new school jitters

Mine. Not his.

So yeah. We moved to a brand new city, a new state even, and that means a whole new school for Josh. He seems FINE with it. While I’m trying not to admit that I’m a bit of wreck!

I’m one of those people who spent her whole life in the same house, the same town, with the same kids, at the same schools. I loved that life. I had good friends and a happy childhood. I want the same thing for my son, and yet I can’t help wondering, what if this new place changes all of that for him?

So far, everything about this move has been awesome for all of us. We looove it here. Of course we miss our friends but we are just SO much better off now.

But what if, WHAT IF, his new school is the ONE thing that isn’t great?? That is, in fact, horrible? What if we’ve made a terrible mistake? What if he turns into a different kid here? What if he has trouble making friends or fitting it? The what-ifs are killing me. Aaack!

Did I mention I’ve had a stiff neck and shoulder for almost two weeks? Ya think that might be where I’m holding my stress??

Oh, those dang doubts. They sure do creep in when you least want them to. Like 4 am.

I had a dream last night (I NEVER talk about dreams but I had to this one time!) about Josh’s new teacher. Who we don’t even know yet! She was this faceless entity whose idea of a reward for the kids was to let them sing or dance in front the class. Not a punishment, a reward. I swear, THIS would have been my worst nightmare when I was kid! And my kid is soooo much like me! In the  dream he started to hate school. Josh hate school? Aaaand then I woke up. I felt horrible!

Now okay, I know it was just a dream but what if it was really some freaky premonition? If Josh comes home from the first day of school and tells me his teacher made him sing in front of the class? Duuude. I’ll be homeschooling the rest of the year.

Have any of you moved your kids midway through school or did your parents move you when you were a kid? What was positive and what was negative? Do you have any ideas on how I can help him transition? Or should I just leave him the heck alone and he’ll get through it? ~ahem~

Believe me when I say he does not seem worried at all. (I hide my issues well.) His new principal gave us a tour of the school already. He saw his classroom, although he hasn’t met his teacher yet. He knows exactly where he has to go at morning drop off, how to go through the lunch line, where the gym is, those kinds of things. He loved it there. Honestly, I don’t really thing he’s going to have any problems, but, but…what if?

We have one more week until school starts. By then my head might just roll right off my shoulders. Ow. Where’s my heating pad?

holding on

His hand has always fit into mine perfectly. For years now my response to standing next to him is to hold out my hand. His response was always to take it. There is safety in holding hands, comfort, and silent communication.

This spring has shifted that, ever so slightly. His instinct to reach out hasn’t changed but more often than not instantly pulls back, then glances around in case anyone saw him. Apparently seven is too old to hold hands with your mom, at least if your friends might be around.

Sometimes, even in the school parking lot, he forgets to pull away, and his fingers press lightly against my palm. I don’t remind him, and I can’t help but grin.

***************

I was sitting in a rocking chair a couple of days ago, sewing a Toy Story pillowcase for his bed. He had just picked out a few yards of fleece for a new blanket and there was enough for a pillow too. Suddenly, he looked at me and asked if I could work on that later; he wanted to sit in my lap. He snuggled in, as best he could do with those long legs, and let me rock. Never say no to a seven year old boy who wants to sit in your lap, it just might be the last time he ever asks.

***************

He lost another tooth at school yesterday. He wanted to keep it a secret, I’m assuming so he could test the tooth fairy, but he couldn’t contain himself and told me within minutes of getting off the bus. The tooth fairy left a dollar last night, more than expected. He told me this morning that it must be because he’s such good kid. Yes, yes that’s exactly right.

***************

Tomorrow is his last day of first grade. It’s move-up-day, when he finds out who his new teacher will be, who the other kids in his class are. His excitement is palpable. As much as he will his enjoy his summer vacation, he would be just as happy to start second grade on Monday.

I’m glad we have the summer together though, to read books and play legos. Because I once he’s in second grade, I doubt he will still believe in the tooth fairy, or sit in my lap, or forget himself and reach out to hold my hand anymore.

on raising a geek*

Geeks rule the world.

If you’re reading this blog, then chances are you’re a geek* too, so you know what I’m talking about. And you get why I’m actively striving to raise a geek. But not just in an I-<3-scifi kind of way. In a I-love-to-read and question-the-universe and take-things-apart-just-to-rebuild-them-all-day-long kind of way.

