Questioning Motherhood

I had grand plans for our new year’s celebration – a family oriented party at a neighbor’s house. All the kids could play together while the grown-ups played games and talked. The evening started out wonderfully. Then my daughter threw up all over their new leather couch and carpet. That was about 11:00pm. We got her home and asleep and just as I was drifting off to sleep at 1:00am, my little darling was awake and throwing up again. She has spent the day sleeping off and on.

If there is one aspect of motherhood I would gladly give up, it’s vomit. I can handle anything that ends up in a diaper, I can handle any type of mess or misbehavior, but vomit puts me on edge. I just can’t handle it. I’m quite lucky my husband doesn’t seem bothered by it. And at 3, she has an aversion to letting it happen over the toilet, so I end up cleaning floors, beds, clothes, etc.

And while I write this, I should be cleaning my horrendously messy kitchen or putting away the Christmas tree or finishing laundry. But I sit and write. Well, I hear my baby waking – oh I hope she’s not going to throw up again.

Happy New Year to all.

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My New Favorite Thing…

…is a little chore wheel. My husband and I have been struggling with chores. It just seems so easy to do it ourselves. While shopping, my mother found “Spintastik for the Family.” It is a fabulous little tool. It’s a magnetic board(so it sticks on the refrigerator) with gameboard like spinning arrow and little pie pieces labelled with chores on one side and rewards on the other. Each member spins the wheel and whatever it lands on, that’s the chore he or she gets. We decided to spin it weekly. At the end of the week, if each person did their chores during the week, they get to spin for a reward – most of which involve spending time as a family (play a game, watch a movie, etc.). It is my little miracle! We decided that my husband and I wouldn’t spin because our children are young enough to need a good deal of supervision while doing the chores. So, tonight my 3 year old helped with dishes. It was actually quite fun – I washed while she rinsed. While we were in the kitchen, my son had cleaned the living room and vacuumed. It was so wonderful!

Now, I realize that it’s new and we’re in the honeymoon phase, but I really don’t care. I think the randomness of getting the jobs and the rewards will keep things interesting. I’m going to recommend this to every parent I know!

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Present

My little family spent the afternoon yesterday with my parents and brothers and the evening with my husband’s father and his family. Several people commented on how quiet I was and the way in which they asked struck me. My family all asked with concern, asking if I was okay. My husband’s family, though, made fun of the fact that I was quiet when normally I’m not. My standard answer was, “No I’m fine. Just taking it all in.”

And I was. I was trying very hard to be present in the moment – to watch and listen. I wanted to take everything in and see how others interacted and spent the day. I have to say, I’m quite worn out from the whole experience. But I did learn a few new things. My middle brother is quite the analyst – he will not be swayed until the task at hand is finished. My youngest brother is really good with my kids. My mom wants nothing more than to have her family around her. And my dad is really very gentle. I will not take the time to state my observations of my in-laws for two reasons. First it would take entirely too long, and second I’m trying to stay away from negativity.

Anyway – today I am traveling with my family to see grandparents and great aunts. It’s a two hour trip, but I’m willing to make it because my brother is finally home (it’s taken 8 years) for Christmas. And I’m a people pleaser and my mom is quite pleased we’re going. I do think it’s good for my kids – to know their extended family.

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Christmas

This year’s holiday season has left me feeling conflicted. I have always been one of those people who loves the holidays. I enjoy finding the perfect gift for those I care about. I enjoy wrapping gifts and keeping secrets. I enjoy decorating. This year, though, I can’t seem to get in the holiday spirit. I know much of it has to do with things I can’t control. My brother has lost his job, my dad is basically being forced to retire (and he’s not ready). Everyone is concerned about the financial situation we’re facing. But there is something else I just can’t seem to put my finger on. I’m sure everything will be fine. I love having the kids wake me up early and watch their eyes light up, so maybe it will be better tomorrow.

I do wish everyone in cyberspace a very Merry Christmas and wonderful holiday season.

