Thursday, February 4th, 2016

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I really need to figure out how to handle my work stress better. I work part-time during the semesters teaching two sections of writing classes at a University. The rest of the time I'm home with my 18 month old, which is another job in itself. Of course, part-time is a relative term. I physically go to work two days a week and teach two 80 minute classes. But during the weeks where I have commenting on rough drafts (for papers 1 and 4) or grading papers (there are 5) - so seven weeks total, I don't have any free time at all. My every spare moment, which with an 18 months old and household stuff, really just includes nap time and bedtime, is used to grade.

There are 43 students at present, and I spend about 30 min on paper, sometimes more. Plus, after reading about 4 to 6 of them in a row, especially this early in the semester where the writing is very terrible, makes my brain literally hurt and shut down. So grading and commenting weeks are weeks of high stress for me where I try to get through 6 papers a day, every day for a week, to try to get them back in a week. I do have half a week backup time, just in case, but that just prolongs the agony.

So this week, from last Thursday to this morning was commenting week. I was fine, stress wise until Monday. I got a whole class done by Sunday night and I was on track. Of course, by Monday night I was exhausted from waking up early and teaching and commuting, so I got less done. And on Tuesday night, Tanya decided that she needed me nearby at 9:30pm to sleep, so I ended up commenting on two papers with a flashlight. But then I felt so exhausted I fell asleep, 3 papers from my goal. That really shouldn't have raised my stress that high - I was still on track. But by the evening I was feeling it. Frustrated and testy. I really try hard not to take it out on others, so it's probably bottling in too. I got 3 papers done during Tanya's long nap on Wednesday and actually managed 6 in the evening without my brain drying up. And I got 3 done on morning commute and last one in office hours. I was all ready for class. But last night, it really wasn't helpful to start getting upset over it. So I need better grading stress strategies. I'm going to really try to stay on track this semester.

On the upside, I get a grading free weekend. Yay. I still have to write a letter of recommendation, write a bunch of emails, and read the essay for next week to prep Monday's class, but no grading! I get Paper 1 on Monday, so I should really enjoy it. I just watched the latest episode of "Supernatural" - yay, girls! - and now I want to curl up with the 3rd Robert Galbraith book Career of Evil (J.K. Rowling detective books) which I got from the library today on my Kindle. I got notification in the morning and took our my other book I'm reading and stuck a Kindle in my bag to read on the way home. Unfortunately, the Kindle didn't pick up the school Wi-Fi so I couldn't download it. I ended up reading National Geographic on the way home, which is fine, I'm behind on them but I can't wait to read my book it. It already had a very, very creepy beginning from the perspective of a serial killer targeting the main character, so it should be fun!

Tanya continues to be awesome and watching her pick up language continues to be super fascinating to me. She is repeating absolutely everything we say now and is starting to sing along with songs. My Mom told me to try reading her some small baby poems which I've been reading to her for a while (some Barto ones) and not to say the ending word on the line to let her say it. And she totally did! And she did that with the alphabet poems too. She really does remember it or at least recognizes the rhyme.

We also started letting her wear just the underwear at home for about an hour in the afternoons to get her to recognize when she needs to go pee and to start asking. She's been good about pooping in the potty for a while now and knows how to ask that. And in this last week, since we started diaper free time she really started to pick it up and has been mostly recognizing when she needs to pee, although she can't quite hold it all the way yet. Still, no giant accidents. I'm really impressed how far she came in just a week of this. We want to get her diaper free by summer. Fingers crossed. She has been having fun with putting all her stuffed animals on the potty. She picks Elmo up, for example. says, "pee, pee. begi (run), begi (run)" and runs with him to the potty and tries to put him on. It's hysterical sometimes.

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