Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Auf Wiedersehen, First Loose Tooth!

Baylor has had a loose tooth for nearly a month now.  It all started when we noticed his teeth starting to shift rather dramatically.  He developed an odd space between his bottom right front tooth and the one to the right of it, a space that ended up being so large that it looked like he had lost a tooth already.  Then, one night while I was brushing his teeth, I noticed that a brand new tooth was already coming in ... behind the open space!  (Yes, the parent in me instantly shuttered at the thought of braces now looming in our future.)  We already knew that bottom right front tooth was a bit loose, but now it was REALLY loose.  Still, he nursed that thing for weeks, and I was constantly convinced that today was the day it would come out only to end up disappointed.

Yesterday, with his tooth so loose he could bend it forward at a 90 degree angle with ease, he bit his tongue really bad.  After I got him calmed down, I asked him for what seemed like the hundredth time if I could pull his tooth out for him, but this time he said yes!!  (He had said yes previously but had almost instantaneously retracted it after he thought about it a second longer.)  He was a bit apprehensive about it, so I offered to let him watch a Wild Kratts episode while I did it, and he was completely on board with the idea.  One of his cub scout buddies had told him a bit about the episode we were about to watch and he wanted me to wait for a particular part, so I snapped a before picture of him while I waited.

And then ...

(The little "ouch" you hear in the video is because I accidentally pinched his lip against one of his non-loose teeth.  Rookie mistake.)

Ta da!  Super loose tooth gone!

Afterward he commented that it didn't hurt at all and that when his next tooth gets loose and I ask him if I can pull it out, he will answer with an enthusiastic, "Yes!"

Surprisingly, he did not want to write a letter to the tooth fairy (he wants to write a letter to him/her because he has been informed that the tooth fairy will only write you a letter if you write one first) so he could put out his tooth and get a reward for it last night, so I guess he's planning on doing that today.  We'll see!

No matter what, I am so proud of him for getting over his fear of the possible pain and letting me get that tooth out of there.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Halloween 2014

This year our Halloween was quite eventful.  With two children in school at least part time now, there was a lot to balance and coordinate.  Luckily, this year the kids ended up having a half day on Halloween, and, as a result, Mollie's teacher moved their party back to Wednesday.  This change meant that I would be able to help out at both kids' parties, and we were all really happy about the coincidence.

My mom made Mollie a beautiful Cinderella costume, and Mom and Christine found the gloves when they were out shopping one day.

I know I am totally biased, but I think she made a perfectly lovely little princess.

I helped make the bustle in the back, and then did some troubleshooting when the bustle wouldn't stay fastened.

After we dropped Baylor off at school, Mollie and I hurried over to her school and we started celebrating.  She has thirteen kids in her class, seven girls and six boys.  Before we arrived, I guessed that five of the seven girls would be princesses, and I was right!  There was Mollie as Cinderella, a Sleeping Beauty, an Elsa, an Anna, and a Sophia the First.  The Anna costume was actually pretty impressive.  It had a button you could press that would play "For the First Time in Forever" and light up the skirt.  Their teacher even turned out the lights to demonstrate!

There were four stations for Mollie's party: snacks, decorating cupcakes, a witch's hat ring toss, and an arts and crafts table where they made some ghosts out of paper plates and streamers.  I was in charge of helping the kids with the arts and crafts, but Mollie still was able to check in with me every now and then.  Her cupcake was epic, but it sadly got smushed in the baggie they gave them for leftovers and she cried a bit when it didn't look nearly as awesome as it did before.

In between events, their teacher, dressed as Olaf from Frozen, would read them a story, which I think helped them calm down just a bit even with the copious amounts of sugar coursing through their little veins.

Mollie had a great time at her party, and even stayed after the party was done so she could hang out with the kids whose parents hadn't come to the party.  It was a fantastic first school party experience!

Baylor, on the other hand, was a bit upset that his sister had gotten to have her party and he still hadn't had his yet.  So he came up with a grand plan to have a Halloween party on Thursday the 30th at my parents' house and asked/informed my mom of his ideas.  Usually he gets shot down or the moment passes and he moves onto something else, but this time, THIS time, my mom said, "Sure!"

