Wednesday, December 11, 2013

So... This is Christmas

IF ye be wondering...

Mother nature, the internets and school have all conspired against me.  I haven't written a word since the last post, though I did reorganize my Nano chapters for easy editing... well, one Nano chapter.  But it's some amazingly beautiful reorganizing, so I don't feel too bad.  I got sick, we ran out of internet (don't laugh, it happens when you pre-pay) and then school.  That's all I have to say- school.

Gone are the days of Facebooking and Pinteresting at work.  I work during my prep times.  I mean, really work.  I usually don't get everything done that needs to be done.  I am behind on grading- me, the drama teacher!  I'm supposed to just sit back and watch kids be cute and funny and sometimes dramatic, give 'em a 'good job' or yell 'PROJECT!' ala Ms. Clay.  But no, now there are rubrics and self-and group-assessments and feedback to give.  I have to REALLY plan because they have to have observable evidence in case anyone walks into my room and asks what the point of my existence is.  The kids have to have videos to show their parents how good (or appallingly bad) they are and so I can prove it if the parents argue that little Johnny deserves an Oscar.

This job has gotten a lot harder.  Standards based grading and I have a love-hate relationship.  I can understand the point, the reasoning.  But I don't think it's a blanket strategy for all the classrooms.  My classes, be they music or drama, have always been participation/effort based- obviously, you can't do well at something like singing or performing if you're not participating.  I have never graded kids on talent.  I don't really think it's fair too, especially when my class is not an elective.  I mean, some kids got it and some kids don't.  Me, horrible in art (you've seen the pictures).  Is it fair that I fail because I have no natural talent?  Even though I'm trying so very hard? 

I'm working very diligently to figure out how to balance talent, effort, and standards.  It's a process and one which I'm learning to embrace.  Some days, I love it.  A lot of days, I hate it.  It's such a different way of thinking from the way I was taught and the way I have been teaching... and the thing about teaching, as in most professions, is that it's cyclical.  I would bet my right arm that before I'm done teaching, standards based grading will be out the window and we'll be back to saying kids should memorize stuff, take tests and get 100's and A's. 

And that, in a nutshell, is why I have already failed myself this month.  I took 3 pictures for the photo challenge and got sick.  I haven't written anything.  Well, that's a lie because now I've written.  And I'm ready to edit my chapter.  So I'm not hopelessly behind... yet.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I am officially a three-time winner of Nanowrimo!

Nano has gotten some bad wrap on the Internets this year.  People who consider themselves to be 'real' writers are poking fun at those people who set out to write an arbitrary amount of words in a month, which really signifies nothing.  Well, for those of us who also consider ourselves writers but have struggled to find the time, I view Nano as a challenge to get me back in front of the computer.

And now that it's done, I'm going to set myself a new set of challenges.

For the month of December, I'm going to do four things:

1. Log 50 miles of walking/running before January 1st, 2014
2. A photo-a-day challenge (Day 1- Red: done)
3. Write every day- be it a random prompt, a blog post, or working on my editing/revision
4. Set out to revise/edit one chapter of the book I just wrote a month

The last one excites me the most.  With the last two books, the task of editing 50,000 words has been too great.  But this novel was written as a set of intertwined short stories, so taking it a chapter at a time will not be such a huge thing to do.  There are 12 stories right now.  That gives me a year.  Perhaps it will prove easier and I will be done before that- I hope but will not push.  I want to see my family again.  I want to enjoy the process of really getting something ready to publish.

So hey, look at me.  I wrote.  I'm off to a great start- two of the four things done.  Man, I'm good at this!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

So Here's the Thing...

See, the thing about writing is that it's kind of hard and it's super personal.  And because there are a billion bloggers out there who are funny and witty and sassy and crafty and spiritual and have kids and don't have kids and cook amazing things and take amazing pictures and draw amazing illustrations and travel (with amazing experiences) and just make you want to be them in general (Bre Writes, as an example), writing is also a very pressure-filled sport.

