Sunday, June 06, 2004

Down and Up and Ahead and Behind

I feel like I've been driving a bumper car all day today. My 10.5mo took his first giant steps this afternoon. He's been taking one or two here and there for a month now, but all of a sudden, today, he forgot he wasn't holding my fingers and walked six steps. You see, he has a new hat that he loves. It was on his head, and he was so intent on looking up at the brim that he just took off across the floor. I cheered and cheered once he stopped (I had been holding my breath until then). And a few moments later, he was clutching the hat, waving it in the air, and took eight unassisted steps. And promptly ate nursery carpet, leaving a bright red burn on his cheek. Much wailing and real tears. And that was the end of walking unassisted for today. I hope he will forget his spill by tomorrow and try it all over again.

The Magical Walking Hat

Before that wonderful moment in the nursery, I had fallen into a real funk. A student referred to an unnamed professor's (or professors') assignments as "asinine." So naturally, being waaaay too sensitive for my own good, I assume it's ME he's refering to. That MY assignments are asinine. And I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. I know, logically, that even if he WERE talking about me, WHAT DOES HE KNOW? I'm the professor, and I create relevant, meaningful assigments designed to promote/aid learning on multiple levels. Jargon jargon jargon but it's true. Yes, so he's just full of it. But does that realization help me feel better? No. Well, okay, a little. I've been trying to "lean into the sharp points" all day, to notice the feelings that I have from this episode (stomach ache, tight throat, headache). I've gained some insight and some space from doing that. But I don't have the focus to stay aware of the feelings at every moment all day long (guess I need to practice more), so I keep getting socked or shocked like new when I'm caught looking the other way. After N went to bed, we watched It Happened One Night while eating a take away pizza, which cheered me up considerably.

So, this sensitivity is one reason I'm considering leaving the profession. After fifteen years of teaching college students, I have grown weary of trying to keep a game face and protect my fragile ego. Since the boy has come, I'm feeling even more open and raw, and I just want to be kind to myself. I want others to be kind to me too. And they are, by and large. It's just that one doofus can ruin the whole experience for me. Therapy fodder, absolutely.

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