Reflections of Kindergarten

We’re starting our fourth week of Kindergarten and I’m feeling like we’re in a good rhythm. With my new job, our morning routine is more relaxed and we basically gained thirty minutes. That means the people in our house who need more sleep {me + children}, get a little extra each day and none of us are as rushed as we used to be. We still have a few areas of improvement – I need to find my new workout groove and Quinten needs to work on his focus while getting himself in the carseat. {Have you seen the meme about being late because a toddler had to buckle himself in? That’s my life.}

While it’s only a month in, we’ve already learned a lot about having a kindergartener.

  1. Recess. Turns out our very first year of school is also the year when the answer to every question is “good,” “nothing,” and “recess.” What we’ve gathered is that recess is spent playing superheros with his buddies. His favorite parts of the day are playing with his friends who aren’t in his class. Luckily, recess happens. Before school started, we had a mini-meltdown because not all the boys were in his class and he was VERY concerned that the other classes would have Batman toys and his wouldn’t. So, recess. With superhero friends. Whew.
  2. They don’t let kindergarteners take home library books the first two weeks. It turns out, week three is the magic number. Every week he told me the next week he would get to take a book home. I hope I always remember the sheer excitement and look in his eyes after his first media day when he told me his school had a LIBRARY! And he got to pick out his own book to look at so he picked a Star Wars book. 🙂
  3. One of the areas he’s grown the most in lately is dealing with unexpected or unknown things. We don’t always know the details of his day and he’s been ok with us telling him that. I tell him to see what it’s like that day and tell me when we get home. He accepts it really easily and has a good time telling me about it later. And then he knows for next time! I was nervous about him not dealing well with the unknown, but he’s been doing a really good job of adapting.
  4. This summer I panicked about how he would know how to get food. Thankfully, I was still logical in my thinking and decided that he would have to eat school lunch for a while until it became a routine for him. Some days I look at the food and know he probably won’t like it or I wouldn’t even like it, but he’s been a champ and talks about eating some of everything he gets. And he alternates between white, chocolate, and strawberry milk during lunch. He obviously thinks that’s pretty cool!
  5. He knows where he’s supposed to go! On his second day, when I was worried about us not being with him, he knew exactly where he was supposed to go at drop off. And was rather disappointed that he and his two friends got a special car ride to school for the first week. He wanted to be with the big kids in the van with the daycare logo on it. It wasn’t enough that he got picked up in it, he wanted dropped off. Well, now he’s officially in the van and I kind of wish they had a dashboard camera because I’m sure that van is ridiculous with a bunch of elementary kids in there!
  6. Emotions are heightened. In general, we try not to make a big deal about crying. In our house, it’s ok if boys cry and we never make it a big deal. HOWEVER! We do spend a lot of time asking little boys to take a deep breath and talk about what is wrong. Not that crying is bad, but we can’t help if we don’t know what is going on. {Side note, kids cry a lot.} Since the beginning of August, right after he turned six, we’ve noticed a lot more outbursts when something doesn’t go his way.
  7. It’s hard to keep up with all the things going on in school! Not that I want last minute information, but it’s hard when we get a bunch of stuff that all has different due dates. We don’t have a good organization / office situation at home so it makes it a little more difficult to stay up on everything happening. Thankfully we get reminder texts and stickers that come home on the kids the day before something happens.

It’s still weird talking about having a kindergartener, but he’s rocking it and we’re all figuring it out as we go.


 

Reflections of Kindergarten

On the eve of the first day of Kindergarten

Bless the hearts of children and parents everywhere. 

We had back-to-school night on Monday. Or in our case, first time IN the school night. Or in Bryan’s case, nerd out remembering where all of his classes used to be and what is “new” since he’s been gone. 

I’m still shocked that when the teacher introduced herself to Maximus, he looked her in the eyes and told her his name. In the sweetest, kind of quiet, and definitely shaky voice. If I hadn’t been holding the heaviest 3-year-old, I would have melted into a puddle. It was the sweetest thing and helped reassure me that he’s going to be fine. 

