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Posts tagged ‘preschool’

Pre K

Dear Loch,

You started pre K this week. It’s your last year of preschool and the last year before you’re in school full time. Last week, your Dad and I went to a parent’s night at the school to meet your teachers and hear what to expect from the coming year. I was looking forward to the meeting. We’d had a wonderful summer between Canada, the cottage, camp and house guests, but I’d run out of things to keep you occupied and you’re ready to get back to your routine. Excited for it all to begin, I sat on the tiny chairs in room 4 while the teachers explained the main thing the parents should be focusing on this year is remaining calm. They went on to say they understood it was a particularly stressful year as we try to decide on what the next step is for all of you. Kinder/Not kinder. Private/Public. Private Acceptance/Rejection. It’s a lot to deal with, and your teachers wanted us to see the school as a stress free zone. If you were sent home to find things that began with the letter R and you came back with something that began with the letter W, don’t worry about it, they’ll make it work. If we forget to bring something in for you, no problem, they’ll figure it out. Your teachers were adamant we really try to enjoy the year, and I sincerely appreciate their concern. Then one of them said something that brought tears to my eyes. She said, “Right now you have a child who’s just out of toddlerhood, but by June of next year, you’ll have a school aged child. You’ll never get these baby years back, so enjoy them while you can because this is it.” I clearly wasn’t the only parent who looked crestfallen because she started to laugh and said, “I wasn’t trying to make you guys cry!”  

What she said really affected me. I no longer felt as thrilled to have you back in school. I didn’t feel as enthusiastic to have our summer over, and I suddenly felt incredibly sentimental about the time we have left together – the time before you morph into a big kid and I lose my darling chicken to his room, and his friends, and his life. I understand it’s all part of growing up – for you and for me – but when your teacher said it out loud, I realized how close all of this is to being over and how very much I’m going to miss it. You are the love of my life Lochlan. We’re the best of pals and in some ways I think I’ve taken this time with just the two of us (and Daddy) for granted. I know I’m not the best at “playing”. I like to build and act and sing and dance but I’m weak when it comes to cars and trains and just getting down on the floor and engaging with them. God help me, I found that part mind numbing, and I’d often busied myself with laundry, dinner and other things that needed attention instead, and now I’m worried I could have done better. I’ve also struggled though your childhood trying to relaunch a career while still being a full time mother and, for the most part, I often feel I’m half assing both rather than mastering either. You’ve been plunked down in front of the television more than you probably should to give me a moment to “get things done” and though I would qualify myself as a very hands on mother, now that your starter years are coming to an end, I wonder if I couldn’t have given just a little more.

Looking back on your first four years however, perhaps I shouldn’t beat myself up. I did the best I could, and as long as I don’t compare myself to other mothers – the ones who don’t use TV as a baby sitter or who can make firetrucks talk to one another for more than five minutes without losing their minds – I can rest assured I’ve done right by you. We’ve had a wonderful time together. We’ve spent endless hours exploring the world. I had the opportunity to go to school with you for two whole years. I taught you the difference between right and wrong and the importance of manners. You’re self sufficient and confident and you talk a lot because I talk a lot. Overall, I believe your personality and enthusiasm were given a real chance to grow in the years we’ve had together, and at the very heart of it all we’ve had a marvelous time. I’m grateful for every year, so I thought it might be nice – at this, the beginning of the end, so to speak – to get a little reminiscent about what those years were like.

Year of the Baby – I’m not going to lie. It was a rough start. You had everything a baby could have to make him miserable – reflux, colic, constant barfing – and miserable you were. If you weren’t eating or sleeping, you were screaming. Screaming. I honestly didn’t know what to do. I was beside myself. I still look at babies with a slight tinge of anxiety. Holding them it’s like a flashback that gives me the shakes. If I could do it all over again, I know I’d enjoy it more because I’d know that everything would eventually pass. I’d be able to appreciate how wonderful it is to have a tiny baby rather than just thinking, “Dear God, I don’t know if I can do this”. Some friends of ours just had a new baby and for the first time since you out grew the screaming, I thought, yeah, I could do this again. For the record, everything after five months was so much better. Once you got on the solid foods you did a 180 on the crying. The baby I hoped was in there was able to emerge. Sadly, that time coinsided with my diagnosis, so I didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy it as much as I would have liked.

