Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Preschool, school, and changes!

I haven't blogged for a while, and that's because I have been very busy with some incredible life changes. I'll try to keep it brief while not missing important details.

About mid August, I saw in my church's bulletin that the church preschool was hiring. My first instinct was to dismiss it- part of me always figured I'd end up working there, maybe as an aide, because who would hire me as a lead teacher, but that was years in the future. I knew what the year held: homeschooling my younger two while working once a week with my two MOPS groups.

But the position wasn't so easy to forget, and my mind kept returning to it all day. While I was making dinner, my daughter asked when MOPS started and....the position spilled out, along with my sadness that it was opening at the wrong time. My husband immediately told me I had to apply, and my youngest quickly offered to go to school if I got the job.

By midnight that night I had created and sent off a resume, I interviewed on Wednesday, and I was offered and accepted the job on Friday. Meantime, I was busy getting Turbo enrolled in school.

I next had to take the state certification course for child care basics. The course normally takes up to 6 months, but I finished it in one, with a gold star for excellence/

So. I am now teaching 3 year olds 3 days a week in a private preschool, I still work MOPS on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My youngest child is in public school- something I never forsaw happening. (A friend told me near the start of the year that God didn't just open a door- God shoved me through) My teaching hours double tomorrow when I go from a morning class to a morning and afternoon class. Luckily, it's the same curriculum as one of the overwhelming things is taking past curricula, adding and making it my own, and turning it into something that's MINE and usable for years to come. It's really true what they say about the off clock time teachers spend working! I'm having to be even more organised, making more use of my crock pot, and even making compromises like using jarrred garlic.

I am still feeling the whirlwind.  LOVE what I am doing. Sometimes I sit back in amazement that this is my life.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Gremlins! #firstworldproblems

If you're on the internet, you probably know that Facebook was down for a while today. Sadly, that was the least of my technical difficulties.
The Xbox wouldn't connect to Youtube. This is the second time in three days. In order to do my workout, I then went looking for my strength and cardio DVD.
I found the box, but it was empty.
I decided to use my Xbox Kinect workout game. I got it booted up and tried to put in a CD (Rush) for some workout music.
The player wouldn't recognise the disk.
I played music on my phone.
By the time I managed to work out and shower, it was time for lunch. I made lunch and sat down with my laptop...and my cursor was stuck. After rebooting twice, I finally realised the F5 button had been pressed somehow, and was back in business.
Here's to hoping nothing else electronic goes wrong today!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

What have I done this summer? Not nearly as much as I planned.

When we ended our school year for the summer. Organising all the cabinets. Blogging multiple times a week.Going fun places with my kids. Lots of reading and knitting.

I have done a little of all those things. Plus I have done a lot of many other things: working, laundry, sending my middle child off to ten days in Korea, my eldest to 2 weeks in Mexico, a few concerts, and a fair amount of working out and running. I kind of organised one of the kitchen cabinets, and have funneled bags of clothes to the clothing bank. I'm part way through the year's second dredging of the girl's room.

Still, I feel I should have done much more. Next week, I will juggle participating in G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S. with ferrying my eldest to college admissions and job applications. I plan to make it fun. To try and give myself more time, I've winnowed my social media, mostly eliminating negativity. And I DO plan to blog more.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Better parenting through fear- a Friday the 13th post

If you read parenting books or websites, you'll see a wide variety of theories on how we can help our kids avoid making mistakes or do dangerous things. Helicopter Parenting! Free Range Parenting! Religion! No religion! Fear of punishment! Non coercion! the parent is always right! Open debate is encouraged!

We agonize, we make these decisions, in the hopes that our kids will exit their teenage years alive, with all their limbs intact, and hopefully without making us grandparents (unless we are OK with that because we don't want to make value judgments).We want them to stick with the buddy system in the hopes they won;t be mugged or raped or pressured into taking drugs. It can be hard to know what parenting decisions can produce the desired result.

But what if it's not that difficult. What if I told you that I'm pretty sure my kids aren't going to go parking in a cemetery...or the woods...or a cornfield? Or go drinking and having sex with all their friends in a cabin in the woods at spring break? What if I told you I lay all the credit for this at the virtual feet of Netflix?

That's right, I'm a Bad Parent. And by Bad Parent, I mean the type of parent who lets her kids watch the kind of TV shows and movies that both sweet peace loving hippie moms and nice Christian moms (both categories I identify with), do not approve of. Buffy. Angel. Supernatural. Horror movies starting with silent black and white films and going the whole way up to adaptations of Stephen King books. Shows that show that actions have consequences: like splitting up, like allowing yourselves to become isolated, like getting drunk and having your reflexes inhibited. We all know that's when the killer (who is perhaps a beast from mythology) will burst out of the bushes and tear you to shreds.

