Thursday, December 17, 2009
I certainly didn't get in trouble, but I want to preempt that, if at all possible. Most people at work thought it was funny. But you never know. And safe is smart.
What a downer. I didn't think it was that bad.
Monday, December 14, 2009
(Yeah i said happy holidays. And I'll say it every time. Cause nobody celebrating Christmas with half a brain cares if they hear Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and it makes everybody else feel nice not to be left out. Plus it saves the trouble of saying "and a happy new year!" Which can be tough to remember after several HOLIDAY cocktails! WOOO)
Monday, November 16, 2009
Just an update from Thursday- for everyone I mentioned my run in with the boss lady, you can tune out now.
Last Thursday, after a stressful week where a friend and colleague of mine was sent home for not following an ineffective procedure during a child's attack on a janitor, tensions were high with the boss lady and on Thursday. I was told to go to Prudy's office because I was in the hot seat. I quickly scanned my brain for anything I may have done wrong. Except i do NOTHING wrong here. The only thing I've ever had the slightest talking to about was for doing too much and taking too much responsibility (apparently it encouraged laziness in others. Too bad laziness was here long before I was!) .
Prudy said to have a seat and explained for what felt like an eternity that several people, including herself, fellow teachers, and the principal have noticed things that I've been doing. She said she needed to discuss my position here. She said it was high time someone spoke to me about them. Would I like to know what they were? I told her yes, but honestly, I was really tallying every mistake she's made (that I have documented) and getting ready to give her the "I can take you down so fast" speech. Because this is BCI and that's what you do to stay alive here.
She said you have been doing an exemplary job. Your performance is truly superior and blah blah blah. She said if times weren't so tough, this would be a promotion talk. Then she proceeded to let me pick of the out of the Treasure Box, a small wooden box of mediocre rewards for good performance, like $5 Dunkin Donuts cards, $2 lottery tickets, candy, pens, and certificates to arrive 1/2 hour late to work. I realized that the past 5-10 times I've been the one earning accolades and prizes, so I really picked this thing empty. I chose some premium M&M's with Almonds, if any one is curious.
This morning I went into Prudy's office and thanked her for her praise. I'm done griping about this job, but that doesn't mean it ever gets easier. It's so rare that we get genuine praise, though we believe enough in its effectiveness to give it to the kids 100's of times everyday. I told her maybe that wasn't the best way to begin positive reinforcement, seeing as I felt like I could throw up from stress/fear afterwards. She said it was duly noted. We'll see. But that, I mean ALL of that, it's just madness, right?
Today the kids went to a Thanksgiving dinner at the Manor Restaurant. Good ol' Manor. They do so much free stuff for our kids. The children sat down at a beautifully made table and proceeded to whip apart the carefully folded clothe napkins and pushed away the turkey, rice, potatoes, corn, and stuffing they were offered. They pigged out on candy and cookies, and I frankly didn't stop them. I'm working on saving my energy for the fights that matter. So 3 cups of diet soda? Why the hell not! 4 cookies- go nuts! They danced, or more accurately jumped and swayed and stimmed, their booties off for about 1/2 an hour before the behaviors started, as I most definitely expected them too. Placing highly sensitive autistic children in a room with blaring music and 200 other children spells disaster any way you look at it. Now I'm enjoying a lunch break (minus lunch since I took advantage of a free meal from The Manor) and listening to the sounds of kids who are coming down from their sugar rushes just in time for me to be relaxing on the computer.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
We arrived and it was pouring, but very atmospheric. We walked downtown to a Maritime museum (not exactly exciting, but very nice anyway) and saw a short film. Then we went to the New England's Pirate Museum, which I thought was pretty fun. A little cheesy, but very creepy, with the blood- red paint splattered on the floor and the costumed figure hidden at the end of the tour that was actually a living ,breathing tour guide. Then we went to see a play where the audience was encouraged to participate (ew) and got to vote whether or not a woman was sent to a witch trial (yay). I remember seeing this over a decade ago and it was still impressive. Matt and I had a ridiculously overpriced dinner before our ghost tour around Salem, and called it a night. All in all, it was a weekend of nice memories and soggy shoes (thanks, rain).
Monday, September 14, 2009
A few of these folks were work related. Jon, fresh to the Basics program was quiet, but ultimately very cool. The only crappy thing about working with him is that he left for greener pastures after 1-2 weeks in (and not a soul here blames him). Another new person is my boss, Prudy. I'm pretty sure everyone outside BCI, and several in, know my opinion of her and writing it on an office computer would be profoundly stupid. Let's just say, I thought she had promise her first day, but I will never be comfortable handling an aggressive child with this lady.
