Tag Archives: School

Back to School 2018

The 2018-2019 school year is officially underway!

Summer came and went way too fast for me personally. I definitely was not ready to start another school year. The girls both had mixed emotions – ready to see their friends, but not ready to give up their summer freedom. TD1 also had a little added anxiety of meeting her new teacher (more on that in another post). TD2 knew she was looping another year with her teacher so all she cared about was whether or not she could still play video games. (Because those Super Mario games won’t beat themselves.)

Like any good mom, I placed 100% confidence in Amazon having what I needed and waited until a few weeks before school started to order the guinea pig book bag and lunch box I promised TD1 this year. And now, TD2 had decided that she really needed a JigglyPuff book bag (which later turned into a Hatchimals book bag). Hours down the Amazon hole, one long delivery, and one wrong product description and subsequent return later, we were back down the Amazon hole looking for replacements. Who knew guinea pig book bags weren’t actually a thing?!? After agreeing upon a Plan B, then having said Plan B fall through after the first week of school, TD1 now has a very small guinea pig book bag to be used for a change of clothes and an emoji style matching book bag and lunch box set and TD2 has a different Hatchimals book bag. Kohls for the win both times!

All in all, though, we survived. Through school supply shopping and reshopping, last minute uniform runs because we didn’t account for growth spurts, uncertainty and change. For all the tears, tantrums and big opinions, the TDs were all smiles when we dropped them off the first day. 

It’s a new school year with a new teacher, new pet, new friends, new routines for TD1. TD2 learned that while some things stay the same, some don’t. Same teacher, same class pet, same classroom, same friends, but new student teacher, a few new friends. It may or may not have taken her a few days to realize a few faces weren’t returning this year. While it wasn’t met with grief, it was met with lots of confusion and questions. Why aren’t they coming back? Why are they going to another school? Why can’t their brother come to my class? In other words, “They were supposed to be here with me!”

All things considered, the first week was a success! The school year is off to a great start. TD1 has an amazingly sweet teacher who has more than stepped up to the challenge of being a new face in their community of familiarity. TD2 has the same amazing teacher who has already shown them that just because they know each other, they have no idea what to expect this year.

And T-Daddy and I have two T-Daughters who are growing and maturing and amazing us every day.

Watch out world, TD1 and TD2 are ready for ya!

T-Talks: Crush

TD1 is in a Pre-K/K mixed class, so imagine my surprise when after school, the following convo took place:

TD1: Mommy, Ariel* and Belle* have a crush on Charming*.
T-Mommy: Oh really, and how do you know that?
TD1: I don’t know.
T-Mommy: Do you know what a crush is?
TD1: No.
T-Mommy: So how do you know that they have something if you don’t know what that something is?
*a minute of going back and forth*
TD1: Okay, I do know. I just didn’t want to tell you in case you would be mad.
T-Mommy: Okay, so what do you know?
TD1: I know they have a crush on Charming because Ariel and Belle always tell Charming “I love you” and Aurora* told me they have a crush on Charming.
T-Mommy: And what does that mean? Do you know what it means to have a crush on someone?
TD1: It means you love them.


Are we there yet? I thought I had at least another 100 years before we were there. Why are we there already? Also, I googled crush and Google’s definition did NOT make this convo any easier…..we’ll go with when you like someone a lot as opposed to “a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable or inappropriate.” That’s way too many big girl emotions I’m not ready for. Can we just go back to the days of cooing and baby gibberish?

*names have been changed to protect the innocent because who doesn’t love Disney characters.

And We’re Baaaaack….to School Again

Monday, the TDs started school. The fact that it’s Thursday and I’m just writing about their first day should be a good indicator of how it went…..busy….and exhausting!

I definitely was not ready. I felt like the summer went by too fast. I still wanted to do things with them. Fun things like trips and the beach and trips downtown. Emotionally, it was no big deal. They’ve both been in daycare since they were 3 months and we started “real” school last year.

I spent the week before failing at getting us on a schedule to prepare us for getting back in the swing of things. No changes to the uniform and I’d washed and hung uniform clothes months ago. We ordered school supplies through the school and they were shipped there. Book bags were bought. They just needed a few minor items – lunch box, water bottles, snacks. We were all good to go!

Then Monday happened. And I realized just how not good to go we really were. Several of TD1’s uniform items are missing. And they happen to be the items that have to be specially ordered from the uniform store and currently are on back order. Yay us! Maroon leggings and shorts (non-logo or branded) are the bane of my existence right now. Seriously, does anyone make or sell them??? We ran into this problem last year, which caused us to stock up whenever we found them in the girls’ sizes. Guess what’s mysteriously missing now….

