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Archive for the ‘Preschool’ Category

Yesterday I had the rare opportunity to take Turner to his preschool on the bus. The day before I had unfortunately gotten a flat tire on our brand new minivan after picking up the kids from school. It wasn’t fun having to sit at the gas station for an hour with 3 kids waiting for roadside assistance, but with the car’s DVD player and the one granola bar I managed to find in my bag, we somehow made it through.

So anyways, Larry wanted to take the car in to the dealer early in the morning so he wouldn’t have to deal with waiting in line, which meant I would be car-less for morning school drop offs. I borrowed a car from a friend to take Christopher to his carpool ride and then decided I would take Turner to school on the bus so that I could go straight to the car dealer afterwards to retrieve our car. Turner couldn’t be more excited to go on the big public bus. For the first few weeks of school he would look longingly at the yellow school buses parked in front and always ask me if he would get to go on them. Berkeley public transit may not be the same as a yellow school bus, but in the eyes of a 3 year old, it’s just as exciting.

We walked the couple of blocks from our house to the bus stop and waited for only about 5 minutes before our bus pulled up. I instructed Turner before getting on that he should say “Good morning” to the driver, and he did just that as we ascended the steps. I asked him where he wanted to sit, and he said, “in the caboose!” so we marched to the back of the bus and plunked down in two empty seats by the window. As the bus pulled away and as we watched the streets of the city flash past us, I was suddenly transported back to my childhood. I did most of my growing up in New York City and taking public transportation was a huge part of my life. I think as early as 4th grade I was already taking the public bus to school on my own and in junior high and high school, I had to take two buses everyday to school. I have fond memories of me and my friends gallivanting all over the city with our free school bus passes. It’s a little shocking to me now as a mom to think of how much freedom I had back then as a kid.

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Waiting at the bus stop

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Sitting in “the caboose”

 

As the bus curved its way through downtown Berkeley, I looked out the window with my son and noticed things I had never seen before. Turner and I took turns pointing things out to each other, people we saw walking down the streets, things we saw in shop windows. Before we knew it, we were at our stop. I pressed the stop requested button and both of us hopped out the back door and took our time walking the four blocks to his preschool. He was as happy as a clam…and I was too. I don’t think I would trade in the convenience of a car for taking public transportation every day, but it was nice not to be the one behind the wheel for one morning. And it was also nice being able to share a slice of my childhood with my son.

 

 

 

 

 

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The prompt for this week is…

Friend

GO

This summer CC’s best friend will move away to New York City. He’s known her since they were both 10 months old. I met her mom at the weekly library story time and as we pushed our strollers next to each other on the way to the library, we found out that our children were a week apart and that we lived a couple streets apart. Our friendship and the friendship of our children was sealed on that day four years ago. Since then there’s been innumerable play dates, two years of preschool together carpooling everyday, toys and meals shared between the two homes like family. She calls CC “older brother” in Chinese even though she’s only a week younger and a whole head taller than him. They don’t ever seem to tire of playing with each other, begging to go to each other’s houses after school. Sometimes they fight like an old married couple and it’s hard for me to keep a straight face. I wish I could tape record all the conversations I overhear between them in the car on the way to and back from school.

But in a few months she will move across the country and there will be no more car pooling and no more play dates. CC will start transitional kindergarten at a new school without his trusty friend by his side. I don’t know if either of them realize yet the changes that are coming, but children adapt quickly, and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) also forget quickly. It’s the adults who don’t deal as well with change. Soon there will be new best friends and who knows if they’ll even remember each other in five years. They’ll only have the pictures to remind them. Hopefully the next time they meet, she won’t still be a whole head taller than him.

STOP

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The prompt for this week is…

Hero

GO

He says he wants to be Superman when he grows up. He wears his brown Curious George hoodie jacket as a super cape and has got all his friends at preschool doing the same thing. Once he complained to me while in the car about not having super heat vision. He really wishes he could fly.

My little hero is not feeling so super today. He woke up complaining that little pokey things were doing ring around the rosy in his head. Maybe it’s because he lost his super hero jacket on the school playground the other day. There’s no flying off the couch or saving the world today. Just a little sick four year old who needs his mommy to lie down next to him.

As I stroke his achy head and look into that face that’s not quite baby and not quite grown up, I want to tell him that he will always be a super hero to me. I want to tell him how much I admire the person he’s becoming. I want to tell him that he’s brave and courageous and strong and that he doesn’t need a super cape or super heat vision to prove it. There’s so much in my heart I want to tell him, but instead I kiss him on the forehead and tiptoe out of the room. Even super heroes need good naps.

