Teacher Anxiety

Not Cooper’s.  Mine.

We are a few weeks in to Cooper’s first “school year”, albeit only a 2 morning per week preschool.  It’s still new to him, and to me. 

I have been a little concerned about the less than stellar reports about his behavior that I’ve been getting from his teachers.  It seems that on more days than not, when I arrive to pick him up, I get pulled aside to get told about something that little Cooper Jones has done throughout the three long hours of his time there that has warranted a time-out.

In response, I have spoken with my child at great length about the importance of listening to his teachers, acting appropriately in class and not throwing toys at others, among other things.  Believe me.  We’ve gone over and over it until he now gets a blank look on his face and appears to zone out as soon as I say things like “So, are we going to remember to listen to the teacher today??”

So imagine my horror when I arrive early to school to pick him up today and I’m waiting patiently in the hallway, when one of his two teachers exits the closed-door classroom and makes a beeline for…you guessed it…me.  There were numerous other parents and nannies there waiting for kids and I was silently praying that the report wouldn’t be anything too crazy, as I’m sure everyone there would hear it and plan to not invite the crazy Joneses to any future birthday parties until and not before high school graduation.

I smile nicely while she launches in to the usual beginning of our conversations and says “Hi…so, during story time today, Cooper tackled another boy.”  I pull Cooper’s response and my eyes glaze over.  I want to lunge in to one of the other classrooms and hide behind a stack of blocks, but outwardly I continue to smile and nod.  She continues with “I pulled aside Cooper and a few of the other boys who then got involved and asked them to sit out for a moment and calm down, at which time, Cooper approaches me and says in a very sincere voice, “”Ms. B., I am so sorry I tackled that boy.””  My eyes well up.  Could this mean he really does listen?  She smiles and says “I was so impressed! And not only that, he then went straight to the other boy and apologized, at which time the other boy put his arm around him and said “”I forgive you.””

I am a little embarrassed to admit that I almost cried on the spot.  My boy.  My wild, crazy, very unique and challenging child does listen, and finally his teachers got a chance to see the sweetness that is the flip side of the child who pushes, throws blocks, takes other kid’s jackets and runs for the hills during a fire drill.  Yep…that’s my boy.  I can foresee getting more “reports” of a not quite as positive nature as this one, and I will continue to brace myself each time Ms. B. approaches, but today is good.  Today is really good.  And my child could not be more proud of the “good behavior” stamp that he got on the back of his little hand for the above display.  We just finished washing our hands for lunch and he insisted that we not scrub the back of his hand and/or use the towel to dry that particular fist because he must show daddy when he gets home. 

Sweet. sweet tiny little hellraiser.  That’s my boy.

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Like a Donut?

Actual conversation had with Cooper enroute to school this morning:

Cooper:  Mommy, I love you so much that I love you like a donut.

Me:  Awww.  That’s so sweet Cooper!  Does that mean that you really love me a lot?

Cooper:  No.  It means I like donuts.

Hmph.  Thanks a lot kid.

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Baby Update

Yesterday D.Jones and I spent 3 long hours at a specialty clinic for maternal and fetal health.  No worries, though!  It was actually because, after my last OB-GYN appointment, I opted in to doing some genetic screening for Baby Jones, since I am considered “advanced maternal age”.  I hate that phrase, by the way.

Anyway, yesterday morning, we spent a while meeting with a genetic counselor who did a complete and incredibly thorough family tree for both sides of each of our families.  At that point, they tell you the “odds” of having a baby with or without chromosomal abnormalities.  We were sitting pretty.  I kept picturing the old school lotto boards where the numbers keep flipping and flipping and making those clicking noises.  Anyway, after our family histories, our numbers were flipping in the positive.

Next, it was off to an incredibly detailed ultrasound appointment.  A different sort of ultrasound reading than you get at a normal OB-GYN appointment.  This was crazy-detailed and so much fun to see.  Baby Jones, who is reporting it at the whopping size of a lime, was full of waves at us….little arms going wild!  As the ultrasound technician scans and takes very detailed photos of Baby Jones, the Dr., who we had yet to meet, sits in his office, screens all around, watching the action.  I can’t be certain, but I pictured him behind a long velvet curtain like the Wizard of Oz. 

