Posts Tagged ‘ Montessori ’

My Preschool Jitters And Fall Feelings

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

The smell of fall invokes motivating emotions in me. On the east coast it is the smell of football season, leaves changing, school starting. It always makes me want to recharge my batteries, clean my house, get a new haircut, find new recipes, exercise more. In other words, that smell inspires me to reset all my buttons and start anew. Except, now I live in LA where leaves don’t change and fall doesn’t kick in until November. Emmett doesn’t go to school and Fia’s didn’t start until this week.

From afar, I’ve been watching all the fanfare of the first day of school. Friends posting on Facebook, their kids posing with lunchboxes and backpacks. I craved that fall feeling, but it just wasn’t happening. Instead, I’ve been battling 100-degree heat in a non air-conditioned house. I’ve been exhausting the options on entertaining my kids while trying to retain my sanity. I’ve been full of anticipation for days, weeks–even months–about Fia starting a new school and our family getting a new schedule down.

Hers is a 5-day a week Montessori program. The hours are 9-2:30 with no nap. You can pick your kid up at 1 if you want to nap them, but for me, that falls right when Emmett is napping. So I opted for the 2:30-3 pm pick up and plan to put her to bed early. I am crossing my fingers that she will still nap on the weekends. That’s our time when she, Phil and I all climb in bed together. It is heaven. (Em naps in his crib still. Soon, he’ll join us.)  Trying to figure out the schedule has created a running puzzle in my mind.  I just wanted to get it underway already. 

So finally, finally today was our turn.

Last night I set my alarm for the first time since having kids. Just in case for some strange reason we overslept. Last night Fia and I picked out her clothes. We made her lunch. Phil put some stickers in her lunchbox as a surprise. I booked a sitter to watch Emmett so we could take her together. We woke to fog and a slight chill. It will burn off and heat up, but it was an auspicious beginning.

I’ve written before about how she sometimes resists change and transitions.  But we’ve been talking about how great this school is for weeks. She kept saying how excited she was on the drive. Then we parked and she said, “Mama, hold me.” My heart dropped. Here it comes. The sobs, the wails, the heartache that penetrates to my core. Phil and I held our breath.

To my relief, as we walked into the courtyard, she jumped out of my arms and went running to her classroom. She shook hands with her new teachers. They showed her where to hang up her jacket, where to put her lunch box, where to keep her snacks. She followed them around with all the glee and giddiness of a preschooler.

I now know I’ve been more anxious than anyone. No surprise. Aren’t we always?

After about 30 minutes watching, Phil and I decided to leave. We hugged her goodbye, she hugged us back, and that was it. Except, I couldn’t just leave. I went back and peeked inside. She was happily playing at a table with her teacher.

Back in the car Phil said, “It’s crazy–growing up. And that it’s our job to make them independent of us.” I nodded. It is bittersweet, but more sweet.

Now I sit, alone, at one of my favorite cafes. I was ravenous and ordered a huge breakfast. My body exhaled. Fall has officially begun, and I feel it, even if the temperature and the air tell a different story. Even if summer shorts are worn in place of fall flannels. It feels good. Really good.

 

 

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Fia’s Preschool Dilemma

Monday, August 5th, 2013

This is such a stupid dilemma I can’t believe it’s taking up brain-space. But here goes.

Fia is starting at a Montessori preschool in a few weeks. I know she will be sad leaving her current one.  So my first question is: When to break the news to her? A week before? A day before? I once said it casually, as in, “Fia, you are going to a new school in the fall.” I didn’t think she would actually “get it.” I’m an idiot. My daughter is not. She immediately burst into tears. So I changed the subject. I didn’t want her obsessing months in advance. She tends to be a bit of a worrier and I don’t want her to have needless anxiety.

Okay, dilemma #2: This school will mean a lot more schlepping for me. She is at her current preschool 3 days a week. It is about 6 minutes away. They nap them there (which she loves because she gets to nap with all her friends then wake up and play). For that reason, she goes from 9-4. The new preschool gives you two options: you can pick them up at 1 or at 2:30. They don’t nap them. Either way it cuts into the middle of her typical nap time. Which isn’t a huge deal, except….I DON’T WANT TO LOSE THE NAP!

It’s a 15-minute drive home in which she’s likely to fall asleep then not go back down once we are at home.

But my bigger dilemma is what to do about Emmett. He takes a 2 1/2 hour nap everyday around noon-2:30 give or take an hour on either end. So his nap is going to fall smack dab in the middle of pickup time for Fia. Which means he will either have to be woken up from his nap, or he will fall asleep in the car to and from, thus, not having a proper nap. Which all leads to ME! Their naps are my sanity. It’s this great time when the house is all mine and I can patter around either doing productive things like writing this blog, or unproductive things like napping while they nap.

But even if I had to give up their naps during the week, the naps are a cherished time for us as a family on the weekends. We always do something fun in the morning, then when Emmett goes down, Phil, Fia, Wayne (the cat) and I crawl into our big king bed and snooze. It is heaven. By giving up naps during the week I’m worried that she won’t take them on the weekends either.

I don’t want to hire a sitter for an hour-long window of time 5 days a week. Not that I could find someone anyway. I can expand into a few bigger chunks of time to make it worth their while, but not everyday.

Phil suggested pushing Emmett’s nap to 1:30. That way I can take him with me to get Fia at 1 and they both get home by 1:30. However, pushing his nap is easier said than done. I know he will fall asleep in the car. And once he snoozes for even a few minutes, I can rarely transfer him without waking him up, thus losing the rest of the nap.

So what to do? I know, it’s a huge problem. I’m sure you have all followed the puzzle on this and are ready to give me advice. The overachievers may have even taken notes. I mean, if it’s keeping me up at night, surely it will keep you up too. Then we will all need more naps.

 

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Stranger Danger: When To Teach It?

Monday, July 29th, 2013

I was having one of those moments where my mind became a runaway train. I went down the “what if” road. I won’t even start elaborating on my deepest darkest fears when it comes to my kids, but suffice it to say, if I let my brain take over, it plays out nearly every bad scenario imaginable.

I think it stems from the fact Fia is starting a new pre-school in the fall. It’s a Montessori that I’ve heard nothing but good and great things about. However, it is a bigger school and unlike the intimate setting she has now, I am having irrational thoughts about her getting lost. Or stolen.

Granted the whole place is gated and as of this writing, they have never “lost” a kid. Plus, Fia is an uber rule-follower. When they line up after playground time (within the confines of the locked metal fence), the teachers do a head count. Then they walk–still surrounded by the fence–to their classroom. It’s about 10 steps. Within those 10 steps they are never outside the fence. I observed all this first hand. But you know what it’s like when you are in “what-if” territory.  You can easily imagine your child suddenly falling into the hidden tunnel underneath the sandbox that takes them to the outside world and into enemy territory. Kind of like the Gaza Strip smuggling tunnels.

When I brought myself back from the brink of madness, I realized I do actually have a legitimate question. When do you teach your kid about “Stranger Danger?”

She is going to be 3 1/2 when she starts. Her world is still a very safe place. I don’t want to put unnecessary fears in her, as she does tend to be a bit obsessive (big surprise). But I also don’t want her to be naive and unaware. So before I lose any more mind space over this, or decide to umm, home school her (no), can someone give me some advice?

 

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