Thursday, January 31, 2013

Calm, Cool, and Collected: The Scariest Teachers In School

"What in the world are you doing! That's it. No more recess for the rest of your school days...even college!"
     I could hear them from behind the closed door to my classroom; little girls having themselves a good 'ol giggle-scream fest in the restroom. I could hear them over the bang, slap, tap-tap-tap, shuffle, slap bang, jibber-jabber, shuffle, yickety-yap from the 547 little gremlin students still anxiously awaiting their chance to go for a field trip to the Urinarium.  I could hear them. I'm sure everyone could hear them. I wondered when I had lost my mind. What ever possessed me to let those two leave the room at the same time. Together. I lose it from time... to time... to time... to time.
(Hmmm... like the time I let Glitterific Girl and Big Girl use my Sharpie markers...and they decided to, ahem, play beauty shop...)
     Anyway, I don't think the strange phenomena of having to use the facilities two minutes after coming in from using them only occurs in my classroom...or my house...
(Really child? Would you like me to move your desk in there? Really?)
It's a fascinating place, the Urinarium...
(the toilets flush so well in our school, I'm sure Augustus Gloop would shoot right through them. No problem!)
     As I was saying, I let these two princesses go as I had several cherubs doing their best rendition of the Pee-Pee dance. And there was a whole lotta pee-pee dancing going on in my room. So much so, that I turned on the Youtube and did several thousand repeats of  Boom Chicka Boom Just so they could get their minds off their desperate need!
(Hey! I think I've found the connection. Lack of hydration=Loss of senses...perhaps?)
     So when I heard their own dance party happening in the restroom, I took my groovy self over to the door to nail 'em! wait patiently for them. I waited...and waited...and waited...until...boom chicka rocka chicka rocka chicka boom...! I saw two sets of little eyes peer at me through the glass window and I waited...that's right... uh-huh...oh yeah... one more time...! And then I opened the door sloooowwwly and I said to those two little guilt stricken faces, "Get over there to Mr. H's room and tell him you two were the ones banging on the dryer machine and that you are so sorry for disturbing his class and guess what you're missing our dance party because you two were messin' around!"
That's more time...Elvis style...!
     As they walked the plank across the hall to Mr. H's door, I could have sworn I heard someone playing doomsday music. I watched as the frilly skirt, bow wearing, glittery sweeties berated each other mentally, "It's your fault! No it's your fault you're the one that wanted to hold an early Super bowl party in there!" "You want me to take them Teacher?" ,my eager Student Teacher asked. "No honey, they can do it." " Okay, so you want me to take their PR points away?" "Yes, honey. Do that." " And you want me to tell their Mom when we go home?" " No, I can do that too. But thank you anyway." "Okay, so you want me to take all their recesses away for the rest of the year?" 
(sometimes power goes to their heads...If they ran the class I'm sure they would bring back corporal punishment)
     I could see Mr. H speaking to them through the window. He didn't yell. He hardly had any facial expression at all. He spoke to them like he speaks to everyone; quietly, softly, pleasantly.
And know what? Those two little angels came back crying their little eyes out, apologizing profusely, and promising to never-ever hold another conference in the Urinariam ever again!
(until their Teacher loses her senses again, of  course!)
The Lesson
Oh boy this is a hard one, 'cuz, well I'm a little, how you say??? Expressive, yeah that's it. Expressive in my vocal discipline style. But, nonetheless, You don't have to raise your voice to get kiddos' attention. The opposite extreme works so much better!
So, whattaya waiting for? Next time you want to scream at the top of your lungs at some thing or another. Stop, breathe and...BOOM CHICKA BOOOOOOM!!!! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Growing Lemons:Lessons on Letting Things Be and Never Giving Up!


