Professor Mom

Chronicles the life of a mom, teacher, and writer trying to stay sane amid the chaos of daily life.

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January 31, 2012
We are starting the fourth week of the new semester, and I'm already horribly behind. The kids are both fighting head colds, and getting them up and going in the morning has taken double the amount of work (triple for L.). We can't seem to make a dent in the laundry pile. The stack of quizzes to grade doesn't seem to be getting any smaller, and the papers are piling up. Although I would love a day to stay in bed, I have been fantasizing lately about having a day to catch up--no students, no course prep, just me in my office, working my way through the grading, and crossing off...
January 30, 2012
Saturday was a rocky sort of day, in ways we hadn't seen in awhile, and so had been lulled into complacency. It started out rocky for different reasons, but peaked when later that afternoon, for a frightening twenty minutes I couldn't find L. in our Target store--not because he had absent-mindedly wandered away but--and this is the terrifying part--he walked away from me in a fit of anger while I was checking out, and disappeared into the yawning behemoth that is any Target store. One minute he was in line behing me kicking me in the shins, and the next he was gone. It is one thing, I...
January 27, 2012
T. had her first solo performance at school yesterday. She even slept in curlers the night before, so she could have real ringlets for the Big Day. Her class has been working on an "Expressions" project the past few weeks. The assignment was to pick a motto that best describes their values, write up a paragraph describing the motto, and telling why it is important to them, and then they could pick an artistic way to express themselves--through art, music, skits, dance, etc. T. saw the musical Annie (hence the wish for curly hair) on DVD over Christmas and fell in love with the...
January 25, 2012
If you ask T. what she wants to be when she grows up, she'll tell you "a scientist!" Then she will go on to qualify that and say, more specifically, that she wants to study marine biology. Awhile back I remember telling both kids that I had wanted to study zoology in college, but was held back from my aspirations because of math. To be fair, it wasn't math that held me back, but my reluctance to get my mind around it enough to push through the harder courses. Math gives me a headache. I think I do have some type of learning disability when it comes to numbers...
January 24, 2012
I had to make a trip to my local Apple store yesterday, with both kids in tow. They had the day off from school (teacher workday) and Scott took them to an admissions fair in the morning. When I was done with my classes for the day, I rearranged my office hours and met up with him in the parking lot outside his building. Just like the old days. I like it when that happens; when I find myself slipping back into a routine that had once been so ingrained in me, and so familiar. We don't often have a reason to swap the kid-baton in a parking lot these days, but when we do it still evokes...
January 23, 2012
It's been a long time since I've put up a recipe post. It may seem like I haven't been busy much in the kitchen, but I have. I got this new cookbook for Christmas, and I've been enjoying meal planning each week, and looking forward to trying out the recipes. But sometimes the camera is out of batteries, or the meal/dessert is so yummy I forgot to snap a picture before it's all gone, and then another food post opportunity has passed me by. I made a scrumptious seitan and mushroom recipe, simmered in red wine and shallots. Scott was thrilled I made a dish with mushrooms. I...
January 19, 2012
I'm reading my way through stacks of letters of introduction that my students wrote last week. While it's a lot of reading, I also enjoy these letters so much. Years ago I realized that if I wanted to get more from my students than a simple "Hi my name is _______ and I'm from ________" I would need to structure the letter assignment and provide them with actual categories to focus on, turning the letter into more of a social location assignment. Since I changed up the assignment, I've been rewarded with extremely detailed and moving letters from students describing--...
January 18, 2012
My little nephew started crawling the other day. When I watched the video clip of him, I saw so much of L. at that age--same big, blue eyes, same wide grin, same fluff of hair. L. was an avid crawler. He started at 7 months and was so focused and purposeful about it that it was a sheer delight to watch him scoot in record speed across the floor. I worried, though, as soon as he perfected his crawl. Would he pry a socket cover off and stick his drooly fingers in the outlet? Would he find a stray cord, or some choking hazard lying unnoticed in some crevice? I got down on all fours each day and...
January 17, 2012
  T. and I are very alike, in that we both love to plan a good party. And even though T. has to wait the same amount of time for her birthday to roll around as everyone else, I think there's something about having a January birthday that makes her think she has to wait longer. As a result, she often starts planning and talking about her birthday party as early as Halloween, and by the time we're opening up that first Advent calendar window, she's got most of the details of her party pretty well worked out. Last year, T. had a puppy rescue party, and it was a huge hit....
