Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Posts tagged 'preschool'

First Day of School!

Today, the Little Kidlet started preschool. Well, this year of preschool. It’s the same school from last year (a preschool at a private Christian K-8 school)

When we showed up, the parking lot was a madhouse- which I anticipated this time. We found a spot and headed in. On the first day, they have a mixer for the new parents- with coffee and pastries! It’s to let them get to know the Booster Club president, the Principal, and to meet other parents. It was easy to spot the new families- they were dressed to impress. I even saw a pair of Louboutins. Or a knockoff with a red sole.

The regular parents, the ones who looked down on me last year? They were all wearing comfortable clothes because it was already 82 degrees. Most of the stay at home moms were in cutoffs and tees, instead of the usual skinny jean and nice top.

Took LK to his class, spoke with his new teacher (who already met him a little this summer, and who was the other teacher in the classroom that OK had been in). She was a little nervous about LK’s allergies, but I told her that he’s pretty good about remembering his snack. Which she confirmed that his previous teachers had told her. And I said that I’d do my best to make sure that he was prepared for class parties, and volunteer as often as I could if it made her feel more comfortable.

Meanwhile, LK kept staring at me, waving. “Bye, Mommy.” “BYE, Mom.” “MOM, go.” When I was finished talking to his teacher, I took the hint and left.

All told, he had a good day. He got to play in the “big” playground, at last. It has a jungle gym, a fire engine thing to climb on, tricycles to ride, some little basketball hoops and a sandbox.

And when he came home, the kidlets played on the new Slip n’ Slide.

Oh, right. We got a new one. You see, a week ago, the boys had theirs out. It had two lanes to slide down, and a splash down pool that filled with water and sprayed you when you reached the end. Well, they were playing, when SPLOOOOSH- the water-filled ring deflated and water was everywhere, but in the pool part.

I flipped it over, and a whole seam had split open. FIL vowed to get a patch kit to fix it, but decided that a small Slip n’ Slide was just more cost effective.

This one has no pool, but a little bumper at the end that sprays water. How do the boys like it?

Apparently they were thirsty. But they really do love it!

Despite planning, things still go wrong.

As I mention frequently, the Little Kidlet has food allergies. A lot of them. Not in any particular order, he’s allergic to: Dairy, Soy, Peanuts, Eggs and Wheat.

Today at his school, they were having “Green Eggs and Ham” day. After they read the book, they were going to make Green Eggs and Ham. Supervised, they would get to crack eggs, whisk them with the food coloring and the teachers would scramble them on a griddle. It’d be served with ham (cooked on a separate griddle).

His teacher is awesome. On normal days, he simply eats the snack I provide. But prior to class parties, she makes sure to talk to me so that he can have something comparable to everyone else, and see what of the provided foods he can have. She even keeps some ham lunchmeat in the fridge just in case I’m running late or they’re having their lunch early – so that he can have something to eat.

We had talked about today at length. She told me how the project would go, asked me if he’d be able to be in the room while they made them. Our best case scenario was that Reed watch. But, if he insisted he crack the eggs, he could do it, if someone took him to wash his hands right away. (Hey, he’s four. He knows he can’t have certain foods, but he doesn’t always get how sick they can make him)

So when I got a phone call from them, I was worried. As it turned out, in the split second his teacher turned to get his ham, he took some egg off of someone else’s plate before the other teacher could reach him. They gave him Benadryl, but wanted to see if I wanted them to use his epi-pen. Since he was breathing normally and didn’t seem to be breaking out in hives (his typical reaction to egg), I said no.

I admit, I’m scared to death of what might happen with my son’s allergies. But I trust his teacher, and it seems that I need to spend some more time talking with him about why he can’t eat eggs.

I do hope he outgrows this egg allergy. Just because there really isn’t a substitute for scrambled eggs.

School recitals & fits of rebellion

Today was Little Kidlet’s first big school recital. They tend to have something once a month. It could be a parade in the schoolyard or a bigger show in the school’s chapel (it’s at a church).

