Friday, May 29, 2009

A Little Jealousy is Good, Right?

The semester is officially over, thankfully. It has been a really, really, really tough one. Work took a surprising amount of time outside of class, time that I had to take away from the kids and the house. Even when I wasn't busy doing actual work, I would be thinking in the back of my mind all the things I had to do, and that took up precious remaining brain cells.

The husband needed my help with the kids during those crucial few hours I was gone. He managed to pick them up from their extracurricular activity, cook dinner, bathe them, and get all of them ready for bed almost every night.
Pretty darn good for a guy. Sure they went to bed late and had a lot of fast food, but it's better than what any other guy would have done.

And then there was us. We have never communicated so poorly as we have this semester. We would say a quick hi/bye as he came and I went. When I came home, he would be busy with the kids while I ate dinner and cleaned up. By the time we were all done, he would be passed out on the bed. There were so many little thoughts I wanted to tell him but that got lost with busyness, time, and forgetfulness. Eventually it got to the point where even he, a guy, realized something was missing. Two weeks after my post about our communication issues, he suddenly turned to me and said, "We need to spend more alone time talking." Which just floored me because (1) what the heck did he think I was grousing about all that time, and (2) he specifically mentioned talking instead of sex. So that's how bad it was.

Despite all of these challenges, I'm going back to work in the fall, although with less hours. Sure the money is helpful. And it's good to practice my skills, blah blah blah. But the real reason I'm going back is the husband has a renewed appreciation for me. He...hahaha...thinks certain colleagues and students...haha...have a thing for me...ha! He thought the guy who took me on a tour of the gardens had a thing for me. He thought my student who chatted with me a lot had a thing for me. He thought my student who wanted to go out for lunch on the last day of class had a thing for me.

There is no way that these other guys had any sort of attraction for me. I am almost 40 with 4 kids (think of Kate Gosselin's tummy tuck epidosde), boring clothes, boring hair, no makeup, and oh yeah did I mention the sagging body? Which is why it's so sweet, if not outright hilarious, that the husband thinks other guys would look at me in that way.

Of course, I'm not telling any of this to the husband. What I have lost in looks I have gained in wisdom. Instead I tell him,"Don't worry, no matter how good the other guy looks (not that I ever notice) or how much interest he shows in me, I won't give him a second thought."

Oh yeah, I am so going back to work.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Mantra

The first thing I do every morning when I wake up is pray. Right there in bed, which is why sometimes I fall right back asleep. I pray for the kids of course, but I also pray for my upcoming day. There's one verse that I always run through in my head but in a different version.

I am patient, I am kind. I do not envy, I do not boast, I am not proud. I am not rude, I am not self-seeking, I am not easily angered, I keep no record of wrongs. I do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. I will always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere. I will not fail.

I'm hoping it will become so ingrained on my brain that I won't have to recite it anymore.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So This is What Soreness Feels Like

Yesterday for the first time this entire year I exercised. Now that school is out, I couldn't find any more excuses to put it off, and I figured it was time to get some of my money's worth. I asked the husband to watch the kids, and he was more than eager. I know he's been wanting me to start exercising by the little hints he gives (eg. shouldn't you start exercising soon?). He's a great ego booster, the husband.

Ever since he's gotten free health club membership from work, he's been an exercise freak. He goes almost daily! The plus side of this is that he is finer than he's ever been. Who knew when I met him 16 years ago that his scrawny self would become this? Oh yeah, and of course he'll be around longer to drive me to all my geriatric appointments.

The down side is that I am a big lump of fat next to him. We get enough quizzical looks as it is as a couple; I refuse to become that old, fat wife next to the young-looking, hot husband. I would be perfectly happy as the old fat wife next to the old fat husband, but no way will I be the hideous one in our marriage. Let's hear it for vanity and cheapness, otherwise I would be the world's unhealthiest person.

So I went exercising yesterday despite my deep loathing of it. I forced myself to go to some kickboxing class because I have no self-discipline to run on the treadmill or cycle on my own. I would just quit after 10 minutes. Same goes for all the weight machines. I need a class with a teacher who constantly yells at me, super fit people around me who seamlessly follow every move and stare if I stop, and a complicated choreography to keep me focused on the next step instead of how miserable I am.

Just as I predicted, the class completely whipped me, even with all my "water breaks." I have never drunk so much water in my life, and I hate water. I came home completely exhausted, ready to lie down after peeing first. I don't understand how people say exercising gives them energy. Every single time I've exercised (about 10 times total, including PE), my body was rubbery and sluggish for the rest of the day. My energy evaporated along with my sweat, which is not a good thing when you still have the entire day to face with 4 little kids.