And I suppose I’ll be fine, too. Other than the random panic about how he’s going to figure out lunch or remembering how shy I was, I’m doing ok with it. He has a lot of friends going to his school and a few in his classroom, so he’s not alone. 

Plus, HE INTRODUCED HIMSELF TO HIS TEACHER. Without any prompting from us. That was one of those proud parent moments that I won’t forget. That’s also why I let my kids answer questions for themselves when adults ask questions. It teaches them good life skills! 

We spent about 20 minutes talking about tomorrow. All the super cool stuff that he’s going to do, who’s taking him where, and how it’s ok that he’s not great at math…yet. Yup, that happened. “But mommy, I’m not great at math. Is math when you, like, add numbers together? Like 10 plus 10?” So Bryan asks him what the answer is and he laughs while he tells us it’s 20. Ok. So maybe you’re kind of ok at math? He did ask me once if I could just stay for his first day. I told him I already had my first day of Kindergarten so I couldn’t. And the teacher will spend tomorrow telling him all the things they’ll do every day. (He’s only there with 1/3 of his class tomorrow and everyone on Friday.)

He picked out his first day clothes…typical Leger boy apparel…and will be sporting a new highlighter yellow dry-fit shirt and black mesh shorts. I don’t blame his comfort level goals. Luckily he still favors jeans over any other sport pant so I’ll keep holding on to hope of a nicer dress code this fall. 😉 

I know Maximus is going to love school. He’s always enjoyed preschool and cares so much about details and why things work. It’s going to be an exciting year for him! 

Bless all the teachers, but especially those who help care for our littlest learners as they adjust to new environments and routines. 

On the eve of the first day of Kindergarten

Boys will be boys

I don’t usually like stereotypes when it comes to genders. However, sometimes my life feels like it’s what boy stereotypes are written by. We don’t play with a lot of “gentle” toys but each boy has their favorite sleeping stuffed animal. They play brothers all the time and that feels like a version of house. Except it’s always the episode where someone is racing or someone is a monster or bad guy. Close enough. 

I won’t say that they take advantage of me. Instead I’ll say I give them a little more freedom. I’m anxiously awaiting the independence phase so I tend to let them roam free a little more. That gets me in trouble sometimes though. Like last weekend when I told Bryan he was on nap duty once he got home from golfing. I gave strict instructions to be nice to each other and I sat outside in the sun. Bryan came home and asked me why they were coloring the house and each other. I was literally on the other side of the glass door. Those sneaky little boys! Needless to say, they had afternoon showers where Bryan managed to scrub Quinten’s name off his back…{I know! Where’s the picture!}


The next time I was home alone with them I sent them outside to play. It was a nice evening and they didn’t need to be inside. Five minutes later they came inside to put on swimming trunks. Whatever. Stay outside. I plopped in a Body Pump DVD and enjoyed 45 minutes of silence. Until I realized that they weren’t just playing in the rain water from last night. THEY WERE PAINTING THEMSELVES IN MUD. Whatever. Stay outside. I finished my workout and went out again to deal with it. And that’s when I found Quinten without any clothes on. Because that’s what boys do. They constantly take off their clothes. 

Boys will be boys

Independent activities for children are hard on mama hearts

Sitting in a loud, echoey pool watching a little in swimming lessons is a mix of relaxation and anxiety. Two very opposite emotions. 

I have one child who is timid and nervous if he can’t touch the bottom. {I kinda don’t blame him.} And another who appears to have little fear. I’m constantly in awe of the different personalities these two possess. 

Teacher swimming lessons feels like a level up in parenting. Trusting someone to care for your child while they are in water that goes over their head. It’s different than the leap I felt leaving them at preschool in the care of strangers surrounded by strange children. At preschool you know they are safe and constantly busy. At swimming, I feel a strong need to be the one to watch my child at all times. No one else is watching him the entire class. 