Despite an early bedtime, the girls did not want to wake up. Grumbles of “Why do we have to go to school?” were repeated throughout breakfast and getting dressed.

timetoschool16Then they were dressed and we had about 10 min for pictures and to get them in their respective classrooms. And that’s when it hit me. During that quick 2 min photoshoot when TD1 was posing and telling me which shots I had to get. My daughters are big girls.

TD1 is a kindergartner this year. Gone is her cubby. Replaced by a hook to hang things now. Her classroom even looks big kiddish. TD2 is still in preschool, but she’s moved up. She’s in TD1’s old classroom. They have recess together, but they don’t eat lunch together anymore.

After I dropped them off, I spent my day trying to acquire the lost items that have fallen into the invisible black hole. Then it was time to pick them up. TD1 excitedly ran to me. “Mom, I’m sad that my friends are in a different class than me. I only get to see them at recess.” (By friends, she means a certain group of boys that T-Daddy is happy to have her separated from. I think someone may have had a talk with the office.) Then, we walked to TD2’s class where she was knocked out. TD1 ran straight to her and started rubbing her and trying to put a pillow under her to make her more comfortable.

I picked up TD2 and two of us walked, while one was carried, to the car – on our way to acquire more lost items. Man, I really aced this being prepared thing this year. Ten min later, I pull up to the uniform store with two sleeping kids. I woke TD1 up and bribed her with ice cream if she walked. She stayed up long enough for me to complete the purchase and get back in the car before it was lights out again.

Happy first day of school TDs!!! School must have worked them hard.

TD1 and the Super Straight Hair

Super-straight-hairA few weeks ago, I came home and, as soon as I walked in the door, T-Daddy said, “She wants her hair like Elsa’s*. I have no idea who Elsa is or how her hair even is. I tried to talk to her, but she’s really upset.”

I looked at TD1 who was sulking against the kitchen cabinet.
Me: Hey sweetie. What’s wrong?
TD1: I want hair like Elsa.
Me: Okay, well how is Elsa’s hair?
TD1: It’s down. Not like mine.
Me: Okay, well we can take your hair down and you can wear it like that tomorrow. Would you like that?
TD1: And it’ll look just like Elsa’s?
Me: No, it won’t look just like hers.
TD1: Because her hair is longer?
Me: Yeah, her hair is longer, but it’s also a different type of hair. So it just won’t look exactly the same sweetie.
TD1: That’s okay. When I never cut my hair, it’ll get longer and longer like Rapunzel’s and then it’ll look just like Elsa’s.

I looked at T-Daddy and we both shrugged. We had won the battle….or so we thought.

The next morning I began taking her hair down as promised when I noticed it was wet.
Me: Did you get your hair wet?
TD1: Yeah, I ran water over it so it can get super straight like Elsa’s. The water helps it grow.
Me: The water does help it grow, but it doesn’t make our hair get super straight. It does the opposite. It makes it more curly. You can still wear your hair down, but it just won’t be long and straight.

Uh-oh! That was the wrong thing to say. What followed was an hour-long emotional breakdown about super straight hair. She looked absolutely adorable in her twist-out, but it didn’t matter. Her hair wasn’t super straight. I let her cry it out by herself while I retreated, defeated, to my room. I pulled out her class picture in search of this Elsa girl. Who was she? How come we’d never heard her name before? Did she say something to my child? Where was this need for super straight hair coming from? TD1 has always been infatuated with long hair à la Rapunzel and the real Elsa, but nothing about straight hair so far.

I could just hear all the backlash I was going to get when our friends and family heard about this. See, that’s what you get for putting her in school with them white folks. She needs to be around people that look like her. How is she supposed to know she’s beautiful if she’s only surrounded by images of blue eyes and blonde hair? Those kids probably over there telling them they’re ugly and making fun of them. Waahh waah waah Had I really failed my daughters already by putting them into a Greek school where they are the only black kids there? (To be fair, there are other non-Greek kids and quite a few Indian kids, but it is a predominately Greek school.) Had I allowed my desire to expose them to other cultures and different people cloud my judgement? What if Elsa did say something to TD1 to make her feel bad about her hair? I felt hopeless and like a failure.

