Monday, June 17, 2013

Turning in my key...

   Well, I turned in my key today.  It's been such an important key to me, for all it's given me in the past two years - access, togetherness, a feeling of importance and belonging, personal growth and the ability to watch my amazing little boy grow at the same time.  It's a strange feeling not to have it anymore, to close the book on that phase of our lives, but these are feelings I've definitely felt in the past; uncertainty, insecurity, sadness - it's hard to let go and move on sometimes.  I'm just glad my son doesn't share these feelings.  Thankfully he seems to be feeling the other side of the spectrum - familiar and confident in his friendships, optimistic, excited for the future and a new school.
    The key I turned in was my keycard for Sunny Hill Preschool.  I can't believe our two-year journey has come to an end, for Quinn and I.  When I accepted the keycard two years ago, it was at the beginning of Quinn's preschool experience - we were in a new town (well, for just over a year), I had 10 month old twins that were running me ragged (in a mostly good way), I was trying hard to make friends for our family and for myself, trying to come to terms with the idea of how to let my little boy move forward without me always by his side.  It was like I was the one starting a new school - would they like me?, what if I said the wrong thing?, do I look acceptable (as in, with two babies hanging from my body, droll on my ripped clothes, speed walking after my running-ahead boy)?...  I tried hard not to reflect these insecurities outwardly, so that Quinn wouldn't pick up on them, and he was mostly fine with the transition; a little clinginess the first couple weeks, but so excited to be going to school and making new friends and playing with all the wonderful things in his big and bright classroom. 
     I've enjoyed being involved in Quinn's classrooms both years - interacting with his classmates, meeting the parents at drop-off and pick-up, working with his teachers, being inside those walls with their bustle and promise and joy, watching Quinn laugh and learn and experience so many things, even see his sisters become less shy with people and explore certain areas of the classroom while dropping their brother off.  I became involved in the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) that first year, so that I could stay involved in his schooling despite being quite distracted in general (having infant twins can do that... I'm still wondering when I'll come out of it!) and try to find my place in the community, to have a voice and, quite honestly, not be so damn shy.  I had great ideas, I tried to share, I felt like I got squeezed out of some things, I volunteered for things, then I stopped getting "invited" to meetings, but was really happy to find out this year that I hadn't actually been disinvited, but that the PTO last year had apparently disbanded.  I tried the PTO again this year, and had great success - I was in charge of the school library, I wrote pieces for the school newsletter, I volunteered and contributed to planning so many school events and charity drives, I coordinated playdates, became Room Parent and truly thrived on it, I got the entire enrollment of parents/children together to buy a Keurif coffee machine and assessories for the school at the holidays, I attended every PTO meeting and spoke up all the time.  It was so nice to be heard, to be involved, to feel valued, and to feel like I was helping and making a difference...  I guess I'm having a hard time letting that go, knowing I'll have to start over, and there won't be a similar drop-off/pick-up oppportunity to meet other parents at and interact with Quinn's classmates.  I know I'll have to put forth a major effort and push myself not to fall into the background, but hopefully I will be able to tackle that.
        It's definitely scary to think about what next year will hold, and to only think about it when I have downtime, because I don't want Quinn to feel anxious about the future.  I want him to retain his innocence and his excitement for going to kindergarten, and just let me do the worrying about the new school, the possibility of rude kids, riding the bus, etc...  My part will still be to get involved, so I can keep tabs on this new phase that seems out of reach right now, to benefit my son first and foremost, but also to keep myself growing, too.  I know I have a lot to offer, and I have a good idea every now and then, so hopefully I can put myself in a position to share those.  The scary part is always putting myself out there, but hopefully if I can do it, then Quinn won't even think twice about doing it himself.  Because I know he has so much to offer, too, and anyone would be lucky to have him as a friend. 
         We can only pause for a moment to say "good-bye" to his preschool years, because I have to be ever vigiliant of what lies ahead, for all my children, but it's nice to reflect on the progress and growth that we both had through Sunny Hill over the past two years.  Even though I have to turn in my key, I hope I can retain those feelings of confidence and self-worth, and build upon them as we embark on Quinn's elementary school years.  Worst case, Sunny Hill, I'll be taking that keycard back in another year and a half when my twin girls will be unleashed into your halls as they start their preschool experience - hope the world is ready for that!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