Seeing 15 young kids in the pool while their faces barely stay above water and they are constantly told to swim across a giant pool. All the anxiety. They make it look so hard. All the huffing and puffing and holding of breath. My anxiety is on full alert during swimming. 

  
At the same time, my kid spends 75% of the time sitting on steps or holding on to the side of the pool waiting for the next instruction. So it’s kind of relaxing. To sit there and just be in the quiet. Well, unless I have a smaller child to tame. Then it’s the opposite of relaxing because I have to make sure TWO kids don’t drown. 

The relaxation is my reward for the busy that comes next. Swimming that overlaps the start of soccer skills class. Oh, that was an exciting four weeks of busy Saturday mornings! I’m still patting myself on the back for picking overlapping activities instead of swimming at 8:30 am on a Saturday. I’m not built for that

It amazes me that a child can be SO excited for something like soccer and then show up and not do anything. Because he doesn’t want to run. Or because he’s too busy talking to his friends. 

Children activities are such a big dose of humble pie. Things that are second nature to a grown person are not close to being coordinated things for children. I know age 5 is too young to determine what a child is “good” at but it also makes me fast forward and wonder what activities he’ll focus on in the future. And when I’ll know what activities to drop. I don’t want to overextend ourselves and especially not him, but I also want him to have the opportunities to try many things and enjoy what he wants. 

Parenting is such a strange mix of emotions, especially when your children start doing independent activities. I know I’m just hitting the surface of independance, but I’m a mom of a 5- and 3-year-old, so I’m new to these emotions! 

Independent activities for children are hard on mama hearts

Our little boys of summer

The little boys of Leger Lane, like children everywhere, love the outdoors. When Maximus was 18-months old he used to sit at the sliding glass door and cry because it was winter and he couldn’t go outside. Quinten, at 2 1/2, is almost always out on the deck when it’s raining. Their love has no bounds.

Chasing a caterpillar into hiding
Chasing a caterpillar into hiding

EVERYONE in the house was excited once the weather got warmer this spring. Everyone. There are only so many toys you can play with in the house and chances are high that you will fight over a toy with your brother. Or maybe that’s just our house? 😉

Our favorite summer activities:

  • Play in the backyard – dig in the dirt and move dirt from one spot to the next
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Go to the pool
  • Go to the park
  • Go for walks – ok, not Maximus’ favorite, but the rest of us like it!
  • Play baseball – not a surprise if you know my family! 🙂

Bryan and I have a shared favorite activity this summer – riding our bikes! It’s a little difficult to find time to ride together, but I’m excited that he shares my love of riding! I’d also put softball on my favorites list. It’s always been one of my favorites, but this year I’m having a lot more fun and enjoying it more than usual.

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Lunchtime ride

Maximus put together a Summer Fun list, which I dictated. Later, he made me add go on a Vacation to China. “Have we been to China?” “No, we went to Minnesota.” “Oh yah, put that on the list, too.” Apparently Bryan’s work trips to China are nothing but fun and also the only place to buy Cars t-shirts. #priorities

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2015 Summer Fun

We’ve gotten a good start on our Summer Fun list and are about half done, minus the China vacation. We’ve spent more hours outside than inside. We’ve missed bath night more times than I can count. Or rather, we’ve gone more nights without a bath than the number of times they’ve been clean this summer. The boys have gotten into a routine of wearing their clothes to bed {and don’t always put fresh clothes on the next day}. They fight bedtime because it’s very much still light out when they go to bed. And they wake up far earlier than anyone should because the sun comes out nice and early. We’re loving summer hard and giving it our all. Dirt under our fingernails, sand in our hair, new freckles on our faces, farmer tans on little arms, and skinned knees are the proof. We’re unanimously voting for 12 months of summer!

Our little boys of summer

May Family Activity: Movie Night

We do a lot of family activities outside the home in the summer, so I thought I’d start a post of our favorite monthly family activities. Our favorite family activity for May was a special viewing of Big Hero 6. We don’t see a lot of movies, so we rented it the weekend before. The boys were mostly into it so it was a bit of a gamble for the actual event.

