Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Call

Last week I got "the call". The call that every mother dreads. I was in a meeting 90 miles away from home and I could see the daycare number pop up on my phone. Fortunately Charlie was working at home and I knew if Calvin was sick, he could go pick him up. I listened to the message and it was pretty innocent so I assumed it was something trivial I needed to do. I still had some papers in my bag i needed to fill out. A few minutes after that, Charlie called and said he was meeting Miss Sara and Calvin at the hospital! Calvin had fallen and passed out and they were taking him to the hospital just in case. My co-workers all heard a giant "What! I'm leaving in a few minutes." I was in a bit of shock and continued talking about my project. They all turned to me and told me to leave... now.  
I got in the car and left. I still had an hour and a half to drive. There was nothing I could do. I made a call to my office because there was a meeting there that I was supposed to go to. I wasn't sure if I should go home or to the office. I think I was in shock because I felt nothing. I remember thinking that I must have good faith because even though I had gotten "the call", I knew Calvin was fine. I wasn't worried. Should I be? Would a better mother be more worried? A few minutes later, I did break down. It was such a range of emotions for that 90 mile drive. 
Thank goodness for cell phones. I was able to talk to Charlie every 15 minutes and got updates. Apparently, he had fallen at the playground, hit his eye and blacked out. They did a CT Scan just in case. The cut on his eye didn't need stitches. Charlie said that when he got here Calvin was very out of it and very scared. But by the time they left, he was looking better. By the time I got back to town, Calvin had been given the all clear and released. I went to work for a little while. I felt like I was doing the wrong thing and was supposed to go home to be with my baby. But my baby was with his dad and was getting ready to take a nap. There was nothing I could have done for him. Plus, I was still shaking and so worked up. I don't think I could have gone home. I needed to calm down.
He was diagnosed with a mild concussion. After talking to the director and his teachers later, I am still not sure what happened. I am not sure how he fell, hit his eye or hit his head. But he scared them. They said he was definitely out and they were blowing on his face trying to get a reaction. After he came to, his color was gone and he was not himself and was totally out of it.
I went home early and was there when he woke up from his nap. The nice thing about having Laci in school is that I was able to call and change her transportation for the day. She rode the bus home. I thought that was great - the school delivers your child home! I didn't have to go back out with Calvin to pick her up. When Calvin got up, he was still moving pretty slow. I actually sat and watched him watch a movie. I have never seen him sit still to watch an entire movie before. He must have been out of it. But by bedtime that night, he was back to his crazy self - climbing on furniture and jumping on the couch. It's hard to keep a 2 year old down. But we survived our first trip to the ER.  And fortunately with nothing broken. 

Beginning of school woes...

Last week, Laci came off the school bus one day in tears. I didn't know what was wrong. She walked home without saying a word, walked into the house and curled up in a ball on the couch under a blanket. I have never seen her do that before. I kept asking her what was wrong and she kept saying that she didn't want to talk about it and just wanted to sit quietly for a minute. I suddenly realized that in this next phase of her life, this scene may happen a lot. I gave her a hug and let her be. A few minutes later, she told me what was wrong. Three things. 1. Abby brought stickers in to share and she didn't get one. 2. Isaiah (her one friend from daycare) won't talk to her 3. her flower bracelet that she made in recess broke. A little while later, she bounced back to her regular self and told me that those three things didn't bother her and she was fine. I decided to let it go.  I'm sure it will come up again. School is easy for her. The social part of school is a bit tougher.
A few days later, Laci was lamenting to Charlie again about Isaiah not talking to her. He explained again that sometimes boys just want to be friends with boys and he is just trying to make new friends too just like her. This change in friends has been tough on her. She went from a place that was like home to her and she knew everyone and everyone knew her to a place where no one knows her. The one person she does know won't even talk to her. She's struggling a little bit as all kindergartners too. And their mothers can't help them with this one. This isn't the last time she will struggle and she will get through it.  But it is hard to see her struggling and upset. 
Her birthday is in a few weeks and since we don't know any of her new friends, I thought it might be better to invite some of her old familiar friends that she hasn't seen in awhile. I know we will have many days where she needs to snuggle on the couch quietly under a blanket as she figures all of this growing up stuff out. On the positive side, Isaiah started talking to her again and she has mentioned that she is starting to make friends. She's finding her way.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

She hit the wall...

