Wednesday, September 30, 2009

preschool - the drop off

Preschool drop offs are SUCH a tricky thing. Preschoolers are tender. They want to explore Independence but they want their security close by. The are experimenting with language, with cause and effect and with power. The power to make mommy smile. The power to make mommy sad. The power to make mommy angry. It is fascinating and scary to them. Most parents need their preschoolers to enjoy preschool. As one wise woman told me 9 years ago, "If you spend all day long speaking to a two year old you begin to speak like a two year old and even, sometimes, forget who the mommy is."

I am assisting in a two year old class room this year. We have all personality types in our classroom and all personality types amongst our parents. The first two weeks are always hard as our kids get used to drop off. You can always tell who is going to be fine though by how the parent handles it. We have one dad who just does not want to go. He is sure his son cannot handle it. He spends 15 minutes saying "daddy is going to work okay?"

As someone who works in the classroom please believe me when I beg you "PLEASE don't do this!"

By saying "okay?" with a question mark you are asking your child's permission to leave. Please do not do that. When you are ready to leave please matter of factly tell your child it is time for you to leave. If your child is prone to being upset let the classroom workers know just before hand. We will hold your child, we will hug your child, we will reassure your child. I personally prefer to just scoop them up (unless they don't like that and some don't) and hold them and say "daddy will come back" until they are calm.

Secondly, the longer the dropping off parent stays the more time they are giving their child to work up into a tizzy. Essentially they are enabling and encouraging their child to throw a fit. Some parents really seem to need this validation that they are the most important people in their child's life. It really isn't fair to the kid.

Thirdly. We expect some children to have separation anxiety. We work it into our day in the classroom routine. However, after about 15 minutes we are ready to get on with our morning. The longer the parent prolongs the good bye the more disruptive it is to the other kids in the classroom. Remember, we love your child; and we do. We love our kids in our classroom. But in my classroom there are 9 kids. If your child needs to be comforted when you leave and you wait 20 minutes to leave and it is time to line up and wash hands and go to circle... I cannot hold your child. I have 8 other kids to help find circle time. They are two year olds. It is like herding cats. If you only stay 5 minutes, then chances are good I can devote between 5 and 10 minutes to your child to get your child calm and ready to enjoy their day.

There is a little boy in our class who looks like my son looked when he was 2. He loves school but he is very attached to his mom. The first week of school he started getting upset during the last 30 minutes of class. So I picked him up. He let loose and sobbed, heart wrenching, sobs. It was awful. Since then mom has gotten less and less strong about leaving. Today she stayed but she wanted to sneak out so he just cried and whined the whole time. He was miserable. The class was miserable. It was awful. Please don't do that to your kid. Either leave or commit to staying and tell the kid you are going to stay. They are little. If you just want them to play with someone their own age and you don't care - then stay. If you need 2 hours by yourself for your sanity then make a break for it. But don't drag it out.

There is a little girl in our Monday class. She is sweet and very strong in personality. She does not like change and she does not like not to be in control. Her mother is delightful. Her mom knows it is hard and she holds her daughter and helps her find something engaging and stays very calm. And when mom is ready to go she looks me dead in the eye and nods her head and I move closer. And mom pulls her daughters arms off of her neck and hands her daughter to me. She calmly says goodbye and walks to the door. She does not say "okay?" she does not look back, she does not stop. Her little one is upset for a few minutes but she likes books and is happy to sit in my lap and read a book until she is settled and then she goes and plays. I wish this mom could give drop off lessons.

If you are new to the preschool or kindergarten routine I highly recommend a sweet book for you and your little one to share together.

It is called "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn.
One of our preschool teachers shared it with her class. Even though neither of my boys had ever shown any reluctance to go to preschool they each heard that book in their 4 year old class (their last year in preschool) and loved it. Per the book, we kissed hands every drop off for the rest of the school year.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Watermelon Monster...

Hosted by a Southern DayDreamer

The kids and I experimented with potted plants a bit this year.
On the back deck we had a cucumber plant that made it through mid July when it got too hot but yieled 9 or 10 cucumbers - tomatoe plants that grew like weeds but gave us tomatoes in August and we still have only had ONE red one and a few other not so great tries here and there.
In the front I tried planting watermelon, corn, and sunflower seeds. They all seemed to get eaten within two inches of sprouting. WE live in a heavy deer and rabbit area. Mid summer I put some watermelon seeds in a small pot and set them out front in amongst our landscaping. We were gone most of August. We came home to a MONSTER plant... even so. We've seen 3 fruit... we tried harvesting one and it was sweet and juicy but not yet pink on the inside. We are waiting a bit to harvest the other two...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

transformation of a side table - plant stand - something

with Smiling Sally

one of the mom's donated this blue table:

I added a black wash, and then started painting apples...

now it is ready for "personalization" we will use finger prints of each kid in the class to make little "inch worms"

my painting buddy

Saturday, September 19, 2009

One can dream...