Anyway, after a significant amount of time and multiple photos and measurements, Dr. Oz himself appeared and announced “you’ve got a mover here!  Everything looks wonderful!”  Whew~  I can’t tell you what a relief it was to hear those words.  I didn’t really foresee us having any issues, but when you know the possibility is there, and that in moments you may hear news that will change your life forever, you can’t help but hold your breath until you hear something positive.

The other cool thing is that one medical student asked to sit in, and one resident, so it was fun to have a little party with them.  They thanked us for letting them “be a part of it” and I was happy to do so.  I’m hoping in the future they get to tell lots of other parents good news.

Here is a little sneak preview at Baby Jones.  He or she is laying on his/her back and the profile of their face  is looking upward.  His or her fist is in a ball on top of the chest.  (hope that helps)  It took my mom a few minutes to make it out, but once you do, the face is actually quite clear for a little lime.

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In a short 6 more weeks, I’ll be returning for one more ultrasound.  This one, they tell me, will let me know the gender if Baby J is cooperative.  They will also be so detailed as to do a finger and toe count!  Medical stuff, especially in the prenatal arena just amazes me….

A Lesson Not Quite Learned

Tuesday morning I picked up Cooper from school and loitered around a few minutes to say “hi” to his teachers.  I didn’t specifically ask about his behavior, but we did chit-chat for a few minutes and they didn’t say anything so I was surprised when, as soon as I had Cooper in the car to go home, he says “Mommy…I like my new teachers.  They are nice.  One of them got mad at me today, though.”  The remainder of the conversation:

Me:  What?  Why would she get mad at you?

Cooper:  I was being mean, I guess.

Me: To who?

Cooper:  A girl.

Me:  What did you do?

Cooper:  I pointed at her and said “you’re a baby!  You’re a baby!”

Me:  Cooper Jones!  Why would you do that!?  We don’t call people names!  What did your teacher say?

Cooper:  She said, “that’s enough, Cooper.   Please walk away.”

Me:  Did you listen to your teacher?

Cooper:  Yep, I did Mommy.

Me:  Well, that’s good, but I don’t want to hear any more about you calling someone names like that, Cooper.  That’s not nice.

Cooper:  Well, then you’re a baby!

Huh.  Guess that little conversation was a waste of time.

Homework and Strong-Willed Children

Not all at once, mind you.  I’m not talking about my strong-willed child doing homework yet.  He’s only on his actual day 2 of preschool.  What I am referring to is that I already have homework for said school.  First it was the multitude of paperwork assuring them that the kid has gotten his vaccines and that I swear to it, then that the doctor swears to it, and then that he has no allergies.

Now it’s a folder full of paperwork saying it’s okay to take him on field trips, take his picture, post his picture on the website, release rights to his pictures, will allow other family members to pick him up, name them by name, address and phone number, (and be advised they will check I.D., which is a good thing, I suppose), and that I solemnly promise to go over the rules of the school with my child.

Next up, dress the kid like a  cowboy on Thursday (I hope jeans and a plaid polo button-down shirt is good enough), and send him to school next Tuesday with a family photo.  Huh.  I’m not even sure I’ve ever printed an actual family photo and the poor kid is 3 1/2.  I better get on that….

Aside from his schoolwork that is apparently mine, I also have my own.  This semester at school I am taking the first of many classes that actually delve into some of the day-to-day stuff I’ll do if and when I ever become the licensed therapist I am hoping to become.  This class is killer.  We are slowly working our way through the DSM IV, which is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  It holds the descriptions and classifications of 297 disorders, and is 887 pages long.  Good times, right?  There are 3 exams in my class, which account for my entire grade.  For each exam, I will first be given a multiple choice/true-false section.  When completed, you return that portion and are given a section of the test that contains the descriptions of real cases presented to practitioners and I am to diagnose the disorder.  When that is completed, the final section of the test contains case studies with the initial diagnosis.  Then, “new information” is brought to light either by the patient or by information discovered, and I am to determine if there is a new diagnosis based on the given information, or if the initial diagnosis is still correct.  I’ll be doing a lot of studying this semester, as well as a healthy dose of praying, chanting, requesting help from spirit guides, meditating and any thing else that may, in some way, shape or form, help me hang on to that 4.0 GPA that I’ve got going.  I’ll need assistance from any sources possible.