See those baby lemons? To the unsuspecting observer they're just that. Lemons; yellow,oval, sour. Not too special in any particular way. With some sugar you can make lemonade, lemon bars, lemon cookies, lemon pie, lemon cake, lemon drops, lemon smoothies, lemon curd... and if you were my brothers you used them for anything from baseballs to grenades.
(Remember the scene from Mrs. Doubtfire? I was a victim of a run-by fruiting more than once...ssssploot!)
After this week they will be a reminder to me that letting things be is sometimes the same as never giving up.
Let me 'splain...
This past summer our family adopted another furry friend. Her name is JellyBean and she is weird  interesting. She loves to run laps around our dying Birds of Paradise. She runs and runs and runs around it and has carved out a really cool track. I like to watch this. She cracks me up.
  (I'm weird...I know...I'm a cheap date)
As she ran her course, run, hit the fence, spin, run, hit the fence, spin, over and over again, I watched and giggled. GWH came out and he watched the show too.
(I contribute to the weirdness of everyone)
I stood there mesmerized until he declared and jolted me out of my trance, "Look, lemons not key limes!" He directed my attention to one of two sadly neglected baby citrus trees. We  I am a bad plant parent. We  I either over water, over fertilize, go crazy with the pruners and  basically mess with them too much. Or I go to the opposite extreme. I forget about them. Completely.
(I can't think when the temperature outside is over 90 brain melts!)
This year I just let the pool water feed it. I left it alone, I didn't worry about it, I let it be and look what I got! We were both caught by surprise and I told him, "I'm making me some lemon bars!" Now, if the other tree would just grow I could make myself a margarita!
The Lesson
We never really know what lies inside. As Teachers and Parents sometimes we mess too much with kiddos when what we really need to do is leave them alone for a while to process everything we have taught them. We can't force it out of them. They need time!

So, whattaya waiting for? Sit back and enjoy "the fruits of your labors" but watch out for the flying citrus!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Verbal Protests From Kiddos...It's a good thing

Why do I have to do this? This is hard! I can't do it! Ugh, this is so boring! Those along with other forms of verbal protests are heard in classrooms, homes and from the back seat of cars everyday
(a bear lives in my car...grrrrrr)
 Kids wouldn't be normal if they didn't retaliate in some form. Heck, I know I perfected the head- tip- eye roll- pose at seven or so. I can suck my teeth in with the best of 'em. And don't even get me started on the blink, blink, blink...I can hear you talking but I don't know (and don't care) what your saying dazed expression!
 Anyway, I think those are all good things and this is why...
 (no really...just as long as I get the last word in)
If a kiddo is protesting in some way then I know they are alive and engaged. I know that this is an opportunity to make an impact; an opportuntiy to see past their attempt at distracting me from the real problem. They are fearful, confused, and frustrated.  It's my job to figure out how to use that energy to develop their "brain muscle". Our job as Parents and Teachers is to find a way to get those little minds workingIt's our job teach kiddos how to process. How to think. How to engage their brain and how to question themselves so that they change those attempts at distraction into self help, affirming statements.
 I have to do this.  It's only hard for a while but it will get easier. And...This is practice for the real stuff.
I learned a good lesson today. From kiddos of course.
The Lesson
Kiddos need to be questioned. They take a lot of time to process "stuff" and those eye-rolls? They mean your getting to them. They are master manipulators but of course, we are the adults, we mastered it before them!
So, whattaya waiting for? Go practice your whine. I know you still got it in ya!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Toddler Superpowers!

I know I've said this before. Kids amaze me. There are times I wish I could bottle up what flows through their little rubbery veins and somehow, someway figure out that magical formula and sell it. Really, I'd share.
I'd share because I would want everyone to possess a smidge of the superpowers that I witnessed just recently.
See little man? He's there. Underneath the cheetah exterior. Within arms reach of the glitterful pom poms. Snuggled and strapped tightly into his little orange cocoon. Yes, he's there. And through my sleep deprived, caffeine induced daze I envied him. I wished that I too had a queen sized hammock and an animal print blankie. I pouted a myself...then I sighed deeply and marveled at the sight because as...the basketball players ran... the shoes squeaked .. the referees chirped... the balls bounced... the timer honked... the crowd yelled...and of course the cheerleaders woo-hooed!  Throughout this incredible cacophony of sports-like music... 
Little Sir Snooze a Lot...slept! 


