Sunday, October 29, 2017

School and conferences and winter, oh my!

This year has been weird. 

Last year was a big adjustment for Katie. She moved into the middle school and there was drama and there were tears. 

This year it occurred to me, as she opened up her locker like a pro during the open house we went to on the second day of school, how much one year changed her. 

Last year she had a hard time getting around to her classes and getting her locker to open... she was doing okay, but it was tough.

This year she's just more confident; she speaks up for herself, she's taking care of her homework (mostly)... she's just really matured. 

We had conferences recently and her teachers were so complimentary. They all mentioned that they like having her in class (one teacher even said she was a pleasure to have in class, which is awesome to hear) and that she's working hard. 

There's only one class where she's got to work on something and it's gym class. She doesn't change into her uniform. 

Now, I want to support the gym teacher and make sure Katie knows that it's important to be prepared, so we talked about making sure she changes into her uniform every class and explained how important it is. 

I'm saying all of the parent-y things I should say, but inside? I'm like whoa... my kid is going to gym class AND she's participating in gym related activities??? 

She's already putting more into the class than I ever did just by showing up on time and doing the thing the teacher asks! (I hated gym and I think my gym class participation may have ended with learning line dancing in middle school. The fact that participation usually involved exertion, which usually meant sweating didn't help though.)

She PARTICIPATES, and that means doing sprints and RUNNING! Which kind of blows my mind.

I don't even care if she ever comes in on time with whatever tests are used to measure physical fitness, I'm just so impressed she makes the effort!

Plus, she's a smart, sweet, kind kid. And that's awesome.

Jacob is doing great too. He'll have homework and he'll guesstimate how long it will take, and he'll tell me it will take 3 minutes (or something really quick). And he'll get it done! He's soooo smart. He's smart in math and with reading.

And he's got two really good friends that live close and he loves to have them over for play dates and sleepovers. They play Terraria and Minecraft for as long as they're allowed and only go to bed when I make them shut things down! He includes Jack too, and that makes me so happy. 

Jack is learning a lot too, but I think he has a short attention span which makes it hard for him to sit still. He's also having a hard time keeping his hands to himself. (*He's* pretty tough but other kids may not want to play like they're professional wrestlers or boxers and he's got to tone it down.) He's getting better but it's something he needs lots of reminders about. 

The school is great; they have a program kids join when they have a hard time paying attention AND/OR keeping hands to themselves. They also have groups for kids and the groups meet to talk about friendship or parents who are divorced and there are a few other groups, too. I'm so thankful they support students and parents. 

That said, school conferences are coming up... I usually kind of hold my breath till their teachers get through the first part of the feedback sandwich (you know, say something nice then talk about the negative thing and then say something nice so no one leaves feeling totally awful). 

It's okay if you just lay it out for me. I already know my kids, and if you tell me that Jackson's a sweet kid but he makes you crazy most every day, I'll probably say "I hear ya." Because I totally get it.

And Jacob is pretty much always doing well in class and following the rules, but if he doesn't see the logic in what he's being asked to do, he'll ask why. And if he still doesn't think it makes sense, he'll ask why again. He wants to understand and, I think, he's weighing the pros and cons of doing the thing the teacher wants him to do with how it lines up with what he thinks is okay. 

For example, last year he wore his winter coat, WITH the hood on, all day in class. 

The teacher would ask him to take his coat off and he would. For a minute. And then he'd put it back on. 

I asked him what was up and he told me, with a really disgusted tone, that kids cough and sneeze and don't cover their mouths. I wanted to laugh because he sounded like a grumpy old man, but he was really bothered by it. 

He felt like his coat protected him from their germs. 

We ended at an agreeable impasse. The teacher looked the other way going forward, and he didn't have to disobey requests to remove his coat.

So, hopefully we have some good news at conferences. 

That's about all I'll write about tonight! It's super late and I'm not going to edit this like I normally would... I think I'll just post what I've got and head to bed. 

Oh! I'm hoping to sleep really well again tonight! I actually slept so well LAST night that I woke up and had a panicked feeling... the same type of panic I felt when a kid started sleeping through the night... I'd wake up in the morning feeling rested and then realize it's because I actually SLEPT the night before instead of getting up three or four times with the baby, and then I'd jump out of bed to check on the (at the time) baby to be sure they were okay!

