Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

Instead of complaining or going into the continuing sag of my healthcare situation, let’s do something different.

Spencer, who is now a fresh four year old, is obsessed dismantling anything and everything in sight, especially when there is a screwdriver involved. No matter where the screwdrivers are hidden from him, he climbs up (often up a chair, a ladder, and the counter) to reach the screwdriver. So the other day, I was watching them, all three of them. The oldest and youngest are easy to watch. And then there is Spencer. He wanted  to go outside to play but it was raining so it was a big no. There is a small deck off of my daughter’s bedroom  that they can play and can’t get down into the yard. So he said he was going to play in mommy’s room. Then it was too quiet. I went to check on him and he was inside the door “working” on something. It turned out that he had a screwdriver and had unscrewed the handle/lock to the glass slider.  Completely gone. He knew that wasn’t good so I think he was trying to put it back before he was discovered. He couldn’t do it and to make matters worse, instead of putting the pieces together, he threw them into the yard which is full of yucky leaves from a long winter, yucky-wet-molding leaves.

Then there was the next day. Again a rainy day so they couldn’t go out to play and again I had all three of them. Spencer went to play in his room and after twenty minutes Anderson went to go check on him. He ended up staying in there and I could hear and see they were doing fine. Ten minutes later I hear them at the door to their room. It seemed they couldn’t get out. I went to check and this is what Spencer had done:


They were locked in their room and he couldn’t figure out how to get the doorknob back on so they could get out. I told them had to wait until their dad got home in a half hour and I called their dad. So I kept checking on them to make sure they were okay. I was actually afraid Spencer would climb out the window to get out of the room, and he just potty trained and got used to running around the house with no clothes on so he was naked. Not a good thing if he climbed out the window. So I kept checking and calling them to the door so I could see they were okay. THEN…there was a loud banging at the door and of course I was changing the baby’s diaper so I couldn’t get it right away. It was the property manager. She yelled at me because the kids were “hanging out the window” and throwing trash outside. I explained what had happened and that their father was on his way home to get them out. She is very rude and kept yelling in my face, so close I could feel her spittle. I knew she was going to go yell at the kids so I closed the door and ran to their room and told them to close the window and stay away from it. And yes, she was yelling at them and made them cry, just like she had made me cry. Soon their dad was home and all was taken care of but it was a week ago and I am still shaking when I think about it.

And today I have to go talk to her. I really dislike talking to her. Sometimes she is the nicest person and at others she is the wicket witch.

Wish me luck.

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I am reading a collection of essays that document the teaching career of Luther Siler. It’s called Searching For Malumba. I’ve been reading it for a while because I’ve been using it as kind of an essay a day type of thing and not reading a lot in it. Now that I have finished two books for my reading challenges and it’s not the end of January yet, I am reading a bit more per day in it. It is excellent.

Today I read the essay on Substitute Teachers. It reminded me of my first substitute teaching job…the very first time I walked in to a school office and presented myself as the sub. That’s what I’m going to tell you about today but first, I want to make sure that you know that I don’t disagree with what Luther wrote in his essay. He is spot on. Even that one sub he writes about is someone that I’ve seen while subbing or while I was a classroom teacher and had to request subs. I hope you give Luther’s book a try.

I applied to be a substitute teacher mid year because I needed to supplement my income and because I planned to take some tests to become a classroom teacher and I wanted to sort of “check it out” before committing to more classwork to get my certification. I was in California. At that time, the background check before being allowed to be near kids, included a finger print check that was run by local police, state law enforcement, and federal law enforcement. While the first two didn’t take too long, the federal check took about eight weeks. One morning, around 5:30, I got a call from the Sub Desk asking me to sub at the middle school that morning. I told her that I had not yet been cleared. She said she was aware of it but that they were desperate for subs and I had already been cleared by local and state. (I was also well known in the district because of my then eleven years of volunteering in schools.) So I jumped out of bed and got dressed. I got my kids off to neighbors who would deliver them at their respective schools and I went off to the middle school, which was the same middle school one of my kids attended, and presented myself to the secretary as the assigned sub for Ms. WhatEverHerNameWas. I was given the key to the room and sent off with no lesson plan. Apparently, it was an unplanned absence and there weren’t any plans. The secretary said there was supposed to be a lesson plan book inside the class in the teacher’s desk so just look for it.

It was a seventh grade special ed class. There was no lesson plan book anywhere in the room and the ed assistant would not be there until the second hour of the two hour class period. So I was on my own with fifteen boys varying in degrees of special needs. I had taken a few things with me in my Sub Bag that I could do with them. My Sub Bag had worksheets, tangrams, books, and other sorts of things that would entertain and be educational, should I need them. That day I definitely needed them.