Last weekend, Matt and I went to meet Amanda, Matto's new girlfriend. For everybody curious, Amanda works with Matto at NECC. She's 25 and goes to folk festivals, doesn't smoke, and can handle the absurdly strong drinks Matt pours. I really liked her and as the evening (and drinking) progressed, she started to remind me of a sweet and intelligent version of Steph, without the crazy undertones. They have really similar voices, but let's hope the similarities end there.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Enjoyed last weekend in the camper, but I keep thinking relaxing shouldn't be so much freakin' work! Having a camper is definitely a hobby, rather than a vacation. Can't wait to see Matto and his new girl tonight. Yay!
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
If that fails, I say I need to do paperwork and sit quietly- recouping, regrouping. Because I always do my paperwork the previous day, in preparation for the next day's class (silly me for doing what everyone was directed to do last year), I never really have any to do during the day, so I stare vacantly at data sheets and write random letters and cross random things out. I have finally embraced the way of the slacker- but for emergency only.
Friday, September 04, 2009
We're taking the camper to Swanzey this weekend and I'm excited about the fall-like weather all ready! Can't wait to get to the serenity of nature and plug in all my electronics and light a scented candle- if you've smelled our camper, you'll understand.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I missed Matt and my home a lot and coming home felt great. I love visiting Gburg and seeing my hometown, in all it's summertime glory, while MA was cold and dreary (and has been for 6 months) opened up a can of nostalgia that was tough to choke back.
I was late for my first summer school day. We have an abbreviated schedule this summer- 9-1:30, or 9:15-1:15 for the kids. So far, so good. My student, "the brat" as I not-so-affectionately call him in my head was pretty good! (i'm not calling him that because he has autistic behaviors-those are to be expected. It's the rest of the time and I'm just calling it like I see it).
Next week, is Swanzeycation and I'm trying to get together what Matt and I will contribute. Kirsten- i'll give you a call soon, but what is still needed?
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Friday- I've had enough of this job. I figure everyone feels that way about their work, but I've got to begin considering other employment. Every time I think about it, I say, "well, in this economy..." In this economy, nuttin! Either I finish the year and begin to look for other options and prepare myself for them, or I get a lot tougher and stop minding the exhaustion and injuries. End of story. Friday I strained a muscle in my back doing what has become sadly normal- physical restraint. It was ridiculous pain, but it's fading nicely...FINALLY!
Saturday- I went to Rich's birthday party. If my back hadn't been killing me, I might have had a better time. There was karaoke, live music, boccie ball, ladder ball, and around 9PM, the kids from next door's birthday party came over and danced their 9-year old hearts out. Very cute. Not to mention my darling boyfriend doing Olympian dives into the pool. I didn't know you could be so aerodynamic with all that hair!
Now, I'm sitting on the computer during my 11AM lunch break on the very last full day of school for the year. When I was little, mom told me the reason she didn't get excited about her birthday was because as you got older, you really didn't care about them. I honestly didn't believe her, but the same concept applies to the last day of school now. I'm pleased that I lasted this long, but that's about it. Summer school is round the bend. Same kids, same crap. And our kids don't have a clue what goes on in their worlds, so there's no sense of excitment or conclusion. Just me and my pack of Special K blogging on lunch break, once again.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Friday- I strained a muscle in my back at work and felt like I'd never move again.
I couldn't even do a load of laundry and Matt had to do all the cleaning- Big Thanks to Matt!
Saturday- I really needed a day in bed. I was already missing a swanky party in Hartford, a moving party in Warren, and I didn't want to be at Rich's birthday party all day. I feel like I really missed out on big fun. Karaoke, Ladder Ball, Bocci ball, live music, and free drinks. I had to take muscle relaxers just to sit around in a chair, so whenever I took them, I couldn't really drink. Bummmmer! I finally gave up watching everyone have a lot of fun around midnight (after having "partied" 8 hours) Still, it was nice to see Matt having such a great time with old friends he hasn't seen in months. I missed them too and it was a very happy setting. Plus NOBODY beats the Caitlinator at Beirut!
Sunday- Picked up camper in the rain, so I didn't see it open. Still, wonderful plans for it. WE HAVE A CAMPER! WOOO!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Saturday morning, Tracy took me to this heavenly nail place where we got pedicures. I don't think I've ever had a legitimate peddy, so I was delighted to sit in the massage chair with my feet soaking in hot, bubbly water and get my legs and feet rubbed while I watched a movie on the giant plasma in front of me. They even rub your shoulders and back while your tootsies dry! Now my toes are pretty in pink. Tracy, Erik, Matt, and I set up for the cookout. There had to be about 20 people there and I think everyone had a blast! After I dominated at beer pong and said goodbye to all the guests, I hit the hay.