 Until...Little Miss Sissy Sparkle Pants just couldn't stand that she hadn't fulfilled her sisterly hug quota for the day and just had to...just had to...look over at him and say, "a jibbidee, jabbedee, jibbidee, jee!" Which, I instantly translated to mean, "Oh brother dear, I sadly fear my smooches you have missed! And didja dream about me?" (I speak toddlerish too... that's one of my Superpowers)

 And Little Sir Snooze a Lot awoke and watched the runners running, and the cheerleaders woo-hooing and...

Little Sir Snooze a Lot...went back to sleep!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Natural Goodness

"It's gonna be okay friend."

     There's something about children that amazes me. Well there's tons about children that amazes me, but at this time of the year, when we are delving into the topic of Civil Rights and exploring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message, I am re-amazed, re-inspired, re-lieved, by what I can only describe as their...
Natural Goodness
At this time of the year, in the true spirit of Teacher sharing, there is a DVD that circulates some of the classrooms in my school. It's out of print now, but through the power of Youtube, your kiddos can see it too.
(I hear your gasps. "A DVD!" But listen. Sometimes a DVD can illustrate and make more of an impact than me being the sage on the stage and going into my spiel. Yes, I love the stage but really, I know how to share the spotlight. Really. I do.) This DVD doesn't make it into the classrooms because it's entertaining.
( is that)
It makes it into the classrooms because it gets straight to the point and in a kid friendly way it shows kiddos what that no-school day in January, is all about. It's good teaching and when I show it to them I find myself awestruck by their reactions. With a good mix of animation and period footage it grabs their attention and keeps it, which is always a good thing in my opinion.
But this is the best thing...
For the past few years that I've shown this DVD, I have to stop and watch the children. They giggle, gasp, and they hold their hands over their mouths.Then inevitably it comes to the point in the DVD where 31 little furrowed brow faces turn and look at me;some teary, some angry, all shocked. And I hear the question.
With that one word I have to stop that DVD and let them talk to each other. They share how things are different now. They share how mean people can be. They voice their opinions and feelings. They relate their little lives and experiences to this massive problem of hate. They call it bullying and they know it is wrong. Then out of the mouths of several I hear the conclusion;the solution to this big problem. It's simple yet so true. 

The Lesson
"You need to be friends and be nice to everybody."

So, whattaya waiting for? Go be part of the dream!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Teacher with the Red Hot Lipstick

