mandyholbert

A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

Not a Wonderful Morning October 5, 2012

My sister is an amazing teacher.  She has an intuitive gift of reaching each student in the unique way that suits him.  She doesn’t just teach academics; she teaches life skills.  She teaches kids how to believe in themselves.  She is truly passionate about what she does, and I’m so proud of her.  She wrote this yesterday, and I asked her if I could share it.  You’ll see why I wanted everyone to read it.

Here is a post called “Not a Wonderful Morning” by guest blogger, my sister, Miss M:

Most of the time I write about all the wonderful parts of my job, but every day isn’t wonderful. This morning was a not wonderful morning. One of my students was having a bad, bad day. He was beyond disrespectful to all his teachers including me (usually he spares me from his disrespectful attitude). He refused to do any work at all and insisted on distracting everyone else. I could see that he was spiraling out of control. I can normally get him back on track pretty quickly but today nothing worked.

He ended up getting so mad that he walked out of my classroom (not ok!) and sat down in the hallway (at least he didn’t go far). I stood in the doorway and continued teaching my other kids while keeping an eye on my wanderer until someone was available to watch my classroom.

After several minutes (I had plenty of time to think!), help arrived. I handed over my class and went to talk to my wanderer in the hallway. He wouldn’t look at me, much less talk to me. He didn’t get up when I asked him to. He just sat there defiantly looking away.

It had been a long morning and I really just wanted to yell at him…and I don’t want to yell often. Instead, I sat down next to him. I wanted to lecture him about his horrible, disrespectful attitude. Instead, this is what I said:

I know you don’t want to talk to me right now. I know you are angry and you probably think I’m going to yell at you. Well, I’m not. I’m just going to tell you some things that I know about you. First, I know that you are smart. I know that you are kind and helpful. I know that you can be the hardest working student in my class when you want to be. I know that you can do anything in the world that you decide to do. I know that people love you. I know that the other students look up to you. I know that you are funny. I also know that I like you a lot. I know that I want you in my classroom. I know that even when we have horrible mornings, I like you anyway. I know that when you are disrespectful I am disappointed, but I understand that you are working on self-control. I know that you can be better than you have been today. And, I know that there is nothing that you can do that will make me not like you.

We sat quietly for a minute. Then, I asked him if he was ready to go back to class and do his work. He nodded yes, stood up and returned to class. His first assignment was writing in his journal. Each day he has to write at least three complete sentences. I give a writing prompt for most of the kids, but they know that can always write about whatever they want if they don’t like the prompt.

When I read this student’s journal this afternoon, the very first sentence was: “Ms. M, you make my day every day.”

It never ceases to amaze me that when I take the time to give a kid exactly what he needs to get through a situation I always end up getting exactly what I need too.

beautiful inside and out

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Hugs make the world go ’round October 3, 2012

Filed under: children,family,humor,Kendra,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 8:01 pm
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Well, maybe not this kind of hug.  I think more sincere hugs actually make the world go ’round.

The kids were arguing so badly in my back seat.  I yelled, threatened, swerved, and otherwise acted like a complete fool to try to get them to stop.  I find bickering children very distracting.

Then I had a moment of genius.  I remembered one of the most dreaded punishments inflicted on me as a child.  The old sit-on-the-couch-and-hug-each-other, used by my parents when Nickie and I annoyed them too badly by arguing.

I remember sitting on the couch with my arms wrapped around her and I was completely miserable.  There was probably no one on Earth I would have wanted to hug less than her.  Sitting there embracing my twerp of a sister who whined so much that it got us in trouble just like she always did made me want to do anything in the world to be able to get up and play – including getting along with her if necessary.

So, I made the kids hug each other.

I snapped a picture.

 

Look how unhappy they were.  It was perfect.

I made them stay like that long enough for them to get the point.

They got along very well for the rest of the evening.

Maybe we should implement this practice in the real world.  Especially during election season.  It might be really helpful for President Obama and Mitt Romney to sit on the couch and hug for a spell…

…at least it would make for much more uplifting commercials.

 

Why I am Late for Work – Excuse # 76 September 30, 2012

It was already “one of those” mornings.  I was running behind schedule and nothing seemed to be going right.  I still needed to pack lunches, feed the kids breakfast, get them both ready, and I hoped to have time to fix my hair and put make-up on for the day…

Kendra ran into my room with a terrible look on her face.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I don’t want to tell you because I’m afraid you’ll be mad,” she answered with a trembling bottom lip.

“No, I won’t,” I said, even though I knew there was a distinct possibility that whatever she was going to say could very easily make me mad.  I started running through possible scenarios in my head.

