Category Archives: SOL17

Momom, help. #SOL17

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“Momom, help,” my daughter says after struggling to open her marker.

“Momom, help,” she says, pulling the chair away from her table.

“Momom, help,” as her hands reach for the coloring book she has left on the floor.

“Momom, help.”  The top of the marker has come off of the back of the marker and this cannot be allowed to stand.

“Momom, help,” as she decides she no longer wants to color that page but this one.

“Momom, help,” gesturing to the Thin Mint her father gave her that she left on the floor.  (Thin Mints are the worst cookie to give a toddler.  Chocolate EVERYWHERE.)

I have been home for less than 20 minutes, and I have heard “Momom, help” over two dozen times.  But help I do.  Because the other day I asked if she need help getting off the couch.

“No no,” she replied, shimmying backwards until her feet landed on the ground and bounding away.

So I help for as long as she’ll let me.

 

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. You can find out more about the challenge here!
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Family #SOL17

slice-of-life

We had a packed house today.  My sister-in-law and her wife brought their daughter to play with Baby McK.  To be fair, there’s not a lot of “playing” a 17 month old can do with a 7 week old.  But she didn’t mind.  My daughter has not been able to stop talking about her new baby cousin.  She says her name, Kaelyn, more often than any other word some days (even more than Elmo, which is saying a LOT).

My brother-in-law decided to capitalize on the proximity of his sister and niece by coming over too.  My sister came over because I left my phone at a party last night and she was returning it.

My daughter was thrilled.  All of her favorite people in one place.  She popped from loved one to loved one, spending more time with the baby than anyone else.  Tonight, as I put her to bed, she recounted her day, saying, “Night night” to everyone she saw today.

It was a long day and I didn’t get to accomplish anything I wanted to accomplish.  But it was nice to be surrounded by family; I was reminded how lucky we are that we can see each other so regularly.

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. You can find out more about the challenge here!

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Filed under Baby McK, SOL17

Notebooks #SOL17

I had an important workshop today about Guided Reading.  I am a new K-12 Language Arts Literacy supervisor, but in my former life I was a high school teacher.  While I know the outlines of elementary education because of various early teaching experiences, I am always trying to learn more.  So I was ready to sit down with my notebook and take as many notes as I could.

I have a notebook for important things.  I’ve been keeping it since I started at my new position in July.  It is carefully indexed so I can easily find information I might need in the future.  It has gone with me to every important workshop and meeting I’ve had in the last nine months.

But this morning, as I settled the presenter in and readied myself for the workshop, I realized that the notebook was not in my bag.  It was in my office.  I panicked.  Yes, I could always take digital notes (and I had been planning on taking digital notes as well as hard copy notes anyway).  But my notebook allows for freedom that the computer does not.  I can write in the margins, make connections.  Computers just don’t do that.

I frantically searched my bag.  I found a small, pocket-sized Moleskin my sister had given me.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with it when she gave it to me, so I did almost nothing.  I had filled a few pages with random notes from a department meeting when I had no other paper, but I hadn’t done much else.  It was a beautiful notebook (don’t Moleskins always make you feel Parisian?  They make me feel Parisian.), and I didn’t want to “ruin” it by using it haphazardly.

But lately I’ve been inspired by the many journal posts I’ve seen, the authentic writing I’ve been doing.  So I kept the notebook on the table in front of me.  And while I took my formal, digital notes, I also kept gems in the notebook: reminders of things I wanted to remember about the workshop, about teaching, about life.  I think I’ll continue to use the notebook this way: as a place to record my thoughts and thinking that I want to remember, even if it’s not as carefully organized as the rest of my note-taking.  It felt authentic and real, and isn’t that what writing is supposed to feel like?

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. You can find out more about the challenge here!

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Marathoning Meb

I wrote this today as an entry to a contest to run in the 2017 NYC Marathon alongside Meb Keflezighi, my favorite runner.  I am not an elite runner by any stretch of the imagination, but Meb inspires me. 

 

Meb is the reason I thought I could run a marathon. Corny, but true. I watched Meb in the 2012 Olympics, after I’d completed my first half marathon. Meb is an everyman. He doesn’t look like the other runners; he doesn’t act like the other runners. Meb is a friend you’re cheering on, not an imposing elite athlete.

I ran the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon with my twin sister. We were both undertrained and nervous. We dedicated each mile to a member of our family or our friend group. Our first mile, though, was to Meb. “To Meb,” my sister said as we ran the past the mile marker. “Who got us started in the first place.”

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My sister, husband, and I at the end of the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon

I haven’t run a marathon since 2013 or a half marathon since 2015. I had a baby, was beset by injuries. But when I told my sister (who had also been plagued with injuries) I thought I might hang up my shoes she was aghast. “You can’t quit!” she said. “What would Meb think?!” So we bought Meb’s book and we’re both back in the proverbial race. She is racing the NYC Half in March; I’m racing the Brooklyn Half in May. We’d both hoped to get into the marathon so we could say we ran with Meb.

