Sunday, July 31, 2011

Growing Up Is Hard To Do (especially for Mommy)

Dear Ian,

When you were born, your Daddy and I planned on you and I staying home together until you were three or so, and at that point, we would consider a part-time preschool program - mornings only - to gradually introduce you into the world of academia.  You, it seemed, had a different time table in mind, and although we have a great time learning and doing art in Miss Mommy's classroom, I began to get the impression that it was time for bigger and better things for you.  Namely, you needed more kids your age with whom you could interact.  So I began the gradual process of trying to find a school we liked that offered a program with the part-time schedule we needed and that wouldn't be too much of a financial strain.  I looked at websites, called different places, but no one offered a mornings only program for just a couple of days a week.  Then the magic happened...

At swimming one day, I was talking with another Mommy about what I was looking for, and she reminded me of Advent Parish Day School, a small church preschool just around the way from our house.  I had totally forgotten about them!  So, we called and arranged to take a tour.  Right away, I fell in love with the place.  It was exactly what I wanted for you!  It had a small classroom with the perfect number of students and teachers, a cute playground just for kids your age, and dedicated classrooms and teachers for activities like music, science, library time and art.  Perfect!  The school also has a great reputation, and their teachers have all been there for a long time.  That means a lot to me; teacher turnover can be tough on little kids and the overall morale of the school.  Anyhoo...  Also neat to know is that your Grandma Brooks also taught there when Daddy, Uncle Ryan and Uncle Kurt were students at Advent.  You are going to your Daddy's school!

I knew that Advent would be the perfect environment for you, and it was solidified even more in my mind when she told me that they had a program that was two mornings a week from nine in the morning to noon.  Again, it was exactly what we were looking for!  Miss Christene, the director, then began explaining fees, and while the tuition isn't too bad, I still felt like I needed to find a way to help supplement our income so that Daddy wasn't solely bearing the brunt of our new adventure.  I thought about keeping babies here in the house, but I wasn't sure how that would work.  What if you got sick or hurt and I needed to come get you right away?  And if I was staying home with other kids, why aren't I just keeping you at home, too?  Tough questions.  A tougher question, though was, 'who in the world is going to hire me to work three hours a day, twice a week?!'  I was talking out loud to myself, and that's when Miss Christene mentioned that they needed a teacher's assistant.  It was all working out a little too perfectly.

Miss Christene and I worked out some logistics, like how you will be attending five days a week now instead of two (but since I will be right there with you, I'm ok with it), and we scheduled a real interview, and long story short: you and I will both start "school" in a couple of weeks.  We've done a little school shopping for you, which included some new sneakers, a few new t-shirts and a backpack and lunch box, but we need to do a little more shopping for me.  I can't wait to take a picture of you on your first day, and although I know this is only part-day preschool with me right next door, I'm already getting a little emotional about sending you off to class.  Where has the time gone!

I'm sure you will enjoy this new experience; you walked into the classroom during your tour, sat right down and started playing with toys.  Of course, I'm prepared for a few bumpy days, but all in all, I think this will be a great new adventure. 

I will post more about your first school experience, especially after your first day, but for now, I'm going to enjoy our mornings at home, just you and me. 

I love you, Big Boy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Works of Art #19

All last week we discussed picnics and picnic fun!  Here's our art for our picnic week:

 First we painted watermelons!  Always a great treat at picnics.

Then we made that picnic necessity: the red and white checkered picnic blanket.

And finally, no picnic is complete without those pesky ants.  We made fingerprint ants.  You had to add a king ant, apparently.  So much fun!

Works of Art #18

"I" is for IAN!!

Making your letters with mosaic tiles is so much fun!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Works of Art #17

We're a bit behind again...

We were learning our colors, so for the color green, we made this fun, fuzzy green worm!
For yellow, we made a neat mosaic with yellow construction paper squares.
Here's the bulletin board I created to help you learn your colors.  We succeeded!  You now know all of your colors, so now we're working on shapes.
And speaking of shapes, you already know "circle," and they are your favorite thing to draw.  Here in green you have drawn some circles.  And FYI, you told me they were circles as you were drawing them.
 Finally, here's the great card you made Daddy for Father's Day.  Your feet are so much bigger that those little footprints in your baby book from the day you were born!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Couple's Therapy

Dear Sweet Ian,

It occurred to me this morning that our relationship may need some work.  Actually, my real thought was, "If this kiddo was someone I was dating, then this relationship would have been doomed from the start."  You see, Little Bear, you currently have some habits and quirks that, until we get you grown up and grown out of them, would basically make you un-date-able for someone like me.

For example, Darling Son, you are whiney and clingy.  Any girl in their right mind would run away very fast from a guy that feels the need to be touching you every minute he is awake.  You crawl on my lap without asking, demand to be held whenever I am in the middle of a task and occasionally feel the need to pull the elastic neckline of my shirt in Walmart so that I expose myself to the general population.  And let's not forget the whiney way you speak to me when you're tired or needing something to which I have already said no.

On top of that, you tend to be quite demanding.  You have little patience, and apparently I just don't move fast enough for you.  Then there's the concept of taking turns; that apparently doesn't exists in your little self-centered world.  That's something you're just going to have to get over, Son, if you want to be successful in dating and marriage.  Girls don't like boys that must have their needs met in such a demanding fashion.  You're going to need to learn to help yourself and be a little more flexible.

