Thursday, November 6, 2014

This, I Can Fix

Parent teacher conferences are in full swing and there is not much outside working in an ER that I envision as being more stressful.

There's a lot of me apologizing. Like, "I'm sorry. I wish it were different. I've done everything possible to make it different but your child is failing/bites others/is a bully/steals from me all the time". Like, for real, HALF of my furry friends have disappeared when I've only issued three as rewards for AR points. That means they have been systematically funneled out of my room by greedy Fish Sticks who are too lazy/entitled to earn them. I can name at least three people I suspect strongly.

Monday I had to have the "I'm sorry" discussion with a guardian in which I said, you know, he has no empathy. He exhibits zero compassion, no obvious visible connection to or attachment to any other human being. Well, they kinda already knew that which made it still horrible but easier in a way.

Today that kiddo went to the counselor and came back with a happy meal i knew he was getting. He was super good about not taunting anyone with it or trying to get into it before lunch, etc. We were leaving the room for the cafeteria when Adrian, my severely hyperactive and regressive child, flailed into him and knocked his drink to the floor, spilling it completely.

Ned's face went ashy white, his lips absolutely disappearing.

You SPILLED my drink. My lunch is ruined because of YOU.

I thought, *&^% this kid is going to pound Adrian. So I grabbed him and said, hey, was that sweet tea? I can take care of this!

I ensconced him in the cafeteria and brought him a big old styrofoam cup of ice and sweet tea and I could see him physically rearrange out of fight or flight mode. I breathed a sigh of relief for myself because, while I know Adrian's behavior will cause him to run afoul of some pretty dangerous characters, today was NOT that day. Not on my watch.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gingerbread Madness

I have an obsessive personality which sometimes collides with Pinterest in a way that defies all logic.

When I was twelve, I went to Colonial Williamsburg. I was so taken with it that I have, by actual count, read Janet Evanovich's loveswept romance Thanksgiving four times for the simple reason that the main character works there. I love the atmosphere. I geek out over the step-back-in-time-itude of it all.

So when I ran across their official gingerbread recipe, am I going to try it? Does Bieber need a haircut? Does Starz need to put Outlander on network TV? Hell to the yeah. (Diva doesn't have cable, y'all. Or netflix. We're not Luddite, just broke.)

According to the recipe, I needed pastry flour. So, like any self respecting adult woman, I texted my mommy to ask what that was. She forwarded me an online article about how to add cornstarch to all purpose flour as a substitution so I didn't have to buy pastry flour. I got fancy and sifted the combo together and made a huge mofo of a mess on my freshly-mopped floor.

Then, I softened the butter and enlisted the Sweet Pea.

Her commentary included:

This looks like peanut butter! (it did)

Not again! (she was so done with the hand mixer because it's loud)

Look--I put it in the cup! (she smushed up freshly cut out cookies and stuffed them in the juice glass we were using to cut out two inch circles)

The recipe also maintains that the yield is 24 cookies. The ones in the picture look normal sized but in actual fact, the recipe yield makes exactly 2.8 shit-tons of gingerbread cookies.

Perhaps if I'd rolled the dough to exactly .25" thickness as directed...dude, I had a three year old standing on a  chair scooping raw flour into her mouth. This diva had shit to do and measuring dough uniformity was not on that list. So we have round cookies, mini gingerbread men, mini snowmen and some little men who came home injured from the Great War, missing limbs or with what must be a traumatic brain injury resulting in a misshapen skull.

I have a normal oven. I had to make six batches of cookies. Six batches. Which means that my oven was at 375 for approximately ever. Likewise the air temperature in my kitchen hovered around blackout level heat. There was sweat in places I am far too delicate a flower to reference specifically.

They're good. Of course they're good. Their freaking spectacular. As they should be with seventeen bajillion steps in the instructions and the resulting army of tiny cookie men.

Now, for cuteness

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Clever Bear and Other Bright Spots

It is, thus far, an extremely rough year with the Fish Sticks. So I'll focus on the positive.

