Friday, October 31, 2008

Birthdays and Beaches

It's been busy last couple of weeks around here, mostly in the social calendar. We had my grandma's 90th birthday party, which was very well attended and was fun for the whole family to be together.

The next night was Amanda's birthday, and of course we went off to the Noraebang (Korean-style karaoke). Here's a picture I took of the whole group singing Bohemian Rhapsody:

After that hubbub, my parents had my nieces for a week, and toward the end of the week we all went up to Long Beach to see my aunt, uncle, cousins and their families. This worked out great because my cousins have kids who are all young and the second cousins (cousins once removed?) all had a great time playing with each other, especially in the pool. We stayed in a great place, with condos, all right next to each other.
On Saturday we drove up northeast of Seattle to Remlinger Farm. One of the family members has visited Mom and Dad in Mexico on short term trips and invited us to come and visit the farm. It has rides and animals, and even a train and the girls had a great afternoon.
We spent a lot of time in the car, as the next morning we drove to a small town north of Seattle where Mom and Dad gave a short presentation to the church about what they do at Welcome Home. After that we drove back to Portland. Even with all of the excitement, and then the downtime of driving, the girls were excellent. Toward the end of our trip, I crocheted some scarves for Hannah's Kanga and Roo.
During the trip I also had the pleasure of reading one of my favorite kids' books aloud to Hannah, The Tale of Despereaux. She enjoyed it, and it was good for passing time in the car.

I had absolutely zero sub jobs this week, so things are looking grim. I'm trying to find things to entertain myself that are free, which isn't fun or easy. I did have a few nanny jobs this week. And as the 2 1/2 year old girl told me last night "I like your boat", it reminded me of Hannah's insistence that I remember her by the shell she gave me to put on my necklace. As if I could forget her! The boat is a gift from a friend of mine in Korea, who bought it for me "because you go so many places, where God moves you". Hannah thought the shell was fitting for the sea theme. She gave me the shell in early September, and on this trip reminded me to remember her still. Hardly a nanny job that involves a toddler or baby goes by without them commenting on my necklace, or trying to put it in their mouth.

As a last tidbit, I nannied for a sick 10 year old who was home from school, who spent most of his afternoon playing Madden football on his Wii. Fine by me. Except, he get some homework in and found it highly appropriate at that time to try on his halloween costume for me. You might think (as I did) that a fifth grade male would choose a super hero, a scary character, or simply something realistic (such as being a girl or a bum or something). No. He was an apple. I said "you are really being an apple for Halloween?" and he cheerfully replied "Yep!" I had to ask "Why?" and his response gave me hope for all childkind: "because it's the best fruit!"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Let it be

Let it be known that I have figured out my haircut. When I say this, I mean that I have figured out its lookalikes. I realized that my hair is either a 40 year old mom's hair OR a fifth grade boy.

When nannying a few weeks ago I noticed that the little boy and I had almost the same haircut.

Charming, right?

I had fourth graders today. They were excellent, excluding the tossing of carrots in a baggie, leftover from someone's lunch. Lovely. Free write time was filled with stories of pirates and mean classmates. But lo! A story about me! A young lass wrote a story of the mean substitute (not me) and how I came the next day to save them with parties and candy and general super niceness. Wishful thinking.

At the end of the day when I presented the winning table group with my bag of "goodies", as promised the whole day through, I was greeted with "I thought it was candy!", to which I replied "you let your imagination get the best of you, my friend". I don't give kids candy. I just can't do it. So instead I live vicariously through my students and buy them super cute pencils, erasers, and sharpeners at the dollar tree.

A thought to ponder: What is up with fifth grade boys wearing skin tight jeans nowadays? I know that makes me old to say that, but it's so funny to see. I just giggle to myself.

Monday, October 13, 2008

So that lady I mentioned last time? The one who was really adament about me telling her who spilled her bags out? I get to go over there again tonight!

Siiiighhhh the things I do for money.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I would just like to say that I don't enjoy it when a mother accuses me of not watching her children.

I arrived at a home last night where things were already in good disarray. I've been at the home before so this didn't surprise me. It also didn't surprise me after the Dad went upstairs to talk to his wife and the kids began to gargle the milk in their mouths, bump glasses so hard that milk spilled out of them, and got up from the table to run around the house like maniacs.

