adjustment period

Dexter and Theo’s school started off slowly with three half-days the first week.  They left before nap or lunch and were really only there for about three hours. Before and after care are not offered that first week – it truly is just a little taste for them.  With the second week came their first full-day experience. Lunch, naps, and before and after care. It’s a long day for them – from about 8:30am – 4:30pm.  We now are beginning their third week and I sure hope it goes a little more smoothly than week number two.

The environment is very different from the babysitter’s home who has cared for them all summer.  Dexter has gone to this sitter full-time for over a year now. He’s gotten used to playing Batman all day and a TV being on in the background. While there is a routine to the day and he benefits from social interactions with children who are a variety of ages, I’m not sure how often his intelligence is REALLY put to the test.

The school that the boys go to is a Montessori school. I never knew what that meant until my sister-in-law put our nephew in a Montessori school when he was 5.  I thought maybe it had something to do with religion? No. Montessori is simply the last name of the woman who developed the Montessori Method of Education. But this isn’t a post about Montessori – I just wanted to explain that the environment is so very different for Dexter.  If you want to learn more about Montessori, CLICK HERE.

Last year when Theo started Montessori, we were so worried that he would have a difficult time adjusting. He’s the one with the temper tantrums.  A super sensitive child.  My way or the highway.  We couldn’t have been more wrong. Sure, there were rough mornings and a few terrible drop-offs but all in all, he transitioned very well. What surprised us was how upset Dexter – our easy-going, eager to please, go with the flow child – became about Theo being in a different place from him three days a week.  Talk about some rough drop-offs.  He would just bawl and hang on to me, begging me not to go or to take him with me. Then I’d leave him there, crying, and bawl all the way to work.  It was so hard.  SO hard. Sucked bad.


We’ve been trying all summer to build up Dexter’s excitement for starting Montessori preschool. Emphasizing how great it will be that they will be in the same building again and that they’ll see each other on the playground.  Without a doubt, he has been looking forward to it.  But man.

It’s no different than you or I starting a new job and even if we are thrilled with the position, we have first impressions to make. We have to smile and be likable.  We have to learn new things and find the bathroom and get to training early (but not too early) and wear the right outfit.  It’s stressful. Even if it’s a good stress, it’s stressful.  So here’s Dexter in a new {cool, but still new} environment with a lot of things racing through his mind. I’m imagining it going something like this: Where’s the bathroom again? I have to go potty. I want to ask that teacher but she’s helping someone and they said not to interrupt. Whoops I just knocked over someone’s blocks and now she’s crying. I have to go potty. I’m hungry. Is it lunch time yet? I have to go potty but someone else is in the bathroom. What’s the teacher’s name again? I don’t want her to wipe me so I think I’ll just try to hold it until I get home. I forget where we put our lunch boxes. I wonder when Mommy will be back to get me. Or is Daddy picking us up?  What was I supposed to be doing again? Being quiet at circle time is hard.  I don’t want to take a nap here. Where’s Theo and will I get to see him soon? I have to go pot – whoops. Too late.

So he’s had more than a handful of accidents (at home and school) since school started two weeks ago after going probably six weeks or more with no accidents at the sitter.  That leads me to stress about them thinking “well is he potty-trained or not?” Yes! But he’s used to being reminded to use the bathroom. Montessori really focuses on fostering independence so I don’t know if they tell him to go or allow him to go whenever he feels the need.  I’m stressed that he’s stressed.  The other thing is that he has just been going INSANE when we get home from school.  It’s like he’s held it all together for 8 hours and he gets somewhere where he can be himself and just unleashes.  I am talking about hysterical tantrums when denied the second pack of fruit snacks.  Swinging toys around, hitting the wall or other objects. Behaviors that are extremely uncharacteristic for Dexter.  He is acting like this for about an hour or 90 minutes after we arrive home from school.  It’s not that fun but I am trying to tell myself that it’s just a phase.  He needs that time to release his feelings, and then he’s fine the rest of the night.


He will get used to school. The kids, the teachers, the bathroom, the cubbies, the routines, and the rules.  He will. He just needs a little time.  Despite being so easy-going, he’s sensitive too. Emotional and maybe a little insecure without his big brother right by his side.  Putting them in separate classes was intentional for this very reason. But it sure seems like a dumb idea at the moment.



s is for strawberries

Sunday morning Ryan had work to do around the house so the boys and I loaded up and headed off to The Apple Works, an apple orchard, pumpkin patch, strawberry field, and so much more, a short drive south of us. I had never been strawberry picking before and neither had the boys.  It. Was. Hot. But we had fun anyway.

They were serious about finding the very best berries, dark red from top to bottom. I was disappointed after driving to the top of the hill to find that there was no one there passing out any type of container to fill.  Luckily, the boys had snacked on pretzels in the car and we still had their plastic storage bags handy.

Is this a good one, mom?

Poor Dex, his little face goes bright red as soon as he gets in the sun (from heat, not sunburn). 

They were entertained by the hunt and the picking until their baggies were about half full.  They wandered around, enjoying their freedom, while I continued filling the bags.  Isn’t it sweet how Dexter’s never far behind Theo?  Well, on this day it was.  It’s not always. Ha. 

