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CAREER PATHS
When I was 17 I thought a career in childcare was a definite possibility. I was good with kids and they liked me, and I could round them up, sit them down and get them to be quiet within minutes. I remember flooring a couple of teachers that I worked with as an aide my first few days at the daycare on the outskirts of Michigan State, when they came into a room that a few minutes earlier had been expanding like a JiffyPop, to find the 5-year-olds and I seated in a large bunched circle on the floor, quiet as mice. Because that's what we were being. We were being mice. What do mice say? Sometimes they squeak, but usually they are QUIET. The kids were happily wiggling their noses and trying to twitch their ears and making themselves as small as possible, because when you're a mouse you don't want to call attention to yourself. You want to be small and quiet and quick. You have to watch out for everything. Everyone is bigger than you, with bigger teeth, so it's best to just stay quiet. Ssshh...

After a few minutes, when I sensed some of the mice were getting restless, I let them graduate to rabbits. They could hop around and twitch their noses then, but guess what? Rabbits are quiet, too! We were quiet for something like 20 minutes. Playing like crazy, but quiet as mice.

I worked one summer in high school at a day camp for 11 and 12-year-olds and had a blast. Mostly what I remember is tie-dye day, when we delved into a huge box of rubberbands and tied up our oversized white tshirts and then rainbow-flavored them. I went home with red and purple hands and a tie-dye nightshirt that I wore to rags. I remember taking the kids bowling and lying on my stomach and SHOVING the ball down the lane in front of me with both hands. I remember singing camp songs. I don't know why I don't retain more memories of that summer or the girls I worked with. I wish I had Meg's memory for names and details.

Digression: It seems to me a bit unfair that I, while being able to claim that I've never lost brain cells to alcohol or drugs, seem to have lost them anyhow somewhere along the way. O braincells! Where are you? Did you flow down the umbilical cord and drain out into my children? Or were you, as I've maintained before, eaten by rabbits? /end digression

Later, as I got older, and less patient, I realized that I was not cut out to be surrounded by children for 8 hours each day. In fact, now the thought makes me shudder with horror. I didn't even want children myself. I know! You look at those faces, and think, "How can she SAY that?!" But you see, I hadn't met them yet. I hadn't even met ANDERS yet. I had a long, constantly expanding list of reasons why NOT to have children. Children, I thought, would cut into my reading-for-pleasure time. They'd cut into my figure-skating watching time, and my listening-to-music time, and my shopping-for-books-and-music time. And, well, they have, but I've learned to live with it, and of course, the worst part, the part where I didn't sleep for 3 years and nearly killed myself and my daughter, is (crosses fingers behind back*) over.

It's funny that now, halfway or thereabouts through my life, I suddenly realize that I AM working in childcare. Maybe not fulltime, and maybe not always with a will, and maybe it's cheating since there are only 2 of them, but I'm still good with kids, and at least for now—until they hit the teenage years and acquire that perfect eyeroll—they like me. Now if only I could figure out how to make that mouse game work again. They saw through that one long ago.

Really Great Writing Out There Right Now: Of Heroes and the Rest of Us

Huge Shout-Out Thank Yous to:
1) rearviewmags for sending me a page for my friendsbook! Thank you! It's wonderful, and I am positively drooling over the recipe. If I can't find pistachio pudding mix so I can make it, I'm going to have to beg for someone to send me some.
2) My darling bluepoppy who sent me inspiration and motivation and beauty all wrapped up in tissue paper and tied with a pretty ribbon. Mwah! Thank you!
3) My mom who called all excited to tell me she got her tickets for Europe, and will be coming up to Sweden after my brother's wedding and staying for WEEKS AND WEEKS! YAY!

*While continuing to type! Am I talented OR WHAT?
 mellow
mood: mellow
music: Gang of Four—Muscle For Brains


Comments

The Chicago-based horn rock group The Ides of March once in 1971 sung:
"Hail, hail to the tie-dye princess / hail, hail to the tie-dye queen"

I suppose it's not you? :)

Heh. Nope. that was the only piece of tie-dye clothing I've ever owned, more's the pity.

The mouse game, unforntuately, doesn't work passed the age of 5. I'd have loved to have used on the 11 year olds yesterday, but somehow...

I know. bummer, eh? :)

I used to beat myself up over my lack of ability to entertain children. I didn't even have affinity with them when I was one. For some reason, I then thought it would be a good idea to work as an au pair between school and university. Let's draw a veil over that... I had better luck working as a teaching assistant later, but I couldn't imagine myself as a mother. I'm just not that nurturing. (That would involve finding someone to father them, also.)

Now? Well, I am seriously considering having kids within the next few years. My soon-to-be-husband is getting broody! And though I might not win any prizes for maternal instinct - well, it isn't a competition. Most of us grow up OK.

But I will totally try the pretending-to-be-mice thing if I'm ever faced with a roomful of small children.

I couldn't imagine myself as a mother either, even though I had people tell me all my life what a great one I would make. HA! I thought. I do pretty well, though it's often a struggle. Nurturing, schmurturing.

:) And you're right, it ISN'T a competition!

yay! i'm glad you got it! and i'm sorry that i didn't think about the mix. (you mean you can't buy instant pistachio jello mix EVERYWHERE?) just say the word, and i'll send some along.

I need to dig in the back of my pantry, because I used to have a box or 2 along with my Jello stash. If not, I'll let you know :) Thanks!

Promise me you'll always write in your journal.

To the best of my ability, I promise :)

As the eldest of TEN children (damn uneducated Catholics!) I was utterly determined to never have children and never be around them if I could possibly avoid it.

Fortunately, I didn't manage to avoid it and had two wonderful kids and adored spending my time with them. Your posts always remind me of the joyous times we had together when they were younger.

It's upsetting to me how long it's been since you've seen your kids, although I know you deal with it pretty well. You just...never talk about them that much. I wish I could give you pots of money so you could go travel and see them or bring them here. Heck, I wish I HAD pots of money!

I know you deal with it pretty well

No I don't. I just keep it all inside. Not healthy, I know, but I'm afraid that the flood of tears would never end if I started to say anything out loud.

((((((((((((((((((HUGE HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))

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