The mom came home later and found a couple of her bags/purses under the kitchen table with the contents spilled out. I hadn't noticed the bags. She asked me if I knew what happened with her bags. I said simply no, I didn't, and that the kids had eaten their dinner, and gotten up to play. They weren't in the kitchen the rest of the evening.

She walked away and began picking up all those things that had been on the floor when I got there and asked, more directly, "So you don't know who got out my purses and dumped all of these things on the floor." I replied "No... I think it was like that when I got here." In other words, your kids did THAT lovely activity on YOUR time, lady, not mine. I didn't pay attention to it and had figured it was just little kid stuff on the floor.

I felt accused of being irresponsible, and wrongly accused at that. She was so unfriendly in her tone and demeanor that I was more than happy to get out of there. I felt I needed to clear my name so began to tell her (although I shouldn't have had to), that the two youngest were running around and playing dress up. They had gotten into their own clothes, and when I went to investigate, found them pulling apart the nightgown drawers of their mother's dresser. I demanded that it be cleaned up and put back, and to stay out of their parents' room. She at least thanked me for that.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The little ones

Well, if fifth graders are ego killers then Kindergarteners are the exact opposite. I tried to keep a running tally of my Kindergarten day on Wednesday. Keep in mind that I had an assistant in the classroom all day. With her help, the day went swimmingly and she probably tied more shoes than me.

1: number of times my hand got held.
2: pairs of shoes I tied.
3: number of times I heard "I have to go to the bathroom!" (they actually are trying to teach the kids to use the sign language sign for bathroom, which is such a relief).
1: number of requests for a "paper" for a runny nose.
8: songs sung throughout the day.
2: lying children who told me, during sharing time that it was their birthday.
2: number of children in the class who I am pretty sure spoke NO English.
2: number of times a kid told me they liked my "hairdo".
1: number of times I got complimented on my glasses (by a kid).
1: number of "I love you"s.
13+: number of hugs I received.
2: number of children who cried for no apparent reason, and could not articulate, in English, their issue.

All in all it went pretty well. I wouldn't mind going back.

Of course, Wednesday was followed by Thursday which saw me back in the fifth grade classroom with a student who just doesn't quit. I was exhausted Thursday afternoon and glad there was no school today state-wide. I spent the morning with a love 18-month-old in story time at the library. When we got home she pretended to feed me out of her play kitchen.

My parents are heading North and it's an exciting time. We have a lot of family time coming up and I am extremely excited. Parties and small trips, both to the beach and a farm, and I am trying to busy myself by making Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Kids are blunt

Kids are blunt, you know? They say whatever, whether it's going to hurt someone's feelings or not. Not that my feelings were hurt. Don't jump to conclusions. But kids are funny and they often say things before thinking about them. I sometimes seem to revert back to my pre-adolescent (or, I guess, adolescent... or even college..) self and get embarrassed, but I've mostly gotten past the time where a comment about my appearance would make me angry. I mean, who can blame a four year old for asking about spots on your teeth or face?

But fifth grade boys, you know? They'll do that to you. Although, fifth grade boys do it behind your back. And that is why, when at an all school assembly, I immediately turned around when I heard two boys whisper "gray hair". I know it's my hair. Oh well. I've never minded before.

Fifth graders seem to be preoccupied with my gray hair. They know something's not right. They understand the concept that if my face is young, and I act young, and I dress young... but my hair is gray, then there's something wrong. So, as seems to be par for the course in my life, I fielded yet another question from another fifth grader, from an entirely different class. "Did you dye that part of your hair?"

As I've learned to cope with copious amounts of this question, I quickly replied "No, it's natural, and I started getting gray hair in high school." That quickly freaks out children and I wonder if in their minds they are thinking "what if that will happen to me?"

So far I've substituted in 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade. Tomorrow I have kindergarteners. I've never taught kindergarten before, and I think that idea scares me more than meeting a new room full of sixth graders, who are often as tall as I am. I've babysat many 5 year olds. I've never taught a room full of them. We'll see how it goes. I predict the verdict will be one of two choices: complete chaos, or not complete chaos. I'll get back to you. I'll also tell you how many times I had to tie shoes, wipe a nose, or how many times someone had to go pee-pee.