Tuesday, October 29, 2013

new kindergarten update, plus zip lining!

In my last post I explained why I was taking Lilly out of the kindergarten where she was and place her in my home district.  Lilly has been there for 2 weeks.  Almost immediately she seemed much calmer at home.  The morning time anxiety that we had been seeing was greatly reduced.  On the 2nd day she did decide that she had changed her mind and wanted to go back to school with me.  Once she realized that was not a viable option, she moved forward and has been doing great!

We are helping her catch up with the curriculum.  She is working very hard on learning her letters, manuscript-style, because this district places importance on it, whereas the last one did not.  She also has tons more homework every night.  Most importantly, she has made friends, and she is happy!

Lilly had a big day this past weekend when she attended Camp Riverbend's Family Camp Day.  My parents came to walk around with her, since Vinnie was working.  Lilly went to the high ropes course, climbed the high wall, and then zip lined down.  I was insanely proud of her when I found out!  I am so grateful my parents were there to encourage her and cheer her on while I was doing my baking thing with the other families.

climbing the wall

she made it to the top

zip line!

the swing.  Love that smile!

Next up...Halloween!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A mom's lesson in bullying...and trust

I have written about bullying before, referring to my own experiences as a child who was bullied.  I have gone to anti-bullying seminars as a camp counselor and as a teacher.  I did not think that I would be thinking about bullying and my 5 year-old daughter who is in kindergarten.  I thought had a few years to deal with that.  I was wrong.  

To be clear, I do not know or think that Lilly was bullied in the sense of what the new laws call bullying.  But old-fashioned bullying?  Yeah, that happened to my kindergartner.  

It started with headaches and stomachaches in the morning.  Crying, telling me that she didn't want to go to school.  Classic signs that something was wrong.  It took a little while to tease out the situation, especially because Lilly was commuting with me into Hoboken each day.  It is a long, sometimes ardous commute.  I wondered if it was the commute alone that was causing her distress.  

About 2 weeks ago it came to my attention, because Lilly tells all, that a certain child in her class was bothering her.  Usually physically (punching, hitting, etc.) but also doing some other things that really frightened her and made her feel uncomfortable.  I wrote to the teacher and principal and was told they were working on the issue, because it was not just my daughter being targeted.  However, the incidents kept occuring.  Little ones, but something every day.  It was notable to Lilly when she had a day without an incident.  Yikes.  

Here is where it gets a little tricky.  Lilly goes to the school where I work.  Her principal is my boss; her teacher my colleague. Our district allows BOE employees to bring their children into the district for schooling. (with special permissions, of course)  I had an inkling that the commute might be too much for Lilly.  Heck, it's too much for me some days.  Lilly is such a good kid and rule follower that I had not anticipated problems in th classroom.  

The bottom line is that I realized that Lilly did not feel safe, emotionally or physically, in that classroom.  The school did offer other solutions, but combined with our crazy commute, my husband and I decided the best action to take would be to put her in our town school system.  

Our new school staff has so far been a pleasure to work with, even holding a space for her in the room I requested.  Lilly is going to be with her BFF Christian, about which she is over the moon excited.  She will not have to be in the car for an hour each way.  She will eat breakfast at home, not in the car, and Daddy will bring her to school.  She will not be so exhausted that we cannot do anything after school.  We had not been able to start Irish dance yet or even see her MumMum who lives the next town over because of the sheer exhaustion that we both have had.  She was tired and super cranky every day.  It was noticable to other people, even.  

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  I was getting so concerned with doing the right thing for Lilly.  I wanted her to know that she could get through this difficult situation and we would face it head on together.  I did not want her to think it was okay to quit or run away because it was hard.  However, I really wanted her to know that I trusted her feelings and intuition.  She may not have been able to tell me that she felt unsafe in so many words.  But she told me the actions and words of others, and I saw her reactions to situations.  I needed to listen to my daughter.  I needed to trust her feelings, and she needed to know that I trusted her feelings.  

I am confident that Vinnie and I took the correct action for Lilly's well-being.  I am excited for her as she begins this new chapter of kindergarten.  Lessons learned from this?  Trust your child.  Be their advocate.  Trust your parent intuition.  You know your child best.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mini Me

Seriously, how sweet is my Lilly?  Holding me around the neck, ear to ear Momma, she said.  I love these captured moments.  Those eyes...I can get as lost in her soulful brown eyes today as the moment she first looked into mine.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The wedding!

I had posted last about the wedding I was going to be in.  Well, a week ago my sister-in-law married her "hunk-of-love," as Lilly calls him.  It was a great day all around.  We had beautiful weather, and Gina & Anthony had done a magnificent job with the planning.  It was a seriously fun wedding!

Without much ado, here are some pictures that I know you have all been waiting on the edge of your seat to see.

on our way!

walking in with her daddy

daddy's girl

the gorgeous bride!

Blue Steel with my other SIL Bri