Monday, May 27, 2013

Of Career and Family

I got a phone call last week from one of my best friends:
"Jamie, a positioned opened up at my school! Language Arts! The principal thinks it will be hard to fill because no one wants to teach middle school! We could be partners!"

Wha? A job? Like a job job. A real JOB. Full time. 5 days a week. Actual responsibility to provide a quality education for other people's children.

I wasn't expecting that.

It really isn't the ideal time, but how can I not consider it? I know I still have a year before Nattie is ready to go to school, but really we could figure something out for one school year. The school is K-8 and all the kids could come to school with me. It's a really high-quality school too, so it's not as though the kids would have an educational down-grade. AND I'd be partner teachers with one of my very best friends. How cool would that be to have instant support like that?

Wow. It's actually a really tough decision. I always thought I'd get back into the job market by subbing first and building relationships with different schools and teachers. I'd get used to adding more work responsibilities to my family responsibilities before committing to full-time employment.

But I also know that getting a teaching job is not so easy these days. Openings are few and far between. Teachers aren't retiring the way it was predicted, so there are lots of fresh new grads with no jobs to fill. So how can I turn down a yellow-brick-road to an interview with a heavy recommendation?

Ack. And there's another issue here. Jason and I have been on the fence about adding to our family for a long time. Are we done with more kids or not? Ask on any given day and it's sort of a shrug. But now that Natalie is getting older (and let's face it, me too) it's very much a NOW OR NEVER issue. And we just don't know!!

It's hard when life hands you decisions that feel very much like game-show moments. Door #1 or Door #2 or Door #3? Which life do you choose? Each door presents possibilities and elements of the unknown.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Trying something new...

                                       Adam just finished his very first soccer season. Yay! 

Even though Frannie has been asking to play for several years and I keep telling her that she can't play until she's in third grade, I let Adam go ahead and play a season.


Well, sort of, but it's not so simple. It's because Adam never really wants to do anything. Swimming. No. Amusement park ride? No. Play piano? No. Ballroom dancing? No. NO! (He was emphatic on that last one.) He said to me "Mom! I like running. I want to play socco."  Finding some relief from making him do stuff (there is no negotiation on learning to swim) I overrode my "no soccer until third grade" rule and let him play.

He was jazzed. He was excited. He played his first game. And scored a goal! (The ball ricocheted off his leg.) Woo! A good start no? Weeeeell... after a few more games we soon saw that Adam loved to play soccer as long as he wasn't actually in contact with the ball or any other player.

Hmmm... soccer is kind of a hard game to get into if you don't want to touch anyone.

But he was having so much fun! Yes, but he wasn't ever touching the ball! Not for the entire game sometimes. And not for lack of opportunity.

There comes a time when you have to sit back and decide, is this something worth sticking out? Give it more of a chance? Let him grow into the sport more? Or do we simply observe a basic personality tendency (doesn't like to be aggressive with others) and just accept that hey, maybe this isn't a fit?

It's a pretty tough call.

Each week in between games I'd think, "Let's give it more time. He's not even 6 yet!" and I'd talk to other parents who told stories of their player who blossomed after two seasons.

And then game day would come and Jason and I would look at each other repeatedly during the game and think "Eeee! It really doesn't seem like this is the game for our Adam!" And again, not because he wasn't having fun, but mostly because he wasn't ever touching the ball or anyone else.

Jason's been thinking about having him try cyclocross racing since he does enjoy riding his bike so much. I'm ok with him trying that, but there's still a certain body to body aggressiveness to it with all the jockeying for position during the race. But he can certainly try it.

Adam likes to run and he likes the movement of a ball but he doesn't want to touch anyone. We considered baseball, but we're both convinced that a pop fly would cause a duck and cover.

Anyways, it's not that big of a deal.

Then yesterday, Jason came inside the house and announced "Hey you know I was hitting some balls with Adam outside and he did pretty well."


Ball + running + no contact = Adam;   Ball + running + no contact = Tennis;  Adam = Tennis?

So today I took him outside to see how he would do and to my GREAT surprise the boy can land a racket on a ball. We actually had quite a lot of back and forth. There was some control exhibited. I actually had fun and I wasn't expecting that at all. I imagined chasing balls down the street one after another. We let Natalie do the chasing, but actually she didn't have to do a ton.

So I'm heartened. I'm encouraged. Maybe we can try something new.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My little Natawee

Today she went to bed early.

It started when she wouldn't eat her dinner. And she knew that if she didn't eat her dinner she wouldn't be able to have any of the milkshake I promised to make. Well, sure enough, when dinner was over and I got to making that milkshake she wanted some, and of course I divided it amongst everyone except her. She said that I was really mean.

"You're mean to meeee!"

As I was cleaning up the kitchen I could hear the kids fighting upstairs. I knew Natalie was causing problems just because she was feeling upset about the milkshake. Soon Francesca came down saying how Natalie had closed them out of the toy room and wouldn't let her play with the doll house. I told her to just go get the doll house and bring it into the other bedroom. While the kids were doing that I soon heard more screams from upstairs. Adam was crying. Natalie was crying. Adam accused her of hitting him the face. The amount of her tears and the fact that she didn't deny it told me he was right. He was screaming crying, she was screaming crying. Neither could settle down. Jason heard all the commotion and came upstairs and scolded her for hitting him in the face, and then put her on time-out. Crying crying crying. After a few minutes I asked if she was ready to say sorry. More crying. So I let her be.

I came downstairs and just fiddled around on the computer for awhile. After about 15 minutes she was still crying up there. So I went on up and asked if she wanted to go to bed. She did. "Let's put your diaper on." She stopped crying and crawled into bed holding her bie to her face. Then she said she wanted to say sorry. So I called Adam into the bedroom. He came to her bedside and she paused for a minute and then whispered "Sorry Adam" and then flung her arms around his head and gave him a big squeeze and many kisses. He told her it was ok and left.

But now she was crying saying "Nobody likes me!"

I called the kids back to the bedroom and whispered to them that she is feeling sad about what happened, so they went to her bedside and gave her kisses and hugs and told her that she was a favorite sister.

Then she was ready for bed. "Do you want me to kiss your eyes?" Yes.

I kissed her eyes and pushed back her bangs. "I know it's hard to be three years old. You're almost four. I know it's really hard sometimes. I remember."

She nods and says "Free is really really hard. Four will be easier."

And I can tell it will be.
Three has been hard. Many many many situations like the one above. Getting slighted over one thing and escalating it more and more until into a full blown thing. This is common to me now and I don't get upset about it the way I used to. But I have seen so much improvement. I know she is maturing and she is understanding more. But it's a process and it takes a lot of time and learning.

It was just so precious to me the way she said it tonight "Three is hard. Four will be easier."