Saturday, November 5, 2011


Since starting my job two weeks ago, life has felt extremely hectic. After each long (very long) day, I have to muster a little extra patience for my boys for the car ride home, dinner preparations, and bedtime rituals. Every moment seems valuable, time I have to be engaged doing something or spending time with one of the boys. Even watching movies or TV shows to take time to relax still means my hands should be busy. Needle felting or knitting a Christmas gift or folding laundry are perfect multi-tasking activities.

On top of having mental stress as I transition to work, there are physical pains too. My knees, unaccustomed to so much up and down all day (really, even with two kids) are in varying levels of pain.

And I am tired. In order to be ready for the next day, exercise two to three times a week and still have quality time to read or relax, I am up too late every night. I had grand plans to pace myself each day and be in bed by every night. Two hours after the children were in bed seemed like plenty of time to do a little bit of what I had to do and do a little of what I wanted to do. The reality of packing snacks for the car, running errands, checking email and the bank statements, planning meals, coordinating schedules, and many more things means I am just finishing those have-to-do things up by 10:00. And then I want to do something to unwind since I feel I could not possibly fall asleep after the energy put forth getting all the other work done.

These are my personal struggles with a new job, not to even address any transition difficulties at my new job!

But what is making it better is reflecting on the good happening. While Oliver is exposed to new children/friends and starting in the Montessori toddler community, where he has transitioned so much better than expected, he is still in the bumpy beginning. He is bring home a few bad habits from other children (more screaming, more pushing, and a bite here and there) and he is still upset to part from me on the community playground where we see each other two to three times a day. The good that is really making me feel good is seeing Elliott’s progress at his school. After a conference with his teacher, I can tell he is rapidly taking to materials and lessons he could not or would not do with me, growing beyond friendships with younger children to encompass children his own age while still helping and caring for younger friends, and developing a strong sense of ownership and responsibility towards his new community at school. The way he acts and talks about his school in two short months makes me feel that whatever stress and sacrifice it takes will be worth it.

And a positive note for me... with all the activity of my classroom and lack of sheer time to eat, or energy to even eat, I am down to my weight before I had Elliott, beating my original goal of weight loss. So in 10 months, I have lost 22 pounds, 17 of that in the past 3 months. It feels good to cinch my belt tighter and contemplate a trip to the thrift store for another size of clothing, one I have not seen in over 7 years.

Here are pictures of the past few weeks… And they may not be perfectly cropped or altered for lighting.  But, like I said, it is a bit hectic here. I know you will be understanding.

Elliott is making a dog toy with the yarn and knitting dolly.

After coloring his window art at home and reading about cathedrals with stained glass Elliott was writing about it with the movable alphabet. Here is what he was conveying: stained glass is stained. rose w_____ (windows)...

Oliver's first day of school
Elliott is working with older boys in the class on the addition bank game. Seeing him work with the golden bead materials is so thrilling since it was something we could not do one-on-one in our home environment. It is such a strong foundational material for mathematics in the classroom too.

Elliott is sorting blindfolded, a fun game with a purpose!

Elliott was thrilled to fill three rugs when writing with the movable alphabet. Words listed, translated from phonetic spelling as needed: cat, bat, sat, boo, root, cake, back, jat (?), bat, sat, bad, sad, rats, boot, hoolhoop, bob, sob, blood, cup, pup. While Elliott can write print, I am happy he is getting back on course with cursive (teaching cursive first was my training too). While he develops a hand for writing cursive with a pencil, he can still write as much as he wants, and much faster, with the movable alphabet.

Grace and courtesy practice with friends - Elliott is the visitor being served tea. Elliott felt very proud to be allowed to serve Mr. Jim, a visitor to the classroom later.

Soldier for the 'yoonyin' (as written by Elliott) for Halloween

Oliver as a firefighter. By the second house, he knew to run to the door and demand 'treeeat!"

On a day off from school, Elliott got to go to K State with Mike, napping while Mike did meetings with students.

Elliott went to the art museum with Mike to draw on his day off of school.

Elliott created his own dog, Fang, to demonstrate he could care for him and walk him on a leash to prove he is ready for a hamster. So far, Addy's bowl has been a bit dry at times, and her stomach has to growl a bit before he notices. We may be a little ways off from a pet hamster.

1 comment:

  1. Oh it warms my heart to see Elliott thriving in the Montessori environment--that makes me so happy for you.

    I just had a dream that you and Mike were "just passing through" and we got to hang out for a day....I kept trying to talk to you about how work was going but things were crazy (the house was full of people we knew and strangers). Thanks for the update post! :)

    Plus, I am so jealous that moving resulted in you losing 17 pounds and me gaining (at least) 17 pounds. I'm just starting to get up the gumption to do something about that......