Sunday, February 28, 2010

Milestone Mania

The first few months of Isabella's life the first question out of everyone's mouth was "How is she sleeping?" which literally made me want to claw their eyes out. Questions that also illicit this reaction are "How's the diet going?" and "Did you hand in that paperwork?" But now as we move into a new stage of development, the newest question is, "Oh is she crawling/walking?"

If I have one saving grace it's that I'm not obsessed with milestones. If she hits them early I'm proud. If she hits them late, I don't worry. She didn't roll back to belly until she was 6.5 months old, but she started sitting up at 5.5 months so I figure it just always evens out. It doesn't bother me that she's not crawling. Less chasing around for me! She'll do it when she's ready.

But, believe it or not, a lot of people get really balled up about milestones. Like badges of honor that they're good parents. I really think that this just fuels the competitiveness between mother's. We should share our kid's milestones out of pride, not to put other people down or make them feel like their kid isn't good enough. That they're not good enough.

I won't focus on what Isabella can't do (walk, talk, stand, crawl), but what she can do. Lift her arms up to help me dress her. Roll around like a lunatic on the floor. Pull herself up to a stand. Go from sitting to belly and belly to sitting. Give sweet wet kisses. Kind of clap hands.

Walking, talking, rolling, eating, it comes in time. I have no 3rd graders who can't do that stuff, so we can all relax

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Single Wife


Some of you may know that Andy is a police officer. 5 years NYPD and for the past 5 years he's been a State Trooper. Which calls for a very unusual schedule. He works for 2 days, 2 days off, works for 3 days, then 2 days off; lather, rinse, repeat. 2 weeks days, 2 weeks midnights. 12 hour shifts. Plus overtime.

Before Isabella made her grand appearance and it was just the two of us, this worked out quite well. I had time with Andy, time to myself, and time for my friends. It was a great marriage. He was able to get off for any major events, like weddings and the like. I missed him when he was on midnights and I hated sleeping alone, but it made the time that we did have together really great because we missed each other. And, let's call a spade a spade, sometimes it's nice to get your husband out of your hair and have a few nights to yourself.

However, after having a baby, nights to yourself just turn into everything by yourself. Cooking, cleaning, bottle cleaning and making, playtime, bath time, bedtime, night waking time (which sucked if it happened during the week and I had work the next day). I give single mothers all the credit in the world. I struggle doing it the better part of 2 weeks I can't imagine doing it full time.

Our time together now is so full of taking care of Isabella, planning for the future, and making decisions that it really cuts into our quality time. So I miss him that much more now. It's hard to do it all. It's even harder to do it all alone.

When I was growing up my dad worked all the time (he's in law enforcement too). He worked from 3pm-11pm. As a kid, my whole life was between 3pm-11pm, so I never got to see him. We still don't have a very close relationship. I don't want that for Isabella. Now his schedule is awesome for her because he watches her a lot in the daytime, I just worry about what happens when she goes to school. But that seems like light years away.

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A (Couple of) Days Late and a Dollar Short

On February 19th Isabella turned 8 months old. Crazy huh? The reason I'm so late with the post is that I couldn't find the card reader thingy that I use to upload the pictures. Eventually it turned up...at the bottom of my towel hamper. I can't even imagine how it got there, but that's just par for the course.


So anyway, my little boobala is getting to be such a big girl. She started eating table food. She loves scrambled eggs, shredded cheese, steamed carrots, and meatballs. She's tolerant of blueberries, but don't go anywhere near her with an avocado. She sleeps from 7pm-6am. Once in a while she throws us a bone and sleeps till 7 and other times she'll screw us and wake up at 5. She has 2 teeth. She's kind of inbetween sizes. 9 months stuff is getting a little snug, but the 12 month stuff is swimming on her. We're about to move her up to size 4 diapers.

She's still not a fan of crawling. She can get from a sitting position to her belly and from her belly to a sitting position. She's in kind of a licking phase. She licks everything. Her books, her toys, her monitor (because she pulls it down now), it's would be really gross if her tongue weren't so cute. She gives kisses, which are really more like sloppy wet licks, but she knows to go for your lips. And she'll clap hands, when she's in the mood.