I don’t talk about Josh’s brains much here because it can get awkward and braggy sounding and I don’t want to be ~that~ mom. But, it’s something I need to talk about sometimes because omg the kid makes me crazy with the smarts. I’m a little bit afraid.

For example. He’s now reading The Hobbit. (Not an abridged version.) I was looking for something to read TO him that would challenge his listening skills. After I finished reading a few pages and Damon finished reading a few pages he took it to bed with him and read it for another half an hour alone.

Of course, reading alone in bed is a nightly event and highly encouraged, but The Hobbit? Really? Surely he didn’t understand any of it? Right? Hmmm. So after the second time he read some of it alone, we questioned him, and he was perfectly able to recount the whole chapter to us. To be completely honest, I am floored.

Remember, he is still 6. Six. First grade.

Anyway, we are encouraging the geek in him:

Last Friday I asked him if he wanted me to get him anything from the library since I was going while he was in school. He thought for a moment and said “can you get me some good non-fiction?” Um. Yeah. I’ll get right on that.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s definitely a six year old in so many ways. We don’t even push him to do any of this, it’s happening spontaneously, and I’m left stunned by the things he says and does. So I throw as many geeky** things his way, and we’ll see what sticks. If you have any ideas what I should throw at him next, I’m all ears.

*It’s important to note that around here geek is a good word, nay, a great word. We pride ourselves on our geekdom.

**Including some scifi. Ahem.

first first

Josh’s first day of first grade was yesterday. (Wednesday.) Finally!

He needed to go back to school to keep that big brain of his occupied. Not that I mind having him around! That’s not it at all, I love the time I spend with him, it’s just that I can’t play with him all that much and it’s hard to come up with enough to do to keep him busy so I can get my work done on deadline. There are only so many age appropriate chapter books out there for 6 year old boys, and I can only fit so many Legos into my house!

Anyway, we’ve both been looking forward to school starting but there was something we didn’t anticipate. That is how much he would miss me by being at school all day long.

He cried. At lunch. Hard enough that he ended up eating with the new Vice Principal in his office instead of with the other kids. Because he missed his mom. Me. Because he wanted to have lunch with me. All together now: awwwww!!

I only found out because a friend of mine was volunteering in the first grade lunchroom yesterday and sent me an email as a heads up before school let out. I tried to prod Josh to tell me about it when he got home but he refused to discuss it.

It didn’t help that the bus was an hour (an HOUR!!) late bringing him home. Major bus fiasco that I can’t even try to explain because I still don’t quite get it myself. Seriously, I spent and hour and fifteen minutes waiting at the bus stop, knowing he’d already cried at least once. Ugh.

Today was a little better. He told me he only cried a little at lunch and he stayed with his classmates the whole time. He also said that he made a friend. (Yay! None of his friends from last year are in the same class this year so he has to make new friends.) And the bus was only a half hour late dropping him off. Only a half hour. (So yes, I waited at the bus stop for 45 minutes! Grrrr!)

Anyway we got some great first day of school pics:

When did he get so tall??

And ridiculously cute too. This smile slays me every time I see it:

Cute little bugger.

But this was the picture he really wants everyone to see:

Gee, I wonder why! He’s very proud of that backpack!

Even though I have bedhead this one might just be my favorite:

I think I’ve said it before, but I really love this kid.

(And just to clarify – he’s one step up from me! He’s tall but he’s not that tall.)

end of half days

Kindergarten is over. I surely didn’t cry! More like doing the happy happy joy joy dance!

Today was “move up day” – he spent time with his new teacher, met his new classmates and did a little science project. And now he’s happy about going to first grade next year. Yep, just about what I figured would happen.

Of course he’s only been home a few hours and he’s already told me he’s bored. I told him if he was really bored that I would find something for him to clean. Heh. He disappeared to his room pretty quickly.

So here was Josh on the first day of school:

And here was Josh today:

It’s a little hard to tell with the perspective being so different, but holy cow has he grown! Same little half smile though!

transitions and temper

These last few days of Kindergarten are killing me. Josh does NOT want it to end and it’s making him as cranky as I’ve ever seen him. My normally happy-go-lucky kid is moody to the extreme. Moody isn’t even the right word. Sulky is close. He’s 6 going on 16, I swear. I just can’t wait for it to be OVER!

