Category Archives: preschool

Me too

After a month long winter break otto goes back to preschool tomorrow. His teacher sent a postcard saying they would be studying animals and he was to bring in a favorite stuffed animal. We have been talking about who would make the trip to school for the big day. At first Baby Alligator was the chosen one, but after careful consideration it was decided that he is too special to take to school and should instead stay home and guard Otto’s bed with Blankie. Otto has a small stuffed bat who became very popular after there was a real live bat flying around in the living room this past fall. He seemed to be the strong second choice.

Today i was getting things ready for school tomorrow and i asked Otto if he still was sure he wanted to take Batty. He agreed that was his first choice. He seems very excited to get back to school and see his friends which is really great. We haven’t been out of the house much lately in our failed attempt to not get sick and the kids have turned into quite the home bodies. It was pretty hard to get them out the door to CVS this morning. I was a bit worried otto wouldn’t be excited about school and would resist going in the morning.

What I wasn’t anticipating was when i asked Otto if he was still set on taking Batty, Mette responded with “I am going to school too and I am taking baby crocodile.” Not only is she not going to school tomorrow but we don’t have a baby crocodile. I think we are going to have to have a girls date at Cherry Alley for hot chocolate after we drop off Otto tomorrow if i am ever going to get her out of there. She usually wants to stay, I can’t blame her, it does look like a lot of fun, but she really is set on the fact that tomorrow she is going too.

****And just for a good family update, eric fell hard as victim to the stomach flu tonight and from the sounds of it, I am RRALLY hoping this passes me by!*****

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Attitude is everything

Today Otto, Mette, Megan and her two boys, Rachel and her two little people and myself made sugar cookies at our house. It started off innocently enough. This morning while eating breakfast Otto asked if we could have a playdate with some friends and went on to list all of the above mentioned friends along with some other friends who are now in Australia for six months. (Sorry, Belinda I would have emailed you too but i didn’t think you would make it in time.) It seemed like a great idea so I sent out the invite email. Wednesday is usually playgroup but since our car is at the Harrisburg airport awaiting eric’s arrival tomorrow we were staying home today. In the email I mentioned that it would be fun to make cookies with the kids. Turns out when you offer to make cookies, kids are pretty excited to come. Funny, I know. In your head when you think about making cookies with kids it is all rosy and fun. And then you see 5 little facea around a table all eyeing the sprinkles and dough you start to think “was this the best idea I ever had?”. It was however a lot of fun. Even with one child falling down some stairs, another falling off a chair and Mette pretty much falling asleep at the table during lunch after yelling at everyone not to say her name, but to instead call her Tarzan, I would call it a success.

Before everyone arrived Mette, Otto and I made the dough so it could rest in the fridge. If you have ever wondered why so many of our pictures are taken in our kitchen, here is the reason why. Our kitchen gets the most beautiful southern exposure and the light is heavenly. Literally, if there is heaven, I am sure it is lit like this.


Before starting the whole cookie making process otto and I talked about how he couldn’t just eat all the sprinkles.


It really sunk in.


Keeping ten little fingers out of trouble is tough, even with three moms on the job. One look to see what otto was doing and Mette decorated her cookie by herself.


Yum!


A masterpiece.


After everyone had left and while Mette was still sleeping Otto and I made the second ball of dough into cookies. He did an amazing job of not eating all of the sprinkles and cut out the shapes all by himself. My intention was to take some to his preschool tomorrow to share with the other kids since it is their last day before the holiday break, but Otto really wants to show them to eric and I think that is fair so we are keeping them all. Selfish in a season of giving I suppose but given how much Eric likes cookies, it makes perfect sense.

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Filed under christmas, food, handmade, otto and mette, preschool, projects

Going so well

School, that is.


Otto seems to be loving his school, and so am I. Each day he is excited to go and is off before I can say good bye when we get there. When I go to pick him up he is engaged in fun and hesitant to leave. I am really hoping the enthusiasm continues. So far, so good.

