School Begins Again

Yesterday kicked off the new school year. Liam began fourth grade and Jamie began kindergarten. It’s a big year for both of them. In Liam’s case, he changes classes this year so he has three teachers instead of just the one. He is also starting band this year and taking on the trumpet. I know he’ll do great but I also know he was a bit anxious about it all.

For Jamie, it’s a switch to school 5 days a week. It’s still only half days like preschool was but now he gets to ride the bus in the morning and he has a spot at a table that’s all his and a locker for his bag. Jamie has been anxious, too. Yesterday he had orientation (which parents attended) and he was feeling very shy and clingy. This morning he was asking all kinds of questions about how things work. He’ll get through it and he’s going to love it but it’s a lot to process for him.

This is the best picture Liam would let me take. Stinker.

This is the best picture Liam would let me take. Stinker.

Outakes

Outakes

Getting ready to go to orientation.

Getting ready to go to orientation.

This morning was our first morning on the new schedule of getting TWO kids out the door at the same time. Um. That was hectic – more than I expected it to be. I’m going to have to practice or make some adjustments to the morning routine to make it all work. But, we finally managed to get everything together and get out of the house on time and up to the bus stop. Jamie was going to get to ride the bus with his brother for the first time. He’d been looking forward to this for YEARS.

Ready!

Ready!

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They’re off! I’m the mother of two school age children!

When Liam came home yesterday he said that his first day was good and he was in very good spirits. I think a lot of his anxiety eased once he got to school and dug into the first day.

I picked Jamie up today and he was a chatterbox. School was good! They went on a very long walk! His legs are tired! Police cars stopped traffic for their walk and the first car was Officer Zola! (He taught them bus safety yesterday.)

Next week we settle into the new schedule full time. We’re off to a great start!

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Say Goodbye To Kindergarten

Today was Liam’s last day of school but there was no schooling going on because today was Kindergarten Carnival day.

In our school, on the last day of Kindergarten we hold a carnival.  It’s organized by the parents and everything we use for it, from game supplies to refreshments, is donated by the parents.  It’s a chance for the kids to blow off some steam and celebrate the end of a successful year.

And celebrate we did.

All of the kids were given t-shirts with the school name and year on it.  We also got one for the teacher and had all the kids sign it before we gave it to her.

There was a short ceremony where the principal and the teacher handed out certificates of completion to the class and then we all headed outside to enjoy carnival day.
We played with a parachute…

And painted faces (or arms in this case).

They played silly relay games with balls between their knees.
We had story time with a snack (a welcome break in the shade)…
And blew bubbles during free play.

There was an obstacle course (Liam’s favorite)…
And bobbing for marshmallows.
By that time we were just about worn out so we packed up all of Liam’s stuff and headed out.  I felt like I’d lived 4 days in the space of 3 hours.
So, summer is officially here.  Liam has passed kindergarten and is a first grader come fall.  He’ll get to ride the bus in the morning AND the afternoon – a fact he’s relishing.  And that incoming class of kindergarteners?  They are tiny.  They look like babies to me.  I am not a single day older than I was when Liam started kindergarten (shush, you!) but he’s so much bigger than he used to be.

Parent-Teacher Conferences and the Schedule From Hell

This week was completely insane.  It was parent-teacher conference week and the schedule they had us on was bizarre.

Afternoon kindergarten on a normal day runs from 12:35 until 3:15.  When Liam first started school, I thought this meant we needed to be at school for drop off no later than 12:25 so that the kids could get unloaded and then into the classroom by 12:35 to start their day.  I also thought that since they were not released from school until 3:15 that the bus would not arrive until, at earliest, 3:30.

I was wrong.

Drop off begins at 12:35 on the nose.  My child steps off the bus at our stop (which is admittedly the 3rd stop on the route) at 3:15.  This means that they do not really get down to the teaching until 12:45 and they knock off around 3:00 so that the kids can get their stuff and get on their buses.  He gets around 2 hours of instructional time a day.

You can imagine how I felt when, for three days this week, he had to be at school at 11 am and was home at 12:30.  He was barely at school long enough to turn around twice and take a pee before it was back on the bus to come home.  It was ridiculous.  I don’t even know how they can get away with calling that a “full” day of school – they might as well have not gone at all.

