Where did September go?

I don’t know where September went. Did you see it?

Between the kids starting school, me freaking out about school, and traveling for work, all of a sudden it is October. Many friends have asked how the kids are doing in school, so I figured I’d give a quick update.

Savanna, since day one, walked into preschool like she has done this before. She never had a moment of hesitation or separation anxiety. She runs in happily, and leaves happily. I hear she had one meltdown once when the teacher asked her to put a stick down. Aside from that, she’s always talking about her teachers, her friends, and her preschool. She is loving it.

Josh loves kindergarten. During gradual entry, he complained the days are too short. He comes home providing very little information about what he has done all day, so we just don’t bother asking generic questions like “What did you learn today” or even “How was school today”. His teacher keeps a pretty good blog about the class, so at least us parents know roughly what they’ve been doing each week. Most days he eats very little of his lunch and snacks. His teacher told us that he talks so much and gets so distracted that he doesn’t have time to eat his lunch or snack. Funny how he gets those genes from his daddy. Since starting school, he has falling asleep at night quicker. I think all the excitement of being in school all day wears him out pretty good.

As for me, I’ve been keeping up with running four times a week. Since June this year, I have run just over 400 km. For the first time in my life, I have started to enjoy running. I never thought this day would come. On the work front, I spent over 100 hours in August and September writing a tax technical paper, and presented it last week in Ottawa. The presentation was a little nerve wrecking, knowing that I was presenting to people who are experts in the field. October will see a few more overnight work trips, but nothing as long as being away for a whole week like last week.Josh and Vanna-2 Josh and Vanna-3 Josh and Vanna

Disaster kit letter

Cliff told me that Savanna’s preschool requested us to put together a “disaster kit/earthquake kit” for her. The three items they asked for are:

  • A photograph
  • A toy
  • A letter from the parents to the child

Ok, I can come up with a photograph and a toy pretty easily. But a letter? A letter for the teachers to read to Savanna in the event of a disaster or an earthquake. How the heck am I supposed to write THAT? All I could think of is what happens if Cliff or I are dead? “Dear Savanna, if you are reading this, we’re dead…”

So Cliff started the letter, and I added to it. This is what we came up with. We’re trying to be reassuring and upbeat, and provide some distraction at the end. I just hope Savanna will NEVER need to read this letter!

 

To our sweetheart,

Something scary just happened and we know you may be scared. The teachers and emergency crew are going to take care of you. We know you will listen to your teachers and be helpful. You can ask them any questions you have. It’s ok to cry if you are scared. In the meantime, don’t forget to help your friends and your teachers, and be kind.

Mommy and daddy can take care of ourselves. We are on our way to come get you and Josh as soon as we can. Nothing is more important to us than you and Josh. We can’t wait for that moment of holding you in our arms. Wait for us patiently.

Mommy and daddy are so proud of you. You are growing and your own personality is shining through. We love your giggles and your kisses and your silliness. Josh loves playing with you and having you as his sister.

Hey, do you remember we saw Elsa at Kiera’s birthday party, and Elsa sang “Let it go” and put make-up on your face? How about this weekend we go see Elsa again, sing “Let it go” together, and you pick two eye shadow colors from mommy’s palette to put on your eyes? We can also do two pigtails with blue elastics to go with your make-up. That’ll be so much fun.

We are on our way to get you now. See you soon!

Love,

Mommy and daddy

I survived the first day of school (sort of)

With Savanna’s first day of preschool today, I felt nervous. We’ve never had her out of our sight, so I had no idea how she will do. When Cliff told her we were leaving to take Josh to school, she didn’t even look at him. She focused on the new toys she was playing with. When we came to pick her up, it was almost like she had done this before and it was no big deal that we showed up.First day of schoolSchool-14 School-9

With Josh’s first day of kindergarten today, I felt sad. He couldn’t wait to get into his classroom. After Cliff and I walked out of his school, I sobbed all the way back to the car. It’s a new phase of Josh’s life, and I have just lost him a little bit more.

He came out of school complaining that one hour was too short and he wanted to stay longer.

First day of school-2 School-10

School-13

Double whammy

This week is going to be a double whammy for me. Not only is Josh embarking on the new journey of kindergarten, Savanna is also entering the brand new territory of preschool on the same day. I am not sure how much I can bear!

When Josh started preschool, I was too clued out to even register him. By the time I realized that registration had started 6 months ago, it was 3 days before preschool started. Luckily the wait list was short and Josh got in.

With Savanna, I was prepared. Kind of like everything else when it comes to the second child. I registered her months beforehand, and secured a desired time slot at a location we wanted. She knew what preschool meant, because she had seen Josh going to preschool. We got her spare set of clothes bagged and labeled, and spare water bottles and snack bags ready to go. Everything seemed ready and easy–everything except my weak little heart.

Being the younger one, she’ll always be “the baby”. How is it that “the baby” is going to preschool now? She has never left our sight before this day. How is she going to manage in preschool with all the kids bigger than her? What if she cries when we’re not there? What if she doesn’t like the snacks? What if bigger kids bully her? What if she can’t figure out how to put her shoes on?

I am just going to sit here and hold my breath until I figure out how Savanna is going to adjust to preschool.

