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back to school

Back to school dress rehearsal - What I learned from dad - #backtoschool

Please enjoy this past post of starting school this year.  Hope you enjoy and maybe even try it!  All of my best, Dyan




With summer winding down and the start of the school year just around the corner, it's time to start planning for that first day back to school...(unless you are like us and have already started back in the first or second week of August-more to come on our very special week).  I was talking to my father way back in May, discussing my daughters first day of school, which for us this year is kindergarten.  He had a great idea (didn't think so at first, but this one grew on me).   Have a back to school dress rehearsal.  Yes, dress rehearsal.  Wake them up as early as you would normally have to wake them up for school. As dreaded as that sounds in the middle or end of your summer, this idea can really pay-off.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a good idea this one could be for your kid and you.  Especially, if they are not a morning riser or not looking forward to that first day of school ever, first day of kindergarten or first day back to school in general.  This is a great way to get your child acclimated to the early routine of school and for you to have the chance to works out the kinks yourself (ie. - outfits picked out, snacks/lunches packed, and don't forget that positive attitude and smile).  Of course, you don't actually go to school, but after your dressed, eaten breakfast and ready, you can do something fun!  Like go to the park get some fresh air and exercise for both of you. 
When my dad and I discussed this idea of his back in May, I, at first was like....OK Dad, like I am really going to wake her up early just because....I thought, just nod smile and tell him good idea....while I was really thinking...summer is too short and goes by way too fast as it is to get her up one day early.  I do cherish my quiet mornings before anyone else is up.  The more I thought about it though, the more I thought, this is a really good idea!  So in my head I planned our very important "mock" first day of school, it would be the week before school starts on Tuesday.  We had no plans or activities scheduled.  We were going to get up, pack breakfast instead of lunch and head to the park as if a school day.  Even though temps would be a high of 102 that day, at 8 AM,  it would only be in the high 80s and we would be ok for at least 45 minutes out there.  My daughter and I discussed the "dress rehearsal"  she was excited and so was I the more we planned and talked about it.   
Unfortunately, the Monday before our big day, she got sick!  She didn't sleep well all night the night before and finally went back to bed at 4 in the morning.   There was no way I would wake her up, she needed rest to get better for real school the next week. She wound up being sick all the way up to her real first day of school. 
Sometimes our good intentions, ideas or plans just don't work out the way we would like them to...in this case they didn't.  However, I did want to share this idea because it is a good one.  Even though your parents are different than you with their ideas or parenting styles, they have good ideas too.  Sometimes you may just want to nod and smile, roll your eyes or just agree because you know it makes them happy.  Either way take a chance and listen to the advice they offer, after all they did raise you.  All of my best, Dyan

How to make paper chains - Make one to count days til back to school #backtoschool

How to make paper chains. #backtoschool   Pick your favorite colors of paper.  Scissors, tape, marker and a ruler to make your lines to make your chains
How to make paper chains. #backtoschool Pick your favorite colors of paper. Scissors, tape, marker and a ruler to make your lines to make your chains
We used orange and blue. Uncle Jacks favorite Gator colors.
Cut your strips for your paper chains and label the days to go.
Cut your strips for your paper chains and label the days to go.
Good practice for writing and numbers too! Last paper chain write a message about School starting. Yea!
Make the chain, by taping each one with in each other.
Make the chain, by taping each one with in each other.
Hang where you can see everyday to remove each chain each night before bed.
The finished product.
The finished product.
My daughter loves this idea and she likes to know how far important dates are out. Paper chains can help with the concept of time. What a fun and wonderful way to bring in a new positive experience in your child's life. Give it a try and see if it makes your first day a little easier. All my best! Dyan

