Thursday, September 30, 2010


You guys working with the two year olds is so rewarding! I’ve only been there for a week and I already know I’ve TAUGHT them things. On Monday when we did a little getting to know you activity, I had kids who named three out of nine colors when asked. They all knew purple, they all knew “their” color (the one all their stuff is to help them learn their names), and several knew one other color. They couldn’t sing the ABC Song when prompted. They couldn’t count to five. They didn’t know any shapes. Today we did the same activity. They all knew at least five of nine colors, they can sing the ABC Song, most could count to ten (the exception still couldn’t count to five), they all know at least three shapes. Now, I can’t claim all the credit for the improvement. I have to assume that although they all know me, and no one seemed shy on Monday, they were a little shy. That could affect performance. However, I know the other teacher told me that she could hold up a yellow circle, ask them what shape it was and they’d say “Green!” so… Also, today was the first day they played in our newly arranged classroom with real centers, and access to all their toys. They loved it! Also, they totally cleaned up after themselves when prompted. I think part of the problem was that THEY didn’t know where anything went, now that there’s a clear spot for stuff, they are happy to clean up.
On the other hand…I do know that when I haven’t done it for awhile I’ll miss teaching more abstract concepts. I enjoyed my Peace, Love, and Recycling unit at the beginning of the summer. I enjoy discussing more complicated topics as they come in homework, or because someone reads the back of my latest book, or whatever. I like walking them through their homework and listening as they develop not just minds, but opinions.
In short, I don’t know that I can truly judge. The two classes are so different, but there are aspects in each that I truly enjoy and that I truly don’t. I won’t miss the attitude problems and the bickering, but neither am I looking forward to diapering (not an issue yet, this whole class is potty trained), or the fact that they have the attention span of…well two year olds.

New Job Stories

I started my “new” job this week. So here I am looking back over the last few days, trying to decide already how this is going to work. My coworkers have been laughing that I won’t like and the odds are that I’ll ask for my old job back within a month. I’ve been concerned about intellectual stimulation and how to teach such basic concepts that I don’t remember learning them. So, without further ado, here are the few stories I’ve accumulated already in my new class...

  1. On Tuesday I had the kids do an art project where they glued down small colored squares to make a “mosaic”. Not only did one of my coworkers tell me that I should have applied the glue (so the pictures would come out better, since “they’re only two”), but one of my kids decided to move a square and when she couldn’t get it up, she dropped the f-bomb. The f-bomb people!!!
  2. I’ve been teaching them a song about numbers to the tune of Jingle Bells
    1, 2, 3…4, 5, 6…7, 8, 9, 10! Now I can, count to 10. Now I give a shout, HEY!!
    They pretty much sing “1, 4, 7, shout HEY!” but I like it
  3. Today I promised them we’d go on a walk, but we left class a little late. As in at 11:40 when we eat lunch at 11:45. So we only walked around the school once and had to come in to eat. And on the way in, one little boy said to me “Thanks for a great walk Tina!” So, I guess the moral of that story is that my kids are SUPER gullible.
  4. Tomorrow I plan on working on rearranging my room. Or should I say arranging my room? I have discovered that the teacher before me had really no organizational system at all. Like I get that they don’t really clean up after themselves, but to just have piles of stuff thrown on a shelf is not going to teach them. Neither is only letting them play with one kind of toy all day going to help prepare them for the center system in the next class. No wonder the next teacher can’t stand the old teacher in my class.
  5. On a related note, I spent my break today on my hands and knees scrubbing my 12 square feet of tile. The old teacher apparently put down symbols to help them line up (good idea) without cleaning the tape off the floor when she changed them (bad idea). So there was literally lumps of gluey, black tape surrounding the rainbows she had down. Plus our cleaning company is supposed to mop my floor every night, and it hasn’t been done since at least last Tuesday. I get to write them a reminder in their binder tomorrow!

And…that’s all I have for you today. I'll refain from judging my new job until Friday, when I've worked in this class for a whole week.