This morning I woke up after a really good, deep sleep and felt panicked, but it was short lived (whew) because I could hear Katie and Jacob talking in the living room. So I went back to sleep!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Good Morning(s)

So this happened and I laughed.

Jacob brought his shoes into his room tonight. He never has before so, it was weird but I was busy and didn't ask what was up. Jackson came and got his shoes and brought them into his room too.

I just went to check on the boys and saw Jacobs shoes and full outfit laying on the floor... and Jackson's too! Literally, right in the middle of the room, on the floor.

Jackson looks up to his big brother and likes to do what he does and, if any of my kids has an outfit laid out and ready for morning, it would definitely be Jacob.

This kid is up every morning at 6:50 (he gets up when his alarm goes off and he WANTS to get up before everyone else!!!), he gets dressed and brushes his teeth, has his allergy medicine, then plays on the computer till its time to leave. He is very focused on getting through his morning routine so he can do what he wants. He's the kid I don't get much complaint from when it's time for chores!

Jackson gets up at the last possible minute, you know, once he can sense there's no more dragging it out and I'm getting ready to give him a consequence.

He often tells me he just doesn't want to get up, he wants to stay in bed, to which I reply (dryly)  "you and me both, kiddo." (I don't know if he really thinks that my favorite thing on a weekday morning is to be fully upright and getting ready to leave the house. If so, he would be wrong.  So, so wrong.)

He gets ready slooooooowly and I have to stick with him because I might *think* he's getting dressed when he's actually crawled back into bed and is cozy under his covers. I have definitely learned that I have to stick with him until it's time to actually walk out the door. I could think he's in the way out, he'd start walking TOWARDS the door, and then veer off to the side and head back to his room!

Also? When he finally gets dressed, he might be wearing pajamas, or he might be wearing three shirts (but he's dressed so really I only interfere if it's a weather issue or a safety thing)!

Katie's in between. She's not up and ready super fast, but at least with her, I know that once she's up she'll STAY up!

She sets her alarm and she's pretty good, generally speaking, at getting up when it goes off. Recently anyway. Now that she wants to move her room downstairs. Which I'm fine with. I just sooooooo don't want to have to run down the stairs every 5 minutes *in the morning* to tell her to get up... and then make sure she's up!

As of a couple of weeks ago, I'd have had to shout out to her to get up and turn her alarm OFF, that thing is so loud and she wouldn't wake up at ALL (and it was waking me up... I just want just 5 more minutes of sleep before I have to coax Jackson out of bed)! But lately, once her alarm goes off, she gets up and is pretty good at getting ready. I mean, sometimes I see her staring into her closet for a while, but I do the same thing and, once she's got things sorted, she's ready to go.

I'm so lucky the kids are how they are. I mean, I could use a little more cooperation from Jackson (but in the spirit of full disclosure, I'm not rushing to get him up... And in fact I *might* lie down with him to snuggle for oh, maybe 15 extra minutes in the morning...) but overall, I'm so thankful they are as good as they are every morning!

School starts soon. Not much change with the wake up and bed times from our usual schedule, since the kids are in day care and are used to the time. But it's that time of year for school supply shopping! (I am not excited, but I hope to do this early enough this year so I have options and can find good prices on stuff. Like 120 pencils. Sharpened. 😱)

Happy school supply hunting!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

At least 32% easier...

So it's been a while. 

In the time I've been away (and this post might not mark my return to blogging; it's actually a Facebook post that got so extremely long that I thought, "Hmmmmm, this is way too long. Anyone who reads this is going to go cross eyed if I put it here... Wait!... Where's that blog again?")...

Ahem... Starting over...

In the time I've been away... 

I've gotten a divorce (but have a great texting relationship with the kids' dad and they see him every other weekend), gotten a new job (same place I had been working, just in a new area), and have been trying to let my kids be more independent and make choices for themselves (while giving the full disclaimer that those choices come with consequences, so make good ones). 

Things in the last year or two could have been so difficult for me with bills and house stuff and kid stuff and work stuff, but I have a great family, and parents especially, who have been there for me in good and bad times. Parents who got involved, came to school events, went with me and the kids to fun activities where three kids and one mom would have been challenging, and so much more. I couldn't have asked for a better support.  (They DO live with me, so they were already around for some of it, but they chose to take on more just to help me.)