Based on the (grammatically incorrect) list of qualifications above, I actually should have about a thrillion followers... give or take.  I'm kind of funny- well, I've been known to tell a good story.  I'm definitely sassy- that cannot be denied.  I'm crafty in that I knit and pin A LOT of crafty things to do from pinterest... and I've even attempted one or two, with minimal to great success.  I'm spiritual but I don't flaunt it- it's not really your business.  I have kids, one who is 2 1/2 which automatically makes her hysterical.  I cook okay- it's usually edible and I have a fancy camera that allows me to take pretty good pictures sometimes... though never of the things I cook because: 1. I don't think you care. 2. I doubt, when I'm 90 and looking back through my life, I'm going to get all sniffly-sentimental over that pot of homemade mac-and-cheese I made that one time in 2013. 3. Food photography is actually kind of hard.  Kudos to those who make the stuff they make actually look good.

I do not draw- no way, no how.  I have absolutely no talent for the visual arts.  I am still traumatized by an experience in middle school art where we had to make a lithograph.  The kid next to me who, admittedly, is some sort of artist now (he just did some body paint on this model for a famous rapper-video and it was fantastic), basically carved out his own version of Starry Night or something.  I carved something that looked like this... well no, I carved this:

It makes me appreciate the teachers who are still allowed to grade on effort- that literally was the best I could do- rather than talent (why was there grass on the sign- because that's a guy holding a sign, in case you weren't sure... but really middle-school Kelli... grass?).  

So no drawing.  Don't ask.  But I travel.  I have lived in some incredible places and traveled to some even more incredible places.  I have met an abundance of unbelievable people who all have beautiful and heart-breaking stories to tell.  I have worried about friends who have been through political uprisings, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, more political uprisings, evacuations and the like.

It stands to reason I'd have something to say... 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Get a Little Closer...

If you learn nothing from me, and there's every chance in the world that you will not learn anything from me, at least appreciate the following:

There is nothing so beautiful as personal space.  Take it from someone who has now lived in three countries where 'personal bubbles' do not exist.  In the worlds to which I have traveled, it is perfectly acceptable to stand within centimeters of the person in front of you in a line.  In fact, if you don't stand so close that one of you could end up pregnant, you will lose your place in line.  That, my friends, is guaranteed.

A few years ago, in Shanghai, I was at the grocery store.  It was always busy at the grocery store in China because there are a thrillion people living there and a lot of them eat.  I was standing in line to check out, pinned between the checkout counter on my left and the bar thingy on the right.  In front of me, I had left at least two feet between myself and the customer who was checking out... why?  Because I don't need to be any closer.  No one can come between us without a good deal of violence and shuffling.  And they would need to be quite skinny to fit between my cart and the barriers to my left and right.

Apparently the woman behind me was expecting just such a person- a skinny, violent, pushy person, to try and call 'cutsies' between her and me because she had her cart touching my hiney.  She gave me a tiny nudge as she pulled in behind me, so I stepped forward, exactly one inch, just enough so her cart wasn't touching me in a no-no spot.  The move forward was so small, so tiny that it would've been undetectable to the normal human eye.  But not to the evil villain known as Personal Bubble Popper!  No, she saw my movement and moved with me, again touching me with her cart!  I let out an audible sigh, hoping she would hear my frustration, and stepped forward again.  And again, she came with me, her cart making me feel uncomfortable in it hands-on approach to our blossoming relationship.

This time, I gave the little half-turn of my head- you know, where you don't actually look at the person but instead turn your head just enough so they know you're about to get serious.  And then I stepped forward again... and she came with me, cart in my booty and all.

Finally, I could take it no more.  I turned full around and looked her in the eye and said, "Stop it!"  Then I turned back around, took a final tiny step forward... and none-too-soon, felt the all-to-familiar nudge of the shopping cart.  I turned around and looked at the lady.  She just shrugged and kept right on letting her shopping cart molest me.  And I had to give in, I had to relent and take the abuse of the shopping cart because I was about to be touching the guy in front of me and that was a line I wasn't willing to cross. 