One Year Old – You learned to walk at 16 months, but more so, your personality really kicked in, and your personality strongly hinged on communication. You talked from the very beginning and were interested in everything, with a special focus on anything that moved (cars, trucks, trains, etc.) and girls with long hair. I even started to make an effort every day with my hair because it annoyed you so much if I didn’t. If I had the audacity to wear it in a bun or ponytail, you’d look at me sideways and say, “Mommy, no!  Brush, brush!” . This was also the year that you showed yourself to be a real lover of affection, always asking for cuddles and hugs and kisses. I could never refuse you, even when I was supposed to be leaving your room.

Two Years Old – You became a little boy this year. Your personality only continued to bloom and we realized how very lucky we were to have such a funny, empathetic, polite and loving child. You developed a sense of right and wrong and continued your obsession with girls (and by girls I mean women age 19-35 as spending so much time with me, made you believe that mom’s and their ilk were your peer group). You creativity grew leaps and bounds (though not your skills in art – you just had zero interest) and you started instigating imagination games on your own. Although you developed a will of your own, and preferred to do everything yourself, I never felt the two’s were in the least bit terrible. In fact, as far as I was concerned, it just kept getting better. You also started school this year and you took to it like gang busters. Organized, structured activities at a table – eh. Free range social play with peers – couldn’t get enough. 

Three Years Old – Oh man, I loved three. I’ll never be able to look back on three and four without getting weepy. We really became best pals this year. You’re such good company and we had such nice times together. You also started developing friends of your own this year as well as definite opinions of your likes (favorite game: family – always wants to be the “Daddy”) and dislikes (loud noises, watermelon, bed time). Despite all the new found independence you were still tightly connected to your mommy and I loved it. “When I get older I’ll marry a pretty girl?” “I’m sure you will Lochie.” “I think I’ll marry you Mommy.” “You think you’ll marry me?” “Yes.” “Well that would be lovely, but I think you’ll fall in love with someone else and want to marry them.” “No. I think I’ll just marry you.” Sigh.

Four Years Old – Are you kidding me with four?! I literally adore four. Yes, you’ve become far more willful and less malleable, exerting your “expertise” and opinions liberally, but you are a real companion now. You’re fun to hang out with. You make me laugh all the time. Sometimes deliberately. You also developed into a real BOY this year. Gone are the days of dressing in princess dresses and tutus, you’re now into superheros and legos and Star Wars. Despite the increased maturity in some ways you’ve also become more nervous. You’re constantly concerned about where I am, or where I’m going to be. It’s almost as if you understand the impermanance of the world and don’t feel secure unless you can visualize where I am and what I’m doing. We’re able to be quite flexible with your schedule now – though we try and get you to bed around the same time every night – and it’s opened our lives up a lot. It’s this age that I’m going to miss the most. I look at your adorable face in your baby pictures and I feel nostalgic, but it’s hanging out with you now that really makes me realize how fleeting this time is. You’re so enthusiastic, so positive, so happy. You delight in small things and want to be with us all the time. When you’re proud or excited your face just lights up. I do things all the time just to elicite that reaction and the beauty of this age is, I don’t have to do big things to make it happen. You’re not jaded yet. You’re not cool. You just want to be happy and loved and I’m devouring it. Every morning when you pad into my room and climb into bed for our cuddle, I’m aware it’s one less day you’ll be this sweet and adoring. 

Lochie, I love your energy and your idealism. I love your manners and your sense of humor. I love how kind and loving you’ve grown up to be, and for so many reasons, I hope you are able to stay this way for a long time. I pray your grown up self never loses all these wonderful qualities you have as a child.

So, we press forward and await the changes that, inevitably, will come. I know you’ll always love me but I also know you’ll never love me as unconditionally as you do right now. At this moment we’re the center of each other’s universe and soon enough other things will take my place in yours. If I’m lucky, time will eventually give you back to me, but I’ll never have you as completely as I did when you were my baby. I will live on these memories and you will build your future on them.

I wish you great and marvelous things Lochlan. I wish you happiness and love. I wish you success and security. I wish you health and joy, and I only hope that I can give you everything the child you are deserves, and the man you deserve to be, needs.