So we had an impromptu Halloween party the day before Halloween!  My mom went all out with the food, too.  There were mummy hot dogs, gnarly chicken fingers, ghostly mashed potatoes, and fish eyes (which were really peas).

The kids LOVED it!  (The adults did, too.)

She even made dirt dessert!  It was beyond delicious and very apropos!

The next day Baylor got to have his class party and on a half day, no less!  There was a parade all around the school, lots of treats, a beanbag toss game, and an alien creation arts and crafts table.  He had a lot of fun and made a bunch of adorable little aliens.  It did start to rain/snow during the party, but even that didn't really dampen the kids' spirits.  It was a great time!

The principal, dressed as Gru from Despicable Me, stopped by to join in the fun as well, leaving his minions (the office ladies) behind to "get their evil work done".  But before long it was time to go home and rest up for a chilly night of trick-or-treating ahead.

After dinner we piled on the layers under the kids' costumes and headed out into a very, very chilly evening.  Though it was quite windy, at least the slushy precipitation had long stopped and our time outside was dry.  Baylor requested that my dad come with us, so Bryson stayed behind to help hand out candy and enjoy the warmth inside.

We had a bit of a rocky start when a full-size collie charged at Mollie, and the owner did barely anything, insisting that the dog was just fine and that the kids basically get over it.  After that ordeal, Mollie wanted to know whenever there would be a dog.

We were out for an hour and came back as popsicles, but we had a lot of fun.  Baylor actually said, "Trick or Treat!" at nearly every house, and Mollie did a great job saying, "Thank you!" and holding up her dress like a little lady when going up and down the stairs.

Of course, once you collect your major haul, you have to assess and count your candy.

Mollie was disappointed with the massive amount of Twizzlers she got, but Oma and Aunt Christine helped her out and switched out the offending sweets with candy from our bin.

While the kids ate their three pieces of candy (our limit for the night) we all enjoyed a little Jeopardy. 

Try getting kids to go to sleep after they've had candy and loads of fun.  It's nearly impossible.  But that's what we did.

And then the next night, our PTC held a "boogie night" dance in the gym at Baylor's school.  I, being a part of the PTC, was going to chaperon, and since they asked for the chaperons to dress up, I had to find a costume that would be easy to throw together and also not upset Baylor, who typically doesn't like people to wear costumes.  Then I asked him if he would be okay with me being an historical figure that we could research and learn about, and he was totally on-board with the idea!  So, Rosie the Riveter I was!

You can do it, you know?!

The dance was a success, and I think a good majority of the kids had a great time.

Hope you had a happy, safe Halloween!

That's What They Said: Honesty and Misunderstanding

(Upon realizing Baylor's tooth was suddenly very loose ...)
Me:  Baylor, are you excited about your loose tooth?
Baylor:  Oh yeah!
Me:  Yeah?  Are you going to write a note to the tooth fairy when you lose your tooth?
Baylor:  Yes.  I am going to write to her and ask her for a Tootsie Roll and a dime.  (pauses)  But I'll bet you she just gives me the dime.  So I can go buy a Tootsie Roll.  Then I'd have both!

Me:  Baylor, have you started typing yet?
Baylor:  Oh yeah, I do typing at school!
Me:  I mean with your fingers in the right places.  You don't do that yet, do you?
Baylor:  Oh, no.
Me:  I didn't think so.  Your hands aren't big enough for that yet.  You'll probably do that in ... well, I did that in ... hmm, well that might not be indicative of when you'll start actual typing.  I don't think we had computers at our school until I was in fourth grade.
Baylor:  (staring at me in disbelief)  What?
Me:  We didn't have computers at our school until I was in about fourth grade.  They just weren't around much until then.
Baylor:  Did you have electricity?!
Me:  Yes, we had electricity.  Thanks.
Baylor:  (after thinking for a moment)  Was electricity discovered when you were born?
Me:  Yes, thanks, honey.

