Monday, September 22, 2014

Josephine's First Week of Preschool is in the Books


HOLY BUCKETS, we just survived the first week of preschool. 

I'm here to tell you I didn't think I'd make it. I'm also here to share every little detail with you, because that's what I do (and because I want to be able to go back and read this years from now).

DAY 1: Josie was SUPER geeked. Just excited beyond belief. I was praying that I would make it out of the classroom before I started crying. 

She picked out a special outfit, requested an Elsa braid, let me take a few pictures (I didn't bend to peer pressure, so NO SIGN FOR US), and we were off. Thankfully, Jeremy took the day off (unfortunately it was because he was going to be in Atlanta Tuesday through Thursday), and he dragged me out of the classroom when I started getting misty-eyed. Josie was so busy she didn't even look up when we said good-bye. I started sobbing as soon as I got out the door. And all the way to the car. And for the next hour. It was rough.

Her teachers made the parents a little gift, and while the tissues were a lifesaver, it actually made me cry even more. 

I did tell Jeremy a few times that I had made a mistake and was going back for her, but he took my keys from me, so I guess it really was a good thing he took the whole day off. 

When we went to get her, we waited in the little vestibule where parents have to wait to sign kids out, and when her teachers came with the line of kids, Jeremy and I burst out laughing. At the front of the line was Josie, hair standing on end, all glassy-eyed and looking discombobulated. She was worn out. 

Unfortunately, the glassy eyes and confusion were also because she thought she was going to be able to take a puzzle home with her and she didn't get one on the way out, and WHY?!? At the open house, she got to pick out a puzzle to take home, and apparently thought this was going to be a daily occurrence. A crucial part of preschool, if you will. Oops.

She cried about that for a while, and then when she got over it, she told us that one of the boys was calling her names and told her she wasn't allowed to play with the hammer and nails she wanted to play with. That absolutely broke my heart. On the FIRST DAY? Ugh. Luckily, we talked about it, and she was eventually okay with it and developed a plan about what to do if it happened again. We tried to pry details about the rest of the day out of her and got nothing. 

Did you play with toys?
Did you sing songs?
Did you read books?
Did you do an art project?
Did you go outside? 
What did you do?

Okay, got it.

DAY 2: It is sinking in that we have to do this EVERY DAY. Until she's eighteen. UGH. She picked out another outfit, picked out another fancy hairdo, and we headed out. However, as we pulled into the parking lot, she asked "Can I just walk into school without stopping so you can take a picture of me outside the building this time?" Geez. I mean ... I guess. (*puts camera back in purse*).

I still cried, but less today. When I picked her up, the first thing she told me was "No one called me names today!!" She still told me she did nothing at school, but then a few hours later little bits and pieces started coming to her. The highlights of the day were apparently drinking milk out of a tiny carton and going on the teeter totter. She was sad that Jeremy was gone, and I was getting a little nervous about how the rest of the week would play out if she was missing him and still adjusting to preschool, but I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

DAY 3: Another fun outfit, another fun hairdo, another day of me trying really hard not to cry ... and I finally succeeded! Genevieve was a little better today, too. She was sad when we dropped Josie off, but she only asked for her a few times while she was gone, so that was a huge improvement.

When I picked Josie up, she was bursting with excitement about having a fire drill that day, but once I strapped her in her car seat, she remembered something else from that day and started crying out of nowhere. She told me, "My teacher read me this book ... it was called the Kissing Hand ... " and in my head I screamed "OH SHIT!" She had a little breakdown about missing me while she was at school and how she was going to cry all day because she couldn't see me, and I almost lost it. 

Josie is just the kind of kid who doesn't think about things being scary or sad unless you suggest it. She was never scared of anything in her life until one day someone was reading her a book about monsters and told her not to be scared. She was like, "Wait, what? I should be scared?" and we had to deal with her freaking out at every noise, thinking it was a monster. It took months for her to get over. So when The Kissing Hand suggested that she might be sad when her mama left her at school, she got REALLY sad. I was freaking out about the next day. The only thing that had been making this doable had been the fact that she actually wanted to go. If she had been crying when I dropped her off, I don't know what I would have done. 

