The Old Switcheroo

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned as a mom is to listen to your gut. Then evaluate what you’re feeling, think through it, re-evaluate, ask opinions, but at the end of the day, go with what your mom intuition says to do.

Despite feeling like we had found a great school for Baylor 6 months ago, when it came to actually going to school there, it wasn’t a good fit. As a family, we crave a community. We need to have those people that we run into a drop off and pick up, the parents who we see at school events, church and sports. While there was community at the first school, it wasn’t our kind of community. On top of that, the very strict on campus policies were adding to already difficult drop offs. The morning that I found myself in tears in the front office over an issue with the front desk, I knew something had to change.

So we pulled the plug.

It seems nuts on paper to switch schools just a month into the year. But my gut was screaming “hallelujah!” at just the thought of something different. I sent an email to a friend asking how her experience was as a new student at their school and gave a brief description of what we were working with. She immediately called me and said “you need to get over here, you’re going to love it”.

And she was so right. After a tour, we got an email the same day saying that B’s application was accepted and there were expecting her at the beginning of the next week. When I broke the news to B, she replied “that sounds fine – I have no problem going to a new school” – which seemed very telling to me.

Now going into our second week, I know we made the right choice. Baylor has gone from being dragged out of bed in the morning, begging to know how many days were left in the week and if she really had to go to school all before melting down at drop off, to bouncing out of bed with a smile on her face. She’s excited, happy and loving her fresh-out-of-college and full of ambition teacher. Peter and I are loving the families who have gone out of their way to seek us out, introduce themselves and then quickly include us in school and social activities. Parents have asked their kids to find “the new girl – she’s the really tall blonde girl” and make sure she had someone to eat lunch with and play with on the playground. We are so lucky-blessed-fortunate to have found the right place.

I think the smile says it all.

stcs

And yes, that is a new uniform. I am now the proud owner of several hundred dollars worth of uniforms for a school we no longer attend…oh well. The cost of getting it right!

The Month of Firsts

think it’s safe to say that we are on the road to loving kindergarten.

I think.

I was a little surprised by all the stress and how long it has taken to start to feel a sense of settling in our new routine. Two kids at two different schools. New faces, new names. New wake up times, new bed times. New rules. New clothes. Drop offs and pick ups approximately every 3 hours. Hot lunch or cold lunch. It’s been a lot of new and change.

And while we’ve got all year to get used to this, I hate the surprise of it all. I hate not having a routine, a schedule to schedule by and a lack of efficiency. Which is one of my many pet peeves.

Sadly, I’m not the only one feeling the change. Ms. B has had some epic melt downs at drop off. And that coupled with strict visitor policies at her school, has made for some nightmare mornings. Picture her teacher literally hanging onto her as I pry my leg out of her hands while holding Auggie and then making a break for the door. Yeah.

This week, I had a little treat ready for her each afternoon if the morning drop off went well. It seemed to do the trick along with a car drive through drop off and pick ups. Oh and pizza Wednesdays are really doing the trick, too.

Crossing my fingers that the days ahead look more like the first day and not the second day. Or the third. Or the fifth….

first day w auggie first day

Last Day

This year’s last day of school kind of snuck up on me. Really, we’ve been running hard the last few weeks with school activities…this year feels a little more like crossing the finish line of a marathon – it’s relief rather than saddness!

It’s been a tough year. It was our first experience with “life’s tough, get a helmet” type teachers. It was not the greatest experience – but – it was a great lesson in how to get along and make the best of a less than perfect situation. And really, I’d rather do that now in 3 day a week preschool than when it really matters.

In looking back over teh year, I realized how much B has learned. At the beginning of the year, she could spell her name, but not identify it. Now she can read it, write it and write any word you spell for her. I was in awe as I dictated a thank you note to her and she not only wanted to write it, but could write it! Her hand writting has become legible, her drawings more precise and her vocabulary is a crack up. I’m a little worried about her use of the word lure…as in “I’m going to lure Auggie in here with some crackers”.

Watching her imagination, comprehension and verbal skills grow is amazing and so fun to watch. Although the days of not being able to spell the words I don’t want her to hear is rapidly approaching. I think PW and I should probably look into developing our own language.

Wow. It’s not until you look at August v May that I can see how much she’s grown!

