myself because the poor kid probably had sweat all over his hands. 
The nurse stared at me and said, "Well! I guess you don't see that everyday!"
"No you don't!"
Then nurse number two proceeded to overreact, "Oh my! That is not okay! You must be so frightened!"
I figured that the boy was somewhere on the spectrum and I tried to explain to her that I am a teacher and have worked with many kids like that but she continued. I couldn't wait to leave. I started sweating all over again.
At first I was irritated with that mother for not saying, "Excuse us" or "I'm sorry" or even offer an explanation like "He has autism."
Now I understand that she was just trying to survive the doctor's office too. I hope her appointment went better than mine!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Appreciate the Quiet

That's right, friends! I am back to school and have added a "hat" back to my everyday wear. That means my posts will be short and few and far between.

It has been an interesting start to the school year. We had some sitter conflicts on the first week back and my wonderful step-mother and dad took the little Reds to their house for a couple of nights to help out. This was a dream come true. I always looked at other families that have grandparents take the kids for the night or week and felt totally jealous. So when this opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it...and then cried my eyes out on the way home.

I am such a dork. I couldn't get over the fact that my backseat was empty of car seats and toys leaving behind only random fruit loops and crusty french fries. There was no Elmo blaring on the DVD players behind my head, and no one was shouting or fighting behind me. It was quiet. Was life this quiet before the girls? Why, oh why didn't I appreciate it more?

So here's the thing, everyone has always said, oh...your life must be so busy with such busy little girls! And I always agreed but deep inside I thought, not really. So maybe I am missing something? Maybe I am not doing something right? 

Well, it turns out, life was CRAZY busy! It took my kids leaving for a few nights to realize that I didn't have to get up at 5 and run around like my hair was on fire to get everyone diapered, changed, fed, packed, and in the car by 7:15. I was actually able to watch TV, exercise, get a coffee from the coffee shop, and be early to work and stay late without guilt! It was amazing! And I did it two days in a row!

But the bad part was my heart hurt. It felt as empty as our backseat. 

So I gladly went to get my girls to fill my life back up again. I was happy as a clam until somewhere in the car around the 45 minute mark of playing "hide-and-seek nuk" in the car. 
Kate hides the nuk cleverly under her leg (yes, each time is in the same spot.) Then she says, "Momma where nuk go?"
"I don't know?"
"Is in oven?" (At home we always look in the oven first...)
"Is it in the oven, Kate?"
"Nope! Is at park on swings?"
"Is it at the park on the swings, Kate?"
"Nope! (giggle, giggle) Is under my weg?"
"Is it under your leg?"

Cute, right? Until you hit the 45 minute mark of the game on repeat. Then you would want to jerk the wheel too! Why, oh why didn't I appreciate that quiet more?