Apologies to the Librarian

Dear Librarian,

Allow me to explain why all of the pages of the library book are stuck together. You see, my son wanted eggs.

Actually, I’ll start from the beginning. As my wife and daughter napped in another room, I was left to supervise my son in the living room. He was enjoying the books he borrowed from the library while I watched sports on television.

Then, nature called and I had to excuse myself for a minute. Literally, like a minute. Unfortunately, this was more than enough time for my son to use your library book as part of an omelette.

My son, looking around and seeing me nowhere, took it upon himself to make himself a meal. He’s independent like that. He went into the kitchen, looked around a bit, and figured that he wanted “eggies”. It’s one of his favorite meals.

He took the carton of eggs into the living room. Sitting on the ground, surrounded by your lovely library books, my son began cracking eggs. Oh, not just breaking on the ground, but smearing the yoke along the covers and binding of your books.

By the time I came back to the living room, he had already served himself two scrambled eggs. Not cooked, but merely yoked on the the books. We cleaned up (well, I cleaned as my son watched. It’s a thing in my house that the person who cooks doesn’t have to clean-up afterwards).

Anyways, the next day, I was unaware that egg had made its way into the book. I made that discovery as I tried to open the book and the pages refused open and, instead, I heard the painful, teeth-grinding sound of pages ripping as I tried to separate them.

I write this letter preemptively, as I talk with my wife about how to explain how egg yolk made it’s way inside the book. You see, since there’s no more newspapers, my son wanted to have your library book with breakfast. He’s wise beyond his years.

Sincerely,

Gilbert

P.S. I can pay.

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4 Year Anniversary

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A Guy in Preschool turns 4 years old. I never thought the blog would be going this long. But, hey, it’s still here.

Although I’m proud of this blog, as far as the direction of my writing, I’m not sure where to go from here. Reason being, when I started this blog, I was teaching children. I was a preschool teacher, single, and living in San Francisco. Today, I’m a husband and father with two children, an office worker by day and college professor by night living in Pittsburgh.

The person who started writing this blog is no longer here. I mean, I’m still here. But, I’m no longer living in the context by which this blog was meant to showcase.

Therefore, the content and information on this blog is going to reflect my life changes. Although focused on early childhood, there will be a lot more information and guidance, with the occasional classroom story, fatherhood tale or daily experience. This will allow me to write about what I’m going through currently, rather than pulling tales from the past.

Additionally, I’ll be incorporating some new content by way of multimedia. I love photography and video, and I hope to incorporate more of those mediums into my writings.

Here we go 2017!

Winter Siesta

Winter break is finally upon us. The unofficial half-time of the school year. Time for some much needed hibernation. Pajama’s become your daily outfit. Time to catch up on those Netflix series.

The first few days of winter break is just about doing nothing. If you’re done holiday shopping, then you get to enjoy full rest of body and mind. If not, remember that Amazon Prime will deliver in two days.

For me, somewhere in the middle of winter break, it’s a time to think back about how the academic year has been going, what could change, and what I wanna do come January. This may seem kind of weird, spending your time off to think about what you’ll do when you return to the classroom. That’s just the mindset of the teacher.

I did the same thing toward the end of summer break. Not so much about the classroom, but what I wanted to accomplish with this blog. Up to this past summer, my posts had been – sporadic. Then silent.

I didn’t like the spread shot of little dots Word Press shows under stats. No consistency. Like little bursts of espresso followed by a caffeine crash. No likey. So, I gave myself a goal to accomplish by the end of this year.

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More consistency

I challenged myself to post every Monday from August to Winter Break. At the beginning, posting was easy because of the initial motivation. Got a little over-zealous with posting Fridays as well. But then came the grind and posting weekly became a bit of work.

Please keep in mind. I’m not a writer. I just write. Just as I’m not an ace driver, artistic photographer, or thought-provoking artist, I just drive to work, snap photos, and occasionally design graphics.

Amongst a community of writers, I right-click for synonyms.

So, posting now for 23 straight weeks is very good for me. Quite proud of it. But now is the time for the streak to end. I’ve reached my goal. I’ll pick back up the baton in January.

Enjoy the winter break. Don’t forget when you’re suppose to return back to work. See everyone in 2017!

Thanksgiving Hangover

My thoughts this morning…

Work. What’s that? That happens today? But there’s still leftovers. There’s football tonight. It’s still Thanksgiving, right? No. Aww man.