She's getting to have such a little personality. It's pretty strong too. She's getting over her stranger anxiety too. We were at a party recently and she let me pass her around and she even smiled and laughed at strangers.

We took her to the aquarium last week and she studied those fish like it was her job. She loved it! She's at such a fun age. I think this might be my favorite stage so far!


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sharing the Love

Link love that is. There are just some awesome people out there that you really need to visit. Like, Emma Hughes over at Indie Chick Design (See the button on the right) and Toddler Awesome (www.toddlerawesome.blogspot.com). She's the one who hooked this blog up with an amazing new layout. She's really creative and so professional. And when I told her I wanted a header "with those little cartoon people ya know?" She totally knew what I was talking about. So if you want to read all about her life with her adorable son Ollie or if you want a new blog design head on over. Also, to her credit, her prices are more then reasonable and she has several different packages to choose from. She can also hook up your twitter page as well, which I might do once I actually figure out how to use it.

Secondly, I've gotten a lot of visitors, followers, and comments by way of Mrs. F over at As the Forest(e) Grows So many of you are probably familiar with her, but if you're not go check her out, follow and comment. Love her blog!

Oh, and if anyone knows how to make links clicky in Safari I'm all ears.

ETA- Emma is also pretty awesome because she taught me how to make links clicky. It wasn't a Safari/Mac issue, it was a "me" issue. That is unsurprising.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Parenting Fails, Flops, and Flub Ups

As a new parent (although I'm sure the same is true for seasoned vets), I really do strive to make the best decisions I can for Isabella. I do my best to make sure that she's happy, healthy, and safe. 95% of the time, I hit my mark. Sometimes, however, I fail, flop, and flub up miserably. Let me tell you about my less than shining moments as a mommy.


About a month ago I was walking down the stairs with Isabella in one hand and my phone in the other. She arched her neck to lean backwards and banged her head on the wall. She didn't cry, she just got this really confused expression on her face. Fail.

Once I was trying to put the child down for a nap, and she was crying hysterical. Now you all know that she's not the best napper, but even this was out of sorts for her. She was wailing. Andy came up to offer some assistance (so you know it was bad because usually he stays away during nap time). "Is she wet?" No. "Teething pain?" I just gave her Hylands. "Well you just fed her right?" Ummmm....I forgot to give the kid her damn bottle. No wonder she was crying, the poor girl was hungry. Huge fail.

This one is Andy's fail, but it's pretty funny. I was doing the laundry and getting dinner ready, so I asked him to play with Isabella, give her dinner, and take her upstairs and start the bedtime routine. I'm cooking and folding. I hear them laughing and playing upstairs. I meet him up there and give her her bath, bottle, and bed. Andy and I are sitting and eating, when I asked him what she had for dinner. His "oh shit" look spread across his face. "Did you forget to feed her?" I asked him. "She didn't cry for it" I hadn't realized we were in the practice of making our child cry for her dinner. Man fail.

Around Christmas time we were having some seasonably warm weather, so I bundled up Isabella and took her for a morning walk. Halfway through she starts whining. So I just brush it off as her being fresh. Then she starts really crying, so I just figure that she's being fussy and I turn around and take her home. Only to find that she wasn't fresh or fussy, she was cold. She had managed to kick off her boots and her socks and her little tootsies were exposed.

Let's just hope the kid makes it to her 1st birthday unscathed.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Mommy Want Ads

Wanted: A Mommy Friend


Requirements:
  • You must have a child around Isabella's age...anywhere between 6-12 months.
  • You must not be a super mom
  • You should like to drink coffee and wine, not necessarily in that order.
  • Interesting conversation about the kids are great, but we can also talk about other stuff, like politics and shoes.
  • Speaking of shoes, it would be great if you were the same size as me so we can share, I'm a 6.5 or 7 in American sizes and 36 or 37 in European sizes (yes I know my European shoe size).
  • It would be great if you weren't too skinny so this way I don't have to be known as the "chubby one".
I need some mom friends man! My cousins have kids but they're either newborns or older like 2-4 and they all live in New York, which means I have to drive 45 minutes to hang out. It would be great to have some mom friends close by that I could meet up with for play dates every once in a while. The thing is, as charming as I am on my blog, I'm actually pretty quiet and awkward around people I don't know IRL. So it would be hard for me to "pick up" a woman at babies r us or the park.