Sunday we left Springfield and headed straight to Todd and Erin's for a cookout. It was much smaller and somehow slightly odd, but still delightful. Molly is a very cute baby. After a few episodes of Deadwood, I was ready for bed. Last night the kitty broke my favorite lamp (the ONLY lamp I can call my own here) and my body woke up for work and gave me a "really...this again?" attitude. Still, another week of working for the weekend! That will be lovely.
Take my facebook quiz about how well you know me! I think it's a toughie, so don't feel bad if it says you know nothing about me!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Monday was hellish and I spent around 2+ hours in a 3 person hold for a student who was having a hell of a day. I'd like to proudly report I came away with only scratches and minor bruises and ALL MY HAIR- thank you very much. I get a crazy thrill when I'm successful in calming down aggressions without getting my butt kicked. It was a surreal experience and it set a Basics record for longest tantrum. Nothing useful from his Mom's notes, so I'm at a loss. I came home and was beside myself. Tuesday was almost as bad, but I got more breaks from him. What really helped was making dinner myself (kept my brain busy and boosted my confidence) and then vegging out to 2 episodes of Deadwood (HBO western drama Matt's Dad lent us). Last night we watched 3.
My gym habits have fallen by the wayside but I still try to make it 3 times in a week. What actually gets accomplished on the elliptical at a snails pace, I dunno. I'm looking forward to my "summer on Easy St." with 4 day weekends every week, volunteer work, and relaxing by the pool. And as soon as the summer weather can get here, I'll be set.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Monday, June 01, 2009
This past Friday Matt & I vegged. We went to dinner at Ladd's. It's nice but sometimes I think we're too young for that crowd. Too much of a doily-feel for me. Then we sat around a fire with Kirsten and Dennis for a bit. Saturday we cleaned and Matt Litt arrived. Erik was over to paint so we enjoyed some steak and corn from Matt's baby, his new grill. That night I played my first poker for money. We used change, but still! I did not start pleased because, come on, $2.00 is still a cup of coffee. I felt grinchly because we didn't really budget our cheap steak and breakfast and snacks and soda for Matt Litt and after all that, i didn't feel like him walking away with actual money of mine! Not to worry though. I fleeced his keister. I'm acquainted with the rules and some small techniques, but mostly I thought it was going to be ridiculously harder than it was. Plus you can always tell when my Matt has something. It was fun and not too hard at all! I got about $4-5 off him. WOOOO!!!!
Sunday we had a nice dinner with Matt's parents, Nanny, and Auntie M. I think things went well because I'm enjoying very nice leftovers for lunch. We should do that more often.
Friday, May 29, 2009
I've been really lax about going to the gym. It's been so hard to wake up and get myself going that I usually only have 20 minutes and that hasn't been doing me any good. I've been trying. Everyday I wish we had an elliptical or something in the guest room. But that idea gets scoffed at. I'm patiently waiting for Jamma Jacks (a special Friday lunch created by a high functioning class of teens and benefiting said teens with snacks and supplies).
I don't really know if I'll continue blogging, but I have a funny feeling this summer will see me with a lot more time on my hands, soo.....maybe!
Monday, April 06, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
In the morning, I arrive at the beautifully late time of 8:30, about 15 minutes before I have to be here and about 30 minutes before students arrive. I brew and consume my second cup of coffee, say hello to everyone, and gather my students edible reinforcers. Teachers go out and pick up there students straight off the bus, otherwise there's a large chance our students would just sort of sit there or try to run away.
We serve them breakfast, so I place paper towels out and ask them to sign for what they want. Bellies full, I run academic programs, with 3-5 minute breaks every 15-20 minutes or so (sweet, huh?) That describes a smooth morning. During an average morning (rarely smooth) I tickle, hug, trick, chase or use my "teacher voice" to get kids to eat quietly and clean up.
For about a month, I've been in charge of absolutely everything my student uses or learns. I gather and often make his materials by hand and set up his data collection sheets. We swap students throughout the day, but at the beginning and end of the day, he's mine. I calculate and graph his data, interpret it, and decide where his prompt level should be the next day. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours. It's a messy affair.
To properly keep my student's attention, I'm constantly "on". After about and hour, it's pretty tiring. I have a break around 11, but I'm rarely hungry so I go on the computer- which is usually occupied by the heroic slugs in the other room. They don't do much, but they're much needed muscle and have saved me from broken limbs or worse several times. They're necessary evils.
Lunch is....nightmarish and usually results in tears for at least one of my 6 kids. Without going into details that would make this day seem much worse than it actually feels to me, I serve and help students eat. I've drawn the line at actually FEEDING a dwarfish nine year old who is often treated like a baby. Sorry parents, Miss Caitlin doesn't play that Gerber game.
