Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Whose kid is this???

Yes, he looks like my kid. Carries a Thomas the Tank Engine lunch bag like my kid. He's even wearing my kid's shirt. (Don't worry, it's been washed since last week's post)

But he isn't acting like my kid!

You see that cute yellow school bus die cut he's holding? That's his name tag. All of the kids have them. They're really only used by the kids who ride the bus to and/or from school. Do you know why he's holding his name tag so proudly??? Because he just got off the school bus! Ack!

Last week, Nathan assured me that he didn't want to ride the bus until he was 6, which will be next year. Fine with me.

Today, I waited patiently at school, in the !@#&!@ 103* heat. The bell rang and a happy, confident Nathan was the first one out the classroom door. He lined up along the wall like they're supposed to, but didn't come rushing over to me when they were dismissed. Hmmmm...

Instead of his usual exuberance at seeing me, he was a little reserved. He gave me a brief hug, then said, "Mommy, I want to ride the bus home today".

Me: "What????? Are you sure?"

Him: "Yes."

Me: "Why?"

Him: "Because it's fun." (Evidently, riding in the mini van with Mom is no longer fun.)

Me (trying not to panic): "Okay, let's walk to the bus together and take a look."

Him: "I can do it myself. I know how. It's fun."

What's a mother to do???

We did walk to the bus together and I spoke to the driver. I figured it was the least I needed to do since this was his first time. Luckily, we live right on the corner at the second bus stop.

He seems to have turned a corner this week. There have been no tears in the morning. There has been no clinging or other octopus type behavior. He has still been holding my hand while we walk to the quad, but once we get there, he drops my hand and gets in line with the other boys. I barely get a hug and a kiss goodbye.

Oh how quickly they grow up.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mommy Advice

I received a comment from L.P. on my last post, asking if I had any mommy advice for dealing with clingy kids and separation. I couldn't reply via email, so I thought I'd post a reply.

In my particular situation, a huge credit goes to a great preschool and a FABULOUS preschool teacher. I cannot say enough good things about Miss E. She is a warm and caring teacher who truly loves each of her students. She was great at directing Nathan to a distraction or giving him a big hug while I left the playground. And she had soft words for me on the days I struggled to leave him.

Nathan with Miss E at Pre-K graduation

Here are a few tips:

  • Be strong. You will both live through it. (And it's okay for you to cry too. I always tried to hold on 'til I was back in the van before the floodgates opened.)

  • Be reassuring, but firm. Tell your child how much you love them and that you will be back to get them. Most young children can't tell time, so giving Nathan a milestone to judge pick up time by helped. He knew that I'd be there after the second playtime.

  • Talk about their favorite school activity. Give them something to look forward too.

  • Help them make friends and encourage them to go play with their friends when you arrive at school.

  • Get feedback and help from the teacher. Ask if he/she has any advice on easing the separation. Make sure the teacher knows if your child has separation anxiety and ask them to help ease the transition.

  • Give them a talisman or lovey to keep with them at school. (Nathan liked to wear one of my old watches or a bracelet to preschool.)

  • Read books about going to school. "The Kissing Hand" is a cute one. And Sarah suggested "I Love You All Day Long".

  • DO NOT sneak away. This is my advice as a mom and a former day care provider. It's scary for a child to turn around and find that mommy has suddenly disappeared. It makes them cling even more in the future. Say your goodbyes, tell them you'll be back and leave them in capable hands.

There are lots of other things you can try and lots of resources available. Read parenting books or internet articles. Ask other parents for advice. And remember that every child is different and just because something worked for someone else doesn't mean it'll work for you.

All you mommies out there are welcome to leave comments with your suggestions.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Finally Friday! - Kindergarten Day 5

Well, we survived the first week of Kindergarten! A bit weary, but we've made it through.

This face pretty much sums up our week.
(photo from Monday)

If you had seen Nathan this morning, you'd have thought he was part Octopus. Clinging to me with every tentacle and ounce of strength he has. I'd manage to peel one hand off, then he'd wrap his other hand/arm around me or latch on to my shirt or trousers or keys.

And again, once he was a bit away from me, he was fine...through the door and lining up to sign in.

This afternoon, he told me quite a bit about his day. The teacher has some stuffed animals in the classroom that the kids get to cuddle with during their rest time. Nathan was in charge of passing them out today. He got to cuddle with the otter. He also got to hold the door open on the way to and from recess. He sounds so proud when he talks about being responsible for these things.

So, that's the full report on the first week of Kindergarten. Thanks for all your comments, suggestions and support. :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oh boy - Kindergarten Day 4

I know that you all don't want to hear about Nathan's activities every day at Kindergarten, so I'm only going to post for this first week. And then, of course, whenever something spectacular happens.

His separation anxiety was bound to get worse before it gets better and he proved that theory this morning. He was upset about going to school before he was even dressed!

