Category Archives: working mom woes

Okaloosa Island 2014: Part 4

Catch up on the first few days here:

Friday, October 17th: By far the nicest day we had there weather-wise, the skies and water were completely calm. The temp was back into the 80s.  This was the first day that we could go far out into the water, still see our toes, and feel comfortable letting the boys go out of our reach without being afraid that a wave would go over their heads.  Crystal clear water that the Destin area is known for – ahhhh.

Beach, pool, beach, pool, back and forth.  We packed a picnic so we could eat by the pool and spend more of our last full day out in the sun and sand. We were almost always the only ones in the pool or on the pool deck.

10-17-14IMG_4831 10-17-14IMG_4842 10-17-14IMG_4852 10-17-14IMG_4864 10-17-14IMG_4871 10-17-14IMG_4878 10-17-14IMG_4882 10-17-14IMG_4887 10-17-14IMG_4907 10-17-14IMG_4927 10-17-14IMG_4934 10-17-14IMG_4944 10-17-14IMG_4960 10-17-14IMG_4962 10-17-14IMG_4974 10-17-14ss_104857 10-17-14ss_105327Since we didn’t make it to the dolphin cruise in time the night before, we had gone ahead and reserved our spot for Friday night ahead of time.  The cruise was at 5 and we were to arrive 30+ minutes early so that meant we had to end our time on the beach sooner than we wanted in order to be on time.  We were excited for the cruise but already missing the beach and since it was our nicest day all week, we briefly thought about skipping the cruise. So glad we didn’t – turned out to be some of the best memories we made on the entire vacation!

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There were unlimited drinks – wine, beer, soda, and water – on the sunset dolphin cruise.  So we let the boys try Sprite for the first time.  This was Dexter’s reaction: 10-17-14IMG_5014

They both got to captain the boat!


10-17-14ss_17264010-17-14IMG_5051 10-17-14IMG_5077 10-17-14IMG_5088    10-17-14ss_175918 I didn’t take any pictures of the dolphins we saw – we were so relaxed, just enjoying the wind and the water – and okay, the drinks too.  It was such a fun cruise.  Afterwards, we had a fantastic dinner at LaFamiglia at HarborWalk Village.10-17-14IMG_509410-17-14IMG_5093

Back to the condo to pack and lament over the sad end of a wonderful week.

Saturday, October 18th: Departure Day.  “October 11th through the 18th.” I had said those dates a hundred times when talking to friends, family, and acquaintances about our vacation as it approached.  Now, checkout day was here and I didn’t like the sound of October 18th anymore.  The only picture I took was of the condo before we pulled away.

10-18-14IMG_5102 10-18-14IMG_5104The boys were great in the car – Dexter actually took a long 2 or 3 hour nap.  We drove to my friends’ house in Nashville, TN and crashed for the night.

Sunday, October 19th.  We hit the road early but weren’t quite ready for vacation to end just yet.  I got that “I don’t wanna go home…I wanna DO somethin'” feeling.  The next sign on the side of the interstate as we were approaching Bowling Green, Kentucky said “Lost River Cave & Valley.” I was driving so I told Ryan to look it up on TripAdvisor.  I was an easy sell and quickly pulled off the interstate, changing the destination on our GPS.  What a gem for the people of Bowling Green. I loved the town of BG as we drove through, but this place was so neat. Such a great outdoor space for kids with an all natural playground, fossil and gem mining, trails, cave (with an underground boat tour), and an adorable and impressive gift shop.

10-19-14IMG_5123 - Copy 10-19-14IMG_5124 - Copy 10-19-14IMG_5126 - Copy 10-19-14IMG_5136 - Copy 10-19-14IMG_5140 - Copy 10-19-14IMG_5155 - Copy 10-19-14IMG_5162 - Copy 10-19-14IMG_5171 - Copy

Don’t mind the tantrum…typical.10-19-14IMG_5177 - Copy 10-19-14IMG_5192 - Copy 10-19-14ss_104754 10-19-14ss_114535 10-19-14ss_114558 10-19-14ss_115828Theo did have a massive meltdown at this place over me wanting to take a picture or two…he was beyond tired and not wanting to do anything we asked of him. FUN note to end the vacation on….except not really. We had a heart to heart in the car afterwards, kissed and made up, and made it home in the late afternoon.  With hearts and minds bursting with memories and love and happiness that it happened and sadness that it was over.  Just like every vacation. The end of a week spent as an isolated little unit of 4 people.  If only vacations happened more than once or twice a year.  Work shmerk!

