Search

EduMomma

Being a Mom and an Educator

‘Tis the season….

On the eve before school starts most educators are filled with a mix of excitement and anxiety about the first day of school.  I know as an EA I’ve always been nervous about the first day for few reasons.  I wrote a post at the beginning of last school year sort of explaining why I have a hard time with the new school year.  This year is different for me, as I am off on maternity, but somehow I’m still experiencing these emotions.  I guess old habits die hard.

 

Perhaps it’s because over the years of being an EA, my job description has changed.  It used to be an EA was a person in the classroom who worked with the students who needed support with their school work.  We were supports.  Over the past few years, the role of the EA has changed from being an ‘educator’ to being a ‘behaviour manager’.  I have scars – physical scars from being bit, hit or kicked from some of these children.

Many of these ‘behaviour‘ kids are coming back to school after having been largely ignored all summer. Most of the kids I work with now, are either sat in front of their tv, allowed to play video games far too advanced (and violent) for them or exposed to their parents frequent late night partying involving drugs and alcohol, in addition to being ‘undiagnosed’.  So coming back into a routine where there are rules, boundaries and limitations as well as consequences for their actions is a shock for them.

SIDE NOTE: PLEASE KNOW THAT IF YOUR CHILD REQUIRES AN EA FOR A BEHAVIOUR AND HAS A DIAGNOSIS I AM NOT REFERRING TO YOU HERE AT ALL. 

Because these children don’t have the coping skills to verbally express this shock, they lash out physically, resulting in some injuries – not just to me, but sometimes the classroom teacher or other students.  I implore you, if you have a child in a class who has an EA, ask them about the child the EA works with and what they witness.

So on the night before school starts, I’ve always had the big mix of emotions. I’m excited to see my student, I want help them, cheer for them and praise them.  I want to do my job…but I know for the next month or so, I’ll be run off my feet, come home bruised and tired and even though I know I’m not heading into the school tomorrow, I’m still feeling these emotions.

‘Tis the season.

Advertisements

The talk I don’t want to have with my kids.

In light of what is happening in the United States I am going to post this…  It’s a talk that I need to have with my children and the reason I don’t want to have it, is because we really shouldn’t have to have it in this day and age.

You see, my children were born Caucasian, one blonde haired and blue eyed and the other brown haired and blue eyed.  Because of this, they will have certain societal privileges.  My son will have access to greater resources and power based purely on identifying as male and Caucasian, more so than my daughter.  It’s a fact in our world right now.  You can go ahead and get all pissy, but the truth is my son or will not have to fear being pulled over without reason nor will he face daily cultural and gender appropriation.

I want to be the one to explain to my children that because they have fair skin, blue eyes and fine hair people will see that and be kinder to him.  Almost universally.  And that just because it will feel nice, that doesn’t mean it is.  I want to tell them that it’s wrong.

I want them to see the world and to challenge the status quo.  I want to tell my children that people in this world are different and that it’s a GOOD thing.  I need to tell them this before they see it in a way that won’t be safe.  I don’t want to leave either one unprepared when they witnesses an act of bigotry and hatred.  I want both to know that racially motivated hate exists and that it’s wrong, it needs to be challenged and that they can have a voice in stopping it.

I need to have this conversation with my children because one day, they may realize that they trust white skin (on sight) over darker complexions, that most news reports on crime will involve a black male – and if there happens to be a white male who makes the headlines, they won’t delve into his personal life.  That they will see that the ‘bad guys’ in the movies are of darker complexion and that will be a ‘norm’ and be surprised when it’s otherwise.  Both my children need to be aware that the Canadian history they will be taught is from an entirely white perspective.  I want both of them to see these messages for what they are – ignorance from a culture that has been spoon fed privileges from birth.

I want both kids, to stand up and say something when they see someone struggling through persecution whether based on race, physical ability, gender or sexual orientation. That they will take this privilege and use it in a way that will better everyone.

I don’t want either of my children to feel guilty about being white.  This isn’t about making them feel guilty over their whiteness.  This is about having a conversation about how our world needs to change and that they can have power in changing it.

 

 

A letter to my daughter….

My sweet girl,

You arrived a bit early – in two ways
1. When I found out I was pregnant with you and
2. When my water broke 2 weeks before your due date (one day before I was to be induced!). Let me make this clear – you were planned, we just didn’t know how soon you would change our world!

I have a feeling, dear daughter, that this is going to be our life with you…you will make a decision, and the rest of us will have to catch up. I am ok with this and I love you because of this…even when you will cause me to pull my hair out.

