Saturday, February 22, 2014

Feeling good about this....for about a minute

Have I mentioned I have dipped my toe back into the work world? Since doing so I have been fortunate to get to sub a time or two here and there. But this week was the Mother of all sub jobs - a whole week - well what constitutes a full week now here in the Polar Vortex - 4 days in the same place for the same Teacher's Aide.

It was invigorating and exhausting.  I was part of the 5th grade in the morning and the 6th grade in the afternoon and in between I did lunch duty.  Overall I feel very enlightened.  I am not quite ready for Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? because obviously I am not.  (Just ask the poor girl who got a big fat goose egg on her math assignment after asking me for help.)

By the way my teacher friends, What the #%$&$ happened to the Answer Key? I thought your book was suppose to have questions with the answers written in red type underneath! At least they did when I was cheating in school.  What? Who said cheating? I said meeting, meeting with my other good holy pals in our good little catholic where we never ever cheated one little bit.

Lunch duty was the biggest challenge this week. I remember lunch being the only time that we were more or less unsupervised.  You could let your knee socks down even if it was only 20 minutes. But now they are monitored (by me?) and they have to file into the tables in the order of their line, raise their hand for everything because they can not get out of their seat, and then be dismissed by table to file back out of the cafeteria.

So on my first day of duty I kinda took a Norma Rae approach to 6th grade lunch.  The kids would raise their hand and from across the room I would say "Whatever you need - get it! Your old enough to take care of yourself."  When an awkward girl who I am sure would have been the object of tortureress barbs sat down in the middle of the jock table I went over and said "Why don't you move over here, I think you would be - have, have a little more room." Her eyes wide with fear at my lack of respect for the lunch room rules and the jocks all staring in total disbelief, I picked up her tray and moved it to a more suitable location.

By the end of my first day as 6th grade lunch monitor, the cafeteria was in total chaos and pandemonium.  There was more food on the floor than the food fight scene from Animal House.  One child ate nothing but crushed Doritos off the floor and another drank two cans of smuggled in Mt. Dew.  It was so loud that I actually had a headache after it was all over.  The Janitor just lurks in the corner with a mop half in and half out of sight.  He doesn't talk, move or smile that I have seen. Maybe he is there for intimidation because he scares the hell out of me goodness knows the kids must be terrified.  He sorta looks like a cross between a serial killer and one of the guys from Duck Dynasty.  Or is that redundant?

Needless to say I was not alone the following day.  The school secretary who is no shrinking violet stood watch with a walkie-talkie. She is a very nice lady (so I don't want to make her mad) but she could definitely take you down without breaking a sweat.   I'm still not sure who she would talkie with since she's suppose to man the office and everyone but the nurse came out to help restore order to the cafeteria.  The Assistant Principal staked out a spot and the Principal and Guidance Counselor both made an appearance.  The Janitor came out of the shadows and stood there front and center staring us all down.

I felt bad.  The looks on the children's faces was, well, if looks could kill I surely would have been dead.  I could almost hear them saying things like, "Thanks a lot lady.", "Now look what you did.", "No taste of freedom would have been better than this!"  Actually, that's exactly what they were saying, out loud, to me.

I felt awful.  I wanted to apologize.  I did apologize quietly as I went around to those who raised their hands for help.  I would smile and say "How can I help you?" and then under my breath whisper,  "I am sooo sorry about all this, I didn't know!."  That warm wonderful feeling that I had the day before leaving the cafeteria was gone. Replaced by a gnawing in my gut, thanks a lot Sally Fields! Well so much for Lunch room liberation. Maybe I'll stick to cheating. I meant teaching!! (damn autocorrect)

All characters in this blog have been changed to ensure maximum humiliation of only the author and none of the staff or students of the wonderful elementary school that is willing to employ me, for actual money.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

5th graders

I've tried to think of very witty and clever title but I got nothing today. Just 5th graders.

My ten year-old is at that point - I remember this point -  when you have finally mastered the Double Entendre, usually involving poop or butts. And you start testing the waters of sarcasm. (God help us there because his mother has a degree from SU. Sarcasm University)

He came home from school the other day walked into the kitchen and stood behind me then proceeded to say, "Mom. I'm talking behind your back." At which point he could no longer contain himself and cracked up laughing.  The seven year-old just starred at him trying to figure out what part was suppose to be funny.  I smiled and said, "That's a good one." But what was cute was he didn't stop there.  He explained it to me, three times.