I will also need rest.  That is sleep.  It’s an unfamiliar thing in my house lately.  Since becoming a mom, I have realized that I will probably spend the remaining large part of my adult life tired in some way.  Really.  I’m not kidding.  On any given day, I’m tired.  And I’m not that old.  I do, however, have a very strong-willed child in my life who doesn’t so much care for sleep as much as I do. 

Case in point: last night the child awoke at 5 in the a.m.  Padded past our room, his little bare feet making slapping noises down the hardwood floors in the hallway.  D.Jones was awake, which never happens, and he whispered, “was that Cooper going past our room?”  I muttered something that may not be suitable for print, and it was enough of an impetus for D.Jones to go after him.  Which also never happens.  Then I heard the following conversation:

D:  “Hey buddy…what are you doing?”

C:  “Playing.”

D:  “It’s the middle of the night, Cooper.  Let’s go back to bed.”

C:  “No.  I won’t.”

D:  “C’mon Cooper.  It’s waaaay too early to be up playing and plus, you have school today.  Let’s go.”

C:  “I said no!  I won’t.  I’m playing cars and trucks.”

Then I heard more conversation at too low of a volume for me to make out.  It may have been begs, threats, or any combo of the two, but whatever it was seemed to work, because moments later I heard them shuffle back past the doorway, and the child resumed his slumber.  But not for long.

In the meantime, Doug tossed and turned for a remaining half an hour until he decided he’d just get up and get ready for work.  The cat pounced on my back for no apparent reason and then hurriedly ran from the room.  Which woke up the Yorkie in the living room, who appeared at the side of my bed, lunging to try to get up in the bed.  I picked her up, cursing the fact that I knew I’d never be able to resume my precious slumber.  D.Jones decided to have a granola bar for breakfast and accidentally knocked an entire container of Orville Redenbacher kernals from the cupboard, which banged to the counter and landed on the floor with a ridiculous racket.  Then, in perfect timing, ambulances began racing down our street with sirens blaring. 

All of this craziness was enough to re-awaken the boy, who reappeared by my side of the bed and screamed “Mommy!  Let’s go play out back.  NOW!”  Oh seriously!?  This is how I greet my morning?  I rolled over and tried to ignore him, which resulted in him yelling louder and then pummeling me with his Gaga blankie.  So much for rise and shine.  Like I said.  Tired.

A Lot of Firsts

The past week has been full of firsts for the Jones crew.  Cooper had his official first day of preschool at The Berry Patch.  img_6021

It was an easy first day for him since he remembered being there this summer, first for Pirate Camp and then for Outdoor Adventures.  I think it worked out perfectly because he already felt at home there, and did great!  He got a glowing first day report from Ms. Michelanne and Ms. Beth, and couldn’t stop talking about how much he loves school on his way home.  Whew…that is so much easier on me than having a babe who doesn’t want to go!

On Wednesdays he now attends The Little Gym of Edina for their Sports Skills class, where he’ll get an introduction to many sports, as well as learning some basic gymnastic strength-building exercises.  For this class, I get to stay and watch the class from a parent viewing area on the other side of some glass windows.  It’s a nice chance to connect with some other moms, two of whom I had a great time chatting with, and it’s so fun to watch him interact with Teacher Tracy and the other kids.  His class happens to be a class of 7 boys, all between the ages of 3 and 5, so he has a riot!  For the first week they covered gym safety rules, played some dodgeball, learned how to do a spring-board bounce and jump up to the vault, how to hang from the rings, how to use proper form when throwing, and do some exercises where they tried to knock a construction cone out of the middle of a circle by using their new throwing skills.  Coops nailed it!  A couple of days later he got the cutest postcard in the mail from Teacher Traci…

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Such a great program!  I’m very excited for both of our Fall schools!

And lastly, this morning was Cooper’s first day of Sunday School!  img_6059 

D.Jones was a little mopey about having to go to church, but once I rounded up my boys and we were on our way, all was well.  Cooper was a little quiet when we dropped him off, which is so unlike him that we were slightly concerned when we sat in church wondering what he was up to, but I was reassured that his teacher was someone I knew from a prior Mommy Group and she has 4 little ones of her own.  If anyone can handle anything that comes up, I knew she could!