School Daze

    To say I've had "a day" is an under-statement...  It's been more like two days (well, maybe 2+ years but that's besides the point).  The past two days, leading up to Quinn's last day of preschool EVER <tear, sniffle, sigh> have been so crazy hectic, my mind is still reeling.  Though, come to think of it, I feel like my head has been spinning for quite some time now... (again, besides the point). 
    The most recent instance being the build-up to Quinn's last day at Sunny Hill Preschool, everything that went along with it, and so many things in between.  This was all on top of being away in Vermont this past weekend for Doug's 20th high school reunion (lots of packing, horrible rain prior to it, some forced conversation as the DD at a small town gathering) and single-handedly remodeling our master bedroom the weekend before, while acting as a single parent of three lively children when Doug was away in California.  Plus Sierra has been every night up with "The Croup", coughing, sleepless, fussy, for a week+...
  The following is a recap of my past couple days, and the daze that I've been living in:

Sunday p.m.
    - Returned home from VT around 3 p.m. (after being away for the weekend  - packing to leave Friday night but horrible rain delayed us until Saturday morning, going to the reunion Saturday night, up all night with Sierra who also got a bloody nose from the dryness and coughing (which initially looked like she had coughed up blood so I called our doctor frantic); re-packing 24 hours later, car battery died because the radio had been on for a couple hours with the key in the wrong position in the ignition while playing outside...)
    - Wrapped teacher gifts (i.e. two totebags with the handprints of each of 16 students on them that I tracked people down over 4 weeks to get, which I decorated myself the week prior with names, glitter, etc...) and stationary; two separate packages for each of two teachers so that multiple kids can be involved in presenting them to teachers;  hopefully they look nice, didn't get to buy any special wrapping paper, just two nice bags, gotta coordinate tags and paper, hope they don't look completely stupid...  worst case, I guess, maybe it looks like the preschoolers did it all themselves!  that doesn't speak highly of my crafting ability...

    - Still up with Sierra throughout the night; doctor necessary?  hopefully her cough isn't so bad today and it means she is getting better!
    - Stupid rain...  Have to arrive at preschool early to hand off gifts to kids to give to teachers.  Kids sleep later than I'd like so we race out the door to get there before the classroom door opens...
   -  At school, some kids are too shy to hand the gifts to the teachers...  but luckily others step up (and give the wrong gifts to the other teacher... but no worries, good thing I put tags on them).  Teachers excited, will probably open after morning circle starts
   -  Target shopping with my girls while Q's at school - What to do for my Dad's birthday and for Father's Day gifts?  Saw some cute shorts; bought 9 pairs, to be tried on later, maybe something will work?
   - pick up Q in the rain, fun carrying two girls and an umbrella, plus Q's backpack and large craft projects once I've retrieved him from his class
   - Make homemade seashell shaped candy for teachers and school office staff, letting Quinn dot on the sprinkles but they're rolling everywhere...  ugh, resisting the urge to push him elsewhere and clean them all up!
    - no nap for Kelsey, Sierra short nap b/c she's still coughing but not as bad as before...  hope I'm not being a bad Mommy by missing some important sign; neighbor over with her new 6 week old baby, hope she wasn't bored sitting around with all these kid things still going on (as her's slept peacefully in his carseat) for me
    -  this is some horrible, dreary rain.  going to attempt to make it to the library storytime at 10, to get the kids out of the house
    -  Have to make Fathers Day gifts - Quinn and I paint lots of styrofoam balls though he fizzles out part way through (of course, since I offered to do the painting last night so they'd be dry to assemble this morning...);  also have to organize the kids to get the best possible footprints onto a shirt for my Dad, their Poppa...  Sierra's attempt not wonderful but perfected after Quinn and Kelsey
    -  Pause to bleach out tub to remove purple, blue and green paint rings...  note to self - bleach, I mean, clean their feet soon... or later...  later is good.  
    -  where are those ants coming from?
    -  help Quinn turn one of his pieces of artwork from school, into a Birthday Card for my Dad, put together with gift certificate for one of his favorite restaurants that I picked up at Target, put out in mail as mailman pulls up
    - Take kids upstairs to get dressed so they don't watch too much television - they play hide-and-seek while I try to put away clean laundry (been sitting since Thursday) and make up beds and cribs (tryin' since last Tuesday!); 
    -  oh well, kids being good, skipping library today given horrible rain and fierce urge to catch up on housework - decide to redo the dusting and swiffering of their rooms and my own, also mop bathroom floor to finish that room that I started Friday night
    -  downstairs at 11:30, Bug Guy comes earlier than appointment (part of routine service which has been rescheduled twice already b/c of rain); spray spray spray outside, sprinkle for flying ants in corner...  hope that clears up stupid piss ants around dining room, entry way?  Maybe if the rain held him off for two weeks, they wouldn't have made it inside anyway
    - lunch and get girls into beds for nap-attempts:  swiffered floor...  see tons of pollen, maybe I should dust downstairs, too?  Give Q his Learning Tablet while I tear into full-on dusting of living room, dining room, most of kitchen...  Why are there so many friggin' ants!?!?  Stupid Ants...  dammit, granola bar chunks on the floor from snack time..  sweep them up... waiting for Sierra to wake up so I can vaccuum.  Am I hosting a playdate this afternoon?  Yip - glad they're coming but holy granola and ants, I have to finish this mess.
    -  Finish lettering on front side of my Dad's shirt; my crafting abilities are again proving to be less than elementary level, dear Watson
    - feeling guilty that Q is restless (despite that I've been trying to play "I Spy" and the "Letter" game with him on the go...), Kelsey's nap attempt has failed and she's having book time by herself...  wish I was playing with them but just need one more minute to clean this mess...
    -  Play some "Spot-It" with K and Q, Q cries because I get more matches than him, K actually got a few on her own; smart girl!  Vaccuum minutes before Friends come over, get Sierra up (cannot let her sleep past 4 or she won't go back down at night!).  Nice playdate but my mind is not entirely focused on conversation, especially when Q announces that they want to play "ant hunters"... 
    -  dinner, baths for all three kids, gotta wash the paint off those feet!  Check for lice on three kids (lice spotted in Q's classroom but not his class; still gotta check for a few more days on three heads)
    -  Help Q assemble our bird crafts that I/We painted, two are dry enough to be put together and that's all he can stand anyway; send him to bed (he then moves to the couch in our room while I'm showering; he's having a hard time falling asleep alone these days...)
    -  After <kids> bedtime chores: 
            - Sweep floor again (few ants still... steam out of my ears),
            - Dry & straighten my hair after my shower
            - Wrap up candies for teachers and school office staff; hope they like them, hope it doesn't look like a dinky gift! 
            - Need to fold 2 loads of laundry, a third is soaking wet in a broken washer...  too heavy to spin - have to manually wring out the stupid blankets and spin two at a time before tossing them into the dryer (2 hour job...); 
           - Finish going through Preschool's library binder (which I've been in charge of all schoolyear), organize, find missing resources, leave messages for outstanding bags...
           - Put finishing touches on back of my Dad's shirt, hang to dry overnight