Yesterday, here in the Middle East, a man was standing so close to me in line, I expected to turn around and find someone I knew because really... it was too close.  I tried the same moving-forward trick and received the exact same results- he moved forward every time I did.  AND he kept pushing his basket down the conveyor belt until our foodstuffs were touching too!  Honestly, some people.  And their foodstuffs.

Today, if you're feeling down or grumpy or even the slightest bit irritated, look around and appreciate that at least no one is touching you with their shopping cart.  Enjoy the freedom of standing in a line ALONE and with space to turn around, or bend over and tie your shoe, or even reach in your purse for your wallet without having to touch a stranger.

Unless you're into that kind of thing...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Want some aloe for that burn?

Today, I schooled an 8th grader on the definition of the word respect.

At first, he thought he deserved respect, just for being a human, just for his life experience.

I corrected him- not all humans deserve respect.  I will not deny you your human rights to water and the bathroom.  I'm not going to throw things at you or try and injure you.  I value your life.   But you don't get respect just for being alive.  Axe-murderers and rapists are alive.  Child molesters and puppy-beaters are alive but I don't respect them.  They have life experience- vastly different life experiences from mine... *side eye*

But you, you 8th grade boy, have done nothing to earn my respect.  I have gone to school for seven years to earn a Masters in Music Education.  I have taught music and drama for 11 years, grades Pre-K through 12.  I have taken students to the International Honor Choir and have a student attending the Boston Conservatory of Music.  I know more than you.  I have something to teach you.  I should have earned your respect.

He countered- but teachers think we don't respect them for no reason and we do respect them.  I respect you for your experiences.

I rebutted- you don't respect me.  If you respected me, you would do the work I require for my class. You would practice the guitar and you would come to class prepared to take a test.  When I asked you to stop talking, you would.  You wouldn't tell other teachers how annoying I am when I set expectations (this wasn't actually about me but another teacher).  You don't respect me or my life experience.

He came back with... nothing.  Then he gave me a half-shrug and a bit of a smile and said, "You're right."

In your face, 8th grader... wait.  

Monday, June 10, 2013


Don't tell anyone, but I'm pretty much finished with this school year.  Grades and all.  There's a week and a couple of days left to go.  I literally have no idea how to fill my time.

So I'll write.

This school year has been interesting, to say the least.  I chatted with a friend the other night who said, "You look like you've had a great year!"  She couldn't see me because using the video call part of Skype makes it run slow, but I gave her a side-eye.  My reply, "Yeah, well I'm friends with people who don't really need to know otherwise."

That's the thing with social media, huh?  You can't really be as honest as you'd like.  Well, some people are too honest, but in general, if you're a responsible member of the human race, you definitely have to limit the rants you go on, just in case the wrong person reads it.

My dad's employer said that if anyone is caught making negative statements about the company on Facebook, they could be fired.  So my dad's not on Facebook at all, just in case.  Just in case he accidentally says something negative?  I've never heard my dad complain about his job in 30-something years.  I doubt he's going to 'accidentally' go on a Facebook rant now.

But just in case...

We've had a bit of a rough year, professionally speaking.  This blog is still social media so I won't go into the specifics, but I will say I'm glad it's coming to a close and I'm hopeful that next year will prove more rewarding.  I try to channel my inner-Rachel each day and be all 'love myself, love my moments, make happiness out of rotten lemons, etc.'  Sometimes it works, sometimes I throw those rotten lemons at people... and that makes me happy.

I suppose I'll start the great international novel this week.  Seems like a thing to do to fill the time. 

What would you do with some extra time?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Oldie But a Goodie

There's a guy on Youtube who calls himself Riptard.  He puts together upwards of 20 songs you can play with just four-chords... the same four chords.  It's funny and fairly impressive.  I showed one of these videos to my guitar class a couple of weeks ago, without having previewed the whole thing first (this is NOT going where you think it is... but it could have... but it didn't... phew).  Near the end, he played Earth Angel.  As any good child of the 80's knows, this song was featured in the movie Back to the Future starring the incomparable Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.  Riptard played the song and as he finished a strum, he lifted his hand and looked at it, a la Marty watching his hand disappear while he waited for his parents to kiss.  I laughed out loud.  That's right, I literally LOL'ed, right there in the middle of class.

