You Will Survive, Henry

We are ending our 2nd week of school for Henry.  2 weeks, or more specifically 4 days.   He’s in K2 and being his first time in school we have enrolled him as a T/Th student.   Again, let me repeat, we have finished 4 days and I can’t help but wonder if it will get any better.

For 4 days, I’ve dealt with a child who clawed his car window screaming for his Mimi.  For 4 days, I’ve dealt with a child who has attempted to lock me out of the car when I’ve tried to drop him off at school.   For 4 days, I’ve dealt with a child whom I’ve had to drag out of the car kicking and screaming and hand him off to his teacher all the while he’s reaching for me and screaming “no”.

I had hoped that we just needed to get into our routine, but it appears that drama at the car line drop off will be our routine for this school year.

This morning, Davey and I talked up school to Henry, as he fought me while I was loading him into his car seat.   Davey, my mini-me dork, LOVES school.  He reminds me of myself and how much I looked forward to school everyday, how I wanted to see my friends and my teachers, how I wanted to learn and become smarter, and experience new things.   Henry?  Yeah, to quote his words, “I not care about dis (his speech) stuff.”

So, after all of our playing up school and it’s many, many benefits to Henry, I thought for sure Davey and I had crossed the bridge and that Henry would be excited, or at least more willing.  Obviously, I thought wrong, as once again I’m holding up the carline to the empathetic faces of all the other moms, while getting Henry out, his arms gripped tightly onto his seatbelt while I’m pulling him by his legs.

I try encouraging words, tell him his teachers are going to be so happy to see him, or that they’ll be sad if he’s not there.   I talk about his friends and all of the fun he’ll have with them.   I talk about all of the cool toys they’ll play with and crafts they’ll make.  Finally, I’ve ended up with, “You will survive, Henry.”   Obviously, he doesn’t understand what I mean.

I don’t get it.  I don’t understand why going to school is so torturous, especially when I pick him up, he’s so eager to tell me about his day.   He has a smile on his face, tells his teachers “bye”, and climbs into the car already talking about the day’s adventures.   I want to tell him, “i told you so,” but I’m told that’s not appropriate.

My mother has her own theory as to why my youngest acts as if he’s going to the slaughterhouse when I drop him off at school.   He knows Davey is with me and he feels left out, anxious about what he’s going to miss, and not exactly eager to know that Davey is getting one on one time with me.   I want to tell him, that he gets three days of one on one versus Davey’s two, but once again  I don’t think he’ll understand.

I suppose I will continue to fight this battle and be thankful that my youngest isn’t my brother incarnate.   My brother once locked my mother out of the car when she got out to get him out for school.    I can see this same scenario playing out for me one day.

A Tale of Two Children

In the open spaces of my heart, live two children, each equally loved, but cataclysmically different.   They both have the same portion of my love and my soul, each with their own physical traits and characteristics forever linking them to me, but alas I only comprise 50% of their make up, so it’s only natural for them to be so much alike and yet so different.

My oldest is outgoing, loving, methodical, and eager to please.  My youngest, not quite so outgoing, a bit more calculating and manipulative, and while he may be a bit standoffish at first, he is quick to love and be loved.   They both have my chin, one has my nose, and they both suffer from mom’s recessive gene of fair hair at such a young age.  Their personalities are different, at times polar opposites, but they definitely share mom’s dominant stubborn gene.

With the start of school last week, I was eager to see how both of my boys would do and since we were milking our last few days of summer vacation for all of its worth, we missed meet the teacher and student orientation at their school.  This meant I would need to walk the boys into their classrooms, since neither had any idea where to go.  Also, I’m THAT mom who will walk her children into school the first day, regardless.

For this school year, my husband and I decided it would be best to have Davey attend MWF and Henry on T/Th.   I am well aware that this means for me I will be on the road a lot, but it also means for me some individual time with my boys, something I have wanted for quite some time.  I must also add this disclaimer…it was technically my husband’s idea for the school year set up, I believe so that I would NOT have any personal time to myself.  He deals with “children” himself in the adult world and I suppose felt that since he couldn’t get a break from the adults behaving as children, then neither should I.   Just my theory.  So, with this being our set up, I felt compelled to leave Henry with my mom and dad on Davey’s first day and then vice versa for Henry’s first day.    And here, my friends, is where the Tale of Two Children picks up.

First day of school for Davey goes something like this…

As I am walking Davey into school, he sees he’s old teacher’s assistant.  This woman has been a blessing to us, she’s worked with Davey since he was in K2 and I quickly learned she would also have our Henry for this year.  Unfortunately, that meant that Davey’s security blanket would be gone, as if he ever really needed one.   Once Davey saw her, he stopped in his tracks and turned around to me, “mom, can you believe this?  Look who it is!  It’s Mrs. Whaling.  Oh boy, I bet she’s missed me.”   Nope, does not have a humble bone in any corner of his body.   After hugging Mrs. Whaling, Davey then proceeds into school, where he sees his old K2 teacher and as if he’s a politician going around shaking hands and kissing babies, he must hug Mrs. Norwood before saying, “I’ll see you around this year, Mrs. Norwood.”  Big Man on Campus then proceeds down the hallway where lo and behold there is Mrs. Scott’s classroom.   We must stop and hug her as well, and as we are looking for his classroom, Davey says, “I bet Mrs. Scott missed me a lot.”  Again…humility?  Nope!