     - I think I slept almost all night, at least since Sierra woke up at 2:30; kids cuddling with me in bed and I don't have to heart to move anyone before 7:45 a.m.
    -  Finally race downstairs for breakfast; Q decides on oatmeal which takes longer to make and longer to cool off to eat...  but it's his last day of preschool so I want him to have something "special" - boring old cereal for the girls though! 
    -  Find boxes and supplies to package and mail my Dad's gift and my grandfathers gift; able to wrap them and box them up but have to finish after school/class is out...  taking supplies in the car
    -  collect things to take along - Q's backpack with show'n'share item, teacher/staff candies, plates and napkins I purchased for the End-of-Year picnic at a classmates house after school, gift boxes to mail,
   -  HAVE TO register twins for their classes in the Fall - super popular, space very limited, opens at 9 a.m. but that's when I have to drop Q off at his preschool and being the last day, I don't want to drop and run...  But he ends up running inside anyway while I drag his sisters up the walkway and steps into school, only to turn around and race back to the car, don't even get a picture of him on his last day, carrying Sierra and forcing Kelsey to walk fast as she whimpers (poor baby)
    -  heart racing as I drive to the Parks and Rec office to register the girls - I've seen the line in past years and it's not a good scene, and I don't have time to run home to log onto the computer b/c the girls have their "Jump, Roll and Sing" class at the P&R at 9:30 anyway...  luckily there's no line when I arrive, my girls are in the stroller so I can try to focus on the paperwork except another random child keeps stealing Kelsey's goldfish crackers from her snack-cup and some random boy keeps trying to hug Sierra while she's restrained, and neither of them are being friendly back...  But, I get the paperwork filled out and get the girls registered for the three classes I wanted...  bullet sweat can conclude anytime please
     -  attend the girls' last "Jump Roll and Sing" class at P&R, talk to other Mom's about who might be in their fall/winter/spring class, say some "Good-byes"...  not good at "Good-byes". 
     -  Race home to pack lunch for girls/Q for afterschool picnic at classmates house, make myself another coffee to shoot directly into my travel mug (thank heavens for Keurig!),
     -  Arrive back to Q's class 20 minutes early for their end-of-year presentation, sweet slideshow of all the kids and special shots of each child throughout the year, sad music easily brings tears to my eyes and I have to blink really fast so no one sees.  Lots more Good-bye's, to school staff that I've worked with, to his two teachers who I've been Room Mother to, they give me a beautiful potted flower for my efforts (hope the fruit flies at my house don't kill it, if I can even carry it and all our other things out to the car now...).  I feel like I'm graduating, too, as my first baby moves on from preschool and looks forward to kindergarten, probably harder for me to say goodbye than it has been for Q... 
    - Have to go to Post Office today to mail out Dad and Pop Pop's gifts - debate whether to go to the one in our town or the one that nicer and quicker but a little farther away...  opt for the one in my Town, I'm sure it won't be too bad today, right?  WRONG, POST OFFICE FROM HELL - they are so slow with all the things they have to ask (liquid, fragile, perishable... add stamps?  want a PO Box?), patrons have open, unaddressed boxes when they step up to the desk and they expect the worker to take care of that, too...  25 minutes later it's finally our turn and I'm irritated and stressed so I'm sure I'm not as friendly as I am supposed to be...  finally headed to picnic
     -  Arrive at Jack's house and though windy, it's sunny and beautiful; racing to get my plates and napkins in there before kids start to starve or anyone thinks I've dropped the ball, Q's happily playing with some of the boys, the food and such is in a fenced in area so my girls can't wonder off.  I spread out our blanket and a couple other people join us, bring pizza to the girls on our blanket, try to make conversation though I find my mind is still in go-go-go mode.  Talk with three other friend Mom's as we eat and help kids to settle down and eat.  Release the girls onto playset and unfenced area of yard, so I chase them around and restrict their fun (as I see it, hopefully they don't know any different!) b/c I just cannot keep chasing and would really like to talk to at least one other Mom and not have our conversation aborted as I run away.  Watch Q and boys play baseball and ride bikes, one nice boy pushes Kelsey <gently> on the tire swing, I talk with the kids about school and their summer plans.  Never did make it over to the adult area on the patio or eat any of the grown-up food (just three half pieces of pizza the kids couldn't finish), where the childless mothers and one Dad are chatting and relaxing and lounging on chairs (they're not actually childless, they have 5 year olds but they don't have to chase them or keep tabs on them as much, so they get to enjoy being with other adults; hmmm, maybe that's why a lot of the kids talk to me about things, b/c I'm constantly on their level, while playing with my girls on the ground, and not seemingly-ignoring them like other adults do?  besides the point). 