I am also loving his school. Today I received this email from his teacher:

Hi Friends,

This week we will be talking about the waxing moon as it approaches its full harvest moon phase on Thursday night. We will read some books and hear some stories where the moon plays a central role. See if you can walk outside with your child and notice the moon this week. We will also be talking about the first day of autumn which occurs Wednesday. Finally we will be making grape juice. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

It doesn’t get much better than that in my eyes. You should know, the grapes they will use are grown at the school so the kids will help in the harvest as well.

I have some great pictures, I got my camera back!!!, to share but that requires getting the iPad out of eric’s hands and he is currently reigning champion on Shrek Cart so it may not happen tonight.

Otto had his first night of soccer school tonight. It went pretty well. There was an older kid who was literally beating Otto up and the teachers weren’t doing anything about it. Eric stepped in and stopped it but it seems to have bothered Otto. As you can well imagine. He has a week before the next class so we will see how he is feeling then. I think overall it is and will be something he likes, he just is working out how to process the whole thing. It is really hard seeing your kid in a situation like that. I think both eric and I are still dealing with what to think about it as well.

Oh, one other thing, today is day three in a row of no naps from Otto. He seems totally fine. It doesn’t seem to make him sleep in any later, he is still up and raring to go at 6:12 so I have adjusted the bedtime. They normally were going upstairs for bed at 8 or a little after, tonight lights were out at 7:30. There were no complaints and it seems pretty quiet up there. Often Mette fights an earlier bedtime but she has been really tired lately so it may just work out fine. Today he did a very good job of playing quietly downstairs while I cleaned. He went in and outside all by himself engrossed in his own world of cars and games. On days where he goes to school I think I will encourage him to lay down in bed for half and hour, but if he doesn’t fall asleep I will let him come downstairs. I knew this day would come eventually and I have to say, it is much less of a big deal than I thought it would be. If he can play quietly and let me get done what I want to get done while Mette naps, and if it means they go to bed earlier, I am fine with that.

Speaking of going to bed, I am on the last of the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo books and I have a habit of staying up WAY too late reading them so I am going to go get a head start on getting to sleep.

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Filed under no naps, otto, otto soccer, preschool, soccer

And he’s off

Today was it. The day Otto started preschool. I can not tell you how much time I spent worrying about today. It has only been recently that I have been able to leave Otto without him having a melt down and even then it usually has to be a perky undergrad who he is staying with for the situation to be OK with him. Change is hard on him. Anything that seems like it is a big deal makes him nervous and his way of dealing with being nervous is usually to fall apart. Otto can fall apart in a most dramatic and intense way. If you have not seen him in full swing before, it can give you pause. So, you can imagine how many sleepless nights I have had over this. As today grew closer though I started to think that it might, just might, go alright.

For one, he started to seem somewhat interested in the whole concept of school. I think the fact that Daddy is a teacher (tenured prof. really, but let’s for the sake of argument call him a teacher) and when he goes to work each day, he is really going to school. School is a big part of our lives. When know what days Daddy leaves early to teach an 8 a.m. class, and which evenings he goes back to work to see students. This all seemed to start sinking in with Otto recently. He has been really into ROBOTS lately and I just happened to have a great piece of fabric with really cute robots on it. I used it to make him a backpack which he fell in love with. We bought two reusable snack bags for him to take to school and he liked the designs I chose. One has robots of sorts and the other has a very simple pear. More and more he seemed interested in what was happening.

On Friday of last week we went to the school for an orientation. Really it was just a chance for the kids to see the school, meet their teacher again and get a sense of what they would be doing today. Otto visited the school once before, but it was last winter and I don’t think he or any of the other kids remembered much from that visit. Otto had so much fun on Friday I could have left and he would not have even noticed. Within minutes of being there he was off playing and enjoying himself while I watched from the wings. It was wonderful. His teacher has two sons who she is homeschooling and they will be around on some days to help with school. They are dear sweet boys and Otto pretty much thinks they the greatest thing ever. They alone can take a lot of the credit for him feeling so much at home so quickly. That and the fact that they have a soccer goal and soccer balls in the yard. He was pretty much sold after he saw that. I left the orientation on Friday with a warm fuzzy feeling. All the prep work with play school and the long talks just might pay off. He may just be able to do this after all.

