Monday, October 22, 2007

Full Circle

When I was younger, all I wanted was to be a "Mommy". I thought I would have 5 or 6 kids, many of them adopted. I imagined a house with a playroom for the kids and a craft room for myself. I would enroll them all in dance lessons and karate, and I even considered the idea of homeschooling.

Then I became a teacher. The first year I thought I wouldn't make it. The second year I told myself I'd be able to quit once I got married. But by the third year, I was beginning to enjoy what I was doing. Students I once had came back to visit and told me that I had made a difference and because of me they were getting much better grades. Some even brought their report card for me to see. Many of my former students would pop into my classroom in the afternoons or find me out in the field coaching cross country and stay for HOURS to talk. By the fourth year, though I still struggled, I felt I could teach just about anything. I was "in the groove" and finally beginning to feel organized and successful as my students' test scores showed growth. I realized that it wasn't possible for all of them to achieve A's or even for all of them to score "Proficient" on state testing, but it was possible for all of "my kids" to improve. I showed them their test scores and talked about what I expected from them. We became like a family and I even taught them how to encourage each other. They cheered when we read the test scores each trimester and continually asked when we would get the results from the "Big Test". I felt like I was making a difference.

The work was difficult, overwhelming much of the time, and many weekends I would spend the entire weekend grading papers and entering grades into the computer. Sometimes, even with Troy's help, I wouldn't get my report cards finished on time and would turn them in 2 or 3 days late. The adminsitration didn't care because they knew I was a perfectionist and they would not need to edit my report cards. Most of the time, they did not even look at them.

It is my 7th year, though I have not taught yet this year. I imagined that after having Mia, I would go back to work after the holidays. I figured that by then I would be totally bored with staying at home. Although I miss my friends at work, I am not bored and have decided that I would like to stay at home as long as possible. It's funny how my job took me so far away from my original plan. I almost didn't make it back. I still look forward to teaching in the future, but it does not consume me the way that it did and I'm excited to stay at home and teach my own child. When I go back to work, I won't have missed so many of her "firsts" and perhaps I'll feel more comfortable leaving her.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Never in My Wildest Dreams

I scheduled way more things today than I could handle. Before I had a baby, today would have been no problem. We started with a trip to the eye doctor. I fed Mia before we left and it looked like she might fall asleep before we got there. No such luck. She was not fussy, but she was tired. She had a few fussy moments while I was getting my eyes checked. Then I heard an explosion. I didn't think much of it since she makes those noises all the time and many times it's nothing. When the doctor was finished with the initial tests I picked up her car seat to go to the other room. I felt something wet on my toe. I looked down and saw baby poop. Baby poop (especially when you're breastfeeding) is watery and orangy-yellow and unmistakable. I knew what it was and I knew where it had come from (the baby of course) but I couldn't figure out how it got onto my toe when the baby was in her car seat with a blanket covering her. I picked up the blanket and saw that it was completely clean. The baby herself even looked clean. I started to unbuckle her to take her out and then it all became clear. On both sides of her pants, I could see it leaking down into the openings where the belt buckles come out. She had exploded so hard that it leaked out of her diaper, out of her pants, and down into the crevices of the belt buckle which then dripped out the bottom of the car seat onto my foot. Mystery solved. Clean up ensued. The doctor laughed. I'll make sure to tell Mia this story when she is finally old enough to get her own glasses from Dr. Chinn. How embarrassing!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

More than I Bargained For

I have to admit that this little 10 pound creature consumes a lot of time, energy, and most of my thoughts. I am constantly wondering if she is normal, if what I'm doing is right, and what the next step is. I never thought I would worry about some of the things that are now taking up much of the room in my over crowded brain. The rest of my time is spent feeding, changing, burping (the most time consuming part), teaching her to smile, playing with her in the few moments she is actually awake, getting her to sleep, and thinking about how soon she will be awake. My use of time has changed completely and I am beginning to truly understand the importance of multitasking and planning. Trips to the store are much better orchestrated than BMG (before Mia Grace) and take less time, because there just isn't any.

My newest concern is whether or not to vaccinate her. We have come to the conclusion that we are not ready to come to a conclusion before her 2 month old doctor appointment, so the decision is to wait until we find out more. I really thought I would be the type of parent who picked the binky up off the floor, wiped it on my shirt, and stuck it back in the baby's mouth. Instead, I find myself worrying that a binky is a bad idea in the first place.

Don't get me wrong. I do more than just worry. I look at my little angel's beautiful face while she's sleeping, enjoy rubbing her back while she's eating, and try to make her smile every chance I get. I just think she's amazing and wonderful . . . fearfully and wonderfully made.