      Overall, the picnic was a nice way to end the school-year, to ease into saying Goodbyes to people we may not see, letting Q play with friends and not think about the ending on one phase of his little life (kids don't think of things like that).  I was able to talk to several Moms, one whose son was playing with Q anyway and another who has a 1 year old and is in the same boat (or sinking ship?) as I am.  I breathed a sigh of relief as we walked back into our own house; I didn't see as many incomplete projects lying about and I knew our mothers helper Eve would be coming in the afternoon so I didn't feel as pressured to do anything immediately.  I read a story to the kids, layed the girls down for naps (Sierra slept, Kelsey failed again but trying not to let that affect my blood pressure), watched our craft show with Q and played a game with he and K.  Eve arrived and played with the kids, which I did little things around the house and made dinner - starving so I made myself some asian pot stickers, reheated a freezer meal of pork stir-fry (from the double batch I'd made a few weeks ago), and crescent rolls (are these ones from March still good? does anyone else get nervous having to manually pop the cylinder open?  the burned anyway so guess we won't be quality checking those after all...). 
       I think I'll take it easy tonight - just need to exercise and shower... nah... oh, wait - I have to wrap the birthday present for the party tomorrow (crap, it's not at the venue I thought it was at, where I was going to keep the girls out of the gym so the hostess wouldn't be charged for two more... now what do I do? ).  And I need to send an email to the Sunny Hill "graduates" about the kindergarten playdates next week...  I think the one room mother forgot to send me her info?  hmm, what to do...  oh, and I want to write down the ingredients for the dishes I want to make for the weekend, out of the Food Network magazine I bought (I get so hungry reading that one, but I'm sure my stomach will thank me!).  And gotta figure out what we're doing for Father's Day and a gift/card for Doug...  oh, and a cousin's birthday is Saturday, gotta look into a rush gift for that one... crap, gotta get a belated gift for my cousin's birthday last week that I am just now remembering....  
          School might be out for the year, but I think I'll be in this "daze" for many years to come!!