~ITEM: my favorite former babysitting clients are really just amazingly awesome people. I did not properly appreciate it at the time, but they found me on Facebook and are all joining groups that are pro-human rights and talking about soccer season and I'm all...wow, I bet we could have been friends if I wasn't so incredibly socially handicapped. I'm glad they found me!

~ITEM: it's weird to go to library storytime and only have to watch Jeeves and Wooster; I'm used to having to constantly headcount, chase toddlers out of corners, and watch for pinchy fingers. Also, it's weird being called "one of the moms" but Awkward to say, "They're not mine" so I just sort of smile politely.

~ITEM: I think I'm going to have to cut like a third of the essay I'm writing on feminism and sexuality because it's too friggin personal for my English class; however, I'm thinking I will probably post it publicly on LJ. My life, so logical.

~ITEM: I really wish I could figure out why I am so damn TIRED all the time lately. It's ridiculous.

~ITEM: coarse-ground cornmeal is NOT AT ALL what I should have used for cornbread. *sigh*

~ITEM: Greta wanted to write something POWERFUL and POP, but NOT OVERLY SENTIMENTAL. I adore her darling FACE and her IDEA OF FEMININITY and basically EVERYTHING ABOUT HER. Not that any of you are surprised about that. (But now I want to hunt down her new boys' former bands' music.)
Today one of our little girls came in covered in marker from neck to navel--apparently she had shirtless fun last night.

We also had the facepaint markers out, and she wanted to draw on me. In a way that made me just like her.

...I look like a vampire lunged for my neck and not-missed just enough to leave scrape marks from under my chin down between my breasts.

I also have rainbows down both arms, an extremely wobbly heart just above one eyebrow, and spirals on my ankles.

...Dude, I love preschool.
Last day at work today.

I--I'm just emotional. I can't even name everything I'm feeling--sad, and relieved, and gypped, and appreciated, and just a little bit hysterical because one of the biggest annoyances of that job (a manager with no clue what she's doing) was fired TODAY. Which makes me laugh at the sense of humor of the UNIVERSE, aight?

I won't miss most of the people I worked with, or the problems I had that nobody would address, or the constant beating my head against brick walls. I won't miss the ugly metal walls or the cheap apple juice concentrate.

But I'll miss my director, whose husband (when he came to pick her up today) told me that half her stories about work ended in, "but thank goodness for Lu, she..."; I'll miss the parents who made sure to stop by the classroom so I could get a last hug goodbye, who've taken the time over the years to include me in their childrens' lives and listen to my suggestions; I'll miss my bright, impossible children, with their twisty logic and determination and wholehearted living.

It's an ending, and I don't have a beginning to begin yet.

Wow.
Tonight I'm supposed to be writing my letters of leaving for my preschool job: requests for recommendations from a few select parents, my official resignation for my director, my thank-you letter to the general population of parents and kids...

but I'm sad. I'm sad and I'm tired and I love those children dearly and I. Don't. Wanna.

As much as I've whined and ranted and resented this job, as much as my coworkers have been incompetent or my management frustrating or the curriculum horrendously laughably bad, this is the end of a period of my life that will always be important to me. It's the time when I figured out what I want to do with my life; the time when I figured out the cause of my depression; the time when I learned about my flaws and my strengths. I've done a lot of living and a lot of loving in that building, with all those kids around me, and just--I'm going to miss them so, so much.

One little girl I've been caring for almost four years--she was six months old when I started. I've seen her learn to walk and talk, coached and coaxed her through her divorce tantrums, taught her to write her name and help others climb the ladder to the slide. She's bright and quick and lovely, and I'm a part of that--I helped to build the person she is, the person she's going to be. And she won't remember me at all--she's only four years old! Right now she runs to hug me and it's me she cries for when she falls and it's me they send her to when she can't be handled--but in another six months I'll pass her in the street and she won't even know me.

Her mother is one of the parents who've agreed to write me a formal recommendation, and I just...I can't make myself talk about how much I love that kid and how much I'm going to miss her. Not in the formal, bullshitting way I write my official letters.

All I really want to do is hold her close and cry.

It's sad, y'all, and I need time to wallow before I go all bright and cheery to say goodbye.
Tonight I am babysitting for a new family--one I haven't babysat for before. I know both children quite well--they attend the preschool where I work--but I hadn't done the private-care bit for them.