(While we were on our way to pick Baylor up from school ...)
Amalia:  Mommy, did you know that some people are in danger from wolves?
Me:  Did you say "wolves"?
Amalia:  Yes, wolves.
Me:  Well, I suppose.  What exactly do you mean?
Amalia:  Well, it depends on what kind of house you live in.  Wolves like to blow things down.  Good thing we live in a brick house!

(While they were playing in the basement ...)
Amalia:  (with the enthusiasm of an aerobics instructor)  Baylor!  Let's get our wiggles out, okay?!
Baylor:  Okay!

(While they were playing Spartanopoly ... yes, Spartanopoly ...)
Baylor:  (visibly upset) If Mollie wins, I will be covered in tears.  (still upset, but trying not to be)  Tears of joy.

(After putting the outriggers on his Raingutter Regatta boat ...)
Baylor:  Mom!  I learned how to screw ... with wood!

Friday, October 31, 2014

That's What They Said: Revelations

Amalia:  Mommy, I have a very thinkative question to ask you.
Me:  I cannot wait to hear this.  Go for it.
Amalia:  How do pigs get so stinky?

Amalia:  I am going to give you a round of a-clause!  (claps her hands in a circle)
Bryson:  (laughs)
Me:  (from the other room)  Did you catch that?
Bryson:  Mollie, what did you call that again?
Amalia:  That is a round of a-clause.  You can go like this (claps one direction in a circle) or like this (claps in the other direction).
Bryson:  Actually, it's a round of applause.
Amalia:  Applause or a-clause.  I say a-clause because it's creepier.

(While enjoying pouring over a how-to-plan-a-Halloween-party book ...)
Baylor:  Mommy, does anyone in our family like olives?
Me:  Yes, Daddy and Grandpa E like olives.  Some other people do, too.  Why?
Baylor:  Okay, then they can eat _______.
(Later on ...)
Baylor:  Who in our family likes wieners?
Me:  (stifling a laugh)  Um, Baylor, wieners are hot dogs.
Baylor:  (after thinking about that for a moment)  Oh!  So everyone does!

(Baylor reading to Amalia in the living room ...)
Baylor:  "Mercury is THREE TIMES closer to the Sun than Earth is."  Isn't that jaw-dropping, Mollie?!
Amalia:  Sure?

Friday, October 10, 2014

That's What They Said: Sweetness and Explanations

Amalia:  Mommy, you don't have to make me peanut butter and jelly anymore for a while.
Me:  No?
Amalia:  Yeah, I know it takes a long time to make it and cut the crust off and everything.  And I thought you might need a break.  (cheerfully)  Sooooo, I just won't have that for a while!
Me:  (stunned)  Aww, thank you, sweetie!  I'm happy to make that for you, though.

(As I was giving him his last kisses goodnight ...)
Baylor:  Mommy, do you know what the best part of me is?
Me:  No, what buddy?
Baylor:  The part of me that loves you.
(Then I turned into a puddle on the floor.)
Me:  Oh, sweetie, I love you, too!

(Amalia speculating on the way to school why two of her classmates went home together the other day ...)
Amalia:  Maybe their grandma is watching them so both of their moms can go get married.

Amalia:  Mommy, do you know what's funny about England people?
Me:  English people?  Like people from England?
Amalia:  Yeah, people from England.
Me:  What?
Amalia:  When they have two fish crackers in their hand and they say there is one.
Me:  What about it?
Amalia:  That's what's funny!

Monday, September 15, 2014

That's What They Said: Kid Speak

(Reading the feminine product dispenser in the ladies' bathroom at Meijer ... the way he read it)
Baylor: "Natrell Pads" (Naturelle Pads) and "Playtex Tampoons" (Playtex Tampons)

Amalia:  Mommy!  I want to give you an eggskimo kiss!

(While describing a Lego building ...)
Baylor:  It is he-normous!
Me:  He-normous?
Baylor:  Yup, he-normous.
(A mix of enormous and huge, perhaps?)