We talked about why he didn't want to go to school and he told me it's because some things are hard and he misses me all day long. (Aww, my little sweet pea!)I tried to reassure him that the hard things will get easier with practice and that it's okay to miss Mommy, because Mommy misses him too.

Of course we had tears again. He wouldn't put his hand over his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance - he'd have to let go of me to do that! And the death grip he had on my shirt as his teacher tried to maneuver him into the classroom was amazing. He was grasping at any part of me that he could.

I did stay to peek in the window this time. I expected to see him in a sobbing lump on the floor. In the 10 seconds or so that it took me to walk away from the door and walk back, he'd crossed the room and was waiting with the other kids to sign his name on the roll sheet.

Every day, I've been asking him what he did in school. What he learned. Who he played with and sat by. Every day his answer has been "I don't remember" or "I don't know". But today, he actually gave me details! He explained how they do stations and what activities are at each station. He even got to be the leader for his table. :) Yes, I am a proud Mama!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

From bad to worse? - Kindergarten Day 3

I felt awful today. One of those "I'm a terrible mother" kind of feelings.

I know I'm not a terrible mother. But when your baby is sobbing and desperately trying to hold onto you, and you have to turn him over to a teacher who is practically a stranger, and just walk away.....well, it feels awful.

Funny thing is, he was fine as soon as the teacher got him turned around (facing away from me) and into the classroom. I didn't hang around or peek through the window. I did not want to risk him seeing me and continuing the scene.

Again, very enthusiastic when I picked him up. Lined up against the classroom wall like they're supposed to, then greeted me with a big smile and a hug, but he didn't tell me that he didn't miss me today. He didn't tell me I was crazy either, so that's a plus.

By the time we got to the van, he was in his "woe is me" routine......"I'm so tired"; "I'm too worn out to buckle my seatbelt"; "I'm exhausted".

Oh the burdens of being five!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The good and the not so good - Kindergarten Day 2

It's been an interesting day on the Kindergarten front.

Nathan got himself dress without too much nagging, but still didn't want any breakfast again today. We went to school and walked to the quad together. I tried standing a bit away from him during the flag ceremony and while walking to the classroom. He got about half way across the room before realizing I wasn't walking with him anymore. He came right back out, crying, and grabbed my arm. I went in to help him with his backpack and then handed him over to his teacher.

I didn't look back as I headed out the door. It felt awful....

But this afternoon, he was very enthusiastic. And again told me that he didn't miss me. I think that must be his way of expressing how relieved he is that I showed up to get him. (In situations where he's uncomfortable, he usually whispers that I'm crazy or that I'm the best. Either way, I know that he's under a little stress and not sure how to handle it.)

Tomorrow I'm going to walk him to the quad and leave before the flag ceremony. I'm hoping the distraction of the other students, teachers and principal giving her morning announcements will help ease my departuture.

This photo has almost nothing to do with this post, other than it's a photo of Nathan and this post is about Nathan.

It's one of my favorite photos and I thought I'd share it with you.

This was shortly before his fourth birthday. Just look at him...relaxing on the porch, drink in one hand, telephone in the other. Quite a grown up pose!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Success - Kindergarten Day 1

I'm sure you all want to know how the rest of Nathan's first day of Kindergarten went, so I'm going to tell you! (Yes, this means two posts in one day.)

He came out of his classroom, ran to me and gave me a HUGE hug.

Then he said, "Mommy, I didn't miss you at all today!".

Hmmmm, not sure I like that.

I think it was a bit of reassurance for me that he made it through the day on his own. I also think he said it to boost his own confidence that he's a big boy and can handle Kindergarten.

Anyway, this is the happy face he had on when we got to the van.

They started on these coloring pages when they found their desks this morning.

I know that as his Mother, I'm biased, but look at how well he did. I am so impressed by his coloring inside the lines! This isn't even something we've been practicing.

The only thing I question about his summary of the day is him telling me that he doesn't have to go to school tomorrow because different kids will be there. In preschool, he only went three days a week, so maybe he's remembering that. We put a calendar up in his room this afternoon with school days in yellow and weekends in blue. He looked a little dejected at how many yellow days there are! C'est la vie, little man!

Mama's got the blues

The "First Day of Kindergarten" Blues that is.

This morning was nothing at all like I expected. At least not from Nathan. After the last few days of "I really don't want to go to school", "I don't need to go to Kindergarten because I already know my ABCs" and "No, I don't want to make new friends", I expected Nathan to be clinging and crying and asking to come home with me.

We had none of that.

He stood calmly with the other students in the quad. He took his hat off and held it over his heart fot the Pledge of Allegiance. He walked in line to his classroom. Stowed his backpack and hat, then sat down to color.

Me: "Mommy's leaving now...." (Feeling a little nervous and anticipating a meltdown or at least a request for me to stay with him.)