One of the reasons not listed on the previous post about going to kindergarten is no naps in kindergarten. Laci still took naps at her daycare and she does not need one every day. She hasn't taken a nap on the weekend for a couple of years. But since she always took one at school during the week, we never fully transitioned to "no naps". Bedtime was tough because she wasn't tired because she had taken a 2 hour nap at school. She was tired on the weekends... overtired leads to tantrums.

Today was Day 8 of no naps. Today she hit the wall. I recognized the overtired tantrum immediately. Her tantrum started before dinner because her lego helicopter broke. I hugged her, ignored her and we moved on. Charlie and her got into it later. It was ugly. He was getting on her about every little thing. She was provoking him. I knew it was because she was overtired. I finally got her calmed down enough to take a walk around the block in the stroller.  I knew she needed some downtime. I felt pretty silly walking my nearly 5 year old around the block in the stroller as I waved to neighbors.  She barely fit in the stroller.  But it was needed.  We had a talk about behavior and listening to her dad.  When we got home, she apologized to Charlie and me. 

I am sure we will have plenty more tantrums due to overtiredness before we are done with this transition.  But it is time.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Another First ... after a family morning.

Today Calvin's daycare was closed for teacher training.  So I stayed home with him.  It was such a nice, rare family moment Monday.  Charlie got up and went running at the regular time.  Calvin usually gets up between 7 - 7:15 on the weekends.  He was up at 6:30 today.  So I brought him in bed with me and we snuggled and watched TV.  When Charlie got home, he joined us.  It may have been the first time we had a "peanut butter" sandwich with Calvin.  A few minutes later, Laci walked in.  Of course, Calvin immediately yelled "Laci go away... Laci No" as she climbed in bed with us.  He did not want her spoiling his mommy and daddy moment.  But our rare Monday morning, peanut butter and jelly sandwich was just perfect. 

Because I was going to be home, Laci took the bus to school and home.  I don't know who was more nervous - me or her.  Oh wait, I do know - ME.  She was so excited.  I was nervous.  My nervousness was so silly - all logistics.  What if we go to the wrong bus stop or the wrong corner.  What if they don't take her because she didn't ride the bus the first three days.  What if we miss the bus?

Of course,  my fears were all silly.  The morning was pretty leisurely.  Her bus doesn't come until 8:30 a.m.  So we went outside at 8:15 and just hung out on the corner.  She is the only kid at her corner but we could see two other stops with several kids waiting.  The bus driver was surprised to see her but knew who she was.  Laci want sit in the back even though I told her kindergarteners had to sit in the front.  The bus driver directed to her to assigned seat.  As she drove off, Calvin said "Bye bye Laci.  See you later." 

Calvin and I had a busy morning running errands and we went out to lunch.  It was nice.  I had one more errand I wanted to do but I also wanted to take a long walk with him.  He took a super long nap.  So the errand will have to wait.  Walks with my baby don't come often and they always come first. 

At 8:30 when we dropped Laci off, 4:00 seemed forever away.  But really, 4:00 to meet the bus came pretty quickly!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The end of an era... The Beginning of a new chapter

It's official.  Laci is a kindergartner now.  I am now the parent of an elementary student.  But I'm not going to be running out to get a proud parent of an XYZ honors student sticker anytime soon.  

This has been a crazy week.   Full of emotion and change.   For all of us.  Change is hard.  Monday and Tuesday hit us harder than we thought.  Saying good bye to the daycare really hit me.  I was a mess all day Tuesday knowing that it was her last day there.  We love everyone there so much and they are so good to my children.  But I think it is the safety factor that I loved about it.  She has gone there for almost 5 years and we are so comfortable there.  She knows everyone and everything about that school.  I don't  know why I was so upset.  I will still go there everyday to pick up Calvin.  

Laci on her first day of daycare.  Feels like yesterday...
Laci cried for school that morning.  Charlie was sure that it was because of the big change that was coming.  She kept saying how excited she was for elementary school and how sad she was to leave her friends.  He tried to give her a few extra hugs.  She had drama that morning over a new skirt that we tried on Monday night for the first day of kindergarten that didn't fit.  I took the skirt with me to work Tuesday so we could go to the mall after school and try to return it.  So she was crying because the skirt wasn't there.  I wasn't sure what mood she would be in when I picked her up.  She was pretty excited and skipped out of there.  When I asked her about being upset that morning, she insisted that it was the skirt she was upset about that morning and not leaving school.  And then she followed it up with asking if we can go to the mall.  
Laci on her last day of daycare. 
It broke my heart to see this picture but she has assured me
multiple times that she is only upset about the skirt.