(While watching college football on TV ...)
Baylor:  Is it the East Virginia Pirates?
Bryson:  Nope, it's the East Carolina Pirates.
Me:  And the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Baylor:  Like the Hokey Pokeys?!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

That's What They Said: Being Called Out and Routine

Bryson:  Did you hear Baylor (University) put up an RGIII statue?
Me:  Yeah?  That's nice.
Bryson:  Doesn't it seem a little premature?
Me:  No.  I mean, it's for his time there.
Bryson:  Yeah, I know.  That's what I'm saying.  It just seems a little soon.
Me:  Well, no matter what he does in the NFL, it doesn't change what he did there.  (after thinking for a moment)  Unless he does something irretrievably stupid.
Baylor:  (to me)  You said a BAD word!!!
Me:  Uh ...
Baylor:  (in an accusatory voice) I hear when you say bad words!!!

(every night before I leave her room after getting her in bed)
Amalia:  Wait, Mommy, waaaaait.  I have to get situated!

(after bath time tonight ...)
Me:  Baylor, I love you.
Baylor:  I love you, too.  Mommy?
Me:  Yeah?
Baylor:  I'm so glad you're my mommy!
Me:  Aww, buddy, me too.
Amalia:  Mommy, you are the best mom I have ever had.
Me:  Thank you, Amalia.  I think you are right.  I am the only mom you've ever had, though, so ...
Bryson:  Mollie, maybe you mean she's the best mommy in the world.
Amalia:  Nope.
Bryson:  Oh.  Well, ...
Amalia:  Maybe one of the best?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Amalia's First Day of Preschool!

After the stress of yesterday, I was so hoping today would go well for both my dear, sweet kiddos.  I will say this, it did not start well.  The feet-dragging of pretty much every day of our lives persisted today, and even in spite of my best attempts to stay perky and positive I was barking at them to move faster by the end of breakfast.  Baylor stepped it up a bit, but Mollie, never really having had much of anywhere to go in a hurry, lolly-gagged her rear end off.

But once everyone was dressed, brushed, and backpacked, I was able to snap a few pictures before we made our way over to school.  In the first picture, Mollie really looked pretty nervous.

But, in typical Mollie fashion, she was clowning around by the second picture and looking as cheerful as ever.

I'm not sure Baylor was thrilled to have his picture taken yet again, but he seemed to understand how big a day this was for Mollie so he gave it his best shot.

Of course, when it came time for a silly picture - at Mollie's request - he was totally game!

Throughout the morning I had been reminding Baylor that he had to walk in from the car at school today, and I was about to do it again on the ride there when I realized they had launched into some sort of elaborate pretend play involving rocket ships and were finally totally relaxed before school.  About halfway down the street his school is on, though, he got really quiet, so I took that opportunity to reassure him that he could do this and that I was so proud of him.  As I put the car into park, I looked back at my boy and he seemed a bit nervous, so I told him to come give me a hug.  Then, after helping him get his backpack on, he said goodbye, jumped out of the car, and walked into school like he'd been doing it his whole life.

Honestly, at that moment, watching him walk/trot to the back of school with all the other kids and teachers and staff around him, I could have cried.  I was so insanely proud of him for his bravery, and it took a lot of focus to keep the tears at bay.  On top of it, Mollie soon thereafter told me that seeing Baylor walk into school on his own really helped her!  That's a win-win if I've ever seen one.

Once we got to school, parked, and made our way to the preschool door, I made Mollie pose for yet another picture.  Man, it was sunny out, though!

As the doors opened, we filed in with all the other parents and preschoolers and set about looking for Mollie's backpack/jacket hook.  Lo and behold, it had an orange star marking it!  (Nothing makes you feel better when you're a preschooler like seeing your favorite color on something that is newly yours.)  Of course, it was at this point I noticed that, in all the hubbub of the morning, I had neglected to button the back of her dress!  Oops!

After I sheepishly buttoned her dress, Mollie sat down at an empty table to play with some magnatiles.

She was soon joined by another little girl, and not long after that her teacher came over to say hi!  I wanted my time in her class today to be spent supporting her only as much as she needed it, so I stepped back to let the two of them chat for a bit.

