Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Preston: First Week of Kindergarten!

The long-awaited day of Preston's first day of Kindergarten finally arrived on Monday, September 9th.

He was very excited about it, I will tell you that.  

He had some new school clothes that we put aside especially for Kindergarten, and he was up at 6 a.m. the first morning all dressed and ready to start his day with his new "95" shirt on. (Clever marketing, that Osh Kosh B'Gosh...putting 95 on their shirt, the same number as Lightning McQueen!).

But before the first day, we got to read a special Kindergarten book each night for 3 nights.  "Curious George Goes to School", "The Night Before Kindergarten", and then one more that I can't remember the name of. And we actually read those from a tent since we were camping the weekend before.

The morning of, I fixed a pancake breakfast for Preston.

Then we took some photos before getting into the car and driving him to school...

So, after this point we went to the school -which was an absolute mad house. Will met us there so he could also see Preston off.  When we first arrived, one of the teachers on the playground asked us if we knew where to go. And if it felt like we were the only parents who didn't know who our child's teacher and room was, well that was TRUE.  The school had done a horrible job at communicating with us about, well, everything. I had come to the school a couple of times the week prior to check the rosters posted on the windows to find out who Preston's teacher was, but nothing was posted.

We went to Kindergarten assessment the Thursday before and met a very nice teacher, but she also could not tell us.  But we received a bus route in the mail that said we were "a.m. Kindergarten". I figured, even though we don't know much, that's okay, we'll just show up and they'll direct us where to go.

Well, so the playground teacher person asked us if we knew who his teacher was, and I said "I have no idea", so then she asked for Preston's name. I told her, and she looked very confused and said "Well, this list is showing that he is p.m. Kindergarten."

I then said, "Well that can't be right because he is supposed to be a.m. Kindergarten."  She seemed really embarrassed and directed us to go to the office and talk to them.  So we did.  And the secretary in the office looked at her lists and said "Hmm, there is a question mark next to his name."  A few minutes later, she finally said "Okay, yes, he is supposed to be in p.m. Kindergarten with Mrs. Moore."

At that point, I was NOT happy. Preston was also very confused.  So I spent another several minutes in the office asking where the classroom was, what time afternoon Kindergarten started, what time his bus schedule was, and all of that.  And then I had to explain to Preston that we were going to have to go home and come back later because they got his class mixed up.

Preston was on the verge of tears and very upset that he wasn't going to get to go to school.  I went home SUPER mad because I also had to re-arrange our schedules. I had doctor appts I had scheduled specifically for when Preston would be in a.m class, and had to figure that out.

Anyway, long story short, is later that afternoon, we came back for afternoon Kindergarten.

Most of the other parents were bawling their eyes out while saying goodbye to their Kindergarteners, but to be honest I was just frazzled by the school's mixup and also wanted to be strong for Preston. He kept looking at me for support and I kept smiling at him and saying he was going to have fun (he is very shy).

Later that afternoon, I picked him up from school and he seemed very happy.  Exhausted, but content.  

Later that night, we made homemade Boboli pizzas and Preston was excited to design his own pepperoni pizza.

Apparently Preston thought Kindergarten was just something you did once though, and then you were done.  Because the next day when I told him he had to go to school AGAIN, he wasn't as excited. BUT it was still yet another big day for him because he was going to ride the school bus for the very first time.

And here it comes...

Preston got right on the bus and sat in the very first seat.  I was nervous about him coming home on the right bus, but thankfully the teachers are good about making sure the little kids get on the right bus... 

Although the 2nd day he rode the bus he actually did get on the wrong bus but luckily his busdriver saw it, and went over and helped him get onto the right bus.  He did cry a little - but if I were in his shoes I would have cried too. I'm just grateful he made it home!

Now he is a pro at riding the bus!

I ask Preston every day how Kindergarten was and he is very happy and replies "good", but I know he is very shy still.  I keep asking him if he has made any friends and he says "Not yet".  And he also tells me he doesn't play with the kids at recess but sits down on the ground. It makes me sad but I know he is just really shy. I hope one of these days another kid will come up to him and make friends with him.

Preston is becoming a VERY good little artist.  This is one that he's been working on for over a week. Notice all of the detail?  That is a school bus, by the way - complete with windows and kids in each of the seats. Then there are cars in front and back. Above is a train off in the distance with mountains and trees a sun and blue sky. Even a little black bird in he sky.

