Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bedtime Nightmare

It was five after nine when I left the kids' room tonight.  Their bedtime is seven thirty.  Eight o'clock is more realistic, if we're being honest.  But maybe not that realistic given past several nights.

I don't really know quite what to say.  Bedtime has definitely become my  least favourite time of the day, which is sad, because anymore it's the main time that I have to spend "quality time" with the kids.  Instead of enjoy baths and stories, I spend those many of those moments dreading (I know that's a strong word, but anxiously anticipating doesn't quite cut it) lights out.

Sometime in the past week or two Sprout figured out how to escape her crib.  In a sleep sack.  First we lost the sleep sack, a few days later we lost the side of the crib.  Unlike her brother, who was a dream when it came to bedtime and would lie in his toddler bed and wait to fall asleep and then call out to ask us if we could come get him out when he woke up, Sprout is awful.  She nurses demanding to switch sides ever other minute until I can't bear the thought of any more on and off and tell her no more.  Then she jumps in the bed.  She climbs down and runs over to the door, or the bookshelf, or toys, or her brother.  She  goads him into laughing.  Basically she does everything but lie down in the bed.  The only thing that has worked has been physically holding her in a tight hug while she screams and cries and eventually drops off enough to lie her down.  But I can't leave then.  As soon as I move more than an inch away from her she wakes up and calls out "Mama!"  In fact, her favourite sleeping position once she is in that early stage of slumber is hugging my head.  After an hour or more of trying to get her to this point, you can imagine how carefully I try to escape her headlock.

And of course The Bean has now made it his mission to get her/keep her going.  He has started saying he has to go to the washroom every thirty seconds.  (Sprout freaks out whenever he leaves the room.)  When he is in bed he kicks his legs, throws toys around until we take them away, talks "to himself", etc.  Most nights I threaten him (this week with taking away Trick-or-Treating) until he quiets down.  On good nights, offering a reward for being quiet, like rocking him in the rocking chair after his sister falls asleep, works.  I can't remember the last time he had a good night.

Bedtime has become a complete nightmare.  I wish I could think of another way to do things, but I just can't. Every night I hope it will get better.  Every night it seems to get worse.

Tonight I am listening to Ani DiFranco's new album Allergic to Water.  I am taking time to write a blog post rather than preparing tomorrow's lessons (which I really should be doing).  I need a break.  Anyone want to come over and babysit for an evening?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Month In


Wow.  I am nearly a month into this new gig.  I am still getting my footing, but not as shaky as I was the last time I updated.  Fortunately I no longer feel like accepting the job may have been a huge mistake.  It was, most certainly, a lot to take on.  It's only really been in the past week that I haven't felt like I'm only a period ahead of where I need to be.  I'm starting to be able to look at things a few days out and am hoping that by the end of the week I'll be planning at least a week in advance.  Hopefully I'll be able to start doing some better teaching this way.  A lot of what has been provided is mediocre at best.  I don't like feeling like I'm doing a mediocre job.

The students and I are figuring each other out.  I made a girl in my class cry today.  I felt terribly, but I also feel like it'll probably be a good thing that it happened overall.  I was walking them through a worksheet (mediocre teaching, right there) and she and a few others kept chatting.  After asking them to be more attentive several times, I stopped and said that it appeared they didn't feel that they needed my guidance, and told them to go complete the work on their own.  Not my finest moment, but honestly I had reached my limit.  I'm hoping they remember this tomorrow and when I'm talking that they listen.

The Bean and Sprout have been doing really well with the transition.  The Bean, overall, seems to have taken on a "helper" role when my sister is here watching them.  Not so much doing things for the little ones, but doing things for himself, like putting his dirty plate in the sink without being asked, or tidying up his toys.  He gets a lot of praise for it and seems quite proud of himself.  I am so glad.  Sprout is also doing well.  She doesn't cry when I leave anymore and is going down for naps without nursing first, though she starts demanding "nurse" as soon as I walk through the door most nights.  Sometimes I oblige, other times I try to hold her off so that she'll eat dinner (and so that I can make dinner).  It's hard to know what to do.

I couldn't be doing any of this without Jen.  She has continued riding her bike into work in this freezing October weather so that I can have the car, even though my work is much closer.  She gets the kids fed, and often dressed, and always entertained in the morning while I scramble to get ready for work.  She's changed her hours on Wednesdays so that she can be home with the kids while my sister take her son to his program.  We are both exhausted more than 100% of the time, but she certainly couldn't be doing anything to make things easier on me.  She is so good to me.  I don't know what I would do without her.

Though I would love to write more about the kids, about this change, about a zillion other things (I'm talking about you, Summer Bucket List and Project 52), I really should go to bed now.  It'd be the first night I've gone to bed before midnight in, well, nearly a month.  I don't think I should pass up that opportunity.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words about the new position.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Overdue -The Big News

I tried to write this post last night, but it was nearly midnight and my better judgement won out.  Tonight it's only 11pm, so I'm promising myself that I will keep this quick, but I do feel not only overdue but also obligated (in the best of ways) to make this update.

In my last post I hinted that there was the potential of change on the horizon.  It came.  Much more quickly than expected.  

A few weeks ago a school that I had been substitute teaching at reached out to me about an LTO (long term occasional) maternity leave position teaching Grade One full time mid-November through January and then in the afternoons only from January until June.  I went in for an interview and it felt like it was almost an offer, rather than an interview.  They had me in for an observation and I was waiting to hear whether I would be offered the position or not.  I was caught a bit off guard to get a call from the principal on a Saturday.  He asked me if I could start Monday (September 29th).  I wasn't prepared (at all) but starting six weeks earlier than expected didn't feel like a reason to turn it down.

A few days later I wasn't so sure.  

The kids were really good, but those first few days were hairy.  There was so little prepared, no sense of organization that I could figure out, no prep time to prepare or figure things out  A classful of student to be accountable to, never mind parents or administration.  I felt as if I had made a terrible mistake.  (To say nothing of leaving the kids.)

Now, almost ten days in I am feeling slightly better.  Slightly.  Things are marginally more organized.  I am finding what few resources do exist.  There is still no prep time.  No money.  The parents and administration have been understanding, but I know it won't be too much longer until I'm expected to be caught up and to keep up.  

I am hoping that this was the right move.  It is giving me experience in a grade I haven't taught outside of my practicum experience.  It will close the hole that could have otherwise been quite large on my resume.  I only have seven Grade One students and they seem like Good Kids --kind, pretty keen, quite bright, respectful, etc.  (though I also teach a few SKs for Math and all the Grade Twos for History/Geography and Physical Education).

I am struggling with the "core curriculum" model that this school uses.  It is so vastly different than the IB model and honestly isn't a good fit for me from what I have seen so far.  I'm trying to think of ways that I can bring more of the IB elements in.  Of course, there is no time to think.  (For those to whom this comes across as as gobbledygook: core curriculum is very "facts" based whereas the IB strives to put things into context and look at larger and more open-ended questions.)

So forgive my sudden disappearance.  I am neck-deep in subtraction problems, Canadian Geography, line dancing, and Roald Dahl books.  

The Bean and Sprout are adjusting well.  My sister, aka their favourite aunt, is watching them during the days along with her own little guy.  It has been a huge relief to have her and to know that they are in good hands.  

And because y'all are so patient, here are some cute kid pics from the weekend...