(Also, it’s pajama day at school. The Uggs were a fight I could not win. Yes it is going to be 95 degrees today.)

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Dear Parents

Dear Parents of School Age Children,

I know for a few parents, this is your first year of your kids being in preschool or kindergarten. I leave out the parents of older kids because they’ve clearly gotten the memo on what I’m about to tell you.

No matter where your kids go to school, public, private or charter, you are going to be asked to make a donation to the school or the classroom. Now, when I say donation, I don’t mean that it’s optional, I mean that it’s tax deductible. If you need a receipt for the $30 that the teachers of your child’s class are asking for so that they can develop film and hand you a beautiful book at the end of the year with pictures of your child through out the year, that’s just dandy. But please, under no circumstances should you think you are going to get the beautiful book without the donation.

Why? Because it is not up to the other parents in the class, the room parents, the teachers nor the school to provide the “extras” for your child. The donations is what makes those adorable and fun extras possible.  It should be noted that I am not talking about parents who are in difficult financial positions. In my experience, those with difficulties in cash flow are the first to respond. I’m talking about the rude parents who refuse to donate and go as far as sending nasty emails regarding the donations because they don’t like being required to make a donation and thus leaving the teachers and volunteers to cover the costs.

Listen, if you’re fine with leaving your kid in another classroom for the day while the entire class takes a field trip, that’s fine by me. I would suggest putting the $5 you should have spent on the field trip towards future therapy, but that’s just me.

So as one of the volunteers who “keeps sending you annoying emails” please note that your name will be left off the Christmas, birthday and end of the year gifts to the teachers. Even if that means I have to write out 25 names so that I can leave yours out, I’ll happily do it. Because you are what is wrong with our school system. You are the reason that our teachers are underpaid, under appreciated and most likely why your kid is a jerk.

Also, please don’t be surprised when my response to your emails is in the same nasty tone as your original email. I’m a volunteer, I don’t paid to be nice to assholes. And please expect that I’ll continue to send you those “annoying” emails, notes in your kids cubbie and in the check out folder – I think it’s important that you’re reminded of what a jerk you really are.

Kisses!

Beth

First and Last: Preschool Year 2

I can’t believe we are another done at preschool! For some reason this year was a sad ending. I don’t really know why, but it made me a little emotional saying goodbye to her teachers and the Panda room. B will be back next year and the year after, but she’ll be on the big playground next year. Yikes she’s growing up fast. Her end of the year packet had three dates where her teachers measured and weighed her. From August to May, she grew 2.5 inches and gained 4lbs. No wonder she can pack the food away.

My mom always said she enjoyed every phase of our lives (with the exception of the snotty teenager). She said she rarely longed for the days gone by because each new phase held great things that were better than the last. I feel the same way about B. Yes it was amazing when she was little and snuggly (she’s still a good snuggler), but I love listening to her make up stories through a bubble beard in her bath. I love when she says “Mommy. You know…” because I know she’s about to try to swindle me – and I usually give in because I love that she’s thinking not just about what she wants but how she can get it. She’s growing up and it’s really adorable. I just wish it wasn’t so fast.

August 2012

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May 2013

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Schooool’s Out For Summa

Holy moly. It has been one jam packed school year and yet it’s hard to believe that it’s over! And my how much B has grown this year – just look. Here’s her first day of school:

All chubby cheeks and finally getting some hair!

And on the last day (btw, it’s pajama day at school):

Look at how long she is! And finally hair!

It’s hard to believe in just a 9 months how fast she’s gone from “being able to get her point across ” to talking like a teenager, hand gestures and all. The chubby cheeks have thinned out and her hair can no longer be described as baby curls… I know that the teachers have a present for the parents that is a collection of pictures from over the school year…I’m getting my box of tissues ready now. What am I going to do when she’s graduating high school?!

It Pays to Pay Attention

Ugh. Bay’s crud has finally attacked my immune system and won. I used to put up a fierce fight when I would feel the first signs of illness coming on – lots of rest, running it out, extreme mental denial of any illness, etc. However, because my two year old now hangs out with other two year olds at preschool a few half days a week, she comes home with every illness imaginable. Because despite her classroom being very clean and constant hand washing throughout her day, preschool = cesspool. Therefore I no longer fight it. At the first sign of a tickle in my throat, I down my usual cocktail of vitamin C, Mucinex D, Zyrtec and sometimes and Advil for good measure.