#AntiBullyingWeek - beware of the #bully

Please enjoy this repost.  Hoping to shed some light on #bullies

#Bullies come in all shapes and sizes and the #bullying comes in all types of ways.  Beware of the #bully!  We are into our fourth week of school.  Up until today I have only been concerned with clean uniforms, a good breakfast, lunch, making sure my daughter has enough sleep, getting to school on time and doing her reading log.  Even though I am aware of #bullying, I didn't think that this would even come up as a concern in kindergarten, let alone with my daughter. 
Today at drop off, after my daughter put away her belongings, she ran to play on the playground right out of her classroom door, I turned my back for just a second to sign her in and say good morning to another parent, when she came running back to me hugging me so tight I couldn't even get her to talk to me to tell me if she was hurt or find out what could have happened in such a brief second.  Unfortunately, I nor no one else saw what happened. I had to wait out the tight hold she had on me and wait until the tears subsided enough to get her to talk.  After figuring out she hadn't fallen or wasn't physically hurt, I asked her what happened.  She wouldn't tell me.  After 5 minutes of consoling and talking with her, she finally told me.  The boys were playing super heroes on the playground.  (This is quite the thing to do at this age and she has taken a liking to it).  I put together that she went up to one of the boys and asked him to play, what was exactly said, I am not sure, except for that he said something and ran off.  I assumed at first that she could maybe not catch him or he did something silly.  They have been classmates for the past 2 years and didn't even think, that anything more than a innocent misunderstanding took place.  The school bell rang and even though the tears were some what cleared up, it seemed that the flood gates were going to open again at any moment.  For the the first time this year, I could not stand to leave my daughter at school and walk away.  I felt helpless even though her teacher came over and told me that if something more was wrong and my daughter could not take being at school today, she would call me immediately and I could come back and get her.  My first instinct was to take her home with me, but I didn't exactly know what had happened and I could not take the easy way out for her.  So, I gave her hand to her teacher and watched her walk in...I was sad and hoping that she was ok. 
When the door shut there were a couple of moms, standing by still and they asked what had happened.  I explained that I really didn't know accept that my daughter did not want to talk about it and the little boy that was involved.  I felt that she didn't want to tell me because she would of felt like a tattle tale and I had to prod it out of her telling her all would be ok.  When the one mother heard what I had to say she shared with me something that had happened to her daughter the night before.  She woke up in the middle of the night to tell her something about this same little boy and what he had done to another girl in class the day before.  The mother felt that her daughter had wrestled with telling her for fear of being the "tattle taler"  and didn't want to, but was so affected by it that she could not sleep!  They talked and found out that this same little boy was making fun of another girl classmate when  she was assigned to do a daily class task.  It made the girl feel so bad that she went up to this little girl and she told her about it.  The mother also shared with me that on the way to school she asked what she would share in circle time today.  Even though she had something very exciting to talk about, she did not want to share it with fear of being made fun of from this same little boy. 
All of this comes as a shock and surprise, but I am grateful that this has transpired to bring up the awareness in myself and also the teacher.  I do not want to be the tattle taler either, but for sake of my daughter, all the others kids in the class and this little boy, I feel that it most be shared and nipped in the bud immediately before it can go any further making the kids upset, uncomfortable or not looking forward to going to school each and every day and sharing themselves and getting involved in school for who they are and how they feel. 
This first year of real school is impressionable on all of them.  I want each and every child to enjoy the experience, learn and be happy.  After all at 5 or 6 that is what life should be about, being happy! 
Later today, I will take the teacher aside and share my concerns and the concerns of the other parent as I have her permission.  I don't want this to become something bigger than it needs to be and will handle confidentially and respond in a prompt manner.  When I pick up my daughter, I will also talk with her about the incident and let her know that she can always confide in me and that I am always here for her to go to and share what ever might be troubling her. 
In the meantime, if your child has had or should have a similar experience, do something about it immediately.  Be discreet with the teacher, do not involve every parent and make it a "grapevine community" issue.  You do not want to have gossip spreading.  Be prompt in your response.  Talk to your teacher first and see if a resolution can be brought to life sooner rather than later.  I am sure as the kids get older and the #bullying goes farther other approaches should be taken, I do not have experience with older #bullies and hope I (or my daughter) never will.
 
Take the time today to discuss #bullying with your kids.  Make them aware, let them know that you are there for them at all times to help them with any issue that is bugging them.  Keep the communications open with your child.  A healthy trusting bond from the start will ensure a healthy relationship in the future as other issues or problems come their way.  Also, be open to seeing your child for who he or she is, be honest with yourself, make sure you and your kids treat everyone fairly and with the respect and love each and every one of us deserves.  Be there for your kids today, tomorrow and the future...raising a great kid starts at home!  All of my best, Dyan
 

Back to school - make each day count

Throw back Thursday...as I recover from a crazy summer and catch up on life, please enjoy this post from when my daughter was in kindergarten.  All of my best! Dyan