     Every one has their "thing". You know what I mean. A "thing". One of those quirky little obsessions that no one but you,and your best girlfriends, understand.  They're fun to have. They make you happy and it's especially great when you can trace the obsession back to one of your own Teachers and somehow know, that every time you do it, you honor them. 
Let me 'splain...
     Today, for the billionth time in the span of about ten minutes, someone asked to go to the restroom. Now, mind you, the request always comes from the same two cherubs, at the same time of day, at the most inopportune time.
(Really children? Don't you know I stayed up all night preparing the most stimulating lesson on the effects of global warming on the rare Bitzu-Mitzu bird found only on the Island of Falapuchia? Maybe not)
     Before I could even get it out of my mouth, out of the mouth of one of my Firsties came the frustrated expression, "For heaven's sake!" I couldn't help but giggle. "That's me", I thought.
(I really have to watch it in the car...y'all know what I mean...)
     Anyhow, like I said, everyone has their "thing". My thing, amongst others,
(hint:it has something to do with cleaning products) is this...
      I love lipstick. Not just any kind of lipstick. I love red lipstick. I love glossy lipstick. I love the kind of lipstick that when you put it on your lips you just have to do that -pop,pop,pop, muah- thing. Then, when you're done, somehow you're compelled to cock your head to the side in classic Betty-Boop fashion and pose.
(Boop, boop bee doo!)
     Today, I shared my newest procurement with my Teacher-Buddy. "Look. this is the best lip-gloss everrrr!" I proclaimed this as I pulled out three different shades from the depths of my purse. She laughed. "You have three?!" "Yep. I love this stuff!" Then I opened one up and swiped it across my lips.
(Muah,pop,pop,pop, Ooo!)
      Well I know exactly when and where I learned to love lipstick. I learned this lesson, not from my mother, or my aunties, or even my grandmother.
(However, they could, can, and still rock the lippy-sticky!)
Nope. I learned how to love the stuff by watching my third grade Teacher. Or as I refer to her...
The Teacher with the Red Hot Lipstick...
     This lady was and still is an elegant lady. She was the first Teacher-Mom I ever knew and to this day I treasure the friendship I formed with her daughter.
(She's pretty awesome too! My muse in so many ways!)
I remember being amazed at how this woman could balance, home, work, motherhood and still look put together and beautiful. How she did it, I only got a glimpse of, but I took lots of mental notes.
      My Teacher always wore two shades. Not at the same time though. She wore an orange hue in the morning. A subtle color to ease us into the day, I'm sure. Then, after lunch, her lips would be painted in the hottest, most fantastic, luscious berry red lipstick you ever laid your eyes on! Hot, with a capital H-O-T! One rare rainy day, when the class had to stay in at lunch, I got to see her apply it. It was a sight to behold. I don't think she knew that several little girls were watching her with bated breath as she pulled out her compact...took the cap off...twisted the tube ever... so... slooowwwly... to reveal the fabulous-ness hidden within the confines of it's shiny exterior. Then, while we all held our breath... we all took mental notes on the proper way of applying the object of our (at least my) lifelong obsession!
The Lesson  
  A very wise, very elegant, very hard working Teacher-Mom told me once,"Kids don't have anything better to do than to watch everything you do." Imitation truly is the truest and best form of flattery.

So, whattaya waiting for? For heaven's sake! Go do something amazing and be a trend setter!



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The First Day of School: A Little January Reminder!

It was the first day of First grade
For the kids in two-sixteen.
They waited patiently on a green dot
They knew the whole routine.

Some held tightly to their Daddy's hand,
Letting go they did not dare.
They caught a glimpse of their Kinder Teacher.
To her, no-one could ever compare.

So they waited in the hot sun.
For, forever and a day.
And they wiggled and they wondered,
When would they get to play?

Then they heard the sound of bells
Announcing the new school year.
At the double doors they stood and stared,
Their hearts and heads all full of fear.

"Are you the new kids in this class?"
Asked a giant, twice their size.
They did not know what to say.
Should they answer?
Was it wise?

She walked through the line.
She spoke to every family.
Each waited for their turn to come.
The anticipation-pure agony.

When she finally got to them,
The dread instantly subsided.
For she spoke their language too
And told them when
They would all be reunited.

She asked the name of each girl and boy
And spoke to them with a smile.
"This is how we say hello.
I call it Firstie Style!"

"Be sure to shake with your right hand not your left
And look me straight in the eye.
If you're not here to say hello
I will miss you and I might just cry."

When she was done meeting all of them
She walked to the front of the line.
Then turned and said to the grown-ups,
"Thank you Families they will be just fine."

So, they gave them one last hug.
One to last the whole day through.
Because they were going on a First Grade trip.
There was so much to see and learn and do!

The Lesson
Kiddos grow up and change so much in just the span of four months! It's good to have a reminder of how much you have done with them and how quickly you'll be meeting a whole new crop of friends!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Things "They" Don't Tell You