I wrote a heartfelt letter to your big brother prior to your arrival. I promised to remember. I am going to make you some of the same promises that I made your brother.

I will always remember seeing two lines on the home pregnancy test and thinking ‘Oh goodness! It looks like we’re doing this again!’ I will remember the tears of joy I shed when I saw you on our first ultrasound – you were in there and looked healthy. I knew in my heart I was having a girl, but when our midwife told us that you were a girl I was so excited to meet you.

I will remember while in labor being told that my daughter had brown hair like her mommy and I pushed harder than I ever thought possible to just so I could meet you faster.
I remember the look you gave the world when they placed you on me for the first time, you were so quiet and looked so curious as to what had just happened, then we locked eyes and my heart burst open again. You reminded me that love is endless and boundless and often times, overwhelming.

I will remember how content, for the most part, you were as a newborn. As long as there was a chest for you to lay on, you were happy and would sleep for hours.

I will remember the confidence I had being a mother the 2nd time around. We had a few minor health concerns with you and I navigated them with ease because I’d been through it before with your brother. You my dear, benefitted from that!

I will always remember your first smiles, where you actually saw ME, Mommy, and smiled.

I will also remember that your brother was so excited to meet you, but then realized you were staying for life. It took him about 2 months but, he got over it.

I will remember you are going to be the last to call me Mama. You will be my last newborn and because of this I promise I will remember to pause and reflect, as often as possible, on how much you have changed our world. I will remember to take pictures of everything I can.

I will remember that I am a role model in your world, and so I will try to be the woman you need me to be. Strong, fierce and confident. I promise to show you that in every aspect of life you will always gain strength, courage and wisdom.

I promise to remember all the things yet to come, your first laugh, tooth, taste of solid food, steps, day of school, graduating high school and university. I will remember the name of the first boy or girl who breaks your heart.

But most of all, I will remember how truely blessed I am to have you and your brother to call my children.

Love always and forever,
Mommy

Sometimes your toddler knows best.

I woke up in a bit of a fog this morning, however I got Muffin fed and she went back down for a nap. Wiggleman was still in bed asleep. Perfect!

10 minutes is all I wanted. 10 minutes to have shower and not rush through it. Maybe make myself a smoothie and get breakfast started for my boy. Hell, maybe even blowdry my hair completely!

10 minutes of aloneness. Something every mother craves. Solitude. No one crying, needing to be tended.

I stumble towards the bathroom, but then my toddler wakes up and asks for Mommy snuggles for the first time in months.

And just like that, the fog lifted.  I didn’t need solitude after all.  IMG_2279

My heart broke and I hugged my boy a little harder…

I read in the news yesterday that a 2 year old boy survived on his own for 10 days after his mother was murdered in their apartment.

Let me repeat that… For 10 days, this sweet boy lived in an apartment alongside his dead mother.  The full story is here.

For some reason, this hit close to home.  Perhaps because you don’t generally see this sort of story frequently (Thank God), but also because this boy is the same age as my son.

I wrote a Post talking about how independent he is becoming and truthfully, part of me was grieving that independence, but part of me was also rejoicing.  Wiggleman was and is learning to do things on his own.  How independent did this little boy have to be to survive alone for 10 days?

My heart broke for this little boy and his mother.  While I’m sure she wasn’t winning any mother of the year awards anytime soon, but she also didn’t choose to abandon her son.  What scares me more, is that no one in their community bothered to check on the little boy after even a few days.  No one wanted to be a pest and interfere in this woman’s business or life.  If it hadn’t been for the routine check from the maintence man, how long would this boy have gone it alone?  Maybe until the smell really started to get bad? Jeez.

We keep hearing the term ‘it takes a village’ and yet most of us are unwilling to be that village.  Circumstance saved that little boy, when it should have been a neighbor or friend.   Sometimes it means we have to poke our noses into other peoples lives, especially when we know they are vulnerable…not because we want to gossip or be annoying, but because we need to become that village for that person.

As I said, my heart broke and I hugged my boy a bit harder.

 

The Whole Damn Ride

I’m gonna call it like I see it folks…but there are too many shallow, lazy ass parents out there.

Part of being a parent is holding your child accountable for their actions and behavior. Far too often I see a child act out and the parents make up some excuse, let their child off the hook and shove a screen or toy in front of them. Sorry, last time I checked, when you stepped onto the parenthood roller coaster, you signed up for the WHOLE DAMN RIDE.

