Spring break drama

One day, The Boy will look forward to Spring Break. One day, he will welcome the idea of going someplace where he won’t be expected to do anything but play.

One day, I will tell remind him of a time that he pleaded with me to take him to school (or my work) instead of dropping him off at day care because (as he says) “they don’t have challenging lessons for me.”

I love his old day care. They’re awesome. In fact, when I gave the requisite 30-day notice that I was removing The Boy from their care, I included a note of thanks, praising their staff for their level of care and attention. But The Boy, for whatever reason, has not wanted to return. In fact, after he toured his current school and had his interview with the program director, he asked if he could start at his new school right away.

“They’re doing lessons,” he gushed when I asked him why he wanted to go right away. “We don’t do lessons like that at my Three School!”

But his old school has a couple perks. One of his friends, E, attends the voluntary pre-kindergarten program there. And they serve lunch (meaning he doesn’t have to bring his lunchbox), which is now a novelty. There was once a time he thought the school only gave lunch to the kids who didn’t have a lunchbox to bring food to eat; he has now learned that purchased lunches at his school are a treat.

But this didn’t make today’s drop off any easier for him. It began in the car; I would unbuckle him and he would buckle himself back into his seat. I got carried him out of the car, and he ran back to open the door so he could crawl back into the car. I carried him into the building, checked in at the front desk, and ultimately carried him to the classroom where he would spend the week.

It was a nightmare. I felt like the meanest parent ever.

Thankfully, Mr. C, The Boy’s last teacher before starting at his current school, was there. He was so surprised and genuinely happy to see The Boy, and tears started welling in my eyes as Mr. C told The Boy how much he’d missed him.

After a bit of small talk (“How does he like his school?” “He’s reading now and writing sentences!” “Oh, my gosh!”), I signed The Boy into the classroom and Mr. C pried him away from me so that I could escape leave.

Fortunately, the tears had subsided by then, so I didn’t feel so terrible about abandoning leaving him. And as I left, I asked The Boy to be a good helper for Mr. C, who promised, in turn, to put him to work.

Cute Husband gets to be the hero and rescue him this afternoon. And I can only hope tomorrow will be much less painful.

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Wordless Wednesday: What a mess!

When a pair of muddy shorts greeted me when I walked in last night, Cute Husband showed me the photo he snapped on his phone.

I have never seen my child so filthy. At least it all washes off in the bath.

“He and Ethan were being marched into the classroom from outside,” Cute Husband explained. “I asked him what happened and he said they were playing in the dirt. Oh my God, the teacher was so pissed. I thought it was hilarious, but I don’t think that helped.”

Yes, boys will be boys.

The morning commute

This morning, as I was driving to The Boy’s school, I heard a faint but familiar sound coming from the back seat.

I glanced at him in my mirror and saw that his face was red and his eyes tearing. “C___,” I said, “are you pooping?”

“Uh-uh,” was his reply.

“Are you sure? Mommy thinks you’re pooping.”

He scowled at me and pointed forward.

“Drive!”

The Boy’s wrath

Getting The Boy out of the house in the mornings is usually almost always a battle. And it’s not like Mondays are worse than any other days, either. He just does not want to leave the house, so I end up promising everything under the sun just to get him out the door and into the car.

This morning, he asked if he could bring his crayons and coloring book. I allowed it, but I made very clear that both the coloring book and crayons were to stay in the car; he was not, under any circumstances, to bring them into the classroom. And this arrangement worked out fine until we actually got to the school.

I walked him to his class and calmly weathered the meltdown associated with being left at school in the morning, made worse this time because his coloring book and crayons were in the car. I handed off my child to one of the teachers (how they manage to stay sane when dealing with what seems like constant screaming and crying is beyond me), then escaped went to work.

I thought I was in the clear. Then this afternoon, Cute Husband called me.

“Did you let him bring a coloring book and crayons to school today?” he asked.

“I let him bring them in the car,” I explained. “I wouldn’t let him bring them into the classroom.”

“Okay,” he said. “I can barely understand what he’s saying, but he’s really upset about it.”

After assuring him that I would, in fact, bring the coloring book and crayons back home with me, I hung up and finished my day at work.

When I walked into the house, The Boy greeted me. “Mommy, I want my coloring book back.” (His pronunciation was a bit off, but that was the gist of it.)

No “Hi, Mommy!” Not even a “hello”. Just “Mommy, I want my coloring book back.”

At least he wasn’t angry anymore.

