Lovin' our Big Boy!

Lovin' our Big Boy!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Home Away from Home

This past year Jack has had the amazing blessing of being able to spend lots of time with his maternal grandparents. They live 8 miles away in their 'retirement' home in a cute, young neighborhood with lots of families. Along with the wonderful time he has had sleeping over, playing in their well stocked playroom and all in all being the apple of their eyes, he has also spent time playing with the neighbor boys. Ethan is 4 and has a trampoline, Lane is 9 and loves baseball and Brody is 3 and is a great buddy for Jack. Before school started, Mimi and Grandpa had Jack over for a 2 nite/3 day sleepover. While he was there, the boys played together until almost dark. Here's a look at that great nite. It's one of those moments when I wish we lived in a neighborhood!

This most recent extravaganza included a trip to Chuck E. Cheese's and lots of play at their house. Jack loves 'doing Wipeout' at home and had set up his course in their living room as well.

Grandpa also took Jack to a Kids' Workshop at Lowe's. Jack built a wooden locker. They both really enjoyed the workshop and Grandpa really enjoyed sharing his love for building with Jack. I love that he wore the goggles!!

Honestly, I'm not sure who gets the most out of it? Me with the much needed and enjoyed break? Tyler with some one on one time with Mom and Dad? Jack with all the love and attention Grandparents can bestow? Or Grandma and Grandpa themselves? We all are blessed...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kindergarten Week 1 (plus some)

The first week is in the record books. And it was a great one. For a long time we've all been nervous about starting 'big kid school'. In fact, just before Jack's birthday in April, he was dead set against going. So much so that he declared that he was NOT turning 6, he was NOT having a birthday party and he was NOT getting presents....because he didn't want to go to Kindergarten.

So I was very proud when he was ready to visit the classroom on the "Sneak Peak" day the week prior and equally proud when he actually walked in to the classroom on Monday for his first day, a half day, in Mrs. Ward's class. He was nervous, and he didn't really care to have his picture taken, but he wore his 'uniform' (standard school attire), allowed me to tuck his shirt in, wore his backpack without complaint, and said hello to Mrs. Ward when we got there. He helped me sort all our required school supplies in bins by reading the categories above them and a couple of parents were amazed that he could read so well. Sometimes I forget that many Kindergarteners aren't reading yet!

Tuesday nite, with the first full day of school looming the next day, he cried at bedtime saying that he didn't like the 'big kindergarten day' (the full day). He said that he just liked the 'little' day. I assured him that he would like the full day once he got there, just like he had ended up liking the half day, once he tried it. Sure enough, he enjoyed himself on Wednesday. I know that it is a lot of work for him to keep himself quiet and attentive for 7 hours, and I'm not sure how well he's actually doing that, but he is telling us a lot about his day, so I know he's paying attention! He knows 13 of the 19 kids' names in the class. And he's happy to go each day. No separation issues...I think Tyler is having a harder time with it than Jack is! Tyler is sooooo excited to see his brother each day at pick up. He giggles and squeals when Jack gets in the car. It is adorable. And Jack must first talk to Tyler before he'll give me the time of day. He says "I want to talk to my brother first!" I love watching the two of them together. It's too bad they only have about 4.5 hours each day to enjoy each other's company.

Just when we thought that Kindergarten might be a piece of cake (I'm exaggerating now, for sure!) day 7 hit and we found out that Jack was the first child in the class to grace the Time Out chair. I must say I am shocked. He's never been in time out at preschool in the 3 years he has attended and rarely does he get in trouble at home. He was accused of kicking another student and, quite frankly, he didn't explain himself or try to get out of it. I think it was more of a tap (it happened during circle time when they were seated on the carpet and he doesn't even know who he kicked) but rules are rules, and he certainly won't be scarred for life by it. I, on the other hand, might be though! In his wrong sense of things, he actually bragged a little when he realized he was first to be in Time Out. His silly little head. I guess being first usually does have its accolades. But not today. Time will tell how easy or difficult this year will be for him. But I dare say we're off to a great start, Time Out chair and all.

I hope that by the end of the year we can all have a good laugh over this incident.

First day of school. Daddy and Mommy walked Jack in to his class.

Meeting Mrs. Ward on the previous Friday during her Open Classroom time. Jack said, "I'll see you on August 11th!"

There goes our Big Boy! (sniff, sniff!)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Goodbye, Preschool...Hello, Kindergarten!

Last Day of Judson

Wow. Preschool has come to a close. What a journey it has been. I can only imagine that there will be the same growth and amazement as I look back at the end of Kindergarten. Or at least I hope.

Today I stand as a proud mom, watching a chapter close in my son's life. We are saying goodbye to his wonderful preschool and all the friendly faces there. He walks away without looking back...ready to face all that lies ahead. I'm not sure if he really knows what to expect, but he has come to a place of understanding and resolution that Kindergarten will begin in just 5 more days. And, I suppose that I have as well.

Judson was an amazing place for us all to grow. Jack entered Judson in the summer of 2005, having just turned 3, needing a lot of support, a backpack full of diapers, special snacks (some things don't change!) and lots of comfort, understanding and love. He still had so much growing to do! His first teacher there, Miss Penni, was a first year teacher and was full of compassion and drive to be an awesome teacher for Jack. She asked lots of questions and was always willing to try anything! We went through 3 aides that year until we found Miss Linda, who loved Jack with all her heart. She was the perfect support person for him at that time in his life. It made me feel so comfortable to leave him, even on days when he dug his heels in outside the classroom door, because she truly cared for him like he was her own. I got my first taste of preparing and executing an IEP meeting (s). There was so much to learn!

Four year preschool began with a big bump as Miss Linda left Metro just a few weeks into the school year. I lost my footing for a bit, worrying about Jack and how he would handle so much change. But Miss Tama filled the gap and, in the end, it was the best thing for Jack. It forced Miss Tama to step in and become Jack's primary teacher. That set a precedent that has never changed. Jack began to take direction from his teacher in all situations. He became increasingly social and independent that year. His aide changed often and he handled it with ease!

(taken THIS year with Miss Tama)

5 year preschool was his time to blossom. Miss Pam was amazing. She encouraged us to let Jack fly 'solo' for the second semester without his aide. We were all so proud when that move proved successful and Jack finished the year independent, social and so well liked. He had developed true friend relationships with a few of the boys in the class and they spent time playing together outside of school. It was hard to say goodbye this Spring to that class. The kids were all so wonderful and supportive and the class had a great synergy.

Summer session this year was 8 weeks long on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-2. Jack enjoyed his teacher, Miss Amanda (Miss Tama's daughter), and had a great time seeing his friends at Judson each week. He will miss terribly the gym, where many a mile was spent racing around on bikes and motorcycles as well as the playground, with the famous hill.

We're armed with a new backpack, new lunchbox, new Standard School Attire, old shoes (his choice), a tiny bit of confidence and a bit more of anxiety over what the new school and Kindergarten has in store for our little guy. He's growing up! Miss Ward called today to introduce herself and to invite Jack to tour the classroom on Friday. She was the teacher we were praying for. She seems like a great fit for Jack's personality! We look forward to a great year with her and the rest of the class.