“My hamster DIED!” she wailed and immediately started bawling.  “I.  went.  in.  to.  feed.  her.  and,” she explained in between dramatic sobs, “she was DEAD!”

RIP little guy

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.”  I pulled her into my arms and tried to comfort her as she cried.

Then, Max walked in.  He looked at his crying sister then at me then back at her.  He shrugged his shoulders and said, “You should have been more responsible.”  I glared at him as fresh howls came out of Kendra.

“Maxwell Trenton!  Get out of here!” I yelled.

“It’s all my fault,” Kendra kept crying.

Arg.

I tried to comfort her and still get things done since we did have school and work to try to get to on time.  I sent her to brush her teeth.

I rushed around the house like a wild woman, throwing lunches together and banging things around.  I could hear Max singing in the back of the house, but it didn’t register exactly what song he had chosen for the morning.

Then, when I heard Kendra start yelling, I realized what that little rascal was singing at the top of his lungs.  That’s right.  None other than “Another One Bites the Dust.”

How fitting.

If that’s not a reason to be late for work, I don’t know what is.

it was fun for a while…

 

Our Own Terabithia September 25, 2012

The king made the decision – they would seek refuge for the night high in the trees.  And so the royal family made preparations to camp perched in the branches of a towering poplar.

They climbed into her branches and peered through the leaves into the enchanted forest.  The queen and her two small children settled in for the long, cold night while the king scavenged for firewood with their trusty Boxador.

He returned with a cart full of freshly chopped wood and built a fire high above the forest floor.  The family huddled around the small fire and roasted their dinner, keeping the aroma of sweet meat in the leafy canopy in the growing darkness.

When the stars began peeking through the leaves to get a glimpse of the royal family, the queen prepared pallets upon which they would slumber.  The king stoked the fire and the queen tucked the small boy and girl into their downy blankets.

The poplar embraced the family with her giant limbs while they gave way to sleep.  The ever-attentive dog kept watch for the wild things of the night…

We had a true Terabithian adventure last weekend – we spent the night in the tree house directly under the stars.  It was all Ronnie’s idea, and the kids were understandably thrilled about the plan.

I, on the other hand, wasn’t really what you would call a happy camper.  It was cold and windy and I was miserable.  We only own two sleeping bags, so the kids naturally got those, so Ronnie and I covered up with rather inadequate (for the circumstances) blankets and froze our butts off.  The cool breeze chilled me from every angle – it had the unique advantage of even being able to get us from underneath since we positioned ourselves in a tree.

Ronnie tried so hard to make me comfortable.  He was really sweet.  He moved my cot closer to the fire and told me he’d be fine if I went to the house.  I couldn’t sleep at all.  I swear every time I closed my eyes, the fire went out.  We spent all night trying to keep it going.  All I could think about were Copperheads.  And when I did manage to doze, I dreamed of fighting off the bears that were trying to eat us.

Sometime in the middle of the night, Ronnie and I were lying there, freezing and resigned to the fact that we weren’t going to sleep, and he said to me, “At least you’re being a good sport.”

“I am?” I asked, a little surprised, but proud of myself.

“Not really,” he answered, “but at least you’re doing it.”

And that kind of summed up the night for us.  I wanted morning to come so badly.

Then, to our surprise, we heard Kendra’s sweet little voice.  “The stars in the trees look amazing.  This is so cool.”  I looked over to see her sleepily enthralled by the view above her.

That changed everything.  Even when she needed to walk all the way back to the house to use the bathroom and get more socks, it didn’t bother me.  I didn’t even notice the cold while we walked.  Well, while I walked and she skipped and chattered about how cool it was to walk in the dark and how amazing nature is.

When we got back to the tree house, I zipped her back into her sleeping bag and she went right back to sleep.  I checked on Max.  He was snoozing happily even though he was completely uncovered.  I felt him and he was  somehow warm as can be.  I zipped him back up, too.

I climbed back in my cot.  Even though we had hours left until dawn, we were out of firewood, and it was getting colder and colder, it was somehow not quite as terrible knowing how much fun the kids were having.

I think they’ll remember it forever.  And we will, too.  And I think we all might remember it as the royal family on an enchanted adventure…

 

Six words never to say at school September 19, 2012

Filed under: children,family,humor,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 6:30 am
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Max is figuring this kindergarten thing out.  Last night, when Ronnie tucked him in, Max told him a few things:

“There’s six things you can’t say at school.  You can’t say poop at school.”  He raised a finger. “You can’t say bomb at school.”  Another finger.  “You can’t say guns at school.  You can’t say foopy-bo-poopy at school.”  Still counting on his fingers.  “You can’t say fart at school.  And you can’t say weirdo at school.”