Today is the first day I set my snooze since my daughter has started back to school, I am typically not a snooze type of person, once my alarm goes off, I am up and out of bed.  But today, I was tired, most days I am, but can shake off the sleep and get my day started no matter how exhausted I may be.  When my alarm went off again, I realized that I had set the snooze, no worries, it was only 10 minutes.  I could still get her out the door on time. 
As I started my morning rituals and routine of breakfast, packing her lunch and getting breakfast for my two shih tzus ready, I realized that this was the first few weeks of many weeks to come.  Then I realized that it wasn't only the next year of weeks ahead, it was...(I actually had to count it out on my fingers to realize the years ahead)...13 years, yes 13 years ahead of getting ready for school!  Now to you or others, this might not come as a surprise, shock or you might not have any other emotion about it.   But, for some reason today, it struck me as a surprise and a "kid commitment" I had never thought about before.  Yes, 13 years of school. Then, of course, getting ready for that first freshman year.  (Being an older mom I have many friends with kids that are already on their way to college either this year or the past couple of years.  I can't really go there yet as I am just trying to acclimate to going to kindergarten)! 
Wow, yes indeed a commitment.  Everyday, Monday through Friday, not including weekends, holidays or summer break, my mornings will be committed to getting my daughter up, dressed, teeth brushed, well feed, a good lunch, homework, what ever else is entailed in her day, week or month and most importantly getting her there on time. 
School is obviously a major part of your childs life as it is your life.  One I hadn't really thought of past the first day of kindergarten.  I guess, I am lucky to say that she has not had to go to daycare everyday.  I choose not to send her to pre-school everyday, only 3 days a week, so school was there, just not everyday. 
I am finding that the everyday deal does make a difference.  Monday through Friday everyday, yes, everyday.  It's part of life, yours and your kids.  Not much to do but embrace it and make it the best for yourself and your child. 
There are many benefits to being an older mom...in this case, as an older mom, you have had many many years of no school.  I haven't attended college since 1989!  So, I guess, I am back to school too. 
My life has changed in so many ways since having my daughter.  This one has never occurred to me until today.  It is obviously a good thing for her, for me and for every kid.   Yes, I will embrace the change, I accept the challenge, I will not complain.  Education is one of the best parts of being a kid.  I have many memories flooding back to me as my daughter has started school.  I personally, always enjoyed school.  Although, I was more into the social aspect and not so much education.  If I had to do it over again, it would be more of a split. 
What I will do is teach my daughter to embrace school, to make the most of each day, to learn what she can, to have fun, make friends and make everyday count!
So, tomorrow, the day after and for the next 13 years.  I will do just that! 
Make each day count, teach your child to enjoy school, be active in her learning, form a partnership with their teachers, volunteer and embrace this new stage or this current stage of your childs life.  Making a difference starts at home with you.  All of my best, Dyan

Make the most of your mornings with your school aged kids

Please enjoy this repost from last year...it is a wonderful reminder to make the time and take the time to spend quality time with my daughter...and I wrote it!  Second grade is here and I miss her even more than when she was in first grade.  Time is clicking, clicking away, she is getting older and more independent.  Enjoy the moment, because that is all we have.  PS...I still sing the nursery rhymes, can't help myself, or some of my own songs about school, enjoying the moment, one breath at a time.  All of my best,  Dyan

One of the hardest things about going #backtoschool for me is not getting to spend the quality time with my child as I used to when she was in preschool or kindergarten. 

This year she started first grade, her days are longer and she has more homework.  We still have managed to incorporate a couple of after school activities.  I find myself wondering where has time gone and how can she be almost 7??  Unfortunately, as we all know there is nothing we can do with time, it goes by whether we want it to or not.  But one thing we can do is make the most of the time we have and try to make the most of every moment that we have been given.

In kindergarten, I found that we did a lot of racing around in the morning getting ready and off to school on time.  This year, I have decided that we both need more time to connect in the morning.  My daughter needs more time to eat a healthy breakfast, more time to get her brain ready for the day, more time to talk to me and more time to hear how special she is.  I need more time too…more time to tell her how special she is, more time to hear how and what she is learning in school, more time to hear if she has any difficulties, more time to tell her how much I love her, more time to tell her how proud I am of her and more time to talk and bond.  That being said, I am trying to make the most of our mornings together.  I have given her an extra 20 minutes for her morning to just relax, eat breakfast and to talk about whatever she needs to talk about. During this time I try and listen to her, what is bothering her, what excites her, read a book, whatever she may need.  I know that 20 minutes isn’t a lot, but it is enough time to bond and strengthen our relationship, our trust and to be there for my kid.

