Monday, September 24, 2012

On being department chair

It's OK that my understandings of "politics" and "democratic process" come from NBC's Parks and Recreation and the BBC's The Thick of It, right?

Family-Specific Myths

Clara, at the Asian Art room at the Walters: "Oh, the Easter bunny must come here all the time!"
Husband: "Why?"
Clara: "Well, she's friends with Buddha."

Friday, September 21, 2012


On Tuesday morning, I was a basket of cranky while doing the double-drop-off of my children.  I was further provoked by the apparent good cheer of some parents.

This morning, all was good on my drop off AND I had the surprisingly rich pleasure of seeing a mother, one I had noticed being cheerful and playful on Tuesday morning, snap at her youngest child to "Chop chop now!" in response to which the child burst into tears.

Ahh.  Relief.  Everyone is horrid when trying to get somewhere on time.  Everyone discovers too late that they have reached the end of their tether, they are past the outer limits of their emotional resources, they have spilt all their patience already.  Eventually everyone finds, when they reach for calm, effective parenting techniques that all they have left over in their bag of tricks is snippiness and irascibility.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Time Zone: Fast Gallop

I am in awe of people, parents especially, who remain sanguine about time. Even when late, even when running in the drizzle to get to school before the doors shut, some parents appear good humored.  I've seen women laughing while running with backpacks and lunch boxes dangling off of them.  Men have commented, amusedly, on their children's rain gear.

I saw these things this morning even, when I peered out from under my foul cloud of bad mood and frizzed damp hair.

I hate being late, and I am an awful person when the children make us late.  I am awful to them as a collective, urging them to "hurry uuuup" in a voice like an amplified mosquito.

I should really be selectively awful, for this morning Clara was very good and did not deserve mosquito-voice. Winton, however, has been experimenting with peeing his pants and lying about it to see if he can get away with it. My discovery, on putting on his shoes 2 minutes after we are supposed to have left, that his pants, shirt, underpants and snuggle blankie (Neh Neh) were all urine-sopped delayed our departure quite a bit.  He deserved mosquito-voice.

Since school (Kindergarten and my academic school year) began I am in adrenaline-heavy race-track mode.  I am always rushing, and am always herding the children along wanting things to go faster faster faster.  It's awful.  Funny to watch, I bet.

I'd very much like it if I could convince myself that being late didn't matter.  That would help.
It would also help if I could convince myself that it didn't matter if I didn't finish prepping my classes or grading my papers, or dealing with the incessant "bing" of incoming email.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Definitions, by the children

Winton: "A restaurant is where you go to eat when your power is off."
[A distinctly Baltimorean reading]

Clara: "Rosemary.  A rose is a flower, and marry is what you do when you kiss!"
[A distinctly Disney reading]

Monday, September 10, 2012

Called the Preschool

Mid-morning I called Winton's preschool to check on him.  I was worried.

This morning he was arguing with me when I was trying to take him out of the car.  He wanted to unlock the door himself before I opened it from the outside.  I had already opened the door, so he was trying to shut it to lock it so he could start over.  He, however, was holding the door hinge side of the window as he tried to shut the door, and he squeezed his fingers in there fairly hard.  They were pink.  He cried.

But they were all attached, and they were not purple, and he could bend them all, and he stopped crying quickly.  So, I took him into preschool.

And then I called, mid-morning, to check:

Teacher: "His hand? Oh.  I didn't even know he'd hurt his hand.  No, its fine.  He's playing now, using both hands.  We were going to call you anyway though because his friend hit him with a fire truck and it looks like he's going to have a black eye.  You don't need to come get him.  No no.  He's fine.  Just bruised."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Timing Problems: Wherein I slap my own wrist

Not OK: Letting a class that is supposed to last 75 minutes go 12 minutes early so you have time to scarf lunch before your next class.

Not OK: assuming 20 minutes is enough time to get Clara into her school uniform and both children shod in time to leave for school.

Not OK: hoping that the traffic between the bermuda triangle (comprised of Roland Park Elementary, Roland Park Country School and Gilman School) and Govans preschool will allow for a speedy drop-off of two children.

Not OK: Getting a sore throat on a day when I am (scheduled to be--see above) in class, teaching, for 4 hours and 45 minutes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"I don't like my hair"

Over the last days, Winton (tow-headed, with a generous mop of curls) has been trying to flatten his hair.  In the bath, he wets his head and makes the hair lay flat.  In the morning, he borrows his sister's hairbrush to try and flatten the curls.

I have been devastated by this development.

1) his curls are adorable
2) 3 and a half is far too young to be unhappy about one's hair.  I loathe my hair most of the time, but I'm old.

After much gentle inquiry it finally became clear this morning that Winton's bff Nathaniel remarked last week that Winton ought to "straighten up" his hair. 

Now I will set about a dual task:

1) glossing "straighten" so Winton knows it can mean "tidy," not "straight."
2) trying to persuade Winton that one's peers are sometimes quite wrong in what personal grooming and appearance they value.