Nathan: "Okay. Bye Mommy."

Well to a good start!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Welcome To The Jungle....

The Tomato Jungle.

Would you believe that overgrown mass is only two tomato plants? I decided that one Cherry Tomato and one Yellow Pear Tomato plant would be plenty for us this year. The plants have grown to be over 6 feet tall now and are blocking the walkway to the garage....

Turns out that I am the only one who's actually eating the tomatoes, which is good because there hasn't been a lot of fruit from these over zealous plants. Oh, Nathan likes to pick tomatoes and put them in the fridge, but he won't eat them anymore. He is the strangest kid sometimes. Just a few months ago, while in the produce department of the grocery store, he asked if he could have some grape tomatoes. He didn't mean that he wanted to take them home. He meant he wanted to sit in the cart and eat them now! Such a funny kiddo.

I've done well on my sewing today. I was having trouble sleeping last night and kept thinking about an idea for some soft baby blocks. I was going to a baby shower at noon today and really wanted something handmade in addition to the store-bought sleepers and softie. So, I got up in the middle of the night and made this set of soft blocks. They're made of flannel, stuffed with polyfil and each one has a jingle bell tucked safely inside. I'm fairly pleased with them, but I think next time I'll make them smaller and use more modern fabrics, rather than these very "babyish" pastel flannels.

They were a hit at the shower. It's nice to have the validation that what you create is something attractive and appreciated.

I also finished Nathan's quilt tonight. (Looks pretty much the same as in my last post.) I had intended to handstitch the binding to the back, but I handstitching is very slow and not very pretty. I made the executive decision to machine stitich it, using the same stitch as the quilting. It was finished in about half an hour and is now happily tumbling in the dryer. Handmade by Mommy, freshly laundered and ready for the first day of school!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Morsbags and WIP

Lately, I've been trying to join the "Be Fantastic, Don't Use Plastic" movement by using reuseable cloth bags for my shopping rather than plastic bags. I only had one cloth bag (that I bought at Target), my Martha Stewart Living tote and one other large tote to use, so I've gotten busy making Morsbags.

I joined a group on Swap-bot and we are all making Morsbags. There are 35 of us and so far, we've made 135 bags! This particular group has a deadline of September 28th, so there's no telling how many bags we'll be able to make and distribute. The bags pictured above are already on their way to new homes where I hope they'll get lots of use.

Here's a look at my WIP:

Nathan needs to take a small blanket to school for rest time and since he's having a little trouble adjusting to the idea of going to Kindergarten, I thought it might help if he took a blanket that I made.

This is not the quilt I had in mind. I pictured something with tadpoles and ladybugs and VW vans. But, when you let a five-year-old-Thomas -the-Tank-Engine-obsessed boy pick out his own fabric, you geta Thomas the Tank Engine quilt.

Even on the back!

It is nearly finished. I just need to handstitch the binding to the back.
I consider myself a lazy quilter. I've always put borders on my quilts, with no binding and then just hand tied them. Since this one may see a bit of wear and tear at school, I machine quilted it (Nathan thinks it looks like train tracks. See, he's obsessed!). I also made my own continuous binding, using this tutorial. I really like the way it's come out and may have to change my lazy quilting ways for good.

These photos are just because sometimes, my kid is the cutest thing in the world!

It was about 6:30 a.m. and he's watching our neighbor flying a remote controlled airplane and helicopter. (He went out with Daddy. I was still safely tucked up in bed!)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm here....

Just being a bit of a slacker when it comes to posting! I've been reading blogs and commenting, but I just haven't felt much like writing.

We had a couple days down south visiting family. My mom is always happy to have us come visit. We got to spend a little time with my brother and his kids. They have decided to move to Idaho and we wanted a chance to say goodbye and good luck before they hit the road. Nathan was thrilled to be able to hang out with his cool cousins. We'll miss you guys!

On Friday, Nathan and I went to the beach with some friends. Usually, it's just the three of us at the beach, so it was very nice to have a bunch of other kids for Nathan to play with.

He was so excited to be buried in the sand like the other kids. Thankfully, the kids did the work and I just took the photo!

I have actually been sewing too. I've managed to finish a few morsbags and am working on a quilt for Nathan. He'll be startting Kindergarten on Monday and needs to take a small blanket for rest time. He's been struggling with the idea of going to school again. He keeps telling me that he doesn't need to go to school because he already knows his alphabet and he doesn't want to make any new friends! I thought a "handmade by mommy" blanket might help him transition. I let him choose the fabric (with only a little guidance) and with any luck it'll be done soon!

Hope you're all enjoying the last few days of summer!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

And the winner is.....

Raesha! I'll get your prize in the post early next week. I'm hoping to hit my favorite thrift in the next couple days and who knows what treasure I might find for you. :)

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my 50th post. You're all very sweet. It's nice to hear so many others are trying to take the "No Plastic" route too.