Remember to register to vote if you haven’t yet. In Illinois, the deadline is October 5, which is Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Pledge To America

The GOP (republicans) just released their “Pledge to America” revealing what they want to do if they gain seats in November. Below I have quoted it quite frequently, but I have also quoted other sources that either explain what those who don’t support the Pledge believe it means, or evidence that shows how the Pledge may be misleading. If I haven’t included any citation other than a page number, it is direct from the Pledge which you may read here. Also, I have bolded the selections from the Pledge.
“We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity.
We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of or American values.”
(p 3)
I will choose here to simply ask a question rather than cite evidence. Can we “promote greater liberty” by refusing liberty to some? “Traditional marriage” is conservative speak for items like the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage and all it’s benefits as belonging to one man and one woman. I believe that in the space of three lines, the Pledge has contradicted itself. It should instead read, “promote greater liberty to those we agree with”.
“We will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels…” (p 6 and repeated on p 21)
I believe the wording here is misleading. It refers to “pre-stimulus, pre-bailout” in that order for a reason. It seeks to convince people that the stimulus, clearly related to Pres. Obama was passed BEFORE the bailout, thus laying the burden of the bailout on Pres. Obama as well. However, as astute readers will recall, the bailout (which I believe more people oppose than the stimulus as it sought to provide relieve for companies, not people) passed in October 2008- before the election of Pres. Obama. Therefore, it passed a Democrat Congress, but was signed by a Republican president.
“The trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ spending bill has made ‘Where are the jobs?’ a national rallying cry after failing to live up to the specific promises made by it’s architects.” (p14)
The stimulus was passed in February of 2009 (President Obama had only been president for about a month) and by November was seen by a variety of analysts “across a wide range of views” as working. Indeed, Republicans blocked proposed tax breaks later that same year. (New York Times)
“We will help the economy by permanently stopping all tax increases, currently scheduled to take effect January 1, 2011.” (p 16)
First and foremost, these are not actually tax increases. What is actually set to happen is the expiration of Bush tax cuts. Obama wants to renew these cuts. For taxpayers earning less than $250,000 a year. One analyst states “raising taxes only on the wealthy is probably the safest bet”. In a few days, I will probably write about why trickledown economics has been widely discredited, and explain why the wealthiest Americans need to pay taxes like the rest of us.
“For the first time in modern history, the House failed to pass or even debate a budget…” (p 32)
Again, this is somewhat misleading. The House did not debate a budget, but it wasn’t the first time in modern history that the House did not pass one. In fact, no final resolution budget was passed in 1998, 2004, and 2006 (all Republican led Houses). The “modern history” part refers to the time since 1974 when the current rules were put in place. According to The Hill “For weeks, Democratic leaders have tried to strike a deal on the budget, which is a non-binding resolution, but to no avail.” Also, Majority Leader Hoyer has stated “It isn’t possible to debate and pass a realistic, long-term budget until we’ve considered the bipartisan commission’s deficit-reduction plan, which is expected in December.” In other words, they wanted to wait to pass a budget until they heard from the experts.
“We will require each bill moving through Congress to include a clause citing the specific constitutional authority on which the bill is justified.” (p 33)
However, the Pledge vows to keep individuals suspected of committing terrorist acts off American soil even refusing Miranda Rights and fair trials. In part it states, “We will keep terrorist combatants in Guantanamo Bay not in our local jails and courtrooms.” (p 7) “We will prevent the government from importing terrorists onto American soil….Foreign terrorists do not have the same rights as American citizens.” (p 38)The Constitution reads “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed…” (US Constitution, Amendment VI emphasis mine). However, there are some who would argue that the Constitution was never meant to apply to non-citizens. Therefore, let us turn to Georgetown University’s Law Department’s opinion on the matter. “creating different rules for suspected terrorists would amount to ‘new rules for sets of people, not sets of crimes.’” As one political economist stated it “The Constitution does not apply only to citizens of the United States. It seems that [some] treat this document [the Constitution] like a two-year-old treats his favorite toy—unwilling to share, and incorrectly believing that it is his and his alone.” (read his opinion here)
Finally I will quote Nadeam Elshami (spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi) “Congressional Republicans are pledging to ship jobs overseas, blow a $700 billion hole in the deficit to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, turn Social Security from a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble and, once again, subject American families to the recklessness of Wall Street and take away patients’ rights…”
Election Day is coming. Be Prepared!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lies My Teacher Told Me

