August 2015 - Baby Steps in High Heels

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lessons I learned in the first 26 hours of Kindergarten ...

3:53 PM 4
Lessons I learned in the first 26 hours of Kindergarten ...
We did it! All of the anticipation and planning and school-supply-buying is over, and we survived the first day of Kindergarten. What a day. I’m sure Miss Mighty learned a ton, but so did I … some lessons were easier learned than others. 

These are just a few things I learned in the first 26 hours of Kindergarten.

- It's important to dress for success. No matter how many times you discuss the ‘first day’ outfit in advance, it will change once the actual first day arrives. The pink will not be pink enough {“MOM! It’s NOT even magenta!”} or a tag will itch or a mind will simply change. If the new choice is within dress code, let it be.

- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I prepared enough food to feed the entire class of children and my child only wanted 3 mini-waffles from a box. So much for starting the day on a full belly, but at least the trash can wasn’t hungry any more.

- What’s that saying about idle hands?? This may have been my least productive day at work. Ever. Had I been one of those high schoolers who daydreamed and doodled ‘Mrs. Brad Pitt’ on my notebooks, I would have accomplished more than I did yesterday. I spent nearly the entire morning wondering if she was okay, if she was being bullied, if she was making friends or having fun or learning. Longest 120 minutes of my life, and it wasn’t even lunch yet. Yes, I counted the minutes.

- A mother’s work {worry} is never done. Did she eat her lunch? Did she like it? She asked for something I didn’t expect her to really want. What if she’s starving?! Maybe I should pop up there and check? Just for a second. No … no. Probably not. Well? Maybe …

- Absence makes the heart grow fonder. The long anticipated end-of-the-day reunion will be utterly anti-climactic. I won’t point fingers, but some moms (not me, of course) miiight watch the clock, nervously waiting for an appropriate time to rush go up to school and embrace retrieve their child. Said child might greet the mother with a lackluster, “go get brother first, please” remark while snacking on a granola bar.

- Flip flops are not allowed at school. You will learn more about your child’s day based on how they describe it, rather than the words they use. I took away three key pieces from Mighty’s retelling of her first day: 1) there is an invisible TV in her class room (the projector screen, I assume); 2) flip flops are not allowed; and 3) Kindergarten is magic. I really wanted to press for more details, but I decided to just agree that that seemed to add up to a pretty awesome day.

- Mother/daughter drama begins well before the teenage years. However awesome the day, a decompression phase will always follow. Imagine my surprise when I simply asked my child if she was hungry for dinner yet (remember the aforementioned granola bar she had just finished only an hour earlier? Anyway … ), and she responds with a full-on turbo-nuclear meltdown: “MOM! It was my FIRST DAY of KINDERGARTEN! And you just ruined it!!!” Oh, the tears! I had interrupted the first chance she’d had all day to play.

- Kindergarten is exhausting. Not only was my big girl, fast asleep by 7:08 p.m., but I don’t think she moved a muscle until the wee hours of the morning. She did jump out of bed, happy and ready to go back to school this morning, which was a good sign until …

Enough sleep is not always enough sleep. Eleven hours in bed last night was simply not enough to abate first-day exhaustion, but five-year-olds don’t understand that. So, instead of just telling you they’re still tired, they say things like: “This bacon is disgusting. This dress itches. I don’t know how to brush my teeth.” Apparently complaining about their favorite foods, the clothes they picked out themselves, and completing simple chores they’ve been doing for years is the most appropriate way to behave when your mom announces that we need to leave the house in 7 minutes, people, get it together.

Despite the angst, and the fits, and the bumps in the road (for both mother and child), the most consistent word Mighty used to describe her day was: magic. I hope she always feels that way about school. How did school start for your kids this year? How about for mom?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Before school starts ...

3:27 PM 0
Before school starts ...
As a parent, making peace with day care has been an uphill battle. We tried three different places before we landed where we are today. My first hesitations were a mix of new-mom apprehensions and the location of the center, which was across town from our house. We loved, and I mean loved, a few of the teachers at the second day care, but the overall atmosphere was not ideal. And, we didn’t love our child’s current teacher when we decided to move again.