It took a bit for all the kiddos and their parents to get in and get situated, but once they did the kids were called over to the "circle" rug for circle time.  (Really it is a giant oval, but I guess "oval time" doesn't really have that special preschool ring to it, does it?)  They then passed around a (Curious) George doll and introduced themselves, most of them very quietly.

By now parents were giving quick hugs and making quiet exits and I began to wonder if it really was okay for me to stay the whole day.  Mollie's teacher clarified that it was indeed okay for me to stay all day if Mollie wanted me to, and, unsurprisingly, she wanted me to.

After a scavenger hunt to find special spots around the room, the kids were encouraged to play at the various centers around the room.  Mollie, still feeling quite shy, just wanted to walk around taking it all in.  Eventually I got her to go to an empty center where she did a little tracing.  (Later in the day she revealed to me that this activity had been "boring".)

While she was busy tracing, her classmates were busy tearing the room apart toy-by-toy, and when it came time to pick up I thought Mollie would beg off, noting that she hadn't taken anything out.  But, to my surprise and delight, she absolutely dove right in and helped tremendously with the clean up of all the other centers!  I was so proud of her, particularly that she seemed to want to help, and I likely had a goofy grin on my face for the duration of pick up time as a result.

Snack time was a little dicey for Mollie, though.  Not only was the snack, a treat brought in by a birthday girl classmate, something sweet and therefore not her cup of tea, but when she went to pour some apple juice into a cup by herself, she spilled a bunch and had no idea what to do.  I helped her clean it up, not wanting to have bad feelings creep in when the day had been going so smoothly, but still she spent the rest of snack time looking like she was about to burst into tears.

She made it through, though, and even had the forethought to go potty before they all headed outside to play on the playground!  Honestly, watching her be so self-sufficient made it feel like she was growing up before my very eyes, or at least faster than usual.

Playing on the playground was a big hit with her, and later on she named this as her favorite part of her first day of preschool.  She played by herself the whole time and managed to try a few new things, namely sliding down the fireman's pole again and again.

She really had a knack for it, and once she has pants on to prevent her thighs from sticking to it every couple of inches she'll probably look like a pro!

Nothing can really follow up playing outside for kids of this age, so after a quick book and some impromptu new-school-folder-show-and-tell we headed home for the day.  As soon as we got out into the parking lot, Mollie informed me that, 1) she was hungry (having not eaten her snack and all), and 2) she wanted to go OUT for lunch.  After some debate, we decided on Mr. Burger and promptly headed over there to avoid any "hangry" behavior.  She walked in like she owned the place, even grabbing a tray to start up the whole ordering process.  Best part of the meal?  She got to have pink lemonade as a special treat!

Okay, the fries and chicken strips didn't hurt either.

She ate her meal in dramatic fashion, tilting her head back as she slid her ketchup-soaked fries down her gullet one after another.  It was epic.

We made a quick trip to the potty before heading out to pick up some potential birthday treats for school for Baylor to choose from.  While we were on our way out of Mr. Burger, my mom called to see how the day had gone so far.  As I was regaling her with the awesome details of the morning, I started searching through my purse for my keys.  Soon enough, I found them ... in the cup holder by the driver's seat inside the car.  (It is at these times - as well as many others, of course - that I find myself very, VERY glad we live in the same town as our families.)  Thankfully, my mom was available to drive to our house, pick up the spare key, and run it over to us in the Mr. Burger parking lot.  (Did I mention my mom is awesome?)

While we waited for my mom to bring the key, though, Mollie used that time to burn off some extra energy.  I don't know how she managed to dance around so freely while the asphalt basically cooked us from below, but she did.  Oh, she did.

Mollie can be so wonderfully dramatic sometimes.

Once we were rescued (Thanks again, Mom!), we headed over to Party City to find the aforementioned potential school treats and then made a quick stop at Pet Smart to indulge Mollie's weird love/hate of animals.  From there we went home, dropped some stuff off, picked up some distractions for the pickup line, and went to Baylor's school to pick him up.  He reported having a "good" day but didn't seem to want to give up many details about it.  He was, however, very glad to hear Mollie had a good day at school!

As the afternoon dragged on, I gathered up bits and pieces of their days that I will now share with you ...