Off I went with camera in hand. Despite being there early, there were people in rows ahead of me who politely promised not to lean into my camera view, and then did just that. I’m not sure how good the video actually is, yet. Next time I’ll just have to be there earlier- especially since the next one is the Christmas pageant.

Since LK is in the tiny kid class (confession: he’s 4 and has no interest in potty training. So he has to go in with the little kids. We’re trying some new tactics next week when we’re off of school), he got to sit down and snack on some fruit jellies instead of having to stand and sing. So I have a video that occasionally shows him chillaxing while wearing a turkey hat. It’s pretty awesome.

Afterwards, they were serving pumpkin bread the class made with some butter the kids made as well (they put whipping cream in baby food jars and let the kids shake them until butter formed). The parents are invited to come back to join in on snack time. Which might have been great if LK hadn’t spotted me right at the end of the performance. He saw me just before they were whisked out the door, and I couldn’t get outside in time to walk with them.

By the time I caught up, he was in tears. He went off to try to use the bathroom, but was insistent we leave. He didn’t want to eat the cookies I’d brought for him (Enjoy Life’s soft Snickerdoordles) and just kept insisting he wanted to go home. So I did the right thing. I politely excused myself and left him crying there with his teacher. (The other teacher later told me he only cried for 10 minutes, and that they all do that for the first play/party combination) It was painful, though. Especially since I just sat in my car and wrote for the final hour he was in preschool.

Of course, there’s a weird side effect to going to these programs. I find myself surrounded by wealthy families in their luxury cars/SUVs. Stepford moms with their high heels, perfect manicures and designer attire. Every time I’m there I just have this immediate urge to dye my hair pink, get a tattoo and buy a leather jacket. Just because I feel like something has to cancel out the Stepfordness. (I won’t even get started on how frustrating it is to listen to how self-centered a lot of them are, too. One bragged about how she knows they ask the parents to sit down during the program, but she’s going to stand anyways. Then she asked how the other mom liked her Louboutins. NOT MAKING THIS UP.)

I do plan on dying my hair some unnatural color soon. Maybe before Christmas! The tattoo on the hand, I’m pretty sure that’s a temporary desire.

Am I the only one out there that gets fits of temporary rebellion?

Day 16 of NaBloPoMo

I’ve been quiet, I know.

I haven’t had a lot to say, Internet. Actually, that isn’t true. In some cases, I’ve had so much to say that I’ve been trying to edit it back into coherence. In others, I’ve simply been enjoying quiet moments in my life.

Well, as quiet as things can be with a 5 year old and a now 4 year old.

That’s right. The Little Kidlet turned four this week. In his preschool class, they gave him a little crown that he’s been proudly wearing or carrying around the house this week. If I can’t get it away from him, I predict it’ll disintegrate by next week.

His preschool also had their Pumpkin Patch day. They bring in pumpkins for all the kids, who get to go out and pick them out from the wood chip filled playground. The teachers then put tape with the the kids’ names on them so that they get the pumpkin they chose. Last year, the Oldest Kidlet’s teacher even snapped a picture of him holding his!

Little kids with pumpkins are hilarious. The Little Kidlet wanted so badly to carry his. I had to convince him that it was awfully heavy. I even had to buckle it into his brother’s empty car seat just so he’d be satisfied it was safe.

A boy and his pumpkin. He couldn't hold still.

The Oldest Kidlet’s been busy with school. He is still as much in love with school as he was that first week, if not more. You see, he’s competitive. I have no idea where he gets it from.* He got his name up on the wall for recognizing all his upper and lower case letters. While he knew the standard alphabet, he was getting tripped up by the sort of g you see in some typefaces (not this one), since they throw in that version of g as well as the old fashioned a. For doing this, he also got a small storybook and two pencils.