Every morning I take the time to wake her up in a loving way with singing a favorite lullaby or song, scratching her back or talking to her if something exciting is happening for the day.  I let her climb on my back and give her a piggy back ride to the kitchen while pretending I am a train leaving the train station..all aboards and chug a choos.  These days of innocence will be gone in a blink.  I believe the seeds I sow now for a nurturing and caring morning will bring me benefits of closeness and trust in the future. 

Garden picked strawberry for breakfastToday I woke her up to let her know the strawberry in our garden had finally turned red and was ready to eat, she was so excited to see it she got right out of bed!  Not every morning is so easy, but I try to be patient, be kind and creative with hopes that she has the best morning as well, to keep that #positive attitude I have instilled on her since she was born.

Tomorrow morning make the time to take the time or take the time and make the time to have quality morning time with your kids.  Be patient.  Don’t scream to get ready on time.  Listen. Talk about what is on their minds.  Make a special breakfast.  Give lots of kisses and hugs.  Tell your kids how proud you are of them!!  Most of all be in the moment that short special moment that is given to you each and every morning. Tomorrow morning make the most of your morning with your school aged kids.

 All of my best, Dyan

Turn your kids melt downs into positive experiences

Ok. So, we are now in our second month of school…starting to get in a groove and settled in with the new school, routine, meeting new friends and basically getting acclimated to first grade and our new school.  Everything is going smooth, exactly how I like it, (I can be a bit of a control freak). 

Unfortunately, this week my daughter had a major melt down. I was surprised as she had been telling me every day that she loves school, her new friends, her teachers, etc.

It started with a bad dream.  She woke me up about 1 hour before I had to get up to get her ready for school.  She crawled in bed with my husband and I and we talked briefly about it and back to sleep she went.  All was fine, at least I thought it was.  She then woke up on her own to start getting ready for school and she was sad and started crying and telling me more about her dream.  She didn’t go into too much detail, but I realized that the dream had to do with me picking her up after school and I wasn’t there…she was left all alone waiting for me.  She was sad and scared all at the same time.  We discussed dreams and how it was just a dream and I would be there to pick her up as I had been every day since school had started.   She seemed to be a bit better and time was clicking to get to school so, off to school we went.  Her tears had dried up and she seemed fine, until we walked into school and the tears came, boy did the come.  I hadn’t seen her cry this hard ever at school.  I reassured her as best as possible. I talked briefly with the teacher about the situation.  Her teacher consoled her and she tried to be brave and wiped off the remaining tears and walked into her classroom. I felt sad and quite frankly wanted to just take her out of school for the day.  But we all know that is something we cannot do, otherwise it could become a habit that might be hard to break. 

I started to walk back to my car and ran into a friend of mine who also has a daughter at the school.  I told her what happened.  We walked back to our cars and said goodbye.  An hour later my friend called me and suggested I come in to volunteer for lunch duty, (even though it wasn’t my day to volunteer).  She went on to tell me that it would be a wonderful way for my daughter to know that I am there to support her, be there for her and what a wonderful surprise it would be for her.  I had a million things to do that day and did not really have the time to volunteer, but thought about what she was telling me and realized that it really did make sense, a lot of sense and she was absolutely right!   I made the calls and verified it was ok for me to come in and help out at lunch. 

I arrived on time and waited for her class to come to the lunch room.  As her class filed into the lunch room, she turned and saw me.  Her face lit up, it really lit up!!  For that one moment in time, I could see all the sadness and uncertainty turn into happiness, peace and light.  I was soooooo happy that I had shared my morning with my friend and was soooooo happy that I listened to her advice!  This is one of the reasons why I started this blog, for moms and friends to share with each other ideas that work, REALLY work for their families and kids to make a stronger family bond, community bond and relationships that are filled with love, happiness and commitment. 
Moms and friends getting together and sharing ideas about kids and life!

Even though a simple idea, I am not sure I would have thought of doing it on my own.  I am truly grateful for my friend, because it made such a difference in my child’s day that I wouldn’t have traded anything else in the world to have seen her day brightened right before my very eyes. 

Many wonderful benefits to this one.  I also helped out the school in volunteering.  Today, make a difference in your kids life.  Be aware of their needs, be there to support them in every way you can and hug them/love them as much as possible.  All of my best, Dyan


What I learned:  That it is possible to turn your kids melt downs into a positive experiences, sharing your challenging times with  friends can always give you a new perspective to help strengthen your relationships within your family and how much I value my friends and relationships because they help me be a better mom.