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Break

I can finally rest – kind of.  Today is the first official day of Christmas Break.  We actually had a snow day (well, more of an ice day) on Friday.  I was a little disappointed we didn’t have our last day before break.  That day is so enjoyable – everyone’s in a good mood, we have parties in the morning and the afternoon is spent in the gym playing games and listening to music.  Oh well – there’s always next year.

I have all of my Christmas shopping done.  Nothing is wrapped, but at least the shopping is done.  This year my son jumped from cute little toys to the more expensive, electronic gifts.  Thankfully, he only asked for a very few things.  My daughter, however, at three wants everything and that makes shopping very difficult.  She is not the dolly and dress-up kind of girl.  Thankfully, she loves animals and so that’s what I focused on.  We seriously stepped down our Christmas this year.  We talked to both kids about the importance of family instead of getting a lot of stuff.  My son, bless his heart, told Santa (at his school’s Santa Breakfast) that he didn’t want a lot because there were other kids who didn’t have a mommy and daddy like he did so to give the gifts to those kids.  I do believe Santa got teary-eyed.  My son is an old soul in a young body.

Even though I’m on break, I do have basketball practice.  Coaching is one of the things I love to do.  I really enjoy working with these young girls (5th and 6th graders).  I think I like getting to know them outside of the classroom.  This is my third year coaching this age group and I’m still close with many of the girls.

I am realizing that this post is a fairly random train of thought.  Can a train of thought be random?  Doesn’t a train have to be connected somehow?  Oh sorry.  I have taken to these questionings in my head.  I’m not really sure why, but it does get distracting.  Now I’m off to practice.

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Students

I am in my 11th year of teaching which means I have had contact with hundreds of kids.  There have been students that have affected me on different levels and quite honestly, some that I can’t even remember.  Through all these years, there have only been a couple of students who have seriously affected me.  Until now, the others have always been warm and fuzzy students – ones that I bonded with and have since been to their high school graduations and even one wedding.

But yesterday, that changed.  I’ll call this student Anna.  Our lives met three years ago when she was in 6th grade.  She had been in special education since 2nd grade, but didn’t make it to my caseload until 6th.  She was a funny girl, much more mature for age than the others.  She had low grades and an even lower self-esteem.  Over the course of the three years she was in my classroom, I found myself becoming more attached to her.  She slowly began to open up to me – about the alcoholic mother she lived with, her drug addict father who wanted nothing to do with her, and a grandmother who didn’t have time for her.  She had her boughts with low grades, hanging with the wrong crowd, and though I’m not completely sure, some drug experimentation.  She finally graduated 8th grade and I was so proud.  I cried when she walked across the stage.

It wasn’t until she was gone that I began to understand that for some reason, Anna had tapped into my maternal instinct.  I was protective of her.  I tried very hard to let it go – she was in high school and I would have to be happy with a chance visit from her.  That visit came yesterday.

The look in her eyes brought me to tears.  I wanted to bundle her up and take her home.  The things she shared with me were frightening and I was at a loss for words.  At 15, this child had such a sadness in her eyes it broke my heart.  In the mess that is her life, she did share with me some steps she is taking to make it better.  I tried to give her advice and I did my best to help guide her.  I gave her my phone number and told her that if she ever needed me, I would do what I could.

I can’t help but ask myself was it enough?  Did I give her what she needed?  Could I give her more?  I know none of these questions will be answered, but I worry.  I worry a lot for my little Anna.

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…or She Doesn’t

Breathe, I mean.  I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for months now.  I can’t pinpoint any one thing causing me to feel this way, but I can’t shake it.  I’m wondering if it has to do with how well my life seems to be going.  I’m busy with the kids and work and my husband and now coaching is going to start.  I’ve lost 35 pounds and I workout at least 5 days a week.  Physically, I’ve never felt better.  Mentally, I’m happy.  So why do I feel like I’m holding my breath?  My husband thinks (yes, we’re even sharing more) that I’ve become so accustomed to bad things happening, I’m waiting for the worst.

And I do miss this.  Writing and sharing and reading.  I think since things are going well, I’m going to make it a point to get back into blogging.  It’s difficult since the server at work as blocked all blogs so I have to do it at home, which is hectic anyway.  Well, I made time in my day to workout and take care of physical self, I just need to make time for this.

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