Mindsets…Yours and Your Childs

As I continue to expand my blog and community Facebook page, I devote a certain amount of time per day perusing through Flipboard and a few of my favorite pages to find things to blog about and share.   One of the articles I came across today was about mindsets and how you speak to your children can encourage them to be successful.  Normally, I would have shared this article on my Facebook page and moved on, allowing for the discussions to begin, but since I’m now focusing harder on getting Henry up to speed, I find myself needing to blog about this article, which I will include at the end of this post.

As many of you know, my children are with me daily, even though they are both in school.  I had the opportunity to put them both on the same days of the week, thereby allowing me some alone time, a chance to recharge, and even accomplish a few things I’ve put on the back burner since becoming a mom (MY BOOK that I’ve desperately attempted to edit over the past 4 years).  My husband and I discussed this option and we decided it best to separate the boys and allow for me to have individual one on one time with them.   So, as I’ve stated before, Henry is a T/Th student, while Davey is a MWF student.

When Davey was 4 months old, I quit my job and decided to be a stay at home mom.  I immediately jumped into my role, taking him to the library for story time, reading to him profusely, quizzing him on animals and their sounds, and even stepping out of my comfort zone to join a playgroup with other moms and their children.   I perused through the internet and pinned like crazy on Pinterest all sorts of ideas to get my child ahead of the game.  I’m not one for wasting time.  I have to be productive in everything I do, even if that productivity is only perceived through my eyes.

By the time, Davey was almost 2, he was enrolled in a Mother’s Morning Out program.  I was in the final trimester of my 2nd pregnancy and eager for a little breathing room and to get Davey into a routine that was all for HIM before Henry came along.  He was well ahead of the game when he started.   He was speaking at a 3 year old level, enunciating words, and learning how to grammatically speak correctly.   He knew his letters in order and randomly as well as numbers, shapes, and colors.   I was proud of him and my ability to get him there.

When Henry arrived, for obvious reasons, I was unable to devote all of my time to just one child.   I still worked with Davey, especially during the first couple of months of Henry’s life when he was nothing more than an eating, sleeping, drooling, and pooping mess.   I continued to build upon my foundation I had started with Davey and by the time he started actual preschool, he was ahead of the game, and still is.   As for Henry, I’ve struggled.

It’s hard to teach Henry the same things that I thought Davey, because Davey is always there and he wants to answer the questions.   He wants to please me and he wants to show me that he knows his stuff, displaying his fixed mindset, which discourages Henry from answering my questions.    When I ask Henry what color this is, I get, “I don’t know,” but he really does know.   How do I know this?   Because when I’m NOT trying to sit down and teach him, he’ll pull out a yellow crayon, for example, and say, “mom, I color this sun yellow.”   He knows his stuff.   I just haven’t figured out how to get him to sit with me and let me teach him or to show me that he is just as smart as I know he is and can be.

Henry has been in school for 4 days total so far, meaning that I’ve had 5 days (not counting Labor Day) with which he and I could work on the basic concepts every preschooler should know.   I had started the approach of the fixed mindset when teaching him, since that’s what worked best with Davey, and as a side note, Davey displays characteristics of both mindsets dependent upon what he is doing or working on.  Unfortunately, it appears that the fixed mindset doesn’t work with Henry and he needs to be challenged instead of taught in a basic setting.

He told me this week, while shoving flashcards of letters and numbers across the table, “I not want to do this.”   We’ve bought him a LeapFrog, but he doesn’t use it.   Davey loves ABC Mouse, and so I set Henry up with his own Avatar for it as well.   Nope, he’s not a fan, so I’m finding that I have to step outside of the box and find ways to be interactive and that includes walks in the park where I may take leaves and make a letter “L” out of those leaves.   He then will find rocks and make letters out of those, so you see he knows his stuff.

So, the article that inspired this blog is here:

If You Want Your Kids To Be Successful In The Future, Talk To Them In This Way

It doesn’t go in depth nor is it judgmental, it just helps with finding other ways to encourage your children to be successful.