I plan and teach arts and crafts and group activities in the afternoon. By that time, I have at least 3 different bodily fluids on my jeans, have wiped a few bottoms, blocked hundreds of self-injurious behaviors, and been hit or kicked at least once or twice (this morning it was a half-hearted kick to my back- don't worry I'm fine and dandy.)
By the end of the day, I'm sweaty, smelly, and hungry, oh so very hungry. I snack on the kids' treats (bad, I know) and sanitize my hands about 20 times per day. By the time I put my student on the bus, I've been smacked, cried on, spit on, and have tickled, laughed with, sung with, restrained, or just plain held a student who needs me to be calm and in control no matter what he does.
I only work 6-7 hours in a day, but I've never felt more exhausted by the time I walk to my car.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday was lazy and Tracy and I watched a Jetson's movie while the boy's fetched Panara breakfast and Matt snored upstairs. I love visiting those 2 and Matto makes everything more fun. Yay!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
So, last night when the power went off I made over 2 valiant hours of attempted cheerfulness. After the time the power was supposed to come on and nothing happened, I went to bed. At 9. Pissed, sad, and well pissed. Hardly a goodnight.
(WARNING RANT COMING!!!)
I heard that it was posted in the Landmark. WHO READS THE FREAKIN LANDMARK? It got me thinking- what about the disabled. What about the poor? What about the illiterate, blind, deaf, etc. National Grid, and all the electric companies involved with this storm needs to step it up. No bonuses for working hard during that time. THAT'S YOUR JOB! Why should you get a extra for doing your job when it's hard? I don't get bonuses when I'm slapped around at work. Dentists don't get bonuses when patients have bad breath. Nobody should be getting any bonus over a few $100 in this economy for doing what you're already paid to do. Good for Obama for pursing every legal avenue to stop these bonuses. And for those that think this economy is his fault, I may be a middle -of -the -roader most of the time, but I'm not stupid. Use your brain! Nobody who just took office got us into this mess. Baby boomers did. SO I don't want to hear anyone over 45 complaining anymore. Letting the house pay for this and that. That means you couldn't afford it, but got it anyway. Ok, but um, raise your hand if that doesn't sound like it will come back to bite somebody in the ass!
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
Yes, I do get tiny little damages here and there every few days. And about once a week I get genuinely freaked out. It's part of the job and I can't complain because my head teacher takes brutal beatings and will stand up to a kid being a punk everytime. She's my hero. She doesn't quit, back down, or lose her in-control tone of voice or posture. She doesn't "pick her battles" when it comes to aggressive behaviors. Getting out of the way is good, but not good enough. I really admire her. And good things have come out of working with this kid's aggressions.
I can block and get across the room smooth as silk and FAST! I can wait until the last second to snatch something away or grab a hand on it's way to somebody's face! And I have a seceret thrill when I break out my smoothest move. I feel like a ninja. And at the end of the day, isn't that what everyone wants? To feel like a ninja? Yeah...I thought so.
Friday, March 06, 2009
I'm also trying to eat better, but since I'm buying lunch from the school today (chicken salad on pita with green salad) and it's not ready yet, I'm snacking on M&Ms. Our school has a program for the higher functioning teens to help serve and sell food to students and faculty on Fridays and make a little money for the kids' activities. But for those concerned, they wear gloves to serve and don't actually make the food. Matt says he has dreams that I will get thin and dump him because he thinks he's a jerk sometimes. I cleaned that up a little bit, but you get the idea. Of course that's ridiculous, but I feel warm and fuzzy that he cares.
This week I had the second major attack at school and I was really scared. The whole thing was a good reason for parents to have A LOT of open communication with teachers about kids- special needs or not. With changes at home, he got more aggressive, and yet I didn't find out about it until after he pinned me in a corner, ripped my hair out, and tried to bite my eye out. I yelled for backup, but nothing really came out of my mouth loud enough to hear in that classroom. After I took a little breather, I came back, laughed it off and went back to work. Hey, I've got thick hair so really, he's just thinning it out. This wasn't him being a punk. This was Autism making life very upsetting for a sweet, but adult-sized kid. My heart really hurt for him...so did my scalp. My consolation is that after he ripped 2-3 huge handfuls of hair out....HE ATE IT! Like a freaking hibernating bear. HE ATE MY HAIR! And boy, will his poops be miserable. I've gotten hurt from this kid before, so I would've appreciated the heads up from Mom before he went all Hannibal Lector on me. Still, when I told Matt I need a little down time and some sympathy when these things happen, he came through.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I'm jonesing for spring. This weekend's snow was beautiful, but I feel like winter needs to quit. Take a holiday. A LONG one. I'm so happy to be back at work and have something functional to do. I'm also excited about my best college bud, Amanda, to be visiting. The first weekend of March can't come soon enough. (Early shout out to Meg's bday that weekend, too!)