DAY 4: Luckily, at drop off, she held it together. She asked me to kiss her hand, and asked if the kiss would stay on all day, no matter what. Then she asked to kiss my hand (SOB) and told me if I got lonely while she was at school, I just had to press my hand to my cheek, and it would tell me "Josie loves you." Soooo, yeah, I definitely cried as I walked out the door and pressed my hand to my cheek. 

She was fine when I picked her up, though. Well, she had a blister on her foot from her new shoes (oops), but she told me about reading books and going outside to play, so it seems like at the end of the week she was pretty much settled in and was not so overwhelmed that she could actually tell me a little about her day, which seemed like progress. I was a little concerned that she still didn't know any of her classmates' names, even though a few had greeted her by name that morning, so I told her a nice thing to do would be to ask what her classmates' names were and try to remember them. She looked at my like I had lobsters coming out of my ears. Oh well.

And with that, we had survived the first week!!

This morning while we were waiting in the vestibule, she was walking up to all the other kids and asking their names. Then she was holding hands with one tiny little boy and taking him around and introducing him to all the kids and parents: "This is my friend Henry!" She finally brought him over to me, and after she introduced him, he said forlornly, "My name's CHARLIE." Hey, she tried.

Week two is off to a great start. I can't wait to pick her up today. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Big Day, Josie Style

Today was a big day for the Joze. Every Thursday for the past two years, she has had the privilege of hanging out with Ms. Jen at the Great Start playgroup in Marysville. Not long after we moved to Marysville, my mom discovered this program and told me to get out of my living room and get over there, and boy am I glad I did. We love the other kids and everything about it, but Ms. Jen is the very best. 

Since Josie is heading to preschool four days a week starting Monday (SOB), we will not get our Jen fix on Thursdays, and it is a sad transition.

She is Josie's first teacher, and she is a lot to live up to. I'd like to tell you to look up the Great Start program, but what you really need is a Ms. Jen, and you can only have her if you live nearby and have a kid who is 0-5, so ... sorry if you don't meet the criteria.

I'm excited for the possibility of preschool having Thursdays included in Spring Break and Christmas break so she can head back for a visit. She is loved, and she will never be forgotten.

A few hours later, we headed to preschool open house (sob, sob, double sob). 

Josie has been asking to go to school for about 6 months, and I have been vacillating between dreading it and denying it will ever happen. Josie is SOOO excited and I cried during the open house ... the half-hour open house, for goodness sake.

She had a total blast and cried when she had to leave. I think she's going to have a great year. 

Annnnnd, as I'm writing this, she is crawling out of her bedroom silently as a ninja with the head of a tiger costume on her head and a crown on top of that. She tells me she tried on several disguises and went with this one, thinking we definitely wouldn't notice her out of bed.

There you have it, folks. She's all grown up.

Friday, September 5, 2014

He is the Actual Best

Jeremy and I have this arrangement. If I have A DAY with the girls, I am more than welcome to just abandon ship as soon as he gets home. I can leave the house screaming for the car, go upstairs and hide, whatever I want. Luckily, I have only had to use this option a handful of times, mostly when G was brand new and Josie was two and adjusting to not being an only child. 

I honestly have no idea how today got the way it did, but by 3 PM I was thinking I was going to need to hire a young priest and an old priest, and then by 4 PM, thought I was going to need two of each -- one set for Josie, and one for me. 

So I called Jeremy, telling him I was a mile past my breaking point and it was a BAD day for him to be swamped and leaving the office late, and of course he told me he would handle dinner and bed and just to leave when he got home.

I went and sat by the water for a while and listened to the waves, and then I came home and hid in the bedroom with wine, chocolate-covered pretzels, and Netflix. I am much better already.

A storm hit not long after I got home, and it was bad enough to knock out the power for a while. Of course I did a slow-motion "NOOOOOOOO! NOT MY NETFLIX!" scream, but thankfully it came back on after a while. When it came back, my janky baby monitor that was making horrible noises so I unplugged it and took out the batteries and it still made weird noises all day (I HAVE NO IDEA) came to life and picked up on Jeremy playing with the girls. I left it on and heard giggling and books being read and general happiness. It was ... just lovely.