After we were done picking, we drove back down the hill and parked at the store. We paid for our berries and I got the boys a small bottle of sweet apple cider.  They chugged it on the porch of the store and enjoyed a cool breeze and some shade.  Perfect moment in time.

The berries are small but you’ll never taste one sweeter.  So delicious. 

It was a fun mommy, son, and son date that I won’t forget.  Making memories with these boys of mine – that’s what it’s all about.  I think this might have to be a new annual family tradition. But next time we’ll take Daddy. 🙂


Dexter’s Batman birthday week

Dexter’s birthday week was quite the rollercoaster with many ups and downs.

It started on Mother’s Day when Dex had a low fever all day. He laid around when his temp crept up but would be running around like a madman an hour after taking medicine.

He woke without a fever on Monday but I kept him home because I wanted to keep an eye on him to make sure he was okay. He was sluggish but okay throughout the day. I worked from home and at 4:30 I heard screaming and ran back to the bedroom where he was napping to find him in a puke puddle, crying.

I moved his mattress to the living room and covered all surfaces in preparation for the next round. Good thing.  Poor buddy puked 10 times between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.  Not a very happy way to turn 3.  Dexter got another sick day to stay home with mommy on his special day. 
Trying to play but not really feelin’ it.
By mid-morning the pukefest had come to an end. He took a very long nap and by the time Theo and Ryan came home, he was acting a little more like himself.  It wasn’t long before Theo saw the small pile of gifts wrapped in Batman paper in our bedroom and started prompting Dexter to ask us to open presents.  He cheered up and his energy started to come back. 

The turning point: Revelation of the Lego Set.

See that sparkle coming back?

No YOU’RE the best.

Hurrah to feeling better!

Took one bite. 
The rest of the work/school/daycare week went okay. Dex still was having some tummy troubles and didn’t eat well all week but no more throwing up.  Some really FANTASTIC news that came from Dexter’s birthday week is that we ditched diapers!!  He woke up on his 3rd birthday in a diaper but hasn’t had one on since. Not at home anyway. I’m not sure his sitter is quite as ready to move on as the rest of us are. I’m giving him a good, solid week or two before I tell her that we are officially potty-trained, day and night. We are taking him to the bathroom every night before we go to bed (around midnight) and he’s doing GREAT!!  He’s very proud of himself and so are we!!  Gooooo Dex!
Friday I worked a short day and went to Sam’s Club when I was done to buy party food. I was excited to go there and take my time strolling around without the kids before I picked them up from the sitter. Got up to the register only to discover that I didn’t have my Mastercard debit card. The only place I use it is in the ATM machine and at Sam’s because they don’t accept Visa. So on one hand, I was not too worried knowing that I must have just left it in the bank’s ATM the last time I got cash. On the other hand, I was devastated that I just wasted an hour or more of my precious, limited time and now I was going to have to grocery shop with crabby kids in tow. And embarrassed to boot.
I did end up getting everything I needed and Ryan and I stayed up until 1am getting everything prepared that we could do the night before. 

Party favor gifts.

The day of the party was stressful, as they always are. The weather was iffy. It kept getting super cloudy then would sprinkle. It looked like a tsunami could let loose any second but it never did. It stayed nice enough that we could have the party outside, which was the main thing I was worried about.  However, I set up the food in the garage. I don’t know what your garage looks like in pictures, but there’s just no way to make ours look cute, regardless of how many decorations we put up.  I barely took any pictures because I was busy prepping all day. By the time the party rolled around, I took a couple pictures of the ugly garage and more or less tossed my camera aside and sat down to enjoy some time with friends.

For food, we had the following

 – fresh sliced strawberries
 – GoGo Squeeze applesauce
 – this crock pot turkey (on pretzel buns with provolone and/or pepper jack cheese)
 – pretzels, cheese puff balls, and chips & salsa
 – lemonade & sweet tea
 – cupcakes that Ryan’s mom made (Dexter asked for strawberry – they were amazing!)
 – homemade chocolate chip cookies

Stickers from

Grown ups and big kids played things like corn hole and ladder ball outside while the little kids played on the small slide and on the riding toys in the driveway.  We ate and then Dexter passed out thank-you gifts to his friends before opening his presents. 

Don’t ask me why, but we made Theo and Dexter mini-versions of the gift bags we gave all the other kids. Ryan and I panicked at the last minute, thinking it wouldn’t be a very fun birthday party for the birthday boy if he was disappointed and confused about why everyone else got the same thing and he didn’t. The full-blown version contained: 
  – foil pinwheels
  – bubbles
  – Batman cup
  – mini flashlight
  – mini M&Ms
  – pop rocks (only for the big kids)
  – Batman punch ball balloons

Without a doubt, you can bet Theo was right beside Dexter the whole time, checking out the new inventory. 

Not a bad day, all in all.
I hope Dexter enjoyed his third birthday festivities, even if his entire week wasn’t as great as it could and should have been. I can’t believe my baby is 3!