After a rough night’s sleep due to a scratch throat and PW’s scratchy throat and Baylor’s scratchy throat, I was a little more sleep deprived than usual. I realized my normal morning routine was a little scattered and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what came next on the priority list. Despite my general fuzziness, we made it out the door on time.

I dropped B off and stood for a few minutes watching her interact with her buddies – they were all hanging on the playground fence laughing and waving at a car parked with two dogs inside. It always cracks me up to see what she’s doing when she doesn’t know I’m looking.

I walked to the car making mental notes to remember to bring money at pick up for the pancake breakfast, to make a note about what I had signed up to bring for the Valentine’s party and which errand I needed to get done first. I pushed the button on my keys, heard the tell tale “beep beep” of an unlocked car, opened the door and started to swing into my seat when I realized something was weird…why are my seats tan and not gray? At that point a voice from the back door said “good morning”. I looked back to see a mom pulling her kiddo out of his car seat on the passenger side. It was then I realized I had just attempted to get into someone else’s car.

Thank God the mom clearly had a sense of humor and or empathy that she didn’t scream but rather just laughed and said “same car??”. And thank goodness I had at least attempted to get into a car that was exactly like my own (there are 4 white SUVs of the same make and model at B’s school – I counted) and not one that was completely different. I proceeded to get into the correct car and drive straight to Starbucks for an extra shot of caffeine to hopefully wake myself up a little.

While retelling the story to my friend and neighbor, a mom of three, she informed me that she too had done the same thing a few years ago. So at least I’m not alone in my airheadedness. Which means I’ll have friends when PW finally checks me into the funny farm.

Trunk or Treat

We went to our first Trunk or Treat at Bay’s school on Friday night…and we have 4 bales of hay to prove it.

Trunk or Treat is a big event where families volunteer to bring their cars and decorate the trunk. Then all the munchkins dress up and trick or treat – or trunk or treat –  at each car. It’s kind of like a tale gate for trick or treating. And it was awesome.

I signed up to be on the planning committee and when I explained the process to Peter, he immediately said “We’re going to do a trunk, right?!”. A little shocked by his enthusiasm I said of course we were. We settled on a western theme and set out to find bales of hay to put in the back of the truck. I got cowboy hats and bandannas to decorate several pumpkins and LOADS of pretzels, Goldfish and candy to give out. I had two crock pots of chili cooking all day (our house may never get the smell out!) and my mom brought a third to contribute to the total of 18 crock pots and 100 hot dogs! And not one drop of chili or one singe hot dog was left at the end of the night.

We handed out candy and crackers to tons of Bay’s friends and watched her play and interact with all of them. It was so cute to see all the kids and all the parents put so much work into their trunks. One of my personal favorites was our friends Stephanie and Jeff. Their trunk was filled with luggage and departure and arrival time signs. Stephanie was dressed as a flight attendant and Jeff was a pilot. And Morgan their daughter was a gnome…get it? She was the Travelocity Gnome! So clever and adorably executed!

{Holding down the fort}

{So excited to get started!}

{Good grief! When did she get such long legs?!}

{Noni!}

{Handing out Goldfish}

{Hanging out with our “trunk” neighbors who also had straw}

{Other trunkers}

{Did I mention that she and her work team solicited flight attendants for extra peanuts so they could give out real airline snacks?!}

{The Roaming Gnome, Morgan}

{Baylor said “Truck or Treat!!” because we had a truck, not a trunk. Cheeky girl.}

Fire!!

Last week, Bay had Fire day at school. I came to help heard the two-year-olds towards the trucks and to the hoses. While I thought the fireman that came was a little underwhelming and not used to being around small kiddos (fire alarms? Sirens? Not smart to do with 2 year olds!) they did have a blast taking turns squirting the fire hose and sitting the back seat of the fire truck.

I never get as many pictures as I want and this time was no exception. The truck was parked near the road (because it had to be) so I was on high alert for runners. But I did manage to get a few good pics in when Bay wasn’t freaking out over the siren – normally she’s a big fan of fire trucks, but being that close and that loud was a bit overwhelming!

{Waiting for their turn with the hose}

{She loved that she was the same size as the tire!}