Once we find his classroom, I introduce myself to his teacher, apologize profusely for being at the beach instead of meeting her, and then introduce Davey who immediately holds out his hand, shakes her’s and then says, “nice to meet you.”  His current teacher gives me the rundown, asks if I would be willing to assist with anything and then as I walk out the door, hug and kiss Davey one more time, I hear, “it’s gonna be a great year, mom, I just know it.”   Easy peasy for this mom.

First day of school for Henry goes a little something like this…

I drop Davey off with my mom and dad, calling as I’m around the corner, so she can meet me outside, grab Davey and I can go.   I need it to be as painless as possible, especially since I know how attached Henry is to his Mimi (my mom).   My hopes were dashed when Henry went into Stage 4 meltdown once he realized that Mimi was taking Davey and not him.   His chin began to tremble, the lower lip started protruding and I don’t know who was going to cry first…him or my mother.

For the entire 15 minute ride to school, I had to endure bellows of, “Mimi, don’t leave me.” and “Mimi, save me.  I stay with you,” all the while he’s clawing his window as if he’s a caged animal heading off to slaughter.   Really, my son, do you think mommy would do that to you???  The thought has crossed my mind of some sort of torture, but nothing like what his mind was developing.   Kidding, folks, just kidding!

Once we arrive at school; however, life is grand.   Henry sees Mrs. Whaling who is now his TA and life is good again.   Now, flash forward a week.

Yesterday being Labor Day, there was no school.   So, Davey couldn’t go, but Henry could today.   Davey?  He’s bummed, but he’ll survive.  Henry?  Let’s just say that I had to drag him out of the car crying and while not at his stage 4 meltdown, perhaps only at a 2, hand him off to Mrs. Whaling as he cried while being carried in.   Davey finds it undignified to be carried inside.  Henry?  He needs that attention.  Of course, once I pick Henry up from school, the world is rainbows and unicorns and has been since the moment he stepped foot into his classroom.   I ask him, “would mommy ever steer you wrong?”   And with his thumb in his mouth, nods his head and says, “yes.”   The child knows me too well.

We’re only one week into school and I can already imagine the scenarios that will play out in the story of A Tale of Two Children.

So Long! Farewell!

first day of school
First Day of School for the 2015/2016 School Year.

“Tomorrow is the last day of school,” I said quietly to my husband last night as we sat on the couch reading books.   We’d just put both boys to bed and were relaxing.   I had attempted to get my mind focused on my book, to get lost in a fictional world, but my mind kept evading the words on the pages.   I kept thinking about the last day of school.

“It makes me sad,” I continued when my husband didn’t say anything to me.

“Why?  Because you’ll have to have them the entire time?” he asked me.  I was shocked and angered by his pointedness.   It hurt, I can’t lie, but I brushed it off as the tears started to roll down my cheeks.

“No.  I’m sad because it’s another chapter that is written and closing.   I’m sad because for some reason it is just hitting me that Davey will be 5 in just 4 short months.”

And there it was.   My oldest, the one who made me a mother, is quickly becoming a big boy, a child no more, someone who won’t need or want mom’s hugs and kisses.   Then there’s Henry, my demon child who’s an angel for everyone else.   Well, he’s officially going into K2 AND on top of that is getting a big boy room!   It’s just too much!

There are times, especially on days like the last few I’ve had, when I wish I had a time machine like Orson Welles wrote about.   I’d want this time machine to take me back to the moments in my children’s lives.   I want to get out and experience it all over again, not just relive it all through videos and pictures.   My husband asked me if this meant I wanted to start over, to have another child?   No.  I don’t want that.   I just want my babies to still be my babies.

As I picked the boys up from school today, I found myself choking back tears and trying to beat down that lump slowly rising in my throat.   Henry’s teacher actually cried when he hugged her.   As a matter of fact, he hugged every teacher and even a few of the kids.   When I spoke to him this morning about it being his last day and not getting to see Levi, Tommy, and Rob again, he asked, “why?” and his little lip quivered.   Shame on me for stirring up that emotion especially since it broke my heart a little and even more so when I saw the sweetness that is my Henry hug all of his friends good bye and exclaim, “have a good summer.”

Davey hugged his teachers, he hugged his classmates, and even managed to squeeze in a hug for another parent.   As he was being placed in the car, one of the teachers asked if he was enrolled to come back next year, because as she said, “I just can’t imagine my school year without this happy face.”

I have my trying days with my boys, days when I want to throw in the towel, days when my patience gets the better of me.  I have days when I just want to scream at the top of my lungs and then shout from the rafters, “I can’t wait for you two to grow up!”   Am I really ready for them to grow up?   Probably not, but I don’t have a say in the matter.

