Monday, September 30, 2013

We've Survived!

We made it through one month of preschool! Today, I paid the tuition for October (ouch!) and realized that we had successfully made it. It hasn't been without ups and downs. Joely still has anxiety when we drop him off each morning, but he loves it once he gets there. He's had some issues with pinching, scratching and biting other children. We're not sure if he's doing it to be mean or because he likes them. We're trying to model good behavior and it seems like we have some good days and bad days. Nevertheless, his teachers and director are all very supportive of how we address it at home and address it the same way at school. I think that's what has been very important to us. We had such a horrible first daycare experience that I quit my job and worked from home for a year. I sent him to an in-home daycare with one other kid part-time for that year and now we're back, but in a whole new situation. I was hesitant about putting him in an actual daycare center/preschool as opposed to an in-home daycare, but all of my fears have been put to ease. Everyone at his school knows him. Everyone at his school smiles and seems happy to be there. The kids seem happy to be there. We love that the center is filled with activities and equipment that appeal to the multiple intelligences. We also like that there is not a big focus on technology. I can't tell you how many schools we visited that boasted using (which we have at home, but we use it sparingly) or some other technology application. His school library has two or three computers that students can use, but it's definitely not the focus like at some places. Speaking of library, Joely loves to "read." Instead of reading to him, Joely wants to get "book" and show us the pictures, "see, see." It's so cute. I love hearing his little voice getting excited about what he's learned. Joely is also a pretty popular guy at school. All the kids say hi and bye to him when we drop him off and pick him up. He loves to sing in the circle with the kids. I'm just so happy that things are working out for him. This makes returning to work full-time 10x easier than I expected. I'm feeling very blessed to be in this moment. I feel like we finally have the life we envisioned when we married (well, before we married). Murad and I muse that we're finally having "kid" problems. No more baby problems. I thought I'd be sad. I will admit there are days that I long to hold a little 3 or 4 month old, smell a baby's breath, and nurse a baby (I know. I'm weird). However, I am completely in love with this little boy. He has given us so, so much joy. He's been such a light in our lives. He's more than we ever could have asked for, and at times I feel as though we don't deserve him. That's why I'm so glad that we found a school that fits him. I'm glad we found a school where he is loved. I'm glad we found school where he learns. I'm glad we found a school where he's happy! This one thing makes me feel as though I'm doing something right as his mama.

Friday, September 27, 2013

I have not blogged in a while

Tonight, I felt completely overwhelmed with laundry and housework. Our laundry baskets are overflowing, and there are clean clothes that need to be put away. I cleaned half of both bathrooms. And don't even get me started on organizing our office. I took cleaned up some, folded some laundry and then decided to sit down and update my blog. However, I'm just now getting around to it because I've been reading about everyone's wonderful lives on Blogger. I will say, it's so much more fulfilling to read blogs than Facebook statuses. I feel like those are kinda like short screams. Blogger makes me feel as though I'm watching a play. I picture you writing your posts. Some of you I picture with pumpkin lattes from Starbucks, while others I picture stealing some alone time near a good window. Thank you for letting me peak into your lives.

So much has occurred since my June 20th post. I'm working full-time again. Joely is in preschool. Murad is running groups for MDA. Our house is falling apart (not just because of laundry and cleaning...) Nevertheless, we're all happy and healthy, for the most part.

June kind of hit me hard. I applied for, interviewed for and accepted my dream job with my old district; however, many of my writing and online teaching contracts ended unexpectedly. I scrambled to find work and really struggled to make ends meet. It was a difficult time for me, but I'm very fortunate to be able to slowly pick myself back up financially. I'm also learning to take it one day at a time, celebrate successes, problem-solve for failures and be thankful that I got through the summer. I did have a great time working at the writing center, editing dissertations, writing for online magazines and teaching high school students through Upward Bound.

Since the middle of August, I have been working for my old school district as a Student Assistance Program Specialist. You might ask what that position entails. I sort of work as a prevention specialist by coordinating many of the prevention programs - bullying, drugs, & alcohol. I also do team-building on the secondary campuses for teachers, other specialists and student groups. Things I love about my job:
-getting to dress up each day
-having a cubicle
-wearing heels every day
-free bottles of water
-visiting all the schools
-working with kids
-learning about all the different schools
-my coworkers
-having a 12 minute commute

things I don't like:
-my feet hurt all the time
-my knees hurt
-it's cold in our office. like really, really cold

Since I decided to go back to work and Joel's sitter decided to go back to school, we started looking at preschool/daycares. We toured what seemed like thousands of schools (it was like five) and finally found one we loved. It's in Richardson, so I get an RISD teacher discount, but it's close enough to Plano that Murad can take him to school on his way to downtown Dallas. It's a Montessori school with a daycare in it, so Joel goes to school from 8:00am-3:00pm. From 3:00pm-6:30pm are daycare hours (and 7:00am-8:00am). Murad usually drops him off at 7:45am and I pick him up around 4:45pm most days. We have really been impressed with the education he's receiving. He barely talked before and now he's saying sentences. He puts his toys away and his plates away at each meal. Today he spilled yogurt on himself and he came up to me and asked, "Can you help me?" Tonight he told Murad, "Daddy, I'm tired!" He's started singing his ABC's and he's counting more. He loves to read us books and he holds up the pages to us so that we can see the pictures. Of course, he's still obsessed with Elmo, so most of the books he picks feature him. He also loves looking at the babies in the nursery at his school. Sending him to school has not been without challenges. He cried everyday for the first couple of weeks. Yesterday, he threw up 3x at school and once at home. Last week he got in trouble for pinching and biting the same kid two days in a row. Today, he got a bad report for scratching two other kids. We do not know what is going on. We've tried lecturing him about his behavior, but it's kinda hard because we're doing it so late after the fact. I tried acting out with Elmo & Cookie Monster as models how to behave. He rolled his eyes. Oh yeah, he's been rolling eyes at anyone who says something he doesn't like. His behavior sometimes rivals that of a teenage girl. I know all this is normal toddler behavior, but it is overwhelmingly frustrating. I just wish I knew what was going through his head. I can't help but wonder if it's something more than normal toddler behavior. Is there something we're missing? I could worry myself into a frenzy if I let myself. I think some of it is guilt too. Our previous, previous daycare providers were less than stellar which prompted me to stay home with him. Also, Murad had a lot of apprehension about me returning to work. I know he loved having me home with Joely, and like me, could see the benefit of Joel having a stay-at-home mom. However, I do think Joely having a mom who is happy with her career is okay too. I feel like we have a new life each year, and I'm falling in love with our new life and finding joy in all that Joely is learning even if it means I have to share him with others.

Maya has to have surgery. She injured herself playing/fighting with Sampson. I'm too upset to really finish typing about it. They always go crazy in the summer due to the heat, but this summer was bad. I love my Maya.

Yeah. Our house. We planned to start renovating our master bathroom. We've got foundation problems to fix. So, for now we're all using Joel's bathroom until we can finish gutting ours....I must say that despite all the issues this house has, I love it. It's so perfect for our little family. I feel like we've really made it our home. I also really love living in Plano. Each day I discover another treasure (usually a restaurant). I'm so glad Joely will grow up here. I have to remind myself that despite all the hurdles that I feel were suddenly thrust my way, God has given me the strength to get through them. I'm also very thankful for the life I have. I'm finally doing a job I love. Murad loves his job. I feel like we've finally arrived where we thought we'd be when we first started this journey together. It seems so surreal. I have to remind myself that it's real. When I get down on myself, I try to remind myself that I have a beautiful family and rewarding career.