I love you Loch. Thank you for filling my life with such purpose. No matter where you go, remember this is where you started and you can always come back.

xo Mommy

Good Night My Angel

Dear Lochie,

You are 3 1/2 and I just left your bedroom where you fell asleep in my arms. You’ve never done that before. Not even when you were a little baby. I hadn’t seen you all day. Mondays are my day to work. Dad takes you for the day. You go to your co-op preschool in the morning (9-12), have a picnic in the park and then go to your other preschool in the afternoon (1-4). I got home from acupuncture and while your Dad prepared dinner (take note, this will make your future wife very happy), we played ‘Winter’ for about 10 minutes. We made “snowmen” and “snow balls” and “snow angels” in our imaginary snow and then we ate. You told me about your day. How you’d played fireman and carwash, and how at your “old school” (the co-op) you now have your own box with your name on it. With such pride you told me. “It’s black on top and grey on the bottom!!”. I know you’re working on books with the other “graduates” that the parents will get at the end of the year. You told me you are getting ready for kindergarden. You don’t understand yet that you are younger than all your friends and still have another year of preschool before you get to kindergarden. It’s ok. It’ll be nice that you are one of the oldest when you start. It’s just too bad that all your friends now will be a grade ahead of you. That’ll matter for a while…

But I’m off topic. After dinner daddy went to work in the office and you and I played ‘Seasons’. We did a highlight from every month and acted it out. October, Daddy’s birthday. November, Thanksgiving/raking and throwing leaves. December, Christmas!!! January, New Years. February, Lochie’s Birthday, etc… By the time we were at the cottage in August it was time to brush your teeth. You still don’t dig our grown up toothpaste but your teeth look so much better that I can deal with the complaints. We went to bed. One story became two, two became three, and my insistence that I wasn’t going to snuggle was abandoned when I realized that I WANTED to snuggle. I hadn’t seen you all day! I got my iPhone and played you some quiet songs. We’d never done that before and I think we both loved it. You took my arm and wrapped it around you and that was it. You just drifted off to sleep. I could smell your just showered head of hair which is somehow already messed up. I could feel your little ribs going up and down. Your tiny lips were on the back of my hand as you’d given it a kiss when you wrapped my arm around you, and I just didn’t want to move. Often when we snuggle I go to get up and you say “Don’t leave me. Don’t leave”. Because I’m sick I always read into that. I know in my head that you are just a kid wanting his mom to stay, but my fear sometimes gets the best of me and I think maybe you’re a sage, and because of your purity you know something I don’t. I worry that I am going somewhere and you are asking me not to.

I promise you this Loch. If I can help it, I am staying. I love my life. I love you and Daddy. I love the sun and the water and the cottage and my parents and our family. I love traveling. I love going out to dinner. I love Christmas and my birthday. I love your birthday. I love the sound of your voice and being in your daddy’s arms. I love laughing and being with friends. I love alone time and reading. I even love television and shopping. I love being alive. I want so much to live. Selfishly though, I want to live as me. Not as some marginalized version of myself. I know I can’t do all I would like anymore, and even precious young you knows I have “bad lungs”, but I am still me. I don’t have to deal with so much that people who have PH have to deal with. I have no oxygen tank. I have no heart cathitar. I look, for all intensive purposes, normal and healthy. But I’m greedy. I want to stay like that. I want my life AND I want to recognize the person in the mirror.

I want you to know me as I am now. I hope you do. I want you to know that I love swinging you around and giving you piggy backs and being your “horse”. I wish I could do it more. I love being with you and making up games and voices and songs. I can’t stop kissing and hugging you and I’ve already taught you that three hand squeezes means “I. Love. You.”. I love being your mom. You are the center of my universe. If I do get sicker you won’t know this version of me and that scares me. If I should die you’re too young to really remember me at all and that devastates me. I don’t want to be just a picture in a frame.

It’s not fair Loch. It’s not fair your mom’s sick. But I’m grateful. So grateful to have this time with you. Every day is a blessing. I know that in my head even though it’s often hard to see through the sadness in my heart or the anger in my gut. Every day I have is a gift and I’m doing my best not to squander it. I’m still someone who cares about my weight and yells at automated systems. I’m not perfect or calm or zen. I do, however, have perspective on the frailty of life that gives me clarity on what’s important.

Try and get that perspective in your life without the sick part. Focus on what’s really significant. Spend the time with those you love. Send cards on people’s birthdays. Contact friends you’re thinking of. Be positive when it’s easier to be negative. Try as hard as you can to really live without taking unnecessary chances with your life. Make smart choices. Life is amazing. Respect it.

And if your child one day wants you to stay in bed with him until he falls asleep, even if you know it’s probably better if you stick to the rules… Do it. It’s worth it.

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde

I love you.

xo Mom