It's quite a pleasant change from nannying, or even from babysitting for one of my "regular" families. Those who are used to me know that I take temper tantrums, vomit, and cookie baking in my stride, with as much composure as possible, nine times in ten. (And the tenth, to quote somebody, is generally a humdinger.) I have been urinated on, bitten, and smeared with homemade playdough--but I'm competent and have a sense of humour and handle these things fairly well. I don't mind, honestly--it comes with the territory, and I love the territory. I cook, I entertain, I maintain structure and reasonable amounts of discipline, and then when the kids go to bed I clean up. The families who know me are aware of this and feel safe in rushing out the door while blowing kisses over their shoulder and leaving their cell numbers lost somewhere in the chaos of a half-cooked dinner.

But this family?

When I arrived, the children had been fed dinner, given strict instructions as to bedtime, and provided with four alternate activities to keep them busy. All of these activities required little to no input from me...they were completely within the kids' range of competence and guaranteed to keep the children happy and quiet.

It's nice, going back to the days when having somebody else take care of your kids was an Event, which needed to be carefully planned for. On her way out, Mom managed to repeat three times that the important thing was that they listen to me, so I would come back. The children are to make everything easy for me.

I feel valued.

It's kinda nice.
Nannying again today.

This kid cracks me up. She's spoilt rotten--despite being mostly-functional in a family containing eighteen Special Needs children--and adores princesses, thinks of herself as one, but even being a princess is not her overarching motivation.

For instance, atm, we are playing Cinderella.

She is the evil Stepmother, because Cinderella has to obey orders, and the Stepmother gets to give them.

Required on the princess's part (see: my part) is no actual participation in terms of dressing up, creating any part of the game, or making any decisions. My job is to docilely repeat my dialogue, varying my volume according to instruction. Any attempt on my part to a) say anything not dictated to me; b) move without direction; c )act is immediately and harshly squashed. I am a human puppet.

It's kind of hysterical.

But if she grows up to rule the world, I hope god has mercy on our souls.
SCENE:

Lu, the babysitter
G, the 4-yo girl
C, the 9-yo boy
Roxie, the dog

C: Ms. Lu, where are you?
LU: In the bathroom, I'll be out in a minute
C: Well, you might not want to come out.
LU: ...why?
C: Roxie farted...and it smells really bad
LU (grinning behind the closed door): ...okay then
C: At first I thought it was G? So I smelled her butt and Roxie's? And it was definitely Roxie.
LU: ...
LU: ...Thank you for that...extremely accurate information
C: *goes off satisfied with a warning well-delivered*
LU: *tries not to die of laughter*



This has been your daily moment of Kids Are Awesome
Spending this weekend babysitting, so fly-by-night update before I have to go back:

LUMOS all over my flist! Oh, how I wish I was not broke and could be there! Everybody, call me, send me a postcard, toast me in your alcoholic hazes, and have a fabulous time.

Beth...oh, Beth, my angel, life sucks for you right now. I'm so sorry. You're in my thoughts.

Comments to individual posts later.

Note to self: This family is friendly drunks.
So: The babysitting charge has a nickname (Jumping Bean, he will be known to you as in the future.) I have never seen him even close to that hyper at school. Man. He started out sleeping in Squishy, but couldn't get settled...I finally pulled him into my bed at midnight and he got to sleep around 12:45. I hope his dad is very late picking him up, the poor child...he must be exhausted.

But it is very cool...one of the best experiences of my life...to be the thing that a startled child reaches for at night to reassure himself.
One of our little boys had an accident today, and part of it wound up on my face. The funny thing? Nowhere NEAR the worst part of my day.

I hate snow. I used to love it. It was so pretty, and magical, and LAHDIFREAKINGDAH, the stuff KEEPS CHILDREN INDOORS. Where they let off loose energy by fighting, yelling, running, attacking, and knocking over CD players.

On the plus side...we have a brother and sister team, two and three, who just seem to sense when I'm having an awful day...Jason offered to kiss me for the first time, ever, and Sierra was very sweet and clingy and fun in front of one of my toughest parents...his kid hates me, on the basis of he's nine years old and I once hugged him when he was worried about something, but his parents always watch me and I can almost hear them wondering if I'm really as horrible as their boy says or if it's just him being nine, and Sierra today, wanting to be held, made his dad blink and his whole face just...change into something that seems to accept me a little more, understand why my director hired me. And one of my dearest elementary-age girls spent an hour cleaning up a mess she had nothing to do with, bless her sweet heart.