Then reason kicked in. Is it possible that somebody said something racial/prejudice to TD1? Yeah. Is it possible that my little private detective that is hyper aware and picks up on everything has picked up on the fact that she doesn’t look like her classmates? Yup, totally. But, is it also possible that she simply wants a certain hairstyle that her friend has? That’s possible, too. I remember begging my mom for a perm when I was in grammar school. All my cousins had one. All my friends had one and I was still rocking balls and barrettes and getting up early on Easter to be burned by fire with a pressing comb. Yup, I was TD1 once – natural girl with the ponytails and braids begging my mom for super straight hair. Only difference is that the people with the super straight hair I wanted to emulate had a much darker skin than the ones she goes to school with. It’s possible that this had nothing to do with racial identity, but I was making it out to be like that in my head. Truth be told, regardless of race, we’re surrounded by women with “super straight hair.” And, I’m constantly changing styles and hair colors. It was only a matter of time before she wanted something different, too.

Regardless, I talked to her teacher to see if anything had been said in the classroom that could or should frame the way I handled the conversation with TD1. Turns out, Elsa is one of the older girls in the class and TD1 looks up to her. She takes a special interest in everything this girl does, including how she wears her hair and what activities she does during quiet time. Furthermore, the kids and the teachers all can’t get enough of the special braids (courtesy of her super awesome aunt), beads and “clips” (barrettes) TD1 rocks at school. So she gets lots of love and praise for her hair, but she was just tired of the braids and wanted to wear her hair down for a while.

Day 2 of the twist out went a LOT smoother. I don’t know if it was the compliments about her “cool hair” from the day before or if she just decided super straight wasn’t her thing, but when I offered to style her hair differently, she replied “No thanks. I like it down like this. Then Lil’ Nana will braid it again, but make sure she doesn’t hurt me this time or I’m not gonna like my braids.”

I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear about “super straight hair,” but I plan to keep reassuring her that her hair is beautiful just the way it is, while also allowing her to explore different styles (within reason). I may even let her get “super straight hair” for a special occasion, like say a 5th birthday. I’m also spending a lot of time talking to her about the versatility of her hair.

*To protect the identity of innocent five-year-olds, we’re going to call her Elsa because which 4- or 5-year-old girl doesn’t want to be like Elsa?

And, We’re Officially Preschoolers

imageToday was the first day of PRESCHOOL for the TD’s. It’s been bittersweet leading up to this day. I really like the school and the theory behind it. They adopt a constructivism style of teaching (think Montessori), which means the kids will learn the way they want and need to. I love the idea of empowering them to take control of their education. It’s a small, Greek school, so the girls will get to learn some Greek. I’ve met a lot of the teachers and parents since we’ve decided to enroll the girls and I’m overall just really excited for them.

At the same time, they’re starting PRESCHOOL. Did you catch that? I said PRESCHOOL. That means no more daycare. No more dropping them off for 10 hours. No more naps and pull-ups and breakfast, lunch and a gazillion snacks. Now we have to provide all of that. Now there are school breaks and holidays and school supply shopping. Oh and let’s not forget UNIFORMS! Plus, it’s PRESCHOOL. Keyword: SCHOOL. My babies are in SCHOOL.

Overdramatic parent rant over. I’m excited and anxious and can’t wait to hear all about their first day, but I feel that, in some ways, daycare prepared me for this day. So I’m okay.

But you know who wasn’t okay? TD2. My poor little munchkin went from excited to put on her uniform to begging to take it off. Then, she didn’t want us to leave her at school. She was okay when we took her to TD1’s classroom (to show her that she wasn’t alone), but she didn’t want to go back to her class alone. I’m sure when I pick her up, she’ll be okay, but T-Daddy made a good point after we left.

T-Daddy: [TD1] is excited. She’s been looking forward to this day since she shadowed. She knows what’s up. [TD2] is probably shell-shocked because she knows this isn’t her daycare.

D@mn! He’s right. I’ve been talking to TD1 nonstop about her “new school,” but I hadn’t had one conversation with TD2. Sure, she was present when these conversations took place. But I never sat her down to explain what was going on and what it all meant. And I know better! I’m that parent that’s always explaining EVERYTHING to the girls.

Could her meltdown be partially my fault? Possibly. Will she be okay? Yup. Will I talk to her about it when I pick her up? You betcha! I can’t wait to hear ALL about their first day. But I’m sure TD1 will be doing most of the talking.

And So It Begins: TD1 Is Growing Up

TD1TumbleThis past weekend, two things happened that made me realize, my big girl really is a big girl.

Last Friday, TD1 started ballet. She’s been talking about it for a while now. “Moooom, I have to practice my ballet!” “Daaaaddy, she won’t let me practice my ballet.” “She” being TD2 who sees “practicing ballet” as an invitation to tackle her sister.