So, as we say, “so long and farewell” to this school year, I want to give a huge thank you to every teacher who has worked with my both of my boys, who have loved them, taught them, and treasured them as much as I do.   I’m excited for K4 & K2 next year, but right now I desperately want to cling to their memories and adventures from this past year.   I’m afraid that the winds of change may rip the balloon string from my fingers, their innocence and childhood floating away.

last day of school
Last day of school for the 2015/2016 school year.

Songbird

I sat in the pew of the sanctuary, much further back than I wanted, but I needed an aisle seat so I could discreetly film the concert. I watched anxiously as other parents shuffled in and I beamed with excitement when my mom and dad entered. They were here to see their first grandchild perform in his first ever school concert. I imagined what it must have been like for them when they were my age, experiencing all the firsts. I smiled at my mother as she frantically looked over heads to try to find Davey.

After a few moments, his grade filtered in. We sat quietly, unlike the obnoxious parents in front of us who were feverishly waving at their little one, thereby preventing us from being able to see Davey. For a moment, I said a prayer that my mother’s claws wouldn’t come out as she began complaining, not so quietly, about not being able to see. Finally, the rude parents took their seat and we were able to see Davey as he stepped on stage and climbed onto the risers. He didn’t see us, which was our purpose since we preferred to have him focus on his concert.

The children were quickly and strategically placed prompting the pianist to begin playing. At that moment, I watched my son, my baby, my first born, in a whole new light. He was on stage, singing, clapping, and going through all of the motions of the songs he was taught. I felt a lump form in my throat, and the tears begin to develop in my eyes. Why was I crying? What was wrong with me? Was I the only parent who was crying? Perhaps, but I’m really ok with that.

With each song and each motion, my heart swelled with pride, but my stomach suffered through the knots of sadness, a sadness from how quickly he’s grown. I was in awe over his ability to flow along with the song and the fact that he would stand on that stage and stay focused. I can’t get him to do that! But really as I continued to watch him, I saw no one else on that stage. There were other bodies around him, but they were blurred out, like droning little bees flitting around him. I never knew it was possible to be so proud of someone in my life.

I wanted to stand up and shout, “the little boy in the yellow oxford shirt? yeah, the one who’s singing perfectly and going through the motions flawlessly, well that’s my boy! I am his mother!” I wanted to shout it from the rooftops so everyone could here.

I sit here now and re-watch the videos I took and I can’t seem to dam up the tears. This child is my child, he is a part of me and my husband. Every day I’m amazed at what the two of us created, but today I have such reverence for this small little being. He is beyond great, he is beyond awesome. He is the most perfect thing God could ever create.

So, I think I’ll sit here and watch him sing and fall in love all over again.

The Not So Patient Mommy

I think it’s getting worse, either the older he gets or the older I get, or perhaps just both! Shortly after I made the life changing decision to become a stay at home mom, I truly thought I was developing that virtue that had eluded me my entire life…PATIENCE. For a while, I actually believed that I was turning a new page and becoming the patient person I had always hoped I’d be. Then one day it was no longer just the two of us at home. Henry had come along and I was now forced to find a way to split my time between the two. Not an easy feat, but one I thought I was accomplishing.

Now that Henry has become more mobile (I always envision myself saying that in a British accent, not sure why), he’s started impeding my progress with Davey. This, of course, is infuriating to Davey as he’d truly like to have me all to himself. And since I am a stay at home mom, I believe it is not just my duty, but also my responsibility and obligation to mold my children. I am accountable to their character and integrity, their strengths and weaknesses, their emphatic abilities, and their learning and intelligence. This is mine. It falls squarely on my shoulders.

I do send Davey to preschool, which my husband really refers to as “glorified daycare”, and truly I can’t really argue with him, but I don’t do that in order to wash my hands clean of my responsibilities. Davey goes to preschool, 2 days a week, 3 hours a day, 6 hours a week. It’s a minor amount of time, but one that is vital not just to my sanity, but to his, Henry’s, and really my husband’s.

Sending him to preschool does not alleviate my role as his primary teacher, nurturer, guardian, and confidant. It’s just a little added padding to what I’m already doing with him. Unfortunately, I’m finding it harder and harder to teach Davey anything the older he becomes. He suffers from the horrible Doser/Bruce trifecta of being independent, strong-willed, and hard-headed. It’s becoming virtually impossible for me to teach him anything as he refuses to sit still for more than 3 minutes and listen to me explain something. How can I explain to him how to tell time when he won’t look at the cards or me?

He’s still young, albeit a few weeks from three, but I can’t believe that he’s not capable of learning more than he’s willing to at this point. Problem is how do I teach him that something more, when I have a 9 month old screaming and crying, pulling on my leg, a dog whining because the 9 month old’s crying is driving her bonkers and she won’t go outside because it’s raining, and a nearly 3 year old who tells me he already knows everything? How do I teach in that environment? This is why I never chose a career path as a teacher.

So, while once upon a time, my patience was finally starting to blossom, all it really took was the Terrible Twos and Trying Threes, to really stomp it out of existence. And people wonder why I “torture” myself with training for Triathlons and Marathons. If I didn’t have that outlet, I would literally go insane.