Tags: photos, preschool
Ok. Now that is too cute. Look at all the hats! They even came with little blue tassels! And Liam wore his for the ENTIRE graduation. Wow. Granted he didn’t smile, wave, or acknowledge my presence in any way, and he didn’t sing with the class, either. But he did talk into the microphone, saying his name and what he wanted to be when he grew up: An Air Force Pilot.
He did finally smile when he shook his teacher’s hand, and he posed like a good little boy with his “diploma.” We were happy that Grandpa Bob was there to see it, and we enjoyed some cake and pink lemonade afterward.
Liam is so funny now that school is out and he’s just realizing the meaning of summer vacation. He wakes up in the morning and says, “I don’t want to go to school today. Wait, I don’t have to. Ha!” We’ve got a lot to keep us busy – we’ve already got a couple of play dates scheduled this week, and we’re off to story time at the library tomorrow morning with Amia. (Which should be interesting. He never wants to join the group, but I’m hoping when he sees a friend there, he’ll agree to participate.) Swim lessons start next week, and we’re going to keep up with the tumbling class. We’re headed to Lexington for the 4th of July, and if we manage to survive that long in the car, we might try to squeeze in a trip to Colorado before the summer is over. And then, before I know it, August 14th will arrive, and my little baby boy will be starting Kindergarten. In the meantime, our summer of fun awaits!
Tags: amusing, preschool
The other day when I picked up Liam from school, his teacher sort of whispered to me confidentially, “Liam’s been telling me about his dog Lucy and how she has diarrhea.” I laughed. Yes, Lucy’s been having that a lot lately, wink. She continued, “He mentioned it last week, and then I asked him how Lucy was doing this week, and he said, ‘She still has diarrhea.’” She smiled. I smiled.
Then something occurred to me.
You see, this is Lucy.
“You do know that Lucy’s just a stuffed dog, right?”
We had ourselves a big laugh. Apparently she has a dog, too, and was concerned about our dog with the chronic runs. She thought we had a seriously sick pooch! I told her that, in fact, there IS a real Lucy, but she lives with my in-laws in Kentucky and she is perfectly healthy. I guess there was some confusion when she asked if Lucy was real and Liam answered with the truth, technically. Funny how much gets lost in translation with a four-year-old.
Tags: photos, preschool
OhMyGod! Look how teeny tiny he is! That’s him in the red stripes on the far right. Liam was such a perfect little gentleman for his Thanksgiving preschool program. While most of the other children squirmed around, made faces, waved enthusiastically to their parents, and shouted out, “Mom, take my picture!” Liam stood still and waited for his turn to speak. Each kid memorized a bible verse, and Liam remembered his perfectly. The teacher called his name, he walked on over there, leaned his head waaay up as far as he could, and said, “Always give thanks.” We could barely hear him, so the teacher adjusted the mic down. Giggle giggle. He even remembered the chapter, Ephesians 520. They must have worked with him on that. I wasn’t sure how to pronounce it, being the heathen I am, so I didn’t want to embarrass him by teaching the wrong thing. But he spoke it perfectly. And I noticed he got an extra helping of applause, probably because of how cute and tiny he is. James and I were certainly clapping our hearts out. They also sang a few songs, but Liam informed me ahead of time that he wasn’t going to sing them because he didn’t know the words. So, just like during his Halloween parade, he stood there in silence, observing his classmates making hand gestures and singing in their little voices.
What impressed me most was that he actually said his name when the teacher brought the microphone around. I think all those rehearsals last week and this week helped him get used to the idea. I’m looking forward to more of these little performances as he enters grade school next year. I have no doubt he’ll be the smallest, cutest little boy in the front row for years to come.
Today was the first day of Liam’s tumbling class at the Y. We’ve been talking it up all week, and he’s been asking about it every day. Finally the morning arrived, and Liam was in high spirits when we arrived a little early. We watched through the window as the smaller kids finished up their class. Another mom and her little girl joined us, and we got to talking about how attached our little ones are to us. She expressed concerns about her daughter, who was only three. I wondered if perhaps her daughter would cling to her side just as Liam usually does with me. Perhaps I’d see another little introvert in action, and for once I wouldn’t be the only mom who’s child vehemently refused to participate.
