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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Today Was A Good Day

It's been a rough week.

This is my first full week of working (cue the violins because it's about to get whiny) and I am exhausted.  I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water with all the things I have to do.  My entire existence has been details and now I am pleased if dinner gets made.  (Which by the way happens at 4pm because if I stop moving , I fall asleep)

I have been so focused on my hands on, trial by fire, training that I hadn't even stopped to think that I was in a new job with new co-workers and not everyone was going to love me.  I will say that 99% of the people I have encountered have been amazing.  I love them.  One person, not so much, but still pretty good odds. I'm not going to lie, the one person not liking me without even knowing me really gets under my skin, but I would rather focus on the good than obsess about one bad.

I know I will get used to it, but this first week  is rough.

Tuesday was not a good day. 

Yesterday was a better day.

Today was a good day.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring.  I am expecting the worst , but hoping for the best.

Today I felt like I made a tiny connection.

I felt like I relaxed a little and felt a little more confident and so my day with my student was better.

I know that I can hope for gradual improvement, but I should expect a "one step forward , two steps back" reality.

All I know and all I really care about is that today was a good day.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Eyes Wide Open and Full of Tears

I have recently gone back to work.

I started slow, I applied as a substitute teacher in our school system, I started getting calls in the late fall.

I loved it.  I loved the flexibility.  If I had something going on, when the call came in, I could just say no.  I had made myself available to my daughter's school, so that I didn't have to worry about childcare.  She comes in with me and we go home together, very fun.  Especially fun on Fridays, we made a deal that if I got called in on a Friday we would treat ourselves to Dunkin Donuts in the morning.

The calls were coming at a pretty good pace and it was nice to have some "extra" money.  (Is there ever really extra money?  Not in my house!)  Then I got a call that will no doubt change my life.

I was asked to substitute in a special education room.  I went in, ready to help as always and had a really great day with the kids.  It is hard work and challenging, but I thought I held my own.

Apparently, the school felt the same way, because they asked if I could help in that class , full-time, until the end of the year.

They are down one, one-on-one aide in that class and are in the process of hiring a new one.  I have agreed to stay on until they find someone or until the end of the year, whichever comes first.

I don't want to get into details about the kids, but I want to say that other than small doses, this is my first experience with autism.    I cannot believe what an eye opening experience this has been.  I am learning something everyday, and it's only been three days!  I am exhausted in a way I have never been before, but I am also content in a way I haven't been before.  Deciding to do this was out of my comfort zone, but I am so happy I am doing it.

I know many of my friends are dealing with autism on a daily basis with their own children and I have always admired them and their positive outlooks and daily determination, but I didn't have any experiences of my own to really consider what their lives might be like.  To say I have been humbled is the understatement of the year.

Last night, my husband took me out to dinner to celebrate my "full-time" employment. ( I put that in quotes as it's really only for a month and a half) When we had finally had settled in and ordered our meals, he asked me, "So how is the job?  How is it with your student?"  (He doesn't really talk like that , I am just trying to avoid invading any one's privacy)

I looked up at him and I burst into tears.  I was exhausted, I was emotionally overwhelmed, it was completely unexpected on my part.  I wasn't crying because I made a mistake in taking the job or that I was counting the minutes until they hired the permanent replacement.  I was crying because my student is amazing.  I can't imagine what it's like to BE him.  I wonder if he knows how much I already care for him, and how I want our time together to be a success for him.  I see how hard he tries, how he just can't help himself sometimes and I also see how other children react to him.  At that moment it was all just too much.

I am eager to learn as much as I can in my time with these children.  This experience has awakened something in me that I never knew existed.  My heart is bigger, I am grateful for the blessings in my own life, and my eyes are wide open even if they are full of tears.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Brace Yourself

Last week my son got his braces off.

It has been so funny watching him check out his new (and may I say beautiful) smile every time he walks by a mirror.

This is a kid who barely brushes his hair in the morning and on more than one occasion has tried to wear the same clothes two days in a row to school.