Of course, dealing with Henry, has given me a new level of respect for teachers as I never really looked at the fact that each child is different (it’s obvious, I know, but I haven’t really considered it) and what these teachers must do and go through to reach each child, to help them to be successful and to learn.

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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.

Quicker Than We Know It

For the past few days, it’s been agony in our house.   We’re back home from our two week vacation to Rochester and trying to get back into the swing of things.  I’m not sure what our problem has been, and by “our” I really mean my children, but to say they’re not getting along is an understatement.   The past few days I’ve found myself contemplating Baileys in my morning coffee, job searching, and even just running away from the house, leaving the boys to fend for themselves.

Yesterday I counted the days (including weekends) until school starts back for my children.  It was 46 days, so 45 today.   I’ve played around with the idea of creating a countdown board, one to help me through the days, but I thought it might depress the boys.  Apparently I don’t know my children as well as I thought.   When I told both of them how much longer they had until school started, I was met with cries of “that’s way far off” and “I don’t know if I can wait that long.”  Huh?  My kids are actually looking forward to school.  Imagine that!  Perhaps I will create that countdown board after all.

It’s as if the school seemed to know that I was desperate for the summer to be over as I received packets for both boys in the mail yesterday.  It’s your standard “welcome” packet complete with photography waiver, PTA dues, calendars, and volunteer opportunities.  Excitedly, I tore into the packets and perused through the calendar.   So much will be going on this year and I can’t wait for the adventures in learning to start.

This afternoon, I decided to begin work on the packets, first thing being to take the calendar and log in all essential days onto my personal calendar.   For the things I felt my husband needed to be a part of, I emailed a calendar invite to him so he could add it to his schedule.   I was feeling accomplished and for the first time all week, I’ve felt normal again, and able to breathe, but then things started to unravel as I continued adding events.

In September, there are two separate Donuts with Dad days that my husband will need to attend with BOTH boys.   As I entered those events and hit “ENTER” the next event popped up on my screen…Davey’s 5th Birthday.  My first born will be 5 this year.   5!!!!   Thanks, Google!   Way to give my heart a true smack for being so ungrateful.

I continued on into December, with another shouting from my calendar of “Henry’s 3rd Birthday”.  How is this possible?   How are my children going to be 5 &3?  How are these days going by so quickly and yet so painfully slow as well?

Fast forward a few months on my calendar and we’re into April when Davey begins testing for kindergarten readiness.   TESTING!!!!!  Gah!  I don’t know whether to be excited, happy, nervous, scared crapless, or worried.  Actually, I know what I am…I’m sad.   My first baby is growing up and will no longer be in preschool.  He’ll be in school, all day, every day.   He’ll have lunch without me.   He’ll spend six hours of every day without me.   He’ll have a life away from me, and as much as I’m exhausted with the two of them this summer, I’m saddened by how quickly life is moving for my little family.   Even when I’m so overwhelmed with the two of them and all I can think about is how quickly the day will be over, deep down I’m hurting.

Lately Facebook has been inundating me with memories of Davey.  There have been pictures of his first steps, the first days we were together as I became a stay at home mom.   There are memories of his silly faces, his dances, his “no pants Tuesday”, imitating daddy, cuddling with Dixie, eating breakfast on the back porch, learning to write, Facetime with Daddy for breakfast, dinner and bedtime (since daddy used to travel so much) and “reading” silently in his room.    It’s as if Facebook is insync with my moods and knows that I need these reminders even when I’m desperate for some peace, for some time away from my children.

People tell me I’ll miss these days all the time.   They’ve been telling me that for years, but I’ve chosen not to listen, to tune out their “all knowing” voices.   I’ve put my head down and found a way to plow through each day with my boys and just hope for the end of the day.   I tell these people they’re nuts, that I’ll “never miss these days,” but I will.  We all know I will.   Heck, I’m already missing the days when Davey had his little baby voice as he was learning to speak.   I already miss the days when I could pick him up and cuddle up with him.   I already miss the days of his chubby little munchkin legs (he’s begun to take after me and is getting tall and skinny).   There is so much my heart already hurts over, things that have long since gone.