He now has his mind set on being the first in the class to be able to write or recognize the numbers 1-30 (I’m honestly not sure which). His teacher tells me that he’ll be the first, and pointed out that he’s certainly focused on it. Which is true. He walks around looking at his chart of numbers 1-100, and just keeps reciting his numbers. He wants that star.

What he isn’t sure that he wants? Well, he isn’t sure about going to the birthday party of a girl in his class. I’m still not sure if it’s the fact that it’s a birthday party and there’ll be people he doesn’t know- or if his hesitation is solely because it’s a girl’s party and more importantly, a girl he likes.

Now, I should get back to my WIP. Not the novel I should be working on, but a nagging loose thread from something I’d written previously. Here’s to hoping that once that’s out of the way, things get a little settled around here.

*Okay, he gets it from me. I’m so competitive that even Mario Party games on the N64 would end with me shouting “Suck it” to anyone I beat. Or vowing to break up with TheBoy because he kept sniping me in multiplayer with that damn gun that could shoot through walls from Perfect Dark. I am so competitive that my mom’s backyard is filled with the little peg people from the Game of Life because I threw them out my sister’s window. (I’m getting better about it, I swear!)

Beginnings and Ends

Today was the first day of preschool for the Little Kidlet. If I said I wasn’t nervous, I’d be lying.

I wasn’t nervous when his brother started preschool. You see, I wasn’t always a stay at home mom. I worked in advertising and my son went to a daycare for a little over a year, one that was structured like a class. So he had a framework of reference for teachers and how to play with other kids.


A few of the daily pictures I took while he was in daycare

The Little Kidlet was in daycare, too. For a whopping 3 months, when he was a baby. So, no, that doesn’t really count.


While not a picture of the Little Kidlet from daycare,
I loved this picture so much I had to share it.
(That’s a super soft eyepatch from a Build-A-Bear outfit)

I worried. I worried that they’d have forgotten that my stubborn child halted his potty training (which it turned out they had forgotten, but after I reminded them, put him in a group of kids that are being potty trained). I didn’t worry so much about the food allergies, since I’ve had numerous conversations with the school about it and will be bringing his own food for him to eat. I worried that his stubborn streak will show up and he’ll meltdown when it’s time to leave the playground. While they didn’t confirm that, he did leave school with a smile on his face.

But I’m skipping ahead, aren’t I? This morning, TheBoy made a bunch of rice in the steamer, so that I could make plain onigiri for the Little Kidlet’s snack (he loves rice, so it seemed like a smart choice). The boys were still asleep, so I turned on the light in their room (a sure fire way to get them up if you have about 20 minutes to wait), and started making onigiri.

We’d already told the Oldest Kidlet that he was staying home with Daddy today (he doesn’t start kindergarten until Wednesday), as I realized that the Little Kidlet had never been at the preschool without his brother. I thought that might make it hard for him to want to stay. I’d been reminding the Little Kidlet that he started school today, and quite happily he told me he was going to school. Not a bad start.

I fed him, finished packing his things, and TheBoy got him dressed. All this time, he was happily telling everyone and anyone that he was going to school today. TheBoy was more than a bit sad- after all, our baby was hitting a new milestone. And it made it a little worse that he was so eager to stop being the baby.

We drove to school, where he happily held my hand (a first) and carried his backpack with pride. It was obvious, to me, at least- that he wasn’t going to make a fuss about leaving. He was a litle shy at first, but I am too. Then they put out some toys on one of the tables and he dove right in.

See? Mom not needed at all.

The Oldest Kidlet had a trial run of kindergarten, not that long ago. He met his teacher, some of the kids that will be in his class… and in general had a blast. So I know that the last thing he’s going to be worried about is going to a new school. He’s actually been sad every day he hasn’t been in school.

For the last week and a half, I tried to make the most of the last bits of time that my kidlets and I had together.

I picked up burgers from a fast food place, and we had a picnic out in the backyard. We built elaborate Rube Goldberg type machines using Hot Wheels sets (one of them is a chain effect setup- he just keeps changing what triggers it). We spent two days at Disneyland and the night at a hotel. Who knew? A night at a hotel is one of the most exciting things you can do for two little kids. They also got to go to their great-grandparents’ house, which has a pool! All the fun things that you could do without passing out from heat exhaustion.