When asked, Mollie reported that the best part of her day at preschool was "playing on the playground" and the worst part was "when that teacher (Mrs. Fillman, the preschool parapro) had a talk with us about not taking our shoes off after we got back from the playground".  I pressed her on why that was her least favorite part, and she said it was because it was "boring".  Awesome.

Baylor came home with an incredible amount of sand and dirt caked under and around his fingernails, and he told me that he had played in the sandbox for all three recesses.  Because he then launched into a story about how some kid had knocked over the sandcastle he made, it didn't dawn on me until an hour or two later that the "three recesses" meant that he had actually played before school!!!!!  At that point, I couldn't contain my happiness and walked over to him for a massive hug.

Baylor was not only okay walking into school by himself but also commented that he preferred it and noticed that it took "a lot less time".  I really hope he still feels this way tomorrow!

And that was that.  Really, I'm not sure I could have asked for today to go any better than it did.  Hopefully the positivity from today will help make Friday's solo preschool day a success.  (Knock on wood!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Baylor's First Day of First Grade! (FIRST grade?!)

Seriously?  My little buddy, my Baylor, is in first grade?  Preschool and kindergarten first days seem like not that long ago, and in my head he looks the same now as he did then, but the fact remains that he's now in first grade.

Okay, enough with the disbelief, right?

He woke up this morning full of nerves and convinced he got a terrible night's sleep.  All that quickly dissipated, though, when I asked if he wanted to wake up his sister, something he was all too happy to do.  Once we got downstairs, my two kiddos commenced their daily breakfast-eating-procrastination-and-distraction in spite of my pleas for speed.  Eventually expediency kicked in with Baylor, and he hurried up and got ready.  He chose to wear the same Batman shirt he wore for his kindergarten first day, along with some comfy shorts and Star Wars sneakers for PE.

I asked Mollie to hold off on jumping in on the picture until we got outside, then apparently I took too many pictures.  (Notice the "Seriously?  ANOTHER picture?!" look on Baylor's face.)

We got to school and apparently in the rush of last year's drop off I hadn't noticed how insanely busy it gets on the first day.  Needless to say, we had a bit of an issue getting a parking spot, but I made it work.  (Either that or I was THAT parent today.  Oh well.)  Mollie, Baylor, and I made our way to the back of the school to find the spot where he was supposed to line up, saying hi to some nervous-looking friends here and there along the way.  Upon finding the line, he stood there, not willing to put his backpack down but not crumbling under his worries either.  I was so proud of him!

(In case you are wondering, the arrow behind him points to a hole where bees have made an impressive hive for themselves.  One of Baylor's little buddies informed me it was a bad idea to stick my finger in there.  Good to know!)

The bell finally rang, and I gave Baylor a quick hug and kiss before stepping back to let the rest of his classmates get in line.  Mollie and I watched as his teacher greeted each of them one by one, her smile working overtime trying to soothe all the worries so evident in many of their eyes.  Once it was their turn to walk into school, Baylor fell in line with almost a nonchalance about him that I was thrilled to see.  Even when he looked back and saw me still standing there, he didn't get upset or flash anxiety at me, he just gave me a small smile and went on inside.

I was, and still am, crazy proud of him for how he handled the morning.  (And I let him know as much at dinner tonight, a fact that was met with the most wonderfully genuine smile I could ever hope for.)

Mollie and I then went about our day, trying not to think about missing Baylor or lamenting his absence.  We tried to do things that we couldn't do with him there, like shop for his birthday presents or attempt to let Mollie ride her bike without training wheels (he's always very concerned that she is going to get hurt if she takes off the training wheels).  After we finished our errands, we had an awkward amount of time left before school let out, so we sat in the parking lot at school, at the front of the pick-up line, for forty minutes, my left side baking in the afternoon sun.  I willed the car to start again, unlike the other time I was first in the pick-up line, and, to my delight, it did without issue.  It took a while for Baylor to get out of school, but when he finally did arrive he was all on his own, no adult behind him coaxing him to find our car. The art teacher stepped up to help him get in, and time stood still for a moment while I enjoyed the seconds where I felt relatively comfortable that school had gone well just based on how the morning went.  Soon enough, though, I asked him, "So how was first grade, buddy?" to which he replied, "It. was. AWESOME!"

