Work with me, please.

Archive for February, 2012

Out with the Old, In with the New

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We’re on day 14 of our kitchen renovation.  It’s been an adventure.  Eating from paper plates and bowls, washing dishes in a plastic bin with water from the bathroom sink, cooking meals in portable electric appliances.  I remind myself that there are places in the world where people (women) cook over open fires and fetch water daily from wells, if they are lucky.  We live in abundance.  I have no complaints about the minor inconveniences.  It will all be worth it in the end.

One thing I’ve realized during this renovation and the recent bathroom redo is that I (we) need to spend more time on housekeeping.  I’m more motivated now because we’re investing thousands on improvements, and it just makes sense to take better care of what we have.  I’ve been wiping baseboards and dusting blinds and window sills.  Now, I understand finally why we receive so many flyers in the mail for housecleaning services.  I think I know how I’ll spend my next pay raise.  I had very little free time as it was, and I’d like to buy it back.

I’m in my last two weeks of my current job.  Although now feels like the right time to go, I have had a couple of panic moments.  I assume that’s normal.  Starting over is bound to generate some anxiety.  Fortunately, I’ve had little time to think about it.  At work, I’m preoccupied with on-the-job training for my successor and finishing everything on my to do list.  At home, I’m preoccupied with all the things I’m normally preoccupied with and that doesn’t usually include work things.

Jay is complaining still about not feeling well at bedtime.  The pediatrician diagnosed heartburn, which makes sense.  I like the pediatric group.  The doctors are nice people.  They do a fine job of diagnosing the usual like colds, pink eye, and seasonal viruses.  And, the office is reliable for vaccinations and exams necessary for school and camp entrance.  When it comes to anything beyond that short list, I like to have a second opinion.  So, I took Jay to a pediatric gastroenterologist.  We’re still waiting on some test results, and in the meantime, we’re giving him a prescription antacid.  Hubby and I have become skeptical.  There have been nights when Jay seems to be complaining so that we’ll stay at his bedside.  It’s so hard to tell if something is bothering him for real any more.  The specialist stays give the medicine for four weeks and if he is still complaining, we may need more complaining.

Other than Jay’s tummy, the kids are doing well.  Mae has been having some awesome days at school — on 3 of the 4 school days last week, she earned the status of “awesome” in the classroom.  For that, her teacher gave her cookies and stickers.  Mae has earned a total of 30 stickers so far this school year, and on Friday, she was complaining that most of her classmates have many more.  I told her that she should compare her self to her only.  I asked her to focus on where she started and how far she’s come, rather than what others have.  I recommended that she set a goal for how many stickers she’d like to earn by the end of the year.  Mae chose 50 as her goal.  I know she can do it, and I’ll be pulling for her.

I think there was something else I wanted to say; however, my sleep deprived brain is failing and Hubby is waiting patiently for me to put the computer away (or he’s pretending to wait for me so that he can watch “South Park”).

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“You Have Two Amazing Kids”

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That’s a great opener for a parent-teacher conference.  Ms. M had Mae as a student, and now has Jay in her preschool-4 classroom.  He is doing well, despite what she describes as trouble sitting still during circle time.  And, when he gets upset about something, he cries strongly for a while, but it doesn’t happen often.  I can live with that.  I’m so proud of how he is growing as a reader.  Ms. M told me that he’s “chunking” words, and I said, yes, his dad taught him how.  Ms. M is now sending home reading material for him so that we can listen to him and note what he reads easily and where he needs help.   So far, he reads the books and word lists easily, which is a great confidence builder for him.  It’s a beautiful sight.

Mae had another outstanding academic semester, and even better, we had no emails or calls from her teacher or the office about behavioral problems.  I’m not naive; I know that doesn’t mean there were no issues.  However, I think it means the teacher has figured out how to work with Mae.  And, that’s a beautiful thing too.

In the teachers’ classrooms and in the office, where I chatted with some administrators between conferences, I heard how they look forward to watching my kids grow and seeing what paths they take, what they become.

As I left the school, I was reminded of a book  about successful African American women, No Mountain High Enough by Dorothy Ehrhart-Morrison.  She interviewed a number of black women on the secrets of their success.  One common theme was high expectations from their families and members of their communities.  Knowing that others expected certain behavior and educational pursuit and success from them, they felt motivated to achieve so that they wouldn’t disappoint.  These women spoke of high expectations not as pressure but as confidence in their abilities and potential.  I hope my kids will appreciate the expectations of them as expressions of confidence and hope and feel esteemed enough to rise up.

Now that I’ve typed that I remember how this week Jay gave me a scary crystal ball moment in which I had a vision of him living upstairs at age 40, still sleeping in his twin bed.  One of his classmates asked me why it is that Jay can’t watch “Spongebob” and whether he’ll be able to watch it when he grows up.  I told her that when Jay grows up and gets his on place, he can watch whatever he likes.  Jay turned to me and said that when he grows up, he wants to stay at home with me and Hubby.  I was a little surprised; his sister picked out a condo building for her future home  a couple of years ago.  Isn’t that normal?  So, I asked Jay, “Don’t you want to have your own place so you don’t have to listen to Mommy and Daddy’s rules anymore?”  His bottom lip went out a little and he said, “Mom, I just love you.”  Since he only recently started using the “l” word comfortably (thanks to his teachers making it a classroom theme leading up to Valentine’s day), my heart softened and I said, “Ok, you can stay with us. ”  I hope this is a conversation he forgets we had.  Goodness gracious.

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