There were plenty of tantrums, meltdowns and arguments. But I think it’s safe to say that we had a memorable end to our summer.

The Things We Say.

I’m still not entirely sure how the game started. I think my youngest was hanging onto my arm and I jokingly said “Just hold on, I’ll pull you to safety.” It snowballed into a game where he’d sit on the floor and hold onto my hand, slip from my grip and quietly scream as he apparently fell.

The Oldest Kidlet watched us play and immediately described it as the game where you fall off a cliff. Oops.

My boys play the game with each other now, in the car, at home… and I’d be more disturbed by what I started if it didn’t keep them happily occupied.

Yesterday I was feeling the beginning of a headache creep in as we were on our way home from school. The boys were loudly playing the game, and that’s when I said it. “Could you two die more quietly?”

My oldest said, “What?”

“Um,” I said, embarrassed, “Could you two fall off the cliff quietly?”

Not much better. But oh, well.

This I add to the long list of bizarre things I’ve said as a parent. Reminders that little brothers aren’t dogs and won’t fetch toys, or that little brothers aren’t ponies. Or that no matter how loud your brother was yelling in your ear, you don’t hit him with a wooden train.

We’re reaching a milestone, though. Tomorrow is the Oldest Kidlet’s last day of preschool. We’ve been reminding him that he’ll be starting kindergarten at a new school. He was worried about not having any friends, which had me start to be upset- sometime soon I’ll post about my own anxiety issues. I pointed out that everyone at the kindergarten would be just starting at that school so he wouldn’t be the only one who didn’t know anyone, and that made him feel fine. I also explained that all his friends at preschool were going to different schools anyways.

Where does the time go?

Boys are weird.

I remember when my mom used to pick me up from school, I couldn’t wait to tell her what I did. This seemed to be the case with every girl I knew and know, too. Even though he’s only in preschool, sometimes it’s like pulling teeth with the Oldest Kidlet.

Case in point, yesterday. This week, the preschool was offering Pony Pictures. As in, a photographer was coming in to take a picture of the kids on a pony, and they’d get a ride. But there were two days, and I’d forgotten to ask what day the big kids were going to ride. So I put him in one of his favorite t-shirts and figured I’d hear about it when I picked him up.

He handed me his school work, he whined about wanting to get a burger and fries (we do get one once a week), and even complained about how slow his brother was walking. We got to the stairway down from where the preschool is on the school (by now it was about 5 minutes after I’d signed him out of his class), when he looked at a patch of grass and said, “Mommy, I got to ride a horse on the grass and they took my picture. I dressed like a cowboy, and it was bumpy!”

I looked at him, sighed, and informed him that he was guilty of burying the lead. One of the other moms heard me and laughed. She told me her son was the same way, and liked that that’s how I put it. Then her son, who is in one of the other classes said, “That’s right! I got to ride a pony today!”

Of course, 5 minutes later we were faced with another crisis. While out, I’d bought two toy dinosaurs- a stegosaurus and a spinosaurus. The Little Kidlet has been jealously eyeing the dinosaurs in the Pre-K classroom, so I thought it’d be nice. Typically we get two of everything just to avoid fights… but they’re dinos. The whole point of playing with dinosaurs is having a variety. No sooner than I gave one to the Oldest Kidlet, he started to melt down.

I really don’t want to think that my son is spoiled. But I’m starting to think that he’s gotten used to getting nearly everything that he wants, and if I don’t put a stop to freakouts like that- he will be one of those kids.

So how did I handle it? I told him that I’d bought the dinosaurs as a surprise. That if he was going to inform me that he acts like this when I do something nice for him, that I’m not going to try to surprise him like this again. He seemed to understand, and quieted down while we drove home. As I was on the road, I could hear him counting. “16, 17, 18…” So I asked what he was counting. “There are 19 plates on the stegosaurus.”

