Grading time

Final grades are due into the system by noon today, and let me tell you, this week has been rough.

Rougher than I expected.  I had a few moments here and there of thinking, "Has grading week always been this hard, and I've just forgotten?", but I know that for me, the answer is no.  It didn't used to be this difficult.  One of the things that's changed has been Maybelle.

Last week was her spring break, and I foolishly didn't plan well enough in advance for this event.  That meant that she was home most of the week, and Biffle and I were trading off time with her.  Maybelle is a delightful human being, but she doesn't gel well with my work.  I've taken her to campus twice in the past two weeks--probably the most she's been on campus during work hours since she was born--and with effort I've been able to do only the bare minimum I went to campus to do (yesterday that meant picking up two pieces of paperwork).

As a side note here, let me say that I'm doing pretty well at not letting Maybelle trigger too much codependence in me.  When friends and colleagues see Maybelle, they're generally enthusiastic, saying hi to her, squatting down, wanting to interact.  Very often she won't even look at them, implying by her behavior that her own fingers are far more interesting than this adult.  And then there are others who have a particular vibe that draws her, and she'll give them these luscious, gooey hugs.  Yesterday she saw a friend who has been part of her life since she was gestating--this person held her when she was just days old--and she became fascinated with the couch cushions.  A few minutes later she saw a colleague that she's now met twice, and she both hugged her and tried a little bit to feel her up.  I have no control over this.  None.  The most I can do is encourage Maybelle to say "bye bye," which she generally does with southern enthusiasm ("Bah bah!")

So Maybelle has entered the schedule.  And here's one way this complicates things:  30 percent of my work day consists of meetings.  Last week I had to reschedule virtually every meeting on my calendar because of the Maybelle-spring-break phenomenon.  And then Wednesday of this week, at 11:00, as I was sitting at my computer blazing through some grading and preparing for an afternoon of meetings, I get a call from preschool saying that Maybelle had diarrhea and had to come home.

Children and their preschool illnesses!  I had to reschedule meetings I'd already rescheduled.  Lord have mercy.  10 percent of my week this week has been rescheduling.

And where I used to be a person who, if necessary, could stay up late and get things finished, I'm no longer that person.  In his wood studio, Biffle has a great picture* of me from--what, 2002?  2003?--standing in the 24-hour Nashville post office**, putting my Out in Public manuscript in the mail at 2 am.  I'd stayed up, I'd finished the thing, and it was damn well going in the mail right then.  These days if I stay up late--like I did last night--that means 11.  And that feels late.

My days start earlier these days, too.  Today I got up at 4:45, took a shower and washed my hair (let's not talk about when was the last time I washed my hair), and while I was in the shower I thought of things I wanted to blog about.  So here I am, neglecting the 56 emails I should be responding to.

Fortunately Maybelle is just fine and will be going back to school today.

*It actually is a great picture, but I took this picture of the picture at 5:00 am, with my cell phone.  It's the best I could do.
**Oh, how I loved the 24-hour post office!  So many things--manuscripts, job applications--went in the mail around 2 am.  And then I had a sense of closure and could sleep well.


claire said...

Grading week! I have taught at schools with weeks long gaps between the end of exams and grades being due. You might think that this would produce more rigorous or thoughtful grading-- all it does is produce more procrastination.

krlr said...

Whee! A working mom post! I can't wait to see the comments. Nothing generates The Crazy than a good ol' online working mom/SAHM debate. Maybe I can convince you to allow anonymous comments, just this once? For my own amusement?

Though all your readers seem fairly sane and reasonable, so there might be less Crazy and more mutually respectful supportiveness. *sigh* No fun.

Three unrelated comments:
- Preschool viruses drive me MAD. I have the most flexible schedule in the history of corporate america... but at some point in time they still expect me to show up & do SOMETHING, since they are paying me 'n all. It is HARD to do that if for every 3 days at care, my daughter requires 2 days to recover from various pathogens.

My daughter has the same finicky people preferences. I have so far resisted the temptation to blog about how she much likes her MD, vs. her terrified reaction EVERY TIME she sees my in laws (which is weekly).

While in school, I tried my very best to ease the burden on my profs by never ever ever turning in a paper on time. Your welcome. Can we still be friends?

Alison said...

Two working moms weigh in--I appreciate that. We'll see if anybody else has something to say.

krlr, I'm amused that you never turned in a paper on time. I had a student today turn in an assignment 15 minutes before final grades were due into the campus computer system. I got it graded!

When the grandparents don't get affection, that's tough. It's hard for them not to take it personally.

Jims said...

I am also currently (frantically) grading. It's funny, grading other students' work makes me realize that I really dislike grades, though (as you recall) I really loved them as an undergraduate. I'm starting to wish that everything was pass/fail.

Anonymous said...

Argh...the day care call. There are also the days when I'm convinced that all is 'not right' with one of the kids (no symptoms other than a vague mom feeling) that mean I spend all day at work waiting for the phone to ring. And then, when the incubation period is more than 1 day, we have to do it all over again in a week. I do appreciate having flex in my schedule and being able to work some in the evenings or at home during naps if I have to.

In grad school, when I only had 2 day a week day care, and later 3/4 day day care, I don't quite know how I got anything done. Though now my schedule is less flexible and more meeting-full, it does provide a different set of challenges.

And yes, they continue to be their own people, don't they, in both delightful and infuriating ways. It makes life more interesting.


Anonymous said...

Hey- I'm the Mom that just sent my poor child to school with low grade temp and meds (Dr told me it was okay) only to find out that she had pneumonia!Arghhhh- working Mom guilt.
It was the week before vaca and my work was all dysregulated and in crisis (and I'm not talking about my clients). Excuses, excuses...
You know- Kayli too picks who she goes to like she has an internal compass. She loves my Mom but she can't be peeled off of my Dad - tricky business. I have noticed that she does not like anyone who has a sharp voice or laugh. She sticks her fingers in her ears.
Sorry I can't be more fun!