We’re Going to Be Okay

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This week we sent our little man off to school for the first time. George started preschool, and it was an emotional event for us all.

You see, George has never been in a school setting. He has been at home with my mom for the last two years and in an in-home care setting his first three years.

While we love him being at home, we knew that he needed to have some practice with the structure before he goes to Kindergarten. (In Missouri, the cutoff for Kindergarten is to be five by August 1st. Since he is late August, he will be 6 when he starts Kindergarten. I could write a whole other post why this is completely fine by us that he will have another year to mature before going to a full day of school.)

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My anxiety has been rearing it’s ugly head all week in the anticipation of letting him go.

  • What if he hates school?
  • What if he doesn’t make friends?
  • Will he remember to use his manners?
  • Will he eat food with strangers?
  • Will he remember to tell the teacher if he needs to go the bathroom?
  • Or will he forget he is in public and try to pee outside on the playground?
  • What if he stands in line like he does at gymnastics?
  • What if, what if, what if?

I felt like I was losing control in so many ways.

We read a lot of books about school. We talked about all the fun things he would do. We pumped up all the benefits and rewards of school.

However, I wasn’t the only one with anxiety. George also didn’t feel ready.

Every time we brought up school, he would start crying and say he didn’t want to leave the house. We would drive by the school, and he would tell me he wasn’t going to go.

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Then we went to meet the teacher. Oh boy. I literally had to drag George into the school and then through the halls to the class. He dug in his heels the whole way.

He started breaking down, but eventually we got him into the room with the toy stations. Then I had an emotional breakdown as I was explaining how he has been at home…in front of his teacher.

We are two peas in a pod for sure.

His teacher is a gem, and we couldn’t be luckier to have her help us transition into this.

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I just am really struggling with this age and transition. He isn’t my baby anymore. And it doesn’t make it easier that he is also having a lot of anxiety about it. I guess we are playing off of each other of not wanting to let go.

But here comes the first day of school.

He skipped proudly to the car with his new backpack.

He found his cubby and chair with ease.

He didn’t have any tears until right before Tom and I left.

However there was a moment as we were standing in line waiting for the bell to signal us into the room that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

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A little girl came with big alligator tears, bubbling to her mom, “I wanna go home. I don’t wanna be here.” This was the scene I thought we were going to have so I had all the sympathy for this mom.

Then my sweet little five year old, in this very crowded hallway, walked towards this new classmate that he has never met . He says confidently to her, “It’s ok. I was a little shy too. We are gonna be ok.”

My heart exploded, and it was all I could do to not start sobbing myself.

My five year old is ready.

Yes, it is going to be scary.

Yes, there is a lot of unknown.

Yes, it is like my heart is breaking every time we drop him off.

Yes, I have lost some control.

But he is becoming his own little person, and a good little person at that.

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It was a nudge that I needed to look at my what ifs in a different way.

  • What if he makes a forever friend?
  • What if he never wants to leave school because he is having so much fun?
  • What if he learns to try new foods because he sees his friends eating?
  • What if he starts washing his hands regularly instead of just making bubbles in the sink?
  • What if he is the one in class to set an example on kindness?
  • What if, what if, what if?

This was a God moment to remind me we are ready, and we are gonna be ok.

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How did you feel on your kid’s first day of school? Does it get easier as they get older?

 

 

George Turns Five

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George,

I can hardly believe that five years ago we were meeting face to face. There is something about you turning five that I am really struggling with as your mom. It is like the start of the end of you being all mine. This being a whole hand has me reeling about the fact that things are changing for us.

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This last year has been a learning experience for us all. Since your last birthday, you have been finding your big kid voice (in volume and in content). With that has come some struggles from all parties, but I am also so proud that you believe in yourself 110%. While it can be super frustrating to argue with you, I know that you are just trying to navigate your little world and make it just a little bigger around you. You also demand attention in a way that I know you will never be forgotten in whatever circle you find yourself in.

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I admire you so much Georgie. You move through your day with such conviction. You know exactly what you want out of each moment, and you will move mountains to seize the day. You already have your own principles that you stick to. When I was your age (and much past), I was such a rule follower and tried to stay hidden in the “norm.” But not you. You, my dear boy, are anything but conventional and live to be different. You are just confident in who you are already at five, and you aren’t afraid to just be George. I love that you are a tad wild, even though it scares the poop out of me most days.

There are pieces of you that are still a little boy, and I will take every snuggle and kiss that I can. You still love for me to carry you down in the morning, and I wonder every day if it is the last day for me to hold you close like that. You are getting so big; big enough that people mistake you for a kindergartner or first grader all the time.

I wish I could bottle up your energy. You are in constant motion or emphatically screaming a monologue for all the world to hear. You feel every emotion at the highest level possible. You can be exhausting, but I wouldn’t change your enthusiasm for anything.