“See? If you had a different dinosaur, you wouldn’t be able to count plates.”

“That’s true.” Then he went back to counting plates.

Ch-Ch-Changes…

Earlier this week I freaked out friends and family by talking about life changes vaguely in the same post as me being depressed over the loss of Jerad. I mentioned I wasn’t quite ready to talk about some of these changes, but I am ready to talk about one of them now.

I know I’ve mentioned that we’ve been gearing up for the Oldest Kidlet to go to kindergarten. We’d signed up for a tour of his school (the private Church based school that his dad and uncles went to), and were gearing up for their aggressive kindergarten program… when they gave us the registration form with the monthly tuition. Even anticipating the extended hours and a higher cost… it was more than we thought. And the family discount was less than we thought.

So we had to sit down and figure out if it was even possible…. and realized that it wasn’t. So the Oldest Kidlet will be going to the public school right around the corner. While the school won’t be as academically challenging, I know that any friends he makes will at least be in the neighborhood. Which excites me.

The Little Kidlet has been enrolled at the preschool- we’re having him at the same school, mostly because they’ve seen him all year long and already know a bit about him. So I won’t be springing his allergies on them. Or the fact that he’s really really quiet. The director of the preschool has already assured me that if he suddenly starts talking that they’ll put him in the academic program vs the language one.

Of course, this means that my little boys are growing up. And as the preschool director pointed out, I’m actually going to have some time to myself. Scary…

Surprise! It was a Christmas Program.

Today was the Oldest Kidlet’s Christmas Program. For a couple weeks now he’s been singing songs I didn’t quite recognize, and telling me daily about how excited he was that he sang in chapel every day. But he wouldn’t tell me anything about the program itself. “It’s a surprise.”

Right, surprise.

I learned that a classmate of his was a camel. Another was in the Angel Choir. And another was supposed to be a shepherd, but I think she was sick. But really, nothing about what he was doing in it.

As it turns out, he was just singing. But he had a wonderful time doing it. I learned two important things- if it’s drizzling, they’ll open up the chapel early, so it’s best to sit out in the cold rather than killing time in the car if you want to make sure you get seats up front. Also, the Paparazzi outside some hip club have nothing on parents during a preschool Christmas program. As the kids walked in, parents were standing in the aisles to try to tape them and get pictures. The pastor had to tell them a few times to sit down.

I wound up on the wrong side of the chapel, so I spent most of my time looking around some woman’s head to try to see my son. But he sang, did his dances, and smiled the whole time. After everyone returned to the classroom, he looked at me and smiled. “They clapped, Mom! We must have been great.”

I sat next two a family where the son (and brother- they signed his older sisters out of their classes to see him in the program) was one of the wisemen. The oldest one asked me lots of questions. About my Flip camera, about how old my son was, and if he had a part. When I said that he didn’t, she said “Oh, he’s just part of the chorus? Not that it isn’t important. It is. There can’t be parts for everyone.” I tried not to laugh at that. Honestly, I’m relieved that he didn’t have a big part. He’s a bit of a worrier and a perfectionist- so while he’s a ham, he would have been freaking out about it. As it was, he was a little nervous at the idea that people would be watching him. But obviously, once they clapped, he relaxed.

There was one thing that cracked me up. They used existing songs and gave them new lyrics. Most of them were standard kid fare, but one of them was the Ballad of Davy Crockett. I’m not sure what they changed the lyrics because I was hearing “King of the Wild Frontier” when they were singing about Baby Jesus being born here, or something. I’m sure the camera picked up on my giggling. (The girls next to me had no idea about the Davy Crockett song, which makes me sad)

Friday is the preschool Christmas party as well as his last day of school for the calendar year. Is it wrong that I’m dreading having him home for two weeks? You see, every day he isn’t in school, he spends it asking when he CAN go back to school. Seriously! I’ve never seen a kid who loved school this much. Well, since me, at least. But I was a bookworm from the start.

