Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The most beautiful baby in the world.

Several blogs have had posts about bringing children to the workplace out of necessity, this past week. They made me remember back to this:

I was extremely fortunate in that for all of my children's elementary and middle school years, I taught in their school building. When they got to high school, their father was teaching in that building. They had no secrets. We knew it all. And we never once embarassed them in any way. Tee hee.

When Belle was two years old, and Zappa was newborn, I got a temporary teaching job in town, subbing for a semester for another teacher who was out on maternity leave. This teacher's baby was three days younger than Zappa. She was able to take a leave. I was humbly grateful to have a job at all. Hub had lost his, and was taking care of Zappa at home. She stayed home with her newborn baby, and I left mine and took her place in the classroom, dropping Belle off at my mother's house on the way, as I had enrolled her in a preschool. I tried so hard to do things right, and I messed up so often. Kind of like. . . . now.

Just another of life's little ironies. . . . .

Mom took Belle to "Playschool" at church, which is a post unto itself, because I would not be able to fit the idiocy into this post along with all the other things I want to say here. Boy, was I ever stupid to send her to that preschool. It's one (of MANY) great regrets. More on that later.

Ahem. Back on topic. . . .

Mom couldn't take care of Belle in the afternoon, and it was a long drive out to our house, so she would drop Belle off at my school, after lunch. I would send two of my students to the side door to meet Mom's car, and to get Belle, and they would bring her back into the room, where she played quietly and happily with her toys, in the back where she wasn't in anybody's way. The students took very little notice of her, except between classes when they talked and played with her, and she never once created or caused any kind of disruption. Not even a little one.

To this day, that principal doesn't know I did that. It never even occurred to me to ask permission. I just did it. It was an experiment that worked. I'd be afraid to do it now. I don't advise any of you to do it, either. It was very unprofessional. Very.

If she had been even the tiniest bit disruptive, I would have removed her immediately and never brought her back again. Fortunately, she cooperated.

I loved having her there with me. I'd be teaching, and our eyes would meet, and she would smile and wave at me, and go on playing. Sigh. She was the most beautiful baby in the world.

Zappa has had killer migraines all his life. When he was a little boy, these not only scared and worried me, they broke my heart. To see your precious child in agony, so very often, was awful. He was so little, there was no way to explain to him about a migraine, etc. I worried about him starting school. The classrooms were so crowded; the teachers, excellent as they were, had so many other children to care for; what would happen to my baby when the migraines came crashing down on him?

Here's what happened.

By that time I had a regular teaching job. My classroom was at the very top of the stairs, on the third floor of the school. I had two bookcases: I arranged them so that there was a little 'office' by my desk. On the bottom shelf of one of those bookcases, I made a comfy little bed. Zappa's migraines were always accompanied by eventual coma-like sleep, and when he woke up the headache was usually gone. His teacher would simply send him to my room to sleep off the migraine, and when he woke up, he went back down to his own classroom. I was deeply appreciate of his teachers' consideration and helpfulness. They were great, in dealing with this issue. Other issues, not so great, but this post is about the great part.

I would watch over him, sleeping in that little alcove I'd made for him, and go on teaching. It wasn't disruptive in the least. The students couldn't even see him in there; most of the time they didn't know if he was there or not. Either way, it made no difference in the atmosphere of the classroom, and in my teaching.

But he was so precious, napping there, with that bright red hair shining against the pillow. He was the most beautiful baby in the world.

He did this up through the fourth grade. The migraines got a little better after that, but he still has them. He never says anything now, but I can always tell. His big blue eyes have the exact same look of pain that they had when he was a tiny little boy.

I was lucky to be able to arrange those methods of watching over my children.

I was even luckier that nobody ever reported me for that first one, with Belle in the classroom.

And that she was so well behaved in there.

The luckiest thing of all is the fact that these two beautiful babies were mine. Mine, do you hear me, and you can't have them.

Well, now that they're grown up, you can have them if you promise to treat them well. I know they'll do the same for you.

And you have to let me borrow them once in a while. Thank you very much.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:14 PM | |


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