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Your little brain amazes me by all the big things that it does. You are so funny. You have one liners just like your daddy, and I love that you make us laugh every single day. Your imagination has kept you up way past your bedtime as you create carnivals, constructions sites, and live out rescue missions. But you don’t live in fantasy all the time; you also retain facts like I can’t believe. The things you know about science astounds me. You love to learn and create, and I cannot wait for all the adventures you will have this year in school.

I love that you believe that everyone is your cousin, and that we are all family. It’s a little reminder to me that God is speaking through you that we should all love one another like family. You often tell me that you love your friends even if you have only known them for short periods of time. You love so fiercely, and being loved by you is truly a gift.

I know that you were born to do great things. Just the other day, we were having a “conversation” about our listening skills, when you paused and looked straight into my soul and said, “Mommy, I was listening when God made me.” Talk about a reminder. You have given me so much anxiety over the past 5 years, but you have also taught me to let things go more. Lord knows one of my biggest hang ups in life is losing control. So when He gave me you, someone else who also likes to be in control, He was teaching me about being okay with loosening the reigns or the fact that I cannot find the reigns at all. Being your mom has taught me more about prayer than I had ever known before you.

Thank you for being just the best little wild man we could have ever asked for. I thank God every day that I get to be your mommy.  When you were born, a part of me was born too so thank you for helping me become me and listening to God at just the right time.

Love you to Pluto and back,

Mommy

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I’ve Got Something to Tell You

I’ve got something to tell you.

Putting George in gymnastics ranks in the top 3 hardest things I have had to do parenting him.

Since he is not in daycare or around other kids his age besides in church, we really felt that he needed some structured time with kids. He is going to go to preschool next year, and we didn’t want that to be the first time he had a structured learning environment. He needs to learn some social norms like how to stand in line and taking turns, and you know not scream in excitement at our friends.

I’ve got something to tell you.

What I didn’t realize is that this gymnastics adventure would be as much of a learning opportunity for me as it was for him.

I won’t lie. It has been a struggle for him. He is very much used to one on one attention and guidance. To go into an environment where there were a lot of rules and 10+ other 4 year olds was a lot to take in.

He has cut in lines, walked off to other areas in the gym without his teachers, and also had a hard time keeping his hands to himself. And paying attention when there are so many moving parts in that gym is very difficult for him.

There were many days that he cried when we got there because he didn’t want to go, and then he would cry when it was done because he didn’t want to leave.

On more than one occasion George was not the only one crying.

I hate to admit it, but there were times I had to intervene and pull him out of the class to take a breather because his energy was a like a tornado  in a shop full of Precious Moment figurines.

I’ve got something to tell you.

This was the first time I realized in full that my role as a parent is to raise him to let him go. I had many feelings when I took him to the sitter for the first time when he was two months old. I knew then I was letting go of pieces of his childhood, but this experience has been different. I had to sit up and watch George just be, while having very little to no control over him. I had to watch him stumble and fall and pick himself back up time and time again. I had to watch him get reprimanded not only by his teachers but also his peers. I saw him be bullied, and I saw him be the bully. Being just a witness of the class showed things that made me cry on the way home and worry if we were doing things all wrong. I didn’t want to be that mom that intervened every time he took a misstep. I knew in the long run that stepping in defeated the purpose of him being there. There was no way for me to support him in the moment except by holding my breath and throwing up a lot of prayers that he could start containing himself and following instructions. I wanted him to make friends instead of getting laughed at for being the “wild one.” I just watched everything unfold from the bleachers. It was my Type A nightmare. I had to let him go. I had to let my control go and let George figure out how to be George independently of his family—independent of me.

I’ve got something to tell you.

We both grew from this last year.

Week to week, I saw George make improvements.

I saw him learn other kid’s names.

I saw him stand in line.

I saw him do “tricks” that he was scared to try that first day.

I saw him become more confident and proud of himself.

I saw him work hard to control his body and follow the rules.

I saw him start keeping his friends accountable to the rules like they had been keeping him accountable.

I saw him have a lot of great moments.

I also saw myself changing.

Over these months, I stopped worrying about what the other moms were thinking of my wild child. I started enjoying watching him just have the time of his life. I started soaking in how George is just as Georgie as he can be in every moment. I started realizing I was trying to force George into this perfect little box because of my societal expectations. I started relaxing and not dreading what trouble he would find himself in that day. I just let us both be, and we praised the wins and talked through the struggles on the way home. These days became our time together to grow, and I am so thankful for that.

I’ve got something to tell you.

I am so proud of this kid. This was a new adventure for us, and I am not sure who it was harder for. Letting go of our normal so he can start learning how to be a person was hard. Since he is home all the time, we have had a security blanket over him. I am terrified to lose my little snuggle bug, but at the same time I am so excited to see the littler person he is becoming. Most days George guided me along. We had to have some tough conversations following up on his behaviors after watching from the peanut gallery. I had to learn to navigate this weird area of parenting where I have to let him fumble his way through without wrapping him up in my mommy bubble wrap, and instead processed our day after the fact with “learning opportunities.” This parenting gig was really unfolding before me, and I see many processing car rides in our future.

