Friday, August 27, 2010

First Week in the Books

Week one of kindergarten is so over. In contrast to Day 1, I would say things are better but there is plenty of room for improvement. Drop off is the worst part. I am able to park and walk to the front door of the school with him, but once inside I can go no further and have to put him in line of all the other kindergarteners marching to class, along the Blue Line of Tape That is not to be Strayed From. This is when the tears begin...sobbing tears. Clinging to me tears. Yesterday the sweet librarian grabbed him and gently took his hand...he later told me that she eats books for lunch. I am not sure if she was trying to be scary or funny, but he fortunately thought it was funny and I think they bonded.

As a side note, Claire has a new habit of throwing everything into the kitchen sink. And, I have decided that I prefer almonds to pecans.

So, back to kindergarten. Aside from the rather stark contrast to preschool, and the trauma of drop off, I think we are doing okay. He has made three friends, Lila, Zachary and Maurice. We met Lila at Meet The Teacher night and he took an instant liking to her. I get full reports of sitting next to her at lunch, etc...Zachary is a very sweet kid who he met the first day, and Maurice is new as of today (to the friend list.) Maurice rates because he rides the bus. And that is exotic and fascinating.

A strange, but wonderful, byproduct of kindergarten appears to be a newfound fascination with making his bed and cleaning his room. I cannot explain this, and just call 'em as I see 'em.

So, drop off in the morning seems to be our most difficult hurdle at this point. I believe we can come up with some strategy to make this easier on him, and I will post our progress on that front. I still, to be honest, do not love this little school. We are one week in and in the one exchange I have had with his teacher that has lasted more than three seconds she told me that he cries every morning and that she has to shut the window shades so he wont look out the windows for me, and that he has difficulty writing his name (quelle surprise!). I think it's time for our first parent/teacher conference...because none of that really tells me anything. What do you do when he cries? Do you really have to shut the blinds? And are you concerned that one week in, that he can't write his name too well? Ah...the frustration begins.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tears in my pot pie

Late yesterday afternoon on First Day of Kindergarten Eve, a dear friend sent me a prayer for Duncan. Reading it caused those great big squirty tears to shoot out of my eyes and into the pot pie I was making for dinner.

I had been doing okay up until that point. Then I started thinking about all of the people that he could come into contact with, over which Iain and I have no control. In preschool, he was so easily accessible to us. I could stop by, enter the code, walk in the hallway and to his classroom. I could email his teachers, pick up the phone and call anyone up there and they knew me, and more importantly, they knew my child. I could pick him up early, I could keep him home. Alot of control. Kindergarten? Not so much.

When we dropped him off today, we were able to walk him all the way to his class but tomorrow it's bye-bye at the are on your own, baby chick. And it's killing me. I know it's time. I know he's old enough. Don't I? He seems so small in that big school with all those older kids...and I feel so out of touch with the powers that be at that school. And I'll save my thoughts about the other moms and dads...and grandparents....for another post. Do I sound like a big Debbie Downer? Well, yes, perhaps I do. Give me my moment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Kinder Kinder

We have three days left until Duncan starts kindergarten. Fortunately, I have enough going on these three days that I can hardly think about it. Until I get in bed at night.

Last night, he woke up calling for me. I finally got up and out of bed and saw that he had his light on and was crying in the bed. He told me he had a bad dream, so I crawled in next to him until he fell asleep again. The clock in our bedrooom is unplugged, because I had to plug in my phone charger, because Finn figured out how to get to it when it was charging in the kitchen, but I digress. So long story short I have no idea what time it was.

At some point today he told me that it was a bad dream about kindergarten...that "Leo" was unkind to him on the playground and would not share. So we had a little heart to heart about kindergarten and addressed some of his fears. I think he believed, for a time, that all of his old Pre-K peeps were all staying together at his preschool and that Iain and I were yanking his sweet self out of there and sending him to the school down the strees. Once this sunk it, that everyone was going to a new school, he felt a bit better. But still nervous.