Wednesday morning went great.  We are still working out transportation issues - some days Charlie will take both, some days I will take both and some days I will take Calvin and he will take Laci.  Charlie took both kids and Laci liked going to the old school to say hi to her friends.  But she was thrilled to skip out of there to go to elementary school.  I was excited all day long to pick her up and hear about her adventures.  Both Charlie and I goofed on the before and afterschool care pick up and went to the wrong doors / areas.  In a sense, we're "kindergartners" too.  She had a great day.

The hardest part for me was hearing how disappointed she was that she didn't get to ride the bus.  After school, she was the only person that had to go to afterschool care and not take the bus / get picked up.  It was the first time I think she realized that not everyone goes to daycare.  I was upset because I felt like I am the only mother around here that works.  Charlie reminded me that some kids go to afterschool daycares, some get picked up by friends and some mothers have different schedules.  I'm not the only mother that works.  Laci did think it was neat that she gets to play with the "big kids" afterschool.  I'll try to play that up.  Monday Calvin's school is closed so I am staying home with him.  I will let her ride the bus to and from school that day.  I hope that makes her feel better about the whole bus thing. 

The other plus / minus was the food.  We are really struggling with what Laci eats.  She is getting pickier and it's harder to get her to eat healthy.  She refuses to eat vegetables.  The school now has "healthy" foods that I am not sure if she will eat.  The before school care has breakfast but she has already complained about the cereal - Rice crispies and corn flakes.  We reminded her that she needs to eat it anyway.  She always ate lunch at daycare so having the option to bring a lunch is exciting to her.  It's been fun to pack a little lunch for her - even it is her weird favorite sandwich - peanut butter and shredded cheese on pitas.  If she eats it, I'll be happy.  They eat lunch at 11 and then she doesn't get a snack until afterschool at 4.  I know she will be hungry.  I hope this forces her to eat all of her lunch and the healthy snacks they give her - even if she doesn't like them.  It will take time to figure all of this out.  She ate a ton at dinner tonight.   The food thing is really a whole other issue but I hope that going to school helps with that also. 

The biggest surprise was how Calvin reacted.  I didn't even think of how this would effect Calvin until a few weeks ago when Laci spent a couple of days at her grandmas and wasn't at school.  He misses her.  Today, his teacher said that he asked about her day whenever they were in the hallway or lunchroom, times they normally saw her. When i picked him up, he asked about her.  I told her we had to pick her up at school.  He still thought I meant the daycare and assumed she was playing outside with the rest of the kids.  He went crazy when I put him the car and pulled out of there without.  He thought we were leaving her at the playground!  The entire 10 minute drive was him saying "Laci school.  Pick up Laci" over and over.  She liked that he missed her.  Even though we explained that she was going to a new school, he is too young to understand what that means.  This week was really an adjustment for all 4 of us!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why I am sending my 4 year old to Kindergarten

I know that I don't have to justify our decision.  But right now I feel like I do.  To myself.  To other mothers of four year olds.  There are some people who think I am crazy for sending my 4 year old to kindergarten.  She will be a full year younger than some of her classmates.  The trend here is to "redshirt" 5 year olds with summer birthday to give them an extra year.  I have completely done the opposite.

I am so nervous about her starting school this week.  I am pretty sure I would be this nervous even if we waited until next year.  I know she will do fine.  I am worried about me.  I am worried about logistics.  Pick ups and drop off in two places.  Packing a lunch.  Getting home later than before.  Afterschool activities.  Every thing she does that isn't "perfect", I will worry that she is doing that because she is "young".  I am hoping that after a few weeks and we are all in the swing of things that I will feel better about this decision.  As everyone has reminded me, no regrets.  I can't have any regrets for the sake of my daughter.  

1.  She only missed the cut off by 24 days.  Would I have looked into the waiver if it was 25 days?  One month?  I don't know.  If she had an October birthday, I probably wouldn't have.

