Saturday, August 29, 2009

You might be a redneck if...

The Fishies are really into fake tattoos. I hate them. They have no sense of positioning and invariably choose to put them in the most conspicuous places on their bodies. Or the least conspicuous but also least appropriate. Like when Two Fish put a general's insignia tattoo on his... well, suffice it to say that The Scientist and I are still joking about the Little General and probably will for a good long while. At least until he becomes a father himself. Maybe longer.

Today, I vowed for the 100th time to banish the dang things from my house. One Fish, Red Fish and I went to a b-day party at a local splash park. It wasn't until I stripped Red Fish down to his swim trunks did I notice that he had been tattooed by his older brother. At least until he wiggled away and Two Fish was evidently forced to abort the mission.

I was the mom with the gleeful two year old with


in big red letters emblazoned across his back. They won't forget us there.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Didn't See That Coming

Coming out of kindergarten open house this morning, in the pouring rain, I put my foot down on the step about 4 from the bottom and slipped. Not stumbled. Not skidded. My foot slid clear out from under me and suddenly I was on some sort of sitcom. As I hit every step on the way down I was thinking:

"Awww, crap, I can't believe I'm tripping on this step!"
"Really? Another step?"
"Why haven't I stopped yet?"
"What is this, step #3?"
Oh, geez- another one?! How many steps does this thing have, anyway?"
"OOOF! Yep, that last one'll leave a mark"
"Oh, thank God, I think I'm coming to a halt."

Red Fish, safely and securely perched on my hip, rode comfortably the whole way down. Didn't even fuss when I shlumped (heck, yes, that's a word!) him unceremoniously on the sidewalk after I confirmed that I wasn't dead yet- just surely in several pieces.

Lucky for me, my most sympathetic friend was the only one around at the moment and she raced to my rescue. Although she has an MD husband, his services were not required. We relatively quickly determined that 1) movement was a possibility and 2) that I was not going to throw up immediately.

Two Fish's comment after I finally spoke?

"He-he. Well, I didn't see THAT coming!"

The Scientist's comment when I got home?

"Were you wearing ridiculous shoes? Then I think you should see this as an opportunity for some fashion self-reflection"

He's lucky he said it with his cute smile on and that he was delivering Motrin and and and ice pack to me when he said it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Years ago and a million miles away from here, it seems, I was a teacher.

In college, I never imagined myself teaching. I was going to be a vet until it turned out that vets don't make nearly as much as their years of schooling would make you think. Then a doctor, I thought. But, I did know that I wanted a family at some point and realized that it would be really hard to be a doctor AND mom who was home with her children after school. After that, I decided that perhaps I just needed to "find myself" and applied to the Peace Corp and was accepted. I waited and waited and waited for them to decide where to send me. Finally, I decided that although I still probably needed to find myself, most likely I wasn't going to be found in either Africa or somewhere on a Pacific island.

So, I decided to go to nursing school (can you say "Identity Crisis?!"). I signed up to take some pre-req classes at the local community college that somehow I'd skated out of in college, but that would help me get into a nursing program for people who already had a four year degree. I loved anatomy and physiology and adored my professor (it didn't hurt that she was a fellow Clemson grad.) At the end of the semester, she asked me if I would be interested in teaching some labs at the college. Apparently, all you needed was a four year degree in biology in order to teach a lab.

I needed the money and it sounded new and interesting, so I filled out the paperwork, signed up for my next semester of pre-reqs and started prepping to teach my first lab.

A week later, I was hooked. Just like a junkie. While the classes I was taking were tolerable, I spent perhaps an unhealthy amount of time thinking about ways to teach my next labs. I stayed way too late. I invested way too much in the students. I researched ways to help them understand things like DNA replication. I was rediscovering my inner science geek and was loving every minute of it.

Three years later, I graduated with a Masters of Arts in Teaching Science from the university in town. Throughout grad school, I continued to teach at the community college, gaining experience and confidence and knowledge. After graduation, I focused on my full-time middle school science job.

I was good at it. I liked it and I loved the students and my coworkers. But, it wasn't the same at all as teaching at the community college. It's hard to stay passionate about your subject when the majority of your job consists of managing your classroom, going to meetings and filling out paperwork. All that stopped when we moved three states away and I finally got my dream of staying home with One Fish (and soon after, Two Fish).

This semester, I finally got my courage up and applied to teach at the local community college here. It's been a long time coming. I've spent the past few semesters wanting to apply, but wondering if they'd even want me. If I was even capable of writing a resume that wouldn't elicit giggles or eye rolls before a dump in the trashcan. Would they want someone who didn't have a masters in science, but a masters in teaching science instead? Would they like me? Did I still even "have it." Is 6 years too long to have been out of the classroom?

Turns out, that in an economy like this one, one of the few places where jobs are available is at community colleges. People out of work often go back to school and enrollment goes up and more teachers are needed. Turns out they needed me. Better, yet- they WANTED me.

I got the course notes the other day and apprehensively peeked at them, hoping I wouldn't find that everything has changed in six years. It hasn't. It's just the same and I got goosebumps just flipping through those pages, reading those familiar words and phrases that haven't changed in decades. In my mind, I am imagining my students faces already. I know which parts of which concepts and theories they will stumble on. Which chapters will make their eyes glaze over if I'm not careful and which labs have the ability to light a spark that was never there before.

There are lots of things I don't know how to do in this world. Too many that I don't even have the courage to attempt. But, I do know how to teach biology. That, I can do. And I'm so incredibly thankful that I've gotten the chance again.