When Doug and I left the service to head back downstairs to his classroom we were surprised to not see any kids in the room at all.  Another parent showed up right behind us and said “they must be in large group over here…”  we followed behind.  Sure enough, about 75 kids, all under 5 were in a big carpeted room, learning songs and listening intently to the woman and man running the program.  In usual Cooper Jones fashion, he was seated right up front by his teacher, and was singing right along at the top of his lungs.  The folks running the show were pretty funny (in an appropriately 3-year old fashion) and Cooper was laughing hysterically and having a ball.  Since Doug never gets to see him at school or at the Little Gym, I could tell he was just glowing with pride and really enjoyed seeing Coops in action.

Apparently, at Sunday School, they also made some sort of “bag monster” or at least that’s what Cooper was calling it.  It was essentially a paper lunch bag, stuffed with newspaper, and with little googly eyes stuck to the outside of it.  Somehow, between church and home, which is all of 5 blocks, the googly eyes made it from the bag to Cooper’s face, and he announced as we pulled in to the driveway, “Hey, check out my mustache!”  Huh.  Don’t say he didn’t learn anything today….

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If the first week or two are any indication, our Fall should go quickly and be filled with fun~

More Fall Frenzy

Our week has absolutely flown past! 

Cooper and I made our second trip to the State Fair on Tuesday, this time with Grammy and Papa.  Cooper got to touch a snake at the DNR area, enjoy an ice cream cone and other special treats, go through a bunch of the livestock barns (which had to be with just Grammy & Papa as my sense of smell made that a difficult trip for me!), got to go back to Machinery Hill to check out some more tractors, and got to be a participant at the Little Hands Farm where he planted seeds, picked an apple, drove a tractor, and “harvested some crops” where he then got to sell them at a store for profit.  It was a perfect day, and although the Fair seemed really crowded again, it wasn’t too bad.  Later, my Dad told me that it was a record attendance day.  No wonder it seemed like it was getting a little crazy around there by the time we left.

Wednesday morning Cooper and I went to his orientation at his new preschool.  It was as fantastic as I’d hoped it would be and I can’t wait for his school year to get started next week.  He’s going to love it, and within seconds he had already befriended a few other boys who seemed just as interested in cars and trucks.  The school is awesome and he’s going to have so many great opportunities there that I am just so excited for him.  They already have a trip to an apple orchard planned, and also a visit from the Raptor Center, plus of course, his Spanish and music studies, and the “regular stuff”.

Speaking of schools, as of next week, my little man will be involved in three different schools and I’ll be back to mine.  Cooper will be going to Sunday School for the first time, plus his preschool, and also a sports basics class at The Little Gym.  He’s going to be a busy boy this school year! 

I decided, under the circumstances, to only take one class this semester, but it’s going to be a killer.  I’ll be getting into the heart of the program with a Psychopathology class that involves working our way through the DSM manual, which is the manual that houses all recognized psychiatric disorders in the United States.  The tests in this class involve being given symptoms and diagnosing the illness.  Oooof!  I lose my breath just thinking about it, but I’m confident I’ll get through it…

Yesterday it was time for our annual end-of-summer trip to the Lake Harriet Rose Garden and the Peace Garden.  My mom and dad decided to come along for our impromptu little picnic and it was an absolutely beautiful day for it.  Weather in the 70s, and the sun shining brightly, and all of those amazing flowers! 

Every night when my head hits the pillow I saw a word of thanks for something from my day.  Some nights the list is longer than others, and last night was one of those nights.  It was not lost on me that I am so incredibly lucky to have the opportunities I have to spend quality time with both my parents and my child at the same time, and to be able to spend the long, lazy days of summer with my boy without too many worries hanging over my head.  I said a thank you for days like this, and also for the ability to continue to recognize how blessed I really am….for things like health and safety, for positive relationships in my life, for the breathtaking colors of the rose garden and the ability to see and appreciate them.  So many things!  See, I told you last night’s list was long.

Here’s a glimpse as to why my list was so long…

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