Say “cheese”…

Today was Kinder photo day.

My only rule for the day was that none of the kids were allowed to look better than me.

Although considering I was greeted yesterday by one parent telling me how tired I looked, perhaps that rule wasn’t fair to the fresh faced 4 year olds that I teach.

I wore lipstick today and was asked more than 40 times why I had paint on my mouth.

The kids came in their best clothes and the photographer wanted pictures of the kids painting but not in smocks so all the staff were slightly on edge.

I had an idea that perhaps all the staff should have their photos taken on the trikes or going down the slide.

This idea was quickly shot down by my colleagues.

It got me thinking though that perhaps we can all have a little bit more fun.

Be a little bit sillier.

Climb the monkey bars.

Paint rainbows.

Jump in the mud.

Play kiss chasey (in a non threatening or sexually harassing way).

Roll a sausage out of play dough.

Make a sandcastle.

Laugh loudly at fart noises.

Ignore adults when they call your name over 400 times.

Okay not that last one although I can totally understand why kids do that and sometimes wish that I could too.

So my lesson for today is try and have more fun. Embrace the silly. Giggle whenever someone says the word bottom.

And hope like hell that the big pimple on the side of your nose isn’t too obvious in this years Kinder photo.

xx

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Can/Can’t

Sometimes I literally can’t.

Except that I can.

So I do.

Right well enough of the cryptic crap. How are we all?

I slammed the car door on my foot yesterday morning. That would be an automatic fail on your drivers license.

*Unable to get into car safely.*

It hurt a lot and there was nobody else around to extract sympathy from so I just drove quietly to work. And by quietly I mean quietly convinced that it was broken in several places and needed plaster.

I limped around for a bit and then my colleague suggested we put together a trike we had ordered for the Kinder kids… with the kids helping.

3 minutes of the kids “helping” us assemble a trike and my foot no longer hurt but I was quietly convinced that my brain was about to explode.

4 year olds (so many bloody 4 year olds) plus assembling things with instructions, tools and small parts is literally (not literally. It rarely ever is literally) a recipe for disaster.

(In a side note a recipe for literal disaster would probably involve an explosive or a high amount of laxatives or possibly both.)

After the trike was assembled I called a halt to the session and got all the kids to lie on the floor while we listened to classical music and practiced deep breathing.

My patience had expired with 4 hours of the session remaining and we hadn’t even started fighting over who would get a turn on the trike yet.

Monday was supposed to be the hardest day of the week. Tuesday not much better but Wednesday was going to be good.

Until it wasn’t.

The small things undo you when you don’t see them coming.

It’s the little things that make and break you.

I am a little bit tired of living in my head. I’m considering renting it out and living under a rock for while.

I literally can’t even.

Except that I can.

And so can you. xx

Where there’s smoke…

My son had a sore leg.

I couldn’t find a heat bag so I microwaved a small towel instead and now the house smells like smoke.

But thankfully there was no fire.

Just a small analogy to sum up my life at the moment. Also a true fact of where my brain is at right now.

Perhaps I should have slightly moistened it first?

I am making some poor choices while being scrutinised for big ones.

Yesterday at work we had our 3 yearly assessment and rating done.

Every time the lady asked who was responsible for something, for example fees, enrollments, policies and every single other thing the answer was ME.

The lady gently interrogated me for an hour and a half before the session started and then took notes for the next 5 hours while the kids were there.

During that 5 hours we had 2 separate biting incidents, a child pushed from the top of the slide and I had to make a lengthy phone call.

It was one of the worst days ever but she saw us all coping our best and she told me how good I was at staying calm.

Ha! Staying calm in the middle of a hurricane of 4 year olds is the most physically and mentally draining thing that I do.

Making up and implementing strategy after strategy when all of the previous ones fail but knowing hiding in the bathroom for more than 3 minutes is not an option.

(The previous paragraph goes for parenting/marriage at home too.)

So I survived Monday only to wake up on Tuesday bitterly disappointed that it wasn’t Wednesday and closer to the weekend.

Things happen, life happens and sometimes you end up singeing a tea towel in the microwave.

The house didn’t burn down but it smells of smoke.

Nobody died but we’re not operating at optimal capacity either.

It’s not that bad but not that good.

xx

Discourse discontent…

Oh my golly goodness gosh.

I could insert a rant here and get some serious hurts that I have off my chest.

But I won’t.

Because there is enough bloody whinging going on in the world.

And by whinging I don’t mean people protesting against issues that need to be heard and atrocities that only seem to be fixed when enough people say enough.

I’m talking about Facebook groups where people complain about school car parking.

Naming and shaming with gay abandon.

I’m talking about people on Twitter who don’t have anything nice to say EVER. And yes I know the whole point of Twitter is to give a voice to those who would be too scared to ever say the vile filth they type anonymously in real life.

But it honestly all just breaks me sometimes.

There is so much pulling down.

So much pointing out faults.

Constant disagreements with strangers while using poor punctuation.

I actively avoid confrontation.

It scares me.

I don’t want to upset anyone or be misconstrued or offensive to a minority I don’t even know exists so I keep quiet.

I do not have the strength to fight the feedback or engage with others in the comments section so instead I abstain.

I mean I rant in my head and roll my eyes as much as the next person when someone posts something vague or cryptic but my skin is now too thin.

Strangely enough having thin skin doesn’t effect my weight when it comes to the scales.

There was a time when people could agree to disagree.