I'm still a little frustrated with the school because I keep being misinformed or UNinformed about stuff (I completely missed curriculum night because nobody told me), but his teacher seems very nice and hopefully it will improve with the school year.

Oh and I forgot to mention, I had sent an email to the principal on the first day of school letting her know I was quite frustrated at the lack of communication and how in the dark we had been about Preston's class and when it started and everything. She profusely apologized and explained that there were so many new Kindergarteners this year, they ended up having to hire a new teacher at the last minute and didn't know which kids would be in her class.  But still, apparently there was more mix-up than that because she also said the class rosters that were passed out to the teachers were conflicting and we never got a phone call about the time change for his class, nor was Preston on anyone's roster.  

Anyway. It's all fixed now though, and Preston is really enjoying Kindergarten.  I am also enjoying the 3 hours in the afternoon while he is gone and Taylor naps. I actually have been able to work on music. :)

Fall Harvest Festival

We carried on our tradition of attending the McKinley's Fall Harvest Festival a couple of weekends ago.  We've done this every September for the past 4 years or so. It is a fun picnic at the McKinley's home. I should say estate/mansion.  Anyway they have tractor hay rides, food, and fireworks.  Very "Fall". I love it and always look forward to it.

Preston ACTUALLY talked my Dad into going on the tractor ride with him - a feat in itself!


In case you are wondering about Will's cowboy hat, in years past my dad has always worn his cowyboy hat to this picnic, so this year Will said he was going to wear his. Only my dad did NOT wear his this time. Haha.

It was a lot of fun! Too bad Will was still fighting a stomach bug though and hardly ate anything :(

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Little Lesson in Loving My Children Better

The title of this post suggests that I have mastered something.  That is not the case, this lesson is still a work in progress, but I wanted to share my thoughts on something that happened this weekend and that has forever changed my heart for the better. And yet again that just sounds weird. OF COURSE I love my kids!  Just read on, and you'll get it..

You see these sweet children?

I try to be a good mom to them.  I make sure they have clean clothes to wear every day, a breakfast/lunch/dinner and snacks.  I take them to the park to play.  We go on walks, ride bikes, make cookies together, read books together.  I also try very hard to make sure they grow up obedient boys with good manners, learn to do chores, and respect things around the house (like not climbing all over things or breaking things).  I try to get them to help me clean the house, or at least attempt to keep it clean (though I don't always succeed).  

Other people usually comment to us what "good boys" we have.  And they ARE good boys.  Taylor, is, well he is going through a challenging phase for us right now but I know it's just part of being 3 years old (as well as probably his personality as well), but Preston....Preston has been mostly an angelic 5 year old.

The only real times Preston misbehaves is actually usually a direct result of either 2 things:  1) He is tired and ready for bed, or 2) Taylor is teasing and egging him on.

Yesterday, I spent the entire day working around the house.  BOTH Will and I did. He was outside most of the day finishing up painting the white trim on our house which we've been meaning to finish for a couple of months.  I was working on the inside. I twice cleaned the kitchen (we're talking a thorough cleaning including mopping, cleaning the microwave, etc), vacuumed all the carpets, polished the piano and the dining room table, washed all the bedding and made beds. I also spent about 4 hours going around the house collecting all of the toys I could and organizing them into bins for the boys so all of their toys would be neatly put away and organized now. Preston helped me with that - and we were able to find all of his cars and trains. He was a big help.

By bedtime, I was completely wiped out.  Being 11 weeks pregnant, I guess you could say my body has lately been overtaken by the relaxin hormone lately which starts to make all of my joints very loosey-goosey. I've had a history in my last two pregnancies of producing a lot of this hormone which has made my ribs dislocate and slip out of place and have some painful hip problems. Last night, my hips were killing me and I was feeling a lot of pressure in my pelvic area and I knew I had probably overdone it - and needed to just lay down and relax for the rest of the evening.  But Will was still outside on the roof painting, and since the next day was church I needed to still get our dirty boys into the bathtub and bathed and into bed.