I just recently finished a book called “Lies My Teacher Told Me” which I highly recommend. The book explains why you were probably bored in history classes, and why to this day you think you aren’t interested in a subject which affects you in many ways, every day. I have friends who can’t even be interested in politics which affects our lives in a very meaningful way every single day, because they can’t stand history. Yet if history were taught the way this book suggests, I think everyone would have some interest in the topic.
I have often regretted what the book calls “heroification”. This is the process of taking very real people, with very real flaws, and making them into more than they were. The classic example is Thomas Jefferson. The man wrote the famous words “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Yet over the course of his adult life he owned over 200 slaves. In a time when many men freed at least some slaves upon their deaths, he freed only five, all of whom were directly related to him. If real history were taught, the gritty things that raise people’s hackles, discussions would be held in the classroom and in our living rooms, and far more people would have a far better understanding of our history. Instead, we teach a sanitized version of history that leaves children thinking that those great men, who did those great things were so great they can’t be role models. It is hard to look up to someone who never made a mistake and think “I can be just like that guy!”. But to tell students that despite the mistakes that people made, they also did great things? That would give our students true heroes.
The author proposes that the reason behind this sanitation of history is that without it, history would offend, and offensive history wouldn’t get adopted by selection committees. The selection committees want to indoctrinate students to think only the best of our country and our past, and so our students must only be told the good things we’ve done.
This book has helped remind me of why I love history, and why I want to teach it to high schoolers. Many times since I graduated, I’ve considered settling not for what I want to do, but what I should do. I don’t want to leave behind those dreams, I don’t want to settle. I want to inspire the next generation to truly think and to question why we do things. I can’t do that by retreating to the hallowed halls of academia, I can only do that in the dirty halls of a high school. I appreciate that the author of this book has helped remind me of that goal, and thus helped set my determination.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

And I Thought I Was Just Seeking Intellectual Stimulation!

Booking time in IRL (In Real Life)
By Katie Anderson Sep 22, 2010 09:36PM

Taking a cue from the popularity of websites such as Facebook, several area libraries have started their own social networking groups targeted at 20- and 30-somethings.

Like online social networking, these groups offer a third-party venue where youngish-adult patrons can meet for information sharing, socializing, community building, career networking and just plain old fun.

The groups are casual, do not require a regular commitment or joining fees, and don’t involve some of the dating-related expectations associated with going out to a bar. Organizers say despite a propensity for online communication, 20- and 30-somethings still crave face-to-face interaction — the kind with no user name or password required.

“I know at least some of our regular attendees use online social networking, but when I’ve suggested we offer more through a Facebook page, they’re like ‘Nah,’ ” said Marlise Schiltz, librarian and leader of St. Charles Public Library’s 20s and 30s group called TnT (Twenties and Thirties).

While providing IRL interaction (“In Real Life,” for those not up on Internet slang), these groups also help libraries reach what many consider an underserved demographic.

“I guess just in general it’s a hard demographic to serve,” said Rachel Bloomberg, co-leader the 20s and 30s Book Club sponsored by Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin. “We’re not children, and many are not parents with children.”

Bloomberg’s club has been meeting monthly since 2007 and discusses a new book each month. Its members live in Elgin, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Pingree Grove and as far away as Carol Stream.

With 20-somethings especially, Bloomberg and Schiltz say, their most recent memory of a library is connected to a horrible college assignment.

TnT launched in 2005 and has inspired several other libraries to start similar groups. It draws members from St. Charles and South Elgin, and unlike the Elgin group, its focus is not on books but rather social and educational outings.

The Dundee Township Public Library started its own group last week, finding that despite a love of Facebook and Twitter, many of its young professional patrons also would rather meet up than “tweet up.”

The Dundee library’s group is called the Young and Restless. At its first meeting Sept. 14, members watched the movie “The Big Lebowski” and chowed down on pizza.

“Our motivation for starting the group was to involve as many people as possibly within our demographic,” said Jason Katsion, an information services specialist at the library. Katsion, 32, is one of three 20- and 30-somethings who founded the group.

“We felt that group (20- and 30-year-olds) was maybe being underserved,” he said. “The library offers considerable programming for pretty much everyone in the community, but a lot is geared to early readers and older adults.”