Now, I'm headed out for a few days. Literally heading out as we speak, I mean, as I type. Nathan is waiting outside by the van and I can hear him hollering at me. We're going to see his cousins before they move a thousand miles away from us. He is just a tad excited....up since 6:30 am, quickly dressed (including shoes), packed both his backpacks full of toys, grabbed Doggie, Yellow Blankie, his Thomas pillow and he's good to go! He's been following me around the house dragging his backpacks. Better run......

Sunday, August 5, 2007

UGH! (and my 50th post giveaway)

Some people just don't get it!

I am trying to cut down on the number of plastic shopping bags I bring into the house. It's mostly an environmental thing, but I also don't like having a kitchen drawer that is overflowing with plastic bags. So, on a recent trip to Target, I bought one of their reuseable shoping bags. It was only .99 and it folds up into it's own little zippered case. I've also started making morsbags. Here's my first morsbag and the start of my second.

Back to the people not getting it story.....I was standing in line at Walmart with my reuseable Target bag in hand. The customer in front of me purchased a single tee shirt. The cashier put it in a plastic bag and handed it to the customer. The customer took the shirt out of the bag and handed the bag back to the cashier saying that she didn't need a bag and she was helping the environment. Yeah!!

THEN....the cashier scanned my first item and put it into that same plastic bag. I quickly told her that I didn't want any plastic because I'd brought my own bag. She gave me a little sarcastic smile and said, "I know, it's for the environment" and procedded to put the plastic bag into the trash!

Into.the.trash!! Honestly, she didn't get it at all. At least if I'd brought the bag home it would be recycled with the other bags that seem to multiply in the kitchen drawer. (I didn't want to confuse the poor girl by asking for the bag back. And besides it was in the trash bin. with who knows what else. Eww!)

I'm hoping that if more people jump on the bandwagon with reuseable bags that this scenario won't be repeated. You can sew, knit, crochet or buy reuseable shopping bags. Anything to cut down on the consumption of plastic.

And if you've read this far, I'm guessing you want in on my 50th post giveaway. This has not been the topic I envisioned for my 50th post, but it's what's on my mind. All you have to do is comment on this post between now and Wednesday. I'll pick a winner Wednesday morning. I'm still not sure what the prize will be, but it will definitely contain a morsbag for your shopping convenience!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Some belated Thank Yous

I was looking through my previous posts, trying to decide on a topic for tonight and realized that I have been remiss in posting Thank Yous to some wonderful, generous bloggers.

I recently did a swap with Dana from Old Red Barn Co. and these are the wonderful products I received.
Dana makes yummy sugar scrubs and goat milk soaps. Today I used the Mountain Morning Sugar Scrub and my alligator skin felt silky smooth afterwards. Thank you Dana!

I left a comment for a freebie drawing from Paper and String and look at what I won! Buttons, buttons...and pink to boot.
Sarah makes some darling felt items (love the monkeys) and she's just opened a felt shop. So, go take a look! Thanks for the goodies.

And from the lovely Raesha...
Raesha wanted all her readers to celebrate her birthday right along with her, so she sent a little goodie to everyone who commented. I haven't had time for much paper crafting, but I will make something cute with these at sometime. Thanks for sharing your birthday prezzies Raesha!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Swap Goodies!

Sorry it's taken a few days to get to posting about all my lovely Swap Goodies from Dinah. Things seem to be getting in the way....recovering from Nathan's party (18 kids!), playing with ALL of his presents and a nasty migraine.

Feeling better now, so onto the Summer Fun: Bucket Full of Sunshine Swap Goodies!

First up is the container. Dinah made this beautiful tote bag just for me! It is sturdy, well made and I love the fabric. She even put a little silver charm on it that says "Create". That little detail is so special. Thanks Dinah.

"Create" tote bag

All the pretty packages. (sorry it's a bit blurry)

A Martha Stewart tea towel was wrapped around fat quarters, thread and rick rack.

Two sets of floating flower candles (thrifted), a recipe binder, note pad, darling yellow candle lantern and orange citronella tea lights. Oh, and the wonderful fabric it's all sitting on. Dinah didn't know it, but bandana fabric is one of my favorites and it looks great with the sunflowers on it. I have several ideas of what to make with it, but I might have a hard time deciding on just one of them.

Not pictured is a very thoughtful present for Nathan. He was a bit unhappy when the swap package arrived and it wasn't for him! His spirits were lifted when I pulled out something with his name on it. Thanks Dinah, for thinking of my little guy.

Thanks again Dinah! It was a great swap and I can't wait to put my goodies to good use.

*For anyone who's interested. this is post number 48. I'm planning a giveaway for my 50th post. No, I don't know what the prize will be, but I'll make it good! Keep checking back because 50 will be sometime in the next few days. :)