It’s a shame it takes things like Facebook memories and school welcome packets to zap me out of my summer blues with the boys.

 

Welcome Back, Jasper

My father in law has a “thing”, I suppose you can say, about nicknames for his grandsons.   When Davey was born, he nicknamed him Jasper.   When Henry was born he nicknamed him Higgins.   Now, I know where Higgins comes from…My Fair Lady, Professor Henry Higgins.   Jasper?  Not quite so sure.

So, when Davey became old enough to start speaking, he referred to himself as Jasper when around his Guh Guh (my father-in-law).  It’s endearing for Davey and truthfully I enjoy it.   When my sister-in-law purchased an Elf on the Shelf for Davey years ago, we needed a name for the Elf and Davey immediately jumped on the name Jasper.

Jasper resting atop the miniature Elf tree.
Jasper resting atop the miniature Elf tree.

With the onset of the holiday season and my decorating, Jasper was pulled out of storage and found his way onto the top of our Christmas tree.  Last night, when the boys got back home from church, I pointed Jasper out and explained his importance.  I suppose since Davey is older, he grasps the concept and I now find myself falling prey to the whole “Elf on the Shelf” ideas for this Christmas season.

When putting the boys to bed last night, I read the story about the Elf on the Shelf, substituting in Jasper’s name where relevant.  Davey became extremely excited.  He wanted to know if Jasper would really magically fly away and come back in the morning.   I told him, “of course,” and that Jasper’s sole responsibility is to tell Santa all about how well he’s behaved.

This morning when Davey awoke, he darted off to the bathroom and while on his way excitedly asked if Jasper was in a different place.   My first thought was, “oh crap!  I was supposed to move Jasper!   Crap!  Crap! Crap!”   I told Davey that Jasper was in a new place and that he could find him AFTER he brushed his teeth and put on his clothes, thereby buying me some time to unimaginatively move Jasper.

Where did Jasper end up?  On the elf tree in the kitchen.  I know, very lackluster on my part, but I can already tell I will fail miserably at this.   When the boys came downstairs, Davey immediately found Jasper, and heeding the words from the story, kept his hands behind his back, lest he be tempted to touch Jasper and force him to lose his magical abilities.   As I made breakfast, both boys sat in the floor looking at Jasper on the elf tree.  I asked what they were doing and Davey exclaimed, “seeing if we can watch some of his magic.”

Trying to spy some of Jasper's magic.
Trying to spy some of Jasper’s magic.

After school today, Davey asked me if Jasper saw how nice he was to his classmates and if Jasper would tell Santa.  Once again, I replied, “of course,” but secretly I’m already not liking Jasper.   We’re roughly six weeks away from Christmas.  That’s 42 days in which I will be required to remember to move Jasper each night when the boys go to bed.   That’s 42 days that I’ll have to despise all of you creative moms with your cute Elf on the Shelf pictures and your ability to actually remember to do this.   That’s 42 days of me constantly reassuring Davey that Jasper will not do him wrong.   That’s 42 days of pure hell as I’m frantically trying to remember and come up with great places for Jasper.

I’m only one day into our Elf on the Shelf.  One day, and I’m already despising the little flying pixie.   Stay tuned to see if I can manage to keep up the fiasco.

Talk to Ironman

Yes, this is what we have now crumbled to in our house.   If I want to have a conversation with Davey, ask him a question, tell him what not to do, etc., well then I must talk to Ironman in order to get to Davey.   A big heavy sigh.

I’ve been fortunate in that neither one of my boys have needed a lovie or an item to provide them with security and comfort.   I feared this, as I know so many parents who’ve lost sleep, wasted gas, or called every store they walked into in order to find that one item their child needs in order to function properly.   I am beyond thankful that we did not go that route, but now it seems that we must travel down another road so many parents have already been on.

This afternoon I asked Davey about soccer.   He’s playing again and while my husband and I are beyond thrilled that he at least stays on the field this year, we’re still a little annoyed with his inability to get in there and actually play the game.  He follows the players, but doesn’t try to get the ball.   When the ball comes his way, he starts kicking it, but then immediately has it stolen away (as should be done) by another player which in turn forces him to start crying, or just give up completely.   My frustration abounds as it is not in my nature to cry about something, much less to just give up.  So, this inability to understand has led to a conversation about soccer, which led to Davey only answering if I asked the question to Ironman FIRST.