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Still, I have a lot to look forward to this weekend and nothing diminishes how well I've been doing at work and how loved I've felt at home.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Last week, every time I drove in the car, I practiced the upcoming confrontation with my roommates girlfriend. This chick has looked right at me when I've said Hello and said nothing for the absolute last time. She stays 18 nights a month (I know because after she walked right past me once, I went right to the calendar and wrote a big S for everyday she'd stayed and counted the months until she graduates/ they move out). She hardly picks up after herself, and is as annoying as the day is long...longer if you've had to fake friendliness to her. I've checked around and at least 7 of our shared friends (who are also very polite to her) dislike her, as well. So I've been ready for a battle...But why? Am I that angry at having to keep my mouth shut for the sake of Matt and Ricky's friendship? If so, I'm a big girl. Why can't I just gently tell her how I feel about her behavior and ask what she'd like to do about it? Before I kick her butt outta there...sorry, there I go again..
Last night, after a particularly craptastic dinner at PJ's ( the company was the best part) I called to complain. I was polite and told them what they did right, and let them know EXACTLY where they went wrong. It was fine.
I've gone from a complacent doormat with moral high ground to a complaining, vindictive, secretive witch bent on battle with anyone who I feel mistreats me. That can't be healthy. I feel myself getting drunk with assertiveness that turns into this sense of righteousness- and I have to watch myself carefully. Maybe it's not a change of character so much as finally letting the real character run free. Still, last night I kept my cool and the manager at PJ's was polite and apologetic and I felt good about speaking with her. She explained, not excused the problems and I hung up saying "Thanks for listening, take care!"- big happy face!
With these two examples, and many more just like them, I feel that I've stepped up, but I suppose I'm still struggling to find the happy middle ground. And I think that's what it's all about.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
He sort of reminds me of shortrun..shortround ...that little kid from the Indiana Jones movie. Maybe I'll have him call me Doctor Jones. Or race down the halls yelling "Indeeee!" Swwwweeet.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Then I got a call explaining that the last electric bill from when I lived at school hadn't been paid (Bullsh....ugh ok, I paid it lickedy split rather than argue it, with a small explanation that I was unaware I owed anything.) Then my PA bank writes me with a second notice (where was the first!! This was my fault- albeit accidentally. I didn't switch my visa bill to my new bank card in time and was unaware my PA bank was charged and paid the bill. I had left $25 in it with the intention of closing my account soon. With the understanding that I would pay that off in increments (so my other bills don't suffer), I then hassled with LCU for charging me overdrafts when I had hundreds in my account and was told (mistakenly) when it would be available. (still haven't sorted that one out) Then my fuel pump breaks right before my trip back to PA...$700+. I flipping hate money.
None of these things can't be sorted out. None of these things is insurmountable. All of these things are inconvenient and freakin expensive. And all of these things have the power to make me feel like I'm failing at adulthood. But checks will be written. Calls will be made. And all of this will straighten out- as will the big knot inside me that they twistedand keep twisting. I will deal and cope, deal and cope. And then probably do it all again someday.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Today I felt like I worked my ass off. I group managed (working with 2 kids who should each have their own teacher) like crazy after a meeting yesterday that discussed the necessity of group managing kids and how to go about it. I found it very idealistic because it skimmed over the fact that should either kid have behavioral problems,all those helpful suggestions go out the door and we wind up with yet another child having multiple staff members and more kids with less staff. Should BOTH of those kids start having maladaptive behaviors..gooood luck with a side of yeah right.
However, Wednesday I was recognized on paper and verbally for the data I'd worked hard to take for the past week or two. I was told I was the staff member doing the best with that data. WOO!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I stopped and got personal kid cups for each kid (princess puppy for Abbey, Spiderman for Jack) wet wipes, little toys including glow sticks-BIG HIT!- and all their fav snacks. I'm still sipping the 1% chocolate milk.
We took them to Friendly's in West Boylston, since the Holden one had apparently spilled hot marinara sauce on Abbey once. The Friendly's around here always seem like a good idea until you walk in and remember that your server options are a 15 year-old with an attitude and vocab deficit or a 65 year-old from eastern Europe. It was so disorganized and took forever. Matt and I just kept talking to the kids and coloring with them until food came. Ohwell. At least they didn't have that creepy carnival painting like the other restaurants..eeeew.
Erik came over and played with the kids and I have to say he's fantastic with the kidlets. I hope he and Tracy want to have their own.
