I’ve read a bit on walking meditation as I’ve always been a dedicated walker due to being not much of a driver or into “working out”. So this type of meditation always seemed to be one I could see working for me. Sunday, after battles over snowsuits and appropriate winter attire, (No, you cannot wear your yellow hard hat instead of your warm, winter hat in 20 degree weather!) we set out to explore the newly fallen snow. (Finally, snow!) A toddler is a master lesson in walking meditation. Z was totally focused on one step in front of the other in his boots as he explored snow on bushes, climbing curbside mountains, scooping snow up with a wooden spoon. There was little conversation, just quiet. We wandered into the local park and he unburied favorite toys. It was amazing to watch him take in the newness of the familiar world around him. Before I had a kid, I did not look forward to the snow as it made traveling where I wanted to go difficult for me. This year, I was disappointed how long we had to wait for the first snowfall. Without it, winter is just cold and gray and dreary. The whiteness of the snow sparkles everything up. Later that afternoon, after a two-sandwich lunch, he conked out for a long, winter’s nap. After seeing him, I’d like to try a walking meditation myself being mindful of the world through the eyes of a toddler.
It’s near the end of the term here so as you can guess, I have a stack of grading to do. As I write down my 73%s and maybe an 85%, I feel a little sad inside. Grading a group of special education students is difficult, because how do you grade them? Especially with writing when they ALL have some sort of disability that makes writing hard for them. Do I grade them against their best work, what I know they can do? Do I grade the kids who strive to be in a regular ELA class against regular education kids so they know what they’re up against?
It’s tricky because if I grade too hard, they lose confidence. However, if I grade too easily, they become complacent. I would prefer not to grade at all and just write more extensive comments but they strive for that number, that measurement. And sometimes the kid who does no work, makes no effort really needs to see that F. I think often special education students expect to be pulled through, to pass, even if they are not willing to put in the effort. I often tell parents I can’t modify your kid’s work until I see what he can do. And right now he’s not doing anything. How do you modify nothing?
Tonight was one of those nights I’m not proud of. Z is phasing out of his nap and hasn’t napped for three days. Although I miss the time, bedtime has been quicker and he’s slept better at night and a little later in the morning. Today at daycare, he napped and had a great day but came home and was whining and complaining nonstop. He would not take no for an answer but would just ask for the same thing over and over again like a broken record. Finally when he was watching his nightly video and complaining about THAT, I lost it. I said no movie, go to bed. Not my most mindful moments. What toddler takes no for an answer and I should know it’s hard to hold it together all day. Of course, he’s going to lose it a little bit at home. But there’s something about listening to middle schoolers (and sometimes other teachers!) complain all day and then have to listen to it at home too that can wear on you after a while.
We went to his room and after a little crying and fussing and a goodnight talk from Papa, he surprisingly turned it around and we had a lovely time reading stories and singing songs together. When I left the room, I heard the pitter-patter of feet and some chatting, but now it’s quiet and I’ll go shut the door soon. I think he was begging for me to put him to bed.
Now for knitting mittens and Modern Family and early bed. I hope!
This morning was one of those rushed, get out the door type of mornings. Last night I went to a Mindful Schools seminar. The presenter mentioned that when a toddler has a tantrum, often we try to change the feeling. (Wanna cookie?) He suggested acknowledging the feeling and not trying to change it. It totally worked!
This morning Z. (my son) freaked out and was starting to tantrum because the balloon he had gotten the day before had run out of helium and so it wouldn’t float to the ceiling. I asked him if he was sad and if he wanted to feel sad together. He said yes and we sat and felt sad for about 10 seconds and then he said he wanted to go brush his teeth which is what I had been trying to get him to do anyway! It worked really well.
Of course we had another tantrum right before he left because he wanted “bookies”. No idea what that is. This was combined with my husband trying to rush us out the door. Hence, meltdown!