Davey has an Ironman doll.   He’s not totally attached to it, not in the way that the world is coming to end if he leaves it as his Mimi’s overnight.   No, his attachment comes and goes with Ironman, but for some reason he feels that he needs to now have Ironman with him everywhere he goes.   He feels that he needs Ironman’s strength to do the hard stuff and I’m a ok with that, a little annoyed, but ok with it.

So, as I asked him questions about soccer, I had to ask them in this way, “Ironman, if you go to soccer with Davey tomorrow, do you think he will try hard to get the ball?”  Davey then looks at Ironman and says, “tell Mommy that I will play harder if you come with me.”   I’m sitting here shaking my head as I type out this conversation, my mouth in a bit of a grimace that I’m now being forced to use Ironman, an inanimate $15 piece of plastic doll, as an intermediary in my conversations with Davey.  I can’t wait till his dad has to do the same!  (Insert a devious laugh as I know my husband will begrudgingly do this, but roll his eyes and grit his teeth)

Apparently, taking Ironman to soccer is only the beginning because now Ironman must also go to church tonight to help him with the memory of his Bible Verses and to school tomorrow.   Look, I know Ironman is crazy smart and has super human strength…he’s a superhero after all, I just find it annoyingly humorous that he is now forced to serve as a middle man in a four year old’s conversations with his parents.

 

Oh, So You’re THAT Mom…

I didn’t hear those words last night, but I most certainly received the looks that conveyed that message.

Last night was Meet the Teacher at Davey’s School.   School is an exciting time for me.  I’m a nerd.  I love school.   I love to learn, and at times I love to teach my sons.   Unfortunately for me, and my sons, my personality has yet to equip me with the capacity to be a home school mom, which means I send them to a Christian school two days a week.

Davey will be four, one month from today, but he is starting into K3 thanks to the State of SC’s lovely cut off.  I have mixed emotions about this which I will address later.

So, Davey will be in a classroom with kids younger than him, some by almost a full year.   At this age, I shouldn’t be too terribly concerned about it, and that’s what I keep telling myself.

When meeting the teachers last night, I was thrilled to see that his TA (Teacher’s Assistant) will actually be the same one he had last year for K2.   It took a load off of me, allowing me to literally wipe the sweat that had started beading up on my forehead.   He loved Mrs. Whaling, and the fact that she knows him AND me, is making this process a little bit easier.   As for his new teacher, I need to warm up to her a bit.

She’s young.  She graduated college seven years after I did.   Her one advantage in my eyes is that she went to Bob Jones University here in Greenville.   It’s a great university, which instills a lot of love and faith in Christ in its students, something I know she’ll bring with her.   Even with that under her belt, her age still bothers me.   Yes, I’m discriminating.   I’m trying to stop, but as my husband says, she’s a little too bubbly for him, but maybe bubbly is what our kids need.

My biggest concern; however, was when I inquired as to what the curriculum would be like for K3.   When she explained it to me, my heart sank.  I nicely explained to her, with a compassionate smile, that Davey is already well ahead of the game.   He already writes his upper case letters.   He’s learning to write his lower case letters now.   He knows how to spell some words.  He can write his numbers, at least all the way up to 10, and he’s even started learning mathematics.   He knows sounds and has begun to sound out words.  He knows more than a lot of current K4 students know.

As I explained this to her, she looked at me and said, “well, I guess when Sue takes the kids to their centers, I could work one on one with Davey.”  That sentence rubbed me the wrong way.  I wanted to say, “you GUESS?”

I gave up my career four years ago.  I gave up a big portion of my dreams to be a stay at home mom.   I chose to stay at home so that I could be hands on with the boys, not so that I could have the cleanest house, or the prettiest yard, or more “me” time.   Those three things suffer A LOT, even with me being at home.   They are not my priorities.   My sons are my priorities.   Their continued growth, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and physically, are my number one concern.   From my very first day of being home, I started working with Davey.   I took him to story time at the library, made flash cards with colors, bought puzzles, read him books, played music, all of this in an effort to make him better than me and his dad, to encourage him to be more, and at times I feel as if I’ve succeeded.

