Friday, October 14, 2011

You Should Believe Me Because I Said So

One thing that is really annoying to a teacher is when a student asks "why do I need to do this?" Whether or not you really have a good reason to back up said activity, it is simply frustrating to have to stop and explain why. You could waste 5-10 minutes explaining, "Because writing enhances language development, which in the long run, further develops communication ability, etc., etc." Or you can say, "Because I said so." Much easier! One Sunday my pastor explained during a sermon that he made a mistake in trying to answer his young son.  The son asked, "Dad, why is the sky blue?" And actually having the knowledge, he explained the scientific reasoning for exactly why the sky was blue.  Good, right? I thought so.  But he said even with a grand explanation, his son said, "But why blue?" He paused for a moment thinking his answer inadequate before his son continued on "Why not green or purple?" Ahh..confounded by a 3-year-old.

All of my ruminating on this is simply the fact that asking WHY can be a very good thing no matter how annoying it is.  Because, I think, to some extent our "whys" have been silenced.  Or we have been presented information in such a way that we simply accept it without even allowing the question of "why" to enter our minds.  I was reading an article on infant vaccinations that a friend of mine posted.  The article was discussing that parents are reluctant to vaccinate or that many are asking to delay the vaccinations or leave out some.  One of the professionals who addressed these concerns in the article was a doctor with apparently great knowledge on vaccinations who said there will be no different impact if you delay the vaccinations or decide a different schedule.  So should we just believe him because he is a doctor who apparently knows? I wanted to sit down with him so much and have him explain this reasoning to me.  Personally, how can you make a statement with such certainty? If my child can't have anything except milk or formula until a certain age, why would it be ANY different with vaccinations? Why wouldn't a more mature system not be able to handle them any better? And how can you say with such decidedness that have 5 instead of 1 makes no difference? Surely, it does. And I wanted to tell this doctor that this is why parents are so hesitant because our professionals are telling us things that make no sense when we try to reason them out practically.

My husband and I love to have a laugh when we frequently see commercials related to something medical with somebody in a white coat recommending it.  Or, sometimes, the commercial just shows somebody in a white coat.  It's funny, but at the same time, I'm sure that market research has shown that people see a white lab coat and automatically associate it with good; therefore, the lab coat in and of itself is enough persuasion.

And I was further thinking on things that I just accept without even questioning.  Somebody somewhere says something is good because they have "years of experience" and I just take it.  I clearly don't have years of experience so I must not be as knowledgable.  It's this half-eaten apple type of thing.  I'm sure many people have seen it illustrated where you are shown the good side of the apple having no clue the other side has been eaten and your mind just assumes the whole thing is good.
I will say with some degree of certainty that NONE of us is capable of getting past this.  We are all susceptible to it...just accepting something because somebody "trustworthy" said so.  And, even if it is annoying to hear it from students, it isn't such a bad thing to ask for an explanation.  It isn't so bad to want knowledge and understand the reasoning behind things.  

Granted, I may be rethinking this when my son turns 2... ;)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


This is just a quick blog about sleep.  I was going to write one as an update on my last blog about sleep.  However, I've decided I really only have a few short things to say.  First of all I did start having Gordon Lee sleep separately in his pack and play bassinet for many reasons...he and I were both losing way too much sleep, I couldn't get up out of the bed without waking him (that means I couldn't even go to the bathroom at night), his naps during the day kept getting shorter, etc. Also, I have to admit, he was around me so much I was actually starting to resent him sometimes when he needed me...that sounds bad and I hate admitting it, but it was the case. Moving him out of the bed at night helped a TON! So, I thought maybe I should just go cold turkey and get him used to sleeping by himself at all times.  He did surprisingly well and even slept 7 1/2 hours one night!

Anyway, after trying strategies from the book I've been reading and seeing them work...I have STILL come to these conclusions.

  • I was talking to my mom the other day who said she hadn't slept well.  I think babies, like us, just have some nights when they don't sleep matter how good of a nap they had during the day or how well you followed through with a bed time routine.  Sometimes, we just don't sleep well for whatever reason.
  • I think sometimes babies do need help getting to sleep.  The book I was reading said rocking, giving a bottle, or finding some other way to help the baby get to sleep can make it hard for the baby to fall asleep on his or her own.  And I get that, but I still think he needs help sometimes.  If his tummy hurts from gas, he doesn't know how to just put himself to sleep.
  • Sometimes there's no rule that just works or doesn't.  Sometimes you have to go with what you feel is right.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Day at the Spa

For the past week or so, I have been slightly under the weather.  I think allergies are to blame as I seem to get the same symptoms in the same order whenever my allergies start--sore throat that lasts for about 1-2 days, throat suddenly clears up, onset of congestion that will make me completely miserable without allergy medicine.  However, I'm not entirely sure it was allergies this time.  Maybe it was a cold as Gordon Lee seemed to have started to get a little congested himself! Poor little guy!