You know, when you're going through college there are things that "they" just don't tell you about the "real" world of teaching.
  • Don't do papier mache with Kinders. Imagine putting wild kittens and puppies in a small room with a big bowl of water and several rolls of toilet paper. Let them loose. You get the picture? It's worse than that. I promise.
  • On your first day you will be given the keys to an empty room, five pencils and maybe a ream of paper and you will be expected to entertain teach 547 cherubs the very next day.
  • Never allow more than two students out to use the restroom. Unless, of course, you're wanting them to conduct research on 101 Uses for Toilet Paper.(ssssssssplooot!)
These along with some other, learn by the seat of your pants, lessons only come when you actually sign your name on the dotted line.  
But of course those aren't the perks, these are...
  • On the days you feel (and look) like something the dog pulled out of the trash, one of the little lovelies will look up at you and say,"I missed you Teacher. I love school."
  • On another day, when you're sure your clothes were all switched in the middle of the night for a smaller size, one will bring you a donut and when you look at it with a sigh and say,"Ah thank you honey, but I probably shouldn't eat this. Teacher needs to watch her weight." That (next) Student of the Month will respond with furrowed brow and exclaim, "But you're skinny Teacher!" 
  • But I think one of the best perks is when you catch one with their nose close to your arm, and you catch them breathe in deeply, then say,"You smell pretty Teacher and you're squishy."
So, with that, tomorrow after doing all the things I tell my students not to do on their vacation like; stay up too late, eat too many sweets, sleep in too long. (The list goes on and on)
 I will enter my classroom and place myself right next to the child I know will say something to lift my spirits and tell me with no prompting at all... You're pretty Teacher. I like you!
The Lesson
I really don't think a person has to be the Teacher of small children to reap the benefits of how children can lift a person's spirits. There is always someone, somewhere, who's positive light shines through no matter what the circumstances may be.
So, whattaya waiting for? Go be that person.  



Friday, January 11, 2013

The Mystery of the Inner Sanctum

" You want me to hold the door for you Teacher? You want me to hold those papers for you Teacher? I'm helping Teacher! Get baaaack!"
     Every morning of my working life I have the same routine. There's comfort in routines and loads of giggles if you just sit back and watch.
(Where are those darn cameras!)
     On most mornings I'm making a mad dash to get from home, to my girls' school, to my school all in the span of about five minutes.
(Not just feels that way...really)
     On a good morning and all goes really well and if Glitterific Girl doesn't decide to do some spontaneous craftation, we get out of the house and on our way in a timely manner. That, bless my stars and garters, is more often than not.
     It's on days like these that I sit back and giggle at the most random, but not so random, observations. This is what I saw one particular morning...
      I began to lead my Firsties through the door and down the hall. Making sure we left sufficient room for the  throngs of Gremlins Kinders and Pre-K'ers. We stopped until they passed. I remembered that I hadn't picked up the  notices from my box that morning, so I decided to seize the opportunity.
(Truth be told...ahem...I don't like to pick up my mail...because I'll lose stuff in my I use it to keep very important papers safe...and I clean it out at least once a week, or so...Oh no! I just gave away my secret!)
     As we waited for the babies to pass, I asked the first person in line to hold the door while I popped in to take the four steps to my box.When I turned back I had to fight my way back out the door through the mass of puppies all trying to squeeze their way into that room after me!  "Get out! Whattarya all doing!!!" "We wanna see Teacher." I had forgotten the fascination this room held for so many kiddos. It held a mystery for me at that age and all things being the same, it still mystifies children. I wondered why so, that afternoon I looked at it through the eyes of a six year old and this is what I saw.
  • That room is a party room. Because, when Teachers go into that room they look grumpy but when they come out, more often than not, they come out laughing.
  • There's a personal chef in there. Scrumptuous smells come out of that room like popcorn and hot chocolate and sometimes Teachers come out of there with really yummy stuff on plates.
  • Teachers wield their magical powers in that room. They feed that big 'ol machine one paper and it spits out a gazzilion more! WHOA!!!
  • There are TV's and video games in that room! (Really it's only another computer and a microwave but to them it looks like TV's)
  • There is a direct link to Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the President of the United States and the most important person in the world, the Nurse! Some days their own Teacher gets to use those Official Walkie-Talkie radio thingamajigs and works for the CIA. We just know it!
     The Lesson
There are some things that are just universal. They transcend time. They never change and that's a good thing.
 Every school has an Inner Sanctum. Some have soda machines, roll out beds and I just know that at some schools the Teachers have a dance party at lunch. I just know it!



