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?

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Hip Hip Hooray for Pre-K

The day was circled in a bright, obnoxious red on my calendar. With each stroke of a passing day, I became more and more excited and more and more relieved. Monday night, I regressed back to my days of preparing for the first day of school. I took Davey’s bag, read and re-read through the handbook, created my list of additional wish list items, and organized my day around the first day of school. I went to bed early, a little excited, but also exhausted. And for the first time, my fitbit recorded I had a 100% sleep efficiency. Coincidental? I think not.

Tuesday morning, I arose early. I showered and dressed before waking the boys. Davey was awake, as usual, but quietly sitting in his bed reading books (as usual). I dressed him, had him help me get Henry ready, and then we trudged off downstairs all the while quizzing him on his phonics and the name of his new teacher.

We arrived at the school to a multitude of parents. Once again, I looked like the single parent as I was the only one chauffeuring my kids in without a husband at my side. Do these other dads not work or do they have such wonderfully, illustrious jobs that they can come and go as they please? Must be nice!

I walked Davey into his classroom and helped him hang his bag. He sat down at the table and began working a puzzle as I debated whether or not I should hang around. He obviously didn’t care what I did, but I wondered, just for a split second, as to how I looked to the other mothers who were kneeling down with their children, tussling their hair and doling out kissed. All I really wanted to do was vacate and much like from the Beatles “Hard Days Night” movie push open the door and scream, “I’m free!” Instead I controlled myself, smiled at his teacher and quietly walked out of the room.

What I should have done is immediately get in my car and leave, but I couldn’t. I was compelled to spy upon this room that had been set aside, a room where coffee and pastries were being served. A room where mothers got together with each other and sobbed about their little babies going to school. A room aptly titled, “Sip and Sob.” I stuck my head in and was shocked at the number of mothers who were consoling each other. Wow! I didn’t understand it and as I was about to turn to leave, I was stopped by a mother coming in who asked how I was holding up. I spouted out a statement I stole from my buddy, Shelley…”They should have a mimosas and muffins room to celebrate my survival being a stay at home mom with this kid.” Then I smiled and walked away.

I picked Davey up 3 hours later and listened to his excitement and adventures. Later that evening I received an email from his teacher. Davey was the only child who didn’t shed any tears and she has a feeling I’m the only mom from his class who didn’t partake in the Sip and Sob room. Go, Davey and Mommy!

Thursday progressed much the same way, but I have discovered a few things this week.

1. I’m possibly the only mother who doesn’t care if my child wears cute designer clothing. I put him in a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers. Everyone else (BOTH days) were in their Sunday bests.
2. Make sure to arrive at the carline at 12:01, so as to not be the first one in line since the playground is alongside the carline and apparently, recess is the last event of the day. I eventually had to drive off and lose my spot in line because Davey wanted to hang on to the fence and have a conversation with me.
3. My son’s best friends are all girls.
4. I’m probably the only mother not on the PTA.
5. I’m the only mother who still has a baby pooch for a stomach.
6. I must do better at memorizing the names of the other moms especially since they all know mine and Davey’s.
7. I also need to work on my socialize skills and at least PRETEND to care about these other moms so I can develop more BFFs (insert sarcasm)
8. These other moms must have filthy rich husbands, or come from money because they drive the designer cars, wear the designer clothes, and seem to be able to afford plastic surgery.
And finally
9. Any worry or fear about Davey I may have had whether it be intellect, socialization, or attitude can and should be put to bed. My kid is awesome and has this innate knack to adapt to ANYTHING.