IMG_0028

Far too often, parents are afraid of the push back they may receive from their kid. The push back usually comes in the form of a tantrum, an escalation of out of control behavior, hitting or kicking, talking back, arguing or emotional manipulation. And usually, I see the parent(s) bend to the push back, the kid gets what they want and learn in turn, they can do it again.

When you don’t have hold your child responsible for their actions the behavior is going to continue. So grow a big set of parenting balls and set some expectations.

So what if your kid doesn’t have the newest ______________ . Ya, they may whine, cry or whatever because Billy Jean has ______________. Last time I checked, if you bitched and whined at your job about not having what John in Payroll has you’d probably be fired. The same goes for parenting.

Set consequences for both good and bad behavior. Be ready to deal with the push back and don’t give in. Raise your kids to be heathy moral adults that you actually want to hang out with when they’re 25.

So make the damn chore chart, change the wifi password, have dinner at the table and when your kid acts out, call them on it.

The best piece of parenting advice I’ve gotten is ‘Raising a child is like a game of chess, you have to out wit and out maneuver your opponent every step of the way.’ Start out witting and out maneuver-ing your kids and stop with the shallow parenting.

Let’s just call a spade a spade shall we?

I have a problem with a certain reality tv show which features a prominent American Fundamentalist Christian family moving on. Even when the show was in its heyday, a significant part of me knew that this family was posing as wholesome and traditional and disagreed with the airing of it. To me, I didn’t like the undercurrent of misogynistic views, blatant hatred for the LGTBQI community and lack of further education.

I can respect the families firm faith and beliefs – and even can commend them for sticking to them amidst the turmoil and scandal. What I cannot respect is the above mentioned faults.

I feel bad for the women of the Duggar clan. I really do. Their faith demands and preaches men are leaders, teachers, initiators, protectors (perhaps predators) and providers while women are ‘helpmeets’ who are to serve men by being submissive and yielding. Their faith dictates that family planning and feminism should be eradicated. This quote from the family matriarch says it all. “Duggar women don’t get headaches. You always need to be available when he [your husband] calls.” Uh…excuse me?? Call me crazy – but I think anyone should have the right to deny anyone else access to their body. Women in the Duggar clan are objectified – even though they will deny this based on their staunch religious principles in which they value modesty above all else. Duggar women aren’t sentient beings with unique needs, desires, and ambitions. A Duggar woman should desire only to reproduce, as their religion encourages women to reproduce at production-assembly rates, bearing child after child, year after year. That isn’t a traditional value – that’s reproductive abuse.

The patriarch of the family has been quoted as saying that they ‘love everybody’. However I can honestly say that this isn’t true. In 2014 the Duggar family was in the forefront of a horrible campaign against the LGBT community in Arkansans. They used their fame to have a non-discrimination ordinance repealed. At the helm of this Michelle made transphobic robocalls to push the family’s discriminatory mission. The family has ties to the FRC (Family Research Council) which is an anti-LGBTQ IMG_0023group in which the eldest son was the executive director. This is just the tip of the iceberg of their homophobic/transphobic agenda. Ok, I get it Duggar’s you love everyone as long as their white, male, Christian and heterosexual….that seems a little……gay….doesn’t it?

Finally, their traditional values extend into their education. All of the children are homeschooled and follow the curriculum of the Advanced Training Institute, a Bible-based homeschooling program, among other faith based curricula. The curriculum come in the form of Wisdom Books which you have to be an approved member of the ATI group in order to purchase. These books cover everything from modesty in the home to how to deal with sexual abuse. Yup, how to deal with sexual abuse…specifically in the home…and blame the victim. Higher education isn’t valued – instead the family focuses on ‘hands on’ experience or taking courses through an online Christian organization called ‘CollegePlus’. In short, most of the teachings state that women are not to have careers outside the home, daughters should actively be discouraged from considering such; higher education is problematic for children of either gender, but specifically for girls because having large numbers of children is the only Godly path available to them.

Most of all, what my problem with this show is that it is attempting to be a show promoting a family with modest and traditional values but what it really promoting is an oppressive religious agenda for those adopting Biblical Family Values.

 

 

Heeding some unsolicited advice

There are a few moments I can identify that have made me realize just how fast time is going.  They have caused me to tear up and beg the world to stop spinnging so I can savour them.