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Unexpected Beauty

          "Look Mom it's a picture made out of colored rocks!" From the backseat came the delighted voice of Big Girl forcing me to pay attention.  "Wh..wh..what?", I croaked as I turned in the direction she was pointing. Half asleep and not feeling the full effects of my coffee pick me up, I couldn't find the subject of her excitement. All I saw were a series of dingy brown apartment buildings squeezed between an equally dingy liquor store and the dingy freeway on-ramp. What could she be looking at? Then my eyes went to street level. There it was. A lovely palm tree mosaic made completely out of colored rocks.  "It's hidden prettiness."
     Then, a series of questions, introspections, and philosiphications started going through my mind. I was awake now.  
(Philosiphication: adverb- The little, somewhat, deep message our angels send to us out of nowhere. Because they want us to see the beauty that lies in the oddest places.)
     We go this way almost every day.  How could I have missed it? Was it new? Why did I notice it today and not another day? These questions, and a series of others...all in the span of about thirty seconds, triggered a childhood memory.
     As a child, with six kiddos and not a lot of money, my Mom and Dad would take us on drives.  (Riding in small car, through the desert, with six kids...made of tougher stuff, are my Mom and Dad! Yikes!)
 Hot, dismal, dreary and brown, brown, brown, brown and tan, everywhere, I remember wondering when it would all be over. How, even then, I thought my Mom and Dad were a little crazy adventurous. I can still feel the plastic car seat sticking to the back of my sweat soaked dress and the smell of bologna sandwiches.    
(I don't like the heat but I do like bologna sandwiches. I'm not too scarred)
KABOOM!!! Out of nowhere. In the midst of all this blandness and brown-ness. From this post apocalyptic desolate world devoid of all color, there lie an explosion of color! This beautiful man-made masterpiece was a gift for the eyes and the soul. Somehow I felt instantly refreshed and my mind forgot I was miserable. My father stopped the car. Doors flew open and we explored. I remember wishing I had some paint. I too wanted to leave my mark. I wanted to contribute. We climbed to the top. We could see forever. I stood there, closed my eyes and listened to the complete silence that can only be experienced in the desert. It was peaceful. 
I can only imagine that through this complete silence, the creator of this fantastic artwork heard his Creator speak to him. I'm glad He did.   

Salvation Mountain

The Lesson
     There's beauty everywhere. When you encounter it, say a little prayer of thanks to the person who left it. I don't think when they did it they were entirely thinking of themselves. Their inspiration, I am sure, came from somewhere higher.
So, whattaya waiting for? Open your eyes and notice the little man-made surprises out there or go make one of your own?
Uh-oh, this is so up Glitterific Girls alley.
*Note to self: frisk the girl when you take her somewhere!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Sparrows and Bears

Know what's the difference between a morning person and a night person?
(Or as I like to call 'em the sparrows and bears) 
I've always wondered. I've always considered myself one and not the other. This morning after dragging myself out of bed, kicking myself mentally for staying up way to long to write, read, watch one of the "chick flicks" my family gave me for Christmas and running throughout the house chasing after rogue doggies looking for kitties looking for cavegirls, I posted this to my friends.
Morning are not normal! 
It came as no surprise which two of my girlfriends would agree with...each other...that mornings are the best.  
So, I had to figure this out and after about two minutes of research (because I'm scholarly like that) and comparing these two ladies. These are a few things I learned about sparrows and bears...and a somewhat related funny.
(In our house we have two bears and two sparrows...ten points if you can guess which one I am)
  • Sparrows are easier to rouse out of the nest in the morning.  (grrrr...who installed a fire alarm in my room?...ooooh that's an alarm clock?..giggle)
  •  Sparrows are more analytical in their organization whereas bears tend to be more creative in their organizational endeavors (excuse me for a minute while I pick up my To Be Filed File..oops!)
  • Sparrows are generally more cheery in the morning and in general they are cheerier and that's why they named a breakfast cereal after them.(Did I mention that they are cheerful? That's why they're ageless)
  • If you need something done speedy quick...ask a sparrow.
  • If you don't have a pressing deadline but still want quality work...ask a bear.
  • Trying to keep up with a sparrow is the best form of exercise.
  • Bears are great to cuddle. (just don't poke 'em in the morning..unless you have a coffee cup in your hand)
  • You meet a sparrow for breakfast.(mmm...breakfast burritos and coffee)
  • You meet a bear for linner. (that would be the meal between lunch and dinner 'cuz the conversation may carry over to the other...mmm...Sweet Tomatoes
and finally...                                 The Lesson
  •  the one sound the bear cannot live without, thanks God for everyday, and wishes she could hear more of, is the sweet song of her dear friend(s) the sparrow(s).
(and that's why I love 'em...more'n my luggage!)