Matt had this great plan of letting the kids play until they got tired and fell asleep. I had this great plan of letting the kids stay up sorta late because it was a Friday night and an exciting sleepover for them. We put Abbey to bed at a decent hour..ok..I laid with her watching Monsters Inc. until she fell asleep. Jack played Wii pretty much the whole time. It was a fantastic reinforcer to use in order to have him do things like eat, drink, pee, etc. All we could do was switch up games so that other people were involved with him and he was moving around part of the time. I got tired before he did and ended up sleeping across the top of the bed with Abbey sleeping with her head at the foot. Jack came in after I dozed off and used me as a pillow most of the night. I moved him back several times but woke up every hour or so with a body on me or little sleeping legs nailing me in the gut. I love those kids, but next time Matt sleeps with them if one bed is all we have. At dawn, I managed to get out from under Jack without waking him (not my first attempt) and sleep on the mattress by myself. Erik made the kids French Toast sticks from scratch, not like my frozen ones on Thursday. Abbey loved it but, Jack, of course, tried it because that was the only way to get back to the Wii and promptly spit it out on his plate. He did that every single meal I'd seen for the past few days, for some reason or another. I made him try a few other things before he could play Wii in the morning. Later on he was snacking on what I put out for everybody and spit chewed cheez-it out of his mouth and back into the snack bowl! It grossed me out enough for me to quickly stop him from letting the whole mouth load go all over the snacks (funny, but gross and unacceptable..even though I'm giggling about it now) and calmly have him clean it up and pretty firmly tell him no more Wii if he didn't remember to use a napkin or walk to the trash the next time. I felt bad for being strict out of nowhere, but I always sound more wishy washy than I think, anyway. After that, we took them to their grandparents. 5 minutes before it was time to go, the kids freaked and didn't want to put jackets on and didn't want to stop playing. Kinda normal, so once again I used a toy I put out for them to get the kids to earn time with it at the Medine's. I felt bad when it wasn't earnen, but I explained there's always next time I was sure they'd earn it then and how happy I was they came to visit.
And I was. Very happy.
I arrived and Auntie Gail took off. I played with Abbey while Jack played with his DS until it was time to cook tacos. Being in a strange kitchen, I panicked a little when I couldn't find the thawed meat..which was readily available in the fridge. I thawed some hamburger and went to town making what Jack dubbed "the BEST tacos in the world" or something wonderfully flattering like that. They did great with the tasks I gave them to help me get dinner on the table faster. Fantastic stirring, Jack! Amazing soft taco placement, Abbey! We all helped Jack with his homework. Gotta love involvement. I packed him up for the next day and we watched Kung Fu panda together on the couch. Time FLEW and suddenly Jack declared he wanted Scooby Doo after the movie. I should've remembered he likes his Scooby Doo before bed, so we agreed that Scooby Doo would go on for 20 min and then bed. I was surprised how strict Matt is with Jack. I tried to stay on the same page with Matt, but I'm big on compromising and choices when possible and Matt is way more straightforward. In the end, I suggested Jack choose 2 episodes and we'd stop the movie early. But no other movie would be watched in addition (a much contested point for Jack).
Bed time was pretty easy too. The kids wanted to sleep in the same bed, but predictably discovered via elbowing that they liked their space too. We sat with the kids, Matt with Jack and me with Abbey, until they started to doze to the soft music in the hall. Jack woke up and protested sleeping without his turn with me sitting with him. Matt said no but he was busy doing the laundry so I sat with Jack for 5 min until he started his adorable 6 year old snore. Then I put a pillow in the hall and told them I was sitting there like Mommy does sometimes so they didn't need to worry and could go to sleep. I sat for about 2 min grooving to instrumental Beatles and the kids slept until Abbey needed to pee around 12:45. Easy Peesy..well almost. I got ready for bed, did some laundry, put Kung Fu Panda on the laptop since we traded it for Scooby Doo, and promptly fell asleep about by 10.
The next morning I impressed myself by waking early, showering, dressing, and packing everybody up before Matt and I gently woke the kids. Matt snuggled them in Abbey's bed, while I prepared-get ready for this folks-scrambled eggs, toast, french toast sticks, bacon (thank you Kirsten for having precooked meat!) and sliced fruit in the shape of a smiley face. If it weren't for Jack's missing boots (located neatly in his closet..or possibly Abbey's) we would've been early. As it was, Jack got to the bus slightly before it arrived and I went to work feeling pretty good about myself. I feel like my work with kids definitely helped me stay relaxed and in charge, even when drama surfaced. No meltdowns, no big tantrums, and it put a great start to the day.
Friday, January 16, 2009
This week we got a new student, well, another new student. Complete contrast to the last kiddo to arrive (9 years old but looks 5, FAS eyes, adorable coo, bright mop of red hair, VICIOUS tantrums). This kid is 10 and looks like Agustus Gloop. More on his cartoony appearance later. He doesn't tantrum so much as get fed up, bored, or possibly attention-hungry. His personal mantra to be repeated often should have alerted me. "No digging (in other people's skin) no scratching, no biting, no hitting, no pulling..." He nailed every kid and staff except for a rather burly offspring of a linebacker and an Amazon. We have to block kids when they wander too closely.