And had open minds.

And could listen to someone else without the need to publicly correct and humiliate them.

Kindness is lacking.

Or maybe it’s not.

But it would be nice if being right wasn’t the main purpose of every interaction.

If winning wasn’t everything.

Spread love.

Or spread butter and honey on your crumpets, make yourself a hot drink and ignore the crazy conversations of others for a bit.

xx

I’m a survivor…

My husband was home for 30 hours this weekend and now he has gone away again.

I’m back to parenting on my own while still not feeling 100% and with a huge to do list for work tomorrow plus educating 26 (possibly 27 if I get a new one tomorrow) darling children.

The school clothes are laid out ready and the lunch boxes are semi packed.

I’m as ready as I can be because it’s all I can do.

Tonight I still have to get the boys to shower, brush their teeth and go to bed and hopefully have an uninterrupted nights sleep.

Maybe my youngest will stay in his own bed and not wake up angry in the morning. Maybe but probably not.

I’m too tired to fight them so I give in and let them get away with too much.

It’s survival mode.

But it’s always survival mode.

My husband is away a lot and I tend to take the path of least resistance while he’s away but he’s away so often that it becomes the norm.

I said this to a friend the other day. I’m in survival mode all the time.

And she said to me that we all are.

We’re all trying to get through this hour or this day or this week.

We’re all trying our best but not always achieving what we’d like.

And maybe that’s what life is.

Maybe life is just getting through this next bit.

I remember when I was breast feeding and it seemed like my life would start again when I stopped.

And when the kids got out of nappies.

And started school.

And it just keeps going doesn’t it?

Yesterday I had a 90 minute massage and it was amazing.

90 minutes for me where I wasn’t worried about anything except my side boobs while lying on my tummy.

The lady wrapped me up in lots of towels. Like a cocoon. Like a safe place.

There were essential oils and possibly some non essential oils too.

It was a different type of survival mode. It was looking after me time. It was sanity in its most naked (except for undies) form.

It gave me a boost to survive this week. To get though a week where I have to care for so many people without getting a real lot in return.

Breathe in and breathe out.

I can outwit, outlast and outplay this week.

xx

Diary of a Pre-School teacher…

Tuesday August 2nd.

Wake up at 6:00. Get up at 6:20. Make breakfast smoothie, drink coffee, shower and dress for work.

Drive to work.

Arrive at 7:10 and print off policies for all staff. Blah! (Should have been done 2 years ago but there’s no time like the present.)

Take down chairs. Put kettle on.

8:30 Open door and greet children and families.

9:00 New office chair is delivered. Open box and remove chair bits.

4 children climb in the box. One injured. Box is banned and put outside.

9:20 Write a notice for all the families reminding them not to park in the disabled carpark and not to swear at other families when they are blocked in while parked illegally in the disabled carpark.

9:30 Office supplies are delivered. Realise you ordered wrong size masking tape. Could care less.

9:40 Have an argument in broken English with a family about the fact that even though their son is 4 he has missed the cut off for attending preschool this year. Need to be 4 by 30th April. His birthday is 5th May.

They tell me they have an appointment. I tell them they don’t. They tell me to check my computer. I tell them that I’m the only one who knows how to use the computer and their are no appointments on it.

10:00 Reptile show arrives. I attempt not to faint or run away when the snakes come out. Then I hold a 4 metre Python called Tiny just to show the kids it’s okay. It wasn’t.

11:00 Try to get a small boy to eat his banana. He spits banana on me. I tried twice more then gave up.

11:10 Another boy wets his pants. He has a change of clothes in his bag but his shoes are sopping wet so we send him home.

12:00 A girl gets pushed off the top of the slide. Not down the slide but off the slide by her best friend. We send her home too.

12:15 We receive a call from the Education Department asking for our Quality Improvement Plan. I tell them it was submitted it but email it to them anyway. I then lose the email they sent me and my reply so maybe it didn’t happen?

12:30 Eat lunch. Or rather a boy eats his lunch while sitting on my lap. Then when he’s finished I reheat some pizza from the night before.

20 children then ask me if I’m eating pizza while I’m eating pizza.

(Looking back on the day this was about the time the kids really defeated me. Synchronised pizza questions will do that.)

12:45 Follow up call from the family that visited in the morning. Reiterate everything said in the morning until they hang up on me.

1:00 Coughing fit. Leave room to drink water.

1:30 Dismiss class.

1:40 Attempt to assemble office chair.

1:50 Eat 4 chocolate biscuits and bang head on the wall to aid digestion and alleviate headache.

2:00-2:30 Stare at chair and screws and instructions.

2:30 Place chair bits in colleagues car for her husband to assemble at home.

2:35 Leave work.

So that was my working day. It was one of those days where we all stared at each other and wondered what was going wrong.

We counted down the minutes until home time and then realised the clock on the wall was 3 minutes fast and we wondered if we were stuck in a vortex where home time never comes.

I love working with children but sometimes they break me.

Today they won.

They won as a team and as individuals.

But I had pizza and biscuits and the policies got done and I may or may not have resubmitted an important document and I didn’t have to assemble any furniture.

I told a little boy that I think he’s amazing and clever and that I love being his teacher. (I don’t think that he gets much love at home.)

My point is this: Please be kind to teachers because some days are just awful.

If in doubt give them chocolate and home made baklava and flowers and coffee.

Or just say thank you and tell them you appreciate them. xx