Saturday, June 20, 2015

Type A...Type B...Please.

If I were assessing my younger self, I would have probably declared my Type A personality without actually having to declare it.  I was kinda full of myself.  Used to being the center of attention in my own family, used to being one of the handful of "smartest" children in my class, and used to having more than enough words to dominate almost any conversation.  Having Reagan, didn't change that.  I worried about  and planned every single detail of her life week by week.  When I found out I was pregnant with her sister when she was almost 24 weeks old (six months...remember, I worried WEEK BY WEEK), I freaked out to say the least.  It wasn't that I didn't want another baby, because I wanted another baby more than anything, I just didn't want another baby when my baby was still a baby.

So, after Anna was born, my aggressive personality, to put it nicely, took a backseat to parenting.  I realized very quickly, that the cute smocked outfits were just going to get yellow poop all up the back, so why not just dress the kid in a cheap cotton Target onesie with some cute saying like "My mom doesn't want your advice.." because really, she did not want or need it.  Always eager to please, but to sway folks to seeing my way, I quickly learned that my way of life wasn't for everyone.  I wasn't going to force breastfeeding and cosleeping on my new mother peers, though I couldn't imagine doing this mommy-hood gig any other way.  Other mommies didn't want or need my advice either!

My former self had a pet peeve about promptness.  My current self is happy to get anywhere within an hour of the scheduled time.  I'm almost disgusted by this fact still, but we really cannot help it.  Have you ever tried to get two small {girl} children ready?  I have one that changes clothes like the weather.  Seriously.  I'll have her ready, and I'll go to check on her sister and come back and find her completely naked.  It's a losing battle.

I still make calendars and create schedules, but if we don't follow them...Eh, it's okay.  As long as no one is crying, fighting nap time, or biting each other, I really could care less if we visited the Historical Museum, attended the concert in the park, or watched the magic show at the library.  No use crying over the best laid plans that don't happen. 

Truthfully this switch has probably made me a better person all the way around.  I'm completely happy in my own skin, even if I'm not as blonde, thin or tan as I once was.  I'm way more content these days than I ever was when I was trying to be perfect all the time.  I still have a strong desire to pursue fairness and do what's best.  That's awesome in my classroom. But also, understanding that going with the flow is a necessity, and being able to adapt to most any situation without becoming too bummed out, has proven to be even more helpful.  

I wouldn't say my type A self is gone, and I wouldn't say I'm totally a type B either.  I'm just a happy in-between.  I don't forsee me ever going back to being as quite extreme as I used to be, but I'm not going to throw out my summer calendar ever.  I'm so grateful for my girls for a billion reasons and the least of those is help change me into a person that's a little sweeter, and little more relaxed and way more fun!
Before the Madness

Embracing the Chaos

Thursday, June 11, 2015

These are MY kids too

As the school year comes to a close, I realized how sad I am for the year to end.  Year eight almost in the books, and though I'm spread thinner (I'm not thinner though...), I still feel that same attachment and love I did for my first group of students.  I've changed schools, more than once; I've changed grade levels, more than once, but one thing remains the same: I absolutely have the best job ever.  Sure, I have bad days.  I've had a desk thrown at me, hateful e-mails in my inbox, ridiculous evaluations that knit-picked the fact that I was a pumping mother over the fact "the content was covered very well." Those days I went home and cried, but luckily I have had way more good days inside the four walls of my classroom than bad.

Today I went home and cried for a completely different reason.  At dismissal today, my last bus rider was waiting for her bus to be called, like all nearly 180 days this year, but this day was different.  She happily told me earlier this week with a flip of her blonde hair that she wouldn't be attending the last day of school.  This day was her last day of fourth grade.  She stood in the door frame looking much more grown up than she did in August and looking at her sweet face, I saw her eyes swell up with tears. I hugged her and tried not to cry too.  She just smiled stared at our class picture hanging by the door.  We joked about the silly smiles on the friends' faces in the class. She laughed and cried more.  Her bus was announced, I gave her another big hug, gave her that class picture and told her to have a great summer. These 28 kids that sat in room 318 this year will no longer be a class after tomorrow.  They will move up to fifth and be combined into different homerooms.  The kids will have the same friends and see familiar faces when they return in the fall, but it won't be quite the same.

I had the kids make memory wheels and complete fourth grade surveys to share with next year's class.  I'll put them on display in the hallway at Open House.  When I read the kids' work, I noticed a lot of the kids filled in the My teacher really loves... blank with her kids.  I do tell tons of stories about Brent, Reagan and Anna, I swear some of them are content related, and I guess my students really take away that I love being a mommy.  But from August to June, I spend a whole lot of time with other people's kids.  I spend time away from those children, worrying about them.  Sometimes it's "will they ever understand how to do long division?" Sometimes it's "this friend was really worried about a home situation, I pray they are okay and it resolves soon..."

The other day in the midst of a speech about caring for others, this time of year kids have short tempers with each other, I went around the room sharing things I've learned about the kids this year.  Little things from the name of their little league team, that their family fosters pets from the animal shelter, that they love fishing with their grandpa, they have a collection of rocks.... You get the idea.  They were amazed that I remembered little details of things they had mentioned all year.  I am always amazed that they remember my silly stories about my kids too.  We, our class, invested so much time in each other, together this year.  We're like a big family. It really is hard to see that fun time end.

No matter how many years I teach, no matter how many kids I get to raise in my own home, those children that fill my classroom each year become mine too. As I go to work tomorrow, I'm sure I'll feel a bit of the same way my little friend did in the doorway this afternoon.  As excited as I have been about summer break, I'm not excited about the good bye that awaits tomorrow at 2:50. These are my kids too.