Friday, August 29, 2014

Linda's Last Day

Today is Linda's last day with us. She's been with us for 6 and a half years and helped raise my boys and I'm going to miss her madly. I don't even know where to start, singing her praises. She's so kind, so very very kind. Never a yell, a screech, a bad word to the boys. She's good to her very core.  The boys adore her of course. Daniel calls her his best friend. And rightly so since she's been his rock his whole life (she's taken care of him since he was 6 weeks old).

She's dealt with tantrums and meltdowns and rambunctious, sometimes obnoxious behavior with calmness and kindness, always. In the past I have sometimes stood back and watched her in awe, amazed by her calm words when I'd have been screaming and losing my mind.

Next week we start a new era of having a teenager babysit after school. The teenager is a friend of a friend and is a stranger to me right now. One of Jack's friends who knows her told me she shouts a lot. Great. That makes me feel like crying. How can we leave our most precious things in the world with anybody but Linda?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Danny's First Full Day

Today was Daniel's first full day in Kindergarten.Since he had such a rough time going last week we decided not to even mention it over the weekend, hoping that by not bringing attention to it he wouldn't get himself worked up into a frenzy. Not a word was uttered about school, not a mention was made when we packed his lunch and set out his school bag.

This morning Jack helped him get ready and I could hear his fear building up but I ignored it. He asked if I would go with him, then told me he wanted to walk behind my legs. By the time we got to the playground his nerve had completely gone and he crouched around the corner, huddled up and looking terrified. My heart just aches to see him like that & no amount of cajoling from me or Jack would get him in that playground.

He didn't cry when we all walked to his classroom but as soon as we entered he looked terrified and the tears came. All the kids sat down but he wouldn't. The teacher told me to leave, so I did. I don't know why I listened to her because I shouldn't have. I had promised him I'd stay with him until he was comfortable and I didn't even say goodbye. Daniel is very perceptive and very precise about these things. If I promise him something I better keep my word and I know that after a short while he would have been okay so why didn't I just hang out with him for half an hour?

After a short span listening to a new parent meeting I went back to his classroom and found him crouched in the corner, crying inconsolably. The Principal was with him and again told me to leave. I said no. I crouched down and whispered to him "I'm really sorry I left you without saying goodbye, but this is something you have to do on your own. Be brave. I promise that you will love your school once you get over this fear. Try and have some fun (in hindsight that what a dumbass thing to say to someone crippled with fear but hey I'm trying) and remember that I love you".  Or something like that. I don't think he even heard me he was so wrapped up in anxiety. Again I left and a friend who had seen this all happen took me in her arms and let me have a little cry.

As I was leaving the building I saw him walking the halls with the Principal. An hour later she called me on my cell phone and told me that she had bribed him with toys, and was that ok? She plans to do that each morning. She gave him a personal tour of the school and has taken him under her wing. I cried again, both out of sadness for him, and because she was so kind, so lovely with how she handled it.

He called me when he got home at 3.30pm. He said he loved it. He played tag with some friends, he saw his brother (he was very excited about that), and he said the orange I put in his lunch box tasted yucky and it was disgusting. I asked if he was okay when I left and he said Oh yeah, A-Okay!  What a relief.

I know I'm not the first parent to be upset the first day or kindergarten and I know some might say I'm being silly or over protective. But if just one teeny-tiny thing I can do makes him feel better about school then it's worth it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Daniel's Firsts: Kindergarten & Soccer

It's been a week on firsts for Daniel which I knew would be difficult. It's takes him a little while to warm up to things and sometimes the lead up to the event is traumatic for everyone involved. I don't handle it too well, which doesn't help. Let's just say it's not a walk in the park for all involved.

The most important thing about both of these new things is that he eventually did try them and the next time he does them I think he''ll be okay. His first soccer practice on Wednesday and his kindergarten evaluation today started in hysteria but ended with him saying with some level of confidence that he'll be okay from now on. Both his soccer coach and his kindergarten teacher are young women who reek of kindness and patience. Both of them connected with him, were kind to him and didn't force or bully him. Both stood back and let him come out of his shell, slowly but surely. How lucky we are to have these two women in his life for the next year.

Craig told me that he did really well during his evaluation today (I was in a meeting at work). He breezed through his math and other short tests and by the end of it he was relaxed and even being a little assertive. He asked his teacher to refer to him as Daniel and not Danny, since Daniel is his name.  I'm not surprised he did well in the evaluation because he is incredibly smart and perceptive, noticing things that most people don't. I think that's what frustrates me sometimes, that he's so clever and funny and talented but his lack of confidence doesn't let it shine through. Being a type-a person I don't totally understand that personality but I'm trying.

Anyway, this is going to be a great year for Daniel. I can't wait to write about his journey at school and in sports. I can't wait to see him make new friends, try new things, and build his confidence. It sounds cliched but it really isn't - these things are very real for both him and me and a long time coming. Go get 'em tiger!

First Soccer Team: The Bulldogs
Kindergarten Evaluation

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What's Important in Life?

Did you ever see this video by Johnny Cash? At the time he filmed it he was very ill but he didn't know that the love of his life, June, was dying of cancer. She knew and you can see on her face that she doesn't want to leave him alone.

 The message on this video is that material things don't matter. Superficial nonsense doesn't matter.

After I got back from Dyess on Sunday I left every single Facebook forum that I was on, because suddenly it seems stupid. I am focusing on my family and my main passions (PTA and a local resource center for the needy). The rest of it seems superficial and pointless - the Internet quarrels, the politics, the media, the news. All complete and utter nonsense. People matter, and that is all.

 So the question is, if people matter more than anything in this world, should we move back to England?