So now, looking back on where I was to where I am now, I just have to say, things with  life and with the kids are so much easier (or at least 32% easier) than they were just a year ago. 

Katie... She's 10 now and is such a good helper... she'll read to her brothers or play a video game or computer game with them and I can hear her talking with such patience and kindness (she helps with chores that aren't hers, too, like the clear table chore Jacob drew tonight). She is "obsessed with the color blue" (like a minty teal blue) right now, and is so excited to move her room downstairs... her room will be teal blue and grey. 

She's also been showing a very mature side... I got a call from Katie at day care a couple of weeks ago asking me to pick her up early because there was bullying going on at the day care. The teachers took care of it, but she didn't want to stay because she felt uncomfortable. I guess the mean girls were trying to get her to join them in the bullying and she wouldn't, which is a huge relief because, until my kid was faced with the situation of bullying and peer pressure - and these bullying girls were friendly with her at day care!, I wasn't sure how she would handle it; I was so proud of her for choosing wisely. 

Later, after everything had been talked through, I remembered I had told her, and my boys, from a very young age, that if they're in a situation they don't want to be in or in trouble, they could call me and I'd come get them.  (I also tell them that if they were doing something they shouldn't be doing and they call me to get them out of the situation, I would come, and I wouldn't yell at them when I picked them up. I'd very patiently wait until the next morning...) So maybe some of what I say is sticking? I hope so...

Jacob is 7 and is very responsible and conscientious (sometimes I'll tell him to go do something and I'll go to remind him and he's already done it, he just didn't make a fuss about it!) and he loves to explain things... he also enjoys a good joke and has a very good sense of what is fair. He likes to cuddle, but only if it's just him (he doesn't want to share mom with his brother or sister). 

And he LOVES Minecraft, playing Minecraft, watching Minecraft videos, talking about Minecraft. He usually brings two of his (Minecraft) books to day care each day but  the other day he was sad because he was sure  he had forgotten them. I was going to bring them to his class but could only find one. I got there and he's got a friend sitting next to him and another on the carpet holding one of the "forgotten" books. Turns out he left them at school and the book I brought was Katie's. Left that with him and when I walked past the room again (after checking on Jack), saw him and 3 other little boys sitting around the table... talking Minecraft. 

He does not enjoy being outside. Some days, when it's nice, I have to tell him that we're all going to spend 10 minutes outside (I'm not outdoorsy, but I go too). Usually once he's out there, he finds something fun to do and, before we know it, 30 minutes has passed! And sometimes even 45!

Lastly, Jackson. Jackson is 5 and, well, he's Jackson. He's been getting away with pretty much everything until recently because he's been "the baby". And, because he's super cute and knows it, it's gone on for far too long.  

Now, because I figured I should try to prepare him to be more responsible because he'll be in kinder next year, he's got to do "big kid" stuff, like putting away his laundry and doing home chores, so he can have the benefits of being a "big kid." 

One of the benefits is going to bed when "the big kids" go to bed. (Shhhhhh, don't tell him that bedtime is at any time between 6 pm and 9 pm, and that the earlier bed times are often randomly chosen by me based on how well the kids are getting along and how tired I am.) he loves hearing that it's time for big kids to go to bed and when he asks me if that means him too, I say, "Of course! You're a big kid!"

It's so fun to see him work on filling the dishwasher or setting the table (he likes to pick out just the right plates and cups, and he laughs when he sneaks in a baby spoon at someone's spot!). 

He's been having a hard time at day care, though, just like his big brother did at the same age, and pretty much making his teachers roll their eyes and sigh heavily. We're working on that so it will hopefully NOT be a big deal in the fall. 😳

School is starting in a little over a month, and I think I have three kids who are ready and excited to go. I'm so proud of them. 

(*I'm* not prepared to see them as a kindergartner, 2nd grader, or MIDDLE SCHOOLER, though. And I am definitely soooo not fully prepared for all of the school supplies... those  lists are crazy!)

They still have their moments when they make ME roll MY eyes and sigh heavily, but overall, I'm so proud of the people they're growing up to be.

So this turned out to be a rather lengthy post. I'm glad I remembered this blog and maybe I'll remember to post more here... Life's been good, but super busy, so who knows what will come up in the next little while!

Also, it's super late and I'm trying not to be such a perfectionist in the things I have a tendency to over think (like, say, anything I write) so... I'm posting this without reading it over 5 times. Good night!