sniff, sniff...cough....ooh, i have a bit of a headache. today, we had my boy home sleeping, my girl home sleeping and, i spent a good deal of the day sleeping and sneezing. my headache lingers. my, husband...my hero...kept marching onward and upward. he got up early he made the coffee, he woke me for a consult on whether or not our 14 year old should join her brother at home today.....I thought for about a second and said,"yes".....and fell back asleep while he walked the dogs, fed the dogs and sat down at his computer to get some early morning work started.
is this the swine flu? you know what? i'm just a bit too tired to care... the fact that the news has been filled with school closings, flu vaccine medical advice, hospital happenings and warnings. is it just "scare t.v." as biff and i call it? even "doctor OZ" of oprah fame has had a show educating viewers about the H1N1 virus today.
so, the mom who once was the mom who doubted anything but a fever and tossing cookies was a sickness worthy of a school absence, has now put the car in reverse! anything goes! stay home! why risk it? for years, we have been subjected to other peoples cooties (another word that my children ask me not to use, especially in public).....i know that it shouldn't be a big deal. but, to me, once you have kids, you are a cootie magnet.it's true.
considering i was the mom who, with my first baby, used to put all of the toys in the dishwasher after the playgroup babies headed out the door, i have come a long way. since the second kid arrived, oh, whats a little dog hair! drop a cookie on the floor when there is only one cookie with 2 kids.......a little cootie off the floor is way worth the risk to my children than the screaming and fighting that can take over our lives if they don't have "even steven",
who started "even steven" anyway, it must have been adam and eve....and it just continued through ages right on through ben and jerry. i wonder how jon and kate plus eight manage with "even steven"? oh, never mind....i'm sick of them anyway...the bad part of being cooped up at home, so tired and achy, is that's the kind of t.v. we are subjected to when we're too tired to lift an arm to find the remote to turn the yapping t.v. off.
anyway, back to "even steven".....the only reason that having a few more than 2 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 fish etc. would be that at a certain point, "even steven" flies out the window. the family of ten, who lived down the street when i was growing up, had no such thing as "even steven"...it was catch as catch can. one sleeve of oreos pretty much took care of that....i used to use them as an example for my kids when they were very little. i would say, "wwmbd?"....what would mrs. breenan do? oh, yeah, you think that's pathetic....i used the breenans for all kinds of sharing examples....."do you think mrs. breenan would cook different meals for all of her children?"...."do you think that the breenan kids could just leave their dishes in the sink?"...."''''socks on the floor...''''shoes at the door"...you get the picture. my kids literally got the picture. much of our time together over the years has been spent at a table with crayons....i love crayons and they helped me to chill out, sitting a drawing with the kids...i'm a life long doodler....so sitting and doodling the breenan's piles of shoes or oreo distribution was a part of my "teachable moments".
did our parents have "teachable moments"...i think not. i don't think my mother ever thought of a "teachable moment"....although i do recall her saying that she would "TEACH ME A LESSON"...and her teeth were a bit clenched at the time.
i don't recall anyone in my family "doodling" with crayons and talking about life lessons either.....i was a big doodler.....especially in school. those fresh new notebooks that started the school year so pristine and hopeful, with perfect catholic school handwriting on the front, with the subject, homeroom and teachers name.....after about the 2nd week of school, when i had already fallen behind, my enthusiasm waned and it became "doodle time"! the sides of my notebook were filled with beautiful swirly letters and drawings...pencils and pens were not good enough....markers of every color rocked my world! "mr. sketch" was my king...the mr. sketch markers were wide with bold colors and matching scents....red was cherry, blue was blueberry, purple was grape....on and on. doodling went hand in hand (quite literally!) with daydreaming.
my daydreams had only just begun. they were my ticket to freedom in sister cecilia marie's third grade class. she was a young nun....but, even in third grade, i knew she was not a happy nun like sister maria nicholas, my first grade teacher. sister maria nicholas was about as warm and fuzzy and groovy as a nun could be in the mid 1960's. not to sound too cliche' but, she even played the guitar.....outside on the front lawn of the church!....we had a sing along! i liked that as much as show and tell.