Oh yeah. I nearly forgot...
Didja know that a dolphin sleeps with one eye open? I think Mommas and Daddies are part dolphin!




Sunday, January 6, 2013

Daddy's Hands

     The sound and smell of coffee brewing eased me out of a sweet slumber early this Saturday morning. That, and the sound of Glitteriffic Girl saying,"I want three hearts right in the middle." I lay in bed for a while listening to the quiet conversation between my younger daughter and her Daddy. I heard the excitement in her voice. She and her Daddy were doing something they both excel in. They were "creating". Not wanting to disturb this special "alone" time between the two of them, I listened. He was teaching her yet another skill. 
     "Now hand me that right there. We need to cut it this way." I took note of the quiet, tender tone he used with her. He broke down each part of the project. When the project came to a place where he needed to take over, there was no protest from our spirited girl. " I don't want you to hurt yourself." "Okay Daddy."
 "Let me do this part. Use this to protect your fingers  Hold it like this. That's perfect." The lesson continued and my heart warmed. He was teaching her something I cannot. He was teaching her a life skill. He was encouraging her natural curiosity. He was honing her natural artistic abilities. 
     I peeked out and watched the scene. The two artists were hard at work. So very different but, at the same time, very much alike. They were sharing a memory. 

The Lesson
Every child needs to feel like they are the center of their parents' universe. Carving out that special "alone" time may be challenging. It truly is the quality of the time that counts not the quantity. 
Children just want to be with you.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Chihuahuasaurus Rex and Jurassic Kitty

May I present to you...
Jelly Bean and BoBo!
I hear you You're saying...

Aaaaaah! How sweeeeeet... Look-at those two cuuuuuties...The furry little criiiiitters.
Well, STOP IT.They don't deserve it. Sure. By day they love to curl up and warm a welcoming lap. Every single day JB leads the entire family in a rousing howl jam session that leaves us all in stitches. Suuuure. Those are some of the perks.
 But... at night they can wreak havoc. So much so, that they were the cause of the near demise of GWH! Yep. They are naughty together! 
Let me 'splain...
It all started with a hunt...of sorts. We took our girls on a dino hunt to the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County( )and discovered yet another local learning jewel. There are hundreds of fossils on display, a large mock dig, a Pleistocene Pond, and students young and old will learn about the San Joaquin Valley's ancient and natural history. I highly recommend it if you didn't already guess. Stop by if you're ever in the area.   
(I see a fieldtrip in my future)
Anyhoo, what does this all have to do with almost pummeling GWH to smithereens?
Well, let's just go straight into...
Do not go on a dino hunt, eat half a bag of chili lime pistachios, stay up to watch a re-run of Jumanji, and then leave your bedroom door open.
Because... you will be tired... and you will fall asleep... and in the middle of the night you might be ripped out of a dream, pulling the claws of a flying cat out of your beloveds hip.(and yours too) All whilst being trampled by his evil nemesis pursuer. You might swear you saw a caveman looming over the slumbering "victim" next to you.
And, in an attempt to "save" him, you might let out the best horror movie scream ever.
(who makes horror flicks nowadays? Oh, well if I don't know I guess I can't audition...must research that)
You might then proceed to pummel the poor "victim" out of his sleep.
(in an effort to get him to save himself...ahem...) 
Doing her duty as protector, Chihuahuasaurus Rex will proceed to bark frantically throughout the house looking for her BFF/partner in crime, Jurassic Kitty. So you, in an effort to redeem yourself and make it up to the "victim", you  might fall out of bed  in a very lady-like fashion, gingerly get out of bed and offer to wrestle her down find her and calm her down.
(In the dark...without your glasses...down the hall...through the living room...back to the bedroom...ouch!...kick the laundry basket...ouch!...trip on those dang boots you told Big Girl to put away...shishkadangit!...back out to the hall...and then...score!)
You catch her. You take the offending Frito-ifferous creature back to your room to calm her down.
(You contemplate tossing her outside but then get an image of a little black popsicle standing at the doorway and you change your mind... instantly)
Then, just when you think aaaaall is caaaalm...aaaaall is briiiiiight... out of the darkness may come a giggle. You will barely be able to make out the shadow of your youngest production climbing into bed with you.
(who, ironically enough, resembles a small cave-girl)
And, through the darkness, when all is quiet in the jungle, the mighty jungle... she will suddenly ask with exasperation in her voice, "Mom, what were you doooing?? You sounded like you do when you want us to clean!"
Really child? Really?!
So, whattaya waiting for? Go get your shovel, your brush, and go dig up some dinosaurs. But leave the chili lime pistachios at home and close your door!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