Katsion said Young and Restless will feature workshops and gatherings relevant to “our demographic” and that meetings will be held either at the library or locations such as coffeehouses, restaurants and pubs.

Although not present yet, a 20s and 30s group may start soon at the Algonquin Area Public Library, too.

“We’ve talked about looking to perhaps start something up, but nothing is in place right now,” said Vicky Tobias, head of Adult Services at the library. Several staff members have brought it up recently, she said, and the library is more than willing to talk about it.

Although not a library-based group, the Young Professionals of Sycamore also has latched on to the idea that 20- and 30-somethings still like to meet IRL. The group meets monthly and has more than 40 members from Sycamore, DeKalb, Genoa and the surrounding communities.

(From today's Courier News)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Last Time I Was In A Wedding

One of my good friends is getting married next summer. For the first time in my life, I will be in a wedding, which I’m excited about. However, it has brought fresh to my mind the story of the last time I was to be a wedding. I remember that a few weeks ago I told you that I would tell you all about my friend who went crazy when she got married. This seems a good time to tell you this story.
Once upon a time…I had this friend. We met on the first day of high school and had been best friends through terrible boyfriends, ACT study dates, honors classes, and all the other things that high school means. We remained friends when college started. She went to the nearby Christian college and met a new boy who would (six years later) become her fiancée. I went to the community college and avoided boys planning on going far away to college in the near future. But because of the changes in our lives, she thought I was jealous of her.
Before her boyfriend proposed, she had a wedding notebook, assuming he would propose soon. In it she showed me where she listed her bridesmaids, myself included. He proposed, she never used her words, but she asked me along to find wedding venues, bridal gowns, had me try on bridesmaid dresses, etc. Until one day when my friend, another bridesmaid, and myself were all shopping together. Other bridesmaid had friend’s camera. Bridesmaid set down the camera, friend changed into street clothes and we left the store. Halfway home friend asked about camera and we realized it was not with us. We went back, but the store had given it to someone else who claimed it. Friend drove us home and said as if in passing “[Fiancée] will not be happy with you about this Tina.” Later I explained that I had never had the camera. Drama ensued about why I wouldn’t take responsibility for “my actions” and my friend told me that she didn’t want me in her wedding. That she had never wanted me in her wedding. I had made assumptions and she didn’t have the heart to tell me no. Weeks passed during which we rarely talked. Eventually, she told me that she didn’t want to talk about the camera anymore, but that she had been wrong to say she didn’t want me in her wedding. Of course she wanted me in her wedding, she said. For some reason, I agreed to a return to bridesmaid status. Rules were made about this sort of thing coming up again, and life returned to happy “normalacy”.
But then…I had to spend some money at the doctor and I couldn’t afford the deposit for my dress. To help make amends clear, my friend offered to loan me the $45 I was short. I accepted promising to pay her back by Christmas. A few weeks later, I gave her a Christmas cards in which I had written “This is the money I owed you!” which I also said when I handed her the card. A week later she called me and asked when I thought I would be able to pay her back. I explained, but she said that the card was empty. We talked, which turned into fought, which turned into my being kicked out of the wedding. Again.
I planned to not go to the wedding after that. We hadn’t spoken in months by the time the wedding rolled around. She cornered me in church and made it clear that she wanted me to come to the wedding. She still wanted to be friends, and if I didn’t come to the wedding, it would be as if all our years of friendship had meant nothing to ME. I reluctantly agreed to go to the wedding, but declined to go to her reception. At the wedding her mom pulled me aside and practically begged me to come to the reception, which I declined again.
Since then, we’ve only spoken twice. Once when she called me for a special recipe of mine, which I gave her. Once when I went to church for a special occasion. Did I mention that this friend is the sister of my sister in law? Or that her family (excepting my SIL) can only say terrible things about me now? This former friend has told my SIL in that she wouldn’t be comfortable talking to me, or allowing me to watch her children.
I can only hope that this wedding doesn’t go the same way. Fortunately, this friend is completely different. Looking back, the other friend tended to treat me as a scapegoat when things went wrong. I was never a friend, I was a toy. The friend who is currently getting married, always treats people with respect. She’s easygoing, and practical. I assume that this will go well, and so I’m excited about it, yet I can only react with a bit of trepidation after my last experience. I don’t make friends easily, I can’t afford to lose one.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I’ve noticed that many of the girls at my work wear very adult clothes. I don’t have kids so I wonder sometimes where they get these things. Yesterday, 3 year old niece (who wears a size 4) did some shopping and I ran across some things that really disturbed me. Why is it that so many clothes for young girls, are so inappropriate? Is there any need for a small child to wear sweat pants with the word “CUTE” written across the butt?

