Forward

23 Apr

My last post was well, upsetting in a way. I look back and it seems as if I haven’t learned to trust my mothering, my instincts that have proven to be spot on thus far. Granted, I’m only a year removed from when I first started this blog, after 2 (distant) family members saw fit to attack me for my parenting choices…so I guess I still have a lot to learn and more thick skin to grow.

I don’t have much time to write my blog. With cleaning (trying) and playing with Rory, I don’t get much time to prepare what I want to say and then say it. So usually my blogs become a jumbled mess and sometimes I don’t fully say what I want to say. My last post was me, freaking out about how drastically things are going to change for our family in a few months, and honestly not knowing how to prepare for it. I love, love, love, how we haven’t had to force our kids to go to bed. How bedtime hasn’t really been a power struggle (until recently). The kids fall asleep when they are tired and wake up when they are not. It has been simple, easy and it has kind of felt like we’ve figured out the “secret” of parenting. However, when I realized that it wasn’t going to remain easy, simple for much longer, I freaked.

Right now, Max (Rory isn’t as consistent when she falls asleep yet) falls asleep at around 11. Sleeps about 11 hours, and wakes at 10. School starts at 11:30, he’s done at 3 and that is that. This fits in perfectly for his natural rhythm. However, when Kindergarten starts next year, it’ll be a different story. School starts at 8:10 or so. And so he’ll have to get up at like 7:00!! He’ll be at school for a full day, instead of a half day. So my thought was to prepare us for this drastic change. I wanted to slowly push back bed time and wake up earlier. I thought it was perfect. Fool proof. And at first it was working. (Or so I thought) The kids were in their room by 9. Quiet (relatively) and Bill and I got some alone time to chill, play some video games, watch our shows. It was awesome and we felt pretty awesome for getting it done. Until the kids made it known what we really going on. They weren’t really going to sleep at 9 or a little after. They were just playing quietly and reading and talking until they feel asleep, probably at their regular time. Finally after a few days, it got old, and the novelty wore off and they started leaving their room, asking for cup of water after cup of water, going to the bathroom 3-4 times before bed…. all of that junk. It was then I realized, it wasn’t going to be as easy as just pushing back their bedtime. So I started to research on the internet ideas and “techniques” to get the kids to sleep earlier. All of which were either some form of baby training (um NO) or manipulating them (Some alarm clock that tells them when they can get out of bed and when they can’t…not very smart to use for kids learning to night potty train, or in the event of fire… seems more of a safety risk than anything). So I was hoping to find some inspiration from other parents. Wondering how they got their kids to bed early, and realized, the only way to do it, was to follow my kids’ lead… as we have been doing. There is no way to force your kids to be tired… short of drugging them. So, my new plan is to brace for the first week of school, summon all of my patience, empathy, and positive thoughts and bear through it. We’ll eventually, hopefully adapt to a new rhythm. I wanted to avoid Max having a rough first week of school, I wanted to avoid the inevitable crankiness that will come with over tired kids, but well, it will be a good life lesson for both kids. A lesson in the importance of sleep, rest, and that sometimes life is rough and you just have to do your best to make it through. So I guess this will turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Oh. And a new development. I have a job. That is right. While trying to figure out prepare for next school year, we found out that we make too much for Rory to have an automatic spot in Head Start (Free Preschool). She would be wait-listed and when a spot opened up, she would then be in the class. There was no telling how long the wait would be, she could get in right away or it could take a full school year… or 2! Since she is only 2, she isn’t in dire need of preschool, she just wants to go. And we had been telling her that when she is 3 (this summer) she will get to go. And now, we’re going to be liars. So we looked around and wanted to see how much it would cost, see if we could afford it ourselves. Well, we could… but only if I got a job. Our plan has been(since Rory was born) that I would be a stay-at-home-mom until Rory was in Kindergarten. 2 reasons, we feel it has been the best for our kids for me to be with them and because we just can’t afford quality daycare.  We have no family or friends in town that can watch the kids, so it just made financial sense for me to stay home. It has been hard and stressful, but it has been totally worth it. However, we’re flexible. Rory wants to go to preschool, so why not do what we can to make it happen. So we kept her on the waiting list, as we needed a backup option just in case I couldn’t find a job. I mean the economy is still trying to get turned around, and I haven’t been in the workforce for nearly 5 years. As luck would have it, the Call Center Bill works at was hiring and I applied. While we were waiting for a response, we started talking about our options. We decided that we would take Rory off the list, even if I didn’t find a job, because well Rory is smart. Just like her big bro. She doesn’t need preschool at 3. She just needs a bit more socialization. And once Max is in full time school, she and I can take more advantage of activities that go on around town that we can’t right now because they conflict with our schedule. Plus, I would feel…guilty taking a spot for Rory, when she doesn’t really need it. I would always worry that a more needy child was missing out because Rory was in that spot. Rory is lucky enough to have me stay at home and do awesome stuff with her. And if we make too much and we’re struggling like we are, I can’t imagine how other folks are getting it done who make less than we do. It just doesn’t seem right. So that was decided. I got an interview for the job and then landed the job. I start in mid-May. I’m nervous and excited and well we’re going to be starting our prep for school early. As both kids will go to preschool/daycare while Bill and I are at work. And it will ease us unto next school year. So my panic attack was all for naught.

