It’s the first day of summer and I’m full of high hopes on how we will fill our days now that we don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn and rush off to school. No more lunch-packing, no more searching for closed-toe shoes that match, no more morning sessions at the vanity wailing on about tangles and hair brushing. I’m so excited to let Bug sleep in and stay up as late as she wants (which is not late, she’s such a morning person). I’m also a little daunted by the prospect of entertaining her all summer. I still have to work and I can’t really let her roam the neighborhood freely. It’s going to be a challenge.
So I’m sitting in the cool morning air, reflecting on how much I love school. I love the idea of home-schooling and I will totally homeschool if I ever have any problems with the public school or if Bug is not thriving. But right now she loves school. She loves her teachers. I love her teachers. They have been amazing influences in our lives. Her teachers have handled her anxiety so much better than I have. They are patient. They don’t yell. They’ve taught her deep breathing exercises and listened to her when she needs to go on and on about a phobia.
I don’t know if I told this story here on this blog (need to read up myself) but Bug has a huge phobia about puke. I think I’ve mentioned before that in her kindergarten class four kids threw up in the same day. What are the odds?! Ever since, she’s been hyper-ensitive about the issue. At one point she was as bad as Rainman, worrying about Monday on Friday and not enjoying one minute of her weekend. Tears constantly… It was terrible. I hated to see her trapped in her own world of obsessive fear. I was worried I needed to have her seen by a professional and medicated, which is something I really really really hope to never have to turn to.
Then summer came and she got over it. She turned back into her normal happy self and I pushed thoughts of seeing a specialist out of my brain.
We moved in June and then started a new school in September. The school sent home a form asking us to tell a little bit about our child. I went back and forth in my brain over whether I should share about Bug’s quirkiness. Was it really a problem? Would she get labeled as a problem child and that might follow her around for the rest of her school life? I want her to be treated normally. I don’t want to make a problem where there might not be one but yet I know if I was her teacher I’d want every heads up possible since breakdowns and tears are a normal daily thing.
I went ahead and shared but I tried to keep it really simple and vague. I didn’t want to be that parent who expected teachers to do my job.
But an amazing thing happened. Bug’s teacher sat her down and they had a little talk. Bug’s teacher told her that she had a phobia about puke too. It’s common I’m finding out. Her teacher let her wear her cat ears to school every day for months because she thought it would make her feel more secure. She started going to a special class called Toolbox where she and a couple other kids talked about their worries and learned tricks to deal with them. Some people in my life thought it was silly but I saw her learning. She liked Toolbox. When things would make her cry she would talk about them with the teacher and they came up with creative solutions.
I saw her doing her breathing exercises and talking out her fears in a rational way. She still cried at school but it happened less and less over the course of the year. Other parents who volunteered in the class came up to tell me how she was getting better and better. They’d really seen a difference in her. Of course acknowledging that there was a problem in the first place was hard but it warmed my heart to see how many people cared about her. She really loved school and school really loved her.
Here we are in summer now and I’m sad that school is over. Her teacher sent home all their journals and I’ve been flipping through them. They make me smile. They break my heart. I’m so thankful to her teacher for capturing these moments and for having the forethought to save them in journals. I’ve kept journals since I was 13. Maybe Bug will be a journaler too. I’m certainly thankful for this head start.
Some of these entries tug at my heart. I know what she’s talking about in the one above. I remember the day we lost her purple sweatshirt on the beach. It was ages ago. I think she was three. The sweatshirt was an old hand-me-down with holes in it and faded. In my mind it was disposable. I thought it was no big deal but I do remember how distraught Bug was when we didn’t go back down to the beach to find it. If I had known she would remember it and still feel bad about it to this day I would have gone back down to the beach and searched for it. Maybe that old faded thing was worth looking in the surf in the dark. It’s funny how things seem like no big deal at the time and you don’t want to cater to your kid’s every whim but then when it haunts you for years then you think maybe you should have…
This entry makes me smile. It’s been such an adjustment for us moving here. We have people living all around us from other countries. Many of them are refuges and don’t speak English. We’ve learned so much from them in a good way. Sometimes it feels like we are living in a big city. We are seeing the melting pot in action. They learn from us, we learn from them. We’ve come to be very close to our neighbors. They’ve enriched our lives in ways I didn’t even know I needed. And yes, sometimes the little boy next door can be “enoying.” That seems to be a universal four-year-old trait. Good thing he’s adorable.
So many memories captured in her little girl writing. I love it. Maybe Bug will be a blogger someday.
Math is fun? Really? See, this is why I love school. I don’t think I could ever teach her that math is fun. BECAUSE IT’S NOT!!!
I doubt Bug’s teachers read this blog but if they do, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for all these words that have been kept. Thank you for teaching her to write. Thank you for helping her find ways to work things out. Thank you for loving my child.
Printing BIG things
Part of my new partnership with Metta Prints is that I get to make BIG things and take pictures of them for the website. The website is still in programming stages so I can’t really share that part (though I can share that it’s going to involve a user interface that lets you design your own creations—which is really cool). So I’ve been making BIG things and then carting them all over God’s green earth and photographing them.
It’s not easy work! These things do NOT always fit in my tiny hatchback car. You should see me carrying a giant ampersand, a mermaid and two 3×3 foot monsters around on the top of my head, up and down streets when I forget my phone and I accidentally went to the wrong address, around and around parks when I got my dates mixed up with the family I was going to photograph. Good times!
However, when I do get the BIG giant cardboard things to the right spot, they have made for some really cute photos! Aren’t Annika and her family cute! Props always make photo shoots more fun. Maybe if being a co-founder of an upstart doesn’t work out, I’ll moonlight as a portrait photographer.
We also shot a little behind the scenes movie to explain how the giant cardboard things are made.
(movie here until I figure out why my wp template is allergic to embedding movies)
It’s fun hamming it up for movies. I think we might do more of these, if they don’t get too tired of me, of course. I need to hire a personal posture director.
Anyway! Here are a few more things we’ve been making. Fold-up names that can be shipped in a box, stand-up people and photo-op walls… Let the good times roll!
Which reminds me. I need to share how the big school festival went. It was super fun.