30 January 2009

Ear Infection #4

Seriously, this whole pre-school germ acclimation thing is ridiculous. V's been sick 85 % of the last six months! What kind of life is this?

She woke up every hour after bedtime last night until 3 am. We thought maybe she was excited for some reason, or had some bad peanut butter (sorry. bad joke). But she seemed physically fine, just unable to sleep more than an hour. At 3, she started crying and holding her ear. Oh, right. Maybe you can't sleep because you're in terrible pain. Sorry your mom isn't quicker on the uptake, V-ness.

One dose of ibuprofen later, and she slept for five hours. When we saw the doctor a few hours later, Dr. Card actually winced at what I can only imagine is a horribly mangled ear canal. We go in for a recheck on Monday, and hope it's viral and resolves itself. Or the eardrum could burst, apparently, which sounded terrible, but the doctor said it would likely feel better afterwards. For now, the ibuprofen is keeping the pain at bay pretty well.

The best part of today? When we were called up from the waiting room, the nurse said, "V?" and V said, "Um, my name is Wednesday."

"Wednesday?" the nurse said with amusement, raising an eyebrow in my direction. I nodded and shrugged.

"Yes," V said. Then she gestured toward me, walking a few steps behind. "And this is my mother, Morticia."

Seriously, people. I can't make this stuff up.

29 January 2009

New semester

These students humble me every day. In nearly every class, I do a diagnostic writing. I’m just trying to see where they are and where they might get to under my stead. I gave them an hour. Many students still wrote for only ten minutes or so, many did just one paragraph. But even in those, they reveal themselves with such unguarded honesty it makes me ache. The beginning of the semester is valuable, before life gets in the way and messes everything up for all of us. Everything is shiny and full of new possibilities and resolutions and commitments and so much hope. I really need to remember this feeling around midterm, when I have 200 papers to grade and no place to hide. I have to remember how they looked that week, before all the shine fell away.

26 January 2009

Weekend Love

Often, our weekends are either hectic or boring: we go somewhere for the weekend, which means packing and organizing and driving and then laundry when we get home, or V and I stay home while Shaun works, with no car, in -20 weather. This past weekend was to be the latter, with Shaun working three full shifts in three days. Instead, dear friends came in from out of town, and V and I partied like it was 1999 (when V would’ve been negative 6. You know what I mean). We visited and played and swam and talked and hung out and ate local favorite restaurant food. Anyway, you know how when you have a really great weekend that you feel all refreshed and ready to face the week? This time, I feel more sad that the weekend is over. Our out of town friends live four + hours away, and we don't see our in-town friends nearly enough (though we're working on that...). At any rate, let's have a summary of the excitement that was some of this past weekend, through photos. Tenessa, the love of my life. I realize the sun is shining directly on her chest here: this was not my intention to capture, though I think it's kind of funny.
Shaun and Uncle Danny, the other love of my life and the spouse of the love of my life. Aren't they both dreamy?
Friday! He's a 50 year old roofer in an 18 month old body.

Cute shoes.

V and Linus, age 3 and 4.

The best and creepiest waterslide I have ever seen.

That really sums up our Friday and Saturday. Well, that, and some pizza, and some Thai food. And some coca-cola. Yum.

24 January 2009

Mama, will you play castle with me?

V asks several times a day if I'll play castle with her. She got this great Melissa & Doug castle (see my Amazon sponsored ad at left. Please don't judge me) for Christmas from Grandma Myra, and it's quickly become an obsession. When Mama gets involved, though, terrible things sometimes happen. Here, a happy Jester meets a scorpion. And you really want to stay away from the Angry Frog. He's already eaten the king, even as Spider Man looks on, curious but unable (or unwilling?) to intervene.

After rescuing the jester, V promptly fed the princess to Angry Frog (as Calm Cow looks on). Oh, the humanity.