We bought his new school uniforms yesterday. I knew it had to be done and my week and weekend are crazybusy to I just loaded up all three of them and went to Target to buy them. We have (sadly) made the leap from the little boys/toddler clothing section to the boys'. And I am not happy with what I find. Skulls? Chains? I kid you not when I tell you I could not find a belt for him that did not have a skull or a chain or something dangling from it. But, we did find the red collared polo shirts, white collared polo shirts and navy shorts and pants. I just hope he doesn't look like he's going to work at Tom Thumb, because that is almost exactly what I had to wear when I worked there in 1982.

We also got Buzz Lightyear shoes.

We do not have a new lunch box or backpack. I got him a really nice lunchbox from Lands End last year and it's monogrammed so I can't even pass it on to Finn. But maybe a new backpack.

All that to say that we have meet the teacher tomorrow night, and hopefully he will meet some kids in his class and start to feel connected and have a better idea of what it will be like. I do think he's excited, because he talks about it so much. But, I also think he's very, very nervous. It could get ugly Monday morning.

Oh, and we are buying a new van tomorrow, I have to take him for his 5 year checkup tomorrow afternoon, meet the teacher tomorrow night, a family swim party Saturday, a huge MOPS cookbook event at church on Sunday (organized by yours truly with the help of some really awesome women) and it's promotion Sunday for Sunday School. And it's Iain's and my turn to bring donuts.

See you Monday night!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The strings they are a tuggin'

First of all, can I just say how ever lovin' hot it is in Dallas? There. I've said it. I swear they said it was 108 today. With a heat index of 752.

After the initial chaos of the morning died down, and I had consumed two cups of coffee, I got everyone in the van and we drove up to the local elementary school to get the paperwork to get Duncan enrolled for kindergarten. Everyone is so nice and my fears are subsiding but thinking about that first day...leaving him there...can't go there really. It is a sweet little school but almost all parents in our neighborhood choose to move when it is time for their kids to start kinder. I will bring the papers back tomorrow and get him enrolled and ask for a specific teacher that we met on our tour of the school. I think he will do fine, but we have agreed to keep our house on the market and that ultimately it is really not where we want him.

I just can't think about it for too long, really. 8-3, five days a week. That's a long time. Crazy to think about. Didn't we just bring him home from the hospital? Okay, I have to stop.

So, after that we came home and had more chaos. Finn is trying to figure out how to open the refrigerator...which scares me on many levels. We made lunch, ate and then it was naptime. For Claire, Finn and maybe Mommy. Okay, I just strongly suggested that Duncan and I lie down and have "quiet time". I may have nodded off.

Later in the afternoon I had our sitter (who goes back to college next week...sob) come so I could take Duncan and go pick up a friend and have some fun. So, Duncan and Grant piled in the back of the van and talked like only 5 year old boys can and then ate and played like only 5 year old boys can.

After we were home, and I had Duncan in the bed he said, "Mom, thanks for making Claire." Then rolled over and said, "Dear God, thank you for my baby sister...keep my whole family safe and take us around the world." Not sure where that trip around the world came from but the rest of it kind of killed me.


Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Big U Turn

When my oldest brother, who is now 61, was in college at Texas Tech, he and some friends did what they call "The Big U Turn". They just drove to Canada, from Lubbock, turned around and drove back. Kind of stupid, kind of genius. I don't know for sure, but I imagine that the drive up there was fun...for a few hours...then got long and tedious and at some point kept going simply because they'd gone too far to turn back. Then, an immediate U-Turn in the opposite direction.

That's kind of what it's like around here lately.

A few days ago, I wrote about some big decisions we were making and where we had ended up on most of them. Well, it looks like things are changing. Or might change.