School starts every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 9 a.m. Since it is a quick walk from our house to the school this gives us plenty of time to get ready as both kids wake up with a shot at 6:12 these days. I am not joking, 6:12, no earlier, no later. I am not convinced that they don’t have an alarm clock hiding somewhere in their room! Since the first day of preschool is a big deal, eric stayed home this morning so we could all walk there together. Otto of course wanted to wear a soccer jersey, he went with his America jersey, Bucknell Hoodie that Papou got him which he wears to soccer games, and sweat pants he blessedly thinks are soccer pants. Topped off with the robot backpack he was looking pretty sharp. I will have to get some better close ups of the back pack.

We made him pose for the official first day of school photos. He actually seemed to enjoy it!

He of course had to take one with mom as well.

The walk to school takes us right by one of his buddies houses who is also going to the same school. Just as we passed their house they were coming out the front door, we all walked the last two blocks together. The two boys walked hand in hand talking about things that really only make sense to other three year old boys. It was one of the cutest things you have ever seen.

When we got to the school Otto put his bag and spare clothes in his cubby right away. The teacher asked us all to bring in a picture of something the kids did over the summer. Otto choose this picture:

which seemed like a good choice for him. They immediately started using glue sticks and paper to make a collage of everyone’s pictures. In addition to that there was a work station set up where the kids could use small knives to clean off the block crayons for the start of a new year. It didn’t take long for Otto to be engrossed and eric and I gave him a kiss and I told him I would be back to pick him up at lunch time.

And that was it.

No tears.

No, where are you going?

No questions. Just, “OK mom, see you later”.

If anything it was harder getting Mette out of there. She totally wanted a glue stick and to go to school as well. “I too, I too” she kept saying. Luckily there are grapes growing outside the door so I kept her quiet picking grapes.

When I picked up Otto he and his friends were playing happily in the backyard. He told me stories of them signing songs, cutting with scissors, reading books, the sandbox. Picking and eating pears, grapes and tomatoes. It sounded like he had a wonderful time and my inside resourse (Rachel is the assistant teacher on Tuesdays) said he had a great first day.

So all of the worrying, all of the stress, it is on it’s way out. I will be curious to see how Thursday goes, and next week. But I have a good feeling. He really seemed to have a good time. And boy, oh boy was he tired when he got home. He CRASHED for a solid three hours and was ready for bed tonight. We had a very busy day yesterday as well, tomorrow we are laying low. There will be much reading of books, snuggling and general kid setting the pace actives. Maybe homemade hot chocolate for snack. Maybe even some cookie baking. But really just fun around the house. We could use a day like that!

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Tomorrow

Hair cut and face washed.
Spare outfit folded neatly with “FADEN” printed on the labels.
All three soccer jerseys clean for the picking.
Release form printed and filled out.
Snacks ready.
Bag set.
Water bottle clean and set.
8×10 photo of what he did this summer ready to go. (eric printed it and chose the size 🙂 )
-otto chose the photo of him standing in front of the Brumos Porsche at Watkin’s Glen
Why does getting Otto ready to spend three hours at preschool 7 blocks away where one of my best friends is the assistant teacher seem so hard?

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Where were we?

Sometimes I worry that this blog will look like a visual version of a playgroup conversation. For those of you not familiar with “conversations” that take place when there are upwards of 10 small children ranging in age from one year to 4 where everyone is talking at the same time and disagreements can end in hitting are biting so they must be monitored very closely, let’s just say that many ideas are started never to be finished. Every Wednesday once I feed and get the children to bed after playgroup I sit and think about all the things I started to say to someone only to be interrupted along with all the what sounded like they would have been interesting stories I heard fragments of but never really got the whole thing. It is the same with the blog, in the evening when my mind is finally free to wander I find myself writing long posts with funny interludes and great stories. The problem is I am usually in the shower or already in the bed, no where that I could actually capture the thoughts and but them in a safe place for a later post. I need a voice recorder for my inner thoughts. Can someone invent that for me? Thanks.

