Monday, January 27, 2014

You Better Work

Typically speaking, work is not really "work." I've mentioned before how much I love my job, and how much fun I have being a teacher. As my mom says, "Some days you earn your check, some days you steal the money," and despite the common petite size of a teacher's paycheck, I frequently feel like I have "stolen" the money. It's a place I go to talk about the literature I love, to share ideas, and to give the gifts (I hope) I have to my students. I love it. My work day, like my desk, is divided neatly, and much of what I do in a day makes sense; there's a comfort to the familiarity of assigning papers and correcting them, working forward to a goal, and monitoring the progress along the way. This year is particularly technology heavy as we sign in our attendance each period, post our assignments every class, and post our grades a few times a week, so I have felt kind of tied to my iPad. But on the whole, teaching feels both exciting and natural for me. Things, usually, fall into place.

(Don't get me wrong; I have my days where my job feeling harder than slogging away in a coal mine: when kids grumble about the grades they earn, beg for extra credit when they haven't completed the actual work assigned to them, and their parents whine louder and more frequently than they do. Those days are rare, but they exist.)

So, on the whole, work isn't always really work. But home is a different story. Home is hard.

Why isn't there a bell that signals the time for my five-year-old to fall asleep? Why don't my children fall in line to the bedtime/bathtime routine? How come, despite my best efforts, the laundry doesn't sit obediently, but instead multiplies and scatters around the house when I'm at work? And why, physics friends, does my freshly folded laundry refuse to fit back into the drawers? 

Getting into hausfrau mode makes me crazy. I'm only a stay-at-home-mom for three months out of the year, and I have the blessing of a job that allows me to be a stay-at-home-mom while still getting paid. So there's that to look forward to. In only 134 days...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

All the Things He Said

I have the littlest, handsomest boy. He's charming, sweet, mischievous and darling - and he's not talking.

When Em was about nine months old, I called my best friend J, whose son is two months older than Em. When I expressed my concern over Em's lack of speech at nine months (she only said "Mama," "Dada" and "Up") J reminded me that she'd unleash an avalanche of words once she turned a year old. J was right, and Em hasn't stopped chatting since.

But John Sawyer is another story in every way. He is so active and excited about everything., but at 17 months, his speech is the same as Em's at nine months. When I ask him, "Where are John's eyes/ears/mouth/teeth/nose/belly/feet?" he can point to them perfectly - and sometimes points to something else and dissolves into giggles. When I ask to him pick up blanket, or give Lambie a kiss, or snuggle with Emerson, he will get up and do so, even when said comfort object is in another room. I know he understands me. But this guy ain't talking.

Our pediatrician, whom we adore, has assured us that the adages of "the older sibling does all the talking" or "the second kid catches on faster" are both myths. Second children learn exactly as first children do: on their own timetable, as they should.

This is another parenting moment where I have to let go. It's not easy.