Thursday, June 12, 2014
Yes. I know squirmily is not a word.
Those who know me know I'm a teacher. Am I employed as one right now? No. Does that change the fact that I AM one? No. For the past school year, I was employed as a Special Ed aid in a tiny school in the Lassen foothills...because that's the job that was open and available.
Because of the levels of resources available in the boonies with under 20 students in the whole K-8 school and with me having all of one semester of general instruction in special ed under my belt, I did a lot of trial and error built on my personal instincts as a person and as a teacher.
Patricia Polacco, author of Thunder Cake, My Rotten Red-headed Older Brother, Chicken Sunday and dozens of other amazing children's books shared this link on Facebook today:
What a thought. Kids fidget because sitting still for hours on end is not a normal human condition, never mind a normal developing-child condition? Wow. Who'da thunk it?
Seriously though, as a special ed aid with one of my students needing occupational therapy but not having it in her IEP, I can tell you this blog is dead on. Does this mean there's no such thing as ADD or ADHD? Heck no! Does it mean there are a whole lot of kids who don't have these conditions who not only learn better if allowed/encouraged to involve their whole bodies in the process but really have fewer activities in their lives that keep them able to do so? You bet your sweet bippy!
Is this all the parents fault for not getting them active in a variety of ways? Not ALL. I've had families where each parent worked two jobs to put food on the table, there were no parks nearby and there simply wasn't enough available time and space to give them the opportunity to move! For the record, these were often the parents who would hang out after school with their kids so the kids would have some more active play time on the only playground/grassy area they had in their lives.
I don't do the blame game, folks. I've been raised to do the what-can-I-do-to-affect-it game. As a parent, this means my kids get to parks as often as possible, have some guided play but a lot of free time, and are encouraged to try things like rolling down a hill, climbing a tree etc. while they're there.
As a teacher it means my class learns to record/analyze data like how long each student can stand on a balance board each day and how fast they can completely cross a balance beam. It means they learn vocabulary by wandering the room to music with a list of words in hand, looking for posted definitions. It means my youngest students have to apply physical labels to the room, sticking my laminated "door," "window," "library," cards to the appropriate places in the room, reinforce counting with hopscotch, dance the macarena to memorize the months of the year and many other things. It means my classroom library reading space has both a beanbag chair and a therapy ball chair. It means sometimes I read a story to sitting children, and sometimes I have them move puppets to act out the story.
Little bits count. Life keeps moving all around us. We'll learn more from it if we learn to move with it.
Just my two cents of the day.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
I keep coming on here and saying I'm going to blog every X (week, month..etc) and modifying this promise when it doesn't happen. Let's get real here. When I originally started using the blogging side of Spark, it was an experimental thing with no promises made as to its regularity. The benefits of the act of blogging itself were what lead to it EVENTUALLY becoming a regular and consistent thing. Why I've been trying to force things to occur that have only happened before when allowed to do things on their own schedule I don't know but I've had enough of it.
Yes, I've gained weight back. Yes, I'm unhappy with my current health level. I'm not happy with the numbers on the scale but not horribly bothered by them. What bothers me is the general well-being side of things. I'm in the middle of spring cleaning on an acre and a half that has had 30 years to accumulate stuff and wear things out. Hubby and I loaded, hauled, and unloaded concrete at the dump the other day (they measured it at 1780 lbs. total). I felt like garbage the next day. Falling asleep on my feet all day! Yesterday I dug a hole in good old fashioned California clay with my pick and shovel, raked 9 wheelbarrow loads of leaves and mulch, planted a bush in the whole I dug and pruned a bunch of shrubs. Hubby hurt his hand in the middle so all pick and shovel work is mine for a while. Dug up half a flower bed. Had to go to the chiropractor to get my lower back in order and, again, wiped out today.
I have to go back to work on Monday and, sad to say, it'll be a physical relief. I used to be able to do all this and more and now I feel like I've been run over by a truck. If I hear one more person say, "It's hard to come to terms with our bodies quitting sooner and taking longer to recover as we get older.." I'm going to throw something. It's not my age people. I'm only 39 and my mother, who is turning 64 on Monday, can kick my butt at this stuff and recover in 1/4 the time. It's me. It's me not taking care of me.