One can dream, right?
The class was extremely small, four little girls and Liam. One girl was only two and a half. The rest were three – I’d signed Liam up for the younger class because he’s so small for his age. The teacher remarked that all but one were new students. So she expected some trepidation and chaos. No worries. She called the kids over to sit in a circle to start class. And, of course, Liam refused. All the other little girls, even the two and a half year old, are gamely following along with the teacher, and I’m on the sidelines doing my usual song and dance, “Doesn’t that look fun? Look, they’re all stretching! Can you put your arms up? How about we walk over there together.” And Liam is not having it. Just clinging to me, and, no, he would not like to join the group.
At one point I picked him up and walked over there with him, all the while him screaming and carrying on. We sat down and he instantly ran away. I stayed put, but that just made him whine louder. So back to the stands we went. Sigh.
The girls all lined up to try balancing and summersaults. The teacher called over to Liam. Did he want to join now? No way, Jose. So we watched as the girls crab crawled over two elevated beams, did a summersault on a ramp, and balanced on a single beam. Kind of impressive, actually. I’m not sure Liam would even try that. I’m glad I didn’t sign him up for the 4-5 year old class.
Finally I told him if he didn’t try the next activity, we weren’t going to be coming back again. He was eyeing the trampoline, and the teacher told him if he tried the balance beam, he’d get a chance to jump. Finally, after watching the girls try the beam, I got him to walk over there and give it a try. He held my hand on the first go, then held the teacher’s hand as he walked backwards once, then did “ninja kicks” (or princess walks, as the girls called them). Then he got to bounce on the trampoline. He finally seemed to be enjoying himself. Then the teacher said we’d be ending class in the circle. And Liam, oh Liam, parked himself about 20 feet away. That’s as close to the group as he was going to get, thankyouverymuch. Sigh.
As frustrating as it is for me as an extroverted mom to have an introverted child, I am seeing some kernels of hope here. At age two, Liam patently refused to participate in baby yoga. At age three, it took him five or six sessions before he’d participate in his music and art class. But I think at age four, now that’s he’s taken so well to preschool, he’ll only need a class or two before he’ll give this tumbling thing a real try. After class I took him to lunch and I asked him why he wouldn’t participate today. And he told me he didn’t know what the directions were, so he wanted to watch first. He also wanted to know the teacher’s name, which I’d forgotten to ask. So there’s hope that in the next class, or maybe in the one after that, he’ll get comfortable enough with the routine to get up there and give it a try. Preferably without me standing there like a dope holding his hand while all the other parents get to sit and watch.
I’ve oftentimes questioned why I even bother doing this, signing Liam up for classes and activities when he always behaves this way. Perhaps if I were more like-minded, more introverted, we’d just stay home all the time. But the everydayness of stay-at-home momdom easily gets stale for me. I find myself pouring over catalogs from the Rec Center and the YMCA and Exploration Place, circling the preschoolers activity at the science museum, the story time at the public library, Breakfast with Santa, preschooler’s game day, swim lessons, tumbling. And rarely doing any of it because I know my kid and how he’ll behave. And it’s not that he’s being a bad kid, and I’m trying very hard not to make him feel like he’s at fault for feeling the way he does. But I see these kids learning new skills and having such a great time, and I want that for my own kid. I want him to see and do and learn things I can’t teach him. But I’m trying my best to understand that Liam needs time to warm up to new situations. It’s hard not to compare him to all the other kids who readily jump in and follow along with the group. And, frankly, it’s embarrassing to have the only kid who won’t pose for the group photo on the fire station field trip or stand in the circle at tumbling class or sing with the other kids in the Halloween parade. But I know someday I’ll look back and laugh at what a peculiar little kid I’m raising. And Liam will look back and wonder why his mom always made him do all these things he didn’t want to do. It’s for your own good, kiddo. Trust me.
