Say It Isn’t So…

So two things I saw that made me think…say it isn’t so!

#1.  Potty Training in Public…

I know potty training can be a pain and very challenging, but this is so wrong to me on so many levels!!!!  A mom in Utah was caught potty training her twins in a public restaurant.   At first people thought the girls were sitting on booster seats but uh no they were portable potties.  And they were stripped down naked. I do not like to judge other parents but, WOW this is a bit much for me!  First of all… that has got to be some sort of health violation doing that at the table.  Second…potty training in my book needs to remain in the privacy of your own home.  The rest of the world does not need to go through the crappy experience with you!

#2. Judy Blume

I don’t know about you, but I grew up reading Judy Blume books….”Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret,” “Superfudge,” “Blubber,” “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” and one of my favorite adult novels “Summer Sisters.”  I just remember as a child how much I loved her books and the impact they had on me.   So, needless to say I was sad when I read that Judy Blume is battling breast cancer.  She wrote about it on her blog,  I’m glad she shared the news to raise awareness.  It reminds us that cancer doesn’t have to run in your family.  Anyone can get it.   Glad to hear she’s doing better.  I hope she starts writing again soon.

On My Radar…

So two things I saw on my radar…

#1.  Babies on planes…

At one time or another we’ve all been through it.  As I like to call it those people on the plane.  You’re on a long flight and your child is screaming bloody murder and you’re sweating bullets because there’s nothing you can do about it.  Everyone on the plane is annoyed with you and just wants you to shut your kid up… yeah that person…. That moment.  It sucks!

Well a couple with 14 week old twin boys came up with a brilliant idea… this is just GENIUS!!!! They gave out goodie bags to all the passengers on the plane… and the note attached was from the boys that said: “We’ll try to be on our best behavior, but we’d like to apologize in advance just in case we lose our cool, get scared or our ears hurt. Our mom and dad (AKA our portable milk machine and our diaper changer) have ear plugs available if you need them.” C’mon how could you be mad at that!!!! Love it!  Bravo to them!

#2 The Tooth Fairy….

Clearly times have changed and inflation has gone waaaaay up!  Kids are raking in $3 a tooth under their pillows.  That’s up15% from last year according a ViSA survey.  Some received as much as $20 a tooth!!!!  Clearly it pays to loose your teeth this day and age.  When I was a kid you were lucky if you got a quarter, 50 cents and on a good day maybe a dollar.  We have not crossed this road yet, but we’re getting close.  So clearly I need to add losing teeth to the budget.

Kindergarten Expectations

When it came to school my mom had two choices: send me to the Catholic school 5 blocks away or the public school 3 blocks away.  That was it!  She opted for the private school.  For me the decision was a hundred times harder.  Maybe I made it harder than it had to be.  Maybe because we are first time parents and this is our only kid.  Regardless it was not easy choosing a school.  There are tons of choices but figuring out the right one was a long and exhausting process…at least for us.  We decided to send our son to the neighborhood public school.  Ironically, we said we would never send him there.  We heard that it was a terrible school.   We heard the test scores were horrible and it just didn’t seem like the school we wanted to send our kid to.  So, we seriously contemplated sending him back to his private school for another year.  But instead I did some research.  I checked the test scores and no they weren’t what I considered necessarily great.  But I looked at how low they were in past years and how much they jumped in recent years… to me that was a good sign.  Then I joined the Facebook group for neighborhood families who were going to the school.  I read a lot of positive comments from parents who were happy with the school.  I even was able to email one of the teachers and get feedback from her.  She even invited me to volunteer in her classroom.  I sat in her classroom for three hours and she was fantastic.  She was so great with the kids.  She was friendly but firm and had full control over her class of 20.  The kids were engaged and gave her hugs before it was time to go to lunch.   I was able to ask her a lot of questions when she had a spare moment.  She had a variety of kids in her class.  For some this was their first time in school and others had preschool experience.  So my question was how do they teach 20 kids who are at all different levels?  I thought it was impossible quite frankly, but I was wrong.  I saw for myself it can be done.  I left thinking there are some very hardworking and dedicated teachers doing great things at that school.  Then one of the parents recommended I volunteer another kindergarten teacher’s classroom.  She was also fantastic.   Then my husband and I took a quick tour of the school and were honestly not impressed.  It’s old, it needs a new playground, and the media center was nothing to brag about.  Now, while I liked what I saw teacher-wise I just wasn’t 100% sure it was the right place for our son.   I was still looking for more.

Then we visited two private schools and one we really loved because of the curriculum and what it had to offer.  It was everything we were looking for…small class size, foreign language, great media center with iPads, great extracurricular activities but the one thing that came between us and that school…DISTANCE!  It would’ve taken us 45 minutes one way just to get there and probably 50-60 minutes to get home in rush hour.   Then we thought about a charter school.  I toured it and it sounded great.  I’ve heard both the good and bad about the school.  But I still had questions so I spoke on the phone with the principal.  Ultimately, we just didn’t feel confident that the school was going to work for our son.  So, then my son’s pre-K teacher told us she thought our son should come back for another year for kindergarten.  She felt he would do well and he liked it there.  We thought so too and I registered him.  Kindergarteners learn at a first grade level, which sounds great but then I wasn’t sure that was going to be right for our son either.  He had like 30-40 minutes a night of homework in pre-K so I could only imagine what it was going to be like in kindergarten.  Did I want our son to be a workhorse in kindergarten? While yes he would be learning at an accelerated level, but was that really the best thing for him?  In the end we decided no.   Our thought was not to put that much pressure on him at such a young age.  He will have plenty of time for that later on down the road.