There are a lot of things to catch you up on so forgive me if this is a hodgepodge list of accomplishments and stories.
Where to start…. how about swimming lessons? Otto has been taking swimming lessons every morning, this is his second week. He goes with eric which is a nice special time they get to spend together just the two of them. We were hesitant to sign him up for classes because he gets very overwhelmed in group settings and I was fearful of him getting scared of the water because he was scared of the class. Then we went to a pool party at a friends house and he was terrified of the water. That sealed the deal, he was going to be scared with or without the classes so I thought we better try. Learning to swim is something that i think you HAVE to do. The thought of an older kid who can’t swim scares me a bit. Plus, I am like a fish in the water and I am really looking forward to having many a long summer day with the kids at the pool and in order for that to happen they need to learn how to swim. I fully thought that Otto wouldn’t go near the pool and would be terrified in the class but he has surprised us and is doing great!! All of the other kids in the class have taken the class before which I actually think is good because he gets a chance to see the other kids doing stuff without being scared. Each class he is more and more brave but the best part is he loves swim class. He is excited to go everyday and tells me “it was GREAT” everyday when he gets home. Eric is pretty sure that if enough treats were offered he would swim underwater across the whole pool. I am fine with him being motivated by a piece of candy at the end of class from the teacher if it means that he pushes his boundaries and tries new things. After this week he has a week off then we will starts two more weeks of class to finish off the summer. I think that we will try a program over the winter as well to keep the momentum going. Perhaps Mette will try some too. Something tells me she would LOVE swim class!
In more Otto news, he a had a complete allergy testing done a few weeks ago. We needed to check his peanut levels so he had an appointment with the allergist but I also wanted to get him tested for seasonal allergies because he seemed to be very sniffly lately. There is a lot of talk that SPD can be caused by allergies or at least aggravated by them so I wanted to get any allergies he might have in check. Eric is allergic to quite a bit so it would stand to reason that Otto may be as well. He tested positive to dust mites, trees, grass, cats, cockroaches and ragweed. The allergist said as long as we keep the cats out of his room (which we have always done) that it shouldn’t be a problem. He asked what Otto’s reaction to the cats was, which is nothing unless he actually lays on them, then he wants to rub off the cat hair. He doesn’t get a rash, he doesn’t itch, he eyes don’t burn or run and his nose doesn’t run. So for now the cats are staying, but if his allergies become worse we will have to think about new homes for them. I am going to ignore that for now, good old Storb repression at it’s finest! The dust mites we can and have done something about. I have been washing ALL of his bedding down to his new allergy protective mattress and pillow protectors, along with Mette’s in hot water and running them through the dryer, normally I would line dry them. This includes blankies, alligator and mun-key which requires quite a bit of planning on my part. I order an all natural laundry additive so I won’t have to use hat water or the dryer which will be nice. I am all for killing dust mites, but the environmental impact of all that hot water and dryer time is a bit much. I also ordered a earth friendly, plant based spray for the furniture and rugs to use between steam cleaning that should kill dust mites as well as neutralize pet dander. Uncle Ben, all of this should be good for you too! 🙂 Just in case you were thinking you would google dust mites to learn a little bit more about them, I would like to stop you. Take a minute and think about how prepared you are to change how you look at everything in your house that is made of fabric. You also need to think about how you feel with bugs crawling on you all the time. If only someone had warned me before I started googling. There really should be a page that blocks you from learning too much about something that is totally going to freak you out. Needless to say, Otto’s bed is not the only one that is getting the FULL weekly cleaning. And I should add, I always changed the sheets every week, but I do so much more now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Right now, while the grass allergies are high we are giving him children’s Zyrtek in the morning. It works great and makes a big difference. The allergist said when ragweed hits we might need something stronger but we will cross that bridge when we get to it. He also thinks that Otto may be growing out of his peanut allergy which 10-20% of kids do. That would be AWESOME!!! He is going to do a blood profile in 6 months to see if his levels are going down. We know now that small amounts of peanut don’t cause immediate anaphylaxis shock which is great, but the less I have to worry when sending him out in world, the better.
Speaking of sending him out into the real world, he starts preschool this fall! I can’t believe it. The week after Labor Day he will be going every Tuesday and Thursday morning. I don’t know what I will do with myself.
And now Mette. Mette, Mette, Mette my darling. First, she is scheduled for her plastic surgery to remove the cyst above her eye on the 3rd of August. We had the pre-op last week and she has been cleared for take off. We have to be there at 6 in the morning so my mom is coming the night before to hang out with Otto while we are at the hospital. It should be a very simple procedure and we should be home by lunch. There is a chance that she will have a black eye with some swelling for a while but other than that she will be the same. Let’s hope all of that goes well.
Mette is an adorable little stinker. She throws a temper tantrum complete with throwing herself on the floor screaming, tears, holding out her hand and yelling stop, the works, when you kindly remind her not to eat books. It is a bit intense here these days. I keep telling myself that it is just a phase and it won’t last forever, but WOW, she is a drama queen! She is also insanely charming and sweet so that helps her last through the day. She is in a big mommy phase and me leaving the room and/or other people looking at her is often enough to send her over the edge. In her defense she has cut three molars in the last two weeks and there may be more teeth coming but I am too scared to stick my fingers in there to be sure. These teeth are ones she has been working on, no lie, since last Christmas. It has been a long road. The past few weeks there have been many tears, some fevers and diarrhea but I think they are finally cutting through and not going back up, I hope.
The other news from Metteville is the potty. I am hesitant to write about it, but here it goes. I am also fully aware and fine with the fact that this may turn into nothing. For a while now she has been interested in sitting on the potty and she has pooped once or twice on the potty and there has been the occasional pee but really most of the time she sits there for one millisecond and pops up and announces “done!”. But as of last evening and this morning she has been peeing an pooping on the potty with only two small mistakes. I have just had her in a t-shirt and nothing else around the house to make it easier. A couple of the times she has said potty and ran over and peed. Often I ask her if she needs to go and when she sits on the potty she pees. She thinks it is very exciting. With Otto, he was 2 1/2 which was very early for a boy, but he still got it in a weekend. With Mette only being 17 months old I am sure that I will have to ask her about 100 times a day if she needs to go potty for it to take and it still may not. But regardless, I haven’t changed a stinky diaper in a while so that rocks!
As for me. I am doing well. A bit on the tired side, but who isn’t really. It has been crazy hot which I hate. It is cooler today but really anything above 75 I am not too fond of. I am already dreaming of fall. I have been working of a few small projects but mainly just trying to keep up with laundry and cleaning. It seems like a never ending quest.
So that’s the news from our side of town, how are you?