I'm going to focus on the positive feeling of how much we got accomplished while my husband was on Spring Break with us. I'm going to look at the pictures and videos from taking hubby and little one to their first rodeo, taking little one mini-golfing for her first time only to get "help" from the neighboring pet store's calico cat who felt we shouldn't have to play with a dead cicada in hole 14 and tried to clear it out for us (I laughed so hard I was tearing up). I'm going to list out everything we've gotten done and remind myself how great that is. I'm going to do at least one thing on my never-ending "take care of the place" list a day, even if some days it's a little thing. Not every day has to cross out a "pick and shovel" entry on the list. Long day? I can pot that plant. I can haul half a dozen bricks to where they're being staged for future work. A baby step is still a step.
I hope this is not too rambly for those reading. This blogging thing has always been just kind of a place to sort out the rambles that are always running in my brain.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
As usual, my depressions come and go. I've had a week off work and, for most of it, I've had the freedom to workout and done so. Yesterday and today I've been sick. Stupid respiratory virus (thank you older child o' mine). Anyway, I'm sticking with strength training today as my chest is full of gunk. If it were just my head... Oh well.
At least hubby finally put my Coach Nicole DVD onto the server so I can watch it through the Apple TV. My point of pride for the week was when it WASN'T on the server, I couldn't get to YouTube and I couldn't make the DVD player work. Rather than use the excuse, I hooked up my laptop to power right in front of the TV (the best place as far as having space to exercise while still being able to see the video) and streamed a couple Spark Coach Nicole videos through there.
I am trying to figure out how to get my work life balanced (Special Ed aid being expected by the head teacher to pick up said teacher's slack in the classroom but said teacher being chided by Curriculum Director for using me this way but me having to work with both of them...and not getting full IEPs on my students in a timely manner...etc. etc. etc...) and make some sort of personal life that isn't completely wrapped around my 9 year old. I don't have a social network here. I don't have a network of friends nor do I have activities I regularly do here. None of the easy go-tos of the city - zoos, museums, etc. Don't get me wrong, we have a couple of museums, good ones. But I can only go so often and after you've seen them a few times...
I need to build myself a life though. I want to get back into running but I'm not sure how to get regular childcare going (personality-wise, the 9 year old is not leave-home-alone safe yet) so I can. I'm in crappy shape right now but the kid still can't go as long as I can eight now, partly because she has no desire to. I do need to get her bicycle fixed up since you really can't keep up in a neighborhood where neighbors can be 1/4 mile away without wheels... I wish I knew what I was doing when it came to fixing it up though.
I'm trying to schedule more times to go roller skating with Mom and the kid but the apathy that comes with the regular depressions is not helping there. I would like to get back into singing again but it's not the same singing alone and there aren't local choirs that sing the kind of music I like to sing that meet and perform on days/times I'm free. I know. Excuses excuses. Hey, I never said I was doing well at the whole trying bit. I have a lot of work left to do both on me and on my life. If I were doing well at it, there wouldn't be so many, "I need to" and "I'm trying to"s in my blogs.
I know I am motivated by fun workout outfits and I have been finding some fun running shirts online at onemoremile.net/ that I want. I like sleeveless ones best and I've been having a lot of fun looking at the slogans. Here are a couple of my current favorites:
Saturday, February 08, 2014
I don't do alone. I don't do solitude for long periods. Or, rather, I don't do either well.
For the foreseeable future, my husband is and will be working in the Sacramento area. Our younger daughter and I live up here in Red Bluff (150 miles Northwest of Sacramento). He comes up on the weekends but, during the week, he lives in our house down there with our older daughter. For all intents and purposes, I am a single mom during the week.
Little one needs a permission slip signed? That's me. She suddenly gets sick and I have to find her a doctor/urgent care in an area I haven't lived in for over 20 years. For the record, it took over 3 months for the main medical practice in town to process the new patient paperwork and accept hubby and daughter as new patients (my name was ominously missing from the phone message saying they'd been accepted). Invitations for a birthday party need to get out while I'm stressed out over work (I care more about my students than my Special Ed Aide job description will ever require and I get frustrated when those who have more control over their lives don't do obvious things to help them along) and the housework needs doing and the drains for the acre and a half need clearing and wood needs splitting and my business taxes from my little shop on Etsy and the one art show I did last year need to be done? Yup...all me.