Luckily, the hamburger, potato chips, soda, ice cream, and cookies I had afterward infused me with enough energy to go on.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Baby!

I have to jot these things down because he's changing so fast. Every day he's exchanging some of his baby sweetness for toddler tantrums. It is like watching Jekyll turning into Hyde.
  • Each day I have to pick him up and let him play with the security console on the wall. He loves to flip the panel and push the buttons. While he's busy doing that, I kiss him the whole time. If I stop, he leans his face toward my lips.
  • While I'm doing the dishes, he'll walk around the house, pick up spare sippy cups and bottles, and bring them to me. Then he'll pull up a stool, climb on it, and talk to me. The conversation is all babytalk and not very scintillating, but still.
  • He and his 4 year old sister are very competitive. One thing they like to "win" at is to be the last one to kiss me before I leave. When I say good-bye, they come running and alternate kissing me until someone drags them away crying. Because of this, I'm even later to everything than usual.
  • In the morning when he wakes up, if someone else opens the bedroom door for him, he slams it in their face and waits for me to open it instead. After his nap, he refuses to come out of the crib unless it's me lifting him out.
  • He loves to wrap his arms around me possessively and declare "My Mommy!" He's my sweet boy, all right.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to Get an A in My Class

It's final exam time! Time to start making up the exam for tomorrow. Also, time to start thinking about grades and what it takes to get an A in the class...

1. Come to class.
2. Take notes instead of watching The Office on your laptop.
4. Do not lie if caught cheating.
5. Tell me I look too young to teach.
6. Ask me if I teach anything else because you would like to take another class with me.
7. Do not ask me incessantly about extra credit or a grade curve.
8. Do not leave a nasty rating before the semester is over that clearly pinpoints you.
9. Do not whine about how if you don't get a passing grade, you won't be able to transfer or graduate, you'll go into poverty, or you'll die.
10. Study your brains out!

Is my class a piece of cake or what?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Earthquake Survival with Kids

A couple of days ago, we had a small earthquake, around 4.something. It was a nice one, as far as earthquakes go. We could definitely feel it but it wasn't scary. It was like being on a short ride...back and forth, back and forth, is it over yet?

I've experienced earthquakes with the kids before, and I quickly gauged that this one wasn't worth the trouble. However, the husband did not know this. After finally realizing that it was indeed an earthquake (about 3 seconds long), he yelled for the kids to come into the kitchen. One child did not hear him, another kept playing in the bedroom, a third continued sitting on the couch. So he hollered again. Same results. Finally he went chasing after the kids in the bedroom. They were surprised to see him. "We didn't hear you Daddy." Because they have extremely selective hearing. Either that or a gigantic ball of wax in their ears. Probably both.

He dragged all of them into the dining room to the table. The baby protested, kicking and pulling the entire way. Finally they all made it safe into the dining room. Five minutes after the earthquake was over.

I'm hoping that the Big One won't come soon because (cue Sid from Ice Age 2) we're gonna die! We do have a teeny shot, though, thanks to the husband who brought home M&M's yesterday. Our plan is to scatter them all under the table next time. Not only will it get the kids running under the table, but it'll be part of their survival food. Actually, as of now, it's their only survival food.

Next on my to do list: prepare earthquake survival kit.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Pain of Motherhood

Pregnant women frequently ask me, how in the crazy world did you go through four pregnancies? Because my back hurts, my feet can't fit into their shoes anymore, I have acid reflux, I also have stabbing pains in the pelvis, I'm tired all the time, I'm throwing up all the time, I'm so sick of being ginormous...

I used to be one of these whiners. Now I know better.

The truth is that in the grand scheme of motherhood, pregnancy is the easiest stage. As big of pain pregnancy is, it ain't nothing compared to labor. While I've mostly forgotten the aches of pregnancy, I have not forgotten a single excruciating minute of any one of my four labors. Even with the majority of my brain cells dead.

Oh, but that is nothing compared to breastfeeding. The pain of an impacted breast, mastitis, thrush, a human cyclone sucking on it every 2 hours in the wrong latch-on position no matter what stinking hold you use, for an entire year (at least)! Words to describe it fail me. It would be like dragging a man with his naked penis on a dirt road and stomping on it. At some point, though, you do get used to it.

But does the pain end there? Noooo...