There are a million reasons why he is an amazing dad, but it's days like this when it hits me like a ton of bricks. 

A few weeks ago, after dinner Jeremy could tell I was spent and asked if I wanted to sit on the couch and let him handle baths and bed. I said "you betcha" and the girls were geeked to have daddy all to themselves. I put my feet up, put on some trashy TV, and a few minutes later, while the girls were splashing in the tub, Josie asked Jeremy to sing "Love is an Open Door" from Frozen and he did, and I sat on that couch feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.

I told my mom about it, and she said, "Well, I didn't see any facebook status about it! You should let people know how amazing that man is!" She's right. I need to tell the Internet how great he is.

Thanks, Jeremy. You're the best.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

There's Only So Much I Can Do

When I was a teenager, my mom always told me she would stare at me, unable to believe she had a teenager, because she felt like she was in her early twenties, tops. I always thought that was hilarious, and also a little strange, because how could you feel like you were a totally different age than you were? I felt like my age. 

Now (I think you see where this is going), expect for when I am tired and overwhelmed and feel like I am 80, I am always shocked when I am reminded that I am 32. More specifically, I have a hard time remembering that I am an adult. An actual, real-life adult. With KIDS! And a HOUSE! Someone with bills and animals. I have a car that I must not only pay for, but maintain. I have to buy and prepare ALL THE FOOD for four people, including two kids who require roughly six meals a day (when they are not in the midst of a growth spurt). 

Every once in a while, I will be dragging the garbage can back to the house, or luggging the groceries inside, or sitting at a stoplight, and I will notice someone else looking at me, and it is shocking to realize that they see me as an adult (or even old, as the kid at the Taco Bell drive-thru makes very clear with all the "ma'am"s he throws around). I'm not old! I'm just a kid who has a husband and a house and a few kids, and ... okay, I see where you're going with this.

Anyway, all of that back story was just to let you know that even though I have a hard time remembering I'm an adult, I have grown in little ways that I really pat myself on the back over.

EXHIBIT A: Today, while we were reading stories on Josie's bedroom floor before nap time, I felt something on my back. Of course, I assumed it was a spider crawling on me, just like every time a loose hair falls from my head to my arm. However, I held it together and kept reading. Bravo, me.

But, BUT, a few seconds later I caught something out of the corner of my eye, and it was a SPIDER CRAWLING AWAY FROM BEHIND ME. Get this: I didn't scream or cry or throw the girls off my lap. I quietly squished it* without the girls seeing. 

BOOM. That situation just got ADULTED. 

Now, as proud as I am for that personal growth and maturity that I exhibited today, I feel like I should admit what happened a few hours before that. 

I was rushing around to clean the bathroom early this morning, and I had just scrubbed the tub, sink, and toilet, and Jeremy was about to leave, so I told him to look at the gleaming fixtures before he left because they wouldn't look that good when he got home. Josie walked over and said "Well, yeah, but look at the floor. There's dog hair all over it." My first instinct was to shout "YOU'RE the one with dog hair all over you!" Sure, I didn't actually say that. Instead, I blinked a few times and silently closed the door, but that still isn't what I'd consider a pro move.

So maybe I'm right in not feeling like an adult quite yet.

*I have all new rules when it comes to spiders, because I felt like a "squish now, ask questions later" approach was a bit too harsh since I claim to love living things and nature and blah blah blah. My new rule is a spider must die under three circumstances: 1) It is poisonous, 2) It is in my bedroom when I'm about to go to bed, 3) It's in one of my kids' bedrooms at any time of the day. I feel like this is more than fair, and it also makes me feel like an adult.

** Pro tip: NEVER tile your floor with the small shiny white tiles that you would use in a shower surround. Especially if you have a black furry animal living in the house. I can Swiffer and scrub the floor and two minutes later it looks like I've never cleaned it once. It's a real situation. This makes me feel like an adult too, but in the worst way possible.
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