Maybe I'll just grow a set and try. I don't know. Sometimes it would be nice to talk to someone who is going through similar ya know?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NAPS: The Four Letter Word of Motherhood


First of all this post is not meant to give you any answers, because this is one subject I am not very well versed in. What I can offer you is empathy and an e-shoulder to cry on.


The word "nap" in our house is a dirty word. Isabella has never been a good napper. Ever. When she was a newborn people would tell me to enjoy her now while she slept all day. Ummmm, what? Who was sleeping all day? Did they mean the 10-15 minute cat naps that she randomly took when she felt like it that usually resulted as a result of a screaming fit? I hoped not.

Once we got our heads out of our asses and got her on more of a schedule her naps improved. We kept her to no more than 2 hours of wakefulness between naps (thank you Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child), but it was still a whole song and a dance to get her to nap and they only lasted 30 minutes. Wanna know what you can get done in 30 minutes? Not a whole lot! If I was able to eat something and set up bottles I was happy. The only way we could get more than 30 minutes was to hold her and then she would nap for 2-3 hours. But if you had to pee in that time interval you were screwed.

Finally I asked myself, when she wakes up from a 30 minute nap is she cranky and tired? She wasn't. So we cut out the long nap in our arms and just accepted the fact that she was a snapper (short napper) and their was not a thing we could do about it.

As she got a bit older her naps started to lengthen. At about 6 months she would take 3 naps. An early morning one that lasted 45 minutes- an hour, an afternoon one that lasted 1-2 hours, and if her earlier naps were on the short side a quick 30 minute late afternoon one. Which sounds awesome, and it totally was, but getting her to sleep involved rocking, walking, and shushing. Sometimes she'll fall asleep in 2 minutes, sometimes it takes 20, sometimes you put her in the crib and she stays asleep, sometimes she howls and you have to pat her tush. Once in a very rare while it's just easy all around.

This drives my husband nuts. Like bat shit crazy. It annoys me too especially because at night we just put her in her crib awake and she falls asleep. Why not at nap time? Probably because we have such a strict bedtime routine that she just knows what's coming. I guess I could implement a nap time routine but to be honest, I don't think I have room in my life for one more routine, let alone one that happens 3 times a day.

Her naps now are getting a bit shorter, but she's sleeping longer at night so maybe that's why. But like I said I have no answers. I could do research on how to lengthen naps, I'm sure or how to stop rocking to sleep because at almost 8 months we are still rocking this child, but I figure I'll ask you guys what worked for you. Any tricks to clean up nap time?

We've Been Featured

About a week ago I received an e-mail from a lovely intern at www.newparent.com asking me to submit a blog post for their website. This was so exciting for me because I really do put a lot of myself into my blog and try to be as honest as I can. They're a great website so you should check them out...and me. Here's the website


http://www.newparent.com/blogs/from-the-community/sleep-the-holy-grail-of-mommydom/

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

For the Love of Sam


Now if you're a regular reader you know that my husband's name is Andy. So after you read the title of this post you were probably thinking, "Who is this hussy and who the hell is Sam?" Sam might be the one person Andy doesn't mind sharing me with. I'm speaking, of course, about Sam Adams. Let me regale our love story.


I'll admit there were other men in my life before Sam. I'd drink Corona in Cancun, do keg stands of Bud, and play Power Hour with Coors Light. Until one day Andy ordered a Sam Adams Boston Lager and asked me if I wanted some. I scoffed because, c'mon, that's an old man's beer right? So wrong. Sam was complex and refreshing and slightly bitter on the kickback, he "got me".

He came in seasons. In the winter we would snuggle up, Andy, Sam and I, and drink Winter Ale. In the Spring, although I mourned for White Ale, Noble Pils soon became my number one favorite. In the Summer, Sam's Summer Ale is crisp and refreshing, in fact this was my first alcoholic drink I had after I gave birth to Miss Isabella. And don't get me started on Octoberfest.

