September 23, 2006

Crossing the Rafficon

(For those who didn't major in history, look up "crossing the Rubicon" and you'll understand...)

My office is gradually becoming a preschool classroom. This is not because I want to give my children that little extra burst of knowledge that will get them into Harvard, but because of two recent factors. First, after a few weeks of freedom from nursing, I am a FIREBALL of energy, comparatively speaking. I've been frustrated for the last few years, wondering whence my energy had gone, since I had big plans for housewifery; it was annoying to me that I didn't feel like doing much of anything except sitting on the couch and reading (fortunately, that including reading to my kiddos). But now, I'm just amazed every day at how much I accomplish. Apparently my body has been quite busy, and now that it's not, I can go back to using it myself.

The second factor is that I'm BORED. Again, I have more *mental* energy now, and planning little preschooly lessons is helping to keep my brain active. Besides, I always did like to color, and now I have an excuse (I've made myself a little flannelboard, and am just having a high ol' time finding patterns to play with on it.) I have invested a relatively small amount of cash in supplies and materials (but still much less than even a week of "paid" preschool, so I still feel virtuous.) And in one of those twists of fate that Joseph Campbell would argue are anything but, just last week I picked up a whole slew of books and "stuff" through Freecycle, from a lady who is going into primary ed. but had decided not to do early childhood ed. (and whose own daughter was well past needing any of the goodies. We had a nice chat about teaching and the teacher training process while I was picking up her stuff, too. She had a lot of questions!)