The children stared at me, then back at the screen, then back at me, a tiny bit shocked.

Me: C'mon guys, Back to the Future??  Right? You know what I'm talking about!
Them: *crickets*
Me (crawling into bottom desk drawer and curling into fetal position): Sob, sob, sob.

This morning, I selected Best of the 90's as my Jango channel of choice during my shower.  I am, admittedly, one of those people who steadfastly refuses to recognize that the 1990's began 23 years ago.  [TWENTY-THREE YEARS AGO!  I was twenty-three years younger than I am now- aaarrggg (and apparently I was also a pirate)!]  For some reason, maybe because of the whole Earth Angel/Back to the Future Incident of 2013, as the first sweet harmonica notes rang out, signaling a Blues Traveler song was beginning, I started pondering.

When I was kid and into my teens, basically until I started driving myself, my mom would play country music and The Oldies (Fox 97- sing it if you remember it) in the car, while she got ready for work, as background music before we got a TV in each and every room of the house.  Ugh.  The Oldies.  They were so old!  I wanted to listen to NKOTB, Vanilla Ice, Milli Vanilli- that was good music!  But no, we listened to mom's OLD music.  She hummed along to the melody or sang the harmony- which I never got to tell her impressed me beyond belief- smiling happily, and possibly playing some wonderful 60's childhood montage in her mind. 

This would've been approximately twenty-three years ago, plus and minus.  My mom was 38 years old when the 90's began (which is close-ish to my age now, but let's not dwell on that).  The music of the 60's and 70's, the music she grew up listening to and loving... would have happened approximately 20-30 years previously.  So... wait for it...

While getting ready for work this morning, listening to Best of the 1990's, I realized that I am now listening to the Oldies.  My children, when they are old enough to have an opinion about such matters, will think that my music is old, outdated.  They will think it stinks.  I will think that theirs does (God help me if the 'Beebs is still popular), just like my mom thought NKOTB could not hold a candle to The Beatles... hrumph (I suppose it wouldn't be nice to compare the NKOTB comeback tours with the fact that there are only two Beatles left... so I won't.  But still).

This is one of those moments, isn't it?  One of those I'm-turning-into-my-parents kind of moments.  Sigh.

Well, it's okay, I suppose.  I mean, they raised two pretty awesome kids so, even though they were old, they must've done something right :)

As a side note, this morning the Ladybug snuggled her cheek to mine and, completely unprompted declared, "I love you so much."

So maybe I'm doing something right, too.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

One Day You'll Understand

A million or so years ago, I met a wonderful lady at my first ever EMAC Fine Arts Festivals.  For those of you not in the know, the festival was three days of choir, band, art and drama with kids from six schools around the region.  It was not a competition but a celebration of all things artsy and I loved it from the first second! 

The first one I participated in was at my school in Kuwait.  I was a newbie choir teacher- I had been teaching for almost three years but this was my first time teaching choir.  The five conductors who came from Jordan, Egypt, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar were all older, more experienced, and a lot more knowledgeable than me.  I had the fresh-faced, straight-out-of-college (ish) knowledge- all the latest research, all the greatest warm-ups, all the best teaching practices- they had the real-world know-how.

I was in awe.  I sat and took notes on everything they said and did.  Each of us was responsible for conducting one of the songs that the choir was to perform- I was more nervous to do this than almost anything I've ever done before or since!  Was I prepared enough (no), would I make a fool of myself (no), would I know how to correct problems (yes)?

One of the directors in particular, we'll call her L, was such a positive force of nature.  She was Australian and had been teaching choir for about ten years.  She made the kids laugh with self-deprecating jokes and funny anecdotes about music and singing.  She led them through fun but important warm-ups and exercises.  They hung on her every word.

So did I.

She became my immediate friend.  We saw each other again a few months later at the middle school festival.  It was held at her school, which was amazing.  The facilities and her resources were enviable.  She had practice rooms and a music technology room and her very own accompanist!!  This, more than anything, filled me with envy.  I am not, nor will I ever be, an accomplished pianist.  It is one of my greatest downfalls as a music teacher.  But, as I've mentioned previously, I am a brilliant conductor.  I was so jealous that L could just conduct; she never had to worry about playing the piano.  Sigh.  I wanted her job.