I seem to recall the same thing happened with preschool last year. The last week or so was horrid and I kept wondering and worrying about how I was going to deal with the bad attitude and temper for the whole summer. Just him and I all day, every day. Oy.

And then *poof* the minute school was done we created a new routine and all was well in our world.

I can only hope that’s exactly what happens again starting Wednesday next week. Hope and pray.

I know he’s going to miss his teacher whom he absolutely adores. I know he’s going to miss his friends, many of whom he will see regularly anyway. I know he’s nervous about going full days next year, even though the time will fly so fast he won’t even notice it happening. I know he’s afraid of harder work, of math and science, of homework, even though he’s can do it all now if he wanted. I know he has anxiety over cafeteria lunch, and field trips, and oh, everything new all over again. I do know this.

But I also know he will be fine. He will be more than fine. He will blossom. He will excel in anything his tries. He just has to try it first.

We have more than 2 months before he can try though, and I think that’s what bothers him the most. The waiting. The anticipation. The scary idea of FIRST GRADE. Oh my! The whole summer ahead to think and worry. (Gah – he’s so much like me!) This is what makes him cranky and temperamental and ready to cry at the drop of a hat. This is what is going to make me go slowly insane.

School ends Tuesday. So I just have to make it to Wednesday. Then all will be well in my world again. Right? Sigh. I really hope so.

kindergarten crush

Waaaaaay back when I was in kindergarten I had a crush on the cute blonde boy who lived down the street. Conveniently, we rode the same bus and always sat together. I ~might~ have kissed him once (on the cheek, I swear!) and got yelled at by the bus driver. I wasn’t too smart – we were sitting in the front row after all!

The crush was mutual and twice he mailed me love notes, stamp and all. One of them even asked me to marry him! I wish I still had them so I could scan them to show you, alas, they were destroyed a few years later. I had brought the notes to school when we were in 8th grade (we were always friends but the crush had long since ended) because the boy couldn’t remember sending them and he wanted to see them.

Anyhow, a horrid boy got a hold of them, and in a moment of terror we thought he was going to hold them for ransom or pass them around and torture us with them. Instead he ate them. No really, he ATE them. Lost forever in the gullet of the disgusting kid who liked to fill his hollow pens with dead flies from the windowsill at the back of the classroom. Sigh.

All evidence of my kindergarten crush…gone forever. Except in my memory. A memory that was jogged recently by the antics of my own kindergartner.

Yes, Josh has a crush and it’s oh so very mutual. It’s been going on for awhile now. Since, hmmm, the first day of school. The other boys were teasing: “Josh likes {girl1}, he’s going to marry her” in singsong voice every morning. Except he’s bigger than all of them so it doesn’t amount to much. The response I taught him? Roll your eyes at them and say “what…ever” as nonchalantly as possible. We’re all hoping that works.

Apparently though, {girl1} has some competition. Oh the drama! I heard through the grapevine there’s yet another girl who likes him. The other girl’s mom approached me at the latest birthday party and said “Are you Josh’s mom? All I ever hear about school is about Josh. Just so you know, Josh is {girl2}’s boyfriend, he just doesn’t know it!” Yikes!

Then I saw with my own eyes how much he flirts with her, with all the girls. All the other moms saw it too! We all laughed about it but I know I am in deep, deep trouble, and I’m really glad summer is almost here! Josh and I both need a break from kindergarten crushes. 

I’m scared of first grade. I think the moms of those girls are too. Oy.

a do-over

When I was younger I had lots of ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up. For a long time I thought I would be a veterinarian because I loved animals, then in high school my dream was to be an engineer to be like my father, then when I started college I wanted to be a lawyer only because it sounded cool, and I couldn’t think of anything better.

I wasn’t there long before I realized that I wasn’t cut out to be a lawyer, for sure. When it came time to make a real decision I just couldn’t do it. Eventually I majored in US History because it was there. It felt sort of right. I loved history, and the fantasy of working behind the scenes in a musty, dusty museum filled my mind.

Well, guess what? Museum jobs were few and far between, and paid terribly. And were not nearly as romantic as I’d imagined. Blech.