And as for Raffi...before I had children, I had a strange picture in my head about this Raffi fellow. For some reason, I pictured a scruffy Rastafarian-looking type, singing the Banana Song and then sneaking off stage for a reefer. Perhaps because "Rasta" and "Raffi" are both five letter words beginning with 'R'? I was not at all sure that this was a trend I wanted to buy into when I had children of my own. Anyway, now I've found out that not only is he a reasonable innocent looking folkie (though I have no data on what he does offstage ;-) ), but he's the singer of the "Shake Our Sillies Out" song, as well as several others we do at the library. So I gave in and checked out some of his stuff (having also discovered that, while the library charges a buck for *visual* stuff, *audio* items are still free). It'll be fun to weave into our fun and games in the office.

~~~~~

On a mostly unrelated note, Emily has become a Blankie Girl. Laura had a vague attachment to a small stuffed Pooh Bear head, but Emily has made a strong and vociferous connection to one particular blankie, probably not coincidentally, within days of weaning herself. Fortunately, we have two in the same color and style (and she doesn't seem to notice the differences between them--this makes laundry a lot easier, since she also likes to drag one around...at least the floor gets swept that way!). In more good fortune, Mah, who made them in the first place, has been commissioned to make two more for us (one already delivered). I don't *want* to get the stomach flu, but at least now, we're prepared, blankie-wise.

September 17, 2006

Here We Go....

Friday, I had a phone interview for the assistant speech coach position. I was offered and accepted the job, pending the outcome of my (apparently new and very extensive) background check. So I'm not official yet, but am guessing I will be (not being able to think of anything I've done that would make me unhire-able, and not living in a Michael Crighton novel in which somebody's stolen my fingerprints and appearance and committed a bunch of crimes against people...at least I hope not!)

I have no idea how long the background check takes; because the district in question has had more than its share of ...shall we say...unfortunate incidents? lately, they instituted this more lengthy process, whatever it is, this fall. I don't blame them a bit, especially if it works to protect kids. Yechth. Pervs always give me the shivers.

Enough of the negative: I'm excited about the chance to be working with highschoolers again, and it's always nice to have something to talk about at dinner besides how many stamps Laura has today. I've started mentally preparing Laura, explaining that we're going to go see where Daddy works now and then, and that it'll be a little bit like the nursery at church, with toys and books and people who'll play with her for a little while. And of course, Daddy will be there (a definite bonus!) Speaking of which, at the workshop Matt attended yesterday, there were many little ones. There's been talk of having day care at tournaments, as we are in the middle of a speech coach baby boom! (This should be REALLY fun in 12-16 years, when they may all be competing against each other!)

Another Reason to Love the Library

Laura will do almost anything for a hand stamp. I finally figured this out after watching her re-enact library lapsit story time, always ending with the pretend stamp on her hand.

Bing! (Lightbulb appears over Ginger's head). I have a bunch of stamps that I used (and will again, I assume) while teaching. Laura loves stamps. What a good reward system for the potty process!

Good news: it's working pretty well. To be honest, I don't think she's quite able to tell when things are ready to, um, evacuate yet. But with stamps, it doesn't matter as much: she wants to sit there pretty often, and when I give her the whole little bowl full of them, she sits there plenty of time for that sweet, sweet music to sound (getting her to leave before her little behind falls asleep is now the problem). And of course, every bulls-eye gets an actual hand stamp with INK on her hand. (I have promised TWO stamps for really exciting productions, but we're not there yet.)

All of this gives me some hope. That's good, because although I know it's my job, this is one of those parenting things that I would cheerfully pay someone tons of money to do, if I a) had tons of money, and b) was sure they'd do a good job. In short, it ain't my bag. But--unless we want HER to wear a bag ;-)--it's got to be done. So I'm glad the library uses those hand stamps!

September 12, 2006

Freedom

I've been trying to wean Emily gradually, in preparation at least partly for an allergist's appointment I have coming up in November (I guess they like to try and check you in when you're least likely to have allergies). And the weaning will leave me freer to try any cool drugs they might have for me. So I've been using the "Don't ask, don't te"...no, wait, wrong slogan. ;-) It's, "Don't offer, don't refuse" (maybe the Army should use that one instead!)

We were down to three feedings a day. Until last weekend. She bugged me to feed her Saturday night before bed and so I did, then she woke up Sunday morning....done. Finished. Weaned. Turning her little head away and pressing her stubborn little lips together. No memo to Mama, no handy easing off, just stopped cold turkey (believe me, I tried again and again since then.)

I cannot recommend this method as at all comfortable for the mother. In a word: OUCH. Eventually yesterday I couldn't take it anymore and pumped a little to relieve the, er, pressure, but I didn't want to do too much and stimulate more production because, as I think I noted, she's done with me. I'm sure once the swelling and pain dissipate, I will start doing some cartwheels (as long as I'm wearing properly supportive undergarments, of course!)

Because in amongst the short-term suffering, there is something that smells remarkable like freedom. My body has been either pregnant or breastfeeding (or, for a few months, both) since February of 2003. For over three years, my body has not been my own. Continuously. No breaks for good behavior. So I have a backlog of forbidden fruits to sample! First up are the things I haven't been able to have since I started feeding Emily. (Laura was fine as long as I ate no actual raw, fresh vegetables, beans, onions, garlic, broccoli or peppers. I ate a lot of salad while I was pregnant with Emily and done with Laura, since I missed it for so long!) On that list are things like eggs: deviled, scrambled, basted, hard-boiled. Oh, how I love eggs. And peanut butter! Life's just no good without the magic bean (yes, I know some people are allergic. And I encourage them to toast me with their glasses of lemonade I can't have, as I savor my PB&J(s)!) Nuts of all kinds. Cashews and walnuts and almonds, oh my! All the caffeine I can stand (it's not that much actually, but it's nice not to have to think about the effects later). Adult beverages of sundry and various types. Peppers again, not that they're all that high on my list...it is nice to have them to season things here and there. Garlic and onions and lots of fish (I think Emily had a thing about protein--peanuts, eggs, and fish--what are the odds? And they would have to be my favorite sources for lean protein! [PB can be pretty lean, if you buy the "natural" stuff and pour off most of the oil before mixing it. We do. You just have to be strong to get it out of the jar, so it's doubly good for you.])

I'm trying not to have it all at once (frankly, a fried-egg-and-peanut-butter sandwich just doesn't work for me!). But if I'm not writing, figure I'm just eating for a while.

I also celebrated (in a "Whunk! I coulda had a V-8!" sort of revelation--I should have thought of this yesterday, but I was still in shock) by calling my doc and asking for one of the allergy meds. I took before getting pregnant--some of what I call "the GOOD drugs" that make me able to work outside. Woohoo! Maybe the fall's not a total loss in the garden, if the weather holds out long enough for the drugs to kick in....

Social Flowers

I would say "social butterflies," but in the event(s), pretty much everybody came to us. So we weren't exactly flitting around. But it has been busy!

Tuesday last, Matt started the school year of course. That day, Tami came by with books and--something of a surprise--lots of toys. These should come in handy if I end up going out to practices in the afternoons; I'm planning to keep a special stash out there to keep things new and exciting for the girls. I had actually been surfing the web, seeing what frugal things might be out there to purchase, but hey! now I don't have to. :-) The girls were VERY excited to see all the loot. Many thanks to Tami!

Wednesday was library day with "Mah." The girls were excited.

Thursday, Ty brought over an iMac for Laura (and, I'm sure, eventually Emily). We are now a three-computer family (generally speaking, Laura just uses "keyboard banger" programs so far. I think she needs a little bit more rational thinking skill before we turn her loose on the hard drive....). Of course, in addition to the excitement of the computer, Jonah and Elisha were here to play. There was lots of good play time, and the girls were very excited. Many thanks to Ty!

Notice a trend? Then perhaps you won't be surprised--as I was!--to know that Friday morning, two tired little girls just curled up in my lap in the rocker and rocked....for a good hour! Emily fell asleep, which didn't surprise me, but Laura just cuddled and drowsed. I think they got worn out from being so excited.

Saturday there was much sawing and banging, as the quarter-round pieces were at last (AT LAST!!! It's been what, two years? since we took out the horribly wrongly-installed previous trim so we could paint.) installed in the dining room, entry, and hall. Even if you don't go for feng shui, there is a palpable difference in the house (also, there's no longer a 1.5 centimeter crack all around the edge of the floor, inextricably filled with the Dust of Ages, so it's not just the energy that's healthier!) Everytime I come through the front door, I say "aaaaah, that's so much better!"

Sunday, we met my favorite uncle at church. He was visiting our state from New York (upstate--which is, as he puts it, practically a different country from NYC ;-) ), and brought my grandparents down with him. It happened to be the day of the all-church picnic, so we ate and talked and then went our separate ways.

As I said, it's been busy!

September 7, 2006

Pure Joy

It's been a pretty good week, but nothing has beat the fun we had in the car last Friday. For at least a few hours, our oldest knew pure, unadulterated joy: we went to the BEACH.

To put this in perspective, every single time we have gone anywhere in the car for the last month, within a block or so of home, this voice says, "Are we going to the Beach?" "I want to go to the Beach!" So Friday, it was fun to hear the gleeful chanting: "We're going to the BEACH! Yay Daddy, yay Daddy, yay Daddy-daddy-daddy. Yay Mommy, yay Mommy, yay Mommy-mommy-mommy..."etc. The beach did not fall short of expectations; it was a lovely day (around 80 degrees, but with a steady breeze), and although there were not friendly homeschoolers to play with this time, we were at least prepared with some buckets and shovels, and two little girls played happily. As for me, I actually relaxed completely for what may be the first (and therefore, only) time this summer while I lay on the blanket there upon the sand. Of course, between Laura (once) and the wind catching the blanket (twice), I had to take a shower when I got home to get all the sand particles out of my hair. The best things in life ARE dirty, after all! ;-)