Back to School

Ah!  Those 3 magical words!  Back to school.  I love everything about this time.  I loved it as a student and I love it now as a parent.

My love for this begins with back to school shopping.  While dragging my kids through the mall, I spent a whole day in paradise buying a new wardrobe for the oldest (the youngest gets hand-me-downs for life).  I picked each piece of clothing with such love and consideration.  My son on the other hand cried real tears when I took him to one last store to try on a few hoodies.  “Why don’t the boys love this as much as me?”, I wondered.

And back to school shopping wouldn’t be complete without that never ending supply list.  It sure adds up when you’re buying for two.

Duotangs, check!back_to_school
Erasers, check!
$20 worth of glue sticks, check!  (No joke, I had to buy 10 of them!)

I spent last night labelling their belongings and packing their supplies into their bags.  I took extra care in making their lunch.  I added a few extra snacks and a note to let them know I’d be thinking of them.

We woke up a little early today as I wanted to make sure to get their “first day of school” pictures outside the front door.  This has become an annual tradition in our home, along with many other households as can be witnessed each year on my Facebook feed.

I drove them to school and reminded them multiple times to take the bus in the afternoon.  I told them how much I loved them and how proud of them I am and that I hope they have fun and learn awesome, new things.  Before I knew it we were at the school.  They gave me a quick kiss and then they were gone.

In all honesty, I’m a tad envious of my children.  I wish I could have stayed with them all day as they got to experience the countless joys of everything that makes the first day of school so wondrous.  Seeing friends they haven’t seen all summer; The anticipated moment of finding out who their teachers will be;  Sitting at their new desk for the first time and organizing all of their new school supplies;  I could really go on and on.

I spent all day at work eagerly awaiting dinner time so that I could ask them all about their day.  I was so excited I decided instead of wasting time cooking I would just grab some take out so that I could relish as many moments as I could with my kids.

I rushed home with take out bags in hand.  I opened the door and called out, “Boys, I’m home! Come tell me all about your day!”

“Ugh, do I have to?”, the younger one yelled from the basement.

Clearly he had no idea just how much I had been waiting for this moment.  After rounding up the crew and sitting for dinner I began the interrogation.

“How was your day?” I asked.

“Good.” they answered.

“Did you have fun?”

“Yes.”

I quickly learned these questions were getting me nowhere.

I literally had to ask the exact questions for which I wanted answers.  After a good half hour, I got all my questions answered and then some.  The boys began sharing more and more and before I knew it, my mission was accomplished.  They both had a great first day and are both looking forward to the year ahead.

Do you get the same one word answers from your kids?  If so, try some of these questions to open up dialogue and to find out how your little one spent their day!

-How did you feel when you first got to school?

-What did you like most about your teacher?

-What made you really happy today?

-What made you laugh today?

-How did you feel when you left school?

-What are you looking forward to the most this year?

-How can mommy help to make this a great year for you?

**Cheers to a great school year, folks!**

 

 

They Won’t Be Babies Forever

When I dreamed of becoming a mother, I gave very little thought to what life would be like after the baby phase.  In fact, any time I envisioned myself as a mother, it was always to a little baby.  How foolish.  Did I not consider that these babies would grow up?

I imagined a quiet life, rocking my little one to sleep on the porch as I watched the sunset.  My dream was picture perfect, reality on the other hand proved to be quite different.  Those sweet moments that I imagined would last forever were gone in a flash.

They weren’t babies for long.  They soon learned to crawl and to walk and to destroy everything in their paths.  My home, once my oasis, had now become their playground.  My furniture rearranged to keep them from pulling the curtains and from climbing the television stand and my decor boxed up and replaced with alphabet blocks and stuffed monkeys.  Cheerios could be found in every room of the house, as could sippy cups and tiny plastic spoons.  I had to be careful to not step on little cars and try to avoid kicking the potty which resided on the living room floor most days.  I lived in chaos, total & utter chaos.  This I certainly hadn’t imagined but what I also hadn’t imagined was just how much I would love these little people and how little this “mess” would bother me.  It became our reality, it became my day-to-day life.

As the months and years passed, I slowly got my house back.  Piece by piece we said goodbye to the play pen & the high chair, to the vibrating seats and the musical swing.  Cribs turned into big boy beds and mountains of stuffed monkeys turned into piles of Pokemon cards.

One day I looked around and it was all gone.  The world I thought I would live in forever had changed.

I can’t deny that I miss those sweet moments with my innocent boys as they explored their way into the world but I do love the stage they are in today.  They are now young men, developing their own personalities and preferences.  They are independent and responsible.  We can have intelligent conversations and they are capable of making rational decisions.  How did we get here so fast?

I have learned that parenting is an ever-changing experience, a constant transition into new and different phases.  As my children grow, so do I.  As my children learn, so do I.  I am not the same mother today that I was last year because my children aren’t the same people that they were last year.  I must progress with them, we must evolve together.

In a few years, the life that has now become all I know will once again be gone and I will have to adjust to my new role as a mother to teenage boys.  The struggles will be different and the territory unknown, but I will venture through, just as I have in the past.  What a beautiful journey.

Little Man, Big Tree. Time to Ponder, Air to Breathe.

I sometimes forget that my son is more than just my little boy; he is his own person, a man in the making.  He was upset at us today because he didn’t get to go where he wanted to go.  He was so upset that he refused to interact with us and said he wanted to be left alone.  My first instinct was to force him to be with us and to pretend to be happy.  I couldn’t possibly allow him to indulge in such an act.  I refuse to raise a spoiled brat. But when I saw him sitting on that bench, looking around, I realized he is a human being, a person with feelings, just like me, just like his dad and just like everyone else in this world.

20160523_201744_edited-1He is entitled to his feelings, he is allowed to be angry and I shouldn’t make him suppress that.

I decided to let him be, to have his time to himself.  He wasn’t hurting himself or anyone else (aside from my feelings).

He is no different than me.  I get angry too, more than I’d like to admit.  Instead of telling him to not be angry, I need to teach him how to manage his anger and how to deal with it as he grows.

I want my children to know how to handle their emotions; not be disciplined for having them.

Allowing him his alone time today was tough at first but I am confident it was the right choice.  It gave him time to think and to feel and it gave me a moment of clarity…and a great photo op!