Getting out of town!
Getting out of town!

We went out for a family dinner and Maximus fell asleep 20 minutes before we got there. Bryan and I kept telling Quinten to talk quiet because Maximus was asleep.

No not. Max-mus no sweeping. Oh! Max-mus sweeping?

A child falling asleep in the car is kind of like throwing knifes in the dark. You never know what you’ll see when the lights come on. Other than carrying a 4-year-old for a block, he wasn’t a mess. As parents, we felt like we got lucky! It could have been an awful wakeup and transition. We ate at a new location of the place that was our go-to date night spot in college. It used to be a cozy sports bar and now it’s a classy sports bar with partitioned dining areas. WE WENT IN THE CHILDREN SECTION! How smart! There were three other babies in there and our kids weren’t the loud ones! That’s how family date nights should always go.

The movie viewing was supposed to be at the Iowa State University football stadium, but we had rain that day so they moved it to the basketball arena. We were all surprised to see our favorite mascot, Cy, standing outside the doors to the arena. We jumped in line while Maximus tried to wave at Cy. As the line started moving, he got a little concerned about what we were actually doing. 🙂 At this point, Quinten was buried in Bryan’s shoulder. I convinced Maximus that he and I could both take a picture with him.

Our first picture with Cy | MAY 16, 2015
Our first picture with Cy | MAY 16, 2015

I love that Maximus is holding up his finger. I didn’t know he was doing it until I looked at the very windblown pictures. The boys haven’t been to a basketball game yet, so they were pretty excited and Maximus kept saying we were going to watch a basketball game.

Family movie night at Hilton!
Family movie night at Hilton!
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Brothers

We got front row seats in the upper deck and didn’t have to worry about the boys kicking people in front of us. Another win in the family outing! Kids and seats don’t work when other people are in them. Especially when they constantly put their feet up and trade seats.

Popcorn!
Popcorn!

The family next to Bryan offered us some popcorn from the giant garbage bag. There’s one thing Leger Boys like and it’s popcorn. I got a couple of pieces from little hands, but wasn’t ever close enough to the container to grab much. I wasn’t sure if it was bought or handed out {they were handing it out when we left the building}, but Maximus walked right past Bryan and asked the guy for seconds. Kids. Maximus says that Quinten and I ate the second tub, but that’s only because we ate the last of it. Those two definitely ate a lot of popcorn that night! And I thought I’d have water to drink from, but after their first drink I wasn’t putting my mouth back on that backwash infected bottle. Kids can be so gross sometimes.

Car ride home
Car ride home

We made it through the whole movie, no one got scared, they played musical chairs, and we didn’t regret the family movie night. My kids can add a lot of excitement to public outings. Every successful outing helps us forget about one bad outing. {But every bad one makes us stay home twice as long before we venture out again.} It doesn’t hurt that at the end of the night they can sleep the entire way home. And, not throw fits when we change them into pajamas and put them to bed.

We’ll definitely do another movie night in Ames!

May Family Activity: Movie Night

My kids are funny 

In my opinion, my kids are very funny! 🙂 

Maximus, while driving home. 

Look! There’s the nursery home!

A nursing home is across the street from our house. 

Quinten, while listening to Maximus ask for a sucker. 

NO! Two wait! No Max-mus. Two wait! 

Translation: too late. It was 5 pm. 

Quinten, every night before bed. 

No nap time. No dark out. 

Also every night. 

Sing me mommy. Sing wheels. Kitty. Doggy. 

Maximus,

I’ll be back mommy. I’ll be back in a Jimmy.


Maximus, while I was trying to redirect Quinten. 

You’re just trying to astract him.


My favorite Quintenisms,

No me whike. 

Too fits. 

Translation: I don’t like

Translation: Too small 

  

They may be learning different things, but they have the same sweet sleeping faces. 

My kids are funny