Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mrs. Mom's classroom

Mason was devastated to learn that school would not continue over the summer. Seriously he was crying in the car the last week of school. I was equally as bummed because I would love for school to be year long. Especially since he is so passionate about learning and going to school. I really want his love for learning, growing, and attending school to continue throughout his education years.

In response to his genuine disappointment, it was Mason who suggested that we make our own school here at home. Well, how could I say no? It sounded like a perfectly awesome plan to me. So I have spent the last week gathering supplies and browsing websites for ideas on how I can take the skills he learned this past year and supplement them at home over the summer.

Was it just a coincidence that Target had numerous workbooks for various ages in their dollar bin? I think not. I grabbed a few including connect the dots, same or different, and beginning math skills. I also grabbed a few of the dry erase composition boards to help him with his letters, specifically his M's and S's that were discussed at our last parent/teacher conference.

What I absolutely love about my son at this age is his enthusiasm for learning and creating. Every day he has asked to do dry erase. At first he was making them like he had been in school. The M's looking more like W's and the S's looking more like Z's or squiggles. See the image above. But he kept at it and once he started to get it right his confidence grew and now he is making M's as if he always knew how.

In addition to the writing, we have art time where Mason can't get into the watercolors fast enough, and Sophie dabbles in finger painting. Color Wonder of course.

It isn't perfect and most days the routine gets thrown out the window. I often wonder how long the nostalgia of this classroom of ours will last, when we will burn out from ideas or get bored. Till then, I am so proud of Mason for trying and working so hard. I can only hope Sophie picks up on his enthusiasm to learn when it comes her time to put on that backpack and walk through the doors of Golden Pond as a student.

Anyone else doing any school related activities this summer? Leave a comment. I'd love to hear what your thoughts.
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ticked off

On the first day of summer things went totally wrong.

After a morning of dealing with no school and wondering what to do, I left Mason downstairs to watch Backyardigans while Sophie and I went upstairs to take a shower so I could get my head awake.

Sophie and I were giggling up a storm, sitting on the shower floor. I was teaching her the wheels on the bus song. Mason came walking in and announced very happily, "we have our first watermelons." Moments later he came back in and asked if he could take a shower too. I hesitated and then after seeing his disappointment, I caved. He undressed and walked into the shower. I told him to get his hair wet and wash up and that's when I noticed a black spot under his arm. I told him to hold up and come outside. Glasses off I couldn't really see but I knew it was some sort of bug and wanted to get a tissue or something and get it off before Mason freaked out. I tried to flick it a bit with toilet paper and that's when I stopped to get a closer look. Squinting my eyes hard I stared at it and that's when I thought, oh crap. I think this is a tick.

Shower still running, Sophie quietly playing in it, I left Mason standing in the bathroom holding his arm up. Soaking wet and naked I ran to the top of the stairs and yelled for Fred. No answer. That's when I screamed as loud as I could so he could hear where ever he was and he came running in from outside. I hurriedly told him that I think Mason has a tick on him and I am not sure what to do, I don't have my glasses. He confirmed it was a tick and said he just saw our neighbor and ran out to talk with her. Our neighbor's daughter has Lyme disease. Has since she was about Mason's age. It's been a horrible disease and we've spent the last three years listening to the stories from our neighbor. I immediately thought about this and tried to stay calm, but all I could think was my poor little boy standing naked in the bathroom with this tick stuck to his armpit. How he had his whole life ahead of him and how this moment could possibly take all that away.

It felt like forever. Waiting there for Fred to come back. I didn't know what to do. Was there something I should be doing right now? My mind was going a mile a minute and I couldn't turn it off. My hands were shaking so bad and Mason started crying. I tried to calm him but I wasn't sure myself and Fred was taking forever. Mason kept crying and saying he wanted daddy and I felt helpless and scared and I started crying too. I couldn't just leave both the kids in the house and search for Fred outside, I knew he was getting information on how to properly take the tick off and what to do afterward, but my god the two of us were just standing there with no idea what was going on or what to do. And the seconds went by so slowly. IT WAS TERRIFYING.

Finally Fred came back but he wouldn't tell me what he was doing or what needed to be done and I was freaking out. I just wanted to know. It was killing me not having this knowledge and my son's health in danger. He tried to kick me out but Mason really started to freak when Fred got the tweezers so I ran back in and held Mason as tight as I could while Fred removed the tick (and some of Mason's skin with it) and placed it in a Ziplock bag. Mason was in tears, Sophie was trying to figure out what was going on, still in the shower, and I was sobbing. My whole body shaking in horrid sobs. I didn't know if my little boy was going to be OK or not.

Moments later our neighbor came knocking on the door to check the situation. We all quickly got some clothes on Mason and myself and went downstairs. She talked to us for like 3o minutes, giving us the website of a lab we can send the tick off to in order to test for Lyme disease. Arming us with what to look out for in the next days, weeks, etc. The bulls-eye rash, any fatigue, or irritability, etc. It was a bit comforting to have her there talking with us. Looking back she can see the warning signs she missed with her daughter. I hope her experience helped us.

So many things I am trying to stay hopeful about. Hoping the test the lab does on the tick comes back negative. Hoping no rash develops. The ticks head was not imbedded in Mason's skin, nor was it engorged so I am hoping that is a good sign. Trying to stay hopeful that this tick was not on Mason longer than the few moments yesterday morning before spotting it. We didn't notice anything before then, but then again we weren't looking either and it had been quite a while since the kids had bathed; I hate admitting that.

In the meantime we are observing the bite everyday, checking the kids for ticks on a regular basis after playing in the yard. I called our pest service about getting the yard sprayed for ticks. And emailed our pediatrician about the whole situation and thought I'd mention it to him at Sophie's check up on Monday.