Five days a week, I find a way to incorporate a minimum of three hours a day of some sort of “schooling” for my boys.   I don’t follow a curriculum and it’s hard on all of us for me to try to create a school type atmosphere, but they learn.   They learn their manners, they learn about God and our creation, they learn their numbers and letters, they learn their shapes and colors.  They either build upon something they already knew or I add something new onto them.   So, maybe I am leading somewhat of a homeschool life after all.

As my husband and I climbed into bed last night, I told him that I had backtracked from my original statement earlier in the evening.   Today is student orientation and while Davey has that, I’m to attend a Sip and Sob with other parents.   My original intent during the Sip and Sob was to find a way to speak with the Headmaster of Davey’s school to convey my concerns about where he is academically and how he’s penalized because of his age.   By the time I’d gotten into bed; however,  I had changed my mind.

I’m going to let Davey go into K3.  I’m going to let him go back to school with some of his friends.   I’m going to let this play out.  If need be, I can have parent teacher conferences on a weekly basis (which I did last year).   I can, and will, continue to help Davey grow and learn every day.   My husband told me last night that truthfully the only reason either one of our boys are going to school right now is because I need a break from them.   He told me, I do more for them than any school could right now, but that their going was really just to give me a few hours a day, two days a week, to recharge.  I suppose he’s right.

So, this morning, I will drop Davey off for his student orientation.  I will begrudgingly sit in Sip and Sob with these other moms and play my role.  I will let him stay where he is because as my mother in law said to me, right now Davey is a big fish in a little pond.   Wouldn’t I rather like that for him than to be a little fish in a big pond?

The Dog Days of Summer Are Here!

Last Thursday marked the end of yet another school year for Davey. When I woke him on Thursday morning to dress him for his last day, I asked him what he thought about it.

“I’m not so sure about this, Mommy.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“I’m just not so sure I want to leave Mrs. Norwood and Mrs. Whaling,” he replied. Mrs. Norwood and Mrs. Whaling were his school teachers this year and what a wonderful blessing they’ve been not only to him but also to me. To say I was sad about his last day was a bit of an understatement.

Thoughts began to swirl around my head, bumping into and shoving each other. It’s his last day, one thought exclaimed, while another reminded me that I would now have the ability to attend that class at the Y I’ve always wanted. Of course that thought bumped into the one that said I should feel guilty about selfishly looking forward to said class. And there was yet another thought that crashed down hard on all the others that said, “he’s not going to be your baby for much longer.” Yeah, that thought pretty much obliterated all the others.

I dropped him off that morning, being sure to take the obligatory “last day of school” pictures so that I could do what all other moms in the social media age do…OVERSHARE. He smiled happily, even waving and telling me to have a great day. I drove off to take care of my errands since I would soon hightail it back to participate in his class party, and what a treat that was.

Davey's last day of school.
Davey’s last day of school.

My child is apparently loved by all. I’m sure every parent says that, but when his teacher informed me that her high school daughter would come in on her days out of school just to spend time with Davey, that warmed my heart. People genuinely love my child. Who couldn’t?

I suppose what conflicted me the most about his last day of school was to see how well he interacted with his classmates. I was impressed with his ability to share and play happily. I was in awe over the fact that his teachers didn’t need to tell him multiple times to sit down, criss cross apple sauce. No, they just did it once, and he would sit obediently during the entire story time on the mat. But all of this saddened me as well. He wouldn’t have these children to interact with again, at least not until next year. Would he be able to sit quietly for me? Would I be able to maintain some level of learning for him during the summer months? These teachers and children did so much for him, for me. I don’t want to fail any of them, least of all my son.

And so now, the dog days of summer are officially here. I’m in planning mode to make sure that Davey continues to learn, continues to be stimulated, and doesn’t get bored. My mind is already exhausted with all of the planning and all of the possibilities.