This pink pair is from Ambercrombie kids and comes in a children’s small.
I have seen an exact replica of this purple dress (which is a girl’s size 7) in Deb’s prom section for high school juniors and seniors to wear to “grind” on their boyfriends.

The problem isn’t just in girl’s clothes. Hooters apparently sells clothes (I’ve never been there) and their website features this onesie

And just in case your young man is out of onsies but still drools and makes a mess of his meals, we have this “charming” bib

But not to fear! They are more than willing to market on women’s insecurities too. See this “adorable” onsie for proof

But, perhaps I’m being overly dramatic here. After all Hooters makes their money by flaunting the breasts of the female employees. So let’s turn back to more mainstream stores. Here’s a dress from Kohl’s featured in girl’s size 4-6x. I think I wore this the first time I went clubbing. My skirt may have been a little longer though!

This stuff isn’t even the worst of it though. I didn’t see it myself but a friend of mine told me that Abercrombie sells thongs in their girl’s section. I didn’t see it on their website, and I hope she was wrong, but even if she was when girls are wearing skirts like this one

Can children’s thongs be far behind? BTW this is a “denim mini” from Old Navy that according to the website “hits mid-thigh”. It isn't the worst skirt, but many of the stores selling the worst things load the pictures so you can't copy or save them.
An old boss of mine dubbed the tweens who came into our store dressed like this “prosti-tots”. At the time it was really only older girls and I didn’t think it was the best coinage ever. Now this stuff is meant for kids who ARE still tots. I shudder to think what they’ll wear in their tweens, teens, or twenties!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Austen, Eliot, and Poe

Do you know what those three things have in common? They're all famous authors whose work I love. They are also the names of my new fish. I bought them for work, because the class I'm taking has always had fish, but the old teacher is taking them. However, I love them (I bought them two hours ago) and I want to keep them at home. Sadly they don't fit in at home where all the pets are named after characters in sci-fi shows (Buffi the cat, Neelix the dog, and Na'Toth the leopard gecko). Guess I'll have to take them to work when I move on the 27th.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


In my current position at work I get intellectual stimulation. I help my kids with their homework, which I’m pretty sure is the only time I will ever divide fractions in “real life”. My kids ask political and theological questions on a relatively frequent basis. Soon, I will be teaching two year olds. The level of my day to day conversation will go from “Why did God make Satan?” to “What’s a circle?”
That aside, I am so grateful for the opportunity to mingle with adults. Tonight my book-club chair called me. Our town’s newspaper had called her wanting to write about our book-club, and take some pictures of us. The only problem was they want to run the article on Thursday and we don’t meet for another two weeks. Anyway, the chair asked us to meet during her Great Books Discussion Club so the photographer could get his shots, apparently he had threatened to take pictures of just her otherwise. So I went. What made it great was that, the photographer didn’t just want to take a picture and call it a day, he wanted pictures of participating in book-club, so even though we hadn’t read the book my friends and I jumped into the conversation. Intellectually stimulating, and super fun.
You know, I don’t make friends easily. I’m shy enough that sometimes I feel awkward around my best friends, so I just don’t talk to new people easily. But, I talk easily enough at book-club. I have a specific topic to discuss, and I just can’t feel self-conscious. It’s only at book-club that I don’t miss being in school. I love book-club.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vote Easy