First and foremost are our plans for kindergarten for Duncan. I was approached by a mom I know from Duncan's preschool one day last week. She stopped me in the hallway at our church to tell me that her next door neighbor is one of the kindergarten teachers at our neighborhood elementary school...where we would have to send Duncan if we chose public school. She also used words like "dynamic" and "fantastic" in describing her. I walked away thinking to myself, "hmmm...perhaps we should revisit the idea of our neighborhood school." And that's what we have done. My sister commented that Duncan sounded disappointed at the prospect of not "going" to kindergarten. Piece of information #2. Is THIS God talking to me? Is THIS Him giving me the clear direction I have prayed for oh so many, many nights in a row? So.Confusing.

On a completely different note, I really need a haircut.

So, now that I am doing a complete 180, my big U Turn, on Duncan's schooling there seem to be a million things to consider. School supplies, lunches, uniforms. The list goes on and on. Most people probably start planning this months in advance. We have two weeks!

I think I'll have alot to blog about.


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

So, August is a big month for our family. We have alot going on and alot of decisions to make. They kind of all tie together, so it's hard to prioritize but I think we are making progress.

Big, Stressful Decision #1 - Three years ago we leased a pretty, shiny, new Camry. That was 2007. I drove it for a year and loved it deeply. The last time I drove that car and thought of it as mine was October 23, 2008. To the hospital. Because I was in labor (yes I drove myself...that's another story). I've been driving my mom's 2000 Toyota Sienna ever since. It is NOT pretty or shiny or new. But it holds all three of our kids and it runs. So my mom has been driving the Camry for two years and now the lease is ending and we have to turn it in. We hoped to just buy my mom's old van since (see below) we aren't sure what kind of budget we'll have going forward. It's been well taken care of and probably (unfortunately?) has lots of life left in it. Although Duncan's "special trash compartment" might have devalued it a bit. My mom was up and down, back and forth, all over the place as to whether or not she wanted to sell it so we were unsure as to whether or not we'd buy a new van, or her old one.

Big Stressful Decision #2 - Our house has been on the market since April 6th. We were hopeful that by now, we would have sold and moved so that Duncan could start school at a kindergarten we felt good about. This is not the case. We have shown it perhaps 15 - 20 times and have not had a single offer. We have lowered our price two times and wonder if at this point, it's not too low. At this point, we are not going to sell in time for us to move before school starts so do we keep it on the market, as is; take it off the market and give it a "rest period" and try again next spring or do we spend some money, make some changes and still try to sell this fall, at a higher price...which leads us to...

Big, Stressful Decision #3 - The one piece of feedback we get over and over on our house is that our kitchen is too small/not updated. So, we got a few bids on a remodel that would be pretty incredible and probably help sell our house quicker. No guarantees, of course. The downsides are the money, the time, the mess. The benefits would be that for the duration of the time we have left in this house we would have a fabulous kitchen, and that we would very likely sell the house faster. However, being faced with possibly having to buy a new car instead of an old, crappy uh, I mean previously owned one impacted our decision. We had bids, had talked money, and I think were really close to pulling the trigger, but then doubt started creeping in.

Big, Stressful Decision #4 - Duncan turned five in June and we completely anticipated that he would start kindergarten this August. We also anticipated that we would live in an area with a good neighborhood school. Do we send him to the neighborhood school? We tried to get a transfer but were unsuccessful. Our local school is not terrible. As Iain said, he will not get stabbed. We visited and were not completely horrified. We did not love it. I did not think, "this will be such a good place for him". I had people tell me "it's only kindergarten", which is true only I don't really agree with the "only" part. He's there at least six hours a day, five days a week. With people I don't know. Without us. Without the people he's been with most days, all of his life. That's a harsh change. So, to send him somewhere that we don't feel really confident about, where we aren't sure he'll get what he needs just doesn't feel right to us. I went back and forth almost daily on what to do but after MUCH prayer the answers started to come to me.

Not so big not so stressful decision - My cell phone was up for renewal and Iain got me a new one. Oh, iPhone...where have you been all my life?

So, as of right now, we are buying my mom's old van, selling her the Camry, not remodeling the kitchen, homeschooling Duncan (yes, I said homeschooling...I am sure I will have lots of good material on that one, don't you think?), and still hoping our house sells and that we can still move to a good school.