Then she told me that she was thinking of retiring.  WHA?!?!  Why oh why would she retire, I
demanded, sadness welling in my chest at the thought of not working with this amazing woman who I barely knew.

She said it had been ten years.  She was kind of tired of it.  It wasn't always fun.  There was a lot of red tape.  And dealing with the parents, even in an established choral program, was never fun.

One day, she said, you'll understand.

And I do now.  I have been beaten down over the last few months.  I have never had the kinds of issues with students and parents that I've had at this school.  I feel defeated.  I feel deflated.

I feel like I want to quit teaching.

L and I lost touch before the super-connection that is Facebook started.  I'm going to go look her up right now.  Hopefully, she's hating retirement and wants to get back into the choral scene.

Somehow, I doubt it. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What I'm Working With...

There is absolutely no point to this post except to put things in perspective.

I teach a set of twins in the middle school.

Who fly to London.

Once a month.

For two days.

To go to the orthodontist.

A first class ticket- because I bet they're not flying coach- is $6000.  They both go each time and, obviously, some adult travels with them.  That's $18,000 a month to go to the orthodontist.

I'm just putting that out there.  Do with it what you will. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Takin' Care of Business

I suppose if I'm going to actively pursue my passion, I should first learn how to spell 'pursue' (thank you, spell check).  Then, I should make a more concerted effort to write.  So here I go (yet again, I know).

Most of the blogs I read have a theme.  They are mommy blogs, foodie blogs, travel blogs or funny blogs.  I'm not sure if I should establish some sort of theme for this blog or not.  I mean, if you put it all together, it would just be stories of me, and some of those stories are mommy stories, travel stories, or funny stories.  You won't find any foodie stories here, friends, so keep moving if that's what you're looking for.

I don't think I've lived enough to merit a memoir or anything.  But I think today, I will just tell you a story from my childhood.  So grab a drink and some popcorn, 'cause here we go, folks.

A couple of nights ago (I know, I said a story from my childhood, but I'm giving you the background on where it came from!), I was putting the Ladybug to bed.  We've gotten into a habit of reading books and then I sit with her for 'fie mimnets' before she falls asleep.  On this particular night, I said, "What did you do today?" And, lo and behold, the child answered me!  With a real, honest-to-goodness sentence, and not just 'yeah.'  She told me she had gone to the swimming pool and it was fun!!  That may sound just as precious as it can be to you, but really, you must imagine it in the voice of a two-year old who really said, "poo, daddy, sim, it fun!"  Now, that is adorable!

It got me thinking about the experts who say that your first memories start forming as your language develops- there is a direct correlation and what not.  And that thought made me a little sad because I remember my first memory.  I know I wasn't much older than the Ladybug, if at all.  The memory was so fuzzy that once, as a teenager, I had to ask my mom if she knew if it was real or if I had imagined it. She assured me, it was real.

You may or may not know that I have a sperm donor.  I am one of the luckiest girls alive in that my daddy picked me after my biological 'father' (we'll use the term loosely) decided that he wasn't quite ready for kids... when I was two.  My mom met and married a man who never once treated me like I wasn't his, even when I really wanted him to so I'd have a reason to be angry and throw a temper tantrum... which I did love to do.  I have had limited contact with the SD- he sent some cards and a few letters through the years.  He actually lives pretty close to my best friend, though I don't really care to find out how close.  I have never had the desire to meet him, mainly because of this tiny, first memory.

The two of us were sitting at the diner that used to be across the street from my grandmother's house.  I was eating a grilled cheese and french fries.  According to my mom (who may have been a tad bit biased), he was probably trying to pick up chicks (there is a very real possibility that this worked, as I was an incredibly adorable child).

That's it, really.  That's the whole memory.  But he left not long after that.  And I can't imagine walking away from the Ladybug and the Sprout, not now, not ever.

