Yesterday was a hard day for me as I had practically no energy and was aching all over, but I didn’t have time for self-care since I had to get Joey to his dental appointment, then on to school, and needed to get some grocery shopping done. We made the dental appointment – no sugar bugs so we were both really happy and I was extremely proud of how well he worked both with the dental technician and his doctor Miss Jenny, but I decided to blow off school as he’d only have gotten in 1 1/2 hours and it would have meant more running around on my part. So off he, my service dog Hoss, and I went to the grocery store. $81.00 later I had a basket full of fresh veggies and fruits and a few staples and we were off to home. By the time I got done unloading the car and putting everything away I felt like I just wanted to lay down and die but you can’t do that when you have an almost 5-year-old and a 74-year-old mother that you have to take care of. Joey was easy for lunch since he’d begged for a pizza Lunchable at the store and I quickly whipped up some eggs for my mom along with some honeydew melon. And by the way, that honeydew melon was the sweetest thing I think I’ve ever tasted; it turned out to be one of my simple pleasures of the day.
While they were eating their lunches I decided to lay down for a little bit. When Joey was done he crawled up on the bed with me and asked, “Mom do you need a nap?” and I responded that I did. He said big boys like him didn’t take naps anymore but he could stay in bed with me and watch cartoons on the computer while I had an afternoon nap. He was so earnest in his statement that it made me almost cry. He watched cartoons and I got to rest for about an hour.
When we crawled out of my big ol’ comfy bed I told him he had to do school work since he’d missed school that day and he got so excited which made me happy that he was so enthused. I got out my pre-K school bin and we worked for about an hour. He did tracing of diagonal lines, circles, squares as well as counting the number of each that he was tracing. Then we went on to ABC flashcards, which I now realize we need to be doing much more often, and went through them tracing the letter with his finger and saying them out loud. Then I had him pull out all the letters for his nickname JOEY and spell it out in the correct order. He was excellent at this last task and I was so proud. When this was completed I had him trace his proper name six times and he did it nearly perfect on 5 out of 6 times.
I feel so lucky to have a child who loves learning and approaches it with enthusiasm, and to have a child who somewhat understands that Mommy has good and bad days and takes them in stride. All I can say is “I LOVE me some Joey”.
Larry and I have our first parent teacher conference coming up next Thursday and I am nervous. I know he’s been learning in school and practicing while he’s there but I haven’t been as diligent as I should be in making him practice at home and neither has Larry. Together we’ve devised a foolproof plan, at least I think we have. Joey is a Wii addict, in particular he’s in love with the game Skylander, and we’ve decided to use that as a motivation for learning. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it has about a gazillion characters that you have to buy separately to give you, the player, the opportunity to experience and use different forms of weapons or enter different realms within the game. Don’t ask me anything else as that’s about the full extent of my knowledge of this game (lol). And to make things a little more difficult for Larry and I, this is one hot game and so these characters sell out about as fast as they hit the shelves.
Larry has taken to purchasing the 3 or 4 packs of different characters as he comes across them and then we take them out of the packages and set them up on the top shelf of our cat tree where Joey can see them, but not get to them. Well lets face it he could if he really wanted to but he knows he’d get in big trouble for doing it and that I would probably then throw them in the trash so he just adores them from afar until the big day – FRIDAY. That’s right, each Friday if he’s done his tracing practice Monday through Friday then he gets to pick out one of the new characters to play the game with when Daddy gets home from work. Now I don’t even have to ask him to do his letters or numbers or try to cajole him into it as it’s the last thing we talk about each night and pretty much the first thing he wants to do in the morning. I’ve found several great sights that provide his name as well as the normal alphabet and numbers. I’m trying to have him do 2-3 pages a day – Joey, Joseph and then a letter or number. We’ve been focussing on A’s and B’s and I’m so happy to report that it is actually helping.
Today in anticipation of picking his guy out as soon as Daddy walks in the door he asked me for his practice sheets and only needed help one time. He even self corrected when he made the line across his capital “A” to long. Made me so proud. I know most of the credit goes to his two wonderful teachers – Mrs. Ethorne and Mrs. Meyers, but still I’m as proud as can be.
If he keeps up, who knows by the end of summer he might just be able to write them all and can go to Kindergarten with his friend Garrett who’s a year older. Right now I’m on the fence and leaning in the direction of keeping him home another year. Yes part of it’s selfishness but I also want to make sure that he’s well prepared to enter the elementary world both educationally and socially. Daddy of course thinks he’s ready to go now and that that is what school is for – to teach them. When I look around at my friends children and hear the stories of their 1st graders having 2-4 hours of homework a night I can’t even imagine, makes my heart race I tell ya. And I think it’s a tad extreme. They’re children for goodness sake, let them be kids, afterall they’re going to have to work hard for the rest of their lives so why do they have to start putting in hours of work when they’re only 5? I don’t get it, I really don’t. We didn’t have to do that kind of homework when I was that age and I think I turned out just fine, so did my sister, and all my friends, and my hubby too. The more I look at the way our public school system is working the more I’m considering alternative education – home school, private, charter, etc. I like the idea of education being a part of their everyday experiences. At the same time, I want Joey to have the school experiences I did – the field trips, the opportunity to make lifetime friends, and to few things from others perspectives. How do I make sure he has all this and a childhood of fun at the same time? It’s a question without an answer at this moment in time, but I’m searching and I’m sure that together, Larry and I, will make the best decisions for our boy.
Oh my gosh, where has the time gone? Today is Joey’s first day at The Learning Cottage Preschool out here and I’m not sure if it was harder on him when I left or harder on me having to walk away. He didn’t want me to go and started to get choked up but held it together and watched me go with a wave. I on the other hand-made it back out to my truck and burst into tears. I know it’s the right thing for him, and that he’s going to make some good friends and learn a lot of wonderful things, but still it’s just happening to fast. I thought I’d have more time with him, that these past four years would have lasted so much longer, and now my baby is growing into a little man.
When I look back on his baby pictures, how tiny he was, to taking his first steps, running and falling for the first time, pedaling his bike all the way to the park and calling Larry and I Daddy and Momma for the first time these all seem like indelible marks in my mind so I don’t know why this milestone is hitting me so much harder.
Man it’s tough aging, and having my little one age right along with me. I guess I need to focus on the positives – how this will prepare him to be away from me, give him the tools to succeed and to find new adventures to explore, the chance to make some new friends and to become excited about the prospect of learning. I guess when I look at it that way I find there are way more positives to offset my broken heart.
So congratulations my boy on your very first day in preschool. Momma and Daddy love you and are so proud of you.