Monday, August 26, 2013

A New Phase of Life

One in school and one at home. It's been almost three weeks since Henry started school and it is certainly and adjustment.

Once Johann went back to work and the needs of daily life caught up, things got a lot more boring for Thea and she began to be very upset about Henry being gone. The whole first week she spent a good portion of the day whining and being grumpy.

 On the first early release day (every Wednesday they get out at 1:20 instead of 2:40) I picked Henry up and ran to Costco. Once they were in the cart together Thea kept hugging on him the whole time we were at the store. He can be such a punk to her and she can be an annoying little sister but they do love each other and I love seeing it.

Since that horrible first week of adjustment (which also involved Henry getting diarrhea and having an accident at school where I had to go pick him up) I have been trying to remember what I did with Henry at this age. I know we walked to the park a lot in Provo but other than that I can't remember too much and on the blog it looks like when he was this age it was summer so we did a lot of stuff with family. I'll figure it out.
Anyhow, I take her into Henry's room to play a lot and put her at his table one day to let her do the forbidden and use his crayons etc. She was sooo excited.

Then she decided that was boring and it'd be more fun to practice her new hobby of climbing on everything at every possible chance. She was so proud of herself, little stinker.

Laughing with delight at her accomplishment. SO much for my brilliant idea to put that rail in to keep the crayons and markers up, out of her reach.

So Dorothea and I are trying to get in a rhythm and schedule here at home while Henry's away. It's not great yet for either of us and drop off and pick up mess with the sleeping schedule I had going but we'll get there, I hope.

As far as Henry is concerned, the biggest thing I notice is that he is exhausted and has already brought home diarrhea (I got to share that lovely bug) and two different colds, the first of which Thea and I also got from him. School is gross.

He started soccer the same time as school and after his first game (pic before above) he came home and after a freak out for something I can't even remember he slept for two and a half hours. I can't remember the last time Henry took a nap when we weren't in the car on a crazy vacation schedule.

He gets about 11 hours a night but I guess it's just not enough for his itty bitty body.

As I mentioned in the previous post I did pretty well the first days because Johann was also home and it was still new. By the second Friday I cried after I dropped him off because, well, it's real now. That was also after the accident incident and the fact that he had to stand in his own soiled clothes for 10 minutes until I got there (he had a change of clothes in his backpack but it was lunch and the room was locked and they don't clean up messes, nor do I expect them to) was just upsetting on some level. It's the realization again that while schools can be great and help my kid a lot, they don't love him or care for him or are not able/willing to do for him the things I am. I cried again when I picked him up on Friday and then again dropping him on Monday. Not big snotty crying or anything but just feeling sad and a little unsure about the decision to send him after all.

The middle of that week Henry came into the car and told him a kid had kicked him in his privates, long story short, he and another kid had been hitting another boys backpack so he turned around and gave it back. I was really upset that Henry tried to start off by making it sound like he was the one who was being harassed when the kid was just defending himself. I also hated that Henry was teaming up with another kid to be mean to someone else! At least he eventually told me the truth but the whole not knowing how he is behaving and who he is playing with his hard for me. I understand some people think a five year old is capable of making their own decisions when it comes to things like this, but frankly, I don't think they have the interpersonal intelligence to know, "hey, this kid is a bad influence, I think I better find other friends." Most teenagers are even capable of that. So if it makes me an overbearing parent to want to help my child recognize who are good influences and what constitutes peer pressure or being a bully, so be it. After that I added some doubt to the choice of having him in school and started thinking about doing homeschooling again after all as my pinboards will attest to and I actually had a couple people notice and ask me if school wasn't going so well, haha. We then had back to school night and after talking with the teacher I felt a little better except for seeing that he is being lazy and doing work the way he did a year ago just to finish quickly. The next day Henry's teacher who doesn't do parent pick up duty was there with him-never a good sign. She brought him in told me that while he had done really well the whole day, at the end he was dancing with two other boys (same boys he told me he did the backpack thing and other things with) instead of cleaning up and got clipped down. He was up at the clip for a prize and since he got clipped down and lost it, he lost it too and threw a giant tantrum, which is actually not something he really does anymore. He was still crying and shaking and snotting until we got home and then, you guessed it, just laid in his room for a while.

So that is how school has been going since the start. Everyone asks me if I'm enjoying the freedom of having a kid in school and to be honest, what freedom? and no. Since I am worried there will be an accident again or something else I don't feel like I can leave anywhere more than 15-20 minutes away if even that. Also I have to be at parent pick up at a certain time morning and afternoon and in the morning it's a 10 minute thing but afternoon it's at least 45 minutes sitting in line, which, by the way, is eating away at my tank. I suppose I could still go early and hope for a spot somewhere and get Thea out and strap her into a stroller and go get him that way but it's also her nap time and about every other day I get lucky and she sleeps in the car while we wait for him. He's also already been sick 3 times and is pooped in the weekends. I feel like I'm never getting the best of my kid and that the best of him is being changed while he is gone.

