It's not really the first day of school that gets to me. Not usually anyway, but last year the tears did sneak up unexpectedly when I left Marek in the kind hands of preschool for the first time.
For whatever reason, not even known to me, it's the last day of school that has me all choked up. It's the bag full of construction paper projects, the nametags, the too-little "In-Case-He-Pees-His-Pants" clothes, and the goodbyes to teachers. In my head, it's the "He's no longer a first grader" or "He's not a preschooler" or "Here's your kindergartener" that rings through my head and wells up my eyes.
There's good reason behind this. Just lookit how much Marek has grown from the first day of school to the last.
First day of preschool, Aug. 2012
Last day of school, May 2013
It's pretty incredible.
Luckily though, my tears are easily consoled. By the time we hit the car, I'm just as happy as they are, maybe even happier.
School wears my ass out. Getting three boys up, putting three pairs of shoes on, dishing up three bowls of breakfast, collecting homework and pencils and permission slips, writing checks, packing lunches, all before 7:40 a.m., battling the college pedestrian traffic, then the school parking lot, day after day after day after day ....
I love summer and I always have.
I love to sleep in. I love to leisurely sip my coffee on the balcony and listen to little birds chirp while everyone in my house is still quietly sleeping. I tiptoe so that I get a little bit more time to myself.
I love that there is no homework after dinner. I love that we can go anywhere after work and not have to worry about bedtime.
I love that my kids and I are together all the time.
Happy summer everyone!3 comments
I sat in an uncomfortable chair reading a book of short stories on my Kindle. Some of the students stared at the image displayed on the screen while others laid down their pens and stared at the back of their eyelids.
Every 10 minutes I would change the image on the screen. Frantic writing, more staring at the screen.
I couldn’t get comfortable in my chair alternating between watching the students and reading my book. I ached all over, I was sick to my stomach, if I closed my eyes, I would fall asleep.
I gave my last final yesterday. I don’t know who was more relieved, me or my students.
I loved teaching this class, but it was getting exhausting.
For the last six weeks, I’ve been suffering from a virus. Walking up stairs makes me winded. My hands get tired when I’m writing lectures. I can’t sleep because of the pain in my joints, especially my knees.
It’s a virus, so nothing can be done. I have to ride it out. Rest and fluids. After 4 weeks, I start getting sad and worried and mostly sad.
I’ve had a couple of days when I felt a little better. But still I’m short of breath if I walk too far. I constantly need a nap.
Even for me, the girl who loves to lie down, I’m tired of being in bed, of being useless, of needing help from others instead of the other way around.
I continue on, working, resting, grading.
One more summer course and I’ll be done for a while. No more exams to grade, no more emails to read.
The Jayhawks lost three more games.
But, it's okay, for all of us, really it is.
The coaches and I were discussing after practice how much the team has improved week over week, and we weren't talking about winning games. These kids were unruly when we started. They wouldn't listen. The competed with each other. They woudn't share.
When we lined up for the National Anthem at the first game, half the boys had their hats on their heads, poking the boys in front of them and talking. A-hem. That was the first lecture about acting right delivered by the manager.
Back in the dugout, we've had arguments, put-downs, and inappropriate discussions about boy parts. A-hem. Ball players don't do that. Not in my dugout.
There was even an issue one night when two of our boys went for the same ball and argued, ruining the play. There was forced handshaking after the inning.
Seven-year-olds are the most disorganized little people there ever were. After repeatedly searching frantically looking for lost gloves and hauling forgotten baseball bats home, I threw down a new rule: You forget your stuff, you owe me pushups to get it back.
Point is: There is so much more to teach these boys than how to win a game. Sports, like baseball, really does instill some of the right kinds of discipline and integrity. Those things are so much harder to teach than pitching but they are things that our team is adament about working on.
Thanks to BodyMedia for the great graphic!3 comments
During Spring Break, I started watching PBS’s Downton Abbey. As is my tendency with things I like, I watching all three seasons in a week. During that time, I started talking with a bit of an English accent. My emails were pointed, stoic and full of arcane British.
I’ve been sick for a while and have been lying around quite a bit. Needing something to take my mind off the aches and pains, I started watching the FX series Justified. Now, I’m talking with a pseudo-southern drawl. I even said “I reckon” yesterday.
This summer, we’re visiting Bill’s family in Buffalo, NY, I’m certain I’ll be coming home with yet another accent.
It was 0-0 all night long. The Jayhawks had one more chance to bat, but already had two outs and the game was going to be called for time any minute. Looked like it was going to be a draw, which is better than another loss.
But, Soren got on base. Another kid made the next base hit, moving Soren to second.
The NEXT kid, hit a moon shot into the outfield. I'm pretty sure it was his first hit of the season.
Needless to say, the Jayhawk crowd went wild.
Soren ran to third. The opposing team's third baseman caught the ball and started chasing him home.
Soren arched his back, belly button out, neck muscles taunt. The kid chased, Soren ran, the crowd held it's breath!
Of course, we all went crazy. Had I been sitting in the stands I wouldn't have seen how his teammates attacked him in the dugout. He had a baseball hero moment! It was a glorious moment for my kid and I wouldn't have missed it for anything in the world!
Soren: "Mom, I made this for you at school."
Me: "Uh, that's a nice, uh, birds nest."
Soren: "No, it's a horse."
Me: "A horse?"
Soren: "Yeah, see, a horse."
Me: "What's it made out of? Manger hay?"
Soren: "Mmmm, this stuff made it stick."
Me: "I think it's toilet paper."
Soren: "I made it for your desk at work."
Me: "Sigh. Okay."
I had parent/teacher conferences this week with Jonas and Marek's preschool teacher.
She starts with Jonas because "he's going to be the easy one." He's reading like a champ, know simple addition/subtraction, has learned all the basic preschool skills like lines, listening, and sharing. He's more than ready for kindergarten next year and seems to be ahead of the game at this point.
Then, we move on to Marek.
"I'm so sorry," she says, "because I didn't realize that he couldn't count until we did his testing."
I didn't know he couldn't count either. Oh. My. God.
She shows me his testing results. Shapes are okay, colors are excellent, writing not so good, counting not good at all.
"He says one, firteen, nifth, aaaaateeen," she says.
She apologies because she just didn't realize that Jonas, she means Marek, hadn't been catching on to counting.
Um, yeah, I hadn't realized that either, then the guilt set in.
Whereas I spent a lot of time working with Soren and Jonas when they were three, scrutinized the kinds of television they watched, and read book after book that counted cows, and stars, and slippers, I have not been doing those things with Marek.
Marek just tags along with whatever we're doing or watching, and much of that doing is more kid-appropriate rather than toddler-appropriate activities.
I spent a lot of my time teaching Jonas how to read this winter, then read to Marek, without testing him on comprehension.
It's my fault, not his teacher's.
And I've vowed to focus more on my baby. Now we count before bed. A trip to the store for a workbook is on this weekend's chore list. And, the older boys are going to be forced to give up some TV time to accommodate their little brother.
I feel bad that I've dropped the ball. That he's neglected as a younger child. But, I'm gonna make it better.1 comments
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