Time to wake up to that morning alarm. Get in the car and greet that morning traffic. Go back to my desk and file student records and… uh…. other stuff.

Ugh! I don’t want to go to work. I’m not ready yet. I want to wake up in my pajamas with a cup of coffee and spend the entire day shopping online. There are deals today. Many, many deals. I didn’t do the Black Friday thing because I was waiting for today.

You know what I need? I need a vacation from my vacation. I don’t need to make any food or have any place to be. I need to ease into this work week. How many sick days do I have left? I need a mental health day. A “Me” day.

Okay, let’s go on the computer. Log into my work portal. Check my personal time and… 3 hours sick time left… okay. How many hours of work in a day? 8 working hours. 8 minus the 3 and… aww, that’s not a full day!

Ugh. Guess I’m going to work… in 3 hours 🙂

Child Currency

Why do you get up in the morning? Because you have a job? If not, most of us would be up around noon, sitting on the couch in our pajamas mooching Internet off the neighbors so we can binge watch Netflix.

Likewise, children have extrinsic motivation to do things too. Of course, it’s not a job, but children do like to receive income. Really, they do. We all of our income, money, or currency that we earn and like to spend. So do children. However, unlike adults, children’s currencies change daily and throughout the day.

I’ll use my son as an example.

Morning Currency

My son is the first to rise, so he gets first choice of morning television. Well, he’s the only one choosing because he’s the only one truly awake. Still, the choice of a show is incentive for my son to sit and stay put for awhile so everyone else has a chance to wake up.

However, if it’s during the week and my wife and newborn are still sleeping in bed, then my son’s tablet is currency. Before I head out the door for work, I’ll setup Daniel Tiger episodes and let him lay on the bed next to Mama until she has a chance to wake-up.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, my son likes to wake-up way before 7am.

Afternoon Currency

One of my son’s favorite activities is jumping on and making forts on Mama and Dada’s bed. We have an overload of pillows, so plenty of building material. Also, I need to use this currency so my son can take his afternoon nap.

For example, if I say, we’ll jump on the bed and then afterwards we have to take a nap, he’ll go through with it. Lots of physical movement on the bed and fort making also gets him tired, getting him ready for nap.

Evening Currency

In the evening, Dada is currency. Since I’m gone most of the day, my son is more likely to do something if I’m the one doing it. So, with this in mind, I’ll be the one to handle his entire night time routine: brushing teeth, getting ready for bed, and actually helping him fall asleep.

Still, I do use additional currency throughout the routine. His toothpaste must be the one with Minions on it. Changing his diaper at night must be a game. And using a flash light or his night time starlight bug is incentive for him to stay in his bed.

 

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What currency do you use with your kiddos? Stickers? Play-dough? Some sort of activity? Share in the comments below. Happy spending!

Day Light Savings, But Not for Kids

Sunday morning, I’m still asleep. My clocks are reading differently from my phone. The phones updated earlier to the time change than the one’s on the wall. I snuggle in, enjoying an additional hour of warmth under the blankets.

Then my son wakes up, eager and beaming with sunshine. He’s ready for snack (a.k.a. breakfast) and Daniel Tiger. He asks nicely at first, but then means business when he yanks the blankets off.

“Snack Dada! Snack!” he says in his toddler voice. It sounds pleasant, but it’s also a morning alarm that I never know when will go off. After a few minutes of shivering, I get up.

My son get’s a bowl of animal crackers (this is the best I can do early on Sunday morning) and I turn on Netflix. I lay on the couch as the television blast bright light into the dark living room. I close my eyes, but Daniel Tiger and friends keep me from going into any kind of sleep. That and the sound of animal cracker munching and my son singing the cartoon songs.

With my back turned toward the television and the morning sun peaking through the windows, I’m wishing for the day that my son will enjoy and observe day light savings time. Enjoy that extra hour in bed. You’ll love it. Until then, I’m spending the next few days reliving the glory days of “regular time” from last week.

Best Halloween Decoration: Baby Dolls

They’re creepy with their staring eyes and open toothless mouths. Too many movies has taught me not to turn my back. However, of all the preschool toys, it’s the baby dolls that could double-duty as legit Halloween decorations.

Seriously. I walked into a classroom and snapped a few shots. Added a black and white filter here. Then a little blur there. Done. Boo!!!!