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Filed under doctor appointment, list of skills, memories, mette, mette milestones, mette teething, otto, otto doctor, otto spd, phoebe rant, preschool, uncle ben

This is going to be a long road

In an effort to post everyday, I have some great photos of Otto that I had planned to post today. There has been a sort of technical error and I will not be able to show them to you today. The photos have already been uploaded to iPhoto on the silver mac which I use for all posting. Now eric is using that computer and I am using his work laptop. Tell him to switch you say, yeah, he is doing real work and I am just babbling so he wins. He just returned from a work trip to New York working on this
and is now preparing to leave early tomorrow to head to L.A. for a few days. Somewhere in between all of this he is trying to prepare for classes next week which includes finishing a new chapter in his series of “you suck at final cut pro” videos. So here we sit, me blogging and him editing away on his time line. It is a wild and crazy friday night here at out house.

I will say though that I did make it out of the house for a bit this evening and met with some friends for a drink and discussion about the future of the Nature School that we all sit on the board of. Which brings us to the discussion of preschool. We are currently in the throws of visiting and eventually choosing a preschool for Otto to attend next year. I am going to say it now, I am over thinking this to the extreme, but knowing that is not stopping me at all. We saw one school this week where some good friends whose opinions I respect send there children. I was not filled with buckets of love for the school. The truth of the matter is the school I really want does not exist in our town but I am hoping to find something that is close to it. On Tuesday we are going to see the school I am involved in as well as another contender in the list. The more I talk about all the options with friends, the more I realize the granola school I have been working with for many years now, really is the place I want Otto to be. The whole thing is overwhelming and crazy and it is just preschool. Sending him to Kindergarten where they now have standardize testing is not going to be easy, if at all doable for me. Lack of schooling options is one of the main drawbacks to living where we do. What I have to remind myself of all the time is how much of your education comes from your home life. I am totally confident that the enviroment our children are raised in at home is one of continued interest and enthuiasim for learning. That helps me put everything in perspective. Sort of.

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