I hope that the Ladybug's first memories are wonderful ones- swimming in the pool with her daddy, reading with her mommy, playing with her friends, etc.  I can't wait to see what they'll be.

What was your first memory?  Was it a good one or a not-so-pleasant one?  Have you ever asked your parents if it really happened the way you remembered?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

1% Perspiration

Weigh in: are you living your passion?

I knew I was going to be a teacher one (possibly) sunny day in the seventh grade.  Picture it- twelve-year old Kelli scribbling furiously at her desk.  We kept a journal in Mrs. Kuhn's English class and started each day by writing in it.  It was actually my favorite part of the day.  I still have the journal, filled with silly 12-year old thoughts and "problems", written in the giant, loopy hand of someone trying to be cool and take up as much space as possible.  I's were dotted with hearts and stars and my name, in the upper right hand corner, took up half of the line.

My handwriting was a sight to behold.

Anyway, I remember writing, probably about my love of whichever Hamby twin I was pining after that year, and then suddenly glancing at Mrs. Kuhn.  She was glamorous in a very unglamorous job- in my memory, she is my friend Wedgie, but in the 80's.  This was back when teachers had to have heels and hose.  I recall rarely seeing any female teacher in anything but a dress.  Mrs. Kuhn always had perfectly coiffed hair, earrings that matched her necklace that complimented her outfit and a good deal of makeup.  For being 'old' (as she was to my 12-year old self), she was beautiful.

I glanced up at Mrs. Kuhn- she was grading papers and keeping a very close eye on us.  There was no computer on her desk, only a big green lesson planner and lots and lots of papers.  She was allowed to use the dreaded red pen, so she had a pencil cup, filled to the brim. 

Something about the power of that moment- her grading our papers and keeping us completely silenced through journal-writing time- something clicked.  I wanted to do that.  I wanted to be that.  I wanted to grade papers and teach children and match my earrings to my necklace.

And I wanted to teach English.  I loved reading, I loved writing.  It clearly made the most sense.

And that was that.  Now I teach English and I love it and I spend my free time writing and helping kids with essays and...

Actually, in the 10th grade I kind of whined to my mom about 'losing my music' if I studied English.  She suggested teaching choir.  I thought that was stupid.  Then I didn't.  And suddenly that made the most sense.

This past weekend, I begin looking inward a little.  When I was lying in bed the other night, unable to sleep with too many thoughts running through my head, to calm myself, I 'wrote' a children's book.  When I have free time, I read or write.  My goal in life is to get 'my' book published.  I cannot fall asleep at night without having a book on the nightstand.  And I hate that I had to buy a Kindle, but it is just not practical to own all the books I own and travel around the world.

I love Austen and the Bronte's and Fitzgerald and Hemmingway.  I love Tolkien and Rowling and Giffin and even Evanovich.  I can't wait to read Harry Potter with my girls and I rarely pass up doing bedtime, even when my wonderful husband offers to do it, because I want to read with them.

So what the freak am I doing teaching music?

I ask again- are you living your passion?  Are you one of the lucky few who is able to make money doing the thing they would do for free?  If not, what would you be doing, if money and time were no object?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mommy Dearest

I love to sleep.  If you know me at all, you know this.  There are few things in this world that I would rather do than sleep and generally, the only reason I'm up past 9pm is if I'm out of the house and it would not be considered proper to lay my head down and take a snooze wherever it is that I am.

When Dave and I started planning our family, my biggest concern was how much sleep I was going to lose.  We all know the horror stories, and have seen those poor, sleep-deprived Mommas dragging themselves, and sometimes their little ones, through the motions of the day with one eye barely staying open.  I know enough about myself to know that I would not function well, if at all, under these conditions.  No good can come of me not sleeping.

And God, I think, knew this, too.  He has blessed me with two children who also seem to enjoy their sleep (praise be)!!  The Ladybug was sleeping through the night at five weeks and The Sprout at six weeks.  The Ladybug, at almost two (WHAT?!) is still taking two naps a day.  Bedtime has always been fairly easy-peasy each night and I count my lucky stars everytime I crawl into bed around the 9:30pm mark that I am able to drift off to slumberland for the next seven or eight hours, mostly undisturbed.