New words, new phrases, new skills

The Boy is slowly adjusting to the 2-year-old wing of his school, but morning drop offs are still somewhat challenging. I have no idea if he’ll merely whimper for a few minutes or wail inconsolably for several minutes. He seems eager to leave the house in the mornings and is usually quite happy when Cute Husband picks him up in the afternoons, but that drop off is still difficult.

It’s simply amazing how much he has grown in just this past month. Mimicry is a significant part of his play, so Cute Husband and I have to choose our words very carefully now. He has picked up a number of phrases, including “Come on!”, “Oh, man!” and, my personal favorite, “I did it!”

The latest news is that he can now count to 20. Sure, he skips numbers and bounces around from time to time, but he is so proud of this skill!

The Ouch Report and other things

The Boy brought home an Ouch Report on Friday, complete with tiny little teeth marks on his hand. It happened just a few minutes before my husband arrived, and the teacher was very apologetic. The Boy, of course, was (mostly) over it and done crying – but when Cute Husband asked him to point out the responsible party, The Boy led him to a boy and pointed, saying, “He bit! He bit!”

Better the Ouch Report than a Disciplinary Report. And at least the Biter didn’t break skin.

* * * * *

Teething in our house seems to have been put on hiatus. I don’t think all four molars are in yet, but the last time I (quite bravely) checked, it seemed like the lower molars were starting to arrive. I tried to check the top, as well, but found it increasingly difficult to navigate around his actively chomping jaws.

And a teething hiatus means more normalcy in the house. He’s willing to eat again (though he’ll choose bananas and berries above all else if given the choice) and has even taken to sneaking shredded mini wheat cereal from the pantry. Cute Husband caught him in the act one afternoon, shredded wheat all over The Boy’s chin and shirt and cheeks puffed, full of cereal. How do you get mad at someone who’s just trying to sneak some extra fiber (okay, and sugar) into his diet? I’d rather he dig into a box of Frosted Mini Wheats than Cookie Crisp or Lucky Charms, anyway. That’s why I don’t keep the good stuff on the bottom shelf!

Potty training seems like a distant dream. The Boy will wear his Antsy Pants, but he refuses to sit on the potty. I told my husband that I think we ought to start giving Tommy Bear stickers, since Tommy Bear is willing to sit on the potty. I need to check my sticker collection to see if I have any suitable for Tommy Bear.

The funniest thing is that whenever I tell The Boy that he can’t do/have/watch [fill in desired thing here] until he sits on the potty, he scowls at me. And I mean, his entire face will turn from the sweetest smile you’ve ever seen to a nasty I-am-so-disgusted-by-what-you-just-suggested scowl. And, of course, you can’t laugh because this is very serious stuff.

I just hope I can catch that scowl on camera one day!

Moving on up (or, Day 1 of the Twos)

The Boy is officially in the 2-year-old classroom now. Dropping him off was absolutely awful this morning.

A big part of the problem is that I still haven’t met the teachers, and it doesn’t help that the classroom where I drop him off in the mornings isn’t the one where he will spend most of his time. So, his cubby isn’t in that room, his artwork (once he makes some) isn’t in that room, and his teachers aren’t in that room. And it didn’t help this morning that he doesn’t know any of the kids, either.

After I signed him in, I briefly looked around the room and pointed out all the cool things in the classroom that aren’t in the Toddler room. They have bathroom stalls – short enough for me to peer into, but tall enough to give kids privacy when they use the facilities. There’s a little sink where he can wash his hands without needing to use a step stool. The tables and chairs are a little taller than the ones in the Toddler room (though still shorter than the set at home), and there are Legos and art supplies and all kinds of fun toys that we have at home but weren’t in the Toddler room. After all, he’s a big(ger) kid now!

I did my best to talk about everything excitedly, to get him to take me on a tour of the classroom, but he would have none of it. He begged in earnest between sobs for me to take him outside (“Out! Mama! Peas! Mama! Out! Peas! Peas!”), and he clung to my leg for dear life as I wrote on the sign-in sheet. Finally, the teacher there (still don’t know her name) took him from me so that I could escape. As soon as the door shut behind me, I ran to his old Toddler classroom and sobbed.

As if that weren’t enough, I still needed to run diapers to his new classroom (not the temporary one). I wrote his name on the package in the Toddler room, steeled my nerves, then ran (literally) past the room where I left him and down the hall to his classroom. Once I was there, I looked around a bit, just to see where my little boy would be spending most of his days for the next year. It’s an adorable facility, really – perfectly sized for him, and I can totally see him fostering more independence in the coming year. I carefully made my way back once I heard one of the Directors being paged to the classroom where I left him and saw him standing by the door, tears streaming down his little cheeks, wringing his hands and stomping his feet as he cried, “Mamaaa! Mamaaaaaa! Mamaaaaaaaaaa!”

