A couple things

Nothing coherent to say today, so just a couple bullet points.

October is going to be a mega-busy month for me. I committed to putting on a giant, all-day, all-6th grade Día de los muertos celebration at my school on November 2 (the actual Day of the Dead). It’s going to be the culmination of a unit we’re doing on the Day of the Dead and should be a really awesome experience for the kids.

{I notice that when I tell people about it I couch my announcement in “I’m such an idiot for taking this on” terms. I’m going to stop doing that. I don’t know why it has to be a stupid idea to take on a big project, especially when that project is meaningful. I don’t know when committing to something that requires a lot of time and work became a stupid thing to do (in my mind), but I’m going to stop referring to big commitments as such. Instead I’m going to talk them up for how awesome they are, even if it’s something everyone else things I’m crazy for doing, like the PTA.}

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The other thing that makes October crazy is all the Kindergarten Information nights that happen at the end of the month. I have volunteered to represent my daughter’s school at many of the these, because I think I can provide a good, enthusiastic (but realistic) representation of the school and what it has to offer. Mostly I just want people to know more about it, because it’s not on a lot of people’s radars. So far I have three Kindergarten Information events on my calendar in late October. I’m pleased I have this opportunity to represent the school.

{We had a PTA board meeting yesterday and the new principal presented a few items. You may remember I was less than enthusiastic about her ability to take on the role of principal, as she’d only been vice-principal (anywhere) for three years. But I have to say that I was very impressed with what she said and how she said it. I may be pleasantly surprised by her ability to step up and get things done.}

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My son’s birthday is also in October. We didn’t plan a party with his friends, but now he’s asking about one almost every night and I feel guilty. The thing is, I don’t think a 3-year-old needs a party with his friends, and I know he’ll be very happy with cake and presents in the company of his grandparents, but I still feel twinges of, I don’t know, regret that we’re not giving him what he really wants. Of course, that is a parent’s job sometimes, but there is something about this being his birthday that makes it hard for me. We’re thinking about taking him to a train museum a few hours away, which we know he’d love, to make the day really special. I hope he stops talking about how all his friends are coming to his party for his birthday, because that just isn’t happening.

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My daughter continues to do well, though the initial amazingness of last week has lost some of its luster. She is falling back to many of her old, physically and emotionally aggressive habits, but she does seem more able to check herself and bounce back after an episode. She did land on red once at school this week, but was able to make it back up to yellow. And she got two college cards. She also reports being the FIRST one done with homework at aftercare, when she used to consistently be the last. She is grumbling a lot during homework at home, but does get it done much more quickly than before. So obviously things are still much better. I continue to have high hopes for what she may accomplish this year.

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She seems to really be liking Harry Potter so far. She talks a lot about how she wishes she could be a wizard, and how she’d fix whatever problem confronts her with magic if she could. I keep reminding her that even Harry has to do homework, even he can’t use magic to get out of that, but she is unconvinced that magic wouldn’t make her life pretty much perfect. It reminds me of how I truly mourned the fact that a place like Hogwarts didn’t really exist, and that magic wasn’t real. I was in my mid-twenties when I was mourning this, mind you, but it felt hard to work though at the time. I guess I just wanted a different life, at the time, and a magic one seemed pretty amazing.

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My daughter is starting Girl Scouts next week. I have deeply ambivalent feelings about it. My own Girl Scouts record is not great: I got kicked out in 6th grade for repeatedly lying (with my friend) that we had to pick up her sister and couldn’t attend a meeting, and then going shopping at a market near our home (this was in Hong Kong, when we had surprising amounts of freedom in 6th grade). So, yeah. But she really wants to do it (many of her friends are in the troop), and I don’t think I should keep her from it just because I wasn’t that into it as a child. We’ll see where she goes with it.

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My parents are taking the kids this weekend from Saturday to Sunday and I’m SO EXCITED. I need a 24 staycation SO BAD. Here’s hoping nothing happens between now and then to mess this up.

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I got caught sneaking out of school early on Wednesday to make a parent/teacher conference at my daughter’s school. We had professional development slotted for that time, but usually I don’t have anyone to meet with, or anything specific to do during those hours because I’m the only language teacher on my campus. So I didn’t think much of leaving an hour early to make the conference (if I hadn’t scheduled it on Wednesday, I would have had to ask a colleague to cover my last class, and no one wants to do that).

As it turns out, the PD was a site-wide training and my absence was noted. I was pretty mortified when I got the email from my principal. Luckily he was very understanding. The thing is, I don’t really feel guilty for leaving an hour early on a Wednesday: I spent 7.5 hours in my classroom this past Sunday, and I’ll never get paid for that. I know I spend more than my contractually obligated time at work, so I don’t think it all has to happen during the days we’re contractually obligated to be there. Teaching is a very inflexible profession, and I refuse to feel guilty for taking an hour or two when I can, because I know I’ll make it up later.

Also, the training was about how to better support English Language Learners, which was MY JOB for seven years (they just took the EL class from me this year because my schedule couldn’t accommodate it), and (ironically) I’m the only one not actually teaching English at the school so…. Yeah it was just dumb, and annoying, and I really appreciate that my principal didn’t make a big thing out of it (though I will have to take that time on my time card, which is annoying).

Mostly, this was just another reminder of how I’m struggling just to meet everyone’s expectations, and sometimes I’m just going to fail on one or more fronts. Some days it will just be impossible to be the involved mother, the dedicated teacher, and the caring wife. I guess I have to be okay with that.

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So glad it’s Friday. I so need a break.

What have you been up to lately? Any plans for the weekend?


  1. I like the reframing. No need to think its “stupid” to put time/energy where your passions lie. Its something I greatly admire about you, you truly live your values no matter how inconvenient.
    I realized reading this that I do this too—it seems to be the way women talk about ourselves. If we put a lot of time/effort into something, it was due to stupidity. I’m no stranger to the joys of laziness and half-assing things (and certainly don’t think I should call myself “stupid” for that, either), but sometimes I want to make an effort & I should be proud of it!

  2. Support. Thank you for all you are doing, child by child and project by project, to make this a better world for your children’s generation.

  3. My kid isn’t in elementary school yet. What is this color system? Are the kids constantly being evaluated on behavior?

  4. Annie: Yes, children are evaluated on behavior. One of the reason some parents are holding their children back from entering kindergarten so they are older and can be more “successful”. Such evaluations at this age, USUALLY, do not mean a child is held back, unless problems in controlling their activity also coincide with failure in academic areas as well. And there is a HUGE body of evidence that N.European children are held to a different standard and repercussions/consequences than children of other racial backgrounds.

    1. Yes, I certainly remember being evaluated on my behavior on my report cards in elementary school but I don’t think there was a running tally of how I was doing. That sounds stressful! But i just googled it and it seems pretty common.

      1. It helped my kid contextualize her behavior as compared to her peers – i.e. she didn’t sit still until mid-kindergarten year, most kids could manage a few minutes – to have that color rating thing, plus she discovered she could change behavior and get back to green later in the day. Often I do think it singles out boys and students who aren’t white for normal behavior that’s at the highly energetic end of normal but I’m not as opposed to it having seen how it helps my kid self-regulate and understand her behavior is changeable based on what she chooses to do. Before I think my kid thought her actions were beyond her control.

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