It also messed with our lunch schedule and I was having to feed him a snack before school and lunch when he came home.  It completely threw him for a loop because he was totally unused to doing things this way.  Liam is not one to take to such schedule changes with ease.

On Wednesday, the schedule was even more crazy.  He went to school at 11:00, came home at 12:30, had 20 minutes to shove down lunch, and then we turned around and went back to school so that we could do his conference.  My neighbor and I scheduled on the same day so that we could tag team it with the childcare.  After the conference, we went to the book fair.  Then, we finally made it home.  It made for a strange day.

The good news is that he got a good report from his teacher and he’s doing well in school.  I could go on and on and bore you with the details of his assessment but so far he’s landing somewhere in the middle of the pack – albeit on the higher end of middle.  He’s doing what he should be and that’s what I’m looking for.

I’m really hoping that by the time Jamie goes to school, they’ll have found a better way to go about scheduling conferences because this schedule was just dumb.

Life, Lately

I’ve been having trouble trying to come up with blog posts lately because we’re so busy but life is also very routine.  This is good news in a lot of ways as it means Scot’s health issues (which I haven’t talked about on here very much) are beginning to resolve themselves and my stress level is beginning to reduce itself.  Thank God for small favors.  But, on the other hand, it makes for rather boring blog posts, no?

Instead, I’m just going to give you a “here’s how it’s going in the Two Kids and a Beagle household.”

1.  Liam continues to attend kindergarten with gusto.  Loves school, loves his teacher, loves riding the bus, is making friends – what more could I ask for?  We don’t have parent-teacher conferences until November but I’m hoping for a good report – both academically and behaviorally.

Liam is also continuing apace at Tae Kwon-Do.  Moving up into a color belt class was like moving from kindergarten to first grade.  It’s not at all the same except that he’s still supposed to behave himself and listen.  However, if he doesn’t, he gets to do push ups.  But he’s holding his own pretty well and he’s already learning his next pattern.  The biggest change for him is that his class is now at 6:00 pm instead of 7:00 pm so he’s busy from 5:00 (dinner time) until bedtime on TKD nights and that kind of ticked him off for awhile.  He’s adjusting to it now, though, and pretty soon it will seem like it’s always been like this.

2.  Jamie is now 19 months old and 28 lbs 12 oz.  He is, for lack of a better term, a tank.  I was honestly shocked when he weighed in because I expected him to be at least 30 lbs.  He certainly feels like he is – the kid is dense!  He, too, is enjoying his two days a week at daycare and practically throws his shoes at me if we’re not moving out the door fast enough.

He’s also expanding his language at lightning speed.  The other night, while I was at TKD with Liam, he looked at Scot and said “UPSTAIRS!  BATH!” over and over until Scot figured it out and said “you want to go upstairs and take your bath?”  Jamie snatched up his stuffed animals and made a beeline for the stairs as fast as his chubby little legs would carry him.  He certainly gets his point across, that’s for darn sure.

3.  The beagle?  Continues to pee in my house.  There are no words.

4.  Scot and I will be celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary next week.  We’ve been together for 11 years now.  It’s amazing how slowly 11 years seems to go when you’re a child and how quickly they fly past when you’re an adult.  And yet, here we are, with two kids, a dog, a mortgage, and being subversive in the suburbs.  😉  When I was 17 years old, the thing I wanted most in life was to have children (and yes, I knew that college came first, thankyouverymuch, and then marriage).  I have my share of bad days being a stay at home Mom, but the truth is that I wanted this very much and I wouldn’t chose differently if given a chance.  I love you, Scot!

5.  I remain corpulent.  There are no words for this, also.

6.  I become less enamored of my soccer mom title the longer soccer goes on.  The kids are fine; the parents are not.  They yell at their children from the sidelines.  They reprimand them for not being aggressive enough.  They give me dirty looks when I clap for the *other* team when they score (because, dude?  It’s six and under and there’s barely any rules.  The kids are trying and it’s a good job reaching the damn net at all).  I clap when our team scores, too, but I don’t feel the need to denigrate a gaggle of 5 and 6 year olds just because they scored against us.