So that’s the end of our Okaloosa Island 2014 series – I hope you have enjoyed and that I’ve talked you into taking a trip there (and to Bowling Green!)…it really was amazing!







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.



more rambling – childcare update

Hard to believe it’s been almost 6 months since The Babysitter of the Year told us she was quitting. Closing. Whatever.  That was truly one of the hardest things we’ve been through as parents.  Stressful. Unexpected. Struck fear in my heart and opened me up to a world of uncertainties and insecurities.  On July 1st, we took them both to a new in-home sitter and on August 7, Theo started attending Montessori pre-school three days a week.  

How’s it going? 
It’s going …. good.  The transition was hard and it took longer than I expected but I can say confidently now that things are good.  Am I glad now that it happened this way?  Not necessarily, no.  The boys still miss her. I miss her. I miss her kid. The boys still talk about her.  The current situation is that Dexter goes to the new sitter every day and Theo goes there on Mondays and Fridays.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday he is at school.  Not too long ago, after a day at the sitter, Theo was going on and on about his day and the fun that he’d had.  I asked him if he liked school and he said yes.  I asked him if he liked the new sitter and he said yes.  I felt my heart grow warmer as a peace settled over me.  Then, like a moron, I asked him if he had to choose, where he would go every single day. 
He paused, and then said “I would go back to E’s because that’s the best place for me.  I know that’s the best place for me.”  
And then my heart about shattered into a million pieces.  Months later, he’s still missing her and wishing he could go back.  Me too, son.  That’s not to say that I don’t love his school.  I do. We do.  We all love his school.  His teacher loves him and has great things to say about his growth there.  I have noticed him growing up, acting older, since he started there.  I don’t know if that’s always a good thing, but I guess it was bound to happen one way or the other. I do believe that it’s been good for him to be the youngest kid instead of the oldest.  He’s learning about social cues and rules and expectations.  He’s growing more independent.  It’s been amazing to watch him change in a short time.  But it’s still sad.  
Theo was having some behavior issues before this transition and I now deeply believe that it was due to being the oldest and possibly under-stimulated.  E suspected this and told me this the day she said she was closing.  I didn’t want to hear it but the simple truth is that he’s had a handful (or less) of issues since the switch.  Because of Theo’s wacky antics, I really thought if anyone was going to struggle, it’d be him.  He can be downright rigid and stubborn and I knew how attached he was to her. I can only assume that Theo’s ability to verbalize his thoughts and feelings helped him in a way that Dexter was not able to process. 
Dexter really struggled more (visibly) than Theo and much more than I expected.  There was a lot of crying every day at dropoff, clinging to me, and not wanting to go. Crying on the way there and begging not to go.  Saying he didn’t like it there. Crying when I picked him up.  I spent quite a few of my drives to work in tears myself, thinking THIS SUCKS.  Stomachaches, wishing for nothing more than to be a stay at home mom.  I have nothing but kind words for the two ladies that care for him, but it’s not the same personal experience that we had with E.  As soon as things started to settle initially, Theo started going to school and we had to go through a transition all over again.  The roughest part lasted about two months. But now here we are, almost 5 months into this and Dexter absolutely loves going there. 
This morning, on the way he says: 
No, that’s not J’s house.
No, that’s not J’s house.
No, that’s not J’s house.
No, that’s not J’s house. 
YAY! That’s J’s street!!
No, that’s not J’s house. 
No, that’s not J’s house. 
No, that’s not J’s house. 
YES! That’s J’s house!! 
I pulled in the driveway and reached into the back to unbuckle him from his seat and put his coat on before getting out of the warm, cozy car.  As soon as I unbuckled him, he hopped down from his seat and said:
That’s okay, I go in by myself. Have a good day, mommy!  
Excuse me, two year old child?  I think I will continue to walk him in for a little while longer.  Anyway, about 3 out of 5 days a week I don’t even get a hug from him because he’s too busy running off to play with his friends and doesn’t have time for me. I’ll totally take that over the alternative.