Finally, there's your lack of respect for my space, be it personal or physical.  On the personal side, we've already discussed the clinginess, but then there's the invasion of privacy while I take a shower or use the bathroom.  I understand wanting to be close, but there is a such thing as TOO close.  While eating, reading or paying bills or whatnot, I would appreciate being the only person sitting in my chair.  And while attending to personal business, I would rather not have an audience.  On the physical side, you need to gain an appreciation for my space.  I worked hard to make this house a home, and in a matter of minutes, you can turn it into ground zero after a tornado outbreak.  Laundry, shoes, toys and various other Ian detritus cover my house, and let me tell you, no woman will tolerate a man that makes and leaves messes everywhere.  

The fortunate thing, Ian, is that you have time to grow out of these little fits of Toddlerhood.  I am sad to report that I already know fully grown-up men who still have these issues, so you are already ahead of the curve since we are working on your problems.  Daddy and I want you to be a well-mannered, polite and respectful young man, so we are helping to guide you out of this rough patch known as Two, and you are learning by leaps and bounds.  Already you clear your place at the table and push your chair in, say excuse me after your various bodily noises, cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough and occasionally help pick up some of your messes.  We're still working on that one.

This isn't an easy battle, that's for sure.  You want to hold on to those bad habits with all your strength, and I totally understand why: the world is an awesome place when people move Heaven and Earth to make you happy and treat you like that sun shines because you wake up in the morning.  But, there are few girls that will tolerate this sort of Sun God personality, so there you have it.  This has been your dose of reality and relationship therapy, and with that, I guess it's back to work for me as I try to mold you into someone that others will love and respect.  Since you're our Bear, Daddy and I love you already, but one of these days, we will want you to get married and move out.

Love always and through everything,

Friday, July 8, 2011

Days Like This

Dear Ian,

Lately it seems like our days have become a battle of wills: your will to exert your desires on the world, and my will to keep you from killing both of us and destroying the house.  I go to bed wondering how in the world we managed to make it through the day without screaming at the tops of our lungs in frustration (fyi: Mommy screams silently in her head about fifty times a minute), and if you will ever get over me saying "no," or some variation of the word, all day long.  It's your job, after all, to test limits and make sure I stand in the same place on issues so you can find security in the world and in my authority.  But, wow, are there days when I wish I could just curl up in a little ball and let someone else take over being the authority figure.  Some days are just too hard.

But, then there are days like today.  We awoke to a dreary, rainy day, and at first, my thought was, "Great, no outside play today."  But then I kicked my own negative-thinking hiney, and we turned it into a great day of fun (even free!) outings.  First, we went to the library.  The Leon County Public Library has a branch right up the road from us, and since books are a favorite thing for both of us, off we went.  You got your very own library card and a bag in which to put your books.  We went to the kid's section, and you wandered up and down every aisle, occasionally picking out a book, and would sit down right on the floor and exclaim, "WOW!" over every book.  Made my heart smile.  They also had a great little alcove for kids who needed a little more interaction and activity than reading that had a great wall mounted play-thing, and you had a blast with that.  After we checked out a few books (three for you, two for Mommy), we left the library, and as I strapped you in your car seat, you said, "Fun!"

After our adventure at the library, we had some time to kill before your lunch time, so we went to PetSmart and looked at the fish, birds and dogs being groomed, and again, this free entertainment ranked high with you.  You pointed out the different colors of fish you saw, "tweet-tweeted" at the birds and cracked up at a poodle being groomed into the traditional poodle haircut.  You did ask, though, when I said that the dogs were getting a haircut, if they would get a lolly.  (When you get a haircut, you get rewarded with a lolly pop.)  Funny Boy.

Finally, it was time for lunch, and after remembering that Daddy had eaten the last piece of cubed steak so you didn't have left-overs for lunch, we decided to head across the street to Chic-fil-a.  Well, we accidentally stumbled into their Cow Appreciation Day festivities, and the place was packed.  There was also a person dressed in a cow suit and balloons everywhere.  You were in Heaven.  You posed for a picture with the cow, ate 6 chicken nuggets and had the rare treat of chocolate milk.  It was a perfect lunch experience to wrap up the great day we were having.

Right now, you are tucked in your crib and taking a nap, and I am sitting here smiling to myself thinking of the expressions on your face at each new activity we did.  And that's when I realized that we can have days like this even if we don't go anywhere.  I'm going to try to build more interactive activities in our day.  You're a growing and developing little dude; the most simple things are great adventures to you.  Helping me cook, folding towels and splashing in puddles is high entertainment to you, and when you're occupied and engaged, that's less time for us to be pulling our hair out with each other as limits and patience get tested.

All too soon you'll be grown up and wanting to be with your friends and not your mommy, so I'm going to take advantage of that to the fullest.  As a friend of mine wrote about her two girls (close to your age, maybe a little older): you are both the ache in my head and the light in my life.  Even when we drive each other crazy, it's always based in love, and your Daddy and I are so in love with you.

Smooches and Hugs,

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Works of Art #16

Happy 4th of July!  Here's some of the neat art we made...

 Here's you painting with red and blue paint.
Here's a great flag you made all by yourself!

And finally, we made glitter fireworks!  You loved seeing the real things!

Happy 4th of July, Little Bear!