So, we were right back to square one and running out of time because school was three weeks away from starting.   So, I called the principal at the public school we had visited several times to ask her a few questions and to see if she would respond sort of as a test.  I left her a voicemail and after a few days I heard nothing.  So, I wrote this school off again.  Then a day or two later I got a call from the assistant principal.  She was calling on the behalf of the principal who was out of town.   We talked for about 40 minutes.  She was pleasant, patient and answered all of my questions.   She told me her kids went to the school and that they came from an accelerated preschool as well.   She said they were taught to their level and learned a lot.   She told me to feel free to call her anytime and to let them know if there is an issue so they can work to improve.  After I hung up with her I was sold.  Now, I still wasn’t 100% sure about it, but I definitely had fewer reservations.  We met his teacher beforehand and liked her right off the bat.  We had also heard great things about her from other parents.  Our son liked his classroom and felt right at home immediately which was a good sign.

So on the first day of school I asked my son how his day was and he said GREAT!  I couldn’t believe it.  He loves school, but great has never been how he described it.  I was happy that he was happy, but for whatever reason I still wasn’t 100% convinced about our decision just yet.  This bit of information didn’t help.  I learned my son had 32 kids in his class with three teachers in the room.  That’s waaaaaaaaay too many kids in my book.  So, I immediately emailed the assistant principal about this and she said they were on top of it and hoped to have it taken care of soon.  Evidently, more kids than they expected registered and the kindergarten classrooms were overflowing.  So, a week later another classroom opened up and they moved the extra kids from each class out.  I thought that was a very good sign that it was resolved  so quickly.

By the third week I volunteered in my son’s classroom and of course observed.  Again, I was impressed with what I saw.  I was pleased to see his teacher really had a handle on things.  The kids were engaged while learning.  I even spent a few minutes in the lunchroom watching my son having fun with his new friends.   I left that day thinking my son is in good hands.  He’s okay, he’s learning and most important he’s happy and that’s a huge relief.

My advice to other parents is:  figure out what you want from a school for your child.  I ended up figuring it out as we went through the process.  I also realized I may have had some unrealistic expectations which made the decision process that much harder.  Definitely do some research before you pick a school.  Don’t just go by hearsay.  Go see for yourself.  Definitely meet with the principal or assistant principal and observe a class.  Talk to the teachers.  Don’t let the school’s appearance necessarily cloud your judgment.  Just because it’s not the most state of the art place or doesn’t have all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean your child isn’t learning.  Keep an open mind because things aren’t always what they seem.  Test scores shouldn’t necessarily make or break your decision.  There could be a variety of factors as to why they could be low.  Be involved!  Volunteer in the classroom when you can and get to know your child’s teacher.  Bottom-line, you know your child better than anyone else and ultimately only you can figure out what is going to be the right learning environment whether it be public, private, charter or homeschool.  We never imagined our son going to public school, but that’s how it turned out.  I feel good about it so far… we’ll see how the rest of the year goes.

Must-Don’t Holiday Traditions

I came across this article on Babble.com about 5 Must-Do Holiday Traditions (And 5 I’m Skipping).   Well after reading it I’m pretty much skipping a lot of things.  I’m not sending out holiday cards.  Come to think of it I don’t think I ever have.  I’m not standing in line for the $30 Santa picture…. even though I could change my mind on this one.  The only holiday party we’re attending is the one for my son’s classroom.  We didn’t decorate the outside of the house.  Our neighbors behind us and two doors down have enough lights for us and the whole neighborhood put together.

The reality is this time of year can be draining and my theory is it’s okay to just say “NO!”  But there are some things I am saying yes to.  I’ve been doing the Advent calendar with my son, so he doesn’t ask me every day if it’s Christmas yet.  We are making a few simple holiday crafts thanks to Sidetracked Sarah’s blog. We are watching every holiday special ever made for TV.  Christmas dinner is a party of three (my husband, my son and myself) so there’s not much to do there. We’ll make a few holiday cookies as well.  I can only hope ours look remotely as good as the ones pictured below!

Giving to others I think is a must-do during the holidays or just anytime of the year (by the way, it’s a very tough concept to explain to a 4-1/2 year old).  So that will always remain on the must-do list.

It’s just so easy to caught up in all the holiday madness and I just refuse to do it.  For one, I don’t have to the time or the energy.  I just like to just keep it simple.  No matter what… enjoy your holiday with or without traditions or maybe create some new ones!

What’s Goin On…

This video is going around on the internet and Facebook.  This is a powerful message, and raises awareness about bullying.  This could be your son, daughter or neighbor.  You just never really know what people are going through until you see something like this.  Bullying needs to be taken seriously!  I was really moved by this and I hope you are too.  See for yourself…

 

 

The Coolest Model Train Exhibit Ever….

There’s something about model trains that brings out the kid in all us.  And video of this exhibit in Hamburg, Germany is nothing like I’ve ever seen before.   It’s the largest model railroad in the world.  This is pretty incredible!  Check it out.

Treat Yourself!

For the most part I rarely ever buy myself something. Even if I do have intentions of buying myself something I always end up buying something for my son or for my husband or for the house… never myself.   Well, luckily I came across a post on Mom Finds about a Kate Spade sample sale.   As they said on my favorite episode of “Parks and Recreation,”  three very important words… treat yo’ self!  Well, that’s exactly what I did.  I got the cutest black purse and wallet for a steal.  I ordered it on Sunday and then the delivery guy came to the door Wednesday and just like that momma now has a new purse.

In theory, I know this is really no big deal, but the point is it feels good to think about myself for once… something I need to do more often!   Talk to me ladies do you make it a priority to treat yourself?

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