Nov 10, 2009

A meaningful day

 I awoke to the sound of my phone ringing for the fourth time. I'm not necessarily a morning person so ever since I started working as a 'substitute teacher' it has always been a challenge to actually answer the phone instead of hanging up. Thankfully, after a few years of early morning calls, from the hours of 6am until 9am, my boss and coworkers started penciling in the days they knew they would be away, and for about a year I had a so called 'temporary substitute position,' which allowed me to be a payroll and have a planned schedule. I, however, haven't been working for quite some time, passing my days instead as 'look I'm studying something' and 'what was that dear, I mean, boss.' In other words working a little for my husband's business and studying on my own. However, still being on the calling list of 'substitutes', I dragged myself out of bed, into the shower, and out the door, in a matter of 20 mins. Since the phone rang at 7:08am and I was supposed to be at work 7:30 am. Remarkable, the day care being only five minutes from my home, I made it in time. Upon my arrival, I was surprised to find that I had actually never worked at this specific daycare. The teacher that I would be working with introduced herself and the children, including one that she quitely told me was 'In his own world', which usually means some form of autism. I said hi to everyone and walked up to the boy whom the teacher had pointed out, knelt down and tried to find eye contact, he ran the other way. Since the children are between the ages of 3 and 5, I was instantly bombarded with questions and numerous requests from all the others, and the morning passed smoothly with lots of games, books, and imprisonments from the always successful police and superheroes. I tried, unsuccessfully, several times throughout the morning to find a chance to receive some sort of contact from the little boy that neither spoke nor played nor reacted to anyone, besides the other teacher, who made a constant effort to engage him in some sort of play time. Outside, I had a chance to ask the teacher a few questions about him and she told me a few facts. His family came to Sweden a year and a half ago, he is four years old and speaks only a little of  his native language and while he can say a few Swedish words, he seems to understand only about quarter of the things they tell him and responds to only a few specific words. Though, she pointed out that he has taken huge steps in the past half of a year he has been with them. She suggested that I swung him in the swings since that seemed to calm him and would give her a chance to spend some time with the other children. I pushed and smiled making sure he knew I enjoyed the chance to get to know him. Inside I helped him take off his shoes and wash his hands, but I was not allowed to come too close.
  After my break, I came back to find him sitting in the couch, with tears in his eyes, listening to a cd. The teacher explained that he had had a tantrum and the best way to calm him down was to allow him time alone with music. I then went to find all the other children, spread out in the different rooms playing with one another. After eating a few pieces of plastic cake, helping build a tower, and breaking up two princesses from fighting over a baby doll. I sat next to him on the couch and opened a book. He looked at me a bit skeptical, but when I asked him if he wanted to look with me, he turned his eyes on the book. We looked through the book at record speed and he soon slammed it shut, but right before he did, he gave me eye contact!
  The afternoon included lots of normal day care things, but I did have a chance to join him in small ways. Driving a car past his car, which made him instantly stop driving his car, stopping the beads along the abacus he was playing with, and just trying to make him know I was there. About an hour before I was to leave. I was sitting at the table with four others playing with play dough, making the all time favorite snail, when he climbed up and sat next to me. I gave him a chunk of the play dough and after I rolled it out, he started cutting it with a plastic knife. While I was busy with the others around me, I noticed that he had stuffed a large piece of play dough in his mouth, and when I turned to observe he was spitting it out with a look of surprise and disgust. I started laughing and tried to help him get the rest out. My attention was then called to by one of the boys wanting me to make a snake, and I was about to start when I felt a head against my shoulder. He had purposely leaned against me and seemed content to let his head rest a minute there. My heart started beating faster and I felt the joy of a hard earned reward, so he did acknowledge my efforts, and this seemed to be his first step of trust towards me. I kissed his little head and that made him instantly retract, but I could tell he didn't mind too much. The day ended and I walked home with an arm full of pictures and paintings from many loving children, several that truly made my day shine, but the memory that lingered and will lingerer for a long time was subtle, but oh so meaningful, lean from a little boy that stepped out of his 'own World' to let me know that my attempts hadn't gone unnoticed. 

