What’s new?

I start a job and look what happens to my blogging. I knew it. I absolutely knew it.

I’m a long term sub, which means I can’t breathe the word “sub” or the kids will eat me for lunch. Luckily, I’m a tough meal to swallow. I’ve spent the last few days hammering the class back in to shape. With Fall Break next week, I expect my job will take longer. I’ve spent the last several nights thinking of how I can …. manage….my …..class…..

I’m teaching math. Not my strongest subject. But I’m an adult, so I do algebra every day. I can do this. I plan to just follow the book. “Make sure you follow the state standards,” remarked my principal. Dude, you know my background; you know my crappy (oh so very crappy, as in half of what a starting teacher makes) pay. I’ll follow the textbook because that should be effective since the school board picked it.

I’m hoping things will settle down and ease up. I hope I can do right by these kids.

The Fourth Child

No, I’m not pregnant. Though the boys are lobbying hard for a fourth child. A girl, please, Mommy. A baby sister, please, Mommy.

Um, it doesn’t work that way.

Take the other night.

Tornado E: When are you going to have another baby?

Maybe, never. You kind of need a willing male partner for that. Or a sperm bank. But that’s a little complicated to go into with a 5yr old, a 8yr old, and a 10yr old.

Tornado E: I would like a baby sister.

Tornado S and Tornado A: Yeah.

Me: You have two little sisters.

One half and one step but sisters nonetheless.

Tornado S: But we want you to have a girl.

He gave me that adorable smile.

Me: Maybe one day. I’m very happy to have my three boys.

Tornado S: Did you know you were going to have three boys?

Me: It doesn’t work like that. But each one of you was wanted and planned.

Tornado S: So did you know you would have three kids?

I rubbed his nearly shaved head.

Me: Not at first. I did want four kids though.

Tornado A: That means a little girl!

Um, not yet. Your grandparents would kill me if I had a baby now, living at their house.

Tornado E: So when will you have another baby?

Me: I don’t know. I always seemed to get pregnant when everything is perfect in my life.

Tornado E: What if I’m 15?

God, I hope it doesn’t take until Evan’s 15 to be settled and married and have a perfect little life to ruin with a baby.

Me: Then I guess you would be babysitting.

I rubbed his nearly shaved head.

Tornado S: I won’t be!

If Tornado E is 15 and two years older, then Tornado S would be 13. Legal babysitting age is 12.

Me: You would be too.


Tornado S: Hmmm. I would be good at babysitting. I helped calmed down Tornado A today.

Me: You’re a good big brother.

I kissed his head.

I fear that once they figure out the mechanics of the whole thing, they’ll put me on Match.com or start a GoFundMe page to raise money for sperm. Lord help me.


The house feels empty. No screaming; no yelling. No whining; no fighting. No video games; no cartoons. No toys- scratch that. There are toys scattered through the house. I let them swim to the last possible second, instead of making them pick up toys.

But without my boys running amok, the house feels empty.

In theory, I could go out and see a movie right now. I can go out with friends, grab dinner or drinks and dessert. (You know, if I wasn’t poor and unemployed.) In theory, I could sleep in tomorrow. I can read in bed. I can have ice cream for lunch.

But I would give it all up for more time with my boys.

The hardest part is when I don’t get to talk to them. Every night they are at their dad’s house, I call them at 7pm to ask them about their day and to tell them I love them and to wish them goodnight. Even if I’m out with friends. Even if I’m out of town. 5 minutes to know my boys are fine and to let them know I love them.

More often than not, the ex doesn’t answer his phone. Some times he lets them call me back. Most of the time, he doesn’t. When I had more money, I bought them a cheap little flip phone with monthly prepaid minutes, but they often did not answer.

After two years, it still sucks so very much not to talk to the boys. After two years, the ex still doesn’t think it’s important, even though we agreed upon the phone calls in mediation and it’s in our divorce agreement. At least, I got to be with them after school for a few hours.

It’s harder after having the boys for a long stretch. I had them for nine full days because the ex had a business trip. I’m grateful to have them so long. It reminds me of the first three years of the separation when the boys were always with me.

Tomorrow I’ll bug my friends with texts and calls, asking to go out. I’ll wash the sheets and pick up the toys. I’ll scout the bathroom and go through the piles of weekly school paperwork. I’ll get the last few things for our trip next week. I’ll figure out a bridesmaid hairstyle I can do. I’ll take the Cub Scout volunteer classes and tests. I’ll brush up on 7th grade math and prep some cool activities. I’ll write poetry and edit the novel.

Tonight I feel like eating chocolate and staring at the TV.

Or eat chocolate as I do laundry and clean my room.

Because I just realized I have a lot to do.

We all want ice cream

Me: Where are you going?

Tornado E stood at the door, holding the door open.

Tornado E: We should get ice cream. You owe me ice cream.

Me: For what?

Tornado E: I got a 96% on my reading test.

Tornado S struggles with spelling test. A B gets him a candy bar. An A gets him ice cream. A 100% gets him any dessert at the French bakery. Half Tornado S’s problem is writing fast and neat.

Tornado E has no such problems. He has a laziness problem.