So a little fear? It's a good thing, maybe. Even if the monsters will probably be all too human. Now, if I could just convince my kids that they'd be happy they worked out if they had to run from a psycho killer...

Saturday, June 07, 2014

How being a religious progressive is like being a good man (are you like that?)

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been pondering how I can relate to the "not all men" issue from the place of my own experiences. In the course of these weeks, I've engaged in several conversations with men on that topic, one of which I felt went well and renewed my dedication to respectful discourse.
My experiences as a progressive Christian in a world where my religion is often painted as conservative and narrow minded serves well. It's difficult to see "all people like you" lambasted for the extreme actions of a crazy few. It's easy to want to protest "not all of us"...and I have, frequently, in the past. I'm sure I still do. But one thing I have learned by listening to marginalized people is that verbally protesting "But we're not all like that!" is at best, meaningless, and at worst, sounds like one is protesting too much. I have done my best to stop doing that. That's why I chose not to involve myself with the Not All Like That Christians Project , even though I support being open and affirming. Because I know how people react to the "not all like that" phrase, I instead choose to share positive stories of religious people working for full equality. When someone posts about the excesses of a "prosperity gospel" preacher, I remind myself not to say "Not all pastors are like that!"...I know it won't be long until I can share another story of Pope Francis humbly advocating for the poor. And I have made a vow to share the positive stories...of people, whether my co-coreligionists or not, who make a positive difference in this world.
The thing is, you can't change someone's perception of the group you belong to by protesting that you are good , that others in your group are good. You need to BE it. You need to show it. You need to share positivity in it's own space, and not shout it over the words of the marginalized.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Braiding and hand holding

When you take the parenting path I did, there's a lot of physical contact. For the first year of my kids' lives, my body was their main source of nutrition,I wore my babies, and they all slept in the family bed for 2-3 years.

And then they get older and that fades, reduced to a hug now and then if you're lucky. I can see my youngest leaving that phase.

But I still have a small thing with my daughter, my middle child. My child who breastfed and coslept the longest. She still wants me to braid her hair.
She's 15, and she's had two trims in her life (her choice). She has waist length hair that tends to wave. As often as not, she'll come to me in the evening after her shower, when my husband and I are sitting watching something probably produced by BBC, or maybe Syfy, while I knit. She brings her hair brush and ties. I put down my knitting, detangle her hair, and braid two braids. I take my time. I don't know how long she'll ask.

This week, my two younger kids had their standardized testing. It's held at a church about a mile from our house,so we walk. As we were walking home, she walked ahead, holding hands with her 11 year old brother. This also is passing,way too fast.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Because things like this happen when we talk about rape culture

A few days ago, in response to the two shootings in California, I posted this on my facebook and other social media"

It's no longer enough for those of us raising sons to teach them manners or "how to treat a lady" or even to have a father who is a wonderful example. We have to specifically teach our sons "Don't rape, threaten, or kill a girl for turning you down." Anything less is no longer enough.

I have come to expect, over the past couple of years, that when I post something about the basic safety of women, or about privilege, there are a couple of acquaintances sure to chime in with a dissenting opinion ("Not all men are like that!" "I'm a straight white man and I sure don't feel privileged!")  Now, on many topics I am open to and even encourage a certain amount of respectful dissent; that's how we learn about each other, how to respect those with different opinions.  But in this case, one of my usual suspects chimed in with the opinion that:

  • Sexual assault statistics are overblown
  • That it would be damaging to specifically teach our boys not to rape and kill
  • That people (I'm assuming girls) must be taught that HOW THEY REJECT PEOPLE HAS CONSEQUENCES
  • That women's concerns about their safety were baseless
He continued in this vein, even when several women shared their stories of sexual assault. The disrespect was painful.

It's worth noting at this point that this man was on my friends list via a fan club we have both been members of. Among other reasons, I have drifted away from the group due to an underlying culture of objectification. It's just not fun to costume up and play pretend with other geeks when you know you'll be objectified ( this has even gone to the point of "jokes" about taking out my husband to make me available. But it's a compliment, you know!) Since I am unlikely to have the uncomfortable experience of seeing this man again, I unfriended him. He later messaged me thanking me for taking down the conversation because it was "getting too personal). I responded that because he so often dismissed women's fears, I had unfriended him and was now blocking him (which I did). 
He sent me an email saying "things had gone too far". I sent it to Spam. So far, nothing more.

My experience is a mild one. In all of this, I have never felt unsafe. I haven't been threatened. I feel fortunate for that. Many women do face threats when we speak out against rape culture. Which is why we must never stop doing it.