Be still my heart.  Talk about music to the ears.

He went on to tell me about how there were three new friends (students) in the class, how "the most hilarious" thing to happen at school was that he found out they are allowed to sit in laundry baskets during reading time, and how he was happy playing by himself at recess.  At dinner, as we played the bad thing of the day/good thing of the day game, he said that his good thing was "everything else that happened" (besides the one bad thing he named that happened at home after school), and at bed time he said he liked his teacher a lot and even joked around about how relieved she might be if it took her a week to explain how the class works, adding a brow sweep and "Whew!" for effect.

Don't get me wrong; there were a lot of stressful, sad, anxiety-riddled moments today.  He piled on the worry like it was his job, so much like I often do in my head it hurt my heart.  He had huge blow ups over little things, like which Wild Kratts episode to watch or which book to read before bed.  (It was Mollie's choice day, and everything she selected was wrong/scary/bad/etc.)  Before bed he cried so much over all the worries he had heaped upon his shoulders, and my heart broke as his little tears ran down my legs as he laid his head in my lap and sobbed.  All I wanted to do was make it better for him, surely like my parents wanted to do for me when I struggled with back-to-school for years on end.  (Mom and Dad, I am so incredibly sorry.)  But the best I could do was redirect his attention to what good I could get him to admit to about his day, mainly the good being that he really likes his teacher.  He and I ended the evening with hugs and kisses and hopes for a better day tomorrow.

Then I came downstairs and unleashed the torrent of tears that had been building up under the surface all day long.

One of the toughest parts for me was that when he was happy he could so easily remember all the great things about the day, but when he was sad he couldn't see anything happy and piled on worry after worry, many of which were trivial (i.e., "What if I get REALLY hurt at school?" and "What if someone lies to my teacher?") and easy to address quickly, but still ... all that good had been there just a moment before the grey cloud descended.

The thing is, I know today is over and done, and there is nothing I can do about how things went.  All I can do is learn from it, and try again tomorrow.  So I'll hold onto the good and try really hard to leave the bad here, preserved but out of mind, in hopes that I can be free to embrace tomorrow morning, with all of the challenges I know are ahead (Mollie's first day of school, Baylor's first time walking to the playground before school all by himself), and have hope in my heart for a better day.

For those of you that had kiddos going back to school, I hope everything went as smoothly as possible.  Best wishes for a happy, healthy school year!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Last Day of Kindergarten, Baylor!

(Yes, I know it is almost the first day of the new school year, but better late than never, right?)

Friday, June 6th marked the end of kindergarten for my dear boy, and though he was really sad about leaving his teacher, Mrs. Murphy, he was excited to start up summer break.  I mean, just look at that smile!

He has come a long way since that first day of school, and I am so proud of him for all he's accomplished and all he has become.  It wasn't always easy, but he made it through and, overall, enjoyed it so much!

At the end of school that day I taught the kids the chorus to the song my dad used to sing to my sister and I on our last days of school, "School's Out" by Alice Cooper, and smiled as I watched them rock out in the back seat of our minivan.  It was awesome and the perfect start to a wonderful summer!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Field Day 2014

Field day came at the end of May, and Baylor was way more excited about it than I thought he would be.  Sometimes when he gets really excited about a big event like this, though, he ends up getting upset over it for one reason or another and doesn't end up participating.  So, needless to say, I was guarded in my excitement for him about the day's events.  Mollie and I were planning on staying with him the whole day, so I knew I'd be there in case any meltdowns occurred.

There were tons of activities that the kids were going to cycle through and I wondered how in the world we'd manage to get everything done, but we did without much trouble.  Most of the stations were physical activities like those you'd find in gym class, but the first station we went to was in the art room.  The art teacher was having each student (and Mollie ... she snuck in there somehow) color a water bottle that would eventually go in a giant sculpture.

Baylor participated, though I had no doubt he would; he's been all about coloring these days.