What my child learned:  That she is not alone at school, I am there for her and care about her feelings, I will be there to support her and how much mommy does love her.

Paper chains - a simple yet effective tool for concept of time - Back to school fun!

As school approaches, I thought I would do a re-post of my favorite way of getting my child ready for school.  Have some back to school fun with these and get them ready for a no tear day of school.  I would love to hear how these worked for you, send me a comment to post and share your success!  All my best, Dyan 

Paper chains a simple yet effective tool for the concept of time in days.  We have been making these for the last few years.  We started with her first day in preschool.  My daughter had just turned 3 but yet these helped her understand how many days were left before she would start on her new adventure of preschool.  The transition was so easy for her that she barely turned around to say good bye to me!  As I turned to leave her there for the first time, the tears filled my eyes.  I was definitely more effected by the separation than her.  We have continued to make these for all exciting or important engagements afterwards.  The arrival of her cousins for spring break, planned vacations or activities that she was looking forward too and every year of school since.  They help build excitement and anticipation.  The paper chains also help with the how many more days until question.  She looks forward to taking one off every night and counting how many more days until that exciting moment of what ever we are counting down too. I am sure as she gets older the excitement of making these will wear off and as she grasps more of the concept of time she will not need them to help her understand.  But in the meantime, we will continue to make them and look forward to all the exciting firsts and other thrilling engagements in her life.  I hope you take the time to make these with your kid (s).  There are many things to learn from this easy craft. 
 
What we learned:  making lines with a ruler, practice cutting with scissors, practice writing letters and numbers, using tape, making something that can measure time in days and counting.
 
What we shared:  quality time together, fun, inexpensive craft and learning tool, creativity, sharing in anticipation of something we are looking forward too!
 
Go grab some paper, scissors and tape and try it!  It's easy and you'll have fun doing it! You might even incorporate it into your lives for all of your exciting occasions.  All of my best!  Dyan
 
 

First day of school Tears or no Tears?

 
As the summer winds down and the first day of school draws near it is time to prepare our little ones for school. Whether their starting pre-school, kindergarten or first grade or any grade you need to prepare them for the first day of school. In the past what I have done for my daughter is make a paper chain for the “count down” of the first day of school. This year was a bit more hectic with no days home before her first day, it was ok though because she is in first grade and is understanding the concept of time minutes, hours, days and weeks more and more everyday (which is good and bad – a topic for another day).
I was so tired from our road trips and summer break that when my alarm went off this morning, I couldn’t figure out why, but then quickly remembered it was her first day of school. Here we go again! As I walked down my hallway to make my much needed cup of coffee, I started to get tears in my eyes…wasn’t expecting this, but none the less, I embraced the moment and realized that my little buddy was going off to school again for the next nine months. What am I going to do without her all day? Did I do everything I wanted to do with her this summer? Did we play enough, do enough crafts, Do enough summer learning to keep her brain fresh all summer? Was I present with her all summer? Is she prepared to go? Is she excited? Scared?.......I quickly pushed the negative thoughts out of my head and stopped myself from putting too much pressure on myself to be the “perfect mom” and realized I did all those things.
I made my coffee, let my way too many dogs out and got into the routine again, making lunch breakfast, etc. I woke my daughter to find her excited for school. She couldn’t wait to put her uniform on, have breakfast and we even had enough time for a picture of her new toothless smile, (she lost her second front tooth last night). We talked over breakfast, finished packing her lunch, got dressed and brushed her teeth.
As we approached school we talked about her first day, the excitement, meeting new friends, how cute she looked in her new uniform, new lunch box, back pack and were amazed at how many parents and kids were going to school (last year her school was very small, so a much different experience for her).
Our goal is to not be late for the entire year so we made it to class with plenty of time to get settled and acclimated. We greeted her teacher, found her cubby, unpacked her lunch, water bottle and back pack. Yes she was ready! As the minutes clicked towards 8 o’clock. It was time to leave. I quickly took some last minute pictures gave her a kiss and hug goodbye and wished her luck with a few other positive remarks. Yes, she was ready!!
I walked out the class and stood by her window, greeted a few parents and then the tears came, not from my daughter but from me. Not a lot, just a few to remind me how much I love my daughter, how wonderful this new experience would be for her, how she was ready and how much I would miss her everyday. I watched and observed some other parents and kids, some frantically getting their children in class, other kids relaxed and sitting at their desks ready to go and other children crying. I wondered why the tears?
The difference between tears and no tearson the first day of school could be that these parents are not preparing their child for the first day of school. It is important to get them excited for the new experience. Ask them questions about what they are excited about (for my daughter it was the new playground). Even if it is for the playground, that is something to be excited about, acknowledge their excitement and expound on their excitement.
As we ate dinner last night I suggested many things for her to be excited about, new teachers, making new friends, her new uniform, new books to read and new things to learn. We discussed everything we saw on the walls in her class, talked about the weather charts, birthday charts and the maps. We recited the pledge of allegiance to refresh her memory from kindergarten (she even got a kick out of it when I recited it with her and put my hand on my chest in a very dramatic way). We went over the school rules and what will be expected of her in behavior, attitude, morale, school work and all the exciting things she would do and learn this year.
As we shopped for food for her lunches this week, we discussed the importance of nutritional snacks and trying new foods. We went to one of our favorite stores Trader Joes. They have shopping carts for the kids and she put all her food in her cart. At first she didn’t even want to go with me. By making her a part of the decision process she loved it! She enjoyed putting her own food in her cart and remarked several time on how organized her cart was and that food I picked out might have too much sugar in it and would it be ok to bring to school. Her teacher has a low sugar policy on snacks which my daughter and I discussed earlier that day.
We read a book on the first day of school before she went to bed last night. I didn’t have any on starting first grade, so we read one from last year changing the words from kindergarten to first grade and even changed the characters pet name of the cat to my daughters dogs name. She thought this was hysterical and we had a great time reading together.
It’s the little things that can make a difference between tears or no tears on the first day of school. My husband always tells me my daughter is too dependent on me….I think not! She was prepared and ready for the day and embraced the day with open arms, an open mind and an open heart. For me, no more tears and back to mommy time and doing what I have been waiting to do since May. Good luck preparing your child for the first day of school! The little things that you do and taking the time to interact, ask questions and get them involved can and will make all the difference. All my best, Dyan
What I learned: Positive reinforcement brings positive experiences. Getting my daughter involved with decisions for school and giving her choices makes her more confident, mature and independent. Communication is the key to success and new experiences.
What she learned: Preparing for school can be fun, learning about better food choices can make shopping for good food and snacks more enjoyable, letting her make some better nutritional choices can bring new things to try and starting a new experience is exciting.
 