The last time we were at the orthodontist, they asked me if I would be okay with the kids' pictures being on their website.  I assumed they would click a few pictures in the office and that was fine with me.  They informed me that they would be paying for formal pictures to be taken at a photo studio and that I would get a few complimentary pictures.

Free pictures of my kids?  Sure!  Whatever I can do to help!

We arrived and the photographer said she would set up for some close ups of my daughter who is just starting out with orthodontics and my son who just finished.  She then added that she would take a few of them together since I had color coordinated them so nicely, but I would be under no obligation to buy them.  As if I would be able to resist.

My daughter went first and do not doubt her modeling skills.  She knows just where to stand, how to stand, and when to flash that super smile.  She seemed to look a little more natural as the pictures went on.  She was battling a rotten cold though, and in some of the pictures, she just didn't look like herself.  Of course there were some great shots.

When it was my sons turn, I had to leave the room.  He was so self conscious and I liken the photographer trying to pose him to The Scarecrow and Dorothy trying to get The Tinman to move.  I was so afraid I would get the giggles and blow the whole thing, so I excused myself to "give him some space".

I peeked in on a few and wondered how these would turn out.

Then the kids got together for a few, they were more relaxed and these of course were my favorites.

When I got home, the photos were emailed to me since the studio was super busy and I decided to check them out on-line.

 I was so surprised to see how amazing my sons photos came out!

He looks so grown up , and even though, some of the poses are very "senior photo for the yearbook"  there's not a hint of awkwardness.

Now I just have to figure out how I am going to afford them all !

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rainbow Sheets

Years ago when I worked part time at Target , I was obsessed with their clearance.

Oh who am I kidding, I am still obsessed with it, I just don't get to see it as often as I used to.

So one day, long ago, I came across a set of jersey knit, tie-dyed, rainbow sheets.  I can't remember how much I paid for them, but I swear it was around $5.00.

I thought we'd be able to use them for the extra sheets for my son's trundle bed, or middle of the night sheet changing for that sick kid.

Neither of my kids loved the sheets and they made their way to the back of the closet.

One day when one of the kids was sick, they wanted to lay on the couch and watch TV, I am fairly certain this was a stomach bug issue and I could not fathom scrubbing any grossness out of my couch, so I went upstairs to grab some sheets.

When I came down with the sheets, the sick child said, "Awww, I don't like those sheets." 

I said, " How can you not like these?  These have the power of a rainbow in them to make you feel better! (Translation, "If you think I am going back upstairs to get another set, you're crazy!")

Now, every time one of the kids is home sick, including today, they request the rainbow sheets.  I know it's just something that makes them feel better, as if it validates that they are sick and that they need special care.

My daughter, who was the sick one today, told me that I have to save them so that when she has kids she can use it for them.  My son got wind of this and said, "No way, those are mine."

Mental note, check ebay and the like for another set.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fool Me Once

I got a call from the school this week.

My son's school to be specific.

It was an early morning call.  As in, he had just hopped on the bus a half hour ago.

I assumed it would be my son calling to tell me he forgot something, but instead it was him, telling me that he really didn't feel well and could I pick him up.

I was a little surprised seeing as he and I had some time together that morning and he never said anything, he did have a cough and cold, but nothing major.  I assumed that maybe he was feeling ill from the bus ride or something.

What made me crazy is, no adult at the school ever spoke to me, I wish that the nurse or someone had called me so that I could have said,"Does he have a temp?  Do you think we could try and see if he feels better and if not I will absolutely come and get him?"  This did not happen and I also didn't want to seem uncaring, so off I went.

I had to scramble to get my daughter ready so that we could pick up her brother and then drop her off at her school since we wouldn't make it back in time for her bus.

We arrive at the school and all "mommy senses" tell me, he's fine.  I even asked if he was sure he needed to go home.  He was sure.

Once we dropped his sister off, I turned to him and said, "Ok, I have to ask the question, did you forget to do any homework over the weekend?"

Poor kid, he never stood a chance, he has inherited my nervous smile when I know I might be in trouble. 

He confessed that he forgot to do something that was due, you guessed it , first period. 

He then went on to say that he really and truly did not feel well and thought he might get sick.  I went on to explain that I didn't doubt that he didn't fell well, but that I was also pretty sure that any symptoms he was having were due to his nerves over forgetting.