We found an amazing preschool/daycare. The cost is half of what the first place we found was. HALF. Plus, Max’s Head Start teacher from last year, Ms. Rosemary is now a teacher at this preschool. As soon as we saw her, and how excited she and Max were to be seeing each other again (She is proud that he is already reading and doing math!), we knew this was the Preschool for us. Right now, every day Rory asks if it is time for her to go to school. I think we’re going to make a countdown. haha. Most families make countdowns for Disney Trips… while my kids want a countdown for school. I LOVE IT.

Max is reading. And writing and doing Math. Addition and Subtraction. Rory is currently a puzzle master. She has mastered the several Melissa and Doug 6-10 piece puzzles we have and is now working on more complicated real puzzles. She is also starting to show interest in letters. She has realized that letters have names and sounds and when you put them together you can read. So now she’s “reading” her own stories in her books. I’ve gotten a few activities to help her with learning the alphabet. She hasn’t really been interested until recently, so that is why she doesn’t know them yet. No reason to force her. She already has her shapes and colors down and is counting to 20+. By rote of course. But she is following along Max’s trajectory, so she should be reading and writing and doing math before she is in Kindergarten too.

We don’t do anything “special” with them. They are free range kids.  We don’t over schedule or organize activities for them. They are able to play, read, draw, run around and do basically whatever they want. I let them get bored and let them figure how to become un-bored. I let Max, 5, be outside for periods of time alone.  I pay attention to them and their interest and build on it. When Max was 2-3 he was into the alphabet. BIG TIME. We would spend literally HOURS drawing pictures for him and the words describing the pictures. Going over the letters their sounds… he LOVED it. And now look, he is 5 and reading and writing  We didn’t get tutors, fancy flash cards, DVD’s…nothing. It was all us, drawing and talking to him. They aren’t in every sport known to man either. Their weekends aren’t so full of sports and classes and activities that they don’t have time to just be. While that may be awesome for some families, that just isn’t us. We put Max in Rec. Center sports last year to get him around more kids his age since he was with me all day. They are 6 weeks long (6 games) and no special practices (practice is 10-15 min before the game starts). We have only played 2 sports, basketball and soccer. And so far Max has shown more skill and passion for soccer. This fall he’ll be old enough for parent/kid flag football. So we’ll do that. Then he’ll also be able to do wrestling. He has said he wants to do both, so we will see how it works out. Rory hasn’t been in anything yet as she isn’t old enough for Rec Center sports and I don’t feel she is old enough for dance classes or anything. This fall the “Y” is having a Itty Bitty sport class that does T-Ball, basketball and soccer. So it’ll be the perfect stepping stone to figuring out what she’ll like to continue to do next year.

I’m nervous and anxious about how things will go next month. It is going to be a major change for everybody. But we can do it. We just need to stick to our free ranged, relax way and it’ll all fall into place. I have found that when we just sit back and follow the kids’ lead, things tend to figure themselves out. And I think that is the way it should be. If only I could just stop worrying so much… but I guess that comes with being a mom.

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