Starting Anew


There have been lots of changes this month--good, bad, indifferent.  My husband and I have been working on our marriage.  Some difficulties have surfaced as in any marriage, and through it, we have both learned that we need to turn to our faith to help us.  It is at these moments that I feel most vulnerable.  Letting go of control and trusting the future will work itself out is not easy, and yet, I know, in some way, my prayers will be answered.

Little Lewie has his own set of changes this month.  After spending nine months at the college daycare, he "graduated" and must now attend a new daycare for the summer.  He started last week, and while I'm impressed with their itinerary of summer activities, play groups, and teachers, Little Lewie still seems to feel lost in this sea of brand new faces.  This morning was incredibly difficult as right away, he noticed we were driving in the direction of the daycare.

"Mommy...go home.  Go home!" He announced from the backseat. 

"You're going to have fun," I reassured him.

"No. Mommy. No.  Go home!"

Bringing him inside the building wasn't any easier.  He kept telling me to "sit down" and "stay here."  Evidently, if I was going to bring him to the daycare, then he wanted me to stay with him too.  I stayed for a few minutes and then realized I wasn't doing the teachers any favors.  The screaming, crying, and tears were only being prolonged until I made my announcement that I had to leave.  It took quite some time for Little Lewie to get accustomed to being left at his other daycare.  It may take a month of so for him to get adjusted again.  (This has not been easy on my "mommy guilt" as I'm almost in tears for the next 40 minutes as I drive to work.)

Hmmm....what can I say about change?  It's hard--mega-hard.  It's stressful, and most of the time, it's unavoidable.  Change happens whether we like it or not.  What I've learned in these past few months is that the only thing we can control is our reaction to change.  We can either let go and embrace it or fight it.  I've tried fighting doesn't work.  My little boy's favorite song is "Row, row, row your boat."  Yesterday, as we sang the song together, I realized my answer has always been in this song.  All along, I've been trying to row upstream--battling the current, using every ounce of my energy, and eventually being pushed back to where I started.  Today, I'm going to row merrily down the stream.  I might not know where I'm going, but I'll trust that the current knows the way...

Little Lewie's First Field Trip!


These past two weeks have honestly been a blur.  At work, I had to assist with Commencement 2011, and at home, Little Lewie was preparing for a "Commencement" of his own.  Since Little Lewie's daycare is part of a community college, it ends during the summer.  If I was on a professor's schedule, this would have been perfect; after all, I would get to spend my summers staying home with my little boy.  Unfortunately, with my new position in college administration, I don't have a summer break this year.   I still have to work between two to three full days a week, which means poor Little Lewie has to adjust now to a brand new daycare.

Anyhow, just like college seniors and high school seniors get to have a fun week full of graduation activities (i.e. Senior Day, Class Trip, Graduation, etc.), Little Lewie had a fun few weeks of "graduation" activities.  According to his daycare, Little Lewie was graduating from the "toddler room" to "pre-school" because when he returns in the fall, he will officially be three.   (This means I have exactly three months to get him potty trained--Yikes!)  His graduation week started with a field trip to Flander's Nature Center, and I had the joy of chaperoning (mostly Little Lewie) but other two, three, and four year-olds as well.

When bringing Little Lewie to his daycare, he first cried because he thought I was dropping him off.  "No, Mom is staying with you this time, Lewie."  He looked puzzled and continued to declare, "Mommy Bye-Bye.  No Mommy.  Bye-Bye."  (Translation--No Mom.  I want to leave with you.)

This little struggle lasted for a few minutes until we were told that we could all walk out to the school buses.   Well, riding a school bus for a two year old boy is just about the coolest thing you can ever do.  It was so entertaining to watch him jump in excitement at the anticipation of getting on the bus.  Even more, it was fun to watch his antics on the bus.  Not only did he enjoy having a window seat, but he loved peaking in the crack between the window and the seat to see his friends sitting in front of him and behind him.  A couple of times he tried to kneel on the seat and face backwards to entertain the people behind him, but Mom had to lay down the school bus safety rules (even though I never followed them myself when I was in school).

The bus was quite rowdy--full of toddlers screaming, laughing, and sometimes crying.  A toddler in front of Lewie on the bus ride to the Nature Center decided he was going to entertain Lewie by making fart noises and peaking between the seat crack.  This put Lewie in his glory.