It was little things, for example, Wiggleman discovering the toilet paper roll.  It meant that he had army crawled to the bathroom and had pulled himself to stand to grab the roll.  He was so proud of himself.  Another time was getting a Kleenex all by himself off the kitchen table – he had to walk to the chair, climb up onto it and then get the Kleenex.  Where had the time gone?  Wasn’t he just a newborn?

I had a few of those moments this week.  We have graduated to a big boy bed, but usually around 2 or 3 in the morning we still get ‘I have to pee!’.  The other night, my boy got up by himself and had a pee and went back to bed.  Most parents would be singing ‘Hallelujah!’, I teared up.  My boy did something that he doesn’t need me for.  The next morning, he went to the bathroom all by himself, but then also took off his Pull-Up and disposed of it in the Diaper Genie.  Again, without help from Mommy.  Lastly, yesterday, while I was nursing Muffin, he said he needed a drink – I asked him to go get himself a juice (we have juice boxes available in the fridge).  Instead of hearing the fridge open, I heard him get his stool.  “Ok odd” I thought to myself.  Then I heard the fridge open, a pause, then the unmistakeable sound of juice being poured.  He’d gotten his stool to get a cup off the counter.

I sighed…I was going to have a mess to clean up.  Next, my big boy proudly came back into the family room holding a cup, with juice – just the right amount of juice -in it.  ‘I didn’t spill Mommy!’  I finished feeding Muffin and put her down and went to check the kitchen.  Not. A. Drop.  I literally burst into sobs.  My almost 3 year old managed to have the coordination to pour juice from a container into a cup and not spill.

The same goes for my girl.  It’s been two months that she has been in this world already.  She is smiling more and chatting.  She has grown 2.5 inches in those two months and packed on 4 pounds. She is starting to bat at objects and certainly voice her opinion.  I’ve started to pack away her newborn clothes, the same clothes that were hanging off her two short months ago.

You get so much unsolicited advice as a parent, but the one that I am really starting to appreciate is to savour every moment because it goes so fast.  In a blink, my baby girl will be doing the same as her brother and a part of me can’t wait for that. I want to newborn stage to be done with and the next stage to be started.   However, I’m going to heed that advice and savour every moment I have with both my babies.

 

 

From poor soil, children in the education system.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/soil/

Working with kids is what I do, and if you haven’t read my previous post ‘Dear Shitty Parents‘ – please head on over and read it…like it, comment on it!

Recognizing that young people are like plants is part one of my job.  Each child comes in a different shape and size, with different abilities and preferences. Their Microsystems or ‘Soil‘ is their family, peers, school, church and access to the health system.  Extended family, mass media, local politics and policies, social services and parents’ job are the Exosystem or the “weather and animals” that effect the plant.  There are two other systems and I won’t bore you to death with the Socioecological System of Resiliency.  (Whoa, I’m putting my diploma to good use here!!)

Anyway, back to the young people are like plants and soil topic.

Working in the education system, I see a lot of kids who have been planted in ‘good soil’ and also in ‘bad soil’.  8 times out of 10, it’s the child who comes from the bad soil that I am paired with.  Their parents aren’t able to care for them, may be substance abusers and physically abuse, sexually abuse or neglect their child.  Sometimes, it’s all of those.  That’s where people in my profession come in.

To me, educational assistants, are fertilizer.  So what does that mean?  Well many of the students we work with are unable to advocate for themselves, so we go to bat for them.  We request training, meetings and specialized equipment to ensure student success…in short, we take that crappy soil, and try to turn it into something that can allow that child to grow, branch out and flower.

SIDE NOTE: Before I start to get pissy comments saying ‘My kid has an EA and comes from a good home!’  Yes, I know, there are children who require an EA because of developmental difficulties.  However, more and more frequently, EA’s are being paired with the child who is referred to as ‘behavioural’….which is a nice way of saying “They kick the shit out of teachers, administrators and other students and are otherwise undiagnosed.”  Meaning, yes, I understand that a child with a diagnosis may have some behavioral difficulties -but the key word there is DIAGNOSED. 

Honing in on a child’s resiliency is an uphill battle a lot of the time – especially when it comes to the children with a poor home life.  That soil this child is coming from makes my job difficult, but every once in a while, you see that even the most fragile of plants can grow from the worst conditions. And that my friend, makes my job all the worth the effort.

If you want to hear from a person outside the profession, check out Gary Direnfeld.

“The EA is the system the educational system has put in place to enable the challenged students’ participation in education, to facilitate learning, to in turn facilitate later autonomy, independence and social functioning.” Gary Direnfeld

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