Savanna-3 Savanna-4 Savanna-5

Santa

Cliff was asked by Josh’s preschool teacher to be Santa at their Christmas party. Cliff agreed, and kept it a secret from Josh.

On Friday, Cliff dropped off Josh at preschool, then later went back in a Santa suite. All the kids, including Josh, took a turn sitting on Santa’s lap telling Santa their Christmas wish.

That evening, Josh was still very excited that Santa came to their preschool. He said Santa was very kind and very nice, to which Cliff and I smirked. This is such a great age to believe in the magic of Christmas!

Josh

Finished first year of preschool

Last day of Preschool, June 26, 2014.

Last day of Preschool, June 26, 2014.

10 months ago, I was taking Joshua to preschool for the first time. If you remember reading the two posts (here and here) related to that first week, I was so worried about how he’ll do. We had never left him on his own before that, ever.

It turned out that Joshua loves preschool, and we are so happy that he has his own thing to do that he looks forward to. Because we don’t have him in daycare, he spends the majority of his time with Savanna. I find it’s nice for him to have a few hours a week of being just on his own.

Reading my own old posts reminds me of how much he has matured and grown. 10 months ago, whenever he got upset, he would cry and scream and often lose control of his bladder. Over the 10 months, he only had 1 accident. He learned shapes and colors and letters and animals and things I haven’t thought of teaching him. He made friends and he loves his teachers.

Preschool wasn’t a big obstacle for him, but it was for me. It was the first time I felt like I had to let him go a little.

First day of preschool, September 5, 2013.

First day of preschool, September 5, 2013.

Surviving preschool

Last week, preschool was doing the “gradual entry”, so it was only an hour.  This week, it’s the full 2-hours on Tuesday and Thursday.

On Tuesday, I dropped Joshua off, and he ran into the room without even saying bye to me.  That was a good sign.  I walked home with Savanna, put her down for a nap, and thought I would enjoy the quiet time on my own.  Instead, I worried.  I worried about if Joshua is ok.  What if he didn’t like the snacks?  What if he cried?  What if some kid bullied him?  What if he started looking for me and I was nowhere near?  What if he had a potty accident?  What if he felt like I deserted him?

If anyone was having separation anxiety, it was me.

Preschool is probably harder on me than it is for him.  He is totally on his own without Cliff or myself next to him, and that’s a very foreign concept to me.  The fact that I didn’t get to give the preschool teacher the low-down of Joshua’s entire history also really worried me.  How would she know how to deal with him when he’s upset?  How would she know that he hates fruits?  How would she know that he’s missing his nap time to be at preschool and that he might be cranky?  Why didn’t she ask me for his entire history?  Why do they insist on offering fruits as a snack?

When I went back to pick him up on Tuesday, he saw me from across the room, ran towards me with a big smile on his face, “Mommy, mommy, mommy!”  I caught him in my arms and almost died with gratitude that he was happy, and that he was still wearing his own shorts (ie. no potty accident).

Thursday was slightly less smooth.  He was crying when I arrived.  Apparently he had been crying for about 10 minutes over something very minor.  The teacher said he did really well otherwise.  As soon as Joshua saw me, he stopped crying and showed me the craft he made.  He was in very good spirits the rest of the day, so I didn’t think the crying was anything significant.

So *this* mommy survived the first week of preschool, with some anxiety, some worrying, but also did a little bit of letting go.

With tears still in his eyes, proudly showing me his school bus.

With tears still in his eyes, proudly showing me his school bus.

Preschool

Most parents are on top of things enough to get their kids registered for preschool.  Ahem, not me.  By the time I realized registration started months before I woke up to the fact that Joshua will be old enough for preschool this fall, it was too late.  We’re #20 on the wait list.

I went to check on the wait list status a few days ago, and was informed that we have no hope to get him in this fall.  “HOWEVER!!”, the lady at the counter said enthusiastically, there is space left in the afternoon sessions.

Afternoon sessions?  Who the hell does that?  Don’t kids need to nap in the afternoon?

After much deliberation with Cliff last night, we decided to “give it a whirl”, like my BFF likes to say.  So what if he misses a few afternoon naps a week?  He’ll just be more cranky than usual, but it’s not like I don’t have those days with him anyway.  

Joshua was quite excited about “going to school” once I showed him the classroom full of toys and art supplies.  Personally, I was so excited for him and feeling so sentimental and so worried all at the same time.  My baby, my tiny little baby, my firstborn, is going to SCHOOL!  He is going to start making friends I don’t necessarily approve of, and learn things I didn’t teach him.  He will be out of my sight for 2 hours, twice a week, where I cannot protect him from pushy kids or shield him from the big bad world.  I can feel like I need some major letting go, and it’s hard as hell.

Today was the gradual entry, so it was only an hour at the school.  I dropped him off and left the room, and waited outside for the hour.  I heard him cry at snack time, and I was just dying to know what was happening.  But after the agonizing hour was over, I saw him waiting for me, full of smiles.  He came running out, telling me that he’s a big boy who goes to school.  I was so proud and so relieved.  We went to the playground with his new friends, and he crashed in the stroller on the way home.

Yeah, I know it was only an hour, and I know it was just preschool.  But for me, today will always be the first day my baby went to school.

Angela Chang Photography-6386