While Liam isn’t skipping giddily into his classroom yet (Let’s face it, no kid really does that in the first week), the whining and pleading has gone down considerably. In fact, I’m a little shocked at how well he has accepted his daily school routine. Maybe he’s matured, or maybe doing it every weekday has helped, but the only protest I got the first couple of days was in the parking lot when he insisted that I carry him in. Yesterday I put him down right before we went into the classroom, and then he hooked his hands around my legs so I couldn’t leave. But it was more play than panic, and I was able to detach myself without too much fuss. Then, today, breakthrough! We “accidentally” left the boo-boo in the car, and he walked himself right in the front door and to the classroom. We still had a little leg tug-of-war, but it was all in the good fun. Yay! I think I’ll take him to the Science Museum after school to celebrate – thankfully he understands he can only have one treat a day, and he already had an after lunch ice cream for finished all his fruit.
During our parent orientation, they included a fundraiser packet that we were instructed to pass around to friends and family and turn in by this Monday. I kinda rolled my eyes – fundraising for preschool? – but this place is super affordable, so they’ve got to get their funds from somewhere. We don’t know many people in town, and I didn’t want to reintroduce myself to the neighbors with a bid for money. (With the heat, we’ve hardly been outside, and I haven’t talked to the neighbors since July 3). But, as luck would have it, they had an online option. Feeling much more relieved, I petitioned the grandparents and my sister, and they all came through with flying colors! My have times changed. I remember going door-to-door selling magazines, gift wrap, summer sausages, and the like, and now you can just send around an email. So much easier. And safer, too. I congratulated Liam on a job well done, and he just stared in confusion. He has no clue.
In a couple of weeks, Liam will be in charge of bringing snacks. On that day he also gets the special job of being “leader”, wherein he’ll give the weather forecast (It’s sunny today!) and hold the flag during the pledge. So far the school has been providing snacks, and they’ve been entirely too wholesome for my picky eater. He told me they served watermelon on Wednesday, and he informed his teachers that he only liked “watermelon Flaaay-ver.” They listed a whole bunch of healthy snack ideas, but I figured the least I can do on Liam’s snack day is provide something I know he’ll eat. So goldfish it is! We’ll see if there’s any blow back from that. It wasn’t on the sanctioned list. I’m already That Mom with the kid who wouldn’t willingly walk into the classroom.
I’ve been both dreading and looking forward to this day. Liam has to start a new school, so he’s resisting more than if he could have just gone back to his school in Florida. But who knows, maybe he would have given me trouble with that, too. He woke up this morning with a “sore throat” and he couldn’t possibly leave the house today. After breakfast and a healthy dose of Jake and the Neverland Pirates, I managed to get him to pose for a photo. No shoes, you’ll notice. That’s because I only have enough energy for one shoe battle today. He only wants to wear sandals these days, and telling him he can’t go to school without wearing closed-toe shoes is a reverse incentive. Somehow I’m gonna cram those tootsies into a pair of sneakers and get this kid off to school. My only solace is that school doesn’t start until 12:30, so I’ve got some time to strategize. Eat some lunch, pack up the car, then ambush! Wish me luck.
Oh the agony! Oh the drama! All morning long it was, “I don’t like preschool. I don’t want to go. Can’t we go NEXT Tuesday?” And I’d counter with, “School is so much fun! You’re going to make so many friends! And read so many books! And play with all the neat toys!” He wasn’t having it.
Putting on shoes wasn’t quite as traumatic as I’d predicted. I had to threaten to leave his boo-boo at home if he didn’t put his shoes on Right Now. That did the trick. When we pulled up to the school, he hollered, “Turn the car around, mommy!” I had to stifle a snicker. It was so reminiscent of his first swim lessons, back when he could hardly cobble a sentence together, but he managed a “Want to go hooommme!”
So, predictably, I had to carry him to the front door while he frantically clutched his boo-boo and quietly protested. We saw a small group of parents and their daughters, so I tried to chat up the kids:
Me: “What’s your name? What a cute backpack. Is pink your favorite color? This is Liam. Liam, say hi!”
Me: “Look at all the friends we’re making, Liam!”
