Man, it's hard to be in a bad mood with this guy around.
I just realized that I posted this picture twice, but I like it so much I'm going to leave it. Today I had to have my first real, grown-up conversation with the school. Last night, as I was putting him to bed, E growled at me "Get out of my face!" When I asked him where he had heard that he said his teacher said it. Can you hear the blood boiling? So today, after I'd calmed down, I approached the main teacher to ask where he may have picked up such a phrase. I didn't expect her to say that the other teacher says it, but I did want her to know that it was on my radar. It turns out that one of the older kids that comes in early, and so is with E for a little while, has been having a problem with this phrase and the school is working with his parents on it. I feel better knowing that it's been noticed and that it's being worked on, but it was such a wake-up call that I need to listening and be paying attention. I was also very impressed with E's teacher. She was super grateful that I brought it up and concerned that he had picked up the phrase. Also, he's been talking about tigers ever since they had the bouncer at school (shaped like a tiger) and has needed reassuring that the tiger is gone. Today she told me that she realized that maybe he's nervous because she broke her finger ON THE TIGER and so he thinks that the tiger bit her. Makes perfect sense and explains why he's so worried about it. So now we can address that specifically. Crazy kid, but how very sweet. He was so worried about her and her "ouchie-wa-wa"
He got to sit in a firetruck and meet a real fireman
The highlight of Saturday was getting a rocket-ship toothbrush after his dental screening. He was much more excited than it looks. This pretty much sums up his attitude if we're doing something fun with Daddy. Imagine he's also saying "Go 'way Mama!" Oh the love.
I wanted to write some kind of update about the first day, but to be honest I wasn't sure what to think until after I let it stew for the weekend. The first day of internship I woke up sick and found that C had stayed home sick too. E got up, and what do you know? So the boys stayed home while I started the day. I got up, got dressed in my "first day of school" outfit, and got out the door. I had my fancy Mapquest directions I got horribly lost and squealed into orientation about ten minutes late. I hadn't accepted Mapquest's hatred of me or my new home state yet. So squealing in late and full of apologies I find the new intern group, sitting quietly, waiting for me. All three of the other interns are sitting together on one side of the table. They're all blond and they're all wearing matching clothes. No joke. Right off the bat the internship director asks them to please make an effort to include me in the cohort. He may as well have said "I know she's weird and smells bad, but it's not polite to ignore people."
The first few days were excruciatingly slow and boring. Typical orientation type stuff. The highlight was setting up my direct deposit. You know, because I'm getting PAID. However, I think I screwed up the tax forms and may only be getting enough for lunch. We'll see. My new colleagues warmed up a little and I think that they are genuinely nice people. It's just a little weird that they've all known each other for four or five years and I'm totally new. If I think about that for too long I have a rant for the intern selection folks, so I try not to think about it too long. I think that the four of us will get along fine, but I don't think it's going to be the same as if we'd all come from other places.
Wednesday we got to go into an actual prison for another orientation. It was essentially the same thing that I had to do a few weeks ago, but with a really dynamic presenter and geared towards the interns. I was very grateful that I had worked in prison before, but I am realizing more every day that this place is not much like the last prisons I've worked at, and mine is even less so. I'm slowly learning that this is going to be a whole new gig and I will be well served to stop thinking "Oh yeah. I've done this before."
The first three days were full of "This is C and she came clear from..." followed by "Why'd you come here?" Nothing makes you feel more welcome than having to defend why you would move and having people make fun of how you say your home state. No matter where you go, it's not "Ory-gawn" It's just not. Those comments were followed by laughter and "oh, you're in for it" when they found out which institution I was assigned to. Lots of self-deprecation and good humor got me through.
Thursday and Friday were spent at my prison. This is when things started to look up. I also learned that my prison is kind of the red-headed step-child of the DOC and so that may have contributed to some of the weird vibes I was picking up on. My supervisor (for now) is super nice and the other intern is awesome. I wasn't sure what to think about that situation but I think now that it's a benefit. She's one of last year's interns that had to stay a little longer to finish. Right now she's pretty much running the place. We had lunch and talked a bit and I think she's going to be a huge resource and advocate. She's also just really fun to talk to.
