If all of my days were like today, I think I would have a very different life. I don’t know if that would be good or bad, but it would definitely be different.
Last night, instead of watching TV while Odie and V went for a walk, I planned lessons for my first week back from winter break. I’d call it Christmas break, but clearly I hate America. Now, I always plan lessons, of course, but last night I actually wrote out my lesson plans like we had to do in grad school for our teaching courses. Usually, I outline what I’m going to do in my planning book, and then use my amazing gifts of improvisation supported by deep content knowledge to get through my classes. Today, when I taught, it was like a well-oiled machine (or a hackneyed simile). In fact, things were going so well that I even told the students I am fifteen weeks pregnant. My students are ESL kids, so there was a, ahem, pregnant pause after I said the words as their brains translated my news into their language, reacted, then translated their reactions back into English. There were mostly congratulations, a few snickers (heh, heh, heh, she had SEX), and one, “Good! Then we’ll have a sub!” I enjoyed bursting her bubble, telling her this baby is due in July, so she was out of luck in the sub department. You’ll be proud of me when I tell you I refrained from adding, “In your FACE!”
I have not been a good teacher this year. Morning sickness and fatigue kicked my ass for thirteen weeks straight. Additionally, I caught every virus V brought home from day care. Most days, I have been lucky to be adequate. Lucky to drag myself through my teaching day and make it to lunch. My schedule is a dream. I teach periods 1-4 (8:00-12:30), have lunch, then my prep period from 1-2, at which point I am free to leave. I have been useless after lunch. I stroll back to my classroom with every intention of grading papers, planning lessons, preparing the boards for the next day, only to sink into my desk chair in a waking coma, accomplishing nothing. Well, if you consider keeping lunch down “nothing.”
Today, I returned to my classroom, graded all of the papers I collected today, entered the grades into the gradebook, prepared a worksheet and set of notes for tomorrow and Wednesday, ordered copies for the rest of the week, cleaned my desk, and left right as the final bell of the day rang.
From work, I drove to the grocery store and bought only items we needed and carefully chose those with the best prices. I can be impulsive in a grocery store, and we are on a super tight budget after some holiday extravagance (worth it). I never leave the store for under a hundred dollars. Today? SEVENTY BUCKS! High five!
Next, I picked my daughter up from day care. By this time, my back had started aching in earnest and my hormone headache was picking up steam. Seeing my toddler gleefully running around with other toddlers, pretending to be a pack of dogs apparently, was a momentary salve. It ain’t Tylenol with Codeine, but it’ll do.
The hardest part was when we got home. V does this thing when I try to put her down where she has no bones in her legs. And if I set her down anyway, she will go into full-blown toddler tantrum, face-down, pounding the ground with her fists and feet. Not convenient when there are groceries to bring in the house. I tried to entice her by saying we were going to walk outside, but when I tried to put her shoes on, she told me, “No shoes, no shoes, NO SHOES!” building to a crescendo of child-fury that left my ears ringing. So I had to carry in the groceries one bag at a time with my 25 pound child on my hip. Back pain? What back pain?
After I put the groceries away, I was ready to do what I think all mothers do eventually: let her throw her damn tantrum on the floor until she was sick of it. I washed the dishes. When Odie arrived home from work and saw his daughter screaming impotently on the kitchen floor, his face said it all. “The perfect end to my day.” He needed to have more faith in me, as it turned out. I chopped and sautéed some vegetables, heated beans, grated cheese, warmed tortillas, and made fajita burritos for dinner. We sat down as a family at the table, and even my picky little tantrum thrower ate a bowl of refried beans and a few slices of avocado. Just when I thought I’d never get her to sample anything but yogurt until the end of time. Odie was so happy to see her eat, he volunteered to give her a bath.
Did I use this time to look at Facebook, catch up on celebrity gossip, or obsessively check my blog stats? I did NOT! I did the dishes, put away the leftover food and got my clothes ready for work tomorrow. We have two cats and one dog and those three animals shed more hair than Alec Baldwin in a tub of Nair. If I don’t take a pet roller to every item of clothing I wear, I end up looking like I’m modeling Cruella DeVille’s Fall Collection.
Not once did I turn the TV on today. I was too busy getting stuff done. It felt good. Better than good. I’d polish my nails on my lapel and declare myself Supermom and Superwife, except I was unable to squeeze in sexually gratifying my husband at any point. Whoopsie! He didn’t seem to notice. At seven, when I lay down with V and put her to sleep, Odie lay down beside us and he was out even faster. As I write this, I’m looking at both of them on the monitor, sleeping peacefully, and one cat staring at the camera with her green glowing devil eyes.
Part of me feels like this is the kind of life grown-ups are supposed to lead, and I shouldn’t pat myself on the back too hard. On the other hand, I missed my leisure today. I’m a person of extremes and always have been (see? “always”). But today was an extremely good day.