Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Halcyon Days

So, is there any time in your memory that you were mortally wounded by the word "slowpoke?"

There were many words and taunts that pierced my tender young heart during my years at school, but slowpoke was not among them - even though I was always the second slowest runner in my class, after Will P. I hated running, I hated gym class, and I really hated Mariza because that little bitch was fast! I liked Mariza a lot when we weren't in gym class, but she could really fly around the track. I envied her that ability. Mariza is now a pediatric neurosurgeon, and I envy her a lot more than her speed. Impressive, huh? But I digress.

Everyone, I'm sure, has some searing memory about their time in primary school when they were bullied or made to feel inferior - too short, too fat, funny clothes, too tall, too skinny, too dorky, you name it. Kids are tough on one another. I sometimes think that it's by grace of selective memory that we make and keep our childhood friends.

Miss Peanut had her first full day of Kindergarten today. I sent her off with the typical worries - will she fit in? Will she be accepted? Will she learn anything? Realistically, I shouldn't have worried about her fitting in or being accepted, as three of her friends from pre-school were going with her, but, remembering my tough childhood, I couldn't help myself. I picked her up from daycare this afternoon, practically trembling in anticipation of her dramatically throwing herself into my arms, collapsing in sobs, declaring she never wanted to go back to that evil place where everyone hated her ever again!!! Didn't happen. She didn't say much about school, except that she didn't like gym class.

See, I actually got a note from Miss Peanut's teacher, saying that she made two poor choices in her behavior today, and one of them was calling one of her friends a "slowpoke." I guess she's not just like me after all.

My child, the bully. Maybe she'll be a pediatric neurosurgeon, too.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Just a quick question

Let's say you've lost a lot of weight over the summer, and you are back to work, seeing your colleagues for the first time.

If one of them asked, loudly, in a shocked tone of voice "Holy shit! Did you lose an ENORMOUS amount of weight?" would you be flattered or annoyed?

And if that person went on to say "And it's really noticeable, like from even a mile off!" would you walk away shaking your head, or graciously accept her compliment?

I just want to know, because as compliments go, I was pretty flummoxed on how to respond.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Another bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils...

... is blooming in my pencil cup. Fresh crayons have sprouted in my cupboards, and whole sheaves of construction paper have rained down on my classroom. God, I love school supplies. I love the smell from a box of manila folders when you first open it - musty paper pulp, mmmm. I must have been a termite in a previous life.

School starts in a week. I've almost finished moving into my new classroom. New desks have been arranged in a double semicircle, new blackboards are waiting to be christened with chalk, and graffiti-free bulletin boards await dressing with brightly-colored paper and posters. The newly laid linoleum floors are free of scuffs and scrapes, and have not yet developed the nasty yellow patina of wax along the baseboards. It's a fresh start for us all, teachers and students.

My personal fresh start is starting off the year as a smaller person. Fifty-three pounds of me have evaporated, gone to parts unknown, leaving a still large, but relatively thinner, version of myself. I'm uncertain of my reception, from the students and from some of the other staff members. Now I remember fully what adolescence was like: changed face, new body, neuroses about peer acceptance and fitting in.

I think I'll relate well with my charges this year. We have a lot in common.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tales from the Backseat

In the car, on our way home from Nana's:

Me: And in a couple of weeks, we're going to go to Linvilla Orchards
and pick apples.

Peanut: Pick apples? Off the trees?

Me: Yep. And then we can make apple pie, apple cobbler, apple
dumplings, and Uncle Owen's favorite apple crisp.

Peanut: And apple soybeans!

Me: Apple soybeans?! Where do you come up with this

Peanut: (pause) The internet?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Points to Ponder

Point number one: how come I can do 30 minutes at a quick walk on a treadmill with no trouble, but 10 minutes on the elliptical machine totally kick my ass? I swear, my quads were screaming yesterday, the day after the elliptical machine workout. That fucker is hard!

Today, they were down to mere moans and groans, so I went back into the gym and did the treadmill and half the Nautilus circuit. I try to do half on alternate days, because I'm just beginning and a total schlub. Today was the upper body workout. This leads to Point number two: I wonder, if the elliptical machine, being primarily a lower-body workout, kicked my ass, then did the upper-body workout I had today kick my tits?

So, after my "workout," - which I have to put in quotes, because Point number three is clearly: can someone as chubby as me, who has next to zero athletic endurance call what I do a "workout?" - I went shopping. (I think that sentence wins a run-on award!) Point to ponder number four is: how come I can fit in clothes that are marked with 3 different sizes? Not to sport with your intelligence by telling you what sizes they are, but if I have a garment that's size X, one that's size Y, and another that's size Z, how come they're all fitting me the same? Damn clothing manufacturers! People are always yelling about standardization in education - I wish someone would standardize women's dress sizes!

These are just a few of the thoughts that have kept me occupied today. The mind boggles, eh?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I hate exercise

I've never liked exercise. Endorphins passed me by. Running? Only when chased by large dogs. Treadmill? Boooo-ring. Exercise has always been an unappetizing, unrelenting chore.

I joined the YMCA today. Why? I need to exercise.

My (brilliant, gifted, wonderful, world-renowned, respected) surgeon told me the other day that when you lose weight rapidly as I've been doing, you lose muscle as well as fat, and that I need to do some weight-bearing exercise. Faaaabulous [/sarcasm].

So, starting tomorrow, I exercise.

Pray for me.

Friday, August 04, 2006

It's great to be a Girl!

Miss Peanut starts Kindergarten later this month.

How did she get this big? How did I turn into the mother of a school-age child? But I digress.

I've been trolling the giant office-supply stores recently, looking for sales on the stuff I'll need for my classroom. Sure, the school supplies some stuff, and theoretically parents are supposed to outfit their students with such necessities as pencils and paper, but that never really happens all the time, so I do what I must to ensure instruction. I waxed nostalgic the other day amongst the lunchboxes, remembering my first lunchbox - rigid pink plastic with Holly Hobbie on it - thinking that I'll have to take Miss Peanut to pick out her first school lunchbox. And backpack. And pencils. Oh, I'm going to cry.

Anyhow, I broached the subject with Miss Peanut when we were all in the car heading out to dinner last night.
Me: So, Peanut, it's time to buy a lunchbox. Do you want a
Hello Kitty one, a Strawberry Shortcake one, or a Princess one?*

WCM: (grumbling sarcastically under his breath) All of them.

Peanut: (eagerly) All of them!!

I laughed, not at Miss Peanut's response, but at the fact that the WCM finally understands His Girls. It's only taken him 18 years**, but he finally understands how his womenfolk operate. What strides he's made.

Pretty soon, I'll be able to send him out for "feminine supplies" and mascara and his only questions will be "regular or super, and brown or black?"

* Because these are her current favorites, and I had actually seen these lunchboxes already.

**Because that's how long we've been together. Half my bloody life.