props always made me happy. i also liked the "little nun pitchpipe" she would pull out of her pocket. let the games begin and the good times roll...catholic school was rockin' after all. even though the nun in the long dark navy blue garb, with the white bib,and white "hat" (otherwise known in catholic circles as a wimple),accessorized with a matching navy blue waistband, sterling silver cross, black stockings and black shoes, a gold ring on the left hand because she was "married" to GOD, a black pitch pipe in her pocket and a tissue up her sleeve(mandatory, i believe)....and on special days...the guitar!
sister cecilia marie of third grade fame was young and she was mean. she was short, chunky with barely a smile. thinking back, i wonder if that was because she didn't want to call attention to her mustache....that was the only warm and particularly fuzzy thing that i can remember about her. she used to say,"patience is a blessing, possess it if you can, seldom held by woman, never held by men". i guess that should have tipped me off on her anger....that and the mustache, and the fact that she brought a t.v. into class to watch the '69 mets in the world series of baseball! she was tough. she is the reason that doodling was so big in my daydreaming world. some people are "saved by JESUS", i was saved by daydreams and doodling in third grade.
all of this came to me while writing about our sensitive, new age "teachable moments". my daydreaming could have been used as a teachable moment....perhaps? one of the few things i remember of the third grade was that the teacher was mean and not well accessorized, had a crabby face with a mustache and a tightly wrapped habit(the kind on her head....but, who knows, maybe she had some money on those amazing mets!) i remember that the classroom was in the basement of our church and the windows were so high that it wasn't possible to look outside, we had to line up to go to the "washroom" and line up for the bus, i hated practising cursive because of sister saint mustache. and did i mention that sometimes she would come out to the cement parking lot/playground to play baseball with the boys. not that there's anything wrong with that...it just seems ironic that people use the expression, "maybe she was batting for the wrong team".....it never crossed my mind until just this minute....swear on a stack of bibles with my left hand and make a sign of the cross with my right!
back to my daydream issues. i didn't know that there was any issue with them until one fall day in third grade. it was the day of the parent-teacher conference. my irish catholic mother, president of the rosary society,was terrified of NUNS. she came to school to meet with sr. cecilia marie.
my mom was a bit anxious. after all she had two rowdy boys years ahead of me and she was terrified of nuns! i'm not even going to question why she sent me to a school filled with the scariest beings in her "world". i sat in the car for quite awhile waiting for my mom to come out smiling like my precious experience in the education "world". well, it seemed to take a long time as i peered out the window of our 1965 ford country squire.....my mother finally was freed by the nun and ready to go. as she started the car, my mom said, with teeth clenched (notice a pattern here?),"WHAT DOES SHE MEAN ...YOU DAYDREAM?!!!!!".....startled, i responded, "huh?". and that was just the beginning of may wonderful daydreaming years to follow.
of course, as parents of 8th and 9th graders, we have had our share of teachers conferences....no nuns involved. no shame based teachings....in fact, it is so politically correct these days, that a daydreamer is considered "creative"...that puts a much more positive spin on things. little hellions are called "busy and active children", loud, disruptive children are called, "vocal", stutterers are called "repetitive speakers", smart kids are "gifted", not so smart have "learning challenges"......wow, in my day, i would have been covered by so much "teach speech" that my parents would have never known what was going on.
there are no bad students, "mediocre bound". actually, i think, once my mom put the car in drive, she never thought about my student credentials again....til the next conference. not that she didn't care, just that she had done her parent duty by simply showing up. she didn't obsess about my future or send me to a creativity enlightenment based school. all that mattered was that she was done with the nun! thank GOD. and as sister cecilia marie with the mustache used to say, my mom had "the patience of JOB".
so, anyway, what's a few days off with the swine flu. will it make my children "cootie challenged"? i'll have to take that chance.
thank goodness for laptops, i never had to leave my bed.