I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with change. In theory, I like the idea of it, but when confronted with it in reality, it’s a bit intimidating to me. My son; however, is either too young to understand the change, or he’s much more capable of going with the flow than I. We’ll see as the summer progresses. And truthfully, I’m already on a countdown for next school year!

Happy Summer, y’all!

Waving "goodbye".
Waving “goodbye”.

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.

Santa Elf Davey

Well before my first child was ever born, I’d already jumped on the “Elf on the Shelf” bandwagon. I’d seen a co-worker bring one in and I thought, “what a marvelous idea! I wish we’d had something like this when I was a kid.” I wanted to purchase one terribly, but I didn’t have a child to give one to.

When I became pregnant with Davey, Elf on the Shelf was one of the first things I wanted to purchase. My sister-in-law beat me to the punch, having purchased one for me, her mom, and herself (in order for Davey to really buy into this, we had to prove that the elf really was everywhere he would be). Davey was 3 months old for his first Christmas, so I packed up the Elf on the Shelf and decided I would wait a few years to pull him back out.

Santa Elf Davey hanging out in the lamp.
Santa Elf Davey hanging out in the lamp.

Davey is now 3 and in preschool. He’s a lover of books, all books, any books, every book (makes this book loving mama happy), so I thought why not dust off the Elf on the Shelf and read the story. Plus, with the addition of a walking Henry, Davey is becoming a little naughty and territorial. I needed something to help keep him in line.

I told Davey a little bit about the elf, I read him the book, and told him we needed to come up with a name. I assumed the name would be Jasper, just because Davey’s grandfather calls him that (no clue why) and Davey must name everything else “Jasper”. This didn’t happen. Davey wanted to name him “Santa Elf Davey”, not just “Davey”, but we MUST say the entire name, otherwise he starts having a stage 5 meltdown and the toxic radiation from one of those could compete with Chernobyl.

That first day, Santa Elf Davey hung out in our Christmas tree. He was high enough up for Davey not to touch him, after all Santa Elf Davey could lose his “magic” if Davey touches him, and Santa Elf Davey had the perfect view of the room. All the better to see you with, my dear. Which leads me to the “creepy” factor of this elf “watching” my child. Truthfully, the elf creeps me out more than he does Davey.

Santa Elf Davey on the mantle.
Santa Elf Davey on the mantle.

For years, I’ve watched Pinterest and Facebook feeds. I’ve seen pictures and read blogs about how all these wonderful moms (not me) find creative ways to place their elves. Some of them are ridiculous. For example, I’ve seen pictures of some elves who’ve left messes with flour, sugar, and even toothpaste and I’m led to question some of these moms. Don’t you want your child to behave and doesn’t the mess just encourage the same from your child?

This morning I read a blog from another mother about her Elf on the Shelf experience and it pushed me to write about my own. Much like Tabatha Kammann from the blog http://kooperscoop.blogspot.com/, I’ve felt the guilt of being a not so clever mom bearing down on my shoulders. I pulled out Santa Elf Davey a week and a half ago. That’s 11 days. And in those 11 days, Santa Elf Davey has only moved from his spot 5 times and they haven’t exactly been clever. This has prompted Davey to inquire about just how authentic Santa Elf Davey really is, after all the story does state that he will be in a different spot each morning. I haven’t exactly been following through on my end.

Santa Elf Davey in his original spot.
Santa Elf Davey in his original spot.

There’s a lot of unnecessary pressure with Elf on the Shelf, thanks to all you Overachieving Moms. I struggle just to remember to brush my teeth in the mornings, so how could you possibly expect me to remember to move Santa Elf Davey?

Thanks to Tabatha’s wonderful blog this morning, I was reminded that Santa Elf Davey has sat atop that surround sound speaker for 3 days (and the speaker idea was thanks to my husband remembering to move the darn elf). Davey’s already asked me once if Santa Elf Davey perhaps didn’t go see Santa on Sunday, the day Davey was his naughtiest. No, Davey, he told Santa. And Davey responds, “Mama, is he for real? He hasn’t moved in days.”

When you have a moment, check out Tabatha’s blog.