Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Restored to Self

Addie's questioning--which is incessant, in typicaly four-year-old fashion--falls along these lines, lately:

1.  Is infinity really a number?

2.  Do you want to play pony princess fairy unicorn, and I'll be the mommy pony princess fairy unicorn, and you can be the baby pony princess fairy unicorn, and you have to do everything I say?

3.  Why did you say mailman, mommy?  It could be a woman!  You should say mail "person," right?

4.  (In every room we enter, ever):  Is that the smoke detector, mommy?  Or is that the fire alarm?  Is it going to go off while we're in here?  What will we do if it goes off?  Does the smoke make the fire alarm go off, or does the fire make the smoke alarm go off?  How do I make it make the sound?  I don't want it to make the sound!

You get the point.  She is this remarkable mish-mash of sage and naif, roaming through the world with fresh eyes and new preconceptions, and you never know which you'll get.  Sometimes I forget how little she is, and then I'll call home, and she'll answer the phone, and I hear her sweet little baby voice still, with the lisp, and her tendency to say "or" as "bor."  She's slipping through my fingers, that one, no matter how tight I hold on.

Florida was amazing, by the way.  I was baptized in the gulf, it's bright blue waters warm, waves bobbing me up and down and washing away every last bit of self-pity, angst, and stress left in me.  I cried into its waters and laughed after at how fast the past year rolled off my skin.  I spent 48 hours with women who were totally different from one another, who had experienced immense and various heartbreaks, and who still loved each other unconditionally.  There was nothing catty or manipulative that I could see, and that was also a cause for healing and celebration, to be around people who were not trying to change one another or guess what one would do next. 

As promised, I returned home able to see my husband and children again, to enjoy them, and to laugh.  There is no better gift.  THANK you to everyone who made it happen (you know who you are). 

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mother's Day Gift

I had a perfectly lovely Mother's Day, thank you, with breakfast in bed and a bbq at a friend's house, and lots of hugs and kisses. Addie sang me this song all week:

Mamita, mamita de mi corazon
Yo te quiero mucho con todo mi amor

(Mommy, mommy of my heart
I love you so much with all of my love)

and informed me last night as I was putting her to bed that she was going to come to my room every day for the next two weeks and wake me up by singing it to me. Which I'm only moderately excited about.

The only bummer about the whole things is that, ever since Sunday, Nolie seems to be throwing herself full-bore into the terrible twos (which are not set to officially begin for a few more months, so she's being a bit of an over-achiever there). Basically, this means that she has not stopped screeching for the past 48 hours.

It's horrible.

Nolie: "Boosh! Peease! Now!"
Me: "Here's your juice. Where does this 'now' stuff come from?"
Nolie: Nooooooooooooooo! No boooooooooooooooooooooosh! (Throws juice cup on floor and collapses in screeching heap.)
Me (stepping over overwrought toddler on floor): "Geez."
Nolie: "Nooooooooooooooo! No geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez!"

It's a good thing this is the second child, and so I know that this crap will pass in a few weeks. Otherwise I'd be having a serious freakout.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

This Is a True Story

I had to be an adult last night.  Which I hate.

It's the last week of classes, and I've really been looking forward to ending film class, because my students created these really amazing film projects, and I was feeling proud of them and of my self for pulling it all together.  All the students (and some of their friends) met last night, in an auditorium, to share their projects with one another and to say goodbye.  I thought it was a pretty special moment, and was feeling touched and pleased by the students' commitments to their projects and to one another.

Of course, it was not a perfect night.  Oh, no.  Because one of my students, I discovered at the end of class, decided to come to class completely wasted.  He and his team had completed their film on--get this--binge drinking at our university, and I suppose he took the opportunity to do some extra research before class.  His team presented early on, and though I vaguely noticed they were all a little pink-cheeked, there were no great warning signs.  No beer breath, no slurring, no weaving.  They all seemed fine.

Well, three of them were fine.  By the time class was over and everyone else had filed out, one student in the binge drinking group had passed out and was vomiting on himself.  In the back of my classroom.

Remember when I posted a long time ago about how I kind of freak out in situations where I know I'm supposed to take some course of action, but can't decide on which one?  Like when one of the cats brings a half-dead mouse into the house and I'm supposed to decide if I should kill it and put it out of its misery, or pretend it doesn't exist and let the cats just torture it to death, or let it outdoors to just die painfully by itself?  Or like when I'm in a toy store and am supposed to buy a gift but there is so much color and plastic and light and I just end up in a panic attack?

Right.  Last night was like that.  I really would have liked to pretend I didn't see anything, that I didn't see these four boys in the back of the room, three of them holding the fourth's head up so that he didn't fall over and give himself a concussion.  But I did see it, and as the adult in the situation, had to choose some course of action.  There was no space for panic attacks.  They weren't an option.  I had to do something.

But not immediately.  I sort of hung out in the back of the room for a few minutes, even though these boys were saying they would take care of it and I could go.  "No," I said, "I have to make sure you guys leave the room.  Can you get him out of here?"  That was my initial lame defense, that I didn't want to leave a puking, unconscious kid in one of our nice, smart classrooms.  That I would get in trouble.

So, they hauled his limp body outside on to the grass, and a few things quickly became clear:

1)  The three mostly sober kids didn't really know the drunk kid outside of class.  He had been drinking all day, long before he met up with them, so they had no idea whether he usually drank that much, or if he had taken anything else.  So there was no way of knowing if this was something he did a lot (and therefore not so much cause for concern) or something he never did (which meant his body might be experience an unusual shock, which is worth a lot of concern).

2)  Though they were indicating otherwise, these kids really were waiting for me to make some sort of decision, whether it was to tell them to pull a car around and haul the kid off or to call campus security.  They needed an adult to intervene, and I was, as the person of authority, that adult.  Which means I'm no longer cool.  But whatever.  That's beside the point.  I haven't been cool for a long time (and maybe never was).

3)  I was having multiple and contradictory reactions to the event:  I was annoyed that this kid would do this in my class on such a special night; I was terrified for him in a strongly, weirdly maternal way; I was strangely disconnected at the weird irony of it all; I was resentful at being made the adult.  Once I had a moment to parse through all this and figure out what was going on, I called campus security, who called an ambulance, which took the kid away.

I have no idea if he is okay today.  I assume he is.  I assume I was overly cautious in having the ambulance come.  But in this instance, being adult meant making a decision that erred on the side of caution.  This was a useful experience to go through.  I think I'm probably better for it.  I think I might react differently next time I'm confronted with a mouse-in-the-house-type dilemma.  Maybe I won't have a panic attack.  But I still wish that kid hadn't puked and passed out in my class.