So when Andy approached me about going to a VIP tour of the brewery in Boston, which included a hotel stay and dinner, instead of chocolates and an overpriced dinner for Valentines Day, I accepted. Although, I was reluctant to let go of the chocolate. In addition to the wonderful sleep that we got without our regular 6am wakeup call, we tasted some really great beer and got the VIP treatment at the brewery and a dinner where a fancy pants executive sat down with us and explained the beer pairings with each course, and it all culminated with Sam breaking my heart.

That's right, you heard me, the man broke my heart. We were fortunate enough to taste Utopias. The world's strongest beer that drinks more like a cordial. We were sold. "Do you sell this here? Can we buy a whole stinking bunch of it?"

They didn't sell it and we couldn't buy it. Apparently a lot of people like it and sell it on e-bay for a crap load of money. As a teacher and a cop, we were unable to spend double the price what the bottle was worth. Now, we could hope that Isabella is a "trade school" type of girl and dip into her college fund, but what if she wants to become a fermentation scientist and make delicious new beers. We couldn't take the chance.

So we got back in the car and left Utopias, and a piece of my heart, in Boston.

This post was not sponsored in any part by the people at Sam Adams. If you're interested in the details of the trip and want to know how you can book it, send me an e-mail. It's a great time...you won't be disappointed.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Wrong Piece of the Puzzle


Have you ever done a jigsaw puzzle where you're trying your darndest to get the stupid piece to fit in a spot that it obviously doesn't? Sometimes I feel like that. Sometimes I feel like I just don't fit. Like trying to fit a round peg in a square hole (like how I flipped that analogy upside down? I'm pretty wild).


In certain situations or with certain people, I feel like I have to shave bits of myself off to make myself fit. And I know that you should be who you are at all times blah blah blah, but this is the real world and sometimes you just want to belong. You just want to be part of it all.

I realize that all too often I'm guilty of living in my own head, which is more often than not a pretty frightening place. But lately when I'm out with friends or talking to a coworker about her and her boyfriends umpteenth break up or when I'm conversing with a Super Mom I just feel like I don't mesh. Like I'm the wrong piece in a jigsaw puzzle.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Super Mom or Super Flop

Somedays I am awesome. I amaze even myself. I get up in the morning, with very little snoozing. Put on a clean, well coordinated outfit while Ms. Isabella snoozes. My hair is neat, maybe I'll put on makeup if I'm feeling crazy. Change and feed Isabella, unless my Mom gets there a few minutes early. Pack my lunch, make my coffee, go to work, shape the minds of a bunch of 8 and 9 year olds, have witty banter with friends. Then I come home play with my daughter, chat with my husband, split the bedtime routine, make a delicious dinner, straighten up, catch up with my e-business, shower, get ready for the next day, and go to sleep. The dishes are done, the laundry is folded and put away, the floor is clean. Ahhhhhh, Super Mom!


Then there are the Super Flop days. I over snooze, rush to put on the least wrinkled thing in my closet, my hair is a hot mess in a messy ponytail, and not the sexy messy ponytails like the clebs have, think more along the lines of a gym ponytail. My mom is already feeding Isabella. I grab my coffee, kiss my girl goodbye, get in my car and realize I forgot my lunch/cell phone/purse, go in and grab it. Sit in tons of traffic since I left so late, hunt for parking, and squeak in just before the bell rings. Then I frantically try to put my lessons together for the day. I'm really good at my job so even if I have to wing it I'm ok. Barely have a second to chat with coworkers. Go home, play with Isabella and chat with Andy, split bedtime, make a super quick dinner, take a shower, and crash in front of the TV.

Most days fall somewhere inbetween that spectrum, but man the drive to be Super Mom is sometimes all encompassing that I'm left feeling like a flop if I don't achieve it. It's unrealistic I know, but I just feel so much more put together when I look decent and my house looks decent. Like it doesn't look like the toy workshop in the North Pole and there aren't crumbs on the floor from when we eat in front of the TV. I just hate feeling so...I don't know, unkempt I guess.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday





Monday, February 8, 2010

Beautiful Blogger

Desi over at Olivia Carolyn http://littlebabybateman.blogspot.com/ (seriously copy and paste it, don't be a lazy ass) has given me The Beautiful Blogger Award. Isn't that awesome? She has a great blog going and her daughter is just adorable, so you should go check her out.