He wasn't that bad off, but yesterday morning he seemed to wake up crankier than usual and I could tell by his breathing he was congested.  Anyway, I'd been doing a few things to help ease his congestion--it's hard with a baby because you can't give them anything and you have to suck their drainage out with a bulb.  But I had put him down for a morning nap, gotten out of the shower, only to find him crying as he'd woken up just a few short minutes later.  I think the congestion was to blame.

It was a dreary, overcast day outside and I was feeling a bit sleepy myself.  At first, I was going to try to get a lot of chores done yesterday...the dishes needed to be done; laundry also needed to be done; laundry that was already done needed to be folded and put away; I wanted to get the point.  But when I got out of the shower I rushed right to my sweet little crying baby, let him eat, and then I wrapped him up in my robe.  

When he was a brand new newborn, he would sleep on our chests gladly.  But as soon as he started learning to pick his head up, sleeping on somebody's chest slowly became a thing of the past as he would just push up (even swaddled) to pick his little head up.  Yesterday, though, I really don't think he was feeling too good as he just settled in being wrapped in my robe.  I walked around the house holding him wrapped up as he fell asleep peacefully.

And I decided to just sit at an angle in bed with him wrapped up.  Sitting there, I felt so peaceful like I was spending a day at the spa! In fact, a day at the spa wouldn't have even given me the refreshment and joy I felt. I thought to myself..the chores can wait.  There is nothing like moments like this one.  And I truly felt some sort of positive hormones flowing through me...a wave of serenity and bliss.  So, I spent most of the day yesterday just cuddling my baby and not worrying about doing anything else.  Even the blog I posted had been written the night before.  I added a few sentences and posted it.  

And people might think I'm crazy for believing this, but I truly think it helped him and me get better!  I am feeling MUCH better than I did, and he seems to feel a lot better as well.  He has been very cheerful today and his breathing sounds much better.  Maybe that was all we both needed.

Monday, October 10, 2011

High School

I received a text message from my friend Kelly this morning asking me if I'd received the invitation to our school's 20th reunion this coming weekend.  This would actually be our class's 10 year reunion; however, I think they've just decided to use the 20th reunion as a way to get together.  Either way, I can't go because my sister is coming to visit me this weekend.  I had received the invitation but I must have thrown it away knowing I wouldn't be going.

Anyway, all of that is simply background information for this blog.  Thinking about the reunion got me to reminiscing about high school in general.  I have former students who I keep in touch with via Facebook who are now in high school.  When I see their status updates about various things going on, I do not miss high school AT ALL.

I have always been different.  In pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, I spent recess walking backwards around the perimeter of the parking lot we were given as a play space.  Sometimes, I'd play games with people if invited.  But I never initiated or really even cared.  I was perfectly happy to walk backwards laps all recess long.  In early elementary school, I often spent recess sitting on the ground picking up rocks because that's what I thought was fun.  I also went around naming butterflies with my friend in 2nd grade (I did socialize occasionally) and got into a fight with another girl who told us we couldn't name them because they weren't the same butterflies.  I think we even got sent to the principal's office over this fight...enough said.

Then, in upper elementary school, I remember some boy sticking up for me because some girl said I was "weird." I appreciated that he seemed to care, but I had never really even thought of myself as weird or different.  All of that time, I had just been me in my own way and hadn't a care in the world of what anyone else thought about it.  I enjoyed my life.  I was happy.

In middle school, that changed even more.  People start caring more about what other people think and choosing to point it out to you if they think you are different.  Why it matters I do not know.  But they suddenly not only care about what others think of them but they have some need to try to make you conform.  So I started losing who I was.  I started caring.

High school wasn't much different.  I think I became even more of a mess because I was so busy trying to be a certain way instead of just being me that I was probably even weirder than I normally would have been.  I sort of started to go back to my normal self my senior year.  I met my best friend Lea who shared so many of the same things I enjoyed that people would raise their eyebrows at.  We would scream with excitement over a card game called chicken cube.  We placed all the cards face down, name a card (say 2 of hearts) and take turns picking cards.  Whoever picked the card first won.  Sadly we had a hard time winning anyone over to the game except kids.

But that's the thing, there is something in us that is beautiful that we lose.  After high school, I slowly (and I mean VERY slowly) started to realize other people were just as "different" as I was.  I made more friends who didn't care, and I really began to be myself again.  Part of it was finding friends who accepted me for me and didn't care if something I liked was strange to them. Part of it was me learning to say, "I am who I am, you can take it or leave it."

I met my husband who accepts me just the way I am....someone who loves birdwatching, telling cheesy jokes, whatever else would be considered odd by some people.  After teaching, I've seen many students become lost to what they think other people want them to be.  I see sixth graders start middle school one way and leave completely different.  And this isn't because they really wanted that to begin with; they just started to become overly self-aware looking for somewhere to fit in.

It's fun watching children because most of the time they are so carefree, happy to be in their world, and often very accepting of each other.  Again, I said most of the time.  Some kids are bullies from the beginning; however, the majority of children I see are not that way.  Perhaps we should all be a little more like children...not pick your nose in public shamelessly like children...but happy to be the people we are and willing to accept we can be just fine with that in and of ourselves.