January 16, 2012
I have a big birthday party post simmering on the back burner, but I'll have it up tomorrow. It was a busy, fun-filled weekend, and I spent most of Sunday in recovery mode after T.'s party: just enjoying a day to unwind, and soak up the quiet. I went for a long run in the morning (I love it when it's cold out, and the air just winds its way all through you and wakes you up) , and we visited the flea market (the kids scored some books!), and Scott's mom and I took L. to see "The Adventures of Tintin" while Scott and T. headed off to a Y-Princess meeting. If you  ...
January 13, 2012
T. is eight-years old today. Eight. It's a lovely number, rounded at the top, and rounded at the bottom. Turned on its side, the number eight becomes the infinity symbol, everlasting and perpetual. On this day, at eight, T. is all about musicals, and belting out "Tomorrow" and dancing in front of the big bathroom mirror. She wants to be a scientist when she grows up, and study marine animals. She loves her dolls, but sleeps each night with an old beloved t-shirt she outgrew long ago. She loves to cook and bake and she always--always--wakes up with a big smile...
January 11, 2012
L. got a cool NASA calendar for Christmas. But, when it came time for me to sit down and update our family calendar, I realized that we didn't have a new 2012 one. We keep our family calendar hanging in the kitchen, where we can all see it, and add/amend it as needed. I went on a search for a new 2012 calendar, and found L.'s NASA one buried under some books on top of his dresser. "Hey L.," I said. "Would it be okay if we used your NASA calendar as our family calendar? "Sure!" L. said generously. Before hanging it up, I flipped through the pages to see the...
January 10, 2012
A few weeks ago, my husband discovered that one of his CDs was missing. He hadn’t listened to it in awhile, but despite the fact that he has dozens and dozens of CDs, and over 1,000 record albums, and maybe 50 cassette tapes, he noticed that the CD was gone. This led him to spend a lot of time wondering who had borrowed it, and how he could get it back. It also prompted him to think about other things he had lent out, and where they were, and how he could get them back. Fast forward to New Year’s Day. We have a family tradition that at dinner on New Year’s Day, we take turns...
January 9, 2012
Have you seen these things yet? T. got a few in her Christmas stocking, and it was the first time I had ever come across them. Generally speaking, I am leery of tiny collectible toys that are so difficult to keep track of. Fortunately, T. hasn't ever really been interested in Polly Pockets, and the Squinkies thing? She can take it or leave it, she said. But she clearly enjoyed playing with them for a few days, until they disappeared. Our neighbors across the street confirmed that all the Squinkies their girls had received for Hannukah had also mysteriously disappeared. Gone to Squinkie-...
January 6, 2012
I am not a procrastinator by nature, but I've been procrastinating about going back to work myself. It didn't help that there was some confusion about the start date for this semester's classes, and for weeks I thought that classes started this past Wednesday. I only realized on Tuesday, after a series of frantic text messages back and forth between colleagues, that classes start this Monday. So suddenly, gloriously, I found myself with a small handful of extra days. A small handful of kid-free days. I finished a book. I cleaned out my pantry. I did some extra shopping for T...
January 5, 2012
I've shifted the time I swim laps at the pool from lunchtime (around noon) to 8:00 am. While others might shudder at the thought of jumping into a lukewarm pool at 7:45 or 8:00 on these wintry dark mornings, I like it. I hate feeling groggy, and a brisk swim workout first thing certainly gets my blood flowing. When I used to swim at noon, I found myself the youngest at the pool, surrounded in the locker room by elderly, white-haired ladies, all congregating there for a water aerobics class. Now that I go in the mornings, I find myself the oldest woman in the locker room, surrounded by...
January 3, 2012
A friend called me yesterday. “Have you prepared the kids for going back to school?” she asked. Sort of, I told her. Psychologically, at least. Maybe. About a week ago we began dropping little references about school into our conversations with L. We let him know how many days of vacation were left—almost a week, at the time we had the conversation. Yet although L. claimed to be happy school would start in one week, I could sense waves of anxiety rising off of him at the mere mention of it. I have spent eleven plus years tuned into this child; there is little, I think, that...
January 2, 2012
I've always found New Year's Day to be a bipolar sort of occasion, marked by extreme opposite ranges of emotions all crowding in for time in the spotlight. Even as a young child, I always felt both the thrill of a new year and the weight of the passage of time. I remember being awed and saddened, too, by the idea that one year was gone forever. I was often, on New Year's Eve, kept awake by the thought that a new year awaited, stretching out ahead like an empty patch of ocean, and that the familiar landscape of the poor old year, with all its bumps and glorious parts, had receded...