STOP

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Next week will be CC’s last week of preschool and let’s just say I’m not counting down the days. It’ll be time to say goodbye to those quiet lazy late mornings when Turner is snoozing in his crib and I can actually have time to sip coffee and get into the Word. Goodbye to shower time, brush and even flatiron my hair time, pick up the mess in peace time, grocery shop with only one kid in the cart time. I’m really going to miss those three lovely morning hours.

Time to say hello to actually having a plan for the day and resisting the temptation to let CC watch videos three hours in a row. To evening showers and picking up the mess and doing dishes the night before so that at least I don’t begin the day with chaos. To finding creative ways to occupy an active three and half year old while his baby brother is napping. To getting used to spending personal time with the Lord with the theme song of Dinosaur Train playing in the background.

On the bright side, it will also mean that the boys will get to spend more time together going to places we haven’t been to for awhile. Here are some of our favorite spots, so if you’re a mom who will be going through school withdrawal after next week, come and join us!

  • Habitot awesome indoor hands-on play museum for younger kids in downtown Berkeley. I love how it’s not too big so it’s easy to keep an eye on all your kids even when they’re doing different activities. There are frequently deals on Livingsocial or Groupon for multiple visits and the Berkeley Public Library also offers free passes. You can also purchase a special summer membership which gives you unlimited visits until the end of September. 
  • Oakland Zoo – admission is pricey, but again library offers free passes. You don’t have to pay admission for the rides and train located outside of the zoo, just the price of the ride tickets.
  • Little Farm at Tilden – make sure you stock up on celery and lettuce before you go!
  • Lawrence Hall of Science – fun for all ages. Great indoor hands-on exhibits and fun outdoor play areas. Once again, look for a library pass!
  • Children’s Fairyland – such a fun place for the little ones – rides, animals, train, carousels, puppet theater, just to name a few. I scored a livingsocial deal for a year membership which I split with another mom, which gives me and the kids unlimited visits for a year for about $20. Sounds like a fairy tale to me!

What places will you be taking your kids to this summer?

Mission control at Habitot

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CC’s preschool teacher told me at our last parent teacher conference that I should try to assign him some jobs that he can do around the house. My first thought was, “What kind of job can a 3 year old do?” All his attempts to “help” me in the past haven’t exactly been that helpful and would usually result in me cleaning up some mess or other. But for the sake of his development, the teacher told me that it would be good for him to feel useful and be given some responsibilities.

So now I look for every opportunity to put my toddler to work and I’ve discovered that 3 year olds can actually do a lot! I’ve been underestimating my son all along. Of course, I’ve also learned it’s important to not give him jobs that are too challenging because it usually leads to frustration and CC tends to deal with frustration by throwing things and screaming. But amazingly, he’s proved that he can do a lot of things which are actually helpful to me in the running of our little household.

In case you have a 3 year old at home you can employ too, here are some jobs I’ve found that are good for preschoolers:

  1. Dressing himself – he doesn’t do it everyday, but some days CC likes to be able to pick out his own clothes and put them on himself. Just make sure you give your child plenty of time (not 10 minutes before you need to leave for school). And as long as it’s weather appropriate, you have to be okay with his/her fashion choices (even if it is a red wool sweater vest over a fireman T-shirt).
  2. Helping out in the kitchen – instead of plopping your child in front of a video so you can cook dinner, try involving your child in the cooking process. When CC was little I used to put him in his high chair and have him watch while I pretended to be hosting my very own cooking show. Now I try to find little things he can do to help to keep him occupied. Here are some things my little sous chef is getting really good at (they’re also great for developing fine motor skills):
    • mashing potatoes
    • peeling garlic
    • snapping the ends off green beans and asparagus
    • beating eggs
    • sprinkling cheese on casseroles20130204-150720.jpg
  3. Cleaning – arm your kid with a rag, small dustpan and broom, or a feather duster and let them go crazy!
  4. Gardening – what kid doesn’t like to play with dirt? Enough said.
  5. Community service – every Saturday morning our church has a cleaning/service time where we come together to clean the meeting hall followed by a delicious brunch together. CC loves this time. He usually likes to help out with the gardening, but I think I’ve finally found the perfect job for both of us. We go around and pick up the trash on the sidewalks around the meeting hall. CC loves to use the special trash picker upper and has become quite adept at it even though it’s almost as tall as he is. We always get a lot of smiles from people passing by. 🙂

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