It is fall. Definitely fall here. Crisp mornings, cool nights. On my walk today with the dog (I overslept my run) I saw all the signs of turning grasses - the tall grasses and weeds in the marshes and along the walking path turn first and then when the grounds is brown it seems the trees turn. It was fun. I love the colors and I promised myself to organize my week so either Tuesday or Thursday AM Bitsy and I can go "color" outside. It has been too long... I don't even know where the pastels and paints ARE. Shame on me.

Everyfall I get wardrobe antsy - maybe it is the tradition of "back to school shopping?" I don't know. I start wanting a make-over. I used to be a clothes hound. I adored clothes. And I was spoiled. Because my mother wasn't allowed to use our social security checks soley on survival (go figure) she had to give us "play money" and I spent all mine on clothes. {that I still don't get. If you have a family receiving financial aid - WHY can the adult not use the checks to pay mortgage, groceries and utilities???} It wasn't tons and tons mind you. But it was more than I'd had before and it was all mine to be as selfish with as I wished. I had red boots. And a pair of raspberry pink swede boots, and fabulous things bought at the thrift store and then I'd sew them up into something different because I had TIME and I'd visit my grandmother in northern NJ and she'd send me out shopping and I'd come home with amazing things... clothes were a hobby!

And so every fall I sort of go through a period where I want and I want and I want.... this year my oldest is in Jr. High and not in uniform. Even though they go to public elementary school - it is still a uniform school (kahki pants, polo style shirts in red, white or blue) so choosing clothes is new and exciting. The two of us sat down two weeks ago and went bananas over a Saks 5th Avenue catalog that got sent to us. {I'm guessing based on credit card spending or something. Because my husband's business is an LLC so the finances are all tied together - and because he travels EVERY week and puts air fare and hotel and rental car on his business credit card every week we get all kinds of crazy mail. Like Departures magazine. Oh I LOVE that magazine.} It was hilarious to look at that catalog with my daughter. "$1,000.00 shoes? Mom who pays that much for shoes?" and so on. And of course it was all trying to be couture so it was wild stuff. She was fascinated. And then we pulled out what I would wear if I had "the means" and I'm pretty much British Country. Ralph Lauren on a horse sort of stuff. I love those clothes. Today Departures came and with it came a minim magazine advertisment for Brooks Brothers. I've never paid them any mind and why would I? I don't need a suit and I don't need a $90.00 shirt. They have a fabulous pair of shoes on sale for $200-something but only in size 9.5 and like I can spend $200.00 on shoes! Oh but fun to look at. And I loved the mini magazine add because it told all about the company. I didn't know that they still make a majority of their clothes in the United States (in Massachusetts) or that some of their fabric was actually milled in the U.S. as well. Most of their fabric is woven in Italy but they still have some made here. That is kind of cool. And that they are known for dressing U.S. presidents... Lincoln, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Clinton, Kennedy and Obama have all worn their suits. I think that is kind of cool too.
So if ever I am in the market for an amazing trench coat, or a suit, or who knows what. I'll have to look them up. In the meantime I'm kinda inspired to see if I can squirrel away a bit and take my husband to N.Y. in 2 years on our 15th Anniversary and buy him a rockstar American made suit. He actually wears them. :-)

I know I occasionally go off on my "made in America" thing and many of my blogger friends are from around the world. My thing is: too many of the things in American stores come not just from other places (I don't have issue with importing and exporting) but they come from countries where people are paid nothing in poor conditions so Americans can have "lots of cheap stuff" that drives me insane. So if I'm offending others with my "made in America" rants I am sorry. I am not intending to be xenophobic. I am not xenophobic. I just wish American's as a group would pay a touch more to buy things made in their own country by people who earn a living wage. That's all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

a most hilarious facebook discussion

CailinMarie if one more person not directly involved in caring for and driving around children tells me how tired they are I'm going to commit a federal crime