So what else do you do with a History degree? Not much apparently. Teach? Soooo not for me. That’s become only more evident as I get older!

I held a lot of different jobs over the years, and eventually landed a job as a photo editor in a group of history magazines. It was pretty perfect for me for quite some time. Then, after I had the boy, I started thinking about other ways to earn a living than going to a job every day. It took some time, but I was very lucky and fell in to doing freelance photo editing for a large children’s book publisher. Even after moving back to New Hampshire I’ve been able to continue to work for them remotely. Right now I have the best of both worlds, I make a little bit of money, but I get to stay home with my boy.

As fortunate as I am, sometimes I wonder what could have been. Not about my family, I wouldn’t change them for anything. But if I could have a career do-over what would it be?

If I had known myself better at 18 years old, if I had known what my life interests would be now, I would probably have been a meteorologist. To be exact, I’d be….a Storm Chaser! Show me some green on a radar and I’ll sit there for hours and analyze it, with The Weather Channel on in the background. Have mercy, I am such a dork.

Someday, after my boy is on his own, I like to think DH and I will sell everything we own, including our house, and buy a big RV. I imagine outfitting it with all the latest technology. What? We’re both computer dorks! I want my own Doppler dammit! We’re going to be that old couple, who drive all around the country all the time, only we’ll be following the storms. I’d just love to help forecast the bad ones, and maybe even make a difference. Naive? Maybe, but I think it’s nice dream to have.

If you had a job or school do-over, would you change anything? Knowing what you know now would you have taken a different career path or stayed the same course?

it must be monday

Good god it’s 8:30 am and I’m already done with this day.

Let’s recap the timeline of events for you shall we?

12:30 am – Awakened by DH’s snoring. He has massive allergies and although it’s been really good lately, last night was as bad as it gets. Give up and move to the guest room. Of course I can’t go back to sleep until I go pee.

2:30 am – Awakened by the boy, crying because he peed in his bed. This is an extremely rare occurrence for him. Generally only happening a couple times a year and only when he’s extremely tired. I can’t bear to change the sheets and the mattress cover since to do so requires pulling off all 200 stuffed animals on the bed. Decide to do it tomorrow and let him come to the guest room with me. After I go pee, again.

3:30am – Finally go back to sleep.

5:30am – Awakened by the sound of cat puking on the floor near me. As soon as I move he runs and pukes more in the hall. Deja vu? No, I’m in just hell. And have to pee again.

6:00am – Hear DH get up for the day.

6:30am – Cute little boy next to me wakes up and snuggles in close. Highlight of the day.

6:45am – Cute little boy decides to go see daddy. Luckily I know Daddy will feed him breakfast.

7:10am – DH wakes me up. Gotta get the boy ready for school. (After I pee!)

8:00am – Walk down to the bus stop. It’s scheduled to arrive at 8:08 but is usually there at 8:05.

8:16am – Bus has still not come yet. Did I somehow miss it? Give up and walk back up the damn hill to the house. Resign myself to driving him in. Late.

8:20am – See bus pass by the intersection as I pull up to it.

8:22am – Can’t catch up in time for the next stop.

8:23am – Frantically beep horn as I pull up at the next bus stop. I hit panic button on keychain and can’t turn it off. Wake up neighborhood! Thank god bus driver waits. Bus was late due to mechanical difficulties. She is very sorry. I adore her. Boy gets on bus.

8:26am – Finally get coffee. Think about cleaning up cat puke and pee sheets. Blog instead. Do I have time for a nap before I have to pick him up at 11am? I’d better not, the way this day is going, I might not wake up in time. Crap.

I hope the rest of you are having a better day than I am. If you’re not, feel free to vent!

that’s a really big bus

I didn’t think I’d cry.

After all the pictures were taken. After all the hugs and kisses were done. After I walked him up to the big yellow bus and he went up the steps. After the bus driver asked if he was a kindergartener. After I said yes, and she had him sit in the first seat. After he squeezed in with two other kids because it was already crowded. After she called out to me with that look and told me to have a great day. After I thought would make it without crying after all.

That’s when he stood back up, looked out the window, waved, and called out “bye mommy!”

Damn. I cried all the way back up the hill, all the way back to the house.

I didn’t think I’d cry. I was kinda dumb to think that.

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