Because then you actually have to raise the child. Not like a fish or turtle, either, which recently died on us. You have to raise them well. First of all, you have to feed them. And not just by whipping out your breast and sticking it in their mouth. You have to cook them organic foods that cover every nutritional rainbow, only to have them declare,"yuck" when it's placed before them. My advice is to breastfeed for as long as possible.

Then there's the disciplining, where you have to yell constantly (for consistency, of course) over fighting, getting to school on time, doing their homework, eating their food, using their manners, getting ready for bath, getting ready for bed, bugging people while they're on the phone, whining, teasing,
magically transforming anywhere they've been to into a huge garbage pile...

So while pregnancy may cause your internal organs to be squished up into your throat, enjoy it while you can. Because in a few months your life will get a gazillion times harder.

It's worth it, though. At least that's what they keep telling me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

81 and Counting

Was it merely a year ago that we were living it up on a big ship in Cabo San Lucas? Must be, because my father-in-law just celebrated yet another birthday, his 81st. He's in great shape, still able to watch 3 kids by himself. Only one kid he can't manage, but then again no one can manage that kid, which is why he's the only one off at school during the day. The day my father-in-law can't babysit our kids will be the day I start stressing. And not just because I won't have a free babysitter anymore.

I love my mother-in-law, but I relate totally to my father-in-law. I can completely understand his desire to sit around in sweats and watch TV all day, even if it is some garbage on the E channel (oh such mindless bliss). We could watch the Food Network and HGTV all day, everyday, without getting up to try a single recipe or decoration tip. It would drive me crazy, just like it does him, if I got unending phone calls during my twice-a-day naps with some obnoxious ring set at the highest volume. Or if my spouse was constantly trying to drag me to yet another "party" (religious meeting with food) or to the 1 out of 4 grocery stores that must be visited each week to save $5.

The husband and my mother-in-law say my father-in-law was not such an easy man to live with in his younger days. He was unemotional, rigid in his ways, seemingly unloving. Yet he showed his devotion by hanging in there, despite sons who drifted on their own for awhile, a wife who sometimes made unreasonable demands, and insane and/or alcoholic in-laws that lived nearby.

These days he's the submissive one. He lives for his wife, sons, and grandkids. When he sees the baby he smiles so broadly that you can see every single wrinkle for his 81 years. Otherwise, you'd never know he was 81.

I hope the husband has inherited his father's longevity genes. Because who else is going to drive me around to the pharmacy every other day and make dinner for us.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hillbilly No More

The tooth fell out during dinner. She gagged and regurgitated it just for the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy couldn't find it but left $1 anyway. So there's a regurgitated tooth somewhere in her bedding. Hopefully our stayover guests will find it before our girl finds out the truth.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Future of America, Part 2

Actual conversation with a student who is about 5' tall, with blonde hair, a perky nose, cute freckles, and innocent appearance of a 10 year old.

Her: Here's the lab assignment I missed last week. I went to another lab to make it up.
Me: Oh, great. Which lab did you go to?

Her: The one at 7 pm.
Me: On which day?

Her: Tuesday.
Me: Hmm...who was the instructor?

Her: I don't know.
Me: Was it a guy, woman, tall, short, what?

Her: I don't know, I didn't see him.
Me: Okay, here's the thing. The Tuesday night lab is for a completely different class. It's a zoology lab.

Her: I came in! I don't know what anyone else did, I just came in and did my own stuff.
Me: And what did you do exactly?

Her: Um, you know, the activity with the worms.
Me: Wow, that would have been amazing since we didn't have any worms last week.

Her: Yes, I did it! The people from the other lab helped me! My lab partners helped me!
Me: Look, I told you earlier in the semester the other time you were caught cheating that copying someone else's work is not allowed. I cannot accept this assignment.

Her: I don't know what you want me to. Sniff sniff. I had to work because I have no money to pay for rent. What else was I supposed to do?
Me: You could have actually gone to one of the other labs. Or better yet, told the truth for once.

Her (thinking): What a freaking witch she is. I hate her.
Me (thinking): What kind of lame-o doesn't even check online to get an actual classtime and instructor name. Forget about biology, this girl just needs some common sense.

Have I mentioned how I'm so looking forward to the end of the semester?

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Daughter's Take

1. What is something your mom always says?
Her: That she loves me.
Me: Close runner-up...NO.

2. What makes your mom happy?
Seeing us everyday.
Does she have insight or what.

3. What makes your mom sad?
When she knows she hasn't treated us very nicely.
So true.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
I know she makes me laugh but I forget how.
I'm subtle that way.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
I don't know.
Perfect, the ideal child is what my parents tell me.