 

Stop Bullying from the start.

THIS IS A REPOST.  WE NEED TO STOP BULLYING FROM THE START.  DO YOUR PART AS A PARENT TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN NOT TO BULLY OR TO TOLERATE THE BULLY.
 
 
Did you ever have one of those days that your behind?  Well I do and they happen more often then not.  Yesterday was one of those days.  When I get behind I always try and remind myself that it is for a reason and to take a deep breath, relax, keep everything in perspective and I will get to where I am going and all will get done and be fine.  Well the unique thing about yesterday was that I kept having a nagging feeling that I was behind for a reason.  I knew I would get to the park with my daughter, eventually, and we would have fun.  But the nagging feeling lingered for the reason why we were 2 hours behind schedule.  When we got to the park it was busier than usual and then I remembered it was spring break for some schools. It was packed, but we settled in quickly and started enjoying the many activities the park has to offer.  Since I have an only child it sometimes is sad for my daughter, no one to play with but me...she tends to get over it pretty quickly and I am a hands on mom so it is not unusual for me to be climbing on the jungle gyms, swinging or going down the slides.  Yesterday in all the craziness of the tons of children, I was able to sit back and observe between play areas the many parents that just let there kids run wild.  I thought to myself,  am I too over bearing and controlling of a mom to not let my child out of my sight?  I thought again...no, especially with the unsafe world around us.  I never let her out of my sight or let her be too far for too long.  But I noticed that many parents don't take the same approach I do and there were kids from toddlers and up that didn't have a parent watching closely.  As I watched my daughter make sand castles in the sand and observed the miscellaneous children coming up to play for a moment then move on, two kids came by me from around the slide.  A boy of about 6 and a girl of about 5, he had her in a choke hold and was dragging her, pulling her hair, clothes anything he could to get her to move in the direction he wanted her to go.  My first reaction was what is he doing???  Since I am not a quiet, sit back and watch kind of  person, I quickly said, "What are you doing?"  He ignored me and kept on doing it, pulling her hair, shoving her and she was screaming and crying as I told him to stop.  He was in his own world and I frantically looked around for a mother of one of the kids...was this his sister?  A friend?  Were they strangers?  Either way, since I was the only parent watching this in a sea of 50 plus parents, I had to do something, regardless of the relationship.  I knew I could not physically touch the children because of the world we live in, so I walked with them asking the boy to stop and telling him he was hurting the girl, it seemed like 20 minutes had gone by, but in reality it was probably only 5. He lessoned his grip and finally, a mother came around the slide and I told her, the little boy is hurting the girl and he needs to stop.  She quickly stepped in as I was so thankful that the parent had finally showed up to take responsibility of her child or (children).  I am still not sure if she was the mother of both, but she did know both children.  I heard her start to discipline the little boy and say something about the fact that when she asks her to get the little girl to leave, that he doesn't have to physically remove her from the play ground, but tell her it is time to go.  I guess, I felt the mother should have been paying closer attention, so this little girls 5 plus minutes of torment would of not happened at all.  Then it finally hit me, the reason for being behind yesterday, so I could be there for her exactly at the right place and right time to stop the bullying of the little boy, the hair pulling, the tugging, the shoving, choking and pushing.  I was really quite horrified and shaken up and then looked around and realized that no one else had even witnessed this except for me in a crowd of 100 plus people.  Amazing to me, that people, are so much in their own world that they don't notice when their child could be in danger.  I am thankful for timing and thankful for being in the right place at the right time and being a parent that stops and takes notice to stop bullying in its tracks.  Have a good day and keep your kids close.  You never know what may or may not happen even in a safe environment.  All my best, Dyan
 
