Sunday, September 28, 2008

Crunch, crunch

Yesterday the van family plus Grandma & Papa headed out to Aunt Chrissy's to pick apples. It has become an annual event and was the second trip for Paul. He enjoyed the tractor ride out to the apple trees and happily carried the empty buckets. Last year CJ carried him in the backpack, but this year he went around helping pick apples and sampling each variety.

We had a lot of fun and can't wait to start hitting the pumpkin patches.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The joys of puberty

Today marks the end of my first full week teaching 11th & 12th graders. And most people might find this crazy, but... I miss middle school. 12 year old boys are relatively predictable. They are often a thorn in a teacher's side, but it is a thorn that is easily removed with the right strategies. They hate you one day and love you the next. They are immature, yes, but that is to be expected at their age. They are still young enough to be afraid of you and deep down they really want to please you. Most of them anyway. Then the flood of testosterone hits and it all goes downhill. 16 year old boys (to be fair, at least the ones that I've worked with this past week) don't care about pleasing the teacher. They dish out excuses all day long; and believe me at this age they have some doozies! They can look you in the eye and tell you a boldface lie. Oh, and it isn't as if the hormones make them any more mature. 16 year old boys try to play paper football in study hall, find hilarity in drawing beards on people's faces in the newspaper, and write stupid messages to each other on the white board.
I am happy to be working again, I'm just not so sure about this whole high school thing. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, P is feeling better about daycare but has decided to stop sleeping. It may be some sort of protest, I have no idea. And our homestudy has been approved by our agency & should be on its way to Korea any day now!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Are you going to finish that?

Anyone who knows me knows I am a wicked procrastinator. I have these great project ideas that typically take several months (years) to begin, and then once started are often abandoned mid-project, leaving behind a mess that does not get cleaned up for weeks. Eventually things get done, but it generally takes a whole lotta external motivation. Some examples:
  • The summer we began discussing adoption (2005), I decided to refinish my childhood dresser for our future child. I dragged all of the pieces out onto our back deck, stripped the old finish and began to sand. We had to go somewhere that day so I neatly stacked the pieces in the patio, and they sat there... for an entire year. In the summer of 2006 we got our referral & I realized that I best finish the project. I managed to get the dresser sanded and stained and even found new hardware on ebay after months of searching for the right size. CJ couldn't believe he no longer had to stare at the dresser drawers out of our family room window.
  • In 2003 CJ went on an eight month deployment. I dutifully collected newspaper articles and saved photographs and other memorabilia from that time period, purchased a scrapbook, and had every intention of putting together a nice album. And I did... it just took me five years. In the fall of 2007 I finally finished the scrapbook, motivated by the fact that CJ refused to pack up and move the stacks of newspapers.

Which brings me to today. When we moved into our previous house (2004), I purchased some mismatched curtains with the intention of creating window treatments for our living room. We had this massive picture window and I somehow figured I would sew the curtains together to create a swag. Ha. Me, sew. (To be fair, I did sew two roman shades in our WA house AND a bed skirt with the help of my friend Susanna.) Needless to say, it did not get done. We moved here, and when I chose the paint color it was partially based on the curtain remnants that I still had. Yesterday I went out and bought curtain rods. CJ refused to hang them until I had actually sewn the curtains. (External motivation) Well, I dug out the machine & after breaking the sewing table and cursing the bobbin that refused to wind properly, I managed to hem the curtains. HEM THEM. All this time and all I needed to do was cut the fabric in half and HEM them. Honestly, is there a twelve step program for procrastinators? I'll sign up tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Off to high school

Yesterday I went in to shadow at my new job. The teacher going out on leave is not due until Sept. 24, but she wanted to make sure I had a feel for things in case she had the baby early. The school is enormous and I was immediately intimidated by the fact that well, high school students are most certainly taller than middle school students. And so much more independent! Of course several students forgot to bring a writing utensil to class and were already making excuses for lacking supplies and not completing homework. That much appears to be the same. They will be an interesting bunch, that's for sure! The co-teachers are all experienced, enthusiastic teachers who each seem to have that eccentricity that I remember from my own high school teachers. I was most nervous about the Government class, but the teacher is great and I know I will learn a lot from him. I look forward to going back to work and just hope I don't get lost when I get there!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The daycare disappointment

Image of Paul when dropped off at daycare: Ridiculous grin (see previous post), happily making his way around the room to check out the myriad of new toys, a quick kiss for mommy before heading right to his new teacher
Image of Paul when picked up from daycare: Eyes swollen and red from crying all day. ALL DAY. His teacher said he did manage to eat and take a one hour nap in between his crying and asking for "mommydaddy". Apparently he finally realized that going "back daycare" did not include his parents and that he would actually have to share the teacher's attention with other children. Hmm. I felt terribly guilt ridden and worried that we had rushed into this new situation. Honestly though, we visited the center several times and talked at length about what his day would be like.
I guess I took for granted the fact that he regularly accepts new people and situations without issue and completely forgot about the first few times at library hour. My son, the boy who dances to the music on television commercials and will sing his repertoire of nursery rhymes to complete strangers, sat frozen on my lap for the first several sessions. Music! Books! Dancing! It was the perfect fit! He refused to participate until he became comfortable with the situation. One week, my mom took him to a different library for a special Thomas the Tank Engine day. He sat mute on her lap the entire time. (Paul mute - hard to picture, I know!)
I can only hope that his crying jag at daycare is merely due to the adjustment of being away from mommy and my constant 1-1 attention. I tell myself it will be good in the long run; the teachers are kind and knowledgeable, the other kids are happy, and Paul will eventually love all of the activities and social interaction. I mean, comparatively I am pretty darn boring.
We go back for day two on Friday. Hopefully there will be fewer tears and more ridiculous grins.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back daycare!

OK, so it's not like it was the first day of Kindergarten or anything, but it sure felt like it! Paul has been to daycare before, but this time it is at a center instead of someones home. He has his own cubby and hook, where he proudly hung his cookie monster backpack. It took some serious self-control to keep from bawling right there in front of his new teacher. I was oddly calmed by the fact that she (his teacher) seemed just as nervous as I was (today is "moving up" day and she had all brand new kids). It was weird being on the other side of the parent-teacher relationship. Paul happily joined in with the other boys and girls in the classroom and made himself right at home. He gave me a kiss goodbye before I left and that was that. Paul back daycare. Now I can focus all of my nervous energy on the long-term substitute job that starts later this month. I will be co-teaching 11th and 12th grade English and Government. Should be fun! Honestly, could the boy look any happier?