Compensations make the world go round and Lu not quit her job.
Okay, so, thanks to everybody who offered to "help" me with the problems with my boss. She is what you called her. However, she is not normally a bitch to me.

My musings on this woman's personality )

Special thanks to Kaalee and Sarah--just listening to you two banter is an mightily amusing cure for a bad day--and Ellen, who is the best person I can imagine as a permanent RP partner. You made it all better, the three of you.


Today was a good day, though. And

Hallelujah!



Why )

Spending tomorrow getting the room and car cleaned, laundry done, presents wrapped...if I'm brave enough, even my e-mail inbox cleaned out, which I've been swearing to do forever.
Okay, so the good news: Yesterday my little Chinese-speaker (who is now also an English-speaker, in what? two months? I'm so proud!) who according to her mother used to hate me, said that she'd missed me over the weekend. And Josh (my little boy who I'm SO worried about because, among other things, his mother is (accprding to my director) on drugs and I think she was on them while he was in the womb) told me that he loved me. So I am happy.

...Do you see why I love this job? The chance to work with such precious children? Even when they're being obnoxious, they're precious.

Birthday coming up, and my kids are already excited for it. Sillies. *squidges them*

Finally starting some Padma rolling, which is good.

Making another key attempt tonight.

Election: Yes, I voted. FIRMLY AGAINST Amendment 3, if for no other reason. I wrote in Jen's Civ professor for president. (Yes, Jen, I actually did it. *g*) If this were a swing state I'd have voted for Kerry, but as there is no chance in hell of it making a difference HERE, I wrote in someone else.

*wanders off to finish reading Remus interviews*
Lord, I love my job.

A long toddler-hug just for walking into the room is worth any amount of irritation.

Also, I love Kimi. Who is just awesome.
OML!!

One of my favorites of my kids...tiny, blonde hair, blue eyes, fragile look...three years old...spent half an hour teaching her fellow students to break dance. It was the funniest thing in the world!!

And one of the babies said good-bye to her best friend!

Answers )

Oh, and yeah, P.S. for RL people;

Kimi got an LJ!! [livejournal.com profile] kiwi_cow
"Teacher, can we get married?"
"Wait until it's legal, honey. You only have twelve years if your parents consent."

"Oh, no, that's not my mom. That lady's pretty."

"You're a bad monster."
"No, I'm not. I'm a nice monster."
"You're a bad monster."
"I'm nice. RAAAAAWR."
*perks up* "You're a bad monster."
"Is that good?"
*nods and beams*
*shrug* "Okay...RAAAAAWR."

Ahhhh: daycare.

Exercise: 40 minutes cross-trainer, 45 minutes playing "monster" with eight active four-year olds, five laps.

Despite the fact that a year ago I used to swim ten--fifteen laps at least three times a week, I can no longer swim in a straight line. And I had to promise my body that I would stop at three (having set my goal at five) in the middle of my second lap. I did manage to accomplish my goal, but my body is gullible.

*feels pathetic*

I will also be reporting on how much water I drink.

I'm not organized enough to do calorie-counts, but I do want to report that I walked PAST the specials on caramels, Dutch mints, AND Jelly Bellies. Go me!
I spent the weekend finding out that I am not ready to be a mother of four.


Some former babysitting clients of mine were going away for a couple of days and offered to pay me to stay over and watch the kids. Now, I love these kids. Four boys, three to twelve, cheerful and loving and helpful and genuinely fond of one another and of me. But full of energy. OMLSOTIRED.

After they got home (five hours late, thank you) on Sunday, I needed to wind down so badly that I guilt-tripped my mother into driving me to Jessi's because my car wouldn't start. I had a lazy conversation, mostly about Card Captor, with them and then fell asleep on top of Jess. I've missed being able to fall asleep on top of Jess.

Monday was lovely, though. We went out to breakfast, and then Jess and Whitney took me in hand. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my hair is PERFECT. A dark brown with red undertones, which blaze out into a rich auburn in sunlight or flourescent lights. *worships at Jess and Whitney's feet* Pictures will be forthcoming as soon as I find someone with a camera.

Everybody else went to USU last night to visit Jess and Amla and dye Amla's hair, but my family decided that I was indespensable. I spent the evening in my room writing and barely even saw them, so I don't know what they profited from the transaction, but...meh.

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