What I learned:  Keep your kids close even in perceived safe places, step in if you see a child or anyone in need of help, teach your child to communicate their feelings and wants so they can express themselves in all situations, in a wrong situation...I did the right thing and take the time to pay attention to your child - what you do today will make a difference tomorrow.
 
What we shared:  Hopefully a better awareness of parent responsibility, if a witness to bullying step in and help because both the victim and bully probably need it and even safe environments can be potentially dangerous.

First Day of Kindergarten Pictures

My Little Angel
My Little Angel
The first day of Kindergarten.
The first day at pick-up
I couldn't wait to hear all about her day.
The first day at pick-up
A special treat from her teacher!
A special treat from her teacher!
Look for these cookie cutters on-line via the link on my link page
Her surprise at home.
Congratulations to my little girl!
Her surprise at home.
I hope your kids first day went well or will go well!!  Make it special-make it fun-make a wonderful memory for everyone!  All of my best!  Dyan

First day of Kindergarten - Make it special

Well the day finally arrived.  Our first official day of kindergarten!  My daughter's first day was Monday this past week with a meet and greet.  With all of our preparing we were finally ready!  School supplies were packed, uniforms purchased and even a cute little card my daughter insisted on making for her teachers.  My daughter and I had discussed in detail about what kindergarten will be like on and off all summer.  She is ready, I thought and so am I.  Monday went well.  She settled into the classroom, unpacked her supplies, labeled them and organized everything the way the teacher wanted.  She saw old friends and met new friends.  Great, I thought, everything is going perfect.  We are ready! 
The next day, would be her first "real" day.  Even though we didn't get to do our "dress rehearsal",  I was confident all would be fine and we would arrive on time on Tuesday morning.  Her anticipation was growing all Monday night.  Before she went to bed, she said, "I wish it was morning already."  I asked her why and she said, "Because I can go to school!"  Yes, she was ready. 
That evening, I packed her snacks, back pack and washed her new water bottle.  I read the packet of information that was sent home with us on Monday and there was a cute excerpt from a book "The Kissing Hand", written by Audrey Penn.   This story is about a raccoon and his first day of school.  The story is so cute and bittersweet (see the link(s) on my links page).  I would read her the excerpt over breakfast (as asked by her teacher) and all will go well, I thought. 
That night, as I fell asleep, I was excited for her and felt that all was good with me too.  Unfortunately, that night did not play so well for me.  I had a terrible dream about a company I used to work for 10 plus years ago that was so real I woke up not knowing where I was or what day it was.  Then I thought, oh yes, it's the first day of kindergarten!  I brushed the dream off and got out of bed and made my way to the kitchen to make my morning coffee, then it hit me all at once, hard and fast.  My daughters going to kindergarten, yes kindergarten and the flood gates opened.  I cried.  Cried for the sadness I felt for my little side kick moving on in life, cried for all we didn't get to do this summer, for all the memories we made this summer, for her growing up and becoming more independent, for her next stage of life...you name it I cried.  The tears were just as happy as sad.  Because, you see, today I would be gaining independence as well.  5 plus years of dreams on hold, my ever growing to do list, that by now I can probably wrap around the world several times, for "mommy" time, for doing what I need to do and want to do.  Yes, today we both were moving on with a new phase of life and gaining our independence. 
After several minutes of tears, (they kept coming on and off for the next hour), it was time to get her up and moving (thank goodness I allowed for 2 hours this morning to get out the door)!  She was still asleep resting peacefully.  I slowly woke her up.  She knew what the day was and was so excited.  I blinked back the tears and smiled and knew I have done my job right. 
As we arrived at school, all the kids were ready with smiles and excitement.  I didn't have another breakdown of tears, but my eyes welled up more than once as did all the other mothers and fathers.  A special day, a moment in time...I will cherish forever. 
As the door shut on her classroom and I walked away the tears came back again.  I thought I need to make today special at pick-up, just because.  So I went and bought balloons for her and made her a card.  I think they were more for me than for her.  I contemplated bringing them to class, but I am thankful I did not, because no other parent had done this and I didn't want to make the other parents or kids disappointed.  She came home to her balloons and her card and was thrilled.  It was a special day!  
I asked her if she missed me at all this past week.  She said, "A little mom".  I was sad, but then realized I did my job....yes indeed, I did my job.  My daughter is a happy independent kindergarten girl! 
 
