Tag Archives: school

a new school year begins

Monkey started at his new school 8/29. It is on the way to work for me so I’m now doing the drop offs. It’s been awesome having that extra 15 minutes together at the start of the day. It took a couple of days walking him in to his classroom until he felt confident that he could find it himself. His teacher is new to teaching and to the school and seems very excited and motivated. So far, homework seems to be less than in Kindergarten, which I’m happy about, but I’d still prefer no homework in these low grades (aside from reading). Unprompted, Monkey told me recently that he, “Really likes [new school].” Yay! His school is also very diverse, which we are thrilled with and we feel confident that any issues he may encounter having a two-mom family will be dealt with swiftly.

On that note, I had both boys at the local park with me Sunday and there was a party in the rec room there for a church. All of the attendees were black, which whatever but it is a critical part of the story, so I mention it. Monkey was swinging and there was an older boy swinging next to him. I noticed a few younger boys about Monkey’s age come onto the playground and said, “Hey, look! Those boys look your age. You should go play!” To which he responded (to my absolute astonishment and HORROR), “But they all have brown skin. I can’t play with them.” OMFG I wanted to slink away, especially with the older boy sitting RIGHT THERE. I quickly told Monkey that that didn’t matter, of course he can play with them – they are kids just like he is! Since then, we’ve had more pointed conversations about race and diversity and OMG. I have no idea where it came from and it made me feel like we have failed on some level. I’m now on the hunt for books to talk more about this topic. DW and I are still a bit shaken!

We finally converted Monkey’s carseat to a high-backed booster (he’s been in the 5-point harness). When the MM is with him in the car, we feared that Monkey would be tempted to move in ways that would make it dangerous. I’m still not totally sure he is ready maturity-wise, but he’s excited about it and so far, so good. We tell him that if he’s unable to sit in his seat properly, we’ll have to go back to the old seat and that is working for now.

The MM started preschool yesterday (sob). I couldn’t be there as both boys have to be at their respective schools at the same time, so that pretty much sucked. DW reported that there were no tears and he immediately started playing trains and was fine when she left. When she picked him up, he told her he was sad to leave, so I’d say it’s going well. Today he was a little clingy but still managed to get down and play and shed no tears.

It really hit me yesterday that we are pretty well out of the baby years. I’m feeling rather sad about it, but I’m also excited to see what the next stage brings. If I weren’t an old woman, I might very well have pushed for another, but it is not to be. DW says she would NEVER have let that happen, so I guess we were always done at two. Those who’ve been with me for a long time know how difficult it actually was for us to get to number two, so she’s probably right. It’s so hard to believe that the whole TTC/pregnancy/newborn/nursing stage is truly and finally over. It was so all-consuming and now it seems so distant, you know? When you’re in it, you feel like you’ll be there forever. Sigh.

DW is heading to Los Angeles to visit her mom Friday-Thursday. My mom is coming to help with the kids and keep me company. I told her she could come Sunday afternoon/evening and she was like, “What? I’m coming Friday!” LOL. I expect a lot of HG.TV will be watched and family gossip exchanged. My dad took a trip to Ireland last week, so I’m sure I’ll hear all about that. Can you believe my good ole boy dad left the US? Only took him 64 years – lol.

I’m super happy to be heading into fall and to be somewhere that actually has a fall! Ready for boots, sweaters, pumpkin patches, costumes, candy and turkey dinners! Happy fall, y’all!

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kindergarten wrap-up

As we near the end of my oldest’s first year of school (sob), I thought now is a good time for an update!

You all may recall that there was some concern expressed about how Monkey would do in school as he attended a play-based, unstructured preschool (our beloved co-op in California). I am proud to report that our boy has done GREAT! He is reading, writing, excelling in math and he even won a character award this year for Respect. His teacher reported at every parent-teacher conference that she was impressed with how respectful he is, which kind of shocked me as he is an unruly wild man at home.  He is an enthusiastic learner who asks a lot of questions (“What is before 0? What is infinity?”) and shows special interest in math and science (like many other 5-6 year olds on the planet, he wants to be an astronaut).

Monkey also played baseball on a local team and has shown great improvement in his abilities. This was coach pitch, and Monkey consistently hit the ball (didn’t need to use the t) and paid a lot more attention to the game in general. The league he’s on is pretty serious and competitive and he will have to try out to make the team in the Fall. Whether he will make it is anyone’s guess, but I think he’s got a shot and that’s not something I necessarily would have said 6 months ago 🙂 If he doesn’t make it, there is another local league he can join.

Monkey continues to make friends easily and is typically the kid who gets all the kids playing when he’s at the playground, ball game, etc. If running and playing is happening, he is right in the middle of it. He’s super affectionate, which sometimes gets him in trouble at school (unable to keep his hands to himself, but the teacher always says it’s not in a malicious or hurtful way).

