Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Too Cool for Back to School

Ready to learn!
It's that time of year when parents everywhere rejoice... when we dream of routines, early bed times, and quiet hours while children are studying. BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!

Luckily, Little Dude is still young enough that he also looks forward to going back to school. He's excited to see his friends again and have his art class again and play on the playground again. Hey, the kid has priorities!

We kicked off our Back-to-School week with the all-important "Meet the Teacher" Night. We were really looking forward to finding out which class Little Dude would be in and who his teacher would be. 

I don't know how other parents feel, but "Meet the Teacher" Night is a little intense. You're meeting the person who is going to be teaching and influencing your child for the next 10 months. You want to make sure they are not going to instill some unsavory philosophy on your child or teach them something that contradicts the ethical standards you have at home. I truly doubt he would end up with a teacher that uses science class to teach him how to grow his own marijuana farm or a teacher that tells him lying is ok as long as he gets away with it. But you never know.

This year, Little Dude's teacher is not only brand new to the school, but it's also her second year of teaching overall. The good thing about having a teacher fresh out of school is that she's probably still quite enthusiastic and filled with new ideas and excitement.

This new teacher, Mrs. W., has obviously seen just enough action in her first year of teaching, that she was ready to answer any questions we parents threw at her. In fact, she already had a pre-defensive strategy prepared in the information packets she handed out. She vowed to answer emails, post lesson plans online, write daily notes about each child's progress and behavior, and fight for peace, justice and the American way.

I listened as other parents asked her whether our collective brain trust would be learning algebra this year. Yes, they will... along with some geometry. I listened as other parents asked her whether she would have something prepared for the child geniuses who are advanced readers. Yes, there will be an accelerated reading group. A parent would hurl a question and ping! she'd deflect it with her impenetrable bracelets. Another parent would ask her about her qualifications and pow! she'd banish any concerns with her golden lasso.
Little Dude's new teacher.

The thing is, not only were we in there sizing up the teacher, but she was probably judging us at the same time too. And first impressions can be crucial. Mrs. W can probably already guess which parents are going to fill up her email box every week, and which parents she'll probably never see again until the end of the year. She can probably guess which parents will hover over their children as they complete their homework, and which parents will probably never sign a single sheet all year.

Since I'm pretty sure the school office knows me as "The Crazy Mom," I tried to hold the crazy back. No reason to reveal my overbearing mother tendencies when all the other parents were peppering her with the same questions I would have asked. No reason to add to the madness while everyone was trying to convince her of how uniquely genius their child is. Besides... I'd rather have my child shock and amaze her with his highly exceptional intelligence in class. BAM! She'll probably hand the kid a diploma by the end of the week!

A little note here: Every parent I've ever met believes their child is the smartest, most talented and most beautiful child to ever walk the face of the earth. And they should... because it would be a crappy childhood if your parents were not the leaders of your cheering squad! 

Hubby had his own strategy to impress the new teacher. He name dropped. Big time!

Upon hearing that the teacher graduated from my own alma mater, which is a Christian university. Hubby name dropped with the biggest name you can possibly drop... God! I don't know how exactly he did it because I was still trying to be inconspicuous like some sort of parent ninja (I strike when you least expect it). But somehow he dropped that we are active church members. He hoped it helped make a good impressions.

Because later when I drop the crazy mom bomb on her... at least she'll know she can talk to our mutual friend (God) about me and He'll understand. Amen!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Little Big Boy

Last night I tucked a 5-year-old into bed. A few minutes later I heard a little voice softly calling, "Mom... Mo---om." I came upstairs and asked, "What's going on?"

"I don't want to turn 6 tomorrow," he replied with big tears in his eyes.

"Oh, kiddo. But turning 6 is going to be fun. Why don't you want to be 6?"

"Because then I'll have to turn 7 and then 8. And then I won't be able to go on the slide at school anymore. And I won't get to play. I'll be just like Gabriella's brother who just has to sit in school and learn and he can't do anything else."

Wow. If he thinks being 8 years old is dreadful, I wonder what he thinks about my age!

I countered, "But when you get to 4th Grade, you get to play sports after school with the other big kids. And you get to do a lot of really fun clubs."

"But I won't be your little boy anymore."

"No matter how big you get, you'll always be my little boy."

He eventually fell asleep and awoke in a much happier mood this morning! He got his first birthday phone call from his Papa whom he shares a birthday with. (I overheard Little Dude telling Papa that he was glad they share a birthday.) And then he fielded several other calls from other family members in between bites of the surprise birthday donuts his Auntie and cousin brought over late last night.

We spent the morning reading cards and postcards. (Little Dude can even read most of Grandma's half-cursive handwriting!) While reading one postcard from Papa and Grandma, I apparently mispronounced "Alabama." I pronounced it Al-uh-bam-uh. But Little Dude schooled me by saying that it must always be pronounced Al-uh-BAM-uh "with a little sass in it." (No, I don't know where he learns these things from.) And I realized he is growing up with a great sense of humor.

I listened to him pepper his conversation with words like "literally," "age-appropriate," and "excellent" -- all used correctly. And I realized how smart and capable he has become.

I watched him tie his shoes with his long fingers and stretch his long legs. And I realized how big he is growing.

After loading his birthday cupcakes into the car to take to his day care, I told him what an awesome, charming, funny, smart, handsome and talented man he is. He told me I forgot to add "adorable" to the list. And I realized how confident he is.

So cheers to the birthday boy. These last 6 years have been amazing. I can't wait to see what's to come!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Note About a Boy Who Gave Our Realtor a Tip

Apparently we were not the only ones excited to finally get the keys to our new home...

Little Dude has been part of this process since the beginning. He bravely packed his toys while we were prepping our old house to sell. He went with us several times to look at new houses.

During one extra long Saturday of looking at houses, our realtor made Little Dude her special helper. His job was to leave one of her business cards at each house we visited. And he did! She rewarded with him a $5 gift card to Dairy Queen. He was so proud when he got to buy his own Blizzard with money he earned!

Little Dude was with us when we first saw our new house. He picked out his room and called the spare bedroom "the party room." He found the closet beneath the stairs and dubbed it "the iPad room." He went with us several times to go back to see the house.

And he was with Big Dude when he picked up the keys.

Little Dude told his dad that he wanted to give our realtor money so that we (me and Big Dude) didn't have to pay her.

Then he pulled the coins out of his pocket and handed her $0.55.

She tried to refused, but Little Dude wouldn't hear of it. So he gave our realtor a "tip."

He's already learning pride of ownership!

A week later, Little Dude spotted some change sitting on the entryway table and told Big Dude he wanted our realtor to come over again so he could giver her another tip. Lo, and behold, the doorbell rang and there was our awesome realtor! She had brought over a housewarming gift.

Little Dude was so excited!

It's actually nice to be in our own home once again. Big Dude comes home every day and says, "I love this house." Even though we aren't fully unpacked (I seriously think it may take a whole year!), we've already had people - mostly family - over. Little Dude had a friend over already and wanted to have his birthday party here. And I'm excited to finally be able to unpack some things so that we're not pulling our clothes out of cardboard boxes every morning. 

Home, sweet home!