Transitioning into New School Routines
The anticipation leading up to the start of school was becoming so heavy on a ll of our moods with each passing day. The anxiety was felt by all in this house! Since we started our new routine a week ago, I can honestly tell you I feel a gigantic weight has since lifted and the tantrums have eased, and my stress levels inched down a few notches which then eased the girls' moods and I feel we are in a groove that we all had wanted and needed for some time! Remy has been beyond ready for Pre-K and this year we decided to enroll her in morning lessons, three days a week. She still seems timid at drop-offs, I can tell when her fingers are clipped onto her bottom teeth or she stands slightly behind me. She's quiet but extremely alert and aware and soaking it all in. Where she has to be, when, how... I hear her reenacting things in play at home since she has started. Last night I overheard her playing with Arlo in the front yard. Her latest thing is to play "Family" with Arlo, basically she bosses Arlo and dominates the scenarios and plays that she is the mom and Arlo is the daughter. Tonight it sounded more like school! "Now sit there, and let's all put our hands in our laps so we don't hurt our friends..." She is processing this thing we call school, this institution we have talked about and discussed for months, prepped her on, visited. Finally the time is now for her to see and feel and engage with school in her own way, interpret these new rules, routines and organization of time and space in her individual way. The verdict, she LOVES it!
Quite honestly, for us, the transition to school for Remy has been a breeze. SO FAR! I think my extreme preparedness and readying may have had a slight impact, but even more than that is the fact that she really was READY! All on her own. She is mature beyond her four years and her social skills were craving more. More relationships, more friendships, she needed more challenges of authority and direction, another mentor, another voice, more banter, more disruption, more dynamic in her day. I can tell she is already blossoming, comprehending and putting things in order in just the week and a half she has attended.
I will say we had talked about the do's and do-nots of school for months. We had visited, we had done the registration day, we had done the orientation day, but even before that I had many conversations and talks with her about what is, and what is not, acceptable in school. Perhaps they were borderline threats. I remember catching myself on more than one occasion lashing out at her after terrible tantrums and battling, over who can remember what now, but I would use school as a threat, "I can NOT wait until you go to school! I cannot WAIT for you to go somewhere full time, all day, everyday!" Ugh, the pain, my heart hurts sharing it. I realize these are damaging things to say, I acknowledge my actions and choice of words were too strong and adult for her to understand and I was taking out my frustrations about the immediate issue, most likely her not napping or putting her pajamas on, and making the anger her fault, instead of taking ownership of my own frustrations that she was not doing what I wanted her to. AWFUL, but true. I changed my focus and emphasis on school from being that of a negative or a bad consequence for her NORMAL toddler behaviors, to school being a POSITIVE, joyous, exciting place, because it of course will be, and also because part of mothering and parenting for me is also catching my own mistakes and doing a little eraser action to the problem and starting again with my work. We call it "Reset Button," around here. Momma can RESET or ERASE her bad behaviors and try to fill in that Mama bubble a little bit better the next time too. I changed my dialogue about school from it being a bad place to go because I was tired and angry at her, to how wonderful of a place it was and how much she will get to do and see and learn. I ask her, "I wonder what you will get to do tomorrow?!" A tinge of jealousy in my tone, to make her feel special and lucky to get to go to a wonderful place, and IT IS, and also a teensy bit of jealousy because now she is shared with others. She is not all mine. I am just now processing the emotions behind "sending her to school," and I am welling up with tears! That's the love of blogging, I never know what will pour out!
Another change that comes with toddlerhood, the emancipation and defining of self. She is slowly pulling away in ways. Before school we were encouraging her to do certain things because in school she would have to. We were trying to instill independence but then when she proclaims it, I lash out. Like photos. Lately she tells me she does not want any more photos. While this offends me a little and frustrates me, because all I want to do is document every second I have with her, that hair piece in her eyes and that tiny freckle on her first finger, those elbow dimples and, oh, that scratch from your scooter, your tiny calves and those chubby toes...I know the place I am coming from when snapping these photos, but it is too much for her liking. She has expressed this and I got mad at her request. I said something terrible, I told her I would take a photo if I wanted to. Gulp! Who am I to do that?! I need to respect her and honor her request. I am going to attempt at finding a happy balance between documenting our days and her youth as well as respecting her space and autonomy. She is her own identity, separate from me, separate from this blog, separate from our family. She is not ours but belonging to nobody but herself and her Creator. This is the hardest lesson in parenting that I had projected was coming down the way, and here it is manifesting itself now! Soon it will be her choice in clothing, music, friends...husband (see how I skipped boyfriend). I want you to know Remy, that I LOVE YOU, all of you, from your tousled wild hair to your chubby toes, no matter how many times I might criticize or scold. I love you and want you to be the shiniest version of yourself. You are unique. You are special. You are YOU! And it is a privilege to get to know you, BUT- I will ALWAYS be here, to take your photo if you want it and if you'll let me. (Ok I am officially balling.)
With all of that, I am going to challenge myself to put the phone away, put the camera aside more often. I will continue to blog and share, but the photos may be more blurred, more candid, and fewer in between. I truly want to respect Remy, and my husband! Haha! I still have Arlo...haha! I know it is about balance, but for me I obviously have not found that yet! So LESS, less is probably the answer.
With our new structured week, we are also trying to do more downtime at home. I know THAT will be hard for me as well because I do like to go, go, go, but they need that time to process, unwind, exhale and just play. This particular day below we had suited up, ready to tackle a swim day at the pool, trying to get it in before fall, and we made it all the way there and the pool was closed for the season already! It was a bummer, but in actuality, it turned out JUST as it was supposed to because Arlo was TIRED, she has been waking EARLY, and I could tell it might have been a long day since we had not got there until 11 am anyway. So we decided to make it a donut day instead.
This post is not about the donuts, so it turned out, although they were good, before Arlo dumped the box of them on the floor anyway, but it is about these two beautiful girls, scratch that, DAUGHTERS, of mine. I always reserve the word "daughters," not really using it or saying it much at all really. I feel it is so special of a word. I usually say "my girls," but they are my daughters, which carries much more weight, extreme duty and responsibility to them from me, obligation to nurture, respect, honor, discipline, teach, gosh what else...RAISE. These are the beautiful days with MY DAUGHTERS- wild...
Here is a post to new stages and ages!
Some of my favorite photos are the ones of my girls acting silly outside! They both rushed to the window stickers and were pretending to eat the chocolate one. As an adult, it's fun to see genuine curiosity and playfulness just flow out on things we just walk on by! Sometimes, just sometimes, Remy is more willing to take a photo if I ask Arlo for one. Lately Remy is not a fan of photos, but then she'll turn on her Silly Meter and march around and she does weird faces with her tongue and eyes and neck thrown back! Never know what mood you'll catch her in! I LOVE the photo of me sneaking her about to tap the bell on the counter. A surprised, you-caught-me, look! I love them!
Remy is wearing vintage striped overalls from my vintage Etsy site, Rolypolyz. Arlo is wearing a terry cloth romper from Zara that we got back in July when we were in Chicago. And WHEN in the heck are they going to get a Zara out here in Denver?!?!? They are both wearing Hello Kitty jellies from Target. Have to admit, as cute as they are, they are a horrible fit! They run BIG, and the strap is actually not a real threaded strap, just a velcro sticky tab which has blistered both girls! These are SHORT-trip shoes!