This is very serious.  How will he manage not to say “foopy-bo-poopy” for an entire school year?

He also told Ronnie, “I cried on the outside at school today.  Most of the time I just cry on the inside, but today I cried on the outside.  My leg hurt and it was bleeding so my teacher gave me a Band-Aid.”

Did it really happen?  We’ll never know.  But, he has mentioned several times that he’s struggling not to cry at school.

The other day he told my mom that he cries on the inside all day at school because he misses me.

Last night, he told me he needs to go to the doctor because something is wrong with his eyes.  Of course, I thought he could be having vision problems, so I asked him what was wrong with his eyes.

“They keep wanting to burst into tears,” he answered.

He’s melting my heart.  We’re encouraging him and making school sound exciting and fun.  He’s doing great in school – he has been a good boy, he’s making new friends, and he loves his teachers.  He’s still just struggling with doing it all on his own.

For being such a tough little guy, he sure has a sweet, tender heart.

 

It’s never too early for Max September 12, 2012

Filed under: children,family,humor,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 5:52 am
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Sometimes I get a nice warm bath ready for one of the kids before I wake them for school.  Yesterday, it was Max’s turn to be gathered from a warm cozy bed and be put straight into a soothing bubble bath.   Those early morning moments before they’re really awake are so sweet and special.  And who wouldn’t enjoy being pampered like that?  What a great way to start the day.

Three rubber ducks in foam bath

Three rubber ducks in foam bath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was in the bathroom getting ready for work when Max stood up in the tub.

“Mommy, will you wash my back for me?” he sweetly asked in a still sleepy voice.

Will I wash his back?  Of course!  He’s starting to need me less and less as he’s becoming a big boy, a kindergarten boy, so I happily took the washcloth and lovingly started scrubbing his back.

He looked over his shoulder and smiled.  It was early.  I didn’t interpret the smile as anything but sweet.

“Mommy, will you just do my bum, too, since it’s right there?” he asked.

I smiled.  “Of course I will, honey.”

His timing was impeccable.  As soon as I had his little heinie covered with a sudsy washcloth, he blasted an exaggerated wet-cheeks fart and immediately started cackling.

I should have known better.  But, like I said, it was early.  Oh, dear.

Well, he woke me up, anyway.  I let him finish his bum himself.

somehow I don’t believe he’s only the 10th funniest boy in his class like he claims…

 

Max’s Boycott on Green September 5, 2012

Filed under: children,family,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 8:31 pm
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Max stopped his spoonful of Cinnamon Toast Crunch halfway to his mouth and announced, “I’m tired of being good and staying on green at school.  I feel like running through the school like crazy, so I’m going to be on red today.”

“Why would you want to do that?” I asked.

“Being on green is too hard.  I just want to be bad,” he answered very honestly.  “Forget about the water park.” (We promised a reward if he could stay on green until his first report card.)

“Well,” I cautiously answered, “you could do that.  You could run around like crazy and have a little bit of fun, but then you would get in big trouble at school.  Or, you could be good at school and have a whole lot of fun when we celebrate your good behavior.  It’s totally your choice.”

He resumed his breakfast without answering.

On the way to school, he made a different announcement.  “I’m not going to be on green today, I’m going to be on blue or purple!”

Kendra gasped.  “That’s so hard to do!  Green is good, but you have to do something EXTRA good to get on blue or purple!  It’s practically impossible!”

Max nodded.  “Yep, I’m not going to be on green.  I’m going to be blue or purple.”

“Well,” I said, “if you do that, Daddy and I would be so proud!  We would definitely do something special to celebrate that tonight!”  With that, I kissed them goodbye and dropped them off.

After school I picked them up from Grandmom’s house, and both of the kids were just bursting to give me the good news – Max was on blue today!!

Max was absolutely beaming when he told me about singing a counting song in music class so well that his music teacher wrote a note to his teacher complimenting him on his outstanding job.  That was just the kind of extra good behavior that bumped him out of green and right into blue.  To think that last week he was strategizing about how to get out of singing at school altogether, it seemed impossible that he would have made such an impression on his music teacher.

Needless to say, we celebrated tonight.  Max wanted to go to our favorite playground, so we did.  What a relief to hear Max talk about school with pride and enthusiasm!  This day will mark a change in his outlook about kindergarten.  He had a goal, and he accomplished it.  And it wasn’t even an easy goal!  He has a bit of confidence now, and it will grow a little bit each day.

This was definitely worth celebrating!