Remember when I told you about using Facebook to get to know your elected officials better? If you’ve spoken to me in person during election season, you’ve probably heard me tell someone that it’s our responsibility not just to vote, but to be educated voters. Many people don’t care enough to sort through the information, or they don’t know where to look, or find the information to hard to understand. Well, once more I’m going to tell you…
With great power comes great responsibility.
You get to vote! It is one of the greatest privileges of our country. Please take the time to sort through information and make an informed decision. And please don’t stay home on Election Day.
All that said, Project Vote Smart has the coolest new program. If you have a firm stance on at least some issues click here, enter your zip code (if your state is in grass on the map) then start answering questions. There are white tabs above your candidates one per issue. Each tab has two questions one on your opinion and one on how important the issue is to you. You’ll see how alike you are to the candidates and hopefully find one who’s a good match. If you’re still unsure, you can click on the candidate and find out more about him/her. It’s easy! It’s all in one place! It’s in simple language! Try it!! Try it today!
Election Day is coming. Be prepared!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Not Giving Up

Five years ago I had a plan. I was going to transfer to a four year university, study history/secondary ed, graduate, and teach high school history. Two years ago I was half way through my plan with graduation in sight. In the spring of 2009 I graduated, first person in my family to do so. I was pretty proud of myself. Now I’ve been out of school for over a year, working at a job I love but that I was qualified to do before I transferred.
Beyond my basic plan, I wanted to get my master’s degree and eventually my Ph.D. When I couldn’t find a job teaching I researched advanced degree programs, figured out some that I really like, and saved them as favorites so I could find them easily. Today I realized I haven’t looked into that in months. I actively avoid pausing over the “Graduate Schools” spot on my favorites menu. Part of the reason I haven’t looked at them is because I want to be practical and I know it’s harder to get your first teaching job with an advanced degree. Part of it is…I don’t really know.
All that is to say, I feel like I’ve given up on my dreams. I’m no longer on the path I want to be on. There aren’t many teaching opportunities at the moment, so I don’t think that’s something I can pursue any more than I have. Instead I will working diligently at my applications for grad school. The big problem there is that the programs I like are rather hard to get into (3% acceptance rate at one), or very far away (like on the East Coast). I think further research is called for on this one, but I have to work fast since most take applications in the late fall or early winter.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I Don't Facebook...

...but your representatives might, and you should friend them even if you don't agree with them. Just check out this article from Rock the Vote

"Can a politician be your friend?
September 3rd, 2010
Ok, so you were a little hesitant when you got a friend request from your parents and you have a special privacy setting for professors or your boss. There really isn’t a need for them to see the pictures you took over the weekend or for them to know you really didn’t have a touch of food poisoning the Friday before a long weekend.

But have you considered friending or liking your elected officials?

CBS’ Washington Unplugged has a story about Facebook’s Washington, DC office that features pages of members of congress, departments of the government and more that are on Facebook. According to this report, more than 300 members of congress are on Facebook. Is your member of congress on Facebook? What about your mayor or local legislator. It’s not about showing support for a candidate or elected. It’s about following who is elected and being able to interact with those people to tell them what you, as their constituent, wants from them as a public servant.

Some electeds use their Facebook page to push press releases and announce where they are and that’s boring. But other use the Facebook page as a forum of ideas, a place for debate and interaction.

Just because you “Like” an elected doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to vote for them or support their political ideology. But what it does mean is that you are keeping tabs on that office holder. And who knows, maybe when they say they missed a town hall meeting for a vote and they are tagged in a photo at a fundraiser, you can be the one who holds them accountable."

For your representatives, visit Project Vote Smart and enter your zip code. All of my elected offials had a facebook page when I looked today.

Election Day is coming. Be prepared!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Brother is an IDIOT

This week my SIL started her new full-time position at work, which she needed in order to move into her pretty new apartment. She also had to take the kids out of daycare, because she couldn’t afford both day care and apartment. Her new arrangement for the kids looks like this
  1. If Brother is off work (whether it’s a day off, or SIL is working a day shift), he watches them
  2. If it’s Wednesday, my mom watches them
  3. If Brother works AND it’s not Wednesday AND SIL works a closing shift, he watches them until 5:30 (he works nights) and takes them to her work where she takes her dinner break until I get off work, drive across town and can pick them up
This is the plan that we worked out WEEKS ago. Friday was the first time we had to use part 3 (there are other contingencies for SIL working different shifts, but you don’t need to know them right now). Anyway, Brother first forgot to put gas in his truck, so he ran out of gas five minutes from the new apartment. Meaning SIL had to run all the way across town, on her dinner break, let Brother take her van to work so he wouldn’t be late, and have her brother drive her to a gas station to get a gallon of gas to put in the truck so she could drive the truck and the kids back to her work. Which meant when I pulled up at 6:20 with a list of errands on that side of town long enough to take until bedtime, instead I had to feed the kids. That came out of Brother’s budget thankfully, because I didn’t have the money to take all three of us out to eat.