I feel bad isolating him from the other kids at a separate table or with several seats in between. They did that enough at his last school. Kept the kid isolated by partitions in the back of the room so he wouldn't have a chance to go after the kids in wheelchairs and walkers that made up his class. But I've learned enough to know you can have an opinion but unless you are in the thick of it, never judge methods schools and teachers use to keep these little..or not so little guys safe. You just don't have a clue unless you're there enough.
He is easily the most advanced in the class, but I can't seem to see past the next aggression. My problem. The 2 kids I work with that have the most dangerous tantrums are giving me some personal issues. Rather than want to stay away from them, I can't wait to jump in and am kinda dissapointed when they don't have problems. How sick is that? They're working nicely and I'm thinking, "come on, buddy.show me whatcha got! anytime you wanna go!" I'm itching to practice my meltdown skills with them and it drives me nuts when they don't seem to need them when I'm around. Freakin N* can't seem to look at the little one without him starting to scream.. I get nothing unless I really challenge them with demands, and so far it's been weak. So I'm left feeling sooo guilty that I am raring to demonstrate that I can help these guys out and know what to do. I want them happy, but I secretly love being the one that helps them when they're not. I would love comforting comments!
Friday, January 09, 2009
Tonight, Matt and I are going to the postponed Christmas party for BCI in Auburn. Don't really know what to expect, but Matt will be there so I'm not too worried.
See? Wasn't that about as boring as waiting for toast? Yeah..I told you.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Today is a snow day and I've had enough of crappy weather cancelling school. I wrote down 4 household chores to get done before I can go crazy with leisure and Wii. I got 2/3 through before I spent an hour rocking out an now I want a nap. Gooood job Caitlin. Oh well. I guess it's just another lazy snow day. Now where's my cocoa.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Feeling good, I came home, said hi to Ricky and lit some gingerbread candles, then got crackin' on taking care of long overdue business and designing and implimenting a brand-spankin' new database and payment plan for all my finances. Everything paid, I started dinner. As an afterthought, I heated the whole bag of frozen peas to keep extra around to put in dinners this week or take for lunch. I want healthy food easily accessable this year, and I figured this was a good way to do it. When I finished I got a mildly crabby comment from Matt about how I always cook/buy too many veggies and we have to throw them away. Ok, that's very true. It's a bad habit. But how can I break a bad habit without trying to get it right this time?! I took it very personally and spent like an hour brooding and thinking that I don't deserve to have my good decisions and hard work (well, as hard as microwaving peas..but still) critisized and how I couldn't possibly shake myself from my pity-filled funk. Honestly, I felt pretty dejected. Matt was apologetic but I couldn't snap out of it- until Wii Rock Band. *cue angelic chorus*
I went over to play a song or two because I didn't want to be rude or to let on something wasn't right. I stayed until now, gentle reader- 11:30. Dinner to 11:30 and I'm totally content and cheerful again after easily 2-3 hours of challenging my fingers and rocking out (and singing quietly to myself). I feel crazy for spending all that time playing a game, but chores were done and it felt like what I needed- Just what I needed! So I'm going to take these lessons away from today. I want to-
1. Stop worrying about what I'm doing wrong. If
I'm really that off, somebody will tell me and I'll fix it- no biggie.
2. Keep enjoying the little things. Car rides, morning toons, egg white sandwichs, hugs from my students, sitting close to Matt on the couch.
3.Embrace and work for better habits. Health, financial, social, emotional.
I guess all I'm saying is I want to develop the confidence to stop worrying and just do what I think is right and feel is right- and enjoy the things I love along the way- which, gentle reader, includes you. ....Awww aren't i sweet.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
This weekend Matt and I were invited to stay a few nights out in Springfield with Tracy and Erik. Going into this weekend, I think we both assumed that Erik had officially moved and wasn't coming back. I know the communication has been kinda..well male. No long talks, teary goodbyes, or even a general date discussed between those two. But some how they make it work.
We had a ball in Springfield. The first night we had a lovely dinner with Tracy, Erik and a few friends from Springfield. We haven't seen them since Halloween, so it was definitely a reminder to facebook those peeps ASAP. We played hard Rock Band until around 2. Well, I quit at 2. The boys called it quits at 3am.
The next day Matt was consumed with the need for our own guitar for Rock Band so we could all play at once. I wasn't thrilled with the notion, but hey, it wasn't my decision. I warmed up to the idea later (rationalizing helps), but by that time Matt had buyers remorse. This usually happens with us. We went to a great little brewery in Northhampton for lunch and made a stop at the (ok, I really don't remember its name)...Honeyoak? Holokey? I don't know, but with an extra guitar in hand, take a wild guess what we did when we got back to Springfield.
