waking up at 5:30 does not get easier the more you do it. i get up and shower to wake up. i dress like a teacher, in black tights, a white polka dot turtleneck, and yellow knee length apron skirt. i realize too late that we are out of coffee filters. i try to do something with my hair, fail, put it in a pony tail. i try to pack a lunch, give up, and end up bringing peanut butter and a whole block of cheese. it is very dark outside, i can still see orion.
the kids are eating breakfast burritos and talking with their mouth's full as i read "tikki tikki tembo" and "if you give a mouse a cookie." i don't think they are paying attention. then they point to an illustration and laugh gleefully. or say something charming, like "that mouse will never get enough, will he?" this is my favorite part of the day.
off to reading class. the reading teacher is sick sick and the substitute has no idea what to do with the six year olds that are still learning their letter sounds. she needs help. i teach the kids the letter "b" and we think of words that begin with buh. cole is using the dry erase pen as a microphone. ken is humming under his breath, raising his hand and squeaking for my attention. he is not sitting crisscross apple sauce. i use my teacher voice.
i have become the discipline enforcer, reprimand-er i never thought i would be. i have excepted the necessity. luckily kids are forgiving, i still get hugs at lunch. they respect me a little more.
my kids are good during tutoring. alli brings everything back to snakes, he is very good at "s." stephanie is quiet during reading, but very sharp and confident one on one. maddie is awake and making progress with picture cards. we practice valerie's j's, she keeps writing them backward. bradey laughs a lot. cole asks miss spitler if she has any michael jackson stickers. she says no. he says, "that's ok, he was a rapist." miss spitler says, "that's inappropriate." later we laugh and marvel at how much he picks up from the world, the good the bad, the true the false, the pop songs on the radio.
i eat cheese and peanut butter for lunch. the teachers talk about "dancing with the stars" and "biggest loser." i don't have t.v. this is the only time i wish i did.
after school homework club= kids that don't want to be there. i don't blame them, it's not really a "club?" there is no secret password and no junk food. i try to make it ok. i have the third graders and i draw them pictures of dragons which they color and put on the front of their binder. we make spelling flashcards and learn how to add big numbers. chris talks the entire time: "i'm a fan of computers." i must remind him to focus on reading. they must write sentences for their spelling words, for "don't" andy writes: "johnny don't like homework club."
after homework club i am exhausted. we walk the kids out to the bus and finally i can let them be themselves. they can talk about whatever they want, or run ahead, or skip. i would like to hang out with my kids and not have to tell them what to do, and not have to tell them to be quiet and focus and sit criss cross applesauce. i would like to be their friend.
the bus ride home is long and crowded, the valley is filled with dust this windy day. i listen to neko case, driving home I see those flooded fields/ how can people not know what beauty this is?
another day another dollar. i get home at 5, find jordan. he's cleaned the house, gardened, made creme brulee and gouda prosciutto bread. who does this? who does this for me? it is my turn to act like a child. i fall onto the bed and nap. Will I ever see you again? / Will there be no one above me to put my faith in? / I flooded my sleeves as I drove home again.