Here's what I need to do:
1. Thank the person who nominated me for the award.
2. Copy the award & place it on my blog.
3. Link the person who nominated me for this award.
4. Share 7 interesting things about myself.


So it looks like I'm up to number 4. Ok let's think.

1. I have a really big crush on Captain Feather Sword from the wiggles. If we take Isabella to the concert next year, I think I might actually do my hair and make up. Google him, he's pretty cute.

2. I have 5 tattoos. I love tattoos. If I could walk around covered in them I would.

3. I am a freak about To Do lists. I make lists all day. If I do something that isn't on the To Do list, I write it on the list just so I can cross it off.

4. I skeeve ketchup. Like I won't touch it in the grocery store or take it out of the fridge for Andy. Come to think of it, I don't like any condiments. Not mustard or jelly or mayo or sauer kraut. None of it. Makes me wanna gag. Isabella is in trouble if she likes ketchup.

5. I cry whenever I throw up. Like sob like a baby. It's pathetic.

6. I hate to talk on the phone. I'd rather text, e-mail, or just meet up and talk in person over coffee.

7. When I was little both of my feet turned it. I had to wear special shoes that were connected by a metal rod to straighten them out. I wore it until I was 9 months old. I still don't walk straight. I have a bad over pronation that causes me to wear out the inner sole of my shoes. Oh well, anything for new shoes.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Little Martian

Imagine if you will, a foreign being living for 9 months in a darkened water world where they are constantly being jiggled and soothed by their hosts walking and the sounds that they hear are the whooshing of blood and the gurgle of digestion. This is how babies start their lives until they are brought from total darkness into a bright hospital room with doctors and nurses and a million well wishers oohing and ahhhing over them. They arrive into our lives virtual aliens. And sometimes they do things that make us think that they surely are from another planet.


Isabella is an alien sometimes. She likes to sleep in the corner of her crib. And I don't mean near the corner, I mean her head is literally shoved against the bumper. I've tried putting her at the bottom of the crib, but she always worm crawls her way up to the corner, where she sleeps with her head smooshed and her booty in the air.

She doesn't cry when she has a poopy diaper. There's been times when she's been in her jumper and I was unloading the dishwasher or making lunch or whatever and I'll pick her up and she'll be stinky. But she won't cry. It can't be comfortable to jump around with poop in your butt.

She's starting to crawl, but sometimes when she wants something badly she goes on her belly, and all 4 limbs start flailing, like she's trying to swim or fly where she wants to go. Just see for yourself.
video

Nutso right?

Also, she has this new thing where when I'm walking around the house with her she leans her head all the way back so she can stare at the ceiling. Which means I have to cradle her head with my hand while she is in an almost complete back bend.

She also likes to play with the wall by her changing table. There's nothing on it. It's just a plain purple wall. But it really seems to amuse her. She hits it, laughs at it, and talks to it. Maybe walls are cool on her planet.

Hopefully I'm not the only one raising an alien. Tell me about your little Martian.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Super Secret Sauce

Ok, so it's not super secret, but it is absolutely delicious and I went without this sauce for almost 3 years. First I was vegan and then vegetarian and now I'm back to just being regular. I enjoyed being veggie and vegan when I was doing that and when I stopped enjoying it I went back. But the first meat dish I ate was this sauce. My grandmother used to make it all the time on Sundays when she lived in Queens. She's the kind who would want everyone to enjoy themselves so I don't think she'd mind me blasting it out on the internet.

Let me just warn you that this is not a quick sauce, it takes about 4 hours, and it is not healthy even slightly. I have a recipe for a quick cooking sauce that's still very authentic so you can e-mail me and I'd be happy to send it to you.

Additionally, the quantities of the ingredients are rough estimates. It was never a "written" down recipe, but I tried to get as close as I could. However, a little more of this and a little less of that isn't going to make a big difference. I want you to make it your own. Let me know how you like it.

