With apologies to Mr. Shakespeare…
I wanted to address the topic of sleep this evening; or rather, my lack thereof. This is one of those things that I KNOW my fellow teachers will understand. Summer’s going along nicely and then BAM! All of a sudden you have to wake up at some ungodly hour and shift your daily routine forward by an hour or more. And you think you’re cool and you’ve got it under control. But you really don’t. School started for us one week ago. For the past few days I have felt like I was running a marathon every day. My daughter and I have dutifully gotten in the car at 7 each morning and driven then mile to school. By 3:20 when I’ve matched the last of the kids to their carpools and locked up the buildings I scratch my head. I look at my little girl and say “I’m beat… Wasn’t it just 7AM?”
This afternoon I came home, sat down on the couch, and crashed harder than MH 370. Too soon? I only slept about an hour and that didn’t seem nearly long enough. I spent the next hour or so in a daze. Fortunately my lessons are well planned so I didn’t have any “work” to attend to. I have intentionally removed most distractions from my daily life, too, so that I can devote all of my time when not in school to my kids. Hence, I felt a little down on myself tonight for sleeping. But I’m sure they understand.
Then came bedtime — their’s. Fortunately they haven’t been giving me a hard time about this lately. My son did, however, approach me at 9, asking me to read him a book. OK, it turns out that he hasn’t gotten the whole “homework should be done when you get home from school” routine. In school today he had been given a book by his teacher and asked or told or whatever, I’m really not sure, to read two chapters by tomorrow. Now that it was late and he was tired he wanted yours truly to read it to him. He tried playing the old “Daddy, remember when you used to read to me?” card. It worked.
Tonight’s bedtime story: an old classic I read as a boy in my grammar school. It’s called Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims“. Except when I read it the title was Squanto: Friend of the White Man. It’s a fascinating tale of love, murder, and deception. At least it was when I got through with it. I hope he doesn’t have to make an oral presentation on this thing. But if he does, it will be phenomenal!
My daughter busied herself with some craft she was working on. I believe she was knitting. She kept muttering something about the Evremond’s and Charles Darnay and how it was “right to revenge”. I really wasn’t paying attention. Squanto apparently caught her ear, though, and she looked up every now and then to listen in. “Daddy,” she would say, “what’s a firestick?” “Huh?” I would ask. “Oh, yeah, sorry… it’s a gun.” Back to her knitting. A few moments later: “Daddy…” This time she did not look up but was transfixed on the knitting with a wild look on her face. “How did Squanto know English?” “Sweetheart, it’s a fictional account. It’s like how you pretend to clean your room when I tell you to.” Slowly she roller her eyes towards me, still feverishly knitting in her lap. We locked eyes and both laughed briefly before I returned to the page.
“This doesn’t make any sense,” I said. “Squanto just went from leading Charles Robbins and the other Pilgrims toward the village to teaching them how to plant maize. Seems like there should have been some dialogue or other build-up in between. Also Squanto is now a grown man.” It also seems several pages had fallen out of the book. OK kiddos, enough of this…
For my bedtime entertainment I went with some remarkable lighter fare. A found a Youtube video of an epic disaster to help me relax. Ever heard of “Balloonfest ’86”? In Cleveland in the 1980’s a group of people got together to help the city shed its “Mistake by the Lake” image. Hey, I grew up in New Jersey. I get it. You get tired after a while and you want to do something over the top to show them all “We’re #1!” However, inflating 1.5 million balloons with helium and then releasing them en masse moments before a major shift in weather over a major American city is probably not the brightest way to accomplish this goal. The balloons all blew out over the lake and sank before deflating. 70% of the balloons washed ashore in Canada. They loved us for that. But then again they gave us Bryan Adams so I think we’re even.
Ah… one of these days we’ll adjust to the new daily schedule and we’ll cheerfully wake up refreshed at 5:30 AM to tackle the day. We won’t be exhausted when we come home from school either. We’ll have energy and plenty of time for fun and games as a happy family.
Unfortunately that day will be in May.