Tonight, the boys (Matt, Matt O., and Rich) are out rustling up some grub. Matt O is over to enjoy the various Wii activities and show us pictures from his New Year's Eve in Mexico City (which he says gets a bad rap- probably from the water.) I love having company and I can't wait until my visions for 3-8 are realized!
A comfy, non-broken green couch, a complimenting area rug to cover our nasty carpet, pergo (pargo?) kitchen floors, wall shelves to display the many nick knacks that are currently cluttering every freaking surface. Eventually, I hope for a nice flat screen TV- but there are more important purchases to be made first. Picturing this place slightly more put together and cozy takes me to my happy place. Much love, and thanks for reading!!
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Thanksgiving was spent in Gburg. The aftermath was spent in full-bellied shame.
I came back to work and started to get the tingly excitement of the pre-Christmas time that makes it feel even better to work with kids at school. (Wish my kids could actually talk about Christmastime or winter break, but I'm pretty sure they were still psyched.)
Matt and I were geared up for a super-festive weekend, attending my work's Christmas party and then going immediately to his. I had signed up and purchased the ingredients for the fabulous Crinkle cookies I would bring to Basic's & Life Skills (the classrooms i work in) for a smaller celebration before the break.
The night before Rutland (and most of the surrounding areas, including well, everywhere I ever go) got coated with beautiful, shiny, evil, ice and trees and telephone polls blocked our escape (should we have wanted to go out that morning and make one). I'm still fuming from the reaction of Matt's employers after he couldn't make it to work during this STATEWIDE EMERGENCY!!!!! It was colder than the abandoned, heat-free condo that's for sure. I just wanted to pull that crank right through the cell and scream "Sure he can come in to work, let's just throw on the ol' cross country skiis. In fact, why doesn't he just borrow Santa's freakin sled!!" Personal time, my ass...but I digress.
We spent almost a week without electricity or heat, and I've never felt more welcome since I moved up here than when we received so many offers to come stay or help out. We spent the nights of darkness with those who had power (or a good generator) like Matt O's in Marlboro, Auntie Maurine's, and at Matt's parents. Since we got the power back, it's gone out only once for an hour or so, but every time someone bumps a light switch or a plug, or sits on the remote, I feel a twingey little panic that it's all happening again. Don't get me wrong, it was manageable. But I was more freaked out than I let on.
The biggest disaster of the Ice Storm '08 was Kirsten's house and the serious damage caused by the pipes. I can't even imagine the endless successions of freak outs I would have if it had been my home, so kudos for being so strong, Kirsten!
Christmas with Matt's family was just what I needed to get me back in the spirit of things. The big family fiesta was cancelled because of the next weekend's 16'' of snow. My first Christmas time away from home (or Pennsylvania) was a little surreal, so having at least a little get together definitely got me feeling more jolly. I felt terrible that the storm limited my shopping time (and replacing groceries so we could eat limited my shopping budget) and all I had for Matt's family were the small presents of Bath & Body works and homemade cocoa I got pre-ice storm or PIS, if you will. A rundown on Xmas pressies will come later.
The ice storm and subsequent snow storm the following week closed down schools for almost 2 weeks, which was followed by winter break for 2 weeks. I hated being out of work when I didn't have a job and wonderful kidlets to miss in the first place.
Christmas in Gburg was a little lonely without my sister and her family on the actual Christmas day. My mother and I went to my grandparents for a quiet day. On the 26th, my sis, Bob, and Maddie drove with Dad to Thomasville to Mamu's (my Dad's mom- dont ask about the name....but it's Meg's fault.) I hadn't seen Maddie for a month and a half and she was HUGE and talking way more than in November. It was great seeing my Dad, but prolonged exposure to Thomasville leads to brain leakage and occasional day dreams of pretending to be asleep. On the 27th, my mom's side of the family had the big Christmas where my cousins, grandparents, great aunt's children (and their children) all come and do the Christmas dinner and present thing.So, like 20 some people. Big news! My cousin Mallory is expecting, all beit a little ahead of schedule, and Matt and I will be heading back down for her wedding at the end of January.
I spent the next few days with Mom and Pennsylvania peeps. Early on the 30th, Mom went in for knee surgery and after I saw her safe recovery, I drove from Gburg to my sister's in Southern New Jersey. Had a fantastic dinner with Dad, Meg, Bob, Maddie, and Max (their lab) and then left at 7pm to drive back up to Rutland.
Last night we went to East Boston to Jeff & Sarah's annual NYE party. This is my second year and it was even better than last year- and I'm leaving it at that.
Well, folks, if you made it through all of this, get up and get yourself a piece of left over (possibly discounted) Christmas candy. Perhaps blogging more than once a month would be a good resolution.