Nov 4, 2009


First day of snow. I have to admit, against my better judgement, snow excites me. It must be from growing up in 'The snow belt', or the prospect of a day off school. However, unlike many American school children, we, my siblings and I, never had the pleasure of a typical snow day. Most children, when hearing of a snow day would instantly called friends and neighbors to plan a day that would pass in sledding, making snowmen, and drinking hot chocolate. We would, instead, call our friends and tell them that we had to work. We were so called 'cheap labor', not that we really minded, we did, after all, get a little pay and we would entertain ourselves by seeing who could shovel the hardest, the fastest, or who could sing the loudest. In below zero weather we would take turns being picked up in the plow trucks, that were usually driven by my dad and his employee Rob, or when my older siblings were old enough to drive, one of them. Since snow plowing and shoveling had to take place when most of the cars and people where out of the way, in the large shopping center 'Points East', that my dad was in charge of, our hours consisted of  3:30a.m until first light or 10pm until the early morning. Or, sometimes, all day and all night. The worse feeling in the World was when, after finishing the last few shovel fulls on the sidewalk, that ran along the various shops, we would discover that  the snow had mischeviously crept back on with twice as much thickness as before.
 Once in awhile we would discover the miraculous powers of lake effect snow, waking up in our little town wrapped in a cozy blanket of white,  and driving out to 'Points East', a twenty minute drive from us, were we would meet with a wet snowfree parking lot! Those were blissful moments, though often, before the fun began, we were forced to do our school work, since being home schooled mean't as long as you were home, you did school. We had, however, tactics to get out of school and spent many a day out playing in the snow.

Random ranting

 A very unproductive day. I hate such days, but I suppose they plague everyone everywhere, well, maybe not the President, or the really, really famous people, or...maybe its just me. Anyway, spent the morning tossing in bed with a headache and the day trying to do something, but never being motivated enough to actually get something done. I read a little, studied a little, and actually did the dishes, but besides that... Christofer came home for dinner and we talked through the day. After complaining that I hadn't done anything, he decided to make me sit for an hour and half and do something important. Like, studying math, sometimes being married to Christofer can be like being married to a drill sergeant, but I admit, I need him. So, I sat, did some math and then we made popcorn, tea, and ice cream and finished the night off with a little 'Chuck'. Such a great show.

Today was a bit different. Finished mostly everything on my list, except for studying math(Sometimes I wonder if I am still a teenager)

While I was cleaning out one of our closets, I happened upon a bag full of Christofer's old books and school work. One was a book he had written about himself. Entitled, 'The book about me', he was thirteen when he wrote it and quite talented. He listed what he hated: Goran Persson, 'because he is bad politician.' Starvation, 'because so many die' and Computer viruses, 'because then you might have to erase your hard disk'. He wrote about his future 'I would like to be a professional skateboarder or snowboarder, but I don't think I can (I'm too scared). I would like to be a computer hacker and work at a big company so I can crack codes and surf on the internet. I guess I'll have to be a computer programmer och something like that' And when asked about his style, he wrote 'I wear boxers because brefs are uncomfortable'. So adorable, couldn't help but read through the whole thing. To think that he didn't go too far from his future plans. Perhaps not a hacker, but definitely a computer nerd, and though he's not working for a large company, he is his own boss, and as far as the surfing the internet goes, he can surf it anytime anywhere with his andriode cellphone ;) ahh I sure do love my husband.

We had cell group. Caroline challenged all of us to ask God if there was anything in the way for our spiritual growth. It was a good word and so true. Its easy to ignore those small and big things that come in between God and us.

Then we finished the night off with Chuck. I have a feeling my mom would be disappointed if she knew I started watching tv shows, ahh, all her hard work out the door ;)

Chuck: 'isn't there anything sacred for you guys?'
Casey: 'Yeah, the right to bear arms'