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School Days...

Monday, September 7, 2009
More than a month has passed since my last blog... yes, that surprised me! I truly didn't think it had been that long. Once again, I am playing catch up.

I have a daughter in preschool these days. We are going on week three of our first year at preschool at one of the local Christian schools. Bailey has attended (off and on) day care since she was 6 weeks old, so it's not THAT new. But, it is a new school, with many more people, a different perspective, a car line to get wait through, and a uniform dress code. It is different in many ways...

The first day was the one I dreaded most, thinking that she'd have a tough time with the new environment. Fortunately, we had attended an open house the Friday before, so she had met her teacher, made some friends, and become familiar with the classroom. We got up extra early that morning, as we were also beginning a new thing for Jake - he would be staying with a sitter in her home (my update on that will follow this). I had laid out Bailey's uniform outfit, complete with a homemade hairbow to match. She was excited, a little nervous, but geared up to try this new thing out. We got dressed, dropped off a very unhappy Jakey, and headed to Bailey's new school. Drop off was a little hectic, as it was the first day for preschool and only the second week for the rest of the school, who, we learned, were still figuring out the routine of dropping kids off, not parking in the wrong spot (i.e. the car line), and dealing with tearful goodbyes. I pulled into the closest spot I could find and we made our way to her classroom. I felt like I was going to school for the first time when we entered the building. I was probably much more nervous than she was. She was eager to see her new friends and to show off her new back pack and Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine lunchbox. Photos will come... I promise. We walked up to the classroom, found her coat hook outside the door, and hung up her backpack. As I was pulling out her snack, blanket, and lunch, I overheard Bailey's teacher saying to place the lunchboxes under the backpacks. Apparently, Bailey heard it, too. She quickly directed me that, and I quote, "My teacher said to put the lunchbox under the backpacks, Mom." She proceeded to take the lunchbox out of my hand, place it under the backpack, and quickly proceeded to grab her snack and head into the classroom. Clearly, she had no problems figuring out what needed to go where or how to handle it herself.

Some might think that this would bother me. Well, no it really does not. This was so nice to see and hear. Bailey was not one bit intimidated by the changes. She welcomed her new-found independence and the way the teachers encourage the students to handle things on their own. She even visited the restroom (that has about 10 stalls), went in and took care of her business completely by herself, without locking herself in or needing assistance with her clothes. She truly grew up overnight. And I could not have been more proud or more pleased. Yes, I hate it that she's not a baby anymore, but yes, I love it that she's become so confident in her own ability to handle things. The only drawback to this is that she is completely and utterly intolerable when it comes to "knowing" things. She knows EVERYTHING. We are all idiots in her mind... no one can do anything as well as her. She even asked my mom this weekend if I had been smart when I was little. My mom replied that I was very smart, etc. Bailey just looked at her and said, "Well... I'm smarter." :) Competitive? Never. And, she is even more eager to become more independent, too. One day last week, she asked me if I could just drop her off in the car line in the morning like the big kids do. She said that she knew where her class was, so she didn't really need me to walk her in. I just laughed and told her she had to wait until she was a little older (in Kindergarten, which she calls Flower Garden - too cute). She did not like my response. She said, "Well, I'm almost 5..."

It is so nice to have one that is so happy going to school... especially when the other one hates to be away from you. My little man has had a rough time of it lately. We've had him at a day care in Lexington for more than a year. He's never acted like he loves it or anything, but he's always tolerated it and even enjoyed it (when he didn't know we were looking). But, with potty training comes great responsibility, or so it would seem. lol... Apparently, taking a child to the bathroom instead of changing his diaper was a little difficult for Jake's teachers. After about three weeks of picking him up to find him in a diaper, after he had been completely potty trained and the teachers instructed not to put him in said diaper, I decided to pull him out of day care. It was a very frustrating decision. I loved having Jake in a day care environment. I feel like kids learn a lot (good and bad) from playing with other kids their age. I loved it that he was around other adults who would teach him games, songs, and other fun things that I have forgotten, never learned, or just don't ever think to teach him. However, I think it's even more important for the day care to take care of basic needs and that just didn't seem to be a priority.

So... I was in search of a babysitter. And I found a lady in our neighborhood who takes care of other children, including her own. We visited her a couple of times and Jake seemed to really enjoy it. So, on Bailey's first day, we took Jake to the new sitter. He cried a little, but I thought he was fine. He seems to struggle with separation, but always dries it up quickly. I called the sitter about five minutes after I dropped him off to make sure he was OK and she said he had stopped crying before we were out of the driveway. When I picked him up that evening, he was happy... ready to go home, but happy. Same report for the next day or two. This past week, however, I've got mixed reviews. This weekend, I asked Jake if his sitter was nice. He says, "No... not to Jakey." Tears welling up in my eyes, I could just feel my heart breaking. So, I started asking questions and he gives me mixed reviews (he's not that good of a speaker still, so I have to translate WHAT he's saying and then translate if what he's saying is TRUE or just him not wanting to be away from us.). I ask if she yells, and he says yes. I ask if she yells at him, and he says no... just at (child's name that I won't mention). Jake is a nervous little boy when it comes to people. He bites his fingernails all the time... even when he's not nervous, but especially when he's nervous. He wrings his hands when things get really loud, if he's confused, or if he's not sure about things. I could just see him sitting there, a nervous wreck, terrified to make a mistake. And... well, despite my own feeling that this could be a complete fabrication, I just prayed that I wouldn't have to take him back there.

And, you know... God is watching over me. Mackenzie and Mickey, our babysitting SAINTS from when Jake was an infant and Bailey was 2, have a sibling and daughter (respectively) named Morgan. She's in college and has taught at Bailey and Jake's day care for the past year or so. Lo and behold if I didn't talk to them and find out that Morgan is no longer at the day care, but looking for work. Sometimes the pieces all just come together. I talked to Morgan tonight and she can start on Wednesday. Do you know how relieved I am?

So, Jake will be pleased on Wednesday morning, when he gets up and stays in his PJs to watch Blue's Clues or Sid the Science Kid, eats his pop tart and orange juice, and stays with someone he knows and loves... other than us.

A photo of Bailey's first day of school (in her adorable uniform, I might add). And a photo of her with Jake... who was just dying to get in the photo. Notice the soldier-ish pose... I have no clue where that came from. My only guess is that they felt very official being up so early and dressed in new(er) clothes. lol...