Next his group went outside to do a hula hoop relay race.  Baylor ended up being at the start of his line and did an amazing job getting things going.  His line came in a close second behind the other line from his class, and I think they were all pretty excited about it.

The fifty meter dash was next, and though it isn't Baylor's event, I am proud of him for sticking with it and participating anyway.

Mollie got to race as well, in part because they didn't have enough people for the last race.  Unfortunately for her, the race was pretty stacked; the older kids in charge of this station ran the race as well to help fill out the group.  She didn't care, though, and just kept plugging along.

On the way to the next event, the kids held hands.  Instant mom heart happiness right there.

The next event was anything and everything with jump ropes, and imagine my surprise when Baylor, literally, hopped right in.  It was so weirdly wonderful to see him participating without hesitation that soon I barely gave it a second thought, something I never thought I'd say.

After the jump rope area, the kids got to play on the playground a bit before lunch, and Baylor and one of his buddies had a great time climbing all over the dome jungle gym.

We met up with the same little buddy for lunch, and I learned that next year I should bring a blanket for us to sit on.  Our spot in the shade was actually pretty comfortable, though, and we had a good time eating and chatting about all the events.

A lot of our group's afternoon events, thankfully, involved water, the first of which involved trying to fill up a bucket with water by transporting said water from another bucket using a cup with a hole drilled in it.  And they had to hold the cup over their heads.  Mollie wanted to sit that one out, but Baylor jumped right in and had a blast!

Next they had to fill up a bucket using a backpack with a sponge, or some other sort of absorbent object, in it and running it from one side of the area to another.

Mollie again sat out, but she suddenly realized she was without the little buddy she had made earlier in the day and promptly went over to sit by her and chat.

Baylor did really well with the event and smiled so much while he was running with the backpack.  I was so proud of him!

Yet another water event followed the backpack one, and this time they essentially had to play blindfolded tag in teams of two with squirt bottles.  Baylor and his buddy were paired up, but both of them abandoned the other when it was their turn to lead the blindfolded one around.  Still, they had so much fun.  Eventually, the whole group turned on their teachers and ran around trying to squirt them!

Mollie joined in with a couple girls and ran to the next event with them.  I loved seeing her join in, even if it wasn't for the actual events.

The next event had the kids playing pizza delivery people, carrying empty pizza boxes relay race-style in the soccer field.  Unless they walked very slowly, almost all the kids dropped the box at least once.

But, like a lot of the other kids, Baylor eventually found his stride and was able to move a little quicker with it.

Baylor then got to participate in his first tug-of-war!  He was a little blase about it at first.

But he soon got into it pulled with the rest of his class.

He did sit part of it out, though, and only rejoined when he could see that the boys needed a little help beating the girls in the battle-of-the-sexes type round of the game.

Then my two walked, hand-in-hand, to the next event.  I trailed behind them, smiling like I'd won the lottery.  (Because, in the parenting aspect, I really have.)

I'm not sure I have seen kids so excited to have their next event be "popsicle station".  Eat a popsicle, drink some much-needed water ... win-win!

The next event was a water version of duck-duck-goose, and I watched with bated breath as the boys, one by one, got to be "it".  Baylor was the very last to be chosen, and my heart hurt for him but it shouldn't have; he was happy as a clam, maybe wisely knowing, even more than me, that someone has to go last.

He didn't catch the kiddo who tagged him, but he smiled the whole time anyway.

Then the kids got more play time on the playground, though I'm not sure if they really had any more energy to expend.

Mollie finally, after a long day of exercising her patience, got to ride on the swings!  Hallelujah!

On their way to watch the fourth graders have an epic tug-of-war, an apparent rite of passage at our school, Mollie held hands with Baylor's little buddy!  It was quite adorable and very effortless.

After the tug-of-war, the kids all went back to their respective classrooms to collect their things.  Those riding with parents could go home right away, but my kiddos really wanted to hang out with their buddy a little longer and watch the video the teacher put on for the kids riding buses.

It was a fun, albeit hot, day and I was so glad that Baylor participated so much!