Whatever grade your child is starting this fall, make sure you and your kids are prepared.  Always talk to them about the importance of anything "big" in their lives.  Remember to prepare yourself as well.  This time can be tough on both of you or just you, it's ok for them to move on, that's life.  The more you prepare, the better both of you will be able to deal.
Also, make the day special, this only comes around one time a year and the first day of kindergarten only comes around once.  Surprise your child with something special at the end of the day, you never know how their day went....either way you can't lose.  All of my best, Dyan

What I learned from dad - back to school dress rehearsal

With summer winding down and the start of the school year just around the corner, it's time to start planning for that first day back to school...(unless you are like us and have already started back in the first or second week of August-more to come on our very special week).  I was talking to my father way back in May, discussing my daughters first day of school, which for us this year is kindergarten.  He had a great idea (didn't think so at first, but this one grew on me).   Have a back to school dress rehearsal.  Yes, dress rehearsal.  Wake them up as early as you would normally have to wake them up for school. As dreaded as that sounds in the middle or end of your summer, this idea can really pay-off.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a good idea this one could be for your kid and you.  Especially, if they are not a morning riser or not looking forward to that first day of school ever, first day of kindergarten or first day back to school in general.  This is a great way to get your child acclimated to the early routine of school and for you to have the chance to works out the kinks yourself (ie. - outfits picked out, snacks/lunches packed, and don't forget that positive attitude and smile).  Of course, you don't actually go to school, but after your dressed, eaten breakfast and ready, you can do something fun!  Like go to the park get some fresh air and exercise for both of you. 
When my dad and I discussed this idea of his back in May, I, at first was like....OK Dad, like I am really going to wake her up early just because....I thought, just nod smile and tell him good idea....while I was really thinking...summer is too short and goes by way too fast as it is to get her up one day early.  I do cherish my quiet mornings before anyone else is up.  The more I thought about it though, the more I thought, this is a really good idea!  So in my head I planned our very important "mock" first day of school, it would be the week before school starts on Tuesday.  We had no plans or activities scheduled.  We were going to get up, pack breakfast instead of lunch and head to the park as if a school day.  Even though temps would be a high of 102 that day, at 8 AM,  it would only be in the high 80s and we would be ok for at least 45 minutes out there.  My daughter and I discussed the "dress rehearsal"  she was excited and so was I the more we planned and talked about it.   
Unfortunately, the Monday before our big day, she got sick!  She didn't sleep well all night the night before and finally went back to bed at 4 in the morning.   There was no way I would wake her up, she needed rest to get better for real school the next week. She wound up being sick all the way up to her real first day of school. 
Sometimes our good intentions, ideas or plans just don't work out the way we would like them to...in this case they didn't.  However, I did want to share this idea because it is a good one.  Even though your parents are different than you with their ideas or parenting styles, they have good ideas too.  Sometimes you may just want to nod and smile, roll your eyes or just agree because you know it makes them happy.  Either way take a chance and listen to the advice they offer, after all they did raise you.  All of my best, Dyan
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