I don't normally pray, but last night I found myself knelt beside my bed, head bowed, hands crossed and through my tears I spoke; "Dear Heavenly Father..." I prayed, and I've been doing that a lot since yesterday. I know, we as parents, can't protect our children from everything. There will always be dangers out there. As a mother, I find it is the hardest thing to accept that harm will come to my childen in some form or another. Be it a broken heart, broken bone, or an illness. I know that I can't keep them in a bubble, locked in the house, but I feel like I want to do that sometimes. To hold them, protect them and promise nothing will ever happen to them. It is these moments that I recall that scene in Finding Nemo when Marlin, Nemo's father, says that he promised he would never let anything happen to his son and Dory replies, "well that's a silly thing to promise. You can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him." Dory was right. I see that. But, how do I ease the fear, the pain, the constant worry, the guilt? How do I let go? How do I go on with life knowing the dangers yet still find comfort and peace? I need to know that it is all going to be OK. I need to have reassurance and knowledge. I know all to well how fragile and short life really is. I have seen and experienced my share of loss.

So as I sit here, my family in bed asleep, I think about how I wish I could go back to Thursday. Before any of this happened and prevent it, but know I can't. I think of how much I have prayed for the health of my son. I think, I need to say one more prayer. A prayer for strength. To find my strength to get through this no matter the outcome, and to learn from it all.

I may sound like one neurotic mother right now, I know my husband thinks I am, but I just needed to get this out. I needed to talk and have someone listen. So if you read all of this, I say, Thanks.

With that, I am off to bed with the hope I can get some sleep tonight.
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Flying up

Mason had his Fly up ceremony on Tuesday. It's a ceremony they have at his school in which each child gets a pin for each year they are at the school. It's not a graduation but a ceremony to signify their rise to the next level.
Mason getting his pin from the owner of the school.
The end of year gift.
We presented the teachers with their end of year gift. I had Fred draw a bare tree with a Zebra. I then met each family in the parking lot last week to get the thumbprint of each student to represent the leaves of the tree. It came out so nice. The teachers, you could tell, were overwhelmed with emotion. I'm so glad they have something they can cherish, to remember the 13 Zebras they taught in 2010-2011.

Then there was Today.
Today I walked Mason into school for the last time.
Today I watched Sophie join the Zebras for morning centers for the last time.
Today was his last day of preschool.
His last day in classroom #5.
His last day as a Zebra.
Today was the last time I picked him up from school.
The last time I would hold the sign with his name and he would run into my arms.
The last time we would say good-bye to his teachers.
The last time we would cross the street and wave to Mrs. Walker.
My last day as room mom to this wonderful group of kids.

So many times today I felt tears start to well up in my eyes. When talking to the teachers about how much fun it has been this year, how wonderful they are and how much we will miss them next year. When I was telling the zebras to have a great summer and that I would miss them and one of the twins, I think Reese, said she would miss me too. I stood their giving each one a high five (Caprice, Zohair, Prabhav, Omar) for possibly the last time ever, we don't know who will be in our class next year, and I felt sad. I felt sad because I knew I had been part of something great. Even if I didn't see it, it was apparent today that I had a special place in each of those little kids hearts and each of them a place in mine.
I will definitely miss these two wonderful women as well. The ones who took such great care with my little boy.

As if that wasn't enough to make me cry, here is a photo of Mason and Sophie on the first day of school (left) and the last (right). Ironically Sophie is in the exact same outfit but it really showcases how much they both have grown over the last year.
With that I say,
Good-bye Zebra friends
Good-bye Preschool.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

two years.

Two years have come and gone. Where did they go? Twenty-four months of getting to know this little girl.
I have so many things that I want to say about how much she has grown. Her language skills, her personality, her height. So many things I want to tell about her birthday party. Yet when I sit down to write, I can't find the words. Words to describe how much love and hard work went into planning every last detail. In making sure she had the perfect TinkerBell birthday in all it's yellow and green. Instead I think I'll just share a few photos about that special day.

It was a wonderful day. Everyone had a great time. I had made ribbon wands for the girls and Peter Pan hats for the boys. Placed chipboard images of Tinkerbell in a birdcage and lantern, even made her ship from the Lost Treasure movie out of a coconut shell, ribbon and a balloon. It fell apart before the guests arrived.

Still, I will remember sitting in the backyard chatting with friends as our kids ran in the grass. I will remember that every child was yelling at Fred to cut them a piece of the water from the cake. I will remember Mason reminding us about the pinata only after half the guests left. I will remember how windy it was and that the balloons starting popping one by one before the guests arrived. I will remember the bubble machine was a hit and it really did look like pixie dust falling on the kids as they bounced. I will remember Sophie in her fairy outfit with her fairy wings. I will remember my daughter, having the best time with family and friends on the day she turned two.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

That's my boy

Today while packing up the car after a trip to Costco, a proud momma moment happened.

The car next to us was pulling out of it's spot and of course Mason was observing it. I heard him mumble something in a low voice. The lady in the car had her window rolled down and she shouted out to me, "Did he just say BMW?"
I thought about it for a minute. Mason knows just about every car out there, especially taken with the BMW's at the moment and looking at her car I replied, "yes he did."
An amazed look on her face she asked, "how old is he?"
I smiled, "he's four."
She pointed out the window at Mason, smiling and shaking her head, "you're good," she said. And drove off.
"Mommy, that was a BMW." Mason had turned back to me excited.
I stood there, watching her drive away in her blue BMW, smiling so proudly.
Yup, that's my boy.
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