Thursday and Friday I followed people around, went to meetings, and sat in on a couple of sessions. Once it started going I found that "job-shadowing" wasn't as mind-numbingly boring as I had expected. I loved going to the meetings and am starting to think that I may want to work towards being a warden someday. I'm meeting a lot of people and starting to figure out how this place works. It's so odd because it's such a unique place. There's a culture that's different from any other prisons that I've worked at and I'm going to need some time to get my bearings and figure out how it works. The sessions got me excited about starting clinical work again. I needed that after such a long hiatus. There's also a guy who's an expert on the MMPI and a woman who is well-known for her work with sex-offenders. I'll have an opportunity to work with both of them sometime this year.
I left work Friday really excited to start working. I have a badge (ID card that gets me in), half of an office, and now, keys! This means that I can go to the bathroom whenever I want. The power! The freedom! It's not a place that I can jump right in, but I think that it's going to be an extremely valuable year and I'll have lots of good stories to tell.
So that's it. I don't hate it. There's a lot of great opportunities and I think I might fit in okay. The other interns and the intern director are really nice. My supervisor and my co-intern are great and smart and really dynamic. There are a ton of experts at my prison that I can talk to and shadow and learn from. The biggest struggle is going to be revising my expectations, but I think that's going okay so far.
We have had the coolest weekend so far! It's been one of those weekends that magazines would call "full of family fun." Although we would like to think that we're a little cooler than "family fun" it has been a really good time. Last night, after doing the "I don't know. What do you want?" dance for about 45 minutes we decided to go out to dinner (Applebee's. Living it up!) E was an angel, we had a good table, the food was good, yadda yadda. Then we came home and found that we'd gotten new Netflix. Movie night! We pulled all the pillows in the house into the TV room and made a bed on the floor. I love that we have a place big enough to lay on the floor! We watched I am Legend (weird and really good) and Dan in Real Life (very, very sweet). Then today we went to the zoo, which was awesome. All of the enclosures are huge and they have some really unusual animals (dolphins and takins were today's favorites). They also had lots of baby animals. The wagon was making a brain-shattering squeal (it needs a little tune-up) so we cut the day short in favor of our sanity. We hit "the Wal-Mart" and then came home, where everyone lazed for the rest of the day.
This move definately kicked our butts and it's been hard to get excited about all of these changes. It was really nice to have this weekend to just have fun and hang out together. The zoo was a bright spot and gave us something to look forward to, and will be a nice way to get out of the house without spending a lot of money (we bought a membership). The house is incredible and so much more than I could ever imagine. Already I can't believe we lived so long in our last, much smaller place. So if my internship sucks and C has to keep working his crappy job and crappy schedule and E continues to fine-tune the art of whining we'll still have room to spread out, a daycare that our kid loves, and animals to gawk at. It could be worse.
It's a few days late, but I wanted to show off pictures of his first day of school. He's doing great and I think they like him too. His teacher spent ten minutes today telling me how great he is and how well he's adjusting. It's so hard to be humble when you have the smartest, cutest kid in the world. But honestly, it was really nice to hear. His old school was so amazing and he had such cute friends that I was worried about how it would go here. He really does love it though. Every morning when I say "Goodbye" he says "I stay here!" and when I pick him up he needs assured that he'll "be back 'morrow." I'm a little worried about tomorrow, when I won't be able to assure him that we'll be back "'morrow" The weekend better ROCK! or he'll never forgive me.
Not related to school but still brag-worthy, but I had the BEST shopping day. It started with a red metal Radio Flyer wagon for $13 and then I got E's whole winter ensemble, minus boots, for under $35. That included a Columbia jacket, snowboarding pants (how cute is that?) and three pairs of mittens, which I'm told will last me through January.