The little one will fall silent again- which is a shame. He’s said some delightfully stuff this week that wasn’t “that’s mine” or “Santa.” I dropped something and he said, “That’s too bad.” He opened the fridge to see that there was no carton in there of his milk and ran to the backdoor (we have another fridge in the garage that’s filled with his milk) and he shouted, “Mommy, want milk! NEEED milk!” And of course, “Zorro, that my food.” Not to mention that he’s started to sing along with all sorts of Christmas songs. If you ever need the last two words of every line in a song sung? He’s your guy.

This is Halloween…

…or at least the Halloween Costume Parade. Remember those? I loved walking through all the classrooms, and showing off my outfit.

Well, yesterday was the oldest kidlet’s turn. The Preschool had a big day planned. The costume parade followed by a Halloween party of epic proportions. The parents were all assigned things to bring. Because I noticed the sign up sheet late, I brought strawberries. Ooooo.

Now, when the boys were out with the in-laws, they spotted the Halloween costumes as Costco and quickly convinced my in-laws to buy them costumes. The in-laws did so, and smartly hid them away from where the boys would see them. My mother-in-law and I had even hatched a great plan to make the day easy for me to handle. She stayed home for the first part of the day, and kept the little one home with her. I’d get to take the oldest one to school, take video of the parade and get some pictures.

As I was sneaking the costume out of the closet, the little one saw it. I was worried he’d want to go with me, and that’d involve packing snacks and all the other paraphenalia you need for a 3 year old with serious allergies. Not to mention, get him dressed, finish getting the Oldest Kidlet dressed- all with 5 minutes before we had to leave.

Instead, I gave him the sword from his costume, and he went back to the movie he was watching. Crisis averted.

Dressed the oldest kidlet in his costume, and I took the obligatory pictures. At first, he didn’t want to wear the helmet- but once we told him it looked good, he wouldn’t take it off. Honestly. We got to school, and his teacher asked if he wanted to take it off. “No, Miss K—, it looks pretty.”

I went to a nearby Starbucks to get some caffeine. Unfortunately, this one was in a grocery store. I don’t know what it is, but I never seem to have luck with those Starbucks. My drink orders are usually wrong, or I have to explain something. My drink order- “a grande chai latte with an extra pump of chai.” What can I say? When I make them at home, I make them strong. (For those wondering- when you get them at a Starbucks, there’s usually a little water in the cup in addition to the chai mix and milk) They looked at me like they couldn’t understand me. “Did she say foam,” one of them asked the other. “No, she said an extra pump.” Then to me, he said. “I’m not sure what that means.”

So I smiled, and patiently replied, “You know how you put in a certain amount of pumps of the chai mix? You just put in one extra.” So they made me my drink and I left. I went back to the school, grabbed my tripod and went to the preschool yard to stake out a spot where I could film the whole thing. I wound up with a spot a little in a sun, and then dealt with a bunch of rude parents who tried to get in front of my camera. Finally, I brokered a deal. I wasn’t going to film all the classes, so as long as they let me have a clear shot for my son’s, we were fine.

Out he walked… and no smile at all. He was serious and all about walking around the courtyard and doing everything he was asked. (Of course, we just got back his school picture, and it’s serious as well) Highlights of the costume parade- it’s a Lutheran run school, so having them play the Time Warp to get the crowd warmed up was pretty funny. There was a kid dressed as a pokéball, one of the few completely homemade costumes. And it was nice to see that my son’s class was the only class where all the kids marched, and nobody cried. (Also, they got to march to the Ghostbusters theme, which was another bonus)

Afterwards, the kids all did a preschool-wide dance and everyone went back to their classrooms for snack. I had to work to get the kidlet out of his costume and into regular clothes. In the end, it was the idea that he might get it dirty while playing outside that got him to change.

It was a great day, and ultimately, he had a great time. But boy, I was exhausted by the end of it!

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