Thursday, January 29, 2009

Teacher blues

I'm so bummed tonight. I finally got the official go-ahead to tell my one class (7th grade) that as of next week I'm no longer their Italian teacher. I totally did not expect the reaction I got. Some of my students were actually crying. I felt horrible, shocked and deeply touched at the same time. When you teach this age group, you usually get the feeling the kids could care less who's teaching them. School is typically not their top priority.
To make a long story short, because none of the administrators thought the other teacher would return from her maternity leave - she had twins and is a little older - they did plan accordingly for her return. They couldn't find a maternity leave replacement, so they divided her schedule between some of the rest of us. We were told not to say anything to the kids from the beginning. So, that brings me to today, informing them that we have 3 classes left together and trying to help them make sense of the situation. All they kept saying was "why our class?" "don't you want to keep us?" After class, one of the girls came to find me at my hall duty to give me a hug and tell me that she's so upset, disappointed and how she's going to miss me. I felt so bad, especially since I have mixed emotions about the whole situation. As I wrote yesterday, I'm relieved to have a little less work and more time, but I don't want to give up any of my classes.
I can just imagine what kind of response the parents will have. I would be pissed if I were in their shoes. I spoke to one of the assistant principals, telling her my students' reactions and that I'm sure parents are going to call. She pretty much agreed and said to go ahead and tell them the truth: I'm disappointed with the way this matter was handled, as is the principal, then direct them to my supervisor. So we shall see. What would you think if you were one of my students' parents? I'm debating whether or not I should write my own personal letter to them, just as a bit of closure: it was a pleasure to teach your child, etc. Good/bad idea?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

where do I begin?

I've been away from my computer for so long, I don't even know where to begin with this post. So much has been going on, and although I mentally "write" my posts daily on my long drive home, by the time I actually get home, I don't have any time to sit at the computer and blog. (Let's not even mention the fact that I should be sitting at the computer and doing real work such as lesson plans and grades - which I am procrastinating now on this lovely snow day) But there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. If you recall, when I went back to work I complained about having an extra course to teach to cover for a maternity leave. Well the teacher is finally coming back next week, so I go back to my normal workload of 5 classes. One extra class actually makes a big difference - in addition to having another 28 kids to keep track of, it's 28 more papers to grade, etc and one less period to do it in (although I'm not getting another "free" period - I'll have another hall duty, but I can get work done at that time). So although I'll greatly miss the extra pay (1/6 of my base salary), I'm looking forward to a little less work. I was beginning to lose my mind a bit.

In Alessia news, my baby is 9 months old today!! Happy birthday pupa! She's on the move now, crawling like a champ and climbing and walking along the furniture. The little daredevil likes to let go now and then as well. Sometimes it's like she has a hot pepper in her butt though. She won't stay still! Not a problem, until it's time for latte. Let's just say she's getting creative in her nursing positions:
Speaking of breastfeeding, as the time continues to fly by and we get closer to the 1-year mark, I have been thinking about weaning her. I never thought I would make it this far (especially with having to pump at work), and although some of my friends say they give me a lot of credit for continuing, I say I'm just a big baby when it comes to weaning. I can't bring myself to do it. So although I may say we'll stop at a year, I'm sure I'll still be breastfeeding her at least at night for as long as she wants. The plan now is to slowly start her on milk at a year during the day so I can finally end my relationship with the pump and the book closet.

Yes, this is where I spend 15 minutes a day so my angel can have her precious latte. Isn't it beautiful? The best is when I come out and there are a group of kids at the table. They look at me like "what the hell were you doing in the closet?" And the story is..."oh she's organizing the closet." It must be really messy for me to be in there every day all year! What a shame we have to concoct stories to hide what we're doing, like it's disgusting or inappropriate. And what a shame that in a work environment where all 3 administrators are women, they can't find/set aside a comfortable, clean, and private place for us working moms to pump. Oh well. At least it's not in a bathroom stall. And I get 15 min a day to actually sit and read. I've been working on The Omnivore's Dilemma since October, but finally getting close to finishing it! (More on that book later)

I know this is a loooong post, but just one more thing, then I'm off to try to accomplish some real work. Why are some women (especially fellow moms) so judgemental? I've been getting some annoying feedback, criticism, etc. about my parenting methods and attempts to be green. Why can't people just let me be? I'm not saying anything about what they do in there own lives. But why can't they just honor my wishes, especially when it comes to my baby and what toys, food, etc I expose her to? Apparently I'm a wack job and a difficult mom. Whatever. At least I'm not the only one! I'm sure I'll be back to gripe about this topic some more later. For now I'm off to grade some quizes.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Routine, routine, routine