I thought it was funny that he didn't try and do the work real quick in the hallway, or take the zero.  It made me realize that he really does want to do a good job and gets upset when he doesn't. 

Unfortunately, he didn't realize the error until he was on the bus (again, I would have scrambled to write something).  I told him that in the future, should he forget something, I would much rather bring him in a little late and miss one class.  Missing an entire day over one class is not ideal.  I did warn him that I could not guarantee that I would be happy about it, but definitely not as mad over picking up a not so sick kid.

I then decided to let him off the hook, he is a really good kid, and tell him that he would get away with this once.  Once.

What was a nice little life lesson too was two days later when he was overwhelmed with the make-up work he had to do.  He realized it probably wasn't worth it and he would definitely try to be more organized in the future.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

I don't really talk politics with my kids.  I don't really talk politics with anyone for that matter.

I will talk about why we have elections, answer any questions they have, but as far as personal feelings, etc. I keep quiet.

I feel like they need to make their own decisions, there are so many kids out there who parrot what their parents are saying and don't really get why they are saying it. 

My son has been asking a lot of questions this year.  A lot of questions I don't have the answers to , so we have tried to look up answers as best we can.  It can be hard to find the true answers when there seems to be 2 sides to every story.

He was happy to see his own school hold a mock election, he was very surprised that when one candidate for senate won, a lot of his classmates were upset.  He didn't see how the other candidate could have won if so many people were upset.  He then said, "Oh maybe just the people that were loud were upset."  He's pretty smart, that kid.

Yesterday, my daughter's school also had a mock election.  She came home and told me all about it.  It was so hard for me to keep a straight face while she told me about the conversations her and her friends had about the candidates.

She told me that a group of her friends said that if one candidate won, he would tear down all the schools.  So I followed up with, "So, I guess they all voted for the other guy."  "No." She said.  "They voted for him so we wouldn't have to go to school anymore!"

Another friend told her that a candidate would raise taxes.  My daughter asked me what taxes were and were they bad.  I tried to explain as much as I could to an 8 year old what taxes were.  She didn't seem to think this affected her life and moved on.

She was very excited to learn about the candidates in her Scholastic News.  She is excited to see who wins.

 I will the kids with me today when I vote so that they can be a part of all the excitement. 

I am the first to admit that I don't have a passion for politics, but I won't let that sway my kids from having an interest in it or just appreciating the rights we have as Americans. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's Just Been Raining...On My Face

So last week in a matter of a half hour I cried twice.

I tried both times to keep my cool, but when it comes to my kids, I can't help myself.

I picked up my daughter at school a little early.  She was going back to her old school to read to her 1st grade teacher's new class.

She was so excited all week.  So I was very surprised when she came into the office and I could tell by her face she was upset.  She barely made it to the car before she broke into tears.

It seems that she got yelled at by a teacher.  The teacher thought she was talking in line and yelled at her.  My daughter swears she wasn't, I don't care if she was, kids aren't perfect, but that wasn't what made her upset.

Apparently, when she then had to walk past this teacher, the teacher grabbed her shoulder and said, "I'm surprised at you missy."  This devastated and embarrassed my daughter.  She proceeded to cry throughout lunch and then into classtime.  Luckily her teacher was able to comfort her, but she was still very upset about it when she told me.

As I comforted her, I got upset.  It kills me that she was so upset for so long.  I was basically a raw nerve when we arrived at her old school.

We were in the hallway when her teacher spotted us.  She ran out, all smiles, and picked up my daughter, twirled her around and said, "I miss you so much!"  It was all I could do not to burst into tears.  Like I said, I was a raw nerve.

Everyone was so happy to see her, she was so proud to read in her old class and see some of her friends in there.

We were invited to come back anytime and we certainly will.

When we got in the car, I lost it.  I was so proud of her, so sad for her and overwhelmed.  I tried to downplay it , but my daughter said, "What's wrong?"

I started singing her this song from "Flight of The Conchords" to try and make her laugh and not worry and do the same for myself.

It's comic gold and did the trick.