Day: January 10, 2013

Not Quite the end of a Very Long Week

There is an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6 called Life Serial. In it the villains place a device on Buffy which messes with time. She’s walking into class then blinks and class is over. She takes a few steps toward her next class and then she’s missed that one too. My whole day has felt like that. I look up from my computer and realize that 90 minutes have passed and I still haven’t done the thing I sat down to do. In my case I don’t have a device or villains to blame, just lack of sleep. It feels weak to claim that. I’ve managed on less. I used to do it on a regular basis when my kids were still waking me up in the middle of the night every single night. Of course Patch did wake me up this week because he was sick. And then I never napped to make up for it, because this was the first work week of a new year, the first full week back at school, the last week of the term for my two teenagers, and so many things were more pressing than sleep. Which landed me in today when my brain just stopped functioning properly.

The printer ran out of toner. This is a normal complication in a work day. Except in the holiday rush I forgot to place an order for toner cartridges. I had to go to an office supply store. Thus instead of spending five minutes printing postage, putting out packages for the mailman, and taking a nap; I drove to the store and back, returned to see the mail truck driving away from my house, printed the postage, drove the packages down to the post office, and then got back just in time to begin the after school pick ups. With extra trips out to conference with Link’s English teacher because the term ends tomorrow and there is last minute work to do tonight. The whole package thing wouldn’t have been today’s problem at all if I’d had my act together any time in the last four days when I knew those packages had to be sent before today. But the last four days had their own urgencies, their own lists of things which must be done today to prevent future crisis.

My whole week has been like that Google app Martin Van Buren commercial. The one where the kid shows up to breakfast saying “It is dress like a president day. I’m supposed to be Martin Van Buren.” So the mom slaps together an amazing costume in ten minutes. I have rescued and salvaged so many things this week. Little things which never had a chance to turn into big things. Little things which probably I should not have rescued, but I was in super-rescue mode and didn’t pause to think whether the little thing needed my time and attention. I could have let a lot more slide. I could have rearranged sleep higher on the priority list. Instead I find myself at the end of Thursday, wishing it was Friday, knowing I had a super productive week, but feeling like I failed.

At least today I’m thinking about dinner before it is already 6 pm. That’s a first for this week.

School Projects

The teacher assigns a project to my child who then explains it to me. The communication chain seems simple, particularly when it is also facilitated by a note directly from the teacher to parents. I am very grateful for those notes, because projects tend to transform inside my children’s heads. Patch is supposed to research and present on traditional clothing for one of the Utah Native American tribes. The teacher pictures him using class time to make clothing out of butcher paper. Patch pictures me making two buckskin dresses, three pairs of leggings, several loincloths, six pairs of moccasins, a vest, and a top hat. Beaded. When I express reluctance to do all of this sewing, Patch’s eyes get wide with panic because his assignment will be wrong. Talking with the teacher clears everything up and Patch begins to happily plan and cut butcher paper clothes.

Gleek tells me intensely that she has to pick a science fair project that will make the world a better place. It has to be meaningful and helpful. I know that the point is to learn and practice scientific method, so we settle on and experiment to test the effect of fertilizer on algal growth in pond water. It is an experiment that has been done a bazillion times before, which is fine. We don’t need to change the whole world with one project. We just need to change one child by helping her learn. That in turn will help change the world eventually.

I both love and hate school projects, but most of the reasons I dislike them are due to translation errors as the instructions pass through the brains of my kids.