So I slowly was hobbling around trying to get the bath water started, boys undressed and into the bath.  Just when I thought I could sit down for a few minutes while the boys played in the bathtub, Preston came out saying he wanted a particular airplane toy to play with in the bathtub.  I knew that this particular toy had just been put away in its NEW proper place in the newly organized labelled bins.  I didn't want him getting the bins out and taking toys out since they were all neatly put away for the evening, and I knew they already had other bathtub toys in the tub.

Preston kept asking and I kept saying "No."

He was not taking no for an answer, and so I finally yelled at him "NO PRESTON NOW GET INTO THE BATHTUB!!"

Tears welled up into his eyes, he turned around and walked back into the bathroom, but then he did something he has NEVER done before.  He turned back to me and through tears he said "I don't love you anymore Mama because you are so mad at me!" He sobbed.  I thought that is what he said but I couldn't believe it. He has NEVER told me that he didn't love me before. 

I said, "What did you say?"

And again, he very sadly looked at me and cried and said "I don't love you anymore because you are so mad at me!"

I have to say, that hurt. A lot.  To the very core.  Preston is my angel, my really really good well-behaved boy.  He is usually always obedient, helpful, kind, etc.  For him to express such big painful feelings to me and ones that hurt me, it was hard to believe they were actually happening and coming from him. 

It didn't hurt me because he hurt me, it hurt because I knew he was right, I deserved him saying that to me.

I went to him and put a towel on him and held him close and told him I was so sorry that I yelled at him, and that was not nice of me to do that, and that I loved him very very much.  I held him for a couple of minutes until he stopped crying and then told him he could go downstairs and get his airplane.

He played happily in the bathtub after that, and later that night when I tucked them into bed and told them a story, we snuggled and he told me he loved me.  

But that was not the end for me. I went to my room and finally laid down on my bed and just sat there thinking about what had just happened.  I thought to myself, "They are not your minions Jenni, they are people too.  You need to respect them, and not yell at them."

I really thought about this incident, and it just made me so incredibly sad.  I felt like a terrible mom.  It hit me that I just expect them to love and adore me because I am their mother, and no matter what I do that won't change.  It was the first time I realized that children love people who are kind to them (which is no wonder they love their grandparents so much). I know that sounds like a "duh" thing, but as a parent I think I just expect them to love me no matter what.  No matter if I am having a crabby day and yell at them, they still have to love me because I am their mom.

I thought about how one day, as teenagers, I will really have to earn their love because they won't just want to snuggle me or hug me all of the time, and getting them to obey might be much harder than it is now because they will be more grown up and independent.

I thought about what it is like to live life through my children's eyes, and how they just want to feel safe and loved and they want to be smiled at.

I mean yes, I have to set boundaries and rules and I also need them to respect me, but I also need to respect them as individuals and as little people.  They don't deserve to be yelled at. I remember when I was a child I really hated it when either of my parents yelled at me. It scared me and envoked great fear.  Do I want my little children to fear me?  Of course not.  I want them to feel safe with me and to feel loved.

I laid there in my bed last night wondering how I could do better.  How can I handle situations better so that I don't have to yell?  Sometimes I feel like when they are being disobedient, the only way to get their attention is to yell at them.  This needs to stop.  And I know I am going to need my Heavenly Father's help every day until I master this because being a parent doesn't come with an instruction book.  I'm not sure how to do things differently yet so in those "situations" I don't have to resort to yelling, but I know with God's help I can at least have more patience and figure it out.

In church today, it was perfect that part of our Relief Society lesson talked about unity in the family. The teacher asked the class "How can you have more unity in your family?" and some of the answers helped me.  Love and Respect, Communication, etc.

Many years ago, the sister that I visit taught (this was before I even had any children of my own), was telling me that she was really struggling with her kids and getting mad at them and she prayed about what to do. And she got the answer that she needed to read her scriptures daily.  And she said once she started reading her scriptures daily, she found that she had the spirit with her more often and was more patient and kind with her children, and there was a better feeling in their home.  That always stuck out in my mind - something I tucked away as something to refer to in the future if I ever needed it.  And well, I think this is one of those times.  I have never been someone who is good about sitting down and reading, but I am going to try to get something in every day whether it's listening to scripture, watching the church's youtube inspirational videos, or reading the Ensign.

It is time for me to work on being a better mother - not just providing their needs and playing with them, but also making sure that I consciously try to make sure they feel loved by me each and every day.