I asked the boys what they had been working on. No one could tell me. Finally I got one boy to tell me, only because he was my neighbor and knew he’d be in trouble if he didn’t cooperate. So we opened the history book and began to do some reading and questions/answers because there was nothing else to go on. The boys began to misbehave, one at a time. I would get one settled and another would begin and as soon as I got that one settled, another would start up. Then, I just did what I had to. I started to call each one by name and remind them that I knew their mothers and fathers and if they didn’t cooperate I was going to tell their Mommas! That worked! It worked enough to the point that only one of the fifteen was acting up by the time the ed assistant came in. That’s when I found out that they were supposed to be taking a standardized test that morning. She couldn’t find the lesson plans either but she did know where the tests were so we quickly started those because we would have just about enough time to take them if we started right away. In the end, the bell rang and we still had about one minute to go on the test so we kept the boys working an extra minute before releasing them.

The rest of the day was fine with the ed assistant there to show me what the other classes were really working on. The other classes were not special ed. I made it through the day and lived to tell the tale. At the end of the day, I headed for Starbucks and bought a $5 gift card for the ed assistant. Not much but a small token of my appreciation because without her, I would not have gotten through that first day.

Note: The teacher, I later found out, had called in for a mental health day because she was at the end of her rope with school and with some family issues.  She had not left a lesson plan, she had her plan book with her at home which she remedied by dropping it off the net day. She was gone for two weeks. I didn’t have to sub for her again because they had enough regular subs and special ed classes usually had special ed subs. Thank goodness for ed assistants!

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Goodbye to NaNoWriMo for another year!  Yay. This was a really tough November.

At the beginning of the month, my attention was captured by a few Facebook posts in the various NaNoWriMo groups. Some were really funny and some were sad. Most were humorous. Some just “uniquely ordinary.” I thought I might make a few posts highlighting each variety. Then stuff started to happen and I was sick and I pretty much bowed out of the FB NaNoWriMo groups til the end of the month.  So those posts never happened. So…fresh fodder!

The first was sad and made me think a lot:

“I’m withdrawing from this year’s NaNoWriMo to work on my marriage.” It made me think about the individual (whom I don’t know) and their life and I figured they had their priorities straight and silently wished them luck.

This next one falls in the category of “excuses, excuses,” not to mention just plain stupidity:

“I was just about to start my NaNoWriMo project when I spilled my coffee all over my laptop. My keyboard is now fried.”

Then came the winner. I read it late at night when I was still up trying to get some writing done because my daughter had needed me for most of the day and night and I had not done any writing. I guess you could say it hit the spot. It had me laughing and depositing Sprite Zero all over my screen (thank goodness not on the keyboard!). It’s written by a great grandmother participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time, Annie Aronson (she said I could use her name and her words):

“Am I the only NaNo writer with rude, insensitive family members who don’t give a rip about the importance of this month? I have two, in particular, that don’t care a fig if I’m successful at this or not, and I’m ready to end the ongoing emotional abuse. Just because they’re younger than I am–hell, who isn’t?–and related to me, they think they can steal my word writing time. I’m going to set them both straight today, just as soon as they wake up from their naps. I don’t care if they bat their big blue eyes or pucker their little pouty lips! Grandma isn’t going to give in this time! I’m going to go and have a stiff drink and prepare myself to put a 3 year old and a 4 year old in their places. I’m gonna kick butt and take no prisoners.”

And with that I bid November 2015 a not so fond farewell! And to NaNoWriMo, same time next year!



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I have kids music CDs in my car.  They are on all the time, except when I realize that they’re on and there are no kids in the car!  Then I take them out and put in Rod Stewart or The Beatles or The Beach Boys (because let’s face it, you can take the girl out of California but you can’t take California out of the girl!) or one of my Tex Mex CDs.

Both Spencer and Anderson love to have the music on.  Spencer starts dancing in his carseat.  Anderson enjoys the music too.  He lip synchs to the songs.  Sometimes he’ll sing with it but that’s more rare.  I’ve noticed in the last two or three weeks though, that Anderson is now singing along.  I think he was waiting to learn all of the words before actually singing.  He did that when I first put Raffi CDs in a couple of years ago.  So he learned the words to this Kids’ Music CD and started singing along…at the top of his lungs…on the way to school.  I was listening to him sing, smiling as I drove him to school then I heard what he was singing.  He was substituting the word “body”  for “bonnie”.  Instead of singing:

My Bonnie lies over the ocean
My Bonnie lies over the sea
My Bonnie lies over the ocean
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me…

he was singing…

My body lies over the ocean
My body lies over the sea
My body lies over the ocean
Oh, bring back my body to me…

Then he goes on and makes up words saying something about “thank you for bringing my body back to me”!

I cracked up.  He was having such a good time.  I am not correcting him.  It’s too cute.

Now he has moved on to Michael Row the Boat Ashore and shouts out “Hallelujah”  everytime the word appears in the song!j

I love “four years old”.

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