So I Took Most of March Off

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

This has been a helluva month. I posted about the awesomeness surrounding Hannah’s first birthday, but then I basically needed a break. I found out a couple days before her birthday that my district isn’t renewing my contract next year. I’m up for tenure at the end of the year, and…that’s the end of that. They don’t have to give a reason, but they did, and it was frankly more insulting than if they just hadn’t told me why. So that was a blow to the juggling act that has been returning to work after having this glorious little lady, and it all happened very fast, and I still had to try and pull off her birthday party despite being terribly distracted and frustrated. Then I spent the week between Hannah’s birthday and spring break trying to finish Battle of the Books with my 4th graders and deal with my job posting going out and telling folks I will not be back.

I was exhausted.

Then last Friday night, fresh off the Battle of the Books final assembly at school, I packed up the baby and drove to Boston to meet Adam. He was already there for PAX East, and I rolled into town at 2am. From there we had a much-needed, much-deserved, very wonderful road trip week around New England. We lost MLK Day and Presidents Day at work because of Hurricane Sandy, so this was the first break since Christmas. And I know I was burned out and in desperate need of it.

We got home around midnight last night, so we have the weekend to hang out before going back to work and this very bizarre new reality. And then when June comes, it’s time to figure out what’s next.

But in the meantime, I’ll be posting LOTS of great trip photos.

1.5 Weeks Down, 38 to Go

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

I’ve been off the grid since the first day of school, it’s been HARD.

I was doing fine last Tuesday when the teachers started back to school; Adam stayed home with Hannah that day. I was doing great the first day of school, when Hannah went to her sitter Diana’s house for the first time. But then I picked her up on Wednesday and realized she’d spent an entire day with someone else. She had a great time, but it felt so surreal to me. Then I got a horrible night’s sleep, woke up in tears about the daunting prospect of another day with this new reality, got through Thursday, and had a complete breakdown after putting her to bed that night. The time with her after school just went too fast. I’ve never cried so hard in my life.

But we got through that first short week and my first full week of school. And I’ve just been soaking in the time with her, I’ve shut out everything else in life but that and getting the library ready for the school year. Ironing is piling up, I’ve barely been online since school started, I’ve forgotten to return texts and emails. And I haven’t stayed later at work than I have to. It’s a huge transition, and I know at some point we’ll get the hang of it. I can’t believe how many bags of stuff I leave the house with every day, and I still haven’t perfected the commute time with her. But she loves Diana and the two little boys there, too. So that’s a load off my mind, that she’s happy and not crying for me. Although I’ll admit, the first day I was a teensy bit sad that she didn’t seem to miss me at all.

Yesterday was a tough day, so I’m really glad to be home now for a 4 day weekend. The work doesn’t wait for me to collect myself after dropping off my baby, and of course the first couple weeks of school are filled with things that don’t work, paperwork that needs finishing, and new learning curves for everyone. I haven’t been able to start checking out books yet, but I’m really hoping that the 4 days, some rest, and some time with the baby will make next Wednesday seem a little less daunting.

Hannah is passed out on our bed with her dad, so I thought I’d let the sleeping bear and cub keep napping while I catch up with the universe. My bulletin boards look great, I’ve changed it up a little this year. The Library Tree is now where the Achievements board used to be.

In its place is my new Blast Off With Books board. I’ve gotten rid of Achievements and am now keeping track of the number of books read by students. They fill out a little form every time they read a book.

I used my Cricut for the spaceships and letters, it’s the Boys Will be Boys cartridge.

And then I decided to move my new book displays. I got rid of the Spotlight On bulletin board, which no one ever paid any attention to anyway. I want to keep the front bookcase under the Blast Off board clear for student work this year, I’m going to select the best works and put them in flyer displays there. Taping them all to the desk just isn’t working anymore. So I want to make use of that real estate at the back of the room, where no one ever goes to look for things.

I was inspired by the Olympics this year. I should have rethought the paper I used with the white background (I never do white backgrounds), but I’m not going to stress it.

And of course most of this was done before school even started, so I had my helper with me.

And by helper, I mean she hung out quietly watching Winnie the Pooh for a little while so I could finish up.

I’m getting there. I’m really grateful for this 4 day weekend, I desperately need to decompress and spend time with that little schmoop.


First Day

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

I went back to work today, and I did much better than I thought I would. Adam stayed home with Hannah, and I got lots of photos and updates about her during the day. But I also just felt surprisingly good to be working again. Using that entire catalog of brain functions and social skills again just made me feel like a better mom when I got home. Yes, it sucked not to be able to give her hugs at any moment. And yes, I may get hysterical tomorrow when I drop her off at the sitter’s and see how she reacts to being left with someone she doesn’t know very well yet. But today I was able to leave home at home to get stuff done for the kids’ arrival tomorrow, and then I was able to leave work at work, zero in on her when I got home, and then do whatever prep I had left for tomorrow after she went to bed. I was one of the first teachers to leave the building today, and I did not feel guilty about that.

I certainly don’t have this all figured out, and I know I’m going to have more bumps with this process before we all get used to it. But today, at least, was a pretty good day. Her bag is all packed for the sitter (thanks for the bag, Steph!).

This year’s lesson plan books are all made.

My first day outfit is ready, my lunch is packed. I’m going to go chill out for a little while and think positive thoughts.

Last Night

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

So it’s now officially the last night of my maternity leave. The baby’s been put to bed (although at the moment she isn’t sleeping, just rolling around in her crib), I’ve done all the cuddling and smooching I can do now. It feels a little like skydiving or cliff jumping or something, this whole back to work thing. You know it’s probably not going to be the end of you (but hey, it might be), and you’ll feel really good and strong for having done it, but it doesn’t make taking that first step any easier. It doesn’t make it easier to see an “after,” all you see is the first step. So the best thing to do is not think about it, just dive in. I’ve been trying to get my desk organized, my back to school existence in working order, things are arranged, outfits are coordinated. But I still have a knot in my stomach.

Adam’s taking the day off to hang out with Hannah tomorrow, which I think is awesome. They’ve never had a whole daddy/daughter day together before, and it means I just have to get myself out the door the first morning. No diaper bags and car seats to juggle, I can just go. And come home. It’s just the teachers back tomorrow, so I can just focus on the finishing touches for the library and getting organized. I can do this.

I’d go pick her up for one last hug, but now she’s fast asleep.

Hannah Goes to School

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Last Friday I took Hannah to my school for the first time. I had to drop off the last of my library orders for the year, and since Hannah’s officially old enough to be out in public now I thought it would be a great opportunity to show her where Mommy works.

She was kind of a hit. We made the rounds to as many classrooms as we could, and I got this photo of some first graders who met her in the hallway outside the library. They couldn’t believe that when she’s in 1st grade they’ll be in 7th. Neither could I, frankly.

It was really nice to see everyone, especially the 4th graders. They’ll be off to the intermediate school next year, so this was probably the last chance I’ll get to see them. And even though she’s way too little to understand, it was nice to show Hannah where we went every day when she was in my belly. I’m dorky that way.