Wednesday, November 14, 2012

School Days

Oh my heavens!  I could not have asked for a better school situation for my child.  I am so appreciative of her teacher (all of them, really) who have the perfect balance of high expectations and a high level of nurturing. 

Gianna LOVES school.  For the last three weeks, their school has had four day weeks due to election day, holiday and inservice.  It drives Gianna nuts to have a day off from school.  She cannot wait for Mondays.  (She's going to have serious withdrawals next week during the Thanksgiving break.)

Since parents drop off and pick up kids in a carpool line, we don't have much chance to see the kids in their learning environment or too even see the classmates we hear so much about.  We've been to a couple of birthday parties where I've met some kids and parents, which was wonderful, but I managed to weasel my way into her classroom during Halloween week.

Since I'm a room mother (did I mention that?), I asked the teacher if she would mind if another weaselly mom and I could bring their little treat bag and a small snack during their little recess time. 

We did super simple treats: mummy wrapped Hershey Bar and a couple of ghost suckers with a few other little pencils and trinkets. 
(We saw one of the other class's loot and gasped.  HUGE buckets filled with stuff.  We felt a pang of guilt and then kept saying.  They are FOUR years old. They don't need a lot.  The teacher told us, "They just got loot.  Our kids got y'all.  They enjoyed your presence more than the stuff you brought."  How much do I love that lady!
I offered to bring books and read to the kids to give her a break. She was happy to have us and the kids were beyond excited to have visitors.  When the other mom and I arrived, the teacher left the class to open the door for us, as we walked toward the classroom I heard a very loud, familiar voice addressing the class, "Okay, boys and girls, now listen to me...."  My eyes bugged out of my head as my head whipped to catch the gleeful glance.   Oh, my precious child!  The teacher told us they were beyond excited about our visit.

Silence fell as we entered the room and their smiles spread as they studied each of us while the teacher introduced us.  Gianna's face was ADORABLE!  She was so proud that I was there.  When I got a second alone with her I asked her why I heard her voice so loudly while Ms. Lisa was letting us in. "Oh, I just wanted to introduce you to the other children."  It's pretty amazing how God stuffed a 30 year old in a tiny 4 year old body.  :)

They had even prepared their favorite activity for us "Going on a Bear Hunt." I read several books to them and you could hear a pin drop. The children could not have been any more precious.  I forget how much I love, love LOVE this age.  It's easy to forget when you're in the midst of the daily challenges of parenting your own child.  I was glad for the reminder.

She is learning so much and her homework time is much more successful than the hellish beginning we endured. Whew. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lately I have been very frustrated with how unproductive my time has been while Gianna was at school.  It's only about 2 1/2 hours from the time I got home from dropping her off until I left to go pick her up.  If I had one phonecall, one errand to run, one interruption (even a welcomed one)  my "to do list" was completely obliterated. I felt completely stalled out and no closer to do what I need to do to move Gianna and I into the next chapter in our lives.  I started fantasizing about having Gianna stay at school a few more hours and all the positive things that possibility could offer both of us.

Basically the extended day adds lunch (which they bring to school) and a nap.  They watch a video between lunch and nap and that's the rest of their day. Poof.  My main concern was was that Gianna wouldn't nap at school and possibly become a distraction or disturbance to other kids. I worried about the extra money it would cost (an extra $40 per week) and then I realized that it was a little over $2 an hour and I couldn't even get a babysitter that cheap.  I mulled it over in my mind for weeks. I grappled with feelings of guilt that half day should be enough.  But heck, I'm still only 15 months into the most difficult chapter of my life and grief continues to take it's toll on me, my child, my parent efforts, etc.  It's okay that I'm not operating at full capacity. It's just where I am.

Finally I decided to ask the teacher and director if it was even a possibility to extend her day.  Her response was, "Maria, she has transitioned beautifully to school.  She is ready and capable and YOU need this." I brought it to prayer and everything just seemed liked it was the right choice at the right time. Done. 

So as of November 1st, she started extended day and I pick her up at 2:15pm instead of 11:15am.  Gianna was THRILLED.(I did feel her out first and she couldn't wait to stay with her other friends.)  I got her a nap mat. We already had a lunch box and off she went. 

She has napped every single day at school (I guess I would too if the director came and rubbed my back!!!) and when I pick her up at 2:15, I've accomplished things, she's rested and happy and we have the rest of the day to spend however together with much less stress.  What a blessing.  BEST money I've ever spent.  BEST decision I've made for both of us.  I'm glad I started the year the way we did - easing in to the transition of school, but this has been great for us.  I'm glad I made the tough choice.


  1. Aw! So happy she is loving it! I always get so excited when I see you move to the top of my blogroll! :)

  2. So happy for you and Gianna! Watching you two transition to school has been giving me inspiration and hope that we can do that with Joseph when he is old enough! I think that her fantastic transition into school is a testament to how well you have prepared her for the milestones she will encounter in life!


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