End-of-Year Thoughts

Another school year has come and gone, and my kids are home with me for a bit before Summer MDO begins…

OH LOOK A REASON TO MAKE MORE THINGS! TEACHER GIFTS!

I whipped up these gorgeous crochet farmer’s market bags using a Sewrella pattern, attached a rosette, and decided to add a few things inside.

What, I wondered, do my kids’ teachers need? I’ve already given gift cards for wine. Maybe some relaxation time! I popped in two sheet masks and found the awesome bath bomb above at Target. An “F” bomb! Perfect.

Last touch: a card. I referenced the bag and sheet masks in the card after thanking these angels for teaching my crazies all year. At the end I added, “…and drop an ‘F’ bomb from my kids instead of because of them, for once!”

Thank you, Jeanette and Dee, for that witticism!

I dropped the gifts off with the kiddos in the morning and came back for pickup to teachers laughing about their cards. “I almost wet my pants!” one told me, still laughing. Success! Haha!

But really. Teachers do more than academic teaching. They model acceptable behavior, assist in teaching social skills and emotional intelligence, entertain children prone to perpetually whining about boredom at home, and do so while juggling anywhere from 10 to 32 different personalities and learning styles.

So while teacher appreciation week is over, thank your kids’ teachers again for their hard work and long hours. They deserve it.

And good luck, parents. Summer is beginning. Fill the pantry and fridge, because you KNOW the second-most repeated complaint you’re likely to hear(behind “I’m bored”) is, “I’m hungry!”

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That Time He Swallowed a Penny

K certainly keeps life interesting. Gotta say that.

Last week, C and I were in the middle of a math lesson involving counting out different amounts of pennies up to ten cents. I gave K ten pennies so he could start working on counting to ten with one-to-one correspondence, when I turned to answer C’s question.

C looked confused, then alarmed, and pointed at K. “He has a penny in his mouth!”

I turned to K and told him to spit it out right as he made a small choking sound.

“Dammit, kid!”

Yup. I said that. Right in front of the boys.

I grabbed K, flipped him head-down onto my leg, and gave his upper back three good whacks. C started bawling. K coughed and said, “Stop it, Mom!”

I flipped him back upright.

He’d swallowed the penny.

I set him on his chair and comforted C–I wasn’t trying to hurt K, K is fine, that move was to keep him from choking on the penny, etc etc.

Then I turned back to K and told him to never ever put a penny in his mouth, scared him, and then had to put C down to comfort K. 🤦🏻‍♀️

I told Jared what happened. “Is that big enough to cause problems? He’ll pass it all right?” I didn’t know, so I googled.

And FREAKED.

It turns out that pennies can get lodged in the esophagus, and those minted after about 1982 have a zinc coating that is corrosive to the esophageal lining. Much of what I read said to either call the pediatrician or to go straight to the ER for x-rays.

I called the pediatrician. Thankfully, K swallowed the penny with little issue and didn’t show any signs of it being in his esophagus(no drooling, gagging, coughing, or pain), so we were told to ensure he passed the penny over the weekend or call back.

He passed it. On Mother’s Day.

Thank you, sweetheart. 😂🤦🏻‍♀️

Yes, I Leash My Son

When K was a baby, C started running away from me in the daycare parking lot. There were a few times I had to drop K in his infant seat by my car and take off after C. Sick of having to abandon one kid to save another, we decided to order a leashed backpack.

It was a lifesaver. C stopped even trying to run after being yanked to a stop by the end of the tether one too many times. He still protested having to stay with me, but he quit running. After a few months with the backpack, we tried having him hold our hand again. Success! The backpack stayed home and became a toy of sorts.

Then K started walking. While he protested holding our hand more than C did, our confidence in the Parental Grip of Holding(TM) was higher and breakaways basically didn’t happen.

I grew more confident that he’d follow me on sidewalks. 99% of the time, he did, and waited to hold my hand before stepping off the curb.

The library parking lot, for whatever reason, was different. He started trying to step into the lot without me. He ran from me, twice, getting a few steps in between cars before I caught him.

A couple of weeks ago, it rained during Story Time. I warned the boys to stay out of the puddles(because guess who they complain to about wet shoes and socks…) and turned to tell C to slow down.

I turned back around to tell K to hurry up, and he gave me a mischievous grin and stepped off the sidewalk into the parking lot.

I dropped the book bag and ran after him. He made it past the first line of cars, out into the “street” part of the lot. I grabbed him, looked up, and saw a car coming.

A car.

Thank the Lord it was a good thirty feet away, that it was driving slowly, and that the rain had let up so the road wasn’t as slick as it could have been.

I pulled him out of the way and scolded him fiercely. My voice became an animalistic growl as I practically snarled, “Don’t you ever run away from me in a parking lot again!”