Monkey’s last day of school is June 30 (year-round school leads to a late last day). He will be attending a local magnet school next year and we are all excited about it. It is an International Baccalaureate school, which stresses global learning. When you enter the school, there is a huge map of the world painted on the floor and a bunch of clocks set to various times across the globe. Monkey will take Spanish from first-third grade, and then has the option to continue with Spanish or take two years of Japanese. We attended a family picnic/orientation in May and Monkey absolutely loved it. He asks all the time when he starts at his new school. Another bonus? Siblings automatically get a spot, so there’ll be no lottery when the MM is ready for Kindergarten.

It has been an exciting year of growth for our boy. Still can’t believe he’s a rising first grader. Where does the time go?

 

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we’re still here, y’all

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I updated this blog. I’ve thought of shutting down, but now and then I like to get some stuff out and I’ve been her for so long…

We have been in our house for 6+ months now and we still love it. We have an empty dining room and mostly empty living room, but we’ll get there. Even though our house is redone, we are still finding items we want/need to do. Like getting the fireplace hooked up to the gas line, installing a disposal (who doesn’t have a disposal in this day and age), landscaping the front yard, painting upstairs, and doing some work in the bathrooms. That said, we’re still paying off the new washer & dryer and the kids’ swingset, so we’ll likely wait a bit. We love our neighborhood and are just thoroughly pleased in general.

Monkey started Kindergarten back in July (year-round school). He’s doing great! We were a little worried, but so far he is engaged and excited and moving right along. He’s in our local public school, which is rated 9/10 on Great Schools. While the school seems perfectly fine, it doesn’t really excite us in any way. We loved his preschool and were really hoping to have that same feeling once he got to K. So, I attended a Magnet School fair today to check out our options. There were two that sounded great and that I’m going to visit in the coming weeks. I think we’d probably just stick with our local public school (and we still may) but they redistrict here frequently and you have no control over where your child may end up. That is kinda scary and doesn’t happen for the charters and magnets so we’ll see what comes. In the meantime, Monkey is learning to write and read and is doing really well – even though the kid never EVER listens to us at home. We’re trying on that front 🙂 I also can’t believe our guy will be 6 in a little over a month. OMG! Wasn’t he just born????

The Marshmallow is 2.5 and boy is he ever 2.5. Tantrums and “no” and refusing naps, oh my. He is still nursing, but I’m going out of town on business in a little over a week so that may be the end of that. DW is really pushing me to be done, but I just don’t know how I’ll handle it if on my return, he’s teary and begging for milk. As much as I’d love to be done, there’s a lot to be said for extended nursing, too. We’ll see what happens.

In terms of work, I was really unhappy in the role I originally took at my company. It’s the type of work I enjoy doing, but it’s a new team and our management is AWFUL. Everyone on the team is in misery and looking to get out. So I pursued another job within the company and I got it a couple of weeks ago. Monday is my first day and I’m thrilled. Most of the team I’ll be working with is based in, wait for it… Los Angeles! So I’m flying to LA for planning meetings on 11/17, and will likely be in LA a few times a year. Yay! I have already worked with this team in my old role and really like them so I’m hopeful that this will be a good situation for me. Luckily, we love our new city and our new home, so it was still absolutely worth the move. How awful if that weren’t the case!

For Halloween, DW went all out and decorated our house and played spooky music and everything. I had no idea she wanted to do that, but I’m happy she did 🙂 We’re already buying stuff for Christmas decorating!

house

house2

It was also the first time we’ve had Trick or Treaters come to the door (we were in a security building in CA) and Monkey LOVED handing out candy. We asked him if he wanted to keep getting candy or go home and hand out candy and he enthusiastically said, “Hand out candy!!!! Let’s go!” He waited by the door, looking out the window for ToTers. Adorable. My guys were Batman (M) and Robin (MM). There was a kids H’ween party at my office and they were Mario (M) and Luigi (MM) there – freaking adorable!!!!!

So that’s what’s happening around these parts. I’ll try to update more often, friends.

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school daze update

After days of ridiculous phone calls with my contact at Monkey’s school, we made the decision to pull him out. Cue the backpedal! Oh no, she says, she never said he was behind or anything of that nature. She was simply concerned with consistency and stability for him. It is not good to have him start and stop schools so quickly. It would have been much better for him to stay with them for a full year. I was like, lady, you cray. Man did we make the right call. Communication – learn it!