These one hour classes where not ever perfect. But no one is. All I know is, he always went into every new trick with a big smile and great gusto like I have never seen.

Well except this time.

And this week was his last gymnastics class for awhile possibly ever if he seems to like soccer more. There was a moment where I watched him politely tell a girl “You are being mean and that hurts my feelings.” And then watch him quietly move away from the problem. Months ago, George would have yelled and caused a huge scene. Displaying his emotions appropriately is not always his strong suit. It was in this quiet moment that I realized even more so how every day now I have to let little pieces of him go so he can learn. I have to trust this process of growing up and letting him be. He is listening and learning. It may not always be on my timeline, but he is growing to be the best George he knows how to be today.

He is fearless and wonderful, but he is going to make mistakes. Watching this class from the bleachers reminded me that I cannot protect and shield him forever. It was hard to let that go because you want so much for your kids. And watching them struggle to fit in is never fun. But I also have to trust that we are giving George the tools to handle himself.

Gosh he is a sweet little boy, and I love him to pieces. He is just so uniquely George, and I can’t be mad about that even if it means he is not going to the Olympics some day for a great parallel bar routine. Our sermon today was about prioritizing love over rules, and gymnastics was our current real word example of that. George needs my love, and I need to be more forgiving of my rules, society rules, and expectations to be perfect every moment.

I’ve got something to tell you.

Parenting is not for the weak. We learn from them just as much as we teach them.

And yes gymnastics made me super emotional. But if I have learned anything through my walk with God, is that he will use random things to teach you and mold you.

Space Birthday Party

It’s my M.O. to get behind documenting birthdays, so here we are 2 months after the fact for George’s 4th birthday.

Better late than never.

Tom is obsessed with space so when George was little, I started collecting all the space books I could for the two of them to read together. And George has also grown to love all things space, so it was only fitting to have this as one of his themes.

It was out of this world!

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My mom drew this sign. She is so talented!

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I got these treat boxes on Etsy, here. I just filled them with candy (Milky Ways, Starbursts and a star whistle). While they are cute, they take forever to cut out. If my mom had not been so patient with them, Tom and I would have given up after 2 rockets. They are a beast to put together.

My sister-in-law put together these centerpieces. Aren’t they cute with George cutouts on the planets?

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My sister-in-law also owns blow up planets for her classroom, so they came in handy for our decorations.

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I did pretty basic on the food. I got these cookies from Hy-Vee. However, I don’t think I will do that again because they were pretty pricey. Their cakes are where they are at anyway.

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As per usual, we had it in the church gym. It is so easy to do here. We had a couple activities in the gym. Daphne was just having a blast running around living her best life.

One activity was this cardboard rocket that the kids could color. I had gotten it for my niece years ago off Zulily. She gifted it down to George, so it was perfect to bring out. Unfortunately, it did not make it past the party.

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I got these balloons from Wish for like a dollar, so it was a steal! I am kicking myself for not buying more than one packet because George still asks for these.

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My mom made this meteor toss game. Seriously, she made it out of our trash and a little spray paint.

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We decided to go all out on this party, and we got a bounce house. It was totally worth every penny. Although for the size of the thing, I really paid nothing!

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I got this astronaut outfit on Amazon from Melissa and Doug. We love dress up in our house, so this has gone into our dress up box.

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My mom put aluminum foil over some rain boots. It turned out just perfect! (Also my mom was the real MVP of this party.)

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We had the best time celebrating our boy!

Putting together his birthdays are so much fun. He is the best.

Apparently so much fun, that we forgot a family photo…whoops!

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George Gabs

I could listen to George talk all day. His sweet little voice just melts my heart, and he says some of the funniest things. So I want to start documenting those things before I forget.

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Here are some of the phrases and words that he has had.

For the longest time he called his cousin Ava, Eva.

He likes to drop parts of words like “liveries” is deliveries, and “arm” is alarm.

Broccoli is “backoli.”

A piggy bank is a “moneyer.”

Uses is “oozes.”

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Caterpillar is “lalapiller.”

Pretzels is “printzels.”

He says “full it up” for fill it up. And “hot it up” to warm things.

For a long time he called a police car a race car.

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We live next to the capital of Missouri, and every time we drive by, George says “There’s the catapult.”

A yoyo is a “sticker roller.”

A peacock is a “peahock.”

Before we got chickens, he used to call them “brockers.”

A pepperoni pizza is a “macaroni pizza.” He does know the difference of pasta macaroni.

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A chimney is a “smoker arm.”

An ostrich is a “raustid.”

Fire sparks are “jumpers.”

A microwave is a “counterwave.”

He is so smart, but there are moments where he uses these phrases that remind me how small he really is.

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