He had an Orthodontist appointment recently and missed lunch time at school so after they checked his retainer I said we could go grab lunch. He chose Jimmy Johns because "They are Freaky Fast Mom! I can get back to school faster." It was raining outside and he decided he didn't want to get out of the car so I just said fine tell me what you want.  "I want a number 2. I love number 2."  he said. I laughed first. Slowly he started laughing. By the time I came back out to the car he was in full hysterics. But what was cute was he explained it to me, three times.

Last night after a late soccer practice he still had homework to do and he was hungry again. No surprise to those of you who have lived with a ten year-old boy.  They can eat dinner at home and then go to a friends house where they were eating dinner and eat again as if they have never seen food before. Sickening.

He started his homework and I made a hot ham and cheese sandwich and put it in front of him.  He was scribbling spelling words with one hand and shoving the sandwich in his mouth with the other when my husband (who can still eat two dinners in a row by the way) says to our son "You can't do homework and eat at the same time."

Thank goodness my son was too busy eating and scribbling to respond.  I however, was more than happy to respond to that statement from the man that spent the end of our college career with food in one hand and a text book in the other.  So I said "Really? I seem to remember someone in college who could do just about anything and eat at the same time." To which my husband responded, "You did? Who?"  That is when my son choose to respond with, "She means you dad. It's called sarcasm. See-" But what was cute was him explaining sarcasm to my husband.

But wait there's more! So my husband says to our son "But have you ever noticed how much your mother puts me down? Do I ever put anyone down?" Oh grasshopper, ask the question and you shall now receive two smartass answers.  One from your wife and one from your son.  The ten-year-old replies calmly, "Yep. Me. All the time." Horrified my husband says WHAT! I don't put you down, what are you talking about I tell you I love you I tell you how great you played.... I was already laughing because I could see where this was going, damn I'm one proud sick mother.
"Dad. You put me down all the time. Like yesterday - you put me down so hard you almost broke my back. Then you sat on me and gave me a rug burn on my face."  The puzzled luck for those three seconds on my husbands face were priceless, then I could see the, "Why you little" look set in.

"I was talking about when we wrestle. See Dad - " Yep - you guessed it, he explained it, three times.  God I love 5th graders.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sorry kiddo - we're just C's

As a mother there are many things that you hope that you do not pass onto your children: mental illness, diabetes, severe acne - averageness.

My ten-year-old son was invited to a birthday party at an indoor water park yesterday.  He came home so excited and talking a mile a minute about his experience.  He talked about how cool the water slides were, they had a lazy river, and that they had pool basketball which would have been good enough.

Just before he went to bed, as fatigue was setting in and the depression from watching the terrible butt kicking the Denver Broncos were getting in the Superbowl, he started to get melancholy.  He was lamenting his luck.

"Mom I am just not lucky. Like, I never win anything. You know like tickets and stuff like arcade games.  I had like 92 tickets and Jack had 230 and he wanted a watch so I just said 'here take mine' because the only thing I could get was the crap like a tootsie roll or one army guy. It just stinks."

Oh my. It does stink. And you got this from me. Sorry. If you put my husband and I in the same March Madness pool, poker game, or raffle he is guaranteed to walk away a winner. Me - not so much. 

When he travels he gets that "Ooopps" we need to put you in first class. I get the "Ooopps" we had a problem with the toilet that you are sitting next to Missbut it is closed for use during this flight. We apologize for the smell.

When we go to a restaurant he will get the "Sorry" we forgot your order we will take that off your bill and get you a dessert Sir. If I go out it is never sorry, it's just a forgotten meal that comes out cold and then gets overcharged. Why - just because!

If we walked into a store together I swear to you he would be the "LUCKY 100th Customer - You Win!"

But I am not bitter, much.  I have come to realize that there are people who always score the A and those of us who will always score the C. I can live with that. It could be worse? It could be a big fat F.

So I hope that helps you my beautiful boy.  Because I know it took me 40 years, or so. Oh heck - Hang tough it gets worse before it gets better, but at least we are in this together.