Monday, August 15, 2011

They Will Be Ok...and So Will I.

In just a matter of days I will have half as many children in my house.

While I am excited about the quiet that will bring, I am also nervous for Seth and Amelia and nervous for Libby and Me.

We have a nice groove going on here.  Everyone is used to everyone being in their business.  Libby's best friends are her brother and sister.  She is going to be lonely.  I will need to remember what it is like to have a 2 year old and a baby only again!  Amelia will be in all day Kindergarten, and will have more structure than she ever has.  Seth will be in 2nd grade and have to make all new friends this year.

When Seth started Kindergarten, I called it free preschool.  In Utah Kindergarten is 2 1/2 hours long.  It wasn't any big deal to me to have him gone for a bit of the day.  By the time I dropped him off, I had a little time to do a couple of things, and then it was right back to get him.  He had done preschool the Spring before Kindergarten, so I was accustomed to him being gone for a bit of the day.

Photo by Sarah Long, Joyful Photography

Amelia didn't do preschool.  We couldn't afford it, moved, had babies, etc.  There was always a reason as to why I should keep her out, so, besides dance and Sunday School, this is really her first formal schooling experience.

Photo by Heather Himmer
I worry about her.  I worry about how she will do.  What will she do when she's hungry in the middle of the day?  That girl is ALWAYS hungry.  She is also so sensitive and can (and does) cry at the drop of a hat.  I worry about her going, being with someone who doesn't know and love her like I do.  She has such a sweet spirit, and can get her feelings hurt very easily.  I want her to have a great experience, but I can't guarantee that.  It is hard giving up control over every interaction that she might have.

Photo by Heather Himmer
Seth has such a strong personality.  He is outgoing, strong willed, loud and opinionated.  He is loving, giving, happy, and energetic.  He has always had a difficult time with change and I am sure this year will be no different.  With 1100 students in their school, it is very unlikely that there will be anyone in his class he knows.  When there are 9 classes in his grade, the classes can be different every year.  I worry about how he will do having to make new friends again, and again, and again.

Photo by Sarah Long of Joyful Photography
I worry about these things and then I remember how resilient kids are.  They adapt, they change, they grow, they learn.  They know they always have me to come back to.  They know despite what happens at school, Mama is here to love them, listen, and help them.

As I am anticipating the start of school and the changes it will bring, I am thinking about ways to ease this transition for everyone.

I love walking home from school with the kids.  It gives us a chance to catch up and chat about their days.  I also love putting notes in their lunches.  Since Seth didn't take lunch until 1st grade, when he was already reading, I wrote little notes.  For my pre-reader Miss Amelia, I will draw little pictures for her. Something for her to get in the middle of the day from Mama.

Libby is going to need a little extra TLC with her best buddies gone all day.  So, I am planning on she and I having game time everyday.  It will be special Mama and Libby time where she can choose what we do, games, play-doh, reading books, whatever she wants.

Something else we do is have nightly chats.  I love this time when I can sit with my kids and just talk to them about their days.  I always ask what was your favorite part of the day and what was your least favorite part of the day?  This gives us a chance to really talk about what was going on that day.

I am hoping by having these ideas in place it will not only ease the transition for my kids but also for me.  Because I am going to miss having all my chicks in my nest.  I love my babies and love having them underfoot all day.  It is going to be hard to let go of them again, but I know they can do it and so can I.

But, I want to know, how do you encourage your kids in the not so easy times of life?  How do you encourage yourself when you don't want to let go, but know you have to?

This post is part of the Hallmark Life is a Special Occasion Campaign.  I am lucky enough to be blogging for Hallmark the rest of this year about different topics.  This month's theme is encouragement, and I couldn't think of a better way to talk about encouragement.  
Be sure to head over to Hallmark's site and sign up for their might even see me over there from time to time!
While I am compensated to write this post, as always the words are all mine and can not be bought.


Adventures In Babywearing said...

Gray didn't do preschool either, and today goes for his "evaluation" and I'm on edge! What if he doesn't know enough??

I bought the Hallmark Lunchnotes for their lunch boxes, and do enjoy having something special waiting for them when the get home from school and have the opportunity to talk (or not if they don't want to) (but I hope they want to!)


Kim said...

He is going to do great Steph. I remember feeling the same way with Seth though. Their school now doesn't do an evaluation...I guess too many kids to evaluate. It can be nerve wracking though.

Those love notes are a great idea. I think the kids and I will take a trip over to the Hallmark Store today ;)

Jen said...

I'm in the same boat here (somehow I forgot our kids are the same age!) Aaron starts 2nd grade and I'm not worried about him, but Brian starts all day kindergarten and I am worried about how well he will handle it. He can't EVER sit still for even 2 will he handle being in a classroom all day every day. And I imagine Christian will be looking around for his brothers for a while. He loves playing with them and will miss them terribly. Plus, I should have a new baby "sometime" around then (10 days to go now til the due date) so everything will be different.
Good luck coping with all the changes. I know we will all do fine, but it will take some adjustment obviously!

Connie Weiss said...

My boy starts Kindergarten on Thursday and my little Irish Twins are going to have a hard time. They have never been apart and are best buddies.

I didn't think Erick was worried about starting school. I've asked him and he doesn't say anything. Last night I told him we're going to do a dry run of getting ready and driving to school and I guess he didn't sleep much last night. Told him Daddy he is nervous.

I hope I didn't just screw this up. :(

Hopefully this adjustment to our schedules will go off without a hitch and we'll all get used to our new normal.

Have a great week!

tawnya said...

Oh, Kim. I'm so wishing you were still here and our kids were starting K together this year! I'm so nervous for Sammy to start. Everyone keeps saying "he'll do GREAT!" and I wish I had their confidence and not my mama worries...

Here's to a great year for all of us!

Heather EO said...

Me too. I'm scared. But I know Miles will be time. We're just really going to miss him.

I love your suggestions, they made me feel better. They simply need quality time with us, to talk.

Love you.


Elaine A. said...

I also send notes in B's lunch - so sweet!

Ben left this morning half-hearted. I know he's excited for a new year but I don't think he was quite ready yet, you know? I know some of his friends are in his class though so hopefully that helps.

Can't wait to hear about his day...

And you will be fine with just the two at home during the day! ;) Praying that both Seth and Amelia adjust just fine... xo

Tauni said...

Both my kids will be in school ALL DAY LONG!!! I am heart sick about this school year starting.

Emily said...

My son's starting 2nd and daughter kinder, down in Houston. The pleasant surprise is that even though their school is HUGE (as many students as my Idaho high school), for 3 years my son's had a solid core of the same kids going from class to class each year with him--your son will have friend continuity after this year.

At least they've all got us mother hens waiting for them at the end of the day. Wishing you all luck next week!

Heather said...

Notes in the lunchbox and notes in the book bags. When they would get home from school I would have a nice snack waiting for them and sometimes still do. (they are older and don't always come straight home from school) You could always bake something and have Libby help with making the surprise for her siblings. And every now and again I would walk up to the school and surprise them at lunch. Our elementary school had a wonderful open door policy and you could join your child for lunch whenever you wanted. (I could still do that with the girls in middle & high school, but I use that more as a threat now...LOL)

Praying that everyone's back to school is great! xo