Then we were ushered in to briefly consult one-on-one with the teacher. After dispensing with the formalities, we walked into the classroom. Or rather, I carried a flailing, crying, pleading, screaming Liam into his new classroom. Then the teaching assistant gingerly pried Liam’s fingers from around my neck, bundled him into her arms complete with his bulky blanket, all the while assuring me that he’d be just fine. Last year we went through a similar charade with his teacher Miss Denise, all the while with a mischievous grin on his face. There was no grinning this time. I told you, mom, I don’t like school.
I made a beeline for the door before he could start hollering after me, and from there I sped to the gym to keep up my exercise-everyday-when-Liam-is-in-school promise to myself. Now I’m off to pick him up. Let’s see if he’s forgiven me.
So he survived. In fact, as I entered the room expecting the worst, he sprang up from the carpet and happily announced, “I love preschool!” The teachers said he did wonderfully, and he was positively giddy about showing me his cubby and his art project. Afterward we got ice cream at Braum’s, and I told him if he goes to school tomorrow without any fuss, we can get ice cream again tomorrow. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m definitely more optimistic. Well, cautiously optimistic, anyway. I’ve been fooled this way before.
Tags: amusing, preschool
James and I met Liam’s teacher for a parent-teacher conference yesterday. I know, it seems a little strange to be having one for a kid so young, but I was thrilled to hear just what and how Liam has been doing in school. Lord knows I only get an inkling from him, and the teacher tries her best to give me a rundown each day, but she’s got other kids to look after when I pick him up.
I was surprised how organized and complete her assessment was. Ms. Denise had a checklist of skills with a little code to indicate whether he had just learned it or had mastered it. We could compare how he did when he was in the Giraffe room with the three year olds in October, and how he’s improved in the Lion room with the four year olds. She said he has improved leaps and bounds socially since moving to the new room, and the small class size really helped with that. Unsurprisingly he excels in math, letter recognition and articulation. He’s still working on some of his fine motor skills, but she’s still mostly focusing on his social skills, which is the area he has shown the most improvement. It was so nice to hear how she encourages him to work out differences with the other children himself, how he’s been talking with his peers face to face, and how much more enthusiastic he’s gotten about being messy. She told us a couple of funny stories that had happened recently: One of the girls tried to dance with him by grabbing his hand. He voiced his opinion quite plainly, saying, “I don’t want to dance,” sitting right down on the carpet next to her. Later he told me he just wanted to dance by himself. Typical boy! The other funny story happened that day, when he was outside riding the tricycle. Or trying…he struggles with the pedals still. The teacher noticed he was doing a little pee-pee dance next to his trike, and when she asked if he had to use the bathroom, he replied, “But somebody might steal my trike!” She offered to watch it for him, and he flat out ran to the bathroom. He was happy to see his tricycle waiting for him when he got back.
Ms. Denise explained the upcoming curriculum, which will focus on friendships and relating to others in February. She also said she was going to be working on word recognition with the kids who were ready, and Liam was one of them. I wouldn’t say he’s reading just yet, but he does recognize certain words that we’ve gone over, and he recognizes logos like Target and Publix. The kids are also going to work on counting to 100, something I know Liam hasn’t mastered yet. He’s good up through about 25, but then things get a little muddled. They’re also going to be working on writing letters and numbers. I downloaded an app called Letter School that is helping Liam learn to write his letters and numbers at home. He loves it!
And as if I needed another reason to love this new school, Ms. Denise showed us a scrap book they’d put together of Liam’s art projects, photos of him doing things in class, and little notes about things he’s learned. We’ll get to take it home at the end of the school year. After my parents visit at the end of February, we’re going to switch Liam to three days a week instead of just two. It’s more expensive this way, but I still like having him home with me some full days during the week so we can go to Disney or the beach when it’s not crowded. It won’t be long until he’s in school full time, and I’ll never have this time back. And who knows how long we’ll be staying in Florida. Better take advantage while I can.