2.  She is big.  She is tall.  She will not stick out for being "little".  She will physically fit in fine.  Right now she is the size of an average 6 or 7 year old.  Waiting a year would give her another year to grow even taller than the other kindergartners now.  We don't know how big or tall she will be in the future but with a 6'4" dad and a great aunt that is 6'0", height is in her genes.  Will she be behind in sports?  Probably not.  Especially if as a girl, she hits her growth spurt earlier than later.  

3.  Why did we look into the waiver in the first place?  That is the question I am struggling with the most.  I am a gut decision maker.  I don't have reasonable, logical explanations very often.  My gut told me that she would be ready for kindergarten this year.  That is the simple answer.  She would be fine if we waited another year.  But it just seemed right.

4.  Is she mature enough?  I struggle with that question.  Again, everytime she does something not "perfect", I worry that she is not ready.  But then I see 6 year olds doing the same thing.  We talked to so many people about this decision - kindergarten teachers, my mom (a pre-k teacher), her teachers.  She's ready.  

5.  What advantages does she have in going early?  I don't know.  Charlie and I had a long talk before her evaluation about why we were considering this.  I came to the conclusion that unless they say she is at the top of the class, we wouldn't sent her this year.  They have an enriched program at her school.  I would rather her be in that program than not be in it because she started earlier.  Her school district did not have a waiver program until this year.  I worked with the assistant superintendent as she developed the criteria.  She gave her a cognitive test and she had to score at least an 89 percentile to be admitted early.  She scored a 92 and was only one of 2 out of 12 that were admitted early.  That made me feel better and that the test is legitimate and that they won't allow anyone to attend early.  I have always known Laci was something special.  I felt like I was right and Laci really is something special.  It seemed the stars were aligning for her to go this year. 

6.  We talked to her current teacher and the director at her daycare.  They give the kids their own evaluations to put them in the right class there.  The total possible points on the evaluation was 140.  She scored 140.  The next highest score was 104.  They basically said that their advanced pre-k class (similar to a transitional year a lot of preschools have) was not the right fit for her.  They moved her up to that class the last two months of school and she excelled in it.  They were afraid she would be bored in the class again.  Laci is an attention grabber.  If she is bored, everyone knows it.  The teacher was giving her a lot of extra attention because she finished the worksheets before everyone else and needed more.  That wasn't fair to the other students.  The stars were continuing to align for her to go to kindergarten this year.  

We went through so many scenarios as we made this decision.  How will she feel being the last of her friends to get her driver's license?  How will we feel about sending our 17 year old to college?  I talked to as many people as I could that I knew were "young" for their grade.  They all said the same thing.  It wasn't an issue.  My brother pointed out that he didn't like not being able to go to the bars with his friends for awhile.  (That may be a good thing.  :) )  We prayed a lot.  But what the decision came down to is what is the best thing for Laci this year.  And right now, this is the best option for her.  

And I hope next year I will be able to report the successes she has had started kindergarten when she did. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday Dinners

I think I am constantly writing about how much I love Sundays. I can't help it. I just do. Last night was our typical Sunday dinner. Sunday dinner is usually something simple - snacks, leftovers, pancakes. Last night was pancakes and strawberries. We love chocolate chips in our pancakes so we balance it out by using blueberry pancake mix. Last night, Calvin started singing "Happy Birthday" at dinner. He even walked into the dinning room to point to the chair he sat in when we all sang "Happy Birthday" to him. Then he came back to the table, stood on his chair and kept saying "Hee Haw". I have no idea why. We were laughing at him so much, he just continued to do it over and over. "Hee haw, hee haw". I love dinners like that.

Update on the fish

Laci's main chore is feeding her fish. She is supposed to do it every night at dinner. She forgets a lot. I try very hard to remind her and make her to do. I could easily do it for her but I want her to learn responsibility and the importance of a chore. We talk about responsibility a lot and she knows that if she takes a toy with us somewhere, it is her responsibility to not lose it or forget it. Saturday night she forgot to feed the fish so I just went ahead and did it. Sunday morning she remembered and said "Mom, I forgot to feed the fish!". I told her that I did it for her. It was so sad when she followed that up with "I guess I am not that responsible. Maybe we shouldn't have gotten the fish." I reminded her that one of the reasons we got the fish was to help her learn responsibility.