BFNN:Big Family News Network

This past holiday, as with many holidays, I miss being geographically close to my family, but thanks to the blessing of technology, they are just a click away.
So today, in the time between teaching my girls how to wave like a Rose Parade Queen (shoulder up, elbow bend, fingers slightly cupped, twist wrist,slight scoop, twist:repeat) and joining in on a spontaneous howl session with the puppies, I made some very interesting classroom to the 'homeroom" connections and realized how growing up in a big family prepared me for teaching.
 (Hey! Who made this mess!)
Now, let me 'splain and feel free to add your own... 
  • There are no secrets. (Oooooo, I'm gonna teeeeeell!)
  • Noise
  • It's not called tattling it's called sharing. (Ooooo, and do I have stuff to shaaaare...)
  • Somebody always has to go pee!
  • Your stuff will get lost...or broken...or messed with...or...or
  • The time it takes to get from Point A to Point Z increases exponentially by the number of participants involved (this is a mathmatical problemI know even Einstein could not crack)
  • Lord help the person that messes with any of us. (in my best Godfather tone)
  • Everyone is suspect. 
  • You will have to go through "inspection". (side ways glance, eyes scanning from top to bottom)
  • If it suddenly gets very afraid.
  • Notme is the name of the child who gets blamed for everything.
  • A cookie and a juice box is all you need for a party!
  • On that note...just being together is reason to celebrate.
  • Sometimes you gotta yell to get noticed.
  • Sometimes you gotta push someone out of the way to get noticed.
  • There's always someone trying to hog the camera. (Mooooove it, I'm posing!)
  • Just sitting next to someone who is sad is all it takes to comfort them.
  • It's okay to get mad.
  • It's okay to be shy.
  • It's okay to have your own stuff.
  • It's okay to sing out loud (or not).
  • It's okay to dance (or not).
  • You don't always have to agree.
  • Stick together when the times get tough.
  • Come together in good times.
  • It's okay to let them see you cry.
  • Sometimes you just gotta make a mess.
  • Learning can and will look messy.
  • Snacks are important.
  • Never say,"If I tell you something, do you promise not to tell?"
  • If everybody pitches in the work is easier.
  • Look out for each other.
  • Laughter is contagious.
The Lesson
It's the differences in each person that makes a family (and a classroom) unique and special.
Together, or apart, we are one jumbo combo platter of spicy opinion with a double shot of hot temper on the side.

So, whattaya think? Is it too late to call my Mom? I need to "share" something.