After our conference, James and I headed to the eye doctor to get new glasses. I’ve been noticing my right eye is blurry, and it’s been giving me headaches. And the screws keep falling out of James’ glasses, which are almost three years old. Fortunately, I got something in the mail from our insurance company that reminded me that we had signed up for vision insurance. They never gave me a card, so I probably would have forgotten! As much as I love the frames I have now, they’ve always seemed slightly too wide for my face, and they feel heavy, especially after I put on the clip-on sunglasses. Usually I hem and haw, trying on every pair of glasses they have, but this time I found the perfect pair right off the bat. Of course, I still had to try on a bunch of other pairs before going back to the first one. I’m horrible about buyer’s remorse. But this pair was the smallest they had, and the shape really works well with my face. I even love the color. They look really different from any glasses I’ve ever had. I wish I’d taken a photo! With no option for clip-ons, I decided to splurge for some designer prescription sunglasses. Woo-eee, that was quite a price tag for sunglasses! Even with the 20% insurance discount. These babies better not fall off my head into the ocean or something. I’ll probably cry. But in two weeks time, I’ll really be stylin’ with new glasses and new spring hair do. I’ll take photos, I promise!
Funny enough, James took much more time deliberating on his new specs. He surprised me by narrowing it down to a couple of chunky black ones, very different from his current frames. The selection at this place wasn’t great – it wasn’t a big chain – but I think James will be happy with what he picked. We both went very trendy this year. Perhaps I’ll have to take a photo with James, too!
The eye doctor talked us into getting our eyes dilated, something I’d never had done before. He claimed that driving home wouldn’t be a problem. And I supposed that technically we could see, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience, especially at 4 in the afternoon. Poor James ended up with a bad headache later in the evening.
I’ve got to go back in a month for an additional test – something about a nerve larger in my left eye, which could be an early onset of glaucoma. They just want to be sure. And after reading up on it, I want to be sure, too! Something else I thought strange (though the doc didn’t) – my right eye has actually gotten better in the last couple of years. So my headaches and blurry vision are because the script for my right lens is actually too strong. He warned me it’s more difficult to get used to a weaker prescription, but hopefully I’ll muddle through. Usually after a couple of weeks I’m good.
Enough about our eyes, here’s the best thing that happened to use yesterday. After we left the eye doctor, cursing the sun and the long walk back to the preschool, we walked into Liam’s classroom and witnessed all of the girls in Liam’s class scream, “Huggies, huggies, huggies!” and surround him as we were getting ready to leave. Poor Liam just clung to James’ leg as the girls hugged and kissed him. It was hilarious. So I guess this is a new thing the girls are doing, chasing him and giving him hugs. I remember doing that, though it wasn’t until first or second grade. My son is the lover boy! I’m so proud.
Tags: Disney, Florida, preschool
Today when I dropped Liam off at preschool, I saw they had a voting booth set up inside a play house. The kids were voting between the dolphins and the lions, and they’d get an “I voted” sticker when they came out. So cute! Liam, of course, didn’t want to participate while I was there. But perhaps Miss Denise can talk him into it. He still whined that he didn’t want to let me go, but when I handed him over to his teacher, he was all grins. We’re gettin’ there.
I had a little chat with the school’s director last week, and she told me Liam is well above average in math and verbal skills. She asked if we’d consider switching him to three days a week. We’re having a parent-teacher conference in a couple of months, so I think I’ll wait until then to decide. Another option is to put him in all five days for fewer hours per day. But I’m bummed that might ruin some of our outing days to Disney or the beach. Next fall he’ll be starting VPK, which will be half days every day. I’d kind of like to hold on to the time I’ve got with him while I can. Can you believe this kid is gonna be four in a couple months? I can’t.
Saturday James and I made our third trip (my fourth trip!) to Epcot Food and Wine, and after careful planning, we got stamps from every pavilion in our passport! Sweet! Our Disney passes expire tomorrow, and tonight I’m headed to Magic Kingdom for a special sneak preview of the new Fantasy Land addition, which features Beauty and the Beast and the Little Mermaid. I think James is going to sit this one out…apparently work was atrocious yesterday, and he’s suffering from theme park overload. Unless he miraculously hears that he got the Denver job, I think I’ll be going on my own.
Still no word on Denver. And it’s not looking good – it seems like they should have notified the selected candidate by now, but you never know! Until he gets the official rejection notice, we’re still holding out hope. In the meantime, he’s made the list for a job at the regional office in Orlando, and he’s pretty confident he’ll get an interview. Crossing my fingers that one comes through if Denver doesn’t.