After biting back a stream of epithets at the older woman driving, who saw fit to park nearby and scold me as if I’d thrown K in front of her, I buckled the boys into their seats, shaking.

And then I cried.

Had the rain not let up when it did, had the woman been driving faster, not seen K right away, had K even waited a second or two to run from me… This could have ended differently. I cried the whole way home.

I’m not willing to run that risk again. I pulled the backpack out again and ordered a leash to replace the one that had long since broken. We’ve used the backpack multiple times since, and each time we walk past a group of people, the conversation dies down as one or all stare at us.

Go ahead. Stare. Judge me for leashing my kid. That’s fine–I did the same, before having kids who were runners.

My child is alive. My child is safe. That’s what matters, far more than any perceived shame or judgement from leashing him. Until he learns to stay by our sides, we will leash him.

His safety is a top priority, and right now that safety requires a leashed backpack. And that’s okay.

Allergy Probs

I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a Spring as tough as this one.

My eyes are red and itchy, I’m sneezing like crazy, I’m pouring snot to the point of desperately stuffing toilet paper wads up my nostrils(yup, I did that), I’m coughing and laying miserably on the couch and generally annoying the bejesus out of my kids and husband.

I get a little melodramatic when I don’t feel awesome.

Soon, this will end. The pollen will die down, I’ll stop feeling like my eyes are swelling shut and my nose is about to be sneezed off my face.

At least, I hope it ends soon. Otherwise I’m going to be miserable forever.

FOREVER, I TELL YOU 😩

Gardening wins!

Our first tomato!

A month ago, I took the boys to Lowe’s and we stocked up on planter pots, potting soil, a few seedlings, and seed packets. The boys enjoyed helping poke tiny seeds into the dirt–because it meant getting dirty and being encouraged to do so!

After just a couple of weeks, several of the plants needed repotting. Jared and the boys built a planter box from scrap wood and cinder blocks. We transplanted the plants and marveled at the power of nature.

Well, I marveled. I can’t tell you how many times I told the boys to LEAVE THE BABY PLANTS ALONE!

Just a couple of days ago, we noticed a tiny little tomato(picture at the top) growing, and this morning we found a baby strawberry!

The boys were hopping all over the back porch in excitement! We are looking forward to harvesting a few crops once these fruits are bigger!

School Daze

C “hates” MDO.

More often than not, Tuesdays and Thursdays begin with a declaration that he hates MDO and wants to stay home, along with promises to let me work on my crafting stuff without getting in the way.

Nice try, kid.

Once he’s there, he loves it. I’ve hidden out of sight after dropoff. I’ve seen the pictures and talked to his teachers. He loves it. It’s just the actual transition from being at home to going to MDO that doesn’t always go well.

I reached out to a friend for some tips and she suggested giving him more choices within the boundary of going to MDO: did he want to carry in his backpack or his lunch box? Take one book or two in his bag?

I tried it. While I usually give them a choice regarding lunch, I asked his opinion on all aspects: veggie chips or pretzels? Strawberries or apple slices? Turkey sandwich or ham and crackers?

Not only did they both get into their car seats with minimal fuss, but neither C nor K flipped out when we arrived, when we walked into the building, or even when I dropped them off in their respective classrooms! C happily told me goodbye and gave me a squeezy hug. K was a little more reticent, pouting when I left, but it was a far cry from prying his fingers off my leg or handing him directly to a teacher. Success!

It reminded me how hard it must be to be so young–we expect children to act mature beyond their short years, to understand the choices we impose upon them with a background they don’t have, and we make them adhere to a schedule they have little to no say in.

The French have a parenting ideal of the cadre. It is a framework, immovable. Inside of it, children have the freedoms to make their own decisions. I applied this here: they MUST go to MDO. They are free to choose what to wear and what they’ll have for lunch.

And it worked. MAJOR thanks to my friend for reminding me of this!

Soon, I’ll have to write up my own impressions of Pamela Druckerman’s book, Bringing Up BĂŠbĂŠ, which compares and contrasts American and French parenting. For now, I have lunches to make and children to cart to MDO–tear- and tantrum-free, hopefully.

Fingers crossed!

Yog…uhh?

Confession: I haven’t done any yoga in at least a week.

Last year I missed three or four days of yoga. This year, I did all of January, part of February, and maybe three days in March. Once so far this month.

Oops.

It’s not that I suddenly hate yoga or exercise–far from it! I’ve been attending a once-a-week dance cardio class and burning 300-400 calories per class… so, my lazy butt figures I’m good for the week and skips yoga 😂🤷🏻‍♀️

It’s not a good thing for me. I’ve noticed a drop in overall energy and capacity to handle the boys’ nonsense without regular yoga. My muscles even feel tight without the regular stretching. Gah!

I am getting back on the yoga wagon. Friends, feel free to ask me if I’ve done yoga for the day yet. I need to make it a habit again!

Yoga for the win!