DW and I also decided we are just not boarding this crazy train to push academics on a 5 year old. We went to our beloved co-op because we truly believe that the best foundation for preschoolers is to learn through play. Not through rote memorization, worksheets, etc. Through hands-on learning and fun. Monkey absolutely loved going to school at the co-op. That is an important first step – getting your child to view school as a place they love to be. He learned how to be a good friend, how to be part of a team, how to sit still during circle time. His vocabulary is through the roof and his storytelling abilities are awesome. Side note: Just last night he told DW that he loved her so much that if a bear ever came, he would protect her. He said he wasn’t sure how, but he would. He guessed he’d fight it? LOL!

He has had 2.5 years of preschool with a teacher who told us he was a delight and super smart and would have no trouble in Kindergarten. Still I worried, so we put him in a weekly pre-K prep class last year with a licensed Kindergarten teacher. He did great and we were told he’s bright and will be great in Kinder. Still I worried, so I took him to a speech assessment last year, which was administered by a local Kindergarten teacher. She said his speech was fine, his vocab and math skills were better than many of her current Kinder students. So you know what? I’m done worrying! I’m not going to second guess myself any more. Monkey is awesome and he is developing just fine! I. WILL. NOT. BOARD. THIS. CRAZY. TRAIN. Sell my ticket to someone else!

slowdown

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school daze

I have so many things I need to blog about (including our INCREDIBLE new house that we can’t wait to move into) But as usual, I seem to only come to the blog when I hit an issue I need input on or need to write down to process. Today will be all about my Monkey and school.

When we were in California, Monkey attended a neighborhood cooperative pre-school. He started there when he was just shy of 3 years old and was there until we moved in late January (just past his 5th bday). He loved school, and everyone there loved him. We were very involved (coop and all – DW worked there one day a week), and knew his teacher and all of the other parents really well. It was a close-knit, safe, welcoming, warm community. We knew we’d never replace it when we moved and we all mourned the loss and wish we could have finished out the school year. But life happens.

We began touring pre-schools in NC pretty much as soon as our feet hit the ground. Still, it took over a month to find one that 1) had an opening and 2) seemed like a decent fit for us. Monkey started at a Montessori school a couple of weeks ago. During his first week, we kept getting feedback from the teacher that indicated he is behind where they would expect him to be. He doesn’t write his name or hold a pencil properly. He has trouble using scissors. None of this is new information to us – Monkey is all about being outside and active and the coop was play-based and focused on building social skills and character, which we fully support. The coop offered daily activities that incorporated writing, drawing, cutting, etc., but Monkey has always been more of an athletic type. He’d much prefer to be outside running wild to sitting at a table coloring (much to our chagrin on occasion).

Last year, I wondered if we should pull him out of the coop and put him in a more academic prep environment for his third year of preschool (December b-day led to an extra year). We toured a few places and found that they weren’t much different from our beloved coop (and they cost quite a bit more), so we stayed put. We also enrolled him in a weekly Kindergarten prep course that many of the coop kids attend. He did very well in those classes and we got nothing but positive feedback from the instructor. My mind was put at ease. He could and did do all of it just fine.

On Monday of this week, Monkey insisted that he was not going to school. He refused to get dressed and cried in a very emotional, sad way (not the tantrumy, get-my-way cry). We were frustrated but didn’t force the issue. When asked, he told us he didn’t want to go because, “Their playground isn’t very good.” Hahahahaha! His teacher told us there had been no issue she was aware of, that he played nicely with some of the other kids and seemed to be doing well. Tuesday came and we had a crying boy again. We tried everything – gently asking why, bribery, loss of privileges and still he wouldn’t budge. Yes, we are softies but it’s hard when we turned his life upside down a mere matter of weeks ago, you know? This is all new. Plus we don’t know these people well, so we didn’t want to force him back in case there truly was an issue he wasn’t able to put into words.

He doesn’t have school on Wednesdays (no room for him), so last night I prepped him for today. I had him pick out his school outfit and praised his choice. I told him that he was going to school tomorrow (today), even if we had to take him in his PJs, but that I really hoped he’d get dressed in the awesome outfit he picked out. My sweet boy did it – he got up, ate breakfast, got dressed, and headed to school with DW. So proud of him 🙂 He was a bit clingy when they arrived at school, but in he went.

At pickup,  the teacher told DW she wants to have a parent/teacher conference that is probably about how “behind” he is. IMO, they are being very alarmist. I’m left wondering how much (if any) of it is of actual concern, how much of it might just be the Montessori way (we have had no Montessori experience previously), and how much of it might be pressure for him to continue next year in this school. They offer Kindergarten and just today acted like they might boot us out of the program now if we don’t enroll for next year as they didn’t realize our intent was for him to finish the current school year with them and attend our neighborhood school for K.