*Cue ominous music- did you catch that foreshadowing?*

And then we had to change it up.  We moved The Ladybug into her toddler bed AND redecorated her room, all in one foul swoop.  This has caused a bit of turmoil to her normally calm and pain-free bedtime routine.  Now, she says, "Mommy, seep" every time I try and leave after our bath, books and snuggles.  If I'm silly enough to be sitting by her bed, she'll grab my neck and pull me to the pillow and hold on for dear life.  She cries now when we turn off the light... not for long, but she does.  It's heartbreaking, but it only lasts for a minute and then she usually falls right asleep, be it in her bed, on the floor or standing and leaning on the bed.

*Cue Jaws music, which is even more ominous*

And then she fell out of the bed.  Hard.  And she apparently remembers it.

So last night, something woke The Ladybug up at around 10pm.  I thought it was just a lost binky- I quickly found it and laid her back down, hoping she'd fall back asleep.  No such luck.  She was awake.  As I laid her down for the first time, she acted like she was going to sleep after whispering, "I fall down."  I tell you what- that was heart wrenching.  I was hoping she was trying to tell me she fell during the day but eventually I concluded she was talking about falling out of bed TWO nights before (we have since put a pool noodle under the fitted sheet- she's going to have to work hard to fall out now, but she doesn't understand that).  But she stayed in her bed and let me leave after a few more kisses and snuggles.

Ten minutes later, she was at her door, calling for her Daddy (she has a baby gate across the door so escape is impossible).  Daddy went and comforted her and when he came back to bed, he reported that she had said the same thing to him.

Five minutes later, she was back at the gate.  I went in for some rocking and singing, extra kisses and snuggles and then she let me leave again.

Fifteen minutes later, I heard the door open.  She didn't say anything this time but was just sitting with her back against the baby gate, holding Violet.  I've never seen anything sadder.

So I went in.  I pushed the carpet up to her bed and put a fluffy blanket on the ground right beside her.  I sat down on the floor, stroked her hair and face and told her to close her eyes.  For almost thirty minutes, I sat beside my big girl while she fought going to sleep.  At first, I was so tired myself that every time she opened her eyes, I got a little annoyed.  I am used to her sleeping.  I am used to me sleeping.  We don't have to work for bedtime in our household.  Then, I started to reflect on what was happening.

My big girl, who is really so, so little, was scared.  She was afraid of falling out of her bed.  And I was there- I was the thing that was making her not be afraid, making her feel safe enough to fall asleep.  Not the blanket on the ground, not the pool noodle under the sheet, but her momma, who was holding her hand, stroking her hair, and staying by her for as long as she needed me.  And when she finally fell asleep, I sat letting her little hand hold my fingers for a couple of extra minutes.

I was tired this morning.  It was so hard to get out of bed.  But it's okay.  And it'll be okay if it happens again tonight.  Because I'm the Momma.  That's my job.

(After tonight, I might start to get annoyed, though... just kidding!)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Here's to a New Year

I've heard it said that whatever you do on New Year's Day will be the way you spend the year.  I'm okay with that.  Today, I loved on my family, tidied a bit (yes, we took down the Christmas tree which was sad but also good because the living room looks a little less cluttered and that makes me happy), loved on my family some more, worked out, ate well, went for a walk, visited with friends, wrote and now I intend to go hang out with my husband on the couch.

That would be a pretty good way to spend a year.

I don't have any real expectations for 2013.  That's nice and not nice.  After my sister left Bahrain last week, I realized that it's a long time before there's 'something to look forward to' again.  My birthday is next week but I don't really have anything planned yet... and I'm not sure how excited I am about turning 29... for the sixth time.  I think we have a few days off from school hither and thither but I don't actually mind working so it's not that big of a deal.  The Ladybug is turning two in March- and I am excited to have a birthday party for her with actual kids in attendance.  The in-laws are coming at the end of March but that's a long way off yet...


There's quite a lot in there to look forward to, huh?  I guess I was just missing my sister when that thought ran through my mind.

On that note, Happy New Year.  I hope it's good for you.