It absolutely broke my heart. Thankfully, he was looking the other way and didn’t see me through the window (I would have died if he did), but it washorrible. I felt terrible!

I’m sure he will give Cute Husband a full report this afternoon when Cute Husband picks him up. And I know he’s fine and is probably enjoying himself as I write.

It doesn’t ease the Mommy Guilt, though.

The transition begins…

The Boy is starting to transition to the 2-year-old classroom today. Each day, he’ll spend a little more time with the bigger kids so that, come Monday, he’ll be comfortable going to the 2-year-old wing.

I need to prepare myself for meltdowns next week.

He’s teething like crazy. Even after a half dose of Tylenol this morning, he was still holding his mouth when I left him at school. I don’t think I need to express how relieved I will be when these molars come in. At least I know I’ll have a slight reprieve before the next molars come in – and by then, he’ll be able to better express himself verbally to let me know what he needs.

I bought him some Big Boy Underpants this weekend. He hasn’t been asking for them or anything, but I know he’ll see some kids in his new class wearing Big Kid underpants and want to have those handy as a potty training incentive. He’s not showing a lot of interest in the potty. He knows what it is and that you sit on it; beyond that, he hasn’t quite grasped the concept. Tommy Bear sits on the potty more than The Boy does. Meanwhile, Cute Husband and I ask him every day if he wants to sit on it, and we’re careful not to push it on him. After all, he’ll get there one of these days. And if he’s the only kid in his class still wearing diapers, so be it.

He’ll pick up on that really quickly.

Another year, another classroom, another set of molars

Cute Husband brought home a letter from school letting us know that The Boy will be slowly transitioning to a new classroom in the next few weeks. While there is admittedly a part of me feeling a bit wistful that our little boy is growing as fast as he is, I am so proud of his development – and so very grateful that he is as healthy as he is!

We’re currently going through another round of teething, and I can only hope this bout ends with all four of his 2-year molars actually erupting. Our previously established nighttime rituals have been replaced by an increasing number of stalling tactics as he fights off sleep. Favorite television shows, books, and quiet melodies – all things that worked not too long ago – now fail to lull him to sleep. It’s simultaneously frustrating and heart-wrenching to hear him cry out in attempt to stave off the inevitable.

In all, these are just some of the joys and frustrations gracing our household right now. All of it is temporary, I know, which is what makes it bearable. All the same, I’d rather be done with teething – and I long for the old days of easy bedtimes!

So much for no pressure

The Boy is turning two in less than four weeks. With a new number comes a new class, new teachers, and new benchmarks to hit. At this time last year, I was starting to get a little stressed because he wasn’t walking and wasn’t consistent with using his sippy cup. Now that he happily runs around the house (sometimes literally) and clearly gets enough fluids drinking from his sippy cups, I realize that my anxiety wasn’t completely necessary. All the same, the proactive steps I took did ease him into the next classroom, so I spoke with a teacher today from the two-year-old class to identify what skill sets The Boy ought to have before he transitions.

And this is when I learned the big thing in the two-year-old class is potty training.

[sigh]

About five months ago, when The Boy was 18 months old, his teachers asked if I wanted to get him started on potty training. I declined, reasoning that if he wasn’t remotely interested in undressing himself, he clearly wasn’t interested in using the potty. Fast forward a few months and he’s starting to show some interest in removing his clothing, but only when the bathtub is filling or I’ve dressed him in a shirt or pants that he doesn’t want to wear. All the same, as much as he likes playing with toilet paper and flushing the toilet (not simultaneously, thank goodness), he hasn’t shown a whole lot of interest in really, um, interacting with it.

So I asked Cute Husband today to swing by Target and pick up a little potty chair. I brought home the seat that fits onto the big toilet, but The Boy seems overwhelmed by the idea of sitting on the big commode. I can’t blame him, really. I’m a little leery of things that are three-quarters my height, too.

I’m elated that his teachers at school are going to be working with him on potty training during the day, which will make the whole process go so much faster, especially when The Boy see his classmates going into the bathroom and using the toilet instead of pooping and peeing in their diapers. After all, peer pressure can be a good thing. I just don’t know that he’s ready, and I really don’t want him to get so anxious that it becomes a prolonged (translation: year-long) process.

Of course, he could very well be ready and I just don’t recognize any of the signs. Either way, it appears potty training is coming to my house sooner than I expected.

Wish me luck. I think I’m going to need it.