Rewind to a few months ago, and we started having issues with TD1 flipping in class when she’s supposed to be sitting in a circle. While her teachers were amazed at her natural skill, they were concerned that she was going to hurt someone or herself. With me in school and it being the middle of holiday season, timing wasn’t on our side. Fast forward to last week, and we enrolled her in a Toes & Tumble class at our local park district. The description said that students would have a blast practicing their ballet moves while learning basic tumbling moves. The class meets once a week for 30 minutes. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I was confident that TD1 would love it.

We were about 10 minutes late because T-Daddy thought the class started 15 minutes later than it actually did and traffic was not on our side. I started getting nervous that they wouldn’t let us in since we’d already missed one-third of the class. I was also worrying that TD1 would be clingy or start crying and I’d have to spend the remainder of the class trying to talk her down.

Boy, was I wrong!

We got in the class and I asked her if she wanted to take her coat off. She said yes, and before I could get her second arm out, she was already headed to the floor. I expected her to sit close to me. She went to the other side of the room and immediately joined in the exercises. The teacher asked all the parents to leave out the classroom, so they wouldn’t be a distraction. TD1 never even looked my way. I watched her through the window in the door and I couldn’t be more proud. Her excitement and joy was radiating out the room and all I could think was: “I’m glad that we did this for her.”

As we were walking to the car after the teacher released them, I asked her about her class:

T-Mommy: Did you enjoy the class?
TD1: Yeah!
T-Mommy: Did you…
TD1: But Mommy, next time we can’t be late. I need to practice my ballet!

On Monday, she shadowed at the preschool she might be attending in the fall. We’ve been looking at our options for Kindergarten because her birthday falls after the deadline – by just two weeks. While it won’t be the end of the world if she’s 6 in kindergarten, I’d rather she not start in 2016 because she’s not ready and not merely because I didn’t get pregnant with her two weeks earlier. Illinois law has made this a very hard battle with very few options. We found a school that’s within our price range, close to us and is focused on teaching based on students’ personal development and interests, not just their age. They also were willing to let TD1 shadow to determine if it was a good fit.

I explained to TD1 that she would be visiting a school that might be her new school if she liked it. All she wanted to know was if TD2 was going to the new school too. I told her “Maybe, if she’s potty trained by September.” She said okay and has been telling her sister that she needs to go pee on the potty.

As we prepared to drop her off on Monday, I fully expected a scene when it was time for us to leave. We introduced her to the teacher and she ran out of my arms straight to the teacher. She talked to her for a few minutes before running off to play with some of the other students. She barely waved bye.

Drop-off was harder on TD2 who wanted to know “Where Pempess?” The whole ride to my job (and I’m told her daycare), she looked like she’d just lost her best friend. Here’s to hoping we can get her potty-trained in the next 4.5 months.

When T-Daddy picked TD1 up, the teachers said that she did well and they hope she comes back in the Fall. TD1 told him, “I like my new school. I don’t want to go back to my old school.”

When I dropped TD1 off today, she went straight to her friends to give them hugs and tell them “Hi!” She barely waved bye, again.

My big girl is growing up…

Help!! I Need PPE!

cakeSo it’s happened. My big girl has gone and gotten all big girl on me. I mean she’s a preschooler and she has *gasp* friends.

No, I’m not talking about her cousin friends. I mean friends that have no relational ties to me or T-Daddy. Friends with parents that I do not previously know. Friends who I don’t even know what they look like because they are her classmates. And, by the time we pick her up, some of them have already been picked up themselves.

One of these said friends have invited her to a birthday party. And, she’s super excited to go. In fact, she makes me read the invitation daily, and, at one point, insisted on holding it for every car ride.

    Two problems:

  1. I don’t know all the kids in her class yet, so I’m not sure which girl sent the invite.
  2. This is the first party that TD1 has been invited to as TD1 and not 1/4 of T4.

So my question is:

What’s the PPE, or proper party etiquette, in this situation??

Is there a wrong or right way to find out which child sent the invite? Are there certain things I should not do to avoid looking like a creepy stalker parent?

I’m actually okay with TD1 having a solo invite and doing things without TD2. What I struggle with is the logistics of said things. The day of the party (like everyday in our life) is a pretty busy one for T4:

  1. We are triple-booked for events (including this party).
  2. I also have some personal business that I need to tend to that morning, and T4 may or may not already be with me.
  3. We have something to do immediately following the party, which may require us dropping the kids to a babysitter.
  4. The time that will be spent traveling to the party, back home to pick up TD2 and whoever stays with her, possibly to the babysitter, and then to the function, just isn’t time-efficient.
  5. We only have one car.
  6. TD1 is dead set on going to this party.

So how do I handle that? Do I say no to one of the things that we’re booked for? And, how do I decide what gets declined? The party is at a children’s playhouse type of place, so is it rude – in the interest of convenience and time – to show up with all of T4? Even if only TD1 partakes in the party festivities and TD2 is off somewhere else?