I may never meet Meb. But I know him. And he’s changed me.   That’s why I’d be honored to run with him in NYC this fall.

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  You can find out more about the challenge here!

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Dance Party #SOL17

My daughter is silly.  I wish she was snuggly.  I wish she was a kid who wanted to crawl in my lap and sit together, showering each other with kisses and hugs.  But she’s not.  She’s a kid who will kiss every stuffed animal you hand her, but who will run away giggling when her mother or father puckers up.  She is a kid who will pull me into her tent (“Momom.  Tent.”) to hide from Dad, breaking into hysterics as he pretends to look for us.

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My silly girl, laughing with a mouth full of scrambled eggs.

I was a silly kid.  I was a silly adolescent.  I was a silly young adult.  But somewhere between freshman year of high school and freshman year of college I lost a little of that silliness.  It still came out from time to time (a joke, a funny face), but self-consciousness about peers and boys and my body took over.  Then came college and I was serious, a competitor, cool.  And the silliness was almost all gone.

My husband brings out my silliness.  He is a goofball to say the least.  But even though I am silly with him, I am often reserved.  I don’t skip or jump or play games.  I write lists; I make plans; I stand with both feet firmly on the ground.

I come from a silly family.  I have very clear memories of my father playing The Little Mermaid soundtrack on a portable tape player and dancing through the lobby of our apartment building.  He made up voices on our way to school to make us giggle and wake us up (Olly and Dr. Ishkabibble, although he claims he does not remember this).  I know I want to be that silly mom for my daughter; I don’t want her laughs to only come with Dad.

So tonight as I was making her dinner and she colored in her high chair I put on a Disney Spotify playlist.  I found myself dancing as I flipped her scrambled eggs (my girl LOVES scrambled eggs.  Yuck.) when all of a sudden a heard a giggle.  I turned and she was looking at me, marker poised over her paper, giggling.

“What are you laughing at, silly girl?”  I asked.  She reached her hand out for mine.  I walked over to her and she began to swing my hand back and forth, giggling.  She wanted to dance.

So I turned the scrambled eggs off.  They needed to cool anyway.  And I danced.  I jumped and I skipped and I did my best Tina Turner as I sang to Disney classics (and not so classics.  But that’s another story.).  And my girl laughed and laughed.  After dinner we continued our dance party, this time with her joining me in my sweet moves until my husband came home.  As he walked in, we were both giggling uproariously, as we jumped chasing each other around the island in our kitchen.  He joined in and I got to take a deep breath.  My silly stamina isn’t quite where it should be, but I’m getting there.

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  You can find out more about the challenge here!

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Filed under Baby McK, SOL17

Mornings #SOL17

It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge again!  Astute readers may notice that I have not posted on this blog since . . . the last March Slice of Life Challenge.  But I so enjoyed the Slice of Life Challenge last year, so I’m trying again!

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One of my New Years goals (I won’t say resolution) was to use my mornings better.  To get up earlier and alternate between running and working on my dissertation.  But I can count on one hand the number of mornings I have woken up before the very last minute necessary.

Still, I know that I need to use my mornings better.  I’m in a new position this year, and it demands a lot more hours at school than my life as a classroom teacher did.  I don’t usually get home before 5:00.  I have a beautiful 16 month old daughter (17 months tomorrow!); when I come home from work, while my daughter is still awake, I do not do work or anything but be present with her. She takes my hand the moment I walk in the door, sometimes before I can even take my heels off!  We walk her toy dog and go on fake picnics and color (purple and blue are her favorites, but I think that’s because those are the colors she can say), but I do not run and I do not work on my dissertation.  This was a promise I made myself when I finished my maternity leave and I’ve stuck to it so far; I only have a few hours of uninterrupted time a day with her, so I don’t waste them.  My daughter is usually asleep by 8:00.  I try my hardest to have dinner with her, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.  Exhaustion hits some time between 10 and 10:30.  So I really only have a few hours to myself if I’m not using my mornings well.

This morning I was so sure I was going to get some “me time.”  I woke up early after falling asleep on the couch at 9:00 (it’s been a long week already!), and I was excited to get my workout clothes on for the first morning almost all year.  It wasn’t as early as I wanted to get up (I may have hit the snooze button a few times) but it was early enough to get a few miles in.  That’s when I heard it.  Not crying; she almost never cries in the morning.  The sweet babble of my girl talking to Cookie Monster in her crib.  I was torn: go get her and enjoy some morning snuggles before I had to start getting ready for work or head down to the treadmill.

In the end I chose the snuggles.  I’m going to be able to run for the rest of my life (hopefully!).  I know I don’t have many more mornings of snuggles and Sesame Street, so this morning I chose to indulge in them while I can.

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  You can find out more about the challenge here!

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Filed under Baby McK, running, SOL17