Sun at 10:29pm · ·
Annice Johnson
ok, so they are not my kids, but I do care for and drive kids around, may I now complain? ;)
Sun at 10:39pm · Delete
Cindy Smyers Sandelin
You are so awesome! I couldn't agree more!
Sun at 10:48pm · Delete
Margaret Clarkson
Sun at 11:10pm · Delete
Megan Pilarski
Never in a million years would I ever complain to you about being too busy, too tired, etc. You amaze me.
Sun at 11:11pm · Delete
Nadene J. Bradburn
And no jury in the state would convict you.
Yesterday at 6:19am · Delete
Gail Dillon
Girl--you win! I can't imagine how you get through the day without 1) alcohol, 2) Valium or 3) a damn good nanny. I'm barely keeping it together with two kids some days...
Yesterday at 9:55am · Delete
Nadene J. Bradburn
Totally. What Gail said.
Yesterday at 10:11am · Delete
Margaret Clarkson
Yesterday at 11:34am · Delete
Keith Mulhare
Ahhhh gawd Im so tired today. Was up late partying, now I only have a few more hours to rest before I must party tired.... yaaaaaaawn....

Yesterday at 11:39am · Delete
Hannah Im
unfair cailin - i'll never have kids, but i get legitimately tired at times. tiredness is a valid state of being for all of us. hope you can find a moment for a mind vacation at least. xoxo
Yesterday at 12:26pm · Delete
Gaye Moth
OMG, that's awful! I can't believe you posted that. That deserves a smacked bottom!
Yesterday at 7:47pm · Delete
Cailin Mulhare Yates
To all of you who get my moment of weakness - kisses - Keith I heart you for making me snicker - Gaye I FRIGGIN DARE you (wouldn't that be a moment to remember on the preschool playground) Hannah, in the future, when a mom breaks for a minute and vents, you offer chocolate and a hug and stay quiet.
5 hours ago · Delete
Nadene J. Bradburn
You are my hero.
5 hours ago · Delete
Gaye Moth
Hey, I edited. My first response was way worse.
5 hours ago · Delete
Margaret Clarkson
or a mom could be offered tea with that hug or even better... a night out with the girls :-)
4 hours ago · Delete
Nadene J. Bradburn
...and bourbon in that tea
4 hours ago · Delete

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vintage Grandma

The Junior Woman's Club Of Williamsburg hosts a Casino Night every year. This year's event was held last night at New Town Bank. Sadly my husband is off working a "go live" in Florida so I put on my "big girl panties" and I attended on my own - I had donated a basket of Arbonne's SeaSource Detox Spa products to the Silent Auction. All procedes are being used to support the Rita Welsh Literacy Foundation. I even had a good time. I saw several woman I hadn't seen in a while and it was great to speak to them face to face and reconnect. I managed to introduce myself to a few new ladies. I think I did okay even though social settings aren't "my thing."

But I wanted to share what I wore (isn't that really the point anyway? *wink*) My husband's grandmother wore this dress to her 25th Wedding Anniversary Party and she gave it to me some 5 years ago. I had intended to wear it on a cruise I was supposed to go on with my husband's grandparents, parents and sister but I wasn't able to get on the ship because of my son's green card and immigration papers. (long ridiculous story about denying a 1 year old reentry into the United States of America.) I bought the shoes and necklace then too...

The ENTIRE dress is beaded. It needs repair but it is still amazing -

Friday, September 11, 2009

Flippin' Nightmare!


Okay - so I should just admit flat out that I am crazy.

But here goes:

This was the first week of school. SO MUCH EXCITEMENT and the anticipation and the fun of finding out who is in which class and my oldest is in Jr. High with a locker and changing rooms for different subjects and so on-

So I told the kids they could have friend over:
Beanie invited A, Em, and T. All in 6th grade. A and Em she's known since she was 2 years old.
Tiger invited his posse. C, R, S and CR. And a new kid. T.
Dragon invited P, CH, and a new kid L.
They came running, hollering, screaming off the bus at 3:45 this afternoon.

I was ready. I had grapes, bananas, gold fish crackers, hotdogs and cake... the boys grabbed nurf guns and lightsabers and headed outside. They did really well outside for almost an hour. But A and Em kept wanting to "check" on them. I reminded the girls to leave the boys alone. Around 5 they started playing hide and seek as a whole group. Around 5:30 that turned into the girls holed up in Beanie's room and the boys banging to get in.

Between 5:30 and 6 most of the kids were picked up.

But there was a lack of communication between Beanie and I and Em was expecting to stay until 7. A stayed too. And C was staying because his mom had asked if she could pick him up at 7:15.