There are women who check these things off the list and move on. I'm not one of these women. I am a gregarious, scatterbrain with chaos in my head at all times. Whether it's the dyslexia making me write millions of lists so I don't forget things...then set the lists down and forget them, or the activities that require me to go back to Sacramento - little one's orthodontist is down there and paid through this course - or the myriad of things that have to be done to maintain the property or just my own darn thoughts...chaos.
My entire life, the only thing that keeps the chaos at bay (it doesn't go away, it just gets muted somehow) is music. Ask my husband. No matter how tired I am or mentally worn out, my foot still taps in my sleep to the music that never stops in my head. If I cannot focus on one task at a time, I turn on the TV or some music for "background noise." It quiets the chaos so I can function.
Sometimes though, the chaos wins. As I said, I'm a gregarious person. I always have been. That doesn't mean I can't handle being alone. I just can't handle huge stretches of time that way. Technically speaking, I am rarely alone and then, not for long. I'm a mom. That's how it works. When I'm not at work, I have my daughter. I love my little girl. She is my lifeline and the reason I make it through at all most days. I have to fight not to let her feel the full weight of that because my inclination is to cling to her. I hug. I have always been a hugger. I need that physical connection with other human beings lots of times each day. Due to the current living and working situation, I may go days without a hug from an adult. Between my little one and my students, I get hugs from kids every day. They are wonderful. They are live giving. They are short and not enough. I need to talk with adults. I need to spend leisure time with adults. I have not had a regular network of adults close to me, other than my husband and adult daughter, for over 10 years. In the last couple of years I had started to rebuild those kind of connections - spending time just with a friend for lunch or some such. Then we moved away. My choice. I wanted to be up here. My mom is up here. I grew up up here. I love this home and have always felt at home here. I do not have close friends here. I have a couple of friends. One used to be a close friend. We grew up and went on with our lives and, while still good friends, the close friendship does not exist anymore for the simple reason that we are not the same people we were in high school. Nothing wrong. Time just changes all.
Now we come to the depression. It has always been there in the background, flaring up when the stress of life and being me made the chaos too loud to drown out. It never took a specific trigger. There has always been a piece of me that wants to believe everything is going wrong. Even when I can clearly see things are fine, I still experience an debilitating, borderline paralyzing apathy and lethargy. I can see 10 things on a list that I would normally be so excited about doing I would be rushing through them and smiling the whole way but I sit there, staring at it, quite literally wondering why I am not up and doing it. No. Telling myself, "Then just get up and get started" doesn't work. "Break it down into smaller tasks and focus on one at a time" sounds great but doesn't work until you get up and start that first task and, when the depression kicks in, that's harder than getting to work on a rainy Monday when you're pregnant AND have the stomach flu.
For now, I'm going to try and forget that I didn't get out those invitations out 2-3 weeks before the party like usual and, as a result, have only one RSVP for my soon-to-be 9 year old's birthday party. I'm going to try to forget the cool cake I intended to make her with the big polka dots baked in didn't happen because I didn't put the dots - which I'd made and baked - into the cake. I'm going to try and forget that my house is still not clean enough for the party and I haven't done the grocery shopping to make such a thing possible. I'm going to ignore that the one set of beloved adults that were going to make it now can't because one is viciously sick and I wouldn't ask them to come now now how badly I know they wanted to be there for little one or how badly I miss that friend. I'm going to forget a lot of things...somehow.
Okay, chaos, you win tonight. I can't hear a single freaking note in my head. There have been tears at the back of my eyes all night (except when I let them out over the stupid cake thing and made the little one feel bad because I was upset which made me feel worse)... You win. The miserable feeling wins tonight. Tomorrow may be just as miserable or I may finally be feeling a little better and be able to be excited for the day. I never know the night before. For now, the chaos can ramble until the ibuprofen tells it to shut off and maybe I'll get some sleep at some point.
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