Is there such a thing as too much routine when it comes to a baby? Mark and I don't keep Alessia on a strict schedule, time-wise, but we do have a routine we typically stick to. After spending a week at my mom's while he was on a business trip, I began to wonder if our nightime routine is, well, too routine. Here's what we do:
  • some after dinner silliness downstairs - usually some more playing or goofing around in front of the hallway mirror
  • bathtime - and this has its own routine:
  • silly dancing around to the Black Eye Peas "Pump it" (Alessia just loves it) and stripping down for the bath
  • watching daddy fill the tub and play hide-and-seek with the baby in the mirror
  • bath time - always the three of us
  • some more mirror sillyness while daddy cleans the tub and toys
  • play with the cheesy electric light-up fish tank while I moisturize her and put on her diaper
  • "latte" and story time: Mark and I read to her as she nurses
  • Daddy and Alessia play around with their mirror counterparts
  • Spell Alessia's name on her door (she has an adorable sign that she always looks at and makes her smile)
  • And finally, put her down to sleep.
This routine just kind of evolved since I went back to work, and it works for us. The problem arose when I tried to do it alone or with my mom's help last week. Alessia screamed bloody murder at bathtime and tried to climb out of the tub. All week I could only manage to give her spongebaths and putting on her pjs was a struggle. I guess she was looking for daddy. She tolerated mommy-only story time and me putting her down, but man was it a rough week. We're both glad daddy came home!
Now Mark and I are wondering if we're too routine with her. She can tolerate differences when we're home, for example when our weekly dinners with Danielle go late and we have to skip a bath, she's perfectly fine. I dunno. What do you think? Is it possible to be too routine?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Will you stop growing up already??!!

Alessia is getting bigger way too fast! Last Tuesday she started "big girl" crawling, and now she's a speed demon and has figured out how to do it on the slippery hardwood floor. We're in big trouble when we finally go home from my mom's on Friday. The house is totally not ready for a mobile baby yet! Her new thing is to climb up things and use them to walk around. She's always so proud of herself when she does it to. Huge smile on her face. And the girl has no fear! She'll just let go and BOOM! I'm usually good about catching her, but today I just couldn't get a good grip and she hit her head on the wood floor :o( I definitely freaked out, but after a kiss from mommy, she was fine. I guess she really didn't hit it as hard as I thought. I keep trying to tell her she's a baby, not a big girl yet! And stop growing up!! I think she'll definitely be walking before her first birthday, which seems to be sneaking up on us. I can't believe she'll already be 9 months at the end of this month!
Ugh...why can't they just stay little and helpless for just a little longer? At least she's still nursing, so that makes me feel better. And this week, it's been just the two of us sleeping in the bed at night and she's been adorable when waking for a feeding. I guess she can't really see me because the room is much darker than ours at home, and she just woke me up by reaching out for my face and holding it with both hands, then nuzzling me. Got to love bedsharing!

Monday, January 12, 2009

And we're back!

Ugh...I orignally started this blog as a forum to talk about my "adventure" as a new mom when I was on my maternity leave. Then I went back to work, and any shred of "free" time has vanished. It sucks, because I feel like as a working mom, I need this outlet more than before, but have absolute no time for myself to actually sit down and write down my thoughts. I called out sick today to take a "mental" day (also my mom has had to work for the past 2 weeks, so it has been a little difficult with Alessia). I don't want to complain too much, because I know there are a lot of working moms out there who have it much more difficult than I, but this really sucks. I'm so behind at work: partly due to the extra course I'm teaching (=one less period to do my work), and because I can never find time to do it at home. Well I guess that's a lie. More like I'm not really willing to do it at home. By the time I get home from my mom's every afternoon, I have about 2 hours before Alessia goes to sleep. Subtract the time to make and feed her dinner, and there really isn't a lot of time to spend with her. I didn't have a baby to plop her in the pack and play or in front of the tv while I work. I want to enjoy her. I don't want to wake up one morning and realized I missed my little girl growing up because I was grading papers or typing lesson plans. Before I had her, I was all about work and took pride in my lessons. Now I feel like I have great ideas but neither the time nor the energy to actually execute them. *sigh* Oh well, I can only do so much.

Enough whining. For those of you (namely Tina enjoying her adventures in NZ) that check this for updates on Alessia, here's all the excitement that's been going on here:
What she's doing:
  • "big-girl" crawling. Yup, she's officially on the move. She actually started last Tuesday, and is getting faster and faster. She loves chasing Danielle's cats.
  • pulling herself to standing in her crib. Started that on Friday. Not so excited about that one. We have to lower the mattress again. She is so cute when she does it though...huge smile on her face - she's so proud of herself!
  • walking while holding on to her crib rail.

What she's "saying"

  • "dada", well actually more like "dadadadadadada"
  • "mmmmm" but no mama yet
  • "nanananana"
  • and still doing the "gremlin" noises.

What she's eating:

  • big-girl food, cut into chunks. Though she absolutely refuses to feed herself. She'll pick up the pieces and mash them between her fingers, but won't put them in her mouth. She leans forward for me to do it. Which is okay by me. I don't want her growing up too fast!
  • chunks of:
  1. broccoli
  2. cheese
  3. banana
  4. kiwi
  5. sweet potato
  6. pasta
  • pastina
  • yogurt
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • pork
  • beef
  • and all the "starter" fruits and veggies

Suprisingly (even to myself), I'm still making all of her food. She has actually never tasted prepared baby food. I guess it turned out being a lot easier than I originally thought, so I've kept up with it. God knows it's been saving us a lot of money, especially combined with the fact that we're still not giving her formula.

Ooh, and the biggest little baby has teeth! One officially "out" - bottom right rises up from the gums. Bottom left has cut through the gums, and top right is just about through as well. I just noticed the top one last night while I was tickling her on the floor. I don't have any pics because she refuses to show us her teeth, but hopefully soon. I'm at my mom's for the week while the hubs is in AZ, so I don't have any pics to upload right now, but if you check out Danielle's weekly winners, she has two of Alessia from Sat.

One of my new year's resolutions was to try to find time (ha!)for myself to continue blogging and get back into yoga, so hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with a new post!