Finally, we ended up at a smaller preschool located about half a mile from our home. It was housed in a church and offered a Christian curriculum. I continued to struggle with my own mom issues when things weren’t done exactly as I would have liked. Actually, I still struggle with a few things here and there – like, is there a reason my son still has lunch remnants on his face when I pick him up at 5:00? But, aside from a few minor things, we have been truly blessed with the teachers and staff at our current school.

The most significant problem is that, unfortunately, we have outlived most of the truly great teachers. The first amazing teacher, the one who loved, nurtured, and potty trained my daughter moved away to be closer to family. The second amazing teacher, the one who was there when the preschool-atmosphere really picked up for my oldest, is actually still working at our day care. However, she is so good at what she does that she has taken on more of an administrative role, and I worry that she will no longer be in the classroom by the time my son gets to that class level.

Miss Mighty’s final teacher this last year has been a Godsend. It’s not often that a day care employs a teacher with an actual teaching degree. Miss Abby has really brought out the very best in my daughter, and I teared up this week as we talked during pick-up. Not only are we starting Kindergarten, but Abby is leaving for a new teaching job with a local school district. We talked about her work with my child, how much love there is between the two of them, and how both will be starting new adventures in the coming days. These are new and exciting changes for all of us, but change is still difficult. 

Although I have checked all the boxes on the Kinder Prep checklist (school supplies, clothes within dress code, join the PTA …. Yes, yes I did), I have been intentionally avoiding the emotional side of our transition to Kindergarten. This requires more than just facing the simple fact that my baby is growing up and will be taking her first steps into the real world. It’s a big transition in our proverbial village as well. There will be a new teacher, principal, friends, and friends’ parents … all brand new relationships to cultivate. Who will we trust? Who will give us pause? How long until we feel comfortable enough to relax our guard?

We will also transition our schedules and activities, our priorities (did somebody say homework?!), and our lives. Okay, okay, maybe a five-year-old going to Kindergarten won’t really turn our lives upside down, but it will be an adjustment. Just today, I realized that this will be the last Wednesday evening before school starts that we can push bedtimes, meet friends for dinner and live music, and not worry if the kids sleep a few minutes late in the morning.

What are you thinking about before school starts? Will your village be changing this year? How are you holding up? 

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Best and Worst Things About Working at Home

7:59 AM 1
The Best and Worst Things About Working at Home
Happy August. It’s back to reality for me … my Mommy GuiltVacation was great, but it is definitely time to get back into a normal routine.

{And, apparently mommy guilt vacation also equaled a blog vacation. Sorry about that!}

This week, I will spend some time preparing for my upcoming travel season. I like to try to do a little meal prep for those long weeks of travel and inconsistent schedules. Next week, I will be in Annapolis for my sales meeting. Then it’s just one more week until Miss Mighty begins Kindergarten and I hit the road for the upcoming sales season. It feels like August is already over!

As I get closer to my fall travels, week in and week out of half-packed luggage and “I have no idea where I am supposed to be tomorrow,” I have been reflecting on the time I spent working from home this summer. So, for a little lighthearted “back to reality” special today, I give you:

The 5 Best and 5 Worst Things About Working at Home

The Worst ….

Robo-calls. These seriously annoy me. I actually think I get more now that I’ve signed up for the Do Not Call registry. It’s insanity.

Soliciting Sales people. No, I don’t want to buy your cleaning supplies or pest control or Jesus. I have my own Jesus, thankyouverymuch. Anyway, I’m on a conference call right now.  

Refilling my Brita pitcher 8 times a day gets really old, really fast. And lunch dishes. I hate doing lunch dishes.

It’s not terribly inspiring at home. (Have you notice how quiet the blog has been this last month?)

Even though my couch is right there, I still can’t seem to find time to squeeze in a nap.

The Best …

Watching reruns of Gilmore Girls on the lunch hour. (I could probably just stop there, right?)

Flexible Schedules are nice. Despite feeling like I need to multi-task work/home duties all day, it is really nice to be on my own time.

Messy Hair, don’t care. Seriously. And pajamas until noon (or 4 o’clock. Whatever.)

I don’t have to hit the gym at the same time as all the others scurrying to fit it in before heading to the office. I go when it’s quiet.

Sometimes, I work from a pedicure chair. That’s what laptops, cell phones, and wifi were made for, right?