I realize it could just be my chronic inability to deal with change gracefully, so after talking it over we decided not to try and make any changes until Fall break. Johann is even admitting that maybe it's not ridiculous to revisit the idea of homeschooling. I just feel like 5 is so young to be gone for 6.5 hours every day! I wish they still have half day K. Even more, I wish kids didn't go to school until they were 7 or 8. Wouldn't it be nice to spend those 2-3 years while they are becoming somewhat independent and capable teaching them all kinds of life skills like cooking and yard work, cleaning, how to do different sports, music, finding out what their interests are, being exposed to lots of different things and just life in general? Becoming more solid in their ability to make right choices?

So I'll continue to stew but come October we need to make a decision and I need to stick with it so I don't have this brooding going on inside all the time. I got my tb test today too so I'll be turning in my volunteer paper work and hopefully going into the classroom will help me have a better understanding for making a decision.

Wish us luck.

Henry goes to Kindergarten

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013 Henry had his first day of school. 
He was a little nervous that morning but mostly excited to go, especially since we were going with him for orientation. Softening of the blow, if you will. 

The morning of:

Once we got to the school, Sitting Bull Elementary, he was excited to get into the classroom and did a little run-walk to get there.

He got to play on the playground until the it was time to go in and meet his teacher, Mrs. Rampley.
 She seems to be a pretty high energy teacher and is really in to hands on and lots of physical activity for the kids-one of the the reason we wanted her as his teacher. She also has three classroom pets: a bearded dragon, snake and guinea pig name Cubby. She mentioned that throughout the year she'll bring in more animals for the kids to see as well. She also does a project in spring where she gets chicken eggs and has a special light that makes the shell translucent and the kids can watch the development of the chicks until they hatch them.
Henry was fairly quiet at first but once he got comfortable, he got talkie. When the principal and assistant principal came in, he even got a story in about his time at the beach with them. Most of the parents were laughing at how bold he was, Johann and I just mumbled, "man, who's kid is that?" until I finally had to tell him to lay off the story telling etc. I shouldn't have because then all the parents who were asking each other, "is that your son?" found out I was the mom and just laughed as they told me things like, "he's so cute and quite a conversationalist," "he must keep you entertained at home," etc. At least they were all kind or amused things but Henry definitely made his little mark.

The next day was his first day solo. It was good that Johann had furlough days so Thursday and Friday he was home with me and Thea so it wasn't as lonely.

 I asked him if he was excited to go without us and he did a little dance.
He seemed to have a good first day and below is the little picture they colored and I am putting here in case I manage to lose it.

So the first short week of school went well and Henry said he loves Mrs. Rampley. More on how it's gone since for another post. =) 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Henry's Room Redo

Very slowly my mom has been doing improvements on the house, trying to get ready to be able to retire. While we've been here we've been trying to do what we can to and Henry's room has been one of the neglected areas that desperately needed updating. Any improvements that we do that are retained by my mom once we leave we take out of our 'rent' and I think it's a pretty good deal all around for the most part. So we used August and September to finally redo Henry's room. 

Before pictures:

Also I am completely to blame for the blue and green walls even while the carpet was pink. We painted it before my oldest brother got back from him mission and I think I had been watching too much Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and BOLD COLOR was like a thing, I guess? 

The Redo:

 Henry and Thea throughly enjoyed the time they had to roll and run around in an empty room before we put the furniture back 

The Results:

Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. The color on the wall at night when we first did it was not looking good but it dried and looked way better, it's also a little different than it looks in the pictures. Now I just need to get some more things on the walls, shelving type stuff etc but that will have to wait for when there is more money to do it. I'd like the redo the closet but who knows if that will happen, be expedient while we're here. I also wanted to replace the fan and I guess Henry wanted to too because he pulled the light chain clean out yesterday morning. I figured, well, may as well get the new one now then. So I now have a fan to install. Should be interesting to figure out, pray I don't electrocute myself.

It was work but I loved getting the room fixed up. It's no designer room but it is definitely better than it was and it feels good to make improvements and hopefully is good practice for when we get a house of our own someday!

Visit from Uncle Derek and Ashley

Johann's brother, Derek, and his girlfriend, Ashley, came to Ca from Florida for a quick visit just before school started. We hadn't seem them since Christmas 2011 so it was really nice to catch up and hang out together. 

Saturday we went to Big Bear and did a little hiking, picnicing, site seeing and hung around the discovery center for a bit. 

 Henry got to wear their gopro camera that they were testing out before Ashley took it for a dive she was doing the next week. 

 At the nature center.

 Henry and this kid had a great theological discussion.
Kid: Do you know about God and Jesus?
Henry (exasperated):Yeah, yeah, yeah I know all about it. Everything, okay?

Sunday we went to Johann's parent's house to visit and bbq.
 Apollo and Thea
Ashley and Derek with Thea
 And Apollo
 And all the kids

Monday and Tuesday they were in SD so we got together Wednesday after Henry's orientation. We went down the hill and had some indian food for lunch then strolled around Victoria Gardens. I exercised fantastic restraint and didn't buy the kids anything.
 They had fun playing at the 'splash pad' they have there, even though it took Thea a while to warm up to it. 

After we had walked around and visited for a bit, it was time for us to head home since Henry had his real first day of school coming up and Derek and Ashley needed to get packing for their flight leaving the next day. Hopefully it won't be an almost 2 year gap until the next time we see them. Come visit again soon!