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Alright, the last two photos, maybe not so frightening. But that first one: yikes! It’s like the baby is reaching out for my phone.

Stay safe out there. Also, if you’re a parent, remember at night to eat only small portions of the children’s candy at a time. That way, they won’t notice any are missing 😉 And please don’t send those videos to Jimmy Kimmel. That’s just way too messed up and the Internet will never let them forget.

Reset Button on Fatherhood

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Back to work after a week.

I haven’t been to work in a week. Waking up at 6:45am this morning was a rude awakening to my eyes because they refused to open. Even with a little coffee, I willed myself to push through my morning routine.

I arrived early to work, parked my car, and gave myself a moment to transition into a work mindset. However, I still think about the previous week.

Now, I have this internal clock of when my son will turn 18 years. It’s like, the magic number when he could potentially take care of himself, go off to college, and discover his place in the world. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not thinking, “Alright, he’s leaving the house!” More so, it’s like “Oh man, gotta save for that tuition.” Well, I’m already 2 1/2 years into that clock.

But now, as of last week, I have another 18 year clock. Another tuition to consider. But, I’ll gladly accept. Last week was the birth of my daughter.

My little bundle of joy arrived early, early Tuesday morning. Everything went smoothly. I sent a text to work saying “I’m off this week.” Since then, it’s been staying home, explaining to my son that the baby’s name isn’t “Crying” and how we will need another laundry hamper for all the puked on clothing.

Still, everything is good. A boy and a girl. The perfect little nuclear family. Let the sleepless nights begin!

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Hit and Runs… The Good Kind

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From NCIS Season 10 : Episode 13 “Hit and Run”

Abby: “I’m trying to figure out a way… to be okay…with not being enough…”

Gibbs: “Enough what?”

Abby: “…enough good.”

Gibbs: “… … well, then you’re not counting the hit and runs.”

Abby: “The what?”

Gibbs: “The good kind. You do something good now, you’re not always around to see the difference it makes later.”

The new school year is still that…new. The honeymoon period may be over now. The kiddos are comfortable, learning, and getting into the daily rhythm of the classroom.

During the first few months of school, I taught my kiddos our three classroom rules.

  • We are Good: internally, we learn how to be a good person
  • We are Nice: externally, we learn how that inner good translates to being nice to others
  • We Learn All We Can: we learn something everyday, through play, experiences and interacting with each other.

I felt that these rules were important life lessons. If they took anything from their time in my classroom, it would be these three rules.

Today, years after I’ve left the classroom, I wonder what the kiddos are like now. Do they remember what I taught them? Are they good, nice, and learning all they can?

Unfortunately, more than any other level of education, preschool teachers know the least of how their teaching and instruction impact their students. We are lucky if, in that child’s lifetime, they remember our name or even what we look like. It’s disheartening.

But, I know… we know… as a profession, the lasting impact of our lessons. Kiddos become students, then adults and, hopefully, good people.

And this is where preschool shines. Unlike any other grade level, early childhood has the greatest opportunity to become foundational to a child’s knowledge and personality. They know things because, well, they’ve always known them. They just knew without ever remember learning it. Numbers. Colors. Letters. Taking turns. They just know.

In that way, your impact has a chance at memory. What we teach is intertwined and cemented into who that child is. So, if you look at your impact that way, then your brief moment with these children mean something… something good. And that something good now, even though you may not be around to see it later, makes a difference.

P.S. NCIS is one of my favorite shows.

Burning Bridges… Literally

I use to have mornings where I’d spend 30-40 minutes in my car. I arrived so early – to avoid suffocating bad morning traffic – that I’d have time to just think and ponder… or take a nap. However, since moving, a shorter commute has meant less time in my care.

Then this happened…

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I’m going around.

This bridge being out has wreaked havoc on morning commutes. Furthermore, the bridge re-opening date is now unknown.

Not to worry much for me. Educators are routine creating pros. Their whole day is a routine. We make our life a routine as much as we can. I’ve written about routines I created just for fun.

Still, you can imagine my “ugh” feeling when I have to change a routine. My morning routine was set. I have four places where I can stop and get gas. I know where I can get a coffee or a caffeinated beverage. There’s really no place where I can get a hot breakfast, but I can deal.

Now I have to make a new one. I’m sitting in my car…waiting… and I’m tired. Hope that bridge is fixed soon.