I also found out that my brother, who whines at SIL that she’s ALWAYS tired and she never wants to “play”, told her that this new plan won’t work, because if he watches them, he’s too tired to work. So ha can’t watch them during the day if he has to work, and he can’t watch them on his days off because he needs to sleep. EXCUSE ME?!?!? They aren’t my kids (much as I love them) and I worked a ten hour day on Friday, then picked them up and essentially worked another four and a half. My only break the whole day was the twenty minutes it took me to drive to pick them up. But their father can’t watch them on days he works. Even though he’s been complaining about SIL only wanting to work, eat, and sleep since Nephew was born. My brother is an idiot! Plus, if he doesn’t do his part, he’s thinking I can just do more, and I don’t want to do more. I don’t have kids. I should not have to give up all my time off to watch them.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Job Concerns

There’s still no set date for me to change jobs at my work. But it’s this month. We’ve started tentatively telling parents if it comes up naturally in conversation. Which means the only parents who know, are “my” parents. I work very hard to exchange at least a few words with every parent, every day. After all I’m the one who helps them with their homework (not the kindergarteners as they’re forbidden from doing their homework at school, but the bigger kids), I talk them through their romantic troubles (!!!!), teach them how to deal with bullies, and countless other things they might not bring up to mom and dad, but that they probably should. So a few parents know, although nothing has been said officially, there is now an “unconfirmed rumor” that Ms. Tina will be moving to the 2 year old room soon and a new school age teacher will take her place. I’m not really sure it’s what I want. I love my kids, I love my class. The only thing I don’t love about my job is the hours. I have to work full time if I want to move out of my mom’s house, which I desperately NEED to do, but… Do you know how big the difference between my youngest kid (5) and the oldest kid I will have soon is? From 2 to 5 is when kids learn all those things that are so basic, I’m not even really sure how to teach them. I’m used to being able to sit a kid throwing a tantrum in a chair and ignoring it, to teaching tactics to avoid bullies, to talking politics and religion with my kids. Now I’ll be teaching potty training and colors, shapes, numbers, and the alphabet. Even my boss is a bit unsure about this transition. She called me into her office to remind me that I can’t be sarcastic with them (duh), and what a big transition this will be. She assured me that I will be on 90 probation in the new position and that within that time, either of us can decide to move me back to my old position (which is reassuring). The old 2 year old teacher has been prepping me for the transition, but not in any truly useful way. I would prefer concrete things like an invitation to visit her class one morning so that I can see what she does. Her class just moved into her room (first day of school is our transition day), and it would be better if we could have some consistency. Instead, I’ve gotten a lot of jokes about how different it will be. Thanks, I’ve got that. Let’s try to make it easier on the kids shall we?
Anyway, the point of this post is to ask. Anyone have any advice for how to handle circle time with two year olds? How do I teach those basic concepts? How do I avoid having to wipe anyone’s poopy bottom? Anything!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

24 Hours

This morning I was scheduled to watch Niece and Nephew at 7:30. Since my SIL just moved into her new apartment, and she had room for me, I slept over to that I could sleep until the kids woke, or 7:30 which ever came last. That turned out to not really mean any extra sleep since I helped unpack stuff until after 3. In the morning. I didn’t get home today from watching them until 10pm. I spent more than 24 hours with them, and while I love them, I am SOOO glad I don’t have any kids of my own. I am exhausted and I was pretty glad to come home and watch trashy TV and surf the internet uninterrupted.
On the other hand…Internet, the kids let me read to them from The Iliad. And they seemed to enjoy it. The reading is hard, my pronunciation is not great, and their comprehension was probably at zero, but they cuddled up to me and listened. Niece even asked me to read more. The Iliad you guys. My comprehension is only about 60 percent, but they seemed to love it.