13 January 2009

Local Headlines

Girl on Sick Leave Becomes Obsessed with Addams Family Reruns: Family forced to do constant Lurch impersonations.
Seriously. When I got Season One of the Addam's Family for Christmas this year, I imagined I would mostly watch them on those rare occassions when I was home alone, crocheting something, and there was little else I wanted to watch on TV. Instead, V suddenly got interested, and for the last three days it's almost the only thing we've watched. I'm working on an insightful post on the sociological commentary offered by the program, as you might expect. In the meantime, I'm forced to play "The Addams Family meets the Princesses" and so on.

V's got pneumonia. It started with a bad cold on Friday, but by Sunday I could hear her wheezing from across the room. We've been to the ER twice in the last three days, and have a home nebulizer now, with treatments every four hours while she's awake. She's stayed her usual perky self all through this, which is kinda weird: even while the doctors were seriously considering admitting her, she was playing and laughing and singing, though she could barely take a breath. One mean person at the ER (visiting someone in the space next to V) said outloud "Sounds like SOMEONE doesn't need to be here..." I almost punched her in the face. Because, you know, we're just here because we were bored at home, and not because I was afraid MY CHILD WOULD TURN BLUE. Jerk lady.

V's getting better, though. I'm not sure when she'll go back to school, but it seems like tomorrow or the next day are likely candidates. Yesterday was my first day of the new semester, so I've been a little stressed out. Hopefully this means the rest of the semester will be breezy, comparably. Right? Right? Just agree with me.

It's time to get to "The Addams' Throw an Ice Cream Social." Lurch is having chocolate; I think Pugsley wants praline pecan. How about you?

09 January 2009

The post where I do some philosophizing of sorts

We had a lock down drill at school yesterday, as part of our pre-semester workshop day. Until I started teaching at this community college, I'd never even heard of a lock down drill, but it seems most places are doing them now, or thinking about doing them. The drill involves procedures to be followed in case of a violent person or persons inside the college, or in case of imminent danger outside the college, like an ammonia leak or some such thing. Mostly, we focus on the idea of a person with a weapon. Lock down drills are like tornado drills: you hope it never ever needs to happen, but if it does, you wanna know what to do.

The first time we did this, about 2 years ago, I had nightmares for two weeks. This safe place, this building with wide, sprawling hallways where I love coming to work, looked very different in light of a lockdown. I was really frightened by the whole process. It contributed to last spring's stressful month for me, certainly. What would have been a significant annoyance in the past was, last year, petrifying for me.

As part of yesterday's training, we watched some surveillance video from the Columbine shooting. It included audio from at least one (maybe 2 or 3?) of the 911 calls. The police officers told us it was hard to watch, and said we were welcome to leave if we didn't want to see it, but like so many of us, I know the story of Columbine. I had not seen the footage, but I knew what happened there, and I didn't expect to be that surprised.

I was wrong. The screams of the students, the coldness of the shooters, and the vulnerability of it all combined to make my skin hurt with grief. I cried through the whole video. I cried for the victims, and for the survivors (who must have the most profound wounds from this), and for the two boys who made all those bombs and carried all those guns into the school. In photographs, their faces are as open, young, and hopeful as my own students.

I look in the faces of my students every day. I see who they are, and I am not afraid. But if one of them crumbles, somehow, and wants to hurt me or someone else (anyone else?), they will likely be able to do that. Hopefully my colleagues and I know enough now to help minimize damage. Hopefully.

Chaos abides. We each find our own ways to keep it at bay. But to despair in the chaos, to be paralyzed by it, is no life at all.

07 January 2009

Hooked on phonics worked for V

A little winter reading:
V likes Eliot, but really, her heart is with the Beats.
Okay, so she doesn't really know how to read yet, but she's learning her letters and their sounds and it's lots of fun to see her little mind come to understand all that stuff. And I can hardly wait to discuss The Wasteland and On the Road with her. And by "discuss" I mean "tell her what they mean."
Because seriously, that's my job.
Happy New Year, folks. May all your reading this year be compelling.