On the school bus...

The tractor ride.

Decorating my pot.

Petting bunnies with my very first teacher, Miss Kim.

"I hope the bunny doesn't mistake my finger for a carrot."

In search of the noisy rooster.

Romping around the barnyard.

Once we arrived at the Nature Center, we had the pleasure of taking a tractor ride through a meadow and then visiting the farm animals--bunnies, goats, chickens, ducks, roosters, and even a cranky ram (one that we were distinctly forewarned not to pet).  We had lunch out on a picnic bench with the other kids, and then Lewie had a chance to decorate his own planting pot with markers.  At the end, he had to scoop up soil and push some seeds into it--I still don't know what we're supposed to be growing.

All in all, it was a fun trip, and I was thrilled that my little boy behaved himself without any major meltdowns.  It was fun to watch him engage with his classmates by either laughing with them or chasing them around the barnyard.  (One little girl wanted him to chase her again and again.)  Even more, it was a thrill to see his interest in the animals.  Only a year ago, I had brought him to a couple of country fairs, and he could care less about the pigs and the cows.  Now, he was in his glory.  In particular, he loved watching the bunnies and LOVED hearing this one rooster crow over and over again.  Little Lewie kept going up to his cage and yelling, "Cock-a-doo-doo" back to him.  His interest in the animals landed him an opportunity to actually hold a baby bunny rabbit, which he petted oh so gently. 

All in all, it was a fun field trip experience full of many firsts--first time on the school bus, first time holding a baby bunny, first time decorating a pot, first time seeing a ram, and first time going on an adventure with classmates.  I watched my little boy grow up that day.  All along, his changes have been subtle for me, but somehow, on this trip, I suddenly saw glimpses of a soon-to-be three year old.  The two year-old baby that I dropped off at daycare more than nine months ago has now become this lively, funny, entertaining little boy.

My Little Creative Genius


Okay, so maybe I'm not quite so humble.  To be honest, my little boy is more interested in learning how to put things together than he's interested in art.  For example, he'll spend hours opening and closing the closet doors to understand how the hinges work or he'll spend a good long time practicing how to snap and unsnap the safety belt on his high chair.  However, give him a piece of paper and a marker...and he's done in five minutes flat.

Little Lewie's Child Development Center (a.k.a. Daycare), however, is inspired by Reggio Emilia, Italy Approach, which among other important missions and criteria, focuses on providing an art based and multisensory curriculum in the classroom.  So, while Little Lewie's natural inclinations don't necessarily gravitate toward art, his daycare has inspired him to try a thing or two--like making collages out of natural materials (like pine cones, bark, leaves), molding and glazing clay, or drawing pictures using chalk, crayons, markers, or paint.   And, while he usually bypasses trying this stuff with me at home, his wonderful teachers at the Child Development Center actually inspire and encourage him to do it there.  When I received his first art project, I thought surely someone had to do it for him, but then they sent me pictures--firsthand proof that he may have an interest in art after all...

So while I used to turn my nose up to daycare and cried and cried the first day I had to send him...I'm starting to discover that maybe daycare has given him a lot of great exposure to new and interesting things that he wouldn't have at home...

Oh My...Look How Tall I've Grown!


My little boy is...welll...not so little anymore.  At age two, he's already wearing 4T (and sometimes even 5T clothing).  At the beginning of the winter in December, I bought Lewie a pair of 4T pants and had to roll up the cuffs.  I forgot about these pants (having misplaced them in the back of his drawer) and just recently found them.  When I put them on him last week...this is what I discovered...

Yup, he grew about two inches in just a few short months.  People have always told me that boys will eat you out of house and home, but I never guessed it would start this early.  I can honestly say that with all of Lewie's growth spurts, he's been eating larger portions than I do...and even then, he still has his nose in the refridgerator looking for food. 

It's fun to watch Lewie grow, and indeed I know he is going to be a tall boy.  My husband is 6' 1", and if he takes after my family, my dad was 6' 4".  Still, I get weepy everytime I have to pack up his old clothes that he'll never wear again, and these days, I've been packing up more and more clothes...  Sometimes I do miss those baby clothes..."Little Lewie, could you stop growing for Mommy...just a little.  Please?"