I know that many (probably even most) other kids write their name prior to K (and then some, for some kids) and use scissors, etc. I also know that my kid is perfectly capable of it and I plan for us to work with him on these things to give him a nice start in Kinder. But honestly they are acting like it’s the end of times that this child isn’t doing these things. Monkey is super bright, good with numbers and letters, loves reading books, asks awesome questions, etc. I have no fears that he’s not ready for Kindergarten. But this school has put a niggling little bit of doubt in the back of my head and I really don’t appreciate it. I’m left wondering if Monkey is feeling this pressure and it is causing him anxiety, making him not want to be there. Y’all, parenting is hard.

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random topics post :)

I have two topics that I want to write about:

  • Work travel while breastfeeding
  • Girls’ dance

Here goes!

Work travel while breastfeeding

UPDATE: My boss was fine with my non-attendance. When will I learn not so stress over situations until they happen? Sigh. She was lovely about it.

I have a new boss (a woman who recently announced her pregnancy with her third child). She has been my boss since late December. Since then, I’ve traveled for work once and have two more trips upcoming (one to San Diego and one to Northern California). I’ve let her know that I’m still breastfeeding, my child is not yet one, and overnights without him are simply not doable right now. For the two upcoming trips, the family is coming with me so that I’m able to do the trips and not freak my baby out. I know that she travels frequently and has a nanny. She also mentioned that she weaned her first two at 13 months so that she could resume work travel. This is not my style, and I’m not interested in a bunch of work travel even if I were able to do it. There was no talk of travel when she offered me the position, or we’d have had this discussion then.

Now to the dilemma: The primary department that I work with is having 4 training sessions over 4 weeks time, late April-May. Three are on the East coast and one is in Arizona (I could fly in and out in a day for that one). I need to tell my boss about these sessions, that they are a great opportunity for the work I’m doing, but there is no way I can be gone for all these overnights. I am tasked with starting this new initiative, so I currently have no one else I could send – it’s just me. I’m worried about the conversation we are going to have later today as I’m sure it will annoy her and I’m not confident she’ll let me off the hook. Maybe I’ll get lucky and she’ll be more understanding than I think, but I’m not counting on it. I am the breadwinner in our house, so it’s important that I keep my job, but let’s be real, my priority is my baby, not this job that I don’t even really like. (Yes, I’m getting my resume together and starting to actively look for another position.)

I hate that this is even an issue. It’s such a brief time that our children are babies. Why can’t we have that time to do what we feel is right? The MM is still not taking to solids or bottles, so how the hell am I supposed to leave him for days/nights, you know? I don’t see how I can and I’m really pissed off that I have to worry about it – especially with another mom as my boss. My last boss (a man with 3 kids) was very cool with these issues. He never made me feel like I had to make a decision. Now, my boss hasn’t done that yet, so maybe it won’t be an issue, but… I plan to offer to be there via video, to assist with creating the presentation, anything and everything I can do to support it without having to hop a plane. Here’s hoping it’s enough.

Ugh, ugh, ugh.

 

Girls’ dance

Monkey’s pre-school had their annual fundraising event over the weekend. It was a nice affair – vintage circus theme, good food, games, crafts, etc. One of the pieces of entertainment was a couple of dance routines by a local dance school troop. Girls were about 10 years old, I’d say. Dude, I was seriously scandalized by what I saw! First, the costumes: They were dressed like “bumblebees” in tight, cropped shredded yellow shirts with black bra-like tops underneath. Black booty shorts with a tulle ruffle on the butt. Thigh-high black and yellow striped socks. DUDE! Remember when we were kids and girls dressed in sequined leotards, tutus, and tights for recitals? Then the song: Not sure what song it was but it was very suggestive, even had the word “shit” but shushed (“Shhhhhhhh” where the very obvious “shit” would have been, and that was worked into the routine with the little girls putting finger to lips while looking sexily over their shoulders at the audience). And the dance: Holy SHIT, y’all! I was just so uncomfortable and taken aback. Stripper poles would not have been amiss with this routine.  Thrusts and overtly sexual moves, super sexy/flirty faces, just over the effin’ top. Am I crazy? Is this the norm? I’ve never been so happy to have boys as when I witnessed this display. Shock.Ing. And I wasn’t the only one. A glance around the yard showed me many uncomfortable looking faces, another mom of 2 boys came by DW and whispered, “Good thing we have boys, right?” – it was nuts. And we wonder why kids are having sex at younger ages… Let’s start by not sexualizing little girls! Ick!

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preschool update

Monkey is doing incredibly well in preschool. He has learned to sit down at circle time (this is a big deal because he was SO far from it when he started a week and a half ago  hell, last week he bit DW because he didn’t want to sit down at circle time). He comes home filthy, tired and happy every day. He’s had no issue with separation anxiety at all. DW said today his teacher came up to her and said that every day someone tells her how much they like Monkey, and DW said two other parents have commented to her on how cute he is. So proud ❤

Now if only we could move forward on the potty training…

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