6. How old is your mom?
I think 36.
At least it's younger than my actual age.

7. How tall is your mom?
About two and a half feet.
Next in math: estimating measurement.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Spend time with me.
She is a lot of fun.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Work on the computer.
And even when she is around.

10. What is your mom really good at?
This despite her complaining about how boring school was today.

11. What is your mom not really good at?
Staying awake on Fridays.
I do try.

12. What does your mom do for a job?
Teach biology.
It is interesting sometimes (see previous post).

13. What is your mom's favorite food?
Noodle soup.
Yum, instant ramen from the Asian stores, not that garbage sold everywhere else. Also, mega-yum, ice cream.

14. What do you and your mom do together?
Go shopping.
That's my girl!

15. How are you and your mom the same?
We're both girls.
Nothing gets by her.

16. How are you and your mom different?
I have brown hair and she has black hair.
And she's a ton cuter than me.

17. How do you know your mom loves you?
Because she gives me good food and takes care of me.
She also loves ramen and ice cream.

18. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Her bed.
Man does she have me pegged.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Future of America

Newsflash about college students...they are sex maniacs. But then who isn't?

Last week, during the genetics lab, the students had to simulate having babies with someone. A lot of giggling, a lot of innuendos, too much fun considering the subject. More giggling when I explained the prefix homo means same, as in homosexual and homozygous, and hetero means different, as in heterosexual and heterozygous. I seriously need to come up with other words with these prefixes.

This week, we're doing a lab on asexual and sexual reproduction. While discussing the pros and cons of each, one guy yelled out that sexual reproduction is funner.

Then they had to simulate sex by swapping fluids in a test tube. Afterward, I tested their tubes for "STD." You can imagine how this exercise went. There were so many lewd remarks, I thought we were in the men's locker room. From the intensity of cheering at negative results, I also conclude that college students have real difficulty distinguishing what is real and what is pretend.

I can hardly wait till next week, when they have to watch live sea urchin sperm fertilize eggs.

Actually, the real culprit here is the author of the labs. Because he has way overestimated the maturity level of his students. And he's obsessed with sex. But then who isn't?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our Little Star

This week, students all over California are taking the state-wide test called Star, which helps somebody to rate the schools each year. The Star test sets a lot of the standards for school curricula. Teachers have to make sure that their students are ready for it, and they take some time each year starting with the second grade to prepare for it.

I could care less how my daughter does on it and told her so. We're just going to continue doing school as normal and forget what the government mandates with their one-size-fits-all standards. As a typical first-born, I have to wonder where that attitude comes from. Must be from the husband, who is the rebellious younger child, and all his brain-washing.

This is my daughter's first time with the Star, so I had to give her a pep talk. I said something like this: if you do well..great, if you don't do well...great. The test means nothing.

Despite this assurance, my daughter was still nervous. She said,"But Mommy! I haven't studied for it at all! I don't know all the stars and constellations!"

She was also nervous because her teacher had told her it was a test for the state of California, and she thought that everyone in California would know how she did. I finally set her straight on the Star: the results mean nothing but it's good practice for bubbling in circles, which sadly my 20
year old students can't even do properly.

As it turned out, the first day of testing turned out to be quite eventful. Her front tooth fell out in the middle of the test. Now she has the other front tooth dangling there. Probably it will fall out on another day of testing.

She said the test was easy, she finished early, and that she read 3 books after finishing the test. I really think it was my pep talk that did it.

The cutest hillbilly ever

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why I Love My Haircut

1. Five inches off + tons of thinning = 10 pounds off my head.
2. I can just fall back on my pillow and go to sleep without adjusting my hair over and over (this was the biggest annoyance).
3. No more ponytail pain, for this week at least.
4. The stylist did not cut herself and bleed on my hair, unlike the one from last year.
5. It looked cute, even my students said so. Unfortunately, it doesn't look so great anymore since I washed it and let it air dry.
6. But hey, it was FREE!

This is what it looked like from the back, which is all I can show you because I am highly allergic to pictures of my face that are not obstructed in some way. If you think this doesn't look impressive, you should've seen it before. It was basically a big mass of frizz tied up in a ponytail.

What my hair looked like a few days later, after it flattened a bit. On the first day, the husband said that my shirt was too ugly. Also, our kitchen background with dangling pots was too ugly. This from a guy who was sitting down while taking pictures of me standing up. Nostril and booger shots, anyone?

We finally found a more suitable background a few days later. In front of Costco.

P.S. Yikes, I am slouching so badly!

P.S.S. The sunglasses don't look that great, but they were FREE. Same goes for my sweatshirt, pants, and shoes.