Ingredients For the Sauce
London broil
Garlic (3-5 cloves finely chopped or grated)
2 cans crushed tomatoes (28 ounces each, preferably imported from Italy)
2 cans pureed tomatoes (28 ounces each, preferably imported from Italy)
2 cans tomato paste (the little ones)
20 leaves of fresh basil or about a tbsp of dried
Oregano (about a tsp)
Italian seasoning (about 2 tsp)
London Broil
Italian Sausages (sweet or hot, estimate 1-2 links per person)
salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the Meatballs
Chop meat (the family pack)
Garlic cloves (5-7 cloves very finely minced)
Fresh parsley (about a fistful finely chopped)
1 cup of bread crumbs (wet them)
2 eggs
salt and pepper
1/2 cup Locatelli or Peccorino Romano cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs. Roll into large balls (hehehe) and place in a large tray and bake for 20-30 minutes until brown on top. They will continue to cook in the sauce.

2. In a very large sauce pot brown London Broil in some Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and then remove.


3. Brown the sausage on all sides and then remove.

4. Drizzle the bottom of the sauce pot with about a 1/4 cup of EVOO and brown the garlic until it is light golden brown...be careful not to burn it.

5. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, and past to the pot .
fill one of the crushed tomato cans with water and add to the pot. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Add all the herbs except the fresh basil. Put the London Broil into the sauce. Stir every 15 minutes.

6. 30 minutes later add the sausage and meatballs to the sauce. Bring heat down to med/low Stir every 10-20 minutes for 3 and a half hours keeping the pot slightly covered. Add the basil the last 30 minutes.


Feel free to taste the sauce with fresh Italian bread


Before serving, remove sausage, meatballs, and London Broil. Slice up the meat if it hasn't already broken up into the sauce.

Feed it to your thankful family and enjoy. Make sure you don't have to clean up since your stove will look like it has the measles.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So Here's The Follow Up

I was really nervous to go into work today after yesterday's shenanigans. I kept waiting for my principal to call me into the office. I had a few kids in my class write down what happened. I spoke to my union rep. I was ready.


She never came to get me. So I saw her in the hallway and I just asked her outright what was going on. She basically said that the kid's mother is nuts and has always been nuts and that she pulls something like this every year. So from now on if the kid so much as gets a paper cut send him to the nurse.

Crisis averted. Some parents are crazy. I'm so glad it worked out. I was picturing worst case scenarios.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Am Absolutely Livid

I'm hopping mad. Like steam coming out of your ears. Hot flashes in your body. Shaking with anger. Let me regale the story for you and you can give me your honest opinion because I would give mine to you.

On Friday afternoon one of my students asks me if he can shut the lights off in the classroom because of the glare on the Smart Board. He's short and the lights are high so I told him no. He is insistent that he can reach them. So I tell him that if he can reach them he can shut them off (knowing that he couldn't). I told him that when he realized that he couldn't reach them to let me know and I would do it for him.

Well the little genius decides he's going to jump up and try to shut off the lights and he scratches his arm. He goes to show me the scrape but he's wearing a long sleeved shirt and I'm not about to have the kid removing clothing in my classroom so I ask him if he wants to go to the nurse. He says no. I tell him to go wash it in the bathroom and give him a few band aids.

No big thing. I didn't even think to fill out an accident report since there was no blood and his shirt wasn't ripped and he wasn't crying or complaining. Well, today his mother called up flipping out that I didn't send him to the nurse because now there's something in his cut and their insurance won't cover it.

WHAT? He had a long sleeved shirt on that wasn't ripped so what the hell was "in the cut"? I didn't even see the damned scrape. He didn't want to go to the nurse so what the hell am I supposed to do? Fill out hours of paperwork on every bump, scrape, and paper cut? We even had a meeting last year where our principal told us to ease up on the accident reports.

I'm so angry that this is even being entertained. Now I have to have a meeting with my principal, which I fully intend to bring my union rep to. I shouldn't even have to justify myself on this matter. The parents are full of shit. What does the insurance need to cover? Band aids and neosporin?

I am so mad to work in a city that looks to crucify its own. I bend over backwards for my students spending hundreds of my own dollars every year on parties, presents, materials, presentations, for what? To get my ass nailed to the wall because some kid did something he wasn't supposed to do and got a boo boo? It's ridiculous. So pray that this just goes away and that my unblemished record doesn't get smutted up for no good reason.