First off, I got a red dollar store valentine bear from a kiddo a few years ago and this year it got a new role in the classroom. Inspired by Phryne Fisher's clever chocolates (the fictional detective rewards her daughters for asking smart questions or creative responses by giving them a fancy candy), I made this valentine guy the Clever Bear. Each morning I write a note to the Fish Sticks on the board and put a mistake in it. Whomever locates the mistake during calendar time gets to have the Clever Bear on his/her desk for the day. I have only one child who is "too big" for it and refused it. I'm working on him. There have also been instances when Fish Sticks gave excellent explanations in Math later on and I issued the CB to that kid, relieving the morning message mistake kid of the bear. Then the effort to regain the bear becomes heated!

I have managed to read them most of Robert Munsch. Because it's funny and often rude, I was able to appeal to them with this author after I failed to reach them with Mr. Men/Little Miss books, the Boxcar Children (who the heck doesn't love them???) and Kevin Henkes. Only Mo Willems and Munsch have gotten any engagement out of them and that is with Diva chewing some serious scenery on delivery.

Um, other positives?'s a three day weekend.
I've resolved not to bitch about this class on the blog so, short posts! It's a win for everyone, right?

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Tomorrow, the Sweet Pea will be three years old!

I have wept over that off and on for the last two weeks, mostly thanks to friends sending me sad poems on Facebook about how there will soon be a last time that I hold her hand, lift her to carry her on my hip, etc. So here's where I give a rather tearful finger to those friends.

There have been so many changes, so much growth this year. Guess who has grown up so much?

Me. I have. Diva.  Yep, that's right.

As much as I have watched my toddler grow into a little girl with emphatic opinions who will take any excuse to dance or dip her food in ketchup, I have seen a transformation in myself. Not to go all Frozen on you, but there are so many times I've found myself able to let it go.  It shows in my teaching...I let kids stand at their desks or curl up beneath them, no longer concerned if they can sit in a chair for the arbitrary reason that we're expected to do so.

Today was a crucial moment in letting it go. Last year this time, I was gearing up to have forty plus people come to my house for my daughter's party. I was crying in my mother's kitchen because the Pinterest-approved technique for transferring the sunshine from Tangled onto my daughter's homemade cake had failed and I couldn't fix it. I can't decorate cakes, people. At. All. About once a year I get a bizarre delusion that it can't be that hard. It is. It is that hard and I suck at it. I stressed myself out and ruined the entire day for myself and partly for SP as well because I needed it to be perfect because...I needed the approval. I wanted everyone to be impressed with how I do it All and so beautifully.

Today, to celebrate her birthday since I'm working tomorrow, we curled up under our favorite blanket (thank you, Karen) and watched an episode of the Smurfs from the 80s. We played dolls. We sang and danced. I lettered a birthday sign on poster board and then let her draw all over it with markers. I blew up balloons. She learned how to use the hand mixer while we made her little cake.

Next weekend we'll go to the park with a pan of homemade cupcakes and the family can see her there. I'm not shutting my poodles in a room for three hours and making my house sparkling clean at the expense of my sanity. It just ain't worth it, y'all.

So here's what she's taught me this year: Live in the moment. The moment may not last very long.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Dimmer Switch

The blog's not exactly dark right now, just deprioritized.

I'm spending time working, writing my diva ass off, and weeping intermittently over my Sweet Pea's impending third birthday. It's an emotional crisis of mammoth proportions for me because MY BABY. (insert machine gun sobs here).

The DH is looking for work, sort of. Trying is the word he used and if I had a dollar for every time he has said he's TRYING I would not need to worry about selling metaphorical toilet paper because I could retire to Cabo and live in comfort.

It's been good for me as a writer because it's increased my confidence and made me bolder in seeking out work actively. I considered it a hobby for so long that it's groovy to think I get paid to do it sometimes.

The bad side is, well, bigger than the bright side but I still realize there is one so that's progress of a sort, I suppose.

That being said, I'll be around, just less until there are positive developments that clear up enough time for me to, say, shower on a daily basis much less blog.

Wishing for a brighter September ahead.