We’re on week three of preschool, and while Liam still whines every Tuesday and Thursday morning, he seems to have made his peace with it. This morning he marched right in, then panicked and wanted me to carry him to his teacher. But then I set him down on a stool in front of some legos, gave him a hug and kiss, and left without fanfare. Hooray! He still insists on bringing his boo-boo, and I’ve started packing him a lunch because he says, “I don’t like their food. I like the food at OUR house.” Unless it’s french fries, which apparently they serve every other week. Leave it to my kid to glom onto the only unhealthy food this school serves. The teacher said he barely touched his lunch today, despite my having packed it, so I’m thinking he also doesn’t like eating there. I find he does the same thing when we’re on play dates, hardly touching his food and instead wanting to play.
Today when I went to pick him up, I noticed he was off by himself while all the other kids were sitting together with the teacher. I’m not sure how often that happens – I haven’t brought it up with his teachers. But he said something about getting his finger hurt when another kid wanted to play with the castle, so I think he’s still a bit gunshy playing with new kids. He talks often about the teachers, but never about his classmates. Probably typical for this age. And for my introverted kiddo.
But, I’m already seeing improvements on the playground. Last week on our play date with Nicole at Dinosaur World, the playground was teeming with kids of all ages, and Liam didn’t cry at all when they were running around him and past him up on the equipment. That’s a first! I haven’t tested how he does when another kid wants to play on his slide. That’s always been touchy with him. We’ll see how that goes.
Liam started preschool on Tuesday. And it actually went better than I feared. We talked about it a lot ahead of time so he’d be prepared for what was coming. We even taped an episode of Daniel Tiger on PBS all about his first day of school. (DT has surpassed Curious George on the cartoon obsession radar. Never thought that would happen!)
The night before, Liam kept saying, “I don’t want you to leave me there. I love you!” Sheesh.
So the next morning we watched our cartoons, ate our breakfast, brushed our teeth, got dressed. We grabbed the “boo-boo” and a photo album I made him with pictures of his room, his toys, and his family and friends. Then, no surprise, when we got there he didn’t want me to put him down. Slowly but surely he inched further and further from me, but whenever I saw an out, he was right there begging to be held again. Finally, after 45 minutes, the magnetic letters and numbers board caught his eye, and I was able to sneak out. Apparently he noticed I was gone right away, and when he asked the teacher where I went, she told him I went with all the other grownups and I’d be back later. To which he nonchalantly replied, “Oh, ok.” Sheesh, again.
When I picked him up he was lying on his cot not sleeping at nap time. I got a big hug. The teacher said he didn’t eat any of his lunch – claiming he didn’t like any of it. Which was probably true, though I’m hoping once he gets used to things he’ll try some new foods. I’ll give it another few weeks before I break down and bring something for him. He tends not to want to eat when there are a lot of kids around, so he may refuse the food I pack, too.
I asked him if he went outside to play at all, and he said, “I stood at the fence and looked for you, mama.” You’re killing me, kid. Amazingly, I didn’t cry when I left the school. I think I was just so relieved to get out of there without Liam shedding tears. I went to the gym for a bit, then came home for lunch and to watch a little TV. The time went fast.
After Liam got a bite to eat at home, he wanted to call daddy to tell him all about preschool. He didn’t say much – he tends to clam up on the phone – but I think James enjoyed hearing about it.
Today was the second day of school, and drop off went better than I expected. They warned me day two tends to be worse than day one. But it was no worse than when I used to drop him off at the Y. In fact, he was better – he just whimpered and whined all the way there, cried a tiny bit when I put him down, and when his teacher swooped him up, he seemed sad, but fine. I waved goodbye and said I’d be back later, and he begrudgingly waved back. I’m sure once I left he was fine. He always is.
And now, finally, I can clean the house in peace! I know, sad that I’m so looking forward to that. I should have scheduled a massage instead. But something about sitting in a nice, clean house without a boy there to drag all his toys back out, or pee on the rug I just cleaned, or eat lunch and spill granola all over the floor I just vacuumed…yes, this is gonna rock.