Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Observing the class, as a mom.

Last week we were invited to observe our daughter in her classroom.  I was so excited to watch her work since I'm never sure what she is doing there.  When we ask her, it's usually "nothing" or it's about the games in the playground.  This I know to be normal from most 3- 4 year olds from the time I was teaching and hear parents say this is what their children would say at home.  Well, now it's my turn.

I went into the room and sat on the chair that was provided for me.  Notebook in hand, I watched my daughter in the middle of a lesson.  It was pouring into three different cups.   This exercise has a small pitcher and 3 glasses of varying heights and sizes, and the child is to pour into each one stopping between each.  There is a place mat, sponge, and bucket for spills and clean up. 

As she was receiving the lesson she kept turning to see if I was watching.  She would smile at me and go back to the lesson.  I knew she was distracted and maybe not benefiting from the full presentation with my presence there. Regardless, she watched, followed the teacher outside to pour out the water, and watched the clean up process.  Then it was her turn.  She followed the exercise, but when it came time for clean up her excitement in seeing me there was uncontrollable.  I could see it in her face and how she kept looking at me from the corner of her eye, and smiling. 

What I realized as I sat there smiling inside at my daughter, similar to a room that I used to be in, was that I really missed teaching.  I missed being in a classroom that had the energy and joy that a Montessori room such as this contained.  Soon my eyes began to drift from her and instead of being her mother, I became an observer.  My hand picked up the pen and I began writing furiously.  It was instinct.  My training was coming back to me, like it or not. 

I noticed the various children working independently.  The singing while working.  The older child who had come to help the smaller child clean up and put away a work.  A 4 year old working with sounds and tracing them while sounding them out, then writing them over and over on a chalkboard.  Another child in the corner reading a book.  An older boy working with the small moveable alphabet writing out a story and singing out loud. Another child in the middle of the room punching out continents to glue and create a map, she is completely focused and not disturbed by the child singing less than 2 feet from her. The teacher meanwhile giving a lesson to another child and after looking through the corner of her eyes noting all that is going on.  The assistant helping a child but watching my daughter as she struggles to roll up the place mat.  Once the assistant is done with the other child, she comes over and speaks in Spanish to my daughter asking her to try rolling up the mat once again, but this time making it smaller to fit into the napkin ring.

Finally after my daughter finished and put away the work on the shelf, took the bucket of water outside, refilled the small pitcher with a larger pitcher by walking up 2 steps to open the faucet and fill it up, she had snack.  The snack table is arranged with cut fruit and other items I was unable to see.  She took the amount designated that morning, and what appeared to have been prepared by the children.  She then carried her bowl and sat outside to eat it.  This is another time for socialization.  She chit chatted with another child pointing to me which made me guess that she was telling them "my mom is here".  I did not want to leave.  My time was up.  I had to leave without saying goodbye, as it is meant to be.  I slipped out of the room excited for her, and excited to one day return to be in the presence of the most amazing human beings.  There are no judgement, no prejudices, no  lies, no backstabbing, no fronts, no acts, no expectations in an environment where the minds and hearts are pure.  Being with children you get to truly be yourself and be honest and open with them.  They love you for you, and in turn you love each and every one of them. 

The classroom is a sacred place, it is a place where children can be children, and a place that is completely their own.  It is a home, a house, a heaven just for them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Motherhood = Bipolar

If anyone asks me these days to describe motherhood, I think the best word is to stay "bipolar".  It seems to be a life of extremes at times, and it can be in the same day, or it can be in the same moment.  You can be so in love with your children, your life, and then 5 minutes later, you want to run away.

OK, so I seem to be getting a lot of words of reassurance these days that all will be well.  So, let me be clear on this. I do write this with my sense of humor added to it.  Yes it's hard, yes, it's irritating at times (when you clean the floor 10 times in a day, no lie), yes, it's tiring, yes, it's exhausting, and yes, I do want to run away sometimes, but YES, I love my children more than anything in the world, and I do love my husband, and my family we have created.  Contrary to how I come across in some of these posts I'm not sitting at home depressed and in melancholia.  In fact, it's been the opposite.  It's been so busy and hectic, it's tiring to keep up with it all.

I've been having some wonderful discussion with friends about motherhood and how it's an unfair portrayal.  If you had to get paid for this, man, we'd be bringing in some good money.  Alas, it is a life of choosing and so you choose no personal freedom, and the right to sit in front of a group of people as a panelist only to realize you have egg yolk stains all over your black sweater which luckily was put on the right side, this time.

Yes, this is motherhood, and it was a choice.  It was a choice not once, but twice, and I'd do it all over again for these two crazy kids.  They are just so fun and loving, and wonderful to be around.  They have fun together, they have the best smiles and giggles, and they love with all their might that you know you are loved more than anything else in their world, and that is worth all the aches and pains of the day.  The wet snotty kisses, and the hand prints on your thighs in mango smoothie, to the waking in the morning to two sleepy heads climbing over you, or the endless chit chat or "why, why, and why" are the delights that make this unpaid job rewarding.

So, I chose this as my career for now, but I also realize this will come to an end soon, and maybe sooner than I wanted it to.  For now, I am realizing how much I love my time with the girls and how fortunate I am to have had this time.  In all the years ahead for me, I will have all the time I need to work, but these years when words are mispronounced and i make no effort to correct them since that indicates that she will be all grown up; these are the years that will be their baby years.  These are the years you don't get back.  They go by in an instant and I don't want to miss any of it.  I chose to be a stay at home mother before we even got married.  I knew it was something I wanted, but I had no idea how hard it would really be.  Being away from any family only makes it 10 times harder, so to anyone who lives near any family, consider yourself blessed.  My husband and I talk about how nice it would be to have either one of our parents nearby where we could drop them off on a Sunday and he and I could go watch a movie and have some lunch together.  Oh well.

Well, like I said, motherhood is a little like being bipolar.  You have your high highs and your low lows.  But at the end of the day, those little sleeping bodies with their drool on their pillows, cuddling stuffed rabbits and bears, with their legs off the bed, or their bodies off the bed and only head on the bed, are all that you think about.  Case and point, it's 10:50 and I'm writing about them instead of taking a shower, drinking a glass of wine, or catching up on Mad Men.  I tell you, but most of you already know!

Happy Belated Mother's Day!  Why is it only 1 day that we get?.....

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Garden Special: Will be built for you!

This is a very exciting and amazing opportunity for anyone who would like to have a garden but does not know what to do or how to get started.  For $300 a garden is built, planted and set up for you.  Trust me, after our years of doing this $300 for someone else to do the work is a FANTASTIC deal!
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