Me: Uh-huh.

Tornado E: And a while back I got 100% on my spell pre-test. So let’s get ice cream.

At this point, Tornado A was next to him smiling.

Me: And who’s paying?

Tornado A ran out of the room and ran back with his wallet.

Tornado A: I WILL!!!

He ran out the door. I ran after him.

Me: Wait! We have to eat dinner first! It’s ready in 5 minutes!

Thank goodness I had the keys. I think he would’ve left us all.


“I can teach anything.”

My famous last words.

Literature, grammar, history, science, crafts- math?

Maybe not math.

I’m a words-person. I love stories. Math baffles me. It’s a foreign world to me.

Unless it’s in science. I can do formulas. Just not math.

My boys are numbers people. They love math. They get it from my mom and their dad.

I only felt like I master math once. In seventh grade. Not only did I get A’s, but I was confident enough to help my classmates to understand the concept. I was one of 7 kids to be ready for algebra in 8th grade.

It’s a good thing I excelled in 7th grade math because I was just offered a long term sub position teaching 7th grade math.

Time to open up the books and review.

Because I can teach anything.

Sleepless Nights

My boys, mainly Tornado E, have a hard time sleeping through the night. One, two, or three boy(s) end up in my bed sometime in the night. Before in the last house, it was just annoying. Now it’s difficult because I sleep in a double. Three kids and an adult don’t fit. When this happens, I slip out of bed and crawl into a twin bed in the boys’ room. If I’m lucky, I sleep through the night and wake to my alarm in the next room. I’m rarely that lucky. Usually a boy or two slides into bed with me. The third child is told to sleep in one of the other beds.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a good night-parent. I get grumpy when woken up in the middle of the night.  With a good reason, I become less grumpy. Trying to crawl into my bed is not a good reason to wake me up.

Last night Tornado E was already in my bed, when Tornado A started crying out to me because of a nightmare. When I cuddled with him to make sure he was fine, he asked me to stay. I slid into bed for just a minute when Tornado E entered the room.

Aha! A scheme! I would let Tornado E fall to sleep in his bed; then I would creep back into my own bed to sleep alone. What could go wrong?

An hour of whining, arguing, pleading, Tornado E begged me to return to my bed. Somewhere in the middle of this barrage of craziness at 2:30am, he threatened not to go back to sleep.

Right. That’s it. This was the hill I was dying on tonight. I will not negotiate with terrorists.

He fell asleep. Finally.

Only to wake up 30 minutes later to resume his whining, arguing, pleading, begging-0h-my-god-stop-it! He went on for an hour as I dozed off and on.

Finally Tornado S asked me if he could play video games.

Me: What time is it?

Tornado S: 5.4.5

5-4-5? Right. 5:45.

Me: No. Not until 6:00.

A moment passed.

Tornado S: Can I play video games now?

Me: No. What time is it?

Tornado S: 6.

Me: Yes.

Tornado S and E jumped out of bed.

Me: Except Tornado E. He has to stay in bed until 6:30 because he was up all night.

I left the room before he could start whining.

I really could use a nap.

13 months and counting

The boys and I have lived with my parents for 13 months. Thirteen months. Thirteen months more than I wanted. One month longer than I planned.

Stupid plans. Never working out like you want them to.

But starting a career in teaching is not lucrative, especially when you have a family already without an extra breadwinner. Choosing not to accept the one-sided, non-negotiable contract at a for-profit school for another year might not have been my most brilliant idea. It also turns out I have retained my horrible interviewing skills. So we’re still at my parents house, where my boys have the love and support of my parents. And I have their love and . . . support.

I have a nice bedroom. It’s tiny. I’ve been able to combine my love of beautiful things (really cool and pretty wall stickers) with humor  (the bulletin boards above my “desk” filled with random stuff). The room is ultra-multipurpose and space-saving. I’ve also downsized the closet, getting rid of things that don’t fit and aren’t loved. But the books. They multiply. I would like to say at night without my knowledge, but I can’t. It’s a dangerous habit.

Since this room was my little brother’s as a teenager, my ceiling has a glow-in-the-dark dick drawing.  How many mature adults can say that?

The boys all share a room, which they love because they are close to each other. 4 beds, 3 boys. Because no one will sleep in the bunk bed. It stores the extra blankets and the much loved, often forgotten stuffed animals. As you can imagine, the room often looks like 3 tornadoes ransacked it. Because they did.

I haven’t written in 13 months because I spent the first semester reading 4 years of English reading assignments so I could be a better teacher. I spent the second semester grading, writing lesson plans, and getting back to writing. I’ve written a novel, folks. I’ve returned to journal writing.

But lately I’ve been thinking of all my blogger friends. I missed them. I wondered what they were doing. Lately I’ve been editing and writing poetry, trying to refine my skills and get published as I try to secure a teaching job. I realized I missed writing in a forum to practice writing. Lately I’ve thought, “I really could use some parenting advice.”

The other day my mom looked surprised when I said I had stopped blogging. “But you love your blog.” See? She notices.

Then I got a comment from Jane, and I realized I missed blogging.

I can’t promise much. But I’ll see what I can do. I missed the place.


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