Tuesday, June 23, 2009


We certainly live in interesting times. Our little progeny is in the midst of a period of accelerating change and progress. This is like a golden age of baby milestones, a "Pax Infantus" if you will.

Fine motor skills, which concern the movement and control of the small muscles in the fingers and hands are coming along nicely. This is evident in watching the remarkable efficacy with which little Mikey stuffs puffed wheat snacks into his little maw. Right hand or left hand doesn't matter. No puff snack escapes the tiny pincer grasp.

The gross motor skills are booming as well. After a visit from Mikey's bromantic fake cousin Austin, Mikey realized that mobility was all the rage among stylish babies this summer. Laying around on the ground is so 6 month-old, so Mikey initiated operation Swiffer. Operation Swiffer involves crawling around on the floor absorbing all dust bunnies, dog hair, and random detritus onto his clothing. Debris too large to stick to his onesie are placed into the mouth of safekeeping and further analysis.

Mikey's next goal focused on attaining a higher vantage point for reconnaissance of the living room tactical situation. Thus began Operation Pullup. The strategy and tactics behind Operation Pullup are quite simple. Approach a tall object, grab it, and use it to pull one's weight upward. This works quite well on certain items such as a pack and play, a crib rail, a coffee table, or Mom/Dad's outstretched hands. Consequently, there have been many successful missions where Mikey has gathered valuable survey data about the living room and Bella's movements.

Unfortunately, Operation Pullup carries risks. Mikey hasn't prepared an exit strategy, so getting back down from a successful stand is often a frightening, white-knuckled boondoggle. Also, not all objects are equipped to support the advances of a 21 pound ball of grasping, squealing baby. In particular, the dvd player has proven to be a very poor launching point for Pullup sorties.

Finally, Mikey has been demonstrating the early evolution of his very own language. As with all babies he combines various syllables and sounds into adorable baby talk. We think it's absolutely adorable, especially when he decides to test the upper volume limits of his talking while we are all enjoying a nice restaurant meal. His thought process must be, "Ok, these vocal cords go up to 10. I want to take the amplifier up to 11".

He's moving fast and growing very quickly. We are documenting as much as we can in pictures and videos. We are also enjoying the thrills, chills, "Oh No's", and laughter that come when motor skills outpace cognitive, coordination, balance, and danger-sensing skills.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Once a Jag, Always a Jag

I once heard that many teachers quit after their first 5 years of teaching. I've tried to find a valid source that actually confirms this rumor, but I've yet to see any evidence to support what I've heard. I do have my own experience as well as those of my friends and colleagues who happen to be teachers. Many of my very good friends made it to the five year mark, some made it even less. I made it a little past the statistic. I made it to 5 1/2 years (technically my record says, 6 years, but I started in the middle of the year).

In a matter of a couple of weeks, I was convinced to apply, interviewed for, and was offered the position of an Instructional Technology Specialist or "ITS" in my district. I accepted and in short, my new job will be to show teachers what kinds of technology that they have available for their classrooms, and to try to help them integrate that technology whenever and where ever possible. The other portion of my position will be to troubleshoot teachers' computer problems. That's the part I'm not looking forward to. In my eyes, I see this job as an opportunity to use the restroom at other times besides the four minute passing periods I've come accustom to. It should allow me to the time to savor and enjoy my lunch since I will have longer than 18 minutes to devour my leftovers from the night before. I will no longer have to spend hours the night before grades are due catching up on all of the grading that I procrastinated on for the three weeks prior, and I will no longer have to listen to the complaints of angry parents who often forget that teachers are human beings too. Most of all, I see this new job as an opportunity to be able to leave work at work, and evenings can be completely devoted to my husband and son.

With all the freedoms that I foresee my new position bestowing upon me, I know that I will have a serious learning curve, and I know that not everything will be easy. I know there will be times that I will miss the relationships that I often build with students over the year. I will miss seeing the look on a kid's face when he accomplishes more that he ever expected to accomplish, or that B student making a 100 on the last test and the excitement you have when you tell her how well she did. There is a sense of respect and admiration that most people (excluding the parents mentioned above) have for teachers that I will also miss, but nothing as much as the kids.

When I married Christopher, we vowed to go on many adventures together. Hopefully this new adventure will give me just as fond of memories as the past five years of my life as a Jaguar has given me.

So long Cedar Valley, I will always miss you, and you hold a very dear place in my heart. Once a Jag, always a Jag.