Surely, this won’t be the last PPE crisis I deal with.

Help PLEASE!!!

Treasure Today

Your Courage is Beautiful

This year for Veterans Day, my job is supporting Operation Courage is Beautiful. As part of our campaign, employees were asked to donate care packages for female soldiers. One of the items listed were Thank You cards.

Because I’m always looking for ways to culturize* my children, I immediately thought of how I could get them involved. My plan was to have TD1 pick out some items to send. She loves playing in makeup and lipstick so I figured she’d love picking out some to send. I would also have both girls make thank you notes. Of course, time and money got away from me, but I was still sticking to my plan.

As I was brainstorming card ideas, it came to me: this might be a great project for TD1’s class. So, I mentioned it to the ladies that run their school. They thought it was a wonderful idea.

What they sent home with TD1 was more than I had in mind – they involved the entire school, including TD2’s class.

The best part was picking up TD1 and having her tell me, “Mommy, I want say ‘Thank You!’ Ms. Kayla said we going say ‘Thank You’ to your friends.”

So, from T4 and TDs’ classmates: Thank you Veterans, service men and service women for all of your bravery, service and sacrifice. A special thank you to those that leave behind their own children to fight for our right to spend time together as a family. We are deeply appreciative and grateful for you!

2014 Veterans Day Thank You Cards from TDs' schoool
2014 Veterans Day Thank You Cards from TDs’ schoool

*Yes, I know culturize isn’t a word in the dictionary….yet.

The Wheels on the Bus

The Wheels on the Bus. Temi is beyond loved at her school. She knows EVERY teacher there. I’m constantly met with “She is so0o0 cute.” “I just love her smile.” “I can’t wait till she’s in my class.” It makes me feel good. I truly feel like we made the right choice. So when we move next year, we’ve decided that we’re going to keep her there. Besides, I’m sure her “BFF” Austin won’t allow her to leave. Austin is this little boy that meets me and Temi at the door every morning. He waits for me to take her coat off and rushes to play with her. If he’s still there when I pick her up, he’s following us around like he doesn’t want her to go. This morning he waved for her to come sit with him at the breakfast table. Temi of course pays him no mind. She goes on about her business.

Cold Turkey. I had decided a while ago that I was going to start weaning Temi. Our morning routine was just horrible and I could use the extra 15-20 min that I spent nursing doing something else. So Todd and I talked about it and we decided we’d give her a sippy full of milk in the morning instead of nursing. Temi took it with no problem. I don’t remember what happened, but something did and I ended up nursing again. It was just easier. So we were back to our old habits. Well fast forward a couple months and I noticed that my milk was decreasing. My supply wasn’t keeping up with demand I tried pumping and nursing more…nada. We were starting to go through our stash. So we decided to start supplementing. Since almond milk is much sweeter than cow’s milk, we dilute it with water. Doesn’t matter, Temi drinks it all the same (Mommy’s milk and almond milk that is.) That was working for a while. I was able to pump and just freeze what I pumped to build up my stash. Then all of a sudden, I wasn’t getting anything when I pumped. Temi was still getting something when she nursed, but sessions were becoming increasingly longer. So I decided to stop. Cold turkey. The first day when Temi started pulling on my shirt. I sat her down and fixed her a cup really quick. No problem. We continued the next few days like that. So far so good. Over the weekend, she was cranky and I was so tempted to nurse her for comfort, but I didn’t. No sense in backtracking or confusing her. I did make the mistake of accidentally “teasing” her. So I had to work with distracting her and wearing extra layers of clothes. Besides just wanting to lay on my chest and cuddle. We survived.

Beep, Beep. Get out the Way. Thanks to my annoying loving little brother, Temi has a new toy. Which means Mommy and Daddy* have a new headache. First, this thing was a pain in the @$$ to put together. The parts were cut too small so the metal rods wouldn’t fit. Good thing Daddy is supa strong right? Anyways, Temi loves her new car sooooo much. Which makes me happy. Until she throws a fit that I want to do something besides push and pull her around the apartment. *sigh* This would’ve been a great motivation for us to get out during the summer but now it’s too cold. Seeing as how she’s technically five months too young for it, I guess there’s always the spring, right?
*Daddy sound effects sold separately.


Cuz I’m A Star

Guess who was selected as “Baby of the Month” for the month of July.


We had to feel out a questionnaire about her likes, dislikes, family and favorites and submit 16 pictures of her.

I remember how I felt when I was selected as student of the week. Somehow, this feels SOOOO much better. 🙂