The longer this goes on the more I hope that Liam loses his love of the game.  I’d rather be a dojang Mom any day of the week.  It’s just so . . . suburban.  Or, more accurately, suburban nightmare.  I’m all for kids learning that not everyone is awesome and not everyone gets a trophy and how to be a good sport but this is U-6 soccer – most of these kids have never played the game before and it just isn’t important at this age to be so damn competitive.

7.  Otherwise, life is life.  I clean the house, I run children to school, I pick kids up off the bus.  There’s play dates and grocery shopping and bills.  One of these days there will be time for me – I begin to see a glimmer of those days but it’s a faint glow on the distant horizon.  We’ll get there.  Eventually.

On the Second Day of Kindergarten

Yesterday was the first full day of school for Liam.  So, we got to do drop off for the first time and he got to ride the bus home for the first time.

Once again, Liam was excited as a kid at Christmas.  While we were eating lunch I told him that we had to finish eating and then get ready for school.  He immediately added, “And then the fun begins!”

He did great at drop off and when it came time for the bus to drop him off we all headed up to the bus stop to meet him.

Waiting for brother!
Finally, the bus pulled up and the kids started pouring out.  I could see Liam waving at me from the window of the bus – right up front!  I managed to catch a shot of him getting off the bus.
He ran directly to me, gave me a big hug and said “It was so fun, I didn’t want to stop!”
If I still hear that by the end of the year, I’ll consider it a victory.

The Day He’s Been Waiting Over a Year For Is Finally Here

Today Liam became a kindergarten student.

He’s spent the entirety of the last week quizzing me on how many days he has left until school starts and randomly announcing how excited he is to start school.  The only problem was that today was an orientation day and we didn’t go to school until 1:00 pm. 

It was like telling a kid that the stockings on Christmas morning were to hang where they were – stuffed to the gills – and were not to be touched until after Christmas dinner.  You can imagine what that made my day like.  I tried to keep him busy (Hello, Costco run!) but really, all he was focused on was school.

Finally, it was time and he was ready to go.

We headed off to school and met with other parents and kids and then met his teacher.  We went to the classroom and he found his seat and he got to color while the teacher talked to the parents about various administrative points.

Once we were done with that, the teacher gathered the kids together and read a story with them.

After that we went outside to find a bus waiting.  They got to meet a bus driver and a police officer talked to them about bus safety.  Then, it was onto the bus for a quick jaunt around the neighborhood!

With all that excitement out of the way, it was time to come home.  Tomorrow is his first day of school on the regular schedule and he’s all ready to go.  He has his backpack ready and we know who his bus buddy is – an older child at school who will help him get on the bus and get off at the right stop.  It’s one of the neighbor kids so he knows her.

He’s so tired from all the build up of going to school that he’s just exhausted tonight.  I’m proud of him, though.  He did fantastic!  Tomorrow, Jamie and I will be waiting for him when he gets off the bus and I bet he’ll be all smiles.  I can’t wait.

One Week

In one week, there will be a kindergarten student living in this house.

It seems like just a few weeks ago that we moved into this house with Liam as a 2.5 year old.  I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface of really settling into caring for our house and yet, here it is, three years later and Liam is starting school.  Time really does go by quickly.

Liam is excited.  I don’t know how he could be anything but.  He’s been talking about going to kindergarten for almost a year and a half now.  He’s so very ready to be a big kid and ride the bus and have a backpack and learn all kind of great things.

We had a little welcome reception at the school the other night for the incoming kindergarten class and I could tell that it made Liam that much more excited.  He got to meet the other kids and run around on the playground with them.  We also got to see his classroom and meet the principal.  When we came home that night, Liam asked me if school were starting the next day and I could tell he was a little disappointed when I said it wasn’t.

So now he has me counting down the days until kindergarten starts.  I’m so proud of what a great kid he is and I know he’s going to do just fine.  I hope he loves learning and loves school for many, many years to come.

That first day of school, I’m going to be waiting for him at the bus stop and I can’t wait to hear all about his day.