And some time around 6:30 things unraveled - FAST. A called Tiger a "little kid." Tiger stormed off and started crying. I told Tiger that that behaviour was just proving A right - he WAS acting like a little kid. And encouraged him to let her know that she'd hurt his feelings. So I called Beanie, Em and A over and said, "Tiger has something to say." TIger addressed A and said she'd really hurt his feelings. He started to cry.

Beanie, Em and A just stared at him. I waited a minute and then I got short. "Are you going to say sorry or am I going to have to ask you to?" I asked - looking at A.
She made her apology, actually a rather good one. I rounded up Tiger, C, Dragon, and the little girls and left the big girls. I could see A backing up bright red and yelling at Beanie. I guess A left. Beanie escorted Em home.

Beanie returned home in tears and hid until C's mother came. I called Beanie and Tiger to discussion. Beanie was such a mess.

So much for our fun little gathering.

Monday, September 7, 2009

art work in the closet

pastel on paper
I've been tackle - ing this closet like space downstairs. It is bigger than a closet actually - it is a big room - it just feels like a closet because it is STUFFED full of stuff -
it is supposed to be a craft room
my husband has the nerve to call it a "studio" and then to dump everything of mine that is not tucked away into the space

I've been organizing it this weekend...

and started coming across art work
and sort of "remembering who I am"

I started a collection of bright pieces in 2004/2005 that I wanted to show all together with a tropically themed party...

I took pictures.

I'll be posting them to "show off"

The husband has a wordpress domain or something all waiting for me to go bananas and post art work. One of the things holding me back is how easy it is to download images. I guess I REALLY need to play around with things like adobe and figure out water marking. I bet it is easy...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

college work

mixed media, charcoal, acrylic, tape, paper

Saturday, September 5, 2009

current obsession

the darn preschool auction - it took over my life last fall and I am about to fall in head over heels...

seeing has how I am completely addicted to blogging. I started, what else?, a BLOG about the auction. okay, not really ABOUT. heck, last year that would have been good reading for the gossip columnist types. We had some truely "High School" moments with tears and divided loyalties and everything. No- I'm staying away from gossip (mores the pity) and I'm listing items. The initial thought was it gives our supporters some immediate publicity for their donation and hopefully it will get enough traffic that if will do that. The second thought was that even for local businesses that rely on foot traffic and not web traffic it will hopefully pay off if I can create a list of the items donated. The hope being that parents and auction patrons can look online to see what is being offered - and who offered it - and if I'm lucky as the auction draws near people will do that.

We will see. Not everybody is as addicted to their computer as I am.

This is evidenced by the lack of comments, followers, and feedback. I am posting into the void. It makes me grateful for you guys!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Time Out With THETA-MOM

so this is late -
I actually got my "me" time in on Wednesday this week -

I was supposed to be working on SEO stuff for DataXstream (husband's company) but he commandeered my computer something (he'd left his DXS laptop at the office) and so kids to bed, hubby working...
I grabbed a bottle of Pellegrino (my big secret vice) and the latest VOGUE and felt rather oppulent flipping pages of a glossy magazine in bed while sipping snazzy water. mmmmm....

Did you know?

Huge Jackman is in a Broadway show with Daniel Craig? I didn't even know either of them were stage actors. Or that Jackman had a Tony from "The Boys from Oz." seriously.

Every one is SHOWING purple but Vogue says the color for the season is really red.
and the look is 1940's. Hmmm... maybe a vintage apron to throw over my tee-shirt and jeans??? a red one... then I'll have it all covered!

I think that is about all that made it into the part of the brain that recalls and then I fell asleep. :-)

Via National Geographic - Cow Power

found this by accident. kinda cool. gotta wonder what the initial investment is though.

When the Audet family turns on the lights at Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport, Vermont, they are using electricity that comes from cows—cow manure, to be specific.

Social Media - I LOVE this!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Holy Crow - Slapping other people's kids! In Walmart!?!

My husband took over my computer yesterday and this morning and left up CNN (we don't watch it on T.V. - I don't like that I never know what dead person, sick person, or fire is going to be flashed up next and I don't think toddlers and preschoolers need to know some of this stuff - but anyway) I find CNN on my computer screen and this gem here